Science & Technology
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 18:47 UTC
Scottish and Canadian scientists found various levels of methane in each of the eight samples of Martian volcanic rock they examined, phys.org reported. Basic forms of life beneath Mars' surface could use the gas as a food source, much like microbes do on Earth.
Other researchers will be eager to replicate the findings using different measurement tools and techniques, according to co-author Sean McMahon, a Yale University postdoctoral associate.
"Our findings will likely be used by astrobiologists in models and experiments aimed at understanding whether life could survive below the surface of Mars today," McMahon was quoted as saying by phys.org
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:14 UTC
At first glance, Minds.com appears similar to any other social network. It provides a person's followers with the latest updates, allowing their friends to comment and promote posts.
But the major difference exists behind the scenes. Minds.com doesn't aim to profit from gathering data. In fact, its goal is the opposite - to encrypt all messages so they can't be read by governments or advertisers.
The social network will also reward users for interacting with posts. This can be done by voting, commenting or uploading.
The rewards will come in the form of points, which can be exchanged for "views" of your posts. Simply put, the more active you are, the more your posts will be promoted by the social network.
The so-called Equation Group, a set of hackers responsible for at least 500 malware infections in 42 countries, is considered one of history's most effective cyber espionage rings.
Now, the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab is pointing to new signs that the group is actually made up of NSA personnel.
In a report published Wednesday, Kaspersky researchers revealed that the term "BACKSNARF" was found inside the code of the Equation Group's online platform. The same term was used by the NSA as the name of a project by its cyber warfare unit.
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 00:00 UTC
The two biology students, Frederik Ekholm Gaardsted Christensen and Trine Bottos Olsen have discovered a starfish behaviour that has never previously been described in the scientific literature. As part of their studies they were asked to tag some starfish (Asterias rubens), so that researchers could reidentify and study the starfish. The tags were injected into the starfish, as a veterinarian tags a dog or cat.
"But every time we put a tag into a starfish, they rid themselves of the tag within a few days. It came out directly through the skin; the starfish simply pushed it out through the skin at the end of one arm and then went on as if nothing had happened", the two students explain.
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:20 UTC
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:20 UTC
The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, passing within five million miles.
Though the asteroid will be in close proximity, it will be too dim to be seen through everyday backyard telescopes.
For those hoping to catch a glimpse of the space rock, Slooh will run a live broadcast from the Canary Islands starting at 5 p.m. EDT.
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 00:00 UTC
The paper describing their research appears in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
'The dilution effect hypothesis is important because it warns that human-mediated biodiversity losses can exacerbate disease outbreaks, yet it has been contentiously debated,' said study lead author Dr. David Civitello, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at USF.
Sun, 14 Jun 2015 16:05 UTC
Saturday was the first time since the project started that they stepped outside without space suits.
"When we first walked out the door, it was scary not to have a suit on," crew member Jocelyn Dunn, 27, told the media. "We've been pretending for so long."
Comment: An interesting look into how people can live in a close community.
Sun, 14 Jun 2015 15:51 UTC
First contact with Philae lasted 85 seconds. It turns out the lander had woken up earlier, but this is the first time since November it has managed to "speak" to Earth.
"We have also received historical data - so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier," the ESA blog states.
"Philae is doing very well: it has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available," Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec says in the blog. "The lander is ready for operations."
Our sister planet with perhaps the greatest potential for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, the Martian surface is already littered with signs of our extra-planetary reach. In 2008, the Phoenix lander went dark after being overwhelmed by a dust storm, and is just one of several defunct robots abandoned on the Martian surface.
In addition to these expired machines, the red planet still hosts seven workable spacecraft. Five float in orbit, while the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers still roam the desert examining rocks and sand and soil.
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 06:19 UTC
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 06:19 UTC
It was already known that the amygdala response to images of angry faces was stronger in a person who had received testosterone. This new study shows that this only happens when people approach angry faces and not when they avoid them.
Comment: The amygdala is a part of the reward circuit in the brain that records emotional memories. It acts as an "inner sentry" - and protects from repeating painful experiences by ascribing to outside stimuli a sense of "pleasure" or "pain". It is a very fast and subconsciously acting system that bypasses the much slower input from the rational brain. If humans enter a social situation and want to bond, they have to silence their amygdala to turn off the sentry. Also testosterone increases dopamine levels in the reward circuitry.
Given that the effect of testosterone can be modified by motivation, the above study seems to indicate that there are further factors involved in this feedback loop, which currently are not very clear.