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Team USA’s Women Just Won America’s First
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It was a shocking upset victory for Team USA
Plants have been around for 100 million years longer than scientists thought, new research suggests
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Previous assumptions about the age of ancient plant species is being thrown into question today, as new research suggests that flora took root here on Earth over 100 million years earlier than scientists presumed. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used a new calculation method to determine where on Earths' timeline plants initially appeared. As it turns out, all previous guesses may have been way, way off. The study has some pretty serious implications in regards to how scientists view the very earliest phases of life's spread across the globe, and could help us better understand the long and winding road that eventually resulted in the planet we inhabit today. To get a better idea of how far back plant life dates, the researchers used what they call a "molecular clock" method to analyze genetic changes over time and link them to their predecessors. This work, which is a bit like painting a massive family tree of the earliest plant life which can be used to calculate how far back in time it truly stretches. Needless to say, the resulting data doesn't match well with previously-held assumptions. "The fossil record is too sparse and incomplete to be a reliable guide to date the origin of land plants. Instead of relying on the fossil record alone, we used a 'molecular clock' approach to compare differences in the make-up of genes of living species - these relative genetic differences were then converted into ages by using the fossil ages as a loose framework," Mark Puttick, co-lead author of the study, explains. "Our results show the ancestor of land plants was alive in the middle Cambrian Period, which was similar to the age for the first known terrestrial animals." This new work could be an important addition to future research into the emergence of plants and animals on Earth, as well as a helpful tool in modeling how climate changed in the earliest days of life on this planet.
Huge 10.5
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Astronomers have confirmed that a huge cosmic explosion—which took place 10.5 billion years ago—is the most distant supernova ever detected. When massive stars come to the end of their life cycles, they self-destruct in a cataclysmic final explosion known as a supernova. In the case of DES162nm, it is thought the event was caused by vas quantities of material falling into a rapidly rotating neutron star – one of the densest objects in the Universe—which was formed in the aftermath of a massive explosion.
Trump Wants to Turn Space Into a Free
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
America’s regulations for off-planet activity were written in the 1980s. They’re about to be remade with a capitalist bent.
Robert Mueller's Indictment Could Be a Win for Russia's Trolls
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
As well as providing a blueprint for their methods, the indictment may further diminish public trust in platforms that provide information
Florida Lawmakers Vote Against Taking Up Bill to Ban Assault Weapons
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"They're voting to have shootings continually happen," said Noah Kaufman, 16
Students Calling for Gun Control Can't Vote Yet. But Age Hasn't Stopped Young Activists in the Past
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"A little child shall lead them," said civil-rights pioneer Barbara Johns
The Selfie Olympics Are Making a Hilarious Comeback for the 2018 Winter Games
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Internet is reviving its favorite Olympics pastime
Fresh off Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk to launch broadband test satellites
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Fresh off Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk to launch broadband test satellites
At 'listening session' on school shootings, Trump urges giving teachers guns
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
At a White House “listening session” on school shootings Wednesday, President Trump argued that arming teachers and staff was potentially the best way to prevent tragedies such as last week’s massacre at Parkland, Fla. Concealed carry, Trump said, “only works where you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many. It’s not the first time Trump has expressed the view that the only way to stop mass shootings is with more guns rather than fewer.
After Parkland, a new generation finds its voice
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On a bus to Tallahassee on Florida’s State Road 91 on Tuesday, Drew Schwartz sits with a scrum of fellow students planning the logistics of their march on the state capital, just hours away. “Right now it’s all hands on deck,” says Drew, a 17-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., site of the nation’s most recent mass shooting and where 14 of these students’ fellow classmates died.
Prince William Is Looking for Adventure on a Motorcycle Because Future Kings Can Have Fun Too
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
This week the Duke of Cambridge popped by Triumph Motorcycles to take a photo atop one of the classic rides.
Elderly Who Stay Sharp into Old Age Smoke, Drink and Think Positively
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
At an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas last weekend, scientists from across the country came together to discuss their latest findings on the brains of super-agers, Science Alert reported. Super-agers are a small demographic of the elderly population that retain cognition on par with their far younger counterparts, sometimes up until the day that they die. “It’s not so long ago that we thought the only trajectory there was was to get old and senile,” said Emily Rogalski, from Northwestern University, at the annual meeting, The Guardian reported.
Skullduggery Episode 6: Michael Cohen's 'stormy' screwup
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Michael Isikoff and Dan Klaidman examine the latest legal screwups in Washington. Did Michael Cohen just put President Trump in potential legal jeopardy after he confirmed that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000? Isikoff and Klaidman speak with Larry Noble, former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, about the legal implications of Cohen’s admission. They also speak with Lanny Davis, author of a new book, “The Unmaking of the President 2016: How FBI Director James Comey Cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency,” about the legal decisions made by Comey during the 2016 election. ...
There will never be another Billy Graham, because the world that made him possible is gone
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The world that made Bill Graham, the cohesive culture of postwar America, is gone, and no one preacher will ever again unite all strains of evangelical Christianity as he did.
Parkland students: 'We will not be silenced' on guns
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Survivors of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., emerged from meetings with state lawmakers in Tallahassee, Fla., on Wednesday, vowing to continue their movement until U.S. lawmakers enact stricter gun laws.
In Pyeongchang, a historically diverse Winter Olympics
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Viking descendants, you may be crushing the rest of the world with your impressive Olympic medal haul. For the first time, an Asian athlete – Korean Yun Sung-bin – captured Olympic gold in the skeleton competition, which also included the first-ever African woman and a Ghanaian who financed his Olympic dreams by selling vacuum cleaners. On ice, Jordan Greenway has broken a 98-year-old color barrier to become the first African-American on a USA Hockey team, and siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani on Tuesday became the first-ever ice dancers of Asian descent to win an Olympic medal.
Before Russia's 'troll farm' turned to US, it had a more domestic focus
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For many Americans, last week's indictment of the Russian “troll farm” by special counsel Robert Mueller was the first time a spotlight had been shown on the enterprise that allegedly meddled in US elections. The IRA is a well-funded “internet marketing” operation that may perform commercial functions, but has become notorious for its political activities. Experts believe there are several such operations around Russia, some aimed at regional audiences.
Gender equality as ‘trade secret’? Businesses awaken to a long
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When IBM lost its chief diversity officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, to rival Microsoft earlier this month, Big Blue went to court to stop her working for a year. It seems that ways to recruit talented women, then retain and promote them, have become proprietary business data, just like more traditional trade secrets. In the eyes of a growing number of companies such as IBM, gender equality is central, not peripheral, to their business success.
More than one way to prevent mass shootings
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
In addition, they hoped their forgiveness might enable them to better reach others prone to violence and perhaps prevent a similar massacre. In contrast, the killing of 17 people at the high school in Parkland, Fla., has yet to reveal much forgiveness toward the shooter. The anger over the murders, especially among Parkland students, is directed mainly at elected officials and the cause of controlling access to guns, especially assault rifles.
Can Alcohol Help You Live Longer? Here’s What the Research Really Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have gone back and forth on the question for years
North Korea Canceled a Planned Meeting With Mike Pence at the Last Minute, U.S. Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The vice president's office said that North Korea had "dangled a meeting" in hopes of enticing Pence to ease up on pressure
NASA's $1 Billion Mobile Launcher Leans a Little
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's unlikely the giant structure will be used for more than a single launch.
The Dallas Mavericks Launch Investigation After Report Alleges a Culture of Sexual Misconduct
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Sports Illustrated report describes a "culture rife with misogyny"
Explaining coprophagy – why do dogs eat their own poo?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
New research explains that dogs may have evolved to eat faeces as a way to prevent the spread of disease.
Ancient Rome: Scientists Explain Geological Mystery That Killed Animals but Not Priests at 'Gate to Hell'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Archaeologists have uncovered fascinating new details about a cave in Turkey that ancient Romans believed to be an entrance to the underworld. Complex rituals once took place at the 2,200-year-old site in the city of Hierapolis, part of the province of Phrygia.
Gun control rally in Tallahassee; Parkland students meet with lawmakers
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Student activists from the Florida high school where 17 teens and staff were shot and killed will call for a ban on assault-style weapons when they meet with lawmakers and hold a rally on Wednesday in Tallahassee, the state capital. Last week’s massacre, the second deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history, has inflamed a national debate about gun rights and prompted young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and across the United States to demand stricter firearms controls. “We’re here to make sure this never happens again,” Diego Pfeiffer, a senior at Douglas, told a rally that included hundreds of students from a Tallahassee high school on Tuesday after arriving at the capital.
The 'crisis actors' lie spreads in wake of Florida shooting
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
In the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school last week, it happened again — conspiracy theories circulating claiming that it didn’t really happen, or that it was staged, with actors.
NRA rep to face survivors of Parkland school shooting
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The survivors of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have been outspoken in their criticism of the National Rifle Association. And the NRA’s national spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, will come face to face with some of those survivors on Wednesday night during a live town hall.
Massachusetts transit bosses under fire for $100K bathroom
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts transportation officials are under fire for authorizing a no-bid contract for a tiny, $100,000 bathroom inside a state office building.
Got skunks in your home? Don't use a smoke bomb
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a man destroyed a suburban Detroit home while trying to use a smoke bomb to rid a crawlspace of skunks.
Yuck: Bank staff sick of hawk scarfing pigeons at their door
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
DEWITT, N.Y. (AP) — The feeding habits of a Cooper's hawk may fascinate birdwatchers, but employees of a New York bank are fed up with the feathery remnants of slaughtered pigeons.
US women win historic Olympic gold in cross
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When Norway and Sweden contest Olympic cross-country races, their crown prince and king routinely attend. While Obama didn’t quite manage to do that for her, she did it on her own. In the team sprint event on Wednesday, it came down to Norway, Sweden, and … the United States.
Even Light Exercise Can Help You Live Longer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A new study suggests that many types of physical exercise — however short or light — may increase lifespan.
Olympic Ice Dance Skating Sets New Records, While Hitting Emotional Highs and Lows
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
While setting some new records for the sport that thrives on drama
Trump Has Endorsed Mitt Romney. But Romney Once Called Trump a 'Fraud' and Trump Said Romney 'Choked'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A history of their rocky relationship
Nothing to see here! Police clear T
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — Police in a Philadelphia suburb received an unusual report about a dinosaur on the loose.
Runaway cow defends its freedom in Poland
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A local governor in Poland says a cow that escaped while being taken to a slaughterhouse is still avoiding capture even though the order to kill it has been canceled.
Japan wants Fukushima evacuees to go home. They're not so sure.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For Toru Takeda, the best and worst parts of life in Yonezawa are the same: snow. It snows so much that many streets in Yonezawa are equipped with sprinklers that spray warm underground water to keep them clear. Mr. Takeda is still getting used to the sheer amount of snow and the inconveniences that come with it.
Why Adam Schiff wants to 'follow the money'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The timing of California Rep. Adam Schiff's visit to the Monitor Breakfast table on Wednesday couldn't have been better. Three Monitor subscribers came to observe, including an old colleague of Schiff's, former Rep. Chris Shays (R) of Connecticut. Indeed, as Schiff took his seat, he commented that the event is "a bit risky, because you very soon forget that you're talking to reporters, and it's all on the record." But this was Schiff's fifth Monitor Breakfast, and he's a pro.
Billy Graham: a counselor of presidents who eschewed politics
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
In 1957, when celebrity evangelist Billy Graham was gearing up for four months of nightly revival meetings at New York’s Madison Square Garden, his fellow conservative Christians warned he was playing with fire – and not in a good way. Fundamentalists said he was making a mistake by partnering with liberal New York Protestants, who in their view would corrupt the crusade. “Graham’s view was that if people wanted to help promote the revivals… then find ways to bridge theological differences,” said Barry Hankins, a Baylor University historian and author of “American Evangelicals: A Contemporary History of a Mainstream Religious Movement.” “That became a sort of metaphor for his whole life.
Scientists have created a human
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have just created a human-sheep hybrid, and as weird as it sounds, it's for a really important reason. Click here to find out why.
Dating apps are in danger of confusing the justice system
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Judges and juries may not appreciate the nuances of messages from online dating services used as evidence in trials.
Watch SpaceX count down to first Starlink satellite launch, and maybe a fairing catch
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The primary mission for today’s scheduled launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is putting a Spanish radar imaging satellite in low Earth orbit — but it’s the secondary missions that are really interesting. Riding along with Hisdesat’s Paz spacecraft are the first two prototypes for what’s eventually expected to become a SpaceX constellation of thousands of satellites, designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit. The technologies underpinning the constellation, informally known as Starlink, are being pioneered at SpaceX’s facilities in Redmond, Wash. When SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the multibillion-dollar project in 2015 in Seattle, he… Read More
Infrasound microphones could predict volcano eruptions before they strike
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Researchers have created low-frequency microphones that could potentially help to predict the eruption of certain volcanoes around the world by listening to infrasound frequencies.
How you type with your smartphone can reveal your age – here's why it matters
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's a big issue for users and the industry.
Japanese Man Granted Sole Custody of 13 Children He Fathered With Thai Surrogate Mothers
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mitsutoki Shigeta's 'baby factory' case drew international outrage
Volcano in Indonesia unleashes massive explosion
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mount Sinabung in Indonesia has been erupting for about the past five years now, displacing tens of thousands as it sends debris flows toward populated areas. On Feb. 19, the volcano unleashed a far more explosive eruption that vaulted smoke and ash more than 25,000 feet into the air, prompting aviation alerts for aircraft to steer clear of the area.  The eruption, which occurred on the island of North Sumatra, was caught on video by residents of Berestagi, which is about 15 miles to the west of the mountain, as well as residents of towns further away. Areas under the ash cloud saw the sky turn from day into night, while a layer of volcanic dust fell onto the ground. #february #19th #2018 #sinabung #sinabungmountain #gunungsinabung #sinabungerupsi A post shared by Agnes (@agnezdiann) on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:18pm PST According to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program, the 8,000-foot volcano is thought to have erupted in 1881 as well as 1912, followed by explosive eruptions in 2010 and more recent activity beginning in 2013.  View of Mt. Sinabung this morning from my office #sinabungmountain #sinabung #berastagi #northsumatera #volcano #erruption #wedusgembel #mountain #indonesia A post shared by Dinda (@dindasurel26) on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:01pm PST Major volcanic eruptions, particularly those that loft large amounts of ash high into the atmosphere — at least 40,000 feet high — can actually alter the planet's climate. History is full of examples of temporary cooling periods following massive volcanic eruptions, such as Mt. Tambora in 1812, and Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991.  Studies have shown that volcanoes in the tropics have a greater climate influence than volcanoes at higher latitudes.  *World Weather* Rising eruption column of Sinabung volcano (Indonesia) has this morning, Feb 19. Note the pileus clouds. Report: Conexão GeoClima pic.twitter.com/70lfVUjjM9 — severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 19, 2018 Surface temperature anomalies through 2015, along with volcanic eruptions (shown along bottom of chart).Image: nasa giss.This eruption was not big enough, in terms of material lofted into the upper atmosphere, to put Mt. Sinabung on the list with those other historic, climate-altering eruptions. However, it is a volcano that scientists are keeping a close eye on.  Full-day true color loop of the #Sinabung eruption from #Himawari - the ash plume has a darker color that surrounding clouds and is blowing off generally to the north #Indonesia pic.twitter.com/uSREj4SbTD — Dan Lindsey (@DanLindsey77) February 19, 2018 Even if it were to blow its top in a big way, it would only cool the planet for a year or two. Long-term global warming from human emissions of greenhouse gases would continue. Scientists looking into ways to artificially cool the planet as a possible fix to global warming — a plan referred to as geoengineering — are considering mimicking the cooling mechanism from volcanoes by injecting tiny particles into the upper atmosphere, which would reflect incoming solar radiation.  There are many pros and cons to such plans, which are moving into the testing stage. WATCH: Exploring volcanoes with robots: a day in the life of Carolyn Parcheta
EU nations should seize chance to boost renewable energy: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
EU member states should take advantage of falling costs for renewable energy to invest more in the sector and make it account for a third of total energy output by 2030, an new report said Tuesday. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) study said the European Union could make renewables account for 34 percent of total production by 2030, up from the current target of 27 percent and twice what it was in 2016. EU energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete welcomed the EU-commissioned report's timing, which coincides with decreases in costs for solar and wind power.
Backing One of His Most Vocal Critics, President Trump Has Endorsed Mitt Romney’s Senate Bid
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mitt Romney is running to replace retiring Senator Orrin Hatch