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China Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Mining in Renewed Clampdown

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 01:23

The National Development Reform Commission, the country’s powerful economic planner, this week listed crypto-mining among a plethora of industries it intends to eliminate because they “seriously wasted resources” or polluted the environment. While China was once home to about 70 percent of Bitcoin mining and 90 percent of trades, authorities have waged a nearly two-year campaign to shrink the crypto industry amid concerns over speculative bubbles, fraud and wasteful energy consumption. After banning initial coin offerings and calling on local exchanges to halt virtual currency trading in 2017, Chinese officials outlined proposals in 2018 to discourage crypto mining -- the computing process that makes transactions with virtual currencies possible but consumes vast amounts of power.


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Ancient shipwreck to be made accessible to divers in Greece

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 01:15

STENI VALLA, Greece (AP) — Near the northern Greek island of Alonissos lies a remarkable ancient shipwreck: the remains of a massive cargo ship that changed archaeologists' understanding of shipbuilding in antiquity.


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San Diego Zoo says farewell to last 2 giant pandas

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:51

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Zoo is saying goodbye to two big, furry superstars.


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Dan Loeb Can Walk His Way to Victory at Sony

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:30

Shareholders loved the news, driving the company’s Tokyo shares up as much as 7.4 percent Tuesday morning after its U.S. ADRs climbed as much as 9 percent overnight. The last time he agitated for change at Sony, six years ago, Loeb bought a stake and proposed a partial spinoff and IPO of the company’s entertainment business.


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After cyclone ruin, back to square one for Mozambique's Beira

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:17

Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira on the Mozambican coast, had worked to shore up the city's climate defences, drawing on World Bank help to build deterrents against rising seas, flooding and storms. Packing winds twice the speed Beira was built to withstand, the superstorm swamped the city's drainage system, overwhelmed its floodgates and mocked its brand-new basin, designed to hold storm water. Idai made landfall on March 14, ripping roofs off buildings, pulling down electricity pylons, uprooting trees, and bringing heavy rains and floods that swamped an area larger than Luxembourg.


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Grapes on Mars? Georgia winemakers aiming high

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:13

Now it wants to be the first to grow grapes on Mars. Now Nikoloz Doborjginidze has co-founded a project to develop grape varieties that can be grown on Mars. After NASA called for the public to contribute ideas for a "sustained human presence" on the Red Planet, a group of Georgian researchers and entrepreneurs got together to propel the country's winemaking onto an interplanetary level.


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The International Space Station is disgusting

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:07

The International Space Station has been home to space travelers for nearly two decades now, and with the current crew of six, there's been a total of 59 expeditions -- or, teams of astronauts from the U.S., Russia, and other countries -- since it was put into service. With so many human bodies moving in and out of the spacecraft, it was bound to get a little bit dirty, but a new study of the insides of the ISS reveals just how gross it's become on a microscopic level.Using samples from various surfaces, NASA researchers reveal that there's no shortage of life in the space station, aside from the astronauts themselves. Bacteria and fungi have taken up residence in the spacecraft, and there's reason to believe that some of them may cause problems down the road.Humans, generally speaking, aren't exactly clean. Our bodies are teeming with microorganisms, and the vast majority of them never cause us any problems and may even help us maintain our health. Naturally, many of those same types of microorganisms can be found anywhere that humans spend significant amounts of time, and the ISS is no exception.However, what researchers are concerned about is how the environment of space may affect the ability of the microscopic organisms to change over time. Microgravity and radiation from space could prompt mutations that might threaten crew members not just on the International Space Station but future long-haul crewed missions as well.This new study, which was published in Microbiome, used dozens and dozens of surface wipe samples taken from various locations around the space station over the course of 14 months. Locations included overhead panels, bathroom, dining table, and walls.Dozens of bacteria and fungi were identified in the samples, and many of them were the same types typically found in places like offices and gyms on Earth. Some are considered to be "opportunistic" bacteria, which have the potential to cause health problems."Whether these opportunistic bacteria could cause disease in astronauts on the ISS is unknown," first author Dr. Checinska Sielaff said in a statement. "This would depend on a number of factors, including the health status of each individual and how these organisms function while in the space environment. Regardless, the detection of possible disease-causing organisms highlights the importance of further studies to examine how these ISS microbes function in space."Other recent research into the bacteria aboard the ISS suggests that microbes in the space station seem to be adapting to their surroundings rather than mutating for the purposes of infecting the astronauts on board. The study shot down the idea that the ISS was unwittingly breeding "super bugs," but noted that it's possible for bacteria in the ISS to cause disease.Going forward, research like this will be vital in ensuring that long-distance crewed missions to neighboring planets like Mars have the best chance of succeeding, with astronaut health being a top priority.


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Cheap Renewables Shave $10 Trillion Off Estimate to Curb Warming

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:00

“While it’s true that Irena envisages higher clean investment needs, it’s astonishing how fast the cost of green power is falling,” the agency’s spokeswoman, Nicole Bockstaller, said by phone before the report was published.


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Cheap Renewables Shave $10 Trillion Off Estimate to Curb Warming

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 21:00

“While it’s true that Irena envisages higher clean investment needs, it’s astonishing how fast the cost of green power is falling,” the agency’s spokeswoman, Nicole Bockstaller, said by phone before the report was published.


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Survival in arid eastern Chad depends on struggle for water

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 20:44

The young entrepreneur is one of the informal but indispensable links in a chain to supply people in Ouaddai, eastern Chad, with water, the stuff of life. Scorching temperatures, an open sky, a shortage of deep wells and lack of water purification system make this a thirsty part of the world indeed.


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Oil slips from five-month highs as economic worries counter tight market

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 20:15

Oil prices eased on Tuesday, slipping away from 5-month highs reached earlier in the session as a sluggish economic outlook countered an otherwise tight market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures also hit a November 2018 high, at $64.77 per barrel, before easing to $64.36, 4 cents below their last settlement. Despite the economic concerns, global oil markets are tight, and Brent and WTI crude oil futures have risen by 40 percent and 30 percent respectively since the start of the year.


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This Single Mission Could Solve 2 of the Biggest Mysteries of the Universe

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 19:12

Our universe is incredibly vast, mostly mysterious, and generally confusing. We're surrounded by perplexing questions on scales both great and small. We have some answers, for sure, like the Standard Model of particle physics, that help us (physicists, at least) understand fundamental subatomic interactions, and the Big Bang theory of how the universe began, which weaves together a cosmic story over the past 13.8 billion years.But despite the successes of these models, we still have plenty of work to do. For example, what in the world is dark energy, the name we give to the driving force behind the observed accelerated expansion of the universe? And on the opposite end of the scale, what exactly are neutrinos, those ghostly little particles that zip and zoom through the cosmos without hardly interacting with anything? [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]At first glance, these two questions seem so radically different in terms of scale and nature and, well, everything that we might assume that we need to answer them.But it might be that a single experiment could reveal answers to both. A European Space Agency telescope is set to map the dark universe -- looking as far back in time, some 10 billion years, when dark energy is thought to have been raging. Let's dig in. Go big and go homeTo dig in, we need to look up. Way up. On scales much, much bigger than galaxies (we're talking billions of light-years here, folks), where our universe resembles a vast, glowing spider web. Except, this spider web isn't made of silk, but of galaxies. Long, thin tendrils of galaxies linking dense, clumpy nodes. Those nodes are the clusters, bustling cities of galaxies and hot, rich gas -- enormous, broad walls of thousands upon thousands of galaxies. And between these structures, taking up most of the volume in the universe, are the great cosmic voids, celestial deserts filled with nothing much at all.It's called the cosmic web, and it's the biggest thing in the universe.This cosmic web was slowly constructed over the course of billions of years by the weakest force in nature: gravity. Way back when the universe was the tiniest fraction of its current size, it was almost perfectly uniform. But the "almost" is important here: There were tiny variations in density from spot to spot, with some corners of the universe being a little bit more crowded than average and others a little less so. [The 12 Strangest Objects in the Universe]Galaxy clusters in the cosmic web. K. Dolag, Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, GermanyWith time, gravity can do amazing things. In the case of our cosmic web, those slightly-higher-than-average dense regions had gravity that was a little bit stronger, attracting their surroundings to them, which made those clumps even more attractive, which attracted more neighbors, and so on and so on.Fast forward this process a billion years, and you've grown your very own cosmic web. A universal recipeThat's the general picture: To make a cosmic web, you need some "stuff," and you need some gravity. But where it gets really interesting is in the details, especially the details of the stuff.Different kinds of matter will clump up and form structures differently. Some kinds of matter might tangle in on themselves, or need to remove excess heat before they can congeal, while others might readily join the nearest party. Certain types of matter move slowly enough that gravity can efficiently do its work, while other kinds of matter are so fleet and nimble that gravity can barely get its feeble hands on it.In short, if you change the ingredients of the universe, you get different-looking cosmic webs. In one scenario, there might be more rich clusters and fewer empty voids compared with another scenario, in which the voids totally dominate early in the history of the cosmos, with no clusters forming at all. [Big Bang to Civilization: 10 Amazing Origin Events]One particularly intriguing ingredient is the neutrino, the afore-mentioned ghostly particle. Since the neutrino is so light, it travels at nearly the speed of light. This has the effect of "smoothing out" structures in the universe: Gravity simply can't do its work and pull neutrinos into compact little balls. So, if you add too many neutrinos to the universe, things like entire galaxies end up not being able to form in the early universe. Tiny problems, big solutionsThis means that we can use the cosmic web itself as a giant laboratory of physics to study neutrinos. By examining the structure of the web and breaking it down into its various parts (clusters, voids and so on), we can get a surprisingly direct handle on neutrinos.Artist's impression of the Euclid spacecraft. ESA/ATG-medialabThere's just one niggling problem: Neutrinos aren't the only ingredient in the universe. One major confounding factor is the presence of dark energy, the mysterious force that's ripping our universe apart. And as you might have suspected, this affects the cosmic web in a major way. It's kind of hard to build big structures in a rapidly expanding universe, after all. And if you only look at one part of the cosmic web (say, for example, the galaxy clusters), then you might not have enough information to tell the difference between neutrino effects and dark energy effects -- both of which impede the clumping of "stuff."In a recent paper published online in the preprint journal arXiv, astronomers explained how upcoming galaxy surveys, like the European Space Agency's Euclid mission, will help uncover both neutrino and dark energy properties. The Euclid satellite will map the locations of millions of galaxies, painting a very broad portrait of the cosmic web. And within that structure lie hints to the history of our universe, a past that depends on its ingredients, like neutrinos and dark energy.By looking at a combination of the densest, busiest places in the universe (the galaxy clusters) and the loneliest, emptiest places in the cosmos (the voids), we might get answers to both the nature of dark energy (which will herald an era of brand-new physics knowledge) and the nature of neutrinos (which will do the exact same thing). We might learn, for example, that dark energy is getting worse, or getting better, or maybe even just being the same. And we might learn how massive neutrinos are or how many of them are flitting around the universe. But no matter what, it's hard to tell what we'll get until we actually look. * 15 Amazing Images of Stars * Spaced Out! 101 Astronomy Images That Will Blow Your Mind * 8 Ways You Can See Einstein's Theory of Relativity in Real LifePaul M. Sutter is an astrophysicist at The Ohio State University, host of Ask a Spaceman and Space Radio, and author of Your Place in the Universe.Originally published on Live Science.


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'That Can't Be Real!' Deep-Sea Explorers Find Trippy, Rainbow-Colored Wonderland

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 19:12

Deep in the Gulf of California, scientists have discovered a fantastical expanse of hydrothermal vents, full of crystallized gases, glimmering pools of piping-hot fluids and rainbow-hued life-forms.Punctuating it all are towering structures made of minerals from the vents, looming as tall as 75 feet (23 meters). A decade ago, scientists visiting this spot saw nothing unusual; this psychedelic seascape seems to have built up around an increase in hydrothermal venting -- spots in the seafloor where mineral-laden and superhot water jets out -- in the last 10 years."Astonishing is not strong enough of a word," said Mandy Joye, a marine biologist at the University of Georgia, who led the team that discovered the vents. [See Stunning Photos of the Newfound Hydrothermal Vent System] Shocking discoveryJoye and her colleagues were studying microbial mats in the Guaymas Basin in the central Gulf of California late last year when they conducted an autonomous vehicle survey nearby, looking for interesting sites to explore on their next research expedition."We saw a lot of really interesting topography, which made me scratch my head," Joye said. Chemical traces in the water also suggested there might be hydrothermal vents nearby.The ROV SuBastian measures temperature near a hydrothermal vent as tube worms wave. Schmidt Ocean InstituteIn February, the team launched another expedition, sending autonomous vehicles equipped with high-definition cameras into the deep from the decks of the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor. Nearly 6,000 feet (1,800 m) below the surface, they saw the vents that were carpeted with microbes, marine worms and species they didn't recognize."It was a shock, to put it mildly," Joye told Live Science. "I think my jaw literally hit the floor." Unreal environmentThe team had discovered a hydrothermal vent site that hadn't existed in 2008. Most likely, Joye said, new vents have opened since then, or the rate of hydrothermal fluid flow has increased. The dissolved minerals and metals in the fluid react with seawater to create huge "pagodas," some as thick as 49 feet (15 m) in diameter and many rising 33 feet (10 m) above the seafloor. [Gallery: Creatures of the Deepest Deep-Sea Vents]In some places, the fluid flow created ledges, or flanges, that trap pools of the sulfide- and methane-rich fluid underneath. The pools refract light, creating a silvery, mirror-like effect, Joye said. In some pools, the team saw delicate mineral precipitates a few inches long that looked like feathers. No one knows what they are, Joye said."It was just a constant barrage of, 'You have got to be kidding me -- that can't be real,'" she said.Among the other surprises at the site were bizarre methane hydrates -- natural gas bubbles trapped in a crystalline framework of ice. The methane hydrates at these vents, though, looked strangely irregular, with almost a melted appearance, Joye said.The researchers don't yet know why the features looked like that. It could be the high pressure and extreme temperatures at the site, Joye said. The ocean water is just 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), while the hydrothermal fluids are a toasty 690.8 F (366 C). Or there may be impurities in the methane gas that cause the strange shapes. Mystery lifeAmong the other mysteries at the vent site is the proliferation of life carpeting the hot towers of mineral-rich water spewing from the vents. Some were recognizable, like the Riftia tube worms that harbor sulfur-eating symbiotic bacteria. Others were totally new to science. The towers are home to rainbow-colored mats of microbes, Joye said, ranging from pink to orange to white to yellow to purple.Mats of yellow and orange microbes color the seafloor at the vent site, which is in the Guaymas Basin of the Gulf of California. Schmidt Ocean Institute"I've never seen a purple microbial mat, ever, anywhere," Joye said. The researchers are now using genetic sequencing to study the microbes and to learn whether temperature, water chemistry or some other factor determines their color.The researchers are also delving deeper into the composition of the hydrothermal fluid, which they've already found to be rich in manganese and iron. Finally, Joye said, the team's virologist is studying the viruses that infect the microbes at the site."These kinds of things don't happen very often," Joye said. "I'm just counting the days until I can go back." * Gallery: Unique Life at Antarctic Deep-Sea Vents * Marine Marvels: Spectacular Photos of Sea Creatures * Photos: Primordial Worm Snatched Prey with Spines on Its HeadOriginally published on Live Science.


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We may be just days away from seeing a black hole for the first time ever

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 19:03

For how much astronomers know about black holes -- it's a lot, trust me -- it's a bit of a shock that mankind has never actually seen one. Everything science knows about black holes is based on inference rather than actually witnessing one with our own eyes (electronic or otherwise), but that may be about to change.The Event Horizon Telescope project plans to reveal the first-ever images of a black hole, and the international group of researchers working on the project have something very big to show the world this week. We may be just days away from seeing a black hole for the first time ever.As you might have guessed, this is a pretty big deal. The Event Horizon researchers are going all-out with the announcement, which is scheduled for this Wednesday, and they'll be holding press conferences in multiple languages simultaneously all around the globe.The official announcement promises plenty of information as well as "audiovisual material" which we can only hope includes the first-ever images of a black hole.Countless theories, calculations, and estimations have been made about black holes, leading science to suspect a jet black "pit" of sorts with gravitational pull so intense that nothing can escape it. What a real black hole actually looks like, however, could differ significantly. There's a lot riding on what we see on Wednesday, and while we've seen black holes in science fiction for decades, we might be in for a surprise.The images, once we see them, will have been made possible by a planet-wide network of telescopes working in unison to peer deeper into the galaxy than ever before. The Event Horizon Telescope project's primary goal has always been to image a black hole, and they're now just days away from delivering on that promise.The announcement is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, April 10th. And the entire event will be streamed online via Facebook as well as the ESO's official website.


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Uber, ahead of IPO, sees some time before self-driving cars dominate the road

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 18:37

Raquel Urtasun, who is chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) and heads the group's unit in Toronto, spoke about the challenges for self-driving development at a Reuters Newsmaker https://www.reuters.com/newsmakers event in New York. "Self-driving cars are going to be in our lives. The question of when is not clear yet," Urtasun said.


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How Do Elecon Engineering Company Limited’s (NSE:ELECON) Returns Compare To Its Industry?

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 18:25

Want to participate in a research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and earn a $60 gift card! Today we'll evaluate Elecon Engineering Company Limited (NSE:ELECON) to determine whether it could have potential as an investm...


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US Congress approves Colorado River drought plan

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 17:58

PHOENIX (AP) — A plan to address a shrinking supply of water on a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West is headed to President Donald Trump.


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3 Simple Tips to Prevent Caregiver Stress

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 17:35

Follow these tips to help yourself stay healthy while providing care to someone else.


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Pinterest Seeks Up to $1.28 Billion in IPO, Below 2017 Value

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 17:31

The maker of online inspiration boards is offering 75 million shares for $15 to $17 apiece, according to a filing Monday. Based on the total number of Class A and Class B shares outstanding after the offering, if it priced at the top of the range, that would give Pinterest a market valuation of about $9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Pinterest will start its IPO roadshow in New York Monday and travel to cities including Boston, San Francisco and Chicago to market the shares, according to a term sheet reviewed by Bloomberg.


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The first photo of a black hole is coming Wednesday. What are we going to see and what will we learn?

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 16:16

Astronomers will supposedly release the first-ever photo of a black hole on Wednesday. What's all the fuss about, and what will we learn from it?


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