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When potential matters more than past experience
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In 1952 a young woman from a well-off English family left school at the age of 18 and took a job as a secretary. On a visit to a childhood friend who lived in Kenya, she was introduced to the paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, who hired her as a secretary and brought her along to an…
Saudi Arabia: Hundreds of Mysterious Ancient Stone Structures Discovered on Lava Domes
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Hundreds of huge, mysterious stone structures have been discovered on ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia. Using Google Earth, Australian archaeologist David Kennedy has documented around 400 stone walls believed to date back thousands of years clustered in the Harrat Khaybar region of the country. Kennedy’s interest in the arid lands of the Middle East began in the late 1960s when he travelled through the region.
Google Maps Just Added a Bunch of Planets and Moons for You to Explore
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The feature includes planets, moons and dwarf planets
Delhi braces for pollution 'airpocalypse' as smog looms
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
As Hindus across India celebrate Diwali this week, scientists fear a ban on firecrackers and other emergency anti-pollution measures deployed by authorities may not be enough to prevent a repeat of last year's "airpocalypse" in Delhi. Each year, as winter descends on the Indian capital, a perfect storm of seasonal crop stubble burning, dense cloud cover and smoke generated by millions of firecrackers used in Diwali celebrations turns Delhi's skies a putrid yellow. This time they are taking few chances, as India's environmental watchdog shut down a coal-fired power plant on Wednesday and banned the use of diesel generators in Delhi.
'You Should Recognize the Sovereignty of God.' Roy Moore on How the Constitution Is Based on God
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Typically, special elections for Congress aren't all that interesting. But there is nothing typical about Judge Roy Moore.
What Causes Dyslexia? Scientists Think They May Know, and There Could Be a Cure
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Two scientists believe they have found a possible cause of dyslexia, the disability that affects reading skills—and it could be treatable. Albert Le Floch and Guy Ropars wrote that, in dyslexic people, the light receptor cells in the eyes were arranged the same on both sides. When the patterns of cells are symmetrical, it can produce “mirror” images of the world and confuse the brain, the press statement explained.
The Defense Department Is Looking Into Why Four U.S. Soldiers Died in Niger
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The soldiers, killed in an ambush by 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters, were the first U.S. combat casualties in Niger
Trump Says He Called 'Every Family' of Soldiers Who Died. But Some Never Heard From Him
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump alone has picked a political fight on an issue all presidents have faced
North Korea says it plans to launch many more satellites
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador says the country plans to launch many more satellites and is accusing the United States of trying to block its efforts to help achieve the peaceful development of outer space
Kneeling and shady dealing in sports
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Two stories have yanked the world of American sports onto front pages (and to the top of online news feeds). In recent weeks some players in the National Football League (NFL) have knelt during the pregame playing of the national anthem to highlight what they see as racial injustice in society. Meanwhile, the biggest college basketball recruiting scandal in many years – perhaps the biggest ever – has already taken down one of the best-known and most successful coaches, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, who has been fired by the university.
FEMA Chief Blamed for Katrina Response Says the Same Problems Are Happening in Puerto Rico
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Former FEMA leader Michael Brown says some in Puerto Rico "haven't learned" the lessons of Katrina
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Says He Urged Firing of Former FBI Director James Comey
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Sessions said he urged Comey's firing for the handling of the Clinton email probe
French Women Have Their Own Anti
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In their own version of the viral #MeToo campaign, French women are sharing their accounts of sexual harassment online
Scientists identify perfect place for moon base
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have identified a crater on the lunar surface that could shield humans from radiation and other natural threats.
Now we know how the EPA's Scott Pruitt will replace science advisors with industry
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt is about to take a major step toward reshaping the agency's scientific advisory committees. This action, to come in the form of a directive next week, will effectively replace scientists on scientific advisory committees with representatives of the industries the EPA regulates.  Apparently conflict of interest means different things to different people. Typically staffed by top experts, the EPA's scientific advisory committees are tasked with ensuring that the scientific information the agency uses in its rule-making is the best-available data on the topic.  SEE ALSO: EPA chief denies carbon dioxide is main cause of global warming and... wait, what!? This is especially important since the EPA gets sued constantly, so any rules or other actions the agency takes could be vulnerable in court if the science underpinning the decision turns out to be flawed or out of date.  Pruitt has already taken unprecedented steps to alter the composition of these committees, including  not renewing terms for existing panel members, or dismissing members outright.  The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Ga., June, 3, 2017.Image: AP/REX/ShutterstockOn Tuesday, in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, Pruitt announced the next step in his quest to bring more industry-friendly voices to the committees. He said he plans to issue a directive next week that would prohibit anyone from serving on an advisory committee who has received grant funding from the EPA.  While that might seem like a commonsense move toward greater independence, the fact is that the EPA is one of the largest funding sources of environmental health research. Therefore, this requirement will likely disqualify hundreds of potential committee members, and instead allow representatives of industries regulated by the EPA — such as the chemical and energy industries —  to gain more representation.  “The scientists that make up these bodies, and there are dozens and dozens of these folks, over the years as they’ve served on these committees, guess what’s also happened? They’ve received monies through grants, and sometimes substantial monies through grants," Pruitt said.  One agency watchdog, Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called Pruitt's move "gobsmackingly boneheaded."  The implicit message in Pruitt's statement is that money going to scientific research somehow biases scientists and the advice they would give. This is a common argument put forward by climate deniers who assail the government's grants for scientific research. (Perhaps it's not a surprise that Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming, then.) "And if we have individuals that are on those boards receiving money from the agency sometimes going back years and years to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars over time, that to me causes question on the independence and the veracity and the transparency of those recommendations that are coming our way," Pruitt said. Hinting at the upcoming actions, Pruitt said:  The UCS' Halpern wrote in a blog post that Pruitt's actions were grossly distorting the meaning of conflicts of interest.  "Getting science advice from the EPA Science Advisory Board is like getting basketball tips from 40 Steph Currys. It’s the best in the business, volunteering their time in service of the public good," Halpern, the deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy, wrote. "So let’s recap: according to some, scientists who receive money from oil and chemical companies are perfectly qualified to provide the EPA with independent science advice, while those who receive federal grants are not. It’s a fundamental misrepresentation of how conflicts of interest work." During the same Heritage Foundation appearance, which was broadcast via Facebook Live, Pruitt also addressed his desire for public debates on the fundamentals of climate science, which he says has never happened despite decades to centuries of open, peer-reviewed research. 2016 was the warmest year on record, beating the previous record set the year before.Image: bob al-greene/mashableSuch red team, blue team debates, currently slated to take place early in 2018, are widely seen among scientists as an attempt to confuse the public about the reliability of climate science findings.  Pruitt, clearly sees it differently.  “The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know about CO2," Pruitt said. "It’s never taken place.” Earlier this month, Pruitt announced the withdrawal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which covered greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.  For now, at least, the EPA isn't putting any replacement rules into effect, despite a Supreme Court-mandated requirement to do so.  It looks like we'll have to wait-and-see what the new advisory committees have to say about this. WATCH: Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts
Mother of Fallen Soldier Says President Trump Disrespected Him
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The mother of a fallen soldier said that President Trump disrespected her son during a condolence phone call.
Parts of unmanned Russian spaceship burn up over Dubai
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Parts of an unmanned Russian cargo spaceship burned across the night sky of the Arabian Peninsula, drawing gasps from Dubai to Riyadh before breaking up in the atmosphere and scattering in the ocean
Winning Amazon's New Headquarters Could Come With Hidden Costs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Cities are competing for the chance to host Amazon's second headquarters
Scientists spot stars crashing together in collision that shook the universe... and produced gold
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scientists have spotted an almost unimaginably violent collision between two super-heavy neutron stars
'This Is a Person With No Conscience.' Manhunt Underway for Maryland Shooter
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Radee Labeeb Prince is believed to be involved in a shooting in Wilmington
A New Health Care Deal Is Already in Doubt After Trump Changed His Mind
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A bipartisan deal to curb premiums is reeling after Trump reversed course
Invasion of the hurricane snatchers
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It came from outer space. Deep beneath the surface of the ocean lies a alien base, dormant. Its mission is unclear, but it seems to continue to protect the inhabitants of the nearby Mexican city.
Sean Spicer Has Been Interviewed by Robert Mueller's Team in the Russia Probe, Report Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Investigators are also expected to meet with communications director Hope Hicks and White House lawyer Don McGahn
Mom Who Feared Being Deported Drowned Her Children in a Bathtub, Police Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's not clear why she was worried
Australia just ditched its Clean Energy Target for a new plan, and it's terrible for renewables
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Last week, a former Australian prime minister and climate change denier delightfully dubbed global warming "beneficial."  Now Australia's gone and dumped its Clean Energy Target for a so-called "plan" that removes subsidies for renewable energy and hands the mic to coal power. Great work, guys.  The country's government has announced a scheme to abandon the country's Clean Energy Target (CET) in favor of a new plan that's made some seriously question the country's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, which went into force in 2016. The agreement requires nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above the preindustrial average. SEE ALSO: Ex-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denies climate change, then praises it in confusing speech The government's decision to ditch the CET, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel, in favor of a National Energy Guarantee (NEG), is ostensibly aimed at improving the reliability of the country's electrical grid. The NEG requires energy retailers (primarily coal) to meet a "reliability guarantee," offering on-demand power when needed, to avoid crises like blackouts. This so-called reliability guarantee will be imposed by the government on providers to deliver on-demand energy from ready-to-use sources such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries needed in each state.  Each energy provider must also adhere to an "emissions guarantee," which will be set to meet Australia’s international commitments to reducing emissions.  The Turnbull government reckons they can lower prices for consumers by creating a power surplus, encouraging investment and, importantly, removing subsidies for renewable energy suppliers. "Unlike previous approaches, we are not picking winners, we are levelling the playing field," said the government's press release.  “These guarantees will ensure there is a place for all power sources in the nation’s future energy mix — solar, wind, coal, gas, batteries, pumped hydro,” Turnbull said in a video posted on Facebook. “Our plan has no subsidies, no certificates and no tax.” The government's new Energy Security Board estimates typical household bills would fall by an average of $110-$115 per year over the 2020-2030 period. The government insists it still will meet the national emissions reduction targets set in the Paris Agreement, by lowering Australia's greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. However, any plan that incentivizes the increased use of coal, which is the most greenhouse gas intensive electricity source, will make this more difficult. The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, was having none of it, accusing the prime minister of having “effectively pulled out of the Paris Agreement." Natale said the new plan amounts to "throwing coal a lifeline," and that he was "leading the most pro-coal, anti-renewables government in the nation's history." Malcolm Turnbull is showing a complete failure of leadership - leading the most pro-coal, anti-renewable government in Australian history. pic.twitter.com/Uk9lFzcbkg — Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) October 17, 2017 One member of Australian parliament was particularly happy — former prime minister and current MP Tony Abbott, a steadfast climate change denier who recently gave that bizarre, inaccurate speech on climate science. Others were divided. "This government appears to be hellbent on destroying renewable energy," Shadow Minister Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler told reporters. Liberal MP Andrew Hastie said the package would prevent Australia from becoming a "banana republic" — something Hastie thinks would happen if the country used more renewable energy. Turnbull or is it Abbott has ruled out a Clean Energy Target...Flies in the face of community, energy providers and chief scientist #auspol — Helen polley (@polley_helen) October 16, 2017 The government's new energy policy is a great step forward into the land of common sense. We must ensure the lights stay on — Matthew Canavan (@mattjcan) October 17, 2017 Malcolm Roberts, verbatim, on energy policy #auspol pic.twitter.com/Yjq5QHqqKe — Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) October 17, 2017 The government and the ESB now need to convince state governments to implement the National Energy Guarantee. WATCH: Ai Weiwei debuts 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors' in NYC in response to the refugee crisis
Trump says he has 'proof' on his call to soldier's wife, and the nation waits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
If the president's proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when — or if — it sees it.
White House slams lawmaker's 'disgusting' criticism of Trump's call to soldier's widow
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
The back-and-forth dispute between the president and a Florida congressman over what Trump said to a soldier’s widow continued Wednesday afternoon. While not denying a remark that Rep. Frederica Wilson attributed to Trump, the White House criticized her for politicizing the issue.
'People power' for rule of law in the Philippines
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One gift to the world from the Philippines has been the term “people power,” or peaceful resistance in the streets against a leader’s arbitrary rule and violent suppression. Three decades later, Filipinos are at it again. This time they are quietly resisting President Rodrigo Duterte’s neglect of both the rule of law and the presumption of innocence in a violent crackdown on drug users and dealers.
Trump and the nuclear button: Does presidential authority need curbs?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It takes at least two people to launch a nuclear weapon at almost every point in the US chain of command. Missile silos, bombers, nuclear submarines – all require more than one officer to validate a “go” order. President Trump’s behavior in office has raised anew this old question.
'Casting couch' or 'crime scene'? How language promotes culture of sexual harassment
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Before “Harvey Weinstein: The Scandal” captured the national conversation, there were whispers. When The New York Times published a scathing report earlier this month accusing the Hollywood mogul of engaging in a decades-long pattern of sexual harassment, coercion, and abuse of young actresses, few were entirely surprised.
Ancient Greek Monument Discovered in Inexplicably Abandoned Settlement Baffles Archaeologists With 2,200
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Archaeologists working on the Greek island of Thirassia have uncovered what they believe to be an ancient monument of unknown origin, which may shed light on the earliest cultures to inhabit the area. Experts from the the Ionian University, the University of Crete and the Cycladic Antiquities Bureau made the discovery as they continued their excavations on the prehistoric settlement in Thirassia, one of the Santorini islands. In the area, they uncovered a series of different stone structures built on the mountainous island in terraces.
President Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricanes Drops 20% After Maria Hit Puerto Rico
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump has faced heavy criticism for his response to the damage in Puerto Rico
John McCain Slams 'Half
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The senator hit back against isolationism in a pointed speech while accepting the Liberty Medal
Read the Full Text of John McCain's Speech at the Liberty Medal Award Ceremony
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
McCain hailed the U.S. as "the land of the immigrant's dream"
Senate Candidate Roy Moore Says NFL Protesters Are Breaking the Law
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have?'
Trump says he has 'proof' on his call to soldier's wife, and the nation awaits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
If the president's proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when — or if — it sees it.
Sessions: U.S. not doing enough to stop future election interference
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Attorney General Jeff Sessions conceded Wednesday that the U.S. government is not doing enough to prevent future interference in elections by Russia and other foreign adversaries.
Some flowers create blue halo to say hello to foraging bees
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
NEW YORK (AP) — Some flowers have found a nifty way to get the blues.
Letter from Las Vegas: a first
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
My heart was pounding as I stood in front of one of Las Vegas’s many fantasy-themed gun ranges. In New York City, where I live, there are only a few gun ranges, including a single range open to the public in Manhattan.
We just got our first look at Lego's rad Women of NASA set
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Next month, you'll be able to buy a little bit of space history in Lego form.  Starting on Nov. 1, space fans of all ages will be able to buy Lego's Women of NASA set featuring four essential women who made space science history. SEE ALSO: Lego's next release screams girl power and we're totally here for it The new set plays homage to astronauts Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to fly to orbit.  Image: legoThe $24.99 set also features computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who helped write the software that eventually allowed the Apollo astronauts to land on the moon, and Nancy Grace Roman, who helped make the Hubble Space Telescope a reality. The four figures also come complete with three Lego builds. Image: lego"Role-play space exploration from planning to moon landing, beginning with the iconic scene from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 of Hamilton with software that she and her team programmed," Lego said in a statement.  "Build the posable Hubble Space Telescope and launch a LEGO version of the Space Shuttle Challenger with 3 removable rocket stages." The set is sure to make space nerds of all ages happy.  Image: legoWomen of NASA was originally designed by Maia Weinstock and submitted as part of Lego's Ideas program, which allows fans to develop their own ideas for what may become the next sets for the company. Weinstock's initial idea for the set also included Katherine Johnson, the space scientist instrumental in bringing the first Americans to orbit, but the company wasn't able to include her in the final set.  “In order for us to move forward with a partner we need to obtain approval from all key people, which was not possible in this case," a Lego spokesperson said. "We naturally fully respect this decision.” Image: legoWeinstock wanted to create this set to give the women of NASA their proper due.  "Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program ..." Weinstock wrote in a description of the set.  "Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." Now at least, these barrier-breaking women will get some of the recognition they deserve in Lego form. WATCH: This playhouse is a Lego fan's dream
The Moon Wants You To Spend This Week Under A Blanket
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
During this period, the moon is appropriately referred to as the "dark moon." As we mentioned last week, the moon has been waning ever since reaching fullness on October 6. At first, the dark moon has a similarly purifying energy.
The Victory Over the E.U. That Paved the Way for Sebastian Kurz to Lead Austria
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
“They thought they would follow the right path with the policy of open borders, and they now have to inform people that this was a mistake.”
Are Government
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Albanians are issued a hack-resistant, digital national ID card called the Letërnjoftimi. At the bottom of some drawer in my New York City apartment, I have a rotting white cardboard rectangle that shows my nine-digit Social Security number in a typeface that looks like it came from a Smith-Corona typewriter. The federal government and pretty much all of industry have known for decades that the Social Security number needs to be put out of our misery.
'Totally Fabricated.' Trump Denies Telling Widow of Slain Soldier That He 'Knew What He Signed Up for'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump has been under fire this week for his handling of the death of four American soldiers in Niger
Ed Gillespie's scaremongering TV ads may define his campaign
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Ed Gillespie, an architect of the GOP outreach to Hispanics, is running for governor of Virginia with commercials demonizing Hispanic immigrants as gang members. His turnaround is reminiscent of another Southern centrist who made coded appeals to conservative white rural voters to win office: Jimmy Carter.
Trump resumes Twitter attacks on Comey and 'Crooked Hillary'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
James Comey may have begun drafting a statement about the Clinton email investigation before it was finished, to judge from newly released documents. The president, jumping on this, criticized both Comey and Clinton in tweets Wednesday.
Trump says he has ‘proof’ on his call to soldier’s mother, and the nation awaits
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
President Trump claims he has proof that a Democratic congresswoman is lying, but if his proof is anything like the evidence he’s promised to offer for some of his other controversial assertions, the nation will believe it when—or if—it sees it.
The Recently Released Taliban Hostage Caitlan Boyle Has Been Rushed to Hospital
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Her husband Joshua did not give a reason for her admittance
Every U.S. President Faces a Major Crisis. What Will Trump's Be?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Here are 5 possibilities
Eating too much sugar may increase your risk of cancer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A nine-year study into how our bodies process sugar has shed new light on cancer development, and how sugar-heavy diets may wind up increasing the risk of tumor growth. By better understanding how cancer cells metabolize sugars we eat, scientists are a step closer to figuring out how those cells trigger the development of cancerous…