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Obama's BRAIN initiative awards $46 million in grants

U.S. President Obama announces his administration's BRAIN Initiative at the White House in WashingtonBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wearable brain scanners and lasers that can turn hundreds of cells on and off were among 58 projects awarded $46 million in federal grants as part of President Obama's $100 million initiative to unlock the secrets of the human brain. Launched in 2013, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is designed to give scientists greater insight into how the healthy brain works and a better understanding of what systems go awry in diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to schizophrenia. ...

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:59:23 -0400
China launches media campaign to back genetically modified crops

By Dominique Patton BEIJING (Reuters) - China's government has kicked off a media campaign in support of genetically modified crops, as it battles a wave of negative publicity over a technology it hopes will play a major role in boosting its food security. The agriculture ministry earlier this week announced it would try to educate the public on GMO via TV, newspapers and the Internet. It hopes to stifle anti-GMO sentiment that has gathered momentum in the wake of incidents such as reports that genetically-modified rice had been illegally sold at a supermarket in the center of the country. ...

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:19:29 -0400
Protest over contract award to delay work on NASA space taxi

NASA handout shows the Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser flight vehicle being readied for 60 mph tow tests at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in EdwardsBy Irene Klotz TORONTO (Reuters) - Work on a pair of U.S. commercial spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station will be delayed after a losing contender protested the NASA awards, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said on Monday. The U.S. space agency awarded contracts worth up to $6.8 billion to Boeing and privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to finish designs, build, test and ultimately fly crews to the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that orbits about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth. The awards, announced on Sept. ...

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:11:04 -0400
Global wildlife populations down by half since 1970: WWF

By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The world populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell overall by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, far faster than previously thought, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday. The conservation group's Living Planet Report, published every two years, said humankind's demands were now 50 percent more than nature can bear, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than Earth can recover. ...

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:33:13 -0400
Sierra Nevada challenges NASA 'space taxi' contracts to Boeing, SpaceX

An interior view of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft is seen in an undated NASA handout imageWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) said it had filed a legal challenge to NASA's award of contracts totaling $6.8 billion to Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated "space taxis" to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA had considered a bid by privately owned Sierra Nevada, but U.S. officials said on Tuesday the U.S. space agency had opted to award long-time aerospace contractor Boeing and SpaceX with contracts to develop, certify and fly their seven-person capsules. ...

Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:26:17 -0400
Ebola Update: 1st Case Diagnosed in the US

A patient in Texas is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient had previously traveled to West Africa, a region that is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of Ebola in history. The man flew out of Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the United States on Sept. 20. He did not have symptoms during his flight or when he landed, but began showing symptoms around Sept. 24, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference today.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:06:56 -0400
Ape See, Ape Do: Chimps Learn Skills from Each Other

Ape See, Ape Do: Chimps Learn Skills from Each OtherScientists may have recorded chimpanzees learning skills from each other in the wild for the first time, according to a new study. For decades, scientists have known that chimpanzee troops are often distinct from one another in the wild, possessing collections of behaviors that seem to form unique cultures. "Researchers have been fascinated for decades by the differences in behavior between chimpanzee communities some use tools, some don't, some use different tools for the same job," lead study author Catherine Hobaiter, a primatologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said in a statement. The new findings "finally bring the last piece of the puzzle by showing that this is also happening in the wild," said study co-author Thibaud Gruber, a primatologist at the University of Neuchtel in Switzerland.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:26:10 -0400
Brain Tech Projects Get $46 Million in Funding

Brain Tech Projects Get $46 Million in FundingDeveloping wearable brain scanners and devising tools to watch a brain's signaling chemicals in real time are among the 58 research projects that now have funding, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today (Sept. 30). These and other projects received the first wave of funding in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the U.S. The NIH awarded $46 million in grants to these projects, which will focus on developing "transformative technologies" that can help scientists gain a deeper understanding of the brain, NIH Director Francis Collins told reporters today. "Theres a big gap between what we want to do in brain research and the technologies available to make exploration possible," Collins said.[5 Crazy Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech]

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:08:49 -0400
Neil Armstrong Biopics Take Small Steps Toward TV and Big Screen

Neil Armstrong Biopics Take Small Steps Toward TV and Big ScreenThe life story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has taken not one, but two small steps towards landing on both the big and small screens. A newly-acclaimed director and a television network have each reportedly turned their attention to Neil Armstrong, the late Apollo 11 moonwalker, as the inspiration for a feature-length film and TV miniseries, respectively. Damien Chazelle, who directed the upcoming jazz drama "Whiplash," is in talks to direct "First Man," a biopic about Armstrong for Universal Studios. Meanwhile, the TV network TNT has dusted off its plans for "One Giant Leap," an almost 10-year-old project to adapt Armstrong's life as a four-hour miniseries.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:32:37 -0400
Weird 'Island' on Saturn Moon Titan Puzzles Scientists (Video, Photos)

Weird 'Island' on Saturn Moon Titan Puzzles Scientists (Video, Photos)Saturn's huge moon Titan just got a little more mysterious. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spottedan odd islandlike feature in Ligeia Mare, one of Titan's largest hydrocarbon seas. "Science loves a mystery, and with this enigmatic feature, we have a thrilling example of ongoing change on Titan," Cassini radar team deputy leader Stephen Wall, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. Cassini team members are confident it's real rather than an artifact or data flaw, NASA officials said.

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:32:31 -0400
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