Two worlds orbiting a distant star are about to become a snack of cosmic proportions. Astronomers announced that the planets Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c will be swallowed by their star in a short time by astronomical standards. Their ends will come in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively.
The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. We're missing the astronomical equivalent of strawberry ice cream -- planets between about one and four times the size of Earth.
Life in the universe might be even rarer than we thought. Recently, astronomers looking for potentially habitable worlds have targeted red dwarf stars because they are the most common type of star, composing 80 percent of the stars in the universe. But a new study shows that harsh space weather might strip the atmosphere of any rocky planet orbiting in a red dwarf's habitable zone.
Tweets are only 140 characters, but amass enough of them, and researchers can deduce a great deal about subjects ranging from disease outbreaks to social unrest. Researchers have proposed guidelines to make sure data mined from Twitter data is obtained and used ethically.
The Internet has revolutionized the software industry. A single software market is emerging, independent of national borders, where products and services are digitally distributed. But the legal framework for software transfers is not geographically independent; relevant underlying law varies substantially between different legal systems. New research demonstrates the legal difficulties with this emerging market, but also proposes solutions to such problems.
Creating tabletop light sources in the lab: Physicist builds useful light source from harmonic generation
Scientists are developing a way to greatly enhance the generation of high-order harmonics to create powerful small tabletop light sources that are important to science and technology. The researchers are building theoretical framework and providing experimental guidance in the area of strong-field physics.
Nearly 800 Baltimore school children were followed in a ground-breaking study for a quarter of a century. The conclusion: their fates were substantially determined by the economic status of the family they were born into. Through repeated interviews with the children and their parents and teachers, the research team observed the group as its members made their way through elementary, middle and high school, joined the work force and started families.
The constellation Libra, the Scales, has a long history in the night sky. See how Libra became a constellation in ancient times, and how to see the cosmic balance of the constellation.
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "While most organizations have patched the Heartbleed bug in their OpenSSL installations, a security expert has uncovered new vectors for exploiting the vulnerability, which can impact enterprise wireless networks, Android devices, and other connected devices. Dubbed 'Cupid,' the new attack method was recently presented by Portuguese security researcher Luis Grangeia, who debunked theories that Heartbleed could only be exploited over TCP connections, and after the TLS handshake. Unlike the initial Heartbleed attack, which took place on TLS connections over TCP, the Cupid attack happens on TLS connections over the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), an authentication framework typically used in wireless networks and peer-to-peer connections. The researcher has confirmed that default installations of wpa_supplicant, hostapd, and freeradius (RADIUS server implementation) can be exploited on Ubuntu if a vulnerable version of OpenSSL is utilized. Mobile devices running Android 4.1.0 and 4.1.1 also use wpa_supplicant to connect to wireless networks, so they're also affected. Everything that uses OpenSSL for EAP TLS is susceptible to Cupid attacks. While he hasn't been able to confirm it, the expert believes iPhones, iPads, OS X, other RADIUS servers besides freeradius, VoIP phones, printers, and various commercial managed wireless solutions could be affected."
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Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a survey found that they illicit different reactions in Americans.
Our technological systems are becoming more complicated. In some cases, even so complicated that the experts involved in their construction don’t fully understand them any more. But too often, when we think about technology, we focus on certain kinds of systems: computers and large machines. But there are many other anthropic systems that might be […]
Innovative immunotherapies treatments for advanced or high-risk melanoma and cervical cancer -- used alone or in combination -- fight cancer by activating and amplifying the body's immune response to the disease. New studies find high activity with investigative drugs for advanced melanoma, and show for the first time that ipilimumab, a treatment already approved for advanced melanoma, can substantially decrease the risk of melanoma recurrence in certain patients with earlier-stage disease.
A new study finds a link between prenatal maternal stress and the development of symptoms of asthma and autism in children. Scientists have been studying women who were pregnant during the January 1998 Quebec ice storm since June of that year and observing effects of their stress on their children's development (Project Ice Storm). The team examined the degree to which the mothers' objective degree of hardship from the storm and their subjective degree of distress explained differences among the women's children in asthma-like symptoms and in autism-like traits.
A fungus that kills an estimated 30 percent of the world's rice crop may finally have met its match, thanks to a research discovery made by scientists. A naturally occurring microbe in soil that inhibits the rice blast fungus has been identified by a team of researchers. "Rice blast is a relentless killer, a force to be reckoned with, especially as rice is a staple in the daily diet of more than half the world's population -- that's over 3 billion people," says the study's leader.
Anyone involved in macromolecular crystallography will know that for many years scientists have had to rely on a multi-stage process utilizing protein, usually expressed in engineered cells, which is then extracted and purified before crystallization in vitro and finally prepared for analysis. As a counter to this time-consuming and substantial scientific effort, there are a number of examples of protein crystallization events occurring in vivo, with next to no human input. In a case presented in a recent paper, an insect virus exploits the phenomenon as part of its life cycle.
Even by three months of age, babies are visually able to locate objects that stand out from a group, a study has found. "For example, an infant can pick a red umbrella in a sea of grey ones," says the leader of the research. "This indicates that babies at a very young age are able to selectively extract information from the environment, just like adults."
Here's more evidence that pregnant women should be careful about what they eat and drink: A new research report shows that when taken during pregnancy, resveratrol supplements led to developmental abnormalities in the fetal pancreas. This study has direct relevance to human health--Resveratrol is widely used for its recognized health benefits, and is readily available over the counter.
Until now, scientists have not known exactly how inflammation weakens the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins and other molecules access to the brain. A new research report solves this mystery by showing that a molecule, called 'microRNA-155,' is responsible for cleaving epithelial cells to create microscopic gaps that let material through.
An anonymous reader writes "Google is planning to spend over $1 billion on a fleet of satellites to extend Internet access to unwired regions around the world. 'The projected price ranges from about $1 billion to more than $3 billion, the people familiar with the project said, depending on the network's final design and a later phase that could double the number of satellites. Based on past satellite ventures, costs could rise. Google's project is the latest effort by a Silicon Valley company to extend Internet coverage from the sky to help its business on the ground. Google and Facebook Inc. are counting on new Internet users in underserved regions to boost revenue, and ultimately, earnings. "Google and Facebook are trying to figure out ways of reaching populations that thus far have been unreachable," said Susan Irwin, president of Irwin Communications Inc., a satellite-communications research firm. "Wired connectivity only goes so far and wireless cellular networks reach small areas. Satellites can gain much broader access."'"
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Positive results from four clinical trials of investigational targeted drugs for advanced ovarian, lung, and thyroid cancers, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia were highlighted recently by researchers. Findings from the mid- and late-stage trials suggest new ways to slow disease progression and improve survival for patients who experience relapses or resistance to available treatments.