Is Booze Tasty, or Bitter? Your Genes Decide

In the study, people with one version of a bitterness taste receptor gene said they found an alcoholic drink to be less bitter-tasting than those with a different version of the gene, according to the findings published today (Sept. 23) in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. "The two genes, that had been previously associated with [alcohol] intake, also associated with differences in the perception of ethanol," said study author Dr. John E. Hayes, of the Sensory Evaluation Center at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park. "The reason this work is significant is because it fills in this gap, because no one had shown in the lab that the alcohol actually tastes differently depending on which [version of the gene] you have." He and his colleagues looked at variants in two of these genes, called TAS2R13 and TAS2R38, in 93 healthy people of European ancestry, as well as variants in a gene called TRPV1, which codes for a receptor involved in perceiving "burning" or "stinging" sensations in the mouth.

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 6:17 pm

US Diabetes Rate May Be Leveling Off

The findings "suggest a potential slowing in the diabetes epidemic," study authors Linda Geiss, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and her colleagues wrote in their study published today (Sept. 23) in the journal JAMA. Still, diabetes rates have doubled since 1990, and the condition remains a public health concern, the researchers said. More than 29 million people in the United States now have Type 2 diabetes, and another 86 million have prediabetes, a condition of abnormally high blood sugar levels that could progress into diabetes, according to a CDC report using 2012 data. The growing rate of diabetes in the past two decades has been linked to a variety of factors, including aging population, increased obesity rates and people having a more sedentary lifestyle — all of which are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 6:17 pm

Obama on Climate Change: 'No Nation Is Immune'

Obama on Climate Change: 'No Nation Is Immune'President Barack Obama spoke in front of more than 120 world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York today (Sept. 23) to deliver a message for cooperative action on climate change. Climate change, Obama said, promises to define the next century more dramatically than any other global threat, including terrorism, political instability, inequality and disease. "We cannot condemn our children and their children to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair," Obama told the audience at the daylong U.N. Climate Summit. Though Obama and other world leaders made pledges to tackle climate change today, member nations of the U.N. General Assembly didn't dive into climate negotiations or make any legally binding global pacts.

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 5:54 pm

SpaceX Dragon capsule reaches space station

Falcon 9 rocket is launched by Space Exploration Technologies on its fourth cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in FloridaBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. - A Space Exploration Technologies cargo ship carrying an experimental 3-D printer and a habitat with 20 mice arrived at the International Space Station on Tuesday, ending a two-day journey. Working from inside the station’s windowed cupola module, flight engineer Alexander Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut, used the station’s 58-foot-long (18m) robotic arm to pluck the Dragon capsule from orbit at 6:52 a.m. EDT as the ships sailed 262 miles (422 km) over the Pacific Ocean. ...

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:37 am

TV dwells on disaster in covering climate science: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Television news tends to focus on disasters such as droughts or floods in covering scientific findings about climate change, an approach that may exaggerate pessimism about the subject, according to a new study. The review of coverage by leading television news shows in Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, Germany and India found that they most often framed reports about the science of global warming in terms of crisis. ...

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:02 am

SpaceX Breaks Ground on Private Spaceport in Texas

SpaceX Breaks Ground on Private Spaceport in TexasThe private spaceflight company SpaceX has begun construction on a new launch site in Texas, a seaside spaceport that will be used to blast commercial satellites into orbit a few years from now. SpaceX officially broke ground on the facility, on Monday (Sept. 22) in Brownsville, Texas. The new launch site will be located near Boca Chica Beach, at the far southern tip of the Lone Star State. "We appreciate the leadership of [Texas] Governor Rick Perry and numerous other federal, state and local leaders who have helped make it possible for SpaceX to build the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions," SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said in a statement.

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 8:59 am

Three Saturn Moons Shine Amid Dazzling Rings in NASA Photo

Three Saturn Moons Shine Amid Dazzling Rings in NASA PhotoNASA's Cassini spacecraft has snapped a stunning photo of three Saturn moons, showing the satellites in all their disparate glory. The newly released image captures the Saturn moons of Tethys (center), Hyperion (upper left) and Prometheus (lower left), along with the gas giant's iconic rings. While NASA released the photo on Monday (Sept. 22), Cassini actually took the picture on July 14, when it was about 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) from Tethys. At 660 miles (1,062 km) wide, spherical Tethys is by far the largest of the three and sports a diversity of landforms on its frigid surface.

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 8:59 am

Scientists Lead Huge Climate Change March in NYC

Scientists Lead Huge Climate Change March in NYCNEW YORK — Lab-coat-clad and picket-sign-wielding scientists were on the frontlines of the People's Climate Change march yesterday (Sept. 21) along with hordes of students and others concerned about the planet's changing climate.

Posted on 22 September 2014 | 12:18 pm

Hints of Mysterious Dark Matter Revealed by Cosmic Rays

Hints of Mysterious Dark Matter Revealed by Cosmic RaysA particle detector floating 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth has analyzed 41 billion cosmic-ray particles, and the data have revealed new insights into the mysterious and invisible dark matter that physicists believe makes up 27 percent of the universe. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) detector aboard the International Space Station already gathered evidence of dark matter last year, but the new results are the most precise measurements of cosmic-ray particles yet. They include 50 percent more data, and have revealed new insights into the origin of the particles found in cosmic rays, Samuel Ting, a professor of physics at MIT and an AMS spokesman, said during a live webcast at the CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) lab in Switzerland yesterday (Sept. 18). Physicists theorized the existence of invisible, and so far undetectable, dark matter as a way to explain why galaxies and celestial bodies don't just unravel and fly apart.

Posted on 22 September 2014 | 8:23 am

India's Mars mission a step closer to success with engine test

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, carrying the Mars orbiter, blasts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in SriharikotaBy Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian scientists successfully tested the main engine of a spacecraft bound for Mars on Monday and performed a course correction that puts the low-cost project on track to enter the red planet's orbit. The $74-million mission will attempt to enter orbit around Mars early on Wednesday. If successful, it will be the first time a mission has entered Mars' orbit on its first attempt, enhancing India's position in the global space race. "Main liquid engine test firing successful ... ...

Posted on 22 September 2014 | 7:39 am