Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Newfound Alien Planet Is Best Place Yet to Search for Life

A newly discovered planet around a distant star may jump to the top of the list of places where scientists should go looking for alien life. 
The alien world known as LHS 1140b is rocky, like Earth. It is only 40 light-years away from our solar system (essentially, down-the-street in cosmic terms), and sits in the so-called habitable zone of its parent star, which means liquid water could potentially exist on the planet's surface. Several other planets also meet those criteria, but few of them are as prime for study as LHC 1140b according to the scientists who discovered it, because the type of star the planet orbits and the planet's orientation to Earth make it ripe for investigations into whether it’s the kind of place where life could thrive. 
"This is the most exciting exoplanet I've seen in the past decade," Jason Dittmann, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and lead author on the paper describing the discovery, said in a statement from CfA. "We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This Dingo Has the World's Most Interesting Genome

Meet Sandy the dingo, owner of the world's most interesting genome.
The wild-born, pure Australian desert dingo recently took first place in the World's Most Interesting Genome competition, and will have her DNA decoded thanks to the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant Program. The grant provides genome sequencing for "a particularly fascinating plant or animal."
In a public poll, Sandy secured 41 percent of the votes to beat out a pit viper, a solar-powered sea slug, an explosive beetle and a pink pigeon for the top prize.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

5 Things That People Don’t Realize their Librarians Do

Many people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books with the other. Many of my Jr. High classmates predicted that I was going to be a librarian because I liked to read, and, during those years, I was very quiet and wore glasses. I still love to read and always have something to read, but since I’m much more comfortable with myself, I don’t know if people would still say that I look like a librarian. Ironically, I did become a librarian, but for completely different reasons (part of it is the sheer variety involved in the profession).

  1. Librarians are trainers
  2. Librarians are tech savvy. 
  3. Librarians are advertisers. 
  4. Librarians are event planners. 
  5. Librarians are researchers

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Captured: First 'Image' of the Dark Matter That Holds Universe Together

For decades, scientists have tracked hints of a thread-like structure that ties together galaxies across the universe. Theories, computer models, and indirect observations have indicated that there is a cosmic web of dark matter that connects galaxies and constitutes the large-scale structure of the cosmos. But while the filaments that make up this web are massive, dark matter is incredibly difficult to observe.
Now, researchers have produced what they say is the first composite image of a dark matter filament that connects galaxies together.
"This image moves us beyond predictions to something we can see and measure," said Mike Hudson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Waterloo in Canada, co-author of a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trans Fat Ban Tied to Fewer Heart Attacks and Strokes

New York residents have benefited from rules that ban trans fat in restaurants: Rates of heart attack and stroke have dropped in New York counties where such bans have been enacted, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that starting three years after the effort to restrict the use of trans fats in eating establishments was introduced, the New York counties with these restrictions experienced a 6.2 percent reduction in hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes, compared with New York counties without similar restrictions. 

Real Flying Car Will Be Available for Preorder This Year

The first-ever production-ready flying car is set to be revealed in just over a week.
Slovakia-based engineering firm AeroMobil unveiled its flying-car prototype in 2014, but it was not made commercially available at the time. The company recently announced, however, that its latest model will be available for preorder this year (though there has been no word on pricing yet). This new model has not yet been revealed, but it's set to debut at the Top Marques Monaco, known as the world's most exclusive supercar show, on April 20.
According to AeroMobil, the next-generation vehicle is fully functional as both a four-wheeled car and an aircraft

Elephants' 'body awareness' adds to increasing evidence of their intelligence

Asian elephants are able to recognize their bodies as obstacles to success in problem-solving, further strengthening evidence of their intelligence and self-awareness, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.
Self-awareness in both animals and young children is usually tested using the 'mirror self-recognition test' to see if they understand that the reflection in front of them is actually their own. Only a few species have so far shown themselves capable of self-recognition - great apes, dolphins, magpies and elephants. It is thought to be linked to more complex forms of perspective taking and empathy.

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