Science

  • Bye-bye fillings! Alzheimer’s drug lets teeth repair themselves

    So long fillings! Researchers from King’s College London have developed a method for stimulating the renewal of living stem cells in teeth, using a drug developed to help with Alzheimer's.

    Digital Trends
  • Strong Quake Hits Solomons; Some Damage but No Tsunami

    A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake has struck deep under Papua New Guinea, causing damage and blackouts but no tsunami hours after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert

    ABC News q
  • People who swear tend to be more honest

    For a study published this week in Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers ran a three-part experiment to find a connection between foul language and telling the truth. Second, the scientists analyzed the Facebook statuses of nearly 75,000 people who used a certain app. In all three conditions, more swearing equaled more integrity.

    The Verge q
  • Many Farmers Still Need Training After Lake Erie Algae

    Ohio's agriculture leaders say thousands of farmers have gone through training that soon will be required to put commercial fertilizer on their fields

    ABC News q
  • Scientists Advising U.S. Military Think Fears of Robot Apocalypse Are Misguided

    A scientific advisory board for the United States Department of Defense issued a report that assures it is unlikely for artificial intelligence to lead to any existential threats for humanity.

    International Business Times
  • 6 scientists are living like they're on Mars for the next 8 months

    A group of researchers have just begun their eight-month-mission on Mars. Well, kind of.  On Thursday, six crewmembers entered the geodesic dome that will be their home on Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano for the next eight months as they live out a simulated mission on the red planet. SEE ALSO: This is what you look like from Mars This marks the start of a mission funded by NASA to help the space agency figure out how people might behave during a real long-duration trip to the red planet.  "During the eight-month HI-SEAS Mission V the crew will perform exploration tasks such as geological fieldwork and life systems management," the University of Hawaii said in a statement.  The HI-SEAS missions are designed, at least in part, to help NASA figure out exactly how people will behave under conditions similar to those astronauts may face on Mars. NASA wants to send people to Mars sometime in the coming decades, and in order to do so, the agency will need to do more than develop technologies for life support and transportation.  A crewmember of a previous HI-SEAS mission. Image: HI-SEAS NASA will also have to contend with the psychological issues that could crop up from a crew that spends years in isolated, cramped quarters for such a mission.  These kinds of problems have been documented in astronauts who have flown to the International Space Station for extended periods of time.  For example, NASA's Scott Kelly — the astronaut who spent a year in space from 2015 to 2016 — admits that he had to contend with a host of physical as well as mental challenges as a result of his trip to orbit.  “During my time in orbit, I lost bone mass, my muscles atrophied, and my blood redistributed itself in my body, which strained my heart," Kelly said in a statement announcing a book deal.  "Every day, I was exposed to ten times the radiation of a person on Earth, which will increase my risk of a fatal cancer for the rest of my life. Not to mention the psychological stress, which is harder to quantify and perhaps as damaging.” "The isolated and confined conditions of the mission, including 20-minutes of delayed communication and partial self-sufficiency, have been designed to be similar to those of a planetary surface exploration mission," the university said in the statement. They also won't be allowed outside without protection like a spacesuit.  Basically, they'll live like they're on another planet. This HI-SEAS crew was chosen specifically as a way to test out models for the composition of future Mars-bound missions, according to the program.  The crew includes engineers Laura Lark, Ansley Barnard, Joshua Ehrlich and Brian Ramos, and PhD candidate in astrobiology Samuel Payler and freelance researcher James Bevington.  HI-SEAS isn't the only Mars simulator out there.  The Mars500 simulation, for example, isolated a crew of people for more than 500 days to see how they behaved and worked together. BONUS: Obama welcomes Scott Kelly back to Earth: 'Your Instagram feeds were amazing'

    Mashable
  • Trump Gets Obama's House, Title _ Even His Twitter Handle

    Donald Trump built his campaign on tweets and now he's in control of the White House's powerful social media arsenal

    ABC News q
  • First Ladies' Inaugural Ball Gowns Through the Years

    From Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama and incoming first lady Melania Trump, a look at this big fashion reveal moment.

    ABC News Videos
  • The Russians aren’t coming to Silicon Valley, they’re already here

    The idea that humans could engineer a path to their own salvation started long before Google, the internet, or even computers. The Russians were there 100 years ago, and planted the seed for today’s Silicon Valley transhumanists.

    Digital Trends
  • Should You Have Your Microbiome Analyzed?

    A new report reveals that several biotech companies are now selling "microbiome screening tests" through doctor’s offices in the U.S. and Europe. This month’s issue of Nature Biotechnology explai...

    Consumer Reports
  • Report: 'Net Neutrality' Foe Ajit Pai Is New FCC Head

    President Donald Trump has reportedly picked a fierce critic of the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules as the head of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation's airwaves and internet connections

    ABC News q
  • One of the largest icebergs ever seen is even closer to breaking off Antarctica

    Just 6.4 miles of ice are holding an iceberg the size of Delaware onto the floating Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and scientists warn it could cleave off the ice-bound continent at any time. Researchers who closely monitor the crack cutting across this particular Antarctic ice shelf reported on Thursday that it continued to make rapid progress, expanding another six miles in just the past two weeks.  SEE ALSO: An iceberg the size of Delaware is about to break off Antarctica This means that a collapse may be imminent, at which point, one of the top 10 largest icebergs ever observed will break away into the turbulent seas off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Scientists affiliated with a group that has been tracking the ice melt in this area, known as Project MIDAS, say the iceberg could measure 5,000 square kilometers, or 1,930 square miles. The rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, including the 6-mile extension in the past two weeks. Image: Project midas/nasa Scientists are worried that the calving event — which refers to the breaking off of the iceberg from the ice shelf — could speed up the disintegration of the broader shelf and land-based ice that lies behind it. "When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10 percent of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," researcher Adrian Luckman wrote in a blog post.  "We have previously shown that the new configuration will be less stable than it was prior to the rift, and that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event," Luckman wrote. Larsen B Ice Shelf prior to the breakup in 2002. Image: NASA Larsen B Ice Shelf after its breakup in 2002. Image: nasa The researchers found that the rift which had been progressing episodically across the floating ice shelf suddenly grew by 11.2 miles, or 18 kilometers, during the second half of December, leaving only 12.4 miles left connecting the iceberg to its parent ice shelf.  On Thursday, that length declined to 6.4 miles of ice remaining fully intact, which puts the ice shelf in an even more tenuous position.  Scientists are not sure exactly when the iceberg will break free, but they think it will occur soon.  The length and width of the crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf over time. Image: Project midas "We expect that the iceberg will break free within the next few months, although it's hard to be certain about timing," Martin O'Leary, a researcher at Swansea University in the U.K. who studies the Larsen C Ice Shelf as part of the MIDAS team, told Mashable in an email on Jan. 6. Rifts like this are a natural phenomenon, but such large ones are rare, scientists say. They can destabilize larger parts of ice shelves and land-based ice sheets by exposing more ice to mild ocean waters and air temperatures. This has been happening in parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but it is not guaranteed to happen with Larsen C. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is the most northerly of the remaining major Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves. This part of Antarctica has been warming rapidly in recent years, and the shelf is being undermined from below by warming ocean waters, as well as from above by increasing air temperatures.  View is of a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf from our airborne survey of polar ice: https://t.co/VgjxopHHLI @NASA_ICE pic.twitter.com/gt5mpHqbxn — NASA (@NASA) December 3, 2016 In 2002, Larsen C's neighbor, known as the Larsen B Ice Shelf, disintegrated entirely after a series of similar rift-induced calving events. The Larsen B calving event was featured in the opening scenes of the sci-fi climate change-related disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow . Sea level rise implications Floating ice shelves don't raise sea levels when they disintegrate or lose large icebergs. This is because their ice is already resting in the ocean, like an ice cube in a glass.  However, because they act like doorstops to the land-based ice behind them, when the shelves give way, the land-based glaciers can start sliding into the sea in a process that's difficult (if not impossible) to stop, long-term. It adds new water to the ocean — therefore, increasing sea levels.  The entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by another 10 to 15 feet if it were all to melt. This process would likely take centuries, however, though sea level rise is already accelerating worldwide as glaciers melt and ocean temperatures increase. BONUS: 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record, continuing a three-year streak

    Mashable
  • New Mexico Targets Takata, Auto Makers Over Faulty Air Bags

    New Mexico is suing Japanese manufacturer Takata and a long list of automakers in connection with the sale of cars with dangerous air bag inflators

    ABC News q
  • Read an excerpt from Claudia Gray’s ‘Defy the Stars’

    In Defy the Stars, a new YA novel from Star Wars: Lost Stars and Star Wars: Bloodline author Claudia Gray, a young soldier named Noemi is enmeshed in an intergalactic war — while also fighting a more philosophical battle closer to home. In three weeks, Noemi Vidal will die—here, in this very place. Noemi wants to pray like the other soldiers she hears around her.

    Entertainment Weekly
  • This new Periodic Table shows the astounding origins of every atom in your body

    In the first episode of his famous TV series about space, "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," the...

    Business Insider
  • Here's how clever people become science deniers

    Conspiracy theorists, people against vaccination and those who believe climate change is not happening are typically interested in science, but process information in a different way, psychologists say. Science sceptics tend to follow a particular argument or message by cherry-picking the information that supports their established view, psychologist Matthew Hornsey of the University of Queensland, Australia, argues in a paper presented at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Antonio, US.

    International Business Times q
  • Donald Trump, the President and the So-Called Performance Artist

    A look at Donald Trump as the legendary showman, from business mogul to reality TV star to commander-in-chief.

    ABC News Videos
  • Researchers activate graphene’s hidden superconductor abilities

    Thanks to U.K. researchers, wonder material graphene has another confirmed skill: The ability to work as a superconductor, meaning that electrical current flows through it with zero resistance.

    Digital Trends
  • A robotic implant that hugs your heart could help it keep beating

    A soft robotic sleeve made of silicone could help a human heart keep beating, according to a new report published Wednesday. For the millions suffering from heart failure and other cardiac issues, that could mean a beating heart without the blood clotting complications of the current mechanical heart pumps called ventricular assist devices, or VADs, according to a statement from the National University of Ireland Galway. The research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine , was led by Ellen Roche of that university. It took place at Harvard and at Boston Children's Hospital. SEE ALSO: This Albert Einstein robot can help you learn science Made of soft fibers including silicone, the robotic sleeve bonds itself to the heart by wrapping around it, essentially becoming part of the beating organ as it moves in synch with it. In doing this, it provides circulatory support for hearts not functioning properly, supporting blood flow through a sleeve that manages to not come in contact with blood, as explained in the study. This design marks a departure from the way VADs support heart function, as those devices must interfere with blood flow in order to assist in healthy pumping of the heart. "Using current VADs, the heart and one or both of the great vessels are cannulated, blood is removed from the heart, and blood is then pumped into the aorta or pulmonary artery," the researchers write. "In this scenario, the VAD assumes the function of one or both of the failing ventricles of the heart." But clotting complications that can require potentially risky blood thinners make VADs a less than ideal solution for those suffering heart failure.  A) How muscle fibers are oriented right outside the heart inspired the design of the VAD. B) The soft fibers of the robotic sleeve can compress and twist along with the motion of the heart. C) Silicone casting was used to produce the new implantable device. D) 3-D printing was also used to construct the implantable robot. E) These are areas of the heart which the robotic sleeve can wrap around. Image: American Association for the Advancement of Science Researchers tested out the new robotic sleeve using a pig heart to examine how effectively it supports heart function. "The soft robotic sleeve we describe took inspiration from native heart muscle and was designed to augment cardiac function by closely replicating it, instead of disrupting it," the researchers wrote. In this way, soft robotic techniques were used to "replicate the heart’s motion." The study explains that the broader field of robotics is facing new developments as softer materials are being used in innovative new ways. "However, the field is being transformed by a new wave of soft robots that are constructed using a combination of elastomers, fibers, and other filler materials," the study explains. "This approach provides opportunities to create robots that are well suited for intimate interactions with humans and with tunable material properties to match biological tissues." Such designs in medical robots can provide patients with more options, such as with the sleeve that wraps around the heart. "The sleeve can be customized for each patient," Dr. Roche said in the statement. The parts of the heart involved, and the strength of the pressure the sleeve uses, can be adjusted according to a patient's individual case. Robots have been used for a lot of things, from being a personal writing machine to delivering food to your doorstep, but helping a person's heart pump makes them even more useful.

    Mashable
  • Researcher who lost arm in blast sues University of Hawaii

    HONOLULU (AP) — A postdoctoral fellow who lost her right arm in a University of Hawaii laboratory explosion has sued the school and the researchers she worked for.

    Associated Press