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Friday, October 17, 2014

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

Tiny 'nanoflares' might heat the Sun's corona

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 02:06 PM PDT

Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa is presenting new clues to the mystery of coronal heating. The team finds that miniature solar flares called 'nanoflares' -- and the speedy electrons they produce -- might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.

Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 01:59 PM PDT

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.

Wobbling of a Saturn moon hints at what lies beneath

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:36 AM PDT

Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, an astronomer has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped rocky core or a sloshing sub-surface ocean.

Staph 'gangs' share nutrients during infection

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:09 AM PDT

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their 'friends.' The findings shed light on a long-standing question in infectious diseases and may inform new treatment strategies.

Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy through cosmic magnifying glass

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the lensing power of giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744, astronomers may have made the most reliable distance measurement yet of an object that existed in the very early universe. The galaxy, estimated to be over 13 billion light-years away, is one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen.

That pregnant feeling makes a fly start nesting

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Across the animal kingdom, it's not uncommon for pregnancy to change an expectant mom's behavior. Even female flies have their own rudimentary way of 'nesting,' which appears to be brought on by the stretch of their egg-filled abdomens rather than the act of mating, according to a study.

Are male brains wired to ignore food for sex? Nematode study points to basic biological mechanisms

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Choosing between two good things can be tough. When animals must decide between feeding and mating, it can get even trickier. In a discovery that might ring true even for some humans, researchers have shown that male brains -- at least in nematodes -- will suppress the ability to locate food in order to instead focus on finding a mate.

Male and female brains aren't equal when it comes to fat

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Researchers have found that male and female brains respond in remarkably different ways to high-fat meals. Those differences in the brain lead to greater inflammation and increased health risks in males that indulge on fatty foods in comparison to females, a new study in mice shows. The findings may help to explain observed differences in obesity outcomes between women and men and suggest that dietary advice should be made more sex-specific.

Jet lag can cause obesity by disrupting the daily rhythms of gut microbes

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Organisms ranging from bacteria to humans have circadian clocks to help them synchronize their biological activities to the time of day. A study now reveals that gut microbes in mice and humans have circadian rhythms that are controlled by the biological clock of the host in which they reside. Disruption of the circadian clock in the host alters the rhythms and composition of the microbial community, leading to obesity and metabolic problems.

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, a new type of mirror that forgoes a familiar shiny metallic surface and instead reflects infrared light by using an unusual magnetic property of a non-metallic metamaterial. Using nanoscale antennas, researchers are able to capture and harness electromagnetic radiation in ways that have tantalizing potential in new classes of chemical sensors, solar cells, lasers, and other optoelectronic devices.

Inexplicable signal from unseen universe provides tantalizing clue about one of astronomy's greatest secrets - dark matter

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 05:54 AM PDT

The first potential indication of direct detection of Dark Matter – something that has been a mystery in physics for over 30 years -- has been attained. Astronomers found what appears to be a signature of 'axions', predicted 'Dark Matter' particle candidates.

Follow the leader: Insects benefit from good leadership too

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 06:09 PM PDT

When insect larvae follow a leader to forage for food, both leaders and followers benefit, growing much faster than if they are in a group of only leaders or only followers, scientists have shown for the first time. The work gives new insight into why such social relationships evolve in insects, and why they are maintained.

Brain surgery, by robot, through the cheek

Posted: 15 Oct 2014 12:25 PM PDT

Engineers have developed a surgical robot designed to perform brain surgery by entering through the cheek instead of the skull that can operate on a patient in an MRI scanner. Additionally, the engineers have designed the system so that much of it can be made using 3-D printing in order to keep the price low.

Technical feasibility of proposed Mars One mission assessed

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 02:08 PM PDT

In 2012, the "Mars One" project, led by a Dutch nonprofit, announced plans to establish the first human colony on the Red Planet by 2025. The mission would initially send four astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars, where they would spend the rest of their lives building the first permanent human settlement. It's a bold vision -- particularly since Mars One claims that the entire mission can be built upon technologies that already exist.

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