October 4, 2012

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Measuring the Expansion of Universe – A Newly Refined Value for the Hubble Constant

the-cosmic-distance-ladder-used-to-measure-the-expansion-rate-of-the-universe

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have greatly improved the cosmic distance ladder used to measure the expansion rate of the universe, as well as its size and age, placing the newly refined value for the Hubble constant at 74.3 plus or minus 2.1 kilometers per second per megaparsec. PASADENA, California — Astronomers using NASA’s […]

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October 4, 2012

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Faster Whole-Genome Sequencing May Lead to Routine Use in Neonatal Intensive Care

illumina-hiseq-2500

A new, faster DNA-sequencing machine, as well as streamlined analysis of its results, will allow physicians to diagnose genetic disorders in days rather than weeks. Up to a third of babies admitted to neonatal intensive care have a genetic disease, this may help pin down the genetic causes. The researchers published their findings in the […]

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October 4, 2012

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Proteins from Black Mamba Venom Could Yield New Painkillers

black-mamba-bite

The venom of the black mamba snake can kill humans within 20 minutes, but among those deadly compounds are two snake proteins, called mambalgins, that can block pain in mice as effectively as morphine and with fewer side effects. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature. Mambalgins were discovered as part of a […]

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October 4, 2012

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New Image of the Helix Nebula Unraveling into Space

new image of the Helix nebula

650 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius, the Helix nebula is putting on a show as the star’s dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. A dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA’s Spitzer […]

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October 4, 2012

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Pegomastax Africanus, A Miniature Dinosaur that Thrived in Southern Africa

pegomastax-africanus

Pegomastax africanus is a new species of plant-eating dinosaur with tiny, 1-inch long jaws, which was discovered in South Africa. It thrived during the Lower Jurassic, Hettangian to Sinemurian, about 200 to 190 million years ago. The researchers published their findings in the journal

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October 4, 2012

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Twin US Spy Telescopes Could Further American Astronomy

NRO-space-telescope

In the cavernous area of Building 1230, located at the ITT Exelis facility in Rochester, New York, there are two 2.4-meter telescopes, each as big as the Hubble Space Telescope and never flown, sitting on low pedestals. These telescopes were commissioned by the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), a surveillance agency that needed the telescope […]

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October 3, 2012

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ISON Comet May Become Brightest Object in the Night Skies

comet-ison-sky

The comet ISON was recently discovered and it could possibly become the brightest object in the night skies. The comet was discovered a week ago by Russian astronomers and it’s currently between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, heading for a very close encounter with the Sun. C/2012 S1 (ISON) might also develop a spectacular […]

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October 3, 2012

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Gene Sequencing of New Coronavirus Speeds Up Testing

sars-coronavirus-virion

Some of the scientists that helped fight the 2003 SARS epidemic are working on the new coronavirus, which seems to be related to SARS. Researchers reported that the genome sequence of the new coronavirus and the first diagnostic test to screen for it are available. The body of research that stems from the SARS epidemic […]

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October 3, 2012

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Ultrashort Pulses of Infrared Light Trigger Changes in Magnetism

cobalt-platinum sample

A newly published study details how scientists used femtosecond X-ray pulses from a free-electron laser to capture nanoscale, light-induced changes in a material made of layered cobalt and platinum. One way to make magnetic storage drives faster would be to use light to flip the polarity of tiny patches of material, called magnetic domains, back […]

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October 3, 2012

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Baboons with Stable Relationships are Nicer and Live Longer

female-baboons-grooming

In humans, people with strong social ties live longer, have healthier lives, whereas hostile tendencies can lead to an early death. In animals, this seems to be the case as well. Strong social networks contribute to longer lives and healthier offspring. Personality might also be a factor in other primates’ longevity. The scientists published their […]

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October 3, 2012

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Asteroid Dust Could Shield Earth from Harmful Solar Radiation

asteroids-dust-cloud-shield

Scottish scientists have proposed to use a giant space-based dust cloud, blasted off an asteroid, to shade the Earth from the sun. Deliberately manipulating the Earth’s climate with large-scale engineering projects is called geoengineering and these proposals are always controversial because of the risk that they entail. The scientists will publish their findings in the […]

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October 3, 2012

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Scientists Measure the Photocurrent of a Single Photosynthetic Protein

method to measure photocurrents of a single functionalized photosynthetic protein system

In a recently published study, scientists show that the photocurrent generated by a single photosynthetic protein, photosystem I, can be measured using a scanning near-field optical microscope set-up. An team of scientists, led by Joachim Reichert, Johannes Barth, and Alexander Holleitner (Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Clusters of Excellence MAP and NIM), and Itai Carmeli (Tel Aviv […]

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October 3, 2012

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Breast Milk Molecule Can Raise the Risk of HIV Transmission

breastfeeding-mother-infant

Scientists have discovered that a sugar that occurs naturally in breast milk can double the likelihood of a HIV-negative baby acquiring the virus from an HIV-positive mother. The molecule is called 3′-sialyllactose (3′-SL) and it is found in varying concentrations in the milk of women. The scientists published their findings in the American Journal of […]

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October 3, 2012

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Titan Experiences Seasonal Changes

saturn-titan-haze

Astronomers have been researching Saturn’s moon Titan for roughly 30 years, discovering that the moon experiences seasonal changes that affect it more than previously thought. The researchers presented their findings during the European Planetary Science Congress of 2012 in Madrid last Friday. Athena Coustenis, from the Paris-Meudon Observatory in France, analyzed the data. Just like […]

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October 2, 2012

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New Genetic Modifications Result in Cows with Allergen-Free Milk

new-zealand-cow-free-allergen

New genetic modification techniques have allowed geneticists to engineer cows that secrete allergen-free milk and pigs that can serve as models for atherosclerosis. The cows lack an allergy-inducing protein, which was blocked accurately using RNA interference. In the pigs, scientists used the TALEN enzyme to scramble a gene that would normally help remove cholesterol. Researchers […]

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October 2, 2012

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Carbon Absorption by Plants Limited by the Abundance of Soil Nutrients

forest-ecosystems

As carbon dioxide levels continue to climb in the Earth’s atmosphere, most current climate models project that the world’s oceans and trees will keep soaking up more than half of the extra CO2. However, researchers have spotted a problem with the capacity of plants to absorb more CO2. It’s now expected that this capacity will […]

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October 2, 2012

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Unusual Indian Ocean Earthquakes May Signal Tectonic Breakup

plate-breakup-indo-australian

On April 11th 2012 a pair of massive earthquakes rocked the Indian Ocean. Scientists think that these may be the latest step in the formation of a new plate boundary within Earth’s surface. The scientists published their findings in the journal Nature (1, 2, 3). The geological stresses are rending the Indo-Australian plate apart, and […]

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