Will's Feed
Apr 16, 2014

Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find the ‘Model T Ford’ of sharks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You’ve heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. But how about the Model T shark?

Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws.

Apr 16, 2014

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo.

Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. But how they recognize each other in order to hook up had remained a mystery.

Apr 12, 2014

Former U.S. Marine’s family asks Iran to reconsider prison term

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The family of an Iranian-American former U.S. Marine held in Iran since 2011 called on Saturday for senior Iranian officials to review his conviction and 10-year prison sentence on charges of collaborating with the U.S. government and to free him.

The family of Amir Hekmati, whose previous espionage conviction and death sentence in Iran were overturned in 2012, said he was retried in secret, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on a charge of “practical collaboration with the American government.”

Apr 11, 2014

White House, spy agencies deny NSA exploited ‘Heartbleed’ bug

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House and U.S. intelligence agencies said on Friday neither the National Security Agency nor any other part of the government were aware before this month of the “Heartbleed” bug, denying a report that the spy agency exploited the glitch in widely used Web encryption technology to gather intelligence.

The White House, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued statements after Bloomberg reported that the NSA was aware of the bug for at least two years and exploited it in order to obtain passwords and other basic information used in hacking operations. The Bloomberg report cited two unnamed sources it said were familiar with the matter.

Apr 10, 2014

Shoo fly: pesky insect escapes using fighter jet maneuvers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – What does a tiny fruit fly have in common with the world’s most advanced fighter jets like the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor? More than you might think.

Scientists using video cameras to track a fly’s aerial maneuvers found the insect employs astonishingly quick mid-air banked turns to evade predators much like a fighter jet executes to elude an enemy.

Apr 9, 2014

Extinct Australian predator was fierce but no Tasmanian devil

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A fox-sized marsupial predator that roamed Australia from about 23 to 12 million years ago had plenty of bite to go along with its bark. But while it was certainly fierce, it was no Tasmanian devil, Australia’s famously ferocious bantamweight brute.

Those were the findings reported on Wednesday by scientists who essentially brought the extinct mammal back to life in the virtual world to study its bite force and other qualities in comparison to other marsupial meat-eaters.

Apr 9, 2014

Scientists make ethanol without corn or other crops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scientists said on Wednesday they have developed a new way to make liquid ethanol efficiently without using corn or other crops needed in the conventional method for producing the biofuel.

The scientists said their process turns carbon monoxide gas into liquid ethanol with the help of an electrode made of a form of copper. They said the new technique may be more environmentally friendly and efficient than the current method.

Apr 7, 2014

Sea creature fossil found with oldest-known cardiovascular system

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You’ve heard of having a heart of stone, but this old guy takes it literally.

Scientists said on Monday they have found a fossil of a shrimp-like creature that lived 520 million years ago with an exquisitely preserved heart and blood vessels that represent the oldest-known cardiovascular system.

Apr 5, 2014

Lawsuit over American drone strikes dismissed by U.S. judge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by the families of three American citizens killed by U.S. drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war.

The families of the three – including Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born militant Muslim cleric who had joined al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, and his teenage son – sued over their 2011 deaths in U.S. drone strikes, arguing that the killings were illegal.

Apr 3, 2014

Birds of a feather: hummingbird family tree unveiled

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For such small creatures, hummingbirds certainly have racked up an outsized list of unique claims to fame.

They are the smallest birds and the smallest warm-blooded animals on Earth. They have the fastest heart and the fastest metabolism of any vertebrate. They are the only birds that can fly backward. And scientists reported on Thursday that they also have a complicated evolutionary history.