Discoveries

Observations on Annihilation, and other Dark Matter(s)

Uncovering a gamma ray excess at the galactic center - Photo credit: NASA

While dark matter has provided fertile ground for misuse and sciencey speculation (Doubtful News), there have been a fair number of experiments intended to detect dark matter, a potentially promising result was published this February, and is making its rounds in astronomy-related news this week, indicating that we may have observed a dark matter annihilation…

Nineteen new species of praying mantis discovered

A praying mantis in the genus Liturgusa Saussure Photograph: /Gavin J. Svenson/Zookeys

Our cataloging of diversity continues unabated. New praying mantis species discovered | Environment | theguardian.com. Nineteen new species of a tree-living praying mantis family have been discovered, tripling the group’s diversity at a stroke. The bark mantises (Liturgusa Saussure) from Central and South America were found in tropical forests and among specimens kept in museums.…

Gravitational Wave Detection Rumors: We’ll just have to wait (UPDATE: Announced)

Visualization of Einstein-envisioned gravitational waves, provided by NASA.

Have gravitational waves, an Einsteinian prediction based on general relativity, been detected? The physics rumor mill is propagating speculation about a weighty discovery, but what’s the big deal? (See update below) The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will be hosting a press conference Monday, March 17, 2014, to announce a “major discovery.” What is the announcement? It…

‘Planet X’: Still not there after all these years

NCAS Astronomy from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Every few years, it seems Planet X (also known as “Nibiru”) claims rear their head. This time, Planet X fans are disappointed after NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer returned negative results. NASA Probe Shoots Down ‘Planet X’ Claims (NBC News): A NASA spacecraft has pounded another nail into the coffin of the hypothetical solar system…

Hubble records rare asteroid breakup while rest of world notices there are lots of rocks.

Asteroid NEO 2014 DX110 - Near Earth Encounter - 5 March 2014 from Wikimedia Commons

Asteroid scares are nothing new, but three asteroids in a twenty-four hour period have news headlines buzzing. Another Asteroid! Third Space Rock Buzzes Past Earth (NBC News): The 25-foot-wide (8-meter-wide) asteroid 2014 EC came within 38,300 miles (61,600 kilometers) of our planet at 4:21 p.m. ET, NASA officials said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth…

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,…

Dowsing for hepatitis NOW cures AIDS too!

egypt-c-fast

Somedays, it actually does amaze me what seemingly sane people will think is real. The fake bomb detector/drug detector/dowsing devices are now claimed to cure AIDS and hepatitis C. It’s creating an international embarrassment for Egypt. Egyptian army’s AIDS-cure claim gets harsh criticism – CNN.com. Egypt’s army claims it has invented a cure for AIDS…

I’ll show ya how to walk the dog… HUGE treasure found! (UPDATE)

Pot-of-Gold

Amazing! Where did it come from? Calif. Couple Strike $10 Million Gold-Coin Bonanza – ABC News. A Northern California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from…

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…

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…

Foerster, Pye and Ketchum collaborate: Paracas elongated skull exposed! (UPDATE)

elongated-skull-paracas

NEW (09-Feb-2014): Brien Foerster has contacted me saying that Melba Ketchum is not the geneticist behind the released results. See more details in the update below. On the south coast of Peru in 1928, Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, discovered a collection of remains of individuals with unusually elongated skulls. Cranial deformation is a widely known practice…

The old days… when you were decapitated and your face eaten by dogs

Gladiators_from_the_Zliten_mosaic_3

Archaeologists discover evidence that death was treated as a sport and corpses were left to rot in the open. Very nasty stuff. London skulls reveal gruesome evidence of Roman head hunters | Science | theguardian.com. Scores of skulls excavated in the heart of London have provided the first gruesome evidence of Roman head hunters operating…