Biology, Geology, News

Scientists find life at 20 km deep

Photo credit: Philippa Stoddard. A hundred million years ago this outcrop is thought to have been 20km down, yet it still contains evidence of life.

A Yale undergrad may force us to rewrite geology and biology books, after reporting a find which suggests that life can exist much deeper than currently believed, at temperatures at which DNA is barely stable. Geologists found carbon isotopes in rocks on Washington state’s South Lopez Island; these isotopes suggest the minerals grew from fluids flush with microbial methane. Microbial methane…

Diseases, Genetics, News

Scientists revive 700 year old virus to see if it still “works”

An image of frozen caribou feces. Image credits: Brian Moorman.

Scientists have resurrected a 700 year old virus form Canadian permafrost and showed that even after several centuries of lumbering, viruses can remain… well. virulent. This could have significant implications, because as global warming continues melt more and more permafrost, unknown viruses could be released into the environment – and there’s currently no way of telling what the effects will be…

Great Pics

Stunning photo shows a spider “fixing” a leaf

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Well, this spider isn’t trying to fix the leaf, as much as it’s taking advantage of the situation to find a tasty meal – but this doesn’t make the photo any less amazing. There’s no Photoshop or image manipulation involved here. Paris-based photographer Bertrand Kulik took the picture of this tiny spider who managed to construct its web inside a leaf…

Biology, Geology, News

Megalodon extinction paved the way for whale development

megalodon.

Megalodon is quite possibly the most dangerous predator to ever live in the Earth’s waters in the recent geological history – roaming the seas between 28 to 1-3 million years ago. We’re still not sure why it went extinct, but a recent study suggests that its extinction paved the way for whales to grow more and more, reaching the enormous sizes we…

News, Space

Comets stink: space probe finds odor of urine, rotten eggs and alcohol

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: AFP/ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Ever wondered how a comet smells? Well even if you could, you might wish you hadn’t: rotten eggs, horse pee, alcohol and bitter almonds are just a couple of the fragrances you could sniff. A smelly comet These volatile compounds were detected by  a mass spectrometer aboard the Rosetta probe which is currently studying the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mass spectrometer analyzed the…

News, Pollution, Renewable Energy

Natural gas is not a clean energy bridge, further studies find

Natural gas will not dawn a cleaner day in terms of energy. Image via Ohio Citizen.

A trio of newly published studies showed once again that natural gas is not a clean energy bridge – the studies highlighting the various problems associated with natural gas. Firstly, it was shown that emissions databases underestimate the methane released from fossil-fuel extraction in the U.S. Southwest. “A global gas boom is not a replacement for energy and climate policies,” write…

Geology, News, Physics

Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Earth's magnetic field is shown in midreversal.COURTESY OF GARY A. GLATZMAIER University of California, Santa Cruz, AND PAUL H. ROBERTS University of California, Los Angeles

Geologists have known for quite a while that the Earth’s magnetic field has flipped many times throughout the planet’s history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet maintains the same intensity, but for unknown reason(s), it sometimes becomes weaker and changes polarity. Now, a new study has showed that this phenomenon could happen much faster than previously believed –…

Animals, Videos

Extremely rare footage shows sperm whales sleeping vertically

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The sperm whale (also called the cachalot) the largest toothed predator. Mature males average at 16 metres (52 ft) in length but some may reach 20.5 metres (67 ft), with the head representing up to one-third of the animal’s length. The sperm whale feeds primarily on squid, which it hunts at impressive depths, usually deeper than 2 km. Researchers have believed for some…

Feature Post, Great Pics, Space

Planet Earth through the eyes of an Astronaut

On a clear day you can see forever (or at least form Havana to Washington, D.C.).

Col. Chris Hadfield is not your typical astronaut (as far as astronauts can be seen as typical). The first Canadian to walk into outer space, Hadfield caused sensation on social media channels on various occasions, be it after recording a song while surfing gravity in the ISS or when he showed us how to brush your teeth in micro gravity. He’s most popular posts…

Environment, News

UK to allow fracking companies to use ‘any substance’ under homes, despite 99% public opposition

Image credits: Rob Brooks.

A new proposed amendment in the UK would make a mockery of existing European shale gas regulation. If the new regulation would pass, it would allow fracking companies to put “any substance” under people’s homes and property and leave it there, as part of the Infrastructure Bill. The wording of the bill would also allow storing nuclear waste. Europe has much stricter…