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University student study allows early detection of kidney damage
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mexico, Nov. 5 (Notimex).- Andrea Sánchez Navarro, of the Biomedical Research Institute (IIBO, for its acronym in Spanish) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish1), is working on the development of a model that allows the progression of chronic kidney disease to be detected in an early way. The young student was awarded the National Youth Award 2018, in the category of Science and Technology. The research is about a protein, of which they already have the patent, which allows to find early the symptoms of chronic kidney disease: "this molecule would work as a diagnostic method to evaluate in a timely manner the development of the disease, which in clinics it is detected late, when the function of the kidneys is already deteriorated," explained the doctoral student. The 24-year-old is originally from La Piedad, Michoacán and currently holds a doctorate in biomedical sciences from the IIBO, at its peripheral headquarters, the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition "Salvador Zubirán", where she carries out this research simultaneously with other projects and has the advice of scientist Norma Bobadilla Sandoval. Currently, tests are performed on patient samples and it has been found that the molecule is less invasive, it is helping to detect nephrogenic fibrosis, avoids renal biopsy and seeks, with its early and timely detection, to achieve a better outcome of the treatments. According to UNAM Global, the researcher feels happy and honored to receive this award because since she was little she became interested in the chemical-biological area. She always loved science, grew up in the laboratory with his mother, chemist-biologist by profession, doing experiments, "curiosity is the pillar of researchers." She feels like a responsibility to encourage other young people to do what they like and surround themselves with the right people, "knowing Norma Bobadilla was a success in my life because she has driven me and helped me to exploit my potential, to have her as a model is her example to follow, is one of the pillars of my academic training. Its goal is that this molecule can reach health systems in the short term, "although investment and other factors that combine to achieve it are required". NTX/MSG/JCG  
Astronomers suggest shooting a laser into space to attract aliens to Earth like a ‘porch light’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Science fiction has taught us for decades that when alien arrive on Earth, it's going to be a bad day for mankind. Those fictional horror stories haven't deterred some scientists from thinking up ways that we might attract alien civilizations to Earth, and a new feasibility study suggests that we could send a laser beam into the cosmos to act like a beacon for alien life to find. The work, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, suggests that existing technology could be used to produce an infrared beam bright enough to be spotted by intelligent alien civilizations. Once discovered, it would be like a bread crumb trail pointing right back to Earth, and extraterrestrials could come calling. "This would be a challenging project but not an impossible one," James Clark, author of the study, said in a statement. "The kinds of lasers and telescopes that are being built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer could take one look at our star and immediately see something unusual about its spectrum. I don't know if intelligent creatures around the sun would be their first guess, but it would certainly attract further attention." The biggest challenge in creating a beacon that could be spotted by alien is making it bold enough to be spotted from a long distance, even with the Sun doing its best to outshine it. The paper explains that a 1- to 2-megawatt laser could be sufficient if it were shot through a telescope as large as 45 meters. Now, feasibility aside, there are plenty of voices in the scientific community that aren't all that bullish on the idea of meeting up with aliens in the first place. Discovering intelligent life outside of Earth would be a monumental event, obviously, but the potential consequences of inviting a space-faring race to Earth is potentially risky. There is legitimate concern that Earth's resources could be too tempting to resist, and that we might invite our own extinction by luring extraterrestrials to our neck of the woods. It's important to note here that there are no actual plans to put such a "porch light" into action. Mankind has sent probes with directions to Earth into interstellar space already, hoping against hope that something might find the spacecraft and take a road trip to our planet. Eventually, something might find us, either by one of these means or entirely by chance. Let's just hope they're in a good mood when they do.
Taiwan fishermen protest over crackdown on troubled industry
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Fishermen and their families took to the streets in Taiwan Tuesday against what they said was an unfair crackdown on the industry which has been accused of illegal practices and human rights abuses. The rally by coastal and long-haul fishermen in the capital Taipei is the latest challenge to President Tsai Ing-wen who has already faced major protests by disgruntled military veterans and labour unions over pension and other reforms. It comes ahead of local elections on November 24, seen as a mid-term barometer after Tsai's first two years in office.
Weird Traveling Space Boulder Could Be Alien Ship, Say Harvard Scientists
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A massive flattened boulder-like object traveling through space with "peculiar
GOP Candidate Dan Crenshaw Responds to Pete Davidson Making Fun of His Eyepatch on SNL
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson is facing backlash after mocking Dan Crenshaw
Tethers Unlimited’s 3
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
There’s nothing new about having a 3-D printer in space, but how about a 3-D printer that also recycles plastic to turn old stuff into new? Just such a gizmo is due to be delivered to the International Space Station next week. Bothell, Wash.-based Tethers Unlimited built the device, which is about the size of a mini fridge and is known as the Refabricator, in cooperation with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. After months of testing, the Refabricator is on the payload manifest for Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo resupply flight, scheduled for liftoff from Virginia’s Wallops Flight Facility… Read More
The True Story Behind the Movie A Private War
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Marie Colvin was a legendary reporter killed in 2012 while reporting from Homs, Syria
Rapper Mac Miller Died From Accidental Overdose, Autopsy Report Finds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Cocaine, alcohol and the powerful opioid fentanyl were found in his system
Why It Would Be a Major Military Mistake to Deploy Troops to Confront the Migrant Caravans
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
According to Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), who once commanded U.S. troops throughout Central America
Why Do Midterm Elections Even Exist? Here's Why the Framers Scheduled Things This Way
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Here's how the U.S. Constitution's framers came up with six-year Senate terms and two-year House terms
With a boost from Shell, HyperSciences blasts past $3M in crowdfunding campaign
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
HyperSciences’ hypersonic blaster technology can be used to send projectiles up into the air, or down into rock — either way, the Spokane, Wash.-based startup says things are looking up. The company’s unorthodox SeedInvest securities offering has raised more than $3 million so far. “We are actually on our way toward the full $10 million,” HyperScience CEO and founder Mark Russell told GeekWire. The SeedInvest effort builds on $3 million in previous investments, including support from the Washington Research Foundation, Kick-Start II, Cowles Company and The Toolbox. Thanks to the fresh funding, about 10 employees are being added in Spokane as well as… Read More
Texas Newlyweds Die in Helicopter Crash Just Hours After Their Wedding
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
They were college seniors
Yoga Studio Gunman Was Fired From Substitute
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Scott P. Beierle was working as a substitute teacher at a school in central Florida on May 25 when he was caught touching a student near her bra.
Separatist Forces in Cameroon Have Kidnapped at Least 79 Students
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Armed separatists kidnapped at least 79 students and three staff members from a Presbyterian school in a troubled English-speaking region of Cameroon, the governor said Monday.
British Adventurer Sets Record With 5
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The British adventurer swam between six and 12 hours a day for five months
Journalistic Objectivity Evolved the Way It Did for a Reason
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Although some people think objectivity is the press’ natural mode, for most of American history newspapers were proudly partisan
More Women Are Using Marijuana During Pregnancy, Report Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Cannabis may come with risks for babies
Woman Steps in for Cousin's Proposal Photo Because She's the One With the Fresh Manicure
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A cousin's work is never done
Elissa Slotkin Wants the Democrats to Be the Party of Patriotism
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"If there was ever a moment for a strategic shift, it's now."
Mining bitcoin uses more energy than Denmark: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Extracting a dollar's worth of cryptocurrency such as bitcoin from the deep Web consumes three times more energy than digging up a dollar's worth of gold, researchers said Monday. There are now hundreds of virtual currencies and an unknown number of server farms around the world running around the clock to unearth them, more than half of them in China, according to a recent report from the University of Cambridge. Mining virtual currencies with a real-world value, in other words, carries a hidden environmental cost that is rarely measured or taken into account.
'A Hero, a Patriot, a Wonderful Father.' Utah Mayor Killed During National Guard Deployment to Afghanistan
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Maj. Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah and the father of seven children
How We Can Fight the Trump Administration's Xenophobia
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
There is no single formula but we can rebuild a culture of welcoming
Children’s sleep barely affected by screen time, new study finds
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Children’s sleep is barely affected by the amount of time spent staring at screens, claims a new study by scientists at the University of Oxford. Researchers found that screen-time had little impact on how much sleep children get, casting doubts on previous studies that claim excessive use of gadgets is to blame for up to 90 per cent of school-age children not getting enough sleep.   The scientists from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, said the relationship between screen-time and sleep was at most “extremely modest”. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that every hour of screen time was linked to 3 to 8 fewer minutes of sleep a night. The scientists concluded that this correlation was too small to make a real difference to a child’s sleep. Professor Andrew Przybylski, author of the study, suggested parents need to look at other variables, such as what children do before bedtime, to help improve sleep patterns.  “Focusing on bedtime routines and regular patterns of sleep, such as consistent wake-up times, are much more effective strategies for helping young people sleep than thinking screens themselves play a significant role,” he said.  Professor Przybylski criticised the small sample sizes of previous studies which have blamed increased screen-time on poor sleep of minors.   He said: “Because the effects of screens are so modest, it is possible that many studies with smaller sample sizes could be false positives, results that support an effect that in reality does not exist.” Oxford scientists used data from the United States’ 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, where parents in the US completed surveys about sleep patterns of children in their own households. Professor Przybylski added that more research needs to be done to find out if there are any biological mechanisms that are affected by digital screens, amid claims excessive use of devices may not affect sleep patterns at all.  The findings follow a study in August that found that "blue light", the wavelength of light emitted from digital devices, triggers the production of a toxic chemical that kills light-sensitive cells in our eyes. The resulting damage can speed up macular degeneration – a condition that affects the middle part of vision. Around one in seven people over 50 have some signs of the disease and there is no known cure. Dr Ajith Karunarathne, the author of the study from the University of Toledo, said: “We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it.” Blue light has more energy and a shorter wavelength than other colours which is why it can cause more damage. The University of Toledo research team said people should avoid using digital devices in the dark because this can dilate pupils and cause more blue light to enter the eyes.
Epic Prank Ends With Soccer Player Doing Something Odd With a Sirloin Steak
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It all started with a wrong phone number and a team mate with a reputation for pranks
Twist Bioscience IPO: What Investors Need to Know
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Investors can now buy shares in a leading synthetic biology company. But should they?
Instant Legend Naming 27 Cheeses in 30 Seconds Embodies Peak Cheese Pride
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A legend and a hero
Most American Women Are Not Optimistic About Electing a Female President: TIME Poll
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Black women reported the highest increase in engagement since 2016
SpaceX's Starman Has Now Traveled Beyond the Orbit of Mars
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The lonely space traveler launched on a test rocket in February has reached the furthest point in its orbit.
More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said. The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientist raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.
Inside a 22
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"There is no minimum age for getting involved"
Edward Felsenthal Named Editor
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
TIME announced today that Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal has been appointed Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME. “I am truly honored to lead the extraordinary TIME team,”…
President Trump 'Probably' Won't Meet With Putin in Paris
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
President Trump 'Probably' Won't Meet With Putin in Paris
Mexican scientists discover new species of sea anemone
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Mexico, Nov. 5 (Notimex).- Scientists from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS, for its acronym in Spanish) identified a new genus and species of sea anemone. This work is the result of Polet Yamaly Barragán Marín, who joined the master's program in marine and coastal sciences (Cimaco, for its acronym in Spanish) of the university institution, and had the support of scientists from the Research Program for the Conservation of the Reef Fauna, from the same university. The species was named Tenactis riosmenai, in homage to the Mexican marine botanist Rafael Riosmena Rodríguez (1966-2016). The first thing that was done was touring the marine area of ​​San Juan de la Costa, place within the Bay of La Paz. Experts dived into the rocky sites, rummaged through cracks and raised each rock in search of sea anemones because, unlike specimens from the Pacific Indo and the Caribbean, anemones in the Gulf of California are smaller in size. The collection of the sea anemone went through a complex process, due to the precise management required by the body, to prevent it from contracting its body, reported through its news agency the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT, for its acronym in Spanish). After separating the anemone from the marine substrate, to which it is attached in its natural state, to reduce the stress caused by this alteration, menthol crystals were applied, relaxing the polyps of the organism and facilitating its later handling, by means of the fixation with alcohol and/or formaldehyde. Thus, the sea anemone was prepared to undergo a histological examination. "They are like a little bag, with a hole in the top and small tentacles; the anatomy is very simple and if it contracts, it is very difficult to work with the organism. With the anemones we work the histological part, which is to make very thin cuts and analyze the internal part", exemplified Barragán Marín. Sea anemones are benthic animals that adhere to the marine substrate, such as sand, rocks and corals. They have a morphological simplicity since they are tissue-level organisms, they are differentiated by the type of cellular tissue; however, they have an ancient evolutionary history, in which their members have different life strategies. The specialists estimate that there are more than six thousand species of sea anemones. Normally, this group of organisms has six tentacles or multiples of six, but Tenactis riosmenai had 20, that is, multiples of five, so the scientists reported that it was a new species and new genus. Undoubtedly, the ecological success of sea anemones is facilitated by their propensity to establish symbiotic relationships with other animals, including hermit crabs, mollusks and fish. The study is part of the Research Program for the Conservation of the Reef Fauna of the UABCS, coordinated by Carlos Sánchez Ortiz. NTX/MSG/CYMA/JCG
Man dies after being paralyzed for eight years when he ate a slug on a dare
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
If you've ever watched an episode of Man vs Wild or Survivorman you know that the human body can digest some pretty wild stuff. Those programs show how surviving in the wild often means munching on all manner of unsavory critters, but the death of a young man in Australia is a stark reminder that eating creepy-crawlies can end in disaster. Sam Ballard, a rugby player who was having a drink with is friends at a social gathering, ended up on the wrong end of a dare when a small slug appeared near where the boys were sitting. Ballard ultimately took the challenge, thinking the worst that could happen was an upset stomach, and swallowed the bug. Now, eight years later, he's dead. Ballard's plight has been written about at length, and the story is almost too heartbreaking to believe. Shortly after eating the bug he began to feel ill. He wasn't faced with a rumbling stomach, however, but extreme pain in his legs, and doctors were baffled at the cause. Eventually medical professionals discovered that he had contracted what is called a "rat lungworm," which is a nasty parasite that most people (including me) have never even heard of. The parasite marched on Ballard's brain, slowly destroying its host while he was powerless to stop it. His motor skills degraded rapidly and he was confined to a wheelchair, unable to go to the bathroom or even eat on his own. He fell into a coma about seven years after the slug eating incident, and the infection ultimately claimed his life last week. His mother, who was his primary caretaker, held out hope that he would recover, but there was nothing that could be done to stop the parasite's progression. The parasite is often found in rodents but it can be transmitted to insects like slugs if they come into contact with rodent feces. This seems to be what happened in Ballard's case, and he could never have known the dangers that eating the slug would bring.
The air quality in India is horrendously bad right now. Here's why.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Apocalyptically horrendous air has descended upon India's sprawling capital territory, Delhi.  According to November 4 measurements taken by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, the Air Quality Index (AQI) hit 534. For perspective, the scale only goes up to 500, wherein levels are described as "Hazardous." "534 is higher than your highest value — which is insane," Anthony Wexler, the director of the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California, said in an interview. But, come early November, terrible air quality becomes the norm in northern India. This time of year, farmers burn off bounties of crop waste to clear fields.  Combined with other pollutants emitted from the over 18 million people living in the Delhi area, this means the air becomes laden with microscopic bits of pollution smaller than the width of a human hair, known as Particulate Matter 2.5, or PM 2.5.  This morning, fine particulate concentrations in #Delhi moved above 500 ug/m3 for the first time this season.Anything over 55 ug/m3 is considered unhealthy. Above 250 ug/m3 is considered acutely hazardous. No one on Earth should be breathing air like this. #AirQuality #Smog pic.twitter.com/cKWc0k9wT1 — Robert Rohde (@RARohde) November 5, 2018 Commonly, Beijing, China, is looked to as a place with ridiculously poor air quality, as the smog forces its residents and soldiers to wear masks. But India might now be worse. "India has pretty much surpassed China in regards to air pollution problems," Gabriele Pfister, deputy director of the National Center of Atmospheric Research’s atmospheric chemistry lab, said in an interview. Air quality in India — or anywhere — can become unhealthy or harmful when pollution combines with the right weather conditions, noted Wexler. For instance, pollution from fires or normal city-life can become trapped under a layer of warm air, known as an inversion layer. This traps the cooler air below.  SEE ALSO: The oceans, the true keepers of climate change, may meet our grimmest estimates "The air just sits by the ground, where people are living and breathing," said Wexler.  The Indian government is well aware that Delhi's pollution is unacceptable, but the problem doesn't have an immediate, easy fix.  "It's hard on farmers — they need to clear their fields to sow their crops in the next three weeks," Rajesh Kumar, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research who is working with the Indian government, said in an interview. Kumar said the Indian government is now collaborating with farmers to encourage new agriculture techniques that discourage burning, such as converting leftover crops to resources industries need, or using agricultural waste to fertilize the fields. Residential buildings are seen shrouded in smog in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, November 5. By @journomenon #pollution #india #DelhiPollution pic.twitter.com/KFagpnRlx9 — Reuters India Photos (@IndiaPhotos) November 5, 2018 Over time, this could mean significantly less smoke getting trapped in Delhi.   "It should not be inevitable," Pfister said of the hazardous Indian pollution. Though the harmful pollution can't yet be stopped, it can be forecast.  A joint effort between India's Ministry of Earth Sciences and the National Center of Atmospheric Research has developed an air quality forecasting system that gives residents a 72-hour forecast to prepare for the hazardous air, said Kumar.  But not just that. Once particulate levels hit 250 parts per million, or ppm, Kumar said the government will tell major power plants and industry to to ramp down or close, while encouraging public transit.   Yet, once the particulate pollution arrives, not everyone can avoid it — though they should. The first thick smog of this season? #Noida #Pollution #CantSeeCantBreathe #Delhi pic.twitter.com/dSLvhTvvA6 — Pratik Prasenjit (@pratikprasenjit) October 24, 2018 Both U.S. government and university researchers have repeatedly shown that breathing this stuff is bad for your heart, as it accelerates plaque build-up in blood vessels.   "They [PM 2.5] basically induce heart attacks," said Wexler.  When it gets bad, some people can try to leave.  "You can take the train somewhere and hang out somewhere till it gets better," said Wexler. But, he recognizes that not everyone has that privilege.  In that case, you can try and stay indoors. And you definitely shouldn't exercise.  "You're getting permission to be a couch potato," said Wexler.  And anyone living in the pollution-filled Indian capital can also vote for candidates that support cleaning up the air, to avoid such horrendous air pollution events.  "You can make sure you vote for the right political party when the new election comes up," emphasized Wexler. "Which, incidentally, is pertinent to our country [the U.S.] now, too." WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?  
Wind farm 'predator' effect hits ecosystems: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Wind farms act as a top "predator" in some ecosystems, harming birds at the top of the food chain and triggering a knock-on effect overlooked by green energy advocates, scientists said Monday. Close to 17 million hectares -- an area roughly the size of Tunisia -- is currently used for generating wind energy worldwide, and researchers warned that developers had "greatly underestimated" the impact the technology has on wildlife. In new research, an international team of scientists studied the effects of wind turbine use in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO-listed range of mountains and forest spanning India's west coast region and a global "hotspot" of biodiversity.
Gates Foundation Pulls Funding From Charity Chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi Killing
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Gates Foundation is cutting ties with a charity chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over Jamal Khashoggi's murder.
Protesters Demand Justice in Ukraine After Anti
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Hundreds of protesters congregated in the Ukrainian capital Sunday following the death of a prominent anti-corruption activist who was targeted in an acid attack this summer.
Scientists Do Too Much Research on the Old Instead of the New
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Typically, particle colliders are created to test theories — physicists’ math shows that undiscovered particles ought to exist, and experimentalists use colliders to see whether they really do. This was the case with the Large Hadron Collider, which was built in Europe with the express purpose of detecting the elusive Higgs boson. The Higgs discovery puts the capstone on the so-called standard model of particle physics.
Elon Musk: 'You're gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For Elon Musk , the difference between a "manageable" work schedule and an "insane" one is somewhere between 80 and 120 hours of work per week. "You're gonna go a little bonkers if you work 120 hours a week," Musk told Recode's Kara Swisher in an interview on Wednesday at Tesla's Palo Alto, California headquarters . "There were times when, some weeks ... I haven't counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week.
Gene study reveals secrets of parasitic worms, possible treatments
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The results point to potential de-worming treatments to help fight some of the most neglected tropical diseases - including river blindness, schistosomiasis and hookworm disease - which affect around a billion people worldwide. "Parasitic worms are some of our oldest foes and have evolved over millions of years to be expert manipulators of the human immune system," said Makedonka Mitreva of Washington University's McDonnell Genome Institute, who co-led the work with colleagues from Britain's Wellcome Sanger Institute and Edinburgh University.
Wait a second, was that weird interstellar object an alien spacecraft after all?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
One of the most bizarre pieces of space news that keeps popping up this year is the story of Oumuamua, a cigar-shaped object that sped through our Solar System so fast that scientists barely had time to glimpse it before it was already headed back out into space. It's the first interstellar object mankind has ever seen, and it's sparked a ton of debate over its origins and what exactly it was. Early on, the object was thought to be a comet, but observers later decided it was obviously an asteroid. The scientific community at large has changed its mind a few times since then, and at this point it's unclear what the majority of astronomers actually believe, but at least a couple of them are still entertaining the possibility that the object was actually an alien spacecraft. Yes, this is still a thing. After Oumuamua's shocking appearance in our system, researchers from the Breakthrough Listen project pointed mechanical ears at it to see if they could hear signals being sent too or from the object. If it were an alien ship, surely it would be communicating with its handlers and we might be able to hear those whispers, or at least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the team heard only silence, but that isn't stopping some researchers from imagining the possibility of Oumuamua being a spacecraft sent to survey our Solar System or even Earth, specifically. In a new paper, scientists from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics break down the case for the cigar-shaped object being of extraterrestrial origin. More to the point, they focus on the object's strange speed changes as it passed through and exited our system. Oumuamua sped up as it left, which is obviously very odd behavior for a rock, which led some scientists to assume it was a comet, spewing out gas and material as it cruised back out into interstellar space. This new paper suggests that it might be speeding up because it's equipped with what is known as a "light sail." A light sail is an advanced, but still theoretical, form of spacecraft propulsion that would use radiation pressure from a star to push an object along, like wind on a sailboat's sail. If solar particles slam into the sail, it causes the sail and whatever it's attached to to speed up. "Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment," the paper explains, noting the possibility that it might just be a piece of alien space junk that found its way to our system. However, the team follows up with an even more wild theory, saying "a more exotic scenario is that Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization." What this paper shows more than anything is that we still have no good explanation for what the object was, why it was here, or how it moved in the way that it did. There are plausible natural processes that might have done the trick, or maybe it really was aliens. We may never know for sure.
What to Know About the U.S. Sanctions 'Snapping Back' on Iran
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The wide-ranging sanctions come back into force Monday, six months after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal
U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, ramping up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.
More protection: UN says Earth's ozone layer is healing
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.
U.S. and South Korea Resume Military Drills Ahead of Denuclearization Talks With North Korea
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The maritime drills come as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares for talks with North Korea
Has the U.S. Done Enough to Stop Foreign Election Meddling?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Trump Administration has confidence in its plan
Jack Ma Says Trade War Is the 'Most Stupid Thing' as U.S.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Ma, whose online commerce empire is China’s largest corporation, has been a vocal opponent of tit-for-tat tariffs
End to the daffodil colour lottery in sight as scientists map the plant's genetic code
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Gardeners will be able to predict the colour of their daffodils before the bulbs are planted after scientists successfully mapped the flower’s genetic code. When sold as dry bulbs, the 1,766 potential variations are currently impossible to tell apart, meaning they can grow to be anything from yellow, pink, green, or even trumpeted or double-headed. Now, experts at the Royal Horticultural Society and Reading University say their work should enable bulbs to be accurately labelled in garden centres, allowing gardeners to plan the perfect flower bed. The work should also enable prediction of the colours of other bulbous plants such as snowdrops, crocus and hyacinths, they predict. Researchers began by extracting DNA from the leaf material of a pheasant’s eye daffodil grown at RHS Garden Wisley. They then focused on the 2 per cent of the species’ genome responsible for chloroplasts, the part of the plant which converts the sun’s light energy into the sugars that fuel cells. The data will now allow scientists to identify the variations in the genome that could serve as genetic markers and be effective in distinguishing between different varieties. John David, Head of Horticultural Taxonomy, at the Royal Horticultural Society said: “This is an exciting first step in identifying daffodil varieties at the point they are most popularly bought but when there is nothing to tell them apart. “With so many bulbs due to be planted this autumn it is a huge industry and we hope our work might avoid disappointment for professionals who plant en masse and gardeners who will often seek out their tried and tested favourites.” The researchers said that thanks to the pace of technological innovation, the means to determine the colour of a daffodil before it is planted should be commonly available and affordable within 10 years. The genetic insights could also be used to engineer new breeds and colours of daffodils. As a keen gardener I have sometimes been disappointed to find special bulbs I’ve planted in the autumn have turned out to be less good varieties when they come in to flower in the spring,” said Alastair Culham, Associate Professor of Botany at Reading University. “Better management of the supply chain and the ability to authenticate dormant bulbs should stop such mistakes in the future.”