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June 7 2014

How Ice Age climate made giant ‘mystery’ lakes


New research solves a longstanding mystery about how ancient lakes in the western United States grew to such enormous sizes.

The study, published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, finds that the lakes were able to grow large—rivaling the Great Lakes—during the peak of the last Ice Age 21,000 years ago, a period known as the “Last Glacial Maximum,” because evaporation rates were significantly lower than today.

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June 7 2014

Risk posed by China mountain removal


China's campaign to bulldoze mountains to create land to build on could cause extensive environmental problems, scientists say.

Researchers from Chang'an University in China have warned that dozens of mountains have already been flattened - and this is causing air and water pollution, soil erosion and flooding.

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June 7 2014

Rocks Made of Plastic Found on Hawaiian Beach


Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii.

“The article is intriguing and fascinating,” says geophysicist Douglas Jerolmack of the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the work.

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June 7 2014

How Weeds Could Help Feed Billions in a Warming World


Scientists in the U.S. and elsewhere are conducting intensive experiments to cross hardy weeds with food crops such as rice and wheat. Their goal is to make these staples more resilient as higher temperatures, drought, and elevated CO2 levels pose new threats to the world’s food supply.

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June 7 2014

Can Farmed Fish Feed The World Without Destroying The Environment?


We Americans love our fried shrimp, our and our fish sticks. And a lot of other people around the world count on fish as a critical part of their diet, too. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the world's intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it's as high as 70 percent.

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June 7 2014

Nine-Foot Great White Shark Eaten by Unknown Sea Creature


A tagged nine-foot (2.7m) great white shark whose electronic tag washed up on the beach. When scientists checked the data, they discovered a terrifying sequence of events: the tag had been dragged 1,900 feet (580m) below the surface, then eaten—achieving a 78°F temperature, 32°F higher than a great white shark’s normal body temperature. So this raises a reasonable question: what could possibly eat a nine-foot great white shark?

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June 7 2014

Weird UFO Dancing Light Filmed By Schoolgirls Could Be A Fire Monster. Possibly.


Ok, so there are lot of weird UFO/lights in the sky videos but this one is especially baffling.

Katie Real, 11, and her sister Macie filmed the weird dancing light as it hovered above a house.

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June 7 2014

Astronomers discover first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star


In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a "theoretical" class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-Zytkow objects (T&#379;Os) are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

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June 7 2014

Astronomers find oldest potentially earth-like planet


Scientists have found a potentially habitable planet in our galactic back yard. It orbits a star that can be seen with an amateur telescope and its surface may be warm enough for water to exist in liquid form.

The planet is one of two orbiting Kapteyn’s star, which can be seen in the southern constellation of Pictor, and astronomers believe it could be more than twice the age of Earth, making it one of the oldest known habitable planets.


Related: Earth Has an Older, Bigger, Possibly Inhabitable Brother

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June 7 2014

Big 'Beast' Asteroid Flies by Earth Sunday: What Would Happen if It Hit Us?


Humanity should be thankful "The Beast" doesn't have Earth in its crosshairs.

This Sunday (June 8), the near-Earth asteroid 2014 HQ124 — which some observers have nicknamed "The Beast" — will give the planet a relatively close shave, coming within 777,000 miles (1.25 million kilometers) at its closest approach, or about 3.25 times the distance from Earth to the moon.

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June 7 2014

Pluto and its moon snuggle under a shared atmosphere


Snuggle up, Pluto. The cold and distant dwarf planet may share a thin cloak with its largest moon.

Simulations show that nitrogen from Pluto's atmosphere could be flowing over to its moon Charon. If this is confirmed, Pluto and Charon would be the first known example of a planet and its moon sharing an atmosphere.

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June 6 2014

Traces of another world found on the Moon


Researchers have found evidence of the world that crashed into the Earth billions of years ago to form the Moon.

Analysis of lunar rock brought back by Apollo astronauts shows traces of the "planet" called Theia.

The researchers claim that their discovery confirms the theory that the Moon was created by just such a cataclysmic collision.

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June 6 2014

Pluto Might Have Earthquakes, and Here’s Why We Should Care


Let’s be real: we don’t know much about Pluto. We didn’t even “discover” it wasn’t a planet; we just changed our definition of “planet” to exclude it, after we realized there might be a hundred spherical objects of comparable size out there on the fringes of our solar system.

NASA’s New Horizons probe is set to give us our first close-up look at Pluto next summer, but until then these are the best pictures we have, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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June 6 2014

Mars or bust, says new report on NASA human space exploration


If NASA is to make great strides in its human spaceflight program, it needs to go big or go home -- and get to the Martian surface, says a new congressionally mandated report.

But the 285-page report from the National Research Council goes on to say the agency won't succeed unless it does so in a smart, well-planned way, venturing far beyond the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit with the help of a clear, step-by-step plan.


Related: US must play nice with China to put astronauts on Mars

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June 6 2014

Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches Earth


Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star 12.1 billion years ago -- shortly after the Big Bang -- recently reached Earth and was observed by a robotic telescope. Known as a gamma-ray burst, these rare, high-energy explosions are the catastrophic collapse of a star at the end of its life. Astronomers can analyze the observational data to draw further conclusions about the structure of the early universe.

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June 6 2014

Solar energy: Springtime for the artificial leaf


On a bright spring morning in Pasadena, California, the air is rich with the smells of cut grass and flowers. Photosynthesis seems effortless here: the fronds and blooms that line the walkways of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) bask in the sunlight, quietly using its energy to store sugars, stretch their leaves, deepen their roots and tend to their cellular processes.

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June 6 2014

Your Vanilla Ice Cream Is About to Get Weirder


Synthetic biology—or "synbio" for short—is the stuff of science fiction brought to life. Whereas standard-issue biotechnology involves inserting a gene from one organism into another, synbio entails stuff like inserting computer-generated DNA sequences into living cells: i.e, creating new organisms altogether. And the technology has made a major breakthrough.

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