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Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Twitter’s Sales Forecast Falls Short on Tepid User Growth

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:49

The shares slid 8.9 percent to $31.13 at 9:48 a.m. Twitter has been ramping up efforts to reduce abuse on its platform and root out fake accounts and election malfeasance, issues that have crimped user growth in a competitive digital-advertising market. Daily users rose 9 percent in the fourth quarter to 126 million, a measurement that investors have been asking for as a better gauge of the service’s popularity.

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New Mars rover named after DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:39

A British-made rover that will set off for Mars next year in search for signs of life was named Thursday after DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin. UK astronaut Tim Peake revealed the name of the first European scavenger of the Red Planet at the Airbus factory just north of London where it was built. Cambridge-educated Franklin "helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars," UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore said at the unveiling.

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Flea-borne typhus outbreak in Los Angeles may cause officials to rip out carpet in city buildings

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:32

City attorney Elizabeth Greenwood told local station KCAL9 she contracted typhus in November and said "I thought I was going to die."

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The Latest: Belgian students march in climate protests

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:26

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on student climate protests (all times local):

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The coral-like sculptures this woman makes come with important message about climate change

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 07:13

While the bottom of the ocean might seem far away, ocean conservationist and ceramic artist Courtney Mattison brings the beauty of coral reefs up close and personal in her giant ceramic sculptures. Mattison has a background in marine conservation biology and coral reef ecology but works as an artist to connect people to the issues she cares about.

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AOC Introduces Ambitious Green New Deal Resolution To Fight Climate Change

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 06:55

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making good on her promise to make the fight against climate change one of her main legislative priorities. The freshman congresswoman, alongside Sen. Ed Markey, will be introducing Thursday a resolution outlining the goals and specifics of the Green New Deal, Refinery29 has learned. The Green New Deal, an ambitious reform that seeks to tackle climate change and income inequality in the next decade, used to be discussed mostly on the fringes.

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Israeli move threatens Lebanon's oil wealth: Lebanon's Berri

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 06:53

Lebanon's parliament speaker said on Thursday an Israeli move to license energy exploration near a disputed maritime boundary threatened to drain Lebanese oil wealth before its own drilling had started. Nabih Berri on Wednesday accused Israel of breaching Lebanese waters by licensing a company to exploit the area. Asked about the accusation, Israel's foreign ministry declined to comment.

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Amazon Cuts India Deal to Return Products to Website

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 05:40

The Amazon entity sold 25 percent of its shares to Prione Business Services Pvt, a company run by billionaire Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Advisors LLP. Prione now owns 76 percent of the venture from 51 percent previously, they said. The remaining 24 percent is now owned by a non-Indian arm of the U.S. retailer’s called Amazon Asia-Pacific Resources Ltd, they said, asking not to be identified talking about a private matter.

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After escaping the Trump chopping block twice, NASA's carbon sleuth will get blasted into space

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 05:00

In early 2017, the Trump Administration tried to ax NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3. It didn't work. Then, again in 2018, the White House sought to terminate the earth science instrument. Again, the refrigerator-sized space machine persisted.   Now, SpaceX is set to launch OCO-3 to the International Space Station in the coming months, as early as April 25. Using a long robotic arm, astronauts will attach OCO-3 to the edge of the space station, allowing the instrument to peer down upon Earth and measure the planet's amassing concentrations of carbon dioxide -- a potent greenhouse gas. "Carbon dioxide is the most important gas humans are emitting into the atmosphere," Annmarie Eldering, the project scientist for OCO-3 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an interview. "Understanding how it will play out in the future is critical."Carbon dioxide concentrations are now the highest they've been on Earth in some 15 million years, and they've likely driven up Earth's temperature to its warmest point in 120,000 years. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed that 18 of the last 19 years are now the warmest on record. So, knowing exactly where carbon is being emitted, and where the Earth is naturally absorbing some of these emissions, is vital to understanding the planet's fate. "The really good news about OCO-3 is there will be a continuation of carbon dioxide measurements," Pontus Olofsson, an associate research professor at Boston University who uses satellites to research Earth's carbon cycle, said in an interview."The longer the records grow, the more important they become," added Olofsson, who is not part of the OCO-3 team. "It's like an exponential increase in importance."But OCO-3 almost didn't make it to space. OCO-3 will be attached to the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility (JEM-EF).Image: NASA"We heard OCO-3 was not going to go," Britton Stephens, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who works on the OCO-3 science team, said in an interview. "There's been lots of ups and downs in the project." In 2017, the Trump White House released its budget plans for 2018. It called for "terminating" five earth sciences missions, including OCO-3. In fact, the White House wanted to cut NASA's entire Carbon Monitoring System, and the same situation arose in 2018. But budgetary haggling between congressional lawmakers (who live in districts that support NASA's missions) and advocacy from NASA leaders -- almost certainly kept NASA's carbon observing programs alive.OCO-3 also had a key negotiating benefit: As far as space missions go, it's pretty low-budget. It was built using "spare parts" from its aging predecessor, OCO-2 (currently in space). Critically, OCO-2 is its own free-flying and maneuvering satellite, hurtling around Earth. OCO-3, rather, will be attached to the massive orbiting space station."You don't need your own spacecraft," said NASA's Eldering.Carbon emissions have skyrocketed in the last century.Image: nasaIn 2017, the Space Technology and Policy Group concluded that OCO-3 cost "relatively small amounts of money." For reference, the total proposed cuts for the five earth sciences missions in 2017 came to $167 million. Overall, NASA's science budget came to $5.7 billion, with an overall agency budget of over $19 billion. Although the instrument's funding was in limbo at times, Eldering said her science team kept charging ahead to complete OCO-3, despite the noise. The completed instrument is now sitting at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, waiting to be loaded onto a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. "We've got engineering and science work to do -- so we focused on that," said Eldering, who sounded pretty cool and composed about the long, unsteady process. "We know projects can go up and down.""It's awesome to have gotten to this point," she added.On top of OCO-3's bargain price, scientists already know that carbon sleuthing technology works exquisitely. OCO-3 is essentially a discount model of OCO-2 -- and OCO-2 can detect the amount of carbon in the atmosphere within a range of less than one part per million."In terms of precision, it's incredible," said Stephens. "It's really an amazing feat that it can do that from space." Detecting the invisible To see how much carbon is saturating Earth's atmosphere, OCO-3 will rely on sunlight. Specifically, the instrument will look at how much sunlight reflects off of carbon dioxide molecules. Every type of molecule reacts to light in a different way, explained Eldering. OCO-3 will look at light that doesn't get absorbed by carbon dioxide and instead gets reflected back into space. The more carbon dioxide in the air, the less light will come back to the cameras.Flying over land and oceans, OCO-3 will peer down at strips of Earth about 8.5 miles wide (14 kilometers), measuring carbon over disparate cities, oceans, and forests. This will be especially useful for seeing how well cities -- and even power plants -- are reining in, or mitigating, their carbon emissions.SEE ALSO: House lawmakers finally let climate scientists set the record straight"It turns out a huge percentage of carbon dioxide is coming from urban areas," said Stephens. "So if you can quantify the carbon dioxide emissions in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, that would actually be a really useful number to verify our mitigation efforts."The same thing can be done over forests. Forests are a critical part of Earth's carbon cycle, as they suck loads of carbon dioxide out of the air and store the molecules in trees and soil (that's why forests are known as carbon "sinks"). Though, it's challenging to know how much carbon is released when millions of acres of Amazonian rainforest are razed to the ground. It's equally difficult to know how much carbon gets absorbed back into the earth when forests regrow.The carbon cycle in North AmericaImage: USGCRP 2018, ADAPTED FROM CIAIS ET AL., 2013; COPYRIGHT IPCC, USED WITH PERMISSION"It's proven hard to estimate such things," said Olofsson. "You need to observe things over and over and over again to really determine what is going on," he added, citing the importance of OCO-3 following OCO-2.Today, about half of the carbon humanity emits into the atmosphere gets absorbed into the oceans and forests. "This is a great benefit for society," noted Stephens. But as the planet warms, the carbon-absorbing abilities of these natural sinks could very well change as more carbon saturates the skies and the planet continues its accelerated warming trend, he said. So these places need to be watched, from above.> NASA 2018 global temperature is finally out! Never mind the little wiggles from year to year - the trend is going relentlessly up, and it will continue to do so as long as we add more CO2 to the atmosphere. Those who still live in denial of this fact are in denial of physics.> > -- Stefan Rahmstorf (@rahmstorf) February 6, 2019One of the greatest benefits of OCO fleet is that its continued, precise measurements can be used in concert with carbon measurements on the ground and other earth-observing satellites, like NASA's recently launched, laser-shooting GEDI satellite (it measures the biomass of forests). This is how scientists gain a confident understanding of the big picture."In combination with those instruments [OCO-3] becomes very important," said Olofsson."Hopefully there will be an OCO-4," he added. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?

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Kite-Blown Sled Climbs Antarctic Ice Dome, One of the Coldest Places on Earth

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:55

For the first time, an expedition climbed one of the coldest places on Earth -- Fuji Dome in the interior of East Antarctica -- using a windblown vehicle.During the 52-day voyage, undertaken by Spain's Asociacion Polar Trineo de Viento, a four-person team used the "WindSled" to ascend the icy 12,500-foot-tall (3,810 meters) dome.Tents, cargo, scientific experiments and solar panels were mounted on the truck-size, modular sled and pulled by a 1,600-square-foot (150 square meters) kite. [Icy Images: Antarctica Will Amaze You in Incredible Aerial Views]"It has been difficult, but we consider this crossing a great scientific, technical and geographical success," WindSled inventor Ramon Larramendi said in a statement today (Feb. 5). "We have proved that it is possible to travel thousands of kilometers, with two tons of cargo, without polluting, and performing cutting-edge science, in a complex and inaccessible territory such as Antarctica."The team left from the Russian Novolazarevskaya Base in Antarctica on Dec. 12 and traveled 1,577 miles (2,538 kilometers) during their round trip, enduring temperatures as low as minus 43.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42 degrees Celsius).The highest elevation the expedition recorded was 12,362 feet (3,768 meters), just short of Fuji Dome's highest point, which is apparently difficult to identify as the landscape is more like a plain than a peak.The WindSled didn't make it through the journey entirely intact. The team reported that the kite suffered a rip after it was under pressure from soft snow and low winds during part of the voyage. The WindSled is a multi-part sledge, complete with mounted tents and solar panels, pulled through the ice using an enormous kite. ESAIn addition to demonstrating possible uses for the vehicle, the team also conducted several scientific experiments.The 11 scientific projects on board the WindSled included a special drill for sampling snow and ice for researchers at the University of Maine to study the history of climate change. The team also tested the sensors for the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), an instrument that will be on NASA's Mars 2020 Rover to measure wind, temperature, dust and other weather factors.The expedition was also carrying the Spanish Astrobiology Center's Signs of Life Detector, an instrument designed to detect signs of cold-adapted bacteria and viruses that could offer a glimpse at how microbial life might survived on other planets.The European Space Agency (ESA) contracted the expedition to test the performance of Europe's new, nearly complete global navigation satellite system, Galileo, which is a rival to systems like the United States' GPS, in an experiment dubbed GESTA."We are very pleased with this pilot scientific experience, having been able to collect Galileo measurements all over the expedition trip as planned," Javier Ventura-Traveset, head of ESA's Galileo Navigation Science Office, said in a statement from ESA. "The expedition reached latitudes near 80 degrees south, to our knowledge the most southerly latitude measurements ever-performed in-situ with Galileo in its current near-complete constellation status."The GESTA measurements should also give researchers insights about how geomagnetic storms caused by solar activity can degrade satellite navigation performance."At this moment in the 11-year solar cycle, with the sun close to minimum activity, full-scale solar storms are not frequent, but the ongoing communication between the WindSled team and the Galileo Navigation Support Office allowed us to coordinate measurement times during the three minor geomagnetic storms the expedition experienced during the trip," said Manuel Castillo, system engineer at the Galileo Navigation Science Office.Original article on Live Science. Editor's Recommendations * Antarctica: The Ice-Covered Bottom of the World (Photos) * Antarctica Photos: Meltwater Lake Hidden Beneath the Ice * In Photos: Research Vessel Headed to 'Hidden' Antarctic Ecosystem

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Brick by Lego brick, teen builds his own prosthetic arm

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:46

Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, is already using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic and his dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them. Once his favorite toys, the plastic bricks became the building material for Aguilar's first, still very rudimentary, artificial arm at the age of nine, and each new version had more movement capability than the one before. "As a child I was very nervous to be in front of other guys, because I was different, but that didn't stop me believing in my dreams," Aguilar, who is from Andorra, a tiny principality between Spain and France, told Reuters.

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Democrats launch 10-year 'Green New Deal' for clean energy

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:38

The resolution is the first formal attempt by lawmakers to define the scale of legislation to create large-scale government-led investments in clean energy and infrastructure to transform the U.S. economy. "The Green New Deal fully tackles the existential threat posed by climate change by presenting a comprehensive, 10-year plan that is as big as the problem it hopes to solve while creating a new era of shared prosperity," according to a summary of the resolution released by the lawmakers on Thursday. Ocasio-Cortez said she will immediately begin to work on legislation that would "fully flesh out the projects involved in the Green New Deal." Republicans have already criticized the initiative, waving off any kind of proposal as heavy-handed.

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Deadly drug-resistant TB a 'blinking red' global threat

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:19

Deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis -- as lethal as Ebola and tough to treat in even the best hospitals -- is a "blinking red" worldwide threat, the head of a global health fund warned in an interview with AFP. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is on a mission to eradicate the three epidemics and plans to spend around $12 billion on it over the next three years. "We should all be more worried about multidrug-resistant TB than we are.

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Democrats seek Green New Deal to address climate change

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:14

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York are calling for a Green New Deal intended to transform the U.S. economy to combat climate change and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Unveils Landmark Green New Deal Resolution

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:10

The Green New Deal is finally taking form

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Why the Navy Misses the F-14 Tomcat (Despite Some Big Problems)

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 04:02

The Navy retired the venerable Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006 after more than three decades in service. However, the Tomcat’s demise has left gaps in the carrier air wing that are only now being felt.

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German industrial output falls, raising risk of recession

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 03:49

Data from the Federal Statistics Office on Thursday showed industrial output was down by 0.4 percent, confounding a Reuters forecast for an increase of 0.7 percent. After nearly a decade of steady growth, the German economy has been facing headwinds from trade frictions between the United States and both China and the European Union. December's drop in industrial output was led by the construction sector, where activity shrank by more than 4 percent, which could not be offset by a small rise in manufacturing output, a breakdown of the data showed.

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Facebook Suffers German Antitrust Attack on Business Model

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 03:27

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office gave the company 12 months to stop “unrestrictedly collecting and using” such data and combining it with users’ Facebook accounts without their voluntary consent. Facebook said it is being unfairly singled out by the regulator, which has broken new ground by using antitrust law to pounce on internet data gathering. "People always ask to break up huge internet companies,” Andreas Mundt, head of the German Federal Cartel Office, told journalists in Bonn.

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Newsflash: Indian Hospital Claims QuadrigaCX CEO Died Under its Care – Will it End Suspicion?

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 03:20

Amidst all the suspicion that has followed the sudden closure of QuadrigaCX crypto exchange and cold wallets containing $150 million being inaccessible following the death of the company’s chief executive, Gerald Cotten, a hospital in India has confirmed that the CEO died while in its care. According to Fortis Escorts Hospital, Cotten succumbed to a heart attack on December 9 last year. The Fortis Escorts Hospital is located in Jaipur, the capital of the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. Per the Times of India, Cotten was declared dead in the evening at 7.26 PM. Cotten had also been suffering from

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Women Haven’t Given Up on Sheryl Sandberg

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 03:00

This year, though, fresh off a bruising 2018, the Facebook COO arrived in the Alps on the defensive, apologizing over and over again for Facebook’s privacy and ethical slip-ups. Over the last few months, the Sheryl Sandberg brand has taken a beating, and news about Facebook’s misdeeds—and her reported role in them—is unrelenting. Questions about privacy, Russian election hacking, unsavory opposition targeting dominated the end of 2018, and the New Year began with new reports of questionable data collection practices that led Apple to ban some of Facebook’s internal apps.Through it all, pundits dissected Sandberg’s “fall from grace,” employees blamed her for the company’s woes and a stunning stock slide, and critics called for her resignation.

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