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D-brief

Black Hole Ghost Particle Caught Striking Earth

By Michelle Hampson | July 12, 2018 10:00 am

Four billion years ago, an immense galaxy with a black hole at its heart spewed forth a jet of particles at nearly the speed of light. One of those particles, a neutrino that is just a fraction of the size of a regular atom, traversed across the universe on a collision course for Earth, finally striking the ice sheet of Antarctica last September. As it hit, a neutrino detector planted by scientists within the ice recorded the neutrino’s charged interaction, causing a blue flash of light th …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
2018 Geology World Cup

Rocky Planet

Final 4 of the 2018 Geology World Cup

By Erik Klemetti | July 11, 2018 8:25 pm

Only 4 countries left in the 2018 Geology World Cup! Vote in the semifinal matches!
Game 1: Perú vs. Colombia

In what is likely a massive upset, Perú snuck by Russia by only a few percentage points. So, now the match for the finals is two South American teams. There isn’t a lot that sets Colombia and Perú apart: they both have active volcanoes, they both experience earthquakes, they both host parts of the Andes and parts of the Amazon Basin. Most people likely don’t even know that Colom …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs
MORE ABOUT: Geology, World Cup

D-brief

The Fate Of Giant Planets Depends On Where They Grew Up

By Jake Parks | July 11, 2018 5:15 pm

Astronomers generally agree that planets form out of the dusty debris disks that surround most newborn stars. When one of these so-called protoplanetary disks rotates around a nascent star, globs of material clump together. Over the course of a few million years, these clumps (called planetesimals) grow larger and larger, forming a protoplanet that eventually clears out its orbital path within the disk. And when a protoplanet gets massive enough, gravity forces it into a spherical shape, fin …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

D-brief

Cold Fathers Have Leaner Children, Study Suggests

By Nathaniel Scharping | July 11, 2018 5:11 pm

Did your dad like to take cold showers? Or perhaps he was a ski buff, or an open-water swimmer.

It’s too late now, but you very might well wish that your paternal progenitor had a fondness for cold temperatures. A new study published Monday in Nature Medicine shows that mice exposed to cold temperatures sire offspring that are both slimmer and healthier on high-fat diets than those whose fathers were kept warm.
Freezing Fathers Fight Fat
Chilling mice to see what happens to their kid …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

The Crux

5 Times (At Least) Einstein Was Wrong

By Bill Andrews | July 11, 2018 5:00 pm

The past few weeks have featured a few stories about how Albert Einstein’s theories, or the ideas underpinning them, have all been confirmed to a new degree of accuracy. That’s usually the case: Scientists try to disprove Einstein, and Einstein always wins.

But that’s not to say the man was infallible. He was human, just like the rest of us, and did make some mistakes. Here’s a few of them.

1) The cosmological constant
When he was crafting his theory of gravity, general re …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts

D-brief

World's Oldest Colors Shed Light On Ancient Life

By Charles Choi | July 11, 2018 2:21 pm

Bright pink 1.1-billion-year-old molecules from deep beneath the Sahara desert are now the oldest biological colors that scientists have discovered so far, and could shed light on why complex, multicellular life took so long to evolve on Earth.

This discovery “really came as a fluke,” said study senior author Jochen Brocks, a paleobiogeochemist at the Australian National University in Canberra. “About 10 years ago, a petroleum company looking for oil in the Sahara was exploring the black  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts, Uncategorized

Dead Things

First Americans: Gault Projectiles Point To Earlier Presence

By Gemma Tarlach | July 11, 2018 1:00 pm

Amid a growing number of finds that challenge the long-held timeline of the peopling of the Americas, researchers get to the point: Artifacts found at a site in Texas, including projectile points of a previously unknown style, are at least 16,000 years old, pre-dating the conventional arrival date of First Americans.

For decades, the Clovis culture loomed large in theories about when the First Americans arrived to the New World. Named for a town in New Mexico where the first artifacts w …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Dead Things

Were Hominins In China 2.1 Million Years Ago?

By Gemma Tarlach | July 11, 2018 12:00 pm

Nearly a hundred stone tools excavated from multiple layers at a site in China point to hominins — our ancestors and closest kin — being in East Asia about 2.1 million years ago. The find is the oldest evidence of hominins outside of Africa by more than 200,000 years and begs the question: what species made them?

Hominins are those species in the greater primate family tree that are more closely related to us than to other apes. That includes members of our own genus, Homo: Neandert …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

The Crux

We Can Thank Poor Evolutionary Design for Vitamin D Deficiencies

By Nathan H. Lents | July 10, 2018 2:04 pm

My doctor recently declared me deficient in vitamin D and prescribed a weekly pill. Because I take care to eat a healthy and diverse diet, I was a bit annoyed. She said it was no big deal and actually very common, the medical equivalent of a parent telling a child, “Because I said so.” Later on, I was grousing to some of my friends and many of them said they had gotten the same news.  It made me wonder: What is going on with vitamin D?
A Vexing Vitamin
Truth be told, we shouldn’t re …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
MORE ABOUT: nutrition

The Crux

Counting Down Thunder: How Far Away Was That Lightning?

By Becky Bollinger, Colorado State University | July 10, 2018 12:54 pm

A version of this article originally appeared on The Conversation.

You probably do it. It might be ingrained from when you were a kid, and now it’s almost automatic. You see the flash of lightning – and you immediately start counting the seconds till it thunders.

But does counting really get you a good estimate for how far away the lightning is? Is this one of those old wives’ tales, or is it actually based on science? In this case, we have physics to thank for this quick and eas …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
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