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Posts

April 18, 2014

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10:00 PM | “After Final Consideration” Pilot Program Extended by Patent Office
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that it is extending a popular program that allows patent applicants to submit minor amendments to their patent applications even after final rejection. The “After Final Consideration” Pilot was launched in May and was scheduled to end on September 30, 2013. The Pilot will now be … Continue reading →
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5:41 PM | Kamikaze LADEE Moon Mission Ends With a Splat
Out of fuel and flying fast, NASA’s LADEE spacecraft crashed into the moon early Friday, three days shy of its expected mission end. Continue reading →
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5:26 PM | Two National Marine Sanctuaries May More Than Double in Size
Two national marine sanctuaries along the Northern California coast, renown for their rich animal life, may more than double in size if NOAA has its way.
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5:18 PM | Bathing in the Sunset of an 'Earth-Like' Alien World
Could a sunset on Kepler-186f look like this? Continue reading →
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4:00 PM | The First of Many?
The disabled spacecraft Kepler is really the gift that keeps on giving, much like the food poisoning that I have been suffering through since Sunday (Thanks Taco Bell, I didn’t know my order came with a free side of botulism!). Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Analyzing data already gathered researchers have announced the discovery of … Continue reading →
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2:49 PM | Ecco il drone stampato in 3D
In gergo tecnico si chiama unmanned aherial vehicle (Uam). Più colloquialmente, è un drone di un metro e mezzo messo a punto dagli ingegneri dell'Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Amrc) alla University of Sheffield: la sua particolarità è che è stato stampato in 3D grazie a una nuova tecnica sviluppata dagli scienziati britannici, chiamata fused deposition modelling. Le versioni attualmente in produzione, spiegano gli autori della ricerca, richiedono […]
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2:47 PM | Il complesso ruolo della guaina mielinica
La guaina mielinica è una struttura biancastra che avvolge gli assoni dei neuroni, e permette di trasmettere velocemente i segnali nervosi all'interno del cervello. Fino ad oggi si riteneva che tutti i neuroni avessero lo stesso tipo di guaina mielinica, ma un nuovo studio dell'Università di Cambridge, a cui hanno collaborato anche i ricercatore dell'Università di Torino, mette oggi in dubbio questo paradigma. I risultati, pubblicati sulle pagine di Science, suggeriscono […]
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2:08 PM | SpaceX Launch Update: Next Attempt Is Today at 19:25 UTC
Quick update: SpaceX is go today at 19:25 UTC (3:25 p.m. EDT) to launch a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule atop the rocket is loaded with supplies and experiments for the astronauts orbiting the Earth. If it launches on schedule, it will rendezvous with ISS and be grappled on Sunday, April 20 at 11:14 UTC. A launch attempt on April 14 was aborted due to a helium leak in a valve that is involved with the first stage separation after launch. The valve has […]
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1:09 PM | Wilderness Cannot Be Restored Or Recreated. Only Destroyed.
“Wilderness cannot be restored or recreated. Only destroyed. We are just about to lose our last glimpses into prehistory that connect us to eternity and remember a time before modern man.” (Steve Boyes) Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, depends on pristine floodwaters from the world’s largest undeveloped river catchment, the Kavango Basin, in Angola…
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12:20 PM | Kepler Finds First Earth-size Planet in the Habitable Zone
In a April 17 news release NASA has announced that astronomers using the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the circumstellar habitable zone, or the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet, aka the Goldilocks Zone. Though […]
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12:00 PM | New Killer Sponges Found in the Deep Sea
The carnivorous invertebrates, discovered deep in the waters off California, use tiny hooks on their bodies to capture prey, a new study says.
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12:00 PM | April 17th: Exomoons, Eclipses & Launches
Podcaster: Fraser Cain & Morgan Rehnberg
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11:40 AM | Neutrons method to test dark energy theories by sensitive measurements of gravity at small scales
Non sempre occorre un acceleratore di particelle per fare esperimenti di fisica fondamentale. I primi risultati di un esperimento a bassa energia sulla gravità newtoniana, spinto fino ad un limite […]
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11:34 AM | Bolden and Holdren reaffirm support for asteroid mission as the next step to Mars
The head of NASA and the President’s science advisor told the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) this week that the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) remained the next logical step of a long-term strategy to eventually send people to Mars, despite the protestations of some in Congress as well as “outside fan clubs.” “The FY15 budget [...]
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11:32 AM | Se le femmine (d'insetto) hanno il pene
La femmina introduce il suo pene nella vagina del maschio. No, non ci siamo sbagliati a invertire i sessi e i relativi organi sessuali: su Current Biology infatti un gruppo di ricercatori giapponesi, svizzeri e brasiliani mostra il caso di animali, insetti in questo caso, con genitali a sesso invertito, in cui le femmine hanno il pene, e i maschi l’equivalente di una vagina. Gli insetti studiati dai ricercatori sono quattro specie del genere Neotrogla, sono sati scoperti in Brasile e […]
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10:00 AM | Hubble Cuts a Core Sample Out of the Cosmos
It's a big, big universe out there and the Hubble Space Telescope bores a hole over halfway out into it with this image, showing a gathering of galaxies near and far. Continue reading →
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8:00 AM | Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives?
“Colon cancer screening saves lives.” That’s how I began my latest article for Nature Medicine. The news story was about new non-invasive tests that aim to make screening a lot more pleasant. The lead wasn’t great. You could probably find a dozen other stories that begin the same way. But it at least seemed solid. […]
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6:34 AM | Kepler-186f, il nuovo gemello terrestre
Si chiama Kepler-186f, è leggermente più grande della Terra, ed è l’ultimo pianeta individuato dal telescopio Kepler della Nasa, nella zona abitabile (ossia a una distanza a cui è possibile trovare acqua liquida sulla superficie) attorno alla stella Kepler-186, da cui appunto prende il nome. Ma Kepler-186f, presentato in uno studio pubblicato su Science, non è solo: altri quattro pianeti orbitano attorno alla stella, tutti individuati tramite il metodo […]
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6:23 AM | Così si spiega il morbo di Parkinson
Dietro la morte delle cellule neuronali all’origine del morbo di Parkinson si sa da tempo che si nascondo (anche) alcune mutazioni genetiche, ma il meccanismo con cui queste causino da ultimo la degenerazione cellulare non è ben noto. Oggi però uno studio, pubblicato su Cell, risponde in parte a questa domanda, aprendo le porte a nuove ipotesi terapeutiche. Un gruppo di ricercatori della John Opkins University di Baltimora, guidato da Ted Dawson del John Opkins Institute for […]
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4:49 AM | First "Earth Cousin" Planet Found
Astronomers working with the Kepler telescope, led by Elisa Quintara of the SETI Institute, have announced the discovery of the first planet orbiting another star that meets the two characteristics we have been particularly waiting for.  The planet is Earth-sized AND it orbits its star in the zone where water is likely to be liquid (called the “habitable zone.”)The planet and star have no name, but only a catalog number – Kepler 186.  Located in the constellation of […]
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3:02 AM | Upon a Sea of Stars by A. Bertram Chandler
A scifi classic! Don’t mess with John Grimes, and don’t ever dare to call him a pirate. He prefers the term privateer, thank you very much. This week, we take a look at the very latest collection of tales of the Galactic Outer Rim by A. Bertram Chandler, collected in one volume for the first [...]
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3:02 AM | Astro-Vid Of the Week: Adventures in Eclipse Webcasting
Totality! The April 15th 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse. (Photo by Author). Backyard astro-tech has certainly gotten much more sophisticated since we hand-sketched our first lunar eclipse as a kid back in the 1980’s. During this week’s total lunar eclipse, we thought we’d try our hand at live streaming the event. We’ve been a voracious consumer [...]
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2:00 AM | Upon a Sea of Stars by A. Bertram Chandler
A scifi classic! Don’t mess with John Grimes, and don’t ever dare to call him a pirate. He prefers the term privateer, thank you very much. This week, we take a look at the very latest collection of tales of the Galactic Outer Rim by A. Bertram Chandler, collected in one volume for the first [...]
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2:00 AM | Astro-Vid Of the Week: Adventures in Eclipse Webcasting
Totality! The April 15th 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse. (Photo by Author). Backyard astro-tech has certainly gotten much more sophisticated since we hand-sketched our first lunar eclipse as a kid back in the 1980’s. During this week’s total lunar eclipse, we thought we’d try our hand at live streaming the event. We’ve been a voracious consumer [...]
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1:41 AM | Throwback Thursday: Top 5 Signs of New Physics (Synopsis)
“Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.” -Craig Ferguson When you think about the Standard Model of particle physics, you very likely think about all the matter, energy, particles, antiparticles, forces and interactions of the Universe. And you might legitimately worry that this is all there is. Never fear; it can’t…

April 17, 2014

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10:56 PM | Going Once…. Going Twice…
On Monday (ok, let’s be honest, it was really Tuesday) there was a full lunar eclipse.  I was at the observatory with hundreds of people (in a town so small you can drive from one end to the other in 10 minutes) for about 6 hours.  It was brutal.  Not because of the work, not […]
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10:00 PM | New Chinese Trademark Law Takes Effect in May.
China’s new trademark law, which takes effect May 1, 2014, is designed to discourage the trademark hijacking and piracy that have caused headaches for foreign companies attempting to do business in China. In July of 2012, Apple paid a $60 million settlement to the Chinese company Proview Technology to acquire the right to use the … Continue reading →
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9:10 PM | Do all planets spin in the same direction?
Dear Urban Astronomer Do all planets spin the same way, or are there some planets where the sun rises in their equivalent of West? Does it depend on the particular solar system? What about the stars in a galaxy -- do they all spin in the same direction? Do all galaxies spin the same way, or do they even spin at all? Regards Amanda Dominy (extracted from facebook conversation) Dear Amanda First, the short answer: All rotations and revolutions in a planetary system are in the same […]
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9:00 PM | Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Mercury Rule
A federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requiring power plants install technology to cut emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. MATS was challenged by industry and several states that argued the EPA should have considered costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to go forward with the standards. The…
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7:12 PM | Earth-Likenesses: Have We Discovered Earth 2.0?
Astronomers have announced the groundbreaking discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a star within its habitable zone. Although this is exciting, calling this world "Earth-like" is a little premature. Continue reading →
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