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  • Over 330 elephants suddenly collapsed and died. Scientists now have an explanation

    Over 330 elephants suddenly collapsed and died. Scientists now have an explanationThe mystery surrounding hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana seems to have been solved and the findings bring an end to months of speculation on why at least 330 elephants were found dead in the northwestern region of the Southern African country earlier this year. Now, however, the country has pointed to toxic blooms of cyanobacteria, a naturally occurring neurotoxin and biological phenomenon which has increased due to climate change, according to Mmadi Reuben, principal veterinary officer at the Botswana department of wildlife and national parks. “As in so many other situations, such as the wildfires in California and Oregon and the floods in the U.K., climate change is the threat multiplier,” Dr Niall McCann, co-founder of U.K.-based charity National Park Rescue, told ABC News.


  • Nasa outlines plan for first woman on Moon by 2024

    Nasa outlines plan for first woman on Moon by 2024The US space agency (Nasa) formally outlines its $28bn plan to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.


  • Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican city

    Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican cityAmong the many mysteries surrounding the ancient Mexican metropolis of Teotihuacan, one has been especially hard to crack: how did its residents use the many signs and symbols found on its murals and ritual sculptures? The discovery in the 1990s of the puzzling red glyphs, most laid out in neat columns, has led a growing number of scholars to question the long-held view that writing was absent from the city, which thrived from roughly 100 B.C. to 550 A.D. Teotihuacan – which lies in a dusty plain about 30 miles (50 km) outside the modern Mexican capital - was once the largest city in the Americas, home to at least 100,000 people.


  • Australian rescuers save 25 of 270 stranded whales so far

    Australian rescuers save 25 of 270 stranded whales so farAround one third of an estimated 270 pilot whales that became stranded on Australia’s island state of Tasmania have died, with rescuers managing to return 25 to the sea in an ongoing operation, officials said Tuesday. “We’ve rescued about 25 at the present time and escorted them out the channel and out to sea and crews are continuing to work, so that number will increase before we get to the end of the day,” Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service Manager Nic Deka told reporters late Tuesday afternoon. Tasmania is prone to whale strandings, but this is the largest mass stranding on Australia's most southern state in years.


  • Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwide

    Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwideWildfires among ponderosa pines and Douglas firs of the U.S. West have long been part of nature's cycle of renewal, as much as the changing of the seasons. Scientists worry the hottest blazes could end up obliterating swathes of some forests forever. "When you get these large areas burned there are no surviving trees to reseed these areas," said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.


  • Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican city

    Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican cityAmong the many mysteries surrounding the ancient Mexican metropolis of Teotihuacan, one has been especially hard to crack: how did its residents use the many signs and symbols found on its murals and ritual sculptures? The discovery in the 1990s of the puzzling red glyphs, most laid out in neat columns, has led a growing number of scholars to question the long-held view that writing was absent from the city, which thrived from roughly 100 B.C. to 550 A.D. Teotihuacan – which lies in a dusty plain about 30 miles (50 km) outside the modern Mexican capital - was once the largest city in the Americas, home to at least 100,000 people.


  • Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican city

    Beyond public view, scholars unravel mystery of writing in ancient Mexican cityAmong the many mysteries surrounding the ancient Mexican metropolis of Teotihuacan, one has been especially hard to crack: how did its residents use the many signs and symbols found on its murals and ritual sculptures? The discovery in the 1990s of the puzzling red glyphs, most laid out in neat columns, has led a growing number of scholars to question the long-held view that writing was absent from the city, which thrived from roughly 100 B.C. to 550 A.D. Teotihuacan – which lies in a dusty plain about 30 miles (50 km) outside the modern Mexican capital - was once the largest city in the Americas, home to at least 100,000 people.


  • Arctic sea-ice shrinks to near record low extent

    Arctic sea-ice shrinks to near record low extentOnly in 2012 have satellites seen the summer floes in the polar north more withdrawn than in 2020.


  • Why do farmers get paid by taxpayers?

    Why do farmers get paid by taxpayers?UK farmers are complaining of a lack of clarity over how they will be rewarded for tending the land.


  • Satellite achieves sharp-eyed view of methane

    Satellite achieves sharp-eyed view of methaneA Canadian company debuts a powerful new capability to monitor the potent greenhouse gas.


  • Singapore central bank 'closely studying' reports on suspicious bank transfers

    Singapore central bank 'closely studying' reports on suspicious bank transfersThe Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday that it was 'closely studying' media reports that Singapore banks had informed U.S. regulators of suspicious transactions. The move came as global banks faced a fresh scandal about dirty money on Monday as they sought to limit the fallout from a cache of leaked documents showing they transferred more than $2 trillion in suspect funds over nearly two decades. Banks from many countries were named in the report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and based on leaked documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.


  • Isolation and closed borders: Here's how ten Pacific Island nations are COVID-19-free, and the costs that come with it

    Isolation and closed borders: Here's how ten Pacific Island nations are COVID-19-free, and the costs that come with itVanuatu's director of public health Dr. Len Tarivonda told the BBC: "If the virus comes, it will probably be like wildfire."


  • Wild maple trees 'in serious need of conservation'

    Wild maple trees 'in serious need of conservation'One in five species of maple are threatened in their natural habitats, an extinction study says.


  • Archaeologists unearthed 27 sarcophagi in an ancient Egyptian city of the dead. They've been sealed for more than 2,500 years.

    Archaeologists unearthed 27 sarcophagi in an ancient Egyptian city of the dead. They've been sealed for more than 2,500 years.Egyptians buried their dead in Saqqara for thousands of years. The ancient city has yielded countless discoveries, including human and animal mummies.


  • Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwide

    Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwideWildfires among ponderosa pines and Douglas firs of the U.S. West have long been part of nature's cycle of renewal, as much as the changing of the seasons. Scientists worry the hottest blazes could end up obliterating swathes of some forests forever. "When you get these large areas burned there are no surviving trees to reseed these areas," said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.


  • Warming shrinks Arctic Ocean ice to 2nd lowest on record

    Warming shrinks Arctic Ocean ice to 2nd lowest on recordIce in the Arctic Ocean melted to its second lowest level on record this summer, triggered by global warming along with natural forces, U.S. scientists reported Monday. The extent of ice-covered ocean at the North Pole and extending further south to Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia reached its summertime low of 1.4 million square miles (3.7 million square kilometers) last week before starting to grow again. Arctic sea ice reaches its low point in September and its high in March after the winter.


  • The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With This Private Company

    The Search for Life on Venus Could Start With This Private CompanyElon Musk wants to settle humans on Mars with his rocket company SpaceX. Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, wants a trillion people living in space. But the chief executive of one private space company is approaching space exploration differently, and now aims to play a part in the search for life on Venus.Last week, scientists announced the astonishing discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. This chemical could have been produced by a biological source, but scientists won't know for sure without sending a spacecraft to the planet.As luck would have it, Rocket Lab, the private small rocket company founded in New Zealand, has been working on such a mission. The company has developed a small satellite, called Photon, that it plans to launch on its own Electron rocket as soon as 2023."This mission is to go and see if we can find life," said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's founder and chief executive. "Obviously, this discovery of phosphine really adds strength to that possibility. So I think we need to go and have a look there."Rocket Lab has launched a dozen rockets to space, putting small satellites into orbit for private companies, NASA and the U.S. military. It also has a mission to the moon in the works with NASA, called CAPSTONE, scheduled to launch in early 2021.The company began looking into the possibility of a mission to Venus last year, before it knew about the phosphine discovery. Although its Electron rocket is much smaller than the ones used by SpaceX and other competitors, it could send a space probe to Venus.The company's plan is to develop the mission in-house and mostly self-fund it, at a cost in the tens of millions of dollars. It is seeking other partners to defray the cost. The Photon spacecraft, a small, 660-pound satellite that had its first test flight to orbit this month, would launch when Earth and Venus align for the shortest journey, and arrive there in several months.The spacecraft will be designed to fly past Venus and take measurements and pictures, rather than enter orbit. But it will be able to release a small probe weighing 82 pounds into the planet's atmosphere, taking readings and looking for further evidence of life.The probe would enter the atmosphere at about 6 miles per second, Beck said, falling through the skies of Venus with no parachute. As it travels through the region in the atmosphere where phosphine was discovered and airborne microbial life could be present, it would take readings and beam them back to Earth via the Photon spacecraft before being destroyed.Rocket Lab is working with scientists on which scientific instruments the probe and spacecraft might carry, including Sara Seager from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the researchers involved in the discovery of phosphine. Although the probe could likely only carry a single instrument, there is a lot it could accomplish.Seager said they could likely put an infrared spectrometer or "some kind of gas analyzer" on board to confirm the presence of phosphine and measure other gases."Looking for other gases that aren't expected could also be a sign of life," she said.Seager is also part of a team working with Breakthrough Initiatives, which is funded by Yuri Milner, the Russian investor. Over the next six months, her team will study what sort of small, medium and large missions could be sent to Venus in the near future to look for life.Rocket Lab's modest mission is limited in what it can achieve. The probe will not survive long and it will likely not have a camera, meaning its scientific return will be brief even if meaningful.NASA is considering a pair of larger missions to Venus, one called DAVINCI+, the other VERITAS, and each would have many more capabilities."When you spend 100 times more on a payload, then you will get more science out of it," said Colin Wilson of the University of Oxford, who is part of a proposed European Venus orbiter called EnVision that aims to launch in 2032.The trade-off, however, is speed. Rocket Lab could rapidly develop their mission, and be ready to launch years before government space agencies. And although its small mission may lack sophisticated capabilities, it would become the first mission designed to enter the Venusian atmosphere since the Soviet Union's Vega 2 in 1985, yielding important new data."There's just so much good science to do that we can't do it all," said Mark McCaughrean, senior science and exploration adviser at ESA. "So if other players come in and say we can go and do this, I don't see any problem with that whatsoever."With the phosphine announcement, Rocket Lab's mission now has the exciting prospect of contributing to a major scientific discovery, and changing how researchers conduct planetary exploration. NASA sent astronauts to the Moon. SpaceX wants to land humans on Mars. Is Rocket Lab staking a claim for Venus?"No," Beck said, with a laugh. "Venus is hugely alluring. But as far as claiming planets, that's not what I'm interested in."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


  • Pandemic shows need for global response to climate change, says Attenborough

    Pandemic shows need for global response to climate change, says AttenboroughCOVID-19 is a reminder that "we are all in it together" and the world needs a global response to the climate change crisis, David Attenborough said, as he launched a film about lessons learned during his seven decades as a television naturalist. The film "David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet" sets out his "witness statement" on the destruction of the environment and ideas on how humans can still put it right.


  • How shark scales' unique design inspired the first manmade pattern to help stop bacterial spread

    How shark scales' unique design inspired the first manmade pattern to help stop bacterial spreadA shark's skin is made up of thousands of armor-like scales, known as denticles. Now, humans are copying that pattern to fight the spread of bacteria.


  • Arctic sea ice suffers 'devastating' loss, shrinks to second lowest on record

    Arctic sea ice suffers 'devastating' loss, shrinks to second lowest on recordWarming in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists announced Monday, yet another sign of how climate change is rapidly transforming the region. Satellites recorded this year's sea ice minimum at 3.74 million square kilometers on Sept. 15, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4 million square kilometers in 40 years of record keeping, said researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The record low of 3.41 million square kilometers, reached in 2012 after a late-season cyclonic storm broke up the remaining ice, is not much below what researchers see today.


  • What are the micro-organisms causing elephant deaths in Botswana?

    What are the micro-organisms causing elephant deaths in Botswana?Botswana wildlife officials said on Monday that toxins produced by microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria had caused the deaths of 330 elephants this year. Since they were first reported around early May, the elephant deaths had baffled and alarmed conservationists, who feared they could escalate. Below are some facts about cyanobacteria.


  • Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins at Egypt's Saqqara pyramid

    Archaeologists unearth 27 coffins at Egypt's Saqqara pyramidEgyptian archaeologists have unearthed more than two dozen ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo, an official said Monday. The sarcophagi have remained unopened since they were buried more than 2,500 years ago near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, said Neveine el-Arif, a spokeswomen for the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Footage shared by the ministry showed colorful sarcophagi decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as other artifacts the ministry said were found in the two wells.


  • Fauci: We'll likely be wearing masks for most of 2021, even after a vaccine rolls out

    Fauci: We'll likely be wearing masks for most of 2021, even after a vaccine rolls out"I never said just the vaccine," Dr. Fauci said. "You never should abandon the public-health measures" if we really want to get rid of the virus.


  • Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19

    Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19A new study that analyzed the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil has found a link between the spread of the virus and past outbreaks of dengue fever that suggests exposure to the mosquito-transmitted illness may provide some level of immunity against COVID-19. The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, and shared exclusively with Reuters, compared the geographic distribution of coronavirus cases with the spread of dengue in 2019 and 2020. Places with lower coronavirus infection rates and slower case growth were locations that had suffered intense dengue outbreaks this year or last, Nicolelis found.


  • Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19

    Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19A new study that analyzed the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil has found a link between the spread of the virus and past outbreaks of dengue fever that suggests exposure to the mosquito-transmitted illness may provide some level of immunity against COVID-19. The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, and shared exclusively with Reuters, compared the geographic distribution of coronavirus cases with the spread of dengue in 2019 and 2020. Places with lower coronavirus infection rates and slower case growth were locations that had suffered intense dengue outbreaks this year or last, Nicolelis found.


  • Inside Big Pharma's work with celebs

    Inside Big Pharma's work with celebsBusiness Insider's biggest healthcare stories for September 21.


  • NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the ribbon of a supernova blast that ancient humans saw about 15,000 years ago

    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the ribbon of a supernova blast that ancient humans saw about 15,000 years agoNo space telescope had ever before captured the glowing ribbons of the Cygnus Loop — remnants of a supernova blast wave — in such detail.


  • Pandemic shows need for global response to climate change, says Attenborough

    Pandemic shows need for global response to climate change, says AttenboroughCOVID-19 is a reminder that "we are all in it together" and the world needs a global response to the climate change crisis, David Attenborough said, as he launched a film about lessons learned during his seven decades as a television naturalist. The film "David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet" sets out his "witness statement" on the destruction of the environment and ideas on how humans can still put it right.


  • U.S. corporate board diversity lags as few minority executives get top jobs - study

    U.S. corporate board diversity lags as few minority executives get top jobs - studyPublicly traded U.S. companies have been slow to add minority directors over the past five years even as women grabbed a greater share of board seats during that period, a comprehensive study to be released on Monday shows. Across the Russell 3000, a broad index of U.S. companies, 29% now have two or more ethnically diverse directors, 7 percentage points more than in 2016, according to the new data from ISS ESG, an arm of Institutional Shareholder Services, scheduled to be presented at a conference on Monday. By contrast 66% of those boards now have 2 or more women, 27 percentage points more than in 2016, ISS found.


  • U.S. corporate board diversity lags as few minority execs get top jobs: study

    U.S. corporate board diversity lags as few minority execs get top jobs: studyPublicly traded U.S. companies have been slow to add minority directors over the past five years even as women grabbed a greater share of board seats during that period, a comprehensive study to be released on Monday shows. Across the Russell 3000, a broad index of U.S. companies, 29% now have two or more ethnically diverse directors, 7 percentage points more than in 2016, according to the new data from ISS ESG, an arm of Institutional Shareholder Services, scheduled to be presented at a conference on Monday. By contrast 66% of those boards now have 2 or more women, 27 percentage points more than in 2016, ISS found.


  • Botswana says toxins in water killed hundreds of elephants

    Botswana says toxins in water killed hundreds of elephantsToxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 elephants in Botswana this year, officials said on Monday, announcing the result of an investigation into the deaths which had baffled and alarmed conservationists. Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Not all produce toxins but scientists say toxic ones are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.


  • Botswana says toxins in water killed hundreds of elephants

    Botswana says toxins in water killed hundreds of elephantsToxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 elephants in Botswana this year, officials said on Monday, announcing the result of an investigation into the deaths which had baffled and alarmed conservationists. Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Not all produce toxins but scientists say toxic ones are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.


  • Taiwan plant hunters race to collect rare species before they're gone

    Taiwan plant hunters race to collect rare species before they're goneIn the forests and on remote offshore islands of Taiwan, a group of conservationists are racing to collect as many rare plant species as they can before they are lost to climate change and human encroachment. Overseen by the Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Centre, the plant hunters are scouring sub-tropical Taiwan for as many rare plant samples as they can find, from the rugged eastern coast around Taitung to Dongyin, in the Matsu archipelago. Industrialised Taiwan is best known for its mass production of technological goods.


  • Wider Image: Taiwan plant hunters race to collect rare species before they're gone

    Wider Image: Taiwan plant hunters race to collect rare species before they're goneIn the forests and on remote offshore islands of Taiwan, a group of conservationists are racing to collect as many rare plant species as they can before they are lost to climate change and human encroachment. Overseen by the Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Centre, the plant hunters are scouring sub-tropical Taiwan for as many rare plant samples as they can find, from the rugged eastern coast around Taitung to Dongyin, in the Matsu archipelago. Industrialised Taiwan is best known for its mass production of technological goods.


  • Climate Week: World split on urgency of tackling rising temperatures, poll suggests

    Climate Week: World split on urgency of tackling rising temperatures, poll suggestsConcern about climate change is growing, but there are big differences about the need for rapid action.


  • Whale swims free of Australian river as 270 are stranded

    Whale swims free of Australian river as 270 are strandedA humpback whale has found its way back to sea weeks after getting lost in a murky, crocodile-infested river in northern Australia, while an estimated 270 pilot whales became stranded in the country's south. There have been no previous recorded sightings of whales in remote East Alligator River in the Northern Territory’s World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, and no one can explain why at least three of the blue water mammals ventured so deep inland in a river with little visibility. In a more common phenomenon, about 270 pilot whales were reported stranded Monday on sandbars off Australia’s southern island of Tasmania state.


  • Engagement with anti-vaxx Facebook pages more than trebled from July to August, analysis shows

    Engagement with anti-vaxx Facebook pages more than trebled from July to August, analysis showsThe Guardian's research was based on monitoring six popular pages that posted anti-vaccine messages.


  • The fall equinox comes on Tuesday. A planetary scientist's simple animation explains what equinoxes are and how they work.

    The fall equinox comes on Tuesday. A planetary scientist's simple animation explains what equinoxes are and how they work.The fall equinox happens on Tuesday. Here's how the equinox works, according to a planetary scientist.


  • Efforts afoot to save South's disappearing grasslands

    Efforts afoot to save South's disappearing grasslandsOnce sunlight hit the ground, the seeds and rootstock of native grasses and wildflowers that had lain dormant for decades began to spring to life. The area was originally part of vast patchwork of Southern grasslands that today hang on only in tiny remnants, many times in rights-of-way next to roads or under power lines. In Tennessee, where the pine trees were cleared, wildlife officials now maintain about 4,000 acres of grassland in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area with controlled low-temperature burns.


  • Amgen drug shrinks tumors in lung cancer patients with KRAS gene mutation - study

    Amgen drug shrinks tumors in lung cancer patients with KRAS gene mutation - studyThe median length of time that patients given the drug sotorasib lived before their disease worsened was 6.3 months for lung cancer patients and 4 months for colorectal cancer patients, the company said. Patients in the Phase I trial involving several types of cancer were treated with once daily sotorasib. The oral medication is designed to target a mutated form of a gene known as KRAS that occurs in about 13% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer.


  • New types of polar lights are upending what we know about the aurora. Amateur scientists and interns made the latest discoveries.

    New types of polar lights are upending what we know about the aurora. Amateur scientists and interns made the latest discoveries.Aurorae happen on other planets, too, as charged particles from the sun surge through the solar system.


  • Far-right conspiracy theorists say 94% of US COVID-19 deaths don't count because those Americans had underlying conditions. That's bogus.

    Far-right conspiracy theorists say 94% of US COVID-19 deaths don't count because those Americans had underlying conditions. That's bogus.In August, the CDC reported that 94% of Americans who died of COVID-19 had underlying conditions. But that doesn't mean the virus only killed 6%.


  • Russia's top space official tried to claim that the planet Venus belongs to the Kremlin

    Russia's top space official tried to claim that the planet Venus belongs to the KremlinThe head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, also said the country plans to send its own mission to Venus.


  • Underwater and on fire: US climate change magnifies extremes

    Underwater and on fire: US climate change magnifies extremesAmerica's worsening climate change problem is as polarized as its politics. The already parched West is getting drier and suffering deadly wildfires because of it, while the much wetter East keeps getting drenched in mega-rainfall events, some hurricane related and others not. Climate change is magnifying both extremes, but it may not be the only factor, several scientists told The Associated Press.


  • The world's first reality show in space plans to send one winner on a 10-day trip to the space station, filming the whole time

    The world's first reality show in space plans to send one winner on a 10-day trip to the space station, filming the whole timeSpace Hero, Inc., a US-based production company, has announced plans to produce a reality show that would send one person into space in 2023.


  • Bristol Myers' Opdivo with Exelixis drug cuts kidney cancer death risk - study

    Bristol Myers' Opdivo with Exelixis drug cuts kidney cancer death risk - studyBristol Myers Squibb Co's cancer immunotherapy Opdivo in combination with Exelixis Inc's Cabometyx reduced the risk of death by 40% in previously untreated patients with advanced kidney cancer, according to data from a late-stage study to be presented on Saturday. The drug combination also doubled patients' median length of time before their cancer began to worsen to 16.6 months compared to progression-free survival of 8.3 months for patients treated with the chemotherapy sunitinib, an older Pfizer Inc drug sold under the brand name Sutent. "There is no doubt in my mind that this will be a major player" as an initial treatment for advanced kidney cancer, said lead researcher Dr. Toni Choueiri from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.