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Why the Release of Pastor Andrew Brunson Is a Good Sign for U.S-Turkey Ties

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:04

Here's how Erdogan and Trump can move forward on key issues


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Rocket Lab picks Virginia’s Wallops Island for U.S. launch site, adding to N.Z. pad

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:44

Rocket Lab officially unveiled its plan to build a commercial launch site at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Wallops Island, with liftoffs due to begin in a year. The facility, which will be called Launch Complex 2, provides a U.S.-based alternative to Rocket Lab’s first launch pad on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. So far, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has flown just two test missions, including a successful rise to orbit in January. The third liftoff, nicknamed “It’s Business Time” in homage to the New Zealand comedy duo known as Flight of the Conchords, is set to launch from… Read More


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Canada Has Legalized Marijuana. Here's What That Means For American Travelers

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:20

"What happens in Canada needs to stay in Canada"


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Driver Fatally Shoots North Carolina State Trooper During a Traffic Stop

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:34

A North Carolina state trooper was shot and killed after pulling over a pickup truck on suspicion of speeding.


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A Lawsuit by Asian-American Students Against Harvard Could End Affirmative Action as We Know It

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:13

A Lawsuit by Asian-American Students Against Harvard Could End Affirmative Action as We Know It


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Family Border Crossings Spiked in September: Report

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:48

The Washington Post reports that arrests of family units were up in September, though official numbers have not been released


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China to launch artificial 'moon' into orbit to light up city 

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:17

China is to launch a fake "moon" into space that it hopes will illuminate one of the country's biggest cities. Officials in Chengdu, a city of 14 million people in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, announced plans to place a satellite in orbit by 2020 capable of reflecting sunlight onto its streets at night, claiming it will be bright enough to entirely replace street lights.   The satellite would use a reflective coating to direct light to illuminate an area on earth of up to 50 square miles, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the city’s Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute.  The launch follows a similar project in 1999 when Russian researchers planned to use orbiting mirrors to light up cities in Siberia, hoping it would be a cheaper alternative to electric lighting.  The scheme developed by Russia used a device called Znamya 2. It was equipped with a 25-metre mirror to illuminate a three-mile wide patch of land. During its first orbit the craft was destroyed following a collision in space. The scheme was abandoned.   Technology intelligence - newsletter promo - EOA In remarks first reported by CIFNews, Mr Chunfeng told a science event in Chengdu that the artificial moon, which has been undergoing testing for several years, will produce at least eight times more light than the real moon. He did not say how much the project would cost.  Scientists have warned the device could disturb wildlife and disrupt systems that observe the earth’s atmosphere. However, Kang Weimin, a director at the School of Aerospace at the Harbin Institute of Technology, told CIFNews that the satellite will produce a dusk-like glow, meaning it will not affect animals.


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Glitzy 'Science Oscars' to make stars of researchers

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:11

Nine scientists were recognized Wednesday with a "Breakthrough Prize," a $3 million Silicon Valley-funded award meant to confer Oscars-style glamour and prestige on the basic sciences. The prizes in physics, life sciences and mathematics went to six men and three women, including four researchers who shared two prizes and five who get the full reward to themselves. Five US-based researchers who won prizes in the life sciences included Frank Bennett and Adrian Krainer, from companies in Carlsbad, California and Long Island, New York.


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Want to test your DNA? Amazon has AncestryDNA kits on sale for $30 off.

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:07

Besides the flaming mess that is the current political climate, DNA testing is a huge thing in the news right now. If you've checked social media at all recently, you've more than likely seen something about it. We're not sure if that has anything to do with Amazon putting AncestryDNA test kits on sale for $30 off, but hey — we'll take it. Elizabeth Warren is usually making headlines for calling out Donald Trump — but this time, it's her recently released DNA test results that have people talking. In fact, the test itself was meant to be a clapback at Trump. According to Rolling Stone, "At a rally in July, the president bet a million dollars that Warren wouldn’t submit to DNA testing — and if she did, it would not validate her claims of Native ancestry." But now that she's done it, many are not happy, and some Cherokee tribe members are actually demanding an apology. We won't get into it here, but generally speaking, let this be a lesson that a DNA match doesn't mean you can automatically claim to be part of that culture. Moving on. SEE ALSO: Which DNA test kit should you get? This guide can help. DNA testing is also the basis of a new TV drama, because of course it is. Family History dives into the nature versus nurture debacle and shows how much deep family stuff can come out of a simple DNA test. The show just got the green light for a pilot on ABC. Our point: Doing a DNA test is on its way to becoming just as mainstream as owning a smartphone. With the news plus the rise in at-home test kit stats (it doubled in the last year), tracing your roots is basically a must-do — and this clutch sale on AncestryDNA kits is your foot in the door. AncestryDNA is one of the most popular at-home DNA services, famous for its pie chart breakdowns and it's assistance in helping you find distant relatives. They use an autosomal (family finder) DNA test to survey your whole genome at over 700,000 locations, covering both your father's and your mother's lineage (though it won't say what DNA came from which parent). That massive genealogical pool plus the high chance of connecting with found relatives via their huge user database makes it one of the best on the market. Just fill the included tube with your spit, send it back for testing, and you'll receive results in 6-8 weeks.  Regularly $99, you can save $30 and get your test kit for just $69. (Psst: This would make a super unique holiday gift as well, so feel free to stock up.) Image: ancestrydna Save $30 on AncestryDNA test kits — $69 See Details


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Scientists in Chile unveil 'A Cosmic Titan' cluster of galaxies

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:02

Hyperion has a mass 1 million billion times greater than the sun and is so distant that it is viewed from earth as it looked billions of years ago. "Hyperion is like 5,000 galaxies of the Milky Way", astronomer Steffen Miefke, the chief of operations for the European Southern Observatory, told Reuters. The ESO operates the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, which detected Hyperion.


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Exclusive: Science journal to withdraw chronic fatigue review amid patient activist complaints

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:31

Emails seen by Reuters show editors at the influential Cochrane Review journal asking researchers who conducted the analysis, which was published in April 2017, to agree to it being temporarily withdrawn.  They also ask the review's authors to agree to a statement saying their analysis requires "further work in response to feedback and complaints". Published on the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane's evaluations are considered a gold standard in scientific literature and known internationally as dispassionate analyses of the best evidence on a given subject. It is unusual for Cochrane to withdraw a review without the authors' agreement and unless new scientific evidence emerges for inclusion in an update.  Research into CFS and ME, widely referred to by the joint acronym CFS/ME, is highly contentious -- in part because the illness is poorly understood.


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Terrifying video shows a bridge sagging under the weight of a massive bus

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:28

Please enjoy this deeply terrifying video of a bridge flexing under the weight of a bus.  The historic Beaver Bridge in Arkansas is a one-lane suspension bridge built in 1949 that offers picturesque views of Table Rock Lake. It's delicate — and the lane is made out of wood.  SEE ALSO: This viral mashup of Kendrick Lamar and 'Take On Me' is the catchiest thing you'll hear today A viral video shows a massive 35 ton bus — weighing more than three times the bridge's 10 ton weight limit — ambitiously driving across. As the bus ambles along, the bridge's suspension sags and the road seems to dip with the vehicle.  Nearby cars honk at the bus, and the person recording the video says, "Holy cow, look at that!"  It seems pretty unsafe.  A spokesperson from the Arkansas Department of Transportation told 40/29 News that the local highway police are supposed to enforce the bridge's 10 ton weight limit. State officials shut the bridge down on Tuesday for a structural inspection.  In an announcement, the Arkansas Department of Inspection said:  Holy cow, indeed. WATCH: Boston Dynamics 'parkour' robot took more than 20 attempts to nail it


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She Had a Nobel Prize—But Not a Wikipedia Page

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:24

She Had a Nobel Prize—But Not a Wikipedia Page


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EPA puts off final say on science transparency rule

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:16

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it is putting off for at least a year any final announcement on a controversial proposal overhauling how the agency evaluates science.


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Evidence of earliest life on Earth disputed

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:12

When Australian scientists presented evidence in 2016 of life on Earth 3.7 billon years ago -- pushing the record back 220 million years -- it was a big deal, influencing even the search for life on Mars. The truth hinges on whether the cone-shaped formations in question are genuine stromatolites, layered structures left in the wake of water-dwelling microorganisms. Previously, the earliest confirmed stromatolites were found in 3.45-billion year old rocks in Australia.


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Secret of dandelion flight discovered by scientists 

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:00

Fluffy dandelion seeds are known to travel 500 miles on the wind, but until now it has been a mystery how they did it. Although light enough to be whisked into the air in updrafts, their downy heads are 90 per cent empty space - a poor design for a parachute - and scientists have puzzled as to how they manage to stay afloat for so long. Now researchers at Edinburgh University have discovered that the soft bristles work together to create a ring-shaped bubble of air which keeps the seed aloft. This type of flight has never before been seen in nature and the experts believe that the technique could be used to help windbourne micro-drones stay in the air without using power so they can explore remote and inhospitable regions, or even other planet in the Solar System. Dr Cathal Cummins, of the University of Edinburgh's Schools of Biological Sciences and Engineering, who led the study, said: “Taking a closer look at the ingenious structures in nature - like the dandelion's parachute - can reveal novel insights. “We found a natural solution for flight that minimises the material and energy costs, which can be applied to engineering of sustainable technology. “The dandelion has managed to create a parachute which is virtually entirely empty space. Our research is suggesting that basically, less is more.” Dandelion seeds balancing on top of each other  Credit: University of Edinburgh The unique aerodynamic capabilities of dandelions make them one of the most successful of all wind pollinators, and a single plant can produce 12,000 seeds in its clocks. A 2003 study at the University of Regensburg in Germany found that 99.5 per cent of dandelion seeds land within 10 metres of their parent, but the University of Cornell calculated that some can travel for 500 miles. To find out how dandelion seeds achieved the feat, researchers at Edinburgh built a tiny vertical wind tunnel which blew air softly upwards, allowing seeds to hover at a fixed height so they could study how air moved around the fluffy seed head, known as a pappus. They then recorded how air currents moved around the fluffy seed head - known as a pappus - using long-exposure photography and high-speed imaging. The images revealed that a ring-shaped air bubble forms as air moves through the bristles, enhancing the drag that slows each seed's descent to the ground. A single dandelion plant can produce up to 12,000 seeds  Credit: Rolfo The newly found air bubble - which scientists have named the separated vortex ring -follows the seed like a little halo. This mass of whirling air helps increase the drag on the seed, and is created when neighboring filaments on the seed interact with each other as it floats along. The amount of air flowing through, which is critical for keeping the bubble stable and directly above the seed in flight, is precisely controlled by the spacing of the bristles. According to the researchers, it is four times more efficient than what is possible with conventional parachute design, according to the research. Researchers suggest that the dandelion's porous parachute might inspire the development of small-scale drones that require little or no power consumption. Such drones could be useful for remote sensing or air pollution monitoring. The study was published in Nature.  


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Mysterious U.S. whale die-off is now deep in its 2nd year. We still don't know the cause.

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:59

Using a tractor, state and town officials in coastal New Hampshire attempted to drop the carcass of a minke whale into a dumpster in mid-September. But the dead cetacean proved too big, bouncing off the red bin and flopping onto the pavement of a beachside parking lot. The minke whale — which can weigh up to 20,000 pounds — is one of 55 that have turned up dead on East Coast shores of the United States since January 2017.  The strange die-offs have officially been labeled as an "Unusual Mortality Event" (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The cause of whale deaths in this vastly-understudied species largely remain an inconsistent puzzle.  "We have had 12 minke whales stranded in Massachusetts alone in 2018, so the numbers are still very high for this species," Jennifer Goebel, NOAA's public affairs officer in the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, said via email. A healthy minke whale.Image: noaaBut abundant minke whales aren't the only Atlantic species dying strange deaths in high numbers.  Both the famously charismatic humpbacks and endangered North Atlantic right whales are experiencing Unusual Mortality Events. Yet, there's no clear link or commonalities between any of their deaths. "We currently do not have one cause of stranding or death that is common across the three species involved in the different UMEs, additionally strandings across the three species are not clustering in space or time," said Goebel. Finding a clear cause for the spike in deaths of these wild seafaring animals is daunting. This year, scientists have performed 18 necropsies — examinations of corpses — on dead minke whales.  SEE ALSO: The wilderness has returned to idyllic Cape Cod. That means great white sharks. "Final results are still pending for the majority of the cases," noted Goebel, but eight are suspected to have died from an infectious disease, two appear to be have been struck by vessels, and nine show evidence of having been entangled in fishing lines.  "These are the known deaths," Tony LaCasse, a spokesperson for the New England Aquarium, said in an interview. The unknown deaths could be twice that number, he added. Sleuthing out an explanation  A notable problem in determining why minkes are experiencing such a mortality event is that the species, while known to be abundant in oceans globally, isn't well understood. 2nd dead minke whale found in Bay of Fundy in less than a monthhttps://t.co/3yECgnneoO pic.twitter.com/LUrA0QUZ85 — CBC Nova Scotia (@CBCNS) October 1, 2018 "There is an absolute dearth of information on them," Rachel Cartwright, a whale biologist at Cal State Channel Islands who has studied minke whales, said in an interview. "They're very understudied," added LaCasse. "There’s literally nobody that I know of on the U.S. East Coast that studies these animals full time." Regardless, the health of baleen whales — who consume tiny fish and plankton — are visible indicators of greater problems in the seas. "Baleen whales are recognized as indicator species," said Cartwright. "They can tell you that there’s something larger amiss in the food chain." And although NOAA has been very clear that there's presently still no smoking gun for these mortality events, "there’s speculation that there’s a disease element to this," said LaCasse. Fortunately for minkes, they're an abundant, stable species — so they may withstand a bout of infectious, spreading disease.  However, the same cannot be said of the 450 or so right whales remaining in the Atlantic. The rise of minke whale deaths since Jan. 2017.Image: noaaWeird things are also transpiring in the Pacific — though there's certainly no evidence these disparate marine events are related. Cartwright researches humpback populations that migrate between Hawaii and southeastern Alaska. They've experienced a recent, severe decline.  "It's an unusual time for a lot of whale populations," she said. "Our populations in Hawaii have dropped dramatically in the last few years. Suffice to say, the mother and calves are going down by 80 percent." The humpbacks leave their winter Hawaiian breeding grounds to feed on fish in the frigid southeastern Alaskan waters. Typically, Cartwright observes plenty of calves there who have made the long journey with their mothers. "This year we saw three," said Cartwright. Humpback whales are considered to be the most charismatic whale species.Image: noaaIn the Pacific Ocean, unusually warm waters due to a recent wide-scale marine heat wave may be to blame, noted Cartwright.  This could have caused the food chain to crash and drive prey species well north — ultimately imperiling the vulnerable calves.    But out on the East Coast, it appears the minkes have bounties of food. "The minkes we're seeing are often young and underweight, which is a little puzzling because there’s a lot of forage fish around," said LaCasse. "They’ve [forage fish] been really exceptional near the shore." Whatever the ultimate cause of the Atlantic whale mortality events, the unusual deaths may very well be connected, and the dead whales are still coming ashore.  "This event started in January 2017, and is continuing through today," said Goebel. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


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Elon Musk Plans First Commercial Flights To Mars

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:00

Despite the headwinds he faced with Tesla, Elon Musk is taking big steps with SpaceX and is already planning the first commercial trips to Mars


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Turkish Police Search Saudi Consul's Home for Clues in Jamal Khashoggi's Disappearance

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 09:44

The new search put further pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened


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Why a City in China Wants to Launch an Artificial Moon Into Space

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 09:07

Why a City in China Wants to Launch an Artificial Moon Into Space


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