29 articles from SATURDAY 2.11.2019

Researchers say study dispels belief that state no longer has ‘real dingo’ populations

Almost all of the so-called wild dogs in New South Wales that are killed to protect livestock are actually dingoes or “dingo-dominant hybrids”, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales said their DNA sampling project showed between 9% and 23% of the “wild dogs” in the state had only dingo ancestry, challenging a notion that most dingo populations had died out.

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A supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Saturday with sports car parts, an oven for baking cookies and a vest to protect against radiation.

Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule for NASA from Wallops Island, Virginia. The 8,200-pound shipment (3,700 kilograms) should reach the orbiting lab Monday.

“Good launch all the way around,” a ground controller observed.

The space station’s astronauts will test the oven by baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch and try out the new safety vest to gauge its comfort. Both experiments are seen as precursors to moon and Mars journeys.

Other newly arriving equipment will be used in a series of NASA spacewalks later this month to fix a key particle physics detector. Parked outside the space station since 2011, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer needs new cooling pumps to continue its search for elusive dark matter and antimatter.

Italy’s Lamborghini is also along for the ride. It’s sending up samples of carbon fiber used in its sports cars for six months of direct space exposure. Researchers are considering the materials for medical implants.

Like space, the insides of a person’s body are an extreme environment, explained Houston Methodist’s Alessandro Grattoni, who is collaborating with Lamborghini on the experiment. As a nanomedicine specialist, he said Friday he’s continuously on the lookout for new materials for devices that are inserted beneath the skin. These minuscule implants release therapeutic drugs to treat cancer, hormone deficiencies and other illnesses.

Northrop Grumman is now controlling two Cygnus capsules in orbit, a first for the Virginia-based company. Named for the swan constellation, the Cygnus launched last spring is flying free of the 250-mile-high (400-kilometer-high) space station, after completing its grocery run. It will be directed to a fiery re-entry sometime in the near future, taking station trash down with it, according to company officials.

The newest Cygnus is officially called the S.S. Alan Bean after the Apollo 12 astronaut who became the fourth man to walk on the moon 50 years ago this month. He later commanded NASA’s first space station, Skylab, and became known for his cosmic-themed paintings. He died last year.

NASA has contracted with Northrop Grumman and SpaceX to keep the space station stocked. This is Northrop Grumman’s 12th successful Cygnus flight since 2013. The company has upgraded both its Cygnus and Antares rocket to haul more cargo from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern Virginia shore.

The space station is currently home to three Americans, two Russians and one Italian.

Scientists have found a discrepancy in estimates for the rate of expansion of the universe. Why is this and what does it mean?

Astronomers have reached a fundamental impasse in their understanding of the universe: they cannot agree how fast it is flying apart. And unless a reasonable explanation can be found for their differing estimates, they may be forced to completely rethink their ideas about time and space. Only new physics can now account for the cosmic conundrum they have uncovered, many believe.

“Five years ago, no one in cosmology was really worried about the question of how fast the universe was expanding. We took it for granted,” says astrophysicist Daniel Mortlock of Imperial College London. “Now we are having to do a great deal of head scratching – and a lot of research.”

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Space shipment launched with sports car parts, cookie ovenA supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Saturday with sports car parts, an oven for baking cookies and a vest to protect against radiation. Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule for NASA from Wallops Island, Virginia. The space station's astronauts will test the oven by baking chocolate chip cookies and try out the new safety vest to gauge its comfort.


My Instagram posts made me a role model for average-sized women. But overuse left me feeling overwhelmed and lost

My longest relationship began seven years ago. I think I can say that I’ve been a dedicated partner. Like any relationship, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs. There have been times that felt like nothing could possibly come between us. Then there have been times that felt so dark I thought the only choice we had was to go our separate ways. For better or worse, we have always found our way back to one another. This love is addictive and all-encompassing. This love I’m referring to is my long-term, codependent relationship with Instagram.

There were others before Instagram. Myspace was my first, then a moment with Facebook and a liaison with Twitter. I was cutting my teeth, learning how to communicate with the world beyond me. When Instagram rolled in, I was ready for the long-term. I loved that it was image-focussed; having worked as a model for most of my life, I knew how to make something look desirable.

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Cygnus cargo ship heads to space station with satellite built by students in SeattleNorthrop Grumman launched a robotic Cygnus cargo capsule to the International Space Station today, marking one giant leap for a small satellite built by students at the University of Washington and Seattle's Raisbeck Aviation High School. The 7-pound HuskySat-1 was among 8,200 pounds of supplies, equipment and scientific payloads packed aboard the Cygnus for liftoff atop Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket at 9:59 a.m. ET (6:59 a.m. PT) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. Hundreds of onlookers cheered as the rocket rose into sunny skies after a trouble-free countdown.. "Good launch all the way around," launch conductor Adam… Read More


Researchers re-create the face of a woman buried with an impressive collection of weaponry for a National Geographic documentary

Think of a Viking warrior and you probably imagine a fearsome, muscular, bearded man. Well, think again. Using cutting-edge facial recognition technology, British scientists have brought to life the battle-hardened face of a fighter who lived more than 1,000 years ago. And she’s a woman.

The life-like reconstruction, which challenges long-held assumptions that Viking warrior heroes such as Erik the Red left their women at home, is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and now preserved in Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History. The remains had already been identified as female, but her burial site had not been considered a warrior grave “simply because the occupant was a woman”, according to archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi.

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Tufts University researchers have transplanted engineered pancreatic beta cells into diabetic mice, then caused the cells to produce more than two to three times the typical level of insulin by exposing them to light. The light-switchable cells are designed to compensate for the lower insulin production or reduced insulin response found in diabetic individuals. The study published in ACS Synthetic Biology shows that glucose levels can be controlled in a mouse model of diabetes without pharmacological intervention.

Psychologists such as Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson argue patriarchal society is the ‘natural order’, but it is a relatively new development, writes Gaia Vince

Fathers are happier, less stressed and less tired than mothers, finds a study from the American Time Use Survey. Not unrelated, surely, is the regular report that mothers do more housework and childcare than fathers, even when both parents work full time. When the primary breadwinner is the mother versus the father, she also shoulders the mental load of family management, being three times more likely to handle and schedule their activities, appointments, holidays and gatherings, organise the family finances and take care of home maintenance, according to Slate, the US website. (Men, incidentally, are twice as likely as women to think household chores are divided equally.) In spite of their outsized contributions, full-time working mothers also feel more guilt than full-time working fathers about the negative impact on their children of working. One argument that is often used to explain the anxiety that working mothers experience is that it – and many other social ills – is the result of men and women not living “as nature intended”. This school of thought suggests that men are naturally the dominant ones, whereas women are naturally homemakers.

But the patriarchy is not the “natural” human state. It is, though, very real, often a question of life or death. At least 126 million women and girls around the world are “missing” due to sex-selective abortions, infanticide or neglect, according to United Nations Population Fund figures. Women in some countries have so little power they are essentially infantilised, unable to travel, drive, even show their faces, without male permission. In Britain, with its equality legislation, two women are killed each week by a male partner, and the violence begins in girlhood: it was reported last month that one in 16 US girls was forced into their first experience of sex. The best-paid jobs are mainly held by men; the unpaid labour mainly falls to women. Globally, 82% of ministerial positions are held by men. Whole fields of expertise are predominantly male, such as physical sciences (and women garner less recognition for their contributions – they have received just 2.77% of the Nobel prizes for sciences).

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