Monthly Archives: November 2008
Jets of water vapor blasting out of Saturn‘s moon Enceladus at supersonic speeds are coming from vents each about the size of a professional sports stadium, a new study says.
Research later determined that the water geysers are gushing out at about 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) an hour from a series of 100-mile-long (161-kilometer-long) fissures dubbed tiger stripes.
The new finding indicates that the gas and dust are escaping from relatively small vents along those fissures.
Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.
The international team of researchers, including a researcher at University College London (UCL), used the IRAM radio telescope in France to detect the molecule in a massive star forming region of space, some 26000 light years from Earth.
The molecule – glycolaldehyde – has previously only been detected towards the centre of our galaxy where conditions are extreme compared to the rest of the galaxy. This new discovery, in an area far from the galactic centre, also suggests that the production of this key ingredient for life could be common throughout the galaxy. This is good news in our search for alien life, as a wide spread of the molecule improves the chances of it existing along side other molecules vital to life and in regions where Earth-like planets may exist.
European manufacturers seem to have been taken aback by the recent success of their microcars. Now that consumers have gotten a taste of what life is like when you’re choosing between filling your tank or your stomach, industry insiders are predicting that the microcar category will only pick up steam. Daimler is sitting pretty with its smart brand, BMW is working on a city-spec Isetta revival, Toyota has responded with its diminutive iQ and VW went small with its Up! concept cars. But VeeDub’s got even smaller ideas on its corporate mind, working on an smaller city car to slot below its already dinky Up! model.
Power for the city car will come from either a 1.2L four cylinder or an oil-burning three-pot. That gasoline engine is expected to feature cylinder cutoff technology so it can operate on just half of its allotment of pistons when full power isn’t necessary. All of that adds up to an estimatged 117 miles per gallon. And naturally, an electric drivetrain is also in the works.
The fossils, which do not have fully formed shells, may be the missing link that shows how modern-day turtles evolved their distinctive hard backs, experts said in November 2008.
Fossils of the oldest-known turtles, unearthed in southwestern China, may help answer an evolutionary enigma—how did the turtle get its shell?
The 220-million-year-old animals did not have full shells, or carapaces, on their backs, researchers found.
But the newfound creatures did sport fully developed plastrons—the flat part of a turtle shell that covers and protects the belly.
The discovery supports the theory that turtle shells formed from the underside—plastron first—and grew bony extensions of ribs and backbones that eventually joined to form the classic shell that exists today.
This composite, infrared image shows the faint speck of light, thought to be a planet orbiting the star Beta Pictoris (in the center of the image), with a disk of debris shown around the star-planet system.
Astronomers say they have directly imaged a giant exoplanet orbiting its parent star. The announcement comes on the heels of two other reports this month of direct images of planets beyond our solar system.
The new infrared image shows the object as a speck of light near the star Beta Pictoris, which is 70 light-years from Earth, toward the constellation Pictor.
“We cannot yet rule out definitively, however, that the candidate companion could be a foreground or background object,” said study team member Gael Chauvin of Grenoble Observatory in France. “To eliminate this very small possibility, we will need to make new observations that confirm the nature of the discovery.”
A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible’s camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and—strangest of all—”elbowed” Magnapinna squid. (See photos of Magnapinna.)
Go to the link and check out the video:
This squat lobster, found in waters 150 meters (492 feet) deep, is one of the new species. Eighty percent of the world’s species remain to be discovered, notes French scientist Philippe Bouchet, one of the expedition’s leaders.
November 24, 2008–Even on tiny remote islands, scientists can find an impressive array of life.
During the Santo 2006 biodiversity survey in Vanuatu, 153 scientists from 20 countries fanned out across the remote South Pacific island of Espiritu Santo, examining mountains, forests, caves, reefs, and water for all living organisms.
In five months, they collected 10,000 species. Some 2,000 of these may be new to science.
Study: Eating lean meat and eggs may help suppress appetite
NEW YORK – Higher-protein meals may help overweight and obese people burn more fat, the results of a small study suggest.
Research has shown that overweight people are less efficient at burning fat after a meal than thinner people are. In the new study, Australian researchers looked at whether the protein composition of a meal affects that weight-related gap.
They found that overweight men and women burned more post-meal fat when they ate a high-protein breakfast and lunch than when they had lower-protein meals. That is, the added protein seemed to modify the fat-burning deficit seen in heavy individuals.
“The South Carolina state prison system wants the FCC to grant them and local officers permission to block cell phone signals. News has been out about the growing problem of them perps smuggling cell phones into prisons for a while now. Inmates use cell phones as commerce, to implement fraud, smuggle drugs and weapons, and to order hits. Of course, some may use it to just talk to a loved one any time they can.”
Scientists report the discovery of a new species of Ebola virus, provisionally named Bundibugyo ebolavirus, in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens. The virus, which was responsible for a hemorrhagic fever outbreak in western Uganda in 2007, has been characterized by a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia the Uganda Virus Research Institute; the Uganda Ministry of Health; and Columbia University.
Ebola virus infection in humans causes severe disease for which there is presently no vaccine or other treatment. Case fatalities range historically between 53% and 90%. Therefore, research efforts into the Ebola virus genus and potential diagnostics are ongoing, with the discovery of Bundibugyo ebolavirus representing one of the latest pieces added to this puzzle.
The new virus is genetically distinct from all other known Ebola virus species, differing by more than 30% at the genetic level. More traditional ELISA-based assays detected the new virus; however, the unique nature of this virus created initial challenges for traditional Ebola virus molecular diagnostic assays and genome sequencing approaches.
To determine the genetic signature of this new Ebola virus species, scientists used a recently developed random-primed pyro-sequencing approach, quickly determining the genetic sequence of over 70% of the virus genome.
Knowledge of this sequence then allowed for the rapid development of a sensitive molecular detection assay which was deployed to the field as part of the outbreak response. This draft sequence also allowed for easy completion of the whole genome sequence using a traditional primer walking approach and prompt confirmation that this virus represented a new Ebola virus species.
Current worldwide efforts to design effective diagnostics, antivirals and vaccines will need to take into account the distinct nature of this new member of the Ebola virus genus.