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Public release date: 11-Jul-2011 [ Print | E-mail | Share ] [ Close Window ] Contact: Robert Mitchum email@example.com 773-795-5227 University of Chicago Medical Center
Elements 114 and 116 have been officially added to the periodic table, becoming its heaviest members yet. They both exist for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms, but they bring researchers a step closer to making even heavier elements that are predicted to be stable for decades or longer, forming a fabled "island of stability" in the periodic table. Evidence for the two elements has been mounting for years. They were finally given official status as new elements on Wednesday, after a three-year review by the Joint Working Party on Discovery of Elements, a committee of scientists from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-90350" title="huldtgren1HR" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2011/12/huldtgren1HR.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="600" /> New research suggests that fossils thought to represent some of the earliest multicellular life are instead single-celled, amoeba-like organisms. But even if they’re not quite full-blown animals, they may hint at how animals came into being. The 570-million-year-old Doushanto formation, first unearthed in South China in 1998, contains tiny clusters of cells that look similar to animal embryos .
Fossil leaves from the 77,000-year-old mattress. Image courtesy of Marion Bamford When I moved to Washington, D.C., a few years ago, I needed to buy a bed.
AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies , mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable. The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere ( see photo ).
Long before Darwin published The Origin of Species , there was talk of evolution. The more acquainted naturalists became with the major groups of animals, the gaps between them grew smaller. Once it seemed as if mammals were profoundly different than other vertebrates, for example. And then European explorers encountered the platypus, a mammal that laid eggs. Perhaps the major groups of animals had not been separately created, some naturalists suggested.
Before killer whales and polar bears, before sharks and tyrannosaurs, the world’s top predator was probably a bizarre animal called Anomalocaris . It lived in the Cambrian period, over half a billion years ago, when life was confined to the seas and animals took on bizarre shapes that haven’t been seen since. Many scientists believe that Anomalocaris ruled this primordial world as a top predator. At up to a metre in length, it was the largest hunter of its time.
Mammoth bones have yielded proteins that could help to elucidate the animals' evolutionary history. An international group of scientists has managed to identify 126 distinct protein sequences from a 43,000-year old bone from a woolly mammoth ( ). The study, in the 1 , unleashes the field of palaeoproteomics by identifying prehistoric protein sequences that could be used to help identify species, evolutionary relationships and even, perhaps, ancient diseases. Proteomic analysis could therefore be used as an alternative to DNA analysis in samples that are too degraded to contain any genetic material. Protein sequences have previously been published for dinosaur fossils, including a 68-million-year-old 2 and an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur 3 , but the results have proved controversial (see Origin of ‘ ’ protein questioned ).
© Jennifer Hattam Rampant development is putting Turkey's natural environment at risk. Ongoing debate about the composition of Turkey's top scientific institute is more than just academic, according to a respected conservation biologist. He argues that changes to the membership of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) are emblematic of the problems plaguing environmental policy-making as well. The Turkish government's decision earlier this year to appoint TÜBA members (who were previously selected by their peers) has prompted many scholars to resign , saying the academy's independence has been threatened. Critics of the move also charge that the decision was made "without explanation or any public debate," as Dr. Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu wrote in today's edition of Science .
I know I post a lot of pictures I describe as amazing, lovely, breath-taking, jaw-dropping… but that’s only because it’s always true. In this case, though, I think those adjectives fall way, way short in describing the seriously paralyzing beauty of this photograph: Comet Lovejoy, as seen by an astronaut on board the International Space Station: [Click to encomanate -- and yes. you need to.] Oh. My. This stunning photo was taken by astronaut Dan Burbank as the ISS passed over Australia at 17:40 GMT on December 21, 2011 [update: more pix here ].
Following the branching bush of human evolution is getting increasingly difficult. When I studied human evolution in college, things were much simpler. There were a few Australopithecus species followed by a few Homo species, leading to modern humans. It was recognized at the time that these fossil species probably did not represent a nice clean straight line to Homo sapiens, but it seems the family tree has become much bushier than was imagined at the time. Here is a recent representation of the hominin family tree.
R NA plays a critical role in directing the creation of proteins, but there is more to the life of an RNA molecule than simply carrying DNA’s message. One can imagine that an RNA molecule is born, matures, and, eventually, meets its demise. Researchers at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT have developed an approach that offers many windows into the life cycle of these essential molecules and will enable other scientists to investigate what happens when something in a cell goes wrong. They describe their approach, which offers high resolution and a comprehensive scope, in a Nature Biotechnology article published online on April 24. “People are discovering more and more how the RNA life cycle is at the heart of problems we see in disease, but we actually understand a lot less about it than we understand about many other cellular processes,” said Aviv Regev , a core faculty member of the Broad Institute and a co-senior author on the paper.
19 May 2011 Last updated at 04:13 ET By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News Some proteins have remained largely unchanged since they first appeared Tiny structural errors in proteins may have been responsible for changes that sparked complex life, researchers say. A comparison of proteins across 36 modern species suggests that protein flaws called "dehydrons" may have made proteins less stable in water.
Friday, May 20, 2011 CT scans of modern short-tailed opossum (upper left) and Hadrocodium (bottom right) brains (pink) through cut-away skulls. Olfactory bulbs are at front of brain (reddish pink). Credit: Matt Colbert, Univ. of Texas at Austin.
The first vulture restaurant has opened in Turkey, and already it is acquiring customers. Photo courtesy of Çağan Şekercioğlu The site selected for the restaurant is in Iğdır, in view of Mount Ağrı, near the border with Armenia in Eastern Anatolia (see map below).