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Science News Ticker
Posted: Posted July 20th, 2013
Edited July 20th, 2013 by The Fly

I'll make a post on some recent science related news reports and put them in one thread. I'm just testing the idea this one time, not that I'll be doing it regularly. The reason is that it would be too much to make a separate thread for each separate news item, so thought to place as many as may be interesting to share in one thread.

You're welcomed to make a similar posting on stuff you came across if you wish. If a link is too long please shorten it using https://bitly.com

I include a brief abstract / summary of what each is about (and maybe followed by a personal comment if any).

So, in a way, I'm 'tweeting' each news story (without much commentary), and the 'ticker' part is indicated by the number of replies to this thread (approximately!). The point is that I don't want what appears a long and hard to look at post. Just little nuggets!


There are 61 Replies
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How interesting. We seem to be getting evidence for this from many different angles!

Mars may have once had a vast ocean that covered as much as a third of the planet.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found evidence of an ancient delta where a Martian river may have once emptied into the ocean.


Posted July 20th, 2013 by The Fly

I dismantled my Mom's radios but ... turned out just a nice ordinary guy!

Study Finds Spatial Skill Is Early Sign of Creativity

A gift for spatial reasoning the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields, according to a study published Monday in the journal Psychological Science.


Posted July 20th, 2013 by The Fly

This is from back in 2008 but I didn't know about it.

From neutrinoes and antineutrinos emitted from nuclear reactors they developed detectors that could monitor presence and location of these reactors in states that try to hide them. Has political applications.


Edited July 20th, 2013 by The Fly

Hubble space telescope finds a very small new moon around Neptune!

Its 14th moon.


Edited July 20th, 2013 by The Fly

Amazing look at the Earth from near the rings of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft. That's the pale blue dot!


That image isn't showing for me, but you can see it in the BBC link.

Let's try this:

Nope! Anyway, here's a bigger better pic from Nature Magazine:


Edited July 23rd, 2013 by The Fly

Stem cells are being used to repair cells in the retina that receive light and sends them to the brain. Maybe a cure to some blindness is within reach.


Posted July 23rd, 2013 by The Fly

Another pale blue dot!?? (shocked)

For those of us who like blue, the first planet to be seen (in 2005) turned out to be blue.


Posted July 23rd, 2013 by The Fly

To those of you who like Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Next spring, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson will star in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of Carl Sagan's pioneering series. Recently released at Comic-Con 2013, watch the first trailer for the 13-episode series.

This link has a trailer of his program:


Here is the YouTube link:


Posted July 24th, 2013 by The Fly

I thought this is good news to hear for my tribe!

Want to Be a Professor? Choose Math

Mathematics looks like an especially promising discipline for those aspiring to an academic career, whereas the life sciences look particularly poor for those with academic ambitions.


Posted July 26th, 2013 by The Fly

Regarding some fascinating new finds on X chromosomes, the geneticist David Page says:

We think the X chromosome is leading a double life, with one part being stable and behaving as the textbooks say, and another part changing and influencing male traits.

The X chromosome was basically thought to have only a 'female' role but this other male role plays is news to me.


Edited July 27th, 2013 by The Fly

(Now I'm starting to worry!! (:S) )

Human memory is imperfect. In extreme cases, we may even think we remember something that never happened at all. Now, a group of neuroscientists has identified a potential mechanism of false memory creation and has managed to plant a false memory in the brain of a mouse.


Posted July 27th, 2013 by The Fly

I think I am following you on Twitter. I saw your status stating that the US Congress proposes a bill to raise the minimum wage rate to $10.10 in a few years. This should be made law. $10 is fair pay at the very least. Mathematically speaking, it creates new jobs for people who don't want to work. It fully motivates them. And this will cut down illegal immigration since employers often hire them as an exploit to pay them $5 an hour and less. More Americana and skilled workers will contribute to the real world and not be used as a burden.

And add to this, we need more math and science jobs, no more art and literature ones. In fact we should place a high tax on these forms of liberal arts, and have government subsidize math and science related occupations, as well as give them other forms of goodies. Goodbye literature, goodbye fantasy world (kick)

Math and science are the meaning of life. It is a video game.

Fractions speak louder than words.

Posted February 26th, 2014 by weid man

Can Mr Xhin kindly update this news ticker? I and others had several short bits of interesting news updates which have now disappeared. But I believe Xhin said he can restore them - I am making a request. Thank you.

Posted June 21st, 2014 by The Fly

Hey hey hey ... what a pleasant surprise! Many thanks to MR XHIN for his generous resurrection of this newsticker! {y}{y}{y}

Posted June 30th, 2014 by The Fly

The BICEP team now sounds a little more cautious than defiant about gravitational waves discovery:

Astronomers who announced in March that they had evidence of waves originating from the Big Bang have adopted a more cautious stance as they publish their results in a peer-reviewed journal just as new independent data cast additional doubt on the original findings.


But the BICEP team will probably re-examine the issue when the Planck satellite data comes in sometime October.

Posted June 30th, 2014 by The Fly

Women are perceived as less competent and more gullible than men, so people lie to them more during business transactions - study concludes.


Posted July 31st, 2014 by The Fly

Beware! The Quantum Pigeons are coming!

First there was Schrdinger's cat, now an international team of physicists has come up with a new animal-related paradox involving "quantum pigeons".


Posted July 31st, 2014 by The Fly

Study published in Neurology apparently shows relationship between blood type (esp. type AB) and memory / thinking problems.

It's conclusion:

Conclusions: Blood group AB and higher FVIII were associated with increased incidence of cognitive impairment in this prospective study. The association of blood group AB with incident cognitive impairment was not significantly mediated by FVIII levels.


Posted September 12th, 2014 by The Fly

Interesting! Albert must be boozing away in his grave! "See! I told you so!"

Physicists have verified a key prediction of Albert Einsteins special theory of relativity with unprecedented accuracy. Experiments at a particle accelerator in Germany confirm that time moves slower for a moving clock than for a stationary one.


Edited September 27th, 2014 by The Fly

Hmmm so water in our solar system could have have come from sources beyond and before our solar system was formed. Water is more ancient than I thought!! Very interesting.

As much as half of the water in Earths oceans could be older than the Sun, a study has found.


Posted September 27th, 2014 by The Fly

Whoa. Interesting!

Posted September 27th, 2014 by Jet Presto

Remember the BICEP research team that claimed to have discovered signals suggesting gravitational waves from the early universe and which seemed to lend support to the cosmic inflation model?

Well, some more new analysis shows there was significantly more dust than BICEP team realized, posing problems for gravitational waves and for cosmic inflation model.


(To be fair though, this doesn't mean grav-waves and inflation are false or disproved, just that the method used by BICEP was incorrect. I'm still interested to see how it develops.)

Edited September 27th, 2014 by The Fly

Whoa. Interesting!

Yes it is! Whichever one you meant! (Both are!)

Posted September 27th, 2014 by The Fly

Scientists have found the beginnings of life-bearing chemistry at the centre of the galaxy. Iso-propyl cyanide has been detected in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth.


Posted October 11th, 2014 by The Fly

New Particle Is Both Matter and Antimatter

Researchers see signature of Majorana particles inside superconducting iron.


I am not sure what to think of this. It looks more like a magic trick to simulate a Majorana particle condition. Doesn't look like an actual particle. (They may have noted that in the article.)

Edited October 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Physicists question the notion of "weak measurement" in quantum theory. Unclear what "weak values" are. I find it troubling how some physicists treat it as a matter of fact when there's still debate and questions regarding whether it reflects valid research in physics.


Posted October 16th, 2014 by The Fly

Hmm ... not a bad read ... maybe there's something to this? You be the judge.

Many food-lovers worry about pasta making them fat. But could simply cooling and then reheating your meal make it better for you, asks Michael Mosley.


Posted October 19th, 2014 by The Fly

I didn't know the liver has 4 enzymes! Ok, so it does. But this comes as good news to coffee lovers.

Total coffee consumption was inversely associated with abnormal levels of all four liver enzymes
Hepatology journal


Drinking coffee even decaffeinated coffee may protect your liver, a large new study has found."


Edited October 25th, 2014 by The Fly

Speaking of particle physics, we just showed a documentary called Particle Fever about the LHC and its quest to find the Higgs Particle. (It's on Netflix Instant.) But we had four physicists come to discuss the movie, including a Nobel laureate.

Posted October 25th, 2014 by Jet Presto

Must have been fun! Who's the Nobel laureate? Sometime early next year the LHC will start up again and hopefully reach it's maximum energy of ~14 TeV.

Posted October 25th, 2014 by The Fly

It was Dr. Sheldon Lee Glashow. Don't know much about him though.

Posted October 25th, 2014 by Jet Presto

He's excellent! He was one of the main creators of the electroweak theory, along with Weinberg and Salam. His Nobel was for his work in unification of electromagnetism and beta decay (the weak nuclear force). Saw him interviewed at times in physics documentaries.

Posted October 26th, 2014 by The Fly

Old experiment from 1980-82 designed to detect axions -- certain particles that are part of the hypothetical dark matter -- gave a negative result (they did not show up). Also, tests to detect 'dark photons' and χ particles of dark matter, did not produce them but did place strong constraints on properties that they may have. They don't disprove dark matter but they also did not produce the particles the theory predicted. So it's status still seems to be in limbo.


Posted October 26th, 2014 by The Fly

When viruses were discovered, they were accepted as missing links between the inert world and living organisms. However, this idea was soon abandoned as information about their molecular parasitic nature accumulated. Recently, the notion that viruses are living organisms that have had a role in the evolution of some essential features of cells has experienced a renaissance owing to the discovery of unusually large and complex viruses that possess typical cellular genes. Here, we contend that there is strong evidence against the notion that viruses are alive and represent ancient lineages of the tree of life.

Ten reasons to exclude viruses from the tree of life
by David Moreira & Purificacin Lpez-Garca

Edited October 26th, 2014 by The Fly

Yeah, he was a great speaker. Cool dude. Funny and personable. (We do a series called Science on Screen in which we have experts speak about a scientific theme of a movie before and/or after the feature. Which is my favorite thing we do. But some of the speakers have been very lackluster. In particular, the guy who was going to talk about time loops and the theory of time travel before Groundhog Day. In his defense, I don't think he understood exactly that we wanted to focus on the topic, not constantly tie everything back into the movie. But oh well.)

He HATES the multi-verse theory, which was kinda funny.

Posted October 26th, 2014 by Jet Presto

Half of stars lurk outside galaxies
Rocket experiment captures glow attributed to renegade stars in intergalactic space.

by Alexandra Witze

Astronomers have spotted a faint cosmic glow, unseen until now, that may come from stars that float adrift between galaxies. The discovery suggests that as many as half of all stars in the Universe lurk outside galactic boundaries.


Posted November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Dwarf Galaxies Dim Hopes of Dark Matter
by Natalie Wolchover

For five years physicists have been tantalized by possible evidence of dark matter in the Milky Ways center. But new results from small satellite galaxies have complicated the story.


and then you have this (horror):

Fresh hints of dark matter at Milky Way's core
by Michael Slezak

The centre of the galaxy looks to be lit up by the death-throes of dark matter. Spotting another of the signals we expect to see from dark matter particles annihilating each other could boost confidence that previous observations were the real deal. It could also offer a new way to examine the properties of the mysterious matter.


Posted November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Below Absolute Zero? (horror) Interesting, and first time I heard this.

It may sound less likely than hell freezing over, but physicists have created an atomic gas with a sub-absolute-zero temperature for the first time. Their technique opens the door to generating negative-Kelvin materials and new quantum devices, and it could even help to solve a cosmological mystery.

Quantum gas goes below absolute zero
by Zeeya Merali


Posted November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Hey, did you know that our close neighbor the Andromeda Galaxy M31 has some 30 satellite galaxies? (Most are dwarf galaxies.) Seven of these satellite galaxies were discovered as recently as 2011. (So they're still being discovered.)


One of those satellite galaxies of Andromeda is called Andromeda II and it has some very old stars.


Here's a quiz question: how many satellite galaxies does our own Milky Way have?

Edited November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Wednesday, humans will land a probe on a comet for the first time ever.

In the climax of a decade-long mission, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is expected to drop a lander on the surface of a comet Wednesday morning. But the journey is far from over: The feat of landing a probe on a comet's uneven, enigmatic surface which has never before been accomplished will take scientists from the ESA and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory a grueling seven hours.


Posted November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Siick. I was just reading about that actually! And NASA is what? A year or so away from a mission focused on Pluto too, right?

Posted November 11th, 2014 by Jet Presto

If you find info on NASA's plans for Pluto and when, you're welcome to post it. (I haven't seen it.)

Posted November 11th, 2014 by The Fly

Ah, it's supposed to be July next year. New Horizons. (Dunno why I couldn't remember that mission title. It's funny that for an organization so terrible at naming asteroids, planets, et cetera, they're so good at what to call missions!)

More info on NASA's website:

Posted November 11th, 2014 by Jet Presto

Sounds like the landing went pretty well. Harpoons didn't fire, but the probe is secured to the comet with ice screws. Seems like they don't necessarily need the harpoons right now, but it'd be good to have and they're looking into it.

More and more, I am coming around to the idea that we need to elect more scientists to public office! What scientists can accomplish when working together for 10 years on presumably a tight budget (since everyone seems to hate funding these projects) is mind blowing compared to what our politicians "accomplish" in 25 years on a practically unlimited budget!

Posted November 13th, 2014 by Jet Presto

Philaes battery is running out. Apparently it's in the shadow of a cliff so it's not getting adequate solar power. Even though Philae isn't secured to the surface with its harpoons, they may attempt to use the drill and hope to gather valuable data before the power is gone. Another possibility they're considering is putting it in hibernation and hope it will be in a sunnier position at a later date.

No matter what happens, this mission is still a huge achievement, and Rosetta will still be there observing and collecting data.


Posted November 14th, 2014 by Jo Nathan

Thanks for the Pluto link, Jet Presto.

Jo Nathan, they said that there's still a chance the comet lander could be reenergized when it gets closer to the sun. They managed, apparently, to secure a good chunk of data from the comet just before it's power when down. I certainly hope they'll be able to reestablish contact. Cross your fingers!

Posted November 15th, 2014 by The Fly

To all of you time haters, this is an article for you! Show me your big smile when you read it! (Or at least the part of it.)

"Times Passage is Probably an Illusion"
From the fixed past to the tangible present to the undecided future, it feels as though time flows inexorably on. But that is an illusion.

By Paul Davies


(I assume many of you are familiar with the science writer Paul Davies.)

Time is an illusion, the universe came from nothing, and by chance! ... it all sounds very religious to me! .... which reminds me of a recent article I read on Nothing! (Lots to read there!)

Edited November 15th, 2014 by The Fly

Well ... how about that?

Rosetta Probe Discovers Organic Molecules on Comet

(from Wall Street Journal)


An instrument aboard the Philae lander detected the molecules after sniffing the comets atmosphere. An organic compound is one whose molecules contain the carbon atom, the basis of life on earth.

Scientists are analyzing the data to see whether the organic compounds detected by Philae are simple onessuch as methane and methanolor a more complex species such as amino acids, the building blocks for proteins. A drill on Philae also obtained some material from the comets hard surface, but data about organic molecules from that experiment have yet to be fully analyzed.

In context: back in 2009

NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft. "Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins, and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet," said Dr. Jamie Elsila of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.


Edited November 18th, 2014 by The Fly

The great mathematician Alexander Grothendieck died aged 86. He once said "If there is one thing in mathematics that fascinates me more than anything else, it's neither number nor size, but always form.


May he rest in peace.

Edited November 18th, 2014 by The Fly

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) goes back into operation next month - in March - and aim for the maximum energy of 14 TeV. It's been down for over a year (or has it been two?) and something to look forward to. Fasten your seatbelts!

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

2015 is declared the International Year of Light. Nature has a special issue on Light.

Edited February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Using techniques from astronomy, physicists are finding ways to see through opaque materials such as living tissue!

Why study the heavens? They could help you study you!

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Boron isotopes in plankton fossils suggest that the last Ice Age may have ended by rising carbon dioxide from ocean depths.

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Planck satellite's has a new more accurate image of our Milky Way.

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Found this interesting.

Research suggests liberals + conservatives can be biased against science that doesnt align with their political views.

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Electrical stimulation deep within the brain may alleviate devastating mood disorders.

(I've at times wondered if certain kinds of musical tunes can have similar effect. Esp. when heard more intimately thru a headphone - as I use to do as a teen.)

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

The United Kingdom voted to legalize gene-therapy technique that could help women avoid passing genetic defects to their children.

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

Scientists say they gained new insight suggesting that the innermost core of the Earth has another distinct region.

Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly
Posted February 15th, 2015 by The Fly

I don't necessarily buy this hypothesis but maybe it's interesting to know about.

Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs?
By Sid Perkins

My personal comment: our solar system's galactic year is about 230 million years. It takes that long for it to go once around the Milky Way. This might lead one to think that the solar system crosses the galactic plane once every 230/2 = 115 million years -- which is far from 30 or 40 million years. But I learned that the orbit of our solar system around Milky Way isn't flat ellipse but more like a wave crossing galactic plane every ~30 mys. I'd be interested to see if there is a good reference backing this.

Edited February 21st, 2015 by The Fly

Gravitational lensing is basically how light from distant objects gets skewed by gravitational forces due to objects in its path. Here's a crazy case where this lensing effect was able to capture 'reruns' of an exploding supernova. You could see the explosion form one direction, and then see it again from another direction because of the time delay! This is amazing but it makes sense.


(I read that the paper announcing this result appeared in Science magazine, but I can't seem to find it there.)

Here it is I found it on Nature:


Edited March 14th, 2015 by The Fly
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