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Rocket carrying American and Russian malfunctions, forcing emergency landing

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:35

A Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut are in "good condition" after a booster rocket on their spacecraft failed and forced them to make an emergency landing Thursday, both countries' space agencies said. The Soyuz MS-10 rocket took off at 4:40 a.m. local time on what was supposed to be a six-hour journey to the International Space Station. Instead, the rocket suffered a malfunction shortly after taking off from Russia's spaceport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

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Study: DNA websites cast broad net for identifying people

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:16

NEW YORK (AP) — About 60 percent of the U.S. population with European heritage may be identifiable from their DNA by searching consumer websites, even if they've never made their own genetic information available, a study estimates.

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Scientists See a Treatment for Vision Loss in Lab-Grown Retinas

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:00

Johns Hopkins researchers grew human retina cells in a dish

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Here's What Kanye West Said to President Trump at the White House

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:00

West shared an extended monologue

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Washington Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Violates Its State Constitution

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 11:45

Governor says the death penalty's use had been 'arbitrary and racially biased'

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Kid Rock and Kanye West Have Both Mused About Running for Office. Now They're at the White House

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 11:16

The two musicians are both vocal Trump supporters

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Scientists finger culprits decimating France's oysters

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:51

A two-pronged attack by a virus and bacteria is responsible for decimating France's 450-million euro ($520 million) oyster industry, scientists said Thursday, potentially solving a decade-long mystery. Beginning in 2008, large numbers of young Pacific oysters have died in French waters in certain years, with mortality as high as 100 percent in some farms. A team of 30 researchers led by Yannick Gueguen from the IFREMER institute and Guillaume Mitta of the University of Perpignan conducted experiments to show how the herpes virus OsHV-1 weakens the young oysters' immune systems, opening the way for several bacteria that come in for the kill.

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Awarded Lucrative Military Contract

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:34

The Amazon CEO's rocket empire is expanding with help from the military.

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Banksy's Insane Self-Shredding Painting Is Gone But the Memes Live Forever

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:18

After street artist Banksy got his $1.4 million painting to shred itself after selling, memes have now come in to memorialize the moment

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U.S., Russian astronauts in ‘good condition’ after booster rocket failure prompts emergency landing

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:44

Just two minutes into a flight on Thursday, a booster rocket failure made it impossible to reach the space station. The spaceship went into automatic abort, and American Nick Hague and Russian Alexey Ovchinin plunged back to earth.

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Why technology could make climate change better - and worse

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:36

To avoid the worst ravages of climate change, the world must transform society and the economy on an  "unprecedented scale", the UN said this week.  A UN report argued that dramatically reducing energy consumption - although essential - is no longer sufficient to bring about the transition needed to prevent global warming. Instead, as former US Vice President Al Gore put it, we must rely on "ingenuity and technology." Projects ranging from quantum computers to carbon capture and storage are being hailed as future saviours of our planet. Many certainly hold promise, but how far can they really mitigate the impacts of global warming?  UN report on climate change | At a glance Carbon capture and storage Experiments have shown it is possible to strip carbon dioxide directly from the emissions from power stations and pipe it underground for storage in a process known as carbon capture and storage (CCS). There are currently 17 large-scale CCS facilities around the world and, together, they have been responsible for storing 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). If the average global temperature temporarily exceeded 1.5C, additional carbon removal techniques would be required to return warming to below 1.5C by 2100, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This would have to be done by energy companies, according to  Oxford University professor Gideon Henderson. “The easiest way is by attaching CCS devices to the chimneys of power stations, where CO2 is being released. You can extract it, purify it and put it underground." The downside to this is mostly psychological - “people don’t want it near their houses” - and the price, which would be a 50pc increase on the cost of energy, Henderson says. Dr Qiong Cai, a senior lecturer at the University of Surrey says that carbon capture itself “is not enough”. “If we capture it, we still need to store it somewhere,” she says.  She suggests converting carbon dioxide into something useful - to generate gas to heat homes, or to turn it into liquid fuel to power cars, for example. The Government is currently developing new plans to help fund carbon capture projects in the same way it has helped support the roll out of renewable power projects, but it is not expected to reveal the new investment mechanism until next year. Catch pollution from the air Another option to reduce air pollution is by so-called direct air capture, which is technology that can catch and remove pollution from the atmosphere. As Henderson explains, scientists would find and use a molecule that likes to consume CO2, absorbing it and liquifying it. This could then be sold as fertiliser to farmers, or even used in drinks, he explained. “We know how to do it in power stations, it’s harder to do in the atmosphere where CO2 is low.” It's not obvious how the technology could be made commercially viable, he says. Governments will need to set a price on carbon before greenhouse gas can be pursued. Swiss company Climeworks, which uses this technology, claims it costs $600 per tonne of CO2 today. Harness the power of the sun According to Ajay Gambhir, senior research fellow at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change, increasing energy demands will need to be powered by cost-effective, low-carbon technology. In the power sector, silicon photovoltaic modules, which form the basis of solar panels, have been made cheaper by a surge in production from China, and increased efficiency in the technology means more of the sun’s energy can be captured. It has meant emerging economies such as India have been able to deploy large-scale solar energy to meet their future targets set by the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile wind energy has seen advances which would allow for less costly electricity generation, while energy storage offers a solution for periods when there is little wind blowing or sun shining.   “The kinds of cost reductions and efficiency improvements in those technologies have been quite simply stunning,” says Gambhir. “Over the last few years, they've changed the conversation about the economic viability of replacing fossil fuel technologies like coal and gas power stations with renewables.” Electric cars Similar cost reductions have been seen in the production of lithium ion batteries, which will power much of the automotive industry’s shift to electric vehicles and are becoming increasingly common fixtures at power grids. Questions have been raised about whether or not the UK’s electric grid can handle a mass market shift to electric vehicles, but a report from the National Grid last year suggested that additional peak demand from electric vehicles will be around 5GW, far less than the 30GW figure sometimes circulated. “I think the concerns are overstated. It’s definitely a sensible to plan for what the electricity grid in the UK will look like if we have virtually every one driving an electric car in 2035 or 2040,” says Gambhir. Innovative strategies are being thought up to alleviate any potential issues arising during peak demand hours. Rush hours, for instance, can be managed through sequencing strategies to make sure people aren’t charging at the exact same time. Companies like energy supplier Octopus Energy are experimenting with a tariff system that will offer customers cheaper prices to recharge the batteries of their vehicles during off-peak hours. Get smart on transport Now that electric cars are a commercial reality, scientists are proposing a plan to integrate them into a renewable energy map, which could dramatically improve energy efficiency and cut down on waste.  “When the cars are working we can charge them during the parking time, directly from renewable energy so they are taking part in the renewable energy storage,” Dr Cai says. This would not only make cars incredibly energy efficient - it would remove the need for unnecessary trips to charge or fuel vehicles and could be applied to commercial vehicles. For now it’s just in the theory stage, and many large-scale studies would have to be performed to make sure that it works. A project like this could feed into a Google initiative in the US, which has started estimating greenhouse gas emissions for individual cities so that they can better understand how they use electricity and transportation. The tech giant ran the test on five different cities in the US, and plans to roll it out elsewhere. Solar radiation management Unlike other strategies, solar radiation management doesn't aim to deal with CO2 directly. The goal is simply prevent some of the sun's rays from hitting Earth's surface. One idea is to inject or spray tiny reflective particles into the stratosphere with balloons. Nature sometimes does something similar: Debris from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines lowered the planet's average surface temperature for several years afterwards. Scientists have also found ways to alter clouds that could help beat the heat. One is to brighten the white ocean clouds that reflect sunlight. Another would thin cirrus clouds, which unlike other types absorb more heat than they reflect. However, even if it works, solar radiation management would do nothing to reduce atmospheric CO2, which is making oceans too acidic. There is also the danger of knock-on consequences, including changes in rainfall patterns, and what scientists call "termination shock" - a sudden warming if the system were to fail. Quantum computers In the not-so distant future, academics and scientists hope to change the world through the development of extremely powerful computers that are able to make complex calculations in hours that would take normal computers billions of years to complete. These “quantum” computers hold the promise of helping to find better materials for manufacturing and construction, and could eventually help improve and create medicines that help to treat the world’s worst diseases. At the moment, the race to achieve an operational version of the technology is still ongoing, but the environmental implications could be dramatic. They could, for instance, help the necessary resources to provide enough food to solve world hunger, or find new sources of energy to replace fossil fuel. sites under threat from climate change So will technology be enough? “We probably need some deep social and behavioural changes which are unlikely to be as feasible in the time scales of a decade or two where we really need to bend the emissions curve downwards,” says Gambhir. “I do think we are seeing a big wave of green innovation happening, but it’s still not quite enough.”

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Photos show widespread destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:35

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, causing widespread and sometimes catastrophic damage.  So far, two people have died as a result of the storm. SEE ALSO: Watch from the cockpit as storm hunters enter Hurricane Michael's eye As Michael, now a tropical storm, moves toward the Carolinas, photos are surfacing of the destruction it's already left in its wake.  Trees and road signs are bent backwards, homes and businesses have been ripped open, and debris is strewn everywhere. Many buildings have been crushed by trees. Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Road clearing is a main objective today to create safe passage for the community. Many roads remain blocked with trees and electric lines down. We are encouraging citizens to stay off the road today. #MichaelTLH (Photo: @TallyPD) — City of Tallahassee (@COTNews) October 11, 2018 Marianna is torn up #HurricaneMichael — holly gregory (@hollygregory33) October 10, 2018 Anyone who has been to Panama City Beach might recognize this. #PanamaCityBeach #HurricaneMichael — Eric Shepard (@EricShepard1) October 11, 2018 F-15 Eagle static display at Veterans Park in Callaway, Florida before and after #HurricaneMichael. — Ward Carroll (@wardcarroll) October 11, 2018 With daylight comes a better view of the damage in Albany from #HurricaneMichael #fox5atl #fox5storm — denisedillon (@DillonFox5) October 11, 2018 WATCH: This NASA simulation of aerosols reveals a lot about the recent hurricanes

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Rocket bound for ISS fails, crew survives emergency landing

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:26

A two-man crew bound for the International Space Station was forced to make an emergency landing when their Soyuz rocket failed shortly after blast-off on Thursday, in a major setback for Russia's beleaguered space industry. US astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were rescued without injuries in Kazakhstan. The Russian space industry has suffered a series of problems in recent years, including the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft.

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The Battle Over Brett Kavanaugh Has Ended. But the Pain His Hearing Triggered Has Not

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:23

Why the pain remains, according to experts and survivors

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When Neil Armstrong Went to the Moon, He Brought Souvenirs of the Wright Brothers' Flight. Now They're for Sale

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:19

Armstrong described himself as a "devotee" of the Wright Brothers

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Pentagon Grounds Troubled F-35 Fighters After First Crash

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:51

More than 320 F-35s are already operating from 15 bases worldwide

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Georgia's Secretary of State Is Blocking 53,000 Voter Registrations as He Runs for Governor

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:45

Kemp, who’s also the Republican candidate for governor, is in charge of elections and voter registration in Georgia

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Prosecutors Drop Charge Against Harvey Weinstein From 1 of 3 Accusers

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:28

The tossed charge involves allegations made by Lucia Evans

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Hurricane Michael Hits Florida and Leaves a Trail of Damage

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:24

Hurricane Michael hits Florida and leaves a trail of damage

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Michelle Obama on What She Enjoys Most About Life After the White House

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 08:08

Former First Lady Michelle Obama says "the small things" are what she appreciates most about life after the White House.

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