Archive for May, 2013

Russians find mammoth carcass with liquid blood

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Russians find mammoth carcass with liquid blood

Associated PressBy VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV | Associated Press – 20 hrs ago

In this image made available on Thursday, May 30, 2013 from Rossiya television a mammoth carcass lies in snow on the Arctic Lyakhovsky Island, Russia. Russian researchers say they have discovered a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal. The frozen remains of a female mammoth were so well preserved that blood came running out after it was recovered from ice. (AP Photo/Rossiya Television, AP Video) TV OUT

Associated Press/Rossiya Television, AP Video – In this image made available on Thursday, May 30, 2013 from Rossiya television a mammoth carcass lies in snow on the Arctic Lyakhovsky Island, Russia. Russian researchers say they have discovered a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal. The frozen remains of a female mammoth were so well preserved that blood came running out after it was recovered from ice. (AP Photo/Rossiya Television, AP Video) TV OUT 

MOSCOW (AP) — A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists said Thursday.

The carcass was in such good shape because its lower part was stuck in pure ice, said Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum, who led the expedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.

“The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities bellow the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out,” he said in a statement released by the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, which sent the team.

Wooly mammoths are thought to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although scientists think small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on islands off Siberia.

Scientists have deciphered much of the woolly mammoth’s genetic code from their hair, and some believe it’s possible to clone them if living cells are found

Grigoryev said the find could provide the necessary material. The blood of mammoths appeared not to freeze in extreme temperatures, likely keeping mammoths warm, he said.

The temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to – 10 degrees Celsius (14 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The researchers collected the samples of the animal’s blood in tubes with a special preservative agent. They were sent to Yakutsk for bacterial examination in order to spot potentially dangerous infections.

The carcass’ muscle tissue was also in perfect condition.

“The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat,” Grigoryev said.

Up to 4 meters (13 feet) in height and 10 tons in weight, mammoths roamed across huge areas between Great Britain and North America and were driven to extinction by humans and the changing climate.

Scientists Invent Super Clean Hydrogen Fuel Technique That Could Save Us All

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Scientists Invent Super Clean Hydrogen Fuel Technique That Could Save Us All

Takepart.com – 19 hrs ago

Question: What happens when you put together salty water, silicate minerals and some electrical current?

Answer: If a new technique pans out, a potential solution to some of our most vexing energy problems.

A new study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outlines a way to produce hydrogen while also capturing carbon dioxide and producing a base that could be used to offset or neutralize ocean acidification. Hydrogen is an ideal fuel source since its only byproduct is water.


It goes like this: First, you apply electricity to salty water. This well-studied technique, called electrolysis, breaks water into oxygen and hydrogen gas, said Greg Rau, study co-author and researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

While this is happening, acid is produced at the negative end of the electrode, called the anode. Usually, after the current stops being applied, the acid recombines with the base (hydroxide) produced at the electrode’s positive end (cathode), turning back into water.

But Rau’s team added another step and encased the anode in a silicate rock, one of the most abundant types of rock on Earth. The acid reacted with the basic rock, creating salts and more water.

By using up the acid produced during electrolysis, the water then became quite basic, filling up with hydroxide ions, Rau said. Ordinary air was then bubbled through the solution. The carbon dioxide present in the air reacted with the hydroxide to create bicarbonate, another base present in the bodies of many marine animals like corals and oyster shells.

In the course of the experiment, the carbon content of the water increased by 45 times, harnessed from carbon dioxide. This process could possibly be used to offset ocean acidification in certain important areas like oyster farms or coral reefs, he said.

The acidity of the world’s oceans has increased by about 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This threatens the health of organisms whose bodies contain carbonate and bicarbonate, which is broken down by carbonic acid, the acid created when carbon dioxide dissolves in water.

On slow, geologic timescales, weakly acidic rainwater weathers rocks, which consumes carbon dioxide. Rau said his new technique is meant to mimic this natural process, but to speed it up.

Rau calls the hydrogen produced via this process “supergreen,” because carbon is consumed. Most methods for producing hydrogen are carbon neutral, at best, and most involve releasing some of the greenhouse gas, he said.


There are, of course, many caveats. So far this process has only been demonstrated at the scale of a laboratory, and many promising technologies fail to make the leap from lab to factory. Scaling up brings many difficulties, not the least of which is cost; Rau is currently looking for funding for further researcher to iron out kinks in the process.

Then there’s perhaps the most important practical question: Where does the electricity come from? Obviously if the process is to be carbon negative, it must rely on a renewable source that doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, like wind, solar or nuclear, Rau said.

Hydrogen gas is also not the easiest gas to store or transport. And if ordinary sea water is used, electrolysis typically produces chlorine gas, which is poisonous. Rau said that future work should be able to overcome this obstacle, either by using a different salt besides sodium chloride (which gives rise to chlorine) or tweaking the electrode in a way that doesn’t produce the noxious gas, he said.

Still, preliminary calculations suggest the process could be cheaper and more effective than current carbon sequestration techniques, especially when used during off-peak hours. Many existing sequestration processes involve condensing carbon dioxide to a gas or super-cooled liquid, which is costly and potentially dangerous. There’s also the risk that carbon dioxide, once stored underground, could leak out, Rau said.

The beauty of this technique is that the carbon would be stored in a stable solid—carbonate or bicarbonate. This chemical could then be added to the ocean, where it could prevent further carbon dioxide from leaving the ocean and entering the atmosphere.

“We think this suggests a process that is significantly cheaper and safer than other chemical air capture methods that have been proposed,” Rau said.

Giant, fluorescent pink slugs found on mountain

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags , on May 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Giant, fluorescent pink slugs found on mountain

The Sideshow

By  | The Sideshow – Thu, May 30, 2013

(NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service)

It would seem to be something you’d see only in a cartoon or at a Phish concert, but according to park rangers in New South Wales, Australia, dozens of giant, fluorescent pink slugs have been popping up on a mountaintop there.

“As bright pink as you can imagine, that’s how pink they are,” Michael Murphy, a ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “On a good morning, you can walk around and see hundreds of them.”

The eight-inch creatures have been spotted only on Mount Kaputar, a 5,000-foot peak in the Nandewar Range in northern New South Wales.

Scientists believe the eye-catching organisms are survivors from an era when Australia was home to rainforests. A series of volcanoes, millions of years of erosion and other geological changes “have carved a dramatic landscape at Mount Kaputar,” the park service wrote on its Facebook page, and unique arid conditions spared the slugs from extinction.

They “probably would have long since vanished, if a volcano had not erupted at Mount Kaputar about 17 million years ago,” Ben Cubby wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald. “The result of that eruption is a high-altitude haven for invertebrates and plant species that have been isolated for millions of years, after Australia dried out and the rainforests receded.”

And they’re not the only unusual inhabitants on the mountain.

“We’ve actually got three species of cannibal snail on Mount Kaputar, and they’re voracious little fellas,” Murphy said. “They hunt around on the forest floor to pick up the slime trail of another snail, then hunt it down and gobble it up.”

Ancient Egyptians Crafted Jewelry From Meteorites

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Ancient Egyptians Crafted Jewelry From Meteorites

LiveScience.comBy Megan Gannon, News Editor | LiveScience.com – 23 hrs ago

An analysis of this Gerzeh bead showed it was crafted from a space rock.

An ancient Egyptian iron bead found inside a 5,000-year-old tomb was crafted from a meteorite, new research shows.

The tube-shaped piece of jewelry was first discovered in 1911 at the Gerzeh cemetery, roughly 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of Cairo. Dating between 3350 B.C. and 3600 B.C., beads found at the burial site represent the first known examples of iron use in ancient Egypt, thousands of years before Egypt’s Iron Age. And theircosmic origins were suspected from the start.

Soon after the beads were discovered, researchers showed that the metal jewelry was rich in nickel, a signature of iron meteorites. But in the 1980s, academics cast doubt on the beads’ celestial source, arguing that the high nickel content could have been the result of smelting. [Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites]

Scientists from the Open University and the University of Manchester recently analyzed one of the beads with an electron microscope and an X-ray CT scanner. They say the nickel-rich chemical composition of the bead’s original metal confirms its meteorite origins.

What’s more, the researchers say the bead had a Widmanstätten pattern, a distinctive crystal structure found only in meteorites that cooled at an extremely slow rate inside asteroids when the solar system was forming, according to Nature. Further investigation also showed that the bead was not molded under heat, but rather hammered into shape by cold-working.

The first record of iron smelting in ancient Egypt comes from the sixth century B.C., and iron artifacts from before that time are quite rare, Nature reported.

“Today, we see iron first and foremost as a practical, rather dull metal,” study researcher Joyce Tyldesley, an Egyptologist at the University of Manchester, said in a statement. “To the ancient Egyptians, however, it was a rare and beautiful material which, as it fell from the sky, surely had some magical/religious properties.”

The iron beads’ inclusion in burials also suggests this material was deeply important to ancient Egyptians, Tyldesley added.

Strange as the find may seem, it’s not the first time scientists have uncovered the cosmic origins of an ancient artifact.

Back in September, German researchers found that a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite between the eighth and 10th centuries. They even linked it to a specific space rock — the Chinga meteorite, which scientists believe fell to Earth 10,000 to 20,000 years ago and left a scattering of space rocks around the Siberian and Mongolian border.

The new research on the Egyptian bead was detailed on May 20 in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitterand Google+.Follow us @livescienceFacebookGoogle+.

Original article on LiveScience.com.

U.S. drone kills Pakistan Taliban Number two: security officials

Posted in MILITARY CORNER with tags on May 30, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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U.S. drone kills Pakistan Taliban Number two: security officials

ReutersBy Jibran Ahmad | Reuters – 16 hrs ago

 

  • Deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman (C) is flanked by militants as he speaks to a group of reporters in Shawal town, which lies between North and South Waziristan region in the northwest bordering Afghanistan, in this July 28, 2011 file photo. A U.S. drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistan Taliban, Wali-ur-Rehman, in North Waziristan region on May 29, 2013, three security officials said in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy. REUTERS/Saud Mehsud/File  (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
  • Reuters/REUTERS – Deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman (C) is flanked by militants as he speaks to a group of reporters in Shawal town, which lies between North and South Waziristan region in the northwest bordering Afghanistan, in this July 28, 2011 file photo. A U.S. drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistan Taliban, Wali-ur-Rehman, in North Waziristan region on May 29, 2013, three security officials said in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy. REUTERS/Saud Mehsud/File (PAKISTAN – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)

By Jibran Ahmad

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – A U.S. drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan region on Wednesday, three security officials said, in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy.

The drone strike killed seven people, Pakistani security officials said, including Taliban deputy commander Wali-ur-Rehman, in the first such attack since a May 11 general election in which the use of the unmanned aircraft was a major issue.

Wali-ur-Rehman had been poised to succeed Hakimullah Mehsud as leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a senior army official based in the South Waziristan region, had said in December.

“This is a huge blow to militants and a win in the fight against insurgents,” one security official told Reuters, declining further comment.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate entity allied to the Afghan Taliban. Known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), they have launched devastating attacks against the Pakistani military and civilians.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters the group did not have “confirmed reports” that Wali-ur-Rehman had been killed. He declined further comment.

[Related: Drone scientists hope to change public image

Drone casualties are difficult to verify. Foreign journalists must have permission from the military to visit the Pashtun tribal areas along the Afghan border.

Taliban fighters also often seal off the sites of drone strikes immediately so Pakistani journalists cannot see the victims.

“That the Taliban are remaining silent and neither denying or confirming the news is itself peculiar,” said Saleem Safi, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban. “But if this news is true, then the Pakistan army has the U.S. to thank.”

The security officials and Pashtun tribesmen in the northwestern region said the drone fired two missiles that struck a mud-built house at Chashma village, 3 km (2 miles) east of Miranshah, the region’s administrative town.

They said seven people were killed and four wounded.

FOREIGN MINISTRY DENOUNCES DRONES

“Tribesmen started rescue work an hour after the attack and recovered seven bodies,” said resident Bashir Dawar. “The bodies were badly damaged and beyond recognition.”

The Pakistan government had yet to confirm Wali-ur-Rehman’s death.

A U.S. drone killed Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in 2009. There had been several reports that his successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed the same way but they turned out to be untrue.

But the Foreign Ministry again denounced drones in general on Wednesday.

“The government has consistently maintained that the drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law,” it said.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently indicated he was scaling back the drone strike program, winning cautious approval from Pakistan, a key ally in the U.S. fight on militancy.

North Waziristan is on the Afghan border and has long been a stronghold of militants including Afghan Taliban and their al Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban allies.

Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif said this month that drone strikes were a “challenge” to Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“We will sit with our American friends and talk to them about this issue,” he said.

Obama’s announcement of scaling back drone strikes was widely welcomed by the people of North Waziristan, where drones armed with missiles have carried out the most strikes against militants over the past seven years, sometimes with heavy civilian casualties.

The strike also coincided with the first session of the newly elected provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the former Northwest Frontier Province.

Former cricketer Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party won most seats in the assembly and denounced the strike, saying Obama had gone back on his word.

 

New virus called ‘threat to the entire world’

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 30, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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New virus called ‘threat to the entire world’

The Lookout

By  | The Lookout – 11 hrs ago

The first death in France from a new SARS-like coronavirus brings the worldwide total for the disease to 27 deaths and 49 infections, CNN reports.

The 65-year-old Frenchman was diagnosed after returning from a stay in Dubai.

According to CNN, the World Health Organization has said the disease was first seen in Saudi Arabia last year. The virus is “a threat to the entire world,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s general director, told the network.

A coronavirus first identified last year in the Middle East, part of a family of viruses that cause the common cold and SARS. (AP)

The Centers for Disease Control explains that coronaviruses can affect people or animals and, in worst-case scenarios, cause SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). And it notes there’s currently no vaccine to protect against human coronavirus infection.

The disease acts like a cold and causes upper respiratory system problems. Symptoms include fever and cough and can lead to kidney failure and pneumonia.

The WHO has not learned how the new virus spreads, making it difficult to prevent infections. The organization has named it, though: Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, according to CNN.

How Stem Cell Cloning Works (Infographic)

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on May 30, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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How Stem Cell Cloning Works (Infographic)

by Karl Tate, LiveScience Infographic Artist
Date: 16 May 2013 Time: 04:53 PM ET
Infographic: How cloning produces stem cells that can be used to create organs or other body parts as needed.

In the laboratory, scientists have cloned stem cells from human skin and egg cells. This is significant because the process could eventually be used to produce organs or other parts that are genetically identical to the patient’s own, and therefore, pose no risk of rejection when transplanted.

Stem cells are primitive, unspecialized cells. A 5-day-old human embryo, called a blastocyst, contains an inner cell mass composed of about 12 embryonic stem cells.

Adult human bodies contain relatively few stem cells, mostly concentrated in the bone marrow.

Stem cells’ value to researchers is that they can be induced into becoming specific tissue or organ cells.

The cloning procedure works by combining a patient’s body cell with an unfertilized egg cell from a donor.

The patient’s skin cell is inserted into the outer membrane of the egg cell and chemically induced to begin developing into a blastocyst.

In the blastocyst, embryonic cells divide, producing a mass of stem cells.

The stem cells can be induced to differentiate into different types of cells as needed (heart, nerve, muscle, etc.). These cells are genetically identical to the patient’s own cells (that is, they are cloned).

In the future, the cloned cells could be transplanted into the patient to replace damaged cells.