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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Fireball 5

Meteorite impact, not volcanoes led to dino extinction says study

Impact Event
© Stock Adobe
Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid.

In a break from a number of other recent studies, Yale assistant professor of geology & geophysics Pincelli Hull and her colleagues argue in a new research paper in Science that environmental impacts from massive volcanic eruptions in India in the region known as the Deccan Traps happened well before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago and therefore did not contribute to the mass extinction.

Most scientists acknowledge that the mass extinction event, also known as K-Pg, occurred after an asteroid slammed into Earth. Some researchers also have focused on the role of volcanoes in K-Pg due to indications that volcanic activity happened around the same time.

"Volcanoes can drive mass extinctions because they release lots of gases, like SO2 and CO2, that can alter the climate and acidify the world," said Hull, lead author of the new study. "But recent work has focused on the timing of lava eruption rather than gas release."

Blue Planet

Forgotten trove of fossil feathers belonged to tiny polar dinosaurs

feather fossils

One of the spectacular feather fossils that has been sitting in a museum's sample collection for decades.
Researchers have described ten fossil feathers from the polar regions of the former continent Gondwana for the first time. The collection, documented in a recent paper in Gondwana Research, contains a highly diverse array of feathers collected from the 118 million-year-old Koonwarra Fossil Bed in Victoria, Australia.

The paper describes what is potentially the earliest evidence of a flight feather, and the first-ever non-avian dinosaur feathers found within the Antarctic Circle. It also documents dark coloration and insulating branching structures on some of the feathers, providing valuable insight into how polar dinosaurs might have stayed warm during long, dark winters.

The fossils were initially discovered in the 1960s, but most of the technologies and knowledge used to understand the feathers described in this study didn't yet exist at that point. Since then, they were tucked away in a drawer in the Melbourne Museum for decades, until lead author Martin Kundrát happened across an old paper in 2012 that described one of the feathers.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Satellite

Russian cosmonaut Ryazansky says joint mission to Mars isn't science fiction and could help ease political tensions

ISS flight engineer Sergei Ryazanskiy
© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov; NASA/JPL/Cornell
ISS flight engineer Sergei Ryazanskiy
Sending humans to Mars isn't as far-fetched as it might sound, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky told RT, noting that a joint mission to the Red Planet would serve as a unifying triumph for people of all nations.

In an interview with SophieCo, the Russian cosmonaut and biochemist explained that manned space travel to Mars probably wouldn't be any more dangerous, from a health perspective, than current space missions. He pointed out that "the total amount of radiation an astronaut gets these days exceeds what a Mars mission crew would get," while stressing that more research on the matter was needed.

Ryazansky told host Sophie Shevardnadze that he was an enthusiastic supporter of an international mission to Mars, arguing that such a monumental joint endeavor would help to ease political tensions back on Earth.

Comment:


Info

New mysterious radio flash discovered

FRB 180916
© Gemini Observatory / NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory / AURA
This image shows the host galaxy of FRB 180916 (center), where the FRB itself is marked with a green circle.
The source of fast radio bursts (FRBs), flashes of radio waves that convey in a few milliseconds the power that the Sun radiates in a day, remains an open question in astronomy. Although astronomers have spotted more than 100 FRBs, most are so brief that they're difficult to locate on the sky.

Now, Benito Marcote (JIVE, The Netherlands) announced at last week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu that he and his colleagues have pinned down the precise location of a fifth radio flash. The result sheds light on the environment around these still-mysterious sources.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope in Canada originally discovered the radio flash, referred to as FRB 180916.J0158+65. Then, as the source continued to emit flashes, eight radio dishes that are part of the European VLBI Network (EVN) pinned down the source to the outskirts of a spiral galaxy. The astronomers used the 8-meter Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i, to image the region, finding that whatever had produced the radio flash had a nursery of newborn stars for company.

The environment around this so-called repeater is similar to the location of the first repeater: a region that's forming new stars. This contrasts with the locations of single FRB flashes, Marcote says, all which have been localized to distant massive galaxies with low star formation rates.

This latest addition to FRBs with a known locations suggests that the two types — repeating and non-repeating — have different origins. But astronomers are still far from understanding what those origins are.

Fireball

Asteroid, not volcanoes, led to death of the dinosaurs - Yale study

dionsaur
© CC0 Public Domain
Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid.

In a break from a number of other recent studies, Yale assistant professor of geology & geophysics Pincelli Hull and her colleagues argue in a new research paper in Science that environmental impacts from massive volcanic eruptions in India in the region known as the Deccan Traps happened well before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago and therefore did not contribute to the mass extinction.

Most scientists acknowledge that the mass extinction event, also known as K-Pg, occurred after an asteroid slammed into Earth. Some researchers also have focused on the role of volcanoes in K-Pg due to indications that volcanic activity happened around the same time.

Comment: Pierre Lescaudron's recent article Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle details just how significant impact events effect life on our planet. Although it's also worth noting that mainstream science still cannot fully explain why the reign of the dinosaurs ended.


Bug

An ant colony has memories that its individual members don't have

ants, grain
© Public domain
Like a brain, an ant colony operates without central control. Each is a set of interacting individuals, either neurons or ants, using simple chemical interactions that in the aggregate generate their behaviour. People use their brains to remember. Can ant colonies do that?

This question leads to another question: what is memory? For people, memory is the capacity to recall something that happened in the past. We also ask computers to reproduce past actions - the blending of the idea of the computer as brain and brain as computer has led us to take 'memory' to mean something like the information stored on a hard drive. We know that our memory relies on changes in how much a set of linked neurons stimulate each other; that it is reinforced somehow during sleep; and that recent and long-term memory involve different circuits of connected neurons. But there is much we still don't know about how those neural events come together, whether there are stored representations that we use to talk about something that happened in the past, or how we can keep performing a previously learned task such as reading or riding a bicycle.

Info

New research shows women's blood vessels age faster than men's

Susan Cheng
© Cedars-Sinai
A new Smidt Heart Institute study led by Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMsc, is helping to clarify differences between men and women with heart disease.
New research from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai showed for the first time that women's blood vessels - including both large and small arteries - age at a faster rate than men's. The findings, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Cardiology, could help to explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease and with different timing than men.

"Many of us in medicine have long believed that women simply 'catch up' to men in terms of their cardiovascular risk," said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMSc, senior author of the study and director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute. "Our research not only confirms that women have different biology and physiology than their male counterparts, but also illustrates why it is that women may be more susceptible to developing certain types of cardiovascular disease and at different points in life."

Using community-based data amassed from multiple sites across the country, Cheng and her research team conducted sex-specific analyses of measured blood pressure - a critical indicator of cardiovascular risk. The data represented nearly 145,000 blood pressure measurements, collected serially over a 43-year period, from 32,833 study participants ranging in age from 5 to 98 years old.

Because a person's risk for developing a heart attack, heart failure, or a stroke typically begins with having high blood pressure, Cedars-Sinai researchers combed through their massive data looking for clues and patterns regarding how blood pressure starts to rise. Then, instead of comparing the data from men and women to each other, investigators compared women to women and men to men.

Radar

US military specialist on Suter ELINT systems: 'We can fool enemy radar and missiles by manipulating space and time'

ukraine airlines missile tehran
In this installment of Warfare Evolution, we discuss 6th generation warfare (6GW), which leverages sophisticated technology to manipulate space and time. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

To illustrate the 6W concept and the advantage it brings let's start with some historical examples where 6GW magic was used for battlefield advantage. On 7 June 1981, the Israeli Air Force attacked and destroyed the French-built Osirak nuclear reactor just outside Baghdad, Iraq during "Operation Opera." Iraq was in the middle of a war with Iran at the time, and Israeli jets executed undetected reconnaissance runs into Iraqi airspace during the conflict, finding a blind spot in the Iraqi radar coverage on their border with Saudi Arabia. Using that blind spot, at 18:35 hours on 7 June, eight F-16A Israeli jets entered Iraqi airspace undetected and hit the dome of the reactor with eight of the sixteen 2,000-pound bombs they dropped. The Iraqi air defenses saw nothing abnormal on their radar screens.

Comment: Again, just because the US military could induce the Iranians to shoot down a civilian airliner with their own civilians onboard, doesn't necessarily mean it came from them. It takes an 'extra-special mind' to conceive of and execute such a barbaric act.


Nebula

Scientists detect unusual burst of gravitational waves in space: Is Betelgeuse going supernova?

gravity waves
© PBS
FILE IMAGE
Scientists think they have detected an "unknown or unanticipated" burst of gravitational waves coming from somewhere deep in space.

The wobble in spacetime was picked up unexpectedly by the LIGO experiment, which was specifically built to detect gravitational waves.

Astronomers have a picture of what part of the sky the burst originated from, and will look to find more information about its source by further studying the area.

But for now there is very little indication of what could have caused the blast, which sent ripples through the fabric of the universe that were detected by LIGO in recent hours.

Comment: Location of where it was believed to have been detected:


There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding LIGO's discoveries, however there is also evidence that there has been an uptick in a variety of events in space of late: See also: 'Giant, shape-shifting stars' spotted near Milky Way's black hole


Comet 2

New comet discovered by Japanese astronomer

New Comet
© Masayuki Iwamoto
Discovery image taken by Masayuki Iwamoto on 5h 39m JST, Jan. 9, 2020.
A Japanese amateur astronomer has discovered a new comet.

Masayuki Iwamoto of Tokushima Prefecture discovered a new celestial object low in the eastern sky in the dawn on January 9, 2020 (JST) and communicated it to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's window for reports of new astronomical objects. On January 13 (UTC), this object was independently discovered by Gennady Borisov in Crimea. Through analysis of confirmation observations by other observers, this object was determined to be a comet.