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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

NASA's global warming factsheet

NASA's global warming factsheet | Scientific anomalies |
Global warming is happening now, and scientists are confident that greenhouse gases are responsible. To understand what this means for humanity, it is necessary to understand what global warming is, how scientists know it's happening, and how they predict future climate.

Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the mighty Aral Sea is now in it’s death throws. Starved of it’s lifeblood of the waters of the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers, the sea has been shrinking for the last 40 years.

Are the ozone hole and global warming related?What can we do about global warming?What if global warming isn’t as severe as predicted?Why is global warming a problem?Has the Sun been more active in recent decades, and could it be responsible for some global warming?If Earth has warmed and cooled throughout history, what makes scientists think that humans are causing global warming now?How do scientists know that Mauna Loa’s volcanic emissions don’t affect the carbon dioxide data collected there?Do satellite observations of atmospheric temperatures agree with surface-based observations and model predictions?What does NASA have to do with global warming?Are there natural processes that can amplify or limit global warming?If we immediately stopped emitting greenhouses gases, would global warming stop?If we stabilized greenhouse gas emissions at today’s rates, would global warming stop?
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's curator insight, April 8, 2014 8:10 AM

It is an idiot who believes that humanity does not impact their own home through their activity.  It is also pretty stupid to select financial, material wealth over health, well being and sustainability, from a biological and sociological point of view.


Yet this is precisely what humanity has chosen to do.


At least, the sections of humanity who make decisions as to what happens in our world.  The rest of us are merely guilty of complacency and lack of access to real power (which is proactively enforced by those who currently hold defacto power in our world; the same people who are responsible for making the policy regimen that is causing global warming and greenhouse gas emissions to increase, remain the same or insignificantly decrease).


There's a reason how we're all going to die.  Looks like humanity is just going to be one brief little spark in the geological and cosmological history of our planet and universe.


A shame, since we have so much potential, if it weren't for those diseased brains sitting in places of power, consequence and authority.


Think about it.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Scientists Just Found a Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship

Scientists Just Found a Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship | Scientific anomalies |
In a scientific first, researchers have discovered a bizarre inter-species relationship in which salamanders and algae cozy up together to share cells. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why these two very different organisms have adopted such an intimate arrangement, but the discovery could represent a completely new form of symbiotic relationship.

Cell-within-cell arrangements between species are common in nature, but up until this point it’s only been seen in creatures like coral, clams, and insects. New research published in the science journal eLife describes the first known example of photo-cellular symbiosis involving the cells of a fully grown vertebrate animal, that is, an animal with a spinal column or backbone.


As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across the body of the spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum. The salamander doesn’t appear to be negatively affected by its microbial roommates, and in fact the amphibian may even be benefitting from this arrangement. The normally photosynthetic green algae, on the other hand, are completely stressed out, forced rely on an alternative means of energy production.


The finding is so strange and so unexpected that the scientists involved in the study aren’t sure why this relationship evolved in the first place, or how each creature might be benefitting. Intracellular “mutualists,” as they’re called, are extremely common in nature, where both parties benefit from the relationship. Examples include single-celled dinoflagellates that accumulate on coral and giant clams and use photosynthesis to provide sustenance to their hosts, and gut bacteria that helps bugs break down plant compounds.


Back in the late 19th century, biologists learned that green algae grows in the egg cases of spotted salamanders, providing a win-win situation for both; the embryos produce nitrogen-rich waste for the algae, and in turn, the algae increases the oxygen content found in the fluid around the breathing embryos through photosynthesis. For well over a century, scientists had assumed that this mutually-beneficial arrangement only occurred between the salamander embryo and the algae living outside it.


But the green algae is not limited to the egg cases—it’s also located inside cells of a mature salamander’s body. As previous research has shown, the algae enter the eggs, proliferate, and then later invades the tissues and cells of the developing embryos. Aside from the initial egg and algae symbiotic relationship, it wasn’t known if this subsequent arrangement incurred any kind of benefit, or if it was simply a residual or parasitic infection.

Via Mariaschnee, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Quantum trickery: Mystery of begonia's bizarre iridescent blue leaves is solved

Quantum trickery: Mystery of begonia's bizarre iridescent blue leaves is solved | Scientific anomalies |

The researchers, from Bristol University, found the leaves only develop this color when put in almost dark conditions - and in bright light the sheen slowly disappears.


Begonias with striking blue leaves may represent a next step in plant evolution that puts them ahead of their ordinary green neighbors, research suggests. The blue color results from a super-efficient form of photosynthesis that allows them to use light other plants reject. These findings could help scientists develop light-harvesting devices to make better electronics.


The researchers looked at Begonia pavonina - a flower found under the thick canopies of tropical forests in Malaysia. It has iridescent blue leaves because of its unusual chloroplasts, known as iridoplasts, in its surface layers. These contain regularly spaced stacks of three to four 'thylakoids' - which resemble a photonic crystal and strongly reflect wavelengths of light between 430 and 560 nanometers. This is what causes the leaves' blue iridescence. The thylakoids look very similar to the artificial structures commonly used to make miniature lasers that control the flow of light.


In the Malaysian forests, the small amount of light that reaches the plant's leaves is mainly at the green-red end of the spectrum. The iridoplasts concentrate these specific wavelengths onto the plant's photosynthetic apparatus - increasing the efficiency of its photosynthesis by five to ten per cent.


The study, published in Nature Plants, rules out a previous popular hypothesis that it was to to deter predators. 'The real novelty of what the begonia is doing is combining the light harvesting mechanism with the photonic structure - light is being both structurally manipulated and harvested with high levels of quantum efficiency within the same material,' Dr Heather Whitney, from Bristol University, said.


The plants - including species commonly grown as houseplants or in gardens - have long been using a special form of nanotechnology called photonics to create structures in their leaves to help them harvest light. 'We discovered under the microscope, individual chloroplasts in these leaves reflected blue light brightly, almost like a mirror,' said Matt Jacobs, a PhD student at Bristol University.


'Looking in more detail by using a technique known as electron microscopy, we found a striking difference between the 'blue' chloroplasts found in the begonias, also known as "iridoplasts" due to their brilliant blue iridescent coloration, and those found in other plants.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Blue Eyes Originated 10,000 Years Ago In The Black Sea Region

Blue Eyes Originated 10,000 Years Ago In The Black Sea Region | Scientific anomalies |

A team of researchers from Copenhagen University have located a single mutation that causes the mysterious phenomenon of blue eyes. And all blue eyed people are genetically related to a person who lived in the Black Sea region sometime between 6 – 10,000 years ago.


The research was published in the Journal of Human Genetics. A mutation in a gene called OCA2 came into being nearly 8,000 years ago. It can be definitively traced back to an ancestor from the Black Sea.


Dr. Hans Eiberg claims that before this time, every human being had brown eyes. “A genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch,’ which literally ‘turned off’ the ability to produce brown eyes,” Eiberg said. When blue-eyed peoples from Jordan, Denmark and Turkey were examined, their genetic difference was traced back to the maternal lineage according to Eiberg’s team.


The brown melanin pigment is still dominant. However, following the last Ice Age, Europeans developed this rare mutation that differentiated them from the rest of the human race. Ninety-five percent of Europeans in Scandinavian countries have blue eyes.


They are also found to have a greater range of hair and skin color.

Comparatively, Europe has a wider variety of hair color and skin pigment than is found in any other continent in the world. These mutations are recent as Europe was colonized only a few thousand years ago, say mainstream scientists.

Via Levin Chin, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century

Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century | Scientific anomalies |
Seas could rise by a foot off the U.S. east coast by 2040 if we continue at a high level of emissions.


Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines.


The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then.


But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so. For the planet’s sea level, this would mean over a half-foot rise averaged around the globe, in comparison with average sea levels from 1986 to 2005. The sea-level increase, however, would be far worse in certain places, such as the U.S. East Coast, where it could be over a foot.


And that’s just the beginning. Assuming we still don’t reform our ways, the 40 years after 2040 could then see another sharp 2 degree increase in temperatures — to 4 degrees Celsius — and another dramatic surge in sea level, culminating in a rise of 2 feet averaged across the globe, or more if we’re unlucky. The study finds that by 2100, New York could see a sea level rise of more than 3.5 feet.


“Basically we spent 200 years to warm our planet by 2 degrees, and then we will do it in 40 years time, this shows a completely different scale of what’s going on,” said Svetlana Jevrejeva, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, in describing the scenario presented in the study. Jevrejeva completed the work with researchers at institutions in the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark, China, and Finland.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization

“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization | Scientific anomalies |
For widemouthed, musical midshipman fish, melatonin is not a sleep hormone — it’s a serenade starter.

In breeding season, male plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) spend their nights singing — if that’s the word for hours of sustained foghorn hums. Males dig trysting nests under rocks along much of North America’s Pacific coast, then await females drawn in by the crooning.

New lab tests show that melatonin, familiar to humans as a possible sleep aid, is a serenade “go” signal, says behavioral neurobiologist Ni Feng of Yale University.

From fish to folks, nighttime release of melatonin helps coordinate bodily timekeeping and orchestrate after-dark biology. The fish courtship chorus, however, is the first example of the hormone prompting a launch into song, according to Andrew Bass of Cornell University. And what remarkable vocalizing it is.

The plainfin midshipman male creates a steady “mmm” by quick-twitching specialized muscles around its air-filled swim bladder up to 100 times per second in chilly water. A fish can extend a single hum for about two hours, Feng and Bass report October 10 in Current Biology. That same kind of super-fast muscle shakes rattle-snake tails and trills vocal structures in songbirds and bats.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean

Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean | Scientific anomalies |

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.


In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione’s crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.


The authors modeled the icy shells of Enceladus and Dione as global icebergs immersed in water, where each surface ice peak is supported by a large underwater keel. Scientists have used this approach in the past but previous results have predicted a very thick crust for Enceladus and no ocean at all for Dione. “As an additional principle, we assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms,” said Mikael Beuthe, lead author of the new study. “More stress would break the crust down to pieces.”


According to the new study, Enceladus’ ocean is much closer to the surface, especially near the south pole where geysers erupt through a few kilometers of crust. These findings agree well with the discovery last year by Cassini that Enceladus undergoes large back-and-forth oscillations, called libration, during its orbit. Enceladus’ libration would be much smaller if its crust was thicker. As for Dione, the new study finds it harbors a deep ocean between its crust and core. “Like Enceladus, Dione vibrates but below the detection level of Cassini,” said Antony Trinh, co-author of the new study. “A future orbiter hopping around Saturn’s moons could test this prediction.”

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement

Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement | Scientific anomalies |

A collaboration of physicists and a mathematician has made a significant step toward unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics by explaining how spacetime emerges from quantum entanglement in a more fundamental theory. 


Physicists and mathematicians have long sought a Theory of Everything (ToE) that unifies general relativity and quantum mechanics. General relativity explains gravity and large-scale phenomena such as the dynamics of stars and galaxies in the universe, while quantum mechanics explains microscopic phenomena from the subatomic to molecular scales.


The holographic principle is widely regarded as an essential feature of a successful Theory of Everything. The holographic principle states that gravity in a three-dimensional volume can be described by quantum mechanics on a two-dimensional surface surrounding the volume. In particular, the three dimensions of the volume should emerge from the two dimensions of the surface. However, understanding the precise mechanics for the emergence of the volume from the surface has been elusive.


The paper announcing the discovery by Hirosi Ooguri, a Principal Investigator at the University of Tokyo's Kavli IPMU, with Caltech mathematician Matilde Marcolli and graduate students Jennifer Lin and Bogdan Stoica, will be published in Physical Review Letters as an Editors' Suggestion "for the potential interest in the results presented and on the success of the paper in communicating its message, in particular to readers from other fields."


Now, Ooguri and his collaborators have found that quantum entanglement is the key to solving this question. Using a quantum theory (that does not include gravity), they showed how to compute energy density, which is a source of gravitational interactions in three dimensions, using quantum entanglement data on the surface. This is analogous to diagnosing conditions inside of your body by looking at X-ray images on two-dimensional sheets. This allowed them to interpret universal properties of quantum entanglement as conditions on the energy density that should be satisfied by any consistent quantum theory of gravity, without actually explicitly including gravity in the theory. The importance of quantum entanglement has been suggested before, but its precise role in emergence of spacetime was not clear until the new paper by Ooguri and collaborators.


Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon whereby quantum states such as spin or polarization of particles at different locations cannot be described independently. Measuring (and hence acting on) one particle must also act on the other, something that Einstein called "spooky action at distance." The work of Ooguri and collaborators shows that this quantum entanglement generates the extra dimensions of the gravitational theory.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking

VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking | Scientific anomalies |

"If you're heading out on the road for your vacation this year, you'll probably get directions from a GPS or navigational system. Does that mean that the traditional map is a relic of the past? Mark Albert hits the road to find out."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 23, 2016 10:16 AM

This video is designed for a general news audience and it nicely shows the public how cartography is not rendered unimportant in the era of digital maps, but has become all the more useful.  I could see this video as useful resource to share with parents who are worried that studying geography won't lead to careers.  


Tags: GIS, video, mapping, cartography, geospatial, technology.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from SciFrye!

Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time

Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time | Scientific anomalies |

Is dark energy the reason time moves forward?

For years, physicists have attempted to explain dark energy - a mysterious influence that pushes space apart faster than gravity can pull the things in it together. But physics isn’t always about figuring out what things are. A lot of it is figuring out what things cause.

And in a recent paper, a group of physicists asked this very question about dark energy, and found that in some cases, it might cause time to go forward.

When you throw a ball into the air, it starts with some initial speed-up, but then it slows as Earth’s gravity pulls it down. If you throw it fast enough (about 11 km per second, for those who want to try), it’ll never slow down enough to turn around and start falling back towards you, but it’ll still move more slowly as it moves away from you, because of Earth’s gravity.

Physicists and astronomers in the 1990s expected something similar to have occured after the big bang - an event that threw matter out in all directions. The collective gravity from all that matter should have slowed it all down, just like the Earth slows down the ball. But that’s not what they found.

Instead, everything seems to have sped up. There’s something pervading the Universe that physically spreads space apart faster than gravity can pull things together. The effect is small - it’s only noticeable when you look at far-away galaxies - but it’s there. It’s become known as dark energy - "dark", because no one knows what it is.

Science is nothing if not the process of humans looking for things they can’t explain, so this isn’t the first time the Universe has stumped us. For centuries, one of those stumpers has been time itself: Why does time have an arrow pointing from the past to the present to the future?

It might seem like a silly question - I mean, if time didn’t go forward, then effects would precede causes, and that seems like it should be impossible - but it’s less of one than you might think.

The Universe, as far as we can tell, only operates according to laws of physics. And just about all of the laws of physics that we know are completely time-reversible, meaning that the things they cause look exactly the same whether time runs forward or backward.

One example is the path of a planet going around a star, which is governed by gravity. Whether time runs forward or backward, planetary orbits follow the exact same paths. The only difference is the direction of the orbit.

But one important piece of physics isn’t time-reversible, and that’s the second law of thermodynamics. It states that as time moves forward, the amount of disorder in the Universe will always increase. Just like dark energy, it’s something we’ve noticed about the Universe, and it’s something that we still don’t totally understand - though admittedly we have a better idea of it than we do of dark energy.

Physicists have, for this reason, reluctantly settled on the second law as the source of time’s arrow: disorder always has to increase after something happens, which requires that time can only move in one direction.

So physicists A. E. Allahverdyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute and V. G. Gurzadyan from Yerevan State University, both in Armenia, decided to see if - at least in a limited situation - dark energy and the second law might be related. To test it, they looked at the simple case of something like a planet orbiting a star with a changing mass.

They found that if dark energy either doesn’t exist or if it pulls space together, the planet just dully orbits the star without anything interesting happening. There’s no way to tell an orbit going forward in time from one going backward in time.

But if dark energy pushes space apart, like it does in our Universe, the planet eventually gets thrown away from the star on a path of no return. This gives us a distinction between the past and the future: run time one way, and the planet is flung off, run it the other way, and the planet comes in and gets captured by the star.

Dark energy naturally leads to an arrow of time.

The authors stress that this is a really limited situation, and they’re certainly not claiming dark energy is the reason time only ever moves forward. But they’ve shown a possible link between thermodynamics and dark energy that could help us to understand either - or maybe both - better than we ever have.

The research has been published in Physical Review E.

Via Kim Frye
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India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought | Scientific anomalies |
India is to divert water from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges to deal with severe drought, a senior minister tells the BBC.

Via Seth Dixon
Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 22, 1:07 PM
As everyone knows, water is key. We usually talk about water in geography has a way to export/import or for key military purposes. Here we are talking about survival and certain states within in India (29 to be exact) that were suffering through a drought and whose rivers had been completely dried up. India has tried a new plan to try to get water to these areas, by diverting water from there other rivers to these states. This is an interesting way to try to deal with this problem, however is it really feasible to do this?  Would this eventually causes problems in the areas in which we are taking the water from? Also this would be very expensive and India , who is still a growing country,  could hurt them economically for years to come. No one has said this will work and while yes, its horrible to see what has happen to these areas, but is this just a quick fix. What would the plan be for a future drought, is there anyway to come up with a better plan? Possibly will these people need to move in the future. Our rivers and lands are constantly changing so as people we might have to move away from areas that which were once habitable, but now may not be. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 23, 12:26 PM
Extreme drought combined with inefficient agricultural practices and the depletion of groundwater resources have creates a water crisis in India. However the solution to the drought seems poorly planned and likely to fail. There is no evidence showing that a massive water diversion project like this will succeed in alleviating the effects of such a massive drought. 
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 6:45 PM
Drought is a factor of the physical geography of an area that is in trouble. India is heavily depended on monsoon rains, and for two years have no received what they normally do, and 330 million people are affected by it. The country is planning to divert different rivers to solve the issue. "The government says the scheme will irrigate 35,000 hectares of land and generate 34,000 megawatts of electricity." This will exponentially help those dealing with the water crisis, but also help with other thing such as electricity. 
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking

Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking | Scientific anomalies |
Human activity is playing a role in the dwindling size of Utah's Great Salt Lake, according to new research.While the research group acknowledged the role that climate fluctuations, such as droughts and floods, have played in the shift of the lake's water levels over time, the decrease in the lake's size is predominantly due to human causes. According to the report, the heavy reliance on consumptive water uses has reduced the lake level by 11 feet and its volume by 48 percent.


Tags: physical, Utah, environment modify, environment, water.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 6, 2016 12:15 PM

The railroad causeway that creates the color difference between the northern and sotuhern portions of the Great Lake is as the Union Pacific plans to change the causeway; the proposed bridge would allow for the two distinct salinities to intermingle more.  Environmentally, this lake is not exceptional.  Like many lakes in dry climates with growing populations, the people are using the freshwater flow into the lakes more extensively than they have in the past.  The Great Salt Lake, the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, Lake Urmia, and the Dead Sea are all drying up.  

Sally Egan's curator insight, April 10, 2016 11:05 PM
Another great example of human activities changing the biophysical environment.
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences

Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences | Scientific anomalies |

"Globalisation was supposed to tear down barriers, but security fears and a widespread refusal to help migrants and refugees have fuelled a new spate of wall-building across the world, even if experts doubt their long-term effectiveness. When the Berlin Wall was torn down a quarter-century ago, there were 16 border fences around the world. Today, there are 65 either completed or under construction, according to Quebec University expert Elisabeth Vallet."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 18, 2015 12:11 PM

This is an intriguing opinion piece that would be good fodder for a class discussion on political geography or the current events/refugee crisis. 

Tags: borders, political.

Nflfootball Live's curator insight, September 19, 2015 8:04 AM

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 23, 2015 3:53 PM

unit 2 or 4

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Popular Science!

Stunning 100-Million-Year-Old Flowers Found Perfectly Preserved In Amber

Stunning 100-Million-Year-Old Flowers Found Perfectly Preserved In Amber | Scientific anomalies |
Seven flowers have been found perfectly preserved in amber, from 100 million years ago. The flowers, discovered in Myanmar, were encased in amber in the Cr
Via Neelima Sinha
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This Crab Clones Its Allies by Ripping Them in Half

This Crab Clones Its Allies by Ripping Them in Half | Scientific anomalies |
It wields sea anemones like boxing gloves; if it loses one, it makes another by bisecting the remaining one.


The American novelist S. E. Hinton once said, “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” By that logic, boxer crabs are the luckiest creatures alive because they can turn one good friend into two by tearing it in half.


These tiny, inch-long crabs carry sea anemones, holding them in place with special hooks on the inner edges of their claws. With their crowns of wavy tentacles, the anemones look like pom-poms, and the crabs like cheerleaders. But those tentacles also pack powerful stings, and a quick jab from them is often enough to ward off an attacking fish. Hence the name: boxer crabs.


Most crabs gather food with their powerful claws, but boxer crabs have adapted so thoroughly to holding anemones that their claws are now feeble, delicate tweezers rather than powerful, crushing pincers. Instead, they rely on their anemones. Some species use the anemones like cutlery, dabbing them onto morsels of food and then bringing them over to their mouths. Others wait for the anemones to passively ensnare food, which they then scrape into their mouths with their front legs. If you remove the anemones, as Yisrael Schnytzer and his colleagues from Bar Ilan University have repeatedly done, the crabs struggle to gather enough to eat.


The anemones, however, flourish apart from the crabs. When Schnytzer freed them from the crabs’ grasp, their colors got brighter, their tentacles became longer, and they more than doubled in size. Left to their own devices, they can grow far bigger than the crabs that once held them. In the words of Schnytzer’s colleague Ilan Karplus, the crabs cultivate “Bonsai anemones,” deliberately stunting their growth to keep them at a manageable size.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m

New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m | Scientific anomalies |
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island lifted up the seabed by two metres, pushing it above the ocean’s surface.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 18, 2016 10:00 AM

Plates on the Earth's crust typically move forward at very slowly (about the same speed as the fingernail growth).  While that is the usual, plates snag along the edges and pressure can build over the years, only to lead to explosive, quick changes like happened recently in New Zealand.  This complex series of tremors has people disconnected as much of the physical infrastructure has be damaged


Tags: New Zealandphysical, tectonicstransportation, geology, geomorphology.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean

Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean | Scientific anomalies |
A 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean eventually, researchers now confirm.


The crack, 20 feet wide in spots, opened in 2005 and some geologists believed then that it would spawn a new ocean. But that view was controversial, and the rift had not been well studied.

A new study involving an international team of scientists and reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the processes creating the rift are nearly identical to what goes on at the bottom of oceans, further indication a sea is in the region's future.


The same rift activity is slowly parting the Red Sea, too. Using newly gathered seismic data from 2005, researchers reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began "unzipping" the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.


"We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this," said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study.


The result shows that highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of in bits, as the leading theory held. And such sudden large-scale events on land pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events, Ebinger said.


"The whole point of this study is to learn whether what is happening in Ethiopia is like what is happening at the bottom of the ocean where it's almost impossible for us to go," says Ebinger. "We knew that if we could establish that, then Ethiopia would essentially be a unique and superb ocean-ridge laboratory for us. Because of the unprecedented cross-border collaboration behind this research, we now know that the answer is yes, it is analogous."

Via Kathy Bosiak, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Michael Rodriguez's comment, November 16, 2016 6:06 PM
This article is about how a rift has formed in Ethiopia that is 35 miles in length and that it will form a new ocean in the region. They start to explain how that ocean ridges are formed from rifts and how that they are connect to the bottom of the ocean and that the red sea will eventually fill the rift and then become a ocean and it will connect all the water sources in the area. I chose this because I found it very cool and interested.
Bwana Moses's comment, November 17, 2016 5:26 AM
The article has all the elements of the where, when, how and looks forward to a possible next event. Its gives the rare opportunity of observing a natural process in real time.
Jonathan ��'s comment, November 17, 2016 7:37 PM
Why does this remind me of Ice Age? Heck, I don't even LIKE Ice Age. It's one of my least favorite movies of all time besides Norm Of The North, but that's a topic for another day. So apparently, there's this huge rift in Ethiopia, and some scientists suspect this thing is gonna become an ocean. It's also pulling a Moses on us and parting the Red Sea. According to the article's information, this thing is obviously a divergent rift, pulling apart from itself. It's also quite volcanic. So until further information, I agree with the theory that this will make a new ocean.

And I'd call this new ocean the Moses Ocean.
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art

Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art | Scientific anomalies |

Threatened forest icon may be a hybrid of two extinct species.


The European bison (Bison bonasus) may be the continent’s largest land mammal, but its origins have long been a mystery. Hunted for millennia and pushed into the wild corners of Europe as agriculture expanded, the bison — also known as wisent — were reduced to just a few zoo specimens by the late 1920s. Today, a semi-wild population roams Białowieża Forest, near the Poland–Belarus border, where they slip between hornbeams and mighty oaks, their curly coats and horns lending an aura of the Pleistocene to the ancient forest. It took a reach into the past using ancient DNA and cave art to unveil the wisent’s origin story. Researchers published the species’ family tree on 19 October in Nature Communications1.


The team took almost a decade to complete their work. Much of the analysis used ancient mitochondrial DNA derived from 65 bison specimens ranging from 14,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until technological advances made it possible to examine nuclear DNA that researchers were able to produce a coherent family tree.


According to the team’s analysis, the wisent is a hybrid of two extinct animals: the steppe bison (Bison priscus), the Eurasian ancestor of the American bison, and the aurochs (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of modern cattle. The steppe bison went extinct more than 11,000 years ago and the last aurochs was shot in 1627. From the DNA evidence researchers estimate that hybridization took place 120,000 or more years ago. In most cases, hybrid animals are less fertile and fit than their parents. But in this case, a whole new species seems to have taken flight.

Via Integrated DNA Technologies, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

What's the tallest mountain on Earth?

What's the tallest mountain on Earth? | Scientific anomalies |

"Mount Everest is usually said to be the highest mountain on Earth. Reaching 29,035 feet at its summit, Everest is indeed the highest point above global mean sea level—the average level for the ocean surface from which elevations are measured. But the summit of Mt. Everest is not the farthest point from Earth’s center.

Earth is not a perfect sphere, but is a bit thicker at the Equator due to the centrifugal force created by the planet’s constant rotation. Because of this, the highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. The summit of Chimborazo is 20,564 feet above sea level. However, due to the Earth’s bulge, the summit of Chimborazo is over 6,560 feet farther from the center of the Earth than Everest’s peak. That makes Chimborazo the closest point on Earth to the stars.  

You may be surprised to learn that Everest is not the tallest mountain on Earth, either. That honor belongs to Mauna Kea, a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea originates deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and rises more than 32,800 feet from base to peak."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 25, 2016 6:42 PM

I've tried to answer this question without any visual aids and there is always at least one confused look in the class.  This infographic is the most straightforward way to give the 'long' answer to a seemingly simple question, "what is the tallest mountain on Earth?"  It all depends on how you measure it and what your reference point is.   


Tags: physicalEcuador, Nepal.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

The Viruses That Made Us Human

The Viruses That Made Us Human | Scientific anomalies |

Viruses that infected our ancestors provided the genetic foundations for many traits that define us.


The rise of the mammals may be feel like a familiar tale, but there’s a twist you likely don’t know about: If it wasn’t for a virus, it might not have happened at all.


One of the few survivors of the asteroid impact 65 million years ago was a small, furry, shrew-like creature that lived in underground burrows and only ventured out at night, when predators weren’t active. The critter—already the product of some 100 million years of evolution—looked like a modern mammal, with body hair and mammary glands, except for one tiny detail: according to a recent genetic study, it didn’t have a placenta. And its kind might never have evolved one if not for a chance encounter with a retrovirus.


Unlike most viruses, which infect, replicate, and then leave their host, retroviruses elbow their way into their host’s genome where they are copied and passed on to daughter cells for the life of the host. This retrovirus, however, managed to sneak its way into one of our ancestor’s sperm or egg cells, able to be passed on to every cell in every subsequent generation. Virus and host had become one.

Via Neelima Sinha, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation.

Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation. | Scientific anomalies |

"The area below the red line includes most of Nova Scotia, in Canada's east, but most of the population comes from the area a little farther west, in a sliver of Quebec and a densely populated stretch of Ontario near the Great Lakes."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 5, 2016 5:15 PM

Admitted, the web Mercator projection of this map distorts the far northern territories of Canada, but still it hammers home some fascinating truths about Canada's population distribution.  Land-wise, Canada one of the world's biggest countries, but population-wise, most of it is quite barren.  What geographic factors explain the population concentration and distribution in Canada?  


TagsCanada, map, North America, population, density.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, June 4, 2016 10:27 AM
This article highlights the geographic concept of Spatial Significance
Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 4, 2016 5:13 PM

Factors influencing settlement patterns - concentrations of population 

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally

Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally | Scientific anomalies |

Sharing genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could revolutionize cancer prevention and care, according to a paper in Nature Medicine by the Cancer Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). Hospitals, laboratories and research facilities around the world hold huge amounts of this data from cancer patients, but it’s currently held in isolated “silos” that don’t talk to each other, according to GA4GH, a partnership between scientists, clinicians, patients, and the IT and Life Sciences industry, involving more than 400 organizations in over 40 countries. GA4GH intends to provide a common framework for the responsible, voluntary and secure sharing of patients’ clinical and genomic data.


“Imagine if we could create a searchable cancer database that allowed doctors to match patients from different parts of the world with suitable clinical trials,” said GA4GH co-chair professor Mark Lawler, a leading cancer expert fromQueen’s University Belfast. “This genetic matchmaking approach would allow us to develop personalized treatments for each individual’s cancer, precisely targeting rogue cells and improving outcomes for patients.


“This data sharing presents logistical, technical, and ethical challenges. Our paper highlights these challenges and proposes potential solutions to allow the sharing of data in a timely, responsible and effective manner. We hope this blueprint will be adopted by researchers around the world and enable a unified global approach to unlocking the value of data for enhanced patient care.”


GA4GH acknowledges that there are security issues, and has created a Security Working Group and a policy paper that documents the standards and implementation practices for protecting the privacy and security of shared genomic and clinical data.


Examples of current initiatives for clinico-genomic data-sharing include the U.S.-based Precision Medicine Initiative and the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, both of which have cancer as a major focus.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Herve Moal's curator insight, May 26, 2016 4:47 AM

l'enjeu du partage des données

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity | Scientific anomalies |
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim on the region is lessening as a younger generation turns to Protestantism, a Pew study found.

Via Seth Dixon
Douglas Vance's curator insight, February 2, 4:28 PM
The shift away from Catholacism towards protestantism within Latin America poses significant implications for the political and social makeup of these countries. The shift towards a more socially conservative Protestant belief system poses an obstacle to any efforts to legalize same sex marriages or make abortion legal. Should this shift continue, Latin America will be primed for significant change in the future.
David Stiger's curator insight, September 23, 9:14 PM
As this article points out, the term 'Latin America' was practically synonymous with 'Roman Catholicism'. Pew researchers have revealed that this religious trend is now changing. Catholicism, with its rigid liturgy and stiff hierarchies, may not be feeding the spiritual needs of the people in Latin America. Perhaps communities are realizing that it is okay to worship God differently. As Pew found out, it is not as if the region is turning secular as Evangelical Protestantism is growing. 

Interestingly, there is a similar trend occurring within the United States. Many Americans are dropping out of Catholicism (as well as mainline Protestant denominations) and either joining the 'none' category - shorthand for non-affiliated - or are flocking to mega churches, Pentecostalism, and other non-denominational branches of Evangelicalism. The latter three options represent alternative forms of Christianity which still stress the importance of traditionalism and scripture while offering more direct experiences with the divine. 

In an age where traditional modes of living and thinking are breaking down, with the rise of individualism over the community, where materialism reigns supreme, and when people assume science has all the answers, institutions offering communal ways to engage the divine and exercise spiritual transcendence may be more appealing. Another possibility is that Catholicism is shrinking while Protestantism is growing is because believers crave certainty in a world that is constantly changing and becoming more ambiguous. The erosion of traditionalism can be unsettling. Protestantism, via the new evangelical movements, not only offers traditionalism with a new coat of paint but it also offers non-negotiable answers about the purpose of life and how to achieve paradise - a feeling that everything in the end is going to be okay. That is an idea which no geographic barrier can stop. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 9:21 PM
Roman Catholicism was a product of the missionaries and conquerors who first traveled to Latin America. They would bring their religion and impose it on the natives through different types of conversion methods whether it was outlawing the old religions or combining aspects of the old to create the new. Today fewer people in Latin America are Catholic and many are turning to other forms of Christianity.  It is very interesting as Christianity and Catholicism in Latin America could very well be used interchangeably for a long time. In Guatemala, one of the most famous sites is in the city of Esquipulas, the Basilica del Senor de Esquipulas. A towering white cathedral right in the heart of Middle America it still attracts pilgrims from all over the world to see the Black Christ statue, where you walk out backwards as to not turn your back on the Lord. It is an interesting experience seeing peoples level of devotion to the Catholic church and the Catholic faith. 
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water

Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water | Scientific anomalies |
The amount of rainfall a place gets isn't the only factor in how much water is available to it. These major urban areas show how dire the coming global freshwater shortage could get.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 13, 2016 3:58 PM

Seen from space, this planet is a blue marble, a world where the surface is dominated by water.  The Pacific Ocean alone is nearly half of the surface area of our planet.  Add in polar ice caps and the rivers and lakes, we can see that water profoundly impacts Earth.  Yet most of that water is salt water (97%) and two-thirds of our non-salty water locked away in ice sheets (2% of the global water). Everything else, rivers, lakes, marshes, aquifers, and reservoirs represent that remaining 1% of the Earth's water supply--and that 1% of water is what sustains human settlements and allows for agricultural expansion.  The geography of this 1% is highly uneven and a huge water crisis can cause governments crumble--the fact that this precious resources has been wasted and polluted becomes more frustrating as water resources are being strained in so many places.  In this article, it  describes 8 major metro areas where water is being depleted rapidly -- Tokyo, Miami, London, Cairo, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Bangalore and Mexico City. 


Tags: urban, water, land use, megacities, urban ecology, consumption, environment, resources.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

It's official: a global mass extinction is under way

It's official: a global mass extinction is under way | Scientific anomalies |

"New research confirms that the next mass extinction is in progress, and we’re the cause. There’s been little doubt that humans have been severely altering the planet and reducing biodiversity, but it has been unclear how many species go extinct under normal circumstances, without human influence.

This new research clarifies the rate of 'background extinction' (the rate of extinction during the point before humans became a primary contributor to extinction). The research confirms that human activity is driving species extinct at a rate far higher than the background rate. A look at previous events suggests cause for concern. Geologists recognize five previous mass extinction events— the end of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods, meaning that we’re now in the 6th."


Tags: physical, biogeography, environment, ecology, environment modify, sustainability, geology.

Via Seth Dixon
Ivan Ius's curator insight, February 28, 2016 7:03 PM

Geographic Thinking Concepts: Patterns and Trends; Interrelationships;