The first Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star could be discovered within four years, astronomers believe. None of the 300 "extra-solar" planets so far identified beyond our own system is thought to be suitable for life, so the discovery of an Earth-like planet made of rock rather than hot gas or frozen ice would significantly increase the chances of finding the second habitable world, scientists said.
TVNL COMMENT: This is an ALARMING development!
Scientists have discovered a drug that could erase fearful memories in humans.
The method, using existing blood pressure pills, could be useful for weakening or erasing bad memories in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers say.
Some ethicists see problems, question whether such treatments begin to alter what it means to be human.
"An interesting complexity is the possibility that victims, say of violence, might wish to erase the painful memory and with it their ability to give evidence against assailants," said professor John Harris, an expert in biological ethics at the University of Manchester, in an article in the Daily Mail. "Similarly criminals and witnesses to crime may, under the guise of erasing a painful memory, render themselves unable to give evidence."
TVNL Comment: This kind of thing can get out of hand fast. There are too many ways this kind of drug can be misused. It can be put in to the water supply to virtually create a society of people who would have no fear of walking themselves into a mass killing chamber, or giving up their freedom, or anything. Fear is a wonderful thing. It keeps us from danger. Having a drug eliminate that fear essentially removes our survival instincts. This is an ALARMING development!
On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution," while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don't have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity.
The oceans have long buffered the effects of climate change by absorbing a substantial portion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But this benefit has a catch: as the gas dissolves, it makes seawater more acidic. Now an international panel of marine scientists says this acidity is accelerating so fast it threatens the survival of coral reefs, shellfish and the marine food web generally.
Still worried that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole that will destroy the Earth when it's finally switched on this summer?
Um, well, you may have a point.
Three physicists have reexamined the math surrounding the creation of microscopic black holes in the Switzerland-based LHC, the world's largest particle collider, and determined that they won't simply evaporate in a millisecond as had previously been predicted.
TVNL Comment: Again we point out the REAL threats to our lives. Men in caves don't threaten the world. The real threats are right in front of us and we never even notice them.
A NASA report on the last minutes of Space Shuttle Columbia cited problems with the crew's helmets, spacesuits and restraints, which resulted in "lethal trauma" to the seven astronauts aboard.
But the report also acknowledged that "the breakup of the crew module ... was not survivable by any currently existing capability."
The spacecraft broke up while re-entering Earth's atmosphere near the end of its mission on February 1, 2003.
The NASA report found the astronauts knew for about 40 seconds that they did not have control of the shuttle before they likely were knocked unconscious as Columbia broke apart around them.
Researchers have created the world’s thinnest sheet - a single atom thick - and used it to create the world’s smallest transistor, marking a breakthrough that could spark the development of super-fast computer chips.
This innovation will allow ultra small electronics to take over when the current silicon-based technology runs out of steam, according to Prof Andre Geim and Dr Kostya Novoselov from the University of Manchester.
They reveal details of transistors that are only one atom thick and fewer than 50 atoms wide in the journal, Nature Materials.
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