Newsy - Sci/Health The Latest Videos From <![CDATA[Researchers Found A Really, Really Old Beer Recipe In China]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 22:49:00 -0500
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It's not every day you come across a beer recipe in an academic journal. But researchers think they've found the earliest evidence of beer production in China.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and claims to reveal the components of a 5,000-year-old beer.

The research suggests alcohol was the initial reason barley spread across Eurasia to the Central Plain of China. This theory would knock out the belief that its movement was motivated by people who wanted to use barley as food.

Researchers found what they believe to be beer making supplies at an excavation site in North China. They analyzed beer residue from funnels and pottery shards. 

Apparently, if you're looking to replicate this really, really old beer, you'll need broomcorn millet, Job's tears, tubers and barley, of course.

This video includes images from shizhao / CC BY 2.0Forest and Kim Starr / CC BY 2.0Leslie Seaton / CC BY 2.0 and coniferconifer / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Doctors Say Dave Mirra Is The First Extreme Athlete Diagnosed With CTE]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 20:20:00 -0500
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For years, we’ve known the brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy can result from contact sports, like football and boxing, but now there’s evidence extreme sports athletes can be at risk as well.

New reports show BMX legend Dave Mirra was diagnosed with CTE after his death. Mirra, like many NFL players diagnosed with the condition, committed suicide.

CTE is a degenerative disease that occurs when protein deposits, thought to be caused by repeated head trauma, build up in a person’s brain. Those deposits can often lead to dementia and depression. Currently, there’s no known treatment and a diagnosis can only be made at autopsy.

After his death in February, several medical experts confirmed the diagnosis. Doctors said the proteins found in Mirra’s brain were "indistinguishable" from those in the brains of deceased football and hockey players with CTE.

Mirra's was a textbook case of CTE. He reportedly suffered "countless" concussions during his career, and friends and relatives said he was behaving strangely just before he died.

His wife, Lauren, told ESPN: "I started to notice changes in his mood. And then it quickly started to get worse. … We didn't know what we were dealing with."

The risk of concussions in extreme sports is nothing new since every jump or trick has a chance of going awry and ending in a head injury. 

In 2012, BMX star Mat Hoffman estimated he had around 100 concussions in his life and X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana told The Los Angeles Times that he'd been concussed "literally on a weekly basis." 

Mirra’s wife said she hopes her husband’s legacy is "the beginning of bringing awareness, of talks of better equipment." She said, "It would be amazing if this is something we can detect in life one day.”

This video includes clips from Network A and Rally America and images from Instagram / davemirra and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Climate Change Might Be Helping Octopuses]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 18:54:00 -0500
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new study found the octopus population is on the up and up, and climate change could be helping those numbers.

In addition to octopuses, the study in Current Biology looked at other types of cephalopods — a category of marine life that includes cuttlefish and squid.

The group is really good at adapting. Researchers say even with the effects of climate change on sea temperatures and the documented decline of some fish populations, cephalopod numbers have increased overall in recent decades.

In a statement, the lead author explained it this way: "Cephalopods are often called 'weeds of the sea' as they have a unique set of biological traits, including rapid growth, short lifespans and flexible development."

Researchers looked at catch rates from 1953 to 2013 from "all major oceanic regions." Even though researchers found growth in cephalopod populations, the study actually grew out of concern over declining numbers of giant Australian cuttlefish

In a press release, a researcher said since the study that cuttlefish population is actually bouncing back.

The impact of the growing numbers of cephalopods is complex. Researchers describe the bunch as "voracious" predators, so the growth might not be great for prey fish. 

And even though researchers suggest climate change could help explain the growth, the study says the consequences of human activity, like ocean acidification, could negatively impact the group in the future.

This video includes images from Snailgenie / CC BY 2.0Adrian Mohedano / CC BY 2.0 and Col Ford and Natasha de Vere / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Humanity's Worst Trick: Making Big Cats Disappear]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:26:00 -0500
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"Big cat" is not a formal scientific term, but a generally accepted label for eight members of the family Felidae. Five are from genus Panthera, and the three others are cougars, cheetahs and clouded leopards.

It's hard to get accurate counts for certain cats thanks to their secretive nature and remote habitats, but conservationists say populations across the board are decreasing.

The big problem, in a word, is us. Wild cats might be the apex predators in their natural environments, but we humans are pushing them back, out-competing them for prey and, in some cases, killing them directly.

Half of the cats on the list suffer significant habitat loss from human interaction, including deforestation and expansion into their territory.

Some compete with us for prey animals or resort to hunting livestock when their traditional food sources decrease. Farmers and herders can retaliate and kill big cats when their bottom line is at stake.

Others are poached for their pelts and teeth. Tiger numbers especially have been reduced to near-critical levels thanks to the illegal animal trade. In the past two decades, half of those remaining in the wild have disappeared.

And researchers worry fewer tigers might make poachers and smugglers turn their attention to clouded leopards. The littlest of the big cats is prized for its teeth — the largest canines proportional to its body of any feline.

And then there's plain old mythology — perpetuating fears that some cats are more dangerous to humans than they really are, still drives the killings. While the cougar enjoys some protection across almost all of its range, it's widely considered a nuisance animal and is still hunted in the U.S.

Human impact on the climate also affects the cat populations when it's not shifting their ranges directly. In one case study, researchers found sharp environmental swings, like droughts, can upset the balance between lions and naturally occurring pathogens, leading to more deaths.

Conservation groups work to protect not only the cats but also the territory and prey they need to thrive.

For cheetahs already threatened by dwindling genetic diversity, activists are working to secure land and safe passage in an increasingly human-dominated environment. Most recorded cheetah deaths at the hands of humans are from high-speed collisions on roads.

This protection can also extend to lower-risk populations. South Africa banned leopard hunting this year not explicitly to preserve numbers but to let conservationists to do more accurate research.

This analysis doesn't account for any of the big cats in captivity across the world; that's another story. But conservationists agreeSaving the big cats means preserving them in their existing habitat — even as it's increasingly shared with humans.

This video includes clips from Uganda Carnivore Program / CC BY 3.0Wildland AdventuresSnow Leopard Trust / CC BY 3.0National GeographicThe International Fund for Animal Welfarewildlifethailand / CC BY 3.0U.S. National Parks ServiceA Beautiful Plate / CC BY 3.0Lennart Hessel / CC BY 3.0CP Snapper / CC BY 3.0 and The Oregon Zoo and images from Getty Images, Lyngdoh et al. / CC BY 4.0Spencer Wright / CC BY 2.0Defenders of Wildlife and Felidae Conservation Fund.

<![CDATA[Fewer And Fewer People Are Smoking In The US]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:42:00 -0500
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More and more Americans are putting out their cigarettes for good.

In 2015, just 15.1 percent of American adults were smokers, a decline of almost 2 percentage points compared to 2014, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The last decline that significant was from 1992 to 1993. The smoking rate has declined almost every year since 1997, when almost 25 percent of U.S. adults said they smoked. 

The decline comes with an increase in public awareness campaigns about the health hazards of smoking as well as the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, which are often marketed as a safer alternative to typical cigarettes — although some studies suggest they don't actually help people quit, and there isn't a consensus on whether they're harmful to a person's health. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this year that e-cigarettes will be subject to federal regulation.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., with more than 480,000 deaths each year. 

This video includes clips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and BBC and images from Getty Images. Music courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[When It Comes To Insect Repellent, Natural Isn't Always Better]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 12:23:00 -0500
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To prevent mosquito bites and lessen the risk of catching the Zika virus, more than half of Americans plan to purchase an insect repellent this year. 

The World Health Organization says the best way to prevent Zika is to not get bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus, but now Consumer Reports says just any insect repellent won't do the trick. 

The most important thing to know from this latest round of testing? Natural isn't always better. 

Consumer Reports looked at six natural repellents — meaning the active ingredients are derived from plants instead of chemicals — and found that five of them only protected the wearer against mosquitoes for an hour at the most. 

But one natural repellent, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, was found to give at least seven hours of protection against Aedes mosquitoes, which are known to carry Zika. 

Out of all 16 repellents Consumer Reports tested — both chemical- and natural-based — two synthetic products ward off Aedes mosquitoes the longest with just one application. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said active ingredients like DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus "typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection."

Health officials do say that while oil of eucalyptus products shouldn't be used on children younger than age 3, all three of the most effective active ingredients can be used by pregnant women. 

Back in April, the CDC released a map showing that mosquitoes known to carry Zika could soon be found across the lower half of the U.S.

This video includes clips from ABC and images from Getty Images, All TerrainBurt's BeesCalifornia BabyCutterEcoSmartRepelSawyer and Ben Meadows

<![CDATA[Survey Shows Health Care CEOs Overwhelmingly Support Obamacare]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 22:05:00 -0500
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Health care in the U.S. has become a deeply partisan issue, with Democrats wanting to continue with or expand the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, while Republicans tout their "repeal and replace" plan. But health care leaders have spoken out in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

Modern Healthcare surveyed a "CEO Power Panel" of executives from "hospitals, insurance companies, physician groups, trade associations and other not-for-profit advocacy groups" and found more than two-thirds of CEOs oppose repealing the ACA.

Only 2 percent of that group wanted to remove the ACA, and the rest who weighed in said they’d need more details before deciding one way or the other.

But the switch to the ACA was enough change for that group. Only 9 percent were in favor of creating a single-payer plan funded by the government.

Some seem to think the U.S. just isn’t ready. The CEO of the Cedars-Sinai health system said a single-payer system "will only be politically feasible once it is sufficiently socially acceptable. Americans still place a very high value on choice."

Though maybe not as high as he thinks. A recent Gallup Poll found 58 percent of Americans are in favor of creating a federally funded health program.

But many Americans are also OK with keeping the ACA. Another study found two-thirds of respondents said their marketplace or ACA-compliant health insurance was either good or excellent. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The VA Secretary Just Compared Hospital Wait Times To Disneyland Lines]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 21:49:00 -0500
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Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is in hot water after likening wait times at veterans clinics to waiting in line at Disneyland.

He made the comparison to a group of reporters at a media breakfast after being asked why the VA doesn’t report the date when veterans first seek an appointment. 

He reportedly said: "The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran’s satisfaction. … When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience. And that’s really the kind of measure I want to move to."

Republican leaders were quick to bash McDonald for his statement. House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted: "This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines."

Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeted, in part, "Sec. McDonald’s statement shows he’s completely out-of-touch with crisis in vets health care…"

Even GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump chimed in, tweeting: "Obama’s VA Secretary just said we shouldn’t measure wait times. ... I will take care of our vets!"

McDonald took over as secretary for the department after a 2014 investigation revealed veterans were dying while waiting months to receive care at VA hospitals.

But more recent reports indicate wait times are still an issue. In April, the Government Accountability Office released a report indicating nearly half of surveyed veterans seeking medical care were forced to wait more than 30 days for treatment.

CNN reports the VA issued a statement later on Monday that reads in part: "We know that veterans are still waiting too long for care. … We must transform the way we do business."

This video includes clips from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[These Recommendations Say You Shouldn't Worry About Eating That Steak]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 12:08:00 -0500
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How much fat is OK to eat? A new report urging people to eat food in "its natural form, however much saturated fat it contains" has sparked a fierce debate among British public health workers.

The U.K. has officially promoted low-fat diets since 1983.

People have been told to watch out for saturated fat, which can be found in foods like beef, pork, butter and cheese.

But a new report from two health charities argues, in the process, officials have advised people to base their meals on carbohydrates, a food source the charities say can lead to a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Citing studies from the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Cambridge and other institutions, the health charities argue saturated fat isn't linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke or obesity.

And the report said it's possible if the public had been advised to eat fattier foods in their "natural form instead of unnaturally man-made low-fat foods for the past 30 years," the UK would have lower rates of obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The health charities recommend fattier "real foods," like beef, avocados, cream and full-fat cheese over more processed foods like low-fat cheese, sugary cereals and refined pastas.

However, health officials have called the charities' report "irresponsible" and say the research's use of "selective studies risks misleading the public."

But health officials' reputations have come under fire, too. The health charities' have argued almost half of the people who came up with a recent dietary guideline image for the U.K.'s Department of Health were also members of the food and drinks industry.

This video includes images from Jamie / CC BY 2.0 and Public Health England.

<![CDATA[Volcanic Eruption In Indonesia Kills At Least 7]]> Sun, 22 May 2016 21:11:00 -0500
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A volcano in Indonesia erupted Saturday, killing at least seven people and severely burning two more.

Mount Sinabung erupted just before 5 p.m. local time on the island of Sumatra, throwing burning hot clouds of ash and rock as high as 2 miles into the air. That pyroclastic flow then descended onto the area nearby.

The volcano had been dormant for centuries until it blew in 2010. Since then, it's been highly active, and the government declared a danger zone around the mountain.

But Indonesian officials said residents still sometimes go near Mount Sinabung to farm. They suspect that's what the victims were doing when it erupted.

Emergency crews attempted to locate survivors, but the volcano continued heaving hot ash, making rescue attempts difficult.

Mount Sinabung has killed at least 25 and displaced tens of thousands of residents since becoming active in 2010.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from iNewsTV and tvOne.

<![CDATA[2 Horses Die At Pimlico Before The Preakness Stakes]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 21:45:00 -0500
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Exaggerator's win at Saturday's Preakness Stakes was overshadowed by the death of two horses at Pimlico Race Course. The horses died in separate incidents before the Triple Crown race even began.

Nine-year-old gelding Homeboykris fell over and died while heading back to the barn after winning the day's first race. Track officials believe the cause of death was a "cardiovascular collapse."

Three races later, 4-year-old filly Pramedya was euthanized on the track after falling and breaking a bone in her front left leg. 

Jockey Daniel Centeno was thrown from the horse and broke his collarbone.

Pimlico Race Course has been a disaster for Pradmedya's owners, Gretchen and Roy Jackson. Their horse Barbaro also broke his leg there during the 2006 Preakness Stakes and was eventually put down.

Racehorses dying on race days isn't as uncommon as you might think. The New York Times reported in 2012 that, on average, 24 horses a week die at U.S. racetracks.

In response to the horses' deaths at Preakness, PETA called for the owners to release each horse's veterinary records, saying "most breakdowns and deaths occur because horses have pre-existing injuries that are masked by the excessive use of legal medications."

A Pimlico spokesman said both horses will be taken to Pennsylvania for necropsies to officially determine the cause of death.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Twitter /  @PimlicoRC and a clip from the Baltimore Sun.

<![CDATA[Researchers Found Man-Eating African Crocodiles In Florida]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 13:31:00 -0500
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Scientists have confirmed Florida's latest invasive species is a type of man-eating crocodile from Africa.

Researchers at the University of Florida say they captured three Nile crocodiles in the Florida Everglades — a species related to native crocodiles in the Southeast U.S. but never before spotted in Florida.

The captured reptiles all have similar DNA, leading researchers to think the trio are most likely related.

While only three crocs have been discovered, the researchers who identified them say they may not be the only ones in the everglades, especially given how they survived unchecked in the wild for a few years before their capture.

The Nile crocodile is native to mainly sub-Saharan Africa. There, the crocodiles were responsible for nearly 500 reported attacks from 2010-2014, where over 70 percent were fatal.

The crocodiles' appearance falls roughly in line with other invasive species that have popped up in Florida. As a state, Florida harbors more invasive amphibians and reptiles than any region on the planet.

Researchers have compared the crocs to the Burmese python, which first appeared in the Florida everglades in the 1980s. Since then, the population of the invasive snake has grown to over 30,000 in the state.

But not all invasive species are frightening carnivores. Florida spends $30 million of taxpayers' money each year combating invasive weed species that trouble the region's forests.

The good news is there's not yet any indication the Nile crocodiles will start breeding, even though they're related to the native American crocodiles in the region. Key differences between the species make living together unlikely.

This video includes clips from BBCNBC and WPTV, and images from Gianfranco Gori / CC BY SA 4.0H. Zell / CC BY SA 3.0Colleen Taugher / CC BY 2.0, and Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM music.

<![CDATA[Mars Hasn't Been This Close To Earth In Over A Decade]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 09:13:00 -0500
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Saturday night, Mars will appear to be the brightest it's been in more than 10 years.

The red planet will be within 48 million miles of Earth from May 21 until June 12. The last time it was this close was in November 2005.

Mars passes close enough to Earth to be seen every other year. It's called Mars opposition because the planet appears to be directly opposite of the sun, near the moon in the sky.

The Hubble Space Telescope has already taken advantage of Mars' proximity and snapped a new photo that shows the planet's frosty polar caps and cloudy skies.

This isn't the closest Mars has ever been to Earth. In 2003, it was under 35 million miles away. It will pass by Earth at about that range again in July 2018.

This video includes images from NASA and Sky and Telescope

Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Dirty Money: The Cash In Your Pocket Probably Has Poop On It]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 17:54:00 -0500
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Money is filthy. Depending on which study you read, the level of grossness may vary, but all researchers seem to agree — paper money is just straight up nasty.

Take this 2012 study from the Queen Mary University of London, for example. Researchers found 8 percent of credit cards and 6 percent of paper money had as much bacteria as the inside of a dirty toilet bowl.

More recently, researchers at New York University's Dirty Money Project analyzed genetic material on $1 bills. They identified some 3,000 types of bacteria, but the number of bacteria on the bills was actually higher — because a handful of the microorganisms hadn't been cataloged yet.

To be fair, $1 bills get passed around a lot more than say a $50 bill or $100 bill. But there's still a good chance — no matter what bill you're carrying — that there's some, uh, poop on it.

Research published in Biomedicine and Biotechnology said "the isolation of Shigella and Salmonella ... which indicated fecal contamination" was particularly concerning.

That same paper looked at a whole range of studies reporting bacterial contamination of paper money to be anywhere from 60-100 percent.

So, researchers are kind of all over the place when it comes to figuring out just how gross paper money is, but I think we can agree: Money is really f***ing gross.

This video includes images form Indygo / CC BY 3.0 and and Isabel Foo / CC BY 3.0. Music courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Nutrition Labels On Junk Food Will Finally Make More Sense]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 17:03:00 -0500
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Your Cheetos are getting a facelift — or at least their nutrition label is. 

The Food and Drug Administration finalized new nutrition fact labels for packaged foods Friday, but you won't see them in stores until 2018.

Some cosmetic changes include bigger font sizes and bolder type for calorie count and serving sizes. But you'll also see serving sizes reflect portions people actually consume — because nobody drinks only 12 ounces of a sports drink when the bottle is 32 ounces. 

You'll also be able to see how much sugar is being added to certain foods, a change that's giving the sugar industry a toothache. 

The Sugar Association posted on its website that it's "disappointed by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ruling to require an 'added sugars' declaration. ... We are concerned that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent that is not grounded in science, and could actually deter us from our shared goal of a healthier America."

Eating too much sugar has been linked to cardiovascular disease and childhood obesity. One study by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that 71.4 percent of adults "consumed 10% or more of calories from added sugar."

The FDA hopes the new labels will help consumers understand how much sugar is added to packaged foods and enable them to make better choices.

But some experts think the new labels don't go far enough. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recommended that the FDA measure sugar in teaspoons instead of grams. President of CSPI Michael F. Jacobson told Vox, "People understand teaspoons so much more intuitively than grams." 

But if the FDA's not sold on that advice, it could always just accept John Oliver's proposal and measure sugar in circus peanuts.

"So for instance, 64 ounces of Clamato juice has 88 grams of sugar, or 16 peanuts' worth."

This video includes clips from Center for Science in the Public InterestStokely-Van Camp Inc., The Coca-Cola Co. and HBO / "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[It Looks Like Zika Numbers Have Tripled In The US In One Week]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 15:32:00 -0500
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More than 150 pregnant women in the U.S. could be infected with the Zika virus.

And another 122 pregnant women in U.S. territories also are thought to have the disease. That's according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says most cases appear to be linked with travel and that the infections likely began outside the U.S.

Friday's numbers are a big jump from last week when the CDC said 48 women in the U.S. were believed to have the virus. But that's likely because before today, the CDC only included women in reports who were showing symptoms.

Now it includes women who are infected but don't have symptoms. The center made the change because recent research suggests pregnancies can be affected even in women who don't show any signs.

But the report doesn't include the outcomes of any of the pregnancies it's been monitoring. The Zika virus has been tied to birth defects like microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller-than-normal heads.

Earlier this month, Puerto Rico reported its first microcephaly case associated with Zika.

This video includes clips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MSNBC and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[These Six-Pack Rings Feed Sea Animals Instead Of Trapping Them]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:11:00 -0500
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A Florida brewery is making sure sea animals never wind up stuck in the rings of a plastic six-pack holder.

Saltwater Brewery partnered with ad agency We Believers to make an eco-friendly six-pack holder. It's entirely biodegradable, compostable and even edible.

It's made out of leftover wheat and barley from the brewing process, but it is more expensive than typical plastic ones. The company expects production costs to be between 10 and 15 cents per unit.

"We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to get on board," said Chris Gove, president of Saltwater Brewery.

But they hope larger companies will also use the invention, which could make the rings more cost-efficient to create.

Their overall goal is to reduce the plastic in the ocean. Right now, experts say up to 12 million metric tons end up in the world's oceans every year, and an estimated 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs right now.

The new rings go into production later this year.

<![CDATA[Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Bill To Jail Abortion Doctors]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 17:52:00 -0500
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Oklahoma lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation that would effectively end abortion in the state. 

Senate Bill 1552 passed the state’s Senate with a 33-12 vote. Last month, members in the state’s House of Representatives approved it with a vote of 59-9.

The bill makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. Physicians who perform the procedure could face one to three years in prison and have their medical licenses revoked. The only exception to providing an abortion would be if a mother’s life is at stake.

The legislation contradicts federal laws passed more than 40 years ago. The landmark case Roe v. Wade gave women across the country the right to have an abortion until fetal viability.

But women seeking an abortion in Oklahoma already face limited options — only two abortion clinics still operate in the state.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has denounced the bill and asked the governor to veto it. A letter to the governor reads in part, "It is unconscionable for Oklahoma policymakers to continue their laser focus on restricting abortion instead of enacting much-needed policies that truly support the health of women and their families."

Gov. Mary Fallin has five days to decide whether or not to sign the bill. If she fails to act, it will automatically become law and is set to go into effect Nov. 1.

This video includes clips from KOKIKXAN and KWTV and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Mars Didn't Just Have Oceans; It Might've Even Had Giant Tsunamis]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 12:39:00 -0500
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Mars is dry — so dry that some trickles in a ravine were big news last year. 

But Mars was once wet, and new evidence shows it used to have oceans. And those oceans had giant tsunamis. 

New maps show signs of at least two huge tsunamis, probably caused by meteors. The waves were up to 400 feet tall. 

In disaster-movie terms, that's about the same as "San Andreas," but smaller than, say, "Deep Impact."

Mars is thought to have had an ocean the size of the Atlantic. That was more than 3 billion years ago. 

The planet eventually lost its atmosphere, and most of the water either evaporated or froze. 

This video includes clips from NASA and Sony Pictures / "2012," and images from Alexis Rodriguez.

<![CDATA[Theranos Corrects 2 Years' Worth Of Flawed Blood Test Results]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 12:29:00 -0500
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The blood-testing company run by the so-called world's "youngest self-made female billionaire" has allegedly decided two years' worth of testing results from one of its devices are worthless. That's what an unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal.

Theranos had made a name for itself by offering hundreds of medical tests from just a few drops of blood.

However, speculation began last year that the company's "Edison" testing technology wasn't working as well, or being used as often, as advertised.

The source familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Theranos has sent corrections to doctors and patients for tens of thousands of blood test reports from 2014 and 2015. The flawed results stem from both that Edison tech, and machines that are more widely used.

The problem now is the blood tests that've been voided might've swayed doctors and patients to make the wrong medical decisions.

In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid proposed heavy sanctions against Theranos for failing to fix testing issues at its California lab.

Some say a mass correction like this could be an attempt to avoid those sanctions — one of which would've banned its CEO from operating any of Theranos' labs.

This video includes clips from TED ConferencesCBSEuropean Patent OfficeGlamour and Theranos and clips from Getty Images.

<![CDATA['Superbugs' Could Kill 10 Million People A Year By 2050]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 09:19:00 -0500
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new review says antibiotic-resistant infections –– aka "superbugs" –– could kill 10 million people each year and cost the world $100 trillion in lost economic output by 2050.

The paper summarizes more than a year and a half of expert analysis on the subject. And at current rates, it's estimated more than 700,000 people are dying each year because of superbugs.

While their figures sound dramatic, the researchers say they might actually be too small.

That's because the estimate of 10 million people a year doesn't even include secondary problems. Caesarean sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy could all be deemed too risky in the future if antibiotics lose their power.

Renowned economist and project chair Jim O'Neill wrote antibiotic resistance "needs to be seen as the economic and security threat that it is, and be at the forefront of the minds of heads of state, finance ministers, agriculture ministers, and of course health ministers, for years to come."

So how much will it cost to fix the problem? The researchers estimate $40 billion per decade. For that price, researchers estimate 15 new drugs could be made every 10 years to keep ahead of drug-resistant pathogens.

That estimate is still only 0.05 percent of what G20 countries currently spend on health care, yet middle- and low-income countries could be hit the hardest by superbugs if nothing is done. Getting richer countries to take on more of the financial burden could be difficult if they feel they have less at stake.

The review argues nations should share a lot of the costs since the whole world will benefit from the solutions. And with so much at stake if antibiotic resistance grows, researchers say now is the time to act.

This video includes clips from Al JazeeraRajasthan Antibiotics Limited and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Signs Of ADHD Might Not Appear Until Adulthood]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:03:00 -0500
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Researchers now say attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can occur in adults who did not show signs of ADHD as kids.

The study out of King's College London found "nearly 70 percent of the young adults with ADHD in their study did not meet criteria for the disorder at any of the childhood assessments. Adults with this 'late-onset' ADHD had high levels of symptoms, impairment and other mental health disorders."

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and examined 2,200 twins from the U.K. Researchers measured childhood ADHD symptoms at certain ages: 5, 7, 10, 12 and again as adults at 18.

Because they studied twins, researchers could look at their genes to make a few determinations. They found adult ADHD was less heritable than childhood ADHD and having a twin with childhood ADHD didn't put the other twin at a higher risk for developing late-onset ADHD.

Many questions still surround how the disorder develops in adults, like why it arises later, how it's similar to ADHD diagnosed in children and what's the best way to treat it.

<![CDATA[New York Could Become The First State To Ban Declawing]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:31:00 -0500
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New York state lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban declawing cats or other animals.

Removing claws involves amputating some of the bone on cats' toes.

The bill would make the procedure illegal except when medically necessary.

According to the bill's sponsor, New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, the Empire State would be the first in the U.S. to ban the practice.

The bill has bi-partisan support and is also backed by The Humane Society of the United States as well as The Paw Project, which has been working with Rosenthal on the bill since 2014. Some veterinarians in the state also support the bill, according to USA Today.

But the New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposes the ban. It said in a memo it takes the procedure "very seriously" and should only be considered after other options fail. It said declawing, in some cases, can prevent rowdier cats from being sent from their home to a shelter.

Some U.S. cities and 11 countries have banned declawing, according to the Paw Project.

But don't expect this to become law just yet. The bill was introduced more than a year ago and is currently in committee. That means it still has to go to the floor, be passed by both the senate and assembly and get the governor's signature.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Scientists Created A Wire That Acts Like A Spider's Web]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 08:22:00 -0500
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Spiderwebs are proven to be notoriously difficult for scientists to recreate, no matter what popular culture has taught you.

But researchers have recreated the method that allows a spider's web to be stretched and then snapped back, leaving very little slack in the line.

Spider webbing contains tiny droplets of a watery glue, which is used in part to keep prey from escaping the web.

But it turns out it has another use as a sort of natural winch. As the web retracts, excess thread is then spooled inside of the droplets, which allow the line to be pulled and retracted while remaining taut. 

The researchers say this could be recreated with "virtually any different components" and lead to a new bio-inspired technology that could have a huge number of uses in technology and medicine.  

Sadly, no one has mentioned web shooters just yet.

This video includes clips from Sony Pictures / "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Washington, D.C., Is Still America's Fittest City]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 07:11:00 -0500
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Not only is it the nation's capital, but Washington, D.C., also seems to be the capital for healthy Americans. 

D.C. was ranked the fittest city in America for the third year in a row by the American Fitness Index. It's the ninth annual list by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation. 

D.C. scored especially high ranks on park-related expenditures, spending more than three times the goal amount for cities. More than 96 percent of people in the community live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 

The area also received high marks for low smoking rates, diabetes deaths and cardiovascular disease deaths and positive mental health.

Not far behind was Minneapolis, Minnesota, in second place and Denver, Colorado, which ranked first in personal health, coming in third. 

Regardless of where your city ranks, the index uncovered a positive nationwide trend — an uptick in overall Americans excerising. 

Nearly 77 percent of Americans reported exercising in the past 30 days. That's up about 12 percent from the year before

Walter R. Thompson, chair of the AFI advisory board, said: "That's a huge increase. Usually we will see a one or two percent increase." 

Way to go, America. 

This video includes clips from the Smithsonian ChannelExpedia and Government of the District of Columbia and images from whologwhy / CC BY 2.0m01229 / CC BY 2.0 and Larry Johnson / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Senate Approves $1.1 Billion In Funding To Fight The Zika Virus]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 20:58:00 -0500
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Senate members voted Tuesday to advance $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight the spread of the Zika virus.

The vote comes nearly three months after President Obama asked for approximately $1.9 billion to fight the mosquito-borne "public health crisis."

Despite being about $800 million short of that request, this Senate compromise is still way more than the $622 million Republican House leaders say they’re willing to provide.

The White House called that number "woefully inadequate" and threatened to veto that spending plan. The requested money would help fund the development of vaccines, strategies to control mosquito populations and more.

Upon reaching the vote, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt told reporters: "No harm is done here. The Congress is taking this seriously. I would hope that in a matter of a few weeks we’ll reach a conclusion, and that conclusion will allow all of the agencies involved to plan their Zika spending up to the end of next fall."

Experts warn that the disease is likely to spread as the summer months approach, creating more inviting breeding grounds for mosquitos.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 500 cases of Zika have been identified in the U.S. — all are travel related.

This video includes clips from C-SPAN and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Genetically Engineered Food Isn't As Evil As You Think It Is]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 20:43:00 -0500
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Genetically engineered foods have a bad reputation, but a new report aims to squash some of that bad press. 

A team of experts from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined nearly 900 publications, listened to 80 presentations and read more than 700 comments from the public to come to their conclusions.

They wanted to determine if there was evidence of any differences between genetically engineered crops and conventional breeding techniques. Farmers have been modifying crops for decades by cross breeding plants with desired characteristics. But directly tinkering with a plant's genes in a lab gave many consumers pause. 

The phrase genetically modified organism, or GMO, is commonly used to refer to foods that were altered by scientists in a lab, but genetically engineered is the proper term. The most common GE crops in the U.S. are corn, soybeans and cotton, but farmers also grow modified canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and squash. 

According to their findings, there's no evidence that genetically engineered crops negatively affect human health. 

That likely comes as a big surprise to the growing number of Americans who view scientifically altered foods as dangerous to eat. An August survey found 57 percent of adults think it's unsafe to eat genetically modified foods. 

And the disapproval rate is manifesting as a call for labeling all GE foods. Vermont's GE labeling law, passed in 2014, is set to go into effect on July 1. A similar law was signed in Connecticut, but it only goes into effect when four other states, including a Connecticut border state, enact labeling laws. The labeling law passed in Maine has a similar provision to go into effect. 

The National Academies report notes that long-term studies on the affects of GE foods on human health haven't been completed, but the researchers believe "it is the product and not the process that should be regulated." 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Tim McCormack / CC BY SA 3.04028mdk09 / CC BY SA 3.0Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives, and Barbara Samuel / CC BY 2.0 and music provided courtesy of APM.

<![CDATA[Female Med School Physicians Report High Rate Of Sexual Harassment]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 19:54:00 -0500
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A new study found 40 percent of women in academic medicine who said they'd been sexually harassed described that harassment as "more severe."

The study published in JAMA describes "more severe forms of harassment" as inappropriate sexual advances, subtle bribery to engage in sexual behavior, threats to engage in sexual behavior and coercive advances.

Researchers looked at self-reported data from over a thousand medical clinician-researchers, both men and women. 30 percent of women said they experienced sexual harassment, compared to 4 percent of men.

These results appear to be an improvement from a 1995 study that found over half of female medical school faculty said they'd been sexually harassed, compared to 5 percent of male faculty. But the lead author of the more recent study pointed out that the proportion of women reporting sexual harassment is still significant considering the increase in female medical students since 1995.

In a press release, the author said: "Women who experience these types of harassment may be less likely to report these incidents if they feel they are unique and aberrational. Our data shows this is not an unusual situation and reflects a larger societal problem."

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The Longest Neck In The Animal Kingdom Is Thanks To A Handful Of Genes]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 15:01:00 -0500
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The only thing that separates giraffes from their smaller cousins — besides a lot of vertical space — is a handful of genes. 

Scientists have sequenced the giraffe genome for the first time, and they found that the genes responsible for the animals' long necks are also responsible for their unusually strong hearts.

Researchers compared giraffes to okapi, their closest relative, to spot the genetic quirks. More than half of the giraffe's specialized genes control development of its skeletal and cardiovascular systems.

In other words, a giraffe isn't just a stretched okapi. To evolve such a long neck, giraffes had to evolve better hearts, too.

A giraffe's blood pressure is twice as high as that of other mammals. Its heart has to be small and muscular to send blood 6 feet upward against gravity.

"As its neck extended out, its cardiovascular system was also changing in tandem. And some of the same genes were actually controlling both processes in concert," said Penn State's Douglas Cavener.

Researchers want to test some of those skeletal growth genes in mice. They're not expecting long-necked mice, but they're hoping to see changes in skeletal structure.

This video includes clips from The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Detroit Zoo and Penn State University, and images from Getty Images, Doug Cavener and Radio Okapi / CC BY 2.0. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[The Clothes You're Wearing Could Be Made Out Of Plastic Bottles]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 11:49:00 -0500
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Traditional cotton or linen clothes are so last century. Some of the duds you're rocking right now might actually be made out of recycled bottles.

Yes, some of the plastic bottles you drink out of and recycle are reborn as polyester yarn.

The fiber is called Repreve, and it's made by textile manufacturer in North Carolina.

After recycling your plastic bottles, they're sorted and chopped into minuscule flakes.

The manufacturer turns those flakes into small pellets, which are then melted down and spun into a yarn, ultimately becoming a sustainable fabric.

CNN reports some Repreve fiber is made of 100 percent recycled bottles, while others are mixtures of fiber waste, used fabric and plastic bottles.

You only need five plastic bottles to make a T-shirt out of Repreve fabric, while just seven are required for a pair of pants.

And this year, around 400,000 college graduates received their diplomas in Oak Hall graduation gowns, each made up of 27 bottles.

But you'll need 42 bottles to make the car seats for the Ford Fusion. The automaker had Repreve fabric in five models as of March 2015.

For the past 25 years, Americans have recycled more plastic bottles each year, according to the American Chemistry Council. But consumers still usually just toss the majority of bottles produced.

This video includes clips from RepreveWSLS and Ford Motor Co. and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[A Compound In Psychedelic Mushrooms Could Treat Severe Depression]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 11:40:00 -0500
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There may be another reason to call psychedelic mushrooms "magic."

A study published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry says a compound found in some psychedelic mushrooms reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Study participants had moderate to severe depression. All had previously tried medications to treat depression but with no success. 

Researchers at Imperial College London gave participants one low dose and one high dose of the naturally occurring compound psilocybin a week apart. 

The researchers found depressive symptoms were "markedly reduced" three months after participants took the high dose. 

But those who haven't been able to find the right treatment for depression shouldn't get their hopes up just yet. This is a very small study with only 12 participants and no placebo or control group.

Still, one of the researchers told the BBC the study is "promising." Eight of the 12 participants were considered no longer depressed one week after taking psilocybin, but the number dropped to five after three months. 

Participants experienced mild anxiety, headaches and/or nausea after taking psilocybin, but it generally subsided within a couple hours. Researchers are calling for more trials.

This video includes clips from Sky News and The Lancet Psychiatry, and images from Getty ImagesCannabis Pictures / CC by 2.0Martin Malec / CC BY 2.0Ryan Melaugh / CC by 2.0Charles de Milles-Isles / CC BY 2.0 and P K / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Nearly Half Of Heart Attack Victims Might Not Know They Had One]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 09:09:00 -0500
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Nearly half of all people who've had a heart attack might not even know they had one.

A new study found that among participants, 45 percent of heart attacks were silent, meaning they happened without any symptoms.

And even though there are no symptoms, a silent heart attack can raise the risk of dying from heart disease by more than three times.

According to the study, while silent heart attacks were more common in men, women were more likely to die from the attacks.

They often go undiscovered until a doctor finds signs of an attack while testing for something else. The doctors behind the study say they should be treated as aggressively as regular heart attacks.

Other research has suggested silent heart attacks are almost as common as regular ones, but this is the largest study of its kind to date. Researchers with the American Heart Association tracked over 9,000 people for more than two decades.

<![CDATA[Planets Near Dying Stars Could Be A Good Place To Look For Alien Life]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 07:32:00 -0500
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Our hunt for alien life may be too narrow-minded. Scientists at Cornell University are arguing if we want to find life on other planets, we can't just search for stars like our sun. 

They say planets spinning around older, dying stars are good candidates, as well. 

So far, the search has been pretty logical. Earth has life, so why not look for other planets that mimic Earth's conditions? 

Those conditions have been dubbed the "Goldilocks zone." Scientists have looked for stars about the same size as our sun that have planets roughly the same distance from them as Earth. 

Really, it comes down to liquid water. If a planet is too close to the sun, it's a fiery wasteland; too far away and it's a frozen wasteland. 

The Cornell researchers aren't arguing against this logic, but instead expanding it. They note our sun will become bigger as it ages. Earth will be too close to this extra heat, so that zone perfect for life will just shift outward. 

Moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn will likely be the best places to find life when this happens. 

Researchers have already found thousands of planets like Earth orbiting stars like our sun. 

But if the scientific community gets behind the Cornell researchers' thinking, many more planets could be added to the search for life. 

This video includes clips from NASA and images and from NASANASA / JPL-CaltechNASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute and Cornell University. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

<![CDATA[Poll: Most Americans Want The Government To Pay For Health Care]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 20:39:00 -0500
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A new Gallup Poll shows most Americans want the government to take on a bigger role in health care.

More than 1,500 people from across the country were surveyed, and 58 percent favor replacing the provisions set up by the Affordable Care Act with a federally funded health care program.

The ACA, or Obamacare, lets Americans buy insurance through the federal government, but the survey shows most citizens want the government to just pay for everything, or at least that's what they're saying now. In recent years, Americans have waffled on whether the government should pay their medical bills.

Polls show that Americans largely said the government had an obligation to provide health care during the George W. Bush administration, peaking at 69 percent in 2007. 

After Obama was elected, support dropped off and opinions became more evenly split. But backing for a single-payer plan appears to be on the upswing.

One of the biggest challenges to implementing such a program in the U.S. is that we would basically have to start from scratch. But so did every other country with single-payer health care, and it seems to be working much better than the current U.S. system.

A 2013 study found the performance of the U.S. health care system ranked last when compared to 10 similarly advanced nations. Places like the U.K. and Switzerland, many of which use a single-payer system, beat the U.S. in care quality, availability and efficiency.

Despite the lackluster performance, the U.S. still has the most expensive health care system in the world. Now, its citizens seem to think there's room for improvement.

This video includes a clip from the White House and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The National Park Service Reminds You To Stop Messing With Wildlife]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 18:53:00 -0500
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The National Park Service says tourist behavior at Yellowstone National Park has been especially awful lately. It's sharing a sad story with the hopes that people will stop messing with wildlife.

Yellowstone is known for the largest bison population on public U.S. land, so tourists often travel there to admire the animals. But last week, a couple of tourists' interest in a newborn bison got a little out of hand when they put it in the back of their car.

A park visitor told she saw two men who thought they were helping the calf by "trying to save it from the cold." But the Park Service says separating it from the herd forced park officials to euthanize it.

Rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the calf with its herd but failed. The park said human interference "can cause mothers to reject their offspring."

The park responded to criticism over killing the calf on Facebook, saying it isn't the park's mission to rescue animals. 

The park went on to say: "Our goal is to maintain the ecological processes of Yellowstone. Even though humans were involved in this case, it is not uncommon for bison, especially young mothers, to lose or abandon their calves. Those animals typically die of starvation or predation."

This video includes an image from Tom Pavel / CC BY 2.0 and clips from the U.S. National Park Service.

<![CDATA[The First Penis Transplant In The US Is A Success]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 15:01:00 -0500
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It took 15 hours, a dozen surgeons and 30 other health care workers, but the first penis transplant in the U.S. was a success.

The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital earlier this month. The patient was 64-year-old Thomas Manning, who lost his own penis to a rare cancer but is doing well now. 

His doctors are optimistic that he'll have full sexual function restored. 

The goal is to perfect the technique so it can be used on wounded veterans. The Department of Defense says hundreds of soldiers sustained genital injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This video includes clips from WHDHMassachusetts General HospitalNECN and the U.S. Department of Defense.

<![CDATA[NASA Data Shows Last Month Was The Hottest April On Record]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 09:39:00 -0500
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New data from NASA shows last month was the hottest April ever recorded. 

At 0.24 degrees Celsius hotter than the previous April record in 2010, it may not sound like that much. But many are arguing that's shattering records for climate statistics. 

One expert told The Independent that soon-to-be-released data could show the last 12 months in a row have all beaten their respective records for hottest months. 

And The Guardian noted if all variables stay consistent, a hottest year on record should only happen once every 150 years. Yet in the last 20 years or so, we've seen five record-breaking years. 

Higher temperatures could lead to worse air and water quality, higher rates of asthma and the spread of illnesses passed by insects. 

A lot of this extra heat is trapped in the oceans as well. Warmer water is posing both area-specific problems, like the massive bleaching of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and global problems, like rising sea levels. 

This video includes clips from NJTVCNNABC Australia and ABC

<![CDATA[Scientists Want To Synthesize The Human Genome. What Does That Mean?]]> Sun, 15 May 2016 21:14:00 -0500
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So, scientists want to build a synthetic human genome. What does that mean, and should we be nervous? 

A group of scientists and entrepreneurs met at Harvard University recently to talk about synthesizing human DNA. 

Basically, they want to take all 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, program them into a machine and have the machine piece it all together. 

In theory, synthetic DNA isn't any different from other DNA. It's still just sugary chemicals in a certain order. 

It's like if you took a book and retyped it letter by letter on a typewriter. It's made up of the same words — the human genome is just more like an entire bookshelf. 

But it's still expensive and time-consuming to build long sequences of DNA in a lab, so the Harvard meeting was largely about bringing people together to improve the technology faster. 

As for whether it's a frightening development, there are already so many genetic engineering tools out there that synthetic genomes probably wouldn't be a game changer. Still, the fact that the Harvard meeting was hush-hush is kind of concerning. 

Two professors writing in the science magazine Cosmos criticized the way the meeting was handled, saying conversations about the human genome should take place in the open. 

This video includes clips from Harvard Medical SchoolWork With Sounds / CC BY 3.0Synthetic Genomics Inc. and the University of California, Berkeley and images from MIKI Yoshihito / CC BY 2.0Adam Niemen / CC BY SA 2.0 and Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[When Coral Reefs Die, Fish May Lose Survival Instincts]]> Sun, 15 May 2016 09:05:00 -0500
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The death of coral reefs in Australia may be doing more than wiping out habitats for fish: It may be changing their behavior. 

Researchers recently put young fish in controlled environments, half with healthy coral and the other half with bleached coral.  

Then they exposed them to a chemical that fish release when they're attacked. Young fish sense this alarm signal and associate it with the predator. 

The problem is for one species of fish tested, only those in the living-coral environment hid when the chemical was released by researchers. 

"Their counterparts on dead coral failed to pick up the scent," one researcher said

The study says it's unclear whether these fish just didn't respond appropriately to the hypothetical predators or if they actually failed to learn what to do in case of an attack. 

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is suffering a massive bleaching event right now. If fish's survival instincts are lost with it, a lot of Australia's biodiversity is at stake. 

This video includes clips from World Wildlife FundNational GeographicNew England Aquarium and ABC Australia and images from Getty Images and Chris Mirbach

<![CDATA[Macklemore Joins Obama's Weekly Address To Talk About Addiction]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 12:39:00 -0500
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A Grammy-winning artist joined President Obama in his weekly address.

Rapper Macklemore talked about his struggle with prescription drug abuse and losing his friend to an overdose.

"Addiction is like any other disease — it doesn't discriminate.  It doesn't care what color you are, whether you're a guy or a girl, rich or poor. ... This doesn't just happen to other people's kids or in some other neighborhood. It can happen to any of us," the rapper said.

The meeting was part of Obama's push to curb the abuse of opioids, including prescription pain relievers and heroin. He has called for $1.1 billion in new funding to provide treatment for those with opioid addictions.

The U.S. saw a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids from 2000 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heroin accounted for more than 10,500 of those deaths in 2014.

Macklemore said more needs to be done to offer treatment to those struggling with addiction, and the president agrees.

"My administration is working with communities to reduce overdose deaths, including with medication. We're working with law enforcement to help people get into treatment instead of jail. And under Obamacare, health plans in the Marketplace have to include coverage for treatment," Obama said.

The visit will be featured in Macklemore's MTV documentary this summer.

This video includes clips from the White House and images from Getty ImagesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention and Twitter.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Macklemore was the first person outside the administration to participate in Obama's weekly address.  

<![CDATA[How To Bike To Work Like A Pro Commuter]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 11:23:00 -0500
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Biking to work is a great way save money on gas and parking, send less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and improve your personal health.

But it takes some preparation, even after you take your bike to the shop to get it tuned up for the season. So, think about what you're going to bring with you before you ride. Also, check the weather — just in case.

If it's going to rain, fenders and rain gear are a must. And if it's going to be dark at any point in your commute, you'll need lights on the front and rear of your bike; a helmet light might be a good idea, too.

Here are a few other things you may want to bring: Your helmet, sunglasses, a tire pump with a gauge, a change of shoes, your wallet, something to eat (at work, of course), a change of clothes and anything else you think is important.

And if you're wearing longer pants and you don't want to rip them, go ahead and roll up the pant leg so it doesn't catch.

Try to avoid roads that aren't bike friendly, and if you can avoid roads altogether and use a trail instead, that's awesome. But more than likely, you're going to have to share the road with cars at some point in your commute.

So, it's important to follow the rules of the road: Wear a helmet; stop at stop signs and red stop lights; signal when you're making turns; stay to the right of the road; avoid using sidewalks (especially in business districts); and on bike paths or sidewalks, alert pedestrians before passing them — it can be terrifying when a bike passes you unannounced.

Lastly, remember to use hand signals so cars know what you're planning to do. Here are the basics:

For a left hand turn, hold out your left arm. For a right hand turn, hold out your right arm. If you're stopping or slowing down, hold your left arm out to your side with your hand near your waist.

It's a lot to keep track of at first, but don't worry. It gets easier with practice, just like riding a bike.

This video includes images from Vicons Design / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA[Drunk Dudes Might Have Killed One Of The Rarest Fish In The World]]> Sat, 14 May 2016 08:26:00 -0500
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Three guys went on a bit of a bender in Death Valley National Park and are now accused of killing one of the rarest fish in the world.

The bros were caught on camera entering Devils Hole where the National Park Service says they appeared to fire a gun at least 10 times, throw beer cans and vomit. One even took a dip in the water.

The geothermal pool is the only natural habitat in the world for the tiny, blue Devils Hole pupfish, which went on the endangered list in 1967.

One of those fish was found dead after the incident; it was one of 115 believed to exist at the park service's last count.

The Nye County Sheriff's Office told the Los Angeles Times the intrusion also could've damaged food sources and egg sites, which could kill more fish.

Killing an endangered species is a felony, and the men — if convicted — could face a year in jail and fines of up to $50,000. They also face charges of destruction of property, destruction of habitat and trespassing.

This video includes clips from PBS and the U.S. National Park Service and images from U.S. National Park ServiceU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Olin Feuerbacher / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Scientists Say They're One Step Closer To An HIV Vaccine]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 22:29:00 -0500
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HIV is a really hard virus to beat, but researchers say they may have found a way to create a vaccine.  

In a study published in Science, researchers found a new weakness in the virus that could help them keep HIV from infecting immune cells. 

Basically, the team found an antibody in the blood of someone with HIV that was able to stop about half of HIV's different variations from infecting other cells. That antibody connects itself to what is essentially a chink in the virus' armor that had never been targeted before. 

Exactly how the antibody blocks the infection isn't totally clear yet, but the weakness seems to be present in most strains of HIV. In theory, a vaccine based on these findings could force people to create this antibody before they even get infected. 

But an actual vaccine created from the findings isn't likely to happen anytime soon; animal testing and then clinical trials are a long way off.  

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[So, Mitochondria Aren't Actually The Powerhouse Of The Cell After All]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 15:50:00 -0500
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The most basic thing you learned in biology class might be wrong.

Mitochondria are not exactly the powerhouse of the cell.

Maybe you learned it from the meme. Either way, probably not entirely correct.

Grab your note pad. There might be a quiz later. Meanwhile, refresher course:

-Eukaryotes are complex cells.

-Mitochondria are basically the digestive system in those cells.

Except now, scientists have found one of these cells that straight-up doesn't have any mitochondria in it.

Where did they find it? Chinchilla poop. Czech chinchilla poop, specifically.

The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.

<![CDATA[This Watch Lets You Carry Our Solar System On Your Wrist]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 14:34:00 -0500
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Always wanted to carry space on your wrist?

Now you can.

The Midnight Planetarium timepiece is a wearable solar system.

Six gemstones. Six planets. One golden sun.

All yours for the low, low price of $225K.

This video includes clips and images from Van Cleef & Arpels.

<![CDATA[Ontario Wants To Send Anti-Vaccination Parents Back To Science Class]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 12:22:00 -0500
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Ontario might force parents to take a class if they don't vaccinate their kids.

The bill is aimed at moms and dads who seek vaccination exemptions for their children for non-medical reasons. Officials still don't know what that class would be like, but the bill would make parents complete it before skipping shots.

It would also order health care providers, not parents, to report vaccination records, which is intended to reduce the number of students suspended from school because their immunization records aren't current.

Earlier this year, thousands of Ontario students were warned they would be suspended for out-of-date vaccination records, including 45,000 in Toronto alone.

Since 1982, Ontario has required all students to be vaccinated for several diseases, including diphtheria and tetanus. Children born after 2010 also have to be vaccinated from chicken pox.

This video includes clips from CTV and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[An Origami Robot Can Retrieve Things Kids Weren't Supposed To Swallow]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 10:37:00 -0500
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You might soon be able to swallow a tiny, folding robot to avoid certain invasive surgeries.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say their origami robot can retrieve single-cell batteries, which kids often swallow, and can even patch up wounds.

Over 3,500 incidents of people swallowing button batteries are reported every year: Most of them are toddlers. When left in the body for too long, they can trigger a chemical reaction that can cause burns.

The origami bot's ability to move without a tether inside the body is what makes it perfect for this task. Right now, it's controlled with external magnetic fields.

The robot is folded up and frozen in ice so it can be swallowed. Once the ice melts, a magnet attached to the robot can connect to the battery inside a person's system and then remove it.

Next, the researchers want to add sensors that let the robot navigate on its own, without the external magnetic field.

This video includes images from James Bowe / CC BY 2.0 and Alex Gorzen / CC BY SA 2.0.

<![CDATA[Close To 90,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil Spilled Into The Gulf Of Mexico]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 22:03:00 -0500
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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says 2,100 barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

The BSEE says Shell Offshore Inc. reported a sheen near four of its wells, about 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

An underwater pipe system flowing to Shell's Brutus oil platform leaked almost 90,000 gallons of crude oil.

The BSEE is still investigating the spill but says there have been no injuries or evacuations.

This video includes clips from Shell and the U.S. Navy.

<![CDATA[Trouble Sleeping? Chest Pain? Could Be Symptoms Of Adult Asthma]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 20:38:00 -0500
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If you're having trouble sleeping or struggling with chest pain, the cause might not be what you expect. 

new survey by National Jewish Health found about half of adults don't know chest pain and trouble sleeping could be symptoms of adult-onset asthma.

Dr. David Beuther from National Jewish Health said: "Roughly about 1 in 10 adults has asthma, and some of those have carried it through from childhood. But many of them developed it new as an adult."

Children usually develop asthma symptoms before turning 5, but developing asthma as an adult isn't unheard of. 

Other symptoms, like shortness of breath, wheezing and persistent cough, were more frequently recognized as indications of adult asthma. 

Doctors warn that if symptoms go undetected and untreated, the condition could cause a loss of lung function. But once diagnosed, adult asthma can be treated with prescription medication, allowing patients to live full, active lives. 


<![CDATA[Fighting Fire With ... Goats?]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 20:19:00 -0500
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Move over, humans. Goats are taking over firefighting duties — sort of.

The yearslong California drought has killed a lot of grass.

That dry grass could easily lead to fires. Enter the goats.

The goats get a free dinner, and the state gets a lower fire risk. Everyone wins.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[House GOP Wins Fight On Obamacare Subsidies ... For Now]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 18:33:00 -0500
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In the legal fight over Obamacare, you can add a 'W' to the GOP column. At least for now. 

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled the administration wasn't funding the subsidy program correctly. Basically, the subsidies help low-income families afford insurance. The sticking point is whether or not Congress actually allocated any money that insurance companies need to make policies more affordable. 

The judge on the case said, "Congress authorized reduced cost sharing but did not appropriate monies for it. Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one."

Both sides are interpreting the ruling pretty differently. The lawyer who represented the GOP in the case says this victory protects the constitutional principle of separation of powers and reaffirms Congress' "power of the purse." 

But the White House is accusing the GOP of playing politics with the legal system. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, "It's unfortunate that Republicans have resorted to a taxpayer-funded lawsuit to refight a political fight that they keep losing. They've been fighting this fight for six years."

If the subsidy program is eliminated, the Obama administration says, insurers would increase plan premiums to cover the cost, which will price millions of people out of insurance plans. That outcome would surely be seen by Obamacare opponents as proof its plans aren't actually affordable. 

But the ruling doesn't affect the program just yet, and the administration will likely be filing an appeal. That appeal could carry this challenge all the way to the Supreme Court, which has already ruled twice in favor and just once against Obamacare. 

This video includes images from Getty images and clips from The White House and

<![CDATA[Birth Control, Plan B And Vasectomies Will Soon Be Free In Maryland]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 17:39:00 -0500
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Preventing pregnancy has never been cheaper for insured people in Maryland. On Tuesday, the state’s governor signed the Contraceptive Equity Act into law, effectively ending out-of-pocket costs for all forms of contraception. 

The law expands on the Affordable Care Act and goes into effect in 2018. It makes Maryland the first in the nation to mandate coverage for emergency contraceptives like Plan B.

Additionally, all types of birth control pills will be free, and trips to the pharmacy will be dramatically reduced as women can get up to six months of pills at a time. Women who prefer a long-acting contraceptive like an IUD no longer need preauthorization.

But this law isn’t just for the ladies — insurance agencies regulated by the state will soon be forced to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for men who have vasectomies. 

These changes could save people a lot of money. According to Planned Parenthood, vasectomies can cost up to $1,000, and common "morning-after" pills range from $25 to $65. 

The bill’s sponsor told the Baltimore Sun it was initially met with pushback from insurance agencies but that the act will make a “huge difference in the people’s lives.”

While Maryland is unique in offering full coverage for emergency over-the-counter contraception and vasectomies, more than half of the states in the nation require insurance companies that cover prescription drugs to also cover any type of approved contraceptive.

Some states, like California and Oregon, have taken things a step further. Women in those states can get birth control pills without a prescription.

This video includes clips from Baylor Scott & White HealthWANE and Planned Parenthood and images from Getty Images and Sarah Mirk / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Building Cities Around Public Transit Could Change Urban Life]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 14:46:00 -0500
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"If you take a city that starts with a train system, you can encourage development around that train system," said Karen Weigert, senior fellow for global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Transit-oriented development is a strategy that can improve access to public transportation and create more walkable cities. This type of development places higher-density housing near public transit, offers fewer car parking spaces and may include bike amenities.

"That is great for a lower cost of living because you don't have to own a car," she said. "It's also great for the businesses that might be walkable."

But public transit in the U.S. doesn't reach everyone.

"There are lots of places where having a car is the standard and where you really can't get from the place you are to the place you want to be," Weigert said.

Forty-five percent of U.S. households don't have access to public transit, according to a 2013 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

"So maybe you have to drive to a place but then there's that one walkable block, where you can go to a restaurant, go to a store, go to the library," she said. "More and more cities and more and more suburbs are creating those smaller walkable places."

"All of that comes together to make a really vibrant city that can be lower carbon," Weigert said.

This video includes images from Bobak Ha'Eri / CC BY 3.0 and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Serena Williams Tried A Bite Of Her Dog's Dinner; It Didn't End Well]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 13:07:00 -0500
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Serena Williams is in Rome for the Italian Open, and between matches Wednesday night, her curiosity got the best of her.

It all started when the reigning Wimbledon champion asked room service for dog food for her Yorkie, Chip.

"It was like, fresh greens, and boiled chicken and beef, and it was seared like tenderly, and it was just perfection," she said.

Williams was apparently enticed by the fancy meal.

"I was like ... that ... looks better than my food. ... Before you judge me, look at it," she said.

'What the heck, I'm gonna try a piece. It looks good ... Don't judge me."

After eating a spoonful, Williams regretted it.

"Let's fast forward to two hours. I just ran to the toilet like I thought I was gonna pass out. ... And now I feel really sick," she said. 

Williams didn't seem worried the incident would affect her performance during Thursday's match.

"I guess tomorrow when I step on the court, I'm gonna look svelte."

A writer for LiveScience explains why you shouldn't eat pet food:

"Dog food contains many of the same ingredients as human food, like chicken, meat, and vegetables, but it may also contain animal by-products — for example, ground-up animal bones or organs like the intestines."

As for Williams, this is one of those times where the phrase "when in Rome" doesn't apply.

This video includes clips from SnapchatFood Farmer EarthBeats by Dre and ESPN and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Eating More Fruit When You're Young Could Lower Breast Cancer Risk]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 11:21:00 -0500
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Eating more fruits as an adolescent could help lower a person's risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.

A group of researchers monitored the diets of more than 90,000 nurses for about 20 years. 

The participants were all adults when the study began. About half of them were able to recall how often they ate fruits and vegetables as adolescents.

Over the course of the study, more than 3,000 participants developed breast cancer.

But researchers say eating more fruit itself may not be the whole story. 

They found that eating more fruits during adolescence and early adulthood was associated with drinking less alcohol and a lower prevalence of smoking, both of which can contribute to developing breast cancer.

Doctors recommend breast cancer patients eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but this new study found that eating only about three servings every day during adolescent years could lower a person's risk of breast cancer by 25 percent. 

And specific types of fruits seemed to help as well: eating bananas, grapes and apples as an adolescent helped lower one's risk, while the same occurred when eating oranges in early adulthood.

The current set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans says 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice has the same nutritional value as 1 cup of whole fruit. 

But the researchers found drinking fruit juice had no significant relationship with preventing breast cancer. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Dave Shafer / CC BY 2.0Frederique Voisin-Demery / CC BY 2.0 and Steven Depolo / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Despite Zika Threat, Summer Olympics Expected To Go On As Planned]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 09:16:00 -0500
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It doesn't look like the International Olympic Committee has any plans to move the Summer Games from Rio de Janeiro despite warnings about the Zika virus.

Olympics officials say even though the mosquito-borne Zika virus is causing widespread concerns, the games are still expected to take place there in August.

The IOC's response comes shortly after a Canadian professor's article in the Harvard Public Health Review urged the games be moved or risk "a full-blown global health disaster."

Several Olympic athletes have expressed concerns about the virus. But so far, no high-profile stars have publicly said they'll sit out the games come August.

"Of course I want to go to the Olympics. I want to win the Olympic gold. But at the same time, I'm very worried about my health. ... It's something to be aware of, and I'm going to take every precaution necessary. I'm not sure I'm going to be leaving the hotel room outside of practice," Team USA women's soccer goalie Hope Solo told CNBC.

Major League Baseball has already decided to move a previously scheduled series from Puerto Rico, where the disease is also spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first death in a U.S. territory from Zika in late April. 

The Zika virus, according to the CDC, can cause a fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, but it's usually not severe enough to cause hospitalization or death.

However, contracting the disease while pregnant can cause a child to have severe brain defects, including microcephaly. While mosquito-borne, the disease can also be spread by infected men through sexual contact.

This video includes clips from the Channel 4 and NBC Sports and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Euthanasia's Popularity Rises Among Netherlands' Psychiatric Patients]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 09:16:00 -0500
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The number of mental health patients who have died by euthanasia in the Netherlands has quadrupled in the past four years.

Euthanasia is when a physician administers a fatal dose of a drug at the patient's request to end suffering when there is no hope for recovery.

Government statistics show 13 people with psychiatric disorders were administered a lethal injection in 2011. The number went up to 56 in 2015 — a 330 percent increase.

The number of dementia patients who were euthanized saw a sharp increase as well, with 35 percent more cases reported in 2015 than 2014.

Euthanasia policies in the Netherlands have stirred debate ever since they were passed in 2002.

A spokesman for the Disabilities Rights Group told the Catholic Herald, "Here we have vulnerable people who are already terribly damaged and saddened by their life experiences only to discover that their struggle to make sense of life can be met by an opportunity to exit it by callous means."

But those in favor of euthanasia argue it's misunderstood. One Dutch psychiatrist told The Telegraph, "Euthanasia is a good death by the wish of the person who dies and no-one else."

There were more than 5,500 reports of euthanasia in the Netherlands last year.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[A Seattle Raccoon Left 39,000 People In The Dark]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 21:36:00 -0500
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You've heard the phrase "curiosity killed the cat." Well, on Wednesday, curiosity killed a raccoon. And knocked out the power for thousands in Seattle.

Nearly 39,000 people went without electricity during the early morning hours after a raccoon entered a substation and disrupted service.

Seattle City Light tweeted about the blackout confirming that a furry, bushy tailed critter caused the problem.

"I heard an explosion, so I headed up here and I noticed there wasn’t much activity, so I didn’t think it was there, but I noticed two small lights from workers, so I was like, 'Maybe I can go ask them.’ I wasn’t sure. I got to across the street, and I realized in between them they had a raccoon," a neighbor told KIRO.

The power was fully restored after a few hours. Unfortunately for the raccoon, the 26,000 electric volts were enough to do it in.

This video includes clips from KING and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[5 Planets Where The Weather Will Straight-Up Kill You]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 17:10:00 -0500
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We keep finding exoplanets. We can't reach any of them, but that's fine because there are quite a few you probably don't want to visit.

Kepler 70b is really close to its star, making it the hottest known exoplanet: 7,143K, or more than 12,300F. That's hotter than parts of our own sun.

If you'd rather experience someplace cold, this planet with a mouthful of a name orbits a long way from a tiny dwarf star. Temperatures average 50K or -369F — more than six times colder than Antarctica.

HD 80606 b is a Jupiter-sized gas giant with an oblong orbit. It swings from farther away from its star than Venus is from the sun to more than 10 times closer than Mercury. 

That means temperatures climb more than 1,000 degrees in six hours, and the massive dose of heat triggers storms that cover half the planet.

Kepler 36b doesn't have violent temperature swings, but it's got its own problems: a very close neighbor in Kepler 36c.

Every 97 days, the planets get so close to each other the tidal forces start to pull apart 36b's crust. A gas planet the size of Neptune crawling across the sky is probably a lot of fun to look at, but watch out for the lava.

Last but not least, HD 189733 b. This planet whips around its star in about three Earth days, so close that it doesn't even rotate. Oh, and it probably rains molten glass, driven sideways in 4,500mph winds. Maybe settle for a postcard in this case.

This video includes clips from NASA and the European Southern Observatory and images from David A. Aguilar. Music: "Nesting" by Birocratic (

<![CDATA[Do Hunters Conserve Wildlife?]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 14:04:00 -0500
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Whether in America's state game lands or the African bush, hunting has become one of the most hotly debated issues in the media and online. Internationally, the killing of Cecil the lion triggered a firestorm of criticism over trophy-hunting rules and regulations. Central to the debate here in the U.S. is the white-tailed deer. Its overpopulation has caused millions of dollars in property damage, overbrowsing in forests and the spread of Lyme disease. Many believe that regulated hunting can be an effective way to manage healthy populations of deer and other wildlife. And with the funds raised from legal hunting — the purchase of permits in Africa, licenses and taxes here in the U.S. — hunters have contributed significantly to conservation efforts on both public and private lands. But hunting's critics question whether big game revenues really benefit local communities and whether hunting could ever be a humane way to maintain equilibrium and habitats. Is hunting wrong? Or are hunters conservationists?

Watch the full debate at Intelligence Squared U.S.

<![CDATA[New Method Could Catch Alzheimer's 15 Years Before Symptoms Appear]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 07:00:00 -0500
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Researchers say new measures could find signs of Alzheimer's 15 years before common symptoms actually appear. 

The study used a series of brain scans of people with various types of brain degeneration, as well as those without any cognitive issues.

The researchers found Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia, had patterns of brain tissue loss –– specifically gray matter. These trends could be seen over time in a series of photos. 

Outside experts didn't know what diseases, or lack thereof, each brain scan image matched. In testing out the measures, or guidelines, they looked at the images and gave their own diagnoses, which matched well against the people's real conditions. 

Best of all, the researchers say the guidelines are easy to learn and take only three minutes to perform, meaning they could be widely adopted by caregivers across the country. 

This video includes clips from Alzheimer's Foundation of America and TED, and images from University College London and Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[New Study Shows The Solomon Islands Are Being Swallowed By The Ocean]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 21:43:00 -0500
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Being next to the ocean might be good for luring in tourists, but it's starting to pose a huge threat to residents of the Solomon Islands.

A new study found at least five islands in the archipelago chain have disappeared. None of the islands were larger than 13 acres and no one lived on them, but the encroaching Pacific Ocean is starting to disrupt life for the islands' inhabitants.

Six more islands are also losing land, forcing entire villages to relocate. Lots of media outlets were quick to pin the blame on climate change, but researchers say there’s more to the story.

The study says the ocean around the Solomon Islands is rising 7 millimeters a year, more than two times faster than the global average. Researchers say climate change does play a factor, but cycling trade winds are also partly to blame.

Study author Dr. Simon Albert said those trade winds are blowing more water up onto the shores and swallowing up the islands. More places like it could soon follow.

Albert told The Guardian, "These observations from the Solomons are a warning of things to come irrespective of if climate change alone caused it or a range of factors."

This video includes clips from United Nations and an image from Jenny Scott / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[NASA Telescope Finds More Than 1,000 Planets — Still No Aliens]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 21:00:00 -0500
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As far as Tuesdays go, NASA had a pretty good one. Astronomers announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets.

The planets are orbiting distant stars way outside our solar system and are known as "exoplanets."

The exoplanets were spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope, which has been in orbit since 2009. This new discovery more than doubles the amount of confirmed planets Kepler has noticed since its launch.

Kepler tracks the dimming of distant stars to determine if possible planets orbit around them. A new statistical method helped scientists confirm that the telescope really was seeing an exoplanet.

According to NASA, almost 550 of the confirmed exoplanets could be rocky planets like Earth. What’s more, nine of them orbit their sun within a distance that allows water to pool.

One scientist said, "This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth."

This video includes clips from NASA.

<![CDATA[What Is Healthy Food? The FDA Is Still Trying To Figure It Out]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 19:50:00 -0500
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The Food and Drug Administration is considering changing the definition of "healthy," at least for how companies use the word.

This comes after the administration faced criticism from a health food company. KIND argued current regulations let sugary foods with "empty calories" be advertised as "healthy," while overlooking nutrients experts say are actually healthy.

A big sticking point for critics is the FDA's regulations around how much fat can be in a "healthy" product. This means foods that have more fat from ingredients like nuts can be passed over.

"Nutrient-rich products like a KIND bar or products made from almonds or salmon ... cannot be considered healthy even though they are products that are recommended by the dietary guidelines," the CEO of KIND told CBS.

The company announced Tuesday it has received permission to use the word on its packaging, but it's still advocating for a revision of the FDA's definition.

The Wall Street Journal reports the FDA is planning to ask the public for input on just what "healthy" should actually mean.

This video includes a clip from KIND and an image from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

<![CDATA[Biofuels In One Easy Step: Just Add Modified E. Coli]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 15:45:00 -0500
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New research could make cooking up batches of biofuel as easy as using a crockpot.

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have condensed a common biofuel manufacturing process down to a single container.

The old method was a three-step process: Liquid salts break down plant matter. Enzymes convert the plant matter into sugars. Then, microbes like E. coli convert the sugars to biofuels. Those steps had to be broken up because the enzymes and microbes couldn't survive the salts. 

Now researchers have engineered E. coli that can tolerate the salt and will even crank out the plant-converting enzymes it needs. They can throw everything into one vat and come back to biofuels.

They tested the hardier bacteria on switchgrass and got ethanol and even components of jet fuel.

It's an important achievement. Simplifying the production process is a crucial step if biofuels are ever going to compete with oil.

The researchers hope the modified bacteria could eventually lead to one-pot solutions for any source plant material.

This video includes clips from Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy and music from Frenic / CC BY 3.0.

<![CDATA['Silver Lining In Tragedy': More Drug Deaths Increase Organ Donations]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 14:55:00 -0500
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Deaths from drug overdoses are rising, but that also means more organs donated to people in need. 

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of donors who died from drug overdoses increased by about 530 percent. 

The president of the New England Organ Bank called it a "silver lining to what is absolutely a tragedy."

Representatives with the organ bank explained that when someone dies of a drug overdose, the family members are often looking for a way to get some good out of the situation. 

Organ donors are tested for hepatitis C and other infectious diseases common among drug addicts. 

The U.S. needs more donated organs. Twenty-two people die on the transplant list every day, and doctors say the chances of dying while waiting for an organ are dramatically higher than the chances of getting a disease from a transplanted organ. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Trader Joe's Continues Expanding Its Frozen Food Recall]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 14:49:00 -0500
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Trader Joe's is recalling more food products over possible listeria concerns. 

The grocery chain recalled its brand-name vegetable fried rice and its chicken fried rice Monday. Both are found in Trader Joe's frozen foods section. 

This recall is tied to one made earlier this month by CRF Frozen Foods. 

It's voluntarily recalled more than 350 frozen fruit and vegetable products because of a potential listeria contamination. 

Several Trader Joe's frozen organic vegetable products were produced by CRF, including broccoli, peas and green beans. 

As of May 3, at least eight people were hospitalized with listeria, and the CRF frozen food products have been named a "likely source of illness in this outbreak."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 1,600 people are infected with listeria each year. It's treated with antibiotics but can be deadly if a patient is older or has existing medical problems. 

Trader Joe's says customers who purchased any of the recalled products can return them to their local store for a full refund. 

This video includes images from Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[New Study Warns Swaddling Babies Could Lead To Increased Risk Of SIDS]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 07:04:00 -0500
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A popular way of wrapping babies in blankets could be leading to higher risks of sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS. 

Swaddling is a technique in which an infant is wrapped securely so only its head is free. Many believe it mimics what the child would feel in the womb, and it helps calm them down. 

The problem is if the baby moves, swaddling could make it harder for the baby to breathe when it lies on its stomach or side.  

A new meta-analysis compared four previous studies and found that of all the infants who died of SIDS, 17 percent had been swaddled.  

The risk of death doubled for children sleeping on their stomach or side when they were swaddled. Sudden death was more common among older infants, though, and the researchers think this could be because they're more likely to move from their back to their side or stomach while sleeping. 

For obvious ethical reasons, the researchers didn't control who was swaddled and who wasn't –– which means the study is correlational, and other factors may be at play. 

The researchers do suggest parents stop swaddling before a child turns six months old, and should place a baby on its back to sleep. 

This video includes clips from CBS and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[This Lab-Created 'Second Skin' Could Do More Than Just Hide Wrinkles]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 13:16:00 -0500
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Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they've created an invisible "second skin" that hides the appearance of wrinkles. 

The film is made to be flexible and elastic but also able to keep things such as ointments in place and in contact with one's real skin. This means the product could have more than just an aesthetic purpose. 

"One set of things might be in cosmetics where you'd use it to tighten skin in different parts of the body. Another could be for therapeutics, where you'd use it as a whole new kind of plastic ointment," one of the researchers said

Ointments the researchers say could potentially be used to treat skin diseases. 

More research on the product needs to be done before it will be approved for commercial use, but the scientists have already secured a patent for their "second skin." 

This video includes clips from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and images from Benoît Mars / CC BY ND 2.0.

<![CDATA[These Swedish Scientists Believe They Have A Cure For Pedophilia]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 11:05:00 -0500
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Swedish scientists say they have found a drug that might help prevent pedophiles from sexually abusing children.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have been using crowdfunding to raise enough money to conduct a trial of the drug, degarelix, which is typically used to treat prostate cancer.

And even though they have yet to meet their goal, the study's lead researcher says they're moving ahead with it.

"We need to shift the focus away from what to do when the damage is already done on to preventing the sexual abuse happening in the first place," Dr. Christoffer Rahm told Sky News.

Degarelix dramatically lowers testosterone levels in the body. And the researchers want to see if that could help stop a pedophile's urges to sexually abuse a child before they can be acted on.

Once the study gets going, the team plans to recruit 60 men who have sought treatment for pedophilic impulses but have never sexually abused a child. 

Half of the participants will be given a single injection of degarelix, while the other half will get a placebo.

The researchers hope the public exposure from the subpar crowdfunding campaign will convince traditional backers to fund the study. They hope to complete a trial in about three years.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[E-Cigarettes Are Poisoning Children At An Alarming Rate]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 09:38:00 -0500
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Researchers are comparing it to an epidemic. As e-cigarettes become more popular, more young children are being put at risk.

The number of poisonings from exposure to e-cigarettes in children under 6 years old skyrocketed 15 fold over the course of only three years. 

Researchers looked at data between 2012 and 2015 and found that by the end of that time, the National Poison Data System was getting 101 calls a month on average for e-cigarette poisoning. 

All of those cases were young children who were exposed to e-cigarettes or nicotine liquid. And the middle-point age for those cases was just 2 years old. 

The most common side effect was vomiting. However, in one case, a 1-year-old died after being exposed to nicotine liquid. 

There were many more instances of children being poisoned through regular cigarette exposure, but the researchers found that children exposed to e-cigarettes were more likely to suffer a severe outcome.

There wasn't a noticeable jump in regular cigarette exposure. E-cigarette cases, on the other hand, soared almost 1,500 percent. 

When speaking with Forbes, the study's senior author argued, "This is an epidemic by any definition. If this were an infectious disease, this would be headlines across the country." 

This video includes clips from WOOD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and BBC, and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[These Military Amputees Are Taking On A Mountainous Mission]]> Sun, 08 May 2016 19:17:00 -0500
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Climbing Mount Everest is one of the most difficult things to do on Earth. Climbing it with one leg is even tougher. 

But that's just what retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes is attempting to do. Jukes lost his right leg below the knee to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. He said climbing helped him deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Having a recovery from PTSD, I would say that, without a doubt, finding that sense of camaraderie by going on an expedition can really do a lot," Jukes said.

Jukes is making the climb to raise awareness for PTSD. He's also working with the nonprofit U.S. Expeditions and Explorations, or USX, which aims to help PTSD-afflicted veterans adjust to life back home. 

He hopes to become the first combat amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest, but he might have some competition.

Former U.S. Marine Charlie Linville had part of his leg amputated after stepping on a buried explosive in Afghanistan. He's on another Everest climb thanks to a veterans group called the Heroes Project.

Like Jukes, Linville said climbing became therapeutic for him as he tried to "get rid of the demons that were created from war."

Both Jukes and Linville are expected to reach the summit sometime in mid-May.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Twitter / @TeamUSX and clips from The Heroes Project and USX.

<![CDATA[Denmark Might Tax Beef To Fight Climate Change]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 11:36:00 -0500
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Denmark is considering a tax on beef to combat climate change and fight cancer.

Research shows that raising cattle for food generates five times more carbon emissions than pork or chicken. It also uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water.

And last year, the World Health Organization said red meat and cancer are associated. It also ruled definitively that processed meats are a carcinogen.

So the Denmark Ethics Council, which proposed the plan, is hoping a tax hike will cut down beef sales.

The group says its trying to live up to the Paris climate agreement's goal of keeping global temperatures from rising another 2 degrees Celsius.

And now, the Danish government has to consider the proposal. A statement from the council didn't hint at how much the tax would be.

However, it did say it wanted to roll out taxes for all foods based on their climate impact eventually, since a study found a third of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.

This video includes a clip from CCTV and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Small Earthquakes Are Shaking The Dormant Mount St. Helens]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 07:54:00 -0500
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Mount St. Helens — dormant since 2008 — seems to be rumbling. The U.S. Geological Survey says more than 130 small earthquakes have been detected under the volcano in the past eight weeks.

None of the earthquakes have been very big — the largest was a 1.3 on the Richter scale — and they've all been at least a mile below the surface, meaning people probably didn't feel them.

But for those who study volcanoes, this swarm of activity indicates Mount St. Helens is recharging. In other words, new magma is refilling the volcano's chamber.

In 1980, an explosive eruption blew the top off the mountain, killing 57 people, and the hot ash sparked forest fires.

A repeat of that isn't likely this time. In fact, there were larger earthquake swarms in the early and late 1990s, which didn't lead to anything severe. There are also none of the usual indications of imminent eruptions like irregular gas release or ground inflation.

And the last time Mount St. Helens erupted in 2004, it wasn't nearly as violent. The USGS says it can take years for magma recharge to reach a point that it causes an erruption.

This video includes clips from U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Insitution and images from gfpeck / CC BY ND 2.0 and Jess Wood / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Zika Virus Fears In Puerto Rico Force MLB To Move Games Back To US]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 22:19:00 -0500
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If you were expecting to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Miami Marlins on neutral territory in Puerto Rico, you're about to be very, very disappointed. 

Major League Baseball announced Friday the two games scheduled for the end of May were relocated because of the Zika virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found more than 600 cases of the virus in Puerto Rico. 

The league released a statement that said the "MLB and the Players Association did everything possible to adequately address the concerns raised by players and still play the games in Puerto Rico, but despite extensive efforts, they were unable to develop a workable solution."

After the CDC spoke with the teams, players from both clubs said they were worried about getting the virus and then passing it to their partners.  

Zika is passed on to humans from mosquitoes, and the CDC has determined Zika can be sexually transmitted, regardless of whether or not a man shows symptoms. The virus is also linked to microcephaly and other brain defects in children born to mothers who have contracted the virus. 

Instead of the games, the MLB will hold different community events in Puerto Rico to make up for the games. Both the MLB and the Player's Association will also donate to help get rid of the virus in the territory. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

<![CDATA[Widely Used Heart Drug Linked To Increased Dementia Risk]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 14:45:00 -0500
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Researchers have linked a widely used heart drug to increased risk of dementia.

Warfarin is a blood thinner used in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that affects millions of people in the U.S.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute tracked more than 10,000 patients who took warfarin long-term, both for atrial fibrillation and for other conditions.

The researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation experienced higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer's.

Within eight years, close to 6 percent of patients taking warfarin for atrial fibrillation developed dementia, compared to less than 2 percent of those taking warfarin for other reasons.

This is the first study to detail the dementia risks of warfarin. Doctors warn the connections between blood thinners, atrial fibrillation and dementia are still not clearly understood.

The study's lead author says because doctors are only now learning about the risks, "only those that absolutely need blood thinners should be placed on them long-term."

This video includes clips from the National Institutes of Health and Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and images from Gonegonegone / CC BY SA 3.0.

<![CDATA[Why UK Hospitals Have Higher Death Rates On The Weekends]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 10:53:00 -0500
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Patients admitted to the hospital on weekends in the U.K. suffer higher death rates than patients admitted on weekdays. But stick with us — there's a reason for that.

Researchers from Manchester University and York University wanted to find out if the higher death rates on weekends had anything to do with staffing numbers.

The study said while fewer patients are admitted in the emergency room on weekends, the people admitted are often sicker, which might explain a higher death rate.

One of the researchers told the Guardian, "Hospitals apply a higher severity threshold when choosing which patients to admit to [hospitals] at weekends — patients with non-serious illnesses are not admitted."

The study called it the "selection effect" but found no link between having more doctors on call and lower death rates.

As for the total number of deaths on the weekends, that number is actually lower than weekdays.

This video includes clips from The Guardian and Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations.

<![CDATA[Even SpaceX Didn't Expect Its Rocket To Land This Time, But It Did]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 10:28:00 -0500
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SpaceX has landed a rocket on a floating barge in the ocean for the second time.

Before its first successful landing in April, the company tried and failed multiple times to perch a Falcon 9 rocket on a barge. The company didn't expect things to turn out differently this time.

That's because of the circumstances surrounding this mission. This one placed a Japanese communications satellite into a very high orbit. Because of the destination, the rocket's re-entry was a lot faster and a lot hotter than previous landing attempts.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave a successful landing "maybe even" odds but didn't seem too worried about the potential for failure. He said the team would learn a lot either way.

Musk jokingly tweeted his company "may need to increase the size of [the] rocket storage hangar."

SpaceX is aiming to commercialize spaceflight, and being able to land and re-use rockets would save a ton. It currently costs NASA about $10,000 per pound to put something into orbit. SpaceX says it can do it for less than $4,000 per pound, even for high orbits.

All of these efforts are eventually supposed to lead to sending a rocket to Mars by 2018.

This video includes clips and images from SpaceX.

<![CDATA[SpaceX And NASA Have Way Cooler 3-D Printers Than We Do]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 13:51:00 -0500
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So, 3-D printing has built up a little niche market, but the plastics that come out of a desktop printer are no good for heavy-duty industrial use.

For commercial flight — or commercial spaceflight — you need something that stands up to more abuse.

So companies are turning to metal instead of plastics. They get the speed and detail of 3-D printing and none of the waste from carving parts out of blocks of solid metal.

The layer-by-layer process is similar to desktop printers, but these industrial machines use high-energy lasers to fix each layer of metal into place. One General Electric rep described it as "exactly like welding, but on a microscopic scale."

NASA is testing laser-printed metal parts that could one day work their way into rockets for Mars missions.

And SpaceX is building entire engines this way. Its SuperDraco engines for the Dragon capsule come out of a metal printer.

All this advanced tech comes with an advanced price tag, though, and is probably well beyond hobbyist territory. Printers like the one SpaceX uses can run close to a million dollars.

This video includes clips from Atmel / CC BY 3.0SpaceXGeneral ElectricNASA and EOS GmbH and images from SpaceX. Music: "Ergo" by Birocratic (

<![CDATA[What Will FDA Regulation Mean For The E-Cigarette Industry?]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 12:33:00 -0500
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It's about to be more difficult for just anyone to get their hands on an e-cigarette.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has had the authority to regulate cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products since 2009.

And now it's extending that authority to cover all tobacco products, like cigars, hookah tobacco and, yes, even e-cigarettes.

Its first rule: No one under 18 can purchase these tobacco products.

Now, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is something at least 48 states have already done — including New York and California.

Still, teens have been able to get their hands on these products through vending machines and free samples from retailers.

In fact, a study jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA found the use of e-cigarettes by high school students has increased 900 percent from 2011 to 2015.

But the FDA hasn't imposed any regulations on flavored tobacco products yet; that's something advocacy groups are concerned about because research suggests the flavors might attract teen smokers.

The FDA's regulations also require tobacco manufacturers to submit products for authorization and for product advertisements and packaging to have health warnings. The new rules go into effect in 90 days.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[California Joins Hawaii In Raising The Smoking Age To 21]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 09:00:00 -0500
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California will soon require most tobacco buyers to be at least 21 years old, an effort aimed at reducing teenage tobacco use.

On Wednesday, California joined Hawaii as the second state to up the smoking age from 18. It follows a push by several cities in California — like San Francisco and Berkeley — which raised the smoking age earlier this year.

The new laws, which include electronic cigarettes, go into effect June 9. Advocating legislators have called it "the most expansive tobacco control package passed in decades."

But many critics aren't happy about the decision to include e-cigarettes. The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association says the higher age requirement is a "step backwards" and "will negatively impact California small business."

After pushback from opponents, an amendment was added to the bills that exempts military personnel from the new laws.

The law's author, a California senator, said the approval is "a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco. Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction."

As for "Big Tobacco," companies like Altria said the decision to bump the tobacco age should be up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not individual states or cities.

This video includes clips from California Senate Majority CaucusU.S. ArmyKBCWKHON and KERO and images from Nikita2706 / CC BY SA 3.0Autodesigner / CC BY 1.0micdew / CC BY SA 2.0 and Ecig Click / CC BY SA 2.0.

<![CDATA[You Can (Carefully) Watch Mercury Cross In Front Of The Sun Next Week]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:46:00 -0500
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Mercury will be in the daytime sky next week as it crosses the face of the sun.

The planets only line up like this a little more than once a decade. Mercury will be visible from almost everywhere on Earth — except Australia, bits of Oceania and Antarctica.

"It will take about 7 1/2 hours for the tiny planet's disc to cross the sun completely. Since Mercury is so tiny, it will appear as a very small, round speck, whether it's seen through a telescope or projected through a solar filter," said NASA's Jane Houston Jones.

This always bears repeating: Do not look directly at the sun without protection. Besides, Mercury is so small, you'll need a telescope with a solar filter to see it.

Astronomy groups all over the world are planning viewing parties, and NASA will stream coverage of the transit on NASA TV and on its Facebook page.

And it will have the best seat in the house: Three NASA satellites will gather data on the transit.

This video includes clips and images from NASA. Music: "Burner" by Birocratic (

<![CDATA[This Wisconsin Town Is Putting A Price On Bullies]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 20:05:00 -0500
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So much for timeout or a trip to the principal’s office. A town in Wisconsin has a new approach when it comes to punishing kids who pick on others: Make their parents pay up.

City officials in Shawano, Wisconsin, passed a new ordinance giving police the right to fine the parents of bullies. 

The ordinance prohibits all forms of harassment — including cyberbullying — inside city limits and applies to anyone under the age of 18.

"This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt," police Chief Mark Kohl said.

According to Newsy’s partners at WGBA, local law enforcement works alongside the Shawano School District to identify bullies and then notify parents.

Parents then have about three months to essentially tell their kid to knock it off. If that child continues to bully others, parents will be slapped with a $366 fine. A second offense in a year’s time results in a $681 fine.

WLUK reports the Shawano ordinance is based on anti-bullying strategies in two other Wisconsin towns — neither of which have had to issue any fines so far.

A couple years ago, a California city looked at criminalizing bullying. Ultimately that ordinance failed but seemed to ignite a nationwide conversation about bullying at schools.

A 2013 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 20 percent of high school students reported feeling bullied during the school year.

<![CDATA[Hepatitis C Now Kills More Americans Than Any Other Infectious Disease]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 19:46:00 -0500
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that one infectious disease now kills more Americans than all others combined.

New data shows hepatitis C killed nearly 20,000 people in 2014. Even more worrying for doctors is that an estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S. have the hepatitis C virus, but half of them don’t even know.

Hepatitis C symptoms, like fever, nausea and joint pain are often too mild to warrant a trip to the doctor, so it sometimes goes undiagnosed.

The virus can usually be knocked out with a 12-week pill regimen, but if left untreated, it can cause cirrhosis or cancer in the liver.

Most of those killed by hepatitis C are baby boomers because the virus was unknown to doctors when they were kids.

The CDC’s Dr. John Ward told CBS "blood banks were not screening the blood supply for hepatitis C and many people got infected that way. Also, health care systems were not as diligent in practicing good infection control."

And most new cases are generally found in young people with a history of intravenous drug use, since the virus is passed either through blood or sexual contact. 

The CDC recommends one-time testing for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, and regular testing for those with a high risk of contracting the virus.

<![CDATA[Medical Error Kills Almost As Many People As Heart Disease]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 14:53:00 -0500
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Doctors from Johns Hopkins, one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world, are trying to lower the number of deaths caused by medical error.

Those medical errors include mistakes in execution — like when surgeons leave tools in patients — and improper diagnosis, planning and treatment.

The researchers argue these errors are responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than any disease except heart disease and cancer. But they also believe there's a solution.

Dr. Martin Makary argues that the billing codes used to report cause of death "are designed to maximize billing rather than capture medical errors." Because of this, we don't have much accurate data on medical errors.

Often, the true cause of death is not reported because it does not fit the vague coding system. For example, a patient who dies from surgical complications could have their cause of death listed as the initial ailment that required surgery — not the surgical complication that killed them.

Makary and his colleagues believe more transparency and standardization within the medical community could help solve the problem.

Dr. Makary told medical journal BMJ: "When a plane crashes, there's an investigation, and the entire pilot community worldwide learns something from the crash. But yet in health care, the same things happen again and again, and many of them are never investigated."

This video includes images from Johns Hopkins University, Twitter and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[This Robotic Surgeon Is Better At Surgery Than Its Human Counterparts]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 13:02:00 -0500
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Do you trust a robot to sew you back up instead of a human?

Surgeons at Children's National Medical Center have developed a semi-autonomous surgical robot. They had it perform open surgeries on pigs, sewing together sections of bowel.

The robot was "supervised," meaning human minders wrangled its thread and watched to make sure it followed its fluorescent markers. But the robot did all of the suturing itself.

Surgeons compared its performance to their own expert work and to surgery with human-controlled robots.

"Probably the most surprising part was that when you actually compare that to current standards of practice, the machine does it better," said Dr. Peter Kim.

A robot poking its own way around soft tissues is unprecedented. Surgery on soft tissue is more difficult because it's more likely to shift around than, say, bone. 

But researchers think taking the shaky human element out of the equation could reduce risks and complications of soft tissue surgeries — 45 million of which happen every year in the U.S.

This video includes clips from Science Translational Medicine and Intuitive Surgical, and images from Axel Krieger.

<![CDATA[Hundreds Of Fruit And Vegetable Products Recalled Over Listeria Fears]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 12:00:00 -0500
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Concerns about potential listeria contamination prompted a frozen foods supplier to recall all its fruit and vegetable products sold at stores, including Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart and Costco.

This comes after CRF Frozen Foods voluntarily recalled several of its products last week. Monday's expanded recall now affects about 358 products and 42 brands.

The recall announcement says seven people were recently hospitalized for listeria infections, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has connected some of those illnesses to CRF Frozen Foods products.

Listeria typically isn't fatal in healthy individuals, but it can be very dangerous for young children, the elderly, expectant mothers and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include a high fever, nausea, abdominal pain and severe headaches.

CRF Frozen Foods has temporarily suspended production at its plant in Washington state. The recall affects stores in all 50 U.S. states and some Canadian provinces.

This video includes images from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Getty Images, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionFrancis Bijl / CC BY 2.0 and Random Retail / CC BY 2.0.

<![CDATA[Look At This Glowing Jellyfish Caught On Camera In The Marianas Trench]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 21:55:00 -0500
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Researchers captured new, mesmerizing video of a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish. 

The team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other partners were exploring the depths of the Marianas Trench when they captured this video. 

The 69-day expedition, from late April to early July, is gathering new information about the deepest parts of the ocean. 

The single deepest spot of the Marianas Trench, the Challenger Deep, is more than 10,900 meters deep, which is actually deeper than the rover's camera is able to go. 

The researchers on the boat and on land still have weeks of exploration to go, and the science-inclined can tune in to their live stream to witness their finds along with them.

<![CDATA[Johnson & Johnson Loses More Ground In Talc-Powder Cancer Case]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:28:00 -0500
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Johnson & Johnson is playing defense, again. On Monday, a jury sided with a South Dakota woman who claims the company’s talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer.

The jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Gloria Ristesund a total of $55 million in damages. Ristesund was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, underwent a hysterectomy and other surgeries and is now in remission.

Monday’s ruling comes just a few months after the company was ordered to pay $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer.

Both women reported using the company’s powder as a feminine hygiene product for decades and both cases claimed the company failed to properly warn consumers that its talc-based products could be carcinogenic. 

Johnson & Johnson and its chief medical officer maintain it’s not, "We are confident in our position that there’s no causal relationship between talc and ovarian cancer."

But that might not be what the company's internal memos show. A juror in the Alabama lawsuit told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch evidence led him to believe Johnson & Johnson knew of a risk and "tried to cover up and influence the boards that regulate cosmetics."

But it's far from established fact that talcum powder is carcinogenic. The American Cancer Society says studies linking talcum powder and ovarian cancer have been "mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase." 

Johnson & Johnson says it plans to appeal both rulings. But the trouble isn’t over yet. More than 1,000 other women have filed similar cases against the company.

This video includes clips from NBCCBSWTVFJohnson & Johnson and images from Austin Kirk / CC BY 2.0Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0 and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[The Deep-Space Engines That Could One Day Take Us Past Mars]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 16:38:00 -0500
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This is space travel as we know it, but chemical rockets aren't going to cut it for long-haul missions to Mars or beyond. To really get away from Earth, astronauts will need something faster, lighter and longer-lasting.

One option is ion thrusters. These are great for long-duration flights. They use 10 times less fuel than chemical rockets to go the same distance, but they don't provide nearly as much thrust — so the trip takes longer.

With current ion drives, it would take more than a year to get a six-person crew from Earth to Mars.

Solar sails could be much faster. They catch the constant stream of high-energy particles coming from the sun, like an interplanetary breeze. The closer the sail starts to the star, the faster it can go.

With a big enough sail, an unmanned ship could get to the edge of the solar system within two years. But NASA doesn't have plans for manned missions yet.

Fusion engines could be light and long-lasting options for deep-space missions, but we're still trying to figure out how to control fusion reactions in giant labs on the ground. It's nowhere near ready to fly.

If we do harness fusion one day, NASA expects it would be enough to get six-person crews to Jupiter in less than a year or robots to interstellar space.

Of all these technologies, ion thrusters are the most developed. NASA is looking into them to support missions to Mars by sending cargo along before a human crew arrives.

This video includes clips from NASA and SpaceX. Music: “Easy Living” by Birocratic (

<![CDATA[Researchers Have Identified The Genes That Lead To Breast Cancer]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:58:00 -0500
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To fight a disease, you have to know how it starts. Researchers now say they've found which genes' mutations lead to breast cancer.  

An international team says out of the 20,000 possible genes, or genetic instructions, 93 can turn a normal breast cell cancerous if mutated. 

The leader of the new study told the BBC that universities and pharmaceutical and biotech companies can now take that list and develop drugs that work for specific genes' mutations. 

But there's also a downside: 60 percent of mutations in the breast cancer cases studied were found in just 10 genes. 

That means there will likely be a much smaller financial incentive to develop drugs for the 83 other genes and their mutations. 

Still, the researchers say the discovery is a big step forward for personalized medicine

With current, more generic breast cancer treatments, more than 70 percent of people in the first three stages of the disease survive at least five years. But once it progresses to the most severe stage, only 22 percent of people survive that long. 

This video includes clips from WKRC and the American Cancer Society, and images from Ed Uthman / CC BY 2.0National Cancer Institute and Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Here's Why The FDA's New $35.7M Ad Campaign Targets LGBT Members]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 21:48:00 -0500
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is spending a lot of money to get a certain group of people to stop smoking. And by a lot of money, we mean $35.7 million. 

On Monday, the FDA rolled out a new ad campaign called "This Free Life." The videos in the campaign target at-risk young adults in the LGBT community.

The director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said: "We know LGBT young adults in this country are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults. We want LGBT young adults to know that there is no safe amount of smoking."

Researchers say this statistic is partially driven by stress related to "coming out." The FDA also says LGBT young adults are more likely to find community in bars and clubs that may be conducive to tobacco use.

Separate ad campaigns to curb tobacco use target other groups across the U.S.

In 2014, the FDA rolled out "The Real Cost" — a campaign to curb tobacco use among minors. A similarly angled campaign called "Fresh Empire" targeted African-American, Hispanic and Asian youth.

The newest campaign, "This Free Life," will begin to appear in print, digital and out-of-home ads in 12 U.S. markets over the next week. Fees from the tobacco industry are paying for these ads.

<![CDATA[Study Finds Out Why Some 'Biggest Loser' Contestants Can't Stay Fit]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 18:15:00 -0500
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NBC’s show "The Biggest Loser" aims to help morbidly obese contestants get to a healthy weight. Over the years, lots of competitors have struggled to keep the weight off, and now scientists may know why.

study in the journal Obesity tracked season 8 contestants after the show ended. More than six years later, 13 of the 14 people studied gained back some of the weight. Five were over or close to their starting weight from the beginning of the show. Researchers found this was due to their bodies’ shifting metabolism. 

When someone loses weight, their body starts burning fewer calories to try to compensate. Usually, the body has time to gradually adjust. But sudden, rapid weight loss, like on "The Biggest Loser," could be too much of a shock for the body to handle.

One of the study's authors said he was "blown away" when he studied the contestants and learned that their metabolisms kept getting slower as time went on, even as they packed on more pounds. 

"Your body is trying to slow down and resist further weight loss and actually promote weight regain, and you’re fighting against that at the same time as you’re fighting against an increased appetite," Dr. Kevin Hall told The New York Times.

Season 8 winner Danny Cahill went from over 400 pounds at the beginning of the show to below 200. Now, he’s back up to nearly 300 pounds. Researchers said that’s because Cahill burns 800 fewer calories per day than an average man of his size.

The show’s doctor said he was aware this could happen but hoped the metabolic drop off wouldn’t be so severe. Other experts say this should’ve been expected.

Obesity researcher Dr. Michael Schwartz told The New York Times: "You can’t get away from a basic biological reality. As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back."

This video includes clips from NBCPeople and The New York Times.

<![CDATA[We Just Got (A Lot) Closer To Finding Life On Other Planets]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:50:00 -0500
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The search for extraterrestrial life just took a giant leap. Three Earth-like planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star have been discovered. 

That's not slang. The three newly discovered planets rotate around a star that's cooler, smaller and dimmer than our sun. Because of this, you can't see the star, known as TRAPPIST-1, with amateur telescopes. 

Astronomers have spotted dozens of potentially habitable planets before, but the fact that this new trio orbits a dim star will actually make it easier to look for signs of life. 

The key is the atmosphere, which is vital for life as we know it. Scientists will be able to study the way the star's light bends and distorts as it passes through the planets' atmospheres, which isn't possible around brighter stars.

One of the researchers who discovered the planets said, "If we want to find life elsewhere in the universe, this is where we should start to look."

This video includes clips and images from ESO

<![CDATA[A Grieving Mother Wants To Warn You About This Rare But Deadly Amoeba]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:25:00 -0500
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"I have two other daughters, but it doesn't matter. I miss her horribly," Jennifer McClain told KGTV

Jennifer McClain's daughter Kelsey died last year shortly after celebrating her 24th birthday at a resort along the Colorado River. 

Newsy's partners at KGTV report doctors originally believed Kelsey had developed bacterial meningitis after she lost the ability to speak and move her head. 

"It was apparent to everybody this was progressing," McClain said. 

Doctors later discovered Kelsey was infected with a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. The organism lives in slow-flowing rivers, untreated swimming pools and warm lakes and enters the brain through a person's nasal cavity. 

It's a pretty rare infection, which is why health officials say it isn't often talked about. 

"For every one patient that will die of Naegleria, a thousand more people will die of drowning," Navaz Karanjia, medical director for UC San Diego's Neurocritical Care Program, told KNSD

Thirty-seven cases were reported from 2006 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And there's no clear-cut way to treat the amoeba. 

"My life is ruined. Destroyed," McClain said. 

The CDC says people can limit their chances of becoming infected by not submerging their heads while swimming in warm freshwater sources. 

<![CDATA[Over 30 Rescued Circus Lions Are Moving Into A 12,000-Acre Sanctuary]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 09:19:00 -0500
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A new life in South Africa has begun for over 30 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia. 

Most of the lions were taken from circuses in surprise raids and were moved to Africa in what's thought to be the biggest airlift of its kind. 

The group landed in Johannesburg over the weekend and soon will be living on a 12,000-acre private sanctuary.  

It's unlikely the lions would've survived if they'd been released into the wild instead. Many had broken teeth and their claws were removed before being rescued. 

The U.S.-based nonprofit Animal Defenders International planned their relocation, and an online crowdfunding campaign took care of about half the cost of flying the lions to South Africa. 

The use of wild animals in circuses was banned in Peru in 2011 and in Colombia in 2013. Nine of the lions rescued were voluntarily surrendered by a Colombian circus.

This video includes clips from BBCAnimal Defenders International and images from Getty Images. 

<![CDATA[Kenya Sends Ivory Poachers A 105-Ton, Burning Message]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 00:19:00 -0500
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On Saturday, Kenya burned more than 100 tons of ivory from thousands of elephants, despite criticism that the government was wasting a commodity it could make millions from.

"We are not watching any money go up in smoke, because from our perspective, there is no intrinsic value. Kenya believes that the only value of the ivory is tusks on a live elephant," Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Kitili Mbathi said.

In 1989, the Kenyan government set the precedent for the large-scale destruction of ivory by burning 12 tons of elephant tusks in the same park where Saturday's burn took place.

Oddly enough, ivory doesn't actually catch fire without lots of help from accelerants, like kerosene and diesel. The man organizing this weekend's burn admitted it'd be easier to crush the ivory but told NPR, "It wouldn't be as dramatic."

The U.S. has also publicly destroyed ivory. The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service crushed 1 ton of ivory in Times Square last summer to educate the public on poaching and send a message to ivory traffickers.

But destroying huge quantities of ivory doesn't come without criticism. Some would prefer Kenya's government sell the ivory and use the money for elephant conservation efforts.

Kenya's president justified the government's decision in an editorial by putting it this way: "No one would be surprised if I said I was going to burn illegal drugs; everyone knows that whatever the price they would fetch if sold, they should not be sold."

And as supporters of the burn have pointed out, selling the ivory instead of destroying would require selling it to corrupt markets.

This video includes clips from KBCAfrica NewsAnimal Planet and images from Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Ringling Bros. Elephants Quit Showbiz, Join The Fight Against Cancer]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:55:00 -0500
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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants are making their final appearance Sunday.

Feld Entertainment, the company that owns the Ringling Bros., decided to phase the elephants out after accusations the methods used to train the elephants were cruel. Some places have also enacted laws banning the bullhook, the controversial device used to train the elephants.

The company originally announced they would retire elephants by 2018, but it moved up that timetable earlier this year.

The 11 elephants still in the circus will join 29 others at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. They are joining the largest herd of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere.

The 200-acre plot of land is more than just an elephant retirement center. Elephants rarely develop cancer, so researchers are studying them in hopes of finding a cure or treatment for pediatric cancer in humans.

The Ringling Bros. will live stream the elephants' last show on Sunday evening on its website and Facebook page.

This video includes clips from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Getty Images.

<![CDATA[Just How Ambitious Are SpaceX's Mars Plans?]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 10:07:00 -0500
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SpaceX wants to get to Mars within two years. That's pretty ambitious, even by spaceflight standards. Private companies haven't broken out of orbit around Earth yet.

First off, it assumes SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket gets off the drawing board in time to launch a Mars-bound mission. The expected debut has slipped a couple times already.

Money isn't as much of a challenge. In spaceflight terms, getting something to orbit around Mars is relatively cheap. India put a probe around the red planet on its first try, with four years and about $73 million. A single Falcon 9 launch costs only about $61 million.

Landing on Mars is where things get tricky. Mars' atmosphere is thinner than Earth's, which makes it less useful for slowing down. SpaceX's rocket-powered landing would help get around that.

But a Dragon capsule would still be about six times heavier than the Curiosity rover NASA landed on Mars. More weight means higher stakes.

And Curiosity didn't explode on landing — which is more than SpaceX can say sometimes.

The endgame, of course, is humans. NASA thinks it can get a human crew to Mars by the late 2030s. SpaceX has proposed doing the same by 2025.

This video includes clips from SpaceXNDTV and NASA. Music: "Easy Living" by Birocratic (

<![CDATA[The Northern US Might See A Rare Aurora Borealis]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 07:58:00 -0500
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If you live in the northern contiguous U.S., you might want to go outside Saturday night and look up. You could catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a minor geomagnetic storm watch.

Those most likely to see the display live in the most northern states, like Montana, Minnesota and North Dakota.

The lights are usually seen farther north in places like northern Canada and Iceland, but during high geomagnetic activity, they can be spotted much farther south.

So what causes the high geomagnetic activity? The sun's magnetic fields have two different polarities which ripple as they travel away from the star. Right now, Earth is passing from a region of space with one polarity, to a region with the opposite polarity.

In other words, it's a good time to see the northern lights.

This video includes clips from AV LAPPI / CC BY 3.0Harriniva Hotels&Safaris / CC BY 3.0 and NASA and images from NOAA.