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Firefighter Killed Battling California's Largest Record Blaze
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Authorities say a firefighter has been killed battling the largest record blaze in California history
Police look into video of man spanking hippo at LA Zoo
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police are investigating after a video shows a man spanking a hippopotamus at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Trump 'live figure' thumps Merkel at Berlin's Madame Tussauds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
Madame Tussauds in Berlin unveiled its latest attraction on Tuesday - a posturing Donald Trump figure striking a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a punchball. Unlike the usual wax figures, the new moving "Trump" in the Berlin museum is an actor wearing a silicone mask modeled on the billionaire U.S. president, dancing to the Abba hit "Money, Money, Money". Relations between the two leaders got off to a frosty start, although Trump said they had had a "great meeting" on the sidelines of a NATO summit last month.
Perseids meteor shower 2018: Everything you need to know about last night's peak
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Every year our skies are lit up by returning meteor showers, from Perseids to Lyrids, Orionids to Geminids. If the weather conditions are in our favour and the moon isn't too bright, there's a chance you'll be able to see some spectacular shooting stars in action. Here is our guide to the must-see meteor showers of 2018 – including the spectacular Perseids shower which was at its peak overnight – as well as where and how to see them. What exactly is a meteor shower? A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of a comet - or, in simpler terms, when a number of meteors flash across the sky from roughly the same point. Meteors are sometimes called shooting stars, although they actually have nothing to do with stars. Perseids meteor shower 2018 - in pictures Perspective makes meteor showers appear to emanate from a single point in the sky known as the shower radiant. A typical meteor results from a particle the size of a grain of sand vaporising in Earth’s atmosphere when it enters at 134,000mph. Something larger than a grape will produce a fireball and this is often accompanied by a persistent afterglow known as a meteor train. This is a column of ionised gas slowly fading from view as it loses energy. Meteor, meteorid or meteroite? Let's get this straight. A meteor is a meteoroid – or a particle broken off an asteroid or comet orbiting the Sun – that burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere creating the effect of a "shooting star". Meteoroids that reach the Earth's surface without disintegrating are called meteorites. Meteors are mostly pieces of comet dust and ice no larger than a grain of rice. Meteorites are principally rocks broken off asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and can weigh as much as 60 tonnes. They can be "stony", made up of minerals rich in silicon and oxygen, "iron", consisting mainly of iron and nickel, or "stony-iron", a combination of the two. The Geminids meteor shower in Vladivostok, Russia in December 2017 Credit: Yuri Smityuk Scientists think about 1,000 tons to more than 10,000 tons of material from meteors falls on Earth each day, but it's mostly dust-like grains, according to Nasa, and they pose no threat to Earth. There are only two incidents recorded where people reported being injured by a meteorite, including one in 1954 when a woman was bruised by a meteorite weighing eight pounds after it fell through her roof.  When is the next meteor shower? The meteor shower currently gracing our skies is the Perseids, which began in the middle of July and grows in intensity before peaking in mid-August every year.  The shower appears to originate from within the star constellation Perseus – hence the shower's name. It occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The wonderfully named comet is the largest object known to repeatedly pass Earth (it's 16 miles wide). It orbits the sun ever 133 years and each time it passes through the inner solar system it warms up, releasing fresh comet material into its orbital stream. The last time it was closest to the sun was in December 1992. It will be back again in July 2126.  Perseid meteor radiant When can I see the Perseid meteor shower? The window for the current Perseid meteor shower is from July 17 to August 24 2018. Stargazers stand a chance of seeing the shower at any point in this window, however the peak will occur between August 12 and August 13.  The best time to take a look at the sky will be from about 1am BST in the Northern Hemisphere until the onset of dawn twilight. Peak rates of 150-200 meteors per hour were recorded in 2016, but typical rates are about 80 meteors an hour streaking across the night sky, each leaving a trail.   To see it, look at a height approximately two-thirds up the sky in any direction. If you want a recommendation, east through south offers some great background constellations in the early hours during August. Look for the shower's "radiant" from the north-east corner of Perseus. 2018 | Major meteor showers The best stargazing spots in the UK A dark night is best for a meteor shower, after midnight and before dawn.  Head somewhere away from the bright lights - into more rural areas if you can - and be prepared to wait a good hour if you want the best chance of seeing a shower. Look for a wide, open viewing area - perhaps a national park or large field on the side of a road - and make sure you concentrate your gaze towards the east. Meteor showers are unpredictable though, so prepare for the fact you might not see much. Choose a dark location away from stray lights and give yourself at least 20 minutes in total darkness to properly dark adapt.  Britain has some wonderful stargazing locations, including three "Dark Sky Reserves" (Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Exmoor national parks) and Europe's largest "Dark Sky Park" (Northumberland National Park and the adjoining Kielder Water and Forest Park). best stargazing locations Galloway Forest Park: Galloway is a couple of hours from Glasgow and an hour from Carlisle. The park's most popular spot for stargazing is Loch Trool. Exmoor and around: Exmoor was granted International Dark-Sky Reserve status by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2011. Light pollution is managed to make the area more appealing to amateur astronomers. Romney Marsh: Night once provided cover for smugglers known as Owlers, but today Romney Marsh offers celestial bounty, arching over a landscape adorned with the spires of ancient churches. Kielder: Kielder Forest is officially the darkest place in England – 250 square miles of wooded beauty where Northumberland brushes against Scotland. It has its own fabulous, modern, wood-clad observatory on the slopes of Black Fell above Kielder Water. North York Moors: As well as stunning night skies, the North York Moors boast historic market towns such as Helmsley and Pickering, plus appealing coastal spots, including Scarborough and Whitby. The other major meteor showers to look out for in 2018 The Quadrantid meteor shower The Quadrantids was the first major meteor shower of 2018; it peaked at around 8pm on January 3 when between 10 and 60 meteors were shooting per hour.  It had a sharp peak, which means the best of the shower only lasted a few hours - although it remained active until January 12th. First spotted in 1825 by the Italian astronomer Antonio Brucalassi, astronomers suspect the shower originates from the comet C/1490 Y1, which was first observed 500 years ago by Japanese, Chinese and Korean astronomers. Why is it called Quadrantid? The Quadrantids appear to radiate from the extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis, which is now part of the Boötes constellation and not far from the Big Dipper. Because of the constellation's position in the sky, the shower is often impossible to see in the Southern Hemisphere - however there is a chance of spotting it up to 51 degrees south latitude. The best spots to see the display are in countries with high northern latitudes, like Norway, Sweden, Canada and Finland. The Lyrid meteor shower The Lyrid meteor shower takes places annually between April 16 and April 25. In 2018, it peaked on the morning of April 22, with the greatest number of meteors falling during the few hours before dawn. With no moon, stargazers might have been able to see between 10 and 20 Lyrid meteors per hour at the shower's peak.  Lyrid meteors are typically as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, but some are much more intense, even brighter than Venus, the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Called "Lyrid fireballs", these cast shadows for a split second and leave behind smokey debris trails that linger for minutes. Tim Peake space pictures What causes the Lyrid meteor shower? The ionised gas in the meteors' trail burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere, creates the glow which can be seen streaking across the night sky.  The shower occurs as the Earth passes through the dust left over from Comet Thatcher (C/186 G1), which makes a full orbit of the sun once every 415 years (which is why there are no photographs of it). Flakes of comet dust, most no bigger than grains of sand, strike Earth's atmosphere traveling 49 km/s (110,000 mph) and disintegrate as streaks of light. Comet Thatcher last visited the inner solar system in 1861 - before the widespread use of photography  - and isn’t expected to return until the year 2276. How did the Lyrids get its name? The shower radiates out from the direction of the star Vega, the brightest light in the constellation Lyra the Harp, from which it takes its name. Vega is a brilliant blue-white star about three times wider than our Sun and 25 light years away. The Lyrids radiating from the vicinity of the blue star Lyra Credit: earthsky.org You might remember Vega being mentioned in Carl Sagan's movie Contact - it was the source of alien radio transmissions to Earth. When were the Lyrids first observed and recorded? The earliest sightings of the Lyrid meteor shower go back 2,700 years and are among the oldest of known meteor showers. In the year 687 BC the ancient Chinese observed the meteors and recorded them in the ancient Zuo Zhan chronicles saying:  "On the 4th month in the summer in the year of xīn-mǎo (of year 7 of King Zhuang of Lu), at night, (the sky is so bright that some) fixed stars become invisible (because of the meteor shower); at midnight, stars fell like rain. That era of Chinese history corresponds with what is now called the Spring and Autumn Period (about 771 to 476 BC). Tradition associates this period with the Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius, one of the first to espouse the principle: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”   American observers saw an outburst of nearly 100 Lyrid meteors per hour in 1982. Around 100 meteors per hour were seen in Greece in 1922 and from Japan in 1945. The Orionid meteor shower The Orionid meteors appear every year, with showers producing around 20 meteors every hour. The shower is active throughout October until November 7, but the best time to see it will be on October 20 between midnight and dawn, when the sky is darkest and the shower will be at its brightest. Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich said:"If you can brave the cold, make a plan to stay out and enjoy the thrill of seeing tiny flecks of Halley's Comet disintegrate at hypersonic speeds above your head." He advises finding a secluded spot and allowing the eyes to adjust to the darkness. Orionid meteors streak across the sky over Kula town of Manisa, Turkey on October 21, 2017 Credit:  Anadolu Agency Mr Kerss said: "There's no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope, your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors, so relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded. "Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, though if you have to pick a direction, you might fare slightly better looking east." The meteoroids from Halley's Comet strike Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 148,000mph, (238,000kph) burning up in streaking flashes of light that can be seen with the naked eye. Orionid meteors are known for their speed and brilliance, so if you persevere there's a good chance you'll see several bright 'shooting stars' zipping across the sky. The Orionid Meteor Shower is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Halley's Comet - the other is the Eta Aquarids, which occurs in May. Unfortunately, Halley's Comet itself has not been visible from Earth since 1986. Why is it called Orionid? It's named Orionid because it appears to radiate from the constellation Orion. Orion is one of the brightest and best known constellations and contains two of the 10 brightest stars in the sky Rigel and Betelgeuse, as well as the famous Orion's Belt.  Orion's Belt is made up of three bright stars quite close together almost in a straight line, and is about 1,500 light years from us on Earth.  Orion has been known since ancient times and is also referred to as Hunter thanks to Greek mythology. He is often seen in star maps facing Taurus, the bull. The Geminid meteor shower The Geminids are an annual meteor shower caused by the 3200 Phaethon asteroid. Its orbit brings it very close to the sun, causing its surface material to crumble and break off. The Earth passes through this space debris every December, which burns up as hits our atmosphere. These are the meteors visible in our sky. The Geminids were first observed relatively recently, in 1862, compared with the Perseids (36AD) and the Leonids (902AD). The meteor shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Gemini, hence its name. The Geminids meteor shower over Egersheld Cape on Russky Island in the Sea of Japan in December 2017 Credit:  Yuri Smityuk When can it be seen? The next Geminid meteor shower can be seen from around December 4th to 17th, with peak activity from about 10pm on December 13th and into the early hours of the 14th.  Sightings are possible around the world, but there's good news for Britons: the shower favours observers in the Northern Hemisphere over those in the Southern. If you're lucky you could see up to 100 meteors or 'shooting stars' every hour. You can spot the meteors anywhere, but they will appear to come from the Gemini constellation. Stars in the Milky Way over Kielder Forest Credit: Owen Humphreys During December, it begins the evening in the east and moves across the sky to the west during the night. Find Orion's Belt - three bright stars positioned in a row - and then look above it and a little to the left. They will appear as streaks of light, and will sometimes arrive in bursts of two or three. They vary in colour, depending on their composition. An average of 120 meteors an hour - or two a minute - can be expected, or more during the 2am peak.
A look inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
CNBC's Morgan Brennan gives an inside look into SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the capsule NASA Commercial Crew astronauts will be taking into space.
U.S. warns on Russia's new space weapons
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The United States voiced deep suspicion on Tuesday over Russia's pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an "abnormal" way. Russia's pursuit of counterspace capabilities was "disturbing", Yleem D.S. Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, told the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament which is discussing a new treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the Geneva forum in February, said a priority was to prevent an arms race in outer space, in line with Russia's joint draft treaty with China presented a decade ago.
In Defiance of China, a Pro
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it a "blatant interference with the rule of law"
Al Gore Says President Trump Not Yet as Damaging to Environment as He Feared
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Trump administration has made dangerous environmental policy changes, but the damage has been less than expected, Al Gore said
Trump calls Omarosa 'that dog'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump on Tuesday continued to lash out at Omarosa Manigault-Newman over explosive claims in his former “Celebrity Apprentice” co-star turned White House aide makes about him in her new book, “Unhinged.”
Prosecution Rests Its Case in Manafort Tax Evasion and Bank Fraud Trial
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Manafort's lawyers have not yet said whether they will call any witnesses or present other evidence in the case
This Is Why Some Animals Can Talk
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
How is it that some animals learn to imitate humans?
U.S. warns on Russia's new space weapons
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The United States voiced deep concern on Tuesday about Russia's pursuit of weapons including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, as well as its putting into orbit of a new "space apparatus inspector". Yleem D.S. Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, was addressing the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament in Geneva which has been discussing a new treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. "To the United States this is yet further proof that the Russian actions do not match their words," she told the forum.
What Trump doesn't understand about NFL player protests
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Yahoo Sports columnist Jay Busbee sets the record straight on the president's misstatements about the NFL and its players.
In a rough part of the US capital, an endeavor to unlock children’s potential
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
After earning her master’s degree, Robin Berkley spent more than a decade working on education policy and programming. Once a week after hours, she’d walk from her office across the National Mall to tutor Devin. “I just got really moved by working with children and getting to go from the 50,000-foot ether, where you’re basically trying to support, inform, and influence people at the state level, to seeing the end result,” Ms. Berkley says.
Hong Kong FCC Protests
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Hong Kong FCC Protests
North Dakota Police Request AR
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
District leaders also agree the rifles would increase school safety
Young Boy Found at a New Mexico Compound Died in a Ritual Ceremony, Prosecutors Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Relatives of the boy believed he would "return as Jesus" to guide their future attacks against financial and government targets, prosecutors alleged
Up to 30,000 Islamic State Members Pose a Threat in Iraq and Syria, U.N. Report Finds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Islamic State group has up to 30,000 members distributed between Syria and Iraq and its global network poses a rising threat, the UN found
China Denies Detaining One Million Uighurs in 'Re
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Accounts from the region pointed to Muslims “being treated as enemies of the state"
Secretary Zinke Says Climate Change Is Not Responsible For California Wildfires, Blames Environmentalists
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Sunday said that “extreme” environmental groups are contributing to the rise of wildfires in the West.
President Trump Doesn't Mention John McCain as He Signs Defense Bill Named for Him
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The measure Trump signed Monday will boost military pay by 2.6 percent
Easter Island: A Popular Theory About Its Ancient People Might be Wrong
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"Rapa Nui is not a story about collapse, but about survival!"
Omarosa Says She Will 'Blow the Whistle' on White House Corruption
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
New recording appears to feature Trump surprised at Omarosa's firing
There Is a GoFundMe to Help Ousted FBI Agent Peter Strzok
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It raised nearly $40,000 in five hours
White Man Charged in Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Killing of Black Father
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Prosecutors charged a white man with manslaughter Monday in the death of an unarmed black man whose videotaped shooting in a store parking lot has revived debate over Florida’s “stand your ground” law
New Charlottesville mayor vows to keep pushing 'until it's done right'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
“Everybody’s gotta be open to pushing until it’s done, until it’s done well, until it’s done right.”
Aretha Franklin Is 'Seriously Ill'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The soul music icon retired from performing last year
White House called toxins contamination 'PR nightmare'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household. Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe.
Controversial Theory Suggests Laziness Drove Ancient Humans to Extinction
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"They seemed to have thought, 'why bother?'"
New Study Finally Reveals Origin of Ultra
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A recent GIA study reveals the long-secret source of that extraordinary blue hue.
Governors: Trump directive could hurt effort to save bird
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Some governors in the U.S. West say a new Trump administration directive threatens to undermine a hard-won compromise aimed at saving a beleaguered bird scattered across their region. Critics say that eliminates an important technique for saving habitat for the shrinking population of greater sage grouse. "It took one of our tools out of the toolbox," said John Swartout, an adviser to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Harsh Treatment of Immigrant Children at Virginia Detention Center Was Not Abuse, Investigators Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The facility uses restraint techniques, including strapping children to chairs
Hundreds of 'sea potatoes' have washed up on a beach in Cornwall
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Yes, you read that correctly. Sea potatoes are a real thing, and they have washed up by the hundreds on Penzance beach in Cornwall, UK, over the last few days.  SEE ALSO: New dolphin-whale hybrid sea creature is the spawn of an unholy union According to the BBC, the beach at Wherrytown in Penzance was covered in small, mysterious orb-shaped creatures from the sea. A local resident, Rosie Hendricks, told the BBC she saw "odd-looking" creatures on the beach while out with her family. "I wasn't sure what they were," Hendricks said.  I saw the sea potatoes this morning on #Penzance beach, Poppy thought they were worth investigating pic.twitter.com/cZ2hWtPR02 — Toni Turner (@ToniTurnerBiz) August 11, 2018 So, what exactly is a "sea potato"? Mashable spoke to Martin Attrill — professor of marine ecology at University of Plymouth — to find out precisely what these so-called "potatoes" are and why they all chose to congregate on the south coast of England. Hundreds of Sea Potatoes washed up at Wherrytown in #Penzance https://t.co/3sdinA9MSR pic.twitter.com/IcmA0oT1T0 — Cornwall/Kernow (@CornwaII) August 11, 2018 "Sea Potatoes (a.k.a. Echinocardium cordatum) are burrowing sea urchins," Attrill told Mashable. "They are cousins of the spiny and spiky ones you see on rocks and also related to starfish." And according to Attrill, it's not out of the ordinary for large groups of sea creatures to wash ashore. "Wrecks of marine organisms are not uncommon – huge numbers of crabs and lobsters were washed up on the east coast last winter. But the exact cause is not completely certain. Often a cause can be unusual storms that impact at a time of year when they aren’t often expected," says Attrill.  Per the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, these little critters are also known as "heart urchins" because of their "distinctive shape."  "This medium-sized sea-urchin is densely covered in fine, beige spines, giving it a hairy appearance," reads a description on the trust's website. "The Sea Potato lives buried in up to 15cm of muddy and sandy sediments from the shore to 200 metres deep." Apparently they can be found on "sandy and muddy shores" on UK coasts.  Still a bit weirded out by the funny looking sea spuds? We asked professor Attrill to provide some fun facts about them. "If you look at their shell (called a test) you can see a five pointed star pattern that gives away their relationship with starfish!" says Attrill.  "Like all echinoderms (that just means “spiny skin”) they have odd tube feet – an internal hydraulic system where water power can move lots of little feet in and out. The sea potato uses these tube feet to feed off organic matter in the sediment," Attrill continues. That actually is fun. Not as funny as the name, though.  WATCH: Meet the aquatic WALL-E that could help clean our oceans
Thousands gather in Israeli desert for meteor shower
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Thousands of star-gazers gathered overnight at one of the darkest spots in Israel hoping to be dazzled by the annual Perseid meteor shower, only to be left somewhat disappointed by the show. Locals had the rare task of directing traffic on a moonless Monday night in Mitzpe Ramon in the heart of the Negev Desert, a spot surrounded by terrain described as similar to a lunar or Martian landscape. "We are here waiting for the stars to fall, the children are very impatient," said Eliran Feinberg, 42, who works for an air cargo company.
White Man Charged in Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Killing of Black Father
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
47-year-old Michael Drejka has been charged with manslaughter
Beware the Blue Light: The Reason Your Screens Are Actually Blinding You
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's not just that we are staring at our screens for too long, but there is physical harm happening to our eyes from blue tints in digital devices.
Orca whale that carried her dead calf at least 17 days lets it go, ending 'tour of grief'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
An orca whale that carried her dead calf more than two weeks has let go of the body, ending her "tour of grief," researchers said. The female killer whale was first spotted on July 24 pushing the corpse of her offspring that had died 30 minutes after birth, according to the Center for Whale Research in Washington state.
Parkland students bring the March for Our Lives summer tour to an end in Newtown
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The organizers of the Road to Change tour have visited over 50 cities in an effort to register and mobilize voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections — and to build a coalition of youth in communities affected by gun violence.
Got a story to tell (or sell)? Better back it up with a tape
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Some years ago, I accidentally carried a tape recorder into an interview with a senior national-security official in a secure US government building. US presidents, of course, have been responsible for the most – and probably most consequential – secret recordings of unguarded political conversations.
Why Congress Can't Fix Even the Small Things
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Congress is passing more legislation on party-line votes, but neither party is then working to make the minor corrections that are needed.
Meet the pterodactyl's oldest cousin
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Before the dinosaurs hit their stride, the Earth may have belonged to a different kind of reptile: the pterosaur. Paleontologists have discovered a new species of pterosaur, the reptile family to which the famed pterodactyl belongs. Dating back about 210 million years, the bones of Caelestiventus hanseni are changing what we know about these prehistoric creatures.
Elon Musk Wrote a Lengthy Explanation of That Whole 'Funding Secured' Thing
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He said Saudi Arabia is ready to finance a deal taking Tesla private
The First Woman Was Sworn Into the Marine Corps a Century Ago. Now a Group of Veterans Is Trying to Preserve Her Story
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
See the enlistment papers for the first woman to join the U.S. Marine Corps
White House called toxins contamination 'PR nightmare'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
HORSHAM, Pa. (AP) — Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.
Man Intentionally Crashed Airplane Into Wife's House, Police Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Man Intentionally Crashed Airplane Into Wife's House, Police Say
Perseids 2018 meteor shower: Everything you need to know about the peak this weekend
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Every year our skies are lit up by returning meteor showers, from Perseids to Lyrids, Orionids to Geminids. If the weather conditions are in our favour and the moon isn't too bright, there's a chance you'll be able to see some spectacular shooting stars in action. Here is our guide to the must-see meteor showers of 2018 – including the spectacular Perseids shower which will peak this weekend – as well as where and how to see them. What exactly is a meteor shower? A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of a comet - or, in simpler terms, when a number of meteors flash across the sky from roughly the same point. Meteors are sometimes called shooting stars, although they actually have nothing to do with stars. If you're lucky you could see up to 100 meteors or 'shooting stars' every hour on December 13/14. Credit: PETE LAWRENCE Perspective makes meteor showers appear to emanate from a single point in the sky known as the shower radiant. A typical meteor results from a particle the size of a grain of sand vaporising in Earth’s atmosphere when it enters at 134,000mph. Something larger than a grape will produce a fireball and this is often accompanied by a persistent afterglow known as a meteor train. This is a column of ionised gas slowly fading from view as it loses energy. Meteor, meteorid or meteroite? Let's get this straight. A meteor is a meteoroid – or a particle broken off an asteroid or comet orbiting the Sun – that burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere creating the effect of a "shooting star". Meteoroids that reach the Earth's surface without disintegrating are called meteorites. Meteors are mostly pieces of comet dust and ice no larger than a grain of rice. Meteorites are principally rocks broken off asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and can weigh as much as 60 tonnes. They can be "stony", made up of minerals rich in silicon and oxygen, "iron", consisting mainly of iron and nickel, or "stony-iron", a combination of the two. The Geminids meteor shower in Vladivostok, Russia in December 2017 Credit: Yuri Smityuk Scientists think about 1,000 tons to more than 10,000 tons of material from meteors falls on Earth each day, but it's mostly dust-like grains, according to Nasa, and they pose no threat to Earth. There are only two incidents recorded where people reported being injured by a meteorite, including one in 1954 when a woman was bruised by a meteorite weighing eight pounds after it fell through her roof.  When is the next meteor shower? The meteor shower currently gracing our skies is the Perseids, which began in the middle of July and grows in intensity before peaking in mid-August every year.  The shower appears to originate from within the star constellation Perseus – hence the shower's name. It occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The wonderfully named comet is the largest object known to repeatedly pass Earth (it's 16 miles wide). It orbits the sun ever 133 years and each time it passes through the inner solar system it warms up, releasing fresh comet material into its orbital stream. The last time it was closest to the sun was in December 1992. It will be back again in July 2126.  Perseid meteor radiant When can I see the Perseid meteor shower? The window for the current Perseid meteor shower is from July 17 to August 24 2018. Stargazers stand a chance of seeing the shower at any point in this window, however the peak will occur between August 12 and August 13.  The best time to take a look at the sky will be from about 1am BST in the Northern Hemisphere until the onset of dawn twilight. Peak rates of 150-200 meteors per hour were recorded in 2016, but typical rates are about 80 meteors an hour streaking across the night sky, each leaving a trail.   To see it, look at a height approximately two-thirds up the sky in any direction. If you want a recommendation, east through south offers some great background constellations in the early hours during August. Look for the shower's "radiant" from the north-east corner of Perseus. 2018 | Major meteor showers The best stargazing spots in the UK A dark night is best for a meteor shower, after midnight and before dawn.  Head somewhere away from the bright lights - into more rural areas if you can - and be prepared to wait a good hour if you want the best chance of seeing a shower. Look for a wide, open viewing area - perhaps a national park or large field on the side of a road - and make sure you concentrate your gaze towards the east. Meteor showers are unpredictable though, so prepare for the fact you might not see much. Choose a dark location away from stray lights and give yourself at least 20 minutes in total darkness to properly dark adapt.  Britain has some wonderful stargazing locations, including three "Dark Sky Reserves" (Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Exmoor national parks) and Europe's largest "Dark Sky Park" (Northumberland National Park and the adjoining Kielder Water and Forest Park). best stargazing locations Galloway Forest Park: Galloway is a couple of hours from Glasgow and an hour from Carlisle. The park's most popular spot for stargazing is Loch Trool. Exmoor and around: Exmoor was granted International Dark-Sky Reserve status by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2011. Light pollution is managed to make the area more appealing to amateur astronomers. Romney Marsh: Night once provided cover for smugglers known as Owlers, but today Romney Marsh offers celestial bounty, arching over a landscape adorned with the spires of ancient churches. Kielder: Kielder Forest is officially the darkest place in England – 250 square miles of wooded beauty where Northumberland brushes against Scotland. It has its own fabulous, modern, wood-clad observatory on the slopes of Black Fell above Kielder Water. North York Moors: As well as stunning night skies, the North York Moors boast historic market towns such as Helmsley and Pickering, plus appealing coastal spots, including Scarborough and Whitby. The other major meteor showers to look out for in 2018 The Quadrantid meteor shower The Quadrantids was the first major meteor shower of 2018; it peaked at around 8pm on January 3 when between 10 and 60 meteors were shooting per hour.  It had a sharp peak, which means the best of the shower only lasted a few hours - although it remained active until January 12th. First spotted in 1825 by the Italian astronomer Antonio Brucalassi, astronomers suspect the shower originates from the comet C/1490 Y1, which was first observed 500 years ago by Japanese, Chinese and Korean astronomers. Why is it called Quadrantid? The Quadrantids appear to radiate from the extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis, which is now part of the Boötes constellation and not far from the Big Dipper. Because of the constellation's position in the sky, the shower is often impossible to see in the Southern Hemisphere - however there is a chance of spotting it up to 51 degrees south latitude. The best spots to see the display are in countries with high northern latitudes, like Norway, Sweden, Canada and Finland. The Lyrid meteor shower The Lyrid meteor shower takes places annually between April 16 and April 25. In 2018, it peaked on the morning of April 22, with the greatest number of meteors falling during the few hours before dawn. With no moon, stargazers might have been able to see between 10 and 20 Lyrid meteors per hour at the shower's peak.  Lyrid meteors are typically as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, but some are much more intense, even brighter than Venus, the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Called "Lyrid fireballs", these cast shadows for a split second and leave behind smokey debris trails that linger for minutes. Tim Peake space pictures What causes the Lyrid meteor shower? The ionised gas in the meteors' trail burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere, creates the glow which can be seen streaking across the night sky.  The shower occurs as the Earth passes through the dust left over from Comet Thatcher (C/186 G1), which makes a full orbit of the sun once every 415 years (which is why there are no photographs of it). Flakes of comet dust, most no bigger than grains of sand, strike Earth's atmosphere traveling 49 km/s (110,000 mph) and disintegrate as streaks of light. Comet Thatcher last visited the inner solar system in 1861 - before the widespread use of photography  - and isn’t expected to return until the year 2276. How did the Lyrids get its name? The shower radiates out from the direction of the star Vega, the brightest light in the constellation Lyra the Harp, from which it takes its name. Vega is a brilliant blue-white star about three times wider than our Sun and 25 light years away. The Lyrids radiating from the vicinity of the blue star Lyra Credit: earthsky.org You might remember Vega being mentioned in Carl Sagan's movie Contact - it was the source of alien radio transmissions to Earth. When were the Lyrids first observed and recorded? The earliest sightings of the Lyrid meteor shower go back 2,700 years and are among the oldest of known meteor showers. In the year 687 BC the ancient Chinese observed the meteors and recorded them in the ancient Zuo Zhan chronicles saying:  "On the 4th month in the summer in the year of xīn-mǎo (of year 7 of King Zhuang of Lu), at night, (the sky is so bright that some) fixed stars become invisible (because of the meteor shower); at midnight, stars fell like rain. That era of Chinese history corresponds with what is now called the Spring and Autumn Period (about 771 to 476 BC). Tradition associates this period with the Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius, one of the first to espouse the principle: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”   American observers saw an outburst of nearly 100 Lyrid meteors per hour in 1982. Around 100 meteors per hour were seen in Greece in 1922 and from Japan in 1945. The Orionid meteor shower The Orionid meteors appear every year, with showers producing around 20 meteors every hour. The shower is active throughout October until November 7, but the best time to see it will be on October 20 between midnight and dawn, when the sky is darkest and the shower will be at its brightest. Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich said:"If you can brave the cold, make a plan to stay out and enjoy the thrill of seeing tiny flecks of Halley's Comet disintegrate at hypersonic speeds above your head." He advises finding a secluded spot and allowing the eyes to adjust to the darkness. Orionid meteors streak across the sky over Kula town of Manisa, Turkey on October 21, 2017 Credit:  Anadolu Agency Mr Kerss said: "There's no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope, your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors, so relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded. "Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, though if you have to pick a direction, you might fare slightly better looking east." The meteoroids from Halley's Comet strike Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 148,000mph, (238,000kph) burning up in streaking flashes of light that can be seen with the naked eye. Orionid meteors are known for their speed and brilliance, so if you persevere there's a good chance you'll see several bright 'shooting stars' zipping across the sky. The Orionid Meteor Shower is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Halley's Comet - the other is the Eta Aquarids, which occurs in May. Unfortunately, Halley's Comet itself has not been visible from Earth since 1986. Why is it called Orionid? It's named Orionid because it appears to radiate from the constellation Orion. Orion is one of the brightest and best known constellations and contains two of the 10 brightest stars in the sky Rigel and Betelgeuse, as well as the famous Orion's Belt.  Orion's Belt is made up of three bright stars quite close together almost in a straight line, and is about 1,500 light years from us on Earth.  Orion has been known since ancient times and is also referred to as Hunter thanks to Greek mythology. He is often seen in star maps facing Taurus, the bull. The Geminid meteor shower The Geminids are an annual meteor shower caused by the 3200 Phaethon asteroid. Its orbit brings it very close to the sun, causing its surface material to crumble and break off. The Earth passes through this space debris every December, which burns up as hits our atmosphere. These are the meteors visible in our sky. The Geminids were first observed relatively recently, in 1862, compared with the Perseids (36AD) and the Leonids (902AD). The meteor shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Gemini, hence its name. The Geminids meteor shower over Egersheld Cape on Russky Island in the Sea of Japan in December 2017 Credit:  Yuri Smityuk When can it be seen? The next Geminid meteor shower can be seen from around December 4th to 17th, with peak activity from about 10pm on December 13th and into the early hours of the 14th.  Sightings are possible around the world, but there's good news for Britons: the shower favours observers in the Northern Hemisphere over those in the Southern. If you're lucky you could see up to 100 meteors or 'shooting stars' every hour. You can spot the meteors anywhere, but they will appear to come from the Gemini constellation. Stars in the Milky Way over Kielder Forest Credit: Owen Humphreys During December, it begins the evening in the east and moves across the sky to the west during the night. Find Orion's Belt - three bright stars positioned in a row - and then look above it and a little to the left. They will appear as streaks of light, and will sometimes arrive in bursts of two or three. They vary in colour, depending on their composition. An average of 120 meteors an hour - or two a minute - can be expected, or more during the 2am peak.
West Virginia Lawmakers Could Impeach the Entire State Supreme Court
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The scandal is over $3.2 million in office renovations
UNAM students develop process to detect contaminants in water
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mexico, Aug. 13 (Notimex).- Students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish), campus Morelos, developed a process to detect contaminants, such as lead, mercury, cadmium and barium, in the water, in the place where they arise and in real time. According to a statement, the process was generated from the combination of two processes already known: one optical and one acoustic. In this regard, Víctor Ulises Lev Contreras Loera, a researcher at the Institute of Physical Sciences (ICF, for its acronym in Spanish) campus Cuernavaca, demonstrated in an experiment that the use of acoustic waves serves to levitate water droplets in the air and improve the detection of the contaminants they contain. From these samples, he applies laser-induced rupture spectroscopy (LIBS), an optical technique capable of simultaneously recording several elements of the periodic table, since they all emit light. "The novel thing is to have, on the one hand, the LIBS technique and, on the other, the levitation technique, which has been known for a long time. We put the two together to analyze the water," said Contreras. His procedure, published last May in the journal Optics Letters, could help develop instruments that monitor contaminants on the site, in a simpler way than with the current tests, which require taking samples for further analysis in the laboratory. "It could be used by the agricultural, pharmaceutical and water purification industries to monitor the liquid for contaminants. The ideal would be to apply it in Mexico in light of the serious pollution problems we have," he said. The LIBS technique focuses on a pulsed high energy laser emission in a sample (in this case a contaminated water drop), which vaporizes the material and generates a plasma. The light emitted by the plasma contains data on the atomic composition of matter, because all the elements of the periodic table emanate light when they are excited. This way the chemical components of the sample can be identified by analyzing the light. The main interest of the project is to monitor pollutants in wastewater and for agriculture. Currently, Contreras has started the patent process and after the international publication, there is a Spanish company interested in technology transfer. NTX/NSG/PSG/JCG
Whether You’re Right
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists say hand preference develops before the brain's motor cortex controls the body.
Live salmon released for ailing orca but she doesn't eat
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
SEATTLE (AP) — Researchers carrying out unprecedented efforts to save an ailing young killer whale in the U.S. Northwest released live salmon into waters in front of the free-swimming orca but didn't see her take any of the fish.