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Sarah Silverman tells Neil deGrasse Tyson: NASA gave Mars rover a stripper name

Comedians Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman along with astrobiologist David Grinspoon appeared on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman to discuss the Curiosity Mars Rover last September. In video published Thursday on YouTube, Tyson explained that NASA’s latest Mars rover used an innovative new system to safely land…

Authoritarian regimes use Silicon Valley software to censor Internet: report

Authoritarian regimes around the world are using technology from a Silicon Valley firm for Internet surveillance, filtering and censorship, according to a report by Canadian researchers. The report this week from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said devices from California-based security firm Blue Coat Systems were being used in…

Lawmakers ‘unjustifiably focus’ on illicit drugs rather than alcohol: report

Lawmakers around the world “unjustifiably” treat illicit drugs as if they were a greater public health concern than alcohol, according to a report published online Wednesday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Alcohol is at least as harmful as illicit drugs, according to Jan van Amsterdam of the Laboratory for Health…

Study: Flu shots pose no extra risk for pregnant women

Pregnant women in Norway who got vaccinated against the swine flu virus that caused the 2009-2010 pandemic showed no increased risk of pregnancy loss, contrary to popular belief, says a study released Thursday. Pregnant women who came down with the flu did however have increased risk of miscarriage and still…

Weird marine creature could be the ancestor to modern shellfish

A weird marine creature that lived 500 million years ago at a time of explosive growth in Earth’s biodiversity could be a forerunner of worms and molluscs, a study published on Thursday said. Palaeontologists in China and Europe have taken a second look at fossils of a species called Cotyledion…

Toshiba creating nuclear reactor for mining Canada Tar Sands

Toshiba Corp. has reportedly designed a nuclear reactor and intends to market it to natural resource developers for mining Tar Sands in Canada and other places. Nikkei reported this week that the company had completed design of a small 10,000kw reactor and had asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for…

Fecal transplant more effective than antibiotics for bacterial infection: study

While many people might be more comfortable taking pills to fight off a dangerous infection, it turns out that there may be a more effective treatment: excrement. A new study found that fecal transplants can be a dramatically more effective course of treatment than antibiotics in the case of at…

Gene study hopes to settle debate over origin of European Jews

Jews of European origin are a mix of ancestries, with many hailing from tribes in the Caucasus who converted to Judaism and created an empire that lasted half a millennium, according to a gene study. The investigation, its author says, should settle a debate that has been roiling for more…

BP estimates that U.S. will be energy self-sufficient by 2030

LONDON — The United States will become almost self-sufficient for its energy needs by 2030, boosted by shale oil and gas output and slowing demand, British energy giant BP forecast on Wednesday. “By 2030, increasing production and moderating demand will result in the United States being 99-percent self-sufficient in net…

Scientists: ‘Supergene’ explains complex fire ant social structure

The complex social structure of the red fire ant, a fast-spreading invasive insect with a painful bite, is made possible by a DNA fusion known as a supergene, biologists said Wednesday. It is the first study to link supergenes to animal behaviour, the scientists reported in the journal Nature, and…

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