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Friday, November 21, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Deep-earth carbon offers clues on origin of life on Earth: new organic carbon species linked to formation of diamonds -- and life itself

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 03:33 PM PST

Scientists reveal details about carbon deep beneath the Earth's surface and suggest ways it might have influenced the history of life on the planet.

How to estimate the magnetic field of an exoplanet

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:18 AM PST

Scientists developed a new method which allows to estimate the magnetic field of a distant exoplanet, i.e., a planet, which is located outside the Solar system and orbits a different star. Moreover, they managed to estimate the value of the magnetic moment of the planet HD 209458b.

Geologists discover ancient buried canyon in South Tibet

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Scientists have discovered an ancient, deep canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in south Tibet, north of the eastern end of the Himalayas. The geologists say that the ancient canyon -- thousands of feet deep in places -- effectively rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalayas became so steep, so fast.

Why some people may be immune to HIV-1: Insight

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells it infects has uncovered a chink in HIV-1's armor that may, at least in part, explain the puzzling difference -- and potentially open the door to new treatments.

Dizzying heights: Prehistoric farming on the 'roof of the world'

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Archaeological findings pose questions about genetic resistance in humans to altitude sickness and genetic response in crop plants to flowering times and ultraviolet radiation tolerance. Archaeological discoveries from the 'roof of the world' on the Tibetan Plateau indicate that from 3,600 years ago, crop growing and the raising of livestock was taking place year-round at hitherto unprecedented altitudes.

Imagination, reality flow in opposite directions in the brain

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:14 AM PST

As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality. Aiming to discern discrete neural circuits, researchers have tracked electrical activity in the brains of people who alternately imagined scenes or watched videos.

It's filamentary: How galaxies evolve in the cosmic web

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

How do galaxies like our Milky Way form, and just how do they evolve? Are galaxies affected by their surrounding environment? Astronomers now propose some answers. The researchers highlight the role of the 'cosmic web' -- a large-scale web-like structure comprised of galaxies -- on the evolution of galaxies that took place in the distant universe, a few billion years after the Big Bang.

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

Enzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as 'active' sites. But scientists lack basic information about their function because the states thought to be critical to their chemical abilities cannot be experimentally observed. Now, researchers have reported the first direct observation of the electronic states of iron-sulfur clusters, common to many enzyme active sites.

Darwin 2.0: New theory on speciation, diversity

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST

It has long been thought that dramatic changes in a landscape like the formation of the Andes Mountain range or the Amazon River is the main driver that initiates species to diverge. However, a recent study shows that speciation occurred much later than these dramatic geographical changes. Researchers have found that time and a species' ability to move play greater parts in the process of speciation.

Unwinding the mysteries of the cellular clock

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

Underlying circadian rhythms is a clock built of transcription factors that control the oscillation of genes, serving as the wheels and springs of the clock. But, how does a single clock keep time in multiple phases at once? A genome-wide survey found that circadian genes and regulatory elements called enhancers oscillate daily in phase with nearby genes – both the enhancer and gene activity peak at the same time each day.

Riddle of the missing stars: Hubble observations cast further doubt on how globular clusters formed

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:32 AM PST

Thanks to the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, some of the most mysterious cosmic residents have just become even more puzzling. New observations of globular clusters in a small galaxy show they are very similar to those found in the Milky Way, and so must have formed in a similar way.

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Hidden under the vegetation and crops of the Eria Valley, in León (Spain), there is a gold mining network created by the Romans two thousand years ago, as well as complex hydraulic works, such as river diversions, to divert water to the mines of the precious metal. Researchers made the discovery from the air with an airborne laser teledetection system.

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus' key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, and could prove instrumental in designing new drugs to treat serious flu infections and combat flu pandemics.

What's behind our music tastes? Some common perceptions

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

Metal heads, jazz purists and folkies may have more in common musically than you imagined. A new study sheds light on the shared ways in which humans perceive music.

Out of India: Finding the origins of horses, rhinos

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

Working at the edge of a coal mine in India, a team of researchers has filled in a major gap in science's understanding of the evolution of a group of animals that includes horses and rhinos. That group likely originated on the subcontinent when it was still an island headed swiftly for collision with Asia, the researchers report.

Bad marriage, broken heart?

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:48 PM PST

Older couples in a bad marriage -- particularly female spouses -- have a higher risk for heart disease than those in a good marriage, finds the first nationally representative study of its kind.

Sun's rotating 'magnet' pulls lightning towards UK

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:48 PM PST

The sun may be playing a part in the generation of lightning strikes on Earth by temporarily 'bending' the Earth's magnetic field and allowing a shower of energetic particles to enter the upper atmosphere.

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