Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

sciencehabit hasn't commented recently.

Submissions

top

Had there been no Higgs boson, this observation would have been the bomb

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  8 hours ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Ever wonder what particle physicists would have done had the Higgs boson not existed? Even before they fired up the atom smasher that 2 years ago blasted out the Higgs—the $5.5 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European particle physics lab, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland—researchers said that if they didn't find that coveted quarry, it wouldn't be a total disaster. If there were no Higgs, they said, then a particular ordinary particle interaction should instead go haywire and hint at whatever nature was doing to get by without the Higgs. Now, physicists at the LHC have spotted the rare interaction in that "no-lose" theorem, which is known as WW scattering."
Link to Original Source
top

Elephants may have best noses on Earth

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  9 hours ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Scientists have identified and examined olfactory receptor genes from 13 mammalian species. The researchers found that every species has a highly unique variety of such genes: Of the 10,000 functioning olfactory receptor genes the team studied, only three are shared among the 13 species. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the length of its trunk, the African elephant has the largest number of such genes—nearly 2000, the scientists report online today in the Genome Research. In contrast, dogs have only 1000, and humans and chimpanzees, less than 400—possibly because higher primates rely more on their vision and less on their sense of smell."
Link to Original Source
top

Miscalculation may explain expansion of Antarctic sea ice

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  9 hours ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Despite global warming, the fringe of sea ice around Antarctica is expanding slightly, in contrast to the marked decline of sea ice in the Arctic. Scientists have blamed this curious fact on various forces, from shifting winds to smaller waves, but a new study suggests a more mundane culprit: an error in the way the satellite data have been processed. The miscalculation, the authors say, might be making the sea ice increase appear larger than it is."
Link to Original Source
top

Members of previously uncontacted tribe infected with flu

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  yesterday

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Brazil’s Indian affairs department has announced an event that many anthropologists and medical researchers had feared. In the remote Brazilian state of Acre, members of a long-isolated Amazon tribe have contracted influenza after making voluntary contact with the outside world a few weeks ago. Some researchers now fear that the contacted individuals will spread the potentially fatal virus to other nonimmunized members of their tribe."
Link to Original Source
top

What keeps stone arches from falling down?

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  2 days ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "People often wonder how delicate arches and finely balanced pillars of stone stand up to the stress of holding up their own immense weight. Actually, new research suggests, it’s that stress that helps pack individual grains of sand together and slows erosion of the formations. At large scale in the real world, stress transmitted through arches and pillars to their bases slows down—but doesn’t stop—natural sculpting due to wind and water, the researchers say. Bits of the landform that don’t bear weight are among the first to wear away, which helps explain why arches are often unusually smooth."
Link to Original Source
top

New map fingers future hot spots for U.S. earthquakes

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  5 days ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Earthquake risk assessments can seem pretty abstract at first glance, with their “percent probabilities” and “peak ground accelerations.” But the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS’s) national hazard maps, updated periodically, pack a powerful punch: Insurance companies and city planners rely heavily on the maps, which influence billions of dollars in construction every year. Today, USGS scientists released the most recent earthquake hazard assessments for the country. Although the picture hasn’t changed much on a national scale since the last report in 2008, the devil is in the details, the report’s authors say—and some areas in the country are now considered to be at higher risk for powerful quakes than once thought."
Link to Original Source
top

Report: Climate changing more rapidly than at any point on record

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  5 days ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A new look at the “vital signs” of Earth’s climate reveals a stark picture of declining health. As global temperatures rise, so do sea level and the amount of heat trapped in the ocean’s upper layers. Meanwhile, mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting away beneath an atmosphere where concentrations of three key planet-warming greenhouse gases continue to rise. “Data show that the climate is changing more rapidly now than it has at any time in the historical record,” says Thomas Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. “The numbers speak for themselves.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Computer learns to distinguish hundreds of birdsongs

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  5 days ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "If you’re a bird enthusiast, you can pick out the “chick-a-DEE-dee” song of the Carolina chickadee with just a little practice. But if you’re an environmental scientist faced with parsing thousands of hours of recordings of birdsongs in the lab, you might want to enlist some help from your computer. A new approach to automatic classification of birdsong borrows techniques from human voice recognition software to sort through the sounds of hundreds of species and decides on its own which features make each one unique. More rudimentary programs have been developed before, but this is the first one that actually learns to distinguish one song from another."
Link to Original Source
top

Star Trek "warp drive" crushes diamonds to dust

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  5 days ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The world’s largest laser, a machine that appeared as the warp core in "Star Trek into Darkness", has attained a powerful result: It's squeezed diamond, the least compressible substance known, 50 million times harder than Earth's atmosphere presses down on us. The finding should help scientists better understand how material behaves at the great pressures that prevail deep inside giant planets."
Link to Original Source
top

Sexual harassment is common in scientific fieldwork

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about a week ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Universities and other workplaces have codes of conduct guarding against sexual harassment. But what about the more casual venue of scientific fieldwork—which is also a workplace? A new survey finds that sexual harassment and assaults occur frequently in the field, with little consequence for the perpetrators or explicit prohibitions against such conduct. The study reveals that the primary targets were young women who were harassed, assaulted, and even raped by men who were usually senior to them in rank, although men also reported harassment."
Link to Original Source
top

Flying dinosaur had longest known tail

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about a week ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A new type of flying dinosaur has been found in northeastern China. The creature was about 1.2 meters long and had feathers on all four limbs. Its feathery tail, which takes up about 30% of its total length, is the longest known among flying dinosaurs. The creature weighed 4 kilograms, making it among the heaviest flying dinosaurs known. As for its long tail, the dino probably used it to slow itself down when descending, thus avoiding crash landings."
Link to Original Source
top

Hardcore pot smoking could damage the brain's pleasure center

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about a week ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "It probably won’t come as a surprise that smoking a joint now and then will leave you feeling pretty good, man. But smoking a lot of marijuana over a long time might do just the opposite. Scientists have found that the brains of pot abusers react less strongly to the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for creating feelings of pleasure and reward. Their blunted dopamine responses could leave heavy marijuana users living in a fog—and not the good kind."
Link to Original Source
top

Elite group of researchers rule scientific publishing

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about two weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year. But these 150,608 scientists dominate the research journals, having their names on 41% of all papers. Among the most highly cited work, this elite group can be found among the co-authors of 87% of papers. Students, meanwhile, may spend years on research that yields only one or a few papers. “[I]n these cases, the research system may be exploiting the work of millions of young scientists,” the authors conclude."
Link to Original Source
top

Hair-raising technique detects drugs, explosives on human body

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about two weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "That metal ball that makes your hair stand on end at science museums may have a powerful new use. Scientists have found a way to combine these Van de Graaff generators with a common laboratory instrument to detect drugs, explosives, and other illicit materials on the human body. In the laboratory, scientists had a volunteer touch a Van de Graaff generator for 2 seconds to charge his body to 400,000 volts. This ionized compounds on the surface of his body. The person then pointed their charged finger toward the inlet of a mass spectrometer, and ions from their body entered the machine. In various tests, the machine correctly identified explosives, flammable solvents, cocaine, and acetaminophen on the skin."
Link to Original Source
top

Physicists spot potential source of 'Oh-My-God' particles

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about two weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "For decades, physicists have sought the sources of the most energetic subatomic particles in the universe—cosmic rays that strike the atmosphere with as much energy as well-thrown baseballs. Now, a team working with the Telescope Array, a collection of 507 particle detectors covering 700 square kilometers of desert in Utah, has observed a broad "hotspot" in the sky in which such cosmic rays seem to originate. Although not definitive, the observation suggests the cosmic rays emanate from a distinct source near our galaxy and not from sources spread all over the universe."
Link to Original Source
top

Ancient bird had wingspan longer than a stretch limousine

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about two weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Fossils unearthed at a construction project in South Carolina belong to a bird with the largest wingspan ever known, according to a new study. The animal measured 6.4 meters from wingtip to wingtip, about the length of a 10-passenger limousine and approaching twice the size of the wandering albatross, today’s wingspan record-holder. Like modern-day albatrosses, the newly described species would have been a soaring champ."
Link to Original Source
top

Gravity measurements can predict river flooding

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about two weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "When ground water saturates a river basin, the risk for flooding goes up. So does the strength of Earth’s gravity in that region, ever so slightly, because of the extra mass of the underground water. By using tiny variations in gravity detected from space, researchers report online today in Nature Geoscience that they can identify basins that are primed for flooding if additional rains come—sometimes with several months' warning."
Link to Original Source
top

People would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about three weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "How much do we hate being alone with our own thoughts? Enough to give ourselves an electric shock. In a new study, researchers recruited hundreds of people and made them sit in an empty room and just think for about 15 minutes. About half of the volunteers hated the experience. In a separate experiment, 67% of men and 25% of women chose to push a button and shock themselves rather than just sit there quietly and think. One of the study authors suggests that the results may be due to boredom and the trouble that we have controlling our thoughts. “I think [our] mind is built to engage in the world,” he says. “So when we don’t give it anything to focus on, it’s kind of hard to know what to do.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Alaskan tracks belong to herd of duck-billed dinosaurs

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about three weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A trove of fossilized footprints found in Alaska’s Denali National Park were left by hadrosaurs, commonly known as duck-billed dinosaurs. About 84% of the tracks were made by adult and near-adult hadrosaurs and 13% by young presumed to be less than 1 year old. A mere 3% of the tracks represent juvenile hadrosaurs, a rarity that strongly suggests the young of this species experienced a rapid growth spurt and therefore spent only a short time at this vulnerable size, the researchers report online this week in Geology. The presence of juveniles in the herd also strongly hints that these creatures spent their entire lives in the Arctic."
Link to Original Source
top

Exploding flower blasts birds with pollen

sciencehabit sciencehabit writes  |  about three weeks ago

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Axinaea flowers offer a sugar-packed reward to visiting birds: the bellows organ, a bulbous, brightly colored appendage high in sugar and citric acid, which is attached to the plant’s male reproductive organ, or stamen. But as soon as the bird’s beak clamps down, the bellows organ forces air from its spongy tissues into a pollen chamber inside the stamen. The pollen explodes outwards, dusting the unwitting bird’s beak or forehead. When the bird flitted to another tree, it passes on the flower’s pollen to the receptive female organs of other flowers. This is the first case of a flowering plant offering up a food reward on a reproductive organ, the researchers report online today in Current Biology."
Link to Original Source

Journals

sciencehabit has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...