Science

Wishing legendary NASA flight director Gene Kranz the happiest of birthdays! [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) scientists used their computer models to generate a view of the Sun's magnetic field on August 10, 2018. The bright active region right at the central area of the Sun clearly shows a concentration of field lines, as well as the small active region at the Sun's right edge. [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source

NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 22, to discuss the upcoming launch of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2), which will fly NASA's most advanced laser altimeter to measure Earth's changing ice. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source

In the course of discovering planets beyond our Solar System, astronomers have found some truly interesting customers! In addition to “Super-Jupiters” (exoplanets that are many times Jupiter's mass) a number of “Hot Jupiters” have also been observed. These are gas giants that orbit closely to their stars, and in some cases, these planets have been found to be so hot that they could melt stone or metal. This has led to the designation “ultra-hot Jupiter”, the hottest of which was discovered last year. But now, according to a recent study made by an international team of astronomers, this planet is hot enough to turn metal into vapor. It is known as KELT-9b, a gas giant located 650 light-years from Earth that has atmospheric temperatures so hot – over 4,000 C (7,232 F) – it can vaporize iron and titanium! The international team was led by Jens Hoeijmakers, a postdoctoral student at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the the University of Bern (UNIBE). The team included members from the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS group and UNIGE's Future of Upper Atmospheric Characterization of Exoplanets with Spectroscopy (FOUR ACES1) team. Artist's impression of KELT-9b, an ultra-hot Jupiter that orbits a hot, young star about 650 light years from Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech These groups, which are dedicated to characterizing exoplanets, are made up of researchers from UNIGE, UNIBE, the University of Zurich (UZH) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL). Additional support came from researchers from Cambridge University's Cavendish Astrophysics and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the Cagliari Observatory, and the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory. The study which describes their findings – “Atomic iron and titanium in the atmosphere of the exoplanet KELT-9b” – recently appeared in the scientific journal Nature. For the sake of their study, the team sought to place constraints on the chemical composition of an ultra-hot Jupiter since these planets straddle the boundary between gas giants and stars and could help astronomers learn more about exoplanet formation history. To do this, they selected KELT-9b, which was originally discovered in 2017 by astronomers using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope(s) (KELT) survey. Like all ultra-hot Jupiters, this planet orbits very close to its star – 30 times closer than the Earth's distance from the Sun – and has a orbital period of 36 hours. As a result, it experiences surface temperatures in excess of 4,000 C (7,232 F), making it hotter than [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner from August 14th. Image credit and copyright: Rolando Ligustri. A periodic comet may put on a fine show for northern hemisphere viewers over the next few months. Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner is currently a fine binocular comet, shining at +8th magnitude as it cruises across the constellation Cassiopeia. This places it above the horizon for the entire night for observers north of the equator in August, transiting the local meridian at dawn. And unlike most comets that get lost in the Sun's glare (like the current situation with C/2017 S3 PanSTARRS), we'll be able to track Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner right through perihelion on September 10th. The orbit of comet 21P, showing the comet's position at closest approach. Credit: NASA-JPL. This is because the comet is on a short period, 6.6 year orbit around the Sun that takes it from an aphelion of 6 Astronomical Units (AU) exterior to Jupiter's orbit, to a perihelion of 1.038 AU, just 3.3 million miles (5.2 million kilometers) exterior to Earth's orbit. The 2018 apparition sees the comet pass 0.392 AU (36.5 million miles/58.3 million kilometers) from the Earth on September 11th. This is the closest passage of the comet near Earth since September 14th, 1946, and won't be topped until the perihelion passage of September 18th, 2058. Its next cycle of passes to Earth closer than 0.1 AU aren't until next century in the years 2119 and 2195, respectively. Comet 21/P from August 10th. Image credit and copyright: John Purvis. Discovered by astronomer Michel Giacobini at the Côte d'Azur Observatory in Nice, France on the night of December 20th, 1900 as it was crossing the constellation Aquarius, the 21st periodic comet was recovered two orbits later by Ernest Zinner on October 23rd, 1913 as it passed a series of variable stars near Beta Scuti. Though the comet generally tops out at +8th magnitude, it has been known to undergo periodic outbursts near perihelion, bringing it up about 3 magnitudes (about 16 times) in brightness. This occurred most notably in 1946. The light curve for Comet 21/P. The black dots represent actual observations and magnitude observations. Credit: Seiichi Yoshida's Weekly Information on Bright Comets. Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner is also the source of the Draconid (sometimes referred to as the Giacobinid) meteors, radiating from the constellation Draco the Dragon on and around October 7th and 8th. Feeble on most years, this shower can produce surprises, such as occurred in 1998, 2005 and most recently [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source

Water is a key ingredient for life — and new research suggests we might find it all over the galaxy. Scientists looked at the mass of Super-Earths, a kind of planet common across the cosmos but not present in our own solar system. These rocky worlds are several times larger than Earth, but the team's analysis of known Super-Earths reveals something astounding: Many of them may be literal water worlds. According to the research, many of these planets may be half water. By comparison, [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the demigod and his comrade Enkidu rip out the heart of the Bull of Heaven as a gift to the sun god Shamash. This bloody act is far from the only time sacrifice makes an appearance in the world's most ancient stories, and in some tales such rituals claim human lives, or almost. In Greek myth, King Agamemnon decides to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to Artemis as payment for letting the Greek fleet sail to Troy. In the book of Genesis, Abraham near [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Alien it most certainly is not. But the word 'venous' is not far from the mark. So just what is this thing anyway? When I first spotted this mesmerizing animation on Twitter, my mind really did wander to the metaphorical idea of blood flowing through some sort of alien venous system. And actually, to the extent that a river can be the lifeblood of a region, you are looking at something akin to a venous system. The time-lapse animation consists of 14 false-color satellite images of the [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Before Voyager 1 and 2 explored the outer solar system, Pioneer 10 and 11 paved the way. Launched in 1972 and 1973, respectively, these spacecraft were the first to transit the asteroid belt and the first to make close observations of Jupiter (both Pioneer 10 and 11) and Saturn (Pioneer 11). Like their successors, the Voyagers and New Horizons, both Pioneers are past the orbit of Pluto and will continue speeding outward from the center of the solar system. Powered by four plutonium-238 [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
On a misty summer morning in 2015, Manuel Ruiz ditched his pickup truck along a dusty two-track road in northwest Tasmania and trod into a grove of eucalyptus. He was searching for a devil. “If I were a devil, this would be a nice place to spend the night,” thought Ruiz, a wildlife veterinarian and doctoral candidate at the University of Tasmania. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. Despite that distinction, the animal is only about the [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Just last year, three American physicists shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their role in the historic detection of gravitational waves. The signals came from cosmic ripples in space-time created by some of the most violent events in the universe: colliding black holes. Scientists have now detected six gravitational-wave signals — five from merging pairs of stellar-mass black holes, and one from a merging pair of neutron stars. But strangely, most of the stellar-mass black holes invol [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
For a cloud to appear, it takes more than water vapor. Water won't condense into droplets, or nucleate, without a surface to do so on, and this often takes the form of particles floating around the atmosphere so tiny as to be invisible. Called aerosols, these particles play an important role in everything from the pace of climate change to the water cycle because they influence how clouds form and grow. Natural aerosols come from any number of places: Everything from compounds emitted by [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
In Kurt Vonnegut's dystopian novel, Player Piano, things get a little awkward after industrialist Dr. Paul Proteus, escorted in a black government limo, passes a crew of “Reeks and Wrecks,” or displaced laborers who could no longer compete economically with the machines that filled factories like Proteus' Illium Works. In the street, some 40 construction workers are hunched over shovels and pitchforks, all watching a single man fill a two-foot-wide pothole. With an abundance of idle hand [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Wheat is one of the most widely cultivated cereals in the world. About 20 percent of the food humans eat has bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). As the world's population grows, wheat researchers and breeders have been studying how to get even more out of the cereal. And some estimates say bread wheat production needs to increase by more than half in coming decades to feed everyone. To achieve this, scientists have been tinkering with wheat DNA to improve the health and production of th [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
The smokey conditions are so bad that one Canadian newspaper has labeled it a "smoke-pocalypse" I was going to take a break from covering the wildfires blazing across large swaths of western North America — until I checked on remote sensing data this morning and saw the satellite imagery above and lower down in this post. In the the image above, captured by the Suomi-NPP satellite on Aug. 15, check out the thick, sandy-colored smudge of smoke blanketing a huge portion of western North Am [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source

Researchers have developed a novel synthetic antibody that paves the way for an improved functional analysis of proteins. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A team of scientists using the highest-frequency capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has uncovered jets of warm water vapor streaming away from a newly forming star. The researchers also detected the 'fingerprints' of an astonishing assortment of molecules near this stellar nursery. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
The relatively swift adaptability of tiny, acorn-dwelling ants to warmer environments could help scientists predict how other species might evolve in the crucible of global climate change, according to biologists. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Study shows that doctors with personal experience of cancer are more likely to act against established guidelines to recommend that low-risk women receive ovarian cancer screening. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
In a pair of new modeling studies, researchers examined how policy reform in terms of drug decriminalization (in Mexico) and access to drug treatment (in Russia) might affect two regions hard hit by the HIV pandemic: Tijuana, Mexico and the Russian cities of Omsk and Ekaterinburg. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Why trust should play a crucial part in the development of intelligent machines for medical therapies. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A new study has found that diets both low and high in carbohydrates were linked with an increase in mortality, while moderate consumers of carbohydrates had the lowest risk of mortality. The study also found that low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources were associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A new study has uncovered why some people that have brain markers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) never develop the classic dementia that others do. The results showed that resilient individuals had a unique synaptic protein signature that set them apart from both demented AD patients and normal subjects with no AD pathology. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Researchers have found that cholesterol-lowering statins may improve the conditions of people with a rare lung disease called autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. The research also suggested that two new tests could help diagnose the condition. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Scientists have revisited -- and confirmed -- one of the most famous textbook examples of evolution in action. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source

Listener Kenn wanted to know about the process of designing assitive and accessible technologies. Technology has the potential to assist people with disabilities. But designing such tech requires a lot of consideration. [...]
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, Continue reading at the source
What are the different components in a high-tech sound system and what does each one do? TechStuff gives a rundown on audio equipment. Request by Karl-Ludwig. [...]
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A year after Charlottesvile, A & B revisit this episode looking into the women of white supremacy with the help of journalist Laura Smith and entrepreneur/activist Marissa Jenae Johnson. [...]
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, Continue reading at the source
With the exception of lobotomies, no other psychological treatment has a worse reputation. But thanks to some thoughtful tweaks, ECT has lately emerged from the dark ages and toward the respectable forefront of treatment for major depression. [...]
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, Continue reading at the source
In episode 214, Jack and Miles are joined by actor and writer Kirby Howell-Baptiste to discuss Elon Musk's absurd behavior, Trump revoking security clearances of certain officials, the cancelation of the military parade, Trump's fight with Vietnam veterans over 'agent orange,' more tapes from Omarosa, the ring of predatory priests in Pennsylvania in the seventies, Mark Walhberg's new film 'Mile 22,' Crazy Rich Asians reactions, and more! FOOTNOTES:1. Blue Zones – Places In the World Where People Live to 100 and Stay Healthy2. WATCH: The Carolina Brogue: Outer Banks Vocabulary3. Elon Musk Details ‘Excruciating' Personal Toll of Tesla Turmoil4. The billionaire house hostage saga of Azealia Banks, Elon Musk, and Grimes, explained5. Trump gears up to strip more clearances from officials tied to Russia investigation6. Trump blames D.C. officials for postponement of his military parade; Bowser responds his plan was ‘sad'7. Trump and Omarosa Had a ‘F*cking Weird' Fight With Vietnam Vets8. WATCH: Ride of The Valkyries - Apocalypse Now (1979)9. The Last Battle of the Vietnam War: Agent Orange and Its ‘Presumed Diseases'10. Omarosa releases secret tape of Lara Trump offering her $15K-a-month campaign job11. Grand jury report describes a 'ring of predatory priests' in Pittsburgh in the 1970s12. ‘Mile 22' Review: Mark Wahlberg Action Thriller Feels Like ‘InfoWars: The Movie'13. Peter Berg asked Mark Wahlberg to tap into 'Bannon intensity' for 'Mile 22'14. WATCH: Tidiani Kone et le T. P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - Djanfa Magni [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Think you need to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles? Think again. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Should you find yourself in an unfamiliar star system without your copy of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', this episode will help fill you in on the local fare, from perfectly normal beast sandwiches to pan galactic gargle blasters. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A&B break down France's new law. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
For the first time ever, three men will be cheering professionally for the National Football League. Is breaking this barrier a way to get the NFL some positive press or a sign of changing times? [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
The film tells a heartwarming love story through dynamic and successful Asian characters. So, it's the perfect film to kick off a renaissance in media portrayals of Asian people, right? Maybe not. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source

Salk Institute asks judge to narrow scope of gender-discrimination suitSalk Institute asks judge to narrow scope of gender-discrimination suit, Published online: 18 August 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06013-zThe case brought by cancer researcher Beverly Emerson is scheduled for trial in California later this year. [...]
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
A compound offers itch and pain relief without side effectsA compound offers itch and pain relief without side effects, Published online: 17 August 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-05957-6Brain-cell experiments reveal the molecular roots of a potential drug's unusual advantage. [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
The serious disease that awaits some ex-smokersThe serious disease that awaits some ex-smokers, Published online: 17 August 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-05958-5Risk of type 2 diabetes is temporarily higher in those who kick the habit compared with those who keep puffing. [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Top geneticist loses £3.5-million grant in first test of landmark bullying policyTop geneticist loses £3.5-million grant in first test of landmark bullying policy, Published online: 17 August 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06009-9The Wellcome Trust pulled the grant from Nazneen Rahman, who worked at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source
World's first wind-mapping satellite set to launchWorld's first wind-mapping satellite set to launch, Published online: 17 August 2018; doi:10.1038/d41586-018-05976-3Data from the European Space Agency's long-awaited Aeolus mission will address one of the biggest gaps in the global forecasting system. [...]
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, Continue reading at the source