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Today β€” December 13th 2018Science&Space

Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she has a new perspective on life after battle with cancer

Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she has a new perspective on life after battle with cancerJulia Louis-Dreyfus is slowly opening up about her battle with cancer in the past year. The 57-year-old mother-of-two was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2017. Louis-Dreyfus has since returned to her hit HBO show "Veep," which she both stars in and produces, to film its final season.After dealing with such a serious illness, she’s says she’s changed.

  • December 13th 2018 at 18:21

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo reaches space for first time

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo reaches space for first timeVirgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo flew higher than it ever has before, surpassing what the US Air Force considers the boundary of space, and marking the first manned flight to space from US soil since 2011. The United States has not sent any people to space since the US space shuttle program ended in 2011, and has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Virgin Galactic marked a major milestone on Thursday in that race, as its spaceship made it to a peak height, or apogee, of 51.4 miles (82.7 kilometers), after taking off attached to an airplane from Mojave, California, then firing its rocket motors to reach new heights.

  • December 13th 2018 at 18:02

Record number of Mexican gray wolves found dead in 2018

Record number of Mexican gray wolves found dead in 2018ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Wildlife managers have confirmed a record number of Mexican gray wolves have been reported dead this year, fueling concerns about the decades-long effort to return the endangered predator to the southwestern U.S.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:57

UK's first digital air traffic control centre opens in BedfordshireΒ 

UK's first digital air traffic control centre opens in Bedfordshire Britain's first digital air traffic control centre has entered service at an airfield in Bedfordshire. Controllers at the new centre at Cranfield Airport are using a live feed from high-definition digital cameras to direct take-offs and landings. The 14 screens in an operations room at the airport replicate the panoramic view from the windows of a traditional ATC tower. The new control centre was opened by aviation minister Liz Sugg, who said on Thursday that the government’s upcoming consultant on aviation strategy “will set out how the Government proposes to encourage the use of innovative technology to achieve sustainable aviation growth and enhance passengers’ experience.” Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions has developed the new technology, which lets employees zoom in on aircraft displayed on the digital screens. Cranfield Airport isn’t the first airport in the world to have a digital air traffic control centre installed. Similar centres are already running at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports in Sweden and were originally installed in 2015. London’s City Airport has said that it plans to move to a digital air traffic control centre by January 2020. Around 20,000 take-offs and landings take place every year at Cranfield, which is used by light aircraft, business jets and aviation research.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:54

Virgin Galactic flies to the edge of space for 1st time, setting the stage for commercial missions

Virgin Galactic flies to the edge of space for 1st time, setting the stage for commercial missionsAnd just like that, Virgin Galactic made it to space. For the first time in the company's 14-year history, the Richard Branson space outfit has sent one of their suborbital SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to space — at least by their definition.  A test flight on Thursday brought the company's VSS Unity ship — carrying two co-pilots — 51.3 miles up above Earth, making it the company's highest flight yet, once confirmed, according to Virgin Galactic.  Some define space as 100 kilometers — or 62 miles — above Earth, but others, use 50 miles as the boundary. The Thursday flight could pave the way for the company to begin flying their commercial customers to suborbital space sometime in the relatively near future, a huge boon for the company that has faced its fair share of setbacks on the road to spaceflight.  This triumph comes four years after a fatal accident of the first SpaceShipTwo left one pilot dead and the other injured in October 2014.  An explosion during testing in 2007 killed three people and set the company back on its road to regular suborbital flights.  Today, the test flight program seems to be back on track.  Branson predicted that the company would make it to space before Christmas, and that prediction held true.  SpaceShipTwo reached:51.4m271,268ft82.7km — Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) December 13, 2018 The next step hinges on when the VSS Unity can start flying some of the 600 people that have paid $250,000 per seat to touch the void. These flights aren't the same as an orbital flight to space — which involves actually sending people around the Earth before coming back home.  Virgin Galactic is aiming a little lower, with their plans to use a carrier aircraft — called WhiteKnightTwo — to bring SpaceShipTwo up to altitude before releasing it for a rocket ride that brings it even farther above the planet.  Once at the correct altitude, the pilots cut the engine, letting the ship to glide upwards a bit more and then level off — this allows passengers to feel weightlessness and see the planet against the blackness of space. From there, the ship comes back in for a landing on a runway. WATCH: NASA is attempting to fly a helicopter on Mars for the first time

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:50

Scientists create 'digital pill' that can be controlled wirelessly in the body to deliver drugs

Scientists create 'digital pill' that can be controlled wirelessly in the body to deliver drugsA "digital pill" that can be ingested and controlled wirelessly via a smartphone app to deliver drugs has been designed by scientists in an effort to reduce surgical procedures. The device could be used to provide drugs to users for various diseases that require long-term medication, according to its developers.  The capsule could also detect infections or an allergic reaction, which would then allow a secondary feature to release antibiotics or antihistamines from the pill in response, its creators claim.  The pill is controlled externally using Bluetooth and is assembled using 3D-printing techniques, a manufacturing process where material is precisely layered on top of each other. It dissolves when eaten, allowing its arms to expand and lodge themselves in the stomach. It eventually breaks down and leaves the body after 36 days of being inside. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed the device in a paper published in the Advanced Materials Technologies journal this week. Technology intelligence - newsletter promo - EOA "Our system could provide closed-loop monitoring and treatment, whereby a signal can help guide the delivery of a drug or tuning the dose of a drug," said Professor Giovanni Traverso, co-author of the research. While they did not test the pill in humans during the study, they used a tank that replicated the environment of the stomach. The researchers claim however that humans will be able to test it within two years. Lead author of the paper, Professor Yong Lin Kong, said the limited connection range serves as a desirable security enhancement. "The self-isolation of wireless signal strength within the user's physical space could shield the device from unwanted connections, providing a physical isolation for additional security and privacy protection," he explained.  

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:32

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Reaches Space for 1st Time in Historic Test Flight!

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Reaches Space for 1st Time in Historic Test Flight!For the first time ever, Virgin Galactic has reached space — by one definition, anyway.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:27

Virgin Galactic successfully sends test pilots to space

Virgin Galactic successfully sends test pilots to spaceVirgin Galactic has successfully sent its test pilots into space, bringing Sir Richard Branson's dream of commercial space travel one tantalising step closer. Taking off from the Mojave desert base shortly after 7am, the space craft flew to reach an eventual height of 271,000 feet. Sir Richard wiped away tears as it was announced, and the crowd on the tarmac erupted in whoops and cheers. The flight marks the first time that man has reached space from US soil since the end of Nasa's space shuttle programme, in 2011. Watching the sunrise launch with his son Sam, Sir Richard could not hide his excitement. "I know I'm not supposed to say this, but hopefully we're going to space!" he announced to the crowd of family and friends, assembled in the chilly morning. Sir Richard Branson with his space craft The mothership, VMS Eve, sped down the runway with the space craft, VSS Unity, attached. It took off and climbed for around 45 minutes to 43,000 feet before VSS Unity was released. The rocket motor was then ignited, with a 3G acceleration. In less than 10 seconds they reached the speed of sound. At Mach one, the speed of sound, the craft turned almost vertically up to jet into space. On Thursday it hit its full duration burn of 60 seconds, more than the 50 seconds that had been expected. VSS Unity then reached its apogee, of 271,000 feet. The craft is now gliding back down to Earth, at the end of a flight which is expected to have taken a little over an hour. Virgin Galactic has carried out nine glide test flights, and this is the fourth powered test flight. No date has yet been given for the first of the 700 paying passengers to travel into space, but it is hoped to be next year. 

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:21

Storm-free weather to aid early holiday travel in much of US, but perhaps not around Christmas

Storm-free weather to aid early holiday travel in much of US, but perhaps not around ChristmasLarge storms and cold air are likely to take a break over much of the nation during much of next week ahead of the Christmas holiday.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:11

This Is What It Takes to Craft a Luxury Watch

This Is What It Takes to Craft a Luxury WatchPanerai marries Italy’s legendary design with Switzerland’s watchmaking know-how.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:00

Alzheimer’s could be triggered by medical procedures, study suggests

Alzheimer’s could be triggered by medical procedures, study suggestsThe seeds of Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted through medical procedures, scientists have found, leading experts to call for the monitoring of blood transfusions from the elderly and those with a family history of dementia. In 2015, researchers at University College London discovered that people who developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) following treatments with human growth hormone  also showed signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains after death.  The scientists tracked down vials of the same hormone and found that it did indeed contain misfolded amyloid-beta proteins, capable of setting off the deadly chain reaction which can lead to dementia. And when they injected the hormone into the brains of mice, the animals began to develop the same signs of neurodegenerative disease. Lead author Professor John Collinge, of the Medical Research Council’s Prion Unit and the UCL Institute of Prion Diseases said: “We have now provided experimental evidence to support our hypothesis that amyloid beta pathology can be transmitted to people from contaminated materials. “We cannot yet confirm whether medical or surgical procedures have ever caused Alzheimer’s disease itself in people, or how common it might be to acquire amyloid pathology in this way. “It will be important to review risks of transmission of amyloid pathology by other medical procedures still done today, including instruments used in brain surgery, drawing on other research and what we already know about accidental CJD transmission.” Dementia | Read more From 1958 around 30,000 children with growth deficiency were treated with growth hormones from dead bodies, but in 1985, three patients were found to have developed CJD and the practice was banned, with doctors moving to a synthetic version. However, when post-mortem examinations were carried out in 2015 on seven people who had died of CJD, their brains were found to contain large amounts of amyloid beta protein - a sticky deposit which forms among brain cells and stops them communicating with each other properly in Alzheimer's patients.  Although none had developed dementia, scientists say it is likely they would have, had they lived longer. The new study shows for the first time that that the seeds of Alzheimer’s were also accidentally passed along with CJD, and that the dangerous proteins were still capable of setting off disease even decades after storage. Commenting on the research, experts said it emphasised the importance of never again injecting material from the human central nervous system into the patients during medical procedures, and said it was crucial that surgical instruments which come into contact with the human brain be scrupulously treated to avoid passing on disease. They also warned of the potential of accidentally transmitting seeds of Alzheimer’s through blood transfusions. John Hardy, Professor of Neuroscience at UCL, who did not take part in the research, said: “It is worth reiterating that there has been no epidemiological evidence suggesting significant numbers of individuals have caught Alzheimer’s disease through this route.    “Clearly, however caution is sensible.  Pituitary growth hormone injections are a thing of the past, but other neurosurgical procedures which involve persons with dementia should be carefully monitored for transmissibility issues as should blood transfusions from the elderly (60+) and from persons with a family history of early onset dementia.” Previous experiments on laboratory mice and monkeys had already shown that transmission of the Alzheimer's protein is at least theoretically possible. When liquified brain tissue from deceased Alzheimer's patients was injected into the central nervous systems of the animals, they developed the brain changes associated with the disease. Prof Bart De Strooper, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, UCL, said transferring Alzheimer’s seeds through blood had been ‘a concern for some time’ “Any such risk is extremely small." he said. "Nevertheless, it is worth monitoring these risks,” he added. However Alzheimer’s charities sought to reassure people that it was highly unlikely the disease would be passed on during a medical procedure. Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer, Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:  “Although the findings might sound concerning, strict guidelines surrounding the sterilisation and use of surgical equipment have already been introduced since the discovery of prion protein contamination and CJD." Dr James Pickett, Head of Research, Alzheimer’s Society, added: “There are no examples of Alzheimer’s being transmitted from person to person via any current surgical procedures and there is good evidence to show that blood transfusions don’t increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson also said they did not believe people were at risk through blood transfusions. "There is no evidence for a change to the age guidelines on blood donation. Any evidence for a change would be a matter for policy making bodies," they added. The research was published in the journal Nature.

  • December 13th 2018 at 17:00

Virtual Garage Sales for Used Digital Music Are Barred by Court

Virtual Garage Sales for Used Digital Music Are Barred by CourtThe decision, issued Wednesday, affirms a district court’s ruling that such sales infringe the exclusive rights of copyright holders. A virtual marketplace designed to resell digital music files as if they were secondhand albums runs afoul of copyright law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in a victory for record labels. ReDigi Inc., a closely held company that created a platform for the resale of legally purchased music files, had argued that its service facilitated the transfer of music from one recipient to another without duplicating the original file.

  • December 13th 2018 at 16:29

Robinhood Will Offer Checking Service Promising 3% Interest

Robinhood Will Offer Checking Service Promising 3% InterestThe new offering from the Menlo Park, California-based startup is called Robinhood Checking & Savings, and promises a 3 percent interest rate, a sky-high payout in today’s low-yield environment. Robinhood is pitching the service as akin to a checking or savings account, though there are some key differences in how the product was created -- including how it’s insured. “This has been the plan for the business very concretely for at least two years now,” said Baiju Bhatt, who co-founded the no-fee stock trading app in 2013 with Vlad Tenev.

  • December 13th 2018 at 16:00

Unabashed Bitcoin Bull Thomas Lee Says the Market Is Wrong

Unabashed Bitcoin Bull Thomas Lee Says the Market Is WrongBack in May, Thomas Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors was predicting a rally to $25,000 by the end of the year. Bitcoin’s fair value, given the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account and factors influencing supply, is between $13,800 and $14,800, he said in a note Thursday. “Fair value is significantly higher than the current price of Bitcoin,” he wrote.

  • December 13th 2018 at 15:56

GE Surges as Biggest Bear Finally Spots Bottom to Epic Slump

GE Surges as Biggest Bear Finally Spots Bottom to Epic SlumpSteve Tusa, the JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst who has had a sell rating on GE for more than two years, upgraded the shares to neutral Thursday as he said the “known unknowns” weighing on the balance sheet are better understood. The unexpectedly upbeat sentiment sent the shares up as much as 12 percent in New York, the biggest intraday gain in a month. A separate announcement from GE about a reorganization of its digital business also buoyed the stock, which rose 10 percent to $7.38 a share at 9:34 a.m. The gain was welcome news for investors after a whopping 62 percent decline this year through Wednesday.

  • December 13th 2018 at 15:39

Former Canadian Envoy Is Now at Center of Feud With China

Former Canadian Envoy Is Now at Center of Feud With ChinaThe former Canadian diplomat who has written about some of the touchiest geopolitical issues in the world, including China’s expanding military footprint in Africa and the North Korea nuclear crisis, is now at the center of a stand-off between two global super-powers. Kovrig was detained by China’s spy agency during a visit to Beijing on Monday, just nine days after Canadian authorities, acting on a U.S. request, arrested a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver. The Chinese government confirmed Kovrig has been detained, according to a Canadian government official briefing reporters Wednesday evening in Ottawa.

  • December 13th 2018 at 13:51

Virgin Galactic advances space tourism with successful test

A Virgin Galactic rocket plane reached space on Thursday and returned safely to the California desert, capping off years of difficult testing to become the first U.S. commercial human flight to reach space since America’s shuttle program ended in 2011.

Virgin Galactic crew reaches edge of space in flight milestone

A Virgin Galactic rocket plane blasted to the edge of space on Thursday, capping off years of difficult testing to become the first U.S. commercial human flight to reach space since America’s shuttle program ended in 2011.