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Carnivore Comeback: Bears and Wolves Are Thriving in Europe

Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves as the U.S. A new study finds that Europe's other large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in their numbers, too — and mostly in nonprotected areas where the animals coexist alongside humans. The success is owed to cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and a public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness, according to study leader Guillaume Chapron, a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences' Grimsö Wildlife Research Station. In Europe, "we don't have unspoiled, untouched areas," Chapron told Live Science.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 4:05 pm

Daring Philae Comet Landing Named Top Breakthrough of 2014

Daring Philae Comet Landing Named Top Breakthrough of 2014The first-ever soft landing of a robotic probe the surface of a comet has just been named the top scientific breakthrough of 2014 by the journal Science. The European Space Agency's comet-studying Rosetta mission is telling scientists more about the origins of the solar system, according to representatives with Science. Rosetta has been orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko since August and released the Philae lander down to the icy cosmic body's surface in November. "Even though the landing was rougher than expected — Philae bounced off the unforgiving surface of 67P and came to rest on its side, quite a distance from its target — it was nonetheless the first-ever soft landing on a comet," Science representatives said in a statement.


Posted on 18 December 2014 | 3:35 pm

Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee

Henry Streby holds a male golden-winged warbler and the geolocator that the bird carried in the Cumberland Mountains of TennesseeBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You might want to be careful about who you call a birdbrain. Some of our feathered friends exhibit powers of perception that put humans to shame. Scientists said on Thursday that little songbirds known as golden-winged warblers fled their nesting grounds in Tennessee up to two days before the arrival of a fierce storm system that unleashed 84 tornadoes in southern U.S. states in April. The researchers said the birds were apparently alerted to the danger by sounds at frequencies below the range of human hearing. ...


Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:13 pm

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Finds 1st Alien Planet of New Mission

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Finds 1st Alien Planet of New MissionNASA's Kepler space telescope is discovering alien planets again. "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kepler has been reborn and is continuing to make discoveries," study lead author Andrew Vanderburg, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said in a statement. The spacecraft has been incredibly successful to date, finding nearly 1,000 confirmed planets — more than half of all known alien worlds — along with about 3,200 other "candidates," the vast majority of which should turn out to be the real deal. The spacecraft finds planets by the "transit method," watching for the telltale dimming caused when a world cross the face of, or transits, its parent star from Kepler's perspective.


Posted on 18 December 2014 | 11:58 am

Strange Fossil Shows How Life Responded After Mass Extinction

A strange marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs that was recently unearthed in China may shed light on how life recovered after the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history, researchers say. The creatures were odd-looking predators that grew to about 6 feet (2 meters) in size, and have so far only been found in the province of Hubei in central China. "Hupehsuchia is a group of bizarre marine reptiles unlike anything living today," said study co-author Ryosuke Motani, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of California, Davis.

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 10:11 am

Ancient Farmhouse Found in Israel Reveals Agricultural Secrets

Ancient Farmhouse Found in Israel Reveals Agricultural SecretsOver the past few weeks, archaeologists have uncovered the sprawling stone house in Rosh Ha-'Ayin, in central Israel. Archaeologists found the farmhouse during an excavation that the government required be done before construction could begin to enlarge the modern city. The house, which measures 98 by 131 feet (30 by 40 meters), is "extraordinarily well preserved," Amit Shadman, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. The farmhouse dates back to the time of the Assyrian conquest, when the Assyrians conquered Northern Israel, the researchers said.


Posted on 18 December 2014 | 10:09 am

SpaceX delays planned cargo run to space station to early January

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 FloridaCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had been planned for 1:22 p.m. EST, but an undisclosed technical issue with the rocket prompted SpaceX, as the company is known, to postpone the flight until Jan 6. The problem surfaced during routine prelaunch test firing of the rocket’s engines, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. ...


Posted on 18 December 2014 | 8:07 am

India tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market

By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's space agency successfully tested on Thursday its most powerful satellite launch vehicle that can put heavier payloads into space, and, it hopes, win India a bigger slice of the $300 billion global space industry. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also checked the working of an unmanned crew module on the vehicle, which could give the agency the option of manned missions. ...

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 2:12 am

U.S, China making progress on biotech crop talks: USDA's Vilsack

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The United States and China are making progress in talks over Beijing's acceptance of new biotechnology for crops, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. The countries are "moving toward an understanding of how we might be able to establish a strategic dialogue on biotechnology," Vilsack told Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang in a bilateral meeting in Chicago. Biotech crops are a key trade issue between the countries because China has rejected more than 1 million tons of U.S. ...

Posted on 17 December 2014 | 11:46 am

Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar Space

Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar SpaceIt turns out that sailing through interstellar space isn't so peaceful. NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft — the only object made by humans to reach interstellar space — might still be caught what scientists have described as a cosmic "tsunami wave," a shock wave that first hit the probe in February, according to new research. You can hear the eerie interstellar vibrations in a video, courtesy of NASA. "Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet," study researcher Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa, and the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement from NASA.


Posted on 17 December 2014 | 4:39 am