Everywhere you look there’s something interesting and exciting in science news. Here’s a rundown of some science-related stories that have caught my eye recently and may interest you as well.
NASA Sets New Launch Date for Endeavor’s Final Flight
NASA managers have set Monday, May 16 at 8:56 a.m. EDT as the new date for space shuttle Endeavour‘s final liftoff. The STS-134 mission to the International Space Station is the penultimate shuttle flight and the final one for Endeavour.
The Vatican Issues Climate Change Report
A panel of scientists appointed by the Vatican confirms what climate change experts have been warning for years – that the Earth is getting warmer, causing glaciers to melt. The panel says urgent measures are needed to stem the damage.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted a conference last month on the causes and consequences of retreating mountain glaciers. Its final report, signed by independent glaciologists, climate scientists, meteorologists and chemists, was posted on the Vatican website Tuesday.
Long-Term Use of Acetaminophen Linked to Blood Cancers
Frequent use of over-the-counter pain killer acetaminophen increases the risk for developing blood cancers, such as Lymphoma, according to a new study. The risk might be low and it’s still uncertain what role the drug plays.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, focused on 65,000 older men and women in the US western state of Washington. After considering factors like age, whether or not the patient had arthritis and a family history of certain blood cancers, the research indicated that chronic acetaminophen users had nearly twice the risk of developing the diseases.
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Indian Botanists Find Long Lost Medicinal Plant
A rare medicinal plant that hasn’t been seen for 115 years was recently rediscovered by botanists working in India’s Upper Subansiri district of Arunchal Pradesh.
The region’s ethnic tribes believed the “Begonia tessaricarpa” plant had medicinal properties and used it to treat stomach aches and dehydration. Its juices were said to be used to ward off leeches. People of these tribes often referred to plant as “Buckuchurbu” or “Rebe”.
Details of this finding are outlined in the Indian publication, “Current Science”.
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Purdue University Unveils a New Class of Software
Researchers at Purdue University have defined a new class of software which enables designers and video gamers to more easily change features of complex objects like automotive drawings or animated characters.
The new interactive approach, called surrogate interaction, is being used commercially and in research but, until now, has not been formally defined. Doing so could boost its development and number of applications, said Ji Soo Yi, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.
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NASA Narrows Future Mission Choices
NASA’s Discovery Program has selected three finalists for a 2016 mission. The possibilities include looking at Mars’ interior for the first time, studying an extraterrestrial sea on one of Saturn’s moons or examining the surface of a comet’s nucleus in unprecedented detail.
Each investigation team now receives $3 million to further their mission’s concept and design. After another detailed review in 2012, NASA will select one finalist to continue development efforts leading up to launch.