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Disgraced Japan researcher fails to replicate 'game changing' stem cell results
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - A disgraced Japanese researcher has failed to replicate results hailed as a potential breakthrough in stem-cell treatment and efforts to do so will be abandoned, officials at her research institute said on Friday. The scandal involving the research, which detailed simple ways to reprogram mature cells back to an embryonic-like state, eventually led to the retraction of papers published in the influential journal Nature and tarnished the reputation of Japanese scientific research. ...
Europe recommends approval for first stem-cell therapy
LONDON (Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of the first medicine containing stem cells to treat a rare condition caused by burns to the eye. The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that Holoclar, from privately held Italian company Chiesi, had been given a green light for moderate to severe limbal stem cell deficiency due to physical or chemical burns. Left untreated, the condition can result in blindness. Holoclar is a living tissue product made from a biopsy taken from a small undamaged area of the patients cornea and grown in the laboratory using cell culture. ...Fri, 19 Dec 2014 08:08:22 -0500
Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee
By 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. ...
SpaceX delays planned cargo run to space station to early January
CAPE 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 rockets engines, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. ...
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. ...Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:12:12 -0500
Ancient Glass Bracelet Decorated with Menorahs Found in Israel
Archaeologists in Israel recently unearthed a glass bracelet decorated with a timely design. The ancient piece of jewelry is engraved with a seven-branched candelabrum, or menorah the symbol of the Hanukkah holiday. The bracelet was discovered in Mount Carmel National Park, which researchers think was a large settlement during the late Roman or early Byzantine period. "After cleaning, we were excited to discover that the bracelet, which is made of turquoise colored glass, is decorated with symbols of the seven-branched menorah the same menorah which according to tradition was kept alight in the temple for eight days by means of a single cruse of oil," Limor Talmi and Dan Krizner, excavation directors for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement.
Seismic Waves Show Which Sport's Fans Rock Hardest
Football, NASCAR and their rowdy, roaring crowds faced off in a head-to-head battle this year to see which sport hits highest on the seismic charts, scientists reported Dec. 18 at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco. Seattle Seahawks football fans have stomped their way to several "earthquakes," shaking the football stadium so hard that nearby seismometers register tremors. Not to be outdone, this year the Texas Motor Speedway asked seismic experts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas to record the Duck Commander 500 race. "The owner wanted to be able to say his race had larger ground motions than the Seattle Seahawks," joked Brian Stump, a seismologist at Southern Methodist University and co-leader of the project.
Hands and Fins Share Common Genetic Origin
Researchers compared the genetic sequence of an unusual freshwater fish with that of mice, and found that the genes involved in the development of the mice's hands and feet are also involved in fin development, which suggests the fins of the fishy ancestors evolved into the limbs of modern land animals. "Fossils show that the wrist and digits clearly have an aquatic origin," Neil Shubin, an organismal biologist at the University of Chicago, said in a statement.
Astronauts Deck the Zero-G Halls for Space Station Christmas
Astronauts in space have decked the halls of the International Space Station in honor of the holiday season. The international crewmembers on the station have hung stockings, pulled out the orbiting outpost's Christmas tree, and they generally seem to be getting into the Christmas spirit before the holiday tomorrow. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti even sent out a picture of her with NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry "Butch" Wilmore with their decorations on the station. "It's beginning to look like Christmas on the International Space Station," NASA officials wrote on a blog about the holiday.
The Biggest Astronomy Stories of 2014