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Friday, December 12, 2014

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Water vapor on Rosetta's target comet significantly different from that found on Earth

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 05:47 PM PST

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapor from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet's oceans. One of the leading hypotheses on Earth's formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off. But, today, two thirds of the surface is covered in water, so where did it come from? In this scenario, it should have been delivered after our planet had cooled down, most likely from collisions with comets and asteroids.

Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 11:08 AM PST

Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home -- di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate -- had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. While avoiding all phthalates in the United States is for now impossible, the researchers recommend that pregnant women take steps to limit exposure by not microwaving food in plastics, avoiding scented products as much as possible, including air fresheners, and dryer sheets, and not using recyclable plastics labeled as 3, 6, or 7.

Phenomenal fossil and detailed analysis reveal details about enigmatic fossil mammals

Posted: 10 Dec 2014 08:43 AM PST

Mammals that lived during the time of the dinosaurs are often portrayed as innocuous, small-bodied creatures, scurrying under the feet of the huge reptiles. In reality, this wasn't the case, and a new fossil from Madagascar further underscores this point, revealing fascinating perspectives on the growing diversity of Mesozoic mammals.

Temperature anomalies are warming faster than Earth's average, study finds

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

It's widely known that the Earth's average temperature has been rising. But new research finds that spatial patterns of extreme temperature anomalies -- readings well above or below the mean -- are warming even faster than the overall average. It may seem counterintuitive that global warming would be accompanied by colder winter weather at some locales. But scientists say the observation aligns with theories about climate change, which hold that amplified warming in the Arctic region produces changes in the jet stream, which can result in extended periods of cold weather at some locations in the mid-northern latitudes.

Major Viking hall identified in Sweden

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 06:31 AM PST

A Viking feasting hall measuring almost 50 meters in length has been identified near Vadstena in Sweden. Archaeologists used ground-penetrating radar, a non-invasive geophysical method, to locate and map the house foundation.

Dawn snaps its best-yet image of dwarf planet Ceres

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 06:52 AM PST

The Dawn spacecraft has delivered a glimpse of Ceres, the largest body in the main asteroid belt, in a new image taken 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from the dwarf planet. This is Dawn's best image yet of Ceres as the spacecraft makes its way toward this unexplored world.

Astronomers observe galactic 'blow out'

Posted: 04 Dec 2014 06:11 AM PST

For the first time, an international team of astronomers has revealed the dramatic 'blow out' phase of galactic evolution. The astronomers have discovered dense gas being blasted out of a compact galaxy (called SDSS J0905+57) at speeds of up to two million miles per hour. The gas is being driven to distances of tens of thousands of light years by the intense pressure exerted on it by the radiation of stars that are forming rapidly at the galaxy's center. This is having a major impact on the evolution of the galaxy.

World's Oldest Living Tree -- 9550 years old -- Discovered In Sweden

Posted: 16 Apr 2008 07:43 AM PDT

The world's oldest recorded tree is a 9,550 year old spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden. The spruce tree has shown to be a tenacious survivor that has endured by growing between erect trees and smaller bushes in pace with the dramatic climate changes over time.

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