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Twin blazes form California's largest wildfire in history: official
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Two blazes mercilessly charring northern California have grown so rapidly that they became the US state's largest in recorded history Monday, authorities said. Collectively dubbed the Mendocino Complex, the wildfires have burned through 283,800 acres (114,850 hectares) -- an area nearly the size of the sprawling city of Los Angeles -- and are just 30 percent contained, according to state fire authority CalFire.
Venezuela Detains 6 Suspects Over a Failed Drone Attack Aimed at President Maduro
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Explosives-laden drones were allegedly used in a failed assassination attempt
Correction: Commercial Space
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — In a story Aug. 3 about nine astronauts picked for fly on commercial capsules, The Associated Press reported erroneously the first name of one astronaut. His name is Josh Cassada, not John.
President Trump Changed His Story about the Trump Tower Meeting. Here Are the Facts
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Here’s a quick look at what we know about the Trump Tower meeting.
President Trump Reinstates Sanctions on Iran Despite European Objection
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
European allies said they "deeply regret" the U.S. action
Paul Manafort's Longtime Deputy Rick Gates Admits Embezzling Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars With His Former Boss
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government
Wildfires the size of Los Angeles may be California's worst
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Multiple wildfires that together grew Monday to nearly the size of Los Angeles could become the worst in fire-prone California's history, authorities warned. The River and Ranch fires, which together are called the Mendocino Complex, blackened an area of 273,660 acres (110,750 hectares). Authorities from state fire agency CalFire reported before midday that it already had mushroomed into the second worst blaze in state history in terms of area burned.
Ten ways the planet could tip into 'Hothouse Earth'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Even if humanity slashes greenhouse gas emissions in line with Paris climate treaty goals, the planet could overwhelm such efforts and irretrievably tip into a hellish 'hothouse' state, top scientists warned Monday. Under such a scenario, Earth's average temperature would stabilise 4 or 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, rather than the 1.5 C to 2 C (2.7 or 3.6 Fahrenheit) cap called for in the 196-nation pact. As it is, the world is struggling to curb the manmade carbon pollution that -- with only one degree Celsius of warming so far -- amplifies the likelihood and intensity of deadly heatwaves, droughts and superstorms.
Twin fires are second
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Twin Northern California blazes fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather grew Monday to become the second-largest wildfire in state history, becoming the norm as climate change makes the fire season longer and more severe.
Inside Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ Private Space Startup
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Jeff Bezos has had a career hallmarked by ambition and innovation. In 1994 at 30 years of age, Bezos quit a lucrative job on Wall Street and founded Amazon, which initially launched as an online bookstore which he hoped would capitalize on the Internet’s rapid growth at the time. Today, Amazon has grown to be king of the retail ecommerce space, with a market cap value of $889 billion.
How the U.S. and Japan Became Allies Even After Hiroshima and Nagasaki
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In August of 1945, the relationship between the U.S. and Japan was epoch-definingly bad
NASA’s Curiosity rover just celebrated its sixth birthday, but it didn’t sing itself a song
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has been delivering all kinds of fantastic data and observations from the Martian surface since it landed back in 2012, and it's one of NASA's most prized pieces of space hardware. The plucky rover just celebrated its sixth birthday, which is a big milestone, but this year's "celebration" was a bit less festive than it has been in some past years. One of the internet's favorite science factoids is that Curiosity sings itself happy birthday every year around this time. It's a cute bit of trivia that you'll find in email chains and Facebook feeds from time to time, and it's partly true, but this year the rover celebrated in silence. First, to address the obvious question: Yes, the Curiosity rover is capable of "singing" itself a song. It doesn't have built-in speakers to blast the tune across the Martian landscape but it does have a tool that it uses to vibrate soil samples. By programming the vibration to the tune of Happy Birthday, the rover essentially sang itself the tune in a very rudimentary manner. However, that was more like a one-time treat from the Curiosity science team than a planned annual event, and it hasn't done it since then. The reason is pretty obvious: Curiosity runs on a finite power supply from a nuclear battery. Even though the vibrations don't take up all that much power, any movement or function of the rover is indeed draining from the pool, and it just doesn't make sense for the rover to keep singing every year. Here's a video explaining how the singing works in greater detail, along with a clip of the sounds of the vibration motors doing their thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxVVgBAosqg Pretty neat, and incredibly cute, but certainly not beneficial in the overall scope of Curiosity's mission. So, 2018 will come and go without a song from the rover, but that saved power will inevitably be spent on some other more important task, and that's just fine with us.
11 People Were Killed and Nearly 70 Wounded in Shootings in Chicago This Weekend
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, used the violence criticize the city's Democratic leadership.
Twin California fires are second
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Twin Northern California blazes fueled by dry vegetation and hot, windy weather grew Monday to become the second-largest wildfire in state history, becoming the norm as climate change makes the fire season longer and more severe.
President Trump Tweets 'Total Endorsement' for Controversial Kansas Candidate Kris Kobach Despite Warning From Aides
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Aides warned against Kobach for his hawkish immigration views
Climate resilience as a path to clean energy
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The earlier time is closer to the temperature for breeding by about 2 degrees F. than a few decades ago. Worldwide, scientists have begun to search for examples of climate adaptation among animals, plants, and especially humans. Such adjustments reveal a resiliency built into most species after eons of habitat change on Earth.
A new life for mother whose daughter was killed in Charlottesville
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It’s not easy running a national social justice campaign when you live in a trailer and have to worry about things like a leaky roof.
Chicago Officials Deliver Remarks at a Press Conference Following a Weekend of Gun Violence
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
11 People Were Killed and Nearly 70 Wounded in Chicago Shootings This Weekend
Indra Nooyi, Pepsi's First Female CEO, Is Stepping Down
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Nooyi, 62, will leave the role in October and remain chairman until early 2019
This Man's 'Amish Uber' Is Exactly the Horse and Buggy Experience You Think It Is
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It might be just a little slower than a taxi
President Trump Tweets 'Total Endorsement' for Controversial Kansas Candidate Kris Kobach Despite Warning From Aides
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
President Trump has endorsed controversial gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach in the Kansas GOP primary, despite purported warnings from aides.
Cancer study of nuclear test site expected to finish in 2019
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A long-anticipated study into the cancer risks of New Mexico residents living near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test likely will be published in 2019, the National Cancer Institute announced.
Saudi Arabia Is Pulling Thousands of Students From Canada in Escalating Dispute Over Human Rights
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
There are an estimated 12,000 Saudi students and their families in Canada
Earth risks tipping into 'hothouse' state: study
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The planet urgently needs to transition to a green economy because fossil fuel pollution risks pushing the Earth into a lasting and dangerous "hothouse" state, researchers warned on Monday. If polar ice continues to melt, forests are slashed and greenhouse gases rise to new highs -- as they currently do each year -- the Earth will pass a tipping point. - What is 'Hothouse Earth'?
We may have a new weapon to fight dangerous superbugs (and we're gonna need it)
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
There is a version of the near future where antibiotic resistant bacteria become more deadly than cancer.  A study released back in 2016 predicted that, if left unchecked, these types of bacteria could claim more than 10 million lives a year by 2050. Cancer currently kills 8 million people annually. In the U.S. alone, antibiotic resistant bacteria already kills 20,000 people per year and infects millions more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  SEE ALSO: In the fight against measles, UNICEF has found an unexpected ally – mobile phones It’s obvious that something needs to be done to mitigate the potential catastrophe, but so far an answer has been out of reach.  But a team of scientists, led by David Brenner of Columbia University, believes they have found a partial solution, and it’s been hiding in plain sight. “We’ve known for a long time that UV [ultraviolet] light has the potential to reduce surgical site infections, because UV can efficiently kill all bacteria, including drug-resistant bacteria and even so-called superbugs,” Brenner said in a interview. However, conventional UV light is a direct health hazard because of its ability to cause skin cancer and other health problems. Because of that, UV's germicidal properties have been largely dismissed until now.  In February, Brenner's team released a study that found a small range within the ultraviolet spectrum that might be safe around humans and also kill at least some harmful bacteria.  According to Brenner and his team, this wavelength is too short to penetrate even the outermost layer of skin while still possessing all the same germicidal qualities as conventional UV light.  If proven safe, the research team envisions three potentially life saving applications of the light. They hope it could kill “airborne viruses such as influenza, in public spaces,” Brenner said.  Though the light wouldn't be able to fight all diseases, it would be very effective in the battle against more common viruses such as influenza, measles, tuberculosis bacteria, or pandemic-causing viruses like the Asian flu. A second use would be to reduce surgical site infections, one of the most common ways superbugs spread.  “The idea is to kill [the airborne superbugs] as they float down onto the wound,” he said.  The third way is to disinfect highly susceptible parts of the body, like where catheters are inserted. It's not a cure-all While the new research is promising, this type of light doesn’t completely eliminate the superbug threat by any means. Many of the most deadly superbugs aren’t airborne, CDC infectious disease specialist Alexander Kallen explained.  This infographic explains the purpose of the AR Lab networkImage: CDC"There are always going to be challenges when developing new technology," Kallen said.  Brenner's research could help protect people from their environment, but how do we treat them once they are infected?  "It's just too early to know," he said. While the battle continues in developing new ways to combat tricky pathogens, groundwork needs to be done to see that we are minimizing infections now.  The CDC is funneling its efforts into providing hospitals with the funding to ensure that all suspected superbugs are tested in a lab, free of charge through what is known as the Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network.  But another really important factor to combating antibiotic resistance is convincing people that something can be done.  “Buy in,” Kallen said. "Before it was, 'We are never going to get rid of AR [antibiotic resistance].' But now people are starting to realize that we can reduce the impact that it has and reduce the mortality rates,." There is a huge difference between now and eight years ago, and Kallen believes that's because people like Brennan feel empowered to do something. WATCH: This bacteria could help humans breathe on Mars
Renewed U.S. sanctions target Iran's economy, Tehran cool on talks
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
By Lesley Wroughton and Parisa Hafezi WASHINGTON/ANKARA (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's top security adviser on Monday urged Iran to take up an offer of talks with the United States or suffer more pain from economic sanctions, but Iran's president said Washington needed first to prove it can be trusted. Hours before revived U.S. sanctions were due to kick in, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Iran should pay heed to Trump's willingness to negotiate. "They could take up the president's offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably," Bolton told Fox News.
The man behind many enhancements enjoyed by visitors at Golden Gate parklands
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Greg Moore takes a late-afternoon stroll in San Francisco’s Crissy Field. “Crissy Field was basically covered with asphalt, chain-link fence, rubble on the shore, and toxic contaminants,” says Moore, who has been at the helm of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for more than 33 years. The transformation of Crissy Field is just one example of the effect the conservancy has had on sites within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since the nonprofit’s establishment in 1981.
Trade war drumbeat masks a deeper challenge from China
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Trade War with China! The very phrase conveys the potential gravity of Washington’s campaign to rebalance the relationship between the world’s two largest economies, and address what the United States and many other countries view as unfair commercial practices by the Chinese. A more serious, long-term challenge could lie in the ambitious program being undertaken under President Xi Jinping to parlay China’s economic clout into expanded financial, political, and strategic influence across the globe.
In Israel, tiny Druze minority galvanizes opposition to nation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The outpouring was a protest against Israel’s recently passed “nation state” law, a piece of constitutional legislation enshrining the country’s Jewish character that critics say downgrades Arab citizens of Israel, who make up 21 percent of the population, and omits mention of democratic values. Participation in the high-profile mass protest was a departure for the Druze, a small religious minority within the larger Arab minority who are celebrated in Israel for their patriotism and military service but have strained relations with other Israeli Arabs. Recommended: How much do you know about Israel?
As Venezuela’s crises intensify, so do its neighbors’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
According to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, he survived an assassination attempt during a televised address to troops. While the government makes arrests of the alleged masterminds, critics see the crackdown as an attempt to distract the nation – and world – from Venezuela's mounting economic and humanitarian crises. Venezuelans are fleeing in droves amid soaring inflation, medical and food shortages, and human rights abuses.
People Hate When You're Petty, According to Science
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Even 'generous' pettiness is considered unattractive
Being Wrong Has Its Virtues
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Chu’s piece led me to an excellent 2010 book I had overlooked — “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schulz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist now at the New Yorker. Just about everything Schulz says in “Being Wrong” ... seems right. Schulz argues that error is good for us — that we are biologically programmed to make mistakes.
Ancient Mud Reveals an Explanation for Sudden Collapse of the Mayan Empire
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The empire took thousands of years to build and just 100 years to collapse.
Can Science Save Politics? Or Will Politics Ruin Science?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Suneel Gupta had his bags packed, ready to go to Washington. It was the night of Nov. 8, 2016, and Gupta, then a tech entrepreneur, was itching to leave the Bay Area and begin a new job in the Clinton White House. “I got asked to lead up Hillary’s Office of Science and Technology Policy […]
Inside the Fight to Trademark Candy Shapes in America
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The titans of Big Candy have been squabbling over the rights to specific shapes for decades.
Why antidepressants are threatening the love songs of starlings 
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The sound of starlings singing for a mate could vanish from the British countryside because of high levels of antidepressants in the environment, a study suggests. The University of York has discovered that male starlings sing less to females who have been fed diluted concentrations of fluoxetine, which is sold as Prozac. In 2016, there were 64.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK and once they pass through the human body they often end up in sewage-treatment systems or waterways. The new research focussed on birds who ate worms, maggots and flies at a sewage treatment plants which were found to contain traces of many different drugs, including antidepressants. After measuring levels of Prozac at the plants, the team fed similar amounts to captured starlings and found that it made them less attractive to the opposite sex. Starlings have declined significantly since the 1970s  Credit: Liam Smith Dr Kathryn Arnold, of York’s Environment Department, said: “Here is the first evidence that low concentrations of an antidepressant can disrupt the courtship of songbirds. “This is important because animals that are slow to find a mate often won’t get to breed. With many wildlife populations in decline, we have to ask whether more could be done to remove chemical contaminants like pharmaceuticals from our sewage.” Long-term monitoring by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) shows that starling numbers have fallen by 66 per cent in Britain since the mid-1970s, and it is now listed as a bird of high conservation concern. The new study, which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), also found males were increasingly aggressive towards females who had eaten Prozac. Instead of courting them, they were more likely to chase, peck or claw the female starlings. Starlings use many different calls, songs and clicks Credit: DANIEL BALECKAITIS  The researchers speculate that the drug may make females more lethargic, and less attractive to the males. Previously fluoxetine has been found to reduce sexual appetite in female rats. Sophia Whitlock, researcher on the project, added: “Singing is a key part of courtship for birds, used by males to court favoured females and used by females to choose the highest quality male to father their chicks. “Males sang more than twice as often and as long to untreated females compared to females that had been receiving low doses of Prozac.” The results were published in the journal Chemosphere.
Zimbabwe's Elections Were Meant to Kickstart a New Era. Here's Why They Fell Short
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
On Wednesday, six unarmed civilians were shot dead by soldiers in Harare, with dozens more assaulted
Genetics technology could lead to more crops, fresher food
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A multinational agricultural company based in Idaho has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer.
We still don't know enough about species living around the UK's coastline
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
If we know what makes species tick, we can start truly understanding life on the UK's coast.
Ohio special election tests the 'Lamb model' for Democrats in conservative districts
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
In March, centrist Democrat Conor Lamb won a House seat in a conservative Pennsylvania district. Since then, the “Lamb model” has been followed by candidates in Republican-leaning districts around the country. Tuesday’s special election in Ohio will be the test of whether the Lamb model still holds.
Pentagon restricts use of fitness trackers, other devices
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new Pentagon order says military troops and other defense personnel on certain sensitive bases and warzone areas won't be allowed to use fitness tracker or cellphone applications that can reveal their location.
U.S. revives sanctions to further damage Iran's economy
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration expects economic sanctions that it is re-imposing on Iran this week to further cripple the Iranian economy and will aggressively enforce the measures, senior U.S. administration officials said on Monday. The so-called snapback sanctions, due to come into force early on Tuesday, would target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading and other dealings, coal, industrial-related software and its auto sector. Iran's rial currency has lost half its value since April under the threat of revived U.S. sanctions.
Trump breaks with aides, tweets endorsement of Kobach
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is endorsing controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in that state's GOP gubernatorial primary.
UK to ask Russia to extradite suspects in nerve agent attack: Guardian newspaper
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Britain is ready to ask Russia to extradite two men it suspects of carrying out a nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy in the English city of Salisbury, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, citing government and security sources. The newspaper said prosecutors had completed the extradition request and it was ready for submission. Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service, and his daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in Salisbury in early March.
Elon Musk Reveals When SpaceX Will Be Able to Send Humans Into Space
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The dawn of a new era is almost here.
Five things you need to do to build a home on Mars
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Augmented reality technology could help recreate familiar sensory experiences from Earth.
Master Chef Joel Robuchon, Who Shook Up the French Cooking World, Dead at 73
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
"To describe Joel Robuchon as a cook is a bit like calling Pablo Picasso a painter"
What’s a Space Force, and Can Trump Really Start One?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The U.S. Air Force is now responsible for defending American satellites and spacecraft and wants to continue to do so. Supporters say a new military branch is needed to prioritize U.S. defenses for the next battlefront. Russia has been testing a missile that could be used to strike and destroy a satellite or ballistic missile.
Despite Progress, Black Women Are Paid Only 62.5% of What Men Make. Here's How to Fix That
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
'It’s time for ALL women to use the influence we’ve earned'