Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Science News.

Wow, second comprehensive science news posting in just as many days. The world of science has been busy lately.

- Pat Lukens, a Fermilab physicist, announced the observation of a new particle called Omega-sub-b, which contains one bottom and two strange quarks. It's observation will help physicists understand how quarks form matter.
Read more about the Omega-sub-b particle @

- The world of evolutionary biology, as well as archaeology, is going to be buzz with recent news that a new fossil primate found in Myanmar suggests that the common ancestor of humans, apes, and monkeys evolved in Asia instead of Africa, where scientists currently believe such evolution took place. The species, Ganlea megacanina, is approximately 38 million years old.
Check it out at @

- Is Mars also experiencing global warming? New photos from NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show geological landforms with indicate Mars is experiencing warmer weather, which is melting part of its permafrost. This brings hope to finding or even reviving Martian life ^_^
Learn more @

- More shocking developments on Mars: Scientists now have direct evidence of lightening on Mars! University of Michigan researchers found signs of electrical discharges during a Martian dust storm. This brings to mind the Miller/Urey experiment of the 1950's, where over a dozen amino acids were created when H2O, along with a few other elements, were combined with lightening.
Follow the excitement @

- Looking for an emissions-free mode of public transportation? We may one day have it. Geoffrey Barnett, a designer, came up with a monorail system powered by an abundant energy source: people! (Why didn't we think of that?) He incorporated his concept, "Shweeb," in a New Zealand amusement park, where people can ride his monorail, which moves via pedaling, which also makes for a great work out. Emission-free transportation and a cure for obesity? Goeffrey Barnett is a genius! I hope that we soon see this monorail our own cities ^_^
Look at the pictures @

- A new robotic vision system, based off of the workings of human vision, allows robots to successfully maneuvor through cluttered environments, helping overcome a huge obstacle in the world of robotics.
Check it out @

- Even more excitement in the world of Technology, as this week Toyota announced that they have developed technology which allows people to drive wheelchairs, simply by reading their brainwaves, at an impressive rate of 125 milliseconds. This quick timing allows for near-instant movements.
Learn more @

Sea Lamphrys are bizzare-looking fish which seem to be a distant relatice of the Arrakis sand worms (if you're a sci-fi nerd/Frank Herbert fan). The remaining three species of Lamphrys are also rare fish, due to the fact they need high water quality to live. So imagine biologists delight when they found 7 of the little buggers in a river in County Durham, Britian.
Learn more @

- Scientists have discovered the first "self watering" plant in an Israeli desert. The Desert Rhubarb has large leaves covered with microstreams of water. The ridges of the plant leaves help direct the streams of water and protect it against evaportation, thus allowing the plant to water itself.
Learn more @

- With droughts becoming more and more common, scientists hope that the future of farming lies in drough-resistant plants and crops. Thus, they transcribed the DNA of a tropical grass called sorghum, which thrives in hot, dry conditions. Maybe this humble grass will unlock the future of farming.
Check it out @

- Ever hear of labyrinthulomycetes? Can you even pronounce that? Well, four lucky species of these cute little marine microbes are going to have their genome sequenced. Microbiologists suspect that they are immensely important to organic breakdown, and are going to sequence their genome in order to learn more about these abundant critters.
Learn more @

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