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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 07:28 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 07:24 PM PDT
Posted: 10 Apr 2015 07:15 PM PDT
Excerpt from sciencenews.org
Mysterious radio signals detected by the Parkes telescope appear to come from an advanced civilization in the Milky Way.
Unfortunately, it’s the one civilization we already know about.
Microwave ovens opened before they’re done cooking have been muddling the hunt for far more distant radio signals, researchers report online April 9 at arXiv.org. Astronomers have had to contend with enigmatic flares dubbed “perytons” ever since discovering equally puzzling fast radio bursts, or FRBs (SN: 8/9/14, p. 22), in 2007. Perytons and FRBs are quite similar, except that astronomers realized that perytons originate on Earth, possibly from some meteorological phenomenon, while FRBs come from other galaxies.
Three perytons in January coincided with independently detected blasts of 2.4 gigahertz radio waves — the same frequency that microwave ovens use to heat food. So researchers at the Parkes telescope in Australia spent weeks heating mugs of water while moving the massive radio dish around the sky, trying to re-create the phenomenon. Finally, researchers tried opening the oven door mid-cooking instead of letting the timer run out. Suddenly, perytons started showing up in the data.
The source of the galactic FRBs remain an intriguing mystery. Astronomers suspect they have something to do with imploding neutron stars or eruptions on magnetars. At this point, however, they might want to consider extraterrestrials nuking frozen pizzas.
Posted: 10 Apr 2015 07:12 PM PDT
Excerpt from eaglecurrent.com
NASA is joining in an effort to have an understanding of the presence of a methane hotspot over the 4 corners area of the United States. How severe is the atmospheric feature?
A methane hotspot hovering over the Four Corners region in the southwestern United States has offered a mystery to scientists due to the fact it was initial seen from space by a satellite managed by the European Space Agency.
The New Mexico Environment Department is among the groups searching into the unusual atmospheric function. The group is sponsoring a forum on April 17 to go over probable environmental ramifications of acquiring fossil fuels by way of the controversial practice of fracking.
"As the science emerges around detection of elevated methane levels in the area, NMED is maintaining a close eye on the data and associated concerns. There is a lot of interest in methane, and this occasion will be a fantastic chance for all of us to listen, discover and ask inquiries," Richard Goodyear of the New Mexico Atmosphere Division stated.
A group of scientists is gathered at 4 Corners, where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah all meet. They are examining the air and ground in an effort to have an understanding of exactly where the methane in the area is emanating from and what dangers it could pose.
"With all the ground-based and airborne resources that the diverse groups are bringing to the region, we have the one of a kind opportunity to unequivocally solve the Four Corners mystery," mentioned Christian Frankenberg of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A study published in October 2014 reported methane levels in the Four Corners region as higher than at any other place in the globe. That hotspot of greenhouse gases persisted from at least 2003 to 2009, according to researchers studying the anomaly.
Officials at NASA believe the higher concentrations of methane in the location could be due to methane extraction in the area, largely carried out by fracking. This process entails pumping water, sand and chemicals into otherwise dry wells at high velocities to shatter rock layers, releasing natural gas, mainly composed of methane. Studies have recommended that vast amounts of the greenhouse gas can be released in the course of fracking operations.
Other possibilities for the gas release in the 4 Corners region include things like active coal mines and natural gas seeps. The amount of the environmentally damaging gas seen in the southwestern United States is roughly equivalent to ten percent of all methane released across the nation.
A pair of Twin Otter aircraft, operated by JPL, will soon fly over the region in an effort to much better comprehend how the methane hotspot formed. These airplanes will be equipped with two instruments & the Next-Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRISNG) that will very carefully measure the extent of the gas, and the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HYTES), designed to recognize sources.
After the trigger of the gas emissions and the extent of the formation is understood, climatologists will be greater in a position to manage release of the greenhouse gas.
Posted: 10 Apr 2015 07:06 PM PDT
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
An army of huge carnivorous "terror birds" -- some as big as 10 feet tall -- ruled South America for tens of millions of years before going extinct some 2.5 million years ago.
Now, with the discovery of a new species of terror bird called Llallawavis scagliai, paleontologists are gaining fresh insight into this fearsome family of top predators.
More than 90 percent of the bird's fossilized skeleton was unearthed in northeastern Argentina in 2010, making it the most complete terror bird specimen ever found.
“It’s rare to find such a complete fossil of anything, let alone a bird,” Dr. Lawrence Witmer, an Ohio University paleontologist who wasn’t involved in the new research, told Science magazine. “This is a very exciting find.”
Skeleton of Llallawavis scagliai on display at the Lorenzo Scaglia Municipal Museum of Natural Sciences in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Llallawavis likely lived around 3.5 million years ago, near the end of terror birds' reign, according to the researchers. It stood about four feet tall and weighed about 40 pounds.
“The discovery of this species reveals that terror birds were more diverse in the Pliocene than previously thought," Dr. Federico Degrange, a researcher at the Center for Research in Earth Sciences in Argentina and the leader of the team that identified the new species, said in a written statement. "It will allow us to review the hypothesis about the decline and extinction of this fascinating group of birds.”
CT scans of the bird's inner ear structures indicated that its hearing was tuned for low-pitched sounds, and that it likely produced these kinds of ostrich-like sounds too.
"Low-frequency sounds are great for long-[distance] communication, or if you're a predator, for sensing the movements of prey animals," Witmer told Live Science.
The researchers hope further analyses will yield insights into the bird's vision and other senses.
An article describing the findings was published online March 20 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Posted: 10 Apr 2015 06:58 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 06:51 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 06:47 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 06:40 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Apr 2015 12:36 PM PDT