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An AI Firm Wants to Predict Costly Pharma Flops

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 22:00

A German artificial-intelligence firm had come to a different conclusion. Innoplexus AG, a closely held company based in the outskirts of Frankfurt, uses an algorithm to analyze pharma companies’ drug pipelines that it says takes more data and context into account than any other tool. Its assessment of Biogen’s aducanumab gave about a 70 percent to 90 percent chance that the trial would miss its goal.


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Trump signs orders for 'revival' of US energy

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:42

In the US oil heartland on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced the signing of two executive orders to accelerate the construction of oil and gas pipelines, dismaying environmentalists. "Too often, badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies, and radical activists," the president said in Crosby, near Houston. "I will sign two groundbreaking executive orders to continue the revival of the American energy industry and jobs," said Trump, who then officially endorsed the measures.


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The black hole photo you've seen everywhere is thanks to this MIT grad's algorithm

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:07

You've seen the very first photo of a black hole, now meet the person who helped to pull it together.MIT grad student Katie Bouman was behind the algorithm which helped to image the black hole, residing in the middle of galaxy M87, some 55 million light years away.SEE ALSO: What's actually going on in that cryptic black hole photo?A photo of Bouman in disbelief, which was originally posted on her Facebook page, was shared on the MIT CSAIL Twitter account. The caption suggests it was taken at the very moment the image was processed. > Here's the moment when the first black hole image was processed, from the eyes of researcher Katie Bouman. EHTBlackHole BlackHoleDay BlackHole (v/@dfbarajas) pic.twitter.com/n0ZnIoeG1d> > -- MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019Back in 2016, Bouman developed the algorithm which was used to create the groundbreaking image, working with a team of researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the MIT Haystack Observatory.The sheer distance of the black hole from Earth meant it would be akin to photographing an orange on the Moon's surface. To get an image of the black hole, you'd need a large telescope. An Earth-sized one, in fact."To image something this small means that we would need a telescope with a 10,000-kilometer diameter, which is not practical, because the diameter of the Earth is not even 13,000 kilometers," Bouman explained at the time.So, to achieve this, a global network of eight ground-based telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope project banded together to create one large telescope, designed to collect light data from the black hole.Bouman comprehensively described the process in a 2017 TED Talk.As the project's website explains, the light data can tell researchers about the structure of the black hole, but there is still missing data which stops them from creating a complete image.Bouman's algorithm -- CHIRP (or Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors) -- uses the sparse data collected from telescopes to help choose and verify an image to help fill in the gaps."Even though we had predicted that if you had a black hole that would see this ring of light, we didn't know if we were going to get this ring of light," she told Nature."We could've just gotten a blob. Seeing that ring, and seeing a ring that has a size that is consistent with other measurements that had been done completely differently, I think seeing that ring of light and being able to see that ring exists is huge."So, what's actually going on in the photo itself? We broke it down. WATCH: First image of a black hole is captured by astronomers


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Photo Of Woman Researcher Creating First Black Hole Image Goes Viral

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 20:52

For the first time in the history of humanity, people around the worldWednesday were able to see an image of a black hole 50 million light-yearsaway


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More U.S. states push ahead with near-bans on abortion for Supreme court challenge

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 20:14

North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation on Wednesday making it a crime for doctors to perform a second-trimester abortion using instruments like forceps and clamps to remove the fetus from the womb. The move came the same day that Ohio's Republican-controlled legislature passed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bans - outlawing the procedure if a doctor can detect a heartbeat. Georgia's Republican-controlled legislature in March also passed a ban on abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can often occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.


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Researchers find fossil of ancient creature with 45 arms

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 20:05

Today's oceans are full of interesting and bizarre creatures, many of which would seem utterly unfathomable to us if we hadn't learned of their existence from a young age. Take a starfish, for example. If you hadn't been taught about them as a child they'd seem otherworldly once you finally saw one.The same is true for long-extinct species that populated ancient Earth. Now, a new discovery reveals the existence of a very, very peculiar creature from Earth's past, and it's drawing comparisons to an evil entity from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft.An international team of researchers, including minds from Yale, Imperial College London, Oxford, and other institutions, have identified a new species of sea creature that crawled along the sea floor hundreds of millions of years ago.A tiny fossil is all that remains of the creature now known as Sollasina cthulhu, but based on its name you can probably venture a guess as to what it looked like when it was alive.As the researchers explain in a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, S. cthulhu was absolutely covered in tentacle-like "arms." Not five or ten arms, mind you, but a full 45 individual limbs that scientists now believe it used to crawl across the ocean bottom in search of food and safety.The creature was related to modern sea creatures like sea cucumbers, urchins, and of course starfish, but it had some unique features that clearly set it apart. The biggest difference between S. cthulhu and similar species we see today is that the ancient animals boasted armored limbs, whereas starfish and cucumbers have "naked" limbs.Because of its diminutive size, with a central body unit measuring only around an inch across, it wouldn't exactly have been an intimidating sight in an ancient ocean. It likely didn't pose much of a threat to its fellow sea creatures, and probably spent the majority of its life just searching for tiny bits of food to keep it going, while its armored body helped it fight off would-be predators.


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Trump signs orders targeting states' power to slow energy projects

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:57

CROSBY, Texas/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump signed two executive orders in the heart of the Texas energy hub on Wednesday targeting the power of states to delay natural gas, coal and oil projects as he looks to build support ahead of next year's election. Trump's orders direct his Environmental Protection Agency to change a part of the U.S. clean water law that has allowed states to delay projects on environmental grounds. New York has delayed pipelines that would bring natural gas to New England, for example, and Washington state has stopped coal export terminals.


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Millions Rush to Join a Wild New Health Plan From Jack Ma's Ant

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:32

Ant’s Xiang Hu Bao, which means mutual protection, has attracted 50 million people since its October inception, or more than five times the population of New York City. The product operates somewhat like a collective, in which members contribute evenly to payouts of as much as 300,000 yuan ($45,000) when a participant falls critically ill. It’s free to sign up, there are no premiums or upfront payments, and disputes about claims are adjudicated by volunteer members, according to a statement from the company on Thursday.


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No nausea for Beth Moses, Virgin's space tourist trainer

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:31

Beth Moses was in the cabin of a Virgin Galactic spaceship when it climbed to 56 miles above California's Mojave Desert on February 22, crossing the boundary of the atmosphere into space and becoming one of the few non-astronauts to achieve the feat. The Virgin employee, who will now train the company's future space tourists, made the vertical ascent propelled by a rocket at three times the speed of sound. Virgin Galactic is one of two companies, along with Blue Origin owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, that is now hoping to send tourists to space for a few minutes.


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National Enquirer Is Put Up for Sale After Bezos, Trump Scandals

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:14

Following accusations of extortion by billionaire Jeff Bezos this year and an earlier flap over killing embarrassing stories about Donald Trump, American Media said Wednesday that it would unload the weekly imminently. A heavy debt load has put an additional burden on the company, and — despite being a staple of supermarket checkout aisles for decades — the Enquirer’s circulation is sliding. Leon Cooperman, an investor in American Media, said he believes an unspecified buyer is interested in making the deal.


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Oil prices dip on surging U.S. crude stockpiles

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 19:10

Oil prices fell on Thursday after U.S. crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in almost 17 months amid record production. International benchmark Brent futures were at $71.57 per barrel at 0056 GMT, down 16 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $64.36 per barrel, down 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.


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BlackSky shares time-lapse satellite views

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:51

Seattle-based BlackSky says the first two Earth-imaging satellites in its Global constellation are up and running, with the ability to capture 1-meter-resolution views of the same spot on the planet on a frequent basis. The company provided a demonstration of the high-revisit capability this week at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs — and said it expected to make imagery from the Global constellation commercially available this spring. BlackSky's target for the demonstration was Melbourne, Australia. A sequence of three satellite images shows the waterfront and central business district at different times during the last week of March. One… Read More


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This superbug is a 'serious global health threat.' Here's what you need to know about Candida auris

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:43

A drug-resistant superbug deemed by the CDC as “a serious global health threat’’ has been proliferating in recent years, with 617 cases in the U.S.


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That first-ever black hole picture? Researcher Katie Bouman's algorithm made it possible

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:33

On Wednesday, scientists revealed the first-ever picture of a black hole. Researcher Katie Bouman's algorithm played a big role.


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SpaceX delays mega rocket launch due to high wind shear

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:20

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has delayed the launch of its newest mega rocket because of dangerously high wind.


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12 Things You Don't Understand About Parkinson's Unless You Have It

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:12

People with Parkinson's disease share symptoms and challenges of the disease you won't understand unless you have Parkinson's as well.


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NASA’s Curiosity rover just drilled a new hole on Mars

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 18:07

The year 2019 started off on a bittersweet note for NASA with the unfortunate demise of the incredibly trusty Opportunity rover on Mars. It was a sad day for the scientific community as a whole, but it wasn't the only rover cruising around on the Red Planet, and NASA's Curiosity rover has continued its stellar work even as it (probably) mourns the loss of its comrade.Now, continuing on its quest to learn more about the Martian landscape, Curiosity has successfully drilled another hole in a new location, securing a sample that the robot will soon analyze.In a new blog post, NASA's Curiosity team reveals the successful drilling attempt at a target that's been nicknamed "Aberlady." The rock is one of many that Curiosity has sampled since it landed on Mars way back in 2012, but the data it provides is no less important."We'll kick off the Sol 2372 plan with a short science block to analyze 2 targets with ChemCam: the inside of the drill hole (Aberlady) and a nearby bedrock target 'Mayar.' We'll also use Navcam to conduct a dust devil observation," the Curiosity team writes. "The next step in our drill campaign is to determine if we collected powdered rock sample and whether it is behaving as expected."This might seem like a normal day for Curiosity, and in many ways it is, but the fact that Curiosity is successfully drilling anything at this point is a testament to NASA ingenuity. You see, Curiosity isn't drilling things in the way that it was originally designed, and after an unexpected failure back in late 2017 NASA engineers were forced to come up with a new way for the rover to use its drill.Originally, Curiosity was designed to brace its drilling instrument against a surface using stabilizing arms before extending the drill bit. Unfortunately, the mechanism that actually extended the drill bit failed and NASA had to invent a new method. After testing various techniques, NASA ultimately commanded Curiosity to physically push the drill bit into its targets with its robotic arm, foregoing the use of the stabilizing posts.As you can see by the hole in the photo above, the new method has proved useful, and Curiosity has been able to continue its work despite the unfortunate failure.


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Trump signs orders targeting states' power to slow energy projects

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 17:29

Trump's orders direct his Environmental Protection Agency to change a part of the U.S. clean water law that has allowed states to delay projects on environmental grounds. New York has delayed pipelines that would bring natural gas to New England, for example, and Washington state has stopped coal export terminals. "My action today will cut through destructive permitting delays and denials ... what takes you 20 years to get a permit, those days are gone," said Trump, surrounded by workers in hard hats and yellow vests.


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The three finalists in the DARPA Launch Challenge include a mystery competitor

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 16:53

Three teams have qualified to go into the rocket-launching phase of the DARPA Launch Challenge: Vector Launch, Virgin Orbit’s VOX Space subsidiary … and a team to be named later. In making today’s announcement, DARPA said the third team asked to stay anonymous for a few months more, for competitive reasons. That mystery team will come out of stealth in advance of the fly-off, which has been shifted to take place early 2020. Like previous DARPA competitions, the Launch Challenge is meant to boost commercial innovation in a technological area of interest to the military — in this case, rapid and… Read More


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How the first picture of a black hole captures a big 2019 mood

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 16:43

For decades, pictures from space have forced humanity to reckon with our own cosmically small insignificance. But they have nothing on today's monumental first in space photography.  The Event Horizon Telescope captured a phenomenon so mysterious, so literally awesome that, for many years, scientists believed it would be impossible to depict: a black hole. EHT's international group of astronomers revealed "a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun." Our collective response to this historic discovery? Basically: "LOL, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯."  she’s a virgo #EHTBlackHole pic.twitter.com/fL2LN3KxK1 — Daniel Howell (@danielhowell) April 10, 2019 I'm hardly immune. When I woke up to meme after meme of what I could only assume was Sauron's butthole, I too hopped on the #bigmood meme train. After all the anticipation, after science fiction and CGI artists did their best to imagine how this reality-shattering celestial occurrence might look, it turns out to be just, like, a supernova donut. SEE ALSO: Here's the stunning first recorded image of a massive black hole It wasn't always like this, though. Before we became numb to nihilistic terror, we used to looked up at space and see a reflection of our own trivial, fleeting lives.  The first-ever Earthrise photo, taken from the moon Image: NASA/LOIRP In 1966, humanity was confronted with the first ever picture of Earth from the moon. We finally saw our planet for what it is: a lonely celestial object surrounded by empty space. This place that contained everything we knew and loved, being half-consumed by an imposing darkness that seemed to threaten to swallow us whole. Another Earthrise, this time in vidid color, from 1968 Image: nasa In 1972 we got the Blue Marble, a vivid first image of the earth in its entirety, taken by the Apollo 17 crew. We marveled then too, filled with a sense of the sublime, stunned by a planet both impossibly magnificent and unimaginably vulnerable.  "Earth is revealed as both a vast planet home to billions of creatures and a beautiful orb capable of fitting into the pocket of the universe," NASA later summarized. The Blue Marble, lonely but magnificent Image: nasa Then on Valentine's Day 1990, Voyager 1 gave us our biggest dose of cosmic humility to date. As it floated away from our solar system, the late great Carl Sagan requested the Voyager's camera look back at us one last time, to take a snapshot of Earth from 3.7 billion miles away.  The Pale Blue Dot we'd marveled at only a couple decades earlier was now a tenth of a pixel of barely distinguishable light in an overwhelming nothingness. Carl Sagan's cosmic "family portrait" of our solar system, including the Pale Blue Dot Image: NASA/JPL Now, in 2019, many of us already feel like we live in a metaphorical black hole, stuck inside an inescapable event horizon where the rules of reality are shredded and distorted beyond comprehension. By comparison, the first ever image of an actual black hole just feels kind of, well, basic. Gone are the days when historic space photography inspired a shocking jolt of realization, that out-of-body experience of seeing ourselves — our whole, collective, human selves — from a new perspective. In 2019, we experience that multiple times a day.  Tellingly, the other space story to go viral this year was also one of decay and doom. In February, Twitter erupted in an outpouring of mourning and #same vibes for the Mars Opportunity Rover's alleged final words: "My battery is low and it is getting dark."  Never mind that these were not actually its final words. The social media hive mind had found its relatable space hero in the little Mars rover that could, until it couldn't anymore. Space robots: they're just like us! I’m sorry, I just found out the last message sent by the Mars rover was “my battery is low and it is getting dark,” so now I have to spend the rest of the day watching WALL-E and sobbing. — Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) February 13, 2019 Why does this feel so sad and romantic https://t.co/OInKYGFR9d — Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) February 13, 2019 The truth is that in the current cultural climate, every moment already feels like a confrontation with a meaningless vacuum, a perpetual reflection of our powerlessness and insignificance. Our perception of reality is torn down moment to moment. I mean pic.twitter.com/FAYVSbaUGV — Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 10, 2019 Perhaps, on some level, the black hole feels a little disappointing because we were hoping it'd give us even a single second of respite from the black hole that is our collective soul in 2019. Maybe on some subconscious level we hoped this celestial phenomenon would finish the job that the 1966 Earthrise picture promised: swallowing us whole. Either way, it seems that when we look up at the void these days, we don't see anything alien. We only see ourselves. WATCH: First image of a black hole is captured by astronomers


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