Study: Man-Made Global Warming First Became Evident In the Mid 20th Century 402

TapeCutter writes: In 1958 the US National Academies of Science (NAS) warned the US government that they had detected a robust Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) signal, they have not changed their mind on that claim for 57 years. Like the modern day Al Gore, Frank Capra publicized the possible effects in a popular documentary (video). Today we have news of a study from Melbourne University claiming the effects of AGW first became evident in the mid 20th century. In other words, the NAS could not have picked up the signal much earlier than they actually did. The fact that the last serious scientific objection to AGW (as a theory) was overcome in the mid 20th century by improving spectrometers in heat seeking missile was a remarkable coincidence, NAS took full advantage of that opportunity.

Paralyzed Man Uses Own Brainwaves To Walk Again -- No Exoskeleton Required 35

Zothecula writes: A man suffering complete paralysis in both legs has regained the ability to walk again using electrical signals generated by his own brain. Unlike similar efforts that have seen paralyzed subjects walk again by using their own brainwaves to manually control robotic limbs, the researchers say this is the first time a person with complete paralysis in both legs due to spinal cord injury was able to walk again under their own power and demonstrates the potential for noninvasive therapies to restore control over paralyzed limbs.

Fukushima: 1,600 Dead From Evacuation Stress 172

seven of five writes: The NYT reports that radiation-related hysteria and mistakes have cost the lives of nearly 1,600 Japanese since the Fukushima disaster. The panic to evacuate, not the radiation itself, led to poor choices such as moving hospital intensive care patients from hospitals to emergency quarters. The government's perception of radiation exposure risk, rather than the actual risk itself, may have caused far more harm than it prevented.

Why NASA's Road To Mars Plan Proves That It Should Return To the Moon First 194

MarkWhittington writes: published the results of current NASA thinking concerning what needs to be launched and when to support a crewed mission to Phobos and two crewed missions to the Martian surface between 2033 and 2043. The result is a mind-numbingly complex operation involving dozens of launches to cis-lunar space and Mars using the heavy lift Space Launch System. The architecture includes a collection of habitation modules, Mars landers, propulsion units (both chemical rockets and solar electric propulsion) and other parts of a Mars ship.

Battery Advance Could Lead To a Cleaner Way To Store Energy 146

sciencehabit writes: With the continuing rise of solar and wind power, the hunt is on for cheap batteries that are able to store large amounts of energy and deliver it when it's dark and the wind is still. Last year researchers reported an advance on one potentially cheap, energy-packing battery. But it required toxic and caustic materials. Now, the same team has revised its chemistry, doing away with the noxious constituents—an advance that could make future such batteries far cheaper and simpler to build.

Making Mining the Asteroids and the Moon Legal 162

MarkWhittington writes: Popular Science reported on a bill called the Space Act of 2015 that has passed the House and may soon pass the Senate that will allow private companies to own the natural resources that they mine in space. The idea would seem to be a no-brainer. However, the bill is causing some heartburn among some space law experts, especially in other countries. Fabio Tronchetti, a lawyer at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, argues that the law would violate the Outer Space Treaty.

An AI Hunts the Wild Animals Carrying Ebola 45

the_newsbeagle writes: Outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola follow a depressing pattern: People start to get sick, public health authorities get wind of the situation, and an all-out scramble begins to determine where the disease started and how it's spreading. Barbara Han, a code-writing ecologist, hopes her algorithms will put an end to that reactive model. She wants to predict outbreaks and enable authorities to prevent the next pandemic. Han takes a big-data approach, using a machine-learning AI to identify the wild animal species that carry zoonotic diseases and transmit them to humans.

ESA-JAXA Team Wins 'America's Cup of Rocket Science' 20

An anonymous reader writes: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory just announced the winners of the 8th edition of the Global Trajectory Optimization Competition, aka the America's Cup of Rocket Science. For the first time, a joint team from ESA and JAXA won the prestigious award. They had to design a nearly impossible mission to perform space-based Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry using the formation flight of three spacecraft around the Earth. Their incredibly complex trajectory can be seen here on the YouTube channel of the winning team. The full final ranking can be also downloaded here.

Who Will Pay For a Commercial Space Station After the End of the ISS? 211

MarkWhittington writes: While NASA is planning its road to Mars, a number of commercial interests and place policy experts are discussing what happens after the International Space Station ends its operational life. Currently, the international partners have committed to operating ISS through 2024. Some have suggested that the space station, conceived by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, could last as long as 2028. But, after that, there will still be a need for a space station of some sort, either in low Earth orbit, or at one of the Lagrange points where the gravity of the moon and Earth cancel one another out.

What Ridley Scott Has To Say About the Science In "The Martian" 163

An anonymous reader writes: Sciencemag has an interview with the people behind the movie The Martian. Director Ridley Scott, author Andy Weir, and Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science and an adviser on the film talk about the technology and the science in the movie. Scott says: "Almost immediately [after] I decided to do it, we started to have conversations with NASA about process, the habitats, the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), the suits and everything. And they sent us pictures, almost like photographs, of what they hoped it would all be. If there had been anything in [the screenplay] that actually was suspect—they are not shy—they would have said so."

The New Technique That Finds All Known Human Viruses In Your Blood 111

schwit1 writes with this story at the Atlantic that profiles Ian Lipkin and his new method for quickly detecting all known human viruses in a sample: Ian Lipkin, a virus hunter from Columbia University, recently received a blood sample from colleagues at the National Institutes of Health. They came from a man who had received a bone-marrow transplant and had fallen mysteriously ill, with evidence of severely inflamed blood vessels. In analyzing a similar case a few years back, Lipkin had discovered a new polyomavirus, part of a family that can cause disease in people with compromised immune systems. Perhaps this new case would yield another new virus. It didn't. Instead, when Lipkin's team ran the sample through a system that they had devised to detect human viruses, they found that the man was infected with dengue virus. In hindsight, that made sense-he had recently returned from Vietnam, where dengue is prevalent. But the thing is: The team wasn't looking for dengue virus.

"It wasn't what we anticipated, but we didn't have to make a priori decisions about what we planned to find," Lipkin says. "When people analyze samples from people who are ill, they have some idea in mind. This is probably an enterovirus, or maybe it's a herpesvirues. They then do a specific assay for that particular agent. They don't usually have the capacity to look broadly." The new system, known as VirCapSeq-VERT, barrels past this limitation. Lipkin, together with fellow Columbia professors Thomas Briese and Amit Kapoor, designed it to detect all known human viruses, quickly, efficiently, and sensitively. By searching for thousands, perhaps millions, of viruses at once, it should take a lot of the (educated) guesswork out of viral diagnosis.

Stem Cell-Derived Brain Mimics Predict Chemical Toxicity 16

MTorrice writes: Scientists in Wisconsin have grown three-dimensional brain-like tissue structures from human embryonic stem cells. These new structures are easy to grow and contain vascular cells and microglia, a type of immune cell. The breakthrough may change the way we test drugs and chemicals for their effect on the human brain. Currently most tests use multiple generations of rats and cost about $1 million to test one chemical. “In the near term, the approach might be more valuable to identify pathways and mechanisms of toxicity,” says William Murphy, a biomedical engineer at the University of Wisconsin. “We are gathering so much data on responses of these human brain mimics to known toxic chemicals that we can start to understand the signaling pathways affected by the chemicals. Not just whether, but how the chemicals are affecting the developing human brain.”

Launch Manifest For NASA's "Road To Mars" Takes Shape But Questions Remain 130

MarkWhittington writes: reported that NASA's so-called "Road to Mars" is starting to take shape. The deep space program that would conclude with human astronauts departing for the Red Planet in 2039 would require just over 40 launches of the heavy-lift Space Launch System, including an uncrewed flight in 2018 and one flight a year to cis-lunar space starting in 2021 lasting until 2027. A flight in 2028 would launch something called the Pathfinder Entry Descent Landing Craft to Mars as a precursor for a human landing. Then the Mars program begins in earnest with a mission to Phobos in 2033 and missions to the Martian surface in 2039 and 2043.

Scientists Propose Using Fast Radio Bursts To Chart Universe In 3D 27

hypnosec writes: Using redshifts, fast radio bursts and state of the art technology, researchers at University of British Columbia have proposed a new method of calculating distance between celestial objects, and mapping the cosmos in 3D. Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the research describes the proposal to use fast radio bursts to calculate cosmological distances. Though only 10 or so of these FRBs have been detected so far, UBC scientists are of the opinion that thousands of these FRBs must be happening each day.

Researchers Push For Access To Confidential Government Records of the Public 14

schwit1 writes: Researchers in a number of fields want access to the vast amount of private government data that is routinely gathered from the public. Nature reports: "In the past few years, administrative data have been used to investigate issues ranging from the side effects of vaccines to the lasting impact of a child's neighborhood on his or her ability to earn and prosper as an adult. Proponents say that these rich information sources could greatly improve how governments measure the effectiveness of social programs such as providing stipends to help families move to more resource-rich neighborhoods. But there is also concern that the rush to use this data could pose new threats to citizens' privacy. 'The types of protections that we're used to thinking about have been based on the twin pillars of anonymity and informed consent, and neither of those hold in this new world,' says Julia Lane, an economist at New York University. In 2013, for instance, researchers showed that they could uncover the identities of supposedly anonymous participants in a genetic study simply by cross-referencing their data with publicly available genealogical information."

Coke Discloses Millions in Grants for Health Research and Programs 133

New submitter erinrivers11 writes: Following criticism that Coke has supported research that plays down the role of soft drinks in the spread of obesity, the company released a list showing nearly $120 million in grants to medical, research and community organizations. The Times reports: "The list, published Tuesday on the company’s website, details hundreds of Coke grants, large and small, to a variety of organizations since 2010, including physician groups, university researchers, cancer and diabetes organizations and public parks, and even a foundation for the National Institutes of Health."

Study: People Emit a "Germ Cloud" of Bacteria As Unique As a Fingerprint 78

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new study, we are all surrounded by a personal "germ cloud" as unique as a fingerprint. Lead author of the study Dr James Meadow says: "We expected that we would be able to detect the human microbiome in the air around a person, but we were surprised to find that we could identify most of the occupants just by sampling their microbial cloud. Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one, and demonstrate for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud." The findings were published today in the journal PeerJ.

Researchers Isolate the "Smell of Human Death" 49

sciencehabit writes: In the wake California's forest fires, cadaver dogs had to distinguish between burning homes, charred forest, and even other dead animals to pick up the unique scent of human victims. A new study reveals how they might have done it: Decomposing humans seem to release a unique chemical cocktail, one that scientists might be able to use to better train cadaver dogs and even develop machines that could do the same job.

US Restarts Hunt For Gravitational Waves With Advanced LIGO 72

schwit1 writes: The hunt for gravitational waves began again for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)-the largest instrument of its kind. The restart follows a five-year-long, US $200-million project to overhaul the experiment's detectors. Many physicists believe the revamped experiment, dubbed Advanced LIGO, will be the first to find direct evidence of gravitational waves: ripples in the fabric of space-time that can be created by, among other things, a pair of neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other. Gravitational waves were first theorized in 1916 by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his general theory of relativity, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Another Pharma Company Recaptures a Generic Medication 372

Applehu Akbar writes: Daraprim, currently used as a niche AIDS medication, was developed and patented by Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKlein) decades ago. Though Glaxo's patent has long since expired, a startup called Turing Pharmaceuticals has been the latest pharma company to 'recapture' a generic by using legal trickery to gain exclusive rights to sell it in the US. Though Turing has just marketing rights, not a patent, on Daraprim, it takes advantage of pharma-pushed laws that forbid Americans from shopping around on the world market for prescriptions. Not long ago, Google was fined half a billion dollars by the FDA for allowing perfectly legal Canadian pharmacies to advertise on its site. So now that Turing has a lock on Daraprim, it has raised the price from $13.50 a pill to $750. In 2009 another small pharma company inveigled an exclusive on the longstanding generic gout medication colchicine from the FDA, effectively rebranding the unmodified generic so they could raise its price by a similar percentage.