Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Newly Discovered Microfrog

The smallest Old World microhylid (Microhyla nepenthicola), or miniature frog, species no larger than a pea has been discovered living in a species of pitcher plants on the island of Borneo.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Oil-Eating Bacteria

Scientists studying the recent BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill have discovered a new species of bacteria related to Oceanospirillales that consumes oil without significantly depleting the oxygen content of the water, as the oil spill has provided some of the first data on deep-sea, cold-temperature microbial life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jupiter Struck Again

Amateur astronomers have documented the third strike on Jupiter by a small comet or asteroid in a little over a year, forcing professional astronomers to re-evaluate the frequency and probability of what was once considered a rare event.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rich Exoplanet System

Astronomers have found the richest system of planets outside our own solar system yet discovered orbiting the star HD 10180, with five "Neptune-like" exoplanets orbiting close to the star in near-circular orbits and possibly another two smaller planets found in unconfirmed "fuzzier" signals.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Age of Solar System

After analysis of the uranium isotopes in the Efremovka and Allende meteorites found in Kazakhstan in 1962 and Mexico in 1969, respectively, scientists have determined an age of 4.5682 billion years as the age of our solar system, a value up to 1.9 million years older than previous estimates.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Self-Cleaning Solar Panels

Engineers have developed a self-cleaning technique for solar panels that involves a transparent electrostatic material covering the panels that sends a dust-repelling wave to periodically clear up to 90% of accumulated dust, improving the panel's efficiency and productivity by removing light-blocking materials.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Microbes Survive in Space

A colony of cyanobacteria (similar to Gloeocapsa) taken from the South Coast of England and placed on the outer skin of the International Space Station have survived after 553 days, enduring unprotected exposure to dessication, radiation, cosmic rays and extreme shifts in temperature exposed to the vacuum of space.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fate of the Universe

A new study has examined the gravitational lensing effect of the galactic cluster known as Abell 1689 to calculate the quantity of unknown dark energy in the universe, concluding that the distribution of dark energy predicts the universe will continue expanding indefinitely.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moon May Be Shrinking

New research has identified 14 landforms on the Moon's surface called lobate scarps that are evidence of recent thrust faulting, indicating the Moon may still be geologically active and slowly contracting as its interior cools over several billion years.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prehistoric Birds Jabbed at Prey

A new engineering analysis on the skull of the flightless prehistoric bird Andalgalornis shows that it killed its prey with strong, hatchet-like jabs, as their skulls and beaks were well-adapted to striking forward but subject to strain in side-to-side motions.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bacteria Can Smell

New studies of two species of soil bacteria revealed that colonies could detect the odor of airborne ammonia, forming a slimy biofilm and slowly migrating toward the source, suggesting the sense of smell may have evolved much earlier than previously thought.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fossils Reveal Zombie Ants

The discovery of a fossilized leaf has revealed a very distinct scar left by an ant infected by an ancient parasitic fungus similar to modern Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which takes over the minds of the ant hosts and forces them to leave their colonies and seek out a plant that provides the ideal conditions for the fungus to reproduce.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Magnetar Find Poses Mystery

The discovery of a rare neutron star with a massively powerful magnetic field, or magnetar, in the Westerlund 1 cluster has challenged current theories about the final evolution of such massive objects and the formation of black holes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Mitochondrial Eve" Dated

Researchers have completed the most robust statistical analysis to date of the genes of blood donors, and used mitochondrial genomes to date common ancestry back to a single maternal individual who lived about 200,000 years ago.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Monkey Species

The discovery of the Caquetá titi monkey (Callicebus caquetensis) has been confirmed in the Colombian section of the Amazon rain forest, first glimpsed in the 1960s but unable to be verified until now due to political strife in the region.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Heart Paced with Laser

Researchers have found that pulsed laser light can pace the contractions in an embryonic avian heart with no apparent damage to tissue, which may lead to a new generation of pacemakers and neonatal devices.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tools from Human Bones

A new analysis of about 5000 bone fragments from the ancient Aztec city of Teotihuacan reveals that femurs, tibia and skulls were fashioned into household tools shortly after death, each finely defleshed using stone tools.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ancient Bison Kill Site

Archaeologists have identified a nine-mile-long area along the Two Medicine River in Montana that served as a Blackfeet hunting and bison kill site about 1000 years ago, including a well-preserved "drive line" used to stampede bison over a cliff.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Earth's Inner Core Shifting

New theories suggest that Earth's solid inner core is slowly shifting eastward relative to its surrounding liquid outer core, which may explain discrepancies in seismic properties and a reevaluation of how the planet's magnetic field is generated and the age of the inner core.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Croc Ancestor with Unique Teeth

A newly discovered fossil ancestor of modern crocodiles (Pakasuchus kapilimai) reveals a few uncharacteristic traits of the cat-sized reptile, primarily differentiated teeth and a sliding component of the jaw that allowed it to chew food, an ability previously thought to be a uniquely mammalian trait.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Spacequakes" in Atmosphere

A new NASA satellite study reveals "spacequakes" high in Earth's atmosphere, strong vibrations in the planet's magnetic field brought about by a strong solar wind, that induce plasma jets and magnetic vortices that ripple through space with the total energy of a magnitude 5 or 6 earthquake.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Force Fields for Spacecraft

A team of researchers has demonstrated that a magnet no bigger than your thumb could be sufficiently powerful to deflect charged particles of the solar wind, thereby shielding astronauts on long-range missions such as those planned for Mars exploration.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shape-Changing Dinosaurs

New research on the morphology of dinosaur fossils reveals that many species went through dramatic skeletal and physical changes as they matured from juveniles to adults—growing larger, sprouting horns and reabsorbing them—leading paleontologists to recategorize and eliminate many species.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Antarctic Octopus Venom

Researchers have collected and analyzed the venom from Antarctic octopuses (and discovered four new species) in hopes of advancing drug development, as most venom ceases to have an effect in sub-zero temperatures.