Saturday, April 30, 2011

Light Heals Scratched Material

Researchers have developed a new class of materials called metallo-supramolecular polymers that can heal scratches by incident ultraviolet light, disassembling under the light and flowing to fill surface cracks.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pluto's Toxic Atmosphere

Long suspected but only recently proven with data from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, Pluto's atmosphere contains toxic carbon monoxide in an amount that has doubled since 2000, growing from a height of 62 miles above the surface to more than 1800 miles in what is suspected as an extreme seasonal change.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Gut Ecosystems

Researchers have found only three broad enterotypes of bacteria (dubbed bacteriode, prevotella and ruminococcus after the dominant species) exist in the human gut worldwide regardless of physical variations in race, age, geography or diet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Saturn's Geyser Moon

Ultraviolet images taken by the Cassini spacecraft show a glowing patch near Saturn's north pole believed to be the result of charged particles striking the surface after escaping from Enceladus' geysers and being channeled to the planet along its magnetic field lines.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prehistoric Right-Handedness

Researchers examining scratches on fossil incisors made by indicental contact with stone tools have determined the uniquely human trait of left- or right-handedness of individuals correlates with the markings, placing a 93.1% prevalence for right-handed behavior dating back 500,000 years.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Magnetism and Superconductivity

Scientists have developed a compound of bismuth and nickel only a few nanometers in diameter -- and nonmagnetic under normal conditions -- that exhibits properties of ferromagnetism and superconductivity simultaneously, two phenomena once thought to be mutually exclusive.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hundreds More Barrier Islands

Using publically available satellite images, researchers have identified 2149 barrier islands worldwide, 657 more than previously known through conventional cartographic measures and navigational charts and demonstrating these islands exist in every climate and tide-wave combination.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Biggest Fossilized Spider

A new fossil from Inner Mongolia containing a species of golden orb weaver spider (Nephila jurassica) is the largest specimen found to date, with a leg span of about 15 cm, and also the oldest example known, dating to 165 million years ago.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Evidence for Nocturnal Dinosaurs

By comparing the fossilized bones located within the eye of archosaurs called the scleral ring and correlating eye sizes and shapes with the habits of modern species, paleontologists have produced the first measure to estimate that some dinosaur species were nocturnal.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breast Cancer Marker in Dogs

Researchers studying similarities of breast cancer in women and dogs have found that an important tumor marker, the CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) receptor, is essentially identical in both species and opens a broad new area for therapeutic research and treatment of the disease.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Dinosaur Bridges Gap

The fossilized skull and neck bones of a newly discovered species of dinosaur (Daemonosaurus chauliodus) found in New Mexico helps fill in the evolutionary gap between basal (primitive) therapod species, the two-legged dinosaurs of 230 million years ago, and later theropods.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yellowstone Magma Plume

Conductivity readings of the magma plume feeding the Yellowstone area have provided the first "geoelectric" three-dimensional image of the underground hotspot, revealing that the buried supervolcano may be larger than originally thought.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Solar System's "Nose" Found

Data from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite has produced a map of our heliosphere, the bubble produced by the solar wind expanding against the interstellar medium, and shown the heliosphere's "nose" or apparent direction our system is moving as it points toward the zodiacal constellation Scorpius.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Lumpy Gravity Map

Data collected from the European satellite Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has produced an irregular, lumpy digital geoid of Earth's gravitational field, the most accurate model of the planet's gravity ever produced.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unprecedented Cosmic Explosion

Several NASA telescopes have teamed up to observe an unprecedented and puzzling x-ray and gamma-ray source (GRB 110328A), one that is brighter, longer-lasting and more variable than typical gamma-ray bursts associated with exploding stars.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wasps Drop Ants for Food

An experiment with wild wasps in New Zealand has shown that the common wasps (not native to the islands) will pick up ants competing for a food source and drop the still-living insect a short distance away, a competitive, non-lethal behavior never before observed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2500-Year-Old Brain

A 2500-year-old human brain found in York in 2008 has been dated to a hanged and decapitated individual between 673 and 482 B.C., the soft tissue remarkably preserved by being "pickled" due to a quick burial separate from the body in low-oxygen mud.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oldest Flying Insect Found

Fossil hunters in Massachusetts have found the earliest preserved impression of a flying insect, an 300 million-year-old ancestor of the modern mayfly as it struggled while trapped in the mud.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Possible New Particle Found

An anomalous signal detected in proton-antiproton collisions at Fermilab's Tevatron particle collider remains strong yet unexplained, and could lead to new physics outside the standard model if results are confirmed elsewhere.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Mineral Wassonite

A new mineral has been discovered in a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite sample found in Antarctica in 1969 composed of sulfur and titanium with a crystal structure not previously seen in nature, named wassonite after geologist and meteorite researcher John T. Wasson.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ripples in Planets' Rings

Using data from Cassini, Galileo and the New Horizons missions, astronomers have detected ripples in the ring systems of Saturn and Jupiter that can be traced back to collisions with cometary fragments dating back at least 30 years.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Disappearing Antineutrinos

Revised calculations of the production of antineutrinos produced in nuclear reactor experiments suggest that about 3% of these particles are missing from the resulting data, suggesting these particles may turn into "sterile antineutrinos" that escape detection and evidence of phenomena outside the standard model.

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Ribbon" in Heliosphere

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has detected a mysterious "ribbon" of energy wrapping around the heliosphere, revealing complex dynamics not yet understood between our heliosphere and its motion through the interstellar medium.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oldest European Writing

A clay tablet found in the Greek village of Iklania holds the oldest known writing of European civilization, a Mycenaean fragment of Greek Linear B dating back between 1450 and 1350 B.C.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Electric Fire Extinguisher

Researchers have developed an electric wand that can extinguish fires by pushing the ionized molecules of the flame away from their fuels source, providing a more resource-efficient method of firefighting than water, chemicals or foam retardants.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Termites Boost Crop Yields

Termites and other burrowing insects have been shown to increase crop yields by as much as 36% in arid areas such as Australia by aerating the soil and providing natural fertilizer in their feces, reducing the need for artificial fertilizer and insecticides.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Earth Getting Windier

Over the past 20 years, average wind speeds have increased about 5%, with strong winds from storms increasing up to 10%, for reasons that are not yet clearly understood and not clearly related to global warming or natural cycles.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Soft Tissue Sea Fossil

A remarkable new fossil has been found in Yunnan Province, China, of a 525-million-year-old sea creature related to starfish and sea urchins called a hemichordate that has preserved all its soft tissue, including minute details such as tiny tentacles used for feeding.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First "Artificial Leaf"

Scientists have announced the development of the first practical "artificial leaf," a card-sized silicon solar cell that converts sunlight and water into energy through a process that mimics the natural photosynthesis of green plants.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Saber-Toothed Herbivore

Paleontologists have discovered the fossil remains of an anomodont (Tiarajudens eccentricus) in Brazil that lived about 260 milliion years ago and had rare five-inch long protruding canine teeth even though its skull indicates it was a herbivore.