Hunting for fossils is a difficult business in the first place, but the challenge is multiplied the farther back in time you're searching. Finding bones from a dinosaur that lived 50 million years ago is a cake walk compared to hunting for evidence of life from billions of years back.
A new analysis of supposed 3.7 billion-year-old fossils in Greenland reveals that the researchers who first announced the discovery may have gotten it all wrong. In truth, it seems the strange deposits found in ancient ground may have just been rock all along.
The features, which were touted as potentially being the oldest evidence of life on Earth, look a lot like the pyramid-shaped remains that hinted at the presence of microbial life in other rock samples. In a new letter published in Nature, it seems there are also some very important differences that throw the conclusions of prior research into question.
The strange shapes certainly look like they may have been created by life, but as NPR reports, this new round of research points to the alleged cone-shaped features in the rock being elongated and stretched. Three-dimensional examination of the shapes hints at the features having been created by intense pressure between rocks, squeezing and twisting stone into bizarre forms.
"They're stretched-out ridges that extend deeply into the rock," Joel Hurowitz, co-author of the work, told NPR. "That shape is hard to explain as a biological structure, and much easier to explain as something that resulted from rocks being squeezed and deformed under tectonic pressures."
As for the researchers involved in the original study that claimed evidence of ancient microbial life, they are sticking with their findings. Those scientists have weighed in by saying that this new research is "disappointing" and that their original work holds up despite being challenged.
Prior to his death on Monday, billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen invested large sums in technology ventures, research projects and philanthropy, some of it eclectic and highly speculative. Outside of bland assurances from his investment company, no one seems quite sure. Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to his company Vulcan Inc. He was 65.
Using nothing more than a simple vial of saliva, millions of people have created DNA profiles on genealogy websites. This problem of access is one that Bonnie Berger, a professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her colleagues think they can solve, with a new cryptographic system to protect the information. "We're currently at a stalemate in sharing all this genomic data," Berger told AFP.
The Moon is great, but apparently it's just not enough for the city of Chengdu in China. Not satisfied with the meager light the Moon reflects back down to Earth at night, scientists in the region plan to launch a satellite that will actually reflect sunlight back down to Earth and turn night into day... sort of.
The satellite is effectively a giant mirror that will redirect sunlight back down on Chengdu even after the Sun sets. The spacecraft will be roughly eight times brighter than the Moon, according to the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, and should provide enough light that it will actually make street lights totally irrelevant for at least part of the city.
If this all sounds kind of bizarre that's because it is. It really, really is. The group planning the satellite says the mirror will produce light over an area of between 5 and 50 miles. That's, well, not a very specific, and it's unclear from current reports just how long the satellite will last.
There's also been some very real concern that the mirror's never-ending glow could seriously impact natural cycles of animals. Scientists have long been critical of human light pollution and its ability to potentially throw off the day/night rhythm of animals, and the same could be true of this fake moon plan. Some experts who support the plan suggest that it'll produce little more than a "twilight glow" that shouldn't change how animals behave, but nobody will know for certain until the satellite is up and running.
The institute working on the satellite plans to have the fake moon deployed by 2020. There seems to be some conflicting information over just how bright the light will be — something bright enough to make street lights obsolete sure sounds like it's brighter than a "glow" — so it'll be interesting to see just how well the mirror works... or doesn't.
TORONTO/LONDON (Reuters) - Anglo American unit De Beers is going after lucrative, but elusive high-tech markets in quantum computing, as it aims to expand its lab-grown diamond business beyond drilling and cutting. Element Six, De Beers' synthetic diamond arm, is building a $94 million factory in Portland, Oregon, an expansion that comes as scientists from Moscow to London push to develop diamonds for futuristic applications. Now coming of age after decades of experiments, technology called chemical vapor deposition, or CVD, offers a path to higher-quality, lower-cost production of synthetic diamonds and that opens the door to potential new computing markets.
Just days before Warren announced her DNA ancestry results, headlines were warning of a new threat to the genetic privacy of us all. The privacy warnings came from a paper in Science, which proclaimed that detectives, or hackers for that matter, could find the identity of “almost anyone” from a sample of DNA. Of course, if you committed rape or murder and left your DNA at the scene, this DNA matching capability could reveal that you are the perpetrator.
Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed in southern Germany the fossil of a fish that, with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, strongly resembled today's piranhas, the stars of more than their fair share of Hollywood horror films. Named Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, it is the earliest known example of a bony fish - as opposed to cartilaginous fish like sharks - able to slice flesh rather than simply swallowing prey, enabling it to attack victims larger than itself as piranhas can. Piranhas are freshwater fish that inhabit rivers and lakes in South America.
Twins Terry and Linda Jamison first learned about their psychic abilities in high school, when they would predict when their friends would get into relationships with boys — and when they would break up. “Where we grew up in a little town, outside Philadelphia, nobody had ever heard of psychics. Now, the Psychic Twins — as they call themselves — are internet stars: With over 750,000 YouTube subscribers and a total video view count reaching 30 million, they’ve accrued a strong, loyal following that seems to grow with each prediction they make, whether it’s on the scale of a natural disaster or a celebrity pregnancy.
Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, a member of the conservative Republican House Freedom Caucus, smiles before the vote on the House farm bill, which failed to pass, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, May 18, 2018. When Dave Brat shocked the political world in 2014, beating the man who was set to become the next speaker of the House in a Republican primary, his congressional district was more favorable to Republicans than it is now. The outcome of Brat’s contest against Democrat Abigail Spanberger will speak volumes on election night — less than three weeks from now — about how big a potential Democratic wave could be.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when their Los Angeles-bound plane took off from Florida on time: Their biggest hurdle was now eliminated for achieving their goal of visiting six Disney parks on two coasts in one day.
SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities in Seattle temporarily closed a street after motorists were stunned by dozens of large metal balls that spilled out of a truck and cascaded down the street, damaging several cars.
Despite Russia’s already rather tough gun regulations, there are also calls to crack down harder. At the end of the day, and as is often the case in the US, there seems to be no clear explanation for why Vladislav Roslyakov, an 18-year-old student at Kerch Polytechnic College, came to school on Wednesday with two backpacks stuffed with explosives and a legally acquired shotgun-like hunting rifle, and proceeded to slaughter his fellow students and teachers.
When big political news occurs close to an impending election, Washington is usually awash in arguments about how it might affect the upcoming vote. As you might have guessed, this brings us to the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. During recent weeks of struggle there have been lots of predictions about how it will swing the upcoming midterm elections one way or another.
"Ancient Egypt allowed more females into power in the ancient world than any other place on earth. Was that society somehow more progressive than we might expect? The answer is a quick and deflating no."
New research from New York University finds that both men and women see stereotypically male traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness as 'must-haves' for successful leaders. Researchers argue that preference for these certain types of leadership traits could explain why there are fewer women in positions of power. In the findings, published in the journal "Frontiers in Psychology," researchers ran two studies to understand how men and women perceive what makes a great leader by focusing on attributes often associated with certain genders.
It's harvest time and the chips are down for potato producers in northern France where a long summer drought could see French spuds shrink in size and volume. The potatoes "first lacked water and then when rain fell in July started growing anew" which means the original plants lost starch and gained too much water, spoiling them, said Regis Dumont, a potato farmer from Warhem near the Belgian border. Then they got a roasting, with temperatures soaring to 37 degrees centigrade (98 Fahrenheit) in August, unusually hot for the northern French plains which account for two-thirds of the national potato crop.
Genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do, a new study suggests. Previous studies have shown that genetics plays a major role in academic achievement at school, with 58 per cent of individual differences between students in GCSE scores due to genetic factors. However, it was unclear if DNA was important in later life. Using data from identical twins to tease out how much of university choice was genetic, researchers from King’s College London found that genes explained 57 per cent of the differences in A-level exam results and 46 per cent of the difference in achievement at university. They also found genetics accounted for 51 per cent of the difference in whether young people chose to go to university and 57 per cent of the difference in the quality of the chosen university. Dr Emily Smith-Woolley, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, who co-led the research said: ‘We have shown for the first time that genetic influence on educational achievement continues into higher education. “Our results also demonstrate that the appetite young adults have for choosing to continue with higher education is in part, influenced by their DNA.” The researchers also found that shared environmental factors – such as families and schools - influenced the choice of whether to go to university, accounting for 36 per cent of the differences between students. However, shared environmental influences appear to become less important over time, become negligible for achievement at university. Dr Ziada Ayorech, from the IoPPN, who co-led the research said: ‘Unlike secondary school, where students tend to share educational experiences, university provides young people with greater opportunity to be independent and to carve out their interests based on their natural abilities and aptitudes. “Students’ unique environments – such as new friends, and new experiences – appear to be explaining differences in university achievement and the role of shared environment becomes less significant.” The results were based on studying 3,000 pairs of twins from the UK as well as 3,000 people who had their gene sequenced. Comparing identical and non-identical twin pairs allows researchers to determine the overall impact of genetics on how much people differ on measures like exam scores. If identical twins' exam scores are more alike than those of non-identical twins this implies the difference between twin pairs is due to genetic factors The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The new sales pitch has a decidedly self-deprecating bent: "Nebraska. The slogan, which the Nebraska Tourism Commission unveiled Wednesday at a Nebraska City conference, will replace the current "Through My Eyes" campaign this spring, commission marketing manager Jenn Gjerde said Thursday. State tourism director John Ricks told the Omaha World-Herald that because Nebraska consistently ranks as the least likely state tourists plan to visit, the marketing campaign needed to be different.
Millions of people in Afghanistan will cast ballots this Saturday in an election whose outcome matters less than what it says about the Afghan people’s desire for peace and democracy. The Taliban claim credit for killing one well-known candidate and are threatening to prevent voting in the more than 40 voting districts they control. Another militant group, Islamic State in Afghanistan, also threatens to disrupt voting with indiscriminate attacks.
Renowned neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart has revealed her top strategy for surviving a stressful work environment during an interview on Yahoo Finance Presents: It’s A Jungle Out There. The Jungle podcast is a new 10-part series that unpacks productivity lessons from nature, with Dr Swart explaining crab mentality in episode one. “This isn’t just all about leadership and business, it’s about primal human behaviours and the crab is a really good analogy for not being able to let go and getting locked into a certain behaviour or way of thinking and once you’re on that path it’s sort of like a failure to admit to behave that way and you should go and behave differently,” said Dr Swart, who is also a medical doctor, faculty at MIT Sloan, and award-winning author of Neuroscience for Leadership and The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life.
Seven years ago, while investigating the story of a Muslim Brotherhood figure living in the United States, I spoke with a supporter of the Justice and Development Party about the relationship of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then the prime minister of Turkey, with the Islamist organization. “The flag raises from where it has fallen,” said the supporter, who is now a high-level Turkish government official in Ankara, referring to the goal of reviving Turkish leadership in the Muslim world more than 80 years after the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924. To some extent, he was putting down the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist organization founded in Egypt in the 1920s, and arguing that Turkey’s nationalist political Islam movement had a stronger hold over Turkish Islamists, including Erdoğan.
Movie audiences first heard these calmly intoned and ominous words in 1968, spoken by a spaceship's intelligent computer in the science-fiction masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey." With that one phrase, the computer named HAL 9000 confirmed that it could think for itself, and that it was prepared to terminate the astronauts who were planning to deactivate it. Fifty years after director Stanley Kubrick released his visionary masterpiece of space colonization, how close are humans to the future that he imagined, in which we partner with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that we ultimately may not be able to control?
Forget the flashy humanoids with their gymnastics skills: at the World Robot Summit in Tokyo, the focus was on down-to-earth robots that can deliver post, do the shopping and build a house. Introducing CarriRo, a delivery robot shaped a bit like a toy London bus with bright, friendly "eyes" on its front that can zip around the streets delivering packages at 6km/h (4 miles per hour). CarriRo "is designed to roll along the pavements and direct itself via GPS to an address within a two-kilometre radius," explained Chio Ishikawa, from Sumitomo Corp, which is promoting the robot.