Video: Scientists uncover promising sign of possible life in space and it is only 20 light-years away.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
NASA: Magnetic Pole reversals Happen All the Time (Geologically speaking.)
(NASA)- Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to 'south.' This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth's poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth's destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be 'no.'
Reversals are the rule, not the exception. Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal. A reversal happens over hundreds or thousands of years, and it is not exactly a clean back flip. Magnetic fields morph and push and pull at one another, with multiple poles emerging at odd latitudes throughout the process. Scientists estimate reversals have happened at least hundreds of times over the past three billion years. And while reversals have happened more frequently in "recent" years, when dinosaurs walked Earth a reversal was more likely to happen only about every one million years.
Sediment cores taken from deep ocean floors can tell scientists about magnetic polarity shifts, providing a direct link between magnetic field activity and the fossil record. The Earth’s magnetic field determines the magnetization of lava as it is laid down on the ocean floor on either side of the Mid-Atlantic Rift where the North American and European continental plates are spreading apart. As the lava solidifies, it creates a record of the orientation of past magnetic fields much like a tape recorder records sound. The last time that Earth's poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. The fossil record shows no drastic changes in plant or animal life. Deep ocean sediment cores from this period also indicate no changes in glacial activity, based on the amount of oxygen isotopes in the cores. This is also proof that a polarity reversal would not affect the rotation axis of Earth, as the planet's rotation axis tilt has a significant effect on climate and glaciation and any change would be evident in the glacial record. Keep on reading...
Hunting a Shark From the Deep - Human Planet
A new study claims it is time to seriously discuss that claim.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Physicists know that neutrinos (and antineutrinos) come in three flavors: electron, muon, and tau. In several experiments, researchers have detected each of the neutrino flavors and even watched them “oscillate” back and forth between flavors. But starting in the early ‘90s, some experiments have also revealed a nagging anomaly: muon antineutrinos oscillate into electron antineutrinos at a 3% higher rate than predicted. Physicists can reconcile this discrepancy by adding a fourth neutrino with a specific mass, although such a move would require modifying the Standard Model, the theory of subatomic particles that has taken decades to build. In a new study, a team of physicists thinks it’s time to put the question of the fourth neutrino’s existence to the test.
In their study published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, Michel Cribier, et al., have proposed an experiment that would reveal whether a fourth flavor of neutrino really exists. If it does, then it would have huge implications not only for neutrino science, but also for understanding the building blocks of matter overall.
The first hints that something was amiss came in the early ‘90s from the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the experiment, an antimuon beam bombarded a target, revealing a greater number of antielectron neutrino oscillations than predicted. Or in other words, antineutrino oscillations seemed to be occurring at a faster-than-expected rate.
But Cribier and his coauthors’ main motivation for carrying out a test of a fourth neutrino rests on the results of a more recent finding, which is now known as the Reactor Antineutrino Anomaly. In a recent study, physicists (including some from the recent paper) at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay recalculated the rate of antineutrino production in nuclear reactors that was first calculated in the 1980s. Using improved techniques, the scientists estimated that the rate of antineutrino production is about 3% more than previously predicted. Even after rechecking the new estimates, the 3% antineutrino surplus remains. As a consequence, the same physicists reanalyzed more than 20 previous reactor neutrino experiment results, finding more discrepancies.
The simplest physics explanation for this anomaly is the existence of a fourth neutrino. Keep on reading...
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The wolf ancestors of today's domesticated dogs can be traced to southern East Asia.
ScienceDaily — Researchers at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology say they have found further proof that the wolf ancestors of today's domesticated dogs can be traced to southern East Asia -- findings that run counter to theories placing the cradle of the canine line in the Middle East.
Dr Peter Savolainen, KTH researcher in evolutionary genetics, says a new study released Nov. 23 confirms that an Asian region south of the Yangtze River was the principal and probably sole region where wolves were domesticated by humans.
Data on genetics, morphology and behaviour show clearly that dogs are descended from wolves, but there's never been scientific consensus on where in the world the domestication process began. "Our analysis of Y-chromosomal DNA now confirms that wolves were first domesticated in Asia south of Yangtze River -- we call it the ASY region -- in southern China or Southeast Asia," Savolainen says.
The Y data supports previous evidence from mitochondrial DNA. "Taken together, the two studies provide very strong evidence that dogs originated in the ASY region," Savolainen says.
Archaeological data and a genetic study recently published in Nature suggest that dogs originate from the Middle East. But Savolainen rejects that view. "Because none of these studies included samples from the ASY region, evidence from ASY has been overlooked," he says.
This flexible robot is enough to give you the creeps.
Harvard scientists have built a new type of flexible robot that is limber enough to wiggle through tight spaces. The team borrowed from squids and other animals to create a robot that calls to mind the clay animation character Gumby.
Monday, November 28, 2011
This jet man video is going viral!
Amazing pictures from Switzerland show where "jetman" Yves Rossy gave this incredible flying display, using a tailor-made jet pack.
WalkSafe: a pedestrian safety app
During REM sleep, the brain's stress chemistry shuts down. This allows us to process and take the egde off painful memories.
ScienceDaily — They say time heals all wounds, and new research from the University of California, Berkeley, indicates that time spent in dream sleep can help us overcome painful ordeals.
UC Berkeley researchers have found that during the dream phase of sleep, also known as REM sleep, our stress chemistry shuts down and the brain processes emotional experiences and takes the edge off difficult memories.
The findings offer a compelling explanation for why people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as war veterans, have a hard time recovering from distressing experiences and suffer reoccurring nightmares. They also offer clues into why we dream.
"The dream stage of sleep, based on its unique neurochemical composition, provides us with a form of overnight therapy, a soothing balm that removes the sharp edges from the prior day's emotional experiences," said Matthew Walker, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study to be published on Nov. 23, in the journal Current Biology.
For people with PTSD, Walker said, this overnight therapy may not be working effectively, so when a "flashback is triggered by, say, a car backfiring, they relive the whole visceral experience once again because the emotion has not been properly stripped away from the memory during sleep."
The results offer some of the first insights into the emotional function of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which typically takes up 20 percent of a healthy human's sleeping hours. Previous brain studies indicate that sleep patterns are disrupted in people with mood disorders such as PTSD and depression. Keep on reading...
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Excavation site in East Timor
Man engaged in deep sea fishing over 40,000 years ago.
(PhysOrg.com) -- An archaeologist from The Australian National University has uncovered the world’s oldest evidence of deep sea fishing for big fish, showing that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had mastered one of our nation’s favourite pastimes.
Professor Sue O’Connor of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU, also found the world’s earliest recorded fish hook in her excavations at a site in East Timor. The results of this work are published in the latest issue of Science.
The finds from the Jerimalai cave site demonstrate that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had high-level maritime skills, and by implication the technology needed to make the ocean crossings to reach Australia.
“The site that we studied featured more than 38,000 fish bones from 2,843 individual fish dating back 42,000 years,” said Professor O’Connor.
“What the site in East Timor has shown us is that early modern humans in Island Southeast Asia had amazingly advanced maritime skills. They were expert at catching the types of fish that would be challenging even today – fish like tuna. It’s a very exciting find.”
Professor O’Connor also uncovered the world’s oldest fish hook, which dates from a later period.
“We found a fish hook, made from a shell, which dates to between 23,000 and 16,000 years ago. This is, we believe, the earliest known example of a fish hook and shows that our ancestors were skilled crafts people as well as fishers. The hooks don’t seem suitable for pelagic fishing, but it is possible that other types of hooks were being made at the same time.”
What’s still unknown is how these ancient people were able to catch these fast-moving deep-ocean fish.
ScienceDaily — Carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders composed of one-atom-thick carbon lattices, have gained fame as one of the strongest materials known to science. Now a group of researchers from the University of Michigan is taking advantage of another one of carbon nanotubes' unique properties, the low refractive index of low-density aligned nanotubes, to demonstrate a new application: making 3-D objects appear as nothing more than a flat, black sheet.
The refractive index of a material is a measure of how much that material slows down light, and carbon nanotube "forests" have a low index of refraction very close to that of air. Since the two materials affect the passage of light in similar ways, there is little reflection and scattering of light as it passes from air into a layer of nanotubes. The Michigan team realized they could use this property to visually hide the structure of objects.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
The world's biggest extraterrestrial explorer is on its way to Mars.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (The Blaze/AP) — The world’s biggest extraterrestrial explorer, NASA’s Curiosity rover, rocketed toward Mars on Saturday on a search for evidence that the red planet might once have been home to itsy-bitsy life.
It will take 8 1/2 months for Curiosity to reach Mars following a journey of 354 million miles.
An unmanned Atlas V rocket hoisted the rover, officially known as Mars Science Laboratory, into a cloudy late morning sky. A Mars frenzy gripped the launch site, with more than 13,000 guests jamming the space center for NASA‘s first launch to Earth’s next-door neighbor in four years, and the first send-off of a Martian rover in eight years.
IPCC projections of temperature Draconian increases from the doubling of CO2 are unlikely.
ScienceDaily — A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies -- and, in fact, may be less severe than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007.
Authors of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation's Paleoclimate Program and published online this week in the journal Science, say that global warming is real and that increases in atmospheric CO2 will have multiple serious impacts.
However, the most Draconian projections of temperature increases from the doubling of CO2 are unlikely.
"Many previous climate sensitivity studies have looked at the past only from 1850 through today, and not fully integrated paleoclimate date, especially on a global scale," said Andreas Schmittner, an Oregon State University researcher and lead author on the Science article. "When you reconstruct sea and land surface temperatures from the peak of the last Ice Age 21,000 years ago -- which is referred to as the Last Glacial Maximum -- and compare it with climate model simulations of that period, you get a much different picture.
"If these paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, the results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought," Schmittner added. Keep on reading...
Friday, November 25, 2011
Shark Attack Myths Put to the Test
(PhysOrg.com) -- A group of UK scientists has created a graphene ink that can be used to ink-jet print electronic devices such as thin film transistors.
Professor of Nanotechnology, Andrea Ferrari, and colleagues from the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge have developed a method of creating a graphene ink that can be used with a modified ink-jet printer. Graphene consists of a hexagonal lattice of carbon only one atom thick, and has great advantages over polymer inks because of its greater electron mobility and electrical conductivity. Electronic components such as thin film transistors (TFTs) can already be created using ink-jet printing with ferro-electric polymer inks, but the performance of such components is poor and they are too slow for many applications.
Beginning with flakes of pure graphite, the team exfoliated layers of graphene using liquid phase exfoliation (LPE), which consists of sonication of the graphite in the presence of a solvent, N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP). The graphene layers were ultracentrifuged and then filtered to remove any particles large enough (>1μm in diameter) to block the ink-jet printer heads. The graphene flakes were then used as the basis for a graphene-polymer ink, which was printed, using a modified ink-jet printer, onto Si/SiO2 substrates and the transparent substrate borosilicate glass. The final step in the process was annealing at high temperature to remove the solvent.
They demonstrated the new transparent graphene ink by using it to ink-jet print thin-film transistors, which they made by printing the graphene ink on Si/SiO2 wafers.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Stanford Researchers Create Super-Sensitive Artificial Skin
The brain process a nude image in less than 0.2 seconds. A new study has found, the less clothing, the faster the processing by the brain.
Recent event-related potential studies have shown that the occipitotemporal N170 component - best known for its sensitivity to faces - is also sensitive to perception of human bodies. Considering that in the timescale of evolution clothing is a relatively new invention that hides the bodily features relevant for sexual selection and arousal, we investigated whether the early N170 brain response would be enhanced to nude over clothed bodies. In two experiments, we measured N170 responses to nude bodies, bodies wearing swimsuits, clothed bodies, faces, and control stimuli (cars). We found that the N170 amplitude was larger to opposite and same-sex nude vs. clothed bodies. Moreover, the N170 amplitude increased linearly as the amount of clothing decreased from full clothing via swimsuits to nude bodies. Strikingly, the N170 response to nude bodies was even greater than that to faces, and the N170 amplitude to bodies was independent of whether the face of the bodies was visible or not. All human stimuli evoked greater N170 responses than did the control stimulus. Autonomic measurements and self-evaluations showed that nude bodies were affectively more arousing compared to the other stimulus categories. We conclude that the early visual processing of human bodies is sensitive to the visibility of the sex-related features of human bodies and that the visual processing of other people's nude bodies is enhanced in the brain. This enhancement is likely to reflect affective arousal elicited by nude bodies. Such facilitated visual processing of other people's nude bodies is possibly beneficial in identifying potential mating partners and competitors, and for triggering sexual behavior.
Why Did the Salmon Cross the Road?
Credit: Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association
New studies show MRI technique for accurately diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.
ScienceDaily — On the quest for safe, reliable and accessible tools to accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found a new way of diagnosing and tracking Alzheimer's disease, using an innovative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called arterial spin labeling (ASL) to measure changes in brain function. The team determined that the ASL-MRI test is a promising alternative to the current standard, a specific PET scan that requires exposure to small amounts of a radioactive glucose analog and costs approximately four-times more than an ASL-MRI.
Two studies now appear in Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association and Neurology.
ASL-MRI can be used to measure neurodegenerative changes in a similar way that fluorodeoxyglucose Positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scans are currently being used to measure glucose metabolism in the brain. Both tests correlate with cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
"In brain tissue, regional blood flow is tightly coupled to regional glucose consumption, which is the fuel the brain uses to function. Increases or decreases in brain function are accompanied by changes in both blood flow and glucose metabolism," explained John A. Detre, MD, professor of Neurology and Radiology at Penn, senior author on the papers, who has worked on ASL-MRI for the past 20 years. "We designed ASL-MRI to allow cerebral blood flow to be imaged noninvasively and quantitatively using a routine MRI scanner."
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
You have to see this video to believe it.
Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
has been found.
(PhysOrg.com) -- When people think of dinosaurs, their thoughts generally turn to the giant guys munching plants, or the ferocious beasts preying on smaller animals. In recent years however, evidence has come to support the notion that modern birds are actually dinosaurs that have survived to live in the present. Now comes evidence that an ancient bird-like dinosaur, a type of raptor, dined on other more modern-like birds. Jingmai O'Connor, Zhonghe Zhou, and Xing Xu, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, write in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that a dinosaur fossil they’ve found, called a Microraptor gui, which lived in a period known as the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota, in China, has a partial skeleton of a small bird preserved in its abdomen.
The find has two major storylines. The first is that it’s the first time that a dinosaur has been proven to eat birds. Prior evidence indicated that some dinosaurs likely fed on birds, but till now, no such direct evidence had been found.
The other storyline is the credence that the find gives to the idea that flight evolved as a means for animals to exist in trees rather than as a way for ground based animals to take to the air to hover over other animals whether to find food or as a way to avoid being eaten. The bird found inside the Microraptor was a type of enantiornithines, a group of very small birds that had legs and feet that very clearly identify them as tree dwellers, which meant that in order for the Microraptor to catch and eat it, it must have also spent a lot of time in the trees.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Making of 'Arthur Christmas'
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz./JHUAPL
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found a very dynamic Mars surface.
ScienceDaily — Images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars at dozens of locations and shifting up to several yards. These observations reveal the planet's sandy surface is more dynamic than previously thought.
"Mars either has more gusts of wind than we knew about before, or the winds are capable of transporting more sand," said Nathan Bridges, planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and lead author of a paper on the finding published online in the journal Geology. "We used to think of the sand on Mars as relatively immobile, so these new observations are changing our whole perspective."
While red dust is known to swirl all around Mars in storms and dust devils, the planet's dark sand grains are larger and harder to move. Less than a decade ago, scientists thought the dunes and ripples on Mars either did not budge or moved too slowly for detection.
MRO was launched in 2005. Initial images from the spacecraft's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera documented only a few cases of shifting sand dunes and ripples, collectively called bedforms. Now, after years of monitoring the Martian surface, the spacecraft has documented movements of a few yards (or meters) per year in dozens of locations across the planet.
Monday, November 21, 2011
The FDA is warning pet owners chicken jerky dog treats may be dangerous to their pets.
(MSNBC)- Chicken jerky treats may be to blame for dozens of new reports of mysterious illnesses and some deaths in dogs, prompting a renewed warning for pet owners by the Food and Drug Administration.
At least 70 dogs have been sickened so far this year after reportedly eating chicken jerky products imported from China, FDA officials said. That’s up from 54 reports of illness in 2010. Some of the dogs have died, according to the anecdotal reports from pet owners and veterinarians.
FDA officials say they have not been able to find a cause for the illnesses. Extensive chemical and microbiological testing has failed to turn up a specific contaminant and officials did not identify a specific brand of treats. They note that the reports of illness have not conclusively been tied to chicken jerky products, also sold as chicken tenders, chicken strips or chicken treats.
Nice video of Congo's Nyamulagira volcano erupting.
Magnetic fields play a key role new star formation.
ScienceDaily — Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have, for the first time, measured the alignment of magnetic fields in gigantic clouds of gas and dust in a distant galaxy. Their results suggest that such magnetic fields play a key role in channeling matter to form denser clouds, and thus in setting the stage for the birth of new stars.
The work is being published in the journal Nature.
Stars and their planets are born when giant clouds of interstellar gas and dust collapse. You've probably seen the resulting stellar nurseries in beautiful astronomical images: Colorful nebulae, lit by the bright young stars they have brought forth.
Astronomers know quite a bit about these so-called molecular clouds: They consist mainly of hydrogen molecules -- unusual in a cosmos where conditions are rarely right for hydrogen atoms to bond together into molecules. And if one traces the distribution of clouds in a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way galaxy, one finds that they are lined up along the spiral arms.
But how do those clouds come into being? What makes matter congregate in regions a hundred or even a thousand times more dense than the surrounding interstellar gas?
One candidate mechanism involves the galaxy's magnetic fields. Everyone who has seen a magnet act on iron filings in the classic classroom experiment knows that magnetic fields can be used to impose order. Some researchers have argued that something similar goes on in the case of molecular clouds: that galaxies' magnetic fields guide and direct the condensation of interstellar matter to form denser clouds and facilitate their further collapse.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Chester Nez is the last living member of the U.S. Marine Corps 382nd Platoon, comprised of 29 Navajos who developed a secret code that the Japanese were never able to break. He was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal on July 26, 2001.
The "greatest generation" won the Second World War and on returning home built America into a super power -- a beacon of freedom. Now those Americans are in their 80s and 90s.
One of them is former Navajo "code talker" Chester Nez -- the subject of a recent article in The Albuquerque Journal, "The Last Code Talker." Now 90 years old, Nez is "the last living member of the U.S. Marine Corps 382nd Platoon, comprised of 29 Navajos who developed a secret code the Japanese were never able to decipher," noted the Journal.
Some 430 bilingual Navajo Americans (fluent in English and their native Navajo) played crucial roles in sending coded tactical messages in their Navajo language during the horrific island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific.
Among the former code talkers' dwindling ranks, there are no cynical post-modernists -- even though Nez, as the Journal explained, had a traditional Navajo boyhood -- attending Indian boarding schools where "the children were forced to speak English and were punished when they were caught talking their native Navajo. It was part of the federal government's efforts to acculturate Native Americans."
It's the Journal, not Nez, which dwells on that, however.Nez prefers to talk proudly about his military service and, in particular, a Congressional Gold Medal he received: "one of only 29 in existence -- given to Nez by then-President George W. Bush during a White House ceremony July 26, 2001," noted the Journal.
Credit: Philip Krantz, Chalmers
Vacuum isn't really nothing. Virtual particle are predicted to exist in the vacuum. Scientists at Chalmers have succeeded in turning virtual photons into real photons.
ScienceDaily — Scientists at Chalmers have succeeded in creating light from vacuum -- observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.
The results have been published in the journal Nature.
The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.
Chalmers scientist, Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists. Keep on reading...
Saturday, November 19, 2011
This is what happens when scientists and engineers have to much time on their hands, but is is very cool. (video)
Titanoboa meets the Mondo Spider
Titanoboa meets the Mondo Spider
The long thought extinct Hula painted frog has been rediscovered in Israel.
Malka's discovery shocked conservationists and scientists who deal with this field in Israel. The Hula painted frog had been one of the primary symbols of natural extinction in Israel after it had disappeared following the drying of Lake Hula in the 1950s.
Dr. Sarig Gafni of Ruppin Academic Center's School of Marine Sciences, an expert in amphibians, was immediately summoned to the reserve, and he arrived with the original scientific paper from 1940 in which the Hula painted frog was described.
"We went through the article, sign by sign, and checked all the indicators, including the distance between the eyes, and it is indeed a Hula Painted Frog," said Gafni. "It's very exciting; to me it's like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls of nature conservation in Israel. We must remember that in the past, only three adult samples of this species had ever been found."
According to Dr. Dana Milstein, an ecologist with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the rare frog got its Hebrew name - agulashon shehor-gahon - from its black belly and round tongue, which, unlike that of other frogs, is not used to catch prey.
Snipers Block Out Distractions, Aim for Top Spot
Friday, November 18, 2011
European team claims confirmation speed of light was broken.
(PHYSORG)- A fiercely contested experiment that appears to show the accepted speed limit of the Universe can be broken has yielded the same results in a re-run, European physicists said.
But counterparts in the United States said the experiment still did not resolve doubts and the Europeans themselves acknowledged this was not the end of the story.
On September 23, the European team issued a massive challenge to fundamental physics by saying they had measured particles called neutrinos which travelled around six kilometres (3.75 miles) per second faster than the velocity of light, determined by Einstein to be the highest speed possible.
The neutrinos had been measured along a 732-kilometre (454-mile) trajectory between the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland and a laboratory in Italy.
The scientists at CERN and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy scrutinised the results of the so-called OPERA experiment for nearly six months before cautiously making the announcement.
Don't look now, but there may be antibiotic resistant "superbacteria" in your drinking water.
ScienceDaily — A new University of Minnesota study reveals that treated municipal wastewater -- even wastewater treated by the highest-quality treatment technology -- can result in significant quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as "superbacteria," in surface waters.
The study also suggests that standard wastewater treatment technologies probably release far greater quantities of antibiotic-resistant genes used by bacteria, but this likely goes unnoticed because background levels of bacteria are normally much higher than in the water studied in this research.
The new study is led by civil engineering associate professor Timothy LaPara in the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities College of Science and Engineering. The study is published in the most recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The research was part of a unique class project in a graduate-level civil engineering class at the University of Minnesota focused on environmental microbiology.
Antibiotics are used to treat numerous bacterial infections, but the ever-increasing presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has raised substantial concern about the future effectiveness of antibiotics. In response, there has been increasing focus on environmental reservoirs of antibiotic resistance over the past several years. Antibiotic use in agriculture has been heavily scrutinized, while the role of treated municipal wastewater has received little attention as a reservoir of resistance.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Credit: Galileo Project, NASA
The possibility for life on Jupiter's moon Europa has improved. Jupiter's moon Europa has a "Great Lake."
(PHYSORG)- In a significant finding in the search for life beyond Earth, scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have discovered what appears to be a body of liquid water the volume of the North American Great Lakes locked inside the icy shell of Jupiter's moon Europa.
The water could represent a potential habitat for life, and many more such lakes might exist throughout the shallow regions of Europa's shell, lead author Britney Schmidt, a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics, writes in the journal Nature.
Further increasing the potential for life, the newly discovered lake is covered by floating ice shelves that seem to be collapsing, providing a mechanism for transferring nutrients and energy between the surface and a vast ocean already inferred to exist below the thick ice shell.
"One opinion in the scientific community has been, 'If the ice shell is thick, that's bad for biology — that it might mean the surface isn't communicating with the underlying ocean,' " said Schmidt. "Now we see evidence that even though the ice shell is thick, it can mix vigorously. That could make Europa and its ocean more habitable." Keep on reading...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Astronomy Pic of the Day: New View of Star Formation in the Carina Nebula
Credit: ESO/APEX/T. Preibisch et al. (Submillimetre); N. Smith, University of Minnesota/NOAO/AURA/NSF (Optical)
Credit: ESO/APEX/T. Preibisch et al. (Submillimetre); N. Smith, University of Minnesota/NOAO/AURA/NSF (Optical)
This is what engineers do when they have too much time on their hands.
Scientists working on fast-running ostrich robot (video)
robot, ostrich, video,
Scientists working on fast-running ostrich robot (video)
robot, ostrich, video,
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Beaming solar power from orbital power plants may be doable in as little as 30 years.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from around the world have completed a study that says harvesting the sun's energy in space can turn out to be a cost effective way of delivering the world’s needs for power in as little as 30 years. As important, the report says that orbiting power plants capable of collecting energy from the sun and beaming it to earth are technically feasible within a decade or so based on technologies now in the laboratory.
These are findings in a report from the International Academy of Astronautics, headquartered in Paris.
What their time references refer to are that the very technology needed to satisfy global energy requirements may be available in only 10 to 20 years, and the project can show cost-effectiveness in about 30 years.
The IAA's three-year, ten-nation study, as the first broadly based international assessment of collecting solar energy in space, is considered significant. The study was conducted from 2008 to 2010 and was under peer review. John Mankins, the former head of concepts at NASA, led the study.
The concept centers on placing one, then several, then many, solar-powered satellites in orbit over the equator. Each would be several miles wide. The satellites would collect sunlight up to 24 hours a day
The power would be converted to electricity in space, then sent to where it was needed on earth by a microwave-transmitting antenna or by lasers, and then fed into a power grid.
Who would bear the cost of such an effort? The report recommends that both governments and the private sector should fund the research needed to further determine viability.
Monday, November 14, 2011
What in the world is this gigantic structure in China?
(GIZMODO)- This is crazy. New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes. Is this a military experiment?
They seem to be wide lines drawn with some white material. Or maybe the dust have been dug by machinery.
It's located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide.
The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.
Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder
This buckle-like object is the first prehistoric bronze artifact ever found in Alaska.
ScienceDaily — A team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered the first prehistoric bronze artifact made from a cast ever found in Alaska, a small, buckle-like object found in an ancient Eskimo dwelling and which likely originated in East Asia.
The artifact consists of two parts -- a rectangular bar, connected to an apparently broken circular ring, said CU-Boulder Research Associate John Hoffecker, who is leading the excavation project. The object, about 2 inches by 1 inch and less than 1 inch thick, was found in August by a team excavating a roughly 1,000-year-old house that had been dug into the side of a beach ridge by early Inupiat Eskimos at Cape Espenberg on the Seward Peninsula, which lies within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
Both sections of the artifact are beveled on one side and concave on the other side, indicating it was manufactured in a mold, said Hoffecker, a fellow at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. A small piece of leather found wrapped around the rectangular bar by the research team yielded a radiocarbon date of roughly A.D. 600, which does not necessarily indicate the age of the object, he said.
"I was totally astonished," said Hoffecker. "The object appears to be older than the house we were excavating by at least a few hundred years."
Hoffecker and his CU-Boulder colleague Owen Mason said the bronze object resembles a belt buckle and may have been used as part of a harness or horse ornament prior to its arrival in Alaska. While they speculated the Inupiat Eskimos could have used the artifact as a clasp for human clothing or perhaps as part of a shaman's regalia, its function on both continents still remains a puzzle, they said.
Since bronze metallurgy from Alaska is unknown, the artifact likely was produced in East Asia and reflects long-distance trade from production centers in either Korea, China, Manchuria or southern Siberia, according to Mason. It conceivably could have been traded from the steppe region of southern Siberia, said Hoffecker, where people began casting bronze several thousand years ago.
The link between alcohol and breast cancer is growing.
(Medical Press)- Adding to research linking alcohol to breast cancer risk, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that adolescent girls with a family history of breast disease — either cancer or the benign lesions that can become cancer – have a higher risk of developing benign breast disease as young women than other girls. And unlike girls without a family history, this already-elevated risk rises with increasing alcohol consumption.
"The most common question we hear from women with a family history of breast disease is how can we prevent breast cancer in our daughters," says epidemiologist Graham A. Colditz, MD, PhD, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and senior author on the study published online Nov. 14 in the journal Cancer. "This points to a strategy to lower risk — or avoid increasing risk — by limiting alcohol intake."
This study is one of the first to look at alcohol consumption in adolescents and the risk of breast disease. Most studies linking alcohol to the risk of developing breast cancer focus on women in their 40s, 50s and 60s and on their risk of invasive breast cancer, not the risk of early, benign lesions that may lead to invasive breast cancer.
One such study published Nov. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which Colditz was a co-author, found a moderate increase in breast cancer risk with as few as three to six drinks per week for any adult women, regardless of family history.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Cool Video: The visual effects team behind Anonymous rebuilt William Shakespeare's 16th century London.
Visual Effects Rebuild London in "Anonymous"
Japan makes advance in anthropomorphizing robots. This HRP-4C female robot is learning to walk like a girl.
Japan's entertaining robot that sings and looks like a beautiful young female is finally learning how to walk just like a beautiful girl—well, almost. Robotics developers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have released a video of their HRP-4C "Miim robot" to show how it can walk better than before.
HRP-4C has 30 motors in its body that allow it to walk and move its arms; and eight motors on its face to create human expressions. The robot is based on User Centered Robot Open Architecture utilizing fundamental robotic technologies including real-time Linux, RT middleware, robot simulator openHRP3, and speech recognition.
ScienceDaily — UCLA life scientists have identified a gene that slows the aging process. The biologists, working with fruit flies, activated a gene called PGC-1, which increases the activity of mitochondria, the tiny power generators in cells that control cell growth and tell cells when to live and die.
"We took this gene and boosted its activity in different cells and tissues of the fly and asked whether this impacts the aging process," said David Walker, an assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology at UCLA and a senior author of the study. "We discovered that when we boost PGC-1 within the fly's digestive tract, the fly lives significantly longer. We also studied neurons, muscle and other tissue types and did not find life extension; this is telling us there is something important about the digestive tract."
The research appears in the current online edition of Cell Metabolism, the leading journal in its field, and will be published in an upcoming print edition. Co-authors are from Walker's laboratory, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., and the department of biology at UC San Diego.
"By activating this one gene in this one tissue -- the intestine -- the fly lives longer; we slow aging of the intestine, and that has a positive effect on the whole animal," said Walker, a member of UCLA's Molecular Biology Institute. "Our study shows that increasing PGC-1 gene activity in the intestine can slow aging, both at the cellular level and at the level of the whole animal."
The Phobos-Grunt probe is stuck on Earth orbit and attempts to obtain telemetric information and activate its command system have failed. The probe will fall to Earth within a month.
(PHYSORG)- Efforts to resume contact with a Russian space mission to Mars stuck in Earth orbit after launch have failed and the probe must be considered lost, Interfax news agency reported Saturday.
"All attempts to obtain telemetric information from the Phobos-Grunt probe and activate its command system have failed. The probe must be considered lost," Interfax quoted a source in the Russian space sector as saying.
The source said Russia's space agency would announce the failure of the mission in the next few days.
The space agency had said earlier scientists had a window of only a few days to reprogramme the probe in a bid to send it on its route to Mars. If this does not happen, Phobos-Grunt would fall back to Earth early next month.
The mission went awry after launch Wednesday when the five-billion-ruble ($165 million) probe's engine failed to fire, leaving it orbiting the Earth rather than starting its journey towards the red planet.
The probe had the unprecedented mission to land on the Martian moon Phobos and bring a sample of its rock back to Earth, as well as launch a Chinese Mars satellite.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
University of Texas Dallas scientist demonstrates invisibility cloak. (video)
A University of Texas Dallas scientist is working on developing a technology that would delight Harry Potter fans everywhere--an invisibility cloak.
Ali Aliev uses carbon nanotubes--which look like pieces of thread--and then heats them up rapidly until the objects beneath them effectively disappear.You can watch the threads disappear as they are heated up in the video below.
Black printed lines and infrared light are being used to turn 2D objects into 3D objects.
ScienceDaily — Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a simple way to convert two-dimensional patterns into three-dimensional (3-D) objects using only light.
"This is a novel application of existing materials, and has potential for rapid, high-volume manufacturing processes or packaging applications," says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.
The process is remarkably simple. Researchers take a pre-stressed plastic sheet and run it through a conventional inkjet printer to print bold black lines on the material. The material is then cut into a desired pattern and placed under an infrared light, such as a heat lamp.
The bold black lines absorb more energy than the rest of the material, causing the plastic to contract -- creating a hinge that folds the sheets into 3-D shapes. This technique can be used to create a variety of objects, such as cubes or pyramids, without ever having to physically touch the material. The technique is compatible with commercial printing techniques, such as screen printing, roll-to-roll printing, and inkjet printing, that are inexpensive and high-throughput but inherently 2-D.
UCSD iFling Robot
The iFling 3D printed robot is a potential game-changer someday.
The iFling 3D printed robot is a potential game-changer someday.
(PhysOrg.com) -- The team at the Coordinated Robotics Lab at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), which created the little iFling robot, says the iFling is now in the process of its third design iteration, and with added potential. This is a radio-controlled robot often described as a “self-righting little Segway-like vehicle.” Its activity is picking up and throwing ping pong balls. The robot was built using a 3-D printer, according to the video narration.
n picking up a ball, the iFling rolls over the ball and wedges it between the body and wheel. Throwing a ball is also achieved with precision. A printed circuit board is used to connect the electronics.
The latest videos show the iFling going through its deft motions. The narrator reports that the robot is in the process of its third design iteration. The iFling site comments on the progress the team has achieved.
Friday, November 11, 2011
A new drug made obese monkeys lose 11% of their weight. Now, if it only works as well on humans.
ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2011) — Obese rhesus monkeys lost on average 11 percent of their body weight after four weeks of treatment with an experimental drug that selectively destroys the blood supply of fat tissue, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports in Science Translational Medicine.
Body mass index (BMI) and abdominal circumference (waistline) also were reduced, while all three measures were unchanged in untreated control monkeys. Imaging studies also showed a substantial decrease in body fat among treated animals.
"Development of this compound for human use would provide a non-surgical way to actually reduce accumulated white fat, in contrast to current weight-loss drugs that attempt to control appetite or prevent absorption of dietary fat," said co-senior author Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers.
Previous attempts to treat obesity have predominantly focused on drugs aimed at suppressing appetite or increasing metabolism, the researchers noted, but these efforts have been hampered by their toxic side-effects. The MD Anderson group designed a new drug, which includes a homing agent that binds to a protein on the surface of fat-supporting blood vessels and a synthetic peptide that triggers cell death. Their blood supply gone, fat cells are reabsorbed and metabolized.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
ScienceDaily — NOAA's updated Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which measures the direct climate influence of many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, shows a continued steady upward trend that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s.
Here is the Global Monthly Mean Surface Temperature Change via NASA.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
(PHYSORG)- The presence of magnetized rocks on the surface of the moon, which has no global magnetic field, has been a mystery since the days of the Apollo program. Now a team of scientists has proposed a novel mechanism that could have generated a magnetic field on the moon early in its history.
The "geodynamo" that generates Earth's magnetic field is powered by heat from the inner core, which drives complex fluid motions in the molten iron of the outer core. But the moon is too small to support that type of dynamo, according to Christina Dwyer, a graduate student in Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the Nov. 10 issue of Nature, Dwyer and her coauthors -- planetary scientists Francis Nimmo at UC Santa Cruz and David Stevenson at the California Institute of Technology -- describe how an ancient lunar dynamo could have arisen from stirring of the moon's liquid core driven by the motion of the solid mantle above it.
"This is a very different way of powering a dynamo that involves physical stirring, like stirring a bowl with a giant spoon," Dwyer said.
Dwyer and her coauthors calculated the effects of differential motion between the moon's core and mantle. Early in its history, the moon orbited the Earth at a much closer distance than it does today, and it continues to gradually recede from the Earth. At close distances, tidal interactions between the Earth and the moon caused the moon's mantle to rotate slightly differently than the core. This differential motion of the mantle relative to the core stirred the liquid core, creating fluid motions that, in theory, could give rise to a magnetic dynamo.
"The moon wobbles a bit as it spins--that's called precession--but the core is liquid, and it doesn't do exactly the same precession. So the mantle is moving back and forth across the core, and that stirs up the core, " explained Nimmo, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC.
The researchers found that a lunar dynamo could have operated in this way for at least a billion years.
Satellite images have revealed castles and other buildings hidden beneath the sands of the Sahara desert.
New evidence of a lost civilization in an area of the Sahara in Libya has emerged from images taken by satellites.
Using satellites and air photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a team from the University of Leicester in England has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating between AD 1 to 500.
"It is like someone coming to England and suddenly discovering all the medieval castles. These settlements had been unremarked and unrecorded under the Gadhafi regime," said project leader David Mattingly, professor of Roman archaeology at the university. The fall of the regime has opened up Libya to more exploration by archaeologists of its pre-Islamic heritage.
These "lost cities" were built by a little-known ancient civilization called the Garamantes, whose lifestyle and culture was far more advanced and historically significant than ancient sources had suggested. [Related: History's Most Overlooked Mysteries] Read more here...
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Drivelapse USA - 5 Minute Roadtrip Timelapse Around America
The White House has responded to an online petition asking them to confess to knowing about extraterrestrial life. They claim the government has no knowledge of any extraterrestrial life. Of course, is extraterrestrials visited Earth, the White house is the last place they would look for intelligent life.
Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.
The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye.
However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored. In fact, there are a number of projects working toward the goal of understanding if life can or does exist off Earth.
Monday, November 7, 2011
(BBC)- Scientists have succeeded in forming a "feedback loop" between a computer and a common yeast to precisely control the switching on and off of specific genes.The computer controlled flashes of light to start and stop this gene expression, "learning" how to reach and maintain a set value.
The groundbreaking approach could find use in future efforts to control biological processes, such as the production of biofuel from microbes.
It appears in Nature Biotechnology.
The approach is a comparatively simple means to take control of fantastically complex biochemical processes to achieve a desired result.
"The neat thing about this is that there are many people who have tried to do things like this by, for example, coding in the cell itself a synthetic circuit, putting genes and mechanisms in the cell," said senior author John Lygeros, of the Automatic Control Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
"That's had limited success up to now."
Prof Lygeros and his colleagues started with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae - a well-studied strain of yeast familiar since ancient times in brewing and baking.
A study in the same journal in 2002 found that when S. cerevisiae is exposed to light, a molecule called phytochrome within it can switch forms; red light converts it to an "active form" and a deeper red converts it back.
The activity of the phytochrome can start or stop the genetic machinery that results in the production of a given protein.
The team used this trick to ensure that when the yeast was producing that protein - corresponding to the gene being switched on - it could be tracked by using a "reporter" molecule that itself gives off light in a process called fluorescence.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
It pays to be first is you want to win at successful at passing on your genes.
ScienceDaily — Research published in Science Nov. 3 reveals that the first individuals settling on new land are more successful at passing on their genes than those who did not migrate. According to Dr. Damian Labuda at the University of Montréal and Sainte-Justine Hospital, the study suggests that population expansion creates opportunities for natural selection to act.
The findings come from the utilization of a unique research infrastructure, the BALSAC population database which allows the reconstruction of the structure of the Quebec population over four centuries. In this research the descending lineages of all couples married in the Charlevoix-Saguenay Lac St-Jean region between 1686 and 1960 were analyzed. This genealogy comprises more than 1 million individuals.
Dr. Laurent Excoffier, University of Berne and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Dr. Damian Labuda, and Dr. Hélène Vézina, Projet BALSAC, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, who led the study, together with research associates Claudia Moreau, Michèle Jomphe and Ph.D. student Claude Bhérer, investigated the demographic history of this region to investigate the effects of rapid territorial and demographic expansion on the dynamics of colonization and human evolution.
"We find that families who are at the forefront of a range expansion into new territories had greater reproductive success. In other words, that they had more children, and more children who also had children," Labuda explained. "As a result, these families made a higher genetic contribution to the contemporary population than those who remained behind in what we call the range core, as opposed to the wave front.
This electric multicopter hovers in midair without input from the pilot.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Xenophyophore in the Galapagos Rift. Photo by: NOAA.
Giant mango-sized one cell organism found six miles below ocean surface.
Imagine a one-celled organism the size of a mango. It's not science fiction, but fact: scientists have cataloged dozens of giant one-celled creatures, around 4 inches (10 centimeters), in the deep abysses of the world's oceans. But recent exploration of the Mariana Trench has uncovered the deepest record yet of the one-celled behemoths, known as xenophyophores.
Found at 6.6 miles beneath the ocean's surface, the xenophyophores beats the previous record by nearly two miles. The Mariana Trench xenophyophores were discovered by dropcams, developed by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and National Geographic, which are unmanned HD cameras 'dropped' into the deep ocean to record life at the bottom.
F-35B Ship Suitability Testing via YouTube.
The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant completed ship suitability testing aboard the USS WASP (LHD-1) off the coast of Virginia in October 2011. Combined, F-35B test aircraft BF-2 and BF-4 accomplished 72 short takeoffs and 72 vertical landings during the three-week testing period.
The asteroid Gaspra: Credit NASA
Earth will have a close encounter with a huge asteroid Tuesday.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - A huge asteroid will pass closer to Earth than the moon Tuesday, giving scientists a rare chance for study without having to go through the time and expense of launching a probe, officials said.
Earth's close encounter with Asteroid 2005 YU 55 will occur at 6:28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT) Tuesday, as the space rock sails about 201,000 miles from the planet.
"It is the first time since 1976 that an object of this size has passed this closely to the Earth. It gives us a great -- and rare -- chance to study a near-Earth object like this," astronomer Scott Fisher, a program director with the National Science Foundation, said Thursday during a Web chat with reporters.
The orbit and position of the asteroid, which is about 1,312 feet in diameter, is well known, added senior research scientist Don Yeomans, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon," Yeomans said.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Can extraterrestrial civilizations be found by their city lights?
ScienceDaily — In the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, astronomers have hunted for radio signals and ultra-short laser pulses. In a new paper, Avi Loeb (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and Edwin Turner (Princeton University) suggest a new technique for finding aliens: look for their city lights. "Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn't require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe," said Loeb.
As with other SETI methods, they rely on the assumption that aliens would use Earth-like technologies. This is reasonable because any intelligent life that evolved in the light from its nearest star is likely to have artificial illumination that switches on during the hours of darkness.
How easy would it be to spot a city on a distant planet? Clearly, this light will have to be distinguished from the glare from the parent star. Loeb and Turner suggest looking at the change in light from an exoplanet as it moves around its star.
As the planet orbits, it goes through phases similar to those of the Moon. When it's in a dark phase, more artificial light from the night side would be visible from Earth than reflected light from the day side. So the total flux from a planet with city lighting will vary in a way that is measurably different from a planet that has no artificial lights.
Spotting this tiny signal would require future generations of telescopes. However, the technique could be tested closer to home, using objects at the edge of our solar system.... Keep on reading...
Unbelievable Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Lapland, Finland and the music is nice!
The answer to whether humans or climate change killed off the megafauna depends on which species you are asking about.
(PHYSORG)- Was it humans or climate change that caused the extinctions of the iconic Ice Age mammals (megafauna) such as the woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth?
For decades, scientists have been debating the reasons behind these enigmatic Ice Age mass extinctions, which caused the loss of a third of the large mammal species in Eurasia and two thirds of the species in North America.
Now an extensive, inter-disciplinary research team, involving over 40 academic institutions around the world and led by Professor Eske Willerslev's Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, have tried to tackle the contentious question in the biggest study of its kind. And the answers are far more complicated than ever imagined.
The study, published online in the journal Nature reveals that neither climate nor humans alone can account for the Ice Age mass extinctions. Using ancient megafauna DNA, climate data and the archaeological record, the findings indicate dramatically different responses of Ice Age species to climate change and humans.
For example, the study shows that humans played no part in the extinction of the woolly rhino or the musk ox in Eurasia and that their demise can be entirely explained by climate change. On the other hand, humans aren't off the hook when it comes to the extinction of the wild horse and the bison in Siberia. Our ancestors share responsibility for the megafauna extinctions with climate change. While the reindeer remain relatively unaffected by any of these factors, the causes of the extinction of the mammoths is still a mystery.