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Fossil From Last Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans Found In Europe, 1.2 Million Years Old

University of Michigan researcher Josep M. Pares is part of a team that has discovered the oldest known remains of human ancestors in Western Europe.

The find shows that members of the genus Homo, to which modern humans belong, colonized the region much earlier than previously believed. Details of the discovery were published in the March 27 issue of the journal Nature.

mandible 1.2 miilion yo
©EIA/Jordi Mestre
Top view of the mandible ATE 9-1.
Telescope

Black Hole Discovered In Center Of Enigmatic Omega Centauri

A new discovery has resolved some of the mystery surrounding Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. Images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and data obtained by the GMOS spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope in Chile show that Omega Centauri appears to harbour an elusive intermediate-mass black hole in its centre. "This result shows that there is a continuous range of masses for black holes, from supermassive, to intermediate-mass, to small stellar mass types", explained astronomer Eva Noyola of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and leader of the team that made the discovery.

Omega Centauri
©NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowlegement: A. Cool (San Francisco State Univ.) and J. Anderson (STScI)
A new discovery has resolved some of the mystery surrounding Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. Images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and data obtained by the GMOS spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope in Chile show that Omega Centauri appears to harbor an elusive intermediate-mass black hole in its center.
Bulb

New research to unlock mysteries of brain cancer, stroke

New studies at the University of Adelaide will delve into some of the crucial issues surrounding death by brain tumours and stroke.

The research, to be conducted in the joint University of Adelaide/IMVS Centre for Neurological Diseases, will aim to find links between chemical signals in the brain and the reasons why brain tumours or strokes become fatal.

"There are still many mysteries around how the brain works, and this new research will help to unlock key elements we believe are involved in two separate but equally debilitating conditions," says Professor Robert Vink, Head of the University's School of Medical Sciences and NRF Chair of Neurosurgical Research.
Cloud Lightning

Ball lightning plot thickens

What appears to be the first eyewitness report of static electricity triggering ball lightning boosts one theory of what causes this mysterious phenomenon.

The report, based on an incident involving a US Air Force crew several decades ago, seems to support the 'electrical discharge' theory of ball lightning.

The report is just now being made public, says Emeritus Professor Robert Crompton of the Australian National University.
Magnify

Professor solves a meteor mystery

Last September, something strange landed near the rural Peruvian village of Carancas. Two months later, so did Peter Schultz.

One was an extraterrestrial fireball that struck the Earth at 10,000 miles per hour, formed a bubbling crater nearly 50 feet wide and afflicted local villagers and livestock with a mysterious illness. The other is the Brown geologist who may have figured out why.

Peter Schultz
©Brown Daily Herald
Professor of Geological Sciences Peter Schultz
Hourglass

Are animals stuck in time?

Dog owners, who have noticed that their four-legged friend seem equally delighted to see them after five minutes away as five hours, may wonder if animals can tell when time passes. Newly published research from The University of Western Ontario may bring us closer to answering that very question.
Cloud Lightning

Study suggests humans drove mammoths extinct

Ancient climate change cornered the woolly mammoth into a shrinking habitat, but humans delivered the final blow by hunting the species into extinction, a new study suggests.

Climate change and hunting have long been blamed for forcing the mammoth into decline at the end of the Pleistocene era about 10,000 years ago. The last mammoth died out 4,000 years ago, experts estimate.

Comment: It is interesting that the same "humans are responsible" angle is being promoted regarding the mammoths, as is being actively pushed regarding modern climate change. See the SOTT special: Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow for more on this subject, which does not necessarily support these views.

Bizarro Earth

New evidence of earliest North Americans

New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known.
Star

The Mother of All Meteor Storms

Each generation seems to get a chance, or two, to see a mind-boggling display of shooting stars one night. The most spectacular displays in my memory are the 1999 and 2001 Leonid storms. Before my time, observers swore by the 1966 Leonids, and could not stop talking about the spectacular 1933 and 1946 Draconid storms. Those were not quite as intense as the Leonids, but the Draconids moved so slowly that several were seen gliding across the sky at the same time.

In the 19th century, the most spectacular storms were the 1872 and 1885 Andromedids, which were almost as strong as the Draconids and also very slow moving. At the time, Chinese astronomers wrote: "shooting stars fell like rain." From the counts of meteors in the west, we now estimate that rates peaked around two per second.
Magnify

DNA sheds light on Minoans

Crete's fabled Minoan civilization was built by people from Anatolia, according to a new study by Greek and foreign scientists that disputes an earlier theory that said the Minoans' forefathers had come from Africa.
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