October 23, 2012

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Human Obsession with Orchids Goes as Far Back as Roman Times

orchid-roman-times

A careful study of ancient artifacts in Italy has pushed back the earliest documented appearance of orchids from the Renaissance to Roman times. The orchid’s popularity in public art seemed to decrease with the advent of Christianity, perhaps because of its associations with sexuality. The scientists published their findings in the Journal of Cultural Heritage. […]

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October 23, 2012

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Analyzing a Mouse Brain with “Block-Face” Electron Microscopy

analyzing a whole mouse brain under the electron microscope

A team of Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research has developed a method for preparing the whole mouse brain for “block-face” electron microscopy, a crucial step towards obtaining a complete circuit diagram of the brain of the mouse. What happens in the brain when we see, hear, think and remember? To be […]

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October 23, 2012

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Ankle Bone Fossil of Earliest Primate Implies That It Was Arboreal

purgatorius-tree

It’s always been contentious when primates started climbing trees. The discovery of some new ankle bones is now making it look like primates have always been arboreal. The scientists presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Raleigh, North Carolina, last week. The earliest primate, Purgatorius, a genus of […]

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October 23, 2012

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Common Pesticides Are Severely Affecting Bees

bumblebee-close-up-flower

Bees are the world’s most important pollinator, and without them the planet would quickly go hungry. All of over the world, their populations are quickly decreasing, and scientists are trying to find out why. With the widely reported Colony Collapse Disorder, which was due to a disease, finally ebbing down, new research indicates that pesticides […]

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October 23, 2012

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Graphene Membranes May be Used to Filter Water & Biological Samples

graphene membranes

Finding that large membranes engineered from single sheets of grapheme allow small molecules to pass through, researchers are now looking to use the graphene membranes as filters for microscopic contaminants in water and to separate specific types of molecules from biological samples. Much has been made of graphene’s exceptional qualities, from its ability to conduct […]

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October 23, 2012

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Boys are Starting Puberty Almost Two Years Earlier than Expected

boy-shaving

Currently, there is a scientific consensus that females are hitting puberty earlier than before, developing breasts as young as 7 or 8. Scientists believe childhood obesity, since body fat is linked to the production of estrogen, and chemicals in the water and food supply are the likely culprits and wondered if the same trend is […]

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October 23, 2012

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Astronomers Record Detailed Measurements of the Inner Region of a Quasar Nucleus

first-detailed-measurements-of-the-inner-region-of-a-quasar-nucleus-at-submillimeter-wavelengths

Using four submillimeter telescopes working simultaneously around the globe, a team of astronomers from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and colleagues made the first detailed measurements of the inner region of a quasar nucleus at submillimeter wavelengths. Quasars are among the most powerful energy sources known — some are as luminous as one hundred thousand Milky […]

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October 23, 2012

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Captive Beluga Whale Was Able to Mimic Speech

beluga-water

When a beluga’s caretakers heard noises that sounded like garbled phrases emanating from its enclosure, they realized that the whale might be imitating the voices of its human handlers. The outbursts, originally described at a conference in 1985, began in 1984 and lasted for four years until the whale named NOC hit its sexual maturity. […]

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October 23, 2012

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Distant Quasar Ejects 2 Million Light-Year Long Jet of Cosmic Material

megaparsec-scale-jet

This extended jet of cosmic materials, traveling near light speed, emerged from a distant galaxy. The flow is almost 2 million light-years long, at least 20 times larger than the Milky Way. Astronomers published their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The outflow is coming from a distant quasar that was formed 6 billion years […]

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October 22, 2012

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Sediment Samples from Japanese Lake Extend Carbon Dating Timeline

bones-neanderthal-dating

Climate records from a Japanese lake will improve the accuracy of dating techniques, which will probably help shed light on some mysteries such as the extinction of the Neanderthals as well as paradoxes that have arisen due to dating. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science. Carbon dating is used to date any […]

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October 22, 2012

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Molecular Analysis of Dinosaur Osteocytes Indicates Presence of Endogenous Molecules

blood-cells-reacting-dinosaur

20 years ago, Mary Schweitzer discovered that she spotted the effects of what could only be described as a red blood cell in a slice of dinosaur bone. This seemed impossible, since organic remains weren’t supposed to be able to survive the fossilization process. Numerous tests indicated that the spherical structures were blood cells from […]

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October 22, 2012

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Disabling MicroRNAs Allows Mice to Regenerate White Cells and Platelets Depleted by Chemotherapy

researchers have identified a method to help cancer patients maintain a healthy blood supply

Using a novel technique to analyze simultaneously large numbers of microRNAs in living mice, scientist at Yale University identified and disabled miR-150, allowing mice to more efficiently regenerate white cells and platelets depleted by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy kills blood cells as well as cancer cells, often with fatal results. Now Yale stem cell researchers have identified […]

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October 22, 2012

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Brain Scans Help Scientists Read Dreams

functional-neuroimaging

A team of Japanese researchers have been working on using neuroimaging techniques to decode the dreams of people while they sleep. The researchers were led by Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory in Kyoto, Japan and they used functional neuroimaging to scan the brains of patients. This technique allowed scientists to learn how […]

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October 22, 2012

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Elliptical Galaxy M87 Hides a Gaseous Spiral at its Core

elliptical-galaxy-M87

Scientists at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan & Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered that elliptical galaxy Centaurus A also shows signs of a spiral galaxy. Cambridge, Massachusetts – Most big galaxies fit into one of two camps: pinwheel-shaped spiral galaxies and blobby elliptical galaxies. Spirals like the Milky Way are hip and happening places, […]

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October 22, 2012

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Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Lava Lake At Highest Level

lava-lake-kilauea

The state of the lava lake in the Halema’uma’u Crater at Kilauea is now at its highest level since its formation in 2008, reaching 50 meters from the floor of the crater and now covering the inner ledge. The large Hawaiian shield volcano has a caldera at the summit. Unlike more catastrophic formations, the ones […]

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October 22, 2012

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Fossils Reveal Headbutts May Have Been Used as a Dinosaur Courtship Behavior

pachycelphalosaurus-wyomingensis

Pachycephalosaurids had domed heads with thick, bony protuberances, which paleontologists hypothesized the dinosaurs used in courtship behavior, perhaps to determine which male would be allowed to mate. A new study indicates that these dinosaurs might have been bashing themselves in a number of different ways. The scientists presented their findings at the Society of Vertebrate […]

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October 22, 2012

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NASA Discovers a Surprising Trend in Galaxy Evolution

Surprising Trend in Galaxy Evolution

A newly published study shows that nearby disk galaxies unexpectedly reached their current state long after much of the universe’s star formation had ceased. A comprehensive study of hundreds of galaxies observed by the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revealed an unexpected pattern of change that extends back 8 billion […]

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