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Have we reached the limit of human life expectancy?

How old will you be when you die? Sorry to be so grim, but you probably won't outlive Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 back in 1997.

Fourscore and 42 is likely out of the question, and a new study says exceeding that age limit is, too.

>> Read more trending stories

Albert Einstein College of Medicine professor Jan Vijg and colleagues examined at least two international databases on longevity and found the age of the oldest person to die every year had plateaued. Vijg says the ceiling is at 115 years.

Part of his reasoning is that if there weren't a ceiling, we'd see more Calments — but we haven't.

What about technology and better nutrition? Vijg says it's unlikely those developments will increase our average lifespan. Many others say that's where he's wrong.

There's nothing to account for what future medicine will do for us, and maximum age hasn't plateaued in every country. One of those countries is Japan, which has the world's highest life expectancy.

Ultimately, researchers will have to continue documenting when we drop off to see if this study holds up. Fortunately for us, we won't have to wait around to find out.

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Bees placed on endangered species list for first time in US

For the first time in U.S. history, bees will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Seven yellow-faced bee species, Hawaii's only native bees, are now considered endangered after years of extensive research, according to The Associated Press.

>> Read more trending stories 

The yellow-faced bees pollinate plant species indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, some of which are also endangered. In addition, these bees favor heavy shrubs and trees, supporting the health of forest regions, which provides a habitat for other animals.

>>Millions of bees died from Zika pesticide

The bees face threats from "feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas," Sarina Jepson, director of the Xerces Society, told The Associated Press.

The protection goes into effect Oct. 31, according to CNN.

'Just get it out of the food': Senator wants chemical banned

The controversial chemical Bisphenonal A, commonly called BPA, is in food and metal food containers like baby bottles and cans of soup.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, says the substance should be banned, even as scientists disagree on whether small amounts of BPA leaching into food and drink is a health concern.

>> Read more trending stories

This week Markey introduced a bill called the "Ban Poisonous Additives Act," a prohibition on BPAs. 

"We just have to finally say there is no role for BPA in anything that is connected to any food product in the United States," Markey said. 

The National Institutes of Health says it has "some concern" about the impact of BPA on the brain and other organs of infants and children.

Twelve states have taken steps to ban or restrict the chemical.

But the FDA has said it is safe, especially given the relatively minor amount that might be exposed in food and drink.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority and other government agencies around the globe have found no public health risk associated with BPA in any food or beverage," reads a statement on the American Beverage Association's website.

Earth's carbon dioxide levels reach record highs

The Earth has reached a global warming milestone it may never recover from. Climate scientists say carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million this month.

>> Read more trending stories

That's 50 parts per million more than what most experts consider "safe." And there's little hope that we will ever get our planet's levels back to that number again.

The last time Earth consistently saw CO2 levels like these was millions of years ago, so humans have likely never experienced something like this before.

And that means scientists aren't entirely sure what's going to happen next.

But we do know CO2 emissions have been one of the main sources of climate change since the Industrial Revolution, and it has caused the Earth's temperature to rise 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since then.

That's already led to record-breaking global temperatures, extreme weather and other effects.

Experts say we might see small dips in atmospheric CO2 levels in the near future, but it won't be enough to make a difference.

Still, scientists are urging people to take this news as a wake-up call to get serious about reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

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NASA doesn't care about your zodiac sign

The zodiac has been around for thousands of years and has always contained 12 signs — until recently. NASA pointed out there's actually a 13th constellation within it. 

Cue a bunch of people having a crisis on Twitter about their astrological signs possibly changing. 

>> Read more trending stories

But NASA doesn't care whether you're a Leo or a Sagittarius. It just wants the zodiac to be factually accurate. 

In a recent Tumblr post, NASA reported the ancient Babylonians originally started out with 13 constellations that the sun appeared to pass through. 

But in order to make their zodiac fit within their 12-month calendar, one of the constellations had to be left out. So Ophiuchus got the ax. 

NASA also pointed out that the Babylonian's zodiac doesn't exactly work as intended anymore, since the Earth's axis has shifted slightly in the last 3,000 years. 

So astrology might not be that scientific, but NASA's not trying to change it. Just know that if you're a die-hard Scorpio, you could've just as easily been an Ophiuchus. Doesn't that roll off the tongue?

Stephen Hawking: Be wary of answering if space aliens come calling

Physicist Stephen Hawking said he is convinced that humans are not the only intelligent life form in the universe.

In a newly released 25-minute film from Curiosity Stream — an online video on demand site — Hawking discusses his quest to find alien life.

>> Read more trending stories   

In “Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places,” Hawking told USA Today that scientists have found thousands of planets outside our solar system in recent years. 

“Some are burning hells, gates of fire and lava, others are solid diamond made in deadly X-rays from a dying star, but some are more like home,” he said. 

Hawking takes viewers to Gliese 832c, which could be one of the closest habitable planets discovered so far.

He said one day we might receive a signal back from a planet like Gliese 832c.

“We should be wary of answering back,” he said.  “Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus — that didn’t turn out so well.”

Hawking said the discovery of intelligent life would be the greatest scientific discovery in history.

“It would force us to change,” he said. “We would have to give up the idea that we are unique and start acting with more compassion and humility."

Autumn equinox 2016: What is it; when is it?

If you are going to enjoy summer 2016, you better hurry.

It’s over on Thursday at 10:21 a.m. (ET). That’s when the autumn equinox happens.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

What's an equinox? The equinox triggers autumn on calendars in the northern hemisphere and marks the day when the sun will shine, almost directly, over the Earth’s equator.

What does that mean? Here are a few autumnal equinox facts:

1. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin word meaning “equal night.” It refers to the roughly equal amounts of daylight and night time that happens on Thursday.

2. An equinox happens when there is an alignment between the sun and Earth in which the sun appears positioned directly above the Earth’s equator.  During the autumn equinox – and the spring one – the sun rises due east and sets due west.

3. There is ancient Maya step pyramid – El Castillo at Chichén Itzá in Mexico – where at sunset on the equinox sunlight hits the building’s staircase and creates a snake-like shape that appears to slither up the stairs.

4. From Sept. 22 onward, the days will get shorter until the Winter Solstice in December (less sunlight each day).

5. As far as meteorologists are concerned, the first day of autumn was Sept. 1. They mark meteorological seasons on Sept. 1, Dec. 1, March 1 and June 1. 

Sources: National Geographic; Encyclopedia Britannia; The Weather Channel

Dolphins might have a 'highly developed spoken language'

Apparently dolphins chat it up like you and me.

For the first time, researchers claim to have recorded a pair of dolphins having a conversation. They said they found dolphins have "a highly developed spoken language, akin to the human language."

>> Read more trending stories

And apparently, the animals even wait for the other to stop talking.

The conversation between two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins was in a concrete pool at the Karadag Nature Reserve in Crimea.

According to the study published last month, dolphins speak by creating pulses or whistles. It also said they form words by changing the frequency and level of pulses. 

Researchers said the results of this study lead them to believe toothed whales have a similar "highly developed spoken language."

"The analysis of the dolphin spoken language in this study has revealed that it either directly or indirectly possesses all the known design features of the human spoken language," the study said.

But not so fast. Some scientists are skeptical. One told The Huffington Post, the study isn't "really a novel item" because similarities between how dolphins and humans communicate have been reported.

A 2007 study also claimed dolphins have their own language. The researcher found dolphins used nearly 200 different whistles.

The possibility that dolphins use a highly developed language shouldn't be surprising. Studies have found dolphins have complex brains.

Scientists just realized there's more than one kind of giraffe

You may think you know everything you need to know about giraffes. They have long necks, live in Africa, eat leaves and that's it.

But you probably didn't know there are four different kinds of giraffes. You didn't know that because scientists just found out themselves.

>> Read more trending stories

A new study published in the journal Current Biology says the different giraffes should be considered different species because of their genetic diversity and the fact that the species don't interbreed in the wild.

Now we have the northern giraffe, the southern giraffe, the Masai giraffe and the reticulated giraffe. There are a few differences in the appearances of these giraffes, but they're still pretty similar looking.

That's probably why scientists didn't notice the four different kinds until they examined the massive mammal's DNA.

Study co-author Dr. Axel Janke guessed that no one noticed the differences until now because giraffes just don't get as much attention as other animals, like lions and elephants.

The distinction may seem like splitting hairs, but it could be important for the survival of all four species. The giraffe population has dwindled from 150,000 to 90,000 over the past three decades.

But when you look at the population of each individual species, the numbers become a lot more concerning

Janke told The New York Times: "These 90,000, split up over four species, makes it immediately clear that the giraffes are threatened. You see immediately there is urgent need for protection."

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Juno images of Jupiter’s north pole surprise scientists

NASA’s Juno spacecraft snapped photos of Jupiter’s north pole during a six-hour fly-by on Aug. 27, and scientists are excited by the images that have been transmitted from the solar system’s largest planet.

>> Read more trending stories  

 “First glimpse of Jupiter’s north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before,” Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a statement. “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms. There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to — this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter. We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.”

The spacecraft dipped to within 2,500 miles above Jupiter’s clouds, DigitalTrends.com reported. It took NASA a day-and-a-half to download six megabytes of data transmitted back to Earth. Scientists said it would take more time to analyze all of the information, but NASA released the first group of images over the weekend.

JunoCam, the onboard camera, noted that there was a difference between the north poles of Jupiter and Saturn. While Saturn’s north pole is accented by a hexagonal formation, Jupiter’s is not.

 “The largest planet in our solar system is truly unique,” Bolton said.

JunoCam was one of eight instruments activated during the fly-by. The Jovian Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) caught glimpses of the Jupiter’s poles in infrared.

Juno has 35 more fly-bys scheduled for the next 20 months, before the probe dives to its demise in Jupiter’s clouds.

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