In a study published in Nature Physics in June, John Wright, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and colleagues showed how they had developed a new way to heat fusion plasma in tokamaks. Fusion energy uses the same principles as how the sun is powered. The technique involves three ion species—hydrogen, deuterium and helium-3.
Jury deliberations are set to begin in the case of a Massachusetts pharmacist charged with murder in the 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people. Jurors in Glenn Chin's case are expected to start ...
An Australian teenager has survived a terrifying encounter with a great white shark, with her harrowing screams alerting her father who was certain it was about to "eat her". Sarah Williams, 15, was fishing for squid from a kayak off the South Australian coast near Normanville on Sunday when the shark struck. "This shark has just rolled and all I saw was the dark side and the white belly and just huge fins and just white water everywhere," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
Mating is never easy when you have an unsightly bulbous appendage protruding from your head. But the male Asian Sheepshead Wrasse has even greater problems to contend with. The female wrasse is endowed with the extraordinary ability to unexpectedly switch gender, a change which not only scuppers any burgeoning relationship with the male but also creates another headache for him - a new love rival. The gender-bending ability of the wrasse has been captured in detail for the first time for BBC Blue Planet II which airs on Sunday. The female kobudai (left) becomes even bigger than the male after transforming Credit: Tony Wu Scientists believe the female wrasse makes the switch because she can pass on more genes as a male, although it is unclear why some change while others remain female. It is just one of dozens of filming and scientific firsts captured over four years by the production team who also recorded huge flying fish which snatch birds from the sky, boiling seas, and armour clad octopuses. A giant trevally leaps from the water to catch a tern in flight Credit: BBC Sir David Attenborough, who narrates the new series, said he was most impressed with new footage showing the efforts of the male anemone fish. “There have been a lot of really important scientific discoveries,” he told The Telegraph. “There’s a little anemone fish off the reef living in the sand that is surrounded by dangers but it finds refuge in the tentacles of an anemone, because it alone is immune to their poison. “But the female has to lay eggs, and she can’t do that on the soft tentacles of an anemone. So the little male goes around trying to find something where she could lay safely. “He finds an empty coconut shell, but the trouble is it’s miles away from the safety of the anemone. So he decides he’s going pull the thing all the way back. So he struggles with it, and the triumph on his little face when he does.” Filming The new series comes sixteen years after the original Blue Planet aired, and filmmakers have taken advantage of the latest marine science and cutting-edge technology to mount 125 expeditions across 39 countries, and spent more than 6,000 hours diving. The crews managed to film animal behaviour that until now has been rejected as just sailors myths. Two minutes with legendary nature presenter Sir David Attenborough 02:12 Mark Brownlow, Series Producer, said: “What’s exciting is we are working with scientists and we are helping them further their science. “Often the logistics is too massive for them to independently launch their own expedition but by collaborating we work together. “A really good example is the common octopus near Cape Town and when this octopus feels threatened it picks up stones, and shells on the seabed and wraps them around itself and it seems to be a protective coat. “Not only does it camouflage but it actually seems to be using the shells as a shield and we filmed that for the first time.” Blue Planet II : The Prequel 05:06 The team said the programmes were the most authentic ever, after the BBC Natural History Unit has faced criticism in the past for filming footage in zoos rather than in the natural world. Sir David said: “To say that we are distorting natural history would be absurd. However we wouldn’t do that now, I don’t think, because we are being very very meticulous to be correct and not in anyway misleading. “We do our best to be as honest as we can, and the Natural History Unit is extremely careful about constructing stories from too many sources.” False Killer Whales travelling with a pod of oceanic Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of the North Island, New Zealand Credit: Richard Robinson BBC James Honeybourne, Executive Producer, added: It’s very important to us that we are true to nature. “We are very honest about all the techniques we use to create that, to tell as story. If you film something that’s microscopic you have to put added light on it, that’s just the simple laws of physics. “We don’t want to point that out in every episode you don’t want to break the spell, but we want to be upfront about that.” Blue Planet IIstarts Sunday 29 October 8pm on BBC One.
More than 50 years ago, Stephen Hawking wrote his doctoral thesis on how universes expand. On Monday morning (GMT), that research became available for anyone to read through a digital library maintained by the University of Cambridge. SEE ALSO: Researchers watched as gold was made millions of light-years from Earth “By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos," Hawking said in a statement. Hawking's 1966 thesis, " Properties of expanding universes," is the most requested item in the University of Cambridge's open access repository. The catalogue record gets hundreds of views per month, according to the the university. In recent months, hundreds of readers have made requests to download the entire thesis. Hawking gave his permission to make the document available, and Cambridge officials hope his decision prompts current students to provide the same public access to their work and encourage its former academics to do the same. (The university has been home to 98 Nobel Prize recipients.) The historic Cambridge University Library maintains the physical papers of scientists like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin and has made their research data available online. "Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding," Hawking said. WATCH: Astronauts finally brought a fidget spinner to space
Elon Musk revealed in July that he had received verbal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground system that will take commuters from New York to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington, D.C.
With its hardware already right where it needs to be, NASA has decided it wants to extend its Dawn mission, which will bring its spacecraft extremely close to the surface of one of the most interesting objects in our Solar System that isn't a planet. NASA has so many spacecraft making groundbreaking discoveries around the solar system that it can actually be hard to keep track of them all, so you'd be forgiven if the name Dawn sounds new. The space agency's Dawn mission began in earnest in early 2015 when its observational spacecraft reached Ceres, the large dwarf planet hanging out in the asteroid belt situated between Mars and Jupiter. Now, the spacecraft is going to perform its most daring move. In its extended mission, the Dawn craft may get the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with Ceres. NASA is considering different flight plans that could bring the machine within 120 miles from the surface of the dwarf planet, which is incredibly close. During this extra mission time, the Dawn team plans to capture lots of images of the rocky world in the visible light spectrum in order to study its geology. Likewise, the craft's various instruments will continue to capture and send back valuable data that researchers will no doubt be excited to examine. "The Dawn team is currently refining its plans for this next and final chapter of the mission," NASA says. "Because of its commitment to protect Ceres from Earthly contamination, Dawn will not land or crash into Ceres. Instead, it will carry out as much science as it can in its final planned orbit, where it will stay even after it can no longer communicate with Earth. Mission planners estimate the spacecraft can continue operating until the second half of 2018."
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A collection of radio telescopes that spans thousands of miles and is remotely operated from central New Mexico has measured a span of 66,000 light-years (one light-year is equal to 6 trillion miles) from Earth across the Milky Way's center to a star-forming area near the edge of the other side of the galaxy.
A note that Albert Einstein gave to a courier in Tokyo, briefly describing his theory on happy living, has surfaced after 95 years and is up for auction in Jerusalem. The year was 1922, and the German-born physicist, most famous for his theory of relativity, was on a lecture tour in Japan. A Japanese courier arrived at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to deliver Einstein a message.
Out on the water's surface, floating above the site of a coral nursery was the first sign of trouble: a tangled mass of line, buoys, lobster traps, and debris. A coral restoration team from Florida's Mote Marine Laboratory was checking on its underwater nursery for the first time since Hurricane Irma brought 140-mph winds to the Keys, and things didn't look promising. The team of scientists grows coral, which is then planted out on reefs decimated by global warming and other human abuses. SEE ALSO: Before and after photos show Hurricane Irma's devastation in the Caribbean "Right off the bat we thought, 'Oh it's going to be completely destroyed," said Erich Bartels, a Mote staff scientist. While the infrastructure, including the PVC trees where corals hang like drying laundry, survived the storm, much of the vibrant coral within the 60-by-80 meter site did not. Whipped up sand and tangled fishing gear had harmed the delicate coral. A staghorn coral tree prior to Irma.Image: Joe Berg / Way Down Video via Mote Marine Labaratory A coral tree post-Irma.Image: Erich Bartels/Mote Marine Laboratory The Category 4 storm left the Florida Keys bruised and battered in early September, but it's not just the land, and its buildings, roads, and trees, that took a beating. Under the sea, the depleted coral reefs are also worse for wear, along with the underwater nurseries conservationists are growing in hopes of replenishing the Keys' once healthy reefs. The reefs are vital for the Florida coastline because the calcium carbonate structures act as a buffer from powerful waves. They're also important for the economy, as the sea life the reefs support helps feed the state and reel in tourists. Globally, restoring coral reefs is taking on new urgency as more frequent and severe coral bleaching events kill reefs that are less tolerant of unusually high water temperatures. "We can only begin to imagine how much more severely Irma would have damaged the Florida Keys without our coral reef shield," Mote's public relations manager Shelby Isaacson wrote in an email. Significant amounts of lobster trap lines got tangled in the Mote Marine Laboratory's coral trees, snagging other debris such as uprooted mangrove roots.Image: Erich Bartels/Mote Marine LaboratoryRestoration groups like Mote and the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF), which had evacuated the area before landfall, are just starting to get back to work and do preliminary assessments of their nurseries and the reefs they support. "It’s been tough to go back and see some of the reefs, because they’ve just been completely changed," said Jessica Levy, reef restoration program manager at the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). "The sites that we’ve seen are pretty barren, they've lost out-planted corals, they've lost natural corals, a lot of the soft corals. We’ve seen the ledge of the reef just collapse." A coral tree entangled in debris.Image: Erich Bartels/Mote Marine Laboratory The distinct line of bright, white reef was exposed during the hurricane.Image: Jessica Levy/Coral Restoration Foundation While the coral at the Mote nursery off Big Pine Key saw high mortality, two of CRF's underwater nurseries off Tavernier and Key Largo fared better. Still, CRF doesn't know the fate of two other production nurseries farther south because weather conditions have made it difficult to check. Coral restoration groups have been working for years in Florida to combat decades of damage to the reefs, some of it, like coral bleaching, caused by climate change, some by overfishing, anchoring, polluting, and pathogens. Similar restoration projects are happening around the globe, and perhaps the most well-known is set along Australia's Great Barrier Reef, large swaths of which have been left bone-white and stricken with disease due to rising water temperatures. This was the first time both Mote and CRF's nurseries faced such a powerful storm. They had weathered tropical storms before, but nothing like Irma. The fact that their infrastructure survived, even if all the corals didn't, was heartening. "We were in the direct path of the eye, we were in what they call the 'dirty side.' It was about as big of a test that we could be given," Bartels said. Mote scientists and volunteers planted 500 Staghorn Coral on Hope Reef on June 27, 2017, a few months before Irma hit.Image: Conor Goulding/Mote Marine LaboratoryAnother bright spot for Mote was its Summerland Key land-based nursery and gene bank, which opened this year and was built to resist Category 5 storms. The Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration protected 30,000 coral fragments from the storm. The coral living in shallow, long water tanks called raceways outside the facility were brought indoors just before Irma. Generators helped control the temperatures so the coral did not get exposed to hot water that could cause coral bleaching. While equipment left outside got beat up, the building — and coral sheltered inside — survived. A tray of coral fragments growing in one of Mote's outdoor raceways.Image: Mote Marine Laboratory Damage seen outside Mote's land-based nursery.Image: Mote marine laboratory David Vaughan, executive director of Mote's Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration, dives in a tank fixing coral fragments after Irma.Image: Mote Marine LaboratoryMote had aimed to plant 25,000 of its nursery corals on reefs this year, while CRF planned for 10,000. Both projects may be delayed a bit due to the hurricane, but the organizations are still optimistic about accomplishing their goals. "I think at this point this work is needed now more than ever because we’ve seen what storms like this can do," Levy said. "This isn’t like we took a hit, we’re gonna stop. It's we took a hit, and we’re gonna keep going." Both Mote and Coral Restoration Foundation are fundraising to rebuild after Irma. WATCH: 5-foot robotic snake is designed to find the source of pollution in contaminated water