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US-SCIENCE Summary

Sep 14, 2011, 2:38 a.m.

Summer Arctic sea ice melt at or near record

LONDON (Reuters) - Arctic sea ice this summer melted to a record low extent or will come a close second, two different research institutes said on Tuesday, confirming a trend which could yield an ice-free summer within a decade. The five biggest melts in a 32-year satellite record have all happened in the past five years, likely a result of both manmade climate change and natural weather patterns.

Europe's oceans changing at unprecedented rate: report

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe's seas are changing at an unprecedented rate as ice sheets melt, temperatures rise and marine life migrates due to climate change, a report by the Climate Change and European Marine Ecosystem Research (CLAMER) project warned. Scientists examined a mass of EU-funded research on the impacts of climate change on Europe's marine environment and identified the gaps and priorities for future work.

Defunct NASA rocket to be reborn as commercial offering

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA will work with developers of a proposed new commercial rocket, made in part from its now defunct Ares 1 crew launcher, which could eventually move crews and supplies to the International Space Station, officials said on Tuesday. The rocket also would include the core stage of Europe's Ariane 5 booster.

Hosepipe and balloon: think of it as a volcano

LONDON (Reuters) - There will be an unexpected sight high in the skies over the British county of Norfolk next month: a huge balloon attached to the ground by a giant hosepipe. It isn't obvious, but it is the first small step in an experiment which aims to re-create the cooling effect of erupting volcanoes on the earth's atmosphere.

Feeling pain? The computer can tell

(Reuters) - Can a computer tell when it hurts? It can if you train it, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. A team at Stanford University in California used computer learning software to sort through data generated by brain scans and detect when people were in pain.

Fatherhood lowers testosterone in men, study finds

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fatherhood lowers testosterone levels, U.S. researchers said they have confirmed, making it easier for men to be involved in raising children. High levels of the hormone can rev up a man's sex drive, increase risk-taking behaviors and raise the need for social dominance. Those factors can help win a mate but are poor traits when it comes to raising a baby, which requires cooperation from both parents.

Rocket lifts off with satellites to probe moon

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned U.S. rocket blasted off on Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to deliver twin robotic probes to the moon in the hope of learning what is inside. The 124-foot (37.8-meter) booster soared off its seaside launch pad at 9:08 a.m. EDT, arcing over the Atlantic Ocean as it raced into orbit.

Analysis: Gene sequencers face govt budget squeeze

Bangalore (Reuters) - Companies that make the gene-sequencing devices used in scientific research face a tough few years as potential cuts to the U.S. federal budget squeeze funding to its main academic and research customers. As the high cost of sequencing deters commercial use, the $1.5 billion market for gene-sequencers is dominated by genomic research centers, academic institutions and government laboratories that specialize in everything from finding causes for diseases to mapping the genetic make-up of crops.

Superstrong spider skin: Art or scientific miracle?

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - What started as a work of art and science fiction may become a medical miracle that benefits burn patients, aids bone regeneration and one day may even make us bulletproof. Dutch artist Jalila Essaïdi and cell biologist Abdoelwaheb El Ghalbzouri blended synthetic spider silk with human skin to produce a superstrong material that can stop a rifle bullet shot at half its regular speed.

Young, nearby supernova dazzles scientists

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California astronomers have found the closest, brightest supernova of its kind in 25 years, catching the glimmer of a tiny self-destructing star a mere 21 million light years from Earth and soon visible to amateur skywatchers. The discovery, announced on Wednesday, was made in what was believed to be the first hours of the rare cosmic explosion using a special telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego and powerful supercomputers at a government laboratory in Berkeley.

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