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Science (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy That Shouldn't Exist

    03/02/2015 10:11:37 AM PST · by Red Badger · 28 replies
    nationalgeographic.com ^ | Published March 2, 2015 | Michael D. Lemonick
    A object from the very early universe is bafflingly rich with dust that theory says shouldn't have formed yet. Photograph by NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Blakeslee (NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), and H. Ford (JHU) Astronomers have spotted a surprisingly dusty little galaxy within the cluster Abell 1689, shown here in an image by the Hubble telescope. Peering back in time to find the very earliest objects in the universe, an international team of astronomers has discovered a galaxy that shouldn't be there at all. The problem, the scientists report Monday in Nature, is...
  • When You See What These Big Cats Are Doing You’ll Realize… They’re Just Cats.

    03/02/2015 8:06:42 AM PST · by afraidfortherepublic · 23 replies
    Life Buzz ^ | 3-2-15 | Amanda-staff
    There's nothing in this world that your cat loves more than the giant box in your basement - not even you. For a cat, a box can serve as a rip-roaring good time, a place to safely descend into sweet slumber, or as temple of solitude when humans are being utterly insufferable. In fact, boxes are so pleasing to felines, even the big ones like to get their box on.
  • Sadd Al-Kafara ... the oldest dam in the world [2700-2600 BC]

    03/02/2015 6:57:05 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    Hydria Project ^ | 2009 | MIO
    About forty kilometres south of Cairo, close to the town of Helwan, lie the ruins of the Sadd-el-Kafara ( = "dam of the Pagans"), an embankment dam of great size built around 2700-2600 BC, discovered over 100 years ago in the old, deep and dry Garawi ravine. The masonry-faced earthen dam originally measured 14 m height and 113 m length along the crest and is considered today the oldest dam of such size known in the world. The primal aim of the dam was to retain the water from rare but violent floods. It could also ensure water to workers...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lenticular Cloud, Moon, Mars, Venus

    03/02/2015 4:39:52 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | March 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is not every day that such an interesting cloud photobombs your image. The original plan was to photograph a rare angular conjunction of Mars and Venus that occurred a week and a half ago, with the added bonus of a crescent Moon and the International Space Station (ISS) both passing nearby. Unfortunately, on Madeira Island, Portugal, this event was clouded out. During the next day, however, a spectacular lenticular cloud appeared before sunset, so the industrious astrophotographer quickly formulated a new plan. A close look at the resulting image reveals the Moon visible toward the left of the...
  • UMD (University of Minnesota) Researcher Sorts Out Climate Variability from Climate Change

    03/02/2015 12:36:09 AM PST · by Up Yours Marxists · 15 replies
    Inforum ^ | March 2, 2015 04:40 GMT | John Meyers
    ULUTH, Minn. – Research by a University of Minnesota Duluth professor that separates Earth’s natural climate variability from outside factors points in particular to greenhouse gas-induced climate change as the likely cause of the warming planet. The study found that natural climate variability probably has helped keep things cooler in recent years than they otherwise would have been due to the outside factors. The research, published Sunday in Science Magazine, was headed by the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Byron Steinman, an assistant professor of geological sciences with the Large Lakes Observatory and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
  • NASA’s MMS Spacecraft Set for March Blastoff to study Earth’s Magnetic Reconnection Events

    03/01/2015 5:13:53 PM PST · by Swordmaker · 7 replies
    Universe Today ^ | FEBRUARY 28, 2015 | by KEN KREMER
    Technicians work on NASA’s 20-foot-tall Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mated quartet of stacked observatories in the cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., on May 12, 2014. Credit: Ken Kremer- kenkremer.com NASA’s first mission dedicated to study the process in nature known as magnetic reconnection undergoing final preparation for launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in just under two weeks time. The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is comprised of a quartet of identically instrumented observatories aimed at providing the first three-dimensional views of a fundamental process in nature known as magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is the process whereby...
  • Here's everything we know about Project Titan, Apple's rumoured electric car

    03/01/2015 3:58:35 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 65 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 02/28/2015 | Rob Price
    Just a few weeks ago, the idea that Apple might make a car seemed like an outlandish rumour. Today, it's accepted by many as gospel. Numerous reports have filtered through in recent days, providing more detail on Apple's automotive ambitions. Of course, nothing has been confirmed yet. The Apple Car would be a massive, multi-year undertaking. But here's what we've heard so far: It's called Project Titan. The detail comes via a report from the Wall Street Journal. It's an electric car. This puts the company in competition with Tesla, which develops cutting edge electric-powered vehicles. VC and entrepreneur Jason...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Inside the Coma Cluster of Galaxies

    03/01/2015 8:36:27 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | March 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Almost every object in the above photograph is a galaxy. The Coma Cluster of Galaxies pictured above is one of the densest clusters known - it contains thousands of galaxies. Each of these galaxies houses billions of stars - just as our own Milky Way Galaxy does. Although nearby when compared to most other clusters, light from the Coma Cluster still takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us. In fact, the Coma Cluster is so big it takes light millions of years just to go from one side to the other! The above mosaic of images of...
  • Southwest gets snow; California also getting rain

    02/28/2015 11:17:32 PM PST · by Olog-hai · 12 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Mar 1, 2015 12:28 AM EST
    Parts of the Southwest dealt with a second day of snow Saturday, while a storm moved across areas of California and brought much-needed precipitation. Sections of central and northern New Mexico received a record-breaking snowfall Friday and Saturday with more expected throughout the weekend, weather officials said. More snow and rain is expected in the state’s north-central and northwest areas, with the impact hitting the northern mountains, meteorologist Todd Shoemake said. …
  • NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Spacecraft ... to study Earth’s Magnetic Reconnection Events

    02/28/2015 9:07:27 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 7 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ken Kremer
    “Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important drivers of space weather events,” said Jeff Newmark, interim director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Eruptive solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and geomagnetic storms all involve the release, through reconnection, of energy stored in magnetic fields. Space weather events can affect modern technological systems such as communications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.” The four MMS have been stacked on top of one another like pancakes, encapsulated in the payload fairing, transported to the launch pad, hoisted and mated to the top of the 195-foot-tall rocket.
  • The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet? (barf: admits anti-capitalism)

    02/28/2015 6:39:49 PM PST · by Olog-hai · 30 replies
    Der Spiegel ^ | February 25, 2015 – 06:05 PM | Alexander Jung, Horand Knaup, Samiha Shafy and Bernhard Zand
    Since 1880, when global temperatures began to be systematically collected, no year has been warmer than 2014. The 15 warmest years, with one single exception, have come during the first 15 years of the new millennium. Indeed, it has become an open question as to whether global warming can be stopped anymore—or at least limited as policymakers have called for. Is capitalism ultimately responsible for the problem, or could it actually help to solve it? […] Following the Copenhagen fiasco, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer of the Netherlands, resigned in...
  • Are we alone? Do we want to know?

    02/28/2015 4:34:21 PM PST · by NRx · 69 replies
    WaPo ^ | 28 Feb 2015 | Joel Achenbach
    ...So began SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a form of astronomical inquiry that has captured the imaginations of people around the planet but has so far failed to detect a single “hello.” Pick your explanation: They’re not there; they’re too far away; they’re insular and aloof; they’re zoned out on computer games; they’re watching us in mild bemusement and wondering when we’ll grow up. Now some SETI researchers are pushing a more aggressive agenda: Instead of just listening, we would transmit messages, targeting newly discovered planets orbiting distant stars. Through “active SETI,” we’d boldly announce our presence and try...
  • Nine-banded armadillos believed to have caused LEPROSY in Florida patients

    02/28/2015 1:53:53 PM PST · by LucyT · 71 replies
    UK DailyMail ^ | 28 February 2015 | Christopher Brennan
    Three people have been diagnosed with leprosy in Florida and some of the cases are thought to be linked to armadillos. Health officials in Volusia County said that the cases are not related, though two of those who have been diagnosed with Hansen’s disease, or leprosy, since October had been in contact with nine-banded armadillos.
  • Found Islamic Coins Hidden Inside Viking Age Shield Boss

    02/28/2015 1:53:09 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 43 replies
    ThorNews ^ | Valentine's Day, February 14, 2015 | unattributed
    In August 2014 a hobby archaeologist found a Viking Age sword with metal detector in a field in Skaun, just south of Trondheim in Central Norway. Now, archaeologists have examined the finding and have some exciting news about the owner. Having examined the grave, archaeologists at the NTNU Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in Trondheim tell NRK that it is dated to about the year 950. In addition to the sword, researchers found the remains of a shield. 'We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well traveled man",...
  • Archaeologists discover secret room in ancient Sidon temple [Phoenicians]

    02/28/2015 12:44:41 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    The Daily Star ^ | February 24, 2015 | Mohammed Zaatari
    ...The newly discovered monumental room is believed to be an extension of the underground Temple of Sidon, which dates back to the Bronze Age. This finding comes as workers prepare the foundations of a new national museum, which will be established beside the archaeological site. Construction of the museum led to urgent excavations at the site last month. Ten years ago, the delegation discovered an underground "holy of holies" room, dating back to 1300 B.C., where ancient residents are believed to have worshipped their gods. The newly discovered room was found adjacent to it, and is thought to be an...
  • Leonard Nimoy, who died at 83, gets Vulcan hand salute from Space Station

    02/28/2015 12:07:05 PM PST · by Mad Dawgg · 22 replies
    FOXNEWS.com ^ | February 28, 2015 | AP
    A NASA astronaut on board the International Space Station tweeted a picture Saturday from orbit of a 'Vulcan' hand salute as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy, known best for his 'Star Trek' role as 'Mr. Spock.' Nimoy, who died Friday at 83, of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Los Angeles home, with family at his side, said his son, Adam Nimoy. His final public statement, last Sunday on Twitter, was thoughtful and bittersweet. "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory," he wrote, followed by his customary "LLAP"...
  • Black hole 12bn times more massive than sun is discovered

    02/28/2015 10:32:14 AM PST · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 60 replies
    theguardian.com ^ | Feb 25, 2015 | Press Association
    Scientists name new ‘object’ SDSS J0100+2802 and say it is 12.8bn light years from Earth and was formed just 900m years after the Big Bang *************************************************************A monster black hole powering “the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe” has been discovered that is 12bn times more massive than the sun, scientists have revealed.The extraordinary object is at the centre of a quasar - an intensely powerful galactic radiation source - with a million billion times the sun’s energy output.For years the nature of quasars, discovered in 1963, remained a mystery. Today scientists believe they are generated by matter heating up as...
  • Star Trek Online Announces In-Game Memorial For Leonard Nimoy

    02/28/2015 9:38:21 AM PST · by Timber Rattler · 4 replies
    ComicBook.com ^ | 2-28-2015 | Russ Burlingame
    Following in the footsteps of World of Warcraft's magical tribute to the late Robin Williams, Star Trek Online will feature an in-game tribute to veteran Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, who passed away yesterday at age 83. "I want to once again express my heartfelt condolences to the friends, family, and fans of Leonard Nimoy," said executive producer Steve Ricossa in a statement. "Everyone at Cryptic Studios was saddened to hear of his passing and we want to make sure we never forget the cultural impact of the man or the character he played. To that end, the Star...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moon-Venus-Mars Skyline

    02/28/2015 6:26:34 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Taken on February 20, five different exposures made in rapid succession were used to created this tantalizing telephoto image. In combination, they reveal a wide range of brightness visible to the eye on that frigid evening, from the urban glow of the Quebec City skyline to the triple conjunction of Moon, Venus and Mars. Shortly after sunset the young Moon shows off its bright crescent next to brilliant Venus. Fainter Mars is near the top of the frame. Though details in the Moon's sunlit crescent are washed out, features on the dark, shadowed part of the lunar disk are...
  • NASA video shows how dust from Sahara Desert fuels Amazon rain forest

    02/28/2015 5:50:18 AM PST · by rickmichaels · 6 replies
    Globe & Mail | February 25, 2015
    How dust from the Sahara is fuelling the Amazon
  • In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge

    02/27/2015 11:49:40 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 23 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 2/5/15 | Natalie Wolchover
    In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge Marco de LeijaIn Cuernavaca, Mexico, a “spy” network makes the decentralized bus system more efficient. As a consequence, the departure times of buses exhibit a ubiquitous pattern known as “universality.”  By: Natalie WolchoverFebruary 5, 2013 Comments (1) print In 1999, while sitting at a bus stop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, a Czech physicist named Petr Šeba noticed young men handing slips of paper to the bus drivers in exchange for cash. It wasn’t organized crime, he learned, but another shadow trade: Each driver paid a “spy” to record when the bus ahead of his...
  • What is flashing us from mysterious dwarf planet? Riddle of Ceres' deepens .. ANOTHER flashing mark

    02/27/2015 11:44:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 75 replies
    www.dailymail.co.uk ^ | 02-27-2015 | By Ellie Zolfagharifard
    Ceres continues to baffle astronomers as the Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the dwarf planet. The latest images, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000km) from Ceres, reveal that a bright 'alien' spot that stands out in previous images lies close to yet another bright area. While Nasa has not provided an explanation, scientists suggest these spots may be frozen pools of ice at the bottom of a crater that reflect light. 'Right now, all we can say is that the material reflects 40 per cent or more of the light falling on it,' UCLA astronomer Chris...
  • Richard Weikart: Should we encourage death or life?

    02/27/2015 6:18:13 AM PST · by Heartlander · 1 replies
    Merced Sun Star ^ | 02/23/2015 | Richard Weikart
    Richard Weikart: Should we encourage death or life? By Richard Weikart 02/23/2015 12:49 PM The California Legislature is considering Senate Bill 128 to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Perhaps some lawmakers see this as progressive, a way to promote humans rights and liberty. Oregon and Washington permit physician-assisted suicide, and Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland allow physicians to help people end their lives. Recently the Canadian Supreme Court struck down Canada’s law banning physician-assisted suicide. Is this the wave of the future? Or is it a descent into barbarism that undermines the value of human life?Debate over assisted suicide inflames passions...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Long Lovejoy and Little Dumbbell

    02/27/2015 4:58:58 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | February 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Buffeted by the solar wind, Comet Lovejoy's crooked ion tail stretches over 3 degrees across this telescopic field of view, recorded on February 20. The starry background includes awesome bluish star Phi Persei below, and pretty planetary nebula M76 just above Lovejoy's long tail. Also known as the Little Dumbbell Nebula, after its brighter cousin M27 the Dumbbell Nebula, M76 is only a Full Moon's width away from the comet's greenish coma. Still shining in northern hemisphere skies, this Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is outbound from the inner solar system some 10 light-minutes or 190 million kilometers from Earth....
  • These Are the Darkroom Techniques Photoshop’s Tools Are Based On

    02/26/2015 7:23:30 PM PST · by SWAMPSNIPER · 30 replies
    PETAPIXEL ^ | 02/26/15 | Michael Zhang
    As a tribute to Photoshop for its recent 25th birthday, Lynda created this “before there was Photoshop” video that shows the darkroom tools and techniques that were used by film photographers before Photoshop and digital photography arrived on the scene. Photographer Konrad Eek works on a print by dodging, burning, adding gradients, using masks, feathering, and more. If you’ve never made a print in a darkroom before, this video could be quite illuminating.
  • Sleep a lot? You might have a heightened risk of stroke, study says

    02/26/2015 6:39:55 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 61 replies
    latimes.com ^ | Karen Kaplan
    When the study participants were examined according to age, the researchers found that sleeping for more than eight hours a night increased stroke risk only for people who were at least 63 years old. On the flip side, they found that sleeping for less than six hours a night heightened stroke risk for younger people more than for older people. Finally, they discovered that “short” sleepers were more at risk for an ischemic stroke (the kind caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain) while “long” sleepers were more at risk for a hemorrhagic stroke (the kind...
  • Hyperloop moves closer to becoming reality

    02/26/2015 11:26:09 AM PST · by Mellonkronos · 26 replies
    CNBC ^ | February 26, 2015 | Phil LeBeau
    [It would really be great if private entrepreneurs could develop this system! Musk is an innovator. Check out the videos in the article.] “Hyperloop moves closer to becoming reality.” Phil LeBeau@Lebeaucarnews (Hyperloop Transportation Technologies,Inc., says Elon Musk’s vision for the new transportation system is beginning to take hold. CNBC’s Phil LeBeau reports, and talks to Ahlborn about the 5-mile stretch to be tested in the next few years.) The Hyperloop, just an idea in the mind of Elon Musk two years ago, is moving closer to becoming reality. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has signed an agreement with a developer in central...
  • Earth's other 'moon' and its crazy orbit could reveal mysteries of the solar system

    02/26/2015 6:29:41 AM PST · by Red Badger · 47 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 02-25-2015 | by Duncan Forgan
    We all know and love the moon. We're so assured that we only have one that we don't even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only other heavenly body with human footprints. What you might not know is that the moon is not the Earth's only natural satellite. As recently as 1997, we discovered that another body, 3753 Cruithne, is what's called a quasi-orbital satellite of Earth. This simply means that Cruithne doesn't loop around...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Love and War by Moonlight

    02/26/2015 6:11:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love, and Mars, the war god's namesake, came together by moonlight in this lovely skyview, recorded on February 20 from Charleston, South Carolina, USA, planet Earth. Made in twilight with a digital camera, the three second time exposure also records earthshine illuminating the otherwise dark surface of the young crescent Moon. Of course, the Moon has moved on from this much anticipated triple conjunction. Venus still shines in the west though as the evening star, third brightest object in Earth's sky, after the Sun and the Moon itself. Seen here within almost...
  • Monster Black Hole Is the Largest and Brightest Ever Found

    02/26/2015 5:24:51 AM PST · by C19fan · 27 replies
    Space.com ^ | February 25, 2015 | Charles Q. Choi
    Astronomers have discovered the largest and most luminous black hole ever seen — an ancient monster with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun — that dates back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old. It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such a relatively brief time after the dawn of the universe, researchers say.
  • What is Mars Made Of?

    02/25/2015 3:19:43 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 79 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | February 25, 2015 | Matt Williams on
    Like Earth, the interior of Mars has undergone a process known as differentiation. This is where a planet, due to its physical or chemical compositions, forms into layers, with denser materials concentrated at the center and less dense materials closer to the surface. In Mars’ case, this translates to a core that is between 1700 and 1850 km (1050 – 1150 mi) in radius and composed primarily of iron, nickel and sulfur. This core is surrounded by a silicate mantle that clearly experienced tectonic and volcanic activity in the past, but which now appears to be dormant. Besides silicon and...
  • Cornell researchers find safest place to hide from zombies

    02/25/2015 2:58:43 PM PST · by workerbee · 47 replies
    Fox ^ | 2/25/15 | Kate Seamons
    ***SNIP***The researchers used a number of techniques that are used when modeling real diseases, and the abstract ends with this dismal line: "We build up to a full scale simulation of an outbreak in the United States, and discover that for 'realistic' parameters, we are largely doomed." But Phys.Org relays a glimmer of hope by way of Alex Alemi, a grad student involved in the research: He says those who want to remain safe from the undead for as long as they can should head to the northern Rockies. He explains that while books and movies typically show an outbreak...
  • Exposed: what fracking really does to you, your family, pets and food

    02/25/2015 10:38:18 AM PST · by Citizen Zed · 45 replies
    The Ecologist ^ | 2-25-2015 | Allison Wilson
    The first researchers to systematically document ill health in livestock, pets, and people living near fracking drill sites were Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald. Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell University, used a case study approach-looking at individual households-to search for possible effects (Bamberger and Oswald 2012). Many fracking chemicals are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors or other classes of toxins (Colborn et al. 2011). Bamberger and Oswald's studies, carried out during the ongoing fracking boom, uncovered serious adverse effects including respiratory, reproductive, and growth-related problems in animals and a spectrum of symptoms in humans...
  • NASA:Coverage of U.S. Spacewalk # 30

    02/25/2015 7:14:01 AM PST · by yoe · 1 replies
    NASA TV on Ustream ^ | February 25, 2015
    6 a.m., Wednesday, February 25 - Coverage of U.S. Spacewalk # 30 (Spacewalk scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. ET; Wilmore and Virts) (all channels)
  • Astroquizzical: What happens when Betelgeuse explodes?

    02/25/2015 6:57:23 AM PST · by C19fan · 31 replies
    Starts with a Bang! ^ | February 24, 2015 | Jillian Scudder
    Question: If Betelgeuse explodes right now, could we see it with naked eye? It is over 400 light years away, so you might think that people would see it long after it actually happens? Betelgeuse is already one of the brightest stars in the night sky, sitting somewhere around the 8th or 9th brightest star in the night sky. (These lists don’t include the Sun, which is somewhat obviously always the brightest object in the sky.) It sits in the constellation Orion, along with a number of other bright stars, and makes up the left hand shoulder of the warrior....
  • Richard Dawkins: Children need to be "protected" from religion

    02/25/2015 5:36:23 AM PST · by Heartlander · 30 replies
    Irish Times ^ | February 24, 2015 | Joe Humphreys
    Richard Dawkins: Children need to be ‘protected’ from religion ‘You have to write off those people’ who put the Bible ahead of science, author says Children need to be “protected” from religious indoctrination in schools, biologist and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins has said, backing a campaign by Atheist Ireland to overhaul our education system.Speaking to The Irish Times in advance of a public talk at Trinity College Dublin on Tuesday evening, Prof Dawkins said: “There is a balancing act and you have to balance the rights of parents and the rights of children and I think the balance has swung...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Rosette Nebula in Hydrogen and Oxygen

    02/25/2015 5:25:27 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | February 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Rosette Nebula is not the only cosmic cloud of gas and dust to evoke the imagery of flowers -- but it is the most famous. At the edge of a large molecular cloud in Monoceros, some 5,000 light years away, the petals of this rose are actually a stellar nursery whose lovely, symmetric shape is sculpted by the winds and radiation from its central cluster of hot young stars. The stars in the energetic cluster, cataloged as NGC 2244, are only a few million years old, while the central cavity in the Rosette Nebula, cataloged as NGC 2237,...
  • Multiple Camera Drones Were Lost for This Imagery of a Volcano’s Insides

    02/24/2015 8:28:59 PM PST · by SWAMPSNIPER · 22 replies
    PETAPIXEL ^ | 02/24/15 | Michael Zhang
    Explorer Sam Cossman recently employed the help of multiple drones to capture photos and footage of the Marum Crater in an active volcano on the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. He ended up losing multiple drones in the process, but he left the island with spectacular images that will help provide a better understanding of the volcano and the life that exists around it.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Unusual Plumes Above Mars

    02/24/2015 2:18:41 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | February 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What is creating unusual plumes on Mars? No one is sure. Noted and confirmed by a global contingent of amateur astronomers on photos of the red planet in March 2012, possibly similar plumes have now been found on archived images as far back as 1997. Since the plumes reach 200 kilometers up, they seem too high to be related to wind-blown surface dust. Since one plume lasted for eleven days, it seemed too long lasting to be related to aurora. Amateur astronomers will surely continue to monitor the terminator and edge regions of Mars for new high plumes, and...
  • Could there be another planet behind the sun?

    02/24/2015 11:08:07 AM PST · by Red Badger · 71 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 02-24-2015 | by Fraser Cain, Universe Today
    If you've read your share of sci-fi, and I know you have, you've read stories about another Earth-sized planet orbiting on the other side of the Solar System, blocked by the Sun. Could it really be there? =========================================================== Color illustration showing the scale of planets in our solar system, focusing on Jupiter and Saturn. Credit: NASA =========================================================== No. Nooooo. No. Just no. This is a delightful staple in science fiction. There's a mysterious world that orbits the Sun exactly the same distance as Earth, but it's directly across the Solar System from us; always hidden by the Sun. Little do...
  • Man gets bionic eye, sees family for first time in 10 years

    02/24/2015 9:06:13 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 23 replies
    Fox News ^ | 02/24/2015
    A Minnesota man saw his wife for the first time in 10 years— and most of his grandchildren for the first time ever— after receiving a bionic eye at the Mayo Clinic earlier this month, ValleyNewsLive.com reported. Allen Zderad, 68, has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative, genetic eye disease that affects the part of the retina that translates light into sight. The condition progressively stole the Forest Lake man’s vision over the course of his life. Zderad uses a cane to walk and has leaned on his wife, Carmen Zderad, as his sighted guide since losing his ability to see. “Ten...
  • The Evolution Catechism

    02/24/2015 8:10:31 AM PST · by Heartlander · 15 replies
    Uncommon Descent ^ | February 24, 2015 | Vincent Torley
    The Evolution Catechism Posted by Vincent Torley Adam Gopnik has written an impertinent piece for the New Yorker (February 19, 2015), arguing that political candidates should be put on the spot and required to affirm their acceptance of evolution before being allowed to take office. Evolution, he writes, is “an inarguable and obvious truth” which is “easy to understand,” and if you oppose “Darwinian biology,” you thereby “announce yourself against the discoveries of science, or so frightened of those who are that you can be swayed from answering honestly.” A politician who fails to publicly embrace evolution “shouldn’t be trusted...
  • Humans may have migrated out of Africa in phases based on the weather

    02/24/2015 2:49:57 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 47 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | February 21, 2015 | editors
    Parton and colleagues writing in Geology, present a unique alluvial fan aggradation record from southeast Arabia spanning the past approx. 160,000 years. Situated along the proposed southern dispersal route, the Al Sibetah alluvial fan sequence provides a unique and sensitive record of landscape change in southeast Arabia. This record is to date the most comprehensive terrestrial archive from the Arabian Peninsula, and provides evidence for multiple humid episodes during both glacial and interglacial periods. Evidence from the Al Sibetah alluvial fan sequence indicates that during insolation maxima, increased monsoon rainfall led to the widespread activation of drainage systems and grassland...
  • Fish based diets cause archaeological dating problems

    02/24/2015 2:46:06 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 25 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | March 25, 2013 | Bente Philippsen and Rasmus Rorbaek
    Hard water contains less Carbon-14 than the atmosphere, because dissolved carbonates are Carbon-14 free. A fish caught in hard water has thus a higher Carbon-14 age than contemporaneous terrestrial samples. If such a fish is then cooked in a ceramic pot, the radiocarbon age of the food crust will be higher than if a terrestrial animal was cooked in the pot. This is known as the “reservoir effect” because the fish’s carbon actually comes from another “reservoir” than the carbon in terrestrial animals from the surrounding area. “Reservoir age” is the difference between the true age and the Carbon-14 date......
  • History's Largest Megalith

    02/24/2015 2:16:11 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 39 replies
    Archaeology ^ | Monday, February 09, 2015 | Eric A. Powell
    A team of archaeologists at a 2,000-year-old limestone quarry in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley recently excavated around a megalith weighing approximately 1,000 tons and dubbed Hajjar al-Hibla, or “stone of the pregnant woman.” It was intended for the Temple of Jupiter, which sits on three limestone blocks of similar size at the nearby site of Baalbek. To the team’s shock, they unearthed yet another block, this one weighing an estimated 1,650 tons, making it the largest known megalith. The German Archaeological Institute’s Margarete van Esse says excavation was suspended when the trench became dangerously deep. “Hopefully in a following campaign we...
  • Zigzags on a Shell From Java Are the Oldest Human Engravings

    02/24/2015 1:44:07 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    Smithsonian Magazine ^ | December 3, 2014 | Helen Thompson
    Perhaps even more intriguing is a single shell with what appears to be a geometric pattern—zigzagged grooves carved into the center of the outer shell. Analysis points to the patterns being carved on purpose. Again the team turned to modern mussels; they tried carving similar patterns into Potamida littoralis with a shark tooth and compared that to weathering and natural abrasions. Sure enough, their carvings were the closest matches to the ancient pattern. “That must have been an appealing thing for Homo erectus,” says Joordens. “You can imagine sitting there with a shell in one hand and a tool in...
  • Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA

    02/23/2015 7:03:12 PM PST · by Theoria · 13 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 23 Feb 2015 | ANDREW POLLACK
    There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going. Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime. It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to...
  • It’s official: Americans should drink more coffee

    02/23/2015 3:08:05 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 110 replies
    Washington Post ^ | 02/23/2015 | Roberto A. Ferdman
    When the nation's top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more.The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to...
  • Mars One mission: 'My boyfriend is cool with me going to Mars on a one-way trip'

    02/23/2015 12:25:08 PM PST · by Gamecock · 99 replies
    telegraph.co.uk ^ | 23 Feb 2015 | Gwendolyn Smith
    Earnshaw has a boyfriend, but says the relationship operates within “the understanding that for me the Mars Mission is what I want to do and if I do end up getting through to the final groups, then we’re going to go our separate ways and that’s something we’re both okay with”.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Milky Way Over the Arizona Toadstools

    02/23/2015 4:01:33 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | February 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Which is older -- the rocks you see on the ground or the light you see from the sky? Usually it's the rocks that are older, with their origin sentiments deposited well before light left any of the stars or nebulas you see in the sky. However, if you can see, through a telescope, a distant galaxy far across the universe -- further than Andromeda or spiral galaxy NGC 7331 (inset) -- then you are seeing light even more ancient. Featured here, the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy arches over Toadstool hoodoos rock formations in northern Arizona,...