Science News

Japan’s whaling fleet returns to base with carcasses of 333 minke whales

Japan’s whaling fleet returns to base with carcasses of 333 minke whales

Japan's whaling fleet has made a comeback to base with the carcasses of 333 minke whales, in apparent infringement of an International Court of Justice ruling.

Reuters quoted Japan's Fisheries Agency’s statement that said that during the fleet's summer expedition to Antarctic waters they caught 103 male and 230 female whales. Among the mature females, 90% were pregnant.

Reuters reported that the agency said that the number of pregnant females was consistent with earlier hunts, which suggested that the breeding condition of minke whales in the Antarctic was healthy.

Photographs show mess occupiers left at Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon

Photographs show mess occupiers left at Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon

The federal Fish and Wildlife Service’s Flickr page has some pictures that look like a destroyed office, a severely disorganized farm, probably a deserted construction area or a specifically messy recreation room in somebody’s home.

However, federal officials have said that the photographs are of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, which they have captured in February, following the 40-day occupation by armed protesters headed by Ammon and Ryan Bundy. The standoff resulted in the death of a protester and minimal 25 others have been facing federal charges in relation with the occupation.

Earth not only planet in solar system with aurora borealis or Northern Lights

Earth not only planet in solar system with aurora borealis or Northern Lights

A latest study has suggested that our planet is not the sole planet in the solar system with aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. It turned out that the Gas Giant Jupiter also possesses a similar phenomenon. The X-ray aurora on Jupiter is ‘hundreds of times more energetic’ and ‘eight times brighter’ than the phenomenon seen on Earth. Researchers said that they are, in fact, bigger than the Earth’s entire surface area.

According to researchers, this is for the first time that X-ray aurora of Jupiter has been studied, all because of a huge solar storm that struck the planet.

Moon’s Axis tilted by five degrees three billion years ago due to Volcanic Activity

Moon’s Axis tilted by five degrees three billion years ago due to Volcanic Activ

The Earth’s Moon, in a surprising development, likely shifted its axis three billion years ago due to violent lunar volcanoes. The axis shifted slowly and possibly over a period of one billion years.

Shedding light on this phenomenon, a new study has suggested that following these volcanoes, one side of the lunar surface was heated up, which led to a change in the mass and structure of the space rock’s insides and ultimately caused the Moon to tip over onto its current axis.

The Moon tilted about 5 degrees on its own axis slowly over the course of maybe a billion years, causing the north and south poles to migrate by about 125 miles.

Study: Saturn Rings and Moons may have been formed after Dinosaurs roamed Earth

Study: Saturn Rings and Moons may have been formed after Dinosaurs roamed Earth

Our solar system has four giant gas planets with rings: Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. Saturn is known for having the largest ring system, but do you know when the sixth planet from the sun got the magnificent network of rings? A team of astronomers claims it has found the answer.

Saturn didn’t have the ring system until sometime after the age of dinosaurs started on our planet, claimed the astronomer group. It means the gas giant’s rings are younger than dinosaurs. The astronomers conducted a study and found that not only Saturn’s rings, but its moons are also young.

Killing of 19 Elk in Wyoming by Wolves sparks Debate over Wolf Protection

Killing of 19 Elk in Wyoming by Wolves sparks Debate over Wolf Protection

A herd of wolves slaughtered about 19 elk at a western Wyoming feeding ground in just one night, said state wildlife officials in an announcement. It is not unusual for the animal to kill one or two elk, but killing in huge numbers is something that no one had ever noticed in the region, they added.

Another surprising thing is that the wolf-pack didn’t even eat the killed animals. Now, the officials want the state to take decision on how to manage wolves. Until now, the federal government manages the animal.

FWS to spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair, upgrade Oregon wildlife refuge

FWS to spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair, upgrade Oregon wildlife refuge

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is planning to spend nearly $4 million to clean, repair and upgrade the Oregon wildlife refuge. Earlier this year, the refuge was the place of a 41-day armed occupation by ranchers.

The Oregonian reported that Dan Ashe, Fish and Wildlife Director, said that his motive is to make the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns a symbol for the rest of the nation, indicating that it is collaboration that endures, and not confrontation.

Earlier this week, similar statements were made by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell when she paid a visit to the refuge.

Federal officials shared pictures of the refuge showing that the ranchers left a mess within the building.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million for cutting-edge life sciences research

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million for cutting-edge life

On Wednesday, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who also owns the Seattle Seahawks, promised $100 million funding for cutting-edge life sciences study. As per a news release from the Allen Institute, the gift has signified his initial pledge in the direction of a decade-long plan for The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a latest Seattle-based organization launched by him on Wednesday.

The initial projects of the organization include $20 million funding for eight years of research endeavors at Stanford University and Tufts University, and under the ‘research partnership’, universities will contribute $10 million each.

Rare! Thailand’s Blind Cavefish walks like Four-legged Animal

Rare! Thailand’s Blind Cavefish walks like Four-legged Animal

Researchers have found a blind cavefish that walks up waterfalls. In a study published in Scientific Reports, they said the fish, Cryptotora thamicola, is incredibly rare due to its walk, which seems like a four-legged animal’s saunter.

The fish is a blind cavefish, but what make it unique are its morphological features. These were previously seen in four-footed mammals and amphibians, said Brooke E. Flammang, a researcher from the Jersey Institute of Technology and an author of the study. Cryptotora thamicola’s pelvis and vertebral column allow it to support its body weight against gravity, the author added.

Bacterium with Minimal Number of Genes to be used to create Designer Life Forms

Bacterium with Minimal Number of Genes to be used to create Designer Life Forms

A team of scientists has claimed that they have developed a bacterium with the smallest number of genes required to have life. Now, they hope the research could be used to create designer life forms.

The newly created bacterium has 473 genes. The creators from the J. Craig Venter Institute in California have no idea what action more than 30% genes of the bacterium actually perform. However, they say these genes are important and the microbe could even die without them.

These genes act as key elements, and the team is trying to figure out what they do, and they are very close, said J. Craig Venter, founder of the institute in California.

Swedish ‘Superstar Doctor’ Kicked out of job For Lying about his achievements

Swedish ‘Superstar Doctor’ Kicked out of job For Lying about his achievements

“Superstar doctor” Paolo Macchiarini has been kicked out of his job by Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institute (KI) for allegedly lying about his scientific achievements and other misconduct that is incompatible with KI's employment standards.

A trachea surgeon, Macchiarini had brought about a revolution in the field of artificial windpipe operations. But his career started seeing a downfall in June 2014 when allegations of his misconduct, including his purported exaggeration of the success of his artificial trachea surgeries in numerous scientific publications, gained prominence.

“His conduct has seriously damaged confidence in KI and for research in general”, says KI’s HR manager Mats Engelbrektson in an announcement released on Wednesday.

NASA’s Dawn Mission reveals Ceres’ mysterious bright spots in exceptional detail

NASA’s Dawn Mission reveals Ceres’ mysterious bright spots in exceptional detail

American space agency NASA has released some new close-up images of Ceres, revealing the dwarf planet’s mysterious bright spots in unprecedented detail.

The images, captured by the space agency’s space probe Dawn from just 240 miles above the surface, provides a closer look at Ceres surface that shows distinctive bright spots. The images unveil a dome covered with the bright material.

For the first time, scientists could look at the dwarf planet’s Occator Crater. The crater, which measures around 2.5 miles deep and 57 miles across, contains the two bright spots that perplexed researchers for years.

However, even the new images failed solve the mystery of bright spots, but the images finally provided scientists with something to work with.

High-rising seas, killer storms are closer than previously thought

High-rising seas, killer storms are closer than previously thought

Extreme climatic calamities like high-rising seas and killer storms could be just decades and not centuries away, a new study into the potential impact of climate change warned.

The study report titled “Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise & Superstorms” warned that the global warming threshold of 2-degree Celsius or 3.6-degree Fahrenheit is too high. The 52-page report was derived from observations of ancient climate change called "paleo-climatology" and observations of current climate shifts, in addition to data from computer modeling.

Former NASA scientist James Hensen, who authored the study, cautioned that humans might have already reached in a position of potentially causing irreparable harm to their future generations.

Researchers discover new species of extinct Hawaiian bat

Researchers discover new species of extinct Hawaiian bat

Researchers have unearthed a new species of fossilized ancient bat on a Hawaiian Island, bringing the number of known land mammals native to Hawaii to two.

Prior to the discovery of the new species, the only known land mammal native to Hawaii was the hoary bat. But after analyzing the fossils of the new species, the researchers concluded that the new bat species dubbed Synemporion keana lived alongside the hoary bat.

The two species lived and flourished alongside each other before becoming extinct just before humans’ arrival on the chain of the isolated islands. Some researchers are of the view that humans’ arrival might have forced the species into extinction thousands of years ago.

Earth’s Moon shifted off its axis a billion years ago: researchers say

Earth’s Moon shifted off its axis a billion years ago: researchers say

A team of planetary scientists has proposed a new theory stating that the Moon, Earth’s natural satellite, has shifted off its original axis by roughly 6 degrees over the course of a billion years. This shift might have happened due to violent volcanic activity, nearly three billion years ago. Southern Methodist University, Dallas Planetary scientist Matt Siegler and his team has worked on the project.

After checking data collected by NASA missions, Siegler added giant mass of molten material could have caused a change in internal balance of lunar center of gravity. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

Tuesday night and Wednesday dawn will offer two astronomical events

Tuesday night and Wednesday dawn will offer two astronomical events

Two astronomical events will be out for observation in the sky for anyone who loves watching sky, planets and stars. On Tuesday night, the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter will be lucidly visible and then the following morning it will be lunar eclipse which will be a treat for astronomers and sky-watchers.

Glimpse of both celestial events is an unusual astronomical phenomenon. Jupiter will be seen shining in the night sky, while the lunar eclipse will appear as moon will pass through Earth's shadow. There are different types of shadows that shape kind of eclipse about to form.

The penumbra is the pale outskirts of the shadow. The change in light on the moon's surface will not be that dramatic. The eclipse will be barely visible and will form fully at 7:48 a.m.

Sophia, a humanoid robot, can emulate multiple facial expressions

Sophia, a humanoid robot, can emulate multiple facial expressions

Hanson Robotics has created new humanoid robot with name Sophia that is capable of displaying variety of emotional faces. It even answers questions and calls itself destroyer of humanity. The robot has been designed as an application to be employed in domains of healthcare, therapy, education and customer service.

Talking Sophia was created by Hanson Robotics at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has skin of patented silicon and her eyes work as a camera to identify individuals. Sophia robot also has voice recognition software and most remarkable is its ability to emulate more than 62 facial expressions. Her appearance is inspired from Audrey Hepburn and wife of Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson.

Scientists witness star going supernova in visible light

Scientists witness star going supernova in visible light

For the first time ever, scientists have managed to see a star going supernova in visible light. The Kepler space telescope captured two exploding stars in 2011. At that time, explosion of two red supergiants took place in what are known as Type II supernovae.

Type II supernovae occur when the core of the star collapses and explodes violently in fast succession. Such kind of explosion’s shockwaves or shock breakout lasts just around 20 minutes due to which recording one of the events is a remarkable achievement for astronomy.

Beetle Moms zap Fathers with an anti-aphrodisiac and get them to help out with childcare

Beetle Moms zap Fathers with an anti-aphrodisiac and get them to help out with

Scientists have discovered an interesting behavior among beetles as they care for their child and the females do not engage in mating till the time baby beetles are independent. Females also seek help from males in caring for baby beetles.

The research team noted that female burying beetles do not allow males to mate till the time baby beetles are independent. The study has appeared on Tuesday in journal Nature Communications.

Lead researcher Sandra Steiger, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Ulm in Germany, said they are quite a modern family. They studied 400 pairs of beetles during a time period of three years.

Solar storms set off Jupiter’s intense ‘Northern Lights’ by generating a new X-ray aurora

Solar storms set off Jupiter’s intense ‘Northern Lights’ by generating a new X

With the help of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a UCL-led research team found that solar storms have triggered Jupiter’s intense ‘Northern Lights’ by producing a new X-ray aurora that is eight times brighter compared to normal and hundreds times more energetic in comparison to Earth’s aurora borealis.

This is for the first time ever that Jupiter's X-ray aurora has been analyzed during the arrival of a huge storm from the Sun at the planet.

The striking findings go together well with NASA's Juno mission this summer which is looking forward to understand the link between the two largest structures in the solar system, including the area of space managed by Jupiter's magnetic field and the region under the control of solar wind.




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