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Science (General/Chat)

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  • 'Truly amazing' scientific discovery on adaptation of Yakutian horses to cold

    11/29/2015 7:27:04 PM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 35 replies
    Siberian Times ^ | November 28, 2015
    'Truly amazing' scientific discovery on adaptation of Yakutian horses to cold By The Siberian Times reporter 28 November 2015 Fast track evolution as great Siberian symbol is surprisingly unmasked as an immigrant breed. Researchers say these horses, which seem so well attuned to the harsh cold with thick, dense winter coats, their armour against temperatures of minus 70C (minus 94F), are incomers that only arrived in these parts within the last 800 years.Picture:Maria Vasilyeva The resilient Yakutian horses are one of the great native sights of the Sakha Republic - or Yakutia. In their way as much a part of...
  • The Mystery behind Oregon's 'Old Man of the Lake'

    11/29/2015 4:44:03 PM PST · by Swordmaker · 12 replies
    Weather.com ^ | Nov 19 2015 12:51 PM EST
    It floats upright in Oregon's Crater Lake, but it's not a buoy or a pillar. It can be seen in different locations in different days, depending on the weather. In fact, it's not connected to anything to tether it to the lake's floor. Known as the "Old Man of the Lake," this mysterious phenomenon has perplexed park staff and visitors for decades.The Old Man is actually a hemlock tree stump that somehow remains upright in the water, even as it moves. Indeed, the Old Man goes along with the whims of the wind and waves. The 30-foot-long stump was first...
  • Extinction is key to terrestrial vertebrate diversity, new research reveals

    11/29/2015 11:11:30 AM PST · by JimSEA · 23 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 11/23/2015 | University of Lincoln
    Periods of high extinction on Earth, rather than evolutionary adaptations, may have been a key driver in the diversification of amniotes (today's dominant land vertebrates, including reptiles, birds, and mammals), according to new research published in Scientific Reports. The new study reveals that mass extinctions among some groups of amniotes coincide with numerous and large diversifications in other closely related groups. Conducted by scientists from the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Lincoln, UK, the research challenges commonly held views that support a relationship between the evolution of "key innovations" in a group and the rapid...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rosetta and Comet Outbound

    11/28/2015 8:21:10 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | November 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Not a bright comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko now sweeps slowly through planet Earth's predawn skies near the line-up of planets along the ecliptic. Still, this composite of telescopic images follows the comet's progress as it moves away from the Sun beyond the orbit of Mars, from late September (left) through late November (far right). Its faint but extensive coma and tails are viewed against the colorful background of stars near the eastern edge of the constellation Leo. A year ago, before its perihelion passage, the comet was less active, though. Then the Rosetta mission's lander Philae made it's historic landing, touching...
  • How a history of eating human brains protected this tribe from brain disease

    11/28/2015 5:22:13 PM PST · by wgmalabama · 33 replies
    Washington post ^ | June 11 2015 | Sarah kaplin
    The sickness spread at funerals. The Fore people, a once-isolated tribe in eastern Papua New Guinea, had a long-standing tradition of mortuary feasts — eating the dead from their own community at funerals. Men consumed the flesh of their deceased relatives, while women and children ate the brain. It was an expression of respect for the lost loved ones, but the practice wreaked havoc on the communities they left behind. That’s because a deadly molecule that lives in brains was spreading to the women who ate them, causing a horrible degenerative illness called “kuru” that at one point killed 2...
  • U.S. Space Mining Law Is Potentially Dangerous And Illegal: How Asteroid Mining Act May Violate...

    11/28/2015 3:07:29 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    techtimes.com ^ | November 28, 7:25 AM | Katrina Pascual, Tech Times |
    Particularly happy with the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act is Planetary Resources, a 2010-founded firm seeking to extract water, important materials, and minerals from asteroids and profit from them. ... Deep Space Industries, another firm with stakes in asteroid mining, also lauded the new law. ... But some lawyers and experts voiced potential conflict between the Act and the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which declares points such as "states shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies," and that celestial bodies and outer space in general are “not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by...
  • Steve Jobs vs the Education Establishment

    11/28/2015 3:06:47 PM PST · by BruceDeitrickPrice · 7 replies
    RightSideNews.com ^ | Oct. 18, 2015 | Bruce Deitrick Price
    Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, was arguably more intelligent and capable than 99.9% of the population. In a 1980 interview Jobs gave his vision for education: 'I am a very big believer in equal opportunity, as opposed to equal outcome….Equal opportunity to me more than anything means a great education….Maybe even more important than a great family life…It pains me because we do know how to provide a great education. We really do. If we got our act together, we could make sure that every young child in this country got a great education. But we fall far short...
  • Earth’s magnetic poles won’t flip any time soon

    11/27/2015 7:34:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    pulseheadlines.com ^ | By Maria Jose Inojosa
    Why should be we worried about a polarity flip? The magnetic field protects us from harmful solar radiations and cosmic rays. If these start fading away, it may affect every living creature on Earth. An increase in radiation exposure may not only lead to serious health outcomes, but also some genetic disorders could occur. Some biologists even fear that direct exposure to harmful solar radiations may result in mass extinctions. Not only could some severe health consequence fallow the weakening of magnetic field. In a less concerning outcome, but still very worrisome it could lead to a severe disturbance in...
  • Macaca Washington Post tries to tie shooting to Planned Parenthood

    11/27/2015 12:47:11 PM PST · by Fido969 · 30 replies
    The Gazette ^ | November 27, 2015 | Stephen Hobbs
    "Colorado Springs police says there is no connection to Planned Parenthood and shooting victims are getting treatment." https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/11/27/active-shooter-at-planned-parenthood-in-colorado-springs-police-and-fire-officials-say/
  • A Blue, Neptune-size Exoplanet Around A Red Dwarf Star

    11/26/2015 10:09:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    Phys.org ^ | November 25, 2015 | arXiv
    A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world which is only 100 light years away from us. The result was published in the Astrophysical Journal on November 20 (and is available on ArXiV). Transits occur when an exoplanet passes in front of its parent star, reducing the amount of light we receive from the star by a small fraction. When the orbit of an exoplanet is aligned just right for transits to occur,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Gravity's Grin

    11/26/2015 9:28:08 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | November 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, published 100 years ago this month, predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. And that's what gives these distant galaxies such a whimsical appearance, seen through the looking glass of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Nicknamed the Cheshire Cat galaxy group, the group's two large elliptical galaxies are suggestively framed by arcs. The arcs are optical images of distant background galaxies lensed by the foreground group's total distribution of gravitational mass dominated by dark matter. In fact the two large elliptical "eye" galaxies represent the brightest members...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Planets of the Morning

    11/26/2015 9:20:51 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | November 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Planet Earth's horizon stretches across this recent Solar System group portrait, seen from the southern hemisphere's Las Campanas Observatory. Taken before dawn it traces the ecliptic with a line-up familiar to November's early morning risers. Toward the east are bright planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter as well as Regulus, alpha star of the constellation Leo. Of course the planets are immersed in the faint glow of zodiacal light, visible from the dark site rising at an angle from the horizon. Sometimes known as the false dawn, it's no accident the zodiacal light and planets both lie along the ecliptic....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Unusual Pits Discovered on Pluto

    11/26/2015 9:18:56 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    NASA ^ | November 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why are there unusual pits on Pluto? The indentations were discovered during the New Horizons spacecraft's flyby of the dwarf planet in July. The largest pits span a kilometer across and dip tens of meters into a lake of frozen nitrogen, a lake that sprawls across Sputnik Planum, part of the famous light-colored heart-shaped region named Tombaugh Regio. Although most pits in the Solar System are created by impact craters, these depressions look different -- many are similarly sized, densely packed, and aligned. Rather, it is thought that something has caused these specific areas of ice to sublimate and...
  • Engines Exposed: What is a Flat-Plane Crankshaft?

    11/26/2015 8:03:34 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 49 replies
    Cheatsheet ^ | 26 Nov, 2015 | Owen Brady
    Flat-plane engines This term has become one of the buzz words of 2015 thanks to Ford’s stellar Voodoo V8 (covered previously by us) found in the Mustang GT350. With 526 horsepower and a soundtrack like this, it’s easy to see why it has been attracting attention. Rather than the loping burble of a traditional V8, the sound of a flat-plane engine is much tighter. It’s a tenor to the cross-plane V8’s baritone. However, flat-plane production engines are not a new concept, as Ferrari and Lotus have been using them for years. The engine in the 458 Italia, for instance, is...
  • ("BRAAIINZ!") Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Human Brains from Medical Museum

    11/26/2015 10:13:42 AM PST · by DogByte6RER · 17 replies
    New York Post ^ | November 26, 2015 | Ruters
    Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Human Brains from Medical Museum A 23-year-old Indiana man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to breaking into a medical museum and stealing preserved human brains and other tissue that he then sold online, authorities said. David Charles, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to six charges including receiving stolen property, and burglary in a Marion County court where Magistrate Amy Barbar sentenced him to one year of home detention and two years of probation, county prosecutor spokesman Anthony Deer said. Charles on multiple occasions broke into the Indiana Medical History Museum to steal jars of brains and other...
  • The invincible tardigrade — already a weird animal — is full of DNA stolen from bacteria

    11/25/2015 9:32:36 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 35 replies
    wapo ^ | November 25 at 10:39 AM | Rachel Feltman
    The tiny animals - otherwise known as water bears - are famous for surviving in the vacuum of space, among other impossibly hostile environments. But they just got even weirder: According to research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tardigrades get a massive chunk of their DNA from other organisms. "Foreign" DNA is not a foreign concept to scientists. Through a process called horizontal gene transfer, any organism can theoretically swap genes with another. It happens among bacteria all the time, which is how antibiotic resistance spreads so quickly. But it's less common in more...
  • 'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

    11/25/2015 12:22:07 PM PST · by Red Badger · 14 replies
    phys.org ^ | November 25, 2015 | Provided by: Princeton University
    These tungsten ditelluride crystals behave as insulators for current applied in some directions and as conductors for current applied in other directions. The researchers found that this behavior is due to a newly theorized particle, the type-II Weyl fermion. Credit: Wudi Wang and N. Phuan Ong, Princeton University --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act as insulators for current applied in some directions and as conductors for current applied in other...
  • WATCH: Heidelberg Spar Upended in Gulf of Mexico

    11/25/2015 6:16:07 AM PST · by SWAMPSNIPER · 12 replies
    gcaptain.com ^ | November 24, 2015 | Mike Schuler
    Anadarko's Heidelberg Spar has made the 400 mile trip from Ingleside, Texas to its new home at the Green Canyon 859 block in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where it has now been upended.
  • Algae has been engineered to kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed

    11/24/2015 10:23:18 PM PST · by Mellonkronos · 6 replies
    Sciencealert.com ^ | November 12, 2015 | SIGNE DEAN
    [This is really encouraging!]"Algae has been engineered to kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed" 90% of cancer cells destroyed! Scientists have genetically engineered tiny algae to kill up to 90 percent of cancer cells in the lab, while leaving healthy ones unharmed, and the treatment has also been shown to effectively treat tumours in mice without doing damage to the rest of the body. Developing medicine that only attacks tumour cells and leaves the rest of the body alone is one of the biggest challenges in cancer drug therapy. Such targeted chemotherapy helps to avoid some of the...
  • The Planet’s Worst Nightmare: A Republican White House (super barf alert)

    11/24/2015 3:35:49 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 32 replies
    The New Republic ^ | 23 Nov, 2015 | REBECCA LEBER
    In the second Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton deflected a question about her electability with an observation that could apply to pretty much any issue in the presidential race. She noted "there are some differences among" the Democratic candidates, but those differences "pale compared to what’s happening on the Republican side." Climate change was one of the fundamental divides that she cited. In an exclusive interview last month, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told me, "Politics is largely about friction. And I view this as a place of high friction with the Republican candidates today." If Democrats succeed in making climate...
  • Biologists induce flatworms to grow heads and brains of other species

    11/24/2015 12:49:31 PM PST · by Red Badger · 20 replies
    phys.org ^ | November 24, 2015 | Provided by: Tufts University
    Tufts biologists induced one species of flatworm -- G. dorotocephala, top left -- to grow heads and brains characteristic of other species of flatworm, top row, without altering genomic sequence. Examples of the outcomes can be seen in the bottom row of the image. Credit: Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University. ============================================================================================================ Biologists at Tufts University have succeeded in inducing one species of flatworm to grow heads and brains characteristic of another species of flatworm without altering genomic sequence. The work reveals physiological circuits as a new kind of epigenetics - information existing...
  • MEPs snub regulation of cow methane [European Union]

    11/24/2015 5:55:55 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 6 replies
    EU Observer ^ | 23 Nov 2015, 09:27 | Peter Teffer
    It was perhaps not Eric Andrieu's most stately speech in the European Parliament. But when the center-left French MEP tabled a last-minute change to new air pollution rules, he did manage to elicit laughter and applause from several of his colleagues. "At the risk of disappointing you, mister president, the European Parliament does not yet have the power to stop cows from farting or burping," said Andrieu, in Wednesday 28 October's plenary session. The vice-chair of the EP's agriculture committee heard many of his fellow MEPs laugh, and smiled. [...] After Andrieu made his fart joke, MEPs passed his amendment,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora over Clouds

    11/23/2015 9:57:24 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | November 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Auroras usually occur high above the clouds. The auroral glow is created when fast-moving particles ejected from the Sun impact the Earth's magnetosphere, from which charged particles spiral along the Earth's magnetic field to strike atoms and molecules high in the Earth's atmosphere. An oxygen atom, for example, will glow in the green light commonly emitted by an aurora after being energized by such a collision. The lowest part of an aurora will typically occur at 100 kilometers up, while most clouds usually exist only below about 10 kilometers. The relative heights of clouds and auroras are shown clearly...
  • Scientists Are Mapping the World's Largest Volcano

    11/23/2015 7:25:33 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 22 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 21 Nov, 2015 | Brian Clark Howard
    After 36 days of battling sharks that kept biting their equipment, scientists have returned from the remote Pacific Ocean with a new way of looking at the world’s largest—and possibly most mysterious—volcano, Tamu Massif..... Tamu Massif lies about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of Japan. It is a rounded dome, or shield volcano, measuring 280 by 400 miles (450 by 650 kilometers). Its top lies more than a mile (about 2,000 meters) below the ocean surface and is 50 times larger than the biggest active volcano on Earth, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.
  • Mars Will Become a Ringed Planet When Phobos Dies

    11/23/2015 7:09:44 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 27 replies
    Discovery News ^ | 23 Nov, 2015 | IRENE KLOTZ
    Phobos survived a giant impact early in its history, but damage from the crash left the moon weak, say Benjamin Black and Tushar Mittal, planetary scientists with University of California at Berkeley. Their study shows that in 20 million to 40 million years, Phobos will break apart, leaving a cloud of debris that will relatively quickly assembly into a ring around Mars. Initially, the ring will be as dense as Saturn's rings today, and it will last for up to 100 million years, the study shows.
  • Is Earth Growing a Hairy Dark Matter 'Beard'?

    11/23/2015 4:24:17 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 37 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Nov 23, 2015 03:48 PM ET // by | Ian O'Neill
    Gary Prezeau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., describes the results of his theoretical model that goes some way to explain how streams of dark matter particles may interact with our planet's gravitational field. "A (dark matter) stream can be much larger than the solar system itself, and there are many different streams crisscrossing our galactic neighborhood," said Prézeau in a JPL press release. "When gravity interacts with the cold dark matter gas during galaxy formation, all particles within a stream continue traveling at the same velocity." As these streams begin to interact with a planet, according to...
  • The Cheshire Cat group of galaxies

    11/23/2015 12:45:04 PM PST · by sparklite2 · 17 replies
    EarthSky ^ | Nov 23, 2015 | Deborah Byrd
    …the mass that distorts the faraway galactic light is found surrounding the two giant 'eye' galaxies and a 'nose' galaxy. The multiple arcs of the circular 'face' arise from gravitational lensing of four different background galaxies well behind the 'eye' galaxies. Chandra also said that that its x-ray observations show that that the two eyes of the cat - and the smaller galaxies associated with them - are slamming into one another in a colossal collision between galaxies: Each 'eye' galaxy is the brightest member of its own group of galaxies and these two groups are racing toward one...
  • Tel Gezer Water System Built by Canaanites?

    11/23/2015 11:10:00 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Biblical Archaeology Review ^ | November 19, 2015 | Henry Curtis Pelgrift
    Gezer is mentioned in a well-known passage in the Hebrew Bible that states that Solomon used forced labor "to build the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, [and] Gezer" (1 Kings 9:15)... at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer... most of the structures clearly belong to the Iron Age. In contrast, the water system at Tel Gezer has now been dated by project archaeologists to a much earlier period -- the MBA -- with a date as early as 2000 B.C... Gezer is also the site of massive fortifications and other structures dating to the MBA -- in addition to the Iron Age...
  • Syphilis widespread in Central Europe even before Columbus' voyage to America

    11/23/2015 9:54:22 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology via Health Canal ^ | November 19, 2015 | Johanna Sophia Gaul, Karl Grossschmidt, Christian Gusenbauer and Fabian Kanz
    In 1495, a "new" disease spread throughout Europe: syphilis. Christopher Columbus was said to have brought this sexually transmitted disease back from his voyage to America. At least, that has been the accepted theory up until now. Using morphological and structural evidence, researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine and the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology (bone laboratory) at MedUni Vienna have now identified several cases of congenital syphilis dating back to as early as 1320 AD in skeletons from excavations at the cathedral square of St. Polten, Austria... Congenital syphilis, which is passed from a pregnant mother to...
  • New glasses promise a solution to colour blindness

    11/23/2015 4:20:47 AM PST · by Daffynition · 25 replies
    CTVNews.ca ^ | November 22, 2015 | CTVNews.ca Staff
    About 10 per cent of the population is colour blind and simply can't perceive as many colours as those with normal vision. There has never been any way to correct the condtion but now, a U.S. company claims they have created glasses that can open up a world of colour to users. But some eye experts remain skeptical. Colour blindness, or colour vision deficiency, as doctors call it, is more than just a nuisance. Most with the condition can't distinguish red from green and have trouble with aspects of everyday life. They can't become pilots, firefighters, electricians, police officers or...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A 212-Hour Exposure of Orion

    11/22/2015 11:03:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | November 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The constellation of Orion is much more than three stars in a row. It is a direction in space that is rich with impressive nebulas. To better appreciate this well-known swath of sky, an extremely long exposure was taken over many clear nights in 2013 and 2014. After 212 hours of camera time and an additional year of processing, the featured 1400-exposure collage spanning over 40 times the angular diameter of the Moon emerged. Of the many interesting details that have become visible, one that particularly draws the eye is Barnard's Loop, the bright red circular filament arcing down...
  • Sea Wars Trailer (U.S. Navy spoofs Star Wars Trailer)

    11/22/2015 7:51:42 PM PST · by Enlightened1 · 10 replies
    Youtube ^ | 11/18/15
    The IKE Awakens.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars

    11/22/2015 6:33:53 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This moon is doomed. Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or perhaps from even more distant reaches of the Solar System. The larger moon, Phobos, is indeed seen to be a cratered, asteroid-like object in this stunning color image from the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, recorded at a resolution of about seven meters per pixel. But Phobos orbits...
  • Why can we sense when people are looking at us?

    11/21/2015 4:16:10 PM PST · by Kid Shelleen · 28 replies
    Mother Nature Network ^ | 11/19/2015 | Laura Moss
    If you've ever felt like someone was watching you, you may have attributed that awareness to a sense of unease or a prickling on the back of your neck. But there's nothing psychic about it; your brain was simply picking up on cues. In fact, your brain is wired to inform you that someone is looking at you even when they're not. "Far from being ESP, the perception originates from a system in the brain that's devoted to detecting where others are looking," writes social psychologist Ilan Shrira. This concept may sound confusing, but it actually makes a lot of...
  • Astronaut Scott Kelly's 'UFO' photo generates extraterrestrial buzz

    11/21/2015 12:58:19 PM PST · by Momaw Nadon · 52 replies
    FoxNews.com ^ | November 21, 2015 | FoxNews.com
    The truth is out there . . . maybe. A photo tweeted by astronaut Scott Kelly is generating plenty of extraterrestrial buzz. Kelly, who recently broke the U.S. record for most days in space, tweeted the picture taken from the International Space Station Sunday.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Recycling NGC 5291

    11/21/2015 10:45:19 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | November 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Following an ancient galaxy-galaxy collision 200 million light-years from Earth, debris from a gas-rich galaxy, NGC 5291, was flung far into intergalactic space. NGC 5291 and the likely interloper, also known as the "Seashell" galaxy, are captured near the center of this spectacular scene. The sharp, ground-based telescopic image looks toward the galaxy cluster Abell 3574 in the southern constellation Centaurus. Stretched along the 100,000 light-year long tidal tails, are clumps resembling dwarf galaxies, but lacking old stars, apparently dominated by young stars and active star forming regions. Found to be unusually rich in elements heavier than hydrogen and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Leonids and Friends

    11/21/2015 10:43:22 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | November 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Leonid meteors rained down on planet Earth this week, the annual shower of dusty debris from the orbit of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Leonids streak through this composite night skyview from a backyard observatory in southern Ontario. Recorded with camera fixed to a tripod, the individual frames capture the bright meteor activity throughout the night of November 16/17, about a day before the shower's very modest peak. The frames are registered to the fixed field of view, so the meteor trails are not all aligned to the background star field recorded that same evening when nebula-rich Orion stood above the southern...
  • New clues emerge about the earliest known Americans

    11/21/2015 10:27:26 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    Vanderbilt U ^ | November 18, 2015 | Liz Entman
    The stone tools discovered by the team were similar to what Dillehay had previously found at Monte Verde. Many were simple unifacial tools -- meaning they were worked on only one side of the stone, to create a sharp edge -- though some of the younger tools and projectile points indicate bifacial technologies... The bones tended to be small fragments, broken and scorched, indicating that the animals had been cooked. They often came from very large animals, like prehistoric llamas or mastodons, as well as smaller creatures like prehistoric deer and horses. The Monte Verde site was unlikely to have...
  • Which is Fastest to 186 mph? LaFerrari vs. 918 Spyder vs. P1

    11/21/2015 8:22:31 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 20 replies
    Yahoo Autos ^ | 20 Nov, 2015 | Boldride.com
    And so the titans convene. When it became known that Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren each had hybrid hypercars in the works, the world had one collective question that merited investigation. Which is fastest? For that answer, take a peek below. YouTube channel TheSUPERCARDRIVER decided to solve that lofty query by running the hypercar trio—Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, and McLaren P1—from naught to 300 kph (186 mph) on the long expanse of the UK’s Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome. In case each hypercar’s power figures escape you temporarily, here’s a refresher. The LaFerrari combines hybrid drive and a 6.3-liter V12 for 949 horsepower....
  • New detector perfect for asteroid mining, planetary research

    11/21/2015 8:16:42 AM PST · by Red Badger · 9 replies
    phys.org ^ | November 20, 2015 | by David Salisbury & Provided by: Vanderbilt University
    Concept of an asteroid redirect mission. Credit: NASA ==================================================================================================================================== The grizzled asteroid miner is a stock character in science fiction. Now, a couple of recent events - one legal and the other technological - have brought asteroid mining a step closer to reality. The legal step was taken when the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bill titled H.R. 2262—SPACE Act of 2015. The bill has a number of measures designed to facilitate commercial space development, including a provision that gives individuals or companies ownership of any material that they mine in outer space. According to one estimate,...
  • On Viewing 2001: The First Transhumanist Film

    11/20/2015 10:59:53 AM PST · by Mellonkronos · 27 replies
    The Atlas Society ^ | November 20, 2015 | Edward Hudgins
    [If you're into science fiction or into a lot of the new scientific breakthroughs, you'll probably find this interesting!]On Viewing 2001: The First Transhumanist FilmBy Edward Hudgins I recently saw 2001: A Space Odyssey again on the big screen. That's the best way to see this visually stunning cinematic poem, like I saw it during its premiere run in 1968. The film's star, Keir Dullea, attended that recent screening and afterward offered thoughts on director Stanley Kubrick's awe-inspiring opus. He and many others have discussed the visions offered in the film. Some have come to pass: video phone calls and...
  • 4,000 coins found in Roman treasure trove in Swiss orchard

    11/19/2015 11:59:36 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Guardian UK ^ | Thursday 19 November 2015 | Agence France-Presse
    A trove of more than 4,000 bronze and silver coins dating back to ancient Rome, uncovered this summer in the orchard of a fruit and vegetable farmer, has been described as one of the biggest treasures of this kind found in Switzerland. The huge hoard of coins, buried about 1,700 years ago and weighing 15kg (33lb), was discovered in Ueken, in Switzerland’s northern canton of Aargau, after the farmer spotted some shimmering green coins on a molehill in his cherry orchard... On Thursday the archaeological service announced that after months of digs, 4,166 coins had been found at the site,...
  • The Most Mind-Bending Fact I Learned in Physics

    11/19/2015 10:56:52 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 64 replies
    Real Clear Science ^ | 11/2015 | Tom Hartsfield
    Physics is built out of philosophically fascinating ideas. Or, at least, ideas that fascinate us as physicists. We are often moved to reverentially proclaim the beauty of various concepts and theories. Sometimes this beauty makes sense to other people (we're made of star stuff) and other times it's opaque (Frobenius manifolds in psuedo-Euclidean spaces). I have my own personal favorite idea. It arises from the philosophically fantastic (but mathematically moderate) workings of Einstein's relativity theory. The theory of special relativity holds that time and space are not separate entities, each operating on its own; rather they are intimately and inextricably...
  • Galactic Monster Mystery Revealed in Ancient Universe [Galaxies that shouldn't exist!]

    11/19/2015 12:26:11 PM PST · by Red Badger · 34 replies
    Discovery.com ^ | Nov 19, 2015 07:00 AM ET | by Ian O'Neill Source: ESO
    ESO's VISTA survey telescope has spied a horde of previously hidden massive galaxies that existed when the Universe was in its infancy. By discovering and studying more of these galaxies than ever before, astronomers have for the first time found out exactly when such monster galaxies first appeared. The newly discovered massive galaxies are marked on this image of the UltraVISTA field. [RED CIRCLES] ================================================================================================================ Astronomers have detected something baffling at the furthest frontiers of our observable universe: massive galaxies -- lots of massive galaxies -- that shouldn't even exist. Depending on the wavelength you observe the universe in,...
  • Project eyes particle accelerator in a shoe box with Gordon Moore grant

    11/19/2015 10:55:11 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    computerworld.com ^ | Martyn Williams
    Particle accelerators have been an important tool for fundamental physics research for decades, but they are costly, complex and long. ... So on the face of it, shrinking this kind of machine into a shoebox appears impossible. But work done in 2013 by two independent teams, one at Stanford University and SLAC and one at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, revealed the ability to speed up charged particles using laser light and a specially etched glass channel. The researchers built silica glass chips with tiny microscopic tunnels that had ridges along their walls. When laser light was shone onto...
  • The future of the automobile is being reshaped in California

    11/19/2015 6:51:57 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 15 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | 11/19/2015 | Jerry Hirsch
    Within walking distance of Tesla Motors' Palo Alto headquarters and across the street from Hewlett-Packard, Ford Motor Co. has set up a new Silicon Valley outpost. With a team of 100 reporting to a former Apple engineer, the Detroit giant is researching how humans experience machines, running autonomous-vehicle driving simulations and testing software that examines how bicycles and cars interact. "For 100 years, automobiles have been a mechanical engineering industry," said the center's director, Dragos Maciuca, who on his morning commute drives past a nearby research center of German automotive electronics and parts supplier Bosch. "Now, there is the shift...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Centaurus A

    11/19/2015 3:42:37 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's the closest active galaxy to planet Earth? That would be Centaurus A, only 11 million light-years distant. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy is also known as NGC 5128. Forged in a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies, Centaurus A's fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions, and imposing dark dust lanes are seen here in remarkable detail. The colorful galaxy portrait is a composite of image data from space- and ground-based telescopes large and small. Near the galaxy's center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Sudden Jet on Comet 67P

    11/18/2015 1:29:55 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | November 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: There she blows! A dramatic demonstration of how short-lived some comet jets can be was documented in late July by the robotic Rosetta spacecraft orbiting the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The featured animation depicts changes in the rotating comet with three illuminating stills. Although the first frame shows nothing unusual, the second frame shows a sudden strong jet shooting off the 67P's surface only 20 minutes later, while the third frame -- taken 20 minutes after that -- shows but a slight remnant of the once-active jet. As comets near the Sun, they can produce long and beautiful tails...
  • Complex grammar of the genomic language

    11/18/2015 9:52:55 AM PST · by Heartlander · 15 replies
    Science Daily ^ | November 9, 2015 | From Karolinska Institutet
    A new study from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet shows that the 'grammar' of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings, published in the journal Nature, explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher -- and contribute to the further understanding of how genetic differences affect the risk of developing diseases on an individual level....The sequencing of the human genome in the year 2000 revealed how the 3 billion letters of A, C, G and T, that the human genome consists of, are ordered. However,...
  • Prehistoric tooth reveals surprising details about long-lost human 'cousins'

    11/18/2015 7:11:37 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Fox News ^ | November 17, 2015 | James Rogers
    A piece of Denisovan finger bone and another tooth discovered in the same cave, respectively, in 2010 and 2000, had been dated to between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. "The new tooth is 50,000 years older than the others -- this is really interesting, it shows us these guys were around for a long time," Bence Viola, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Department of Anthropology, told FoxNews.com. The finger bone and the earlier tooth were from individuals that lived within a timespan of about 1,000 years each other, according to Viola. The anthropologist, who worked on the...