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New incentives needed to develop antibiotics to fight superbugs
By Bill Berkrot NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drugmakers are renewing efforts to develop medicines to fight emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but creating new classes of drugs on the scale needed is unlikely to happen without new financial incentives to make the effort worth the investment, companies and industry experts said. "The return on investment based on the current commercial model is not really commensurate with the amount of effort you have to put into it," said David Payne, who heads GlaxoSmithKline PLC's antibiotics drug group. Other pharmaceutical companies expressed a similar sentiment.
Prototype space station module inflated on NASA's second try
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Saturday inflated an experimental fabric module that may provide a less expensive and safer option for housing crews during long stays in space, a NASA TV broadcast showed. Designed and built by privately owned Bigelow Aerospace, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, is the first inflatable habitat to be tested with astronauts in space. Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace previously flew two unmanned prototypes.
Rosetta spacecraft finds key building blocks for life in a comet
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Scientists for the first time have directly detected key organic compounds in a comet, bolstering the notion that these celestial objects delivered such chemical building blocks for life long ago to Earth and throughout the solar system. The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft made several detections of the amino acid glycine, used by living organisms to make proteins, in the cloud of gas and dust surrounding Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, scientists said on Friday. Glycine previously was indirectly detected in samples returned to Earth in 2006 from another comet, Wild 2.
Radar images reveal Mars is coming out of an ice age
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An analysis of radar images that peered inside the polar ice caps of Mars shows that Earth's neighbor is coming out of an ice age that is part of an ongoing cycle of climate change, scientists said on Thursday. The Martian ice began its retreat about 370,000 years ago, marking the end of the last ice age, according to the research published in the journal Science. Using images taken by satellites orbiting Mars, the researchers determined that about 20,872 cubic miles (87,000 cubic km) of ice has accumulated at its poles since the end of the ice age, mostly in the northern polar cap.
From hardy pigs to super-crops, gene editing poses new EU dilemma
It poses a thorny problem for European policymakers wary of new molecular manipulation in agriculture after a quarter century of conflict over genetically modified food. In a research lab in Norwich, 100 miles northeast of London, Wendy Harwood is making exact DNA tweaks in barley plants to produce better-germinating grain, with higher yield and quality. "We've never been able to go in and make such a precise change as we can now with gene editing," said the John Innes Centre scientist.
Neanderthals Likely Built These 176,000-Year-Old Underground Ring Structures
About 40,000 years before the appearance of modern man in Europe, Neanderthals in southwestern France were venturing deep into the earth, building some of the earliest complex structures and using fire. That's according to new research that more precisely dated bizarre cave structures built from stalagmites, or mineral formations that grow upward from the floor of a cave. Scientists discovered about 400 stalagmites and stalagmite sections that were collected and stacked into nearly circular formations about 1,100 feet (336 meters) from the entrance of Bruniquel Cave, which was discovered in 1990.
Snorkeling Paradise Inside a Volcano Named Best US Beach
Hanauma Bay's new title represents the third in a streak of winners from the island of Oahu in the annual "Best Beaches" rankings, which are put together annually by Stephen Leatherman, a coastal researcher at Florida International University also known as "Dr. Beach." Leatherman ranks the top 10 public beaches around the United States based on factors ranging from sand softness and wind speeds to wave height and pollution. "Frankly, the United States is blessed with hundreds of wonderful beaches," Leatherman told Live Science.
Can Stomach Botox Injections Help People Lose Weight?
Doctors are considering a new use for Botox: The drug may help obese people lose weight, according to early research. In addition, researchers in earlier studies assumed that Botox, which relaxes muscles, would help people lose weight because it would slow down the rate that the stomach empties itself.
Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos
Early Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.
Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space
Thanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground — minus the gravity, of course. Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast, agency officials said. Kelly and Lindgren gave viewers a look at that feast in a special Thanksgiving video this week, breaking out bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.
As much as 35 percent of northern and central Great Barrier Reef dead or dying: scientists
By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Mass bleaching has destroyed as much as 35 percent of the coral on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, Australian scientists said on Monday, a major blow to the World Heritage Site that attracts about A$5 billion ($3.59 billion) in tourism each year. Australian scientists said in March just seven percent of the entire Great Barrier Reef had avoided any damage as a result of bleaching, and they held grave fears particularly for coral on the northern reef. After further aerial surveys and dives to access the damage across 84 reefs in the region, Australian scientists said the impact of the bleaching is more severe than they had expected.
Scientists find minivan-sized sponge, world's largest
HONOLULU (AP) — Researchers in Hawaii have been absorbed by a sea creature they discovered last summer, and their findings are pretty big.
Scientists disagree over Zika risk at Brazil's Olympics
One day after a top U.S. health official declared there was no public health reason to cancel or delay this summer's Olympics in Brazil, more than 150 scientists on Friday called for just that, saying the risk of infection from the Zika virus is too high. The scientists, many of them bioethicists, who signed an open letter published online to Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization. The letter urged that the Games, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August, be moved to another location or delayed.
Scientists: Underground stone rings made by Neanderthals
BERLIN (AP) — Two mysterious stone rings found deep inside a French cave were probably built by Neanderthals about 176,500 years ago, proving that the ancient cousins of humans were capable of more complex behavior than previously thought, scientists say.
Biotech Regeneron replaces Intel as sponsor of Science Talent Search
By Ransdell Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) - Biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on Thursday became the title sponsor of the most prestigious U.S. science competition for high school students, taking the baton from chipmaker Intel Corp. Regeneron pledged $100 million to support the Science Talent Search and related programs through 2026, and doubled awards for the top 300 scientists and their schools, to $2,000 each. Regeneron's two top executives competed in the annual event during the 1970s and went on to build one of the world's biggest biotech companies, with cutting-edge drugs for fighting macular degeneration, cancer and cholesterol. The fast-growing biotech company will take over as named sponsor from Intel, whose chips were helping build the personal computer industry in 1998 when it took over as sponsor from Westinghouse.
Yes, It Is Rocket Science: Middle School Team Wins Rocket Competition
A team of middle-school students from Washington state will represent the United States at an international rocketry contest in Europe, after taking home the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on May 16. Hailing from Bellevue, Washington, the Space Potatoes rocketry team from Odle Middle School beat out 789 other groups of students from all over the United States. Students Mikaela Ikeda, Larry Jing, Karl Deerkop, Srivatshan Sakthinarayanan and Stephanie Han will share more than $20,000 in scholarships and funds for their school.
Calling All Kids! President Obama Wants Your Science and Tech Ideas
Inspired by the recommendation of a 9-year-old inventor during the White House Science Fair in April, President Barack Obama has put out a call to kids across the United States to share their thoughts on science, technology and innovation. Both in and out of classrooms, kids know firsthand how to inspire students in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. "Whether you care about tackling climate change, finding a cure to cancer, using technology to help make people's lives better or getting a human to Mars, we can't wait to get your input!" John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in a White House blog post yesterday (May 19) to announce the initiative.
The Science of Intuition: How to Measure 'Hunches' and 'Gut Feelings'
Whether you call it a "gut feeling," an "inner voice" or a "sixth sense," intuition can play a real part in people's decision making, a new study suggests. For the first time, researchers devised a technique to measure intuition. After using this method, they found evidence that people can use their intuition to make faster, more accurate and more confident decisions, according to the findings, published online in April in the journal Psychological Science.
Stung for Science: Meet the Man Who Measures Pain
Been stung by a bug? Well, Justin Schmidt feels your pain. No, seriously — no matter what type of insect stung you, Schmidt surely has been stung by it, too, and has documented that pain.
Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center
LOS ANGELES — The space shuttle Endeavour now has its external tank. The massive orange-brown fuel tank, NASA's last remaining example of its type, built for flight but never used, arrived at the California Science Centeron Saturday evening (May 21), completing a nearly one-day road trip through the streets of Los Angeles. The external tank, together with the orbiter Endeavour — which was delivered to the Science Center in a similar, but longer parade in October 2012 — and a pair of solid rocket boosters still to come, will form the world's only vertical display of a fully-authentic space shuttle launch vehicle.