Category: CTV

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

LONDON — Zebra stripes are dazzling — particularly to flies.

That's the conclusion of scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of California at Davis who dressed horses in black-and-white striped coats to help determine why zebras have stripes.

The researchers found that fewer horseflies landed on the cloaked horses than on the ones without striped coats, suggesting that zebra stripes may offer protection from blood-sucking insects that can spread disease.

“This reduced ability to land on the zebra's coat may be due to stripes disrupting the visual system of the horse flies during their final moments of approach,” said Martin How, a research fellow at the University of Bristol. “Stripes may dazzle flies in some way once they are close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes.”

From a distance, the flies were equally attracted to both horses and zebras, with the same number of insects hovering around both types of animals. But when the fl..

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Globally important fossil discovered in Prince Edward Island footprints

CAVENDISH, P.E.I. — Fossilized footprints discovered on Prince Edward Island last year have been matched with a prehistoric predator, giving the site newfound global significance.

Federal and provincial officials announced Thursday that the series of footprints found last May near Cavendish National Park have been confirmed to be those of the sail-backed Bathygnathus borealis.

The reptile-like mammal lived 100 million years before dinosaurs and is commonly known as the Dimetrodon.

It was considered the top predator of its time.

The footprints mark the only record of life on land in Canada during the Permian period, a geological age 300 million years ago.

Politicians and scientists welcomed the discovery as a feather in the cap for the province's history and research potential.

“The fossil legacy of the Island has reached a point where it stands proudly on the world stage,” said John Calder, a geology professor at Saint Mary's University.

In a news release Thurs..

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Israel aiming to land on moon with SpaceX launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Israel aims to land on the moon after hitching a ride with SpaceX.

The Falcon rocket is scheduled to blast off Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A communications satellite for Indonesia is the main cargo. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander — a first not just for Israel but commercial space — is generating the buzz.

Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russia, the U.S. and China. The spacecraft — called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or “In The Beginning” — will take nearly two months to reach the moon.

It will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it's captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon. Touchdown would be April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.

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4 dolphins moved from Arizona facility to Caribbean park

MIAMI — Four remaining dolphins at an Arizona facility where four other dolphins have died have moved into a new home in the Caribbean.

Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, announced the arrival of the four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins late Wednesday.

In a statement , the park said the dolphins are being cared for in a 69,000-square-foot (6,410-square-meter) ocean habitat enclosed by a mesh barrier that extends over 20 feet (6 metres) down to the ocean floor.

The animals are healthy and exploring their new environment, Lee Kellar, Coral World's general curator, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

All four dolphins were born in captivity, so this is their first exposure to natural sea water, waves, currents and squids and fish swimming with them.

They had been living at Dolphinaris Arizona. Four dolphins have died at the Scottsdale, Arizona, facility since it opened in 2016. It closed temporarily this month as experts investigate what caused the ..

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Swedish teen leads Belgian students on 7th climate march

BRUSSELS — Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg led a march of thousands of Belgian students who are skipped classes for the seventh Thursday in a row to march through Brussels and draw more attention to fighting climate change.

The 16-year-old Thunberg first addressed a European Union conference, chiding adults for their inaction in the face of such climatic global dangers. She said youngsters are being forced to skip school and protest because adults are not addressing climate issues quickly enough.

She told the European Economic and Social Committee plenary session that “we are school striking because we have done our homework” on the dangers facing the Earth.

Thunberg has become her generation's voice on climate change after inspiring students around the world to go on strike to express their anger and angst over global warming.

Also at the conference was EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker who said he was “glad to see that young people are taking to the streets fo..

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Made-in-Canada lab-grown meat one step closer to being a reality

A group of Toronto scientists will soon attempt to develop a less-expensive way to grow lab-made meat after securing a grant from an American non-profit aiming to boost advances in cultured protein.

Cellular agriculture has been touted as the future of food thanks to its smaller environmental footprint and consideration for animal welfare, but until recently much of the research has been done south of the border.

Cultured food uses cell cultures to grow animal products like beef, eggs or milk in a laboratory without the need for livestock. Some companies have already made these kinds of products, but it's an expensive undertaking and no such items are readily available on store shelves yet.

“This is our, my first foray into this kind of research,” said Peter Stogios, a senior research associate at the University of Toronto and lead researcher on the winning project.

He's trying to overcome what he sees as one of the biggest hurdles for the whole industry of cultured m..

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Ikea’s ‘Gunrid’ curtains are designed to help purify the air in your home

Next year, Ikea will launch a new product going by the typically melodic name of “Gunrid.” This unusually named item is, in fact, a curtain that is able to reduce common indoor air pollutants.

It will soon be possible to reduce air pollution in the home thanks to a new product from Ikea. Landing next year, the Swedish firm's “Gunrid” curtains have a mineral-based surface treatment allowing them to break down air pollution when they come into contact with light.

“Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that 'Gunrid' will increase people's awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioural changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter Ikea Group. “'Gunrid' is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles.”

The blue-and-yellow brand also claims to be reducing air pollution relating to..

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Baby boom for endangered right whales offer researchers a glimmer of hope

After years of increasingly bad news, there's a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered North Atlantic right whale.

There are estimated to be fewer than 420 of the endangered mammals left, and their ranks have been decimated as deaths far outpaced live births — there were no births at all during last winter's calving season.

But researchers have reported seeing seven right whale calves so far this winter off the southern U.S. coast, where the mammals spend their winters before coming north to Canada as temperatures warm.

“Seven is definitely better than last year,” said Barb Zoodsma, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Last year was dismal with zero, and the year before that, there were five. However when you look at the average number of calves produced in any given year for the last 10 years it has been just under 17 mom-calf pairs. Although we're at seven, we're not at the average level yet,” she said…

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Japanese spacecraft to attempt landing on distant asteroid

TOKYO — A Japanese spacecraft is approaching the surface of an asteroid about 280 million kilometres (170 million miles) from Earth.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Thursday that Hayabusa2 began its approach at 1:15 p.m.

The start was delayed for about five hours for a safety check, but the unmanned craft is still is due to touch down as scheduled on Friday morning.

It will attempt to collect material from the asteroid that could provide clues about the origin of the solar system and life on Earth.

The landing will require precision. Hayabusa2 is aiming for a 6-meter- (20-foot-) wide strip to avoid obstacles on the asteroid's surface.

The asteroid is about 900 metres (3,000 feet) in diameter. It is named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale.

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Japanese spacecraft touches down on asteroid to get samples

TOKYO — A Japanese spacecraft touched down on a distant asteroid Friday on a mission to collect material that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth.

Workers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency control centre applauded Friday as a signal sent from space indicated the Hayabusa2 spacecraft had touched down.

During the touchdown, Hayabusa2 is programmed to extend a pipe and shoot a pinball-like object into the asteroid to blow up material from beneath the surface. If that succeeds, the craft would then collect samples to eventually be sent back to Earth. Three such touchdowns are planned.

Japanese Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama said the space agency had concluded from its data after the first touchdown that the steps to collect samples were performed successfully.

JAXA, as the Japanese space agency is known, has likened the touchdown attempts to trying to land on a baseball mound from the spacecraft's operating location of 20 kil..

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Ale from 1886 shipwreck yields new brew and conflict

ALBANY, N.Y. — News that an upstate New York brewer planned to recreate ale from a bottle salvaged from a 133-year-old shipwreck took the wind out of the sails of a scuba-diving Long Island brewer who has already done it.

Jamie Adams, owner of Saint James Brewery in Holbrook, said Wednesday he plans to release his new ale next month. He created it from yeast he painstakingly cultured from bottles of English ale he salvaged in 2017 from the wreck of the SS Oregon, which sank off Fire Island in 1886.

Adams, who has been diving the 135-foot-deep wreck for nearly 20 years, was stunned when he saw an Associated Press story over the weekend describing another brewer's plans to use the Oregon yeast.

“One of the divers I had enlisted to help me find these bottles with the intent of making beer had given one of them to this other brewer, unbeknownst to me,” Adams said.

Adams learned about it when the State University of New York at Cobleskill announced that students were trying to..

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Google’s Nest hub has a microphone it forgot to mention

Google said Wednesday it forgot to mention that it included a microphone in its Nest Secure home alarm system, the latest privacy flub by one of the tech industry's leading collectors of personal information.

The company said earlier this month that its voice assistant feature would be available on the system's Nest Guard, which controls home alarm sensors.

But Google hadn't told consumers about the device's built-in microphone when it began selling the hubs in the fall of 2017. As recently as January , the product specs for the device made no mention of a microphone.

Google said in a statement that the omission was a mistake. “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” it said.

The microphone hasn't been active since launch, and people have to specifically enable it going forward, Google said. Business Insider first reported the microphone had been missing from the product's descripti..

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