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Disgraced Japan researcher fails to replicate 'game changing' stem cell results
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - A disgraced Japanese researcher has failed to replicate results hailed as a potential breakthrough in stem-cell treatment and efforts to do so will be abandoned, officials at her research institute said on Friday. The scandal involving the research, which detailed simple ways to reprogram mature cells back to an embryonic-like state, eventually led to the retraction of papers published in the influential journal Nature and tarnished the reputation of Japanese scientific research. ...
Europe recommends approval for first stem-cell therapy
LONDON (Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of the first medicine containing stem cells to treat a rare condition caused by burns to the eye. The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that Holoclar, from privately held Italian company Chiesi, had been given a green light for moderate to severe limbal stem cell deficiency due to physical or chemical burns. Left untreated, the condition can result in blindness. Holoclar is a living tissue product made from a biopsy taken from a small undamaged area of the patient’s cornea and grown in the laboratory using cell culture. ...
Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You might want to be careful about who you call a birdbrain. Some of our feathered friends exhibit powers of perception that put humans to shame. Scientists said on Thursday that little songbirds known as golden-winged warblers fled their nesting grounds in Tennessee up to two days before the arrival of a fierce storm system that unleashed 84 tornadoes in southern U.S. states in April. The researchers said the birds were apparently alerted to the danger by sounds at frequencies below the range of human hearing. ...
SpaceX delays planned cargo run to space station to early January
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had been planned for 1:22 p.m. EST, but an undisclosed technical issue with the rocket prompted SpaceX, as the company is known, to postpone the flight until Jan 6. The problem surfaced during routine prelaunch test firing of the rocket’s engines, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. ...
India tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market
By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's space agency successfully tested on Thursday its most powerful satellite launch vehicle that can put heavier payloads into space, and, it hopes, win India a bigger slice of the $300 billion global space industry. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also checked the working of an unmanned crew module on the vehicle, which could give the agency the option of manned missions. ...
NASA Satellite's 1st CO2 Maps of Earth Revealed
This past summer, NASA launched its first satellite devoted to measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is driving global warming. Today (Dec. 18), scientists with the space agency unveiled the first carbon maps obtained by the spacecraft, named the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2. OCO-2 only started collecting its first scientifically useful information at the end of September, but the initial results "are quite amazing," said Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Eldering and her colleagues showed a map of the globe that uses about 600,000 data points taken by OCO-2 from Oct. 1 through Nov. 17.
What was the Worst #ScienceFail of 2014? (Op-Ed)
Aaron Huertas is a science communications officer at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), where he helps scientists represent their work to the public and policymakers. Scientific research is often difficult, tedious and can take years to come to fruition. Unfortunately, too many politicians and institutions reject or distort scientific conclusions they don't like. We all lose when political spin runs roughshod over evidence scientists have uncovered regarding risks to our health and well-being.
Keeping Up with the Greens: Neighbors Can Spur Conservation (Op-Ed)
Marlene Cimons writes for Climate Nexus, a nonprofit that aims to tell the climate story in innovative ways that raise awareness of, dispel misinformation about and showcase solutions to climate change and energy issues in the United States. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Mindful of the growing dangers of climate change, I always strive to be an environmentally conscientious consumer. So, understandably, I was more than a little upset to learn that I was a flop at energy savings compared to my neighbors. This revelation came through a series of home energy reports from the utility company that services my weekend house 170 miles away in western Maryland.
Private Moon-Drilling Mission Raises Over $1 Million via Crowdfunding
An ambitious private space exploration project that aims to land a moon-drilling probe on the lunar surface by 2024 now has the money it needs, thanks to a crowdfunding effort that raised more than $1 million for the mission. The novel Lunar Mission One project surpassed its fundraising goal of nearly 600,000 English pounds (about $945,000) this week on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Lunar Missions Ltd., the United Kingdom-based company funding the project, hopes the mission will advance understanding of how the moon formed and provide useful insights for future moon missions. The Lunar Mission One project is designed to land a probe on the moon that is capable of drilling at least 65 feet (20 meters) below the lunar surface, and hopefully reach a target depth of 328 feet (100 m) inside the moon.
Curiosity Rover's Critics are Missing the Point (Op-Ed)
Marc Kaufman has written about science and international affairs for more than three decades, primarily for The Washington Postand The Philadelphia Inquirer.Kaufman's latest book is "Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission" (National Geographic, 2014).Kaufman contributed this essay to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. To the worldwide legion of enthusiasts following the trek of the Curiosity rover across Mars, the announcement last week that Gale Crater had featured lakes and rivers for potentially tens of millions of years was another important moment in the evolving story of Mars as a once-habitable planet. It's a story line that Curiosity has aggressively developed and now owns, and it is arguably the biggest story in space exploration today. Yet when project scientist John Grotzinger described the team's newest findings, there was a defensiveness of sorts.
Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar Space
It turns out that sailing through interstellar space isn't so peaceful. NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft — the only object made by humans to reach interstellar space — might still be caught what scientists have described as a cosmic "tsunami wave," a shock wave that first hit the probe in February, according to new research. You can hear the eerie interstellar vibrations in a video, courtesy of NASA. "Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet," study researcher Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa, and the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement from NASA.
Back to the future: Scientists want 'rewilded' crops to boost agriculture
By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists should "re-wild" food crops by inserting lost genetic properties of ancient, edible plants in order to boost agricultural output for a growing population, a new study said. Important properties of wild plants, including varieties of wheat and rice, have been unintentionally lost during thousands of years of breeding. When humans first domesticated wheat around 7500 BC, farmers chose to use seeds based on a few selected traits, particularly their yields. ...
NASA Probe Piecing Together How Mars' Atmosphere Escapes to Space
A NASA spacecraft that recently arrived in orbit around Mars is already helping to solve a Martian mystery. Scientists are using the space agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft to gather more data about how Mars' atmosphere bled molecules out into space over time. The agency released early results from the probe today (Dec. 15), showing how the continuous stream of particles emanating from the sun, called the solar wind, bury more deeply into the Martian atmosphere than scientists had previously thought. "Over the course of the full mission, we'll be able to fill in this picture and really understand the processes by which the atmosphere changed over time," Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, said in a statement.
Why Birds Don't Have Teeth
The common ancestor of all living birds sported a set of pearly whites 116 million years ago, a new study finds. In the study, researchers looked at the mutated remains of tooth genes in modern birds to figure out when birds developed "edentulism" — an absence of teeth. Ancient birds have left only a fragmented fossil record, but studying the genes of modern birds can help clarify how the bird lineage has changed over time. "DNA from the crypt is a powerful tool for unlocking secrets of evolutionary history," Mark Springer, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside and one of the study's lead researchers, said in a statement.
Actor Seth Green Designs Mission Patch for Space Station Science
Looking at the latest mission patch bound for the International Space Station, you would never know it was designed by actor Seth Green.
Scientists work to conserve 2,500-year-old mummy
CHICAGO (AP) — Conservation work has started at Chicago's Field Museum on the 2,500-year-old mummy of a 14-year-old Egyptian boy.
Scientists create 'feel fuller' food ingredient
LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have developed an ingredient that makes foods more filling, and say initial tests in overweight people showed that it helped prevent them gaining more weight. The ingredient, developed by researchers at London's Imperial College and at the University of Glasgow, contains propionate, a natural substance that stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger. ...
U.N.'s Ban says no 'time for tinkering' on global warming action
By Valerie Volcovici and Mitra Taj LIMA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no "time for tinkering" and urged a radical shift to greener economies. Ban said there was still a chance of limiting global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to help avert floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels. ...
Guiding African Wildlife Through Global Warming
Jessica Arriens is a public affairs specialist for the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. The Congo basin is an unruly ribbon of tropical forest, more than a million square miles spanning six countries in Central Africa, running inward along the equator from the continent's western coast. In Central Africa, those forces include deforestation, climate change, hunting and more. The region is "so enriched with life," says Mary "Katy" Gonder, a Drexel University biologist and one of the lead researchers on the Central African Biodiversity Alliance (CABA).
Rhino species to die unless science can help
OL PEJETA, Kenya (AP) — The task was never going to be easy: Fly four highly endangered rhinos from a Czech Republic zoo to East Africa, drive them to the savannah grasses of Mount Kenya and hope that the natural environment helps produce a calf, staving off extinction.