Virgin spaceship crashes, fate of pilots unknown

Los Angeles (AFP) Oct 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic’s first commercial spacecraft crashed Friday during a test flight over California, scattering debris over the desert and leaving the fate of two pilots unknown, the company said.

Television images showed parts of SpaceShipTwo, a test vehicle flying to the edge of space, scattered amid brush in the desert east of Mojave, a few hours’ drive northeast of Los Angeles.

The —> Read More Here

Why Scapegoating Bats Is A Big Mistake For Human Health

bats mies

Even before allegations emerged that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak may have originated in bats, public opinion of the animal was hardly glowing. Years as a Halloween icon cast a dark shadow over the flying mammal’s reputation.

But leading experts in ecology and public health — even Batman himself — now beg you to reconsider.

“These creatures of the night are thought of as evil,” said Michelle Baker, a researcher at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Victoria. “But bats play an amazing role in the ecosystem. And we have so much to learn from them.”

Bats are critical to the health of people and the planet. Best known are the chemical-free pest control and pollination services they perform from Saskatchewan to South Sudan. Some bats, especially when nursing, can consume more than their body weight in bugs during a single night. Less known is the emerging research from Baker and others that suggests bats’ unique immunity may hold answers to the very contagions for which they are blamed, including Ebola and Hendra virus. What is often a death sentence for other mammals, including us, rarely fazes a bat.

“If our immune system behaved the way a bat’s did,” said Baker, —> Read More Here

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