Tiny plastic timebomb: how cosmetic microbeads are killing the fish in the oceans

People using cosmetics are indirectly pouring hundreds of tons of tiny plastic beads into the oceans every year. These beads ultimately end up contaminating the marine wildlife, a big part of which ends up on your plate. You probably don’t know this, but many cosmetic products (including tooth paste and detergents) contain thousands of plastic microbeads deliberately added by producers

Astronomers find the sun’s first sibling: a star made of the same stuff

In what’s considered the first find out of a slew to follow, a team of astronomers have identified a star that originated out of the same matter as our own sun. In lack of a better analogy, the two are siblings and probably share many more sisters. Apart from telling us where in the galaxy our solar system first formed

Dusty rovers and weather on Mars

Mark Lemmon is an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University and a camera operator for numerous Mars missions, especially those involving the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. These two rovers are considered nothing short of heroes by the men and women at mission control who were part of the projects. Spirit, for instance, was launched 2004 and was

Researchers create a remarkably accurate model of our Universe and its evolution

The Illustris project took 5 years of software development and 3 months running on 8000 processors – but it sure was worth it – the result is truly monumental!  Now, researchers finally have an accurate model of the development of the universe, which even though is rough around some edges, still blends in well with today’s accepted science, and even makes

Why birds survived the dinosaur apocalypse: they were small enough

Some 65 million years ago an asteroid impact caused countless species of land, marine and plant life to become extinct, including the mighty dinosaur which dominated the planet for millions of years. Not all species of the dinosaur group vanished, however. You’ve guess right: birds! Now, a new study sheds light on why birds were able to survive – they

Amazing moonrise, shot in New Zealand

  ” Full Moon Silhouettes is a real time video of the moon rising over the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. People had gathered up there this night to get the best view possible of the moon rising. I captured the video from 2.1km away on the other side of the city. It’s something that I’ve been wanting

Voluntary Temple Slavery in Ancient Egypt 2200 years ago

  In the excavations near the ancient temple of Tebtunis archaeologists found a big number of papyri in a garbage dump near the temple that later turned out to be slave contracts with a significant hystorical value. In the text translated from 100 papyruses, an incredible fact was revealed: not only that the slaves voluntarily chose to be slaves for

A Better Glipse of “Doomsday-asteroid” Apophis as seen by Herschel

Due to a “closer” approach of asteroid Apophis this month of just 40 Earth-Moon distances, astronomers were able to get a better glimpse of the much talked about asteroid in order to better understand it. Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data, said that one

The El Niño turns out to be more chaotic than previously thought

Why would the El Niño be important for the rest of us that don’t live in the western part of South America? Well because it also influences the climate in North America, Asia, Australia, Africa, even Europe perhaps.. so that basically means the whole world. The El Niño-the southern oscillation or ENSO is a sort of a heartbeat of the Earth’s climate,

National Geographic 2012 Photography Competition winning images

” More than 22,000 entries were submitted from over 150 countries, with professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts across the globe participating. Photographs were submitted in three categories: people, places and nature. The competition was judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts comprised of natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery. ”      

Amazing high energy, relativistic plasma jets coming out of the Hercules A Galaxy

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… at about 2 billion light years away from Earth lies radio-galaxy Hercules A, also known as 3C 348. At a first glance it looks just like another massive galaxy out there – at least when looking in the visible spectrum. In the radio wavelengths however, the story is completely different.

3D-Printed Fractal structures are ultralight and extrastrong

  Remember fractals? Those incredible structures that arise from the apparent random variability of both the mathematical and the real universe. A few years after prof. Mandelbrot published his work on what he defined as fractals, swarms of ideas exploded in the minds of scientist: they turned out to be an astonishing revelation in understanding the structure of the universe –

Vegetative patients can now communicate with the outside world through fMRI and EEG

As amazing as it sounds, communicating with a person in a vegetative state is no longer something we see in sci-fi movies, it is beginning to become a reality. A vegetative state occurs when some patients come out of a come and wake up, but not with their minds, just their bodies. While they are able to breathe on their

The Mystery of Namibian Fairy Circles

Fairy circles, or fairy rings as they have sometimes been called, are known to many cultures around the world and pose various mystical significance. Some consider them a spawning pool for elves, fairies or pixies, hence their name. In Europe and North America they are most of the times formed by mushrooms, as most people know, and comprise a rather

The island that did not exist

Who doesn’t dream of a deserted tropical island..sandy beaches made of coral sand, with crystal clear water, blue like the sky – you know what I mean. And let’s say it would be somewhere off the coast of Australia, maybe near New Calledonia. That sounds perfect.. it’s a great place, a great place to imagine. Well, guess what: you’re not the

A primitive form of parenting possibly found in 540 million years old paleodictyon patterns

Paleodictyon is a mysterious fossil pattern found mainly in marine sediments thought to be specific of a certain paleo-depth range; it is a relatively widespread trace fossil – called this way because it is mainly accepted that it is created by a burrowing creature. Although it has been discovered since the dawn of geology and fossil hunting, no one was able

Drought caused by global warming puts many forests around the world at risk

Around the globe, local climates are changing. Maybe you haven’t noticed it yet, because in most regions this is a slow and subtle change, but the people that are used to observing the nature around their cities, or the people in agriculture that are deeply connected to the patterns of rain and drought will tell you – the last decade has

Closest rogue planet discovered is just 100 light-years away

Like in a scene from a Sci-fi novel, about 100 light years away, somewhere in the constellation Doradus, a planet is travelling around the galaxy by itself, without orbiting a parent star. This “rogue planet“, has a temperature of about 400C and a mass between 4 to 7 times that of Jupiter – close to the mass limit beyond which