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U.S. ‘suffering worst drought in 56 years’

The United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years, according to a release by the nation’s meteorological agency Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that some 55 percent of the contiguous United States, particularly in the Midwest, suffered from drought last month, according to the…

YouTube videos show nurses as stupid or sex objects: study

Nurses should go on the offensive against YouTube videos that stereotype them as sexual playthings or witless, according to a report published in a nursing journal. Researchers led by Gerard Fealy, a professor of nursing and midwifery at University College Dublin in Ireland, analysed the 10 most-viewed clips on the…

NASA’s Mars rover two weeks from landing

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Curiosity rover is on target to arrive on Mars on August 6 for a two-year mission to find out whether microbial life once existed on the Red Planet, the US space agency said. Landing the car-sized rover is of course no easy task, NASA scientists say. “The…

Tropical butterfly discovered in Quebec a sign of warming

Caterpillars belonging to a species of butterfly previously unknown as far north as Canada have been discovered in Montreal, in a sign that this country’s cool climate is warming, researchers said Monday. The city’s botanical garden and insectarium said the giant swallowtail butterflies (Papilio cresphontes Cramer) were recently found for…

FDA approves Truvada pill for HIV prevention

US regulators on Monday approved Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences in California, for use as the first pill to help prevent HIV in some at-risk groups, the US Food and Drug Administration said. “Truvada is to be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in combination with safer sex practices to prevent…

Sri Lankans name new fish genus after atheist Dawkins

Sri Lankan scientists have identified a new genus of fresh water fish and named it after the evolutionary biologist and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins. Lead researcher Rohan Pethiyagoda, 56, said the new genus, named Dawkinsia, comprises nine species that are found only in South Asia and are characterised by long…

Oxytocin scientist studies what makes humans good and evil

The American academic Paul Zak is renowned among his colleagues for two things that he does to people disconcertingly soon after meeting them. The first is hugging: seeing me approach across the library of his club, in midtown Manhattan, New York, he springs to his feet, ignoring my outstretched hand,…

UK government to make all publicly-funded scientific research freely available

The government is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the invention of the internet. Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for by the British…

GMO in sport: Genetically Modified Olympians?

As athletes get ready to smash Olympic records in London, scientists are in a high-stakes race of their own to develop a test that will unmask anyone altering their genes in a desperate quest for gold. Observers said science will not prevail in time for the games that start on…

Three astronauts blast off for ISS on Russian rocket

A Russian rocket carrying an international crew of three blasted off without a hitch Sunday for the International Space Station in the first manned mission in two months. NASA’s Sunita Williams and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and Yury Malenchenko of Russia started their journey on top of the Soyuz-FG rocket under…

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