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The long, slow march of ‘biofortified’ genetically-modified food

In 1992, a pair of scientists had a brainwave: how about inserting genes into rice that would boost its vitamin A content? By doing so, tens of millions of poor people who depend on rice as a staple could get a vital nutrient, potentially averting hundreds of thousands of cases…

Kentucky GOP lawmaker defends coal: ‘We all agree’ Mars is the same temperature as Earth

A coal plant-owning Kentucky Republican offered an out-of-this-world argument against new EPA carbon emissions regulations. State Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) joined other lawmakers in attacking the Obama administration and EPA regulations July 2 in a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment. “I won’t get into…

Amazon rain forest grew after climate change 2,000 years ago, new study suggests

Swaths of the Amazon may have been grassland until a natural shift to a wetter climate about 2,000 years ago let the rain forests form, according to a study that challenges common belief that the world’s biggest tropical forest is far older. The arrival of European diseases after Columbus crossed…

Study paves way for simple blood test to predict Alzheimer’s

British scientists have identified a set of 10 proteins in the blood that can predict the onset of Alzheimer’s and call this an important step towards developing a test for the incurable brain-wasting disease. Such a test could initially be used to select patients for clinical trials of experimental treatments…

Japan braces for onslaught of ‘Super Typhoon’ Neoguri

By Andrea Thompson, Climate Central Super Typhoon Neoguri is bearing down on Japan’s Ryuku Islands, a string of more than 100 islands that make up the southernmost part of the Japanese archipelago. The storm’s path could take it will very close to the biggest of the islands, Okinawa, where the…

Ancient ‘Pelagornis’ bird that lived 28 million years ago had largest wingspan ever

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The wandering albatross, a magnificent seabird that navigates the ocean winds and can glide almost endlessly over the water, boasts the biggest wingspan of any bird alive today, extending almost 12 feet (3.5 meters). But it is a mere pigeon compared to an astonishing…

NASA to send Google smartphones for Star Wars-inspired hovering robots to space station

By Noel Randewich MOUNTAIN VIEW Calif. (Reuters) – Google smartphones with next-generation 3D sensing technology are about to blast into orbit, where they will become the brains and eyes of ball-shaped hovering robots on the International Space Station. NASA plans to use the handsets to beef up its Synchronized Position…

Why does Europe hate GM food and is it about to change its mind?

While the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and China and many other countries have warmly embraced genetically modified crops, Europe remains the world’s big holdout. Could this be about to change? New European Union rules now seek to clear up years of internal deadlock that could, in theory, lead to…

Scientists threaten to boycott Europe’s Human Brain Project for wasting money

The world’s largest project to unravel the mysteries of the human brain has been thrown into crisis with more than 100 leading researchers threatening to boycott the effort amid accusations of mismanagement and fears that it is doomed to failure. The European commission launched the €1.2bn (£950m) Human Brain Project (HBP) last…

Oldest skeleton of Down syndrome child ever found refutes myth of mistreatment

Archeologists believe they have found the oldest extant skeletal remains of an individual with Down syndrome in Chalon-sur-Saône, France. The skeleton was found in a necropolis that dates back to the 5th or 6th-century, and includes the remains of 94 other individuals. Writing in The International Journal of Paleopathology, the…

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