Monday, December 28, 2009

Ear Controls Blood Flow

Tiny organs deep within the inner ear, the utricle and saccule, have been shown to control blood flow to the brain, possibly allowing mankind to evolve an upright, walking stance.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Acacia Plant Controls Ants

The African acacia plant has been found to secrete chemical signals that send the ants living on them into a defensive frenzy when under stress, revealing a rather complex symbiotic relationship between plant and insect.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Molecular Transistor Created

Scientists have created the first transistor made from a single benzene molecule connected to two gold contacts, manipulating the molecule's energy states depending on the applied voltage to behave just like a silicon transistor.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Earth's Gravity Mapped

The European Space Agency's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite has produced the most detailed map ever of variations in gravitational strength on the Earth's surface, measuring differences as small as one part in 10 trillion.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Venomous Raptor Discovered

Paleontologists have discovered the fossilized remains of a venomous raptor (Sinornithosaurus) in China, a close relative to the ferocious Velociraptor, that lived 128 million years ago and is the first example of venom in the raptor lineage that leads to modern birds.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fog Discovered on Titan

The discovery of fog (mostly methane and ethane) on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, reveals that moon may be the only other body in our solar system to have significant quantities of liquid on its surface, thus the only known active hydrological cycle outside of Earth.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three-Body Problem Solved

A team of physicists has constructed a stable model of Borromean rings using three lithium atoms bound together, providing experimental proof to the solution of the three-body problem proposed mathematically in 1970.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Water-Rich "Super -Earth"

Astronomers have discovered a new rocky planet (GJ 1214b, dubbed "super Earth") that is only 2.7 times the mass of the Earth and likely to consist of at least half water by mass, albeit at temperatures and pressures to extreme to support life as we know it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coconut-Carrying Octopus

Scientists have discovered a veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) in Indonesia that carries and prepares coconut shells for shelter, possibly the first evidence of the use of tools by an invertebrate species.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturn's Mysterious Hexagon

The latest images of Saturn sent back by the orbiting probe Cassini show the most detailed photos of a long-lived mysterious hexagon pattern in the jet stream surrounding Saturn's north pole, the origin of which remains unexplained.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two-Tone Surface of Iapetus

Data from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn has solved a centuries-old mystery of why the moon Iapetus has a two-toned surface: It is created by dust settling on the leading side of Iapetus from another of Saturn's moon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Evidence of Mass Cannibalism

An excavation of a 7000-year-old Neolithic burial site in southwest Germany shows evidence of mass cannibalism in nearly 500 human remains, including infants and the unborn.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Devastating Ancient Volcano

A recent study has shown that the Sumatran volcano Toba, which erupted about 73,000 years ago, released about 800 cubic kilometers of ash into the air that blanketed the planet for about six years, dropping temperatures about 16°C and triggered an Ice Age that lasted 1800 years.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poisonous Catfish Catalogued

A recent study reveals that over 1600 species of catfish are possibly venomous with neurotoxic and hemolytic venom delivered through sharp, bony spikes along the edges of dorsal and pectoral fins.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feeding Birds During Winter

In a study of the migratory European bird species blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), researchers have discovered that the human act of feeding birds during the winter has changed the blackcap species into two reproductively isolated groups on their way to a separation of species in as little as 30 generations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Most Massive Star Known

Analysis of a 2007 supernova explosion (SN2007bi) has revealed that it originated from a star with over 200 times the mass of our Sun, a supermassive star astronomers previously believed could not exist at that size.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Micro-Quasar Detected

NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has directly detected high-energy gamma rays from Cygnus X-3, a mysterious binary system and one of the strongest x-ray sources that is believed to be a micro-quasar possibly powered by an accompanying black hole.