Science & Technology


Antarctica May Contain "Oasis of Life"

Antarctica is not a barren polar desert but a rich, complex environment that may contain a thriving "oasis of life," experts say.

©Zina Deretsky/NSF
If scientists peeled back the Antarctic ice sheet, a complex system of complex rivers of lakes similar to Earth's surface would emerge. To date little is known about this inaccessible environment, although preliminary research suggests subglacial bodies of water may harbor some basic life-forms.
Magic Wand

Stranger than fiction: parallel universes beguile science

Is the universe -- correction: "our" universe -- no more than a speck of cosmic dust amid an infinite number of parallel worlds?

A staple of mind-bending science fiction, the possibility of multiple universes has long intrigued hard-nosed physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists too.

Largest galactic diamond found

Lucy, the space diamond

Harvard astronomers have discovered 'Lucy' the largest diamond in the galaxy located at a distance of 50 light years from the Earth.

The Enduring Mysteries of Comets

For millennia, comets were believed to be omens of doom. Instead, solving the mysteries regarding these "dirty snowballs" could help reveal the part they played in the birth of life on Earth, as well as secrets concerning the rest of the galaxy.

Comment: According to the gathered data and research, pretty soon Jewitt will have an opportunity to observe up close and personal many of those interstellar comets.


Asteroid Impact on Mars: Collision Probability Increased

The chance that a rogue mini-world - asteroid 2007 WD5 - will smack into Mars on January 30th has increased from 1.3 percent to 3.9 percent.

That's the new estimation from officials at the Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), stemming from several sky watching teams in Alaska, New Mexico, and in Arizona.

Can plants think? This slime solved a maze

For scientists, a maze has been a useful tool for examining the analytic capacity of animals - chiefly mice and rats.

Seven years ago, however, a simple experiment demonstrated that a plant can identify the shortest route to food in a maze, prompting researchers to conclude that, "This remarkable process of cellular (analysis) implies that cellular materials can show a primitive intelligence."

The plant was one of the lower fungi, a slime mould, which is a thin organism that spreads across cool, shady, moist places. There are 550 different species of this type of mould in a variety of colours, some of them spectacularly beautiful. The experiment, led by Toshiyuki Nakagaki at the Bio-Mimetic Control Research Centre in Nagoya, Japan, is reported in Nature, 2000, 407:470.
Bizarro Earth

Ancient mammoth carcass arrives in Japan

The frozen carcass of a 37,000-year-old baby mammoth unearthed this summer in Siberia arrived in Japan on Saturday for tests that researchers hope will shed new light on the internal structure of the ancient beasts, an official said.

Comment: Clearly, "climate change" is what killed this mammoth, so quickly that ice covered it before it could be scavenged. Although, the article mentions that its tail and ear were bitten off, this could have happened recently, after the ice thawed. The time of it's death, 37,000 years ago coincides, within error, with the mass die-off of other mammals by a suspected meteorite strike in Russia or North America.


Quadrantid Meteor Shower Will Sparkle on January 3rd

Beginning each New Year and lasting for nearly a week, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower sparkles across the night sky for nearly all viewers around the world.

Its radiant belongs to an extinct constellation once known as Quadran Muralis, but any meteors will seem to come from the general direction of bright Arcturus and Boötes.


Beer Brewed Long Ago by Native Americans

Ancient Pueblo Indians brewed their own brand of corn beer, a new study suggests, contradicting claims that the group remained dry until their first meeting with the Europeans.

Archaeologists recently found that 800-year-old potsherds belonging to the Pueblos of the American Southwest contained bits of fermented residue typical in beer production.

Before the discovery, historians thought a pocket of Pueblos in New Mexico did not have alcohol at all, despite being surrounded by other beer-making tribes, until the Spanish arrived with grapes and wine in the 16th century.

The tests were done using a highly sensitive set of scanning technologies at Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. government facility that usually employs the gadgetry for national defense.

©Randy Montoya
Sandia researcher Ted Borek used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyze vapors produced by mild heating of pot samples.
Bizarro Earth

Remains of ancient civilization discovered on the bottom of a lake

An international archeological expedition to Lake Issyk Kul, high in the Kyrgyz mountains, proves the existence of an advanced civilization 25 centuries ago, equal in development to the Hellenic civilizations of the northern coast of the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.