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President Trump Says He Will Revoke Justice Department Official's Security Clearance

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:16

President Donald Trump says he expects to “quickly” revoke the security clearance for the Justice Department official whose wife worked for the firm involved in producing the dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia.

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‘I Don’t Feel Safe Living Here.’ After Threats From Parents, a Transgender Girl's Family Is Moving. Again.

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:10

Brandy Rose worries that Maddie's classmates, most of whom did not know that she was transgender, will bully her now

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India Announces Plans for Manned Space Flights

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:27

India is a country carrying increasing expectations. Now, as its influence has expanded in several industrial sectors, the government has emphasized that the country's ambitions transcend this world and aim toward the heavens. Addressing the nation during the Aug. 15 celebrations for India's independence from the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the country's plans to have one astronaut in space by 2022 as part of Gaganyaan, India's ambitious human space flight plan.

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NASA finally figured out what this ‘foreign object’ on Mars actually is

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:21

Despite what so many people would love to believe, NASA hasn't discovered any evidence of past or present intelligent life on Mars. So, when the Curiosity rover stumbled upon what appeared to be a very suspicious chunk of something on the Red Planet's surface, they were not only surprised but also a little bit worried.

The thin fragment was suspicious enough to warrant its own name, with NASA's Curiosity rover team calling it the "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris," named for the location where it was discovered. With no idea what it was or where it came from, the rover's handlers began to worry that it might actually be a chunk of the rover itself, suggesting some unseen damage or other issue with the robot. Thankfully, those concerns seem to have been unfounded.

In a new update from NASA the object has now been identified as a natural chunk of rock rather than a piece of any manmade craft or vehicle. The team analyzed the bizarre object with a tool called the ChemCam RMI. The instrument uses a laser to sniff out the makeup of anything it's pointed at, and the results for this particular piece of debris revealed that it's actually just a very thin piece of rock.

NASA describes the inspection thusly:

The planning day began with an interesting result from the previous plan's ChemCam RMI analysis of a target that was referred to as "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris" (PPFOD), and speculated to be a piece of spacecraft debris. In fact it was found to be a very thin flake of rock, so we can all rest easy tonight - Curiosity has not begun to shed its skin!

How this particularly thin sliver of rock got to where it is — and why it seems to be a different color than the surrounding sand and debris — remains unexplained, but at least the rover isn't falling apart.

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A Mysterious Furry 'Sea Monster' Has Washed Up on a Russian Beach

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:28

A huge creature washed up on a beach in Russia and nobody is really sure what it is.

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This Female CEO Had to Make Up a Male Boss to Get Manufacturers to Take Her Seriously

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:00

'In the long run, I knew it would all be temporary'

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President Trump Says He Will Revoke Justice Department Official's Security Clearance

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:59

Trump says the official, Bruce Ohr, is a "disgrace"

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NASA just found a Muppet on Mars, and Yoshi is there, too

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:49

NASA has been poking around the dust and rock on Mars for some time now, and as far as we know there's nothing to indicate that any living organisms currently inhabit the Red Planet. There is, however, a muppet.

In a new batch of images snapped by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter there appears to be something lurking on the planet's surface. It's not an alien ship or some sort of sci-fi space monster. No, it's actually a clumsy lab assistant made out of fluffy fabric, and his name is Beaker.

Mars has yielded all kinds of optical illusions in the past, with casual observers thinking they've seen everything from a manmade cannonball to a crashed alien ship. None of these things are actually what they seem, and the same is obviously true this time around, but it's impossible to deny the likeness.

I mean, just look at it. That's definitely Beaker.

Back in reality, what we're actually looking at is bulbous formations of frozen carbon dioxide which have amassed at the planet's pole. These massive frozen glaciers give the landscape a very alien appearance, and it's easy to start seeing things that aren't really there. In fact, several Twitter users have chimed in with their own interpretations.

Here we have Scrooge McDuck:


And even the Cookie Monster lurking just below our friend Beaker:

Who knew Mars was such a popular place?

NASA is used to people thinking they see things on Mars that aren't actually there. In their tweet, they refer to it as the phenomenon known as pareidolia, which is the habit of people to assign meaning and value to vague shapes that aren't necessarily what they appear to be.

The most famous example of this is of course the "Face on Mars," which is a rocky formation which, under the perfect lighting conditions, takes on some of the features of a human face. The first grainy image of the face was taken by NASA's Viking, and just happened to show the "face" in the perfect light. Subsequent images from newer technology revealed the feature to be far less humanoid.

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Science Clubs are strengthened, project of Mexico and the United States

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:06

Mexico, Aug. 17 (Notimex).- For the fourth consecutive year, Oaxaca hosted the Clubs of Science, a binational project of Mexico and the United States to promote the scientific development of high school and university students, in addition to creating links between researchers from national and international institutions. In the state, around 60 young people participated in intensive courses and workshops that took place from August 5 to 11, with topics in mathematics, geology, cell biology and genetics, informed the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT, for its acronym in Spanish). Graduate students Alan Chang, of the University of Chicago, and María Hernández de la Torre, of the University of Guanajuato, offered for free the club "Impossible puzzles: the Rubik cube algebra". Meanwhile, the doctoral student Kevin Magnaye, from the University of Chicago, gave the club "Taking the bitter taste of genetic analysis"; and the instructors Heather Leigh, from Caltech, and Fernando Flores Guzmán, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish), taught the workshop "Next stop, Mars, long-term space travel and the human body". In addition, researchers Marco López, from the University of North Texas, and Marco Oliva, from the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, Baja California, offered the course "Rocks, water and electricity: visualization mathematics". The coordinator in the entity of the Clubs of Science Mexico, Jorge Buendía, a researcher at the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, said that these activities arose at the initiative of Mexicans who do postgraduate studies in the United States. This year they expanded to nine Mexican cities in which intensive scientific activities are carried out, during a week in the summer, to provide assistance to nearly a thousand participants from Ensenada, Guanajuato, Monterrey, Mérida, Chihuahua, La Paz, Guadalajara, Oaxaca and Xalapa, through some 50 clubs. The educational project is also replicated in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and this 2018, for the first time, it takes place in Spain, so seven countries have bi-national Science Clubs. NTX/MSG/JCG

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Don't worry, your cereal probably won't poison you with pesticides

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:04

It may seem like an alarmist local news story to declare your breakfast could kill you, but a new independent study claims that some of your favorite cereals could contain unsafe levels of a chemical used in a popular weed killer. The report, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), was published online Wednesday and outlines the levels of the chemical glyphosate they found in various breakfast cereals and snacks.  Glyphosate is the major ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp and one at the center of an ongoing tug-of-war.   The World Health Organization (WHO) has ruled the chemical is "probably carcinogenic to humans," and the state of California has categorized it as a chemical linked to cancer. Meanwhile, in late 2017, the EPA concluded an assessment that declared "glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. And its with that intersection in mind that one has to look upon the new EWG report — which wasn't peer reviewed by independent scientists — with quite a bit of scrutiny. EWG versus the EPA For the study, the EWG tested dozens of samples, looking for levels of glyphosate that were above 160 pars per billion (ppb)/0.16 mg, which the organization considers the upper range of safe levels of the chemical for children to be exposed to. You can see their full results here but a few items stand out: Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal had readings of 620 ppb/0.62 mg and 780 ppb/0.78 mg. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal had readings of 470 ppb/0.47 mg, 490 ppb/0.49 mg, and 530 ppb/0.53 mg. Quaker Old Fashioned Oats had readings of 390 ppb/0.39 mg, 1100 ppb/1.1 mg, and 1300 ppb/1.3 mg.  Those numbers seem not so great — if you use the EWG's threshold.  But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a much higher bar for how much glyphosate is safe for a person. According to a 1993 EPA report, the safe exposure level could be as high as 2 mg a day, well above any of the rates that the EWG uncovered in their studies.  For what it's worth, The Guardian recently published a report showing that the FDA has been investigating the use of glyphosate for years but has yet to issue any public findings.  The ongoing research into glyphosate is important because It's a hugely popular pesticide, with hundreds of millions of gallons being used on U.S. crops each year. And, per The Guardian's report, "the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide."  Not that eating pesticides is a great thing, but the large discrepancies between the EPA numbers and the EWG numbers can be confusing for consumers trying to determine how much, exactly, is still safe. "Finding glyphosate in food is residue," Kaitlin Stack Whitney, an environmental studies scholar, said in an interview. "Residue limits are a subset of exposure limits as eating pesticides residue is one route of potential exposure." "So finding non-zero amounts isn't unexpected; it's's planned for and limited under current law," Stack Whitney, who also worked as a staff biologist for the EPA, added. There's also the issue of "spray drift," as Stack Whitney notes, pointing to EWG finding traces of the chemical on products labeled organic likely due to some of the pesticide drifting to those organic crops on the wind.  "The current pesticide review process struggles to account for this because agencies can't know what anyone and everyone's neighbors may grow and which chemicals they may apply," she said.  "So whether residues are from direct application or drift is critical to understanding how to address if you think the amount is unsafe." A question of methodology For Lori Hoepner, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, it's about methodology.  She notes that "it's hard enough to have consensus among scientists when you're talking about using the same methods."  "So to go from something that would determine the limit of exposure, and try to extend that information to telling consumers about what it means to find glyphosate in their food, I think it can be perceived as something of a stretch," Hoepner said. Noting that she's familiar with the EWG's work and has vouched for them as a good resource for consumers, Hoepner still expressed some reservations about they way they presented their work for this study.  "It always concerns me when science is presented in a way that is not peer-reviewed, doesn't have the oversight of additional researchers who can validate or question the method." Stack Whitney echoed Hoepner's sentiment:  "[The EWG] study is like a white paper or other reports from think tanks, well researched and written but not peer reviewed. It would be useful to review their actual data and methods but those aren't available." Hoepner also wanted to see more about how they took their samples.  "What was their method? Was it randomized? Was it all from one box? How many different boxes were used? Where did they buy them?" Hoepner said. Noting the wide ranges in some of the results, Hoepner says, "that definitely creates a question mark in my mind for validity." The corporations defend their products As for the companies identified in the study, they're standing by the quality of their products.  A statement sent via email from the Quaker brand maintained the brand's stance they're products are perfectly safe and included a passage that denied the use of glyphosate in the making of their products. A spokesperson for General Mills, producers of Cheerios, echoed this sentiment in a statement. Corporate behemoth Monsanto, which produces RoundUp, has been under fire lately for the chemical, including a recent California verdict that ordered the company to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed his constant and prolonged exposure to the chemical was to blame for him developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  In the wake of the EWG's report, Monsanto posted a rebuttal on their website accusing the EWG of "publicizing misleading information." Additionally, in an email exchange, a spokesperson for Monsanto highlighted this portion: Additionally, Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge told the New York Times in response to EWG study, “[The EWG] have an agenda. They are fear mongering. They distort science.” For consumers, there's no right or wrong answer at the moment. While buying different brands may seem like an option, the prevalence of the pesticides used makes it nearly impossible to completely avoid.  The opposing sets of data can only sow more confusion and consumers are left to decide who they trust more: groups like the EWG, government agencies like the EPA, or corporations.  WATCH: Here's how long fruits and vegetables are stored before you buy them at the store

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Trump Administration Ends $200 Million in Funding for Syria Stabilization Programs

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:36

The Trump administration is notifying Congress Friday, officials say

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American Legion Comes Out Against Military Parade - As Long As U.S. Troops Are Still Fighting Overseas

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:25

The group says it appreciates Trump’s support for troops, the money would be better spent on veterans

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Tesla's Board Is Reportedly Searching for a Second-in-Command to Help Elon Musk

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 08:06

After Musk's controversial tweet could cost the company dearly

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President Trump Is Interested in a Major Shakeup for Corporate Earnings Reports

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 07:59

The shift could promote longer-term thinking among business leaders

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Spanish King Taunted by Catalan Separatists at Ceremony for Terror Attack Victims in Barcelona

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 07:27

Catalonia's push to break away from Spain has been Felipe VI's biggest challenge

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President Trump Cancels Military Parade, Citing 'Ridiculously High' Price

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 07:10

The projected cost of the parade was $92 million

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Turkish People Are Smashing Their iPhones to Protest President Trump's Tariffs

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 07:08

Videos of Turks smashing their iPhones have gone viral online in response to new tariffs and sanctions imposed by President Trump.

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Scientists find 'world's oldest cheese' in a 3,300-year-old Egyptian tomb, but you can't eat it 

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:24

Researchers may have discovered a jar of the world's oldest cheese in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian mayor, but - frustratingly for turophiles - the taste of the bacteria-laced sample is likely to remain a mystery. The discovery, announced in the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry journal this week, came after researchers tested the whitish contents of the jar found in the tomb of Ptahmes, a mayor of 13th century BC Memphis, an important capital in ancient southern Egypt. "This is the oldest solid cheese ever found," Enrico Greco, a scientist with the department of Chemical Sciences at the University of Catania who coauthored the report, told The Telegraph.  Remains of cheese-like products older than the jar's contents had previously discovered in Poland, China, and Egypt, but a scientist who took part in the discovery says they were the products of natural fermentation so were more like yogurt than cheese. Older samples discovered elsewhere were "more attributable to natural fermented milk like yogurt or kefir. In our case we didn't find any biomolecular traces of proteins resulting from natural fermentation of milk," Mr Greco said. 3,300-year-old cheese was in the tomb of Ptahmes, the former mayor of Memphis Credit: UNIVERSITY OF CATANIA/CAIRO UNIVERSITY The jar had been covered in a canvas to preserve the cheese. The scientists investigated its contents using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, the American Chemical Society said.  The tests showed the cheese had been made from a mixture of cow and sheep, or goat, milk. They also revealed that the sample was laced with Bricella melitensis, which can be deadly to humans. But the cheese's taste is a mystery. Archaeofood | World's oldest food "We do not have much information on what the taste could be, we know it was made mostly from sheep's and goat's milk," Mr Greco said. "But for me it's really hard to imagine a specific flavour. I'm Italian, I love cheese and I know how much they can change in flavour and appearance even with very few differences in ingredients and process. "It is these small variations and the specificities in the regional processes that have allowed the development of so many varieties in my country."

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Admiral Who Led Bin Laden Raid Tells President Trump to Revoke His Security Clearance, Too

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:24

Thirteen former intelligence chiefs – including David Petraeus Robert Gates – released a statement backing Brennan and calling Trump's attacks "ill-considered and unprecedented"

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Maths: six ways to help your child love it

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:20

Make maths more fun with these tips

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