Science

Martian meteorite micro-structures raise questions about possible biological processes

Small section of meteorite (Yamato 000593) showing tunnels and microtunnels formed in the rock. Photo from NASA.

With all the talk of jelly donuts and related frivolous lawsuit filed against NASA that Doubtful News has covered recently, it is nice to cover a martian story that’s a bit more down-to-earth (Antarctica, more specifically). A team of NASA researchers has published a paper reporting “the first observation of indigenous carbonaceous matter” in a martian meteorite,…

More news on earthquake lights – now the flashing variety

earthquake_light

Back in January, we showcased an article about the potential explanation for earthquake lights – the glow or flashes that are rarely, but certainly, observed in relation to earthquakes in particular fault areas. Now, more comes to light. Scientists find voltage spikes associated with crack-like defects in fine grained materials. Mysterious Flashing ‘Earthquake Lights’ Maybe Explained.…

120 papers in scientese, I mean gibberish

Skeptical Humanities

More gibberish than usual? I’m joking… Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers : Nature News & Comment. The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph…

Is Bill Nye the captain of our national scientific debate team? (UPDATE: Another score for Nye)

Screen capture from the video where Bill Nye talks about evolution

Now he takes on the topic of global warming. “Meet the Press” to host climate change “debate” between GOP’s Marsha Blackburn and Bill Nye “the Science Guy” – Salon.com. This Sunday, “Meet the Press,” the renowned televised political news forum, will host a discussion of climate change — perhaps the single most pressing issue of…

Laser fusion experiment achieves greater-than-unity energy yield

National Ignition Facility's target chamber by Lawrence Livermore National Security at Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a breakthrough at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, we are one step closer to “Ignition con Fusion.” Laser bombardment yields energy milestone – CNN.com:  For the first time, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California say they produced more energy from a reaction…

The Corvette sinkhole – sinks happen, car lovers lament

National Corvette Museum handout photo shows a sink hole that swallowed eight Corvettes in Bowling Green

This story broke yesterday as geologists and car lovers took notice of this very unusual incident. Corvettes fall into sinkhole at National Corvette Museum – CNN.com. Eight valuable ‘vettes at Bowling Green, Kentucky’s National Corvette Museum fell victim to a 40-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up in the facility’s yellow Sky Dome wing. The museum…

SETI scientist ventures an ETA for ET Contact: By the Year 2040

Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak isn’t hedging; the SETI Institute (“Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”) director spoke at Stanford University, and made a prediction about said search. Bold Prediction: Intelligent Alien Life Could Be Found by 2040  (Space.com): By 2040 or so, astronomers will have scanned enough star systems to give themselves a great shot of discovering alien-produced electromagnetic signals, said Seth…

Climbing crocs

thecrocodileinthetree 001

A recent research report in Herpetology Notes [V7: 3-7 (2013)] reveals that the rumors are true. Sometimes crocodiles climb trees. Climbing behaviour in extant crocodilians[PDF] Although arboreality in extinct crocodilians is frequently suggested, the climbing abilities have never been discussed in any detail in scientific literature. We present an overview of on climbing in extant…

A Result Ten Times Fishier than Expected

Lanternfish by NOAA from Wikimedia Commons

Results based on observations from the 2010 Malaspina Expedition have placed a new estimate of the biomass of mesopelagic fish at approximately 1010 (ten billion) tons, which is ten times that of previous estimates. Large mesopelagic fishes biomass and trophic efficiency in the open ocean (Nature Communications journal): With a current estimate of ~1,000 million (Editor’s…

Enormous jellyfish new to science

What a whopper!

This is gigantic and AWESOME! Mysterious giant jellyfish found by family on Tasmanian beach, yet to be named – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). CSIRO scientists are working to classify a new species of giant jellyfish after one washed up on a beach in southern Tasmania. The 1.5 metre jellyfish was found by a family…

The Great Debate: Science trumps Creationism

Bill-Nye-vs.-Ken-Ham-Debate_f_improf_645x254

Ham on Nye: Deny deny deny… In a sometimes frustrating, sometimes boring, but consistently civil discussion about the definition and importance of science, two speakers with opposing worldviews presented their evidence to a sellout crowd and hundreds of thousands of online viewers. Who Won Bill Nye’s Big Evolution Faceoff? – NBC News.com. Bill Nye the…

Beekeepers abuzz with concern over “Zom-bee” parasite

"Female Apocephalus borealis ovipositing into the abdomen of a worker honey bee" from Wikimedia Commons

Apocephalus borealis fly parasite lays eggs inside honey bees and causes neurological changes, creating “walker bees.”1 ‘Zombie’ Bees Surface in the Northeast (ABC News): An amateur beekeeper in Burlington, Vt., last summer found honeybees infested with parasites that cause the insects to act erratically and eventually kill them. It was the first spotting of zombie bees…

Eelgrasses + sulfides equals strange seafloor circles

Photo credit: Jacob T. Johansen

An explanation has emerged regarding seafloor circles. They aren’t from craters or critters, aliens or fairies, but from sulfide deposits which kill off a native sea grass to make an unusual formation. Mysterious Undersea ‘Crop Circles’ Finally Explained – Wired Science. Mysterious undersea circles spotted off the coast of Denmark are not the work of…

Mann suit to procede. Also don’t say “skeptic” when you mean “denier”.

The Hockey Stick Graph (Mann)

Yay yay yay yay. I’m sick of yahoos thinking that science is just a belief system and getting away with intimidating researchers. Also, “Skeptic” is REALLY used inappropriately here. Are there any ideologues worse than climate change deniers? I think I would rather deal with creationists. I left a comment on Mother Jones linking to…

The incredible bat journey

Bat_britain

A bat is tracked on an epic journey. BBC Nature – British bat makes incredible journey. The first bat to cross the sea from the UK to Europe has been recorded, according to experts. The tiny Nathusius’ pipistrelle was first ringed in Blagdon, near Bristol, and was discovered nearly 600km away in the Netherlands. Experts…