Monday, December 26, 2011

Spider Brains Overflow into Legs

Researchers have found the brains of smaller spider species are proportionally larger compared to total body volume, so much so that some can fill up to 80% of the body cavity including about 25% of their legs.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Japan Quake Shifted Satellites

The Tōhoku earthquake that struck Japan last March was so strong as to alter Earth's gravitational field enough to change the orbit of the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, sensitive NASA instruments designed to map Earth's gravity field from 500 km above the surface.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Unknown Carvings in Jerusalem

A set of newly discovered "V"-shaped carvings dating back at least 2800 years in the limestone floor of the City of David excavation site in eastern Jerusalem have experts stumped as to the use and purpose of the design.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Biggest Black Holes

Astronomers have identified astonishingly massive black holes (NGC 4889, NGC 3842) with diameters ten times the size of our solar system and masses equal to 21 billion and 9.7 billion Suns, respectively, providing additional insight into the formation of the largest and oldest galaxies in the universe.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Voyager Hits Stagnation Region

NASA's Voyager 1 probe has entered a "stagnation region" at the edge of our solar system, a calm region at the border of the heliosphere where the charged solar wind has stopped and the magnetic field has increased in intensity in response to the interstellar medium.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Habitable Planet Found

NASA's Kepler satellite has identified its first planet (Kepler-22b) existing within the so-called "habitable zone," an orbit around a star with conditions where liquid water could exist and therefore the possibility of life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crab Grows Its Own Food

The newly discovered yeti crab (Kiwa puravida) that lives in the deep sea off the shores of Costa Rica cultivates "gardens" of symbiotic bacteria in its bristled claws that it periodically harvests and eats as its primary food source.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wasps Recognize Faces

Researchers have demonstrated that the golden paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus) can recognize individuals of its same species from their facial markings, an ability thought to be a product of their highly social lifestyle.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Outsider's View of Galaxy

The twin Voyager space probes are now far enough away from our own solar system to detect the Lyman-alpha wavelength of light from the Milky Way's center for the first time, a trace indicator of star formation unable to be detected from Earth.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby-Filled Dinosaur Nest

A "breathtaking" fossilized nest has been discovered in Mongolia containing 15 juvenile protoceratops estimated to be about one year old when they died, providing evidence for extended parental care among dinosaurs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Turtle Eggs Communicate

Researchers have found that the eggs of the Australian river turtles (Emydura macquarii) all hatch at the same time, despite temperature differences between the top and bottom of the nest that should affect development and hatching times, suggesting possible chemical communication among the clutch.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Invasive Ants Vanish

One of the world's most invasive species, colonies of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) are collapsing and disappearing from New Zealand without human intervention, with speculation that low genetic diversity has made then susceptible to widespread disease.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bones from Inkjet Printer

Researchers have used standard inkjet printer technology to build a three-dimensional scaffolding material of calcium phosphate, zinc and silicon to be used in orthopedic procedures and dental work for real bones to grow and heal as it dissolves within the body.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Psychopath's Brains Are Different

Diffusion tensor (DFI) and functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) of prisoner's brains reveal reduced connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala in persons diagnosed as psychopaths, possibly explaining their callous and impulsive antisocial behavior.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Da Vinci's Rule for Trees

The natural shape of trees has been demonstrated in mathematical models to follow a simple rule first proposed by Leonardo da Vinci, that at any height the total cross-sectional area of all branches is roughly the same as that of the trunk, with such a design proving to resist wind breakage.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Body of Water on Europa

Scientists have discovered evidence of a large body of liquid water the size of the combined Great Lakes on Jupiter's moon Europa, hidden beneath collapsing ice shelves.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rubbing Boulders of Atacama

Geologists have discovered the boulders of Chile's Atacama Desert have been rubbed smooth not by typical mechanisms of water or wind erosion but by the previously unknown method of jostling about by periodic earthquakes grinding stones against each other.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Missing Planet Calculated

Inclusion of a missing fifth gas giant hurled into space some 4 billion years ago in computer simulations of the formation of our solar system produce reasonably accurate results of its planetary structure, whereas prior computer models continue to fail to explain the current makeup resulting in four gas giants and the inner rocky planets.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Huge Ancient Greek City

Excavations in the Greek colonial city of Selinunte on the island of Sicily have uncovered a huge commercial area dating from the 7th to the 3rd century B.C., providing insight into not only daily life and commercial enterprises but also proactive city planning and organization.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ancient Alaskan Buckle

Researchers have found the an ancient cast bronze buckle at an Inupiat excavation site in Alaska, the first prehistoric bronze artifact to be found in that state and likely originating from trade with East Asia.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Viking Navigational "Sunstones"

Researchers investigating Icelandic spar recovered from Viking shipwrecks have found the crystal separates polarized from unpolarized light, and these crystals may be the historical "sunstones" used to navigate even on cloudy days by locating the position of the hidden sun.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Phase of Water

Unable to be tested with today's technology, researchers have used an advanced computer simulation to discover a new liquid-liquid phase transition for ordinary water that may exist below −54°F with the liquid having a greater capacity for heat conduction.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wearable Cotton Transistors

Researchers have combined gold nanoparticles with a conductive polymer to make cotton thread conductive enough to be used in constructing transistors and simple fabric-based wearable sensors.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Artificial Intelligence and Fossils

Researchers are using neural network software and other artificial intelligence tools to scan satellite images for potential dig sites and areas of greatest probability of finding fossil-rich deposits when planning their fieldwork.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

GALEX Discovers Extreme Stars

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) ultraviolet space telescope has discovered so-called "extreme" stars being born, or stars originating outside of galaxies and in places where the gas density was too poor and stars were believed incapable of forming.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Satellite Uncovers Lost Libya

Using enhanced satellite images and photographs over post-Gaddafi Libya, archaeologists have pieced together more than 100 fortified farms and structures dating to the little-known pre-Islamic civilization of the Garamantes, who flourished in the first few centuries A.D.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Names for New Elements

Names and symbols for three new elements added to the periodic table -- elements 110, 111 and 112, named darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn), respectively -- have been officially approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ancient U.S. Megadrought

Analysis of tree growth rings have revealed a previously unknown multi-decade drought for the southwestern United States around the second century A.D., suggesting this area may have periodic extended periods of severe aridity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

de Soto Reached Interior U.S.

Glass beads and other jewelry found at a site in Georgia have historians redrawing the route of conquistador Hernando de Soto's 16th-century expedition, reaching further into what is now the United States' interior than previously believed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fossil Zombie Worms

Traces of the bone-eating "zombie" worms of the genus Osedax have been found among Mediterranean whale fossils, suggesting this soft-bodied worm was widespread across the oceans 6 million years ago and may be responsible for erasing parts of the fossil record by destroying bones before they fossilized.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Snake Blood Makes Heart Grow

With the hearts of some species of snakes nearly doubling in size in response to blood demand, researchers have discovered blood plasma from recently fed snakes can stimulate mammal hearts to grow without scarring, leading to potential medical treatments for human heart disease.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Complex Organic Matter

Analysis of the spectra of the dust from exploding stars reveals that complex organic molecules are unexpectedly common throughout the universe, and can be sythesized by stars and not solely the byproducts of other life processes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dinosaur Migration from Teeth

By measuring isotopes of oxygen in the tooth enamel of the fossilized remains of Camarasaurus and comparing those levels to known sedimentary compositions, researchers have produced the first hard evidence of dinosaur seasonal migration.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Extreme Life at Sea Bottom

Exploring the deep Mariana Trench at depths of more than 10,000 meters, researchers have documented extreme life forms called xenophyophores abundant on the sea floor, single-celled animals that can reach 10 cm in length and play host to dozens of other extreme species.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snakes Store Sperm for Years

A rattlesnake kept isolated in a private collection in Florida gave birth to 19 young a full five years after being caught, and with DNA analysis ruling out parthenogenesis this is the first documented case of female snakes storing sperm for years until needed -- a mechanism still poorly understood.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ancient American Hunters

Detailed CT scans and radiocarbon dating of a weapon embedded in a mastodon bone have revealed the first hunters in North America (what is now the state of Washington) were active 13,800 years ago, some 800 years before the rise of the Clovis culture.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Computers from Bacteria and DNA

Scientists have successfully constructed some basic computational logic gates out of gut bacteria (E. coli) and modified DNA that function just as their semiconductor counterparts, suggesting the feasibility of biological computers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Viking Burial Site in Scotland

Archaeologists have uncovered a Viking chief boat burial site on the Ardnamurchan Scottish peninsula estimated to be at least 1000 years old and complete with many artifacts, one of the most significant Norse discoveries yet found in the UK.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Panda Poop Analyzed

In an attempt to discover how pandas live on an all-bamboo diet without the physiological or enzymatic traits common to most herbivores, zoologists have identified thirteen species of bacteria known to break down cellulose present in their feces, with seven of those species unique to pandas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unknown Gamma-Ray Sources

NASA's Fermi space telescope has completed its second all-sky map of energetic gamma-ray sources, with approximately 600 of the 1873 identified sources corresponding with no known object capable of producing such energy bursts, leaving these sources complete mysteries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Robotic Evolution of Flight

Experiments with adding powered wings to a robotic bug have demonstrated that although the addition aided the robot's mobility it did not provide enough for powered flight from the ground, lending support to the idea that full flight evolved instead from gliding tree-dwellers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weird New Form of Carbon

A new type of "reversible" carbon allotrope has been discovered, a pliable commercial substance used for industrial purposes for decades, which obtains diamond-like hardness under extreme pressures and returns to its softer state when the pressure is removed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ancient Greek Ships' Cargo

Modern DNA analysis of amphorae recovered from Mediterranean shipwrecks show that ancient Greek merchant ships carried a wide range of foods including fish, olives, legumes, ginger, walnut and juniper and herbs such as mint, thyme and oregano.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Most Complete Dinosaur Fossil

Athough yet to be named or scientifically described, the fossil remains of a therapod dating back 135 million years found in southern Germany may be the most complete dinosaur fossil ever found, with 98% of its skeleton perfectly preserved with an unmatched clarity.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oldest Artist's Workshop

Researchers have discovered a prehistoric paint pot at a site described as an "artist's workshop" in the Blombos cave of South Africa, revealing evidence of grinding tools and powdered mineral mixing some 100,000 years ago.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Computer Analysis of Torah

Researchers have developed a computing algorithm specifically to analyze the books of the Bible to identify individual contributing sources by focusing strictly on writing style instead of content, specifically the use of function words and synonyms.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

T. rex Computational Analysis

Using advanced three-dimensional solid modeling techniques, researchers have computationally reconstructed Tyrannosaurus rex growth patterns beginning from high-definition scans of actual bones, revealing that the dinosaur grew significantly heavier and faster than previous calculations predicted.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Channel-type Nanostructure Laser

Inspired by the structure of bright, iridescent bird feathers, researchers have constructed a new type of laser with a channel-type nanostructure that will allow them to self-assemble, making their fabrication easier, cheaper and faster.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bacteria Affecting Climate

Scientists have discovered bacterial communication via secretion of various chemical signals (often to determine if other similar bacteria are in the proximity), and that such chemical means of communication in ocean-based microorganisms at depth could affect Earth's natural carbon cycle.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Piranhas Use Sound

Using underwater microphones, scientists have discovered piranhas use at least three distinct sounds to communicate when confronting one another by vibrating their swim bladders using high-speed muscles.