Science (General/Chat)

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  • The Top Four Candidates for Europe's Oldest Work of Art

    05/19/2012 6:34:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    Smithsonian 'blogs ^ | May 16, 2012 | Erin Wayman
    In 1940, a group of teenagers discovered the paintings of bison, bulls and horses adorning the walls of France's Lascaux Cave. Roughly 17,000 years old, the paintings are Europe's most famous cave art, but hardly the oldest. This week archaeologists announced finding in another cave in France art dating to about 37,000 years ago, making it a candidate for Europe's most ancient artwork. Here's a look at the new discovery and the other top contenders for the title of Europe's oldest work of art. Nerja Caves (possibly about 43,000 years ago)... by Neanderthals, the [humans] that lived in this part...
  • Bronze Age 'Facebook' discovered by Cambridge experts

    05/19/2012 6:28:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    Cambridge News ^ | May 2012 | Leanne Ehren
    Mark Sapwell believes he has discovered an 'archaic version' of social networking site Facebook. Mark Sapwell, who is a PhD archaeology student at St John's College, believes he has discovered an "archaic version" of the social networking site, where users share thoughts and emotions and give stamps of approval to other contributions -- similar to the Facebook "like". Images of animals and events were drawn on the rock faces in Russian and Northern Sweden to communicate with distant tribes and descendants during the Bronze Age. They form a timeline preserved in stone encompassing thousands of years. Mr Sapwell said: "Like...
  • New Paleolithic remains found near the Liuhuaishan site in Bose Basin, Guangxi

    05/19/2012 6:23:31 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    PhysOrg ^ | May 17, 2012 | Acta Anthropologica Sinica
    The Liuhuaishan site is an important early Paleolithic site found in the Bose Basin. In December 2008, Scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Youjiang Museum for Nationalities, Bose, carried out a short survey around this site and found three new Paleolithic localities with a collection of 37 stone artifacts. This new finds will help better understand the human behavior at open-air sites in south China, researchers reported in the latest issue of Acta Anthropologica Sinica 2012 (2). The stone artifact assemblage included cores, flakes, chunks, choppers and chopping tools, and picks,...
  • Scientists illuminate the ancient history of circumarctic peoples

    05/19/2012 6:17:52 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    PhysOrg ^ | May 17, 2012 | unattributed
    ...The team's results indicate several new genetic markers that define previously unknown branches of the family tree of circumarctic groups. One marker, found in the Inuvialuit but not the other two groups, suggests that this group arose from an Arctic migration event somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago, separate from the migration that gave rise to many of the speakers of the Na-Dene language group. "If we're correct, [this lineage] was present across the entire Arctic and in Beringia," Schurr said. "This means it traces a separate expansion of Eskimo-Aleut-speaking peoples across this region." ... "Perhaps the most extraordinary...
  • Photos: "Body Jars," Cliff Coffins Are Clues to Unknown Tribe [ Cambodia ]

    05/19/2012 6:06:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    National Geographic News ^ | May 15, 2012 | John Miksic
    Skulls and other human bones poke from large ceramic jars at Khnorng Sroal, one of the newly dated mountainside burials in southwestern Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains. The bones were placed in the 20-inch-tall (50-centimeter-tall) body jars only after the bodies had decomposed or had been picked clean by scavenging animals, according to the study, which is published in the latest issue of the journal Radiocarbon. "The Cardamom highlanders may have used some form of exposure of the body to de-flesh the bones, like the 'sky burials' known in other cultures," study leader Beavan said. Placing the sky-high burials couldn't have been...
  • The Beagles Have Landed: 20 Laboratory Dogs See the Sun for the First Time

    05/18/2012 9:15:58 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 20 replies
    SCPR ^ | Lisa Brenner | May 11, 2012
    A San Diego County research lab released 20 beagles to rescue groups on Thursday in an effort to get the dogs adopted. Ten are staying in San Diego County, 10 will be put up for adoption in Los Angeles. Ranging in age from 4 to 7 years old, the dog have spent their entire lives inside a lab, and met with grass and sun for the first time at an adoption event at Four Paws Coonhound Rescue & Friends in El Cajon, reports U-T San Diego. The lab, which has a regular arrangement to release its animals, worked with Four...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Annular Solar Eclipse

    05/18/2012 9:09:37 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | May 19, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tomorrow, May 20, the Moon's shadow will race across planet Earth. Observers within the 240-300 kilometer wide shadow track will be able to witness an annular solar eclipse as the Moon's apparent size is presently too small to completely cover the Sun. Heading east over a period of 3.5 hours, the shadow path will begin in southern China, cross the northern Pacific, and reach well into North America, crossing the US west coast in southern Oregon and northern California. Along the route, Tokyo residents will be just 10 kilometers north of the path's center line. Of course a partial...
  • Pollution enhanced thunderstorms warm the planet?

    05/18/2012 7:01:44 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 10 replies
    watts up with that? ^ | May 18, 2012 | Anthony Watts
    From the DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a new paper in GRL saying something that doesn’t make much sense to me. As shown in the diagram above, thunderstorms transport heat from the lower troposphere upwards. The heat source at the base of the atmosphere (at the surface) is the absorption of sunlight by the surface of the Earth. That transfers heat to the lower atmosphere by conduction (a small amount), and mostly be re-radiated Long Wave IR. Heat is then transported upwards by convection, which is done by clouds (cumulus for example) and especially thunderstorms. So, given the amount of...
  • The Death of the Hockey Stick?

    05/18/2012 10:48:33 AM PDT · by Twotone · 28 replies
    PJ Media ^ | May 17, 2012 | Rand Simberg
    People who have been following the climate debate closely know that one of the most controversial and key elements of the controversy is the so-called “hockey stick” — a graph of supposed global temperature over the past centuries that ostensibly shows a dramatic increase in average temperature in the last century or so (the upward swoop of the graph at that point is the business end of the stick, with regard to the puck). It vaulted its inventor, Michael Mann of Penn State University, to climate stardom, with associated acclaim and government grants, when he first presented it in the...
  • New paper using RADARSAT data: Antarctic ice shelves slowed down – “…have not been changed...

    05/18/2012 10:43:42 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 12 replies
    watts up with that? ^ | May 17, 2012 | by Anthony Watts
    A new paper published May 15th in the the journal The Cryosphere utilizes 12 years worth of RADARSAT data to determine the rate at which some well known ice shelves in Antarctica have been moving and changing, and the answer is: “not much”. In fact it appears there has been a slowing down. First a map of Antarctica and the most worrisome Ross Ice Shelf (marked by the red x) is in order: If you follow the alarmosphere and MSM related to the Ross Ice Shelf and others, you get these kinds of stories: West Antarctic ice sheet collapse even...
  • Reverse Terraforming (for Supervillains only)

    05/18/2012 10:41:44 AM PDT · by LibWhacker
    Starts with a Bang ^ | 5/17/12 | Ethan Siegel
    "The Earth destroys its fools, but the intelligent destroy the Earth."-Khalid ibn al-Walid Usually, when we talk about terraforming, we think about taking a presently uninhabitable planet and making it suitable for terrestrial life. This means taking a world without an oxygen-rich atmosphere, with watery oceans, and without the means to sustain them, and to transform it into an Earth-like world. The obvious choice, when it comes to our Solar System, is Mars. (Image credit: Daein Ballard.) The red planet, after all, is not a total stranger to these conditions. On the contrary, for the first billion-and-a-half years of our...
  • US Government *only* spent $70 billion on climate since 2008

    05/18/2012 10:31:44 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 8 replies
    JoNova ^ | May 19th, 2012 | Joanne
    Remember the fear of global warming is falling because skeptics are well organized and well funded by vested interests and, after all, the US government is only spending ten thousand times more than Heartland. How could they compete? The Congressional Research Service estimates that since 2008 the federal government has spent nearly $70 billion on “climate change activities.”Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe presented the new CRS report on the Senate Floor Thursday to make the point that the Obama administration has been focused on “green” defense projects to the detriment of the military.The Daily Caller Hello to all the fans...
  • Discovered: The turtle the size of a SmartCar..

    05/18/2012 6:35:17 AM PDT · by C19fan · 28 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | May 18, 2012 | Eddie Wrenn
    Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a children's pool. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen – the fossilised remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia. The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means 'coal turtle', and it is part of a group of turtles known as pelomedusoides. The specimen's skull measures 24 centimeters, and the shell, which was recovered nearby and is believed to belong to the same animal - measures 172 centimeters, or about...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- GALEX: The Andromeda Galaxy

    05/18/2012 4:22:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | May 18, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A mere 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy really is just next door as large galaxy's go. So close, and spanning some 260,000 light-years, it took 11 different image fields from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite's telescope to produce this gorgeous portrait of the spiral galaxy in ultraviolet light. While its spiral arms stand out in visible light images of Andromeda (also known as M31), the arms look more like rings in the GALEX ultraviolet view, dominated by hot, young, massive stars. As sites of intense star formation, the rings have been interpreted has evidence Andromeda collided...
  • Remains may be ancient[Australia]

    05/17/2012 11:44:04 PM PDT · by Theoria · 16 replies
    The Area News ^ | 16 May 2012 | Emily Tinker
    ARCHAEOLOGISTS are on the cusp of unravelling the mystery behind a set of “hugely significant” ancient Aboriginal remains discovered in the region last year. Former local man Robert Harris Jnr found the remains near an old water course late last February while working on a property outside Lake Cargelligo. The remains – confirmed to be tens of thousands of years old –have been hailed as the greatest discovery in more than half a century. “They’re more significant than first thought,” local Aboriginal site recorder and brother of Robert, Max Harris said. “They are as old, or even older than Mungo...
  • (D@mn Dirty Apes!) Deceptive Chimp Hides Ammo, Blasts Unsuspecting Zoo Visitors

    05/17/2012 7:27:36 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 33 replies
    Live Science ^ | 17 May 2012 | Charles Choi,
    Deceptive Chimp Hides Ammo, Blasts Unsuspecting Zoo Visitors - (Santino just 1 second before the throw.) A chimp that creates hiding places for rocks he throws at zoo visitors reveals for the first time that humanity's closest living relatives can plan to deceive, researchers say. These findings could shed light on the evolution of higher mental functions such as planning, investigators added. The chimpanzee known as Santino is the dominant male of his group at Furuvik Zoo in Sweden. Intriguingly, past research showed the ape calmly gathered stones from his enclosure's moat and pieces of concrete he pulled off an...
  • Doubt Cast on the ‘Good’ in ‘Good Cholesterol’

    05/17/2012 4:16:35 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 11 replies
    New York Times ^ | May 16, 2012 | GINA KOLATA
    The name alone sounds so encouraging: HDL, the “good cholesterol.” The more of it in your blood, the lower your risk of heart disease. So bringing up HDL levels has got to be good for health. Or so the theory went. Now, a new study that makes use of powerful databases of genetic information has found that raising HDL levels may not make any difference to heart disease risk. People who inherit genes that give them naturally higher HDL levels throughout life have no less heart disease than those who inherit genes that give them slightly lower levels. If HDL...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Herschel's Cygnus X

    05/16/2012 9:52:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | May 17, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Herschel Space Observatory's infrared view of Cygnus X spans some 6x2 degrees across one of the closest, massive star forming regions in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the rich stellar nursery already holds the massive star cluster known as the Cygnus OB2 association. But those stars are more evident by the region cleared by their energetic winds and radiation near the bottom center of this field, and are not detected by Herschel instruments operating at long infrared wavelengths. Herschel does reveal the region's complex filaments of cool gas and dust that lead to dense...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Star Formation in the Tarantula Nebula

    05/16/2012 2:13:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | May 16, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies lies in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Were the Tarantula Nebula at the distance of the Orion Nebula -- a local star forming region -- it would take up fully half the sky. Also called 30 Doradus, the red and pink gas indicates a massive emission nebula, although supernova remnants and dark nebula also exist there. The bright knot of stars left of center is called R136 and contains many of the most massive, hottest, and brightest stars known. The above...
  • New nanostructure for batteries keeps going and going...

    05/16/2012 7:25:16 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 10 replies
    http://phys.org ^ | 05-11-2012 | Mike Moss & Provided by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    For more than a decade, scientists have tried to improve lithium-based batteries by replacing the graphite in one terminal with silicon, which can store 10 times more charge. But after just a few charge/discharge cycles, the silicon structure would crack and crumble, rendering the battery useless. Now a team led by materials scientist Yi Cui of Stanford and SLAC has found a solution: a cleverly designed double-walled nanostructure that lasts more than 6,000 cycles, far more than needed by electric vehicles or mobile electronics. “This is a very exciting development toward our goal of creating smaller, lighter and longer-lasting batteries...