Friday, December 12, 2014


Cosmic Mystery Solved? Possible Dark Matter Signal Spotted

Astronomers may finally have detected a signal of dark matter, the mysterious and elusive stuff thought to make up most of the material universe.

The Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2014

Landing on a comet, nuclear fusion with lasers and a tractor beam are among the 10 physics breakthroughs of the year that was, as chosen by Physics World magazine.
- BBC News

A Flock of Genomes Tells the Tale of Bird Evolution

By sequencing 45 new genomes and merging them with three others previously published, the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium reordered the bird tree of life — and opened multiple paths toward a better understanding of humans. For instance, one research group discovered remarkable analogies between genes involved in vocal learning in birds and the speech areas of the human brain.
- Los Angeles Times

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rosetta Data Reignites Water Debate

Space Mission’s Findings Undercut Theory That Comets Were Main Source of Earth’s Water.
- The Wall Street Journal

Study Estimates Trillions of Pieces of Plastic in Oceans

Researchers estimate that an astounding 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic weighing 269,000 tons can be found floating in all of the world's oceans.
- The Week

Scientists Identify Oldest Horned Dinosaur in North America ... and It’s Tiny

A skull and jaw bone belonging to North America’s oldest horned dinosaur has been identified more than 100 million years after it walked the Earth, scientists said. The creature measured no more than 2 feet long and weighed about 3.5 pounds. 
- The Washington Post

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Viking Families Traveled Together

A new study shows that when Vikings moved to new territories, men and women traveled together. Researchers found similarities between the ancient and modern DNA suggesting women played a significant role in Viking migrations. 
- Phys.Org

Bird X-Ray Reveals 'Birth' of Dinosaur Tracks

A pair of researchers is using bird X-rays to reveal the "birth" of dinosaur tracks by comparing its movements with steps taken by a real prehistoric predator.
- Nature World News

Mighty Sand Dunes Of Saturn's Moon Titan Shaped By Rare High Winds

Scientists have figured out why the shape of Titan ’s dunes seems to be all wrong in images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
- Forbes

Warming Pacific May Release Greenhouse Gas Sealed for Millions of Years

Sonar image above shows methane bubbles rising from the seafloor off the Washington coast. The gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research shows that water at intermediate depths is warming enough to cause these carbon deposits to melt, releasing methane into the sediments and surrounding water. 
- The Daily Galaxy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mars Rover Finds Stronger Potential for Life

In its search for environments where life might have started on Mars, the Curiosity rover has found the standing water, the energy and the key elements with the right atomic charges. As a result, scientists have concluded that at least some of the planet must have been habitable long ago. But the period when all conditions were right was counted in hundreds to thousands of years, a very small opening by origin-of-life standards.
- The New York Times

U.S. Particle Accelerator Generates More Energy Than CERN Colliders

Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley Lab were able to tweak a compact laser-plasma accelerator to get the particles move to a 1,000 times greater energy gradient than any other traditional particle accelerator.
- Capital OTC

Scientists Focus on Urban Wellbeing

A global scientific research programme is launched in China to examine the unintended consequences of urban policies on human health and wellbeing.
- BBC News

2,400-Year-Old Coffin's 'Odd' Art Hints at Ancient Egypt's Brain Drain

An ancient Egyptian coffin with strange and amateurish decorations has been revealed, shedding light on a tumultuous period in Egyptian history when the Persian Empire was in control of the region.
- LiveScience

Monday, December 8, 2014

Nearly 3 Billion Miles Away, a Space Probe Awakens

NASA's New Horizons space probe has successfully woken up from hibernation as it closes in on Pluto and its satellites.
- The Christian Science Monitor

Warm Gas Streaming from a Galaxy Stops Star Formation Cold

It turns out that when it comes to creating new stars, a cool cosmic environment is the best policy. Scientists have discovered a surge of warm gas that flowed into a nearby galaxy extinguished star formation by agitating the available chilled gas.
- Science World Report  

California Drought Is Worst in 1,200 Years

After several winters of little rainfall, California is close to being bone-dry. The third straight year of drought has some of the state’s 12 major reservoirs dipping to less than 50 percent of their historic average water levels, and has even raised fears that the state could run out of water. 
- Discovery News