Friday, January 9, 2015

Black Holes Inch Ahead to Violent Cosmic Union

Scientists say a pair of supermassive black holes appear to be spiraling toward a galaxy-wrecking collision that could release as much energy as 100 million supernova explosions.
- The New York Times

‘Bent Time’ Tips Pulsar Out of View

A pulsar, one of deep space’s spinning “lighthouses”, has faded from view because a warp in space-time tilted its beams away from Earth.
- BBC News

Migration to America: Canine Genetics Tell the Story

Dogs successfully migrated to the Americas about 10,000 years ago, according to a new study. That's a long time ago but still thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed the land bridge from Siberia to North America. Dogs have been associated with humans in findings from 11,000 to 16,000 years ago. 
- Science 2.0

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Has Curiosity Found Fossilized Life on Mars?

A geobiologist has related structures photographed by Curiosity of Martian sedimentary rock with structures on Earth that are known to be created by microbial lifeforms. But just because the structures look like they’ve been formed by microbes on Mars, does it mean that they were?
- Discovery News

Two Newly Discovered Planets Look Promising for Extraterrestrial Life

Among eight new Kepler planets found are the two most Earth-like to date, with possible conditions for the propagation of life.

The Superbug Armageddon Has Been Cancelled - for Now

The newly discovered antibiotic “Teixobactin,” a member of an entirely new class of compounds, targets fats which are essential for bacteria to build cell walls which, when weakened, result in death. Since teixobactin does this in a unique fashion, it will be difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to teixobactin and other compounds from this family. 
- Forbes

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Researchers Hope This Whale’s Genes Will Help Reverse Human Aging

Bowhead whales are most likely the longest-living mammals on the planet. There's evidence (some of it in the form of Victorian-era harpoons embedded in blubber) that they can live as long as 200 years. And for the humans who'd like to get a little slice of that longevity for themselves, scientists took the first step to stealing the bowhead whale's secrets: They sequenced its genome.
- The Washington Post


As Ranks of Goldilocks Planets Grow, Astronomers Consider What’s Next

Scientists have found more new planets orbiting their stars that look a lot like Earth. The next question: how to study them more closely.
- The New York Times

NASA Finds Good News on Forests and Carbon Dioxide

A new NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. 
- Phys.Org

Tuesday, January 6, 2014

Hunt for Other Earths Just Got a Bit More Sophisticated

Two new studies could help scientists determine the composition of a planet and the likelihood that it has surface oceans – two factors crucial to habitability.
- The Christian Science Monitor

Age of Stars Is Pinned to Their Spin

Astronomers have proved that they can accurately tell the age of a star from how fast it is spinning.
- BBC News

Author Says a Whole Culture—Not a Single 'Homer'—Wrote 'Iliad,' 'Odyssey'

The Iliad and The Odyssey are two of the key works of Western civilization. But almost nothing is known about their author and the date and manner of their creation. In Why Homer Matters, historian and award-winning author Adam Nicolson suggests that Homer be thought of not as a person but as a tradition and that the works attributed to him go back a thousand years earlier than generally believed.
- National Geographic

Monday, January 5, 2014

Scientists Discover the First Protein That Can Edit Other Proteins

The most important job inside any cell is making proteins, and they are all made using instructions from DNA. This process is practically gospel in the field of molecular biology, but new research identifies some exceptions. Some proteins, it turns out, can make other proteins.
- Wired

Internet Freedom Was Down Significantly in 2014, Study Claims

2014 was, to put it bluntly, a rather catastrophic year for Internet freedom.  This was illustrated in two separate reports that cited a number of comments and statistics that prove how tenuous Web freedom is in many parts of the world, including China and Russia.
- Modern Readers

A New Understanding of the First Americans

An unlucky teenage girl fell to her death in a Yucatán cave some 12,000 years ago. Her bad luck is science’s good fortune - it may help explain an enduring mystery about the peopling of the Americas: If Native Americans are descendants of Asian trailblazers who migrated into the Americas toward the end of the last ice age, why don’t they look like their ancient ancestors?
- National Geographic

Experts Identify a 'Death Star' in Our Future

Imagine this: Our solar system is busy minding its own business , whittling its days away in its predictable  orbits and rotations, when suddenly a rogue star comes crashing by, knocking comets and asteroids into erratic paths straight for Earth. A new study says that such a scenario is entirely possible, but it's nothing to fret over.
- Nature World News