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Science (General/Chat)

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  • NASA Selects Mission Science Instruments Searching for Habitability of Jupiter’s Ocean Moon Europa

    05/26/2015 5:06:39 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ken Kremer
    In a major move forward on a long dreamed of mission to investigate the habitability of the subsurface ocean of Jupiter’s mysterious moon Europa, top NASA officials announced today, Tuesday, May 26, the selection of nine science instruments that will fly on the agency’s long awaited planetary science mission to an intriguing world that many scientists suspect could support life. “We are on our way to Europa,” proclaimed John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, at a media briefing today outlining NASA’s plans for a mission dedicated to launching in the early to mid-2020s. ... “The...
  • Mystery Methane on Mars: The Saga Continues

    05/26/2015 12:13:04 PM PDT · by EveningStar · 30 replies
    Astrobiology Magazine ^ | May 14, 2015 | Johnny Bontemps
    A scientist has raised questions about the latest detection of methane on Mars, suggesting that NASA’s rover could be responsible for the mysterious burp. Highly unlikely, but not impossible, says the Curiosity team.
  • Some Devoted New Englanders Went for a Stroll in 1651 and Haven't Stopped Since

    05/26/2015 7:46:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | Updated May 23, 2015 | Ben Leubsdorf
    Paul King hiked through deep woods and scrambled over boulder-strewn hills, hunting for his next clue. "It's still here," he exclaimed at the sight of a bent red pine tree, one of eight landmarks demarcating the border between two northern New Hampshire towns: Albany, population 735, and Madison, home to 2,500 people and a famously large rock. The towns hired Mr. King, a surveyor, to spend a sunny day in early May fulfilling a 17th-century duty that has survived into the era of Google Maps... [and GPS]
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Starburst Galaxy M94

    05/26/2015 7:03:13 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | May 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What could cause the center of M94 to be so bright? Spiral galaxy M94 has a ring of newly formed stars surrounding its nucleus, giving it not only an unusual appearance but also a strong interior glow. A leading progenitor hypothesis holds that an elongated knot of stars known as a bar rotates in M94 and has generated a burst of star formation in the inner ring. Recent observations have revealed the outer, fainter ring is not closed and relatively complex. M94, pictured here spans about 30,000 light years, lies about 15 million light years away, and can be...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Galaxy Tree

    05/25/2015 12:23:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | May 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: First came the trees. In the town of Salamanca, Spain, the photographer noticed how distinctive a grove of oak trees looked after being pruned. Next came the galaxy. The photographer stayed up until 2 am, waiting until the Milky Way Galaxy rose above the level of a majestic looking oak. From this carefully chosen perspective, dust lanes in the galaxy appear to be natural continuations to branches of the tree. Last came the light. A flashlight was used on the far side of the tree to project a silhouette. By coincidence, other trees also appeared as similar silhouettes across...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Space Shuttle Rising

    05/25/2015 12:23:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | May 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that rising from the clouds? The space shuttle. Sometimes, if you looked out the window of an airplane at just the right place and time, you could have seen something very unusual -- a space shuttle launching to orbit. Images of the rising shuttle and its plume became widely circulated over the web shortly after Endeavour's final launch in 2011 May. The above image was taken from a shuttle training aircraft by NASA and is not copyrighted. Taken well above the clouds, the image can be matched with similar images of the same shuttle plume taken below the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 7822 in Cepheus

    05/25/2015 12:23:07 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | May 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hot, young stars and cosmic pillars of gas and dust seem to crowd into NGC 7822. At the edge of a giant molecular cloud toward the northern constellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming region lies about 3,000 light-years away. Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes are highlighted in this colorful skyscape. The image includes data from narrowband filters, mapping emission from atomic oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur into blue, green, and red hues. The atomic emission is powered by energetic radiation from the hot stars, whose powerful winds and radiation also sculpt and erode the denser pillar shapes....
  • Fewer students study botany, more plant collections closing

    05/25/2015 9:39:52 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 38 replies
    Associated Press ^ | May 25, 2015 12:36 PM EDT | Claudia Lauer
    The teeming plant world could become a virtual mystery in the coming decades as college students increasingly shy away from studying botany and universities across the U.S. shutter their long-standing herbaria. Since 1988, the number of research universities offering botany degrees has dropped by half, according to National Science Foundation research funding statistics. And the National Center for Education Statistics reports that fewer than 400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral botany degrees were awarded in 2012. Educators say that’s because students are being pushed into more modern, technology-related majors. Current botanists fear that will lead to a dearth of people able...
  • Forget boobs and long legs: what men really look for in women

    05/25/2015 5:58:29 AM PDT · by Perdogg · 180 replies
    Men value intelligence in women far above large breasts and long legs, a Cambridge evolutionary biologist has claimed. Although having a large bust and never-ending pins are deemed by western culture as the epitome of femininity, when choosing a mother for their children, men look for brains first, Professor David Bainbridge, of the University of Cambridge said that intelligence is by far the most attractive quality for men looking for a long term partner because it demonstrates that his chosen partner is likely to be a responsible parent.
  • New Mexico investigator explains chupacabra sightings with climate change

    05/24/2015 3:40:22 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 16 replies
    mySanAntonio ^ | Joshua Fechter
    An investigative author from New Mexico with a history of scientifically debunking the chupacabra myth says he can explain sightings of the mythical creature. "When you do DNA testing on these alleged chupacabras, they're known animals," Benjamin Radford, who authored the 2011 book "Tracking the Chupacabra," told New Mexico television station KOB. "They are coyotes or dogs. In some cases, they're raccoons. The hairlessness can be explained by a disease called sarcoptic mange, which is caused by skin mites." Animals with advanced mange often die when exposed to cold, but because of warmer temperatures brought on by climate change, those...
  • Green Activists Explain How To Brainwash Children With Climate Pornography

    05/24/2015 11:15:13 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 5 replies
    Breitbart London ^ | 24 May 2015 | James Delingpole
    As the Jesuits almost said: “Give a child until he is seven and I will show you the fully indotcrinated, yogurt-weaving, polar-bear-hugging eco-loon.” Such, at any rate, has been the message at one of the panel discussions at this year’s luvvie-fest of impeccably correct thinking, the Hay Literary Festival, where a group of “CliFi” (climate fiction) authors have been singing the praises of brainwashing the impressionable young through the medium of kiddie-friendly climate pornography. […]David Thorpe, author of the book Stormteller, said […] “You can try to be seriously subversive and try to infect their minds with these viral ideas...
  • Computer Program Learning to Read Paleo-Hebrew Letters

    05/23/2015 11:40:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Biblical Archaeology Review ^ | 4/30/2015 | Robin Ngo
    Tel Aviv University researchers are writing a computer program that can read Paleo-Hebrew letters inscribed on First Temple period ostraca. Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) are developing a computer program that can read a script used by the Israelites over 2,600 years ago... The project was begun by TAU Professor of Archaeology Israel Finkelstein and Professor of Physics Eliezer Piasetsky six years ago. Since then, the researchers have enlisted the help of epigraphy, archaeology and math experts along with TAU Ph.D. math students Arie Shaus, Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin and Barak Sober. At the center of this ambitious project are First...
  • Google Tone Shares Links To Computers Within Earshot Using Beeps And Boops

    05/23/2015 9:46:54 AM PDT · by Enlightened1 · 21 replies
    Popular Science ^ | 05/22/15 | Jason Cipriani
    A new Chrome extension, called Google Tone, released this week makes it possible to share a URL with another computer in the room using a series of beeps and boops. The concept is dead simple yet instantly instills a sense of disbelief. A computer making seemingly random sounds can transmit the URL for the tab I have open in Chrome across the room? Get out. Full of skepticism, I decided to put it to the test. I installed the Chrome extension on a MacBook Air and a HP laptop running Windows 10. And you know what? It works! Click on...
  • Does colour only exist in our brain? Book argues it is simply a construct of the mind

    05/23/2015 6:28:43 AM PDT · by rickmichaels · 54 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | May 22, 2015 | Ellie Zolfagharifard
    Roses aren't red and violets aren't blue. At least that's the premise of a new book, 'Outside Color', which puts forward the debate that colour is, in fact, an illusion. Author Dr Mazviita Chirimuuta uses the book to explore the historical debates that suggest colour doesn't exist - at least not in the literal sense. Light, however, does exist, and it's the mind that transforms that light into colour. 'Of all the properties that objects appear to have,'writes the University of Pittsburgh professor, 'colour hovers uneasily between the subjective world of sensation and the objective world of fact.' Optical illusions,...
  • Human hunting weapons may not have caused the demise of the Neanderthals

    05/23/2015 12:17:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 43 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | April 28, 2015 | Journal of Human Evolution
    "We looked at the basic timeline revealed by similar stone points, and it shows that humans were using them in Europe before they appeared in the Levant - the opposite of what we'd expect if the innovation had led to the humans' migration from Africa to Europe," said Dr. Kadowaki. "Our new findings mean that the research community now needs to reconsider the assumption that our ancestors moved to Europe and succeeded where Neanderthals failed because of cultural and technological innovations brought from Africa or west Asia." By re-examining the evidence, the researchers showed that the comparable stone weapons appeared...
  • Video: Research team discovers plant fossils previously unknown to Antarctica

    05/23/2015 12:10:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | April 30, 2015 | National Science Foundation
    Sometime about 220 million years ago, a meandering stream flowed here and plants grew along its banks. Something, as yet unknown, caused sediment to flood the area rapidly, which helped preserve the plants. Gulbranson splits open a grey slab of siltstone in the quarry to reveal amazingly well-preserved Triassic plant fossils, as if the leaves and stems had been freshly pressed into the rock only yesterday. "It's a mixture of plants that don't exist anymore," he says, "but we have some plants in these fossil ecosystems that we might know today, like ginkgo." On the one end are fossils from...
  • 5/22/2015 — Whole West coast moved over 48 hours — Oregon Earthquake near Erupting Volcano

    05/22/2015 3:14:25 PM PDT · by Twotone · 52 replies
    Dutch Sinse ^ | May 22, 2015 | Michael Janitch
    Over the past 48 hours the whole of the West coast of the United States has moved on at least a 4.0 magnitude level or greater. Currently, another mid-4.0 magnitude (4.2 M) earthquake has struck the West coast, off the shores of Oregon, near the Axial undersea volcano (which is currently erupting).
  • CAN TWO PEOPLE REPOPULATE EARTH?

    05/22/2015 7:17:18 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 35 replies
    Popular Science ^ | 05/21/2015 | Morgan Kinney
    Sci-Fi movies present no shortage of doomsday scenarios--asteroids, climate change and supervolcanoes just to name a few. But let’s say that one of these situations actually occurs, and humans are annihilated with the exception of one male and one female. Could humanity survive? The answer is a resounding...maybe, with the only certainty being that the surviving couple is going to be very, very busy. Variations on this scenario occur now and again in nature. They’re called bottlenecks, and they include any event that causes a drastic reduction in a population--think overhunting and natural disasters. Certain species, like dandelions, are great...
  • Josh Duggar apologizes amid molestation allegations, quits Family Research Council

    05/22/2015 4:45:51 AM PDT · by MadIsh32 · 99 replies
    Washington Post ^ | May 22nd 2015 | Elahe Izadi
    In the wake of a tabloid report alleging that he molested several underage girls while he was a teenager, reality-television star Josh Duggar said Thursday that he “acted inexcusably” and was “deeply sorry” for what he called “my wrongdoing.” The 27-year-old Duggar, a high-profile member of the evangelical Christian family that stars on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” also resigned his post with the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying organization. “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” Duggar said in a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Dark and Dusty Sky

    05/22/2015 4:25:13 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | May 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In the dusty sky toward the constellation Taurus and the Orion Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy, this broad mosaic follows dark and faint reflection nebulae along the region's fertile molecular cloud. The six degree wide field of view starts with long dark nebula LDN 1495 stretching from the lower left, and extends beyond the (upside down) bird-like visage of the Baby Eagle Nebula, LBN 777, at lower right. Small bluish reflection nebulae surround scattered fainter Taurus stars, sights often skipped over in favor of the constellation's better known, brighter celestial spectacles. Associated with the young, variable star RY...
  • Family Tree of Dogs and Wolves Is Found to Split Earlier Than Thought

    05/21/2015 10:13:44 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 14 replies
    New York Times ^ | MAY 21, 2015 | JAMES GORMAN
    The ancestors of modern wolves and dogs split into different evolutionary lineages 27,000 to 40,000 years ago, much earlier than some other research has suggested, scientists reported Thursday. The new finding is based on a bone fragment found on the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia several years ago. When scientists studied the bone and reconstructed its genome — the first time that had been done for an ancient wolf, or any kind of ancient carnivore — they found it was a new species that lived 35,000 years ago. Based on the differences between the genome of the new species, called the...
  • Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses

    05/21/2015 4:48:16 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 5/21/15 | Carl Zimmer
    Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses In the few decades since viruses were first found in the oceans, scientists have only been able to identify a handful of species. A new survey has uncovered nearly all the rest. Photographs by Jennifer Brum, Tucson Marine Phage LabA few of the more than 5,000 viruses discovered during the Tara Oceans Expedition. By: Carl ZimmerMay 21, 2015 In March 2011, the Tara, a 36-meter schooner, sailed from Chile to Easter Island — a three-week leg of a five-year global scientific expedition. All but one of the seven scientists aboard the ship spent much...
  • SPACE FLIGHT NOW

    05/21/2015 4:12:48 PM PDT · by SandRat · 5 replies
    GREAT SITE TO KEEP UP ON SPACE HAPPENINGS
  • LHC smashes energy record with test collisions

    05/21/2015 7:41:33 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    bbc ^ | Jonathan Webb
    On Wednesday night, two opposing beams of protons were steered into each other at the four collision points spaced around the LHC's tunnel. The energy of the collisions was 13 trillion electronvolts - dwarfing the eight trillion reached during the LHC's first run, which ended in early 2013. ... Prof David Newbold, from the University of Bristol, works on the CMS experiment. He said the new energies present new technical challenges. "When you accelerate the beams they actually get quite a lot smaller - so the act of actually getting them to collide inside the detectors is really quite an...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6240: Merging Galaxies

    05/21/2015 3:55:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | May 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 6240 offers a rare, nearby glimpse of a cosmic catastrophe in its final throes. The titanic galaxy-galaxy collision takes place a mere 400 million light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. The merging galaxies spew distorted tidal tails of stars, gas, and dust and undergo fast and furious bursts of star formation. The two supermassive black holes in the original galactic cores will also coalesce into a single, even more massive black hole and soon, only one large galaxy will remain. This dramatic image of the scene is a composite of narrowband and near-infrared to visible broadband data from...
  • Physicists find ways to increase antihydrogen production

    05/21/2015 12:33:22 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 13 replies
    PhysOrg ^ | 5/20/15 | Lisa Zyga
    Physicists find ways to increase antihydrogen production 18 hours ago by Lisa Zyga feature Antihydrogen consists of an antiproton and a positron. Credit: public domain (Phys.org)—There are many experiments that physicists would like to perform on antimatter, from studying its properties with spectroscopic measurements to testing how it interacts with gravity. But in order to perform these experiments, scientists first need some antimatter. Of course, they won't be finding any in nature (due to antimatter's tendency to annihilate in a burst of energy when it comes in contact with ordinary matter), and creating it in the lab has proven to...
  • Law journal publishes special issue examining ‘Breaking Bad’

    05/20/2015 3:35:41 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 17 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | May 19, 2015 | Mike Bush
    The New Mexico Law Review is devoting its entire spring issue to eight contemporary legal issues – as seen through the entertaining but nonetheless very serious lens of a “Breaking Bad” perspective. Eight articles and essays include analyses of criminal procedure, a hypothetical arrest of Walter White, attorney-client communications, police practices, the war on drugs, and morality and the law. The Law Review, edited by University of New Mexico School of Law students, is due out Friday. An electronic version already has been posted online at lawschool.unm.edu/nmlr/current-issue.php. The Law Review’s faculty adviser, Professor Dave Sidhu, described the issue as creative...
  • Shedding new light on 175-year-old principle: New class of swelling magnets ... energize the world

    05/20/2015 11:06:44 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-20-2015 | Provided by Temple University
    A new class of magnets that expand their volume when placed in a magnetic field and generate negligible amounts of wasteful heat during energy harvesting, has been discovered by researchers at Temple University and the University of Maryland. The researchers, Harsh Deep Chopra, professor and chair of mechanical engineering at Temple, and Manfred Wuttig, professor of materials science and engineering at Maryland, published their findings, "Non-Joulian Magnetostriction," in the May 21st issue of the journal, Nature. This transformative breakthrough has the potential to not only displace existing technologies but create altogether new applications due to the unusual combination of magnetic...
  • Is data simply today's CB craze?

    05/20/2015 10:44:31 AM PDT · by Borges · 16 replies
    Cede Magazine ^ | 10/31/1996 | Roger Brown
    For example, at last month's Convergence: Digital Television and Internet conference in San Jose, Stephen Weiswasser, president and CEO of the Americast consortium, was decidedly bearish. "The number of people on-line and the growth rate of on-line is decreasing significantly," he was quoted as saying. "Right now, it appears that the average customer knows that the Web is not all it's cracked up to be." After a bit of analysis, I've determined that Weiswasser is right — and wrong at the same time. Without numbers to back up his claim that the on-line world is shrinking, I won't argue that...
  • Call of Duty increases risk of Alzheimer's disease

    05/20/2015 10:12:08 AM PDT · by Enlightened1 · 44 replies
    The Telegraph ^ | 05/20/15
    University of Montreal study finds video game players navigate the screen using a key area of the brain Millions of boys could be at increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other mental illnesses in later life through playing action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed, according to new research. Scientists say players navigate the screen using a key area of the brain called the caudate nucleus, which leads to loss of grey matter in the hippocampus. Previous studies have shown reduced volume in the hippocampus, which controls memory, learning and emotion, is associated with neurological and...
  • Quantum physics: What is really real?

    05/20/2015 9:21:49 AM PDT · by Reeses · 46 replies
    nature.com ^ | 20 May 2015 | Zeeya Merali
    Owen Maroney worries that physicists have spent the better part of a century engaging in fraud. Ever since they invented quantum theory in the early 1900s, explains Maroney, who is himself a physicist at the University of Oxford, UK, they have been talking about how strange it is — how it allows particles and atoms to move in many directions at once, for example, or to spin clockwise and anticlockwise simultaneously. But talk is not proof, says Maroney. “If we tell the public that quantum theory is weird, we better go out and test that's actually true,” he says. “Otherwise...
  • Last Call—for Ice Cubes?

    05/20/2015 6:20:54 AM PDT · by rktman · 19 replies
    canadafreepress.com ^ | 5/20/2015 | Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
    Better hurry up and fetch your ice cubes! The Antarctic is claimed to be melting at an unprecedented rate. NASA wants you believe that “Massive Antarctic Ice Shelf Will Be Gone Within Years.” More specifically, a team led by Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has found that the ice is melting so fast that the shelf will be gone before 2020. Presumably, that’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s all Hullabaloo. Neither the Arctic nor the Antarctic sea-ice is melting at any rate out of the norm. In fact, the opposite is true. As of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Cliff Looming on Comet 67P

    05/20/2015 4:46:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | May 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What that looming behind this gravel-strewn hill on Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko? A jagged cliff. The unusual double-lobed nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko lends itself to unusual and dramatic vistas, another of which has been captured by the Rosetta spacecraft that arrived at the comet last September. The featured cometscape, taken last October and digitally enhanced, spans about 850 meters across. Meanwhile, Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko continues to sprout jets as it nears its closest approach to the Sun in August. Along the way, Rosetta will continue listening for signals from Philae, a probe that landed on the nucleus but rebounded to an unknown...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Globular Star Cluster 47 Tucanae

    05/19/2015 2:30:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | May 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Globular star cluster 47 Tucanae is a jewel box of the southern sky. Also known as NGC 104, it roams the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy along with over 150 other globular star clusters. The second brightest globular cluster (after Omega Centauri) as seen from planet Earth, 47 Tuc lies about 17,000 light-years away and can be spotted naked-eye near the Small Magellanic Cloud in the constellation of the Toucan. The dense cluster is made up of hundreds of thousands of stars in a volume only about 120 light-years across. Recent observations have shown that 47 Tuc's white...
  • Secret space plane, solar sail and CubeSats launching Wednesday

    05/19/2015 10:08:53 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 7 replies
    CNN ^ | Amanda Barnett
    How much can you pack on top of one rocket? A United Launch Alliance Atlas V is carrying up the U.S. Air Force's so-called secret space plane, The Planetary Society's solar sail, and several CubeSats, or tiny satellites. The launch window is Wednesday from 10:45 a.m. ET and 2:45 p.m. ET at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You can watch it on a webcast starting at 10:45 a.m. ET. The Air Force space plane is actually called the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. This is the fourth mission for the plane. It looks like a small space shuttle, but...
  • Vanity: Intense seatbelt enforcement this month

    05/19/2015 6:18:09 AM PDT · by Attention Surplus Disorder · 96 replies
    5/19/2015 | none
    That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In California, the minimum penalty for a seat belt violation is $161. Fair warning.
  • 'Eternal flames' of ancient times could spark interest of modern geologists

    05/18/2015 11:51:28 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 15 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-18-2015 | Provided by Springer
    Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the Delphi Oracle, Chimaera fires and "eternal flames" that were central to ancient religious practices - from Indonesia and Iran to Italy and Azerbaijan. Modern geologists and oil and gas explorers can learn much by delving into the geomythological stories about the religious and social practices of the Ancient World, writes Guiseppe Etiope of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy. His research is published in the new Springer book Natural Gas Seepage. "Knowing present-day gas fluxes...
  • Computing at the speed of light: Team takes big step toward much faster computers

    05/18/2015 11:32:22 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 16 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-18-2015 | Provided by University of Utah
    University of Utah engineers have taken a step forward in creating the next generation of computers and mobile devices capable of speeds millions of times faster than current machines. The Utah engineers have developed an ultracompact beamsplitter—the smallest on record—for dividing light waves into two separate channels of information. The device brings researchers closer to producing silicon photonic chips that compute and shuttle data with light instead of electrons. Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and colleagues describe their invention today in the journal Nature Photonics. Silicon photonics could significantly increase the power and speed of machines such...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Auroras and Star Trails over Iceland

    05/18/2015 9:57:36 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | May 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It was one of the quietest nights of aurora in weeks. Even so, in northern- Iceland during last November, faint auroras lit up the sky every clear night. The featured 360-degree panorama is the digital fusion of four wide-angle cameras each simultaneously taking 101 shots over 42 minutes. In the foreground is serene Lake Myvatn dotted with picturesque rock formations left over from ancient lava flows. Low green auroras sweep across the sky above showing impressive complexity near the horizon. Stars far in the distance appear to show unusual trails -- as the Earth turned -- because early exposures...
  • New species of marine roly poly pillbug discovered near Port of Los Angeles

    05/18/2015 9:05:18 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 37 replies
    http://phys.org ^ | 05/18/2015 | Staff
    A new research paper published in the open access journal ZooKeys reports on a discovery made during a Los Angeles class fieldtrip—a new species of marine pillbug (Crustacea: Isopoda). While documenting that new species, a second new species of pillbug originally collected 142 years ago by biologists on a wooden sailing ship in Alaska was discovered in a collection room at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) by researchers Adam Wall and Dr. Regina Wetzer. The Los Angeles discovery was made during a Loyola Marymount University field trip for an invertebrate zoology lab course taught by NHM...
  • Heads or Tails: The Problem of Evolving Animal Body Plans

    05/18/2015 6:16:43 AM PDT · by Heartlander · 7 replies
    Evolution News and Views ^ | May 15, 2015 | Ann Gauger
    Heads or Tails: The Problem of Evolving Animal Body Plans Ann Gauger May 15, 2015 3:17 AM | Permalink Nearly all the animals we know have bilateral symmetry at some stage of their lives, meaning they have right and left halves that are mirror images of each other. These animals also have a head and a tail, a top and a bottom to them. The technical terms are anterior/posterior (A/P) and dorsal/ventral (D/V) axes (plural for axis, not the wood-chopping instrument). The exceptions are things like sponges, jellyfish, sea anemones, and small creatures like the Volvox I wrote about last...
  • The 10 smartest countries based on math and science

    05/17/2015 8:27:19 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 59 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 05/13/2015 | Matthew Speiser
    Singapore is the smartest country in the world, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, Netherlands and Canada rounding out the top 10. The BBC says this is the conclusion of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an economic think tank that outlined its findings in a new report ranking countries' school systems based on students math and science test scores. The report – which the BBC received early access to – will be formally presented at the World Education Forum in South Korea next week. Of the 76 countries ranked, the top half...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2440: Pearl of a New White Dwarf

    05/17/2015 11:50:08 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | May 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Like a pearl, a white dwarf star shines best after being freed from its shell. In this analogy, however, the Sun would be a mollusk and its discarded hull would shine prettiest of all! In the above shell of gas and dust, the planetary nebula designated NGC 2440, contains one of the hottest white dwarf stars known. The glowing stellar pearl can be seen as the bright dot near the image center. The portion of NGC 2440 shown spans about one light year. The center of our Sun will eventually become a white dwarf, but not for another five...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ares 3 Landing Site: The Martian Revisited

    05/16/2015 5:45:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | May 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This close-up from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera shows weathered craters and windblown deposits in southern Acidalia Planitia. A striking shade of blue in standard HiRISE image colors, to the human eye the area would probably look grey or a little reddish. But human eyes have not gazed across this terrain, unless you count the eyes of NASA astronauts in the scifi novel The Martian by Andy Weir. The novel chronicles the adventures of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded at the fictional Mars mission Ares 3 landing site corresponding to the coordinates of this cropped HiRISE frame. For...
  • Google’s Homemade Self-Driving Cars to Hit Roads This Summer

    05/16/2015 6:22:18 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 33 replies
    RedCode.net ^ | 05/15/2015 | Mark Bergen
    Here’s something that irks Chris Urmson: Sometimes people will get in self-driving cars, the spectacularly complex piece of technology he runs at Google and to which he has devoted most of his scientific career, and leave with a shrug. Once, Urmson was riding in one of Google’s Lexus SUVs down a freeway. Several minutes in, his fellow passenger turned to him, nonplussed. “That’s it?” Urmson, recalling the story on Google’s Mountain View campus earlier this week, threw up his hands: “Do you have any idea how hard this is?!” Soon, there may be many more blasé reactions to one of...
  • First Warm-Blooded Fish Found (opah or moonfish)

    05/15/2015 4:07:23 PM PDT · by EveningStar · 20 replies
    Live Science ^ | May 14, 2015 | Stephanie Pappas
    The car-tire-size opah is striking enough thanks to its rotund, silver body. But now, researchers have discovered something surprising about this deep-sea dweller: It's got warm blood. That makes the opah (Lampris guttatus) the first warm-blooded fish every discovered. Most fish are ectotherms, meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty. The opah, as an endotherm, keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.
  • McCain on Global Warming

    05/15/2015 3:32:25 PM PDT · by Don Corleone · 30 replies
    Senator McCain correespondence | 5/15/15 | Sen. McCain
    Thank you for contacting me regarding climate change. I appreciate knowing your thoughts on this issue. Last year, President Obama announced a plan to address climate change. Unfortunately, most of the Administration's proposals would simply impose burdensome regulations on American business that would be harmful to the U.S. economy. While I welcome the opportunity to debate proposals in the Senate, I do not support the use of executive orders to implement policy and place costly new regulations on the American industry. According to extensive international scientific studies, including reports by the National Academy of Sciences and the Intergovernmental Panel on...
  • Analysis of bones found in Romania offer evidence of human and Neanderthal interbreeding in Europe

    05/15/2015 1:52:19 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 45 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-14-2015 | Bob Yirka
    A Neanderthal skeleton, left, compared with a modern human skeleton. Credit: American Museum of Natural History DNA testing of a human mandible fossil found in Romania has revealed a genome with 4.8 to 11.3 percent Neanderthal DNA—its original owner died approximately 40,000 years ago, Palaeogenomicist Qiaomei Fu reported to audience members at a Biology of Genomes meeting in New York last week. She noted also that she and her research team found long Neanderthal sequences. The high percentage suggests, she added, that the human had a Neanderthal in its family tree going back just four to six generations. The finding...
  • Researchers demonstrate method that reduces friction between two surfaces to almost zero...

    05/15/2015 1:36:22 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 23 replies
    05-15-2015 | Bob Yirka
    A team of researchers working at Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois, has found a way to dramatically reduce friction between two macroscopic scale surfaces—to near zero. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they accidently discovered the method and why they believe it might be useful for real world applications. As most people are aware, friction causes energy loss and wear and tear on mechanical parts—lubricants such as oil are used to help reduce friction and to dissipate heat, but scientists would really like to find a way to prevent it from happening in the...
  • 40 VolcanoesThe Ring Are Erupting Right Now, And 34 Of Them Are Along Of Fire

    05/15/2015 7:04:07 AM PDT · by Enlightened1 · 62 replies
    The Economic Collapse ^ | 05/14/15 | Michael Snyder
    As I have written about previously, there were a total of 3,542 volcanic eruptions during the entire 20th century. When you divide that number by 100, that gives you an average of about 35 volcanic eruptions per year. So the number of volcanoes that are erupting right now is well above the 20th century’s average for an entire calendar year. especially seems to be true of the Ring of Fire. If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, just imagine a giant ring that runs around the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 90 percent of all...