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  • UK Green Lights Gene Editing of Human Embryos | Britannica.com
    the field of gene editing which has been shrouded in controversy since the introduction in 2012 of a molecular gene editing tool known as CRISPR Cas9 CRISPR Cas9 gives researchers the ability to precisely alter a few or even just one base in an organism s entire genome Compared with standard genetic engineering tools gene editing is easier and more cost effective Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute led by developmental biologist Kathy Niakan will not be the first to edit a human embryo In 2015 scientists in China announced that they had tried to use gene editing in nonviable human embryos to repair a gene responsible for an inherited blood disorder That work was considered highly controversial however and the report was rejected by at least two prominent scientific journals owing to ethical concerns before being published Moreover the research had been pursued under unclear regulatory boundaries The goal of the new research to be carried out in London is to shed light on the genes that human embryos rely on for successful development The scientists will focus on the first seven days of egg development following fertilization They are prohibited from implanting modified embryos into a woman The

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/uk-green-lights-gene-editing-of-human-embryos (2016-02-13)
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  • Centuries-Old Painting Now Attributed to Bosch | Britannica.com
    relatively small work measuring only 15 inches 38 cm high by 10 inches 25 cm wide It is thought to be a segment of what was once a panel of a triptych On the surface the painting resembles other Bosch works it s a surrealistic composition of odd magical looking creatures and a bizarre juxtaposition of fantastic elements within the natural landscape What led to the recent discovery was the information gleaned from the underdrawings visible with the use of infrared photography and infrared reflectography used to look through layers of paint Bosch is known for having heavily reworked his paintings as part of his creative process The underdrawings found beneath The Temptation of St Anthony according to the researchers match Bosch s composition and brushstroke style In all only about 45 paintings and drawings are attributed to Bosch which makes any discovery of his work particularly exciting A major retrospective opening in February 2016 at the Noordbrabants Museum in s Hertogenbosch Bosch s hometown in the Netherlands will feature 19 drawings and 20 of his paintings including the newly attributed St Anthony Photo The Temptation of St Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch 1500 10 Scholars and scientists used infrared technology

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/centuries-old-painting-now-attributed-to-bosch (2016-02-13)
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  • Ancient Babylonians Used Advanced Geometry | Britannica.com
    been invented 1 400 years later to calculate the motion of Jupiter The Babylonians in effect constructed a graph with velocity across the sky as the vertical axis and time as the horizontal axis By calculating the area under a curve on such a graph one can obtain the total distance an object has traveled across the sky In the case of Jupiter the Babylonians described its motion as what looks like a trapezoid on the graph They then calculated the trapezoid s area Their geometric methods were very similar to the Merton theorem which was discovered by mathematicians at Oxford s Merton College in the early 14th century and proved graphically by French bishop Nicholas Oresme around 1361 Such methods are a precursor to calculus Photo Cuneiform tablet and trapezoid divided into two equal areas One of the five cuneiform tablets left described in Ossendrijver s paper which describes how to divide a trapezoid into two equal areas right British Museum Mathieu Ossendrijver Read More on This Topic 1 Why were the Babylonians so interested in Jupiter 2 Did you know the Babylonians had a base 60 number system Recommended From the Web Read Ossendrijver s paper Centuries Old

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/ancient-babylonians-used-advanced-geometry- (2016-02-13)
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  • 30 Years After Challenger | Britannica.com
    boosters The joint thus could not seal and allowed hot gases to escape and melt a strut joining the booster to the fuel filled external tank The booster swiveled to compensate for the loss of the strut and collided with the external tank The shuttle then exploded in a fireball President Ronald Reagan appointed a commission to investigate the disaster It included astronauts Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride and physicist Richard Feynman who famously demonstrated the O ring failure by using a glass of ice water The commission faulted NASA s management and booster manufacturer Morton Thiokol for ignoring warnings about the O rings malfunctioning in cold weather NASA had also cut corners in trying to achieve an ambitious goal of 24 shuttle flights a year The shuttle did not fly again until 1988 and the dream that the reusable spacecraft would make space travel routine had vanished Video Challenger Explosion This video shows the Challenger liftoff and explosion at Cape Canaveral Florida January 28 1986 Stock footage courtesy The WPA Film Library Read More on This Topic 1 Learn more about the Challenger disaster 2 What did the space shuttle program actually accomplish QUIZ Space Exploration Fact or Fiction

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/30-years-after-challenger (2016-02-13)
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  • AI Masters Game Much More Complex Than Chess | Britannica.com
    white stones on a 19 19 grid in an effort to enclose and capture as much of the area of the board as possible But the game is vastly complex The number of possible moves at each turn is much larger than the number of possible moves in chess and DeepMind calculated that the total number of potential positions for the game as a whole is larger than the number of atoms in the universe For this reason traditional artificial intelligence programs struggled with go and until now they were no match for skilled human players who rely on experience and intuition built up over many years of playing The new program called AlphaGo surmounts these challenges by mimicking the way a human being learns go Researchers trained a system based on artificial neural networks which simulate the neural networks that occur in the brain to recognize advantageous patterns by exposing it to millions of games played by human experts They also had it play thousands of games against itself which helped it learn to identify patterns and formulate strategies AlphaGo is scheduled to face an even tougher test a match against the go world champion Lee Sedol in March

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/ai-masters-game-much-more-complex-than-chess (2016-02-13)
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  • Gbagbo on Trial for Crimes Against Humanity | Britannica.com
    Ouattara had claimed victory and although Ouattara had the support of the international community Gbagbo refused to step down In December Ouattara established a parallel administration The election dispute led to a political stalemate that adversely affected the country s people and economy and begat much violence between Gbagbo s forces and those that supported Ouattara there were many allegations of human rights abuses having occurred on both sides The crisis largely ended when Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011 Later that year he was extradited to the ICC where he was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity for alleged indirect co perpetration of acts of murder rape and other forms of sexual violence persecution and other inhuman acts He entered a plea of not guilty to the charges Many of Gbagbo s supporters were angered that the ICC had not yet brought charges against any of Ouattara s supporters In response Fatou Bensouda the ICC s chief prosecutor noted that her office was investigating pro Ouattara individuals and promised to leave no stone unturned in examining the allegations of crimes committed by both sides in the conflict Read More on This Topic 1 For a concise overview

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/gbagbo-on-trial-for-crimes-against-humanity (2016-02-13)
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  • Zika Virus on the Move in the Americas | Britannica.com
    could infect 3 4 million people in the Americas in 2016 In response to rising levels of concern Chan elected to convene an emergency committee which declared Zika virus a global health emergency officially known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1 2016 The last such declaration was made in August 2014 following escalation of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa The emergency committee met just days after the U S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel alert for people planning to visit affected countries in the Americas The alert was aimed particularly at pregnant women because of a link between maternal Zika virus infection and a congenital defect known as microcephaly an abnormally small head in newborns Alarm over the link caused health officials in Colombia Ecuador El Salvador and Jamaica to caution women against pregnancy and to recommend that they wait to become pregnant until more is known about the connection between Zika virus and neurological complications in newborns Read More on This Topic 1 Where did Zika virus come from and where is it going 2 Learn about the symptoms of Zika fever LIST 6 Common Infections We Wish Never

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/zika-virus-on-the-move-in-the-americas (2016-02-13)
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  • Eichmann Papers Made Public | Britannica.com
    in May 1960 and returned him to Israel for prosecution Throughout the trial Eichmann professed his innocence arguing that he was simply following the orders of his superiors Hannah Arendt a German born American political scientist who had observed the proceedings sparked controversy when she characterized the banality of Eichmann s evil So committed was Eichmann to the Nazi cause that Arendt said that his actions had a thoughtlessness to them Far from absolving him of his crimes Arendt showed the horrors that could result when a petty bourgeois bureaucrat embraced a doctrine as destructive as Nazism The documents made public on January 27 2016 included a plea for clemency in which Eichmann once again claimed that he was a mere instrument of Nazi policy That argument was rejected as it was at the Nürnberg trials and Eichmann was sentenced to death He was hanged on May 31 1962 Video Eichmann on Trial The sentencing of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem 1961 Stock footage courtesy The WPA Film Library Read More on This Topic 1 Who was Adolf Eichmann 2 At what meeting of Nazi officials did Eichmann emerge as an architect of the Final Solution 3 What legendary Nazi hunter

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/story/eichmann-papers-made-public (2016-02-13)
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