Science

Boeing's Starliner encounters propulsion problems on way to ISS

American aerospace giant Boeing's Starliner capsule was heading for the International Space Station Thursday, in a critical uncrewed test flight that followed years of failures and false starts.

The spacecraft encountered some propulsion troubles early in its journey, with two thrusters responsible for orbital maneuvering failing for unclear reasons -- but NASA officials said the mission remained on track.

Keep reading... Show less

Monkeypox is almost nothing like COVID-19. Here's what to know, from 2 scientists who've studied it

Monkeypox is almost nothing like COVID-19. Among the many differences — fortunately, for a world weary of the pandemic — is that monkeypox is far less transmissible. So although a monkeypox case was identified Wednesday in Massachusetts, along with a handful earlier this month in Europe, infectious-disease experts say it won't mean another global health crisis. Yet monkeypox is a serious disease, well worth monitoring so it can be contained with the standard tools of public health. Chief among them, in this case, are vaccines (yes, there already is one) and isolating infected people. Monkeypox...

World has learned little from coronavirus pandemic and is ‘woefully’ unprepared for the next one: report

The world has learned little from the coronavirus pandemic – and we are not using what we did gain to prevent or deal with another one, a panel convened by the World Health Organization said this week. Globally, we are “woefully” unprepared for the next pandemic, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said Wednesday, presenting a report commissioned by WHO a year ago. This is not for lack of understanding of what to do, nor is it about the severity of the next pathogen, they said. It’s simply because for some reason there is not enough political will. “If there were a new...

Bad news for the 2022 hurricane season: The Loop Current, a fueler of monster storms, is looking a lot like it did in 2005, the year of Katrina

The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, and the Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average. Even more worrying is a current of warm tropical water that is looping unusually far into the Gulf for this time of year, with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes.

It’s called the Loop Current, and it’s the 800-pound gorilla of Gulf hurricane risks.

Keep reading... Show less

Rare monkeypox outbreaks detected in North America, Europe

Health authorities in North America and Europe have detected dozens of suspected or confirmed cases of monkeypox since early May, sparking concern the disease endemic in parts of Africa is spreading.

Canada was the latest country to report it was investigating more than a dozen suspected cases of monkeypox, after Spain and Portugal detected more than 40 possible and verified cases.

Keep reading... Show less

Experts: TikTok's viral 'bark at your dog' challenge may not be a good idea

Since late last year, dog owners on TikTok have been participating in what might seem like an innocent, even cute TikTok trend that involves barking at your dog.

The hashtag #barkatyourdog has over 156 million views on TikTok, and its participants run the gamut in age and popularity (many TikTok stars have dabbled in it). The video trend involves getting close to your canine's face, barking loudly and recording the dog's reaction. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most dogs look confused.

Keep reading... Show less

Scientists have discovered that  dolphins use the taste of urine to recognize their friends

Think about people you know, and how you could tell they were around even if you couldn't see them: their voice, perhaps, or even a favored deodorant.

For bottlenose dolphins, it's the taste of urine and signature whistles that allow them to recognize their friends at a distance, according to a study published Wednesday in Science Advances.

Keep reading... Show less

End of the line nears for NASA InSight Mars lander

After some four years probing Mars' interior, NASA's InSight lander will likely retire this summer as accumulated dust on its solar panels saps its power.

The lander will, however, leave behind a legacy of data that will be tapped by scientists around the world for years to come, helping to improve our understanding of planet formation, NASA said, while announcing on Tuesday the imminent end to InSight's science operations.

Keep reading... Show less

Robot hives in Israel kibbutz hope to keep bees buzzing

They function as normal hives, but apiaries built at a kibbutz in Israel's Galilee are decked out with high-tech artificial intelligence systems set to ensure longevity for these vital pollinators.

"There are two million bees here," said Shlomki Frankin as he walks into a 12-square-metre container in Kibbutz Beit Haemek in northern Israel.

Keep reading... Show less

Pollution killing 9 million people a year, Africa hardest hit - study

By Gloria Dickie

(Reuters) - Worsening outdoor air pollution and toxic lead poisoning have kept global deaths from environmental contamination at an estimated 9 million per year since 2015 – countering modest progress made in tackling pollution elsewhere, a team of scientists reported Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Jamestown, cradle of America, threatened by rising seas

The waters rose overnight and by morning formed a shallow pond over the grassy field covering a cemetery in Jamestown, one of the founding sites of the American nation.

Curators -- their feet wet from the water -- say it is just the latest in a seemingly endless series of flooding at the first permanent English settlement in North America, a location that was also home to Native American tribes for thousands of years.

Keep reading... Show less

Coronavirus vaccine could have saved 319,000 people, if they had only taken the shot: study

About a third of the 1 million lives lost to COVID-19 could have been saved with vaccines, a new analysis shows. Researchers at the Brown School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Microsoft AI for Health analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The New York Times and came up with not only 319,000 needless deaths but also a state-by-state breakdown of where they could have been prevented. Between January 2021 and April 2022, about every second person who died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available mig...

The darkness of Boris Johnson: a psychologist on the prime minister’s unpalatable personality traits

In all the chaos that characterises the administration of Boris Johnson, it’s sometimes difficult to understand why the prime minister behaves the way he does. Why does he never really apologise or admit mistakes?

Most recently, Johnson continues to insist that he did not know he was breaking any rules by having parties during pandemic lockdowns. It’s just the latest example of behaviour that, I would argue, can only be understood in terms of psychological factors.

First, let me be clear: I am not attempting to diagnose the prime minister with a personality disorder. Like many psychologists nowadays, I believe it’s too simplistic to think in terms of specific conditions like narcissistic personality disorder or sociopathy. I prefer to use the concept of a “dark triad” of three personality traits that belong together – psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism. This makes sense because these traits almost always overlap and are difficult to distinguish from one another. The traits exist on a continuum and are more pronounced in some people than others.

Keep reading... Show less