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Adidas, Delta Faucet, others prep research projects for International Space Station

Adidas, Delta Faucet, others prep research projects for International Space Station

Science
Feb. 20 (UPI) -- NASA is preparing to send a variety of new scientific research projects to the International Space Station, including an experiment designed by the shoe company Adidas, among others. Officials from NASA, as well as representatives from several companies, outlined some of the 20 projects headed to the ISS on March 2 aboard SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft during a press briefing on Thursday. Michael Roberts, interim chief scientist for the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, said the amount of revenue generated by contracts with commercial partners has steadily increased over the last several years. "This demonstrates a heightened demand by these companies to utilize the unique space environment on the International Space Station," Roberts said. Roberts and h...
‘Astonishing’ blue whale numbers at South Georgia

‘Astonishing’ blue whale numbers at South Georgia

Science
Scientists say they have seen a remarkable collection of blue whales in the coastal waters around the UK sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.Their 23-day survey counted 55 animals - a total that is unprecedented in the decades since commercial whaling ended.South Georgia was the epicentre for hunting in the early 20th Century. The territory's boats with their steam-powered harpoons were pivotal in reducing Antarctic blues to just a few hundred individuals.To witness 55 of them now return to what was once a pre-eminent feeding ground for the population has been described as "truly, truly amazing" by cetacean specialist Dr Trevor Branch from the University of Washington, Seattle. "To think that in a period of 40 or 50 years, I ...
Veggie-loving monkeyface prickleback may be future sustainable protein

Veggie-loving monkeyface prickleback may be future sustainable protein

Science
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Scientists have uncovered the digestive secrets of one the ocean's most unique vegetarians. The discovery, described Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, could pave the way for more sustainable proteins sources. There are more than 30,000 fish species living on planet Earth, but just 5 percent of them are known to eat only plants. One of the few vegetarian species is the monkeyface prickleback, or Cebidichthys violaceus. The unique species, which lives in shallow tide pools on the West Coast, boasts a human-like digestive system, featuring an acidic stomach and both small and large intestines. All living organisms need lipids to survive. Unfortunately for the prickleback, the algae the species eats exclusively contains relatively low levels of lip...
An adaptive gut microbiome might have shaped human evolution

An adaptive gut microbiome might have shaped human evolution

Science
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- How did human beings end up as one of the most successful species on Earth? New research suggests the unique nature of the human microbiome may have shaped human evolution and the dispersal of humans across the globe. For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, an interdisciplinary team of scientists compiled a range of previously published research in order to compare the microbiota among humans, apes and other non-human primates. Their findings showed the microbes found on and inside humans are especially unique. "Humans have strange skin microbes, strange stomachs (with consequences for gut microbes), unusual vaginal microbiomes and more," lead study author Rob Dunn, ecologist at North Carolina State University, told UPI in a...
Climate change: Fertiliser could be used to power ocean-going ships

Climate change: Fertiliser could be used to power ocean-going ships

Science
Ocean-going ships could be powered by ammonia within the decade as the shipping industry takes action to curb carbon emissions.The chemical - the key ingredient of fertilisers - can be burned in ships’ engines in place of polluting diesel.The industry hopes ammonia will help it tackle climate change, because it burns without CO2 emissions.The creation of the ammonia itself creates substantial CO2, but a report says technology can solve this problem.The challenge is huge, because shipping produces around 2% of global carbon emissions – about the same as the whole German economy. Making ammonia is also a major source of carbon. A report by the Royal Society says ammonia production currently creates 1.8% of global CO2 emissions – the most of any chemical ind