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Updated: 1 hour 55 min ago

London's $22 Billion Supertrain Is Worth the Wait

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 00:00

On Monday, London’s authorities confirmed that the railway connecting Heathrow Airport in the west with Canary Wharf in the east will need up to 2 billion pounds more funding (lifting  it from the 15 billion pounds or so initially expected). An already revised Autumn 2019 opening date might not be met. Critics have branded Crossrail’s missteps as a “catastrophe” and  a “shambles.” The project’s chairman Sir Terry Morgan has stepped down. But is Europe’s biggest construction project really such a big failure?

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NASA spacecraft finds signs of water on Bennu asteroid

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 22:02

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has found water on the asteroid Bennu, after finishing its two-year trip to the formation. Sitting 12 miles (19 kilometres) from the surface, the probe has discovered water hidden inside the asteroid's clay minerals, thanks to data obtained from the probe's spectrometers. SEE ALSO: NASA spacecraft reaches asteroid Bennu, plans to send 4 pounds of rock back to Earth During its two-year, 1.4 million-mile (2.2 million-kilometre) trip to the asteroid, instruments aboard OSIRIS-REx — that's the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer — began to make scientific observations of Bennu between mid-August and early December. Two of these instruments identified molecules on the asteroid, containing bonded oxygen and hydrogen atoms — these bad boys are known as hydroxyls. These hydroxyls, NASA said, can be found across the asteroid in water-bearing clay minerals, which means Bennu's rocky surface once had contact with water.  But don't think Bennu was once brimming with lakes, or even puddles. According to NASA, the asteroid is actually too small to have ever hosted water in liquid form, but its parent body could have. "The presence of hydrated minerals across the asteroid confirms that Bennu, a remnant from early in the formation of the solar system, is an excellent specimen for the OSIRIS-REx mission to study the composition of primitive volatiles and organics," Amy Simon, OVIRS deputy instrument scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. OSIRIS-REx is NASA's first asteroid sample return mission. When the spacecraft lands on the surface of Bennu in July 2020, it will gather 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of rock over a year and a half to send back to Earth in a capsule.  "When samples of this material are returned by the mission to Earth in 2023, scientists will receive a treasure trove of new information about the history and evolution of our solar system," added Simon. Additional reporting by Mark Kaufman. WATCH: ESA's SpaceBok is training for missions in space

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China, U.S. discuss next stage of trade talks

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 20:44

China and the United States discussed the road map for the next stage of their trade talks on Tuesday, during a telephone call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Earlier this month in Argentina, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce that delayed the planned Jan. 1 U.S. hike of tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Lighthizer said on Sunday that unless U.S.-China trade talks wrap up successfully by March 1, new tariffs will be imposed, clarifying there is a "hard deadline" after a week of seeming confusion among Trump and his advisers.

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Top Apple Suppliers Post Solid Sales as iPhone Concerns Persist

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 20:42

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. both posted a 5.6 percent rise in November sales, a solid figure given Apple suppliers around the globe have taken turns to cut back on output or revenue outlooks to reflect waning demand for the U.S. company’s most important product. While reflecting just 30 days of business, TSMC’s and Hon Hai’s performance comes in the middle of the year’s busiest quarter and may help balance the narrative that Apple’s latest line-up -- particularly the cheapest iPhone XR -- is falling flat with global consumers. Hon Hai’s November revenue of NT$601.4 billion ($19.5 billion) was a record for the month and takes January-November sales growth to almost 16 percent -- on track for its fastest pace of annual growth in years.

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Chile's pine forests: a botanical dinosaur bound for extinction?

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 20:41

"It is difficult to say how old these pines are," says the 60-something Melinir, shivering in the cold. The forest is located in Araucaria province, in the Chilean Andes about 600 kilometers (375 miles) south of the capital Santiago.

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Behind Uber and Lyft's Big U.S. IPOs Are Two Japanese Companies

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 19:35

The filings submitted by Uber and Lyft aren’t yet public, but people familiar with each business outlined the largest shareholders. The top holders of America’s main ride-hailing companies are both from Japan: SoftBank Group Corp. and Rakuten Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the information publicly. Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Uber, and Alexandra LaManna, a spokeswoman for Lyft, declined to comment.

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Pacific nations resist US push to lift tuna quota

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 18:59

Pacific island nations have vowed to oppose US efforts to increase its catch limit in the world's largest tuna fishery, saying the proposal does nothing to improve sustainable fishing. The United States is expected to try to increase its quota for bigeye tuna at a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) taking place in Honolulu this week. It is mostly made up of small island nations but also includes so-called "distant-water nations" that come from as far afield as Europe, China, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan to fish Pacific tuna.

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Images start to stream in from new crop of satellites after two launch extravaganzas

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:52

More than 100 payloads have been put into orbit over the past couple of weeks, including 64 satellites riding a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and 31 satellites that were launched by an Indian PSLV rocket. Some of those satellites are already beaming back pictures of our planet. For example, Planet has shared images from both of the SkySat high-resolution imaging satellites that served as the lead payloads for Seattle-based Spaceflight’s dedicated rideshare launch on the Falcon 9. That mission, known as the SmallSat Express or SSO-A, lifted off on Dec. 3 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. One of the… Read More

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Amoeba From Tap Water in Neti Pot Tied to Fatal Brain Infection In Seattle Woman

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:27

A fatal brain infection reportedly took the life a Seattle woman who doctors

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NASA probe finds signs of water on nearby asteroid Bennu

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:14

OSIRIS-REx, which flew last week within a scant 12 miles (19 km) of the asteroid Bennu some 1.4 million miles (2.25 million km) from Earth, found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules - part of the recipe for water and thus the potential for life - embedded in the asteroid's rocky surface. The probe, on a mission to return samples from the asteroid to Earth for study, was launched in 2016. Bennu, roughly a third of a mile wide (500 meters), orbits the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth.

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Judge in Huawei Hearing Not Satisfied With Meng Bail Conditions

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:12

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court voiced doubts that Meng’s husband, Liu Xiaozong, could act as her surety if she were released on bail. Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley said the prosecution “always had a concern” about Liu acting as a surety because of his lack of connection to Canada and Vancouver. “Someone here on a visitor’s visa is not a resident of B.C. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?” the judge asked Meng’s lawyer David Martin.

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Saudi, US snub of climate report unsettles UN talks

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:08

The refusal of the United States and Saudi Arabia to embrace a landmark environmental report has unsettled UN talks to breathe life back into the Paris climate pact, negotiators and observers said Monday. It may also signal more direct involvement of Donald Trump's White House, they said, in the nitty-gritty of the troubled negotiations, which depend on painstaking consensus building. A US side event Monday promoting coal, gas and nuclear energy, led by special advisor to the president Preston Wells Griffith, reinforced that impression.

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Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space, 42 Years After Its Launch

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:02

Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space, 42 Years After Its Launch

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Snowden Adds Voice to Calls for Google to Stay Out of China

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:01

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists are among the organizations and individuals who signed the letter, which asks Google to promise it won’t create a search engine for China that contributes to censorship and political repression in the country. “Facilitating Chinese authorities’ access to personal data, as described in media reports, would be particularly reckless,” the letter’s authors write.

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Polygamous group lets go of sprawling Arizona worship center

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:46

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A polygamous group based on the Utah-Arizona border is letting go of the sprawling building where its members worshipped, in the latest sign that the sect run by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs is crumbling and losing control of the community it ruled for a century.

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iPhone Ban in China May Push Apple, Qualcomm Toward Settlement

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:37

A decision on Monday by the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court made the two-year dispute over complex smartphone patents very real for Apple investors and analysts. The court issued an injunction against the sale of several iPhone models. Apple called it a "desperate move" and said the company intends to fight.

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Huawei Arrest Shocks Chinese Executives, Haier CEO Zhang Says

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:16

“What we worry about is, you can’t without reason impede a business person’s legitimate rights, even personal safety,” Zhang said in an interview in Qingdao on Monday. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was detained Dec. 1 in Canada at the request of the U.S. on charges that she conspired to defraud banks so that they cleared millions of dollars in transactions linked to Iran, in violation of American sanctions.

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NASA's first look: Tiny asteroid is studded with boulders

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:02

WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA's first look at a tiny asteroid shows the space rock is more moist and studded with boulders than originally thought.

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New study reveals simple ways to avoid weight gain this holiday season

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 15:35

New UK research has revealed some simple tips to help prevent weight gain over the festive period, including regular weighing and being aware of how much activity is needed to burn off those extra Christmas calories. Carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research and the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, the new trial study recruited 272 adults with an average age of 44 and within a range of different weight categories, as measured by body mass index (BMI). The weight gain intervention group was encouraged to take note of their weight at least twice a week and received tips on weight management and a list of "activity equivalent" calorie information of festive foods and drinks.

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A County Extension Agent Is an Amazing Resource Your Never Knew You Had

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 15:31

County Extension Agents are a country-wide resource who can help you with almost anything.

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