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Sat, 25 Feb 2017
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Microscope Reveals How Soil Bacteria 'Breathe' Toxic Metals

Researchers are studying some common soil bacteria that "inhale" toxic metals and
© Brian Lower, Ohio State University
In this atomic force microscope image, the color red indicates where a Shewanella oneidensis bacterium is expressing the protein OmcA in order to "breathe" the metallic mineral hematite. An oval marks the approximate location of the bacterium. OmcA is clearly present around the edges of the bacterium -- in the outer membrane -- and in an ooze surrounding the bacterium
"exhale" them in a non-toxic form. The bacteria might one day be used to clean up toxic chemicals left over from nuclear weapons production decades ago.

Using a unique combination of microscopes, researchers at Ohio State University and their colleagues were able to glimpse how the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium breaks down metal to chemically extract oxygen.

The study, published online the week of March 16 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, provides the first evidence that Shewanella maneuvers proteins within the bacterial cell into its outer membrane to contact metal directly. The proteins then bond with metal oxides, which the bacteria utilize the same way we do oxygen.

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Archaeologists find statue of ancient Yemeni queen

Image
© Saba
Archaeologists find statue of ancient Yemeni queen
Dhamar - A Yemeni archaeologist team has discovered a mosaic statue of a women sitting on a throne with here chest engraved with Musnad letters.

The archaeologists also found other relics including a stone board with faith signs engraved on it.

Info

Consumers want unrestricted Internet access: survey

Brussels - Nine in 10 people expect their Internet service providers to offer open and unrestricted access to the Web, a survey showed on Wednesday. The survey, commissioned by Google, Yahoo and Web telephone company Skype, came as the European Parliament and EU states hold talks on a joint deal to reform the bloc's telecoms rules to boost competition.

"EU lawmakers should make sure that national authorities have the powers they need to act in cases where traffic management by telecommunication companies constitute unnecessary, discriminatory and/or anti-competitive behavior," the companies said in a joint statement.

Sun

The Day the Sun Brought Darkness

Image
© NASA/ Walt Feimer
Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), associated giant clouds of plasma in space, are the largest explosions in the solar system. They are caused by the buildup and sudden release of magnetic stress in the solar atmosphere above the giant magnetic poles we see as sunspots. CMEs can cause magnetic storms affecting communication systems, power grids and astronauts in space.

On March 13, 1989 the entire province of Quebec, Canada suffered an electrical power blackout. Hundreds of blackouts occur in some part of North America every year. The Quebec Blackout was different, because this one was caused by a solar storm!

On Friday March 10, 1989 astronomers witnessed a powerful explosion on the sun. Within minutes, tangled magnetic forces on the sun had released a billion-ton cloud of gas. It was like the energy of thousands of nuclear bombs exploding at the same time. The storm cloud rushed out from the sun, straight towards Earth, at a million miles an hour. The solar flare that accompanied the outburst immediately caused short-wave radio interference, including the jamming of radio signals from Radio Free Europe into Russia. It was thought that the signals had been jammed by the Kremlin, but it was only the sun acting up!

On the evening of Monday, March 12 the vast cloud of solar plasma (a gas of electrically charged particles) finally struck Earth's magnetic field. The violence of this 'geomagnetic storm' caused spectacular 'northern lights' that could be seen as far south as Florida and Cuba. The magnetic disturbance was incredibly intense. It actually created electrical currents in the ground beneath much of North America. Just after 2:44 a.m. on March 13, the currents found a weakness in the electrical power grid of Quebec. In less than 2 minutes, the entire Quebec power grid lost power. During the 12-hour blackout that followed, millions of people suddenly found themselves in dark office buildings and underground pedestrian tunnels, and in stalled elevators. Most people woke up to cold homes for breakfast. The blackout also closed schools and businesses, kept the Montreal Metro shut during the morning rush hour, and closed Dorval Airport. Click here to view animation.

Camera

Teens Capture Images of Space With £56 Camera and Balloon

Image
© METEOTEK IES LA BISBAL SCHOOL/BARCROFT MEDIA
A picture of the stratosphere taken by a group of four Spanish schoolboys
Proving that you don't need Google's billions or the BBC weather centre's resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere.

Taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year.

Building the electronic sensor components from scratch, Gerard Marull Paretas, Sergi Saballs Vila, Marta­ Gasull Morcillo and Jaume Puigmiquel Casamort managed to send their heavy duty £43 latex balloon to the edge of space and take readings of its ascent.

Sherlock

Skeleton of Cleopatra's Sister Discovered

Archeologists and forensic experts believe they have identified the skeleton of Cleopatra's younger sister, murdered more than 2,000 years ago on
the orders of the Egyptian queen.

The remains of Princess Arsinoe, put to death in 41BC on the orders of Cleopatra and her Roman lover Mark Antony to eliminate her as a rival, are the first relics of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be identified.

The breakthrough, by an Austrian team, has provided pointers to Cleopatra's true ethnicity. Scholars have long debated whether she was Greek or Macedonian like her ancestor the original Ptolemy, a Macedonian general who was made ruler of Egypt by Alexander the Great, or whether she was north African. Evidence obtained by studying the dimensions of Arsinoe's skull shows she had some of the characteristics of white Europeans, ancient Egyptians and black Africans, indicating that Cleopatra was probably of mixed race, too. They were daughters of Ptolemy XII by different wives.

Robot

Japan Launches New Fashion Robot For Catwalks

Kate Moss and Agyness Deyn have an ageless competitor now. Japanese researchers have launched a new fashion robot that will soon strut her stuff down a Tokyo catwalk.

Bug

Chernobyl 'shows insect decline'

© unknown
Chernobyl is largely human-free but still contaminated with radiation
Two decades after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, radiation is still causing a reduction in the numbers of insects and spiders.

According to researchers working in the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl, there is a "strong signal of decline associated with the contamination".

The team found that bumblebees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies and spiders were affected.

They report their findings in the journal Biology Letters.

Professor Timothy Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US, and Dr Anders Moller from the University of Paris-Sud worked together on the project.

The two researchers previously published findings that low-level radiation in the area has a negative impact on bird populations.

Frog

Smallest known North American dinosaur found

Canadian researchers say they have discovered the smallest known North American dinosaur, a carnivore that roamed areas of the continent 75 million years ago and weighed less than most modern-day house cats.

© University of Calgary/Nick Longrich
Nick Longrich found the dinosaur's bones in storage at a museum and decided to analyze them.
Hesperonychus elizabethae, a 4.4-pound (2-kilogram) creature with razor-like claws, ran through the swamps and forests of southeastern Alberta, Canada, during the late Cretaceous period, the researchers said.

The diminutive dinosaur likely hunted insects, small mammals and other prey, perhaps even baby dinosaurs, said Nick Longrich, a paleontology research associate in the University of Calgary's Department of Biological Sciences.

"It's basically a predator of small things," Longrich said.

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Thousands of 6,000-year old cave paintings found in Peru's Amazon region

More than 10,000 cave paintings - dating back to more than 6,000 years - were discovered by Peruvian archaeologist Quirino Olivera in the Andean country's jungle department of Amazonas, daily El Comercio reported.

Hidden by the region's lush vegetation for centuries, the paintings were discovered in caves located near the village of Tambolic, in the district of Jamalca, province of Utcubamba.