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Science News
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Minor changes turned Black Death germ from mild to murderous

Handout photograph of archaeologists working on unearthed skeletons in the Farringdon area of LondonBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The bacterium Yersinia pestis has inflicted almost unimaginable misery upon humankind over the centuries, killing an estimated 200 million or more people and triggering horrific plagues in the 6th and 14th centuries. Yersinia pestis caused two of the deadliest pandemics in human history: the 6th century Justinian Plague, named for the Byzantine emperor who was sickened but survived, and the 14th century Black Death. The addition of the gene long ago transformed Yersinia pestis from a pathogen that caused a mild gastrointestinal infection to one that caused the fatal respiratory disease called pneumonic plague.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:58:40 -0400
Dubai says plans world's first 3D printed office building

Dubai said it would construct a small office building using a 3D printer for the first time, in a drive to develop technology that would cut costs and save time as the city grows. 3D printing, which uses a printer to make three-dimensional objects from a digital design, is taking off in manufacturing industries around the world but has so far been used little in construction. Dubai's one-storey prototype building, with about 2,000 square feet (185 square meters) of floor space, will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20-foot tall printer, Mohamed Al Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said on Tuesday.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 09:04:18 -0400
Spiky little sea 'monster' thrived a half billion years ago

A fossil of Collinsium ciliosum, a Collins' monster-type lobopodian found in the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota of southern China; with an illustrationScientists on Monday announced the discovery in Yunnan Province of beautifully preserved fossils of one of the stranger animals ever to call Earth home. The creature, Collinsium ciliosum, lived during the Cambrian Period, a time of remarkable evolutionary experimentation when many unusual animals appeared and vanished. "Collinsium is definitely an odd-looking animal, and if one were to bump into one of these during a snorkeling or diving trip nowadays it would be quite shocking," said University of Cambridge paleobiologist Javier Ortega-Hernndez, whose research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:04:26 -0400
Falcon rocket explosion leaves SpaceX launch schedule in tatters

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes after lift-off from Cape CanaveralBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - SpaceX on Monday was searching for what destroyed its Falcon 9 rocket after liftoff over the weekend, leaving customers still loyal but unsure when their satellites might fly. The privately-held company, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, has flown 18 successful missions with the Falcon 9 before Sundays failure. Preliminary analysis pointed to a problem with the rockets second-stage motor liquid oxygen tank, SpaceX said.

Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:41:42 -0400
Exclusive: U.S. should spurn Russia rocket engines despite SpaceX failure - McCain

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes after liftoff from Cape CanaveralBy Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The failure of a SpaceX rocket over Florida on Sunday should not lead U.S. officials back to Russia to look for a rocket engine that can get military equipment into space, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said on Monday. "This mishap in no way diminishes the urgency of ridding ourselves of the Russian RD-180 rocket engine," McCain said in a statement. The United States has placed tough constraints on new deliveries of the Russian-made engines for U.S. military projects, such as launching satellites into space.

Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:25:56 -0400
Death and Medicine: Why Lethal Injection Is Getting Harder

Death and Medicine: Why Lethal Injection Is Getting HarderA controversial drug used in lethal injections will not be banned for use in the death penalty in the United States. A Supreme Court decision yesterday (June 29) found that the sedative had not been proven more "cruel and unusual" than the alternatives. The drug, midazolam, is just the latest to fall under scrutiny as more and more of the drugs used in the death penalty become unavailable, pulled from sale to prisons by manufacturers who don't want their products associated with execution.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:29:38 -0400
Meet Hades, the Centipede from Hell

Meet Hades, the Centipede from HellNamed for the mythological god of the underworld, Geophilus hadesi is a newly discovered species of centipede that inhabits the deep caves of the Velebit Mountains in Croatia. Unlike most centipedes of the order Geophilomorpha, which only occasionally seek shelter in caves, G. hadesi spends all its life in this dark, underground environment. G. hadesi is one of only two known species of centipedes that never leave their cavernous homes.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:44:16 -0400
Toxic Fish Poisons More People Than Thought

An illness called ciguatera poisoning, which is caused by eating certain fish, is more common in Florida than previously believed, a new study finds. Each year, 56 Floridians become ill with this kind of poisoning for every 1 million people in the state, according to the new estimate from researchers at University of Florida and the state's Department of Health. Most infections in the state are caused by eating fish that were caught in either the Bahamas or the Florida Keys, though nearly 5 percent of the toxic fish came from Palm Beach County waters, and 4 percent came from Miami-Dade County.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:43:58 -0400
Pluto and Charon Starting to Come into Focus (Photo)

Pluto and Charon Starting to Come into Focus (Photo)Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, posed for a solemn portrait taken by NASA's New Horizon's probe, which is only two weeks away from its close encounter with the dwarf planet. "Looking at pictures on the website, you can see that Pluto and Charon are becoming more distinct in their surface features," Alice Bowman, the missions operations manager for New Horizons, said today (June 30) in a mission update.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:06:30 -0400
'Fireball' Over US Southeast Was Probably Falling Space Junk (Video)

'Fireball' Over US Southeast Was Probably Falling Space Junk (Video)The bright light that streaked across skies throughout the American Southeast early Monday morning (June 29) was probably a piece of space junk crashing back to Earth, researchers say. The mysterious sky light blazed up at 1:29 a.m. EDT (0529 GMT) Monday and was witnessed by skywatchers from Louisiana to Virginia and by all six meteor-observing cameras operated by NASA in the Southeast. But this was no meteor, said Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:39:44 -0400
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