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What it's like to see a blinking, breathing 'Jurassic World' dinosaur up close

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 14:00

Ahead of the traveling stage show "Jurassic World Live Tour," we met with the lifelike dinosaurs at Dino Headquarters. We thought we might get eaten.


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Controversial study links fluoridated water during pregnancy to lower IQ

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:57

A study published Monday linked consumption of fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, a finding at odds with decades of public health messaging extolling the mineral's benefits in reducing cavities. "We realized that there were major questions about the safety of fluoride, especially for pregnant women and young children," Christine Till, an associate professor at Canada's York University and the paper's senior author told AFP, adding it was important to base decisions on evidence. After controlling for other toxins in their analysis, they found that an increase in concentration of fluoride in pregnant mother's urine of one milligram per liter was associated with a 4.5-point lower IQ score in boys -- but not girls -- at age three or four.


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Romney says climate change happening, humans contribute

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:47

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday that he believes climate change is happening and human activity is a significant contributor. During a speech at the conservative Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, the senator acknowledged that the position is rare among his fellow Republicans, but one that younger people seem to respond to more strongly than older conservatives. The former GOP presidential nominee has acknowledged climate change before, and said during his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate in Utah that "climate realities" will make wildfires more common and destructive in the West.


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New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:23

"We talking about a giant planet about 3,000 times more massive than Earth, situated 2.7 times further from its star than the Earth is from the Sun," said Anne-Marie Lagrange, an astronomer at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and lead author of a study in Nature Astronomy.


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New planet discovered in orbit of young Milky Way star

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:45

A second planet has been discovered circling Beta Pictoris, a fledgling star in our own galaxy offering astronomers a rare glimpse of a planetary system in the making, according to a study published Monday. "We talking about a giant planet about 3,000 times more massive than Earth, situated 2.7 times further from its star than the Earth is from the Sun," said Anne-Marie Lagrange, an astronomer at France's National Centre for Scientific Research and lead author of a study in Nature Astronomy. Like its big sister b Pictoris b, discovered by Lagrange and her team in 2009, it is a gassy giant.


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Plans detailed for first U.S. mission to land on moon since Apollo

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:41

The first American spacecraft expected to land on the moon in nearly 50 years will be an unmanned robotic lander built by closely held Astrobotic Technology Inc and launched in two years by United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, the companies told Reuters on Monday. Astrobotic was one of nine companies chosen in November to compete for $2.6 billion to develop small space vehicles and other technology for 20 missions to explore the lunar surface over the next decade. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic picked Vulcan, being developed by a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp , to launch its Peregrine lander from Florida's Cape Canaveral in summer 2021.


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Plans detailed for first U.S. mission to land on moon since Apollo

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 12:26

The first American spacecraft expected to land on the moon in nearly 50 years will be an unmanned robotic lander built by closely held Astrobotic Technology Inc and launched in two years by United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, the companies told Reuters on Monday. Astrobotic was one of nine companies chosen in November to compete for $2.6 billion to develop small space vehicles and other technology for 20 missions to explore the lunar surface over the next decade. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic picked Vulcan, being developed by a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, to launch its Peregrine lander from Florida's Cape Canaveral in summer 2021.


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People in Iceland held a funeral and erected a plaque for a glacier lost to climate change

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:41

Okjökull lost its status as a glacier in 2014 due to ice melt caused by climate change. The plaque eulogizing it carries a message for the future.


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Bolsonaro takes on Norway for whaling, but bungles it

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:25

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday responded to Norway's decision to halt its forest protection subsidies, taking to Twitter to criticise the Scandinavian country for its whaling practice and post spectacular -- albeit misleading -- images. "Look at the killing of whales sponsored by Norway," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter. The post includes a video and photographs of a spectacular whale hunt, where mammals in the shallow waters of a bay are slaughtered by people wading on shore, armed with hooked knives.


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Study linking mother's fluoride exposure to lower IQ scores in kids raises questions

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:14

A study finds that mothers' consumption of fluoride during pregnancy might be associated with lower IQ scores in young children.


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Scientists detect a black hole swallowing a neutron star 'like Pac-man'

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:56

For the first time, scientists have detected a black hole devouring a neutron star, according to a report released Monday.


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Heatwaves longer, more deadly even in a 2C world

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:53

Northern hemisphere summers will deliver dangerously longer heatwaves, droughts and bouts of rain even if humanity manages to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius, scientists said Monday. With one degree of warming since pre-industrial times so far, extreme weather of this kind has already become more intense, with a single heatwave in 2003 leading to 70,000 excess deaths in Europe alone. "We could see a significant shift in summer weather conditions," said lead author Peter Pfleiderer, a doctoral researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin.


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Iceland activists, officials hold funeral for death of Okjokull glacier

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:35

Okjokull was Iceland's first glacier to disappear, but all of the nation's ice masses will be gone within 200 years, says geologist Oddur Sigurðsson.


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Controversial study links fluoride in water to lower IQ

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:28

A study published Monday links exposure to fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, but several outside experts expressed concern over its methodology and questioned its findings. Fluoride has been added to community water supplies in industrial countries to prevent tooth decay since the 1950s. Very high levels of the mineral have been found to be toxic to the brain, though the concentrations seen in fluoridated tap water are generally deemed safe.


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Tempest in a Tardigrade cup: Cute little 'water bears on the moon' don't contaminate space

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:22

Scientists can't claim space for themselves alone, and fretting about contamination is overblown. Apollo crews after all left bagged feces on the moon.


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Study Links Fluoridated Water During Pregnancy to Lower IQs

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Mon, 08/19/2019 - 09:00

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyAn influential medical journal published a study Monday that links fluoride consumption during pregnancy with lower childhood IQs—a finding that could undermine decades of public-health messaging, fire up conspiracy theorists, and alarm mothers-to-be.The research was expected to be so controversial that JAMA Pediatrics included an editor’s note saying the decision to publish it was not easy and that it was subjected to “additional scrutiny.”“It is the only editor’s note I’ve ever written,” Dimitri Christakis, editor in chief of JAMA Pediatrics and a pediatrician, told The Daily Beast. “There was concern on the journal’s editorial team about how this would play out in the public eye and what the public-health implications would be.”About three-fourths of the United States drinks fluoridated tap water—which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared one of the 10 greatest public-health achievements of the 20th century because it dramatically reduces tooth decay.A handful of earlier studies have suggested that prenatal fluoride exposure could affect neurodevelopment, but many experts considered those to be substandard. The new study, vetted by the premier medical publisher in the U.S., is seen as more rigorous.“When we started in this field, we were told that fluoride is safe and effective in pregnancy,” said study co-author Christine Till of York University in Toronto. “But when we looked for the evidence to suggest that it’s safe, we didn’t find any studies done on pregnant women.”They recruited 512 pregnant women from six Canadian cities and measured their exposure several ways: analyzing the amount of fluoride in their urine; looking at how much tap water and tea they drank; and comparing the fluoride concentration in the community drinking water.Then, when the women’s children were 3 or 4, the researchers gave them IQ tests and crunched the numbers to see if they could find any trends.“We saw an association between prenatal fluoride exposure and lower IQ scores in children,” study author Rivky Green said.Specifically, they found a 1 mg per liter increase in concentration of fluoride in urine was associated with a 4.5 point decrease in IQ among boys, though not girls. Another translation: The boys of mothers with the most fluoride in the urine had IQs about 3 points lower than the boys of mothers with the least amount.When the researchers measured fluoride exposure by examining the women’s fluid intake, they found lower IQs in both boys and girls: A 1 mg increase per day was associated with a 3.7-point  IQ deficit among both genders.The results are significant enough to warrant a change in behavior, Green said. “What we recommend is lowering fluoride ingestion during pregnancy,” she said.Before publication, the study was subjected to two statistical reviews, with the researchers combing through the data to make sure that the results were not skewed by the mothers’ education, income levels, or other factors.The findings were astonishing to JAMA editors, who had been told throughout their medical training that fluoridation was completely safe and that opponents were wingnuts relying on “junk science.”“When I first saw this title, my initial inclination was ‘What the hell?’” Christakis said on a JAMA podcast. “For me, before there were anti-vaxxers, there were sort of anti-fluoriders.”In fact, fluoride has been a boogeyman in conspiracy circles for decades. When water fluoridation became widespread in the U.S. in the 1950s, some claimed it was a Soviet plot to physically and mentally weaken Americans. The far-right John Birch Society, among others, accused the U.S. government using fluoride to usher in socialism—a conspiracy theory famously satirized in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Doctor Strangelove.Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-VaxxersSome modern conspiracy theorists have claimed fluoridated water is a form of mind control, while others falsely link it to Adolf Hitler. Some allege a corporate conspiracy: They think the dentistry industry or food companies are fluoridating water for their own purposes.Others still claim fluoridated water causes illness ranging from thyroid dysfunction to cancer. Infowars founder Alex Jones has frequently railed against fluoride in hyperbolic terms, and his site sells anti-fluoride products.Arguments that the government is medicating people against their will has had an impact. Over the past five years, dozens of U.S. cities have voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water, much to the dismay of federal officials who say the criticism is based on bunk.According to the CDC, a pile of studies show fluoridated water reduces cavities by 25 percent in children and adults, helps young children develop strong permanent teeth, and protects tooth enamel in grownups.It’s all but certain that anti-fluoride activists, no matter how outlandish their ideas, will seize on the new study results as proof they were right all along. The findings also pose a conundrum for health-care providers and their pregnant patients.“The effects of this study are comparable to the effects of lead, and if these findings are true there should be as much concern about prenatal fluoride exposure,” Christakis told The Daily Beast.The CDC declined to discuss the study, saying it does not comment on outside research. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which recommends that pregnant women use fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses, isn’t making any changes for now.“We wouldn’t change our guidelines without undertaking our thorough clinical-review process,” ACOG spokeswoman Kate Connors said.Sophia Lubin, an OB-GYN in Brooklyn, New York, said she’s never had a patient ask her about fluoridated water, but expects she will be questioned about it now.“As an obstetrician, you always have to think about two people—the mother and the baby,” she said. ”And oral health is important for mothers.”She anticipates telling women that if they are truly concerned, they can switch to bottled water during pregnancy. But she doesn’t think, at this point, that she will tell patients they should not drink from the tap.One part of the study that struck her was how much fluoride is in black tea, which soaks it up from soil. She said she is more likely to tell patients to cut back on tea than on water, since it’s important they stay hydrated.“This left me with a lot more questions than answers,” Lubin said.Linda Murray, senior vice president of BabyCenter, the online pregnancy hub, said concerns about fluoride will join an already long list of potential danger zones for expectant mothers. “It’s an anxious time for women as it is. Every pregnant woman wants to do everything she can do to have a healthy baby, and they’re hyper-aware,” she said.Pregnant women are already told to avoid too much coffee, raw sushi, fish high in mercury, deli meats, alcohol. But water is in a league of its own.“You can live without your California roll, but this is an everyday thing, and we tell pregnant people to stay hydrated,” Murray said.She suggested that until there is a broad consensus about how to respond to the study, women should focus on the things they can do to improve pregnancy outcomes: seeing a health-care provider early on, taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy—and worrying less.“Stress and anxiety are not healthy for pregnancy,” she said.Meet The Putin-Loving Congressman Who’s Worried About Fluoride In Our Drinking WaterThe study authors noted a number of limitations, the most significant of which is that they did not assess how much fluoride the children were exposed to after birth.In an accompanying analysis, Harvard Professor David Bellinger said “high-quality epidemiological studies” are needed, but added: “The hypothesis that fluoride is a neurodevelopmental toxicant must now be given serious consideration.”Those kinds of studies take years, though—which doesn’t help millions of parents-to-be who looking for advice now.“The question that needs to be asked to every pediatrician, scientist, and epidemiologist is what they’re going to tell pregnant women,” said Christakis, who says he will advise his pregnant friends and family to avoid fluoridated water.“We can’t tell them to wait years for another study. They have to decide what to tell their patients now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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