Electoral reform experts believe ranked-choice voting has the potential to shake up the two-party system without destabilizing American politics. It is seen as a way to give voters more choices, reduce polarization, and make room for candidates to run as independents.
If you listen closely to the sound of birds chirping, you’ll hear that they’re taking turns. The same goes for croaking frogs and dolphin whistles. Fireflies flirt in alternating flashes, called “courtship dialogues.” And monkey parents will refuse to respond to offspring if they’re interrupted. Scientists have long observed that creatures seem to convey a…
You've heard of the swine flu and the bird flu," but now scientists are concerned about dog flu — and, in particular, dog flu jumping to humans. Specifically, the researchers found that flu viruses can jump from pigs to dogs and that, once in dogs, these "pig" flu viruses can mix with dog flu viruses — in turn, producing new flu viruses. For example, scientists think the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic happened when a bird flu virus jumped to pigs, exchanged some of its genes with pig flu viruses, and then jumped to humans.
We were not expecting a familiar face as we cracked open the wooden box trap we'd carefully set on the remote north slope of Alaska. With feet large enough to act like snowshoes, strong musculature and a honed set of teeth and claws, wolverines can take down an animal as large as a caribou in the middle of winter, but they'll also hunt small rodents, such as ground squirrels, when they're looking for a tasty morsel. Scientists from the WCS Arctic Beringia program are studying wolverines' movements and diets, as well as the creatures' relationship with the spring snow, in which they den and raise their kits.
Shortly after a man killed a rattlesnake in his backyard, the rattlesnake's severed head bit and injected venom into the man, seriously injuring him, according to news reports. The zombie-like incident happened when Jennifer Sutcliffe and her husband were working in their backyard near Corpus Christi, Texas, over Memorial Day weekend, according to KIII, an ABC-affiliated station. Because snakes don't need to internally maintain their body temperature, they don't need as much energy — which is burned up using oxygen — as warm-blooded "endotherms" do, said David Penning, an assistant professor of biology at Missouri Southern State University who wasn't involved in the Texas case.
Global warming is expected to make vegetables significantly scarcer around the world, unless new growing practices and resilient crop varieties are adopted, researchers warned on Monday. By the end of this century, less water and hotter air will combine to cut average yields of vegetables -- which are crucial to a healthy diet -- by nearly one-third, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A 7.2 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) increase in temperature, which scientists expect by 2100 if global warming continues on its current trajectory, reduces average yields by 31.5 percent, said the report.
When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flew to Washington last week, he delivered an urgent message to President Trump ahead of tomorrow’s unprecedented US-North Korea summit: Don’t forget about us. For Mr. Abe, the visit was a last-ditch attempt to ensure that any deal Mr. Trump reaches with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un doesn't harm Japan's interests. China, South Korea, and Russia have all tried to influence the strong-headed leaders before they sit down together for the first time.
The European Union, the alliance of nearly 30 countries stretching across the continent, is facing its most serious political crisis for years. Both issues will surely figure at an EU summit this month hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, not least because the Trump administration followed its broadside on the G7 host nation, Canada, with a further hint at possible new tariffs on Germany’s car exporters. Instead, the key danger signal comes from Italy, where a combination of economic stagnation and the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the past few years has led to a new, unabashedly Euroskeptic government.
Tending to his garden shop that’s brimming with bright marigolds and purple petunias, John Young has some choice words when it comes to President Trump and the ongoing Mueller investigation. “I really believe the Russia thing will end up being nothing,” Mrs. Young says firmly. In this picturesque southern New Hampshire town, where 53 percent cast ballots for Trump in 2016, some Republican voters express unease with the president’s brash – critics would say authoritarian – rhetoric about the unconstitutionality of the special counsel or his ability to pardon himself.
In an interview last year, King Abdullah of Jordan admitted he can do only so much to end a deep cultural practice known in Arabic as wasta. One in 3 Jordanians, for example, works for the government, plum work often gained through favoritism, such as a tribal connection or even bribery. For nearly a week, tens of thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in protests that, while initially focused on economic issues such as a proposed income tax, ended up venting public frustration with wasta and the lack of a meritocracy in business and government.
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - A gene-editing technology that is being explored by scientists worldwide as a way of removing and replacing gene defects might inadvertently increase cancer risk in cells, scientists warned on Monday. Researchers from the Britain's Cambridge University and Sweden's Karolinska Institute said more research needs to be done to assess whether using CRISPR-Cas9 – a type of molecular "scissors" that make gene editing a possibility – might lead to the development of treatments that have added cancer risk. The team, led by Jussi Taipale at Cambridge, found that CRISPR-Cas9 triggers a mechanism designed to protect cells from DNA damage, making gene editing more difficult.
Some of Africa's oldest and biggest baobab trees -- a few dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks -- have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, researchers said Monday. The baobab is the biggest and longest-living flowering tree, according to the research team.
The June 6 Monitor Breakfast with Kellyanne Conway was a classic. Ms. Conway, a top adviser to President Trump, arrived at the St. Regis Hotel at 9 a.m. on the dot, not long after the boss had started tweeting. “Fake News” was the operative phrase – Fake News about Tuesday’s primaries, Fake News about first lady Melania Trump, over and over.
NASA will soon visit Hawaii's Lo'ihi volcano, which sits more than 3,000 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, all in the name of one day hunting for life out in the solar system. The NASA expedition, called SUBSEA, endeavors to visit underwater volcanoes — which are often rich in colorful mats of microbial life — to better grasp how life might exist in deep, harsh, lightless places in our solar system. SEE ALSO: Deep beneath the Pacific, another active Hawaiian volcano waits to emerge Lo'ihi is an active volcano sitting about 50 miles off the coast of the Big Island. NASA — which plans to launch the mission in August — will use the rocks and bacteria it collects from the volcano to plan ambitious robotic explorations of these water worlds, should the agency get funding. The space agency is specifically interested in Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa — both of which are suspected to harbor heat-emitting vents and oceans beneath their thick, ice shells. A black smoker emitting jets of particle-rich fluid.Image: NoaaDeep sea vents are common below Earth's oceans, existing thousands of feet down in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific. There, the scorching vents are famous for emitting thick plumes of "black smoke," which feed extremophile microbes and worm-like creatures nearby. In some locations lobsters, snails, and crabs also rely on these vents. "But Lo'ihi is different," Darlene Lim, a NASA geobiologist and head of the SUBSEA program, said in an interview. Scientists suspect that if deep sea vents exist on other worlds, they're more like Lo'ihi's, which aren't quite as intensely hot as black smokers in the deep Atlantic, said Lim. Black smokers reach over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas planetary scientists think those on Enceladus might fall between 120 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (50 to 200 Celsius), said Lim. NOAA's exploration vessel, the Nautilus.Image: noaaNASA doesn't have an exploration vessel, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does, so NASA is partnering with the seafaring agency to study Lo'ihi for 21 days. Remote operated vehicles (ROVs) will be sent down to Lo'ihi to collect rocks and observe the vibrant microbial community around the volcano. "It's extremely rich in diversity," Craig Moyer, a volcano microbiologist at Western Washington University who has been studying Lo'ihi for over two decades, said in an interview. Life down around Lo'ihi isn't just abundant in microbial chemotrophs — which feed exclusively on chemicals in a lightless world — but these communities change in parallel with Lo'ihi's fluctuating activity, said Moyer. Tubeworms living off of vents 8,200 feet beneath the eastern Pacific Ocean.Image: noaaSince Lo'ihi's eruption in 1996, the volcano has been pretty quiet and the vents have cooled off, meaning the volcano isn't emitting much of its typical gases like hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide. This leaves the microbes down there to feed on the chemical available, iron. But when Lo'ihi's activity ramps up again, heat and new chemicals will allow other microbes to prosper. "My fingers are crossed that we’ll see an uptick in the activity once again," said Moyer, noting Hawaii's vigorously erupting Kilauea is likely to share a deep plumbing system with Lo'ihi. The icy, cracked surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.Image: NasaNot only is Kilauea exceptionally active right now — erupting enough lava over the last month to fill over 45,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — nearby Lo'ihi is relatively easy for NASA to study because it's in U.S. territory. "It’s a wonderful confluence," said Lim. By the end of SUBSEA, which plans to visit another volcanic vent system in 2019, Lim hopes to give NASA's future deep space planners an improved idea of where to best seek life on uncharted alien worlds like the moon Enceladus. Europa, too, has potential for life to thrive in the ocean sloshing beneath its thick ice crust. "Anywhere you’ve got liquid water you’ve got a high probability of finding life," said Moyer. "I'm rooting for both of them." WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
No computer has yet shown features of true human-level artificial intelligence much less conscious awareness. Now consider that biologists have been learning to grow functioning “mini brains” or “brain organoids” from real human cells, and progress has been so fast that researchers are actually worrying about what to do if a piece of tissue in a lab dish suddenly shows signs of having conscious states or reasoning abilities. While we are busy focusing on computer intelligence, AI may arrive in living form first, and bring with it a host of unprecedented ethical challenges.
Bulgaria agreed on Monday to spare the life of Penka the cow after plans to kill her for crossing European Union borders without paperwork triggered an international outcry. Penka wandered away from her herd near the Bulgarian village of Mazarachevo last month and walked out of the bloc into neighboring Serbia. When she was returned two weeks later, authorities said she would have to be put down as she had violated guidelines under which animals entering the European Union have to have papers verifying their health.
German prosecutors said Monday they had raided the home of Rupert Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, over suspicion of fraud related to diesel emissions cheating by the firm. "Since May 30 the chief executive of Audi Professor Rupert Stadler and another member of the current executive board have been regarded as suspects," prosecutors in Bavarian capital Munich said in a statement.
Abortion foes have a plan to bring a case to the Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Their strategy involves going through the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers states from Arkansas to the Dakotas and is one of the most conservative in the nation.