January 12, 2013

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Australian Heat Wave Causes Gadgets to Fail

Australia needed new colors to show the forecast heatwave on their temperature map (they’ve since revised predictions down to 122ºF/50ºC). Credit: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology

The Australian heat wave is getting so hot that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology had to add new colors to its weather map. There are parts of Australia that have achieved temperatures above 122ºF (50ºC), temperatures which were off the scale until recently. These new temperature zones will be marked in deep purple and hot pink […]

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January 12, 2013

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Leptocephalus, The Transparent Eel Larva

leptocephalus-transparent-larva

The marine eels and other members of the Superorder Elopomorpha have a leptocephalus larval stage, which are flat and transparent. This group is quite diverse, containing 801 species in 24 orders, 24 families and 156 genera. They arose in the Cretaceous period 140 million years ago. Fish with a leptocephalus larva stage include eels like […]

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January 11, 2013

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Sequencing of Comb Jellies’ DNA Reveals that they Preceded Sponges

tasmanian-comb-jelly

Genome-sequencing data indicates that sponges were preceded by ctenophores, complex marine predators also called comb jellies. The scientists presented their findings at the annual meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, in San Francisco, California. Although they are gelatinous like jellyfish, comb jellies form their own phylum (ctenophores.) The tree of life roots […]

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January 11, 2013

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The Large Quasar Group, the Largest Structure in the Universe

largest-structure-in-the-universe

At 4 billion light-years in length, the Large Quasar Group (LQG) is the largest known structure in the universe and is some 1600 times larger than the distance from the Milky Way to Andromeda. An international team of astronomers, led by academics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has found the largest known structure […]

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January 11, 2013

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Kepler Data Suggests 17 Billion Earth-Sized Worlds in the Milky Way

one-in-six-stars-hosts-an-Earth-sized-planet

According to a new study presented at American Astronomical Society, one in six stars has an Earth-sized planet in an orbit of 85 days or less. This information is based on a new analysis of Kepler data completed by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Long Beach, California – The quest for a twin […]

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January 11, 2013

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Current State of Polio Eradication

Administration of the RIBI oral polio vaccine. Credit: Flickr/RIBI

In Pakistan, nine health workers were killed last year. They were administering the polio vaccine, which has been cast by the Taliban as a plot against Islam. This is because the CIA used vaccination programs to get close to Osama bin Laden. Pakistan is one of three countries where the transmission of the virus has […]

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January 11, 2013

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Scientists Make Brighter LEDs by Mimicking Fireflies

firefly-brighter-led

Fireflies have inspired scientists to modify LEDs so that they are more than one and a half times more efficient. Researchers have studied the internal structure of firefly lanterns, the organs responsible for the insects’ bioluminescence. The scientists published their findings in two papers in the journal Optics Express¹ ². The scientists identified an unexpected […]

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January 11, 2013

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Nearby Star is At Least 13.2 Billion Years Old

HD-140283

Astronomers have discovered one of the oldest stars in the known universe. They believe it is at least 13.2 billion years old and formed shortly after the Big Bang. The astronomers announced their findings at the January 10th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, California¹. Howard Bond of Pennsylvania State University in […]

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January 11, 2013

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Molecular Robot Mimics the Ribosome

Molecular-Robot-Mimics-Life's-Ribosome

Scientists have invented a nanomachine that mimics the function of the ribosome, which is the molecular machine that translates the genetic code into the body’s proteins. Dave Leigh, a synthetic chemist at the University of Manchester, UK, and his team published their findings in the journal Science¹. The machine is much simpler than the ribosome, […]

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January 11, 2013

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GALEX Data Reveals NGC 6872 as the Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy

spiral-galaxy-NGC-6872

Based on data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer mission, a team of international astronomers has declared barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 the largest-known spiral galaxy. Measuring more than 522,000 light-years from tip to tip, NGC 6872 is more than five times the size of the Milky Way. The spectacular barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 has […]

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January 10, 2013

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Understanding Dyscalculia and How the Brain Processes Numbers

Understanding-Dyscalculia-How-the-Brain-Processes-Numbers

Dyscalculia is a learning disability, which is sometimes called number blindness, and similar to dyslexia, but for numbers. Researchers estimate that as much as 7% of the population has dyscalculia, which can be marked by severe difficulties in dealing with numbers despite otherwise normal intelligence. Neuroscientists believe that the disorder illuminates the inner workings of […]

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January 10, 2013

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Epigenetics Are Important To Evolutionary Success

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Credit:  Daves BirdingPix

Genetic diversity and long periods of time are things that are crucial for evolutionary adaptation. This made scientists wonder why invasive species, lacking genetic diversity, succeed quickly. And some ecologists are beginning to think that epigenetic factors might be modifying genes while leaving the genome intact. The scientists presented their findings at a meeting of […]

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