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A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain. It’s the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care. Scott Routley, 39, was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. His doctor says the discovery means medical textbooks will need rewriting. Vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception…

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Researchers are keeping a close eye on a giant pool of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean that some think could trigger another El Niño of epic proportions if it rises to the surface, sending weather patterns into a tizzy around the world. That could mean heavy rains in drought-stricken California, dry weather across the Midwest and East Coast, and parched landscapes in Australia and South Africa while it pours in South America. The phenomenon is linked to the periodic warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. “Given the drought that California is in the middle…

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Sad news. Wikipedia editor Adrianne Wadewitz, 37, died on April 8 from injuries she sustained from a rock climbing accident in Joshua Tree National Park, according to the New York Times. Wadewitz’s fans on Twitter celebrated the late scholar, calling her “influential,” “prolific,” and “brilliant.”The Omaha native earned her PhD from Indiana University in 2011 and was serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Digital Learning and Research at Occidental College in Los Angeles at the time of her death. She had also recently accepted a full-time job in the digital humanities department at nearby Whittier College. According to a memorial blog on…

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A vice principal who was rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry was found hanging from a tree on Friday as loved ones gathered at his school to post messages for hundreds of students missing in the disaster. “The deputy head of this school saved himself on the ship but not his students,” a distraught woman at Danwon High School told NBC News. “No-one from this school is going to the hospital or the rescue area. Why not? Why aren’t you doing anything?” The passengers of the ferry that capsized on Wednesday included 325 students from the high school who…

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SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, said on Wednesday it has received a $16.4 million grant from the foundation of U.S. casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. With a budget estimated at $36 million, the Israeli scientists and engineers building the shuttle – temporarily named “Sparrow” – believe it will land on the moon by the end of 2015, a feat only the United States, Russia and China have managed so far. SpaceIL, which is backed mainly by philanthropists, was founded to compete for Google’s LunarX Prize, unveiled in 2007. The $20 million prize will go to the…

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Scientists for the first time have cloned cells from two adults to create early-stage embryos, and then derived tissue from those embryos that perfectly matched the DNA of the donors. The experiment represents another advance in the quest to make tissue in the laboratory that could treat a range of maladies, from heart attacks to Alzheimer’s. The study, involving a 35-year-old man and one age 75, was published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell. The creation of the first early-stage human clones, using infant and fetal cells rather than those from adults, was reported last year. The new experiment, with…

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The parents of hundreds of children missing after Wednesday’s ferry accident off the coast of South Korea have accused the captain of the vessel of abandoning passengers after it emerged that he and six other crew members were among the first to leave the ship after it started to sink. The captain, Lee Joon-seok, who is reportedly in his 60s, escaped from the 6,835-ton Sewol at about 9:30am on Wednesday, just 40 minutes after the vessel apparently ran aground and started to list severely. Survivors and the families of 287 people, most of them teenagers, who are thought to be trapped inside the sunken…

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When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Minutes earlier, crowds had watched as guards pushed him towards the gallows for what was meant to be yet another public execution in the Islamic republic of Iran. Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran. In a literal application of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim’s family were to participate in Balal’s punishment by pushing the chair on which he stood. But what…

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