Rare Roman Tombstone Discovered in England

Rare Roman Tombstone Discovered in EnglandA 1,800-year-old tombstone was discovered at a Roman cemetery in England this week. Because of its inscription, archaeologists know who was buried in the grave: a 27-year-old woman named Bodica. "It's incredibly rare," Neil Holbrook, of Cotswold Archaeology, told Live Science. For the last two months, Holbrook's team has been excavating a Roman cemetery just outside the ancient city walls of Cirencester, a town in Gloucestershire, to make way for the construction of a new office park.

Posted on 28 February 2015 | 8:09 am

NASA Satellite Captures Amazing 3D Videos of Rain, Snow

NASA Satellite Captures Amazing 3D Videos of Rain, SnowMesmerizing and swirling animations of rain and snow dance across a map of the Earth, shown in a video released yesterday (Feb. 26) by NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The NASA video captures worldwide precipitation from April to September 2014, and even shows Hurricane Arthur twist into a tropical storm from July 2 to 4 in the Atlantic Ocean, said Gail Skofronick-Jackson, a GPM project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The "GPM mission is the first coordinated international satellite network that provides near real-time global estimates of rain and snow," Skofronick-Jackson said at news conference yesterday. The video is the product of the GPM Core Observatory, launched one year ago on Feb. 27 by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Posted on 28 February 2015 | 8:08 am

Leonard Nimoy's Legacy: Obama, Astronauts Pay Tribute

Leonard Nimoy's Legacy: Obama, Astronauts Pay TributeThe death of "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nimoy has prompted an outpouring of condolences and heartfelt reflection from astronauts, scientists, celebrities and even President Barack Obama. People from around the world flocked to social media  to honor Leonard Nimoy — made famous by his portrayal of the logical Vulcan Spock on the original "Star Trek" TV show — after his death was reported earlier today (Feb. 27). "Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy," Obama said in a statement released today. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek's optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity's future.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 5:40 pm

Leonard Nimoy, Spock on 'Star Trek,' Dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy, Spock on 'Star Trek,' Dies at 83Actor Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the iconic logical Vulcan Spock on TV's "Star Trek" and in feature films, has died. Nimoy's career spanned TV, feature films, art and photography, but he was perhaps best known for playing Spock, the logical Vulcan on the starship the USS Enterprise, in "Star Trek." Nimoy died from complications due to "end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," according to the New York Times, which first reported the actor's death Friday morning (Feb. 27). His idea for Spock's signature Vulcan salute was actually inspired by his Jewish heritage after seeing men at his synagogue use the hand gesture during prayer. NASA paid tribute to the actor today with a post on Twitter featuring a photo of Nimoy and his "Star Trek" co-stars in front of the space shuttle Enterprise, named for the fictional starship in the television show.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 2:12 pm

NASA resolves issue with spacesuit helmet water leak

NASA astronaut Terry Virts Flight Engineer of Expedition 42 is seen during a spacewalk outside the International Space StationBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Water that leaked into an astronaut’s helmet after a spacewalk on Wednesday poses no threat, clearing the way for another outing to rig the International Space Station for new space taxis, NASA said on Friday. Space station flight engineer Terry Virts was back in the station’s airlock on Wednesday following a successful spacewalk when he noticed a small amount of water in his helmet. Another astronaut nearly drowned during a July 2013 spacewalk due to a helmet leak. Virts, who was making his second spacewalk in a week, was never in any danger, NASA said.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 2:01 pm

White & Gold or Blue & Black? Science of the Mystery Dress

David Williams, a vision scientist at the University of Rochester in New York, has a theory. Light is made up of different wavelengths, which the brain perceives as color.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 12:31 pm

Monsanto says GM corn trial in final stage in India

By Mayank Bhardwaj and Krishna N. Das NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Monsanto's Indian subsidiary expects to submit final trial results for its genetically modified (GM) corn to lawmakers within a year for the government to then decide on a commercial launch, the company's country head said on Friday. India does not currently allow the growing of GM food crops but the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, keen to improve farms' productivity, has encouraged open field trials after a five-year de facto ban. "We are close to the final stage in corn," Shilpa Divekar Nirula, chief executive of Monsanto India, told Reuters.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 10:44 am

Cool Pacific Ocean Slowed Global Warming

Cool Pacific Ocean Slowed Global WarmingThe Pacific Ocean has been a planetary air conditioner for the past two decades, but the relief may soon end, a new study finds. The Pacific and Atlantic oceans undergo decades-long natural oscillations that alter their sea surface temperatures. Over the past 130 years, the tempo of global warming has revved up or slowed down in tune with changing ocean temperatures, researchers reported today (Feb. 26) in the journal Science. The Pacific Ocean wielded its mighty influence starting in 1998, when it interrupted the rapid climb of global temperatures, the study reported.

Posted on 27 February 2015 | 7:09 am

U.S. rocket launch pad repair set to halt in funding spat

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - Work to repair a Virginia-owned launch pad damaged by an Orbital ATK rocket explosion is about to halt amid a debate about who should pick up the bill, according to officials in the dispute. The Oct. 28, 2014 accident at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), located on Wallops Island, Virginia, caused about $20 million in damages to the state-owned launch pad.Orbital was launching its third Antares rocket for NASA under a $1.9 billion contract to fly cargo to the International Space Station. Orbital had insurance to cover its losses at Wallops, as well as damage to federal property and other entities as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial launches in the United States. “We looked at insurance for the pad, but the coverage was inadequate to our needs, and to the extent it was available, was exorbitantly costly,” MARS Executive Director Dale Nash wrote in an email.

Posted on 26 February 2015 | 6:28 pm

'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not Chimps

'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not ChimpsA single gene may have paved the way for the rise of human intelligence by dramatically increasing the number of brain cells found in a key brain region. This gene seems to be uniquely human: It is found in modern-day humans, Neanderthals and another branch of extinct humans called Denisovans, but not in chimpanzees. By allowing the brain region called the neocortex to contain many more neurons, the tiny snippet of DNA may have laid the foundation for the human brain's massive expansion. "It is so cool that one tiny gene alone may suffice to affect the phenotype of the stem cells, which contributed the most to the expansion of the neocortex," said study lead author Marta Florio, a doctoral candidate in molecular and cellular biology and genetics at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.

Posted on 26 February 2015 | 2:29 pm