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Thieves steal more than $40,000 worth of insects from museum

This is a robbery that is bugging authorities in Philadelphia.

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Police said that current or former employees at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion stole more than 7,000 insects, WPVI reported.

The heist, which police said happened on Aug. 22 and possibly other days, cleaned out approximately 90 percent of the insects, some of which are rare, the television station reported. CEO John Cambridge, an entomologist, estimated the insects’ value at more than $40,000, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Cambridge said he checked security cameras and saw employees using boxes and plastic containers to carry out insects, the Inquirer reported. Cambridge said he approached the employees and asked them to the return the bugs, waiting a day before calling police, the newspaper reported.

“These are young people," Cambridge told the Inquirer. "We don't want to see this follow them around for the rest of their lives."

Police have conducted searches but no arrests have been made, WPVI reported. Police said some of the insects, including a Mexican fireleg tarantula, have been returned, the television station reported.

Insectarium officials said they are hoping to restock their exhibit of insects in time for the Philadelphia Oddities Expo in November, WPVI reported.

Some Americans smell odors that aren’t there, study says

Have you ever smelled something distinct, like an ash tray or burning, only to realize nothing is there? The condition is pretty common, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) recently conducted a study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, to examine the prevalence and risk factors for phantom odor perception, which occurs when people smell things that don’t actually exist.

To do so, they gathered data from 7,417 participants over 40 years of age from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They used the information to determine whether participants had experienced phantom odor perception with questions like, “Do you sometimes smell an unpleasant, bad, or burning odor when nothing is there?”

>> Hi-tech nose helps sniff out cancer, 16 other diseases by analyzing breath

The analysts then factored in their age, sex, education level, race, socioeconomic status, certain health habits and general health status to find the link between phantom odors and the participant’s characteristics.

After analyzing the results, they discovered that the ability to identify odors decreases with age, while phantom odor perception seems to improve with age. 

Furthermore, they said that one in 15 Americans experience phantom odors. It was most prevalent among adults aged 40-60, and twice as many women as men reported the condition, particularly women under age 60. 

>> On Inability to smell peppermint linked to dementia, study says

“Problems with the sense of smell are often overlooked, despite their importance. They can have a big impact on appetite, food preferences, and the ability to smell danger signals such as fire, gas leaks, and spoiled food,” Judith A. Cooper, acting director of the NIDCD, said in a statement.

The authors also explained that those “who perceive strong phantom odors often have a miserable quality of life, and sometimes cannot maintain a healthy weight.”

>> On This new device may be able to stop ringing in the ears, study says

The scientists do not yet know the causes of phantom odor perception. However, they hypothesized that it could be related to overactive odor sensing cells. 

“A good first step in understanding any medical condition is a clear description of the phenomenon,” co-author Kathleen Bainbridge added. “From there, other researchers may form ideas about where to look further for possible causes and ultimately for ways to prevent or treat the condition.”

Perseid meteor shower 2018: 13 stunning photos of nature's light show

The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August due to debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, peaked this weekend, offering stunning light displays in the night sky.

>> On Perseid meteor shower 2018: How and when to watch the sky’s best show of the year

According to, the shower peaked overnight Aug. 11-12 and again Aug. 12-13.

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Social media lit up with images of the celestial phenomenon. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan 2. Firth of Lorn, Scotland 3. Loch Etive, Scotland 4. Lac d'Ilay, France 5. Jura Mountains, France 6. Oxford Island, Northern Ireland 7. Independence Pass, Colorado 8. Virginia 9. Eccles Pass, Colorado 10. Groesbeck, Texas 11. Sunset Crater, Arizona 12. Addingham, England 13. Stonehenge, England

– Fiza Pirani of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

NASA launches Parker Solar Probe, begins journey to 'touch the sun'

We have liftoff.

NASA tweeted just after 3:30 a.m. EDT Sunday that it launched the United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket, which was carrying the Parker Solar Probe, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft's mission: to "touch" the sun.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: NASA flight to sun delayed 24 hours

According to CNN, the probe is expected to "orbit within 3.9 million miles of the sun's surface" by 2024. This fall, it will reach within 15.5 million miles of the sun, beating Helios 2's 1976 record, The Associated Press reported.

>> Perseid meteor shower 2018: 8 stunning photos of nature's light show

For reference, the Earth is about 93 million miles from the sun.

The successful launch came one day after a "violation of a launch limit" – in this case, an issue with helium pressure – prevented the rocket's takeoff early Saturday, the AP reported.

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NASA's Launch Services Program tweeted about 4:17 a.m. EDT Sunday that it had received data confirming "spacecraft separation." The probe's solar panels also have been deployed, officials said.


Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NASA flight to sun delayed 24 hours

A technical problem with less than two minutes until launched delayed NASA’s scheduled flight to the sun Saturday morning, NASA said.

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The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket, carrying the Parker Solar Probe, was halted with 1 minute, 55 seconds until liftoff, according to The Associated Press. The issue, according to the AP, concerned helium pressure.

NASA said the flight was delayed until Sunday at 3:31 a.m. because of “a violation of a launch limit.” There is a 60 percent chance of favorable weather, NASA said on its website.

Study: Doctors give patients only seconds to explain reason for visit before interrupting

Have you ever felt rushed during a doctor’s visit? Most physicians don’t give their patients adequate time to explain the reason for their visit, according to a new study. 

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Researchers from the University of Florida, Gainesville, recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, to explore clinical encounters between doctors and their patients.

To do so, they assessed the initial few minutes of consultations between 112 patients and their medical practitioners between 2008 and 2015. The encounters they reviewed were videotaped in various clinics in the United States.

>> Heart attack sufferers more likely to survive if doctor is away, study says

The scientists observed whether doctors invited patients to set the agenda with questions such as “What can I do for you?” They also took notes on whether patients were interrupted while answering questions and in what manner.

After analyzing the results, they found that 36 percent of patients were able to set the agenda. However, they were interrupted 11 seconds on average after beginning their statements. Those who were not interrupted finished speaking after about six seconds. 

>> Medical errors kill almost as many as heart disease, doctors say

They said primary care doctors allowed more time than specialists as specialists generally know the purpose of a visit. 

“If done respectfully and with the patient’s best interest in mind, interruptions to the patient’s discourse may clarify or focus the conversation, and thus benefit patients,” co-author Singh Ospina said in a statement. “Yet, it seems rather unlikely that an interruption, even to clarify or focus, could be beneficial at the early stage in the encounter.”

>> Doctor burnout can cause major medical errors, study finds

While they are unclear why doctors don’t allow patients to speak longer, they believe time constraints, not enough training on how to communicate with patients and burnout may be factors. 

The scientists now hope to further explore their investigations on the ultimate experience of doctor visits and the outcomes. 

“Our results suggest that we are far from achieving patient-centered care,” she says. 

Longest lunar eclipse of the century coming in July

This month, sky-watchers in several regions of the world will get to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

>> Read more trending news

The eclipse on Friday, July 27, will be fully visible for 1 hour and 43 minutes and partially visible for 3 hours and 55 minutes from parts of South Africa and most of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

According to, the eclipse will peak at 8:21 p.m. UTC (or 4:21 p.m. EST) and the full eclipse will end at 9:13 p.m. UTC (5:13 p.m. EST).

>> On The next total solar eclipse is only 7 years away — 14 states where you’ll experience totality in 2024

During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s dark umbral shadow completely covers the moon.

>> Supermoon 2018: 12 must-see photos capture New Year’s ‘wolf moon’

“Total eclipses are a freak of cosmic happenstance,” reported. “Ever since the moon formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, it has been inching away from our planet (by about 1.6 inches, or 4 centimeters per year). The setup right now is perfect: the moon is at the perfect distance for Earth's shadow to cover the moon totally, but just barely. Billions of years from now, that won't be the case.”

The July 27 eclipse will be the second lunar eclipse of the year. The first took place Jan. 31 and gave way to a super blue blood moon, which occurred when the full moon passed through the Earth’s shadow for a total lunar eclipse and gave off a reddish tint.

>> On Sun-eating demons? 7 bizarre (but brilliant) myths and superstitions about solar eclipses

Unfortunately, the United States will miss out on the celestial spectacle this month and will have to wait until July 2020 to witness a lunar eclipse, according to

Milky Way is teeming with 'space grease,' study says

According to a new study, space is teeming with grease-like molecules, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The findings of the study, which was conducted by the University of New South Wales in Australia and Ege University in Turkey, were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study helped give scientists a better understanding of the origin of the solar system and stars, CNN reported.

A team of eight scientists recreated material similar to interstellar dust and analyzed how many grease-like carbon molecules are present outside the solar system, CNN reported.

According to the study, the estimated amount of space grease in the Milky Way was far more than once believed -- 10 billion trillion trillion metric tons, CNN reported.

Space is not just greasy, but dirty, said Tim Schmidt, co-author of the study and professor at UNSW.

"Think of it more as like greasy soot," Tim Schmidt, co-author of the study and a professor at the University of New South Wales, told CNN. "It's not a pure substance, it's not biological. It's random, it's not something that you want to eat. It would make things dirty like soot would."

First 'artificial intelligence astronaut' launched from Cape Canaveral

NASA launched the world’s first “artificial intelligence astronaut” from Cape Canaveral Friday morning.

>> Read more trending news

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on time at 5:42 a.m. EDT. It will bring about 6,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station.

The goal of the mission is to see if artificial intelligence could help real-life crew during long-term missions.

According to NASA, the spacecraft will deliver science that studies the use of artificial intelligence, plant water use all over the planet, gut health in space, more efficient drug development and the formation of inorganic structures without the influence of Earth’s gravity. 

How much coffee should you drink to stay awake? Army answers with new algorithm

Researchers with the U.S. Army have come with an algorithm that can determine the perfect amount of caffeine a person needs to drink to stay at maximum alertness, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Sleep Research.

>> Read more trending news

The study’s lead author, Jaques Reifman, a senior research scientist with the U.S. Army, said the algorithm is the first of its kind.

Researchers used a mathematical model that predicts the effects of sleep loss and caffeine on a person’s attention and reaction time, combined with the algorithm to determine “when and how much caffeine to consume to safely maximize alertness during sleep loss,” according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Researchers presented their findings Monday at SLEEP 2018, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

The algorithm used a person’s sleep and wake schedule along with his or her “maximum allowed caffeine” to determine the perfect caffeine-dosing strategy, according to the study authors.

“We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine,” Reifman said. “Alternatively, a subject can reduce caffeine consumption by up to 65 percent and still achieve equivalent improvements in alertness.”

The Army is already using the algorithm for its soldiers-in-training and has plans to license it for wider use as a smartphone app, Government Technology magazine reported.

Scientists first published the study, “Caffeine dosing strategies to optimize alertness during sleep loss,” May 28 in the Journal of Sleep Research.

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