Science

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  • Q&A: Drones might help show how tornados form

    DENVER (AP) — Researchers say they’ve collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how tornados form. Drones can penetrate parts of weather systems that other instruments can’t reach, and they can do it at less…

  • Washington governor proposes carbon pollution cap

    SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday proposed an ambitious cap-and-trade program to require the state’s largest industrial polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release. The proposal was part of a broader package that the Democrat said would help the state meet a 2008 mandate to drastically reduce greenhouse gas…

  • Launch pad where rocket exploded back next year

    WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) — Despite a massive explosion in October, authorities say a state-owned launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility should be repaired and ready for testing late next year. Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on Oct. 28. The rocket was…

  • Colorado funds medical marijuana research, a first

    DENVER (AP) — Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana’s medical potential — a new frontier because government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug’s negative health effects. The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic…

  • Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study. The three Dutch scientists, using the latest hydraulic software and information about tides on the night of…

  • Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday. They could determine the greater sage grouse is heading toward possible extinction, but they would be unable to intervene under…

  • Report: Arctic loses snow, ice; absorbs more heat

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Arctic and its future are looking dimmer every year, a new federal report says. In the spring and summer of 2014, Earth’s icy northern region lost more of its signature whiteness that reflects the sun’s heat. It was replaced temporarily with dark land and water that absorbs more energy, keeping yet…

  • Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods. Now that the former Facebook president is the father of two small children who have a genetic…

  • Europe’s Venus probe set for fiery demise

    BERLIN (AP) — An unmanned spacecraft that has been studying the planet Venus for the past eight years is set to come to a fiery end in the coming weeks. The European Space Agency says attempts to lift Venus Express into a higher orbit to prolong the mission into next year failed because the probe…

  • Oregon certifies recount results: GMO labels lost

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Secretary of State Kate Brown has certified recount results showing the defeat of a ballot measure to require labels on genetically modified foods, officially making Oregon the fourth state in the West to reject the idea. Brown certified the final numbers Monday showing Measure 92 was defeated by 837 votes out…

  • Pregnancy-related infection kills endangered orca

    SEATTLE (AP) — An endangered orca found dead off Vancouver Island in Canada earlier this month died after a failed pregnancy caused a bacterial infection, officials said Tuesday. Preliminary necropsy results show the 19-year-old killer whale known as J-32 was pregnant with a nearly full-term female calf that died, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said. “It…

  • Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

    RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory in Washington state where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes. The aerospace company and the utility, Puget Sound Energy, said the plan will move the Renton factory near Seattle toward an all-renewable energy mix.…

  • Rain could spell trouble for Calif. water conservation

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After California’s driest three years on record, there have been few sounds as disturbing to water conservationists as the whisk-whisk-whisk of automatic lawn sprinklers kicking on directly behind TV reporters covering some of the state’s first heavy downpours in years. Recent storms eased the drought somewhat, but there’s a long way…

  • Curiosity rover detects spikes of methane at Mars

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, has detected spikes of methane in the planet’s atmosphere. That suggests something is producing or venting the scientifically tantalizing gas, but no one knows what. Most of Earth’s atmospheric methane comes from animal and plant life, and the environment itself. So the Martian methane raises the…

  • Cam captures penguin hatching at Pittsburgh aviary

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — A webcam captured images of the first of two African penguins hatching at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. Monday’s birth brings to 17 the number of endangered African penguins in the aviary’s Penguins Point exhibit. A second egg is expected to hatch this week, though spokeswoman Robin Weber said that was unlikely…