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New evidence shows how asteroid dust cloud may have sparked new life on Earth 470m years ago

New evidence shows how asteroid dust cloud may have sparked new life on Earth 470m years ago Isotope found in seabed sediment points to clash of solar bodies near Mars, study suggests. Astronomers have discovered intriguing evidence that an asteroid break-up blanketed Earth with dust millions of years ago. The event dramatically cooled the planet and triggered an ice age that was followed by major increases in numbers of new animal species. The work, led by Birger Schmitz of Lund University in Sweden, was recently published in Science Advances and provides new insight into the impact of interplanetary events on our planet's evolution. "We know about the 10km asteroid that crashed on Earth 67 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs, but this event was very different," Schmitz told the Observer. "It occurred about 470 million years ago when an asteroid 3,000 times bigger than the dinosaurs-killer was destroyed during a collision with another asteroid beyond the orbit of Mars. It filled the solar system with dust and caused a major dimming of sunlight falling on Earth." Reduced radiation caused Earth to cool significantly, setting off a succession of ice ages. Water froze, ice caps spread and sea levels dropped, creating isolated shallow seas that were ideal for generating new species. Cold water also holds more dissolved oxygen, which would also have boosted speciation. Scientists already knew ice ages appeared at this time and that life went through a spectacular increase in biodiversity, particularly in the sea. The first coral reefs began to grow then, and strange tentacled predators called nautiloids appeared. This is known as the great Ordovician biodiversification event, or Gobe. Scientists have argued over the cause of Gobe, but now Schmitz, after studying dust particles in seabed sediments laid down at this time, says it was triggered by clouds of asteroid dust. "The sediments laid down at this time are rich in the isotope helium-3 - which they could only have picked up travelling through space," he said. "It is a crucial clue." Other scientists have backed his idea. "It isn't necessarily the answer to every question we have about Gobe, but it certainly ties together a lot of observations," Rebecca Freeman, of the University of Kentucky, Lexington, told the journal Science recently. However, Schmitz's research has also caused interest for another reason. As the world warms dangerously, some scientists have proposed spreading a veil of dust that would sit in space above the Earth and reflect sunlight away from our overheating planet. The idea is controversial because it could have many unpleasant side-effects, say critics. Now evidence shows such an experiment occurred naturally 470 million years ago. The result was a major change in our meteorology and the evolution of life here. "It is certainly worth bearing in my mind in coming years," added Schmitz.

New TV show asks: Do you love meat enough to cook your pet?

New TV show asks: Do you love meat enough to cook your pet? Not only will a family of unrepentant carnivores have to let an animal they have adopted and grown to love go for slaughter if they refuse to stop eating meat -- they will be asked to cook and eat it. With experts saying that we have to eat less meat to stave off climate change, Channel 4 has made the dilemma stomach-churningly stark. Analyst Virginia Mouseler called the show "the most transgressive" of the year at MIPCOM, the world's biggest entertainment market in Cannes, France.

William Shatner beams in with hit TV show at 88

William Shatner beams in with hit TV show at 88 As Captain Kirk in the original "Star Trek" William Shatner went "where no man has gone before". Shatner beamed into Cannes in southern France on Tuesday to beat the drum for the series -- which tries to explain some of the mysteries of the world around us -- at MIPCOM, the world's biggest entertainment market. While it also tackles questions like why the universe is expanding, Shatner has little appetite for space travel these days with climate change threatening the Earth.

The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep

The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep For two weeks in August, a multimillion-dollar search from air, land and sea sought to solve the 80-year mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance.Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer famous for locating the wreck of the Titanic, led a team that discovered two hats in the depths. It found debris from an old shipwreck. It even spotted a soda can. What it did not find was a single piece of the Lockheed Electra airplane flown in 1937 by Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, which vanished during their doomed voyage around the world.Ballard and his crew don't consider it a failure. For one thing, he says, they know where the plane isn't. And in the process, they may have dispensed with one clue that has driven years of speculation, while a team of collaborating archaeologists potentially turned up more hints at the aviator's fate."This plane exists," Ballard said. "It's not the Loch Ness monster, and it's going to be found."Ballard had avoided the Earhart mystery for decades, dismissing the search area as too large, until he was presented with a clue he found irresistible. Kurt Campbell, then a senior official in President Barack Obama's State Department, shared with him what is known as the Bevington image -- a photo taken by a British officer in 1940 at what is now known as Nikumaroro, an atoll in the Phoenix Islands in the Republic of Kiribati. American intelligence analysts had enhanced the image at Campbell's request and concluded a blurry object in it was consistent with landing gear from Earhart's plane.Motivated by this clue, and by 30 years of research on Nikumaroro by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, Ballard and his crew set a course for the island in August. They were joined by archaeologists from the National Geographic Society, which sponsored and documented the journey for "Expedition Amelia," which will air on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday.Ballard and Allison Fundis, the Nautilus' chief operating officer, coordinated an elaborate plan of attack. First, they sent the ship five times around the island to map it with multibeam sonar and deployed a floating autonomous surface vehicle to map shallower areas off the island's shore. They also used four aerial drones for additional inspections of the surrounding reef.Nikumaroro and its reef are just the tip of a 16,000-foot underwater mountain, a series of 13 sheer escarpments that drop off onto ramps, eventually fanning out at the base for 6 nautical miles.If Earhart crashed there, they believe, rising tides would have dragged her plane over the reef and down the escarpments. Fragments should have collected on the ramps, especially heavier components like the engine and the radio.In deeper water the team deployed the Hercules and the Argus, remotely operated vehicles equipped with spotlights and high-definition cameras. These robots descended 650 feet around the entire island and found nothing.At that point, the crew focused on the northwest corner of the island near the S.S. Norwich City, a British freighter that ran aground on the island in 1929, eight years before Earhart's disappearance. That is the area where the Bevington photo was taken.While they searched there, crew members found so many beach rocks consistent in size and shape with the supposed landing gear in the Bevington image that it became a joke on the ship."Oh look," Ballard would chuckle, "another landing gear rock."Fundis said, "We felt like if her plane was there, we would have found it pretty early in the expedition." But she said they kept up their morale because Ballard reminded them that it took four missions to find the Titanic and that one of those expeditions missed the ship by just under 500 feet.The crew mapped the mountain's underwater drainage patterns and searched the gullies that might have carried plane fragments down slope, to a depth of 8,500 feet. Crew members even searched roughly 4 nautical miles out to sea in case the plane lifted off the reef intact and glided underwater as it sank.Each time a new search tactic yielded nothing, Ballard said, he felt he was adding "nail after nail after nail" to the coffin of the Nikumaroro hypothesis.Still, Ballard and Fundis confess that other clues pointing to Nikumaroro have left them with lingering curiosity about whether Earhart crashed there. For instance, Panamerican Airway radio direction finders on Wake Island; Midway Atoll; and Honolulu, Hawaii; each picked up distress signals from Earhart and took bearings, which triangulated in the cluster of islands that includes Nikumaroro.For years, many Earhart historians have been skeptical of the Nikumaroro theory. And Ballard, Fundis and their team's return to the island will now depend on whether the archaeologists from the National Geographic Society came up with evidence that Earhart's body was there.Fredrik Hiebert, the society's archaeologist in residence, has some leads. His team awaits DNA analysis on soil samples taken at a bivouac shelter found on the island.The camp, known as the Seven Site for its shape, was first noticed by a British officer in 1940. Thirteen bones were gathered then and sent to a colonial doctor in Fiji, who determined they belonged to a European man. The bones were subsequently lost.Decades later, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, tracked down the doctor's analysis. Richard Jantz, director emeritus of the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, determined that the bones most likely belonged to a woman and that Earhart's build was "more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99% of individuals in a large reference sample."Since the 1980s, Tighar has conducted 12 expeditions to Nikumaroro in an effort to find more skeletal remains. It turned up other items from a castaway's existence at the camp but never any bones or DNA.Hiebert's team is hoping to use new techniques to identify evidence of mitochondrial DNA with similarities to Earhart's living relatives in the 22 soil samples they collected.Before the expedition, Hiebert and Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist, visited the National Museum in Tarawa, Kiribati's capital. On an unmarked shelf, Kimmerle spotted remnants of a female skull. The team now awaits DNA analysis of the specimen.In 2021, the Nautilus will be in the South Pacific fulfilling a contract to map underwater U.S. territories. That will bring the ship to the area around Howland Island, Earhart's intended destination for refueling before her plane disappeared. Ballard and Fundis plan to make time to explore the alternate theory favored by some skeptics of the Nikumaroro hypothesis: that Earhart crashed at sea closer to Howland.Fundis considers Earhart a role model, which gives her the "fuel to keep going," she said.And Ballard explained his own motivation to continue the search."In many ways, I'm doing this for my mother," he said, describing her as a "brilliant woman" who grew up in Kansas, like Earhart, but dropped out of college to raise three children and care for her sister.His mother, Hariett Ballard, admired Earhart and hoped she might pave the way for her children, or perhaps grandchildren, to pursue adventurous careers. Robert Ballard's daughter, Emily Ballard, was among the crew of the Nautilus, hunting for Earhart's plane."I'm not giving up," he said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Women who are stressed during pregnancy are more likely to have a girl says new study

Women who are stressed during pregnancy are more likely to have a girl says new study New US research has found that women who experience stress during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a girl than a boy and have a higher risk of birth complications. The team measured 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical, and lifestyle stress that might be affecting the women using questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments and found that the majority of the women, nearly 67 percent, were healthy and unstressed. In addition, the researchers also found that the pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress appeared to be less likely to give birth to a boy.

The F-35 Is the Past: Air Force's 6th-Generation Fighter Will Be a Everything

The F-35 Is the Past: Air Force's 6th-Generation Fighter Will Be a Everything Armed with lasers and hypersonic missiles?

Renewables overtake hydrocarbons in UK electricity generation: study

Renewables overtake hydrocarbons in UK electricity generation: study Renewable sources generated more of Britain's electricity than fossil fuels for the first time last quarter, according to analysis by specialist website "Carbon Brief" published Monday. "In the third quarter of 2019, the UK's windfarms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas," said the website. "During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels," it added.

Air pollution linked to 'missed' miscarriages in China: study

Air pollution linked to 'missed' miscarriages in China: study Exposure to airborne pollutants increases the risk of "missed" miscarriages in which a fetus dies without a pregnant woman experiencing any noticeable symptoms, researchers said Monday. Previous studies have shown a correlation between air pollution and pregnancy complications, but the new research -- published in Nature Sustainability journal by a team of researchers from Chinese universities -- sheds light on a little-studied impact of pollution. The study found that exposure to higher concentrations of airborne particulate matter, as well as sulfur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide, was associated with a higher risk of missed miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Study proposes greater emphasis on dangers of alcohol in overdose prevention campaigns

Study proposes greater emphasis on dangers of alcohol in overdose prevention campaigns A new American study suggests that ingesting large quantities of alcohol often leads to the intake of other psychotropic substances such as cannabis and opioids, also pointing out that mixing alcohol with drugs amplifies the risks of severe accidents and death. Since the start of the opioid crisis sweeping across the United States, a large part of national harm-reduction campaigns have been focusing on medication and other illicit drugs that are part of the opiates category (fentanyl, morphine, heroin, etc). According to University of Michigan Addiction Center researchers, there is one drug -- one that is perfectly legal and extremely popular -- that should occupy more space at the heart of prevention policy.

Allen Institute kicks brain wave recording into overdrive with Neuropixels probe

Allen Institute kicks brain wave recording into overdrive with Neuropixels probe Seattle's Allen Institute for Brain Science is sharing 70 trillion bytes' worth of data documenting electrical activity in mouse brains, collected by a new type of silicon probe that can monitor hundreds of neurons simultaneously. The Neuropixels system, developed by an international collaboration that includes the Allen Institute, could be adapted to record brain activity in human patients as well, said Josh Siegle, a senior scientist at the institute who works with the probes. "The application I'm most interested in is decoding the communication patterns of the brain, and really understanding how information is transmitted between regions," Siegle told GeekWire.... Read More

Climate change researchers recommend banning all frequent flyer reward programs to cut carbon emissions by targeting jet-setters

Climate change researchers recommend banning all frequent flyer reward programs to cut carbon emissions by targeting jet-setters A report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change says that just 15% of the entire British population take 70% of all flights from the country.

Will AI Cripple or Leapfrog Developing Nations' Growth?

Will AI Cripple or Leapfrog Developing Nations' Growth? A world-class expert gives us his opinion.

Study: China's Military Domination over Asia is Not Guaranteed

Study: China's Military Domination over Asia is Not Guaranteed A study published several years ago by Michael Beckley, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, was published in the academic journal International Security. In the article, Beckley argues that China's neighbors could thwart Chinese military aggression through anti-access/area denial strategies with only minimal U.S. assistance.

Did Chinese Scientists Just Create a New Material to Build 'Super' Stealth Fighters?

Did Chinese Scientists Just Create a New Material to Build 'Super' Stealth Fighters? Doesn't seem like it.

Who Would Firebomb a Homeless Encampment?

Who Would Firebomb a Homeless Encampment? LOS ANGELES -- The incendiary device came shooting toward the homeless encampment without words or warning. Arthur Garza, 29, heard a pop against his tent, then saw the object, which he described as a "mortar" or "firecracker," bounce into the street and explode."It was like shooting stars everywhere," Garza said.In a matter of minutes, flames were climbing the incline of dirt and brush under the interchange of the 2 and 134 freeways in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. Stray embers jumped eight lanes of highway to ignite land in the adjoining city of Glendale.Garza and others in the encampment acted quickly, setting their water supply on the flames and raking brush to halt the fire's spread. They were aware and worried, Garza said, that the homeless might be blamed. Ultimately, some 300 firefighters and multiple water-dropping helicopters were deployed to hold back the blaze. A hundred homes were evacuated, though no structures were lost. Forty-five acres burned.Encampments like Garza's have become firm fixtures of LA's landscape as the homelessness crisis gets steadily worse. Now, with fire season underway, city officials are growing anxious about the uptick in blazes that start in makeshift communities. The city is technically barred from removing homeless people from public areas. But last month, the LA City Council passed a safety measure that allows for the arrest of homeless people who refuse to leave high-risk fire zones.The case of Eagle Rock, however, shows that the threat can also come from outside the camps.A Shocking ArrestSix days after the attack on Aug. 25, Daniel Michael Nogueira and Bryan Antonio Araujo-Cabrera, both 25 and of Los Angeles, were arrested on suspicion of sparking the fire. Nogueira was booked on a felony count, while Araujo-Cabrera was booked on a misdemeanor.It was a shock to the middle-class community of Eagle Rock. Nogueira is the son of Michael Nogueira, the president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and a big booster of the local farmers' market and Concerts in the Park series. The elder Nogueira is known around town as "Sir Michael," the name of his party-rental business, and his family home, surrounded by a white-picket fence, has been well known for its elaborate decorations each Halloween and for hosting rollicking gatherings on boxing match nights.Announcing the arrests in a sternly worded release, the Los Angeles Fire Department said investigators used "burn patterns, witness statements and surveillance videos" to identify its suspects. The department "determined the fire was an intentional act" and said the homeless were the targets. No motive was mentioned.The job of the LAFD's arson investigators is even more challenging in a climate-changing California: the threat of devastating fires has essentially gone year-round. The unit was founded as the Arson Squad in 1918, and a century later, is known as the Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section, an evolution that officials said has become necessary to confronting threats in a world beset with climate change and terrorism. In the fall and early winter, the danger becomes more potent. The dry Santa Ana winds scream across the basins, and the sun seems to burn meaner, capable of igniting dried-out growth at the slightest provocation.In this case, firefighters stayed at the burn zone for two days to make sure it was completely extinguished. "We remember the Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people," said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, referring to the 1991 Bay Area firestorm that started after embers from a fire put down a day before reignited in heavy winds.The day after his arrest, the younger Nogueira posted $1 million bail. Araujo-Cabrera was released on Sept. 14. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office has not formally charged either with any crimes. A spokesman for that office said the DA is requesting further evidence. The Nogueira family declined to comment.One of the arson investigators, LAFD Capt. Tim Halloran, said he could not discuss details about the incident, citing the ongoing inquiry, but made it clear that the department will keep pursuing charges."Obviously it's our desire to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice," Halloran said.A Citywide CrisisThere have been several notable homeless-related fires over the past few years. In December 2017, a cooking fire at a homeless encampment in a ravine off the 405 sparked the Skirball Fire, burning 422 acres and six Bel Air homes.This summer, homeless-encampment-related fires also sprung up in Pacoima, where an abandoned house taken over by squatters burned for a second time; in South Los Angeles, where an encampment in an alley burned, badly damaging a house; and in the Sepulveda Basin, where about 100 people were living, some for many years.The uptick, generally, is undeniable. Humphrey, of the LAFD, said, "In the number of fires related to homeless encampments, in which the homeless are present -- whether they are the cause is not certain -- the answer is yes, we are seeing an increasing trend."But in three fires in September alone, all of which left unhoused people dead or seriously injured -- in Van Nuys, Glendale, and in South LA -- arson is suspected. In late August, an unhoused musician in downtown LA's Skid Row was targeted in an arson attack and died days later. And the Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating a case, in Echo Park, in which an explosive device was thrown at a homeless encampment on Oct. 6.The Rev. Andy Bales, one of the most respected homeless advocates in Skid Row, and chief of the Union Rescue Mission, said the rise in attacks on homeless Angelenos is inexcusable, but sees it as a raw reflection of the dissatisfaction with official efforts to alleviate the crisis. Every night, despite billions of taxpayer dollars poured onto the problem, nearly 59,000 people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles County. The countywide homeless count rose 12% over the past year."Unfortunately, some folks that have twisted thinking are getting so angry about the situation," Bales said. "This has become absolutely a growing concern, fanatical vigilantism."Bales said he supervises a Facebook page related to homelessness concerns, "and more and more people are calling for others to arm themselves, saying things like, 'Round them all up like cattle, and ship them either to Mexico or the desert.'""I can't tell you how many posts I have to delete," he said.Makeshift habitations are everywhere -- set up under or near freeways, in ravines or canyons and creek beds, and on public land away from view. Eventually, some encampments are pushed onto the sidewalks, where a cat-and-mouse ritual ensues with sanitation workers.One of the persistent myths about the homeless is that they are largely from out of town, a sort of foreign invasion. Yet, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count finds that roughly two-thirds of unsheltered adults have lived in LA County 10 years or more.And the difference between those on the street and those in permanent dwellings can be a matter of degrees. For example, as it happens, the younger Nogueira was arrested for attacking an encampment that houses a former neighbor. Arthur Garza's last home address was three houses down from the place where the Nogueiras live now, on Eagle Rock's tony Hill Drive.Back Under the FreewayGarza is back in the place he currently calls home, under beams holding up sheets of vinyl tarp, strung up along tents and umbrellas. The freeway traffic overhead creates an unending droning noise.Living on the streets, homeless people in LA often fall victim to sexual assault, mental illness or drug addiction. Garza has faced multiple arrests since becoming homeless, county jail records show. Some were related to narcotics, he said. "I basically never had any police contact until I started living on the street."He was kicked out of his last formal address by relatives in 2014, he said, in what he described as a dispute over an inheritance. (Repeated attempts to contact Garza's relatives at his old Hill Drive address were unsuccessful.) He has been living on the streets ever since.These days, Garza works part-time for a small upholstery tools manufacturer, just a few doors away from where he sleeps. Jerry Preusser, the shop owner, spoke effusively about his employee's work ethic, and he said that he's tried to offer Garza a room in his home."I've helped him a lot and he's done a lot to change," Preusser said. But habits, he added, are hard to break, and the cycle of homelessness itself becomes an anchor: "You don't imagine your life out of that."Although they once lived on the same block, Garza said he and Nogueira didn't know each other growing up. But he's long been aware of the Nogueira family. When he heard that Daniel Nogueira was arrested, Garza recalled saying, "That's Sir Michael's son."Garza said his conditions overall have not changed. Drivers routinely throw trash at him or honk aggressively. LA sanitation sweepers come by, threatening to haul off his property if he doesn't move it. Garza carts his stuff to other locations, and then back. He zips around Eagle Rock on an electric longboard, and keeps two guinea pigs as pets."I'm not complaining about being homeless," Garza said. "The winters are cold, the summers are hot, constant noise. That's why we were back up there, because it's quieter," he said, pointing to a cluster of trees and bushes set against the side of the freeway.Now a fence blocks his path. "Right here," he said, "everything echoes."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Airline Food Waste Is a Problem. Can Banana Leaves Be Part of the Solution?

Airline Food Waste Is a Problem. Can Banana Leaves Be Part of the Solution? From disposable headphones and plastic cutlery to food scraps and toilet waste, the average airline passenger leaves behind over 3 pounds of garbage, according to one estimate. To get travelers and airlines thinking -- and talking -- about that rather large pile of trash, a British design firm has refashioned the economy meal tray, replacing plastic with renewable materials such as coffee grounds, banana leaves and coconut wood.Jo Rowan is the associate strategy director of the firm, PriestmanGoode, which has spent more than two decades applying design thinking to the air travel experience, including airport lounges and cabin seating.Now, she said, the firm is turning its attention to the less "glamorous" side of things."Onboard waste is a big issue," she said. "Knowing that you have 4 billion passengers per year, it all adds up very quickly."The redesigned items are featured in an exhibit, "Get Onboard: Reduce.Reuse.Rethink," that opened last month at the Design Museum in London.By far the biggest environmental issue with air travel -- and the reason 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg opted to sail to New York from Europe in August, rather than fly -- is the associated carbon emissions, which are growing at a faster rate than predicted in previous, already dire projections.But as air travel becomes increasingly accessible, and as more people take to the skies, airlines have been making public pledges to curb their environmental footprints, including the plastic forks and leftovers their passengers leave behind.How much trash are we talking about?Because there is no central authority tracking statistics about the amount of waste produced on flights, accurate and recent figures are hard to come by. But the International Air Transport Association, a trade group representing about 300 airlines, conducted a small study at Heathrow Airport in London and estimated that airlines generated about 6.7 million tons of cabin waste last year.As low-cost airlines proliferate, and as the tourism industry continues to court middle-class customers, that number could double in the next decade."It's a relatively limited sample at this stage," Chris Goater, a spokesman for the trade association, said.Pere Fullana i Palmer, director of the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, a research group based in Barcelona, Spain, has taken an even deeper dive into the issue of airline trash."You cannot improve a system if you don't know it," he said.Fullana i Palmer's research group teamed up with Iberia Airlines, Gate Gourmet, Ferrovial and Ecoembes to analyze approximately 8,400 pounds of garbage on 145 flights into Madrid. The group found that 33% was food waste, 28% was cardboard and paper waste, and about 12% was plastic.How can this be fixed?As consumers become increasingly conscious of the outsize environmental impact of air travel, airlines are under growing pressure to take action.Alaska Airlines, Ryanair and British Airways have made public declarations to reduce waste, and Air France said it would eliminate 210 million single-use plastic items like cups and stirring sticks by the end of this year.On one Qantas flight in May, which the company called "the first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste," the airline removed individually packaged servings of milk and Vegemite, and served meals in containers made from sugar cane, with utensils made of crop starch.A month later, on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, United Airlines served meals using "fully recyclable or compostable serviceware."But replicating such innovations on a meaningful scale will be tricky. Regular flights are not equipped with the necessary facilities or systems for attendants to manage recycled goods, according to Megan Epler Wood, the author of "Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet" and the director of Harvard's International Sustainable Tourism Initiative. (On a recent trip, Wood said, she saw a flight attendant separating recyclables with her bare hands.)The solution, she said, would require collaboration among airlines, local authorities and airports, which are ultimately responsible for handling and hauling trash.IATA, the airline trade association, said the rules governing international catering waste -- which involve a complex set of international and country-specific regulations meant to prevent the spread of disease -- should be reconsidered to increase recycling rates.While all cabin waste is subject to the regulations of the country in which the plane lands, some European countries, as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, have imposed additional measures to protect agriculture. This means that even untouched food and drink, which, according to IATA estimates, makes up about 20% of total airline waste, ends up in landfills or is incinerated.The regulations governing single-use plastic, which will be banned in the European Union by 2021, also present challenges, according to the trade association."We've developed a lot of guidance to airlines to deal with the issue of cabin waste," Michael Gill, IATA's director of aviation environment, said. "But airlines cannot solve the issue on their own.""Its vital regulators understand the full impacts," he continued, "including increased energy and water use, as well as CO₂ emissions that result from heavier materials carried on board."Fullana i Palmer agreed that legislation permitting more materials to be recycled or turned into biogas was needed but said that change was possible."I am optimistic because there is a big push for saving our planet," he said. "The tsunami is so strong that all sectors will have to adapt."The airline meal, reimaginedIn designing the onboard items, PriestmanGoode was conscious of heft because the more weight on an aircraft, the higher the fuel emissions. The tray is made of coffee grounds and husks (also a coffee byproduct). The dishes are made of pressed wheat bran, and a single spork made of coconut palm wood, a waste product that farmers would otherwise burn, replaces plastic cutlery."If you picked it up, you wouldn't know it wasn't plastic," Rowan said. "Part of what we were trying to do was actually look at how we could make this a desirable product, as well as being sustainable."The team also played with lids of dishes, which are typically made of transparent plastic, to signify what's inside: a pressed banana leaf for salads and side dishes, an edible waffle cone for dessert.The goal, Rowan said, is "getting people to think about the way that they travel and also getting airlines and the service providers to think about what they offer."Rowan said airlines and suppliers had shown interest in the products, which, for now, are available only at the museum through February."We're moving this on to the next level of development," she said, to "get some of these things to fly."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

NASA confirms Boeing's latest timetable for Starliner space taxi's final tests

NASA confirms Boeing's latest timetable for Starliner space taxi's final tests NASA confirmed today that Boeing is scheduled to conduct the next high-profile test of its CST-100 Starliner space capsule in a little more than three weeks. The target data for Starliner's pad abort test is set for Nov. 4 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA said. That's in line with the plan that Boeing executive John Mulholland laid out earlier this week at a New Mexico space symposium. If next month's test is successful, Boeing would target Dec. 17 for the launch of an uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station... Read More

Stratolaunch air-launch venture says it's been transferred to new owners by Paul Allen's Vulcan

Stratolaunch air-launch venture says it's been transferred to new owners by Paul Allen's Vulcan Stratolaunch, the company that was founded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen in 2011 to build a flying launch pad for rockets, says it's under new ownership. The transition serves as the latest sign that Jody Allen - Paul Allen's sister, who took control of his Vulcan Inc. holding company as the trustee and executor of his estate - is paring back and refocusing his many enterprises. Earlier this week, word spread that Vulcan was trimming a significant number of jobs. Stratolaunch reported the ownership handover today on Twitter and its website, without saying who the new owner is.... Read More

Being overweight before age 40 could increase your risk of cancer finds new study

Being overweight before age 40 could increase your risk of cancer finds new study New European research has found that being overweight before the age of 40 could increase the risk of various cancers in both men and women. The researchers looked at data collected from the participants' health examinations, which included information on their height and weight, and linked it to data taken from national cancer registries. On average, the participants were followed for about 18 years, during which time 27,881 individuals were diagnosed with cancer, of which 9,761 (35 percent) were obesity-related.

Officials have confirmed 26 deaths and nearly 1,300 cases of serious lung disease tied to vaping. Here are all the health risks you should know about.

Officials have confirmed 26 deaths and nearly 1,300 cases of serious lung disease tied to vaping. Here are all the health risks you should know about. Investigators don't know the cause and haven't identified a single common brand or drug across all of the cases. Here's what you need to know.

Greta Thunberg's fans are upset she didn't win the Nobel Prize, but a peace expert says she should have never been a contender

Greta Thunberg's fans are upset she didn't win the Nobel Prize, but a peace expert says she should have never been a contender Greta Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after leading strikes that push leaders to address climate change. Here's why she didn't win.

Women may be under-diagnosed for Alzheimer's, while men over-diagnosed, new study suggests

Women may be under-diagnosed for Alzheimer's, while men over-diagnosed, new study suggests Women often perform better on verbal tests. So when they're used to diagnose cognitive declines that precede Alzheimer's, women may be under-diagnosed

Museum explores spooky science behind 'Frankenstein', 'The Mummy'

Museum explores spooky science behind 'Frankenstein', 'The Mummy' What is the spookiest thing about "Frankenstein," "The Mummy" and "Dracula"? Or the fact that these classic horror films were all rooted in real-life scientific experiments and discoveries? The "Natural History of Horror" -- opening Thursday, as Halloween looms -- displays the cloth wrappings used to mummify Boris Karloff in the 1932 classic movie alongside real ancient Egyptian corpse bindings from the museum's archeology collection.

'Koala AIDS' research reveals genome evolution in action

'Koala AIDS' research reveals genome evolution in action Wild koalas sickened by a deadly retrovirus are fighting the disease at the genetic level, scientists said Thursday, a rare evolutionary process unfolding before our eyes. It is linked to Koala Immune Deficiency Syndrome (KIDS), which is similar to but less potent than AIDS in humans, and makes the animals susceptible to fatal cancers and secondary infections like chlamydia that renders them infertile. Retroviruses work by inserting their genome into a host genome, but unlike HIV, KoRV-A also enters the animal's germ cells that produce sperm and eggs, meaning it gets passed down through generations.

Artificial meat is now made in space, coming to a supermarket near you

Artificial meat is now made in space, coming to a supermarket near you Creating meat from cells is no longer the realm of science fiction: a Russian cosmonaut did it aboard the International Space Station, and it is just a matter of time before these products arrive in supermarkets. Tests carried out in space in September led to the production of beef, rabbit and fish tissue using a 3D printer. This new technology "could make long-term travel possible and renew space exploration," to Mars for example, said Didier Toubia, the head of the Israeli startup Aleph Farms, which provided cells for the tests.

NASA's chief and SpaceX's Elon Musk mend fences - and give 'best guess' for Crew Dragon's big flight

NASA's chief and SpaceX's Elon Musk mend fences - and give 'best guess' for Crew Dragon's big flight NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX's headquarters in California today, for what was seen as an opportunity to smooth over differences and update expectations for SpaceX's first-ever crewed spaceflight. Over the past few years, the first flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts aboard has been repeatedly rescheduled, leading to moments of frustration for Bridenstine. But after meeting with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and others at the company's facilities in Hawthorne, Calif., the NASA chief suggested the goal was in sight. "If everything goes according to plan, it will be in the first quarter... Read More

The U.S. Air Force Has Begun Prototyping Its F-35 Stealth Fighter Replacement

The U.S. Air Force Has Begun Prototyping Its F-35 Stealth Fighter Replacement Will it change warfare?

'Bird emergency': Climate change threatening two-thirds of species in U.S. with extinction, report says

'Bird emergency': Climate change threatening two-thirds of species in U.S. with extinction, report says Climate change is creating a 'frightening future' for America's birds: Nearly two-thirds are at risk for extinction, National Audubon Society says.

The mysterious spate of vape-related deaths and illnesses continues to grow, confounding experts. Here's what officials knew and when.

The mysterious spate of vape-related deaths and illnesses continues to grow, confounding experts. Here's what officials knew and when. The CDC said there were 1,299 confirmed cases of vape-related illnesses in 49 US states on Thursday. The illnesses have led to 27 deaths.

A NASA image shows the center of our galaxy in unprecedented detail. Expect far more revealing photos from a soon-to-launch telescope.

A NASA image shows the center of our galaxy in unprecedented detail. Expect far more revealing photos from a soon-to-launch telescope. NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will bring "the highest-quality image ever obtained of the galactic center," one researcher said.

NASA's first female launch director to lead countdowns during Artemis missions to the moon

NASA's first female launch director to lead countdowns during Artemis missions to the moon NASA's Artemis program aims to send two American astronauts - a man and a woman - to the moon's south pole by 2024.

New study links air pollution to hair loss

New study links air pollution to hair loss New research has uncovered another negative effect of air pollution on our health, finding that exposure to common air pollutants could cause hair loss. The researchers exposed the cells to a type of PM known as PM10, which are particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller.

Scientists Designed a Drug for Just One Patient. Her Name Is Mila

Scientists Designed a Drug for Just One Patient. Her Name Is Mila A new drug, created to treat just one patient, has pushed the bounds of personalized medicine and has raised unexplored regulatory and ethical questions, scientists reported Wednesday.The drug, described in the New England Journal of Medicine, is believed to be the first "custom" treatment for a genetic disease. It is called milasen, named after the only patient who will ever take it: Mila (mee-lah) Makovec, who lives with her mother, Julia Vitarello, in Longmont, Colorado.Mila, 8, has a rapidly progressing neurological disorder that is fatal. Her symptoms started at age 3. Within a few years, she had gone from an agile, talkative child to one who was blind and unable to stand or hold up her head. She needed a feeding tube and experienced up to 30 seizures a day, each lasting one or two minutes.Vitarello learned in December 2016 that Mila had Batten's disease. But the girl's case was puzzling, doctors said. Batten's disease is recessive -- a patient must inherit two mutated versions of a gene, MFSD8, to develop the disease.Mila had just one mutated gene, and the other copy seemed normal. That should have been sufficient to prevent the disease.In March 2017, Dr. Timothy Yu and his colleagues at Boston Children's Hospital discovered that the problem with the intact gene lay in an extraneous bit of DNA that had scrambled the manufacturing of an important protein.That gave Yu an idea: Why not make a custom piece of RNA to block the effects of the extraneous DNA? Developing such a drug would be expensive, but there were no other options.Vitarello already had set up Mila's Miracle Foundation and was appealing for donations on GoFundMe. So, she began fundraising in earnest, eventually raising $3 million for a variety of research efforts.Yu's team oversaw development of the drug, tested it in rodents, and consulted with the Food and Drug Administration. In January 2018, the agency granted permission to give the drug to Mila. She got her first dose on Jan. 31, 2018.The drug was delivered through a spinal tap, so it could reach her brain. Within a month, Vitarello noticed a difference. Mila was having fewer seizures, and they were not lasting as long.With continued treatments, the number of seizures has diminished so much that the girl has between zero and six a day, and they last less than a minute.Mila rarely needs the feeding tube now, and is able once again to eat pureed foods. She cannot stand unassisted, but when she is held upright, her neck and back are straight, no longer slumped.Still, Mila has lost the last few words of her vocabulary and remains severely disabled."She is starting not to respond to things that made her laugh or smile," Vitarello said.Milasen is believed to be the first drug developed for a single patient (CAR-T cancer therapies, while individualized, are not drugs). But the path forward is not clear, Yu and his colleagues acknowledged.There are more than 7,000 rare diseases, and more than 90% have no FDA-approved treatment, according to Rachel Sher, vice president of regulatory and government affairs at the National Organization for Rare Disorders.Tens of thousands of patients could be in Mila's situation in the United States alone. But there are nowhere near enough researchers to make custom drugs for all who might want them.And even if there were, who would pay? Not the federal government, not drug companies and not insurers, said Dr. Steven Joffe, professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania."Unfortunately, that leaves it to families," he added. "It feels awfully uncomfortable, but that is the reality."That means custom drugs would be an option only for the very wealthy, those with the skills to raise large sums of money, or those who gain the support of foundations.Mila's drug development was mostly paid for by the foundation run by her mother, but she and Yu declined to say how much was spent.The idea of custom drugs also leads the FDA into uncharted territory. In an editorial published with Yu's paper, Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, raised tough questions:What type of evidence is needed before exposing a human to a new drug? Even in rapidly progressing, fatal illnesses, precipitating severe complications or death is not acceptable, so what is the minimum assurance of safety that is needed?She also asked how a custom drug's efficacy might be evaluated, and how regulators should weigh the urgency of the patient's situation and the number of patients who could ultimately be treated. None of those questions have an easy answer.Brad Margus, founder of the A-T Children's Project, said he was hoping Yu would develop another custom drug for a 2-year-old girl with A-T, or ataxia telangiectasia, an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes a variety of symptoms, including problems moving, a weakened immune system and slowed mental development. Margus' two sons have A-T.His foundation would pay for the work, although the drug would be suitable for only one child. But Margus wondered how generalizable the custom-drug approach would be for "patients whose parents or disease advocates haven't been lucky enough to capture a slice of Tim Yu's time."Milasen will not cure Mila, Vitarello acknowledged. But Mila was 7 when she got her first dose."What if the next Mila is treated when she is 4 or 5?" she asked. The development of milasen "is opening up an entirely new treatment path.""As a mom, I still feel hopeful," Vitarello added. "But I have one foot in hope and one foot in reality."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Even light smoking can still cause long-term lung damage, new study finds

Even light smoking can still cause long-term lung damage, new study finds New US research has found that smoking even just five cigarettes a day or less is enough to cause long-term damage to lungs. Led by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the new study looked at 25,352 participants age 17 to 93 years who were a mix of smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers. Thanks to using such a large study sample, the researchers were able to see differences in lung function among light smokers (defined as 5 or less cigarettes per day) and heavy smokers (30 or more cigarettes per day) which other studies have been unable to detect.

Humans will not 'migrate' to other planets, Nobel winner says

Humans will not 'migrate' to other planets, Nobel winner says Humans will never migrate to a planet outside of Earth's solar system because it would take far too long to get there, Swiss Nobel laureate Michel Mayor said Wednesday. Mayor and his colleague Didier Queloz were on Tuesday awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their research refining techniques to detect so-called exoplanets. "If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there," Mayor told AFP near Madrid on the sidelines of a conference when asked about the possibility of humans moving to other planets.

A winner of this year's Nobel prize in physics is convinced we'll detect alien life in 100 years. Here are 13 reasons why we haven't made contact yet.

A winner of this year's Nobel prize in physics is convinced we'll detect alien life in 100 years. Here are 13 reasons why we haven't made contact yet. A Nobel prize-winner thinks we'll detect aliens within 100 years, possibly sooner. Other scientists think we might never make contact.

As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests

As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees -- often bleached, sometimes blackened -- known as ghost forests.The water is gaining as much as 5 millimeters per year in some places, well above the global average of 3.1 millimeters, driven by profound environmental shifts that include climate change.Increasingly powerful storms, a consequence of a warming world, push seawater inland. More intense dry spells reduce freshwater flowing outward. Adding to the peril, in some places the land is naturally sinking.All of this allows seawater to claim new territory, killing trees from the roots up.Rising seas often conjure the threat to faraway, low-lying nations or island-states. But to understand the immediate consequences of some of the most rapid sea-level rise anywhere in the world, stand among the scraggly, dying pines of Dorchester County along the Maryland coast.Chesapeake Bay's Migrating MarshesPeople living on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the country's largest estuary system, have a front-row view of the sea's rapid advance, said Keryn Gedan, a wetland ecologist at George Washington University.Part of the reason for the quickly rising waters may be that the Gulf Stream, which flows northward up the coast, is slowing down as meltwater from Greenland inhibits its flow. That is causing what some scientists describe as a pileup of water along the East Coast, elevating sea levels locally.The effects of climate change are also exacerbated by land that is sinking as a result of geological processes triggered by the end of the last ice age.Because of the extraordinary speed at which the water is rising here, Gedan said, "I think of this area as a window into the future for the rest of the world."In Dorchester County, where dead and dying loblolly pines stand forlornly, Gedan has learned to "read" these forests from the mix of species present.As saltwater moves into the ground, oak and other sensitive hardwoods die first. Loblolly pine, the most salt-tolerant, is often the last tree standing until it, too, is overwhelmed.Then the saltwater marsh plants move in. If you're lucky, velvety tufts of cordgrass sprout. If not, impenetrable stands of cane-like Phragmites, an invasive species, take over.One reason the effects of rising seas are so noticeable here is that the land has very little slope. Those 5 millimeters of sea level, a rise that's only slightly more than two half-dollar coins stacked, can translate into saltwater pushing 15 feet inland per year, according to Gedan.Shoots of sweet gum, a tree with star-shaped leaves and bark like alligator skin, have more tolerance for salt than other hardwoods, such as oak. They can endure for a time as groundwater becomes more saline.But eventually, the sweet gum dies as well.The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where Gedan does research, lost 3,000 acres of forest and agricultural land between 1938 and 2006. More than 5,000 acres of marsh became open water.At first, this trend depressed Matt Whitbeck, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service who works at the refuge. Saltwater marshes are important nurseries for the fish and crabs people like to eat.But in 2012, he realized the marsh wasn't entirely disappearing; it was migrating. Some of the 3,000 acres of forest that the refuge had lost had transformed into saltwater marsh.His outlook changed. "We need to think about where the marsh is moving, not where it is," he said.But in nearby Smithville, a historically African American town, this movement poses an existential threat. Backyards have been gobbled up by advancing marsh, basketball courts overgrown. What were once thick stands of pine near the water's edge have greatly thinned. The marsh now menaces a graveyard.Residents have battled the advancing wetlands for years, said Roslyn Watts, 60, who grew up here. All that time, she and her neighbors thought the inexorable advance was simply the price of living near water's edge.But in 2010, she learned about global warming and sea level rise, she said. She understood that what was happening wasn't entirely natural."I was angry," she said, and particularly incensed by the idea that retreat was the only workable strategy. The Dutch didn't retreat, she said. They built dikes. Why couldn't Smithville?"These families have been here since at least the late 19th century," she said. "There's a connection to the land."But Smithville, small and with few resources, has little money to adapt.Further south in Somerset County, numerous "for sale" signs stand in front of houses along the back roads. Some are abandoned, their yards overgrown by Phragmites. On Deal Island, ditches once dug to drain the land for farming and to help manage flooding from high tides now stand full of stagnant water.Today, in fact, these ditches are part of the threat: Instead of draining water out to sea, they can accelerate the movement of saltwater inland, said Kate Tully, an agroecologist at the University of Maryland.In general, saltwater can seep into the soil before sea level rise becomes obvious in other ways, killing sensitive plants far from the shore. "We call it the invisible flood, because you can't really see it," she said.Elizabeth van Dolah, an anthropologist at the University of Maryland who works with rural communities along the eastern shore, noted that residents here are accustomed to marsh migration and flooding. "But they're probably seeing it happening at a much quicker pace than in the past," she said. "Many of them recognize that, yes, they eventually have to leave. But for the time being, they intend to stay in place."Bob Fitzgerald, 80, has farmed near the town Princess Anne his whole life. Driving the back roads in his four-seater pickup, he pointed out fields that, just five years ago, grew corn but have since become too salty for crops."You can't give property away down here," he said.The asphalt roads are occasionally tinted red along the edges. That, too, is an effect of the floodwater "overtopping" the roads, Fitzgerald said."People who have built their homes here are damn fools," he said, speaking near a place where pine trees appear to be dying around a house. "It should have been abandoned."As the years pass, he said, it will be.'Cedar Cemeteries' in New JerseyFor 33 years, Ken Able has walked the same causeway almost daily at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, New Jersey. In that time he has seen marsh become open water, and the fish population transform as cooler-water species decline and those that thrive in warmer waters move in.Blue crab and summer flounder, both saltwater species, have pushed into freshwater rivers. Their arrival suggests the waterways are becoming saltier further inland.All these signs of change come from the ocean, a fluid and often fickle environment. Which is why Able, a professor emeritus of marine and coastal sciences, so appreciates the ghost forests. They're a signal of change from a stationary source: the trees themselves."A ghost forest is a way to capture geological history," he said. "There's not always a way to do that."The Atlantic white cedar, abundant around the Mullica River Estuary in stands such as this one, is an unusually durable parchment on which to capture that history.Long prized for lumber, its wood is highly resistant to rot. But the tree is also very sensitive to salt. It can tolerate maybe three salty high tides before succumbing.So when the trees begin dying, it's a trustworthy indicator that conditions are becoming more saline. It is an age-old phenomenon, now happening faster.Erosion of marshes and riverbanks has also accelerated, revealing buried cedar stumps from prehistoric ghost forests. Jennifer Walker, a frequent collaborator with Able who recently earned her Ph.D. in oceanography at Rutgers, dated one stump here to the fifth century. "Cedar cemeteries," she calls these places.As elsewhere, ghost forest formation seems to have sped up recently, particularly after Hurricane Sandy hit the region in 2012. "It's a good example of a slowly encroaching process -- and then storms making it worse," Walker said.She is studying sediment cores from salt marshes and dating ancient, dead cedars in order to reconstruct sea level rise and ghost forest formation through time.The pace of sea level rise first quickened in the late 19th century after the Industrial Revolution, Walker said, and then sped up again in recent decades. It's now rising faster than at any point in the past several thousand years.Much of the Mullica River Estuary is a nature preserve, its many tributaries remote and undeveloped. But since 2015, Able and Walker have taken a series of helicopter rides over the area. "It's not one giant ghost forest," Walker said. "But the more you look, the more you find them."From above, they've seen swaths of dead trees along riverbanks many miles from the open ocean, suggesting that Sandy pushed seawater far up the river system."You get a slug of saltwater," Able said, "and things die."On the North Carolina Coast, Fires and SaltPaul Taillie, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, encountered a mystery: He wanted to know how quickly ghost forests form. So he repeated a study originally done 15 years earlier to see how plant life had changed over time.As expected, saltwater marsh had advanced. Pond pine and other salt-sensitive trees were dying. Salt-tolerant plants, including saw grass and black needle rush, were moving in.But unexpectedly, the change wasn't occurring evenly across the landscape. Trees were dying faster in some places than others.What could explain this uneven emergence of ghost forests?The study area had almost no slope -- much of it was just inches above sea level -- and the minor differences in elevation couldn't explain the variation.But a clue came from the soil. It tended to be saltier where trees were dying fastest.The explanation Taillie, who's now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida, landed on had to do with drought. When droughts hit, the amount of freshwater emptying into the ocean from nearby rivers declines, making nearshore waters saltier in some places.That saltier water then pushes inland unevenly, killing trees in an irregular pattern across an otherwise mostly uniform landscape. "It's not just rising sea level" that creates ghost forests, Tallie said, but periods of dryness."It's more during times of drought, when you have less freshwater, that the saltwater creeps in," he said. "Salinity goes up."Wildfires are another accelerant.Wetlands burn naturally here during dry years. Fires often travel on top of standing water, consuming grass and trees that rise above the muck.In the past, young trees quickly sprouted after fires. But recently, some forests have failed to recover."There's almost no regeneration," Chris Moorman, a disturbance ecologist at North Carolina State University, said as we surveyed an expanse of dead, mostly branchless trees. He and Taillie said they think that wetlands like these have become too salty for young pond pines, which are more sensitive to salt than mature ones. They can't gain a foothold in marshes their own forebears could tolerate.Drought is predicted to become more frequent as the climate warms, Taillie said. That means wildfires, combined with intensified dry spells and amplified saltwater intrusion may, together, accelerate the formation of ghost forests independently of sea level rise.The synergy of fire and salt produces particularly dramatic ghost forests. Along the Chesapeake Bay, stands of trees might gradually thin near open water, until just a few scraggly pines remain. But in some places here, acre upon acre of dead trees, sun-bleached and occasionally fire-blackened, stand sentinel over bubbling marshes.Yet while the ghost forests may evoke graveyards, the salt marsh plants that advance into dead and dying stands of trees are themselves valuable. Marshes provide homes for birds; they serve as nurseries for young fish and other sea creatures.And as the sea advances, the new marshes also provide a momentary buffer against the rising tide -- protecting the forests whose time has not yet come.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Is vaping safer than smoking? Depends who you ask, and what scientific study they point to

Is vaping safer than smoking? Depends who you ask, and what scientific study they point to The claim is central to electronic cigarettes' future, and is under scrutiny as cases of vaping-related lung injuries rise with at least 18 dead.

Top DJ Fatboy Slim pays homage to 'right now' Greta Thunberg

Top DJ Fatboy Slim pays homage to 'right now' Greta Thunberg British superstar DJ Fatboy Slim paid tribute to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg by performing a remix of his hit song "Right Here, Right Now", using samples from her dramatic UN speech. The 56-year-old artist played the mash-up, made by South African electronic artist David Scott, at a show in Gateshead, northeast England, last Friday, with a video clip of the performance recently going viral on social media. The remix samples Thunberg's demands for action against climate change in her fiery speech at the United Nations last month to be taken "right here, right now", using it during each refrain of the song's title.

MLB playoffs, snowstorm hits central US, California power outages: 5 things to know Wednesday

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Before Nobels: Gifts to and From Rich Patrons Were Early Science's Currency

Before Nobels: Gifts to and From Rich Patrons Were Early Science's Currency Collaborative scientific societies, beginning in the mid-17th century, distanced rewards from the whims and demands of individual patrons.

A new study reveals how the last woolly mammoths died out 4,000 years ago. That's after the Egyptians had built the pyramids.

A new study reveals how the last woolly mammoths died out 4,000 years ago. That's after the Egyptians had built the pyramids. The last of the woolly mammoths died on an Arctic island 4,000 years ago, meaning these animals went extinct much later than scientists once thought.

Astronauts just printed meat in space for the first time - and it could change the way we grow food on Earth

Astronauts just printed meat in space for the first time - and it could change the way we grow food on Earth A spacecraft with vials of cow cells landed at the International Space Station in September. From there, cosmonauts fed the vials into a 3D printer.

Boeing to invest $20M in Virgin Galactic, marking a milestone team-up in commercial space

Boeing to invest $20M in Virgin Galactic, marking a milestone team-up in commercial space Boeing says it's planning to invest $20 million in Virgin Galactic once it goes public, potentially unlocking a new level of synergy for commercial space travel. For Virgin Galactic, the deal will provide an extra dose of cash - but also access to Boeing's decades of expertise in providing aerospace products and services. In return, Boeing will have an inside track to the market for commercial space travel - which is part of CEO Dennis Muilenburg's vision for a continuum of aerospace transportation. "Space tourism, space factories ... that whole ecosystem is evolving, and we'll be deeply involved in the... Read More

Some of Los Angeles' homeless could get apartments that cost more than private homes, study finds

Some of Los Angeles' homeless could get apartments that cost more than private homes, study finds Some of Los Angeles' homeless will get apartments that cost more than $600,000. Without a change, LA will have to build thousands fewer apartments.

Study This Picture: The P-47M Was an Excellent American Fighter

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Could Nazi Germany Have Gotten the Atomic Bomb First?

Could Nazi Germany Have Gotten the Atomic Bomb First? A dangerous alternate history.

Chicago teens stage 'die-in' to demand action on climate change; one man arrested

Chicago teens stage 'die-in' to demand action on climate change; one man arrested Dozens of Chicago teens gathered across from Trump International Hotel and marched to City Hall Monday to demand action on climate change.

Biotech experts gather at the White House for 'Summit on America's Bioeconomy'

Biotech experts gather at the White House for 'Summit on America's Bioeconomy' More than 100 biotech researchers, industry executives and government officials met at the White House today for a summit focusing on America's bioeconomy - the range of products, services and data derived from biological processes and bioscience research. "The bioeconomy is already an integral part of the general economy," White House chief technology officer Michael Kratsios told the attendees. "In 2017, revenues from engineered biological systems reached nearly $400 billion." He cited figures from SynBioBeta suggesting that the private sector alone invested more than $3.7 billion in early-stage biological engineering and manufacturing tech companies during 2018. "But we are not... Read More

Astronomers spot 20 more moons of Saturn - and want you to help name them

Astronomers spot 20 more moons of Saturn - and want you to help name them Saturn has pulled ahead of Jupiter again in the moon discovery race, thanks to a batch of 20 outer moons that bring the ringed planet's total tally to 82. The newly reported satellites, confirmed by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, were found by the same team that reported spotting 12 new moons of Jupiter last year. As was the case with those moons of Jupiter, the discovery team at the Carnegie Institution for Science is soliciting suggestions for naming the newly reported moons of Jupiter. Right now, they're known only by their numerical designations, such as S/2004 S29... Read More

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