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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

Satellite measurements reveal gravity dip from ice loss in West Antarctica

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 04:54 PM PDT

Although not designed to map changes in Earth's gravity over time, ESA's GOCE satellite has shown that the ice lost from West Antarctica over the last few years has left its signature. More than doubling its planned life in orbit, GOCE spent four years measuring Earth's gravity in unprecedented detail. Researchers have found that the decrease in the mass of ice during this period was mirrored in GOCE's measurements.

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 11:41 AM PDT

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying. A resolution to this impasse is now provided by an exciting new study.

How to beat monk parakeets at their own game: Scientists prevent nests on utility poles

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:32 AM PDT

Researchers have announced they have found a way to prevent Monk Parakeets from building huge nests on utility poles by blocking access to the electric lines that are the gateway to their nesting sites.

New material steals oxygen from the air: One spoonful absorbs all the oxygen in a room

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:32 AM PDT

Researchers have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations. Just one spoon of the substance is enough to absorb all the oxygen in a room. The stored oxygen can be released again when and where it is needed.

Entanglement made tangible

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

Scientists have designed a first-ever experiment for demonstrating quantum entanglement in the macroscopic realm. Unlike other such proposals, the experiment is relatively easy to set up and run with existing semiconductor devices.

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

A reaction pathway that could reduce the potentially harmful impact of diazepam and similar chemicals on the UK's freshwater environment has been discovered by researchers. Diazepam -- used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions -- has been detected in rivers across the UK and Europe, having been released from waste water treatment plants. At the levels recorded, it has the potential to produce harmful ecological effects in surface waters, including changing the behavior of fish shoals and their ability to sense danger from predators.

Florida's climate boosts soil-carbon storage, cuts greenhouse emissions

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:16 AM PDT

Sequestration helps mitigate carbon-based gases from getting into the atmosphere. A new study shows Florida's warm, wet climate helps keep carbon in the soil. Soil-stored carbon can slow the build-up of carbon-based gases in the atmosphere, a phenomenon believed to be a cause of global climate change.

Laser-guided herds of sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 08:14 AM PDT

Sea monkeys have captured the popular attention of both children and aquarium hobbyists because of their easily observable life cycle. Physicists are interested in a shorter-term pattern: Like other zooplankton, brine shrimp vertically migrate in large groups throughout the day in response to changing light conditions. New research suggests that the collective movement of small marine organisms could affect global ocean circulation patterns on a level comparable to the wind and the tides.

Alcohol makes smiles more 'contagious,' but only for men

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:06 AM PDT

Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group, according to new research. The findings suggest that, for men, alcohol increases sensitivity to rewarding social behaviors like smiling, and may shed light on risk factors that contribute to problem drinking among men.

First evidence that reptiles can learn through imitation

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

New research has for the first time provided evidence that reptiles could be capable of social learning through imitation. The ability to acquire new skills through the 'true imitation' of others' behavior is thought to be unique to humans and advanced primates, such as chimpanzees.  

Astronomers find 'cousin' planets around twin stars

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:04 AM PDT

Astronomers have found two new Jupiter-sized extra-solar planets, each orbiting one star of a binary-star system.  Most known extra-solar planets orbit stars that are alone, like our Sun. Yet many stars are part of binary systems, twin stars formed from the same gas cloud. Now, for the first time, two stars of a binary system are both found to host a "hot Jupiter'' exoplanet.

Safer than silver: Antibacterial material made with algae

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Consumers concerned about safety of silver ions in antibacterial and odor-free clothing will soon have a proven safe alternative thanks to ultra-thin thread and a substance found naturally in red algae.

Nitrogen fingerprint in biomolecules could be from early sun

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:45 PM PDT

The pattern of nitrogen in biomolecules like proteins, which differ greatly from that seen in other parts of the solar system, could have been generated by the interactions of light from the early sun with nitrogen gas in the nebula, long before Earth formed.

How things coil: Simulation technology designed for Hollywood to predict understanding fundamental engineering problems

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Researchers have combined computer simulations designed for Hollywood with precision model experiments to examine the mechanics of coiling. Their study, which bridges engineering mechanics and computer graphics, impacts a variety of engineering applications, from the fabrication of nanotube serpentines to the laying of submarine cables and pipelines.

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