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Marine park ‘the size of the Moon’ planned for Pacific

An ambitious plan to link marine parks across a vast swathe of ocean — whose surface area would equal that of the Moon — is slowly coming together piece by piece, say conservationists. Former international rugby league player turned environmentalist Kevin Iro is a driving force behind the part of…

Space shuttle ‘Endeavour’ on final flight to museum

US space shuttle Endeavour departed Wednesday morning on its final voyage, heading cross-country from Florida to California, riding piggyback on a specially fitted Boeing 747. The shuttle took off several minutes behind the scheduled 7:15 am (1115 GMT) departure. The transfer had previously been postponed twice because of bad weather.…

Snake venom could unlock cancer, diabetes cures: study

Snakes are able to convert their venom back into harmless molecules according to new research published Wednesday that scientists said could have important implications for diseases like cancer. The joint British-Australian study of venom and tissue gene sequences in snakes showed that venom not only evolved from regular cells but…

Scientists use $40 million camera to search for ‘dark energy’

Dark energy: Can $40m camera help solve its mystery? (+video) Using a cosmic looking glass that would dazzle Sherlock Holmes, an international team of astronomers has taken the first major step in a five-year observing project to help crack a case you could call The Sign of Dark Energy. The…

Study finds link between childhood obesity and soda can’s BPA chemical

US scientists say they have established for the first time a link between overweight and obese children and a common chemical found in everyday consumer products such as soda cans. The substance is Bisphenol A (BPA), a manufactured chemical, and the study found that in a sample of nearly 3,000…

‘Bends’ study shows how mammals make mega-deep dives

Scientists in California have shed light on a marine mystery: how diving mammals can hunt for food at great depths without getting the “bends,” according to a new study. Formally known as decompression sickness, the bends occur when nitrogen gas, compressed in the bloodstream at depth, expands during ascent, causing…

Scientists ponder interstellar travel at NASA-backed space summit

In one room, scientists debated whether the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer will help find a way to bend the space-time continuum and make interstellar travel feasible within a lifetime. In another, they estimated how many pairs of underpants an astronaut would need to pack for the trip. Later, a paper…

Sequestration will have ‘catastrophic consequences’ on medical research

The automatic budget cuts set to go into effect at the end of the year will have a devastating effect on medical research in the United States, according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). If sequestration goes into effect, as it is scheduled to do in…

Merk suffers setback on lung cancer treatment

German pharmaceuticals maker Merck KGaA said Tuesday it is withdrawing its application for its drug Erbitux to be used to treat patients with lung cancer. Merck said in a statement it had decided to “voluntarily withdraw the marketing authorisation application to the European Medicines Agency” for Erbitux to be used…

Amazon’s flying water vapor rivers bring rain to Brazil

As devastating drought spreads across much of the globe, British-born pilot Gerard Moss flies above the Amazon rainforest to show how its “flying rivers” — humid air currents — bring rain to Brazil and South America. Aboard his single-engine Embraer 721 aircraft, Moss, a naturalized Brazilian, was on a 45-minute…

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