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First Japanese astronaut takes command of space station
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata assumed command of the International Space Station on Sunday, the first Japanese national to oversee a manned space mission. Wakata, 50, had been a space station flight engineer since he and two crewmates arrived on November 7. "I am humbled to assume the command of the space station," Wakata said during a change-of-command ceremony broadcast on NASA Television. Outgoing station commander Oleg Kotov, flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, both from Russia, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins are due to depart the orbital outpost on Monday.
Scientist urges withdrawal of his own 'breakthrough' stem cell research
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Kate Kelland TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) - A Japanese scientist called on Monday for his own headline-grabbing study on stem cells to be withdrawn from publication, saying its findings had now been thrown into too much doubt. The research - hailed when it came out in January as a breakthrough that could herald a new era of medical biology - was covered widely in Japan and across the world after it was published in the highly reputable science journal Nature. ...
Four new gases that harm ozone layer found, despite bans: study
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists have detected four new man-made gases that damage the Earth's protective ozone layer, despite bans on almost all production of similar gases under a 1987 treaty, a study showed on Sunday. The experts were trying to pinpoint industrial sources of tiny traces of the new gases, perhaps used in making pesticides or refrigerants, that were found in Greenland's ice and in air samples in Tasmania, Australia. The ozone layer shields the planet from damaging ultra-violet rays, which can cause skin cancer and eye cataracts, and has been recovering after a phase-out of damaging chemicals under the U.N.'s 1987 Montreal Protocol. "The concentrations are not yet a threat to the ozone layer," lead author Johannes Laube of the University of East Anglia in England told Reuters of the three types of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon) and one HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon).
Zap! Australian scientists look at lasers to cull space junk
By Pauline Askin SYDNEY (Reuters) - It may sound like science fiction but an Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a "cascade of collisions". The project is very realistic and likely to be working in the next 10 years, Matthew Colless, director of Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, told Reuters. "It's important that it's possible on that scale because there's so much space junk up there," he said. Australia now has a contract with NASA, the U.S. space agency, to track and map space junk with a telescope equipped with an infra-red laser at Mount Stromlo Observatory.
Car coolant rejected by Daimler is safe, say EU scientists
EU scientists have found that the new car coolant at the centre of a dispute that has pitched regulators against Germany and its luxury carmaker Daimler does not pose any serious safety risks, the European Commission said on Friday. The Commission, the EU executive, has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to stop using an old-style coolant that has global warming potential more than 1,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The suggested substitute, which has roughly the same impact as carbon dioxide, is the R1234yf coolant developed by U.S. conglomerate Honeywell in partnership with Dupont.
Bullying Linked to Suicidal Behavior in Adolescents
Children and teens who are bullied may be more likely to think about or attempt suicide, a new study from the Netherlands suggests. Notably, cyberbullying was even more strongly correlated with suicidal thoughts than traditional (in-person) bullying, the researchers said. "Suicide is one of the most important causes of adolescent mortality," said study author Mitch van Geel, of Leiden University in the Netherlands. However, it's much less common for a teen to actually die by suicide — there are about 100 to 200 times more suicide attempts than completed suicides, according to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on 15- to 24-year-olds.
Volcanoes Helped Antarctic Life Weather Ice Ages
Like an ice age radiator, heat from volcanoes helped Antarctica's plants and bugs survive Earth's glacial periods, scientists think based on the result of a new study. "Volcanoes are generally seen as these big, explosive destroyers of life, but they might be important in promoting biodiversity," said Ceridwen Fraser, a biogeographer at Australian National University in Canberra and lead study author. "This explains how life survived in Antarctica, but we think this idea of geothermal refuges could also apply elsewhere." Today, mosses, lichens and small invertebrates thrive along Antarctica's coast.
Hoarding Ideas at Work? Why You Should Stop
Worried that someone at work might be stealing your good ideas? Relax. It doesn't happen as often as you think.
US-Russian Space Station Crew Returns to Earth Tonight: Watch It Live
An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts will return to Earth tonight aboard a Soyuz space capsule tonight (March 10) after more than five months in orbit, and you can watch their landing live online.
Where's Planet X? NASA Space Telescope Discovers Thousands of New Stars, But No 'Nemesis'
A NASA spacecraft has pounded another nail into the coffin of the hypothetical solar system body known as "Planet X" or "Nemesis." After scanning the entire sky, the space agency's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) found no signs of an undiscovered planet or other large body in the outer reaches of the solar system. "The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas planet, or a small, companion star," Kevin Luhman of Penn State University said in a statement. Luhman is the author of one of two new papers appearing in the Astrophysical Journal that describe the results of WISE's search.
Craig Ferguson to Host New Series 'I F-ing Love Science'
AUSTIN, TEXAS — A new television series called "I F-ing Love Science" will air on the Science Channel and will be hosted by Craig Ferguson, the late-night star announced here Saturday night (Mar. 8) at the South by Southwest Interactive festival. Ferguson's videotaped announcement was shown at a Science Channel event attended by Elise Andrew, the British biology student who created the wildly popular Facebook group that inspired the series. "If you know anything about me, you know I love science," Ferguson said. Andrew said she had not expected her Facebook group to go viral the way it did.
Carl Sagan's Legacy: Scientists, Fans Share Memories of Famed Astronomer
For years, Carl Sagan brought science into homes around the United States with his TV shows and books. Some of the most famous scientists working today had life-changing experiences with Sagan, and other people who never met him still felt his influence from the media he created. Scientists and other people who were touched by Carl Sagan's life and work shared some memories of the famous scientist: "I was just a 17-year-old kid from the Bronx with dreams of becoming a scientist, and somehow, the world's most famous astronomer found time to invite me to Ithaca in upstate New York and spend a Saturday with him," Tyson said during the first episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," a reboot of Sagan's "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." "I remember that snowy day like it was yesterday." [See Carl Sagan's legacy in photos]
Artful Science Logos Honor Greatest Astronomers and Physicists of All Time (Images)
From the ancient Egyptian astronomer Hypatia to modern-day astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, physicists throughout history are getting the artist's treatment in a new set of illustrations honoring the thinkers' contributions to science. Dr. Prateek Lala, a physician based in Canada, has recently crafted playful images using the names of famous scientists to show, in logo form, what they gave to theoretical physics. Called "science typographies" or "logotypes," some of the more striking images include Isaac Newton's apple and Edwin Hubble with the Hubble Space Telescope that eventually flew his name into space. Lala started making his images in 2013 after speaking with a friend about the ways in which people learn, and how to get everyone interested in scientific research.
'Cosmos' Reborn: New Fox TV Show Aims to Bring Science to Everyone
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," is a relaunch of Carl Sagan's classic "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." The new Cosmos series premieres Sunday (March 9), and the creators of the show, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, hope that it will reach a wide audience like the Sagan's "Cosmos" did during its run in 1980. "We wanted to reach everyone because we believed that this knowledge is a birthright," Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow and a co-writer of the new show, said of the first "Cosmos" series during a webcast here at the Hayden Planetarium Tuesday (March 4). "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" uses animation and virtual effects — including a unique spaceship which Tyson travels on — to create an immersive TV experience.
The dawning of the age of genomic medicine, finally
By Julie Steenhuysen LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - When President Bill Clinton announced in 2000 that Craig Venter and Dr. Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute had succeeded in mapping the human genome, he solemnly declared that the discovery would "revolutionize" the treatment of virtually all human disease. The expectation was that this single reference map of the 3 billion base pairs of DNA -- the human genetic code -- would quickly unlock the secrets of Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer and other scourges of human health. As it turns out, Clinton's forecast was not unlike President George Bush's "mission accomplished" speech in the early days of the Iraq war, said Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Translational Science Institute, which is running a meeting On the Future of Genomic Medicine here March 6-7.
It's 3 a.m., Is that a Parasitic Worm in Your Cheek? (Op-Ed)
Jonathan Allen is a professor in the Department of Biology at the College of William & Mary. His teaching, as well as his research, is directed at marine invertebrates and he participates in the William & Mary Marine Science minor. I am a scientist, and therefore not the kind of person who goes down the rabbit-hole looking to self-diagnose a rare disease, but there I was, night-surfing internet health sites trying to figure out what was behind the strange rough spot in my mouth. I began to wonder if some kind of parasite might explain the wandering rough patch in my mouth.
As scientists watch, distant asteroid disintegrates
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Patsy Cline's classic country song "I Fall to Pieces," has nothing on this one. The rocky asteroid, named P/2013 R3, was one of the innumerable objects populating the crowded asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, roughly three times further away from the sun than Earth. This time, however, scientists first noticed the dramatic events using ground-based telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii and then got a better look using the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. "After looking at the asteroid belt for a couple of hundred years - the first one was discovered in 1801 - to find a new thing like this is really exciting," David Jewitt, a UCLA astronomer who led the research, said in a telephone interview.
Israeli scientists shoot for the moon with dishwasher-sized spacecraft
By Steven Scheer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - It's only the size of a dishwasher and weighs as much as giant panda, but its inventors are hoping this spacecraft will go where no other Israeli vessel has gone before - to the moon. Working on a shoestring budget, the Israeli scientists and engineers building the shuttle - temporarily named "Sparrow" - believe it will land on the moon by the end of 2015, a feat only the United States, Russia and China have managed so far. The landing will be the toughest task in the Sparrow's mission, not least because of the moon's many mountains and craters, said Yariv Bash, an electronic engineer and the founder of SpaceIL, the group building the spacecraft. The $20 million prize will go to the first team to land a spacecraft on the moon, make it jump 500 metres and transmit images and video back to earth.
Nine-month-old baby may have been cured of HIV, U.S. scientists say
A 9-month-old baby who was born in California with the HIV virus that leads to AIDS may have been cured as a result of treatments that doctors began just four hours after her birth, medical researchers said on Wednesday. That child is the second case, following an earlier instance in Mississippi, in which doctors may have brought HIV in a newborn into remission by administering antiretroviral drugs in the first hours of life, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrics specialist with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, at a medical conference in Boston. "The child ... has become HIV-negative," Persaud said, referring to the 9-month-old baby born outside Los Angeles, who is being treated at Miller Children's Hospital. That child is still receiving a three-drug cocktail of anti-AIDS treatments, while the child born in Mississippi, now 3-1/2 years old, ceased receiving antiretroviral treatments two years ago.
Scientists find dinosaur that was scourge of Jurassic Europe
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In Europe 150 million years ago, this dude was the biggest, baddest bully in town. Two scientists in Portugal announced on Wednesday that they have identified the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever found in Europe, a 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) brute called Torvosaurus gurneyi that was the scourge of its domain in the Jurassic Period. "It was indeed better not to cross the way of this large, carnivorous dinosaur," said paleontologist Christophe Hendrickx of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinhã in Portugal.