Science

First human-pig chimeras created, raising hopes for transplantable organs – STAT

Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday, an advance that promises — or threatens — to bring closer the

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Incredible Animations Show Real Exoplanets Orbiting Their Stars – Gizmodo

Beta Pic b in Motion (Official)Watch this video on YouTube The animations all come from direct imaging methods, meaning that the telescopes measure the Jupiter-sized planets directly. So-called “Hot Jupiters” are so young that they still emanate infrared light, said

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Kim Stanley Robinson: Our Generation Ships Will Sink – Boing Boing

With the enormous successes of Star Trek and Star Wars, the idea was firmly planted in the popular imagination: if we survived as a species, we would be moving out into the galaxy. This awesome diaspora would mark our maturity

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NASA Goddard: “Here are a few of our top images of 2016.” – Twitter

Here are a few of our top images of 2016. To see more pix be sure to follow @NASAGoddardPix & our Instagram account: https://t.co/RFfzjDqpQT pic.twitter.com/e6iTlHkZnQ — NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) January 7, 2017 From: NASA Goddard on Twitter: “Here are a

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Britain Agrees to License “Three-Parent” Baby Approach – Scientific American

The technique involves intervening in the fertilization process to remove mitochondria, which act as tiny energy-generating batteries inside cells, and which, if faulty, can cause fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy. “Mitochondrial donation offers a

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Casey ex Australia: Confronting the Credibility Gap for Crewed Exploration of Mars

To what extent are we responsible for the credibility gap? We should know better than anyone that there are real challenges that can’t be wished away, that Mars is hard, and that “all you gotta do” doesn’t really cut it

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What NASA plans to do if an astronaut dies in space – 3tags

Since the body would need to be isolated within 24 hours to avoid contamination, it would be immediately placed into a GoreTex bag that would be inflated into a type of sarcophagus. Funeral rites would be performed very quickly, in

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Japan’s HD photos of the Moon are the coolest thing you’ll see today – Ars Technica

The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has previously released some of these photos into the public domain. But now the agency has released the entire dataset, including more than 450 images, the Planetary Society has reported. The newly available images include

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In the Dark about Dark Matter – Scientific American

The decaying theoretical underpinnings for simple WIMP models, paired with the growing list of empty-handed detection efforts, have led Feng and many others to propose that WIMPs are part of a more complicated picture: a hidden realm of the universe

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Weird orange crocodiles found gorging on bats in Gabon’s caves – New Scientist

As the team headed further into the caves, they made an unexpected discovery: in the deeper recesses, the older, dark-coloured males had become paler, turning a bright orange. Were they losing unnecessary pigment in a similar way to other cave-dwelling

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From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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