Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tunguska Crater

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Team makes Tunguska crater claim: "Scientists have identified a possible crater left by the biggest space impact in modern times - the Tunguska event.

The blast levelled more than 2,000 sq km of forest near the Tunguska River in Siberia on 30 June 1908..."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cold Life

Drifting icebergs are hotspots of life | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "WASHINGTON — Icebergs that break off Antarctica and drift away turn out to be hotspots of life in the cold southern ocean, researchers report. Climate warming has led to an increase in the number of icebergs breaking away from the Antarctic in recent years, and a team of researchers set out to study the impact the giant ice chunks were having on the environment.

Turns out, the melting ice also dumps particles scraped off Antarctica into the ocean, providing a pool of nutrients that feed plankton and tiny shrimplike creatures known as krill..."

Fruit Power

Fruit-based fuel could beat out corn-based rival | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "MILWAUKEE, WIS. — A simple sugar found in fruit and a variety of other sources could be converted to fuel for cars and trucks.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers said last week they have found a better way of converting fructose, a common sugar, into a fuel called 2,5-dimethylfuran, or DMF.

The biofuel has a higher energy content than ethanol, the only renewable liquid fuel currently produced on a large scale. It also doesn't absorb water from the atmosphere, a shortcoming of ethanol, said James Dumesic, one of the researchers and a professor of chemical and biological engineering at the university."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Real Big Bird

Remains of Giant Dinosaur Found in China - The Huffington Post: "BEIJING — The remains of a giant, birdlike dinosaur as tall as the formidable tyrannosaur have been found in China, a surprising discovery that indicates a more complicated evolutionary process for birds than originally thought, scientists said Wednesday.

Fossilized bones uncovered in the Erlian Basin of northern China's Inner Mongolia region show that the specimen was about 26 feet long, 16 feet tall and weighed 3,000 pounds, said Xu Xing, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

The height is comparable to the meat-eating tyrannosaurs. But the dinosaur, called Gigantoraptor erlianensis, also had a beak and slender legs and likely had feathers. It was 35 times larger than its likely close relation, the Caudiperyx, a small, feathered dinosaur species, Xu said.

That puts the Gigantoraptor's existence at odds with prevailing theories that dinosaurs became smaller as they evolved into birds and that bigger dinosaurs had less birdlike characteristics, he said..."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Broadcast Power

NewsFactor Business | MIT's 'WiTricity' Makes Power Cords Obsolete: "The MIT researchers who developed the 'WiTricity' wireless power technology haven't set their sights on global broadcast power just yet, but the team is already envisioning wirelessly transmitting power to laptops or cell phones across an office or inside a house. Because the power stream can be consistent, the devices would not even need batteries..."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Warm Finns

Simply Left Behind: The Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: "HELSINKI (Reuters) - Global warming is bringing more warmer-climate creatures to Finland, including moths that feast on human blood, according to nature researchers.

Insect-watchers are spotting more and more calpe moths in the Nordic country, which used to be considered too cold for the insects from southeast Asia, Finnish nature magazine 'Suomen Luonto' (ed. note. Literally, 'Nature of Finland') reported in its June edition..."

New Critters

Discovery Channel :: News - Animals :: 24 New Species Found in Suriname: "June 4, 2007 — A frog with fluorescent purple markings and 12 kinds of dung beetles were among two dozen new species discovered in the remote plateaus of eastern Suriname, scientists said Monday.

The expedition was sponsored by two mining companies hoping to excavate the area for bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, and it was unknown how the findings would affect their plans..."

Altair Mapped

Discovery Channel :: News - Space :: Star Surface Map Reveals Hot Poles: "May 31, 2007 — The star known as Altair is no longer just a point of twinkling light in the sky, thanks to a new image of its surface. The first-ever star surface map reveals a rapidly rotating giant orb with hot poles and a cooler, thickened equator that is radically different from our sun..."

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tracking Users

BBC NEWS | Technology | Anger over DRM-free iTunes tracks: "The launch of music tracks free of digital locks on iTunes has been overshadowed by the discovery that they contain data about who bought them.

Some fear this data could be used to identify the owner of the tracks if they turn up on file-sharing sites..."

Tree Walking

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Upright walking 'began in trees': "The ancestors of humans began walking upright while they were still living in trees - not out on open land, according to a new theory.

The traditional view is of bipedalism evolving gradually from the four-legged 'knuckle-walking' displayed by chimpanzees and gorillas today.

Now, a study published in the journal Science disputes this idea.

The British authors of the study say that upright walking was always a feature of great ape behaviour..."