Newsy - Sci/Health The Latest Videos From <![CDATA[America's Meat Obsession Isn't Great For The Environment]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 15:21:00 -0500
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America loves its meat. But all that beef and brisket comes at a high price for the planet.

That's because the way much of the world raises livestock requires tons and tons and literal tons of natural resources.

The age-old way to raise cattle — and the environmentally friendly way — is to grassfeed them. But our growing demand for beef means cattle have to be fattened up at an unnatural pace. Rather than grass, the majority of the cows in the U.S. are eating corn and other grains.

All the livestock in the U.S. consume as much as five times as much grain as the entire U.S. population consumes. That takes a lot of water. In fact, by some estimates, a pound of meat takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce.

And all that water consumption is pretty intense when you put it into context. In the U.S., total agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of our water usage.

"The governor says Californians need to change the way they live," NBC reported.

Which is why it's strange that so much talk of water conservation is about watering our lawns or taking showers and not about all that water used for raising livestock.

This video includes clips from Wyoming PBS and images from Jake Dunham / CC BY 3.0Creative Stall / CC BY 3.0 and Artem Kovyazin / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[What The Hell Is This Noise Jupiter's Making?]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:37:00 -0500
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Turn up your headphones. NASA's Juno mission has entered Jupiter's magnetosphere, and it sounds weird.

This is the region of space protected by the planet's magnetic field. It's full of charged particles and makes radio noise that some of Juno's instruments can detect.

Earth has a magnetosphere, too. It keeps the solar wind from stripping our atmosphere away.

But Jupiter has the largest planetary magnetic field in the solar system, thanks to the energy of its metallic hydrogen interior.

It's intense, and not just for the noise it makes. The radiation is so severe it melts spacecraft after a while — about 20 months, in Juno's case. Once the probe lands in orbit, the clock starts ticking.

This video includes clips from NASA and music by Frenic / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[Check Out This Impressive Aurora Glowing Over Jupiter]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 08:32:00 -0500
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured some impressive images of Jupiter's glowing auroras.

The telescope used far ultraviolet-light observations to capture the auroras and then placed the image on top of a full-color photograph of the planet.

NASA says Jupiter's auroras have hundreds of times more energy than Earth's, and they never actually stop glowing.

They occur when high-energy particles enter the planet's atmosphere at its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas.

NASA is trying to determine how the auroras are affected by changing conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles coming from the sun.

NASA's spacecraft Juno left for Jupiter in 2011 and is expected to enter the planet's orbit some time in early July.

Juno will measure changes in the solar wind, and the Hubble telescope will continue to observe the auroras to see how they are affected by the sun.

This video includes clips from NASA.

<![CDATA[Florida's Waters Are Dripping With Disgusting Algae, And It Smells]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 07:51:00 -0500
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This blue-green algae spreading through Florida's waters may look pretty at first glance. But up close, it's actually "guacamole-thick" and smelly.

And it caused Florida Gov. Rick Scott to declare four of the state's southern counties under a state of emergency on Wednesday and Thursday.

Residents nearby are reportedly experiencing allergy symptoms, like rashes and coughs. The algae blooms can also be fatal for local wildlife.

TC Palm reports a June sample from one of the affected bodies of water — Lake Okeechobee — showed the water had more than 20 times the toxin level the World Health Organization considers hazardous.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government are taking heat for the blooms; they control water flows in the area to keep lake-levels at a certain height.

Part of that flow is a decades-old dike that Scott says is close to failing, and he's blaming Washington.

"When you try to reverse 75 years of diking and draining, that takes time," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said.

On Friday, the corps tried to reduce the flow from Lake Okeechobee by beginning a "pulse release" — or a slow weeklong release of water.

"Our water managers have dealt with such large quantities of rain and runoff entering the lake that it would cover the entire state of Delaware in 2 feet of water. However, after visiting with local elected officials in Martin County yesterday and viewing the algae first hand, we felt compelled to take action, even though we need to remain vigilant in managing the level of Lake Okeechobee," said Col. Jason Kirk, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District.

Bacteria is also spreading on some of Florida's Panhandle beaches, but that problem is unrelated to the algae.

This video includes clips from WPTV and images from Getty Images and WPTV / Kaan Pala.

<![CDATA[Your Doctor Probably Gets Paid By A Drug Company]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 21:55:00 -0500
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Looks like drug and medical device companies were feeling very generous last year.

Data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate doctors here in the U.S. received about $6.5 billion in payments from different drug and device companies and owned about $1 billion in industry stock in 2015.

Those payments covered things like meals, travel and research grants for individual doctors and for teaching hospitals. 

This type of payment information is made public thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act. The Open Payments Data was created "to prevent inappropriate influence on research, education and clinical decision making" and encourage "transparency about financial ties."

That transparency is something the American Medical Association calls vital. In a statement, the group said: "The AMA strongly opposes inappropriate, unethical interactions between physicians and the industry. However, not all interactions are unethical or inappropriate."

The data in this report includes payment information from more than 600,000 doctors and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals across the country.

The payment total for 2015 is slightly higher than the year before. As for the doctors who received some of the biggest pieces of the pie from medical companies? The Washington Post points to neurologists and orthopedic surgeons

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[America's Beer-Drinking Habit Is Making This Mexican Town Thirsty]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:48:00 -0500
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Water shortages in Mexico aren't uncommon. But a water shortage in Mexico caused by our affinity for Mexican beer? That's a different story. 

The mayor of Zaragoza — a municipality located near the Texas-Mexico border — says his area faces water shortages caused by production at a nearby brewery.

New York-based firm Constellation Brands owns that brewery located in Nava, Mexico. It draws on water from deep wells in northern Mexico to make beers like Corona and Modelo.

Those beers are particularly popular among American drinkers. The Wall Street Journal reports Corona is the fifth best-selling beer in the country. 

Americans' taste for the brew grew so quickly that Constellation Brands announced plans to more than double the size of its production center — a move some say will threaten water supplies even more.

SEE MORE: "Researchers Found A Really, Really Old Beer Recipe In China"

Zaragoza's mayor told The Guardian: "We're worried because we're already being impacted. … The government gave them this land and these wells on a silver platter."

The same year Constellation Brands bought the plant in Nava, it published a water policy. Under the policy, the company says it strives to "maintain water source availability and quality" and engage in "transparency and reporting."

This video includes clips from Corona Extra and System Logistics and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Heroin Overdoses In The US Tripled Over The Course Of 4 Years]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:19:00 -0500
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Heroin overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2010 and 2014.

That's according to a report from the Drug Enforcement Administration. It also found the overall number of reported heroin users nearly tripled between 2007 and 2014.

In 2010, just over 3,000 people died from heroin overdoses, and that number rose to more than 10,500 in 2014.

The DEA says in the report that some heroin users turned to the drug because it's less expensive and sometimes easier to obtain than prescription painkillers.

Another rising problem in the U.S. is fentanyl. It can be disguised as prescription pills because of the high demand for painkillers. However, its much stronger than other drugs like heroin, which makes the chance of an overdose much higher.

Earlier this year, Congress passed two measures aimed at fighting opioid addiction, but none have funding attached. President Obama has called for an additional $1 billion to fight the epidemic.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from CBS and KTVU. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[The Government Made Gross Cookie Dough Facts So You'll Stop Eating It]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:03:00 -0500
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This time, it's not your grandma saying raw cookie dough is bad for you. It's the Food and Drug Administration.

It's not the usual spiel of salmonella in raw eggs either. The FDA warned in recent months, 38 people from 20 states got sick from a certain strain of E. coli. And for many, it was raw flour that made them sick.

The cases were partially linked to a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri. In May, the company started a voluntary recall of flour sold in November and December of last year.

But the FDA is now trying to make it clear that, in general, eating raw flour is a bad idea.

A senior adviser for the agency said, "Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria."

So let's say an animal relieves itself in the field. That bacteria isn't necessarily cleaned out. Baking, however, kills it.

A different FDA adviser told The New York Times most companies actually heat-treat what they present as "raw" cookie dough. So your favorite ice cream topping is still probably safe.

But the FDA warns eating the dough directly isn't the only thing that can make you sick. It also said not to play with the dough and to wash your hands before and after touching raw flour.

This video includes clips from Ben & Jerry'sKSHBWCCO and KRBK and images from Getty Images and Gwen / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[How Do Fireworks — Work?]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:32:00 -0500
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Firecrackers are easy: Light the fuse and run. But most firework explosions are a bit more complex.

A Roman candle, for example, burns top-down through several layers of pyrotechnic charges called stars.

Their colors come from metallic powders: aluminum burns white. Copper gives fireworks a blue color. Lithium or strontium powder turns them red.

Mortar shells — the quintessential aerial fireworks you see in the big displays — require careful assembly beforehand.

The arrangement of stars determines what they look like when they burst midair. A circle-shaped pattern yields a circular firework. Star-shaped patterns give up star-shaped fireworks, and so on.

The timing of what explodes when and with what force can be controlled with precise fuses and thicker wrappings. 

Even the noise they make can come down to what they're made of. Certain fuels, for example, can make flying fireworks sound like they're whistling.

<![CDATA[Extremely Rare Galaxy Sheds Light On How Others Get Their Shapes]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 07:59:00 -0500
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The Hubble Space Telescope has captured images of an extremely rare galaxy researchers are using to learn how others, and their shapes, evolved.

While most galaxies are shaped like a spiral or elliptical, these "tadpole galaxies" researchers are studying have bright heads and long tails.

The odds are about 500-1 of a galaxy being tadpole-shaped in our neck of the universe. But Kiso 5639 beats the odds –– a relatively nearby tadpole galaxy just 82 million light-years from the Milky Way.

Its odd appearance comes from a frenzied birth of stars on one side of the galaxy. Stars in the "head" were formed just a million years ago, compared to other stars in the same galaxy which are a few billion years old.

As to what caused this rapid birth of young stars, researchers in Germany believe a narrow strip of gas entered the galaxy's atmosphere. That gas dropped matter, which folded in with clouds of dust to create stars.

But Kiso 5639 likely won't look like a tadpole forever. The researchers note that galaxies rotate and parts of the tail will eventually interact with that same strip of gas, leading to more stars being born.

You can read a more detailed account of Kiso 5639 and the makeup of its gas stream in The Astrophysical Journal.

This video includes clips from ESA/Hubble, Digitized Sky Survey 2 and images from NASA and NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Scientists Are Getting Closer To A Working Zika Vaccine]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 21:44:00 -0500
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Concern about the spread of the Zika virus seems to only be outpaced by the speed in which the scientific community is working to create a vaccine. And scientists seem like they're close to developing some protection from the virus with multiple vaccines in the works. 

One vaccine recently received its first approval from the Food and Drug Administration to start testing on humans. The company says it's going to be testing 40 people in a few weeks and if it's safe, will move on to a larger trial. 

And a new report from Harvard Medical School shows researchers were able to create a vaccine that kept mice completely protected from the Zika virus. Now, mice and humans are obviously different, and one of the co-authors concedes that fact but says the findings "raise optimism" that a vaccine for humans may not be too far off. 

If it feels like it hasn't taken long for these vaccines to start churning out, you'd be right. It's all thanks to a newish technique called DNA vaccines. Unlike other vaccines that contain a whole virus, DNA vaccines only carry a small piece of the virus's genetic code. 

This hopeful news also comes as Senate Democrats blocked a spending bill that would've helped fight Zika. Democrats said the GOP hijacked the bill by adding provisions cutting financing for Obamacare and restricting how Planned Parenthood could provide contraceptive services in the fight against Zika.  

Either way, these two vaccines join at least one other from the National Institutes of Health that could be ready for approval in the next couple of years. 

This video includes clips from The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionHarvard University and National Geographic. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[The Impatient Person's Guide To The End Of The Universe]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:36:00 -0500
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Here's a thought: Someday the universe will end. And thanks to modern physics, scientists already have several theories on how. 

We'll start with the three simplest theories, which all come from a basic observation about the universe: It's expanding. Most galaxies are getting farther and farther apart as space itself gets larger and larger. 

If you take that fact and project out billions of years, there are three basic ways the process could end. 

In the first scenario, the expansion slows down. The galaxies eventually get pulled back together, kind of like the Big Bang in reverse. All matter and energy collapses back into a hot, dense ball, mirroring the universe's earliest moments. 

This seems like the least likely scenario nowadays because new observations show the expansion is actually speeding up, not slowing down. That leads us to the second scenario. 

In the second case, the expansion speeds up exponentially as the forces driving it become stronger. It becomes so fast that galaxies aren't the only things being separated. Stars, planets and eventually even atoms would be pulled apart by the expansion. 

"It will eventually overcome everything, and you'll have a universe with nothing left," physicist Thad Szabo of Cerritos College told Universe Today's Fraser Cain

The third outcome is that the expansion will occur at just the right rate to keep No. 1 and No. 2 from happening. The galaxies will get farther apart, but there won't be any catastrophe at the end. Instead, those galaxies will more or less die of old age. 

The stars will burn until all fuel is used up, planets will float around until they crumble or fall into black holes and the black holes themselves will slowly evaporate, leaving a cold and empty void. 

"The universe will end not with a bang but with a whimper," astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson told Bill Moyers

Right now, No. 3 seems most likely, but that could change. There are a lot of unknowns about expansion that could affect our universal forecast. 

But there are theories on the end of the universe that have nothing to do with expansion. 

Remember the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012? Well, it turns out the Higgs' newly discovered properties just happen to fit a formula predicting a different kind of doom for our universe. Here's how a physicist who worked on the Higgs discovery put it: 

"At some point, somewhere, spontaneously, out in the vacuum of space … there'll be a little bubble that will form. … It will expand at the speed of light, and it will keep doing that, and nothing will stop it until it completely wipes out everything that's already here," Joseph Lykken of Fermilab said in a lecture to the Academy of Science of St. Louis.

The "bubble" in that scenario is basically a replacement universe that functions very differently from ours. Life most likely wouldn't be possible there, but at least there's something left over after our universe ends. 

Just to put your minds at ease, it's worth remembering that all of these end-of-the-universe scenarios take place billions of years in the future — except the Higgs boson bubble thing, which could happen at any time. 

This video includes clips from John Fowler / CC BY 2.0NASAMike Lewinski / CC BY 2.0 and GrassRoots Community Television. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[What Stephen Hawking Doesn't Know, And What He Knows All Too Well]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 13:04:00 -0500
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Some things are just too big of a mystery, keeping even geniuses like Stephen Hawking guessing. 

"What still mystifies you about the universe?" Larry King asked. 

"Why do the universe and all the laws of nature exist? Are they necessary? In one sense they are, because otherwise we wouldn't be here to ask the question. But is there a deeper reason?" Hawking answered. 

We might not be able to answer Hawking's question, but there's a chance we could help with something else he told Larry King he knows all too well.

Hawking said in the roughly six years since he was last interviewed by King, the world hasn't gotten any less greedy.

Air pollution has increased over that time to the point where now 80 percent of urban dwellers are in danger. And he called global warming Earth's most pressing issue. 

When interviewed by King in 2010, Hawking said: "We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet."

That echoed a stand he made on global warming at the Royal Society of London in 2007.

Hawking has asserted that hotter ocean temperatures would melt the ice caps and cause large quantities of carbon dioxide to escape the ocean floor. Those effects could, in turn, make Earth's climate more like Venus', with temperatures reaching 250 degrees Celsius. 

But there is change on the way. This week, American, Canadian and Mexican leaders are set to announce a goal of half of the continent's energy coming from zero-carbon resources by 2025

This video includes clips from The White HouseSky NewsCNNBBCAl JazeeraPBS and Ora TV / "Larry King Now," and images from Getty Images and NASA

<![CDATA[Congress Is Going On Vacation – Without Funding The Fight Against Zika]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:57:00 -0500
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Congress is going on vacation — without funding the fight against Zika. 

Mosquitoes carry the Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in children.

Puerto Rico has already seen 1,800 infections. And health officials say the rest of the U.S. will be hit by Zika this summer.

President Obama asked for $1.9 billion to fight the virus. House Republicans gave him $1.1 billion — but only in exchange for cuts to Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. 

So Senate Democrats won't sign the bill. And both sides are pointing fingers.

This video includes images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Clinical Trial Offers New Hope For Marijuana-Based Prescription Drugs]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 21:02:00 -0500
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A new clinical trial on marijuana and epilepsy could lead to the first FDA-approved marijuana-based prescription drug.

There have been similar studies in the past dealing with seizures and cannabidiol, one of the main active components in marijuana. But this trial is unique because of how far along it is in the clinical trial process and how carefully controlled it was. 

The trial was specifically for people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which is a form of epilepsy that usually starts in childhood. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, LGS accounts for only 2 to 5 percent of childhood epilepsies. But the experimental drug Epidiolex recently had some success in treating another epileptic condition called Dravet syndrome.

In the most recent trial, those taking the drug saw a 44 percent reduction in seizures, compared to a significantly lower 22 percent decrease in those taking a placebo.

Participants in the study were between 2 and 55 years old and took Epidiolex in addition to their other anti-epileptic medication.

The company that makes the drug, GW Pharmaceuticals, told outlets it will likely apply for U.S. market approval by 2017.

This video includes images from GW Pharmaceuticals and Bob Doran / CC BY 2.0 and clips from The Sacramento Bee and WFLD. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[Health Costs ​Could Hinge On Where — Not How — You Die]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 16:37:00 -0500
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A health care analytics company suggests that instead of considering how they want to die, people should consider where they want to die.

Arcadia Healthcare Solutions looked at the last year of life for nearly 2,400 patients and examined where they spent their last year and how much their health care cost. 

Results showed 42 percent of people died at home while 40 percent died in the hospital. But those who died in the hospital spent almost $28,000 more during their last month. 

The assertion that dying in a hospital is costly is not new. Researchers with the University of New South Wales reviewed dozens of studies and found a third of elderly patients with chronic, irreversible conditions received unnecessary medical treatment at the hospital. 

So how could families avoid unnecessary end-of-life spending? The lead researchers said, "An honest and open discussion with patients or their families is a good start to avoid non-beneficial treatments."

But while doctors tend to believe it's their role to start those conversations with patients, they say they're not always equipped to carry the patients' plans through.

They note patients' electronic health records often lack a place to note an end-of-life plan, and less than one-third of doctors reported having any formal training to talk to patients and their families about end-of-life care. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Nicholas Menghini / CC BY 3.0David / CC BY 3.0 and Creative Stall / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[IEA Report Says 6.5 Million People Die Each Year From Air Pollution]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:50:00 -0500
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A new report released Monday by the International Energy Agency says about 6.5 million deaths each year can be attributed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution.

According to the World Health Organization, that's more than the number of people who die from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined.

This is the first air pollution study from the agency — a Paris-based energy security group — which is probably best known for its monthly oil market reports.

The report also warns that premature deaths from outdoor air pollution are probably going to rise from 3 million to 4.5 million by 2040, mainly in developing Asia.

In a statement, the IEA executive director said, "No country — rich or poor — can claim that the task of tackling air pollution is complete. ... We need to revise our approach to energy development so that communities are not forced to sacrifice clean air in return for economic growth."

SEE MORE: "Climate Protection Will Need More Money Than It Gets From Paris Talks"

The IEA suggests three steps for improving air quality like setting long-term air quality goals, having a clean air strategy for the energy sector and making sure countries actually monitor and enforce those goals and strategies.

But to help slow air pollution, the developed world is going to need to do some investing in developing countries. That will allow countries like China — where air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010 — to finance industrial change and develop low-carbon technologies.

If the IEA goals can be reached, developing countries could see the number of people exposed to certain types of air pollution drop. In India, it could fall below 20 percent by 2040 from the 60 percent it's at today.

This video includes clips from the International Energy Agency and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[So, You're Saying Electricity Makes Lower-Fat Chocolate Possible?]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:10:00 -0500
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What if chocolate could be healthier and taste the same?

Researchers at Temple University have been able to reduce the fat in chocolate by running an electrified current through its liquid form.

"Liquid chocolate is a mix of [cocoa] particles and fat. At a little bit high temperature, about 40 degrees [Celsius]. So put it together –– let it then pass the electrical field, so cocoa particles aggregate. Then viscosity is reduced, so they can go through the production no problem," the study's lead researcher said.

OK, so it's a little complicated. But the gist is chocolate made in factories has to flow smoothly through pipes.

Low-fat chocolate gets clogged up because it loses fat from the cocoa butter, which makes it fluid.

But the researchers found shooting electricity in the same direction the liquid chocolate moves changes the mixture's density, letting it run smoothly even as fat is removed from the chocolate.

This technology was originally invented for crude oil. The Mars candy company then came to the researchers at Temple University and asked them to apply it to chocolate.

Using the electric current, the researchers reduced the chocolate's fat content by 20 percent. And they claim it tastes the same.

However, the study didn't include any scientific tests on taste or texture to back up that claim. If Mars ends up using this technology, customers may just have to try for themselves.

This video includes clips from Temple UniversityAl JazeeraCNNCBS and KYW-TV and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Beijing's Consuming So Much Water The City's Sinking]]> Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:30:00 -0500
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Beijing is consuming so much water it's causing the city to sink at an extreme rate.

A new study using satellite imagery and radar technology confirmed the ground level is sinking each year by roughly 4 inches. 

Beijing doesn't have enough water to begin with. It's the fifth-most water stressed city in the world. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the water the city uses comes from the ground. 

According to The Guardian, more than 10,000 wells have been drilled in the Beijing area, and when water is used from them, the nearby soil condenses and hardens. 

The study's authors warned if ground water continues to be pumped at excessive rates, the city's 20 million citizens could be in danger. The central business district is sinking particularly fast, and the researchers predict trains could be affected

More than 40 other Chinese cities have been found to be sinking as well. Shanghai, China's most populated city, has dropped more than 6 feet since 1921.  

The huge expansion of skyscrapers and other heavy buildings in China has made the sinking worse. 

Beyond China, Mexico City has sunk 32 feet in the last 60 years because of similar water consumption. 

Both Mexico City and Jakarta, Indonesia, are sinking at a rate of roughly 11 inches per year. 

This video includes clips from PBSFrance 24, International Business TimesNTDTVCCTV and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Imagine What 2 Telescopes in Space Will See — If Hubble Doesn't Break]]> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 15:40:00 -0500
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Even at 26 years old, the Hubble Space Telescope is still earning its keep. And NASA just awarded a more than $2 billion contract to ensure its science operations will continue for the next five years.

The quarter-century-old observatory lives or dies by this funding because maintenance doesn't happen anymore. The last visit to repair and service the telescope was in May 2009. Since then, it's stayed in good working order, but anything that breaks now will stay broken.

This funding extension means Hubble's service lifetime should officially overlap with that of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018.

Webb is more a spiritual successor to Hubble's legacy than a direct one. Hubble makes its observations in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum. Webb will operate in the infrared. Researchers can't do quite the same science with each one.

But as long as both scopes are operational, astronomers will be able to turn them on the same target to study it in more detail.

How long the duo would be able to keep up that work is anyone's guess. If Hubble's hardware holds up, its demise might come down to gravity.

It wouldn't "float off into the sunset" as much as it would "eventually get dragged into the atmosphere and mostly burn up" as its orbit decays.

But that's not expected to happen until some time after 2020. And NASA will have to visit sometime before Hubble falls: It won't allow an uncontrolled breakup.

This video includes clips from the European Space Agency and NASA and images from NASA.

<![CDATA[Arnold Schwarzenegger Wants China To Quit Pigging Out On Meat]]> Sat, 25 Jun 2016 13:27:00 -0500
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"Put that cookie down now!" Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

This time, it isn't cookies. But China, Arnold Schwarzenegger wants you to put that meat down.

"I'm slowly getting off meat, and I tell you, I feel fantastic," Schwarzenegger said.

That's because meat is taking a lot of blame for rising obesity and diabetes rates in China.

Its government's new dietary guidelines want people to cut down on the meat consumption, and a WildAid PSA starring Schwarzenegger is meant to get the idea across.

And it's not just health. Meat isn't helping China's massive carbon footprint, and the country has agreed to lower its emissions.

Red meat increases that footprint and is especially popular in the country, where half of all pork worldwide is eaten and produced.

And studies show that meat consumption isn't slowing down.

But maybe Schwarzenegger is the inspiration the country needs.

This video includes clips from Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe EconomistWildAid20th Century Fox / "Jingle All the Way" and images from Getty Images and stu_spivack / CC BY SA 2.0.

<![CDATA[These Freed Zoo Animals Are On To Bigger, Better Things]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:00:00 -0500
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Thousands of animals at Argentina's Buenos Aires zoo will soon be moving out and heading to larger spaces.

The city's mayor called the animals' "captivity degrading" when he announced Thursday the zoo would close.

This sentiment echoes what many animal rights groups have been saying in recent years. Some have even demanded the zoo be shut down because of the conditions the animals live in.

Most of the zoo's 2,500 animals will be moved to sanctuaries around Argentina.

But 50 animals are reportedly too fragile to be moved.

Like an orangutan named Sandra, who got international attention after she was given "basic human rights" by an Argentinian court. The court agreed her living conditions were poor.

Sandra was supposed to be transferred to a sanctuary but now is reportedly too weak to make the trip.

The remaining animals will no longer be on display as the zoo transforms into a park that focuses on conservation. It might reopen later this year.

This video includes clips from parabuenosaires.com24/7 Canal de Noticias and Canal 9 and images from Joseph Brent / CC BY 2.0Juliana Lopes / CC BY 2.0[MGM] / CC BY SA 2.0Christian Haugen / CC BY 2.0Rodrigo Soldon 2 / CC BY ND 2.0 and Travis Alber / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Sorry, Solar City: Solar Power Still Isn't Competitive]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:39:00 -0500
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You might have caught the news: Tesla Motors and Solar City are expected to merge. Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes it will help usher in a new era of affordable solar energy — but the change isn't happening anytime soon.

Never mind the hefty losses both companies incurred last year. It's not about the companies themselves. It's about relatively new technology. On average, solar is still not a good financial prospect for consumers. 

This is partly a matter of scale. The U.S. generates two-thirds of its electricity from coal and natural gas. Solar accounts for 0.6 percent.

Numbers from the Energy Information Administration show fossil fuels have historically been cheaper than solar.

And even with a few years to mature and the help of federal subsidies, the EIA expects solar still won't catch up.

SEE MORE: "Is Solar Power Worth It?"

Federal tax credits can reimburse as much as 30 percent of a solar installation's cost, but those discounts are declining and will eventually be discontinued in 2021.

Still, solar is scheduled to lead the U.S.' new energy installations in 2016, and up-front costs have fallen 50 percent in just five years. Maybe Musk is just ahead of his time.

This video includes clips from Tesla MotorsTED ConferencesMinnesota 2020 / CC BY 3.0 and Kasselman Solar / CC BY 3.0 and images from Getty Images, Anuar Zhumaev / CC BY 3.0 and Thomas Uebe / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Don't Count On Medicare, Social Security To Pay Your Bills After 2035]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:42:00 -0500
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Social Security and Medicare take up about 41 percent of the federal budget, and yet the programs are still facing money troubles. 

In a new report, the various trust funds financing the two programs continue to forecast long-term budget problems due to an aging population. The trust funds can help cover Social Security's deficits until around 2035; after that, the program will only have enough money to pay out about 75 percent of the benefits it's supposed to cover.

The report's outlook for Medicare worsened slightly this year. The trust fund covering Medicare Part A, which pays for most hospital expenses, can only finance the program through 2028, running dry two years earlier than expected. After that, beneficiaries will only get 87 percent of their payouts.

Lawmakers recently took some action to shore up these entitlement programs. The 2015 budget shifted some of the program's money to a trust fund for disability insurance, which added seven years to the fund's projected lifespan. But the report emphasized making both programs sustainable will require more than short-term tweaks.

So far, health care spending hasn't been a major talking point of this election. Presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton proposed modest spending increases to the programs, while her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, has promised to not cut Social Security spending.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew did point out that both programs have benefited from slower increases in health care costs, something Lew attributed to President Obama's signature health care law. Obamacare also includes provisions to automatically cap Medicare spending at certain benchmarks, which the program is projected to hit in 2019.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from C-SPANABC and Donald J. Trump For President Inc. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[If It Feels Like Wildfires Are Getting Bigger, It's Because They Are]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 15:54:00 -0500
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Fire has mesmerized man since man was around to be mesmerized by it. That could help explain the storm of media coverage every wildfire season — these are people's lives and homes being destroyed, after all. But the anxious headlines all point to a recent new truth: Wildfires are getting worse.

Since 1995, wildfires have burned more than 126 million acres in the United States. That's a combined area larger than the size of California — and the fires are affecting more land on average.

This comes as the planet gets warmer. The associated droughts and fast-melting snow are expected to make wildfires bigger and more frequent.

Researchers worry we're looking at a feedback loop: Burning forests will release more carbon, increase the effects of climate change, and put the rest of the trees at even greater risk of wildfire damage.

Fire suppression costs for the U.S. Forest Service and Interior agencies have climbed along with the scope of the fires. In 2015, the Forest Service spent more than half its annual budget on fighting fires — the first time that's ever happened.

This video includes clips from CNNABCCBS and KTLA and images from Getty Images, Co-Effect Creative / CC BY 3.0 and Jeff Bleitz / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Trying To Lose Weight? That Standing Desk Isn't Helping Much]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2016 11:29:00 -0500
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Sorry, worker bees. Your standing desk may not help much if losing weight is your goal. 

University of Pittsburgh study, published this month, found participants who stood while working only burned eight or nine calories per hour more than if they sat.

This doesn't mean you should give up on standing at work. Some studies have linked prolonged sitting to increased chances of heart failure and premature death

But a recent analysis of past studies on standing couldn't find any clear-cut evidence that it helps you burn a significant amount of calories. 

And the University of Pittsburgh's study this month isn't tilting the scales in standing's favor. 

Taking short walks during your shift may be the key. Walking at a relaxed pace burned about three times as many calories as sitting or standing.

This video includes an image from Logan Ingalls / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Trader Joe's Agrees To $2M Settlement — Over Refrigerator Coolant]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 20:13:00 -0500
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Trader Joe's has agreed to pay up after the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency found some environmental infractions in its stores.

The issue is refrigerators. Specifically, coolant leaks.

The EPA says the company wasn't repairing coolant leaks in a timely manner and since some of the coolant used by the chain is an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas, those delays violated the Clean Air Act.

Trader Joe's has agreed to spend an estimated $2 million to reduce environmentally harmful leaks. The Justice Department says the company will do this, in part, by using non-ozone depleting refrigerants at all new stores and at stores with major remodels.

Officials said in a release: "The total estimated greenhouse gas emissions reductions from this settlement are equal to the amount from over 6,500 passenger vehicles driven in one year, the CO2 emissions from 33 million pounds of coal burned, or the carbon sequestered by 25,000 acres of forests in one year."

Other grocery chains have had to pay up over refrigerator coolant, too — including Safeway and Costco. 

On top of the $2 million Trader Joe's is expected to spend, the chain will also pay a half a million dollar civil penalty. After a 30-day public comment period, the settlement will need final court approval. 

This video includes images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[Colorado Teens Aren't Using Marijuana As Much As You'd Think]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:56:00 -0500
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Although marijuana is legal in Colorado, use among high school students is just below the national average, according to a recent survey released by the state.

The latest Healthy Kids Colorado Survey that came out Monday was conducted in 2015. Of the 17,000 students randomly surveyed, about 21.2 percent had used marijuana in the past 30 days. The national average is 21.7 percent.

The percentage of Colorado students who had ever used marijuana was also slightly below the national average.

Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and older in 2012. Licensed marijuana retailers began opening in the state in 2014.

According to the survey, tobacco use has hit an all-time low, with fewer than 9 percent of students saying they've smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days. But the study says teens' use of electronic vapor products has increased significantly with a higher percentage of teens using them than cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco combined. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they used an electronic smoking product in the past 30 days compared to the national average of 24 percent.

Alcohol appears to be most popular among Colorado students, with more than 30 percent of them saying they consumed alcohol within the past 30 days compared to the national average of nearly 33 percent.

This video includes clips from KMGH and images from Getty Images. Music provided by APM Music.

<![CDATA[Google Thinks It Knows What Your (Medical) Problem Is]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:04:00 -0500
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Google says its search engine app will make it easier to figure out what's causing your medical symptoms.

In a blog post, the company said 1 percent of its searches are for medical symptoms, like "headache." That means there are millions of searches for medical information on Google already.

SEE MORE: "Doctors Can Now Diagnose Concussions With Just A Blood Test"

Starting Tuesday, when someone searches for a symptom on the Google app in the U.S., they will be given a description of the problem along with some self-treatment options if there are any. Google will also suggest when people should consult a doctor.

2013 Pew survey found 1 in 3 Americans have gone online for information on a medical condition they or others have.

And information found online isn't always accurate. One study found that symptom-checkers online only provided the correct first diagnosis a third of the time.

That led to some people misdiagnosing themselves with a fatal condition, when the reality of the situation wasn't as bad as they thought.

Google says it carefully reviewed the symptom information on its app with doctors. Experts from the Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated a sample of the related conditions.

Google intends for the feature to be used for "informational purposes only" and says you should always consult a doctor for medical advice.

The feature is first rolling out on Google's mobile app on English in the U.S. The company plans to support more languages and cover more symptoms in the future.

This video includes clips and an image from Google.

<![CDATA[What's Rarer Than A Blue Moon? A Strawberry Moon On Summer Solstice]]> Sun, 19 Jun 2016 20:42:00 -0500
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When something happens rarely, we say it occurs once in a blue moon. But it turns out, there's another moon that's even rarer, and it's going to appear in the night sky very soon.

On Monday, June 20, you can look up to the night sky and see a strawberry moon. That's a full moon in the month of June. But what's rare is this year, it happens to fall on the summer solstice. 

The strawberry moon got its name from Algonquin tribes that saw the first full moon of the summer as a signal that it was time to gather the fruits around them.

The strawberry moon was a cause for celebration in other countries as well. But since strawberries didn't originally grow in Europe, people there called it the full rose moon. It's also known in various places worldwide as the hot moon, honey moon and long night moon.

About 25,000 people are expected to gather at Stonehenge for this year's strawberry moon. Stonehenge is thought to be somehow related to the changing of the seasons because the sun aligns with the monument only on the summer and winter solstices.

The moon you'll see Monday could be a once-in-a-lifetime event, because it is extremely rare for a full moon to coincide with the summer solstice.

But you won't have long to take in the event, since the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. The moon will rise and set at different times depending on where you live, but it will be in the sky for about nine hours.

If you can't get outside to take in the rare cosmic coincidence, the Farmer's Almanac is planning to host a live stream of the moon from an observatory in the Canary Islands.

Correction: A previous version of this video incorrectly defined the strawberry moon as a full moon that falls on the summer solstice. This video has been updated. 

<![CDATA[Prince William Advocates For Mental Health On Father's Day]]> Sun, 19 Jun 2016 13:48:00 -0500
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As the U.S. and Great Britain celebrate Father's Day, Prince William is asking dads to think about their children's mental health. 

In an Op/Ed published Sunday in the Daily Express, the Duke of Cambridge said one-fifth of children will have a mental health issue by the time they turn 11 years old. Still, less than a third of fathers rank their children's emotional needs as a "fundamental priority." 

Prince William also urged fathers to "take a moment to ask their children how they are doing." 

Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine became champions of mental health when they started the Heads Together campaign in May. 

On Saturday, the organization released a video of Prince William speaking with British families about how to communicate, and what makes their fathers special. 

This video includes clips from Heads Together and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[The Obamas Are Trying To Make National Parks 'Cool']]> Sun, 19 Jun 2016 11:38:00 -0500
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President Obama is looking to rest and relax — and set an example politically — as he and his family vacation over a long weekend at national parks. 

On Friday, the Obamas visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and on Saturday they reached Yosemite National Park in California. 

"It looks slightly better in person. Just look at this scene. You can't capture this on an iPad, or a flat screen, or even an oil painting," Obama told reporters. 

But climate change and funding have been some of the biggest problems the National Park Service has been trying to tackle, and Obama made note of it at Yosemite. 

"Yosemite's largest glacier, once a mile wide, is now almost gone. We're also seeing longer, more expensive and dangerous wildfire seasons, and fires are raging across the west right now," Obama told reporters. 

The National Forest Service uses more than half of its budget fighting forest fires, which are reportedly made worse by climate change. 

And NBC notes it takes $820 million each year to maintain the national parks, but funding falls short year after year. 

Obama has made conservation a focus during his tenure. He's given protected status to more acres of land and water combined than any president before him, but that too has sometimes drawn criticism from locals who oppose federal ownership. 

The Obama administration has also made a point of boosting attendance at national parks. Some measures have even offered free admission, like the Every Kid In a Park initiative. 

Last year, a record number of people visited national parks. 

This video includes clips from CBSU.S. Department of the Interior, the White HouseU.S. National Park ServiceNational GeographicABC, and images from Getty Images and Facebook / President Obama

<![CDATA[24 Dead, Dozens Missing After Flooding And Landslides In Indonesia]]> Sun, 19 Jun 2016 07:47:00 -0500
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At least 24 are dead and dozens more are missing in Indonesia after flooding and landslides. 

The country's disaster management said heavy rains since Saturday caused 16 cities in the Central Java province to be hit with floods and landslides. 

Currently, search efforts and aid are underway for those missing. 

Just days before the Central Java rains, West Sumatra — located on one of the country's other islands — saw thousands of homes left underwater or washed away from heavy rainfall. 

That flooding has subsided in West Sumatra, but Indonesia's disaster management said with more rainfall predicted it was extending the emergency response until Friday. 

While Indonesia is typically exposed to various weather disasters — like cyclones and monsoons — June is actually part of its dry season

This video includes clips from OK NewsKompasTVBerita Satu TV, Net News and images from Indonesia National Search and Rescue Agency

<![CDATA[Mom Rescues 5-Year-Old From The Jaws Of A Mountain Lion]]> Sat, 18 Jun 2016 22:07:00 -0500
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A Colorado mom rescued her son from the jaws of a mountain lion near Aspen on Friday.

According to The Aspen Times, one sheriff's deputy called the mom a "hero" for rescuing the 5-year-old boy from the attack, which happened while he was playing outside with his older brother.

The mother told the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office she ran outside when she heard screaming and was able to get her son away from the mountain lion. A deputy later said the cat had the boy's head in its mouth.

The mother had minor injuries from the attack but was released from the hospital in good condition. The 5-year-old is currently receiving treatment for injuries to the head and neck and is reportedly in fair condition.

The U.S. Forest Service killed the mountain lion believed to be the one that attacked the boy.

This video includes an image from USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[One Way To Help Electric Planes Go Mainstream: Add More Propellers]]> Sat, 18 Jun 2016 16:49:00 -0500
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Electric flight is still a mostly experimental market — but NASA's re-energized X-plane program could help boost the technology toward regular use.

X-57 is its latest prototype, and its design direction seems to be "just add more propellers." NASA has a specific name for it: distributed electric propulsion.

NASA will give a production aircraft skinnier wings and stick six electric engines on the leading edge of each one and one on each wing tip.  

Tests have shown the distributed system can generate better lift than traditional engines at low speeds, like those experienced during takeoff and landing.

And electric motors are typically quieter than combustion versions — even with lots of props going.

But most of all, it's really efficient.

"The aircraft that we're designing right now and taking to a flight demonstrator can use five times less energy than the best general-aviation aircraft out on the market today," said NASA's Mark Moore.

Fuel-burning planes make a tradeoff between speed and fuel efficiency, thanks to things like drag and the changing weight of their fuel. It means they don't always travel as fast as they're designed to. NASA says an electric plane could cruise closer to its design limits.

But electric power will probably stay limited to small planes for now. Batteries are heavy and need time to charge, so it's harder for larger aircraft to get the same benefits. 

So don't expect a bunch of electric propellers to replace the big turbines on your next long-haul flight — at least not yet.

This video includes clips from NASABukal92 / CC BY 3.0 and Hrhlordwurlibird / CC BY 3.0 and images from NASA.

<![CDATA[What Has Astronaut Tim Peake Been Up To In Space?]]> Sat, 18 Jun 2016 10:03:00 -0500
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After six months in space, astronaut Tim Peake — Britain's first on the International Space Station — bid farewell early Saturday morning. But while he was up there, he did some pretty cool stuff.

For one thing, Peake ran the London Marathon on the ISS — or at least the equivalent distance on a treadmill — beating the previous record for running a marathon in space.

Peake also showed off the cool effects of microgravity for those of us back on Earth — like how you drink water in space.

A rare space gorilla even chased him around the space station — or maybe that was just former astronaut Scott Kelly in a costume.

But it wasn't all fun and games 220 miles above Earth. There was science to do.

Like the routine spacewalks for maintenance. Preparing for those could take up to five hours.

And on his return trip, he brought home micro-organisms that've been living outside the ISS. We'll see if they survived the extreme conditions of space.

As it turns out, many astronauts also love photography. And while cameras are mainly used to document experiments or take pictures for mission control, Peake snapped some amazing photos of the Earth — and beyond.

This video includes clips from European Space AgencyNASABBC and Sky News and images from NASA and European Space Agency. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Jupiter Can't Become A Star — And That's A Good Thing]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 16:15:00 -0500
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NASA's Juno mission is just two weeks from arriving at Jupiter, where it will take the closest look at our solar system's largest planet since the Galileo mission in the 1990s.

NASA is especially interested in Jupiter's mysterious interior structure, because its hydrogen and helium content is a lot like a star's.

This begs the question: If it's built like a star, and is sometimes called a "failed star" because of its size, and Hollywood literally turned it into a star that one time in "2010" — is there any chance of it actually becoming a star?

Short answer: no. The planet isn't big enough for the temperatures and pressures needed to sustain fusion, a type of reaction that fuels stars.

To become a red dwarf, the smallest conventional star, Jupiter would need about 80 times its current mass. And there's not 79 Jupiters' worth of hydrogen just hanging around the solar system. If there were, we'd probably know about it by now.

The best chance Jupiter had to get any bigger was during the birth of our solar system. But the sun gobbled most of the raw material before the planets even started forming, and then the solar wind blew away much of the rest.

That might be for the best. Back then, Jupiter is thought to have moved closer to the sun and launched a good portion of the asteroid belt all over the inner solar system. It was called the heavy bombardment period, and Earth was pretty inhospitable at the time.

And if Jupiter had the mass of a star, that would mean more gravity, and that would mean even stronger interactions with nearby space rocks. Probably not good for humans.

Besides, Jupiter is perilous enough without actually being a star. When Juno arrives in July, it will be dipping into the fiercest planetary radiation in the solar system. Even with special titanium armor, its instruments are expected to eventually melt down — but at least Juno should get close enough to investigate the planet first.

This video includes clips from NASA and MGM Studios and images from NASA.

<![CDATA[Philadelphia Just Became The First Major US City To Tax Sugary Drinks]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 19:50:00 -0500
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Philadelphia passed a tax on soda and sugary drinks Thursday, making it the largest city in the country to do so.

The measure is pretty sweeping. It not only affects sodas — regular and diet — but "sugar-added" and "artificially sweetened beverages," including energy drinks, tea and juices. 

Berkeley, California, was the first city to pass a soda tax in 2014. But Philadelphia's measure is expected to have a bigger impact on soda taxes across the country because of the city's size. In the past, similar measures have failed in other parts of the country and multiple times in Philly — before now.

Even though the measure had success in Philly this go-around, the city might not be completely in the clear. The American Beverage Association responded by saying it would take legal action to stop it.

The ABA has been fighting similar measures for a while now. Back in 2012, the ABA wrote, "We know that the notion of placing discriminatory taxes on our products is not going away — especially while governments at all levels continue to face budget shortfalls."

And the emphasis on the city's budget is what some are crediting for this measure's success. Instead of making the tax only about public health initiatives to address obesity, the city's mayor stressed how the tax could help the city overall.

Philadelphia's tax will be 1.5 cents per ounce.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from WPVI. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[The Alligator Attack At A Disney Resort Wasn't The First]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 17:38:00 -0500
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After a toddler was attacked and killed by an alligator near Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, the Orange County sheriff said something like this had never happened before at Disney World. A New Hampshire man disagrees.

Paul Santamaria was 8 years old when he was visiting Disney with his family. He says he and his siblings were playing near a pond when an alligator attacked. 

"It came up out of the water and hit me and knocked me to the ground. And once I was on the ground, it kind of turned its head and grabbed my leg," Santamaria told WBZ-TV.

He says he remembers screaming for his siblings, who helped attack the gator until Santamaria's leg was freed.

The family was at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, which is about three miles from the Floridian where the toddler was recently killed. On Thursday, the medical examiner's office said the boy, Lane Graves, died of drowning and traumatic injuries. 

As for the attack on Santamaria, he doesn't blame Disney.

"It's nobody's fault. Anything can happen at any time," Santamaria told WBZ-TV.

Officials are still searching for the alligator that killed Graves, and so far they've removed six alligators from the lagoon where the he was attacked. Disney is reviewing its signs around the park's ponds and lakes. 

This video includes clips from WBZ-TVWFXTWFTV and NECN.

<![CDATA[More Than 100 Animals Were Rescued From A Detroit-Area Home]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 17:00:00 -0500
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Authorities in Michigan rescued more than 100 animals from a Detroit-area home after they received reports of a foul odor and loud barking.

"The smell is really what set it off, the stench. I mean it was horrible where you couldn't, we couldn't enjoy ourselves outside," neighbor Greg Bosel told Newsy's partners at WXYZ.

The local sheriff's department responded to that neighbor's complaints and discovered dozens of dogs covered in filth.

"I can't recall in the last almost 30 years 75-plus dogs free roaming in the first floor of a house. That's new for us," Sheriff Tim Donnellon said.

In total, 98 dogs and three cats were taken from the home over the course of two days. Officials describe the dogs as Norwegian buhunds, Norrbottenspets and mixed breeds.

"They were breeding dogs, showing dogs, rescuing dogs, and I think somewhere along the line things got out of control. The dogs were all free-running on the first floor of the home," Donnellon told WJBK.

According to the St. Clair County Sheriff's Facebook page, the animals appear to be in good health. An animal control office is caring for many of the dogs and evaluating them for adoption. The homeowners could face charges for animal cruelty.

<![CDATA[Our Extraterrestrial Neighbors Might've Already Had An AI Revolution]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:43:00 -0500
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Nobody can say for sure whether there's intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. We just don't have enough evidence yet.

But our own history could suggest the first signs of our cosmic neighbors might not be little green men at all, but the little green men's sentient computers.

Earthlings are already worrying about the digital singularity, or that moment when our efforts to create artificial intelligence suddenly work and the machines leave us in the intellectual dust.

Some researchers suggest any extraterrestrial intelligences we find will have already experienced their own version of the AI revolution.

The timespan between radio and AI is very short, on a cosmic scale. Scientists and futurists present scenarios in which a couple centuries after the development of radio, the artificial version of a civilization's intelligence is calling the shots.

It's happening here. We humans have been using radio for less than 200 years, and we're already poking around with machine learning and brain digitization.

This is part of why the search for extraterrestrial intelligence prioritizes radio signals. Given the distances involved, odds are good any alien civilization would have been playing with radio for at least decades before we spotted their chatter.

And if we're looking for extraterrestrial AI, that might also change where we look.

Instead of scouring the habitable zones around stars for signs of life, we might consider looking at the universe's dense energy sources — right up next to the stars, or black holes, or at the galactic core. If intelligence has progressed past the need for a biological container, an atmosphere or liquid oceans are less important.

Of course, finding evidence of alien AI assumes we can even recognize the intelligence at all. Futurist Ray Kurzweil and others suggest because of the exponential improvement of technology, any civilizations advanced enough to expand into the universe could be communicating in ways we simply can't comprehend yet.

To them, it's likely we'd be irrelevant — like ants or benign bacteria. They're either going to ignore us or wait until we're able to recognize them to say hello.

In the meantime, we'll keep making progress toward our own singularity. Who knows — maybe by the time we make first contact, our own AI will be the ones doing the exploring.

This video includes clips from the European Southern ObservatoryBBCRe/codeVanity FairThe Human Brain ProjectNASATed Conferences and IBM.

<![CDATA[NASA's Epic Posters Hint That Jobs Of The Future Are Destined For Mars]]> Thu, 16 Jun 2016 08:44:00 -0500
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It's an interesting tactic — retro recruitment posters for a job of the future.

NASA just released these images calling for daring explorers, teachers, farmers, surveyors, technicians and even night owls, to colonize Mars. 

The posters were originally commissioned seven years ago to appear in the Kennedy Space Center.

But the dreams they conjured seem a little more plausible today. NASA released its three-step plan to colonize Mars last year.

It'll still be a long time before you can file your tax returns from the red planet. NASA doesn't expect to have people living on Mars before 2030.

And if space employment isn't your thing, NASA still envisions space travel. It released space tourism prints earlier this year for 14 alien worlds.

This video includes clips and images from NASA and the Kennedy Space Center. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[SpaceX Rocket Experiences 'Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly' (It Crashed)]]> Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:32:00 -0500
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SpaceX's streak of successful rocket landings is broken after one of its Falcon 9 rockets crashed on a drone ship in the ocean.

It did, however, achieve its main mission of launching a pair of communications satellites into orbit.

Video caught the Falcon 9 making it all the way to the drone ship, apparently upright. However, its landing shook the barge so violently it made the camera freeze.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the ship experienced high gravitational forces on its descent and one of the engines wasn't working at full capacity.

He said it experienced a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" on the ship, which sounds like it basically crashed and broke up into a bunch of pieces.

The full video of the landing is expected to be released once the SpaceX team recovers it. The unmanned pad ship is apparently fine after the rough landing.

SpaceX managed to land a Falcon 9 rocket successfully on its past three attempts and has four successful landings overall.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Kitten Survives 300-Mile Ride In Military Pilot's Car Bumper]]> Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:54:00 -0500
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This is Tigger the kitten. He's alive after traveling about 300 miles inside the bumper of a car.

That car belonged to Royal Navy Lt. Nick Grimmer. And he heard the cat's meowing only a day after his long journey.

After dismantling his car, Grimmer and his colleagues discovered the little guy unharmed.

Grimmer flies helicopters for the Royal Navy's 814 Naval Air Squadron.

They're nicknamed "The Flying Tigers." And since the kitten had some striped markings, Grimmer decided to name it Tigger.

Grimmer now carries the animal around in his pilot's helmet, which he says is the only place Tigger will sleep.

The Royal Navy is now searching for Tigger's owners with the help of the hashtag #OperationTigerKitten on social media.

But if an owner isn't found, it sounds like the Royal Navy might keep Tigger.

Brendan Spoors, the squadron's commanding officer, said, "We are more than happy to adopt 'Tigger' as a mascot; after all it's a tradition for Royal Naval units to have a ships cat!"

This video includes images from the Royal Navy. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Coffee Is No Longer On WHO's List Of Cancer-Causing Substances]]> Wed, 15 Jun 2016 07:33:00 -0500
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For a quarter of a century, coffee has been deemed a possible carcinogen, specifically leading to bladder cancer. But that's no longer the case. 

The World Health Organization reversed its stance on the issue Wednesday, saying coffee has no cancer-causing effects –– and that it can even possibly reduce the risk of other types of cancers, like liver and uterine. 

Many other major research organizations have already said this. WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer recently reviewed over 1,000 studies that demonstrated coffee doesn't lead to cancer. 

IARC itself usually takes a better-safe-than-sorry approach when reviewing possible carcinogens.

Slate noted last year that of the more than 1,000 substances IARC reviewed over several years, only one was deemed "probably not carcinogenic." 

And even though WHO had called coffee "possibly carcinogenic," that said nothing about how bad of a cancer risk could be expected. It's kind of like confidence in a light switch being able to be turned on, but not saying how bright the light will be. 

On Wednesday, WHO dropped coffee, but added a different carcinogen: very hot drinks in general. The health organization said drinks consumed at or above roughly 150 degrees Fahrenheit probably lead to cancer of the esophagus.

This addition is bigger news for people in China, Iran, Turkey and South America, where tea is often served at about 158 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This video includes clips from Al Jazeera and CNN, and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[The Baltimore Aquarium Is Sending Its Dolphins Into The Ocean In 2020]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:45:00 -0500
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Baltimore's National Aquarium says it will move its bottlenose dolphins out of pools and into North America's first oceanside dolphin sanctuary by 2020.

Aquarium CEO John Racanelli told The Baltimore Sun: "We're developing a new approach to caring for dolphins by humans. ... We've learned so much in the 25 years that we've kept dolphins here that this is the right time."

The aquarium draws 1.3 million visitors a year but has faced pressure from conservationists and visitors to improve conditions for its animals.

In May, protesters called for the aquarium's eight dolphins to be released, holding signs that read "Captivity kills" and "Empty the tanks."

Experts say dolphins, like elephants and orca whales, require less restrictive accommodations than other wildlife because of their high intelligence and complex social instincts.

Colorado State University animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin explains that unlike small fish, which can thrive in aquariums, dolphins suffer psychological damage when confined to unnatural habitats. This can lead to heightened aggression and bullying.

The aquarium is now seeking funding for an outdoor seawater sanctuary in a tropical climate similar to where dolphins roam in the wild.

Racanelli suggested the Florida Keys or the Caribbean as possible locations.

Aquarium officials say the ideal site will be larger than animals' current concrete amphitheater and will include natural stimuli like fish and marine plants.

In 2012, the aquarium replaced its stunt-filled dolphin shows with all-day access for visitors to watch the animals interact with one another and trainers.

In 2013, the facility launched BLUEprint, aimed at balancing the responsibility to rescue, protect and care for aquatic life with the goal of keeping audiences entertained.

SeaWorld theme parks and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have also responded to recent backlash by changing how their star animals are treated.

Marine biologist Sylvia Earle said in the announcement, "The idea of providing sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees, big cats — and now dolphins — is a sign of a maturing ethic of caring unthinkable in past millenia, centuries and even decades."

This video includes clips from The Baltimore Sun and the National Aquarium and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Commercial Supersonic Jets Could Come Back — If They Weren't So Loud]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:58:00 -0500
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Supersonic flight is a solved problem. So why are we still relying on relatively slow commercial jets to get from A to B? Long story short: That noise is really annoying.

An aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound compresses the air in front of it as if it were a fluid. If this happens close enough to the ground, the wave of sound and pressure the aircraft pushes out of the way — the sonic boom — is very noticeable.

You could hear it when the space shuttle made its landing approach.

The Concorde triggered sonic booms, too, and they were so disruptive they led to a federal ban on supersonic flight over land.

Despite the noise, there's not much risk of actual damage from sonic shockwaves.

According to NASA, immediate damage to structures doesn't start until about 2 pounds of overpressure, which is higher than any previous supersonic transports triggered. Eardrum damage doesn't occur until 720 pounds. But test data shows people will notice — and will complain about — as little as 1.5 pounds.

So NASA is trying to quiet the booms to more of a "thump." It's testing subjects to find out what boom characteristics are least annoying, and it's awarded a $20 million design contract for a low-boom supersonic test plane to Lockheed Martin.

The company has its work cut out for it. The FAA says it would need to see "thorough research" before it makes any changes to the ban on supersonic flight, and warns any rules will probably require that a supersonic transport be no more disruptive than existing subsonic planes.

But for air travelers, it could be worth the wait. Assuming Mach 2 cruise speeds, like those the Concorde achieved, a transport could fly from Los Angeles to New York in less than two hours. A flight from New York to London could take a little more than 2.5 hours.

Lockheed Martin's flight tests could start as early as 2020 — but then, if they go according to plan, you might not hear the progress at all.

This video includes clips from the U.S. Air ForceTian Lawson / CC BY 3.0 and NASA and images from NASAMichal Beno / CC BY 3.0 , Bram van Rijen / CC BY 3.0 and Keaton Taylor / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Scientists Are Fighting An Invasive, Cannibal Toad With Its Own Poison]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:38:00 -0500
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To fight an invasive toad species in Australia, scientists are planning to use the animals' own toxins against them.

About 100 cane toads were first introduced in 1935 to battle pest beetles that were hurting the sugar cane industry. That didn't really work out. The toads ignored the beetles and spread all over Australia in the following decades. It's estimated there are now billions living on the continent.

Now, researchers with the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney have a plan to use the toads' toxin as bait to trap tadpoles.

Cane toads are cannibals, and it's common for tadpoles to eat eggs from other cane toad families. They are attracted to their toxin, which is fatal to other species.

So scientists are extracting the poison from adult cane toads and using it lure tadpoles into plastic boxes that serve as traps.

The traps only bring cane toad tadpoles because other species aren't attracted to the bait. Field tests showed that the traps can capture 50,000 tadpoles in two weeks.

This video includes clips from Dylan O'Donnell / CC BY 3.0National Geographic and BBC and images from Getty Images and Pavel Kirillov / CC BY SA 2.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Is Circuit Training Effective Or Just A Fad?]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 11:22:00 -0500
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Is circuit training effective ... or a fad?

It's a difficult question to answer. Circuit training — moving quickly from high-rep exercise to exercise with few or no breaks — has been around since 1953.

Yes, the '50s. The same decade that brought us the Bongo Board.

"Yes, sir. The girls are falling for Bongo in a big way," someone said in a commercial for the exercise device.

Over the years, circuit training was overshadowed by trendier workouts, like jazzercise, the Jane Fonda workoutthe Thighmaster and Zumba.

But it became more of a household name after actor Bruce Lee did a series of circuits with a weight training machine to get in shape for his 1973 film "Enter the Dragon."

"I think circuits are popular because you can maximize your time in a lot of ways," Smith said.

Personal trainer Jeff Smith says circuit training has become a bit of a catch-all phrase — no longer just strength-training exercises.

"Depending on how it's set up, it can be — I mean you can use it for a variety of different means — you know, cardiovascular fitness, strength training, weight loss, body comp issues," Smith said.

You'll need to create a circuit around exercises that will help with your goal — whether that's cardio, adding muscle, losing weight or toning a specific area.

Many studies have looked at the effectiveness of circuit training. Some looked at how it helped obese men lose weight, others looked at how circuit training increased cardiovascular health in the elderly and another found it helps increase muscular endurance in school children.

All were different participants, completing different circuits with the hopes of very different outcomes.

Still, the American College of Sports Medicine points out if you're looking for a workout you can do in a short time and one that will get your heart pumping, circuit training is a good choice.

This video includes clips from Parade VideoLorimar Home VideoThighmasterZumba Fitness and Warner Bros. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[This City Is Banning Ads With 'Unrealistic' Bodies On Public Transit]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:37:00 -0500
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Gone will be the days of having so-called perfect, often scantily clad, models staring down public transit riders in one major city.

London's new mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced Monday he is following through on a pledge he made during his campaign: to ban ads with "unhealthy or unrealistic body images." 

Transport for London, the government organization that oversees the city's public transit, will no longer allow ads that create "body confidence issues, particularly in young people." It will also create an Advertising Steering Group to oversee its advertising policies.

Khan said in a statement, "As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies."

The move comes a year after a weight loss supplement ad drew outrage from transit riders and people all over the world. A petition to have it removed got more than 70,000 signatures on

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority ended up banning the ad due to questions over its weight loss claims, not over its purported unhealthy body image. 

London's ban will go into effect next month.

This video includes clips from BBC and images from Facebook / Protein World and Getty Images. Music provided APM Music.

<![CDATA[Do You Know How Much Sleep Kids Actually Need?]]> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:24:00 -0500
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Kids need more sleep than adults to be healthy and happy. And now, there are new guidelines for just how many zzz's they need to catch.

"Decreased sleep can lead to hypertension, which is high blood pressure. We know it can lead to obesity. In teens, it can lead to depression," said Dr. Corinn Cross, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The 13 experts who put together the guidelines also say sleep affects attention, behavior, learning and memory.

The recommendations were developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The group suggests infants between 4 to 12 months old get at least 12 hours of sleep; children 1 and 2 years old get at least 11 hours; 3- to 5-year-olds get at least 10; 6- to 12-year-olds get at least nine; and teens between 13 and 18 get at least eight.

The group says regularly timing uninterrupted sleep is important to get the benefits.

Experts recommend keeping smartphones and other electronics out of the bedroom because light from those devices stimulates wakefulness and doesn't let kids unwind.

Researchers also suggest keeping bedtimes consistent during weekdays, weekends and summer vacations because it's often hard for kids to quickly adjust to new schedules.

This video includes an images from Santa Rosa OLDSKOOL / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Accidental Deaths Reach A Record High In The US]]> Sun, 12 Jun 2016 10:07:00 -0500
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More Americans are dying by accident — largely because of drug overdoses

A National Safety Council report shows the number of accidental deaths hit a record high in 2014, the most recent year data was available.

But it's a number that's been on the rise over the past decade. 

Accidental deaths are now the fourth-highest cause of death, falling behind heart disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease. 

NSC statistics manager Ken Kolosh said: "It's all preventable. Every accident is preventable. But it's not necessarily the [fault] of the victim."

He added, "Every individual has the opportunity to make choices to keep themselves safe."

Americans' rising use of opioids — including heroin — has become a national issue highlighted in other recent reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said deaths from opioid and heroin use rose 14 percent from 2013 to 2014 and have nearly tripled since 2010.

As for the NSC report, it also showed deaths from accidents like falling have more than tripled in the past couple of decades. 

An increasing elderly population from the baby boomer generation is likely the reason for this uptick.

But other types of accidental deaths, like those caused by traffic crashes, are actually down. 

Better technology has made cars increasingly safer, although drunk driving is still a big concern. 

Texting while driving poses another traffic safety concern, although there's currently little reliable data about how this affects accident rates.

The NSC notes that the leading cause of accidental death varies by age group. For infants younger than 1 year old, suffocation is the leading cause, while drowning tops the list for children ages 1-4 years old. Vehicle crashes are the leading category for ages 5-24. Poisonings and drug overdoses are the highest category for those in their mid-20s through mid-60s, and falls are the No. 1 cause of accidental death for those 65 and older.

This video includes clips from National Safety Council and images from Getty Images, Nephron / CC BY SA 3.0 and Itayba / CC BY SA 3.0.

<![CDATA[Doctors Aren't Washing Their Hands As Thoroughly As They Should Be]]> Sat, 11 Jun 2016 15:04:00 -0500
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A new study shows health care providers are twice as likely to comply with hand-hygiene guidelines if they know they're being watched.

Researchers studied doctors in the infection prevention department at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, over the course of six months. 

ABC reports that doctors who knew they were being watched by infection prevention nurses adhered to washing guidelines 57 percent of the time. But doctors who were unaware they were being watched by anonymous volunteers had a compliance rate of only 22 percent.

This is a textbook example of the Hawthorne Effect, which states that people change their behavior when they know they're under observation.

Study authors say "unknown observers should be used to get the most accurate hand hygiene data."

Accurate data is important: The World Health Organization recognizes hands as a major infection risk — and this study is just the latest to show they probably aren't washed as thoroughly as you'd think.

The organization reports average compliance with hand-sanitation guidelines sits at 38.7 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds a 40 percent average.

This video includes clips from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.

<![CDATA[A Solar-Powered Plane Just Landed In NYC On Its Way Around The Globe]]> Sat, 11 Jun 2016 10:59:00 -0500
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A solar-powered plane landed in New York City early Saturday morning, marking its last U.S. stop in its voyage around the world.

The Solar Impulse 2 runs entirely off solar energy collected from panels on its wings. Hence the nearly 45-foot wingspan

It's not exactly a speedy plane, with an average speed of about 50 miles per hour. The globe-spanning journey — which began in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in March 2015 — was expected to take about a year.

When it flew from Japan to Hawaii, it record the longest-ever nonstop solo flight in terms of time in the air. It flew for four days, 21 hours and 52 minutes.

But damage to the battery and changing seasons grounded the plane and kept it from reaching its goal within a year. 

Bertrand Piccard, one of the plane's two pilots, said: "The most important thing isn't to make world records. It's to show what we can do with clean technologies."

The pilots are currently waiting for favorable weather conditions to cross the Atlantic since the plane needs very light winds to fly. That means they may have to wait several weeks to take off.

This video includes clips from Solar Impulse and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Ellen DeGeneres Is Facing Backlash Over Her Great Barrier Reef PSA]]> Sat, 11 Jun 2016 08:36:00 -0500
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Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is facing backlash in Australia after she made a video appealing to Australia to protect the Great Barrier Reef. 

In the short video, DeGeneres asks for help protecting the reef and points viewers to – a website set up by Disney Conservation and its partners to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef.

"And, as you may remember — but Dory probably doesn't — she's a blue tang and has many other amazing species that live in the Great Barrier Reef with her. It's critical that we protect this amazing place, and we'd like your help," DeGeneres said.

But Australian Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt seemed to take offense to the video. In response, he bombarded DeGeneres with tweets defending the Australian government and everything it has done to help the reef so far. 

And Hunt wasn't the only one who took issue with DeGeneres' new video. Australian "Today" show co-host Karl Stefanovic seemed to think it was just publicity. 

"My concern is that she got involved in that around the whole notion of selling a movie anyway," Stefanovic said.

DeGeneres responded to the controversy by saying, "I put out a PSA because I do believe we should protect our oceans and protect our reef, and I don't know what's controversial about that." 

She does have cause to worry about the health of the reef. Coral bleaching — which can kill coral — has affected over 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef. There's also concern that DeGeneres' new movie "Finding Dory" might cause many blue tang — the type of fish Dory is — to be snatched from the wild as pets.

This video includes clips from Disneythe World Wildlife Fund and Channel Nine, and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[We're Missing More And More Of The Night Sky]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 14:05:00 -0500
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Scientists tell the story that when a 1994 earthquake rocked Los Angeles and knocked out the power, people started calling 911 because something was up with the sky.

They say callers said there was a "giant, silvery cloud" up there. It was the Milky Way. Our home galaxy. 

Tall tale? Maybe. But the phenomenon of city lights blowing out the natural light of the stars is real — and it's getting worse.

Researchers say more than 80 percent of the planet — and more than 99 percent of the U.S. and Europe — now lives under skies polluted enough to hinder astronomical observation. That's compared with about 66 percent of the planet in 2000. 

Now, they say, "We've got whole generations of people in the United States who have never seen the Milky Way."

In some places, such as Singapore, pollution is so severe that residents might never see true night — and their eyes no longer adapt to full night vision.

For animals, light pollution can even be dangerous. Studies have shown it disrupts behavior patterns and even the balance between predators and prey sources.

Artificial light isn't as well-tracked as some other pollution. This new map is the first update in more than a decade. It was built from a combination of ground measurements and satellite data. 

But there are still areas where you can get a proper dark sky — like Australia, Canada and much of the Western U.S.

And reducing light pollution is relatively easy — cover lights so they don't leak into the sky, use less light if you can — or just turn them off when you don't need them.

This video includes clips from The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness, the European Southern Observatorylightweavr / CC BY 3.0Marshall Astor / CC BY 3.0NASAArdash Muradian / CC BY 3.0Paul Yip / CC BY 3.0Chris Savage / CC BY 3.0 and Binayak Dasgupta / CC BY 3.0 and images from John Fowler / CC BY 2.0 and the European Southern Observatory.

<![CDATA[Physician-Assisted Suicide Is Now Legal In California]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:48:00 -0500
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California's "right to die" law went into effect Thursday, making it legal for terminally ill residents to end their lives.

The law Gov. Jerry Brown signed in October is called the End of Life Option Act. It lets physicians provide lethal prescriptions to adults with terminal illnesses who have a life expectancy of six months or less.

"I think until anyone has walked a mile in my shoes and knows what they're facing," Brittany Maynard told "CBS This Morning."

California's law was inspired by Brittany Maynard, who after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer left the state — her home — and moved her family to Oregon in 2014 where she could legally end her life.

"No one should have to leave their home and community for peace of mind to escape suffering and plan for a gentle death," Maynard said in a message to state legislators recorded before her death.

California is now the fifth state in the country to have legislation making physician assisted suicide legal.

It modeled its End of Life Option Act off of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, which has been in effect for almost 20 years and requires the patient be able to self-administer the medication.

There are still many who object to the idea of physician-assisted suicide, including the American Medical Association, which is one of the nation's largest physician group.

Its policy on the issue reads: "Instead of participating in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Patients should not be abandoned once it is determined that cure is impossible."

Similar aid-in-dying legislation has been introduced in many other states, including New York, Minnesota and Colorado.

This video includes clips from American Medical Association and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Women Near The Zika Outbreak Shouldn't Get Pregnant, Says WHO]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 08:03:00 -0500
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The World Health Organization says women living in areas affected by the Zika outbreak should consider waiting to get pregnant.

This is a step beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation that women talk about it with their partners and doctors.

But the WHO isn't alone in this kind of thinking. El Salvador has advised women to avoid getting pregnant until 2018. Colombia, Jamaica and Honduras have also advised women to avoid pregnancy.

And Pope Francis has even weighed in on the issue. He said using contraception to avoid spreading the virus could be considered morally acceptable.

The WHO's guidelines don't have a specific timeline for how long to wait before getting pregnant.

But the organization is expected to give an update Tuesday on the overall state of epidemic, along with an evaluation of its risks tied to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

This video includes clips from the World Health Organization and The Vatican and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Lightning Makes For A Terrible Renewable Energy Source]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 16:33:00 -0500
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Lightning is an impressive, energetic force of nature — so why aren't we using all that raw power to run our homes? Two reasons:

For one thing, lightning is unpredictable and really, really fast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates Earth gets about 44 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes a second, mostly in the tropics. But it's hard to predict exactly where they'll hit. 

And capturing them would take a lot of hardware, like capacitors that could stand the brief but very high energies without frying and rectifiers to manage both positively and negatively charged strikes — which is impossible to guess until a strike actually happens.

The second part of the answer: It's hot and loud and bright, but lightning doesn't carry as much energy as you might think.

One company built a lightning harvester to collect energy from strikes. It was supposed to power a 60-watt bulb for 20 minutes, but officials said it didn't attract enough strikes to be viable.

MIT engineers say the average strike contains about a quarter kilowatt-hour of energy — around 3 cents worth of electricity at current prices. 

If you use NOAA's numbers, lightning only generates about 347 gigawatts of power per year — a fraction of what other renewable resources can provide.

So thunderstorms may be impressive, but if you want to capture that energy, you're better off using the wind that whips up the storm in the first place — or even from the sun that drives the planet's winds.

This video includes clips from Lightningmaps.orgHarborside Photography / CC BY 3.0Nathan Anderson / CC BY 3.0Glenn Martin Photography / CC BY 3.0 and Brent De Luca / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[These Strong, Independent Female Bees Don't Need A Man]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 13:02:00 -0500
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This honeybee population proves what many of us already knew — girls run the world. 

Researchers have proven that a population of Cape bees living in South Africa has figured out a way to reproduce sans the dudes.

We probably don’t need to remind you most animals reproduce sexually and therefore need both a male and a female to produce an offspring. But honeybees have a bit of a different approach.

Queen bees mate with a drone, or male honeybee, during their so-called "seasonal mating flights." The fertilized queen then forms a new colony by laying eggs inside a honeycomb. Some of those eggs are fertilized and hatch into female worker bees or queens. Some aren’t fertilized — those eggs hatch into drones.

But this particular population in South Africa doesn't need the drones or a "seasonal mating flight." Researchers say they lay eggs that are fertilized by their own DNA. 

We still don't know why this happens in Cape bees, but the how is becoming a bit more clear.

After comparing the entire genomes of a Cape bee and a regular honeybee, researchers found several genes have big differences.

A researcher studying the population said: "The question of why this population of honeybees in South Africa has evolved to reproduce asexually is still a mystery. But understanding the genes involved brings us closer to understanding it."

This video includes clips from National Geographic and PBS and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny A Spy Satellite Is Launching Thursday]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 11:16:00 -0500
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A classified American spy satellite is slated for a rocket launch Thursday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

Florida Today reports the rocket has three core boosters put together — which may come in handy for the 15,000 pounds the spy satellite is speculated to weigh. 

Not much has been revealed about the satellite, but it's being guessed that it will fly 22,000 miles above the equator and eavesdrop down below. 

It may take a little longer than planned to get there though. According to WKMG, there's only a 40 percent chance of favorable weather during the scheduled launch time Thursday afternoon. 

Whatever the National Reconnaissance Office plans to put into orbit must be pretty special, since the version of the rocket it commissioned from Boeing and Lockheed Martin has only flown eight times in the last 12 years. The Verge notes most of those eight flights have been for the NRO. 

This video includes clips from Florida TodayNASA and the National Reconnaissance Office. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA['Finding Dory' Might Be Bad For Ocean Life]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:40:00 -0500
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Movies about animals — whether they're fish, puppies or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — can sometimes lead to unintended consequences for their real-life counterparts.

Ahead of the release of "Finding Dory," Ellen DeGeneres has sent a message urging Australians to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

"As you know, I'm a big fan of your beautiful, great, wonderful Great Barrier Reef, which is home to my favorite fish, Dory. ... It's critical that we protect this amazing place, and we'd like your help," Ellen said.

The message goes along with a wider campaign that provides educational materials on the reef and the fish that live there to raise awareness about the reef's decline.

But the release of the movie itself brings its own potential threat to the ocean's wildlife.

When "Finding Nemo" was released in 2003, demand increased for clownfish as aquarium pets. The fish can actually be bred in captivity, which likely took some pressure off of the wild population.

But the blue tang, which is the type of fish Dory is, can't be bred in captivity. Experts are worried the new movie will spur collectors to snatch huge numbers of the fish from the wild.

There are also reports of fish collectors damaging coral reefs to capture blue tangs.

And this isn't a problem unique to the "Finding Nemo" franchise.

After the release of "101 Dalmatians," animal shelters said they saw a 300 percent increase in dalmatians in their kennels.

According to the shelters, the dogs were often returned — and in some cases euthanized — because people didn't realize how demanding it could be to care for the breed.

Something similar happened with owls after the "Harry Potter" franchise took off.

And there was an increase in demand for turtles in Canada after the release of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in 2014. Officials warned the animals might be smuggled into the country illegally.

So instead of "fish are friends not food," maybe the message from "Finding Dory" should be to do your research before adopting any pets.

This video includes clips from Discovery, Walt Disney Studios / "Finding Nemo," Reef Peeps / CC BY 2.0Walt Disney Studios / "101 Dalmatians," Warner Bros. Pictures / "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and Paramount Pictures / "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and images from Getty Images, Shannon Campbell / CC BY ND 2.0 and Jaap Joris / CC By SA 2.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Puppy Has 2 Storybook Endings, Thanks To 1 Deputy]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 21:30:00 -0500
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Some alert sheriff's deputies are credited with saving the life of a dog, in more ways than one. 

Deputies from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office were serving paperwork in Fort Pierce, Florida, when they heard a dog whimpering nearby. After some searching, they found a puppy stuck in a collapsed septic drain. 

The deputies, with the help of animal control, rescued the pup from the smelly mess, who was in need of several baths.

After an unsuccessful search for his owner, one of the deputies that rescued the four-legged youngster decided to adopt him. 

The puppy now seems to be living a comfortable life in his new home. Apparently, it was love at first sight. 

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office shared the story on Facebook, where it has thousands of likes, shares and comments. 

<![CDATA[Why We Won't Get Batmanium: The Complex Process Behind Naming Elements]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 17:07:00 -0500
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What do Japan, Tennessee and Moscow have in common? No, this isn't the beginning of an offensive joke. It's the end of a lot of scientific research, and each place — along with a Russian scientist — could soon have an element named in its honor. 

At the end of 2015, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially verified elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, which rounded out the seventh row of the periodic table. 

The elements were given temporary names until the scientists who discovered them could pick suitable names. But they had a somewhat limited list of choices.

According to IUPAC rules, you can only name an element after five things: a scientist, a mythological concept or character, a mineral or similar substance, a place or a property of the element, like its color. That explains why all my suggestions to name an element batmanium have fallen on deaf ears.

Element 113 was first discovered in Japan, so the researchers opted to call it nihonium. Nihon means "Japan," or literally "land of the rising sun," in Japanese.

Elements 115, 117 and 118 were all credited to a team of Russian and American researchers, so they suggested element 115 be known as moscovium, in honor of Russia's capital city.

Many of the American researchers worked in Tennessee, which prompted the name tennessine for element 117.

The team suggested element 118 should be named oganesson in honor of pioneering Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian. The names will be subjected to a five-month public review before the IUPAC gives them formal approval.

This video includes clips from NHK and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and images from 2012rc / CC by 2.0 and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[Microsoft Used Bing Search Histories To Detect Cancer]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 15:14:00 -0500
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Your search history says a lot about you — maybe too much — but could it one day save your life?

Researchers at Microsoft say they were sometimes able to predict whether people had pancreatic cancer by looking at their search history.

The idea is to one day train Microsoft's algorithms to flag someone as being at risk, something one of the researchers called a "Cortana for health."

The team looked at anonymous Bing search data for clues that a user had been diagnosed. Then they studied that user's history to look for early warning signs — like searches for symptoms — and were able to identify 5-15 percent of cases early.

That doesn't sound like a lot, but there's a reason they chose pancreatic cancer. Its symptoms are so subtle that the disease has usually progressed pretty far by the time it's diagnosed.

So even that 5-15 percent chance of finding the cancer early could save lives. And scouring search results also avoided the big drawback of a lot of cancer screening methods: false positives.

Testing positive for cancer when you don't have it can be stressful and lead to lots of painful and expensive procedures, so Microsoft's researchers focused on keeping false positives low — a rate of less than 1 per 10,000 cases.

Of course, for this to be useful, people have to be willing to hand over their search histories.

This video includes clips from Microsoft and images from Ed Uthman CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Obesity Rates Are Climbing For Women — But Not For Men]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 11:16:00 -0500
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The number of obese women in America has grown to outnumber men. 

A decade ago, both genders' obesity rates were roughly the same, at about 35 percent of Americans for each.

But a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says while men's obesity rate stayed at 35 percent, by 2014, women's had climbed to 40 percent.

The earliest year researchers can report on is 2014 because they wanted government data that prevented people from lying about their health.

The increase in obesity for women, or even the lack of a decrease for men, could be troubling, considering how much money has been spent on campaigns against it.

A different JAMA article notes hundreds of millions of dollars have gone toward obesity research and drug development.

And the Harvard School of Public Health says in 2005 –– even when the women's rate was lower –– the U.S. spent $190 billion on health care expenses stemming from obesity.

One limit to the prevalence study we first mentioned could be what's counted as obese.

The government data used height and weight proportions to calculate participants' body mass indexes –– not their fat content directly.

This video includes clips from CBSHBOABC and Al Jazeera and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Norway Is The First Country To Ban Deforestation]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 08:50:00 -0500
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Norway has become the first country to ban deforestation, with its eye set on rain forests.

Now, you may have noticed Norway itself doesn't have much in the way of rain forests, but its Parliament has promised to make sure the goods it purchases don't contribute to their deforestation.

A spokesperson for Rainforest Foundation Norway said in recent years many private companies have made similar commitments, but this is the first time a government has done that.

Palm oil, soy, beef and wood are some of the products that push deforestation the most. One study has shown that between 2000 and 2012, commercial agriculture was responsible for 71 percent of tropical deforestation.

Norway may have become one of the leaders of forest conservation because roughly a century ago, it was on the brink of losing its own woodlands.

In 1919, it actually became the first country in the world to assess the condition of its forests, and the BBC reports now the country has "triple the amount of standing wood in forests than it had 100 years ago."

Even though this supply-chain commitment may be new for Norway, in the past the country has actually offered money to Brazil and Liberia in return for curbing their deforestion.

Besides taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and controlling regional climates, rain forests and their wildlife hold the potential for medical discoveries. 

This video includes clips from Rainforest Foundation NorwayThe GuardianPBS / The EconomistBBC and National Geographic and images from Getty Images, Adrian Thomassen / CC BY 3.0 and Skatval Heradsstyre.

<![CDATA[Yellowstone Tourist Believed Dead After Falling Into Hot Spring]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 08:22:00 -0500
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A man seen falling into a hot spring Tuesday at Yellowstone National Park is believed dead by park authorities.

A witness said the man appeared to be in his early 20s. He has not yet been identified.

The Norris Geyser Basin has been closed as officials look for the man. They reportedly have to use extreme caution due to the thermal hazards in the area.

This is just the latest in a string of incidents involving tourists at Yellowstone this season.

A 13-year-old boy was burned when he slipped into a hot spring earlier this week. His father was also burned helping him get out of the spring.

And last month, tourists made national headlines when they put a bison calf into their vehicle to get help for the animal, which they said appeared to be separated from its mother. The bison was later euthanized because a herd didn't accept it and it kept approaching park visitors and cars.

A group of tourists were also seen walking on a sensitive hot springs area to snap pictures. They were part of group called High on Life SundayFundayz that travels around the world taking photos for social media.

That group ended up posting an apology and pledging to donate $5,000 to Yellowstone.

This video includes clips from Yellowstone National Park Service.

<![CDATA[Another Florida Alligator Was Found With A Body In Its Mouth]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 22:28:00 -0500
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An alligator in Florida was reportedly found with a body in its mouth, but police aren't sure how the person actually died.

If you've been following alligator headlines recently, this may not be that peculiar of a story to you.

In May, two fisherman in Florida found a different body reportedly being eaten by alligators in a canal, but officials said they weren't ruling out homicide as a possible cause of death in that case.

In this more recent story about a Florida gator found with a body, investigators say a citizen called in the sight to police. Police say the alligator swam off and circled the area after police arrived.

Officials are still in the process of identifying the body and trapping the alligator.

This video includes clips from City of Lakeland, FL Police DeptWPLG and WTVT.

<![CDATA[Scientists Train Fish To Recognize Human Faces — And To Spit On Them]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 19:09:00 -0500
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There's a type of fish that scientists say can recognize human faces — creepy but cool.

It's called an archerfish, and it's known for spitting at its food. Sounds a little rude, but it makes them pretty unique. They shoot water at their insect prey above the surface causing them to fall into the water.

Their expert spitting skills made them ideal for a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers used food as a reward to train the fish to spray at the face they wanted. The fish turned out to be pretty accurate, even when the target face was next to other faces.

This is significant because archerfish don't have the same evolutionary pressures to recognize human faces like, say, a domesticated dog might have.

The research also supports the idea that facial recognition isn't entirely innate. Archerfish brains don't have what's called a neocortex, which some theories suggest is vital for facial recognition. This study indicates that at least part of what it takes to distinguish between faces is learned.

This video includes images from Bill McChesney / CC BY 2.0Newport et al. / CC BY 4.0, and clips from BBC and YouTube / Fish Species.

<![CDATA[Study Shows Doctors Still Need A Cure For Gender And Race Pay Gap]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 19:08:00 -0500
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Chances are if your doctor is a white guy, he makes a lot of money. If your doctor is a black guy, he also likely makes a lot of money — but not as much as his white counterpart. If your doctor is a woman, she makes less than either of those.

A new study looked at the annual income information for more than 60,000 black and white, male and female, physicians from 2000 to 2013 and found there are still major disparities among paychecks

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Southern California took into account age, specialty, hours worked, years in practice and the percentage of revenue from Medicare and Medicaid when drawing their comparisons.

Here's what they found: The adjusted median income for a white male physician is $253,042 a year. A black male physician takes home about $188,230 a year. That means a white doctor with the same qualifications as a black doctor makes 35 percent more. 

For female physicians, the median income for white professionals is $163,234 per year. Black female doctors earn about $10,000 less than that.

So why the disparities? The research points to a couple possible explanations, including lower bargaining power in salary negotiations and discrimination by employers or patients. 

A researcher for the project said: "These findings are deeply concerning. If the goal is to achieve equity or to give incentives for the best students to enter medicine, we need to work on closing both the black-white gap and the gender gap in physician incomes."

This video includes images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[India Joining Paris Climate Agreement Could Stop It From Falling Apart]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 19:05:00 -0500
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The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it added a major ally in the fight against climate change. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country will try to join the Paris climate agreement by the end of the year. 

This is hugely important because the deal can only be ratified when at least 55 nations that represent 55 percent of the world's total emissions agree to it. The 195 nations that signed on in December only amounted to about half of total world emissions.

India is the third-largest emitter of carbon after China and the U.S., and its participation would push the deal past the 55 percent mark. 

If India agrees to the terms during 2016, it would also prevent the next president from being able to legally back out of the Paris Agreement, which presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has promised to do.

The agreement aims to stop global temperatures from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

This video includes clips from the White HouseCBS and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[This Tiny Bird Has The Longest Migration Of Any Animal On Earth]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 10:39:00 -0500
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It weighs about a fifth of a pound, but that didn't stop an Arctic tern from taking the record for the longest-known annual migration at almost 60,000 miles.

That's more than twice the circumference of the Earth.

The Arctic tern has long been known to have the longest migration of any animal. But these birds also take a zigzagging route that researchers have hoped to understand better.

Researchers at Newcastle University put trackers on 29 Arctic terns. The one that took the record left the U.K. last July, touched down in South Africa and the Indian Ocean, and spent months in the Antarctic region before returning to where it started in May.

One of Newcastle University's researchers said, "It's really quite humbling to see these tiny birds return when you consider the huge distances they've had to travel and how they've battled to survive."

And keep in mind the birds are doing this journey every year. The researchers estimate the record-setter could travel more than 1.8 million miles in its lifetime –– roughly the same as the moon and back, four times over.

This video includes clips from the British Trust for Ornithology and clips and images from Newcastle University.

<![CDATA[Family Will Not Be Charged For The Death Of Harambe The Gorilla]]> Mon, 06 Jun 2016 12:38:00 -0500
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A local prosecutor announced Monday a young boy's parents will not face charges in connection with the death of an endangered gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said Cincinnati police had investigated the mother's actions at the zoo, even talking to witnesses who described the woman as "a very attentive mother who simply turned her back."

The 3-year-old boy got through an enclosure at the zoo's Gorilla World on May 28. He fell 15 feet into a moat, where he was picked up by the zoo's silverback gorilla, Harambe. A video taken at the exhibit shows the gorilla dragging the boy through the water.

The zoo's dangerous animal response team decided to shoot 17-year-old Harambe instead of using a tranquilizer.

"In an agitated situation, which the male was, it may take quite a while for a tranquilizer to take effect, but certainly at the incident he would be hit, he would have a dramatic response," the zoo's director explained. 

Public outrage grew in the days following the endangered gorilla's death. Many blamed the boy's parents for not watching their child.

The zoo made some changes to the exhibit in the days following Harambe's death, including installing a higher barrier with rope netting. Gorilla World will reopen Tuesday. 

This video includes images from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and music from Chris Zabriskie / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[Organs For Human Transplants Could One Day Be Grown Inside Pigs]]> Mon, 06 Jun 2016 08:36:00 -0500
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The National Institutes of Health temporarily banned the funding of "chimera" research experiments in 2015

But a lack of government funding hasn't stopped some researchers from continuing these types of experiments — most notably researchers at University of California, Davis. 

So, what is a chimera? In Greek mythology, a chimera was a creature made up of a variety of animals' body parts, such as the head of a lion and the tail of a snake. 

The word means something similar in today's world of genetics: It's an organism that's made up of at least two different sets of DNA

At UC Davis, researchers are implanting human stem cells in pig embryos and allowing those embryos to develop inside the animals for 28 days before removing and dissecting them. 

The goal is to one day be able to develop human organs inside the pigs that can later be used for people in need of a transplant. 

But just the presence of human DNA inside any animal was enough to cause the NIH to place a temporary ban on funding these experiments. 

A New York Medical College professor of cell biology and anatomy told NPR: "If you have pigs with partly human brains, you would have animals that might actually have consciousness like a human. It might have human-type needs. We don't really know."

But researchers conducting these types of experiments say the chances of animals gaining human capabilities are pretty slim, at least for now.

A Stanford University stem cell biologist working with human-sheep chimeras told the MIT Technology Review, "If the extent of human cells is 0.5 percent, it's very unlikely to get thinking pigs or standing sheep."

The NIH says it won't bring back funding for chimera projects until it's had the chance to look into the ethical implications and animal-welfare concerns associated with the research. 

This video includes images from Prayitno / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[The US Government May Soon Approve The First Private Moon Mission]]> Mon, 06 Jun 2016 07:52:00 -0500
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Soon, the U.S. government may do something it's never done before: approve a private company to go to the moon. 

People familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal the government is close to officially endorsing a mission for Moon Express, a relatively small private space startup. 

Moon Express is aiming to send 20 pounds of equipment to the moon sometime next year on its MX-1 lander. 

Federal approval is needed — and hard to get — because of the international treaties the U.S. has to maintain. Even for a private company, contamination of the moon, and possible contamination of the Earth from bringing material back from the moon, are still real concerns.

Moon Express' proposed mission may show the current state of American space exploration, though. 

NASA claimed almost 4.5 percent of the entire federal budget in 1966, but by 2014 was only receiving 0.5 percent. And with the national debt rising, even more budget cuts have been proposed. 

At the same time, space exploration for private companies has become much cheaper. The Wall Street Journal reports Moon Express projected six years ago that a moon mission would cost $50 million, but now thinks it will cost only half that. 

Moon Express is also among the 16 privately funded teams competing for Google's Lunar XPrize. The first company to land a craft on the moon that can travel across its surface and send photos back to Earth will get $20 million. 

This video includes clips from GoogleMoon ExpressCCTVNBC and CBS, and images from NASA and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Authorities Rescue 276 Dogs From A Home In New Jersey]]> Sun, 05 Jun 2016 20:11:00 -0500
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More than 250 dogs were recovered from an 1,880-square-foot home in New Jersey on Friday.

Authorities spent about 15 hours rescuing dogs and puppies from inside the home in Monmouth County. Officials say they were tipped off after a neighbor reported finding a dog on the loose.

When officials arrived, the homeowners said there were about 80 animals inside. But officials and volunteers rescued 276 dogs and puppies — all of which were alive.

"The conditions in the house are deplorable. We actually have dogs in there that are giving birth at the moment as we speak. We're bringing out newborn puppies that are just minutes old," officer Ross Licitra said.

The dogs and puppies are of various breeds, including pugs, chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers and mixed breeds. The Asbury Park Press reports some were found on shelves, on platforms and even inside the walls.

"It's like a hamster cage for dogs in there. They have steps that go up to the shelf, and there are dogs looking down at you and barking," a rescuer told WNBC.

Fire crews brought thermal imaging devices to the home to make sure no dogs were left behind hiding behind furniture or in cracks in the home. 

Authorities told reporters the homeowners are cooperating with the investigation.

"These are crimes of omission where people wind up getting into positions where they don't truly mean to be cruel to the animals, but they wind up in a situation that becomes out of control," Licitra said.

As of Sunday, officials were still determining what charges to bring against the homeowners. All of the rescued dogs are expected to be put up for adoption.

This video includes clips from WCBS and WPVI and images from the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office.

<![CDATA[California Fires Engulf Hundreds Of Acres, Force Evacuations]]> Sun, 05 Jun 2016 08:57:00 -0500
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Wildfires in Southern California are burning across hundreds of acres.

As of Sunday morning, the state's fire department estimates there are eight fires in the region that haven't been completely contained.

The fires have caused thousands of residents to be evacuated from their homes, and others have been left without power. 

The cause of some of the fires is still under investigation. At least one in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas was caused by a driver hitting a power pole.

California has become more prone to fires in recent years because of mass drought. Dry vegetation easily catches and spreads fires.

The state's governor has repeatedly linked climate change to the increase in fires, but scientists have been wary to make that link. 

In fact, some researchers say climate change could decrease the amount of fires because it decreases plant growth.

Around 500,000 acres catch fire in California in a typical year. Last year, at least 700,000 acres caught fire, and at least seven people died.

This video includes clips from KEROKGTVLos Angeles County Fire Department and KCAL and images from Getty Images and Twitter / @CALFIRERRU.

<![CDATA[Top 3 Gator Encounters That'll Make You Think Twice About Swimming]]> Sat, 04 Jun 2016 14:14:00 -0500
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Alligators. They're big, terrifying and have more than twice as many teeth as human adults, which makes them even scarier. And they've taken over the news recently.

We'd be remiss if we didn't start with the gigantic gator spotted walking across a Florida golf course. Newsy's partners at WFTS obtained this footage from Charles Helms.

"You ever seen anything that big? I think that's two guys in an alligator suit. Dave, get next to it for perspective," a golfer said.

According to the National Zoo, the average size of an alligator is just over 8 feet for females and 11 feet for males.

But Helms estimated the alligator he spotted on the golf course was as long as 15 feet.

Next, a Georgia couple has a new neighbor living in their pond: a 5-foot-long alligator.

Bill and Janice Compton believe the gator got into their private pond by way of the Yellow River, which is only about 75 yards away.

"He seems to be a pretty good neighbor. He's not making any demands on us, so we're leaving him alone," Janice Compton told WXIA

The couple did alert the state's Department of Natural Resources, which says on its website there are approximately 200,000 alligators living in Georgia.

We saved the most terrifying for last: A recent study says alligators are forced to share their south Florida home — because Nile crocodiles are being seen there for the first time.

As the name suggests, Nile crocodiles are from Africa. And they're way bigger than American alligators.

While our native gators can weigh up to 1,000 pounds, Nile crocodiles weigh in at more than 1,600 pounds when full-grown.

This video includes images from Getty Images and G. Dawson / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Less Invasive Liquid Biopsies May Cut Out The Need For A Scalpel]]> Sat, 04 Jun 2016 14:06:00 -0500
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Traditional cancer biopsies may become a thing of the past — at least, a new study involving liquid biopsies makes that seem possible.

A new study released at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that liquid biopsies are nearly as accurate as the traditional kind.

Normally biopsies require pieces of a tumor to be extracted with a needle or surgery, which can lead to complications.

For a liquid biopsy, doctors simply look for DNA fragments from tumors in a person's blood.

These types of biopsies have been around for awhile but aren't used to diagnose cancer. Instead, they're used to monitor the cancer's progress or detect mutations.

One doctor not related to the study told The New York Times that an actual physical sample still has more advantages over the blood test.

Some tumors can shed little to no DNA into the blood, making the tests ineffective. Still, the researchers say the new test is 87 percent accurate.

This video includes clips from Inside EditionTimeMolecularMD and NBC and images from Wikimedia Commons. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Penicillin Shortage Spells Major Concerns For Pregnant Women]]> Fri, 03 Jun 2016 18:02:00 -0500
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If you need penicillin during the month of June, you could be out of luck. The Food and Drug Administration says Bicillin L-A is on backorder until July. 

Pfizer, the only company that makes the drug, sent a letter to consumers saying it would only be able to provide 30 percent of its usual monthly demand because of a delay in manufacturing. The company and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it should only be used if there's no other choice available for a patient. 

Bicillin L-A is an antibiotic used for infections like strep throat, but more importantly, it's the only recommended drug for pregnant women who have been exposed to or infected with syphilis. The infection can be passed from the mother to the baby, even if the mother isn't showing any symptoms.  

The resulting infection is called congenital syphilis and can cause a miscarriage, stillbirth or even the death of a baby after it's born.

And the shortage could not be happening at a worse time. Congenital syphilis is actually increasing in the U.S. Reported cases declined during 2008-2012 but increased from a rate of 8.4 to 11.6 cases for every 100,000 births between 2012 and 2014. 

The increase is tied to an overall increase in syphilis nationwide. Last year, the CDC reported a 15.1 percent increase in the most "infectious stages" of syphilis from 2013. 

A doctor with the CDC says it's working with states to find out where exactly shortages are and focus on sending supplies there. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention and DanZ / CC BY SA 3.0 and clips from Pfizer and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

<![CDATA[It Just Got A Lot Harder To Buy Or Sell Elephant Ivory In The US]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 18:43:00 -0500
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African elephants just scored big. On Thursday, the Obama administration announced new regulations on ivory trade, basically banning the practice altogether.

The new rules, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, aim to ax smuggling networks and end poaching of African elephants. 

It's estimated 96 African elephants are killed daily for their ivory tusks. A lot of that ivory ends up here in the U.S. A 2008 study pegged the U.S. as having the second-largest retail market for elephant ivory products.

Under previous guidelines, people were free to buy and sell ivory in the U.S. as long as it could be proven the animal died of natural causes or was hunted before the species was considered endangered.

The new guidelines reel that in dramatically, creating what officials call a "near-total ban." Now virtually all import, export and sales across state lines is illegal. There are exceptions — but they're very specific, designed to allow some antiques and pre-existing manufactured items like musical instruments to be traded.

A handful of states across the country already outlaw ivory trade. New Jersey, New York, California and Hawaii all recently passed legislation that aims to protect African elephants.

But officials say greater protections are needed on a federal level. President Obama announced an initiative to end wildlife trafficking back in 2013. It appears Thursday's announcement is a step in that direction.

The Fish and Wildlife Service director said: "Our actions close a major avenue to wildlife traffickers. ... We still have much to do to save this species, but today is a good day for the African elephant." 

The rules go into effect July 6. 

This video includes clips from ABC and The Tennessean and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Humans May Have Tamed Wolves Twice Because Dogs Are Worth It]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 18:42:00 -0500
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It looks like domesticating dogs was such a good idea that humans may have done it twice — independently and half a world apart. 

There's a long-running debate among scientists over when and where an ancient human first looked at an ancient wolf and thought, "Sure, I'll make that my best friend."

Modern dog DNA is so messy from interbreeding, it's been hard to tease out an answer. 

Some studies point to Europe as the origin, others point to Asia, and some split the difference and say that dogs originated in Central Asia and spread to the east and west. 

Now an international research team has compared DNA from ancient dog bones around the world, and the researchers say the results point to two domestications: one in Europe and a big one in East Asia that later moved west. 

If that's true, it could help make sense of the confusing genetics. Take two different populations of dogs and breed them together, along with some more interbreeding with wolves along the way, and things are bound to get messy. 

It's a pretty convoluted genetic history, but — the things people do for their dogs. 

This video includes clips from Brook Peterson / CC BY ND 2.0, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceAlina Odessitka / CC BY 3.0ScienceBBC and PBS and images from Camilla Faurholdt-Löfvall / CC BY SA 2.0 and the University of California, Los Angeles. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Running On Renewable Energy Is Still Mostly A Matter Of Luck]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:56:00 -0500
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Portugal just ran on renewable electricity for four days. Last year, Denmark did a day on wind power. Even Germany — Europe's biggest energy market — recently ran for an hour on totally renewable power.

Those are impressive headlines, even for countries that invest heavily in renewable energy. Because even with all that infrastructure, a lot of their achievement comes down to getting lucky.

So far in 2016, Portugal has generated 75 percent of its electricity through renewable sources. Normally that's not enough to cover its needs. It only worked because demand was low and weather was especially favorable during four days in May.

Denmark did it with the help of brief high winds. It was able to meet 140 percent of its energy requirements one day, and it exported the excess.

Strong winds also helped Germany hit its nationwide power requirements for an hour, while demand for energy was low over the weekend.

In the U.S., it's a lot harder to cross that threshold — and that's mostly thanks to scale. The energy market is much larger, and renewables make up a smaller portion of it.

There are exceptions. Burlington, Vermont, runs on renewable energy, and other, larger cities have plans to follow suit within a couple decades.

But even as renewable energy prices trend downward and installed capacity trends upward, it will be a while before we see headlines like these from the U.S.

This video includes clips from Brent De Luca / CC BY 3.0State of Green / CC BY 3.0,  Germany Trade & InvestCaleb Clark / CC BY 3.0, and Kasselman Solar / CC BY 3.0 and images from Sam Smith / CC BY 3.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Watch Mercury Transit The Sun In High-Res Without Melting Your Eyes]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 15:37:00 -0500
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So you missed Mercury's first transit across the sun in nearly a decade. 

Lucky for you, NASA took super high-resolution footage of the planet's passage.

So now you can watch the impressive sight — no protective eyewear needed — from the comfort of your computer chair.

You can thank NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft for these images.

Mercury makes this trek about 13 times each century, and the next chance you'll have to see the planet's transit with your own eyes won't be for at least another three years.

This video includes clips from NASA.

<![CDATA[Buildings Produce A Lot Of Carbon Dioxide — But They Don't Have To]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 14:57:00 -0500
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"The majority of emissions that come out of cities come from buildings," said Karen Weigert, Senior Fellow for Global Cities at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "It comes from heating, cooling and operating the places where we live work and play."

Most of those greenhouse gas emissions come from indirect sources, like power plants, and inefficient buildings will need more of that energy.

In Chicago, 71 percent of carbon emissions came from operating buildings in 2010. In New York, it was 75 percent.

"So if you want to address that, you have to use less, and then what you do use, you have to use green," Weigert said. "Those are, at a very high level, the two things that you need to do about your building."

"If you think about a building and you want to make it more efficient, well to do that you have to do some construction on that building or make operational changes," she said. "That creates jobs right there, lower operating costs for the building again right there."

But dense cities are often energy efficient.

"Multifamily housing — apartments or condos — share walls, so they typically use less energy than a standalone, single family home," Weigert said.

Newer apartment units in large buildings use 12 percent less energy than those built in the 1970s. But new single-family homes use 10 percent more energy than those built 40 years ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"So, yes, absolutely — aggregating up what you do in your home and what your neighbors do in their homes — those actions combine to then reduce energy use," Weigert said.

"And then you're going after the biggest source of carbon emissions from a city," she said.

This video includes a clip from / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[US Teen Births Hit Another All-Time Low In 2015]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 14:38:00 -0500
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Fewer U.S. teens are giving birth than ever before.

Since the 1990s, the U.S. has seen the teen birth rate fall. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it's at 22.3 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19.

That's great news because teen moms are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to live below the poverty line. And their kids are more likely to also become teen parents.

Experts attribute the drop to a few things. Teens are less likely to have had sex now than in the '80s, are better educated and are using more fool-proof birth control, like IUD's and implants.

One study even found the MTV show "Teen Mom" inspired teenagers to look up information about birth control and is partly responsible for a third the decline in teen births in the year and a half after the show came out.

This video includes an image from Getty Images and clips from Planned Parenthood and MTV.

<![CDATA[Elon Musk Thinks We're Basically Living In A Video Game]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 13:17:00 -0500
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Elon Musk seems to think there's a one in several billions chance the world we live in isn't really a "Sims" game.

The founder of Tesla spoke Wednesday about the "simulation hypothesis," which argues we are all living in an artificial version of the universe created by an advanced civilization.

Musk said to think about how basic the video game "Pong" was just 40 years ago. 

"Now, 40 years later, we have photo-realistic, 3-D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. ... If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality," Musk said. 

And if virtual reality seems realistic at all now, Musk says to think how perfect it could seem 10,000 years from now. It might seem like a long time, but it's really just a "blink of an eye" in terms of how old our universe is believed to be.

Sound familiar at all?

As a character from "The Matrix" said: "The world as it was at the end of the 20th century. It exists now only as part of a neural-interactive simulation that we call the Matrix."

Hollywood blockbusters aside, scientists have been toying with this idea for years. Past mathematical formulas have shown there's likely either an overwhelming probability we're living in a simulation, or there's practically no chance of it. 

It's been argued for the theory to be true that machines would have to become conscious — to improve themselves and run the simulation. The scientific community seems divided on this, too, with some thinking we'll have that kind of tech in the near future and some thinking it'll forever be impossible. 

Could we actually prove we are or are not living in a simulation? 

To keep the video game analogy going, occasionally they glitch. Some physicists have argued a simulated universe may do the same, but to us it would be seen as changes to the laws of nature. And just like a video game, these breaks from the laws would quickly be fixed by the creator.

This video includes clips from Harvard UniversityHello Games / "No Man's Sky," Warner Bros. / "Her," Warner Bros. / "The Matrix," SamsungReCodeElectronic Arts / "The Sims 4" and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[The Seine River Is Flooding And Soaking The French Open's Plans]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 11:32:00 -0500
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Heavy rains in France have caused flooding across the country, and at least one person has died

The country's national police force posted pictures of evacuations, using boats to help assist people in the flooded streets. 

It's reportedly the worst flooding the country has seen in a century, and that flood — in 1910 — is commonly referred to as the "Great Flood of Paris," which lasted about 45 days

This most recent flooding includes the Seine River in Paris. The river's banks overflowed, rising almost 15 feet above its normal height, and officials say the Seine could reach levels as high as 17 feet over the weekend.

Although, 17 feet is still low compared to the 28 feet the river gained in the 1910 flood.  

The weather conditions are bad news for sports tournaments. French Open officials have been forced to delay many of the tennis matches and have received backlash over the poor conditions in the ones that weren't rescheduled. 

And the Union of European Football Associations' European championship tournament kicks off in Paris on June 10. 

Rain and floods have hit other parts of Europe, too, including Germany where at least four people have died. 

This video includes clips from Verlag Nürnberger PresseFrance 24BFMTV, images from Getty Images, Police Nationale and Assemblee Nationale and music from Chris Zabriskie / CC BY 4.0.

<![CDATA[The FDA Is Going After The Food Industry To Cut Your Salt Obsession]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 17:54:00 -0500
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Chances are your diet is super salty. But you may be able to pass off some of the blame.

The Food and Drug Administration proposed new guidelines Wednesday targeting the source of your sodium overload: the food industry. 

spokeswoman with Health and Human Services said: "Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants. Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers."

The average American adult takes in about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day — that’s about one-and-a-half teaspoons worth of salt. The new guidelines aim to reduce that number to 2,300 milligrams per day.

While there's been some debate about how much salt is too much, the FDA says a reduction in sodium intake could result in "tens of thousands fewer cases of heart disease and stroke each year, as well as billions of dollars in health care savings over time."

The new guidelines — which have been years in the making — are voluntary and call for a very gradual implementation, so you probably won't even notice if your food starts to taste different. 

The FDA points to salt-reduction initiatives that are working in dozens of other countries worldwide and where health benefits have been noted. 

And initiatives here in the U.S. are already underway. The FDA reports more than 25 companies pledged to reduce sodium content in products as part of the National Salt Reduction Initiative.

This video includes clips from CNNCBS and images from Karyn Christner / CC BY 2.0 and Leonid Mamchenkov / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[San Francisco Police Rescued An Adorable Baby Sea Lion]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 11:23:00 -0500
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While many people had a day off from work on Memorial Day, it was a good thing several San Francisco police officers were on duty because they rescued this baby sea lion.

It was stranded in an empty stairwell at Ocean Beach early Monday morning.

The officers stayed with the sea lion — which is believed to be 11 months old — until rescue workers could pick it up.

A spokesperson from a local rescue center told KTVU the sea lion is malnourished, weighing only 27 pounds.

It could be one of two types found in California.

One is the California sea lion, which can weigh as much 850 pounds. But stellar sea lions are much larger, weighing up to 2,500 pounds when fully grown.

Since 2013, unusually high numbers of baby sea lions have washed up on California beaches. A record 3,340 were stranded in 2015.

As a shelter cares for the rescued sea lion, the officers gave the animal a name.

They chose "George Bison," drawing inspiration from their police station's call sign and their softball team's mascot.

This video includes clips from the San Francisco Police Department and images from the San Francisco Police Department, Getty Images and NOAA's National Ocean Service.

<![CDATA[Giant Pandas Could Soon Be Removed From The Endangered Species List]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:28:00 -0500
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Giant pandas could soon be coming off the endangered species list. 

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is assessing whether the giant panda can be downgraded from "endangered" to "vulnerable." 

The organization is assessing the giant panda's status based on China's national survey and the pandas' habitat conditions. 

The IUCN says the population increase is due in part to scientific breeding methods in captivity. 

"Once a better understanding of biology and behaviour was incorporated into husbandry, captive pandas began to mate naturally and experienced exponential population growth," an IUCN official told the London Evening Standard

Giant panda populations in the wild have also boomed over the last few years. The Chinese government reported in February 2015 that the population had increased by 268 pandas — up 17 percent from a decade ago. 

The giant pandas' rise is even more impressive when looking at how few there were in the 1970s. Then, estimates said only about 1,000 pandas were left. Now, that number is more than 1,800. 

IUCN officials say that boom is what first prompted this assessment of the giant panda's place on the red list — a comprehensive list of the world's conservation of species. 

The IUCN hasn't revealed a timetable for when the reclassification could be made, but for a species that's been on the endangered list for over 25 years, any improvement is a welcome change.

This video includes clips from Toronto ZooSmithsonian's National ZooEdinburgh ZooYouTube / meiko 米可 and BBC, and images from Don DeBold / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Women Who Get Migraines May Be More Likely To Develop Heart Disease]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:24:00 -0500
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Women who get migraines may be more likely to develop heart problems, according to new research.

A study published in The BMJ found that women who suffer from migraines have a greater risk of having a heart attack, getting a type of chest pain called angina and of dying from a heart-related problem.

A neurologist who wrote an editorial along with the study explained migraines only add a relatively small risk for heart disease.

But understanding the association is more important when looking at a population more broadly since 18 percent of American women suffer from migraines.

Scientists still aren't sure why a link between migraines and cardiovascular disease exists or if treating migraines will prevent heart problems down the line.

A neurologist advised that just because a woman suffers from migraines, doesn't mean doctors should automatically treat her for potential heart problems.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Children May Be Getting More Concussions Than We Realized, Study Says]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 07:25:00 -0500
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Concussions may be far more common in children than we realized.

Previous studies have gotten their data from emergency room and urgent care visits. But a new study found 82 percent of children with concussions had gotten their diagnoses from a primary care provider, such as a pediatrician.  

What's more, past studies have reportedly focused on high schoolers. But about one-third of those who had concussions in the most recent study were under 12 years old. 

Concussions are traumatic injuries, but because they're diagnosed using patients' symptoms, trips to the ER aren't always necessary. Understanding the full picture for children's concussion rates is though. 

As one pediatric sports medicine specialist told ABC, "Anytime we can get a better sense of what the true numbers are, it allows us to provide better care and focus research and attention on where it needs."

The latest study included over 8,000 children, but all from one hospital network. So further research will likely be needed to see if similar rates are occurring across the country. 

This video includes clips from WFTS and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Don't Lick The Spoon: General Mills Recalls Flour Due To E. Coli Scare]]> Wed, 01 Jun 2016 07:13:00 -0500
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If you're planning to whip up a batch of cookies soon, you might want to think twice before licking raw dough off the spoon.

General Mills is recalling several different varieties of flour due to an E. coli outbreak. Thirty-eight cases were reported across 20 states. 

The flour varieties include Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens. Anyone who has that flour at home is being advised to throw it away. 

About half of the people who fell ill said they recently made something with General Mills flour. The company said some of those affected consumed raw dough or batter. 

In a statement, General Mills advised people against eating raw products made with flour because they could contain bacteria that is normally made safe during the cooking process. 

This strand of E. coli is potentially deadly, with young children, seniors and anyone with a weakened immune system most at risk. It can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. 

This video includes clips and images from General Mills.

<![CDATA[AAA Warns Parents About The '100 Deadliest Days' For Teen Drivers]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 23:00:00 -0500
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For teenagers, the summer months mean fun with friends and freedom from school. But they also come with some serious safety concerns.

AAA is warning teen drivers about the "100 deadliest days." That's the period starting on Memorial Day when teen deaths from car wrecks have historically spiked.

Researchers said the summertime is much more dangerous because teenagers are out of school and on the road more frequently.

Over the past five years, an average of 10 people have died per day in crashes involving teen drivers during those "100 deadliest days." Sadly, many of those deaths could have been prevented. The AAA study says nearly 60 percent of all teen crashes involved a distracted driver.

Yes, texting is a big problem, but the study says it's not the biggest. Apparently, teens are more likely to be distracted by a passenger than anything else.

Cellphones were found to be a factor in just 12 percent of teen crashes, though researchers say the number of teenagers who text and use social media while driving is on the rise. 

Now that the "100 deadliest days" are upon us, AAA is encouraging parents to educate their teen drivers about the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel.

This video includes a clip from AAA and images from AAA and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music. 

<![CDATA[Why Is The Boy's Father's Criminal Past Relevant In Gorilla's Death?]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 20:36:00 -0500
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In the aftermath of the Cincinnati Zoo’s decision to kill 17-year-old gorilla Harambe after a boy fell into his enclosure, the attention has turned to the child’s parents.

A petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures says the boy needed better supervision, and plenty of op-eds were published about who deserves blame for Harambe’s death.

Now, some critics are crying foul over an article from the Daily Mail that reveals the boy’s father, who is black, has had several run-ins with the law, calling the post racist.

In the New York Daily News, Shaun King wrote the story is a "hit job" on the boy’s father and added that "it does not appear that the boy’s father was even at the zoo with his family on Saturday. Why then mention him at all? Why name him?"

The boy's family said he's doing fine and thanked the Cincinnati Zoo for its actions, saying, "We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla." Cincinnati police initially said they wouldn't consider any charges against the parents, but a Hamilton County prosecutor later said police would open an investigation. 

Many animal lovers were outraged by the zoo's decision to kill the gorilla instead of using tranquilizers. Western lowland gorillas, like Harambe, are considered critically endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. Experts say the population has dwindled down to around 200,000 animals left in the world. More than half of the population has disappeared in the past 25 years.

This video includes clips from WCPO.

<![CDATA[Alligators Found Eating Human Corpse In Florida]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 18:10:00 -0500
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There's a peculiar homicide investigation underway in Florida now after two alligators were reportedly found eating a human corpse.

Two fisherman found the body in a canal Monday. Even though police say it appears the alligators consumed part of the body, it's still being investigated as a homicide. A police captain told the Sun Sentinel the alligators aren't suspected of killing the person.

"Could it be a homicide, could it be a suicide, could it have been natural, a fisherman? We don't know," an officer told WFOR.

Officials say it looks like the body had been in the water for a while before it was found. They're currently working to identify the remains.

This video includes a clip from WPLG and WTVJ.

<![CDATA[Physics Nitpicks: What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Space]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 17:30:00 -0500
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Hollywood gets plenty wrong about space: World War II-style dogfights, fiery explosions, sound in a vacuum. But the list of physics nitpicks goes even deeper than that. Real space is much more boring than the chrome throttles of "Star Trek" would have you believe.

First: Space is big — really big. Sending messages around takes time, even at the speed of light.

Round-trip radio messages between Earth and the moon are delayed for almost two seconds, and the farther you go, the longer the delay gets. It makes snappy dialogue a bit harder.

Messages making the trip to and from Mars can take as long as 24 minutes.

When it last landed a rover there, NASA spent 14 minutes waiting to hear whether it had a robot on the surface or a bunch of expensive confetti.

The straight-line travel in "Gravity," where the astronauts move from the Hubble Space Telescope to the International Space Station? Not happening.

Moving to lower orbits requires an increase in speed. The closer you are to, say, Earth, the faster you have to be moving to fight its gravity. That's why rockets don't go straight up. They go sideways so they don't just fall back down.

So there's no way Dr. Stone made it from Hubble's orbit to the International Space Station.

Also, debris probably wouldn't get as dense as it does in "Gravity." Space is big, remember, so most satellites still have lots of room between them. The really dangerous stuff is tiny and moves so fast you won't even see it coming.

Paint flecks have dented space shuttle windows.

And lastly, don't expect to land on the surface of an asteroid like they do in "Armageddon."

Remember Rosetta's Philae lander? Tiny bodies like Comet 67P/C-G have such weak gravity that even the dishwasher-sized probe bounced twice. A human might be able to jump straight up and drift away.

This video includes clips from Paramount PicturesMetro-Goldwyn-MayerNASAWarner Bros. PicturesBuena Vista Pictures and the European Space Agency and images from NASA. Music by the European Archive.

<![CDATA[Clinton Wins Environmental Group's First-Ever Presidential Endorsement]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 14:09:00 -0500
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Hillary Clinton just got a major endorsement.

The NRDC Action Fund — the political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council — just made its first presidential endorsement. The group says, "We're with her."

The NRDC, which is an environmental action organization, has been around for 46 years. The action fund decided to make an endorsement because it says "the future is at stake."

Rhea Suh, president of the council, said between Clinton and Donald Trump, "only one of those candidates wants to build a future powered by a clean energy economy. Only one of those candidates will make America a leader in the global fight against climate change."

Suh's statement criticized the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, calling his energy policy address "disastrous."

It read: "If he wins, Donald Trump's plan for his first 100 days would take us back 100 years. His nomination by the Republican Party puts one of the most anti-environment presidential candidates in history a step closer to the Oval Office."

The endorsement didn't mention the other Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders. A few hours after the NRDC statement, Sanders posted a video of himself at his Oakland rally Monday discussing the importance of protecting the environment.

This video includes clips from NRDC and ABC and images from Getty Images.