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  • Bees can count

    Honeybees are clever little creatures. They can form abstract concepts, such as symmetry versus asymmetry, and they use symbolic language — the celebrated waggle dance — to direct their hivemates to flower patches. New reports suggest that they can also communicate across species, and can count — up to a point. With colleagues, Songkun Su of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and Shaowu Zhang of the Australian National University in Canberra managed to overcome the apian impulse to kill intruders and cultivated the first mixed-species colonies, made up of European honeybees, Apis mellifera, and Asiatic honeybees, A. cerana. The researchers confirmed that the two species have their own dialects: foraging in identical environments, the bees signaled the distance to a food source with dances of different durations. Remarkably, despite the communication barrier, A. cerana decoded A. mellifera's dance and found the food. Also at the Australian National University, Marie Dacke and Mandyam V. Srinivasan trained European honeybees to pass a particular number of colored stripes in a tunnel to get a food reward, which was placed by a stripe. When they removed the food, the bees still returned to the same stripe.

    Next, they mixed things up on the bees: they varied the spacing of the stripes, and even replaced stripes with unfamiliar markers. The insects consistently passed the same number of markers to approach the former reward site, demonstrating that they could count, up to four. The studies burnish the impressive list of honeybees' known cognitive abilities, all achieved with a brain the size of a sand grain.


    • Yeti footprints found on Nepal mountain

      It has eluded scientists and adventurers for decades, but a team of Japanese climbers claimed to have discovered footprints of the abdominable snowman, or yeti. They said they photographed the footprints on snow at an altitude of 15,748ft in the Dhaulagiri mountain range in western Nepal. They failed to photograph the furry mythical half-man, half-ape creature, although the expedition leader Yoshiteru Takahashi is confident the prints belong to the yeti. Mr Takahashi said: "We saw three footprints which looked like that of human beings... "Myself and other team members have been coming to the Himalayas for years and we can recognise the footprints of bear, deer and mountain goat look like and it was none of that. "We believe it is that of [the] yeti." Mr Takahashi, 61, a member of the Yeti Project Japan, and his team, supported by Sherpas, spent six weeks on the lower reaches of the 25,134ft Dhaulagiri mountain range looking for evidence of the yeti's existence. The climbers were equipped with long-lens cameras, video cameras and telescopes, and had set out nine motion-sensitive cameras in an area where Mr Takahashi saw what he thought was a yeti in a previous expedition in 2003. "It was about 200 metres away in silhouette. It was walking on two legs like a human and looked about 150 centimetres tall," said Mr Takahashi. The Yeti is said to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and is largely regarded by the scientific community as a mythical creature.

      Sherpas narrate tales of a wild hairy creature roaming the Himalayas, capturing the imagination of foreign climbers of Mount Everest since the 1920s. Those stories prompted many, including Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Everest, to search for the yeti. Some other climbers have also claimed to have found Yeti footprints, but no one has yet seen it or produced irrefutable proof of its existence.


      • Ibrahim Victory

        Its a shame that this site does not devote more attention to Science and cosmology...Anyhooo everyone should read this book, if nothing else it will open your mind and give your brain a boost to accept more unlimited knowledge.

        The Wonders of the Universe, a book by Ibrahim Victory

        During the past 12 years, Ebrahim Victory has been writing popular science articles about space and the cosmos. At the request of many of his followers, he has spent much time reviewing and rewriting 25 of his more popular articles to reflect the latest advances in their subject matter. These have now been published, both in English and in Persian, in a book entitled "The Wonders of the Universe," along with a gallery of astonishing color photographs of celestial objects.

        In the introduction to the book, Ebrahim Victory writes the following on his reservations about writing such articles:

        "While it is relatively easy to write science articles for scientific journals, it is entirely a different matter when non-scientifically oriented readers are being subjected to a scientist's penmanship, and I wasn't quite sure whether I was up to the task."

        His first article was in English, on the subject of the demise of the dinosaurs. The article opened a new vista of interest to mostly the younger generation of the Iranian community in Los Angeles.

        In the ensuing ten years, the seed which was planted with the publication of the first article, has grown into a tree which today bears fruit in the form of biweekly articles which have totaled more than 200 to date. Also, more than 30 of these articles have been translated into Persian by luminous and illustrious experts such as Dr. Hassan and Guity Shahbaz, and Morteza Parvand, all of which have been published with appropriate fascinating photographs.

        Although all of the 25 articles in the book "The Wonders of the Universe" are independent of each other, a common thread runs through them enabling a reader to get at least a rudementary knowledge of how the Universe was formed, what it contains, and how it will end. Also, since the subject matter of the articles are of interest to both, the younger generation who do not read Persian, and our older generation most of whom are not proficient in reading in English, all articles appear in both Persian and in English in the book.

        Also, a glossary of all the technical terms used in the articles, both in Persian and in English, are included for reference by the readers of this and other scientific books and articles. As far as we know, this is the first book, which contains such a glossary in Persian. This book is quite unique among recent or even all previous scientific publications in Persian.

        In an Introduction written by Dr. Hassan Shahbaz he writes:

        "The Wonders of the Universe" is your road map to the science of cosmology. Embark on a journey through the cosmos with it as your guide and become cognizant of the power and the might of the Creator. Authored by Ebrahim Victory, its contents provide the answers to many of the questions that cross the mind of any individual with even a minute sense of curiosity about his place in this vast Universe.

        Let us think for a moment! Is it not fascinating to look at the star-studded sky and wander among them? What do these mesmerizing objects, whose numbers and whereabouts can be envisioned only by our imagination and a few mathematical formulas, look like up close? What took place to create billions of galaxies each containing billions of shining stars which continually dance to the music of the spheres right before our eyes? What is the source and nature of this boundless energy which makes them shine, radiate heat and talk in the language of radio waves. How were the multitude of stars and our very own solar system with its nine rotating planets and their many moons created? Are there, among the multitude of stars within the Milky Way galaxy and the multitude of other galaxies in this vast cosmos, other solar systems like ours harboring planets capable of supporting life? And if so, are these life forms like we know them here on this Earth? How is order maintained in this universe in which the vast multitude of objects are constantly on the move, and Who or What is the overseer of this wondrous creation whose domain stretches out to 15 billion light years distant? Is He the one we call God? And if so, have cosmologists been able to prove he exists, and can they, or indeed, do they believe in Him?

        These questions and hundreds more like them, are answered by Ebrahim Victory in his book entitled The Wonders of The Universe.

        It would be regrettable if a contemplative and curious individual who lives in this day and age, would not be aware of the discoveries revealed in this book.

        The articles published in the book are entitled:

        * The Creation of the Universe.

        * In The Beginning; Genesis and the Big Bang; a Correlation.

        * In Search of the God Particle.

        * Farther than the Eye Can See.

        * The Invisible Universe

        * The Shape of the Universe.

        * The Expansion of the Universe.

        * Other Universes.

        * When Galaxies Collide

        * The Search for E. T.

        * In Search of Other Solar Systems.

        * A Clear Window to Heavens.

        * The Birth and Death of Stars.

        * Earth; the Living Planet.

        * Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs.

        * Heavenly Showers of Death and Destruction.

        * The Voyager Grand Tour.

        * The Great Comet Crash of 1994.

        * Life on Mars.

        * Neptune; the Blue-Green Planet, and Triton; its Enigmatic Moon.

        * Beyond Pluto; To the Edge of the Solar System.

        * The Story of the Atom Bomb.

        * Nuclear Power.

        * Albert Einstein; His Life and His Science.
        I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
        I would be pure, for there are those who care;
        I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
        I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
        I would be friend of all—the foe—the friendless;
        I would be giving and forget the gift;
        I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
        I would look up and laugh—and love—and lift.
        Howard Walter


        • Dinosaurs could survive in cold climates

          Dinosaurs were able to survive colder temperatures than was previously thought, according to new research that casts doubt on theories that they were killed off by plummeting temperatures caused by climate change.

          Palaeontologists have unearthed a rich variety of dinosaur fossils in an area that would have been one of the most northerly regions of the world in the period just before the giant reptiles died out, between 65 and 68 million years ago.

          At the time, the world was far warmer and the continents were still to move to their current positions. Northeastern Russia, where the remains have been found, would have been just 1,000 miles from the North Pole, inside what is now called the Arctic Circle. Average temperatures would have been around 50F (10C).


          • IDA on display in New York

            The Museum of Natural History in New York is showing off the 47 million year-old skeleton of a fosil creature that scientists have affectionately called “Ida”. She is so well preseved that it is even possible to say that her last meal was fruits, seeds and leaves. Although not a direct ancester of human beings, Ida had several so-called human characteristics such as forward-facing eyes, short limbs and an opposable thumb.

            Ida was discovered in 1983 in Germany by private collectors who didn’t see her significance and even at one point split her bones into two lots.

            She had been preserved in a volcanic crater called the Messel Pit, 35 kms outside Frankfurt, where scientists are now searching for further remains.



            • David Leckrone: 'Superman of the Hubble Science'

              NASA scientist David Leckrone has been dubbed the "Superman of Hubble science," and for good reason. For the past 16 years, he has been the Hubble Space Telescope's lead scientist, and has been in on virtually every major decision made throughout the project's long and often-troubled history.

              He has been the chief advocate of the project's scientific objectives, and he has helped decide which instruments needed to be added or repaired, including the recent major overhaul of the telescope by the crew of the shuttle Atlantis.

              "David is the Superman of Hubble science, said Laurie Leshin, the deputy director of science and technology at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "He is the Hubble scientist. There is no other."

              Preston Burch, the head of the Hubble project, said Leckrone's role as senior project scientist for the past 16 years has been "ensuring that, from a science perspective, Hubble is doing the right things."

              "David is a tiger, and I can't think of a better person who could have served this position," said Burch. "His contributions have been indispensible to the project."

              This past week, the Atlantis completed a repair mission that will give the telescope new life for an additional five to 10 years. The astronauts installed a new wide-field camera for deep-space observations, a super-sensitive spectrograph to detect faint light from distant developing galaxies, new gyroscopes and batteries, insulation and a guidance sensor for pointing accuracy.

              "This is an extraordinary moment in the history of science" and "it's an extraordinary moment of space flight," said Leckrone. "We have increased Hubble's capability literally by orders of magnitude."

              The NASA scientist hopes that in the next few years the Hubble will provide a "family photo album of galaxies, from their infancy to old age" and help us understand how the Milky Way was formed. Leckrone added that "half of the Hubble's most important discoveries have been completely unexpected," so there's no telling what else we might learn.

              This next era, he said, represents "the second Hubble revolution." But there is no doubt about the record of accomplishment so far.


              • Iraq-born teen cracks maths puzzle

                STOCKHOLM (AFP) – A 16-year-old Iraqi immigrant living in Sweden has cracked a maths puzzle that has stumped experts for more than 300 years, Swedish media reported on Thursday.

                In just four months, Mohamed Altoumaimi has found a formula to explain and simplify the so-called Bernoulli numbers, a sequence of calculations named after the 17th century Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, the Dagens Nyheter daily said.

                Altoumaimi, who came to Sweden six years ago, said teachers at his high school in Falun, central Sweden were not convinced about his work at first.

                "When I first showed it to my teachers, none of them thought the formula I had written down really worked," Altoumaimi told the Falu Kuriren newspaper.

                He then got in touch with professors at Uppsala University, one of Sweden's top institutions, to ask them to check his work.

                After going through his notebooks, the professors found his work was indeed correct and offered him a place in Uppsala.

                But for now, Altoumaimi is focusing on his school studies and plans to take summer classes in advanced mathematics and physics this year.

                "I wanted to be a researcher in physics or mathematics; I really like those subjects. But I have to improve in English and social sciences," he told the Falu Kuriren.




                  • Gene linked to better and faster decision making



                    • منجمان از کشف 32 سیاره تازه ورای منظومه شمسی خبر داده اند.

                      محققان می گویند این سیارات به اصطلاح "خارجی" ابعاد بسیار متنوعی دارند. جرم بعضی از آنها 5 برابر زمین است و جرم بعضی نیز به پنج تا ده برابر مشتری می رسد.

                      این سیارات با استفاده از ابزاری بسیار حساس در تلسکوپ رصدخانه جنوبی اروپایی واقع در لا سیلای شیلی کشف شدند. قطر آینه این تلسکوپ سه متر و 60 سانتیمتر است.

                      این اکتشاف مهیج توصیف می شود چون نشان می دهد که شمار سیارات کم جرم در کهکشان راه شیری می تواند زیاد باشد.

                      استفان اودری از دانشگاه ژنو در سوئیس توضیح داد: "با نگاهی به این نتایج درمی یابیم که حداقل 40 درصد ستارگان مشابه خورشید دارای سیاراتی کم جرم هستند. این واقعا مهم است چون بدین معنی است که سیارات کم جرم همه جا هستند."

                      او افزود: "نکته خیلی جالب اینکه مدل های علمی وجود آنها را پیشبینی می کند و ما آنها را پیدا می کنیم؛ و به علاوه این مدل ها سیارات حتی کم جرم تر مانند زمین را نیز پیشبینی می کنند."

                      با کشفیات تازه شمار سیارات شناخته شده در خارج از منظومه شمسی به بیش از 400 عدد می رسد.

                      این سیارات با استفاده از شماری از تکنیک های مختلف نجومی و تلسکوپ ها شناسایی شده اند. تازه ترین گروه سیارات با کمک طیف سنج هارپس در لا سیلا کشف شد.

                      ابزار هارپس (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) برای کشف سیارات از تکنیکی موسوم به "تکان های ریز" استفاده می کند.

                      این یک شیوه غیرمستقیم برای استنباط وجود سیاره است. هرچند سیاره به علت دور بودن از ما مستقیما قابل رؤیت نیست اما قوه جاذبه اش باعث تاب خوردن ستاره مرکزی به صورتی کاملا خفیف در فضا می شود و کار هارپس شناسایی همین تکان های بسیار خفیف است.

                      اکثر سیاراتی که تاکنون به این شیوه پیدا شده اند از نوع مشتری و بزرگتر هستند.

                      با این حال هارپس بر ستارگان کوچک و نسبتا سرد - به اصطلاح دسته اِم - متمرکز شده است به این امید که سیارات کوچکتر را بیابد - سیاراتی که به احتمال زیاد شبیه کرات خاکی منظومه شمسی هستند.

                      پروفسور اودری به بی بی سی گفت که دو عدد از سیاراتی که تازه پیدا شده اند احتمالا پنج برابر زمین هستند و دو تا نیز شش برابر زمین.

                      هارپس قبلا شیئی را شناسایی کرده است که جرم آن فقط دو برابر زمین است.

                      اما دانشمندان مطمئن هستند که این سیاره حاوی هیچ نوع آثار حیات نیست زیرا دمای سطح آن به خاطر نزدیکی بیش از حد به ستاره مرکزی بسیار بالاست.

                      اعضای تیم هارپس روز دوشنبه با اعلام خبر کشف این گروه جدید از سیارات گفتند انتظار دارند که طی شش ماه آینده وجود یک دسته دیگر از سیارات را اعلام کنند.

                      هدف نهایی یافتن کره ای خاکی در "ناحیه قابل سکونت" در اطراف یک ستاره است، مداری که دمای آن برای وجود آب به صورت مایع مناسب باشد.

                      دانشمندان معتقدند که با پیدایش فناوری های حساستر، شناسایی چنین کره ای ظرف چند سال آینده ممکن خواهد شد.

                      آژانس فضایی آمریکا نیز اخیرا تلسکوپی به نام کپلر را در مدار زمین قرار داد که وظیفه آن جستجو برای یافتن سیاراتی با ابعاد مشابه زمین است.


                      • Hana
                        Cloned goat

                        Al Jazeera: Iranian scientists have cloned a goat and plan future experiments they hope will lead to a treatment for stroke patients. The female goat, named Hana, was born early on Wednesday in the city of Isfahan in central Iran. "With the birth of Hana, Iran is among five countries in the world cloning a baby goat," said Isfahani, an embryologist. Mohammed Hossein Nasr e-Isfahani, head of the Royan Research Institute, said. He said his institute's main aim in cloning the goat is to produce medicine to be used to treat people who have had strokes. In 2006 Iran became the first country in the Middle East to announce it had cloned a sheep.









                              • Ground Zero excavators find 18th century wooden ship's hull at World Trade Center site