Tag Archives: science

Vector has completed the first successful flight test of its new micro rocket

Vector Space Systems

Vector Space Systems successfully launched a full-scale model of its Vector-R rocket on Wednesday in Mojave, California. The test flight, which remained under 50,000 feet for regulatory purposes, allows the company to remain on track to begin providing launch services for small satellites in 2018, said Jim Cantrell, the company’s chief executive and cofounder.

The Arizona-based rocket company is one of a handful of competitors racing to the launch pad to provide lower-cost access to space for small satellites. These satellites are generally under 500kg in mass and often much smaller (the industry trend is toward smaller, lighter, more capable satellites). The Vector-R rocket will eventually be capable of launching a payload of up to 45kg to an orbit of 800km above the

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Climate Change Is Causing More Sweltering Summer Days

This past winter was an exceptionally strange one across North America. Rain deluged California, as unseasonable warmth fanned across the Midwest and Eastern seaboard. In New York, sales of salt and snow shovels plunged; in Washington, some of the famous cherry trees bloomed too early and died.

When the weather gets weird, many people now think of climate change. And nearly as many people know, too, that it’s hopeless to try to figure out if it’s to blame. For decades, journalists have repeated that weather and climate are different—weather deals in specifics and climate in probabilities—and so no individual weather event can be attributed to climate change.

They may have to stop repeating that line soon. Less than a week after the heat wave … Read the rest

As climates cool, adaptation heats up

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images / DEA Picture Library)

While natural selection is a big part of evolution, the theory now embraces much more than that. One of the big concepts that explains a lot of the pattern of evolution throughout history is called “adaptive radiation.” Adaptive radiation is a process in which environmental changes create new resources, challenges, and environmental niches, enabling rapid diversification of organisms from a single ancestral species.

Adaptive radiation provides a sound explanation that captures the effects of the interactions among organisms on species diversification. However, non-biological effects—the details of how environmental changes interact with species—are not easy to incorporate into this model and have not been extensively explored.

In a recent investigation published in PNAS, a team of scientists

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Grizzly Bears Have a Human Problem

In 2015, a woman named Barbara Paschke was attacked and killed by a black bear inside her home in northwest Montana. Paschke, who was 85 and suffered from Alzheimer’s, had been feeding bears regularly on her property, a practice that is illegal and, as her death showed, potentially fatal. Bears can quickly get used to foraging for easily accessible food sources close to human habitation, but they remain wild animals, imperiling both humans and themselves.

Nobody knows this reality better than the farmers, ranchers, and other humans living in areas with high bear populations. Unlike Barbara Paschke, most have no desire to feed the bears, but they often end up doing it unwittingly. “Nuisance bears,” as chronic offenders are described by wildlife biologists, invade trash cans, … Read the rest

To keep EpiPen sales up, Mylan threatened states, sued making bogus claims

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Alex Wong)

Note: EpiPens are sold in the UK by Meda Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Mylan in 2016. They can be acquired for just £45 a piece online in the UK. But the US and UK healthcare markets are quite different beasts…

Pharmaceutical company Mylan sued West Virginia in 2015 to keep its EpiPens on the state’s “preferred drug list,” which, if successful, would mean that the state’s Medicaid programs would have to automatically pay for the pricey epinephrine auto-injectors.

The bold and unusual move by Mylan—which ultimately failed—is yet another example of the aggressive marketing and legal tactics the company used to boost profits from EpiPens, which halt life-threatening allergic reactions. Since Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007,

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