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Microsoft co-founder unveils space travel plans

A giant airplane that can in mid-flight launch a rocket carrying cargo and humans into orbit is the future of space travel, billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said. The first test flight of the ambitious venture by Allen’s new company Stratolaunch Systems is not scheduled until 2015, but partners in the project vowed…

Nuclear industry seeks end to regulatory spat

(Reuters) – The nuclear industry asked the White House and Congress on Monday to resolve a nasty power struggle at theNuclear Regulatory Commission, an internal fight that will be scrutinized at two Congressional hearings this week. The Nuclear Energy Institute, the main lobby group for the utilities and power companies that run the…

Canada’s Kyoto withdrawal under fire from China

Canada’s historic decision to withdraw from the Kyoto protocolprovoked heavy criticism from China on Tuesday, with Beijing saying the move went against international efforts to combatclimate change. Canada on Monday became the first country to declare it was formally exiting the pact, a reversal that will save it billions of dollars…

Life possible on ‘large parts’ of Mars: study

Australian scientists who modelled conditions on Mars to examine how much of the red planet was habitable said that “large regions” could sustain life. Charley Lineweaver’s team, from the Australian National University, compared models of temperature and pressure conditions on Earth with those on Mars to estimate how much of…

Some depressed people do worse on drugs: study

(Reuters) – Up to a fifth of patients being treated for depression with some medications may do worse than those given a placebo, according to a U.S. study. The findings, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, highlight the importance of quickly identifying how patients respond to certain drugs, said lead…

Memory issues after cancer may not be due to chemo

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women treated for breast cancer with radiation with or without chemotherapy had more thinking and memory problems a few years after their treatment ended than women who’d never had cancer, in a new study. Research has suggested some women experience mental haziness, dubbed “chemo brain,”…

Scientists identify a new species every two days in Mekong region

Scientists identify a new species every two days in the Greater Mekong region, the WWF said Monday, in a report detailing 2010′s more unusual finds such as a leaf warbler and a self-cloning lizard. But the conservation group warned some species could disappear before they are ever recorded because of…

Durban climate deal slammed as timid, ineffective

By Nina Chestney and Jon Herskovitz DURBAN (Reuters) – Countries from around the globe agreed on Sunday to forge a new deal forcing all the biggest polluters for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but critics said the plan was too timid to slow global warming. A package…

Stem cells used to produce blood platelets

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Scientists have for the first time created blood platelet cells by reprogramming stem cells derived from adult cells, offering the potential for a renewable supply of the fragile blood component. Researchers at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University in Japan presented…

Provocative U.S. nuclear chief faces political test

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The embattled chief of the U.S. nuclear safety regulator found some powerful political support on Saturday ahead of Capitol Hill hearings next week that will scrutinize his bid to enact sweeping safety reforms. Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is locked in a bitter…

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