Science News

Monsoon in 2017 to remain below normal: Forecast

Monsoon in 2017 to remain below normal: Forecast

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 : Looks like summer will be yet more unbearable this year, atleast the present weather condition makes us believe so.

Establishing this belief, Skymet Weather too has recently stated that monsoon, in 2017, is likely to remain below normal.

It is predicted to be at 95 percent (with an error margin of +/-five percent) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September.

The report further says that monsoon probabilities for JJAS are:

- Zero percent chance of excess (seasonal rainfall that is more than 110 percent of LPA),

- 10 percent chance of above normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 105 to 110 percent of LPA),

Experiencing Aurora Australis 'alters' passengers' lives!

Experiencing Aurora Australis 'alters' passengers' lives!

London [UK], Mar. 24 : Following a huge explosion of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun's corona, Tasmania's skyline has been aglow in recent days - with vivid purple and green lights illuminating the horizon.

A few passengers, aboard the first commercial flight to witness the Aurora Australis, landed in New Zealand and the 130 star-struck passengers have taken to social media to share their experience.

The duration of the flight was eight-hours and it took off from the South Island on Thursday, flying to a latitude of 62 degrees south to view of the aurora.

A new species of terrestrial crab found in Hong Kong

A new species of terrestrial crab found in Hong Kong

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.23 : What the CRAB!

The scientists have found a new species of terrestrial crab, climbing trees on the eastern coast of Hong Kong.

The species is described in the open access journal ZooKeys.

All specimens spotted during the survey have been collected at a height of approximately 1.5 - 1.8 m, walking on the bark of the branches at ebbing and low tides.

The characteristics of the newly found species are squarish predominantly dark brown carapace, very long legs and orange chelipeds.

The species is less than a centimetre long, with the studied specimens measuring between eight and nine millimetres, irrespective of their sex.

The chelipeds of the males appear stout, while in females they are distinctly leaner.

Restoring Pluto's planetary identity in crisis

Restoring Pluto's planetary identity in crisis

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 18 : A decade after Pluto was ousted from the planet lineup, a supporter of the now dwarf planet is fighting to restore its title.

Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet.

So, he said, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of "planet."

NASA's Van Allen Probes uncovers 'relativistic' electrons

NASA's Van Allen Probes uncovers 'relativistic' electrons

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 16 : Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet,were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behaviour is still not completely understood.

Now, new observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.

The results show that there typically isn't as much radiation in the inner belt as previously assumed, which is good news for spacecraft flying in the region.

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A study shows that global spider population - with a weight of around 25 million tonnes - wipes out an estimated 400-800 million tonnes of prey every year, thus making an essential contribution to maintain the ecological balance of nature.

According to Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Lund University in Sweden, more than 90 percent of the prey is insects and springtails (Collembola) and furthermore, large tropical spiders occasionally prey on small vertebrates - frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, birds and bats - or feed on plants.

The study was published in the journal 'The Science of Nature'.

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A team of researchers has discovered fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae in India, indicating that advanced multicellular life evolved on earth much earlier than previously thought.

The study, appeared in the open access journal PLOS Biology, found two kinds of fossils resembling red algae - first type is thread-like, the other one consists of fleshy colonies - in uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot in Central India.

The scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures and so-called cell fountains, the bundles of packed and splaying filaments that form the body of the fleshy forms and are characteristics of red algae.

New find paves way for 'brain-like' computers

New find paves way for 'brain-like' computers

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 13 : Turns out, brain is 10 times more active than previously measured.

This UCLA finding could change scientists' understanding of how the brain works and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that "think" more like humans.

The research focused on the structure and function of dendrites, which are components of neurons, the nerve cells in the brain. Neurons are large, tree-like structures made up of a body, the soma, with numerous branches called dendrites extending outward.

'Fishing out' radioactive elements from nuclear waste

'Fishing out' radioactive elements from nuclear waste

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 13 : According to a recent study, arsenic molecules might be used to "fish out" the most toxic elements from radioactive nuclear waste - a breakthrough that could make the decommissioning industry even safer and more effective.

The University of Manchester's Elizabeth Wildman reported the first examples of thorium with multiple bonds to arsenic to exist under ambient conditions on multi-gram scales where before they had only been prepared on very small scales at temperatures approaching that of interstellar space (3-10 Kelvin).

"Nuclear power could potentially produce far less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, but the long-lived waste it produces is radioactive and needs to be handled appropriately," said Wildman.

NASA spacecraft's close call with Martian moon Phobos

NASA spacecraft's close call with Martian moon Phobos

New Delhi [India], Mar. 4 : NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), which is in its second year of studying the Red Planet's atmosphere, was recently forced to perform unscheduled maneuver to avert a space-wreck.

In its first collision avoidance maneuver, MAVEN spacecraft carried out a rocket motor burn that boosted its velocity by 0.4 meters per second (less than 1 mile per hour) to steer clear of Mars' moon Phobos, NASA reported.

The correction was small, but it was enough for the spacecraft to avoid the crater-filled moon by about 2.5 minutes.

Species extinction affects complex ecosystems: Study

Species extinction affects complex ecosystems: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 4 : Research by the UK-based University of Southampton has found that methods used to predict the effect of species extinction on ecosystems could be producing inaccurate results. This is because current thinking assumes that when a species vanishes, its role within an environment is lost too.

However, scientists working on a new study have found that when a species (for example a group of sea creatures) is wiped out by a catastrophic event, other species can change their behaviour to compensate, exploiting the vacant role left behind. This leads to positive or negative effects on ecosystems, and in turn, either better or worse outcomes than current estimates would suggest.

Egg-free surrogate chickens can save rare poultry breeds

Egg-free surrogate chickens can save rare poultry breeds

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 : To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

The advance -- using gene-editing techniques -- could help to boost breeding of endangered birds, as well as improving production of commercial hens, researchers say.

The appeared in the journal Development.

Researchers explained that donor primordial germ cells from other breeds could be implanted into the gene-edited chickens as they are developing inside an egg. The surrogate hens would then grow up to produce eggs containing all of the genetic information from the donor breeds.

NASA needs your help in finding new ninth planet

NASA needs your help in finding new ninth planet

New York [USA], Feb. 17 : NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

To let anyone participate in this search project of ninth planet, the Zooniverse space projects site has launched a NASA-funded venture, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, reports CNN.

"There are really low barriers to entry," Dr. Laura Trouille of Zooniverse.

NASA has compiled a "flipbook" of short animations that shows sky scans taken over several years and so far, 4,201 people have joined the mission.

The participants can search for disruptions in the images -- basically, clusters of tiny coloured dots -- and mark their findings.

Two largest satellite galaxies Magellanic Clouds bridged by stars

Two largest satellite galaxies Magellanic Clouds bridged by stars

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 : According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

The discovery is based on the Galactic Stellar census being conducted by the European Space Observatory, Gaia and reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

For the past 15 years, scientists have been eagerly anticipating the data from Gaia. The first portion of information from the satellite was released three months ago and is freely accessible to everyone.

U.S. makes additional USD500 million grant to support Green Climate Fund

U.S. makes additional USD500 million grant to support Green Climate Fund

Washington D.C. [United States], Jan. 18 : The United States has made an additional USD500 million grant to support the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Consistent with last year's GCF grant, this funding is provided from the fiscal year 2016 Economic Support Fund (ESF) appropriation.

"This grant follows last year's initial grant of 500 million as part of the $3 billion pledge to the GCF made by President Obama in 2014," said U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

He said the Green Climate Fund is a critical tool that helps catalyse billions of dollars in public and private investment in countries dealing not only with the challenges of climate change but the immense economic opportunities that are embedded in the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Meet the new moth named after Donald Trump

Meet the new moth named after Donald Trump

Washington [USA], Jan. 18 : To encourage the conservation in the fragile areas, scientists have named a new moth as 'Neopalpa donaldtrumpi' in the honour of U.S President-elect Donald Trump.

Biologist Dr. Vazrick Nazari from University of California named the moth officially as ' Neopalpa donaldtrumpi' because it stands out with yellowish-white scales present on the head in adults and in these scales he found an amusing reference to Trump's hairstyle and turned it into an additional justification for its name.

The study, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, hopes that the fame around the new moth will successfully point to the critical need for further conservation efforts in the fragile areas such as the habitat of the new species.

Google doodle wishes scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose on his 158th birth anniversary

Google doodle wishes scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose on his 158th birth anniversa

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.30 : Google, on Wednesday, wished noted scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose on his 158th birth anniversary with a doodle featuring him.

The doodle featured Bose's caricature with crescograph, an instrument that he invented to measure growth in plants.

Best known for his pioneering work in biophysics, Bose made several contributions in various fields, including physics, biology and archaeology.

Can humans regenerate body parts like acorn worms?

Can humans regenerate body parts like acorn worms?

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 29 : Is it possible for humans to regrow an amputated arm or leg, or completely restore nervous system function after a spinal cord injury?

It might be possible one day, as a new study of one of our closest invertebrate relatives, the acorn worm, reveals that acorn worms can regrow every major body part, raising hopes for regeneration in humans.

Acorn worms burrow in the sand around coral reefs, but their ancestral relationship to chordates means they have a genetic makeup and body plan surprisingly similar to ours.

Humanoid robot reveals learning process in toddlers

Humanoid robot reveals learning process in toddlers

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 29 : A new research has found that toddlers learn new words using the same method as robots.

The study suggests that early learning is based not on conscious thought but on an automatic ability to associate objects which enables babies to quickly make sense of their environment.

Dr Katie Twomey from Lancaster University, with Dr Jessica Horst from Sussex University, Dr Anthony Morse and Professor Angelo Cangelosi from Plymouth wanted to find out how young children learn new words for the first time.

The researchers programmed a humanoid robot called iCub designed to have similar proportions to a three year old child, using simple software which enabled the robot to hear words through a microphone and see with a camera.

A century after their adventure, Antarctic heroes help make discovery

A century after their adventure, Antarctic heroes help make discovery

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.24 : The research, which says area of sea ice around Antarctica has barely changed in size in a century, was contributed by the heroes of Antarctic exploration.

Ice observations recorded in the ships' logbooks of explorers such as British Captain Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton and the German Erich von Drygalski have been used to compare where the Antarctic ice edge was during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897-1917) and where satellites show it is today.

The study suggests Antarctic sea ice is much less sensitive to the effects of climate change as compared to the Arctic, which in stark contrast has experienced a dramatic decline during the 20th century.




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