Science & Technology
Fri, 22 May 2009 02:46 UTC
Ötzi the iceman
Ötzi is a mummified human discovered in 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier in the Alps, on the border between Austria and Italy. He died around 3300 BC.
The mummy offers a wealth of information about the humans living in Europe at the time. Ötzi was named after the Ötztal region where he was found.
Researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh said their simple method promises to become a significant technique for dating ceramic materials, just as radiocarbon dating has become for organic materials such as bone or wood.
The megalith of over three metres long, over one metre wide, and nearly 0.5 metres thick looks like a boat. It is propped up on four big rocks which are buried deep in the earth, which are also megaliths.
Fri, 22 May 2009 00:27 UTC
Opportunity's two-year exploration of Victoria Crater - a half-mile wide and 250 feet deep - yielded a treasury of information about the planet's geologic history and supported previous findings indicating that water once flowed on the planet's surface, according to Steve Squyres, Cornell professor of astronomy and the principal investigator for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. The rover is now heading south toward Endeavor crater, 8.5 miles away.
There has been debate over the issue because with some researchers believing water likely formed many features of the planet's landscape and others pointing to evidence indicating that early Mars was cold with temperatures well below the freezing point of water.
Fri, 22 May 2009 00:45 UTC
Many scientists had thought the violent pelting by massive asteroids during the period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment would have melted the Earth's crust and vaporized any life on the planet.
But new three-dimensional computer models developed by a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder shows much of Earth's crust, and the microbes living on it, could have survived and may even have thrived.
Thu, 21 May 2009 23:20 UTC
The Hollywood blockbuster, The Golden Compass, adapted from the first volume of Pullman's classic sci-fi trilogy, "His Dark Materials" portrays various universes as only one reality among many, but how realistic is this kind of classic sci-fi plot? While it hasn't been proven yet, many highly respected and credible scientists are now saying there's reason to believe that parallel dimensions could very well be more than figments of our imaginations.
"The idea of multiple universes is more than a fantastic invention - it appears naturally within several scientific theories, and deserves to be taken seriously," stated Aurelien Barrau, a French particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Wed, 20 May 2009 04:32 UTC
In a recent study, researchers have experimentally demonstrated for the first time a celebrated model of "phyllotaxis," the study of mathematical regularities in plants. In 1991, S.L. Levitov proposed a model of phyllotaxis suggesting that the appearance of the Fibonacci sequence and golden mean in the pattern of spines on a cactus can be replicated for cylindrically constrained, repulsive objects. Now, researchers have constructed a "magnetic cactus" with 50 outward-pointing magnets acting as spines, which are mounted on bearings and free to rotate on a vertical axis acting as the plant stem. With this setup, the researchers, from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; and The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), have verified Levitov's model, and their study has been published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.
In their experiment, the researchers put the system in a low-energy state by mechanical agitation. Then the scientists observed as the magnets (spines) arranged to form phyllotactic spirals, generating a so-called Farey tree of unfavorable angles. The unfavorable angles are fractional multiples of 2π (i.e. 2πi/j, such as 2π/3, 4π/3, etc.). The spines on the magnetic cactus, like those on a plant, form a helix around the cylindrical stem by growing around these particular angles.