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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

NASA Voyager: 'Tsunami wave' still flies through interstellar space

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 05:42 PM PST

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three shock waves. The most recent shock wave, first observed in February 2014, still appears to be going on. One wave, previously reported, helped researchers determine that Voyager 1 had entered interstellar space.

Cost of cloud brightening for cooler planet revealed

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 05:30 PM PST

Scientists have identified the most energy-efficient way to make clouds more reflective to the sun in a bid to combat climate change. Marine Cloud Brightening is a reversible geoengineering method proposed to mitigate rising global temperatures. It relies on propelling a fine mist of salt particles high into the atmosphere to increase the albedo of clouds -- the amount of sunlight they reflect back into space.

Switching to vehicles powered by electricity from renewables could save lives

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 03:53 PM PST

Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent. This finding comes from a new life cycle analysis of conventional and alternative vehicles and their air pollution-related public health impacts. The study also shows that switching to vehicles powered by electricity made using natural gas yields large health benefits.

Back to future with Roman architectural concrete: Advanced light source reveals key to longevity of imperial Roman monuments

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 03:50 PM PST

A key discovery to understanding Roman architectural concrete that has stood the test of time and the elements for nearly two thousand years has been made by researchers using beams of X-rays.

Reshaping the horse through millennia: Sequencing reveals genes selected by humans in domestication

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 12:46 PM PST

Whole genome sequencing of modern and ancient horses unveils the genes that have been selected by humans in the process of domestication through the last 5,500 years, but also reveals the cost of this domestication. An international research group reports that a significant part of the genetic variation in modern domesticated horses could be attributed to interbreeding with the descendants of a now extinct population of wild horses. This population was distinct from the only surviving wild horse population.

Massive study provides first detailed look at how Greenland's ice is vanishing

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 12:45 PM PST

Scientists used NASA satellite and aerial data to reconstruct how the ice sheet changed at nearly 100,000 locations over many years.

NASA's MAVEN mission identifies links in chain leading to atmospheric loss

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 11:08 AM PST

Early discoveries by NASA's newest Mars orbiter are starting to reveal key features about the loss of the planet's atmosphere to space over time.

Virtual bodyswapping diminishes people's negative biases about others

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 09:30 AM PST

Researchers explain how they have used the brain's ability to bring together information from different senses to make white people feel that they were inhabiting black bodies and adults feel like they had children's bodies. The results of such virtual bodyswapping experiments are remarkable and have important implications for approaching phenomena such as race and gender discrimination.

Mathematicians prove the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 08:48 AM PST

Monstrous moonshine, a quirky pattern of the monster group in theoretical math, has a shadow -- umbral moonshine. Mathematicians have now proved this insight, known as the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, offering a formula with potential applications for everything from number theory to geometry to quantum physics.

Migrating 'supraglacial' lakes could trigger future Greenland ice loss

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 08:40 AM PST

Predictions of Greenland ice loss and its impact on rising sea levels may have been greatly underestimated. Supraglacial lakes are darker than ice, so they absorb more of the Sun's heat, which leads to increased melting. When the lakes reach a critical size, they drain through ice fractures, allowing water to reach the ice sheet base which causes it to slide more quickly into the oceans. These changes can also trigger further melting.

Show us how you play and it may tell us who you are

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 06:43 AM PST

The way in which toys are handled and combined with one another during object play can tell use a lot about the cognitive underpinnings of the actors. An international team of scientists studied parrot species, as well as crow species, with the same set of toys and found out that the birds willingly brought objects into complex spatial relationships: behaviors that occur in only a few species of primates.

Stretched-out solid exoplanets

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 05:44 AM PST

Astronomers could soon be able to find rocky planets stretched out by the gravity of the stars they orbit. Since the first discovery in 1993, more than 1800 planets have been found in orbit around stars other than our Sun. These 'exoplanets' are incredibly diverse, with some gaseous like Jupiter and some mostly rocky like the Earth. The worlds also orbit their stars at very different distances, from less than a million km to nearly 100 billion km away.

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