Blood cell damage may explain low oxygen levels; two vaccines show promise in early testing

– The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Low oxygen levels may be due to blood cell damage Damage done by the coronavirus to the membranes of red blood cells that carry oxygen may explain why many COVID-19 patients have alarmingly low oxygen levels, according to new research. Specifically, the…

"Blood cell damage may explain low oxygen levels; two vaccines show promise in early testing"

Australian scientists discover ancient underwater Aboriginal sites

SYDNEY – Australia’s first underwater archaeological sites off its west coast dating to more than 7,000 years ago will help with the understanding of the cultural and technology development of its first peoples, scientists said Thursday. Archaeologists in Western Australia discovered hundreds of stone tools made by aboriginal people when the seabed was dry, at two ancient sites now submerged in the Dampier Archipelago. While the region is well known for its rich ancient history…

"Australian scientists discover ancient underwater Aboriginal sites"

Surviving core of ill-fated Jupiter-like planet spotted near distant star

WASHINGTON – A rocky planet 39 times as massive as Earth has been spotted orbiting a distant star at breakneck speed, with astronomers concluding it may be the surviving core of a planet once perhaps larger than Jupiter that was stripped of its gaseous atmosphere. Researchers said on Wednesday it is the largest rocky planet ever discovered and would be the first planetary core ever found, offering a unique opportunity to better understand the interiors…

"Surviving core of ill-fated Jupiter-like planet spotted near distant star"

Italy’s Cassandra: the scientist who challenged WHO guidelines

ROME – Andrea Crisanti says his one regret is that he didn’t yell loudly enough at the beginning, when the dead had yet to pile up.  The Italian virologist has become a medical celebrity at home, a contrarian who broke with initial  World Health  Organization  (WHO) guidelines  on testing for the new coronavirus, deeming them narrow and “stupid” — something the U.N. agency denies. While the WHO was advising governments back in January to only…

"Italy’s Cassandra: the scientist who challenged WHO guidelines"

It is rocket science: EU to speed up space ambitions, Breton says

PARIS – The European Union will plough more money into rocket launches, satellite communication and space exploration to preserve its often unsung successes in space and keep up with US and Chinese ambitions, its space chief said on Sunday. Over the past decades, Europe has sought to build independent access to space from U.S. and Russian pioneers to help its industry, with successes such as Ariane rockets or GPS-rival satnav Galileo. But the recent emergence…

"It is rocket science: EU to speed up space ambitions, Breton says"

Planets around nearby star are intriguing candidates for extraterrestrial life

WASHINGTON – Up to three planets – potentially rocky like Earth – have been spotted around a star located relatively near our solar system – a planetary system offering astronomers intriguing possibilities in the search for signs of extraterrestrial life. The planets orbit Gliese 887, a so-called red dwarf star half the sun’s mass located 11 light years from Earth – right in our backyard in cosmic terms, researchers said on Friday. A light year…

"Planets around nearby star are intriguing candidates for extraterrestrial life"

Trump administration asks Supreme court to invalidate Affordable Care Act

– The administration of President Donald Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, a law seen as an important legislative achievement of former president Barack Obama. “No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” the U.S. government’s top advocate before the Supreme Court, Noel Francisco, said in a filing…

"Trump administration asks Supreme court to invalidate Affordable Care Act"

U.S. says lobbyist Abramoff to plead guilty in connection with bitcoin offering

– The U.S. government said on Thursday that lobbyist Jack Abramoff – who once served four years in prison for bribing U.S. officials and became synonymous with government corruption – has agreed to plead guilty to violating a federal lobbying disclosure law in connection with an alleged fraudulent offering of the cryptocurrency AML Bitcoin. Abramoff and Rowland Marcus Andrade, the chief executive of NAC Foundation, were accused of conspiring to make false and misleading statements…

"U.S. says lobbyist Abramoff to plead guilty in connection with bitcoin offering"

Bear-sized wombat cousin roamed Australia 25 million years ago

WASHINGTON – A powerfully built relative of modern wombats that was the size of a black bear roamed Australia’s woodlands about 25 million years ago, possessing shovel-shaped hands and strong forelimbs indicating it was an adept digger, scientists said on Thursday. The plant-eating mammal called Mukupirna nambensis, known from the fossil of a partial skull and much of the skeleton unearthed at Lake Pinpa in northeastern South Australia state, is one of the earliest-known large-bodied…

"Bear-sized wombat cousin roamed Australia 25 million years ago"

Subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa deemed potentially ‘habitable’

WASHINGTON – Scientists have figured out how the subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa may have formed and determined that this vast expanse of water may have been able to support microbial life in the past. Europa, with an ocean hidden beneath a thick shell of ice, long has been viewed as a potential habitat for extraterrestrial life in our solar system, alongside other candidates such as Mars and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. A new study…

"Subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa deemed potentially ‘habitable’"