Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News


Surprisingly strong magnetic fields can match black holes' pull: Long-neglected magnetic fields have an unexpected presence

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:38 AM PDT

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull.

Astronomers discover first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 08:51 AM PDT

In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a 'theoretical' class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-Zytkow objects are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches Earth

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star 12.1 billion years ago -- shortly after the Big Bang -- recently reached Earth and was observed by a robotic telescope. Known as a gamma-ray burst, these rare, high-energy explosions are the catastrophic collapse of a star at the end of its life. Astronomers can analyze the observational data to draw further conclusions about the structure of the early universe.

Humans, not climate, to blame for Ice Age-era disappearance of large mammals, study concludes

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:41 AM PDT

Was it humankind or climate change that caused the extinction of a considerable number of large mammals about the time of the last Ice Age? Researchers have carried out the first global analysis of the extinction of the large animals, and the conclusion is clear -- humans are to blame. The study unequivocally points to humans as the cause of the mass extinction of large animals all over the world during the course of the last 100,000 years.

Astronomers discover two new worlds orbiting ancient star next door: One may be warm enough to have liquid water

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:40 PM PDT

Astronomers have discovered two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life. Kapteyn's Star, named after the Dutch astronomer, Jacobus Kapteyn, who discovered it at the end of the 19th century, is the second fastest-moving star in the sky and belongs to the Galactic halo, an extended group of stars orbiting our Galaxy on very elliptical orbits. With a third of the mass of the Sun, this red-dwarf can be seen with an amateur telescope in the southern constellation of Pictor.

Hubble unveils new colorful view of the universe

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 12:10 PM PDT

Astronomers have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe — among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. This study, which includes ultraviolet light, provides the missing link in star formation.

Children with autism have elevated levels of steroid hormones in the womb

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:24 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that children who later develop autism are exposed to elevated levels of steroid hormones (for example testosterone, progesterone and cortisol) in the womb. The finding may help explain why autism is more common in males than females, but should not be used to screen for the condition.

Proteins 'ring like bells': Quantum mechanics and biochemical reactions

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:24 AM PDT

As far back as 1948, Erwin Schrödinger -- the inventor of modern quantum mechanics -- published the book 'What is life?' In it, he suggested that quantum mechanics and coherent ringing might be at the basis of all biochemical reactions. At the time, this idea never found wide acceptance because it was generally assumed that vibrations in protein molecules would be too rapidly damped. Now, scientists have shown that he may have been on the right track after all.

Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval: Rate may be ten times faster

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 02:03 PM PDT

Scientists estimate that surface ocean acidity increased by about 100 percent during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in a few thousand years or more, and stayed that way for the next 70,000 years. Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification caused the crisis -- similar to today, as humanmade CO2 combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.

Decomposing logs show local factors undervalued in climate change predictions

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 01:27 PM PDT

In a long-term analysis conducted across several sites in the eastern United States, a team of researchers found that local factors -- from levels of fungal colonization to the specific physical locations of the wood -- play a far greater role than climate in wood decomposition rates and the subsequent impacts on regional carbon cycling. Because decomposition of organic matter strongly influences the storage of carbon, or its release into the atmosphere, it is a major factor in potential changes to the climate.

Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 05:51 AM PST

A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in "microtubules" inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.

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