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Rocket rumbles give volcanic insights
It might even be possible to develop systems that give early warnings of some of the dangerous debris flows associated with volcanoes. This saw a Falcon 9 rocket suffer a catastrophic failure as it was being fuelled. Like everyone, Glenn and Steve are particularly looking forward to the launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy vehicle in the New Year. The Heavy should produce nearly 23 meganewtons of thrust at lift-off, more than any rocket in operation today.
Prehistoric Skye meteorite impact found
Geologists have found evidence of a 60 million-year-old meteorite impact on the Isle of Skye. Dr Drake said: We have found evidence of the impact at two sites and at another potential two sites on the Isle of Skye, at the moment. We are now suggesting that this may well have been assisted by a meteorite impact. Last year, another team of scientists said they had identified a meteorite impact crater beneath a large area of mainland Scotland.
Google hit with lawsuit alleging fraud in ad-scam refunds
Online advertising agency AdTrader has sued Google in federal court, accusing it of fraud and deceit for not refunding or crediting advertisers whose ads were targeted in scams. The agency claims Google made fraudulent promises of refunds, while the company just kept the money. What Google apparently forgot, however, was that AdTrader also helps companies place online advertisements on various advertising platforms, says the lawsuit, filed in US District Court for Northern California.
Scientist Heinz Wolff dies, aged 89
These are external links and will open in a new window. Renowned scientist and television presenter Heinz Wolff has died, aged 89. The German-born inventor, famed for hosting The Great Egg Race, died of heart failure on December 15, his family said in a statement. A former advisor to the European Space Agency, he later moved to London's Brunel University. Colleagues at Brunel described him as a most inventive and inspirational leader.
Two rare sea lion attacks shut down cove in San Francisco Bay
Two unusual sea lion attacks in a San Francisco Bay cove led authorities to close the popular area to swimmers Friday as officials try to determine the reason for the aggressive behavior. A sea lion bit a man in the groin area Friday as he swam in the waters off San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, park spokesman Lynn Cullivan said. When he turned to swim back, the massive sea lion was right there, he told San Francisco television station KGO.
Disney-Fox deal may create a new nerdy nirvana
For years, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have battled bad dudes from the studios of 20th Century Fox. Meanwhile Iron Man, Black Widow and other Avengers vanquished villains in another corner of the galaxy run by Disney. That would make the Disney juggernaut a more powerful theatrical force to be reckoned with than ever before. After Fox's deal to send its movies to HBO ends reportedly in 2022, its films will also move to the Disney streaming platforms.
Inflammatory letter sheds light on Uber's alleged misconduct
The letter also has become evidence in a criminal investigation being conducted by the US Justice Department. The letter alleges that two Uber security executives, Joe Sullivan and Craig Clark, played central roles in putting together the company's clandestine operations. Uber itself tried to hack into its rivals' computer networks in an effort to scoop up valuable information, Jacobs' letter alleges. Waymo is focused on a section of the letter alleging that Uber's espionage unit sought to steal its trade secrets.
Sentinel tracks California smoke plume
Europe's new Sentinel-5P satellite has captured a dramatic image of the smoke billowing away from the devastating California wildfires. The plume is seen to sweep westwards out over the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles and then turn north towards the State of Oregon. It is the first time that data from the brand new UK-Dutch-built Sentinel has been presented at a research conference. It represents Britain's most significant industrial contribution to the Sentinel programme so far.
With Christmas nearing, retailers feel pressure to deliver
With Christmas on a Monday, most retailers have one less day to get packages delivered on time. Research firm StellaService says Dec 19 is the most popular cutoff date for retailers, two days earlier than last year. Retailers have been trying to speed up delivery as they try to replicate the service offered by Amazon. Holiday spending is turning out to be stronger than expected, putting more pressure on stores to get it right.
Complex, old-growth forests may protect some bird species in a warming climate
Old forests that contain large trees and a diversity of tree sizes and species may offer refuge to some types of birds facing threats in a warming climate, scientists have found. Researchers studied 13 bird species that have been tracked annually in the US Geological Survey's annual Breeding Bird Survey, one of the most comprehensive efforts of its kind in North America. The researchers used satellite imagery to determine the amount of old-growth forest within about 450 yards of each 25-mile-long bird survey route.
Report: NASA should develop US strategy for international space station beyond 2024
Given the high value of microgravity research for space exploration and the approaching need for an ISS strategy beyond 2024, NASA faces important prioritization decisions. Since the survey, NASA's strategy for space exploration has evolved with the focus on Mars as a horizon destination. While the international partners have all committed to funding their ISS partnerships through 2024, the strategy for ISS in the post-2024 timeframe is undefined.
Single-photon detector can count to four
They had it locked in their mind that it wasn't possible and that it wasn't worth spending time on. When we presented our data, world experts were just blown away, continued Jungsang Kim, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke. At the heart of the detector is a superconducting filament. A SNSPD works by charging a looped segment of superconducting wire with an electric current close to its maximum limit.
Discovery could reduce cost, energy for high-speed Internet connections
Breakthrough research from The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Vermont could lead to a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy consumption of high-speed internet connections. Nonlinear-optical effects, such as intensity-dependent refractive index, can be used to process data thousands of times faster than what can be achieved electronically. An attractive alternative to this is processing the optical signal directly, without converting it to electrical and back.
Civil engineer patents integrated sensor and algorithm to monitor stiffness in soils
Puppala's algorithm works with an integrated moisture sensor and a time domain reflectometry, or TDR, probe. The sensor, which has bender elements, is integrated with the time domain reflectometry strip. This integrated sensor is placed in the soil and measures the soil stiffness and moisture content when the soil begins to heave. When stabilizing soils with chemicals, which is typical in road construction, soil stiffness generally increases over time.
Wary of Trump, some foreign-born tech workers choose Canada, not Silicon Valley
Unlike many liberal-leaning technology workers in Silicon Valley, Axolotl doesn't consider herself anti-Trump. It's considered 'on-shoring' because we're so close to the US Silicon Valley isn't yet panicking about the politics-driven brain drain, though. Recruiters from Canada say Silicon Valley has lost some of its shine over the last year among workers from outside the United States. Foreign-born tech workers once adamant about going to or staying in the Bay Area are now more receptive to job offers from Canada, they say.
Genetic instructions from mom set the pattern for embryonic development
A new study indicates an essential role for a maternally inherited gene in embryonic development. The study found that zebrafish that failed to inherit specific genetic instructions from mom developed fatal defects earlier in development, even if the fish could make their own version of the gene. When female animals form egg cells inside their ovaries, they deposit messenger RNAs (mRNAs) - a sort of genetic instruction set - in the egg cell cytoplasm.
Companies turn your Facebook friends into a sales force
That's when her Facebook feed started filling up with new direct sales posts touting cosmetics, jewelry and leggings. Friends Stover hadn't seen in years had added her to private Facebook groups promoting body oils and makeup. It simply follows where people are gathered, and now that people communicate on digital forums like Facebook, it has invaded social networks. LuLaRoe, which was founded in 2012 and surpassed $2 billion in annual sales this year, called the lawsuits baseless.
Graphene in zero G promises success in space
In a successful collaboration between the Graphene Flagship and the European Space Agency, experiments testing graphene for two different space-related applications have shown extremely promising results. Based on these results, the Flagship are continuing to develop graphene devices for use in space. Graphene could also have a use in space propulsion, due to its lightness and strong interaction with light.
NASA sees Tropical Storm Kai-Tak moving over the Philippines
NASA's Aqua satellite provided infrared imagery of Tropical Storm Kai-Tak that revealed the western side of storm had moved into the southern and central Philippines. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Kai-Tak on Dec 14 at 12:11 p.m. On Dec 15 at 10 a.m. EST the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported that Tropical storm Kai-tak, known as Urduja in the Philippines had maximum sustained winds near 45 knots.
Heavy oils and petroleum coke raising vanadium emissions
Less than two decades ago, the ratio of human to natural emissions was 0.59 to 1, or less than half the current level, Schlesinger said. Our analysis suggests that much of this rapid rise can be traced to the increased use of unconventional heavy-petroleum fuels. Vanadium is a trace metal found in many earth materials, including petroleum and coal. Natural sources of vanadium emissions include volcanic eruptions and the weathering of rocks.

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