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Old 12-19-2012, 10:55 AM   #176
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...vered-tau-ceti

'Habitable' planet discovered circling Tau Ceti star


Artist's impression of Tau Ceti: astronomers have found a planet with conditions that could support life orbiting a twin neighbour of the sun. Photograph: J Pinfield for the RoPACS netwo/PA



A planet with conditions that could support life orbits a twin neighbour of the sun visible to the naked eye, scientists have revealed.

The world is one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a star just 12 light years away that is almost identical to the sun.

Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be two to six times bigger than Earth. One of them, with five times the Earth's mass, lies in the star's "habitable zone".

Also known as the "Goldilocks zone", this is the orbital region that is neither too hot nor too cold to allow liquid surface water and, potentially, life. Details of the discovery are to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Because of the difficulties involved in detecting extra-solar planets, most found so far have had high masses. The Tau Ceti planetary family is thought to be the lowest-mass solar system yet detected.

Scientists found the planets using a highly sensitive technique that combined data from more than 6,000 observations from three different telescopes. They used the radial velocity method, which looks for "wobble" in a star's movement caused by the gravitational tug of planets.

Dr James Jenkins, a member of the international team from the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Tau Ceti is one of our nearest cosmic neighbours and so bright that we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not-too-distant future.

"Planetary systems found around nearby stars close to our sun indicate that these systems are common in our Milky Way galaxy."

More than 800 planets have been discovered orbiting stars beyond the sun since the 1990s. Those found around the nearest sun-like stars are the most interesting to astronomers.

Professor Steve Vogt, another team member, from the University of California at Santa Cruz, said: "This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets. They are everywhere, even right next door."

Professor Chris Tinney, an Australian member from the University of New South Wales, said: "As we stare at the night sky, it is worth contemplating that there may well be more planets out there than there are stars, some fraction of which may well be habitable."

Jenkins is a visiting fellow at the University of Hertfordshire who is based at the University of Chile.
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Dark Knights Rises has its problems but its not garbage. **** like Scary Movie is garbage. Cheaply made with little artistic merit.

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Old 12-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #177
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2013: The Year We Made Contact

http://news.yahoo.com/first-alien-ea...170808230.html
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:25 PM   #178
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If only there was a way to detect life from a distance.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:05 PM   #179
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Don't worry, when they notice we're looking we will be able to detect them turning the lights off and pretending no-one's home.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:28 PM   #180
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Heh, I'm currently reading a book about the Blitz.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #181
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Nuclear disaster linked with childhood obesity. Children from Fukushima have the highest obesity rate in all of Japan, and researchers suspect that fears over last year's nuclear disaster have a lot to do with the extra poundage. Japanese government researchers found that parents and school officials in the region aren't letting kids outside due to concerns over radiation. This imposed sedentary lifestyle is making them put on more weight than any other kids in the country. The researchers culled this data from 700,000 children across Japan aged five to 17.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:40 AM   #182
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Why Fingers & Toes Get Pruney in Water

By Charles Choi, LiveScience
Fingers may wrinkle when wet to help people grip wet objects, find researchers, who say the pruney feature may have helped human ancestors do the same in wet conditions.

When a person's hands and feet are soaked in water, wrinkles eventually develop on the tips of fingers and toes. Scientists once thought this puckering resulted from the outermost layer of skin absorbing and swelling with water, but recent studies revealed the nervous system actively controlled this wrinkling by constricting blood vessels below the skin.

That the nervous system controls this behavior suggests these wrinkles served a purpose. Now researchers find these wrinkles could help fingers and toes grip wet surfaces.

"A phenomenon that everybody is familiar with is not just some kind of side effect of the nature of the skin on fingers and toes, but a functional feature that has very likely been selected for by evolution," researcher Tom Smulders, an evolutionary biologist at Newcastle University in England, told LiveScience.

Smulders and his colleagues had 20 volunteers pick up wet marbles and small lead weights of different sizes. Volunteers attempted the task either with normal, dry hands or after their fingers had wrinkled following a 30-minute soak in warm water. The participants picked up wet items 12 percent faster with wrinkled fingers. [10 Odd Facts About the Human Body]

"We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions," Smulders said. "It could be working like treads on your car tires, which allow more of the tire to be in contact with the road, [which] gives you a better grip." Another possibility is that wrinkling causes changes in skin properties, such as its flexibility or stickiness, which help the fingers and toes perform better when wet.

"The most surprising thing to me was how the effect was there in all 20 participants, independent of how fast they were on average," Smulders said. "I never expected the effect to be so strong and obvious."

As a potential explanation of why this effect might have evolved, Smulders said, "it could have helped with gathering food from wet vegetation or streams. And as we see the effect in our toes, too, this may have been an advantage as it may have meant our ancestors were able to get a better footing in the rain."

Wrinkled fingers apparently made no difference when it came to picking up dry objects.

"This raises the question of why we don't have permanently wrinkled fingers, and we'd like to examine this further," Smulders said. "Our initial thoughts are that this could diminish the sensitivity in our fingertips or could increase the risk of damage through catching on objects."

Future research should analyze what other primates or non-primate animals might also show this phenomenon to shed light on when and why it evolved, Smulders said.

"Which other animals share this trait? And is the link among species that share it phylogenetic — that is, they're all related — or environmental — that is, they all deal with submerged objects, for example?" Smulders said.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:30 PM   #183
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Awesome.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:15 PM   #184
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Milky Way Galaxy May Be Less Massive Than Thought

The Milky Way galaxy, home of Earth's solar system, may actually be only half as massive as currently thought, scientists say.

Stars in the far outer reaches of the Milky Way, between 260,000 and 490,000 light-years from the galactic center, are cruising around surprisingly slowly, researchers found. Galactic mass and star velocities are linked, so the results could have big implications.

"Because these velocities are so low, the mass of our galaxy may be much lower than we once thought," lead author Alis Deason, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, told reporters Wednesday (Jan. 9) at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Socity in Long Beach, Calif.

"If we infer the properties of the stars that we think are reasonable, then we find the mass of the Milky Way could be half as massive as we currently believe," added Deason, who performed the research while at the University of Cambridge in England. [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy]

The Milky Way is composed of three main parts: a central bulge, a relatively flat disk and a roughly spherical surrounding halo.

Deason and her team looked far out into the Milky Way's halo, which extends far beyond the 100,000-light-year-wide disk. They measured the radial velocities of a sample of distant halo stars using two different instruments: the European Southern Observatory's 8.2-meter telescope in Chile and the 4.2-meter William Herschel Observatory in Spain.

They found that the dispersion, or spread, of halo-star velocities was about half that seen for stars closer to the galactic center.

"This was quite a surprise when we found this," Deason said.

Using this information, the team calculated that the total mass of the Milky Way out to such extreme distances may be between 500 billion and 1 trillion times that of our sun — substantially lower than the current leading estimate, Deason said.

But the new study is not necessarily the final word on the Milky Way's mass, which is not well understood.

"The problem is, we are really in unknown territory," Deason said. "We are assuming properties of these stars that are the same in the inner parts of the galaxy. And this is something that really needs to be verified, what we're assuming, in terms of their density profile and also what their orbits are like."

Future work along these lines could help astronomers map the distribution of mass throughout the Milky Way, Deason said, potentially shedding light on the mysterious dark matter that is thought to make up more than 80 percent of all matter in the universe.

"I think we will be able to use measurements like this to not only say what the total mass is, but also if the dark matter distribution is what we expect," she said. "At the moment, we just don't know."
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:21 PM   #185
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Turns out there's only like 20 or 30 stars in the galaxy.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:45 AM   #186
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Russia: Moon Shot Planned for 2015

The Russian Space Agency said Tuesday that it would send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2015 from a new launchpad in the Far East. The head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, told Russian news agencies that the rocket booster would deliver a 1,100-pound space exploration vehicle with up to 55 pounds of scientific equipment to search for water and take soil samples. He said the spacecraft would be launched from the new Vostochny cosmodrome, in the Amur Region not far from China. Russia’s last unmanned moon mission was in 1976.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:34 PM   #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramplate View Post
Why Fingers & Toes Get Pruney in Water

By Charles Choi, LiveScience
Fingers may wrinkle when wet to help people grip wet objects, find researchers, who say the pruney feature may have helped human ancestors do the same in wet conditions.

When a person's hands and feet are soaked in water, wrinkles eventually develop on the tips of fingers and toes. Scientists once thought this puckering resulted from the outermost layer of skin absorbing and swelling with water, but recent studies revealed the nervous system actively controlled this wrinkling by constricting blood vessels below the skin.

That the nervous system controls this behavior suggests these wrinkles served a purpose. Now researchers find these wrinkles could help fingers and toes grip wet surfaces.

"A phenomenon that everybody is familiar with is not just some kind of side effect of the nature of the skin on fingers and toes, but a functional feature that has very likely been selected for by evolution," researcher Tom Smulders, an evolutionary biologist at Newcastle University in England, told LiveScience.

Smulders and his colleagues had 20 volunteers pick up wet marbles and small lead weights of different sizes. Volunteers attempted the task either with normal, dry hands or after their fingers had wrinkled following a 30-minute soak in warm water. The participants picked up wet items 12 percent faster with wrinkled fingers. [10 Odd Facts About the Human Body]

"We have shown that wrinkled fingers give a better grip in wet conditions," Smulders said. "It could be working like treads on your car tires, which allow more of the tire to be in contact with the road, [which] gives you a better grip." Another possibility is that wrinkling causes changes in skin properties, such as its flexibility or stickiness, which help the fingers and toes perform better when wet.

"The most surprising thing to me was how the effect was there in all 20 participants, independent of how fast they were on average," Smulders said. "I never expected the effect to be so strong and obvious."

As a potential explanation of why this effect might have evolved, Smulders said, "it could have helped with gathering food from wet vegetation or streams. And as we see the effect in our toes, too, this may have been an advantage as it may have meant our ancestors were able to get a better footing in the rain."

Wrinkled fingers apparently made no difference when it came to picking up dry objects.

"This raises the question of why we don't have permanently wrinkled fingers, and we'd like to examine this further," Smulders said. "Our initial thoughts are that this could diminish the sensitivity in our fingertips or could increase the risk of damage through catching on objects."

Future research should analyze what other primates or non-primate animals might also show this phenomenon to shed light on when and why it evolved, Smulders said.

"Which other animals share this trait? And is the link among species that share it phylogenetic that is, they're all related or environmental that is, they all deal with submerged objects, for example?" Smulders said.
Then why am I constantly dropping stuff when I take a shower?
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:49 PM   #188
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It's the soap
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:32 PM   #189
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I never shower long enough to get wrinkly. It takes at least a half hour soak.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:42 PM   #190
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I never shower long enough to get wet.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:46 PM   #191
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I never shower
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:14 PM   #192
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We know
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:08 PM   #193
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Celestial Wonder Looks Uncannily Like a Manatee
The article has a picture of each for comparison:
http://news.yahoo.com/celestial-wond...144544052.html
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:25 AM   #194
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Default High-resolution Nasa images show magnetic braids of the sun - video

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Nasa images of the sun's outer atmosphere, the highest resolution pictures ever achieved. The agency launched the High Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, on 11 July 2012 from White Sands missile range in New Mexico. Hi-C's image sequences show the twisting up or braiding of the magnetic field that is threaded through the sun's outer atmosphere.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/vi...nasa-sun-video

Hypnotic.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:40 PM   #195
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:29 PM   #196
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Ehhhhh.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:22 PM   #197
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I think that's the reaction they were hoping for!
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:47 PM   #198
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Doubtful.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:12 PM   #199
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Cool! I enjoyed it
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Dark Knights Rises has its problems but its not garbage. **** like Scary Movie is garbage. Cheaply made with little artistic merit.

All those others had ambition poured into them. That alone makes them worthy of at least considering their strengths and weaknesses.

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Old 02-02-2013, 06:51 AM   #200
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Cans of ‘fresh air’ for sale in China

Picture - http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow...234302171.html

Air pollution in China has gotten so bad that one entrepreneur has decided to sell cans of fresh air.

The decision by Chen Guangbiao to sell the cans of air isn’t actually an attempt at a profit-generating venture. Rather, Chen, already worth a reported $740 million, is using the cans as social commentary on the declining environmental conditions in China.

"If we don't start caring for the environment, then after 20 or 30 years our children and grandchildren might be wearing gas masks and carry oxygen tanks," Chen told Fairfax Media.

Still, it's hard to not think of Mel Brooks in "Spaceballs" shotgunning a can of "Perri-Air," as his planet deals with a crisis stemming from a lack of oxygen.

Chen is selling the cans for about five yuan each (80 cents), according to the Brisbane Times, and the cans come in a variety of “flavors,” including “Taiwan,” “Tibet,” and “Yan'an,” early home of the country’s Communist Party.

The American Embassy in Beijing issued its second recent alert this week about the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates, which it says can lead to a number of health issues, particularly for children and the elderly.

As recently as Friday morning Beijing time, the embassy measured a “very unhealthy” warning on its site.

The World Health Organization's standard is levels of around 25. The levels in Beijing’s atmosphere according to the U.S. Embassy peaked at 205 on Friday morning, nearly 10 times that standard limit.

Chen is known in China for other high-profile acts to promote environmental causes. He recently gave away 5,000 bicycles to encourage people to pursue alternatives to driving cars.

"People say I am high profile or love to stage a show, but I don't think those who seek 'stability' and a low profile can do much for social progress," he said.
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