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Japanese engineer creates wheelchair that can walk up stairs

An engineer at Japan’s Chiba Institute of Technology has designed a new robotic wheelchair with the amazing capability to climb stairs. In a demonstration video, lead engineer Shuro Nakajima shows off the device’s capabilities, easily overcoming curbs and flights of stairs simply by pushing a joystick. “Each of the four…

NASA tracks X-class solar flare many times larger than Earth

The sun burped on Monday, triggering a spectacular eruption many times larger than Earth that NASA cameras were fortunately able to track in exquisite detail. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory said the flare, recorded just after 11 p.m. EST, was the seventh “X-class” solar flare recorded this year. It hit a…

New 3-D breast scan technique effective with 25 times less radiation

A new type of computerized tomography (CT) scan produces 3-D images of breast tissue while delivering a radiation dose that is 25 times smaller than current technology.  According to a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), scientists have declared that the new technique…

Russia launches astronauts to space station

A Russian rocket carrying two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut blasted off on Tuesday for the International Space Station. Russia’s Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin and NASA’s Kevin Ford blasted off in a Soyuz TMA-06M space craft on schedule at 1051 GMT from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, an…

Organic food not necessarily more nutritious for children: experts

WASHINGTON — Feed your children plenty of fruits and vegetables but don’t fret over whether they’re organic or not if you’re on a budget, US experts said Monday. While organic foods have lower pesticide levels, they also have the same vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients as their conventional counterparts.…

Scientists report whale making human voice sounds

WASHINGTON — US marine biologists puzzled by human-like sounds coming from the whale and dolphin tank of an aquarium concluded they were actually coming from a whale. Anecdotal reports of whales sounding like people are not new. But in this case in San Diego, California, scientists for the first time…

Six scientists jailed for failing to predict 2009 Italian earthquake

Seismologists said they were horrified after six of their colleagues were sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter Monday on charges of underestimating the risk of an earthquake that struck Italy in 2009. “We are deeply concerned. It’s not just seismology which has been put on trial but all…

Study: Open access publishing of science research rising at unanticipated rate

A new study shows that the rise of open access publishing of academic research is faster than anyone had previously realised Read all about it: academic publishing is changing faster than anyone has realised, according to a new study reported today in BMC Medicine. Before 2000 the vast majority of research…

Study proves pesticide exposure linked to bumblebee colony failures

Chronic exposure to pesticides has a bigger knock-on effect on bees than conventional probes suggest, according to a new study on Sunday touching on the mysterious collapse of bee colonies. Biologists at the University of London carried out an exceptional field study into bumblebees exposed to two commonly used agricultural…

Scientists confirm water extraction helped trigger deadly 2011 quake in Spain

Massive extraction of groundwater helped unleash an earthquake in southeastern Spain last year that killed nine people, injured at least 100 and left thousands homeless, geologists said on Sunday. The finding adds a powerful piece of evidence to theories that some earthquakes are human-induced, they said. Seismologists were surprised by…

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