Science News

Modern cityscapes could be turning birds into better problem solvers, study suggests

Modern cityscapes may be turning birds into better problem solvers, study sugges

A new study has concluded that modern cityscapes have been possibly changing birds into better problem solvers compared to their counterparts living in the wild or rural regions. Published recently in Behavioral Ecology, the McGill University research paper discovered that city birds studied by researchers were dissimilar to their rural counterparts in a number of ways.

In a statement, first author Jean-Nicolas Audet, a PhD candidate at McGill, said, “We found that not only were birds from urbanized areas better at innovative problem-solving tasks than bullfinches from rural environments, but that surprisingly urban birds also had a better immunity than rural birds”.

Climate Change Not Letting Rocky Mountain Forests Recover After Fire

Climate Change: French wine producers could relocate, or abandon grapes

On Monday, scientists said climate change has moved French wines into unexplored territory, and may push producers to reposition, or abandon the grape varieties that played an important role in giving prominence to their vineyards.

Scientists reported in Nature Climate Change that since 1980, emerging conditions in northern climes like Champagne and Burgundy, and in sun-drenched Bordeaux, have vitally altered the ‘harvest equation’ that represented these regions. French wine is ranked among the highest in the world.

19 Ancient Viral Strands Noticed in Human DNA: U-M Research

19 Ancient Viral Strands Noticed in Human DNA: U-M Research

University of Michigan scientists have detected 19 new pieces of viral DNA strands, lurking within human genome after they evaluated DNA information from 2,500 individuals. The latest discovery highlights the impact of certain virus strains and their ability to impact human DNA for generations. The DNA strands were left by viruses that infected human ancestors for the first time, hundreds of thousands of years back.

The scientists behind the genome research project studied 2,500 people and detected that a stretch of newfound DNA, present in 50 of the participants, contained an intact, full genetic recipe for a total virus. The detailed findings of U-M and Tufts University research team have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Commercial Cygnus cargo ship launched into space late Tuesday

Commercial Cygnus cargo ship launched into space late Tuesday

Late Tuesday, commercial Cygnus cargo ship was launched into space. Streaking into the Florida night sky, it is on a delivery mission, carrying a record-setting load of NASA experiments and gear to the International Space Station (ISS).

Yesterday, at 11:05 pm the Orbital ATK-built Cygnus blasted off atop an Atlas V rocket EDT in a smooth liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Packed with over 3.5 tons of supplies, the cargo ship is likely to arrive at the space station early on March 26.

The flight is the second for Orbital ATK's improved Cygnus craft on an Atlas V rocket given by the United Launch Alliance. The company representatives said that the cargo ship has onboard even more cargo as compared to the Orbital ATK's last record-breaking flight in December.

This Week in Space: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse and Bright Jupiter to Set Celestial Show

This Week in Space: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse and Bright Jupiter to Set Celestial

Apart from twin comets’ flyby of earth, there is another reason to observe sky this week: penumbral lunar eclipse pairing with bright Jupiter.

The moon will enter earth’s shadow in the morning of Wednesday and lead to a penumbral eclipse. People in the East Coast will be able to observe the celestial event with a very bright Jupiter that is scheduled to appear with the moon on Tuesday night.

During the eclipse, residents of the central and western US will see a slightly darkened moon. Other regions of the globe, such as Asia, Australia and Pacific will also be able to catch the glimpse of this special sky event, said Fred Espenak, who is an eclipse expert.

NASA releases Mars Gravity Map that May Help Crack Many Mysteries

NASA releases Mars Gravity Map that May Help Crack Many Mysteries

As part of its Mars exploration initiative, American space agency NASA has released a new gravity map of the red planet that is believed to have the potential of providing minutest and most detailed look of the planet’s unforeseen interiors. The improved resolution may help scientists crack certain mysteries associated with various regions of the planet that still continue to perplex humans.

The gravity maps play the same role in scanning the inside of a planet as a doctor does while conducting an X-ray to see the close organ details of a patient, said Antonio Genova from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a NASA press release.

Astronomers studying two tiny comets during their flyby of earth

Astronomers studying two tiny comets during their flyby of earth

Sky gazers have focused their telescopes towards the sky in the search of twin comets that will make a historic flyby of earth. One of the tiny comets, Comet 252P/LINEAR, has already zoomed past earth at a safe distance of 3.3 million miles from us on Monday, while the second is scheduled to whiz past on Tuesday.

On Tuesday at around 7:30 am, Comet P/2016 BA14 will be just 2.2 million miles away while passing close to earth. It will be the third closest comet flyby in history, as per astronomers.

Astronomers and space agency have already said that the two space objects will not pose any harm to people on earth, but they may help scientists know more about comets. It will be an opportunity for astronomers to understand what these space objects actually are.

Carbon emissions surpass period of extreme warming 56 million years ago

Carbon emissions surpass period of extreme warming 56 million years ago

Undoubtedly, rate of planet-warming carbon dioxide is increasing at an alarming rate. A study has suggested that today’s carbon-release rate is highest since dinosaur era. In other words, we are releasing carbon into the planet’s oceans and atmosphere faster than in the past many decades.

Today, the release rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) is roughly 10 times faster than an event some 56 million years ago when earth had extreme warming temperature, as per the study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. The new figure should be taken as a warning for how much climate change may affect earth and earthlings in coming times, the study added.

Gallup Poll: American people are finally taking climate change more seriously

Gallup Poll: American people are finally taking climate change more seriously

A latest poll suggested that people in America could finally start believing that people are among the major contributors to climate change. The new US Gallup poll disclosed a significant record of Americans who are concerned regarding global warming, quite more than before.

To conduct this latest survey, researchers asked some questions to a random sample of 1,019 adults of the age group 18 and older through telephone. All the respondents belonged to the US and particularly to the District of Columbia.

More and more number of people in America have started taking climate change quite seriously. In fact, 64% Americans have said that for them effects of global warming have become a grave deal as now the highest percentage of global warming has been recorded.

Three-Astronaut space team arrives at ISS safely

Three-Astronaut space team arrives at ISS safely

A Soyuz rocket carrying a space team of three astronauts was launched on Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Now, the crew, including one NASA astronaut and two cosmonauts, has reached the International Space Station (ISS) safely.

A pair of Roscosmos cosmonauts—Oleg Skripochka and Aleksey Ovchinin—and American astronaut Jeff Williams arrived at the ISS after a journey of about six hours. With the latest mission, the 58-year-old NASA astronaut, Jeff Williams, will break another NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s record by spending 534 cumulative days aboard the space station. Kelly has lived 520 days in space at the ISS.

The trio, flying on a Soyuz space capsule, was welcomed by NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, ESA astronaut Tim Peake and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.

Exoplanet HD 20782 is most eccentric planet in universe with orbital eccentricity of 0.96

Exoplanet HD 20782 is most eccentric planet in universe with orbital eccentricit

An extrasolar planet approximately 117 light years away from earth has been discovered by a team of astronomers. It is believed to be the most eccentric planet in the observable universe, as per the team led by astronomer Stephen Kane from San Francisco State University.

Kane and his team also claimed that they detected a signal of reflected light from the extrasolar planet, dubbed as HD 20782. They revealed their discovery last month in The Astrophysical Journal.

Historic flyby: Twin comets all set to zip past earth this week

Historic flyby: Twin comets all set to zip past earth this week

Space enthusiasts with their telescopes pointing towards sky are going to get a rare celestial treat in the form of two comets that are scheduled to zip past earth this week. One of the comets will be closer to earth than any other comet since decades.

The bigger comet, as 252P/LINEAR, is more than 700 feet in size. The solar system body surrounded by green cloud of gas will make its closest flyby of earth on Monday at around 5:14 am. During the historic flyby, the comet will come within 3.3 million miles of our planet.

Thousands of dead sea-birds at Alaskan lake leave biologists bewildered

Thousands of dead sea-birds at Alaskan lake leave biologists bewildered

Thousands of carcasses of sea birds discovered at the Alaskan lake have left biologists wondering about the reason behind the same. The common murres, which are not much seen at the lake, come flocking there in winters in search of food. Biologists opine that they could have died because of one or more reasons which could be lack of food, the weather, or some disease. However, that ultimate cause of mass death of the species in the region is yet unknown.

Collier County: Biologists bag over 2,000 pounds of snakes

Collier County: Biologists bag over 2,000 pounds of snakes

In Collier County, researchers have been keeping track of Burmese pythons under an ongoing study over their cryptic habits. During a time period of just three months, they have bagged over 2,000 pounds of snakes.

They have bagged many snakes with a monster among them that is 16 feet long and has a weight of 140 pounds, which as per researchers has set a new state record for the biggest male caught.

For the project, Conservancy of Southwest Florida biologist Ian Bartoszek collaborated with Denison University biologist Paul Andreadis, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the United States Geological Survey. The biologist Bartoszek called it kind of jaw-dropping discovery.

New proposal calls for Guantánamo Bay Naval Base to be turned into peace park

New proposal calls for Guantánamo Bay Naval Base to be turned into peace park

As part of a new proposal, Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, which includes the prominent detention center, may get transformed into a marine conservation area and an international peace park. The transformation would be undertaken once the inmates vacate the place.

The proposal has appeared in the journal Science on Thursday. It is considering the fate of the base keeping in mind the recent thaw in Cuba and the United States relations and the impending historic visit of President Obama.

In a telephone interview with The Christian Science Monitor, co-author Joe Roman, a conservation biologist at the University of Vermont said that the US embassy in Cuba is now open, and thus more business and tourists will come, placing more pressure on coastal systems.

Seismologist Lucy Jones retiring from US Geological Survey

Seismologist Lucy Jones retiring from US Geological Survey

Seismologist Lucy Jones, who was the face of earthquake science and safety in Southern California for a long time, will shortly retire from the US Geological Survey.

On Friday, in a Twitter post, Jones shared that though she is leaving federal service but will stay there at the California Institute of Technology, where she is serving as a research associate.

Since long, it was Jones to whom the public looked up to at the time of earth shakes. She was always there in front of news cameras at the Caltech seismology lab, explaining magnitudes, errors and other information.

UN appoints ‘Angry Birds’ leader Red to inspire climate action towards sustainable, happier future

UN appoints ‘Angry Birds’ leader Red to inspire climate action towards sustainab

Yesterday, the United Nations recruited Red, the leader of the ‘Angry Birds’ mobile game characters, as a representative for inspiring climate steps in the direction of a sustainable and happier future for everyone.

Red has been appointed the Honorary Ambassador for Green. The move is part of a UN campaign launched yesterday in collaboration with the worldwide renowned characters to make a direct association between dealing with climate change and happiness and well being of people on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness, which will be observed on March 20.

Humans aren’t Only Animals Capable of Setting Aside Rivalries in face of Common Threat

Humans aren’t Only Animals Capable of Setting Aside Rivalries in face of Common

As per a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, hyenas and wolves in the Negev Desert have teamed up in their mission survival. The findings have strengthened the notion that humans aren’t the only group that can set aside their rivalries when they face a common threat.

In Israel’s Negev Desert, striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) and gray wolves (Canis lupus) have been facing circumstances wherein they are seeking food in the deserted landscape. Both the carnivorous species can kill huge animals, including dogs, and they are hardly ever seen together. In fact, hyenas sometimes get into fights with lions when they are in a group. At times, they have managed to grab food from lions, leopards and other big cats.

Space this month: Two Comets All Set to make Flyby of Earth

Space this month: Two Comets All Set to make Flyby of Earth

Space & Science enthusiasts are going to witness two comets zooming past earth this month. Both the comets have similar orbits, which makes them interesting subjects for further study.

Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) has contributed in the finding of new earth-passing comets. The 4.3-meter telescope located at Lowell Observatory identified the second comet coming towards earth.

One of the comets, dubbed Comet P/2016 BA14, was previously identified as an asteroid. PanSTARRS telescope of the University of Hawaii first spotted the comet in January this year. Astronomers thought it was an asteroid, but when University of Maryland and Lowell Observatory worked together to know more about it, they found that it’s a comet heading towards us.

Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts leaves for ISS

Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts leaves for ISS

A Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts left for the International Space Station (ISS) Friday. The crew members are two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut whose arrival on the space station will increase the crew number to six.

The astronauts, NASA veteran Jeff Williams, Roscosmos’ Oleg Skripochka and Aleksey Ovchinin, left the earth at 5:26 pm from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz space capsule. The trio is expected to reach ISS after a six-hour voyage. As per NASA officials, docking time is 11:11 pm.




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