Science: What Geeks are talking about from US News and World Report

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Here is the latest Science News from US News and World Report.

Stephen Hawking baffled by dynamics of Trump’s popularity
Stephen Hawking says he can’t explain the popularity of Donald Trump

Bleaching kills third of coral in Great Barrier Reef’s north
Scientists say mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, though corals to the south have escaped with little damage

NASA slowly inflating new room at space station on 2nd try
NASA is slowly inflating a new experimental room at the International Space Station, with much better luck than last time

Scientists find minivan-sized sponge, world’s largest
A team of scientists on a deep-sea expedition in the waters off Hawaii has discovered what they say is the world’s largest known sponge

SpaceX lands another rocket after satellite delivery
SpaceX has pulled off another rocket landing, the third in just under two months

NASA taking another stab at inflating space station room
NASA will try again Saturday to inflate the world’s first soft-sided room in space for astronauts

Space probe confirms chemicals of life in comet’s halo
Scientists have found further evidence supporting the theory that some of the building blocks for life may have come to Earth from outer space

Cave art trove found in Spain 1,000 feet underground
Spanish archaeologists say they have discovered an exceptional set of Paleolithic era cave drawings that could rank among the best in a country that already boasts some of the world’s most important cave art

At UN climate talks some worry about Brexit, Trump impacts
Climate negotiators ended their first talks after last year’s landmark Paris Agreement with some delegates expressing concern about the potential impacts of upcoming votes in the U.S. and Britain

Scientists: Underground stone rings made by Neanderthals
Scientists say that a pair of mysterious stone rings found deep inside a French cave was probably built by Neanderthals about 176,500 years ago, proving that our ancient cousins were capable of more complex behavior than previously thought

Study: Brain scans reveal hidden consciousness in patients
A brain scan that measures energy use shows promise for helping doctors distinguish between patients in a vegetative state and those with hidden signs of consciousness

Scientists: Underground stone rings made by Neanderthals
Scientists say that a pair of mysterious stone rings found deep inside a French cave was probably built by Neanderthals about 176,500 years ago, proving that our ancient cousins were capable of more complex behavior than previously thought

Fruit Flies Have Huge Sperm
Biologists learn why tiny male fruit flies have huge sperm that are 23 times bigger than their bodies.

New cloud formation discovery may lessen warming forecast
A new discovery about how clouds form may scale back some of the more dire predictions about temperature increases caused by man-made global warming

Mexico City issues 6th smog alert but lifts it after rain
Mexico City officials issue their sixth pollution alert of the year, but lift it a few hours later after thunderstorms reduced pollution in the capital

Use of parasitic wasps to fight ash borer grows to 24 states
Millions of tiny wasps that are natural parasites for the emerald ash borer have been released into wooded areas in 24 states as the battle against the tree-killing borer is now biological

India successfully tests small space shuttle
India has successfully tested its first small space shuttle as part of its efforts to make low-cost reusable spacecraft

Insect poop threatens to damage marble at India’s Taj Mahal
Archaeological experts say insects from a polluted river near the Taj Mahal are marring the 17th century monument to love’s intricate marble inlay work by leaving green and black patches of waste on its walls

New Mexico pushes for remedies in wake of mine waste spill
New Mexico’s top prosecutor says the federal government and Colorado have made little progress in remedying damages from the 2015 Gold King Mine spill

Iowa zoo expecting rare baby eastern black rhino this fall
A zoo in Iowa is expecting a new and rare addition in the fall: an eastern black rhinoceros

Pages astronauts followed to land on moon sell for $175,000
Three pages with the step-by-step computer procedures that U.S. astronauts followed to land the Apollo 11 lunar module on the moon’s surface in 1969 have sold at auction in Dallas for $175,000

Space shuttle tank to be hauled to Los Angeles museum
A massive space shuttle external propellant tank will be squeezed through the streets of Los Angeles to join a display of the retired orbiter Endeavour at the California Science Center

UN alarmed by 12th straight global monthly heat record
The United Nations has expressed alarm after scientists recorded the 12th straight global monthly heat record in a row

Works launched to restore Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem
Christian officials have launched historic restoration work at the Tomb of Jesus inside the Church of Holy Sepulchre

Hawaii shark study aims to understand why they bite
New research shows tiger sharks favor waters near Maui that are close to some of the state’s most popular beaches for humans

NASA’s Valkyrie robots set the table for human life on Mars
Four sister robots built by NASA could be the vanguard for the colonization of Mars by helping to set up a habitat for future human explorers

Killer Nile crocodiles in Florida? Experts say it’s possible
Step aside, Burmese python: The man-eating Nile crocodile may now be Florida’s scariest invasive species, say researchers who examined the cases of three captured near Miami

Carbon dioxide levels jump by record amount due to El Nino
Measurements show that the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide increased by a record amount in April

Mars, Earth, sun line up perfectly in sky this weekend
Mars, Earth and the sun line up perfectly in the sky this weekend, an event that takes place only every two years

New Jersey school renamed for twin astronaut alums
A New Jersey school now has a new name in honor of two of its most accomplished alumni

Space shuttle external tank to be displayed in Los Angeles
NASA has shipped its last flight-capable space shuttle external fuel tank to Los Angeles to join the retired orbiter Endeavour on display at the California Science Center

Hawaii scholars study chances of giant Alaska quake, tsunami
University of Hawaii researchers say there’s a 9 percent chance that an earthquake measuring magnitude 9 or greater will strike Alaska’s Aleutian Islands within the next 50 years and send large tsunami waves to Hawaii

UN appoints Mexican diplomat as new climate chief
The United Nations has appointed a Mexican diplomat as the top U.N. official leading the fight against global warming

New horned dinosaur species discovered in Montana by amateur
A novice fossil collector’s find in a remote Montana badlands more than a decade ago has emerged as a new kind of spectacularly-horned dinosaur

Database launched to gather, study DNA from Midwestern twins
Researchers are hoping that twins who live in the Midwest will contribute DNA to a new database that might provide insight about traits and diseases specific to the region

Stuck on hot: Earth breaks 12th straight monthly heat record
Earth in April set its 12th straight monthly warm temperature record

Company says it’s been indicted in California oil spill
Plains All American Pipeline says a California grand jury has indicted the company and one of its employees in connection with a pipeline break that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara County coast and into the ocean

Traveling video-makers off track with selfies in Yellowstone
In the latest episode of tourists disturbing wildlife and geological sites in a US park, a group of men who post pictures and videos of their travels on social media are in hot water for walking onto a sensitive hot spring at Yellowstone National Park

California weighs next step for saving water in drought
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water officials say they will consider dropping a mandate requiring conservation in the state’s fifth year of drought.

Meteor captured on dashcam video lights up New England sky
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine police sergeant looking for speeders has captured a fireball streaking across the sky on his dashboard camera.

Report: Genetically altered food safe but not curing hunger
WASHINGTON (AP) — A major scientific advisory board has declared that genetically manipulated food remains generally safe for humans and the environment.

Thousands of tiny red crabs stranding on California beach
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of tiny red crabs are carpeting beaches in Orange County and creating an amazing spectacle for swimmers and surfers.

Experts: Mexico’s Vaquita porpoise headed toward extinction
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Scientists are warning that the population of Mexico’s endangered vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise, has fallen to alarmingly low levels and is heading toward extinction soon if drastic measures aren’t taken.

Early snowbirds? Florida sinkhole yields ancient artifacts
NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists say a stone knife and other artifacts found deep underwater in a Florida sinkhole show people lived in that area some 14,500 years ago.

National project to harness microbes for health, environment
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is beginning a major project to better understand the communities of microbes that are crucial to the health of people and the planet.

Endangered Sumatran rhino gives birth in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A Sumatran rhinoceros has given birth at an Indonesian sanctuary in a success for efforts to save the critically endangered species.

Tell the FDA what you fear more: Zika, or GMO mosquitoes?
MIAMI (AP) — What are you more afraid of, the Zika virus, or a plan to kill the disease-carrying mosquitoes by releasing genetically engineered bugs in Florida?

Montana, Wyoming, Idaho prepare for return of grizzly hunts
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Three states are getting ready for the possible return of grizzly bear hunting in the Rocky Mountains for the first time in decades.

Prince’s autopsy, toxicology tests may resolve uncertainties
Medical experts say the results of Prince’s autopsy — particularly the toxicology report — may clarify whether prescription painkillers played any part in his death.

UN: Rising air pollution in world’s cities hurting millions
GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization says 98 percent of residents in large cities of low- and middle-income countries are facing excessively high air pollution.

Solar plane on global trip headed to Oklahoma from Arizona
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — A solar-powered airplane that landed in Arizona last week after a daylong flight from California is headed to Oklahoma next on the latest leg of its around-the-world journey.

Bear that mauled Michigan girl nearly 3 years ago killed
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A mother bear that mauled a northern Michigan girl as she jogged along a woodsy path nearly three years ago has been killed after mortally wounding a pet dog that apparently was chasing one of her cubs, state officials said Wednesday.

US won’t appeal court rulings on lesser prairie chicken
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. government won’t appeal recent court rulings that stripped the lesser prairie chicken of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Intelligent design professor earns tenure at Ball State
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Ball State University in Indiana has granted tenure to a faculty member who was ordered to stop teaching intelligent design in a science course.

Study: Bakken oil field leaks 275,000 tons of methane yearly
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A new study says the oil-producing region of North Dakota and Montana leaks 275,000 tons of methane annually, an amount that’s less than previously reported.

Brain scans find protein a marker of Alzheimer’s decline
WASHINGTON (AP) — A toxic duo of plaques and tangles interact to drive Alzheimer’s disease, and now researchers say it’s the tangles that may better predict early symptoms.

SpaceX Dragon departs space station, heads home with cargo
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A SpaceX capsule is headed back to Earth with precious science samples from NASA’s one-year spaceman.

Wolves born at Brookfield Zoo released into wild of Arizona
BROOKFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Two Mexican gray wolf pups born at the Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago are starting new lives in the wild of Arizona as part of a project to save the animals.

Shallow quake hits Tibet, at least 6 hurt by falling debris
BEIJING (AP) — A shallow magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck the mountainous region of Tibet on Wednesday, blocking roads and leaving at least six people injured by falling debris, state media reported.

Scientists: Mussels, without noses, use smell to find homes
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Mussels don’t have noses, but two Maine scientists believe the dark shellfish rely on smells when choosing where to set up their homes.

Archeologists clash in Egypt over King Tut tomb theory
CAIRO (AP) — Archeologists have clashed at a conference in Egypt over a theory that secret chambers could be hidden behind the walls of King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Massive Alberta wildfire expected to burn for months
LAC LA BICHE, Alberta (AP) — The images are ones of devastation — scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.

Officials hope to complete Alberta wildfire evacuation
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Canadian officials fear a massive wildfire could double in size by the end of Saturday as they continue to evacuate residents of fire-ravaged Fort McMurray from work camps north of Alberta’s oil sands city.

Starfish babies return in droves following massive die-off
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — Droves of baby starfish are returning to Oregon and Northern California’s shores after a wasting disease decimated whole populations of the creatures over the past two years along the West Coast.

Researchers in 4 states unite for rare wolverine study
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Researchers are working on a plan to study wolverines in four Rocky Mountain states to see if the animals that look like small bears with big claws can be reintroduced to some regions to boost their numbers and see how they might travel between mountain ranges.

Sanctions, restrictions seen impeding science in North Korea
BEIJING (AP) — Tightening U.N. sanctions and an inability to freely access the Internet are inhibiting the work of North Korean scientists, Nobel Prize laureates who recently visited the country said Saturday.

Leopards have lost 75 percent of historic range, study shows
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A new study says leopards have lost 75 percent of their historic range across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with three Asian subspecies facing eradication.

Small explosion detected at Cleveland Volcano
CHUGINADAK ISLAND, Alaska (AP) — Scientists have detected a small explosion at the Cleveland Volcano on Thursday night.

Move over drones, driverless cars _ unmanned ship up next
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The military is launching tests on the world’s largest unmanned surface vessel — a self-driving, 132-foot ship designed to travel thousands of miles out at sea without a single crew member on board.

Mercury a black speck as it makes rare transit of sun Monday
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Earthlings are in for a treat Monday as Mercury makes a relatively rare transit of the sun.

Critics question mine exploration near Alaska eagle preserve
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Canadian company exploring an Alaska mineral prospect near a wildlife preserve is drawing criticism from residents who say the risk is not worth the potential economic benefits.

APNewsBreak: Woman’s body rejecting face transplant
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut woman who underwent a face transplant five years ago after being attacked by a chimpanzee is back in a Boston hospital after doctors discovered her body is rejecting the transplant.

Solar plane arrives in Arizona on latest leg of global trip
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — An airplane powered only by sunlight has arrived in a Phoenix suburb after completing the latest leg of its global trip.

CDC: Preschoolers with ADHD often given drugs before therapy
NEW YORK (AP) — Too many preschoolers with ADHD still are being put on drugs right away, before behavior therapy is tried, health officials say.

Researchers say they’re closing in on Captain Cook’s ship
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Researchers believe the ship that legendary explorer Captain James Cook used to sail around the world is still submerged somewhere in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor.

Laboratory advance provides view of early embryo development
NEW YORK (AP) — New lab techniques have provided the first good look at a crucial but mysterious stage in the development of human embryos, scientists reported Wednesday.

More Acidic Seawater Now Dissolving Bit of Florida Keys Reef
Scientists are now seeing the first bits of a Florida Keys reef starting to dissolve from seawater.

230 million-year-old dinosaur footprint found in north Spain
MADRID (AP) — Spain says a footprint of a dinosaur that roamed the area 230 million years ago has been found in northeastern Catalonia, and says it’s the best preserved dinosaur print seen so far in the Iberian Peninsula.

Pop went the weasel and down went the Large Hadron Collider
GENEVA (AP) — It’s one of the physics world’s most complex machines, and it has been immobilized — temporarily — by a weasel.

Parts of India ban daytime cooking as hundreds die of heat
PATNA, India (AP) — With sizzling temperatures claiming more than 300 lives this month in India, officials said Friday they were banning daytime cooking in some parts of the drought-stricken country in a bid to prevent accidental fires that have killed nearly 80 more people.

EPA announces latest steps addressing Missouri landfill fire
BRIDGETON, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. government says the owner of a burning suburban St. Louis landfill near buried radioactive waste has agreed to new measures meant to slow and help monitor the blaze.

Sea lion that made strange, 50-mile trek to ranch found dead
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state biologists are trying to determine what killed a sea lion that was captured and released after it was strangely found in the driveway of a cattle farm about 50 miles from the ocean.

After fanfare, forecasters review talk of storm ‘outbreak’
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — After warning for days about violent storms that could rake the central U.S. with huge hail, high winds and strong tornadoes, forecasters will review whether the messages they sent were appropriate for severe weather that some considered a “bust” because the tornadoes that did develop were small.

Scientists: Dakota oilfield wastewater spills release toxins
Scientists say wastewater spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins into soils and waterways, sometimes at levels exceeding federal water quality standards.

SpaceX aims to send ‘Red Dragon’ capsule to Mars in 2018
The company’s founder Elon Musk made the announcement on Twitter.

Corps determines Kennewick Man is Native American
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man is related to modern Native American tribes.

NASA astronauts prepare for flight on commercial spacecraft
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Five years after the last NASA astronauts flew from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station, a new group is preparing for a trip, this time on a private spacecraft.

Hubble Telescope finds tiny moon orbiting dwarf planet
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Chalk up a moon for the icy dwarf planet Makemake.

Moderate earthquakes recorded in central, northwest Oklahoma
HARRAH, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey reports several moderate earthquakes in central and northwest Oklahoma.

Cambodian Royal Turtle nearly extinct _ less than 10 in wild
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s Royal Turtle is nearly extinct, with fewer than 10 left in the wild, because increased sand dredging and illegal clearance of flooded forest have shrunk its habitat, a conservationist group warned Monday.

Pope makes surprise visit to Rome park marking Earth Day
ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to one of Rome’s main parks to participate in an Earth Day event.

How early is too early for word that tornadoes may come?
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Meteorologists are finding that it’s easier to forecast stormy weather than it is to predict what goes on in the human mind.

The Latest: Solar plane’s Pacific crossing going smoothly
OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN (AP) — The Latest on the flight of a solar-powered airplane from Hawaii to California in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe (all times local):

175 states signing landmark Paris deal on climate change
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — As many as 170 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change Friday as the landmark deal takes a key step toward entering into force years ahead of schedule.

China plans to land on Mars by 2020
BEIJING (AP) — The chief administrator of China’s ambitious space program says work is proceeding on a mission to land a rover on Mars by 2020.

Recovering sea turtles flown from Seattle to San Diego
SEATTLE (AP) — Two sea turtles that landed cold, sickly and malnourished on shores far beyond their normal living range have been flown aboard a U.S. Coast Guard plane from Seattle to San Diego to finish rehabilitation.

From tiny to titan: Baby dinosaur fossils reveal megagrowth
WASHINGTON (AP) — Think your kids grow fast? Scientists say one dinosaur baby went from tiny to a true titan in the blink of a prehistoric eye.

Only US grizzly recovery coordinator retiring after 35 years
The nation’s first and only grizzly bear recovery coordinator is stepping down after 35 years, saying the threatened species has recovered enough for him to retire.

Jewish family makes claims to prized Passover manuscript
JERUSALEM (AP) — The grandchildren of one of the earliest Jewish victims of the Nazis are laying claim to a jewel of Israel’s top museum: the world’s oldest illustrated Passover manuscript.

Clean air advocate: California has nation’s dirtiest air
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Millions of Californians live in places with dirty air, according to an annual report card issued Wednesday that ranks two major urban areas in the state as the nation’s most polluted.

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