Dolphin play bubble rings. The music is the instrumental version of "No One is Alone" from "Into the Woods" by John Williams; The Boston Pops Orchestra.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Satellite observations suggest global warming models are inaccurate. The study was publiched in the per reviewed journal Remote Sensing.
(PHYSORG)- The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.
In research published this week in the journal Remote Sensing, Spencer and UAHuntsville's Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Medieval armour was very heavy and caused wearers to use more energy, but many with the heaviest armour were on horseback.
ScienceDaily (July 26, 2011) — The French may have had a better chance at the Battle of Agincourt had they not been weighed down by heavy body armour, say researchers.
A study published July 19 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that soldiers carrying armour in Medieval times would have been using more than twice the amount of energy had they not been wearing it. This is the first clear experimental evidence of the limitations of wearing Medieval armour on a soldier's performance.
During warfare in the 15th century, soldiers wore steel plate armour, typically weighing 30-50kg. It is thought this may have been a contributing factor in whether an army won or lost a battle.
"We found that carrying this kind of load spread across the body requires a lot more energy than carrying the same weight in a backpack," says lead researcher, Dr Graham Askew from the University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Sciences. "This is because, in a suit of armour, the limbs are loaded with weight, which means it takes more effort to swing them with each stride. If you're wearing a backpack, the weight is all in one place and swinging the limbs is easier."
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Dolphins' have an amazing sixth sense that helps them feel electric fields. They are the first placental mammal discovered with this ability.
(MSNBC)- The common Guiana dolphin has just divulged its sixth sense: the ability to sense electric fields. It is the first placental mammal known to pull off this trick, new research finds.
The dolphin, which bears live young like other placental mammals, most likely uses its sixth sense to find prey in the murky coastal waters it inhabits.
"Most of the animals which do this do this to find prey," said study researcher Wolf Hanke, of Rostock University in Rostock, Germany. "All of the dolphins' prey items, like crayfish, all of them generate electric fields to some degree."
The Guiana dolphin looks like the familiar bottlenose dolphin; it is only slightly smaller. It lives close to estuaries, inlets and other protected shallow waters off the north and eastern coasts of South America.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Scientists ow know how hibernation works, in squirrels anyway.
(Medical Press)- Hibernation is an essential survival strategy for some animals and scientists have long thought it could also hold promise for human survival. But how hibernation works is largely unknown. Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have successfully induced hibernation at will, showing how the process is initiated. Their research is published in the July 26 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
A hibernating animal has a reduced heart rate and blood flow similar to a person in cardiac arrest, yet the hibernator doesn't suffer the brain damage that can occur in people. "Understanding the neuroprotective qualities of hibernating animals may lead to development of a drug or therapy to save people's lives after a stroke or heart attack," said Kelly Drew, senior author and UAF professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Institute of Arctic Biology.
Hibernating animals survive by severely reducing their metabolism, a condition called torpor, in which oxygen consumption can fall to as low as one percent of resting metabolic rate and core body temperature to near or below freezing temperatures.
Arctic ground squirrels, like all animals and people, produce a molecule called adenosine that slows nerve cell activity. "When a squirrel begins to hibernate and when you feel drowsy it's because adenosine molecules have attached themselves to receptors in your brain," said Tulasi Jinka, lead author and IAB post-doctoral fellow in Drew's lab. Keep on reading.
This robot is achieving man's dream of flying like a bird.
(Punctuated Equilibrium)- One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to fly like a bird. Many, from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary research teams, tried to decipher the flight of birds well enough to recreate it. Finally in 2011, the engineers at the German technology company, Festo, developed SmartBird, an avian robot that can take off and fly through the air by simply flapping its wings. In this video, Markus Fischer, Festo's head of corporate design, shows a live audience what SmartBird can do:
Monday, July 25, 2011
California couple claim they have recordings of Sasquatch's call. (video)
Sasquatch, bigfoot, video
Sasquatch, bigfoot, video
Some bottle-nosed dolphins hold sponges in their beaks as protection while they scare up fish on the ocean floor.
Dolphins are well known for their exquisite echolocation abilities, which enable them to detect and discriminate prey species and even locate buried prey. While these skills are widely used during foraging, some dolphins use tools to locate and extract prey. In the only known case of tool use in free-ranging cetaceans, a subset of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia habitually employs marine basket sponge tools to locate and ferret prey from the seafloor. Read more.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe.
Astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. It contains equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean.
JPL-July 22, 2011
JPL-July 22, 2011
Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.
"The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water," said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times." Bradford leads one of the teams that made the discovery. His team's research is partially funded by NASA and appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Putting a whole lot of pain on a crowd of people.
Taser International is teaming up with crazy-ass Australian electric gun company Metal Storm to produce a bowel-liquifying stun shotgun called — seriously — MAUL. Picture, if you will, a 12-gauge shotgun that stacks stun cartridges on top of one another and uses electricity to fire them out, railgun-style. Five of Taser’s XREP cartridges come flying at you from 30 yards away — “semi-automatic fire as fast as the operator can squeeze the trigger,” the company boasted on Thursday.
Yes, an electric, semi-automatic Taser shotgun. Full reload of all five cartridges takes all of two seconds. Not even a steroided-out Ben Johnson can run 30 yards that quickly.
This gorilla "hams it up" with the video camera.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Stopping the low dose aspirin your doctor put you on could be very dangerous.
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that people who have been diagnosed with heart disease and placed on a daily aspirin dose are at an increased risk of a heart attack if they stop taking the aspirin.
Low dose aspirin, usually in a dose range between 75 and 300 milligrams, are prescribed to patients to reduce the risk of blood clots and a possible heart attack. However, for many different reasons, half of these patients eventually stop this routine.
The researchers, led by Dr. Luis Garcia Rodriguez from the Spanish Center for Pharmacoepidemiologic Research, gathered data from medical records located in a large database in the United Kingdom called the Health Improvement Network. They looked at 39,513 patients between the ages of 50 and 84 that had been prescribed low dose aspirin between 2000 and 2007.
What they discovered after a three year follow-up was that there was a 60 percent increase of a non-fatal heart attack in those patients who had discontinued taking their aspirin therapy. This breaks down to about four heart attacks per 1,000 patients who cease taking their aspirin therapy.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity topped 20 miles this week.
(PhysOrg.com) -- More than seven years into what was planned as a three-month mission on Mars, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has driven more than 20 miles, which is more than 50 times the mission's original distance goal.
A drive of 407 feet (124 meters) completed on July 17 took Opportunity past the 20-mile mark (32.2 kilometers). It brought the rover to within a few drives of reaching the rim of Endeavour crater, the rover's team's long-term destination since mid-2008. Endeavour is about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, and its western rim exposes outcrops that record information older than any Opportunity has examined so far. The rover is now about eight-tenths of a mile (about 1.3 kilometers) from the site chosen for arriving at the rim.
"The numbers aren't really as important as the fact that driving so much farther than expected during this mission has put a series of exciting destinations within Opportunity's reach," said Alfonso Herrera, a rover mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. who has worked on the rover missions since before launch in 2003.
The latest drive included an autonomous hazard detection portion during which the rover paused at intervals to check for obstacles before proceeding.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The bizarre, twisted ring of dense gas at the center of our galaxy has astronomers confused.
ScienceDaily (July 19, 2011) — New observations from the Herschel Space Observatory show a bizarre, twisted ring of dense gas at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Only a few portions of the ring, which stretches across more than 600 light-years, were known before. Herschel's view reveals the entire ring for the first time, and a strange kink that has astronomers scratching their heads.
"We have looked at this region at the center of the Milky Way many times before in the infrared," said Alberto Noriega-Crespo of NASA's Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "But when we looked at the high-resolution images using Herschel's sub-millimeter wavelengths, the presence of a ring is quite clear." Noriega-Crespo is co-author of a new paper on the ring published in a recent issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The Herschel Space Observatory is a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions. It sees infrared and sub-millimeter light, which can readily penetrate through the dust hovering between the bustling center of our galaxy and us. Herschel's detectors are also suited to see the coldest stuff in our galaxy. Keep on reading.
Monday, July 18, 2011
New genetic research indicates non-Africans are part Neanderthal.
ScienceDaily (July 17, 2011) — Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.
"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," says Dr. Labuda. His team places the timing of such intimate contacts and/or family ties early on, probably at the crossroads of the Middle East.
Neanderthals, whose ancestors left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, evolved in what is now mainly France, Spain, Germany and Russia, and are thought to have lived until about 30,000 years ago. Meanwhile, early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago. The question on everyone's mind has always been whether the physically stronger Neanderthals, who possessed the gene for language and may have played the flute, were a separate species or could have interbred with modern humans. The answer is yes, the two lived in close association.
Can you blame them? They are relegated to hitchhiking with the Russians.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's mighty astronaut corps has become a shadow of what it once was. And it's only going to get smaller.
It's down to 60 from an all-time high of 149 just a decade ago, with more departures coming once Atlantis returns this week from the very last space shuttle voyage.
With no replacement on the horizon for the shuttle, astronauts are bailing fast, even though the International Space Station will need crews for at least another decade.
The commander of Discovery's last flight back in March, Steven Lindsey? Gone to a company whose proposed commercial spacecraft resembles a mini-shuttle; his last day at NASA was Friday.
The skipper of Endeavour's last mission in May, Mark Kelly? Retiring in another few months to write a memoir with his wounded congresswoman wife, Gabrielle Giffords.
The captain of Atlantis, Christopher Ferguson, assured The Associated Press from orbit late last week that he'll be sticking around after this final shuttle journey of them all. At least one of his crew, though, isn't so sure.
After spending her childhood wanting to be an astronaut—and achieving that goal in 1996—Atlantis astronaut Sandra Magnus now has to figure out what the next chapter holds.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Stunning picture of a starry night over Dubai.
Credit: Gengping Jiang
Graphen stores energy as well as a lithium ion battery, but recharges in seconds.
(PHYSORG)- A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan.
Dr. Dan Li, of the Monash University Department of Materials Engineering, and his research team have been working with a material called graphene, which could form the basis of the next generation of ultrafast energy storage systems.
“Once we can properly manipulate this material, your iPhone, for example, could charge in a few seconds, or possibly faster.” said Dr. Li.
Graphene is the result of breaking down graphite, a cheap, readily available material commonly used in pencils, into layers one atom thick. In this form, it has remarkable properties.
Graphene is strong, chemically stable, an excellent conductor of electricity and, importantly, has an extremely high surface area.
Dr. Li said these qualities make graphene highly suitable for energy storage applications.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Credit: University of Oxford
The number of discovered extrasolar planets continues to grow.
ScienceDaily (July 14, 2011) — An international team, including Oxford University scientists, has discovered 10 new planets. Amongst them is one orbiting a star perhaps only a few tens of million years old, twin Neptune-sized planets, and a rare Saturn-like world.
The planets were detected using the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and Transits) space telescope, operated by the French space agency CNES. It discovers planets outside our solar system -- exoplanets -- when they 'transit', that is pass in front of their stars.
The new finds were announced on 14 June at the Second CoRoT Symposium, held in Marseille.
Out of the ten new exoplanets (CoRoT-16b through to 24b and c) seven are hot Jupiters some of which are unusually dense and/or on unusually elongated orbits, and one is in orbit around an unusually young star. The announcement also includes a planet slightly smaller than Saturn, and two Neptune-sized planets orbiting the same star.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
This mutant two-headed albino California Kingsnake is creating a buzz at the Black Sea resort of Yalta.
(PHYSORG)- A snake with two heads, each able to think and eat separately and even steal food from each other, has become a popular attraction at a Ukrainian zoo.
The small albino California Kingsnake, now on show in the Black Sea resort of Yalta is quite a handful, zoo workers told AFP.
The snake's two heads are fiercely independent, are not always in agreement and like to snatch food from each other, said keepers of the private zoo, called Skazka, or Fairy Tale.
"Sometimes one head wants to crawl in one direction and the other head in another direction," zoo director Oleg Zubkov told AFP.
Zoo worker Ruslan Yakovenko added that he tries to feed the snake's two heads separately as they sometimes fight for food.
"If it is really hungry, its heads may steal food from each other," he said, adding he also needs to separate the heads with a barrier.
There is hope upper spinal cord injury patients can someday get off respirators.
ScienceDaily (July 13, 2011) — Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine bridged a spinal cord injury and biologically regenerated lost nerve connections to the diaphragm, restoring breathing in an adult rodent model of spinal cord injury. The work, which restored 80 to more than 100 percent of breathing function, will be published in the online issue of the journal Nature July 14. The scientists say that more testing is necessary, but are hopeful their technique will quickly be used in clinical trials.
Restoration of breathing is the top desire of people with upper spinal cord injuries. Respiratory infections, which attack through the ventilators they rely on, are their top killer.
"We've shown for the very first time that robust, long distance regeneration can restore function of the respiratory system fully," said Jerry Silver, professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve and senior author.
Silver has been working 30 years on technologies to restore function to the nearly 1.2 million sufferers of spinal cord injuries. This restoration was accomplished using an old technology -- a peripheral nerve graft, and a new technology -- an enzyme, he explained.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
This full 360 interactive panoramic of the night sky is fantastic.
Click on image to see a real cool full screen interactive image
New pictures (see video) are stimulating debate.
(ABC News)- Let's get something straight: There is no real evidence that the mysterious chupacabra exists. Researchers say it's an urban (or rural) legend, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.
Not even Jack Crabtree, a retired wildlife biologist from Lake Jackson, Texas, says he believes it. And he has the pictures to prove it.
On July 4 and again two evenings later, Crabtree and his wife, Linda, said they saw a slow-moving, almost hairless animal near the creek out back of their house in Lake Jackson.
"It was immediately clear to me it was a coyote with a severe case of mange," said Crabtree, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Sarcoptic mange is a condition caused by parasitic mites that can cause an animal to lose its fur.) "It was obviously sick."
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
(SFGate)- Cleanup crews in Idaho have finished clearing honey and an estimated 14 million bees that got loose after a delivery truck overturned on a highway.
Fremont County Sheriff deputies say several workers were stung during the first few hours of the cleanup Sunday.
And some observers told The Post-Register about seeing a strange black cloud and roaring noise above the spill area before realizing it was a massive swarm of bees.
It depends on your definition of a 'tool'.
(PhysOrg.com) -- A new paper soon to be published in Coral Reefs reveals the first ever photographs of a fish, in this case the blackspot tuskfish, using tools to acquire their food.
Scott Gardner, a professional diver, was out diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef when he heard a strange banging noise under water and went to investigate. What he discovered was the blackspot tuskfish with a clam in its mouth. The fish was banging and slamming the clam against a rock in order to crack it open. Once it cracked, the fish ate the bivalve inside. Gardner, having his camera with him, was quick to snap up some shots of this fish and its apparent use of tools.
While tool use was once thought to be exclusive to humans, researchers have found animals such as primates, birds, dolphins, elephants and even octopuses that use some form of tool. While it was suspected that some fish may use similar behavior, it had never been documented until these pictures from Gardner.
Culum Brown, a behavioral ecologist from Macquarie University in Australia, is the co-author of this current paper and says that the pictures taken by Gardner show that this fish was quite skilled at this behavior. Evidence around the rock show this was not the first crushed shell and believes that with more exploration, more fish species will be found to use tools.
This finding however has sparked the debate as to exactly what defines tool use. While the tuskfish is clearly using the rock to break the shell, it is never really “holding” the tool itself. Many scientists argue that this is essentially not tool use. However, Brown argues that this definition of tool use would restrict any possibility to only animals with an anatomy similar to humans. Fish do not have hands and the ability to use a rock to swing at the shell, so they use what they can.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Tips on how to save on your grocery bill in this tough recession.
Terrafugia's flying car is now road legal.
Terrafugia's flying car, the Transition, has been officially approved for driving on roads and highways : Terrafugia's flying car, the Transition, has been officially approved for driving on roads and highways. The driver-slash-pilot can now fly between local airports and drive on any road.
On June 30, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) granted special exemptions for the "roadable aircraft." According to Terrafugia's press release, the Transition is the "first combined flying-driving vehicle to receive such special consideration from the Department of Transportation since the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards came into being in the 1970s."
However, several design issues and third-party supply restraints have seemingly stalled production of the Transition from 2011 to 2012, according to Autoblog.
The Register reports that even more challenges may be ahead for the vehicle:
Despite a helpful weight exemption from the aerial feds, according to the new spec a fully-fuelled Transition will be able to lift only 330lb of passengers and payload: it can't get airborne carrying two normal American men. Also the price has ballooned from $148k to $250k.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
My wife claims she has a surefire home cure for hiccups. You just sing La, la, la as loud as you can for a couple of minutes. I have tried this and it works for me. If it works for you, you can give her a Paypal donation below.
Credit: Kazuhiro Tokuda
Why do people black out when they drink too much alcohol? Scientists have now attempted to answer that question.
ScienceDaily (July 6, 2011) — A person who drinks too much alcohol may be able to perform complicated tasks, such as dancing, carrying on a conversation or even driving a car, but later have no memory of those escapades. These periods of amnesia, commonly known as "blackouts," can last from a few minutes to several hours.
Now, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, neuroscientists have identified the brain cells involved in blackouts and the molecular mechanism that appears to underlie them. They report July 6, 2011, in The Journal of Neuroscience, that exposure to large amounts of alcohol does not necessarily kill brain cells as once was thought. Rather, alcohol interferes with key receptors in the brain, which in turn manufacture steroids that inhibit long-term potentiation (LTP), a process that strengthens the connections between neurons and is crucial to learning and memory.
Better understanding of what occurs when memory formation is inhibited by alcohol exposure could lead to strategies to improve memory.
"The mechanism involves NMDA receptors that transmit glutamate, which carries signals between neurons," says Yukitoshi Izumi, MD, PhD, research professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "An NMDA receptor is like a double-edged sword because too much activity and too little can be toxic. We've found that exposure to alcohol inhibits some receptors and later activates others, causing neurons to manufacture steroids that inhibit LTP and memory formation."
Izumi says the various receptors involved in the cascade interfere with synaptic plasticity in the brain's hippocampus, which is known to be important in cognitive function. Just as plastic bends and can be molded into different shapes, synaptic plasticity is a term scientists use to describe the changeable properties of synapses, the sites where nerve cells connect and communicate. LTP is the synaptic mechanism that underlies memory formation.
The brain cells affected by alcohol are found in the hippocampus and other brain structures involved in advanced cognitive functions. Izumi and first author Kazuhiro Tokuda, MD, research instructor of psychiatry, studied slices of the hippocampus from the rat brain.
When they treated hippocampal cells with moderate amounts of alcohol, LTP was unaffected, but exposing the cells to large amounts of alcohol inhibited the memory formation mechanism.
"It takes a lot of alcohol to block LTP and memory," says senior investigator Charles F. Zorumski, MD, the Samuel B. Guze Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry. "But the mechanism isn't straightforward. The alcohol triggers these receptors to behave in seemingly contradictory ways, and that's what actually blocks the neural signals that create memories. It also may explain why individuals who get highly intoxicated don't remember what they did the night before."
US lawmakers voted Thursday to kill off funding for the successor to the vastly successful Hubble telescope
Artist impression of the James Webb telescope. Credit: NASA
The Hubble telescope has made amazing contributions to the knowledge of man. Unfortunately, pure science has a low priority in the current budget deficit. The successor to Hubble, James Webb Space Telescope, has had funding cut off by a House Committee. The project is seriously over-budget.
(PHYSORG)- In a fresh blow to NASA's post-shuttle aspirations, key US lawmakers voted Thursday to kill off funding for the successor to the vastly successful space-gazing Hubble telescope.
The US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science approved by voice vote a yearly spending bill that includes no money for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The move -- spurred on by belt-tightening in cash-strapped Washington -- still requires the full committee's approval, the full House's approval, the Senate's approval, and ultimately President Barack Obama's signature.
But the relatively mild dissents in the committee, which said in a terse statement this week that the project "is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management," suggests the JWST faces an uphill fight to survive.
The vote struck a blow at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's goals with the space shuttle program about to end after 30 years, and Obama's decision to axe a new plan to return astronauts to the moon.
NASA plans to lay out a budget that "will allow us to launch the Webb telescope in this decade," deputy administrator Lori Garver told reporters at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"We will be working with Congress to assure them we can manage this program and develop the most amazing space telescope," she said, calling the JWST "a perfect example of reviewing the unknown and reaching for new heights."
Saturday, July 9, 2011
The DNA of polar bears potentially traces back to an Irish brown bear about 20,000 to 50,0000 years ago.
ScienceDaily — An international team of scientists has discovered that the female ancestor of all living polar bears was a brown bear that lived in the vicinity of present-day Britain and Ireland just prior to the peak of the last ice age -- 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State University and one of the team's leaders, explained that climate changes affecting the North Atlantic ice sheet probably gave rise to periodic overlaps in bear habitats. These overlaps then led to hybridization, or interbreeding -- an event that caused maternal DNA from brown bears to be introduced into polar bears.
The research, which is led by Shapiro and Daniel Bradley of Trinity College Dublin, is expected to help guide future conservation efforts for polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The results of the study will be published on 7 July 2011 in the journal Current Biology.
Polar and brown bears are vastly different species in terms of body size, skin and coat color, fur type, tooth structure, and many other physical features. Behaviorally, they are also quite distinct: Polar bears are expert swimmers that have adapted to a highly specialized, arctic lifestyle, while brown bears -- a species that includes Grizzlies and Kodiaks -- are climbers that prefer the mountain forests, wilderness regions, and river valleys of Europe, Asia, and North America. "Despite these differences, we know that the two species have interbred opportunistically and probably on many occasions during the last 100,000 years," Shapiro said. "Most importantly, previous research has indicated that the brown bear contributed genetic material to the polar bear's mitochondrial lineage -- the maternal part of the genome, or the DNA that is passed exclusively from mothers to offspring. But, until now, it was unclear just when modern polar bears acquired their mitochondrial genome in its present form."
A very large engraved stone was unearthed by construction workers.
Friday, July 8, 2011
This film was shot by a CNN helicopter crew on July 6, 2011 during the Arizona haboob. You can see orbs flying near the dust storm.
ufo, video, Arizona, haboob
CNN News: U.F.Orbs captured at Massive 'haboob' hits Arizona town 6, July 2011 720p HD
ufo, video, Arizona, haboob
The dreams of American kids to be astronauts is coming to an end with the final launch of Atlantis. Only the children of Chinese and Russians can pursue that dream now. The U.S has no firm plans for any manned space program. President Obama is hoping the private sector will step up. Is this the "Hope and Change" you wanted when President Obama was elected?
Final launch space shuttle Atlantis (video)
Final launch space shuttle Atlantis (video)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Space dust comes from the leftover cosmic fireworks of supernovae.
(PhysOrg.com) -- ESA's Herschel Space Observatory is helping unravel the mystery of where cosmic dust comes from. Thanks to the resolution and sensitivity of Herschel, astronomers have been able to detect cosmic dust from a supernovae, adding weight to the theory that these cosmic fireworks are responsible for its creation.
The origin of the dust is important because it plays a crucial role in the formation of stars, particularly billions of years ago when star formation was at its peak. Galaxies like our own Milky Way are not simply collections of stars, but also contain clouds of gas and dust, crucial to the formation of new stars.
"Interestingly, this brand new clue does not come from observations of very distant galaxies, but from one of our closest galactic neighbours," comments Mikako Matsuura from UCL (University College London), who led a recent study published in the journal Science. Supernovae in our Galaxy are very rare, but 24 years ago astronomers were treated to one in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy about 160,000 light years away.
(The Hill)- House Republicans plan to bring to the floor next week legislation that would water down a provision in a 2007 energy law that requires light bulbs to be more energy efficient.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has been working behind the scenes for weeks with other Republicans on the panel on compromise legislation to reel in the light bulb efficiency law. The lawmakers used a bill introduced by Rep. Joe Barton as a baseline, but the details of the final agreement were not immediately clear Wednesday night.
“Chairman Upton announced in June that he was working closely with members of his committee on a legislative solution,” committee spokeswoman Charlotte Baker told The Hill in a statement. “He plans to bring a bill to the House floor next week.”
Barton’s Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act would repeal a provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that requires traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient beginning in 2012.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Let this 360VR Image fully load. Then, you can zoom, pan right or left.
Click the image for video link.
There is a big downside to "green" compact florescent bulbs. Broken compact fluorescent light bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels for humans of mercury vapor into the air. The out-gassing continues for weeks. Put these bulbs into an outside trash receptacle immediately.
ScienceDaily — Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to study results reported in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed online only journal published monthly by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
The amount of liquid mercury (Hg) that leaches from a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is lower than the level allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so CFLs are not considered hazardous waste. However, Yadong Li and Li Jin, Jackson State University (Jackson, MS) report that the total amount of Hg vapor released from a broken CFL over time can be higher than the amount considered safe for human exposure. They document their findings in the article "Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps."
As people can readily inhale vapor-phase mercury, the authors suggest rapid removal of broken CFLs and adequate ventilation, as well as suitable packaging to minimize the risk of breakage of CFLs and to retain Hg vapor if they do break, thereby limiting human exposure.
Credit: Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, Brazil
Mushrooms that glow in the dark found in Brazil.
(PHYSORG)- In 1840, renowned English botanist George Gardner reported a strange sight from the streets of Vila de Natividade in Brazil: A group of boys playing with a glowing object that turned out to be a luminescent mushroom. They called it "flor-de-coco," and showed Gardner where it grew on decaying fronds at the base of a dwarf palm. Gardner sent the mushroom to the Kew Herbarium in England where it was described and named Agaricus gardneri in honor of its discoverer. The species was not seen again until 2009.
San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin and colleagues have now collected new specimens of this forgotten mushroom and reclassified it as, Neonothopanus gardneri. Findings are now online and scheduled to be published in the November/December print issue of Mycologia.
They hope that careful study of the Brazilian mushroom—which shines brightly enough to read by--and its other bioluminescent cousins around the world will help answer the question of how and why some fungi glow.
Desjardin, a professor in ecology and evolution in the SF State Biology Department and his colleagues determined that the mushroom should be placed in the genus Neonothopanus after carefully examining the mushroom's anatomy, physiology and genetic pedigree. But capturing new specimens of the mushroom to examine was a difficult task, Desjardin said, requiring a different approach than most fungi hunting.
Nile monitor lizards feed off protected birds' eggs.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Scientists have designed a micro aircraft that will be able to flap, glide and hover like a bird.
ScienceDaily — Scientists have designed a micro aircraft that will be able to flap, glide and hover like a bird.
Researchers from the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre in Germany have been inspired by birds to produce a new versatile design of Micro air vehicle (MAV) that combines flapping wings, which allow it to fly at slow speeds and hover, with the ability to glide, ensuring good quality images from any on-board camera.
"In birds, the combination of demanding tasks like take-off, travelling long distances, manoeuvring in confined areas and landing is daily practice," explains PhD researcher Mr. William Thielicke, who is presenting this work at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow.
This innovative design was inspired by one bird in particular, the swift. "We know that swifts are very manoeuvrable and they can glide very efficiently. So we thought these birds would be a very good starting point for an energy efficient flapping-wing MAV," says Mr. Thielicke.
The answer is a 'shocking yes.' New research has linked air pollution to learning and memory problems and even depression.
(Medical press)- Long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to physical changes in the brain, as well as learning and memory problems and even depression, new research in mice suggests.
While other studies have shown the damaging effects of polluted air on the heart and lungs, this is one of the first long-term studies to show the negative impact on the brain, said Laura Fonken, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in neuroscience at Ohio State University.
"The results suggest prolonged exposure to polluted air can have visible, negative effects on the brain, which can lead to a variety of health problems," Fonken said.
"This could have important and troubling implications for people who live and work in polluted urban areas around the world."
The study appears online this week in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
For this study, Fonken and colleagues in Ohio State's Department of Neuroscience collaborated with researchers in the university's Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.
In previous studies in mice, the Davis research group – including Qinghua Sun, associate professor of environmental health sciences, and Sanjay Rajagopalan, professor of cardiovascular medicine -- found that fine air particulate matter causes widespread inflammation in the body, and can be linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. This new study aimed to extend their research on air pollution to the brain. Keep on reading...
Monday, July 4, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
This NASA revelation increases the chances of life on Mars.
(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA scientists are seeing new evidence that suggests traces of water on Mars are under a thin varnish of iron oxide, or rust, similar to conditions found on desert rocks in California's Mojave Desert.
Mars could be spotted with many more patches of carbonates than originally suspected. Carbonates are minerals that form readily in large bodies of water and can point to a planet's wet history. Although only a few small outcrops of carbonates have been detected on Mars, scientists believe many more examples are blocked from view by the rust. The findings appear in the Friday July 1, online edition of the International Journal of Astrobiology.
"The plausibility of life on Mars depends on whether liquid water dotted its landscape for thousands or millions of years," said Janice Bishop, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center at the SETI Institute at Moffett Field, Calif., and the paper's lead author. "It's possible that an important clue, the presence of carbonates, has largely escaped the notice of investigators trying to learn if liquid water once pooled on the Red Planet."
Scientists conduct field experiments in desert regions because the extremely dry conditions are similar to Mars. Researchers realized the importance of the varnish earlier this year when Bishop and Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at Ames investigated carbonate rocks coated with iron oxides collected in a location called Little Red Hill in the Mojave Desert.
"When we examined the carbonate rocks in the lab, it became evident that an iron oxide skin may be hindering the search for clues to the Red Planet's hydrological history," McKay said. "We found that the varnish both altered and partially masked the spectral signature of the carbonates."
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Dr. Jérôme Sueur, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
It is the tiny water boatman which can make a noise of almost 100 decibels.
ScienceDaily (July 1, 2011) — Scientists have shown for the first time that the loudest animal on earth, relative to its body size, is the tiny water boatman, Micronecta scholtzi. At 99.2 decibels, this represents the equivalent of listening to an orchestra play loudly while sitting in the front row.
The frequency of the sound (around 10 kHz) is within human hearing range and Dr. James Windmill of the University of Strathclyde, explains one clue as to how loud the animals are: "Remarkably, even though 99% of sound is lost when transferring from water to air, the song is so loud that a person walking along the bank can actually hear these tiny creatures singing from the bottom of the river."
Friday, July 1, 2011
If fireworks are getting boring, check out this flamethrower made from a trombone.
Mother nature outsmarted us again. We didn't invent the screw. The Papuan weevil has screw-in legs
(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has found that humans were not the first species to invent the nut and bolt mechanism for screwing one thing to another: weevils do the same to attach their legs to their bodies instead of using the more familiar ball-and-socket joint.
Scientists from the Institute for Synchrotron Radiation at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (ANKA) and the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe in Germany, led by Thomas van der Kamp, have been studying Trigonopterus, a genus of 90 described species of flightless weevils originating in tropical forest regions of New Guinea, Sumatra, the Philippines, Samoa and New Caledonia. Scientists estimate there could be as many as 1,000 undescribed species in the genus.
Weevils are herbivorous beetles of the Curculionoidea superfamily represented by over 60,000 species found world-wide. The most widely known species are Sitophilus granaries, which is often found in stored grains and other dried foods, and Anthonomus grandis or boll weevil, known for its damage to cotton crops.