Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Astronomers identify the epoch of the first fast growth of black holes.
ScienceDaily (2010-12-28) -- A team of astronomers has determined that the era of first fast growth of the most massive black holes occurred when the universe was only about 1.2 billion years old -- not two to four billion years old, as was previously believed -- and they're growing at a very fast rate.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Ancient Bible fragments offer a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life.
PHYSORG: New research has uncovered a forgotten chapter in the history of the Bible, offering a rare glimpse of Byzantine Jewish life and culture.
The study by Cambridge University researchers suggests that, contrary to long-accepted views, Jews continued to use a Greek version of the Bible in synagogues for centuries longer than previously thought. In some places, the practice continued almost until living memory.
The key to the new discovery lay in manuscripts, some of them mere fragments, discovered in an old synagogue in Egypt and brought to Cambridge at the end of the 19th century. The so-called Cairo Genizah manuscripts have been housed ever since in Cambridge University Library
Monday, December 27, 2010
UK's Met office followed the global warming theme and predicted a mild winter. Piers Corbyn bases his predictions off solar activity. He has been amazingly accurate. He thinks a future ice age is more likely than global warming.
Antibiotic inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells.
ScienceDaily (2010-12-20) -- Researchers have demonstrated that an antibiotic called "monensin" prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. Monensin is used in the meat and dairy industry, for example.
Evidence pointing to the effects of monensin emerged in a project investigating the effects of nearly 5,000 drugs and micromolecules on the growth of prostate cancer cells. The project involved most of the drugs on the market today. Researchers found that small amounts of compounds -- disulfiram (Antabus), thiram, tricostatin A, and monensin -- can prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells...
Read more here.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Even better chocolate may be coming in the near future.
The production of high quality chocolate, and the farmers who grow it, will benefit from the recent sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome, according to an international team led by Claire Lanaud of CIRAD, France, with Mark Guiltinan of Penn State, and including scientists from 18 other institutions.
Could this be a "Fountain of Youth?"
ScienceDaily (Dec. 23, 2010) — A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team that includes a Saint Louis University physician has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them.
Their research was published in the Dec. 6 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Read more here.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
This opens a new branch of the human family tree.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2010) — A 30,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in southern Siberia came from a young girl who was neither an early modern human nor a Neanderthal, but belonged to a previously unknown group of human relatives who may have lived throughout much of Asia during the late Pleistocene epoch. Although the fossil evidence consists of just a bone fragment and one tooth, DNA extracted from the bone has yielded a draft genome sequence, enabling scientists to reach some startling conclusions about this extinct branch of the human family tree, called "Denisovans" after the cave where the fossils were found.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Santa has suffered a leak and his flight plan for Christmas Eve has been revealed. No word yet if Wikileaks is responsible.
Aviation authorities are not confirming the details of a leaked flight plan for Dec. 24, but did say the pilot is "a very jolly fellow."
The flight plan and itinerary made its way into inboxes in newsrooms across the country Wednesday and shows that a pilot known as Capt. S. Claus is planning to fly from the North Pole on Friday.
“All we can confirm is that a sleigh-like aircraft powered by nine flying reindeer will be departing the North Pole on Christmas Eve to deliver packages all around the world
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Scientists are making progress in the fight against deadly melanoma
ScienceDaily (2010-12-22) -- In a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments for patients with malignant melanoma, researchers have discovered that a particular protein suppresses the progression of melanoma through regulation of an oncogene, or gene responsible for cancer growth.
Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.
Woolly mammoths changed their nursing habits because of environmental changes.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2010) — New research from The University of Western Ontario leads investigators to believe that woolly mammoths living north of the Arctic Circle during the Pleistocene Epoch (approx. 150,000 to 40,000 years ago) began weaning infants up to three years later than modern day African elephants due to prolonged hours of darkness.
This adapted nursing pattern could have contributed to the prehistoric elephant's eventual extinction. The findings were published recently in the journal, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
By studying the chemical composition of adult and infant mammoth teeth, Jessica Metcalfe, an Earth Sciences PhD student working with professor Fred Longstaffe, was able to determine woolly mammoths that once inhabited Old Crow, Yukon didn't begin eating plants and other solid foods before the age of two (and perhaps as late as three) and considers predatory mammals like saber-toothed cats and a lack of sufficient vegetation to be the secondary reasons for delayed weaning.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
About three billion years after the Big Bang there was a large surge in star formation.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2010) — A UK-led international team of astronomers have presented the first conclusive evidence for a dramatic surge in star birth in a newly discovered population of massive galaxies in the early Universe. Their measurements confirm the idea that stars formed most rapidly about 11 billion years ago, or about three billion years after the Big Bang, and that the rate of star formation is much faster than was thought.
The scientists used the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, an infrared telescope with a mirror 3.5 m in diameter, launched in 2009. They studied the distant objects in detail with the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) camera, obtaining solid evidence that the galaxies are forming stars at a tremendous rate and have large reservoirs of gas that will power the star formation for hundreds of millions of years. Read more here.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
(Credit: Cassini ISS/Del Río-Gaztelurrutia et al.)
This is a storm from Hell.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2010) — Researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have been monitoring a cyclone on Saturn for more than five years. This makes it the longest-lasting cyclone detected to date on any of the giant planets of the Solar System. Images from the Cassini probe were used to carry out this study.
"Cyclones -- where the wind turns in the same direction as the planet -- do not usually last for a long time, and so we were interested to discover one that had gone on for several years on Saturn," Teresa del Río-Gaztelurrutia, lead author of the study and a researcher at the UPV/EHU Planetary Sciences Group, said.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This will take a lot of discipline to keep troops from abusing texting and other smart-phone features.
And as early as this spring, the U.S. Army could make iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys and similar devices standard-issue communication and intelligence-gathering tools on the front lines of the world's most dangerous battlefields.
"This is a profound and fundamental change about how soldiers will be able to access and share information," said Michael McCarthy, director of the mission command complex of the Army's Future Force Integration Directorate at Fort Bliss, Texas. Read more here.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/University of Arizona)
It is hard to imagine an Earth-style volcano that spews ice instead of molten lava, but that is what scientists think NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found on Saturn's moon Titan.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) — NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found possible ice volcanoes on Saturn's moon Titan that are similar in shape to those on Earth that spew molten rock.
Topography and surface composition data have enabled scientists to make the best case yet in the outer solar system for an Earth-like volcano landform that erupts in ice. The results were presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
"When we look at our new 3-D map of Sotra Facula on Titan, we are struck by its resemblance to volcanoes like Mt. Etna in Italy, Laki in Iceland and even some small volcanic cones and flows near my hometown of Flagstaff," said Randolph Kirk, who led the 3-D mapping work, and is a Cassini radar team member and geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
How did Iapetus get that weird ridge?
(PHYSORG)- But it's only been five years since the arrival of high-resolution Cassini Mission images of Saturn's bizarre moon Iapetus that the international planetary community has pondered the unique walnut shape of the large (735 kilometer radius) body, considered by many to be one of the most astonishing features in the solar system.
And there's no consensus as to how a mysterious large ridge that covers more than 75 percent of the moon's equator was formed. It's been a tough nut to crack.
But now a team including an outer solar system specialist from Washington University in St. Louis has proposed a giant impact explains the ridge, up to 20 kilometers tall and 100 kilometers wide.
William B. McKinnon, PhD, Washington University professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, and his former doctoral student, Andrew Dombard, PhD, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), propose that at one time Iapetus itself had a satellite, or moon, created by a giant impact with another big body. Read more here.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
It is in Azerbaijan and dates to the bronze age.
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2010) — CNRS (1) archeologists have recently provided proof that the Duzdagi salt deposits, situated in the Araxes Valley in Azerbaijan, were already being exploited from the second half of the 5th millennium BC. It is therefore the most ancient exploitation of rock salt attested to date. And, to the researchers' surprise, intensive salt production was carried out in this mine at least as early as 3500 BC.
This work, conducted in collaboration with the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and published on 1st December 2010 in the journal TÜBA-AR, should help to elucidate how the first complex civilizations, which emerged between 4500 BC and 3500 BC in the Caucasus, were organized.
The economic and symbolic importance of salt in ancient and medieval times is well known. Recent discoveries have shown that salt most probably played a predominant role in protohistoric societies, in other words those that preceded the appearance of writing. How is salt obtained? The two most widely used techniques are based on the extraction of rock salt, in other words a sedimentary deposit containing a high concentration of edible salt (2), and the collection of sun-dried salt in salt marshes, for example. Knowledge of the techniques used in former times to exploit raw materials such as salt, obsidian (3) or copper enables archeologists to deduce essential information on the needs and the level of complexity of ancient societies. In the Caucasus, the first traces of... Read more here.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Higher CO2 levels will increase plant growth and mitigate global warming.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2010) — A new NASA computer modeling effort has found that additional growth of plants and trees in a world with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would create a new negative feedback -- a cooling effect -- in the Earth's climate system that could work to reduce future global warming.
The cooling effect would be -0.3 degrees Celsius (C) (-0.5 Fahrenheit (F)) globally and -0.6 degrees C (-1.1 F) over land, compared to simulations where the feedback was not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Bounoua is lead author on a paper detailing the results published Dec. 7 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Without the negative feedback included, the model found a warming of 1.94 degrees C globally when carbon dioxide was doubled.
Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will chip away at the uncertainty range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate.
"This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming," Bounoua said.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The iPad -- that "truly magical" device introduced to the world by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in January -- nabbed the number one spot on the list.
It was followed by other technological phenomena that made headlines this year, including the viral video chat site Chatroulette at No. 2, Apple's iPhone 4 at No. 3 and Facebook at No. 7.
Image credit: Wei-Bo Gao, et al. ©2010 PNAS.
The demonstration of a teleportation-based optical quantum entangling gate could lead to quantum computers.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Taking a step toward the realization of futuristic quantum technologies, a team of physicists from China and Germany has demonstrated a key element – an entangling gate – of a quantum teleportation scheme proposed more than 10 years ago. The entangling gate serves as a fundamental building block for applications such as long-distance quantum communication and Physicists demonstrate teleportation-based on optical quantum entangling gates. This could lead to practical quantum computers.
The scientists, Wei-Bo Gao, Jian-Wei Pan, and coauthors from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui, China, and the University of
Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany, have published their study in an early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The work builds on earlier research by D. Gottesman and I. L. Chuang, who theoretically showed in 1999 that a quantum gate can be built by teleporting qubits (the basic units of quantum information) with the help of certain entangled states. In quantum teleportation techniques, unknown quantum states are transferred from one location to another through the use of entanglement. One of the key requirements of the "GC scheme" is the ability to perform single-qubit logic operations for quantum computations.
In the new study, Gao, Pan, and coauthors have experimentally demonstrated the feasibility of the GC scheme by demonstrating a logic gate based on quantum teleportation for two photonic qubits. Further, the scientists demonstrated the entangling gate using two different methods – one with a six-photon interferometer to realize controlled-NOT gates, and the other with four-photon hyperentanglement to realize controlled-Phase gates.
Read more here.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Artist concept of a solar sail in space. (Credit: NASA)
This is a first for NASA. The NanoSail-D nanosatellite is about the size of a loaf of bread.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 7, 2010) — On Dec. 6 at 1:31 a.m. EST, NASA for the first time successfully ejected a nanosatellite from a free-flying microsatellite. NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.
Nanosatellites or cubesats are typically launched and deployed from a mechanism called a Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) mounted directly on a launch vehicle. This is the first time NASA has mounted a P-POD on a microsatellite to eject a cubesat.
FASTSAT, equipped with six science and technology demonstration payloads, including NanoSail-D, launched Friday, Nov. 19 at 8:25 p.m. EST from Kodiak Island, Alaska. During launch, the NanoSail-D flight unit, about the size of a loaf of bread, was stowed inside FASTSAT in a P-POD.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
ScienceDaily (Dec. 6, 2010) — Scientists from South Korea, the United States and Japan analyzed fossil evidence found in South Korea and published research describing a new horned dinosaur. The newly identified genus, Koreaceratops hwaseongensis, lived about 103 million years ago during the late Early Cretaceous period. The specimen is the first ceratopsian dinosaur from the Korean peninsula. The partial skeleton includes a significant portion of the animal's backbone, hip bone, partial hind limbs and a nearly complete tail.
Results from the analysis of the specimen were published in the 18 November 2010 online edition of the journal Naturwissenchaften: The Science of Nature.
The Koreaceratops hwaseongensis is named for Korea and Hwaseong City, which yielded the fossil. It was discovered in 2008 in a block of rock along the Tando Basin reservoir. It is one of the first articulated dinosaurs known from Korea.
Monday, December 6, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — Dozens of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places that their users previously visited online, everything from news articles to bank sites to pornography, a team of computer scientists found.
The information is valuable for con artists to learn more about their targets and send them personalized attacks. It also allows e-commerce companies to adjust ads or prices — for instance, if the site knows you've just come from a competitor that is offering a lower price.
Although passwords aren't at risk, in harvesting a detailed list of where you've been online, sites can create thorough profiles on its users.
The technique the University of California, San Diego researchers investigated is called "history sniffing" and is a result of the way browsers interact with websites and record where they've been. A few lines of programming code are all a site needs to pull it off.
Although security experts have known for nearly a decade that such snooping is possible, the latest findings offer some of the first public evidence of sites exploiting the problem. Current versions of the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers still allow this, as do older versions of Chrome and Safari, the researchers said.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Ticketing the Christmas Spirit
Don't laugh. Having your testicle blown off is a serious concern for our fighting men.
(FOX News)-The right pair of underpants will keep you comfortable -- and maybe even save your life.
A British manufacturer has unveiled bombproof boxer shorts that it claims can save the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan by protecting their vital organs from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The lightweight shorts are worn under normal combat gear, reports the British tabloid The Sun, and protect soldiers where standard-issue body armor does not. Andrew Howell, head of BCB International, which developed the clothing, told the Sun he thinks the shorts can save lives.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
It looks like the science isn't as settled as many had hoped.
(FOX News)-Blam! Kapow! Smack! The bell has rung for the latest round of climate talks, but the battle continues among climate scientists too, making only one thing truly clear -- the science of global warming simply isn't settled.
Climate science suffered a black eye over the past 12 months, following revelations that the latest report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contained numerous errors and relied too heavily on questionable sources. At the latest climate conference in Cancun, the group will stress that its research must continue.
But while governments try to push through an accord, the fighting over the science -- and the IPCC's role -- continues unabated. And the body blows seem as violent as ever.
"The corruption within the IPCC revealed by the Climategate scandal, the doctoring of data and the refusal to admit mistakes have so severely tainted the IPCC that it is no longer a credible agency," Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University, declared in an interview with FoxNews.com.
"Thus, it is no longer in a position to claim to speak for climate scientists."
Read more here.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Sunbathing is good for Swedish women. They live longer.
Women who sunbathe regularly live longer and enjoy health benefits which outweigh the risk of skin cancer, according to research presented at the Swedish Society of Medicine's annual conference in Gothenburg.
"Our studies show that women with active sunbathing habits live longer," said chief physician Håkan Olsson at the division of oncology at Lund University, to the local Göteborgs-Posten (GP) daily.
Studies of the sun exposure habits of 40,000 women in southern Sweden have found that the health benefits of spending extended periods in the sun outweigh the negatives, such as the increased risk for skin cancer.