The first witnessed birth of a black hole

The date of March 19, 2008 will be remembered as a very important day in astronomy and science; it’s the day mankind had its first chance of witnessing the birth of a black hole. It all started when the “Pi of the Sky” telescope detected the brightest ever optical outburst from a distant place, about 7.5 billion light years from

Prions picked up by tuning fork detector

Prions (or proteinaceous infectious particle; on comes from analogy to virion) are the nasty little buggers responsable for disorders such as mad cow disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. They’re dangerous especially as they’re really hard to detect before symptoms appear.Now, according to Nature, scientists are trying to develop sensors that can detect prions by having them bind to a tiny

Space tourism – just 2 years away?

Recently, a small Aerospace company located in California has announced a new type of sub-orbital spaceship that can make your dream come true; that is, if you’ve got the right amount of money and you want to travel into outer space. This spaceship is claimed to provideaffordable front-seat rides to the edge of space for the millions of people who

Evolution – 2 billion years late ?!

Recently, the University of California, Riverside provided some materials that shocked me, to say the least. According to that research, scientists from all around the world have reconstructed changes in Earth’s ancient ocean chemistry during a broad sweep of geological time, from about 2.5 to 0.5 billion years ago. What they found was that the lack of oxygen and molybdenum (a heavy

Language Feature Unique To Human Brain Identified

There’s always been a lot of effort put into understanding what (if something) makes humans superior to other man-like mammals. The science world seems to be split into two camps, which can’t agree with each other. Now, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have identified a language feature unique to the human brain which gives some

Global warming strikes again: delicate coral-algae partnership threatened

After things seemed to be going a bit towards the right way, when fishing was banned in the 2nd largest coral reef in the world, a new study pointed out the fact that not a single square meter in the oceans has been left untouched by man’s activities. Corals are especially threatened, and protecting them is vital, as 200 million

‘Living dinosaur’ is fastest evolving animal

Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution performeda study of New Zealand’s “living dinosaur” the tuatara. They recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara which are up to 8000 years old. The conclusions they drew were amazing: despite all the ods, the tuatara has evolved faster than any other

How pollution can help to clean the air

A recent study has shown that certain types of air pollution can actually help by creating extra doses of atmospheric cleaner. Of course, we’re talking about just a small fraction of the total pollution which triggers the right chemical process. The lab study pointed out that nitrogen oxides (which result mostly from agricultural pollution) can help the production of hydroxyl

Is there enough water to go around?

A problem which a decade ago would have seemed just absurd is now becoming more and more pressing: water. More and more areas are suffering from drought or other problems caused by the lack of water.How can there not be enough water? Well let’s make the math. Out of the total quantity of water, just 3% of it is freshwater

Major advance in computational chemistry: Designer Enzymes

In what is a great leap for science, scientists from UCLA and the University of Washington have succeeded in creating “designer enzymes,” a major milestone in computational chemistry and protein engineering. The two groups were led by UCLA’s chemistry professor Kendall Houk and Washington’s biochemist David Baker. Designer enzymes will have applications for defense against biological warfare, by deactivating pathogenic

Earliest jewish gold scroll found in Austria

The University of Vienna is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. Recently, archaeologists that work there found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child’s grave, dating for almost two milleniums, from the 3rd century. They found it in the Austrian town of Halbturn. This amulet has a very big historical importance as it shows the

First ‘rule’ of evolution suggests life will become more and more complex

Scientists from the University of Bath have revealed what may very well be the first law of evolution, which has a huge importance. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and it shows the fact that evolution drives animals to become increasingly more complex. They analyzed fossils from the crustacean family tree and drawed conclusions

Glaciers Are Melting Faster Than Expected, UN Reports

Recently, more and more people are beginning to claim that the melting of glaciers caused by global warming is all fuss for nothing. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth! According to the official figures published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) the world’s glaciers are continuing to melt, at a higher rate than expected.Data from close to 30

New Luminous Spots Found On Jupiter

Scientists from the American Geophysical Union published some fascinating findings concerning some unexpected luminous spots on Jupiter caused by its moon Io, which they have observed. Io is in fact in some ways similar to Earth, in that it causes auroras on its mother planet. It also has the most spectacular volcanic activity in the solar system. The auroral emissions

Saatchi top 500 artists of the 20th century

We’re gonna take small break from science and relax with the fine arts of the 20th century. Recently, Saatchi made a thorough and relevant top of the greatest artists of the past century. While much to my shame I can barely recognize just about half of the first 100 and a much smaller proportion of the other artists, I think

Night lights for millions

While you’re sitting at home (or somewhere else) enjoying your internet connection you are probably not thingking about the 1.6 billion people across the world with no access to electricity. That’s roughly 1/4 of the world’s population! Something good to think about when you’re really pissed that your computer can’t support the latest shooting game. Anyway, I was pleased to

Healthy Rivers Needed To Remove Nitrogen

Nature has its own way of protecting itself, and we should have already learned this (the hard way), because so many catastrophes have happened as a result of man’s destructive work. Look at the damage caused by the recent tsunamis; they would have been almost neglectable if we hadn’t destroyed the plankton, which has a very protective action. Also, despite

The Solar System’s first breath

Nature published these findings of scientists from Houston, Texas, about the original proportion of oxygen isotopes in the Sun. This problem is still not fully solved, and it has even split the science world into two groups, which published contradictory results from analyses of lunar soils, believed to contain embedded solar oxygen because the Moon doesn’t have an atmospheric shield

Jules Verne On Track For Long Journey To ISS

A few days ago, Europe launched an impressive spacecraft, an Automated Transfer Vehicle (or ATV) which is able to transport about 7.6 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Although it lacks an official name, it was nicknamed “Jules Verne”. But it appeared to have some minor problems, which have been solved later. Following an overnight recovery operation,

Evidence of Ice Age hunters: hand axes

An amateur Dutch archaeologist named Jan Meulmeester made a startling find which pleases scientists: an amazing collection of 28 flint hand-axes, dated by archaeologists to be around 100,000 years-old. He found them in an area about 13km off Great Yarmouth. Jan Meulmeester diggs regularly for mammoth bones and fossils in marine sand and gravel delivered the materials, but nobody expected