Sunday, May 30, 2010

New African Pterosaur

A new and rare African pterosaur species (Alanqa saharicafrom) has been discovered in Morroco and likely flew only rarely, preferring instead to stalk prey on the grounds of what was once the lush wetland of the Sahara.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scramjet Hypersonic Flight

An unmanned X-51 Waverider test vehicle successfully made the longest flight yet (200 seconds) with the new Pratt & Whitney scramjet engine, reaching a speed of Mach 5 in the first of four planned tests of the new technology.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mystery Fossil Is Squid

After a new study, paleontologists have determined a previously "unclassifiable" fossil to be a two-tentacled ancestor of the squid family (Nectocaris pteryx), revealing these cephalopods lived 30 million years eariler than previously believed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Planets with Crossing Orbits

Astronomers have discovered that two of the three Jupiter-like planets known to orbit the star Upsilon Andromedae have orbits that are tilted 30 degrees from each other, the first time a stable non-coplanar planetary system has been observed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Handfish Species

With only four specimens having ever been found in the waters off of Tansmania, the pink handfish has been formally identified as a new and distinct species of the handfish family, creatures who use their fins to walk along the ocean floor.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sun Enters Interstellar Cloud

Using data gathered by NASA's IBEX satellite, researchers propose that as early as next century the Sun and its planets will cross a boundary into a relatively hot and turbulent interstellar gas cloud, possibly the remnants of an ancient supernova.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planet-Eating Star

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured evidence of a star "eating" one of its orbiting planets (Wasp-12b), with the planet's atmosphere ballooning due to its proximity and a cloud of material escaping and captured by the nearby dwarf star.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Copernicus Reburied

After positively identifying remains found in an unmarked grave beneath a church in a small seaside town in Poland in 2005, the founder of the heliocentric theory Nicolaus Copernicus was laid to rest in a Roman Catholic funeral more than 500 years after his death.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Books in Home, Education

A 20-year study reveals that children raised in a home with a 500-book library can advance their educational level by as much as 3.2 years, regardless of any other demographic indicator of achievement such as the parent's education, occupation, economic success or nationality.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Synthetic Cell Created

Scientists have synthesized an entirely artificial genome and replicated it by inserting it into a live bacterium, taking one step closer to creating artificial or laboratory-designed life.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Matter/Antimatter Asymmetry

Experiments at Fermilab have demonstrated a 1% difference favoring the production of pairs of muons over antimuons in B-meson decay, indicating a natural bias toward matter over antimatter that may lead to explaining why we live in a matter-dominated universe.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oldest Mesoamerican Tomb

A 2700-year-old tomb of a dignitary has been uncovered in southern Mexico beneath a pyramid, making it the oldest such burial yet discovered in Mesoamerica.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kirchhoff's Law Redefined

Researchers at the University of Illinois have added an optical laser component to the semiconductor setup measuring charge input and output, forcing a redefinition of the longstanding Kirchhoff's law of electrical current.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cell Phone Sensor Network

Researchers have developed a chemically sensitive silicon chip small enough to be embedded in current commercial cell phones, using the ubiquity of the personal devices and their networks to provide real-time data in cases of chemical accidents or attacks.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jupiter Loses Cloud Stripe

A striped cloud formation in Jupiter's atmosphere known as the Southern Equitorial Belt (SEB) has disappeared as part of a dynamic cycle on the planet lasting anywhere from three to fifteen years.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Unique New Frog Species

A new brightly colored frog (Raorchestes resplendens) has been identified as a new species living in the Eravaikulam National Park in southern India, unique in that it shares many physical qualities as toads and inhabits a total range of less than 3 square kilometers.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chemistry of Bird Ancestor

Using the bright x-ray beam of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, a team of scientists have decoded portions of the original chemistry of the fossilized Archaeopteryx, revealing similar chemical compositions between this feathered dinosaur and modern birds and thereby strengthening their evolutionary link.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Laser Mapping Ancient Cities

Ancient archaeological sites that previously took decades to painstakingly record can now be mapped with extreme precision in only a matter of days using lidar (light detection and ranging) technology and a low-flying aircraft, even despite thick jungle cover.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Neanderthal Genes in Humans

The latest sequencing of the Neanderthal genome reveals that Neanderthals interbred with modern humans (Homo sapiens) and contributed between 1% and 4% of the modern non-African genome, although this had almost no influence on our species' development.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Star Formation Slowing

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel telescope has revealed that the rate of galactic star formation has declined by as much as five-fold during the past three billion years.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tetrahedral Dice Packing

Experiments with dice of various numbers of sides and shapes reveal that tetrahedral (four-sided) dice yield the greatest packing factor of all shapes tested, filling roughly 76% of available space and packing more efficiently than even spheres (64%).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pressurized Mayan Water

An ancient Mayan water feature found in the city of Palenque, Mexico, is the first example of a pressurized water system found in the New World, dating from the first few centuries A.D.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Prehistoric Magnetic Field

Analysis of rocks from South Africa has revealed a record of Earth's magnetic field some 3.45 billion years ago captured in tiny iron minerals, pushing back the earliest known presence of a magnetic field by about 250 million years.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spinning Atoms Imaged

Physicists have manipulated and created the first images of the spin of electrons when positioning individual cobalt atoms on a manganese surface through the use of a scanning tunneling microscope.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quark Masses Calculated

Researchers at Cornell University have calculated the masses of the three lightest quarks (up, down and strange) with unprecedented accuracy, reducing the margin of error down to only a few percent and providing insights into the strong atomic force.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ocean Bacteria Photoproteins

Researchers have discovered many marine bacteria possess a light-sensitive pigment called proteorhodopsin, allowing them to carry out photosynthesis similar to land-based plants and marine phytoplankton during periods of starvation.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mammoth Blood Protein

Researchers have resequenced blood proteins from the DNA extinct mammoths tens of thousands of years old, preserved in the Siberian permafrost, to reveal a genetic mutation allowing their hemoglobin to carry oxygen in their blood even at low temperatures.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pokeberries Enhance Solar Cells

Red dye made from the widespread fruit-bearing weed known as pokeberries have been used to enhance fiber-based solar cells, with the dark dye acting as an inexpensive absorber of photonic energy that boosts output to almost twice that of current flat-cell technology.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Pterosaur Discovered

A jawbone discovered outside of Dallas, Texas, by an amateur fossil hunter has been identified as a new species of needle-toothed pterosaur (Aetodactylus halli), only the second such ornithoceirid specimen ever found in North America.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dinosaur Feather Varieties

New fossils found in China of Similicaudipteryx, an oviraptorosaur believed to be an ancestor of modern birds, reveal dramatic changes in feather types and shapes as the animal matured unlike anything known in modern bird species.