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Saturday, November 1, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Universe may face a darker future: Is dark matter swallowing up dark energy?

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 05:20 AM PDT

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be. Scientists have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our Universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy.

They know the drill: Leading the league in boring through ice sheets

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 01:30 PM PDT

Hollow coring drills are used to extract ice cores that can analyze the past atmosphere. Scientists have now documented carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 23,000 and 9,000 years ago, based on data from an 11,000-foot hole in Antarctica.

Oceans arrived early to Earth; Primitive meteorites were a likely source of water, study finds

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life on the planet, the answers to two key questions have eluded us: Where did Earth's water come from and when? While some hypothesize that water came late to Earth, well after the planet had formed, findings from a new study significantly move back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in the inner solar system.

Genetic factors behind surviving or dying from Ebola shown in mouse study

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:22 AM PDT

A newly developed mouse model suggests that genetic factors are behind the mild-to-deadly range of responses to the Ebola virus. The frequency of different manifestations of the disease across the lines of these mice are similar in variety and proportion to the spectrum of clinical disease observed in the 2014 West African outbreak. The new mouse model might be useful in testing candidate therapeutics and vaccines for Ebola, and in finding genetic markers for susceptibility and resistance to the disease.

Emerging disease could wipe out American, European salamanders

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:22 AM PDT

A fungal disease from Asia wiped out salamanders in parts of Europe and will likely reach the US through the international wildlife trade in Asian newts sold as pets, say US experts. Scientists report the fungus arose in Asia 30 million years ago and is lethal to many European and American newt species. It has not yet been found in North American wild amphibians.

Magma pancakes beneath Indonesia's Lake Toba: Subsurface sources of mega-eruptions

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 11:20 AM PDT

The tremendous amounts of lava that are emitted during super-eruptions accumulate over millions of years prior to the event in the Earth's crust. These reservoirs consist of magma that intrudes into the crust in the form of numerous horizontally oriented sheets resting on top of each other like a pile of pancakes.

Toddlers copy their peers to fit in, but apes don't

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:33 AM PDT

From the playground to the board room, people often follow, or conform, to the behavior of those around them as a way of fitting in. New research shows that this behavioral conformity appears early in human children, but isn't evidenced by apes like chimpanzees and orangutans.

Planet discovered that won't stick to a schedule

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:33 AM PDT

For their latest discovery, astronomers have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem. The new planet, called PH3c, is located 2,300 light years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium. Its inconsistency kept it from being picked up by automated computer algorithms that search stellar light curves and identify regular dips caused by objects passing in front of stars.

Sadness lasts longer than other emotions

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:31 AM PDT

Why is it that you can feel sad up to 240 times longer than you do feeling ashamed, surprised, irritated or even bored? It's because sadness often goes hand in hand with events of greater impact such as death or accidents. You need more time to mull over and cope with what happened to fully comprehend it, say researchers. This is the first work to provide clear evidence to explain why some emotions last a longer time than others.

Why scratching makes you itch more

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

Turns out your mom was right: scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research reveals that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation. Scientists uncovered serotonin's role in controlling pain decades ago, but this is the first time the release of the chemical messenger from the brain has been linked to itch, they say.

Hubble sees 'ghost light' from dead galaxies

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

The universe is an infinite sea of galaxies, which are majestic star-cities. When galaxies group together in massive clusters, some of them can be ripped apart by the gravitational tug of other galaxies. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to probe the massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 — nicknamed Pandora's Cluster — have found forensic evidence of galaxies torn apart long ago. It's in the form of a phantom-like faint glow filling the space between the galaxies. This glow comes from stars scattered into intergalactic space as a result of a galaxy's disintegration.

Identifying the source of stem cells

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 08:49 AM PDT

When most animals begin life, cells immediately begin accepting assignments to become a head, tail or a vital organ. However, mammals, including humans, are special. The cells of mammalian embryos get to make a different first choice -- to become the protective placenta or to commit to forming the baby.

Female frogs modify offspring development depending on reproduction date

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 08:48 AM PDT

Global warming is altering the reproduction of plants and animals, notably accelerating the date when reproduction and other life processes occur. A new study has discovered that some amphibians are capable of making their offspring grow at a faster rate if they have been born later due to the climate.

Can parents make their kids smarter?

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Reading bedtime stories, engaging in conversation and eating nightly dinners together are all positive ways in which parents interact with their children, but according to new research, none of these actions have any detectable influence on children's intelligence later in life. A criminology professor examined a nationally representative sample of youth alongside a sample of adopted children and found evidence to support the argument that IQ is not the result of parental socialization.

Breakdown in gut barriers to bacteria may promote inflammation and craving in alcoholics

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:28 AM PDT

Bacteria in the GI tract fulfill many vital functions and are critical for digestion. Yet, these same bacteria can induce strong inflammatory responses by the immune system if they penetrate the gut and enter the bloodstream. Prior research has established the involvement of inflammatory processes in the development of psychiatric disorders, including major depression and alcohol dependence, but the origins of such inflammation have remained unclear. Now, researchers have found that inflammatory pathways are stimulated in alcohol-dependent patients by bacteria that escape the gut barrier, which correlated with alcohol craving.

Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds: Many Interacting Worlds theory challenges foundations of quantum science

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory on parallel universes. Scientists now propose that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics.

When did galaxies settle down?

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:12 AM PDT

Astronomers have long sought to understand exactly how the universe evolved from its earliest history to the cosmos we see around us in the present day. In particular, the way that galaxies form and develop is still a matter for debate. Now a group of researchers have used the collective efforts of the hundreds of thousands of people that volunteer for the Galaxy Zoo project to shed some light on this problem. They find that galaxies may have settled into their current form some two billion years earlier than previously thought.

Seeing dinosaur feathers in a new light

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Why were dinosaurs covered in a cloak of feathers long before the early bird species Archaeopteryx first attempted flight? Researchers postulate that these ancient reptiles had a highly developed ability to discern color. Their hypothesis: The evolution of feathers made dinosaurs more colorful, which in turn had a profoundly positive impact on communication, the selection of mates and on dinosaurs' procreation.

'Treasure in saliva' may reveal deadly diseases early enough to treat them

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:44 PM PDT

Research could lead to a simple saliva test capable of diagnosing -- at an early stage -- diabetes and cancer, and perhaps neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases. The study, the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted of RNA molecules in human saliva, reveals that saliva contains many of the same disease-revealing molecules that are contained in blood.

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