Super-fancy bird may comprise a second species

Sharp-eyed ornithologists noticed that some specimens of Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise that they observed looked different enough that they may be a separate species. They captured video of the other kind for comparison. Read the rest

Scientists find strong evidence for an underground lake on Mars

Deep below a mile of ice at the Martian south pole lies a lake of liquid water, according to a team of Italian scientists led by Roberto Orosei. Read the rest

Shocker: lemon-powered batteries can't power an electric supercar

Even what's billed as the world's largest lemon battery can only generate enough juice to charge a small battery cell, so Mark Rober tries a few other fun power generators with a bunch of young scientists-to-be. Read the rest

Hear the sounds of the Sun

NASA scientists listen to the low-frequency pulsing hum of the Sun to gain insight into the star's atmosphere over time. The raw data comes from the ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) launched back in 1995. Researchers from Stanford Experimental Physics Lab then process and filter the data and speed it up "a factor 42,000 to bring it into the audible human-hearing range."

From NASA:

“Waves are traveling and bouncing around inside the Sun, and if your eyes were sensitive enough they could actually see this,” said Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland...

Data from SOHO, sonified by the Stanford Experimental Physics Lab, captures the Sun’s natural vibrations and provides scientists with a concrete representation of its dynamic movements.

“We don’t have straightforward ways to look inside the Sun. We don’t have a microscope to zoom inside the Sun,” Young said. “So using a star or the Sun’s vibrations allows us to see inside of it..."

These vibrations allow scientists to study a range of complex motions inside the Sun, from solar flares to coronal mass ejections.

“We can see huge rivers of solar material flowing around. We are finally starting to understand the layers of the Sun and the complexity,” Young said. “That simple sound is giving us a probe inside of a star. I think that’s a pretty cool thing.”

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Astounding finalist images for Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The Royal Museums Greenwich announced the shortlisted images from their Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 and the photos are absolutely breathtaking. They'll announce the winners in October. See more at: Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 shortlist gallery

Above: "RS34358_NGC 6726 and NGC 6727" by Mark Hanson, Warren Keller, Steve Mazlin, Rex Parker, Tommy Tse, David Plesko, Pete Proulx.

Below: "Aurorascape" by Mikkel Beiter; "Expedition to Infinity" by Jingpeng Liu

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Mice can get into amazingly tight spaces

I spent the last few days fighting off a mouse infestation in our RV. So far I've trapped and tossed six of the furry little bastards out on their asses. As I began the search for where they were getting into our rig, yesterday, I got to wondering how much space they can actually squeeze through.

According to this video, I'm doomed. Read the rest

The tiny fern that could take a big bite out of greenhouse gases

The little pink-edged ferns above are Azolla filiculoides, and they're smaller than a fingernail. Scientists just made it the first fern to get its genome sequenced because of its potential for fertilizing and even cooling the planet. Fifty million years ago, it was so abundant as ocean blooms that it helped cool the earth's atmosphere. Via Quartz:

This great Azolla boom was so successful that it lasted for 800,000 years, and is now known to paleobotanists as the “Azolla event.” Green plants suck up carbon dioxide; Azolla is particularly good at doing so. Over that period, researchers believe it sequestered about 10 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere, or well over 200 times the total amount of carbon dioxide humans currently release into the atmosphere every year.

During the Azolla boom, global temperatures plummeted, suggesting the diminutive fern “played a key role in transitioning Earth from a hot house to the cool place it is today,” Fay-Wei Li, a plant evolutionary biologist at Cornell University, said in a press release. As Yale’s E360 pointed out, scientists have wondered for years if Azolla could be harnessed to cool the planet again.

#Azollafiliculoides#misquitofern#tinyplants#fern#aquatic

A post shared by Dejanique (@dejaniqueelectropop) on Jul 11, 2015 at 12:21am PDT

This teeny tiny fern may hold a key to lowering global temperatures (Quartz) Read the rest

Girls sometimes inherit almost two full sets of their dad's genes

When a deaf Czech girl had her genes tested, researchers were surprised to find two sets of her father's genome spliced, leaving almost none of her mother's genome. Only about 25 girls and zero boys have ever been found with this trait. Read the rest

Scientists witness a four-mile wide iceberg being created

A gaggle of scientists from New York University were on scene in Greenland when a four-mile wide chunk of iceberg broke off from the glacier that it was attached to. If you're looking for why your beach front property will soon be underwater, global warming and this giant chunk of ice are two of the reasons. Read the rest

Watch how to make photochromic figurines

YouTuber NileRed mixed up a batch of DNBP, a photochromic compound that changes color in sunlight. Then he moulded it into a bear and put it out in the sun, with fascinating results. Read the rest

Watch how to use light to move matter

Before he demonstrates an elaborate example of using a laser to push an object, The Action Lab gives an accessible overview of light physics and relativistic mass. Read the rest

Twins tend to look at images in the same eye movement patterns

Based on a recent eye-tracking study, researchers believe there's a genetic component to variations in how humans process visual information. Read the rest

What do they mean by "enhanced color" in space images?

The striking enhanced color image of blue-hued sand dunes on Mars led some readers to ask what that means. Above is a side-by-side image in what scientists call "true color" on the left and enhanced on the right. The color humans would perceive is probably somewhere between the two, depending on conditions. Here's the difference: Read the rest

Japanese space probe visits diamond-shaped asteroid

After a four-year journey, Japan's Hayabusa 2 returned its first image of Ryugu, a diamond-shaped asteroid far from Earth. Habayusa is going to shoot explosives at the rock, scoop up some of the bits released, then return home with them for study. From the BBC:

A copper projectile, or "impactor" will separate from the spacecraft, floating down to the surface of the asteroid. Once Hayabusa 2 is safely out of the way, an explosive charge will detonate, driving the projectile into the surface.

"We have an impactor which will create a small crater on the surface of Ryugu. Maybe in spring next year, we will try to make a crater... then our spacecraft will try to reach into the crater to get the subsurface material."

"But this is a very big challenge."

Image: JAXA Read the rest

Watch how timelapse footage revealed the secrets of penguin huddling

Penguins huddle in frigid temperatures, but rather than stay in one place, timelapse footage shows that when one occasionally takes a step, others follow suit, creating a low-moving wave and allowing those on outer edges to move in over time. Read the rest

Watch this cool demonstration of a vintage carbon arc lamp

Tim from Grand Illusions dusted off a decades-old carbon arc lamp to show how it works, and how to create colorful and hypnotic pulsing patterns. Read the rest

Wheel reinvented to allow combat vehicles to easily traverse streets, corpses

Attention, comrades! A newsflash has this moment arrived. Engineers working with the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program have improved the survivability and mobility of combat vehicles by reinventing the wheel. [via Task and Purpose]

The high-tech Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) upgrades “transition from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move” — in short, allowing Humvees to transform into tracked vehicles on the fly.

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