BP Releases Long-Awaited Plan for $500 Million for Gulf Research

first_imgAn alliance of gulf state governments will be in charge of doling out the biggest pot of money for scientific research on impacts of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company announced late yesterday. The news comes more than 4 months after BP first announced a plan to fund science in the gulf to the tune of $500 million over 10 years in what it termed the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI). Early on, BP distributed a total of $30 million on to five consortia of gulf universities, and later gave an additional $10 million to National Institutes of Health to fund studies on human health effects. But in mid-June, the White House put the brakes on distributing the rest of the money by directing BP to “work with governors, state and local environmental health authoritiesto design the long-term monitoring program to assure the environmentaland public health of the Gulf Region.” Months of silence from both BP and state governments followed, kindling frustration among academics. This announcement breaks that silence and puts the funds squarely in the hands of state governments via the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, an ecological and economic partnership among Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, created in 2004. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) It also begins to address lingering questions about just how the funds would be doled out, but the details are still fuzzy.BP had originally picked a group of scientists to choose winning proposals based on peer review. That’s still the plan, according to the new announcement, although now “BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance will appoint an equal number of research scientists to the board.” Some academics speculated that the president’s directive on GRI reflected governors’ worries that universities outside the gulf region would win too much of the funding. BPs press release doesn’t completely leave out institutions outside the region, but this statement seems to indicate that they’ll only be eligible for funds if they work in collaboration with gulf-based institutions: The independent scientific research will be conducted at academic institutions primarily in the US Gulf Coast states. However, appropriate partnerships with institutions based outside the US Gulf region will be welcome. Also in the announcement: the money can’t be used to purchase ships or build laboratories, and, as BP had said from the start, the research won’t require any approval from BP before publication.last_img read more

US Court Issues Summons to Congress President Sonia Gandhi

first_imgA federal court in New York has issued summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for allegedly shielding and protecting the leaders of her party who are accused of being involved in the anti-Sikh riots in India in 1984. Related Itemslast_img

We’re rapidly depleting our supplies of groundwater

first_imgHumans are rapidly depleting about one-third of the world’s largest groundwater basins without knowing when they might run dry, two new studies suggest. Groundwater is a key source of water for drinking or for commercial and industrial uses such as agriculture. Arid and drought-ridden regions are especially reliant on groundwater. It’s tough to measure how much water groundwater aquifers contain, lose, or gain, however, given how large and difficult to access they are. Now, researchers have used satellite data for the first time to measure groundwater use from the world’s 37 largest basins. From slight changes that twin satellites in NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission picked up in the basins’ gravitational tug, the team could estimate how fast they were gaining or losing water. And a water model the scientists used told them which basins were getting at least some water fed into them naturally. Between 2003 and 2013, 21 of the 37 basins’ water levels were declining, the team reports this week in Water Resources Research. Eight of those 21 weren’t being naturally replenished at all, with another five only being slightly replenished. Basins in the world’s driest areas, such as the Arabian Peninsula, are generally in the worst shape of those 13. Moreover, comparing their findings with old data on how much water the basins can store, the researchers found widely varying estimates on when basins would run 90% dry—from 10 years to tens of thousands of years, in the case of the northwest Sahara. Climate change and population growth may simply hasten the demise of many basins, they warn.last_img read more

Are your students bored? Check their brain waves

first_img*For our full coverage of AAAS 2016, check out our meeting page.WASHINGTON, D.C.—Teachers who wonder if their class is engaged could one day find out by checking how synchronized their brain waves are with each other. That’s the conclusion of a new study that logged the neural activity of 12 high school students and their teacher with electroencephalography (EEG) headsets over 11 classes. This is the first time the technology has been used simultaneously on such a large group outside of the quiet and controlled laboratory setting, says neuroscientist Ido Davidesco of New York University, who presented the study at a poster session yesterday at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes Science). Not surprisingly, patterns of brain activity were more similar when students were all focused on the same task. But the researchers also found that when a student reported being more engaged, the frequency of their brain waves better matched the group. Activities the students liked more—group discussions and videos versus a lecture or being read to aloud—seemed to put them more in sync.  Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Red deer came to Scottish islands from unexpected places

first_imgStone Age seafarers may have transported red deer to far-flung Scottish islands from remote sites in Europe rather than from the Scottish mainland nearby, a new study suggests. Although researchers have long suspected the creatures had been brought to the remote isles by humans to provide a steady supply of food, antlers, or skins, the notion they originated in distant lands and were carried there in a sort of Neolithic ark is a surprising twist.Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are one of the most widespread large mammals in Europe today, missing only from Iceland and northern Scandinavia. Each deer can grow up to twice the weight of North America’s white-tailed deer, and the animals now number between 360,000 and 400,000 in Scotland alone, says David Stanton, an evolutionary biologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. Remains unearthed at many archaeological sites throughout Scottish mainland and its islands suggest the deer have been an important source of meat, pelts, and bones for thousands of years. Their bones have even turned up in middens, or archaeological trash piles, dating back to at least 4500 years ago on Orkney, an island that lies about 16 kilometers off the northeastern coast of Scotland, and on the Outer Hebrides, a small archipelago located about 25 kilometers off the northwestern coast.At first glance that’s a surprise, because red deer probably can’t swim more than 7 kilometers across open water, Stanton says. Even when sea levels were at their lowest, about 22,000 years ago at the height of the last ice age, the islands were likely out of the deer’s swimming range. Before that time, Orkney and the Hebrides were covered with ice. So, researchers suggest, any red deer on those islands—and many other landlubber creatures now there, too, like the Orkney vole, a tiny rodent found only on the islands of its namesake archipelago—must have been brought there by humans.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out where the deer might have come from, Stanton and his colleagues analyzed genetic material from 74 red deer bones—some up to 7500 years old—that had been found at archaeological sites on the Scottish mainland, Orkney, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Then they compared the results with previous analyses of ancient DNA from red deer in Norway, Ireland, and Italy, as well as those from modern specimens throughout Europe. Today’s red deer, which recolonized Europe after the ice sheet melted about 12,000 years ago, fall into three or four distinct lineages that likely correspond to separate southern regions to which the deer had retreated during the height of the ice age, Stanton says.The team looked at a certain section of mitochondrial DNA extracted from 0.5-gram bone samples about half the size of a sugar cube. (Mitochondria, the tiny energy factories found in every cell, have genetic material separate from that found in the cell’s nucleus.) Because the segment of DNA that they studied isn’t associated with a gene that conveys an obvious benefit to the deer, any mutations that arise over time neither help nor hurt the creature’s survival. They do, however, provide researchers with insights about how various populations may be related to each other.In the 46 bone samples that yielded results in the new study, the team’s tests uncovered 14 different haplotypes, or particular sets of genetic variation, 10 of which had never been seen in previous studies. All 10 of the novel haplotypes were found on the outer Scottish islands. Possibly more telling, the deer found on the Outer Hebrides don’t sport the haplotypes found on the Scottish mainland or on the isles of the Inner Hebrides (which are within swimming distance of the mainland, Stanton notes). That disparity strongly suggests that the ancient Outer Hebridean deer, as well as their genetically distinct kin on the island of Orkney, originated in distant locales that haven’t yet been identified, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.Although possible sources of the deer are far from clear, they likely originated somewhere in western continental Europe, Stanton says. That’s because their overall genetic profile matches deer now living in that region.Why would people go to the bother of transporting the deer from a remote locale rather than nearby Scotland? Moving deer from what seems to be an obvious choice may not have been feasible, Stanton explains. Maybe the deer elsewhere were easier to catch, he notes, or maybe there were social or cultural reasons that Scottish deer were off limits. Or, he adds, if the seafarers themselves were from a distant land, they might have simply brought them along.The team’s analysis “is a great piece of work,” says Ceiridwen Edwards, an archeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom. Whereas previous consensus among researchers has been that red deer and several domestic species spread to the islands from England, she notes, “it is exciting to think that introductions from places further north in Europe could also have had an input into the red deer island gene pool.” The previously unknown genetic diversity could stem from repeated introductions of the deer to the islands over time from several locations by waves of seafaring hunters or settlers. Or, she notes, populations may have grown from a large group of genetically diverse deer brought to the remote islands at one time.However, Edwards cautions, there may be an alternate explanation for the genetic diversity seen in the new study. It’s possible, she suggests, that previous studies of ancient DNA didn’t analyze enough samples to unearth the true amount of genetic diversity in the region’s red deer.But that’s not likely, Stanton counters. Indeed, he notes, it’s improbable that all of the previous genetic studies of red deer, including those living throughout Europe today, wouldn’t have picked up any of the haplotypes he and his team identified in their new research.When it comes to identifying the migrations and movements of ancient seafarers and the creatures they may have carried with them, “our results really just scratch the surface,” he says. “Our study raises as many questions as it does answers.”Future studies should include samples from more sites in England as well as continental Europe, the researchers propose. Those results could provide better understanding of how those deer are related to those in the Inner Hebrides, as well as deliver more information about how deer populations on the islands have fluctuated in the past few millennia.last_img read more

Deadly Italian quake highlights continuing struggle to communicate risk

first_imgThe trial triggered international condemnation, and some scientists ridiculed Italian prosecutors for failing to accept seismology’s limited predictive power. But the accused scientists—some of whom were members of CGR at the time—were convicted of manslaughter and each given 6-year sentences. Last year, they were acquitted by Italy’s supreme court; the official, in contrast, was definitively convicted.The case led to a tightening of procedures for CGR, including a clearer separation of responsibilities: The scientists on CGR are supposed to analyze the seismicity in question, whereas civil protection officials at DPC communicate findings to the public and decide what action to take. But after last week’s quake, it seems that those rules have not been followed.Francesco Mulargia, a seismologist at the University of Bologna, Bologna, in Italy, says that he and his colleagues on the commission wrote and signed a set of minutes summarizing their discussions before leaving the meeting in Rome on Thursday. Later that day they were “explicitly asked” by DPC to condense the information in their minutes into a shorter, less technical statement more suited for public consumption, which they did on Friday morning. DPC “wanted something that was precise and that could not be misunderstood,” he says. “We weren’t very pleased to have to take responsibility for that, but in the end it was probably better than them giving out something more prone to misunderstanding.” The resulting press release, which a DPC press officer sent to ScienceInsider, states that historical records and fault behavior show the recent earthquake to be “typical” of quakes that occur in Italy’s Apennine Mountains. It also says that there was nothing unusual about the seismicity preceding this week’s event that could have indicated a big quake was on the way. And it describes the aftershocks—of which there had been some 500 by the time of the meeting, most with a magnitude below 4—as “typical” of the region.However, the commission points out that some historical earthquakes in central Italy did go on to generate powerful aftershocks. Examples, it says, include a quake in 1639 with an epicenter very close to last Wednesday’s event, which historical records show yielded strong tremors 7 and 10 days after the main shock, as well as a pair of roughly magnitude-7.0 quakes in 1703 that were spaced a month apart from one another. In recommending how to mitigate the ongoing danger, the commission limits itself to quite general comments about improving the resilience of weak buildings, both public and private.Producing a clear message about seismic risk remains a major challenge, Mulargia says, given that scientists are still unable to predict when, where, and with what strength the next earthquake will strike. He says that the chance of another powerful tremor occurring in the area close to the epicenter of a major earthquake gets “up to the order of some percent” over the following week, but notes that the size of the area in question is difficult to define accurately.Conveying such quantitative information, he says, risks making people just outside the chosen area feel safe, when in fact they are not. On the other hand, he adds, people hearing the advice might panic and put themselves in greater danger than they would otherwise be. DPC has to say something, he says, “but the precise message is definitely not easy.”The legacy of the L’Aquila trial has complicated the problem, says Andrea Tertulliani, a geologist at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Rome. Previously, Italian experts sometimes offered advice that was more subjective and left “room for interpretation,” he says. Now, researchers tend to stick to statements that are based on empirical data. “No longer do we say that it is likely that there won’t be other strong tremors,” he says. “What we say is that we can’t exclude anything.”Tertulliani acknowledges that such advice risks becoming too bland to be useable. But he warns against trying to communicate statistical probabilities of future quakes. He also maintains that experts “must be careful not to give answers that people want to hear.”Oddly, the commission’s message has not reached a wide audience. A DPC spokesperson says that the commission’s press release was sent on Friday “to everyone,” including all the main press agencies, the most widely read newspapers, and the broadcasters RAI and Sky. But there has been little reporting of the commission’s meeting apart from an online story by a small domestic press agency, AGI. Why most media chose not to cover the meeting’s conclusions is unclear. DPC has not posted the press release on its main website. ROME—In the wake of the magnitude-6.0 earthquake that killed at least 290 people in central Italy last week, scientists and government officials here have grappled with a fraught and delicate question: what to tell the public about the risk that another major quake will follow.More than 2000 aftershocks in the region around the epicenter, a mountainous area some 100 kilometers northeast of Rome, have caused only minor damage. But more powerful tremors—which could add to the death toll in the days, weeks, or months to come—are possible, the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks (CGR) cautioned in a report produced on Thursday. The report mentioned that some past earthquakes in Italy were followed by equally strong quakes not much later. How to communicate such risks to a jittery population has become a perilous issue for scientists on the commission and officials at Italy’s Civil Protection Department (DPC) after the controversy that erupted when a similar earthquake struck in 2009 in the town of L’Aquila, just 40 kilometers south of the epicenter of last week’s event. A year after that tremor, Italian prosecutors charged six scientists and a public official with falsely assuring L’Aquila’s residents that a quake was unlikely, just days before it struck and killed 309 people.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Part spider, part scorpion creature captured in amber

first_imgThis reconstruction shows how this amber fossil looks like it’s part scorpion and part spider. By Elizabeth PennisiFeb. 5, 2018 , 11:00 AM BO WANG Part spider, part scorpion creature captured in amber Amber mined for centuries in Myanmar for jewelry is a treasure trove for understanding the evolution of spiders and their other arachnid relatives. This week, two independent teams describe four 100-million-year-old specimens encased in amber that look like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. The discovery, “could help close major gaps in our understanding of spider evolution,” says Prashant Sharma, an evolutionary developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who was not involved in the work.Arachnids are a group of eight-legged invertebrates that includes scorpions, ticks, and spiders. Spiders, which crawled into existence some 300 million years ago, are known for their spinnerets—modified “legs” that produce silk and control its extrusion from tiny pores called spigots. Male spiders have also evolved another modified “leg” between their fangs and the back four pairs of legs that inserts sperm into the female. All but the most primitive spiders have smooth backs, unlike the segmented abdomens of scorpions, which are believed to have diverged from an ancestral arachnid more than 430 million years ago.But in 1989, researchers discovered a suspicious, spigot-bearing fossil that was 100 million years older than the earliest known spider. By 2008, paleobiologists realized that this ancient silk producer was just a spider relative, perhaps a stepping stone to true spiders. Researchers put it into the group Uraraneida, which was thought to have thrived between 400 million and 250 million years ago. That left unanswered many questions about when spinnerets and other spider traits first evolved.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Then, several years ago, amber fossil dealers independently approached two paleobiologists at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology in China with what looked like 5-millimeter-long Uraraneida encased in amber. One of them, Wang Bo, pulled together a team to look at his two specimens, which they eventually named Chimerachne yingi (“chimera spider” in Latin). The other paleobiologist, Huang Diying, assembled a second team that examined a different pair of these fossils. The two groups say they didn’t know about each other until after they submitted their results to the same journal. But, despite some differences, “they draw the same conclusion—that fossil uraraneids, as this group is called, are the closest extinct relatives of spiders,” says Greg Edgecombe, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum in London, who was not involved with the work.center_img Bo WANG Amber preserved in exquisite detail these 100-million-year-old close relatives to spiders. One group’s specimens give a really clear view of the top of this organism and the other, a great look at the underside, spinnerets and all, Huang and his colleagues report today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. “The degree of preservation is exquisite, and the fossils’ anatomy is easy to interpret,” Sharma says. The presence of the spinnerets, he adds, means they must have originated “very early” in arachnid evolution. The male specimens also have the special appendages for inserting sperm into the female.Yet they also have a segmented abdomen and a long tail, like a whip scorpion’s whip, Wang and his colleagues report today in the same journal. “These things appear to be essentially spiders with tails!” says Jason Bond, an evolutionary biologist at Auburn University in Alabama who was not involved with the work. This means that early arachnids had a mix of all these traits, which were selectively lost in their descendants, giving rise to the array of arachnids seen today.And what is even more amazing, says Bond, is that the amber is only 100 million years old. So these spider relatives hunted side by side with spiders for 200 million years.last_img read more

Mutating DNA caught on film

first_img By Elizabeth PennisiMar. 15, 2018 , 2:00 PM DNA mutations cause tumor cells to grow out of control, but they also generate variety that enables organisms to adapt to their environments and evolve. Until now, biologists have only had crude methods for estimating the average rates and effects of mutations. But in a new study, biophysicists have documented individual mutations as they happen in bacterial cells.These changes occur at about the same rate over time—as opposed to in bursts—and only about 1% are deadly, the researchers report today in Science. Moreover, all bacteria in a given strain seem to have about the same mutation rate—about one mutation per 600 hours in normal bacteria, and about 200 mutations per 600 hours in bacteria engineered to mutate at a faster rate—they note.To see the mutations, the team built 1000 microscopic channels into a computerlike chip and placed a single bacterial cell at the closed end of each the channel, along with plenty of nutrients to survive. The bacteria carried a modified DNA repair protein that caused any mutations to glow yellow. Then, for 8 hours up to 3 days, the researchers took a picture every few minutes as new bacterial cells were formed, pushed down the channel, and then swept away by fluid flowing across the ends of these channels. Automated image processing let them count the number of mutations and assess how well the cells were doing. Dead cells signaled a deadly mutation; slower growing cells signaled a detrimental change.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)According to its developers, the technique can be applied to assess mutation dynamics in other types of cells, even human cancer cells. And the researchers eventually hope to be able to monitor mutation rates real time in entire organisms, such as zebra fish, to see whether different tissues have different mutation rates. Mutating DNA caught on filmlast_img read more

Swedish court blocks new home for Nobel Foundation

first_img The Land and Environment Court this week sided with the critics, saying the plans would “damage the public interest” by obliterating a visible record of the city’s development as a harbor and an important shipping and trading port. It also said the traffic plan was inadequate. And it agreed with the owners of several neighboring buildings who say construction would block their current view of the harbor.Stockholm city officials have said they will appeal the court’s decision to the regional appeals court, which will have the final say. © David Chipperfield Architects Swedish court blocks new home for Nobel Foundation A Swedish court has blocked construction of a controversial new Nobel Center planned for central Stockholm’s waterfront.The eight-story, brass-clad structure is expected to serve as a hub for the Nobel Foundation’s activities, including the annual December award ceremonies for the world’s most prestigious science prizes. But critics have argued that the 1.2 billion Swedish krona ($140 million) center will destroy the historical character of the waterfront, and on 23 May, the Land and Environment Court in Stockholm agreed.The center would house the offices of the Nobel Foundation, an auditorium for the award ceremony (now held in Stockholm’s concert hall), the Nobel Museum, and also provide space for exhibitions, educational programs, and a restaurant. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in 2017. But the winning design by the Berlin office of David Chipperfield Architects has been controversial since it was unveiled in 2014. The plans were scaled back in 2015 and revised again in 2016, but critics say the building is still too big and clashes with the historic harbor buildings that would surround it. They also object to tearing down or moving the current buildings at the site, a customs house built in 1876 and several wooden harbor warehouses.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)center_img By Gretchen VogelMay. 24, 2018 , 3:10 PM The proposed Nobel Center (center) would host the award ceremony for the Nobel Prizes.last_img read more

First direct observation of hunting pelican eel reveals a bizarre fish with an inflatable head

first_img By Frankie SchembriOct. 4, 2018 , 8:00 AM What would you get if you crossed a pelican with an eel? Probably something close to the aptly named pelican eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides), a bizarre-looking fish with a slender body and a head that inflates like a balloon.Because the pelican eel prefers to live between 500 and 3000 meters below the surface of tropical and temperate seas, it is seldom seen or photographed by humans. This makes it difficult to study the eel’s behavior to look for clues as to why it evolved such a strange head.Now, researchers have made what they believe to be the first direct observation of a pelican eel hunting for prey and captured the behavior on video. Researchers piloted a submarine to a depth of 1000 meters in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1500 kilometers off the coast of Portugal near a constellation of islands known as the Azores.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team spotted the eel not only inflating its head to form a pouch for catching prey, but also actively hunting and swimming after smaller fish. Previous research had hypothesized that the eels inflated their heads to lure their prey or to create a large hole into which food could fall out of the water column, but these studies relied on evidence from the stomach contents of dead eels. The new video evidence suggests the eels take a much more active role in finding food: exploring their surroundings, stalking prey, and inflating their heads to maximize the probability of engulfing them.Earlier this month, another team of researchers caught a pelican eel on camera with an unmanned submarine off the coast of Hawaii. But that video shows only the inflation and deflation of the eel’s head, not its hunting behavior.The scientists hope to record more footage of the pelican eel and other unstudied deep-sea creatures to better understand the evolutionary history of their freaky features, and how they use these unusual adaptations to survive the harsh environments deep beneath the surface. First direct observation of hunting pelican eel reveals a bizarre fish with an inflatable headlast_img read more

Weird state of matter produced in space for first time

first_img Weird state of matter produced in space for first time By Adrian ChoOct. 17, 2018 , 1:50 PM Stephan Seidel center_img For decades, experimenters have used laser light and electromagnetic fields to chill puffs of gas to within a billionth of a degree of absolute zero. At such frigid temperatures, something bizarre can happen: The atoms can crowd into a single macroscopic quantum wave and form a bizarre state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). Now, a team of physicists from Germany has created a BEC in space.Working in space has one major advantage over a terrestrial lab: an absence of gravity. To be probed, a BEC must be released from its trap of light and electromagnetic fields, and within a fraction of a second it falls to the floor of the vacuum chamber that houses the experiment. But in the weightlessness of space, a BEC released from its trap should just float there, allowing researchers to attempt experiments they can’t do on the ground—such as making bubbles of BEC to probe its quantum nature.To create the BEC in space, the researchers designed a special automated rig in which rubidium atoms were trapped on a chip. The rig flew on a small rocket (above) launched from northern Sweden on 23 January 2017 and zoomed to an altitude of 243 kilometers. During the 6 minutes of weightlessness the flight provided, researchers achieved a BEC and performed more than 100 measurements on it, as the team reports today in Nature.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The German team edged out their U.S. competitors in the race for the first BEC in space. In May, physicists in the United States launched NASA’s fully automated Cold Atom Laboratory to the International Space Station, where it can study BECs essentially indefinitely. In July, the researchers announced that they’d achieved a BEC in space. If all goes as planned that’s just a first step toward more complex and exciting results.last_img read more

Top stories: Ancient psychoactive drugs, smart cats, and a new drug for Huntington disease

first_img(left to right): JUAN V. ALBARRACIN-JORDAN AND JOSÉ M. CAPRILES; HOLLY ANDRES; JOHN LEHMANN By Alex FoxMay. 10, 2019 , 4:45 PM Archaeologists find richest cache of ancient mind-altering drugs in South AmericaResearchers have discovered a 1000-year-old bag containing the most varied combination of psychoactive compounds found at an ancient South American site, including cocaine and the primary ingredients in a hallucinogenic tea called ayahuasca. The contents suggest the users were well versed in the psychoactive properties of the substances, and also that they sourced their goods from well-established trade routes.Cats rival dogs on many tests of social smarts. But is anyone brave enough to study them?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Labs studying feline social cognition are popping up around the globe, and a small but growing number of studies is showing that cats match dogs in many tests of social smarts. The new body of work could transform the widespread image of cats as aloof or untamed, and it may eventually offer insight into how domestication transformed these wild animals into some of our best friends.Experimental Huntington disease drug reduces toxic protein, newly published data confirmA drug that blocks the production of a mutant protein that causes brain damage in people with Huntington disease—an inherited and ultimately fatal neurological disorder—was officially declared safe this week in its first round of clinical trials. The New England Journal of Medicine study gives new hope to patients—and an official imprimatur to news that first electrified the community of patients with the disease 17 months ago.This 5000-year-old mass grave hides a family tragedyThe 15 men, women, and children discovered in a 5000-year-old mass grave near the southern Polish village of Koszyce must have suffered brutal deaths: Each was killed by blows to the head. Yet the tidy, systematic nature of their burial suggests they were laid to rest with care. Now, new genetic analyses reveal the dead all belonged to a single extended family, offering an intimate glimpse of a Bronze Age tragedy.Landmark analysis documents the alarming global decline of natureThe state of global biodiversity and ecosystems is at its most perilous point in human history, and the decline is accelerating, warns a landmark assessment released this week. But the hope is that the bleak assessment—crafted by hundreds of scientists and historic in its depth and breadth—will finally persuade governments and others of the need to change course and prevent further harm to the ecological systems that provide for human well-being.center_img Top stories: Ancient psychoactive drugs, smart cats, and a new drug for Huntington diseaselast_img read more

Blasts kill 74 football fans in Uganda

first_imgSomali Islamists carried out two bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital of Kampala that killed at least 74 people as they watched the World Cup final at a restaurant and a sports club.Suspicion fell on the al-Shabab rebel group, which claims links with al- Qaeda, after the severed head of a suspected Somali suicide bomber was found at one of the blast sites. An al- Shabab spokesman later said the Somali militant group was responsible for the bombings.The explosions ripped through two bars packed with fans watching the World Cup final in an Ethiopian-themed restaurant and at a gathering in a Kampala rugby club on Sunday.Al-Shabab militants in Somalia have been threatening to attack Uganda for sending peacekeeping troops to the anarchic country to prop up the Westernbacked government.At one of the scenes, investigators identified a severed head of a Somali national, believed to be a suicide bomber, said army spokesman Felix Kulayigye. An al-Shabab commander in Mogadishu praised the attacks.”Uganda is a major infidel country supporting the so-called government of Somalia,” said Sheikh Yusuf Isse, an al-Shabab commander in Somali capital Mogadishu. “We know Uganda is against Islam and so we are very happy at what has happened in Kampala.”One American was among those killed and President Barack Obama, condemning what he called deplorable and cowardly attacks, said Washington was ready to help Uganda in hunting down those responsible.The US charity Invisible Children said in a blog posting that one of its members, Nate Henn from Wilmington, Delaware, had been killed in the rugby club blast. One bombing targeted the Ethiopian Village restaurant, a popular night- spot which was heaving with soccer fans and is frequented by foreign visitors.advertisementThe second attack struck the Lugogo Rugby Club, also showing the match.Twin coordinated attacks have been a hallmark of al- Qaeda and groups linked to Osama bin Laden’s militant network.Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited the rugby club.”This shows you the terrorism I have been talking about,” he said. ” If you want to fight, go and look for soldiers, don’t bomb people watching football.” Ugandan government spokesman Fred Opolot said on Monday there were indications that two suicide bombers took part in the late Sunday attacks.Opolot said the death toll had risen to 74. Blood and pieces of flesh littered the floor among overturned chairs at the scenes of the blasts.Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement from Mogadishu. That sparked the Islamist insurgency which still continues.The blasts come in the closing moments of the final between Spain and the Netherlands and left shocked survivors reeling among corpses and scattered chairs. ” We were watching soccer here and then when there were three minutes to the end of the match an explosion came … and it was so loud,” witness Juma Seiko said at the rugby club.Heavily armed police cordoned off both blast sites and searched the areas with sniffer dogs while dazed survivors helped pull the wounded from the wreckage.last_img read more

Bhupathi-Mirnyi enter Cincinnati Masters final

first_imgIndian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi and his Belarussian partner Max Mirnyi reached their third ATP World Tour final of the year together, beating fifth seeds Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach in straight sets in the Cincinnati Masters Tennis Tournament.The fourth seeded Bhupathi-Mirnyi pair defeated the Polish-Austrian duo of Kubot and Marach 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finals.In the final, they face second seeds Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who saved two set points in the first set en route to a 7-6(8) 7-5 win over Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman.The Indo-Belarussian pair saved four of the five break points they faced and broke serve three times from eight opportunities as they wrapped up victory in 73 minutes.They are through to the Cincinnati final for the second time after finishing runners-up to James Blake and Todd Martin in 2002.Bhupathi and Mirnyi, currently ninth in the 2010 ATP Doubles Team Rankings, are looking to win their first team title since Rome in 2004, having lost in the finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Miami and Monte Carlo earlier this year.The Bryans, who will go to number one in the ATP Team Rankings on Monday, have a 46-9 match record on the season and they are coming off their 63rd career title last Sunday at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto.The Bryans are appearing in their fifth straight final in Cincinnati, winning last year and reaching the final from 2006-08. They also were finalists in 2003.advertisementlast_img read more