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2012

News
  1. -02-03-12 New Land-Based "Adaptive" Telescope (Time.com)
      "According to astronomer Francois Rigaut, who led the team that built the new hardware, its images rival the Hubble's for sharpness, and in a press release, Matt Mountain, director of the Hubble's home base, the Space Telescope Science Institute, called the image quality 'incredible.' " 02-12

  2. -02-27-12 Earthshine (CNN News)
      "Current techniques only provide a rough characterization of giant exoplanets using today’s instrumentation and telescopes. Detecting water and oxygen in exoplanets is currently out of reach, and new telescopes and sensors will be needed to directly observe the characteristics of an exoplanet’s atmosphere."br>"In the meantime, scientists will continue explore earthshine in order to fine-tune theoretical models that could one day be used to determine if life is present on other planets." 02-12

  3. -03-08-12 Stange Lump of Dark Matter Found (Space.com)
      "A lonely clump of dark matter 2.4 billion light-years from Earth is confounding scientists by its mere presence, researchers say. Contrary to popular astronomy theories, the invisible stuff appears to have been left behind in space after a cluster of galaxies collided." 03-12

  4. -03-25-12 Deepest Ever Dive (CBS News)
      "Director James Cameron has gone were no man has gone before: to the deepest depths of the ocean. Late Sunday, partnering organization National Geographic announced his ocean submersible had reached a depth 35,756 feet; 'a figure unattainable anywhere else in the ocean.' "

      "The scale of the trench is hard to grasp — it's 120 times larger than the Grand Canyon and more than a mile deeper than Mount Everest is tall." 03-12

  5. -03-29-12 A Single Antibody May Cure Multiple Cancers (Time.com)
      "A single treatment to cure all cancers? Scientists may be one step closer."

      "In a recent study, scientists reported that they successfully tested an antibody treatment that shrank human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate tumors transplanted into mice. The antibody blocks a protein called CD47, which normally sits on the cell surface and issues a 'don’t eat me' signal that prevents the body’s immune system from attacking it."

      "The researchers started by exposing tumor cells to macrophages, and the CD47-blocking antibody treatment, in a petri dish. When the antibody wasn’t present, the tumor cells survived. But when the antibody bound itself to CD47 and blocked its 'don’t eat me' signal, the macrophages destroyed the cancers." 03-12

  6. -03-29-12 Bees Disappearing Tied to Pesticides (MSNBC News)
      "A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature's army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday."

      "A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature's army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday."

      "Combating Colony Collapse Disorder is hardly an esoteric exercise. The USDA notes that "bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables." 03-12

  7. -04-04-12 Diagnosis of Autism Through Mutant Genes (New York Times)
      "Teams of scientists working independently to understand the biology of autism have for the first time homed in on several gene mutations that they agree sharply increase the chances that a child will develop the disorder, and have found further evidence that the risk increases with the age of the parents, particularly in fathers over age 35."

      "There are probably hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand, gene variations that could disrupt brain development enough to result in social delays. An intensified search for rare mutations could turn up enough of these to account for 15 percent to 20 percent of all autism cases, some experts say, and allow researchers a chance to see patterns and some possible mechanisms to explain what goes awry."

      "In one of the new studies, Dr. Matthew W. State, a professor of genetics and child psychiatry at Yale led a team that looked for de novo mutations in 200 people who had been given an autism diagnosis, as well as in parents and siblings who showed no signs of the disorder. The team found that two unrelated children with autism in the study had de novo mutations in the same gene — and nothing similar in those without a diagnosis.

      “ 'That is like throwing a dart at a dart board with 21,000 spots and hitting the same once [sic] twice,' Dr. State said. 'The chances that this gene is related to autism risk is something like 99.9999 percent.' " 04-12

  8. -04-10-12 Tending a Sick Comrade Helps Ants (New York Times)
      "When one ant in a colony has an infection, the others don’t avoid their sick comrade. Instead, they approach the infected ant and lick it to remove pathogens."

      "Now, a new study reports that this works in the benefit of the licking ant as well. By grooming a diseased ant, the helper ant gets a low-level infection that seems to induce the expression of a set of immune genes that help the ants fight off the pathogen." 04-12

  9. -05-17-12 Solar Eclipse (Time.com)
      "The rare annular solar eclipse will be visible on the west coast of North America and in parts of Asia on May 20 and 21." 05-12

  10. -05-23-12 SpaceX Opens New Commerical Path to Outer Space (ABC News)
      "A privately built space capsule that's zipping its way to the International Space Station has also launched something else: A new for-profit space race."

      "The capsule called Dragon was due to arrive near the space station for tests early Thursday and dock on Friday with its load of supplies. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — run by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk — was hired by NASA to deliver cargo and eventually astronauts to the orbital outpost."

      "And the space agency is hiring others, too."

      "Several firms think they can make money in space and are close enough to Musk's company to practically surf in his spaceship's rocket-fueled wake. There are now more companies looking to make money in orbit — at least eight — than major U.S. airlines still flying." 07-07

  11. -06-04-12 Study: Our Galaxy Will Merge With Andromeda Galaxy (CNN News)
      "New data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope proves, NASA says, that in 4 billion years the Milky Way and Andromeda will collide or pass each other by so closely that the gravitational force each exerts on the other will cause them to slow down to the point of merging. The merger will be completed 6 billion years from now." 06-12

  12. -06-06-12 Latest Pictures of Venus and the Sun (Time.com)
      "For nearly all of human history, there was only one way to observe a cosmic event: with your eyes. This was a bad thing if the event occurred on a cloudy day, and an even worse thing if it wasn’t cloudy but the event was a solar eclipse, which could wind up being, well, the last thing you’d ever see."

      "A lot has changed, and that fact was spectacularly in evidence this week, as Venus made one of its very rare transits of the sun—an event that won’t come again for 105 years. All over the world, skywatchers had telescopes and cameras pointed sunward as the black speck of Venus glided slowly across the solar disk. But 22,000 mi. (36,000 km) above the Earth, another set of eyes was watching the event. Those eyes belong to the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), whose designers know a thing or two about looking at the sun." 06-12

  13. -06-08-12 Exceptional Ecosystem Found Under Arctic Ice (New York Times)
      "The quantities of plankton are 'truly exceptional,' says Walker Smith, a marine biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who was not part of the team conducting the research."

      "If these blooms are widespread under the ice along continental shelves, the primary productivity in these regions could be up to 10 times greater than open-water productivity, the team estimates."

      "In addition, researchers have noted that the Arctic ocean is becoming an enormous sink for atmospheric CO2 as the waters open up in the summer. Yet the open waters in the Chukchi Sea don't show the levels of dissolved CO2 they should if that's the case. Now, it looks as though the answer lies with the under-ice phytoplankton blooms, because they consume the CO2 via photosynthesis, just as land plants do." 06-12

  14. -07-09-12 First Medium Size Black Hole Discovered (Time.com)
      "For 30 years, astronomers have been looking for evidence of a theorized class of black hole that would be sort of a cosmic middle child, falling somewhere between the well-established smaller ones — which are "only" 30 times the mass of our sun — and the supermassive types that are the equivalent of millions of solar masses."

      "There's more than just a taste for cosmic tidiness behind the hunt. These so-called intermediate-mass black holes could provide an important link in the life cycle of all black holes, suggesting that the mini and jumbo models are not two completely different species but rather members of a single species at different stages of maturation. Now there is evidence that medium-size black holes might indeed exist — courtesy of an X-ray blast from a mysterious body 290 million light-years from Earth." 07-12

  15. -07-23-12 New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces (National Geographic)
      "Archaeological 'gold mine' illuminates connection between king and sun god." 07-12

  16. -07-23-12 Sally Ride, First Female Astronaut, Dies (USA Today)
      "Streaking through a cloud-flecked Saturday morning sky, the space shuttle carried Sally Ride into history, the first American woman in space on June 18, 1983." 07-12

  17. -07-31-12 Genetic and Fossil Records Tell Different Stories on Origins of Humans (New York Times)
      "After decades of digging, paleoanthropologists looking for fossilized human bones have established a reasonably clear picture: Modern humans arose in Africa some 200,000 years ago and all archaic species of humans then disappeared, surviving only outside Africa, as did the Neanderthals in Europe. Geneticists studying DNA now say that, to the contrary, a previously unknown archaic species of human, a cousin of the Neanderthals, may have lingered in Africa until perhaps 25,000 years ago, coexisting with the modern humans and on occasion interbreeding with them." 07-12

  18. -08-04-12 Editorial: The Future We Need in Space Exploration (Time.com)
      "In four days, NASA’s Curiosity rover will hopefully survive its “seven minutes of terror” and land safely on the surface of Mars. What comes next for U.S. space exploration?" 08-12

  19. -08-05-12 Mars Science Laboratory (NASA)
      Provides news on Mars exploration, such as the landing of Curiosity on Mars. 08-12

  20. -08-06-12 Curiosity Lands Safely on Mars Live (CNN News)
      "NASA's rover Curiosity successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on Mars early Monday, transmitting images back to Earth after traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space in order to explore the Red Planet." 08-12

  21. -08-06-12 Drought Expands in the United States (Time.com)
      "More than three-fifths of the continental U.S. is experiencing at least moderate drought, while 22.3% of the country is experiencing exceptional or extreme drought, the two worst categories according to the bad news bears at the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s twice the area that was so classified just three weeks ago—a sign of just how rapidly this “flash drought” has deepened—and last week alone, an additional 32 million acres fell into the worst two categories. Like journalists, scientists are running out of ways to say how dry it is."

      "It’ll be particularly tough for livestock producers, who depend on cheap corn for feed, but who can’t depend on the kind of crop insurance that will cushion the blow for many commodity farmers. Though as my colleagues at Moneyland note, the drought will actually bring about a short-term drop in meat prices as ranchers hurry underweight animals to market rather than pay high prices to keep them fed, over the long-term it will mean more for your hamburger or chicken." 08-12

  22. -08-10-12 A 360 View from Mars (Wall Street Journal)
      Provides a 360 degree view from the surface of Mars. 08-12

  23. -08-17-12 Siberian Mummy Has Tattoos (ABC News)
      "High in the Altai mountains of Siberia, not far from the border between Russia and Mongolia, researchers have found the mummified body of a young woman covered with tattoos that archeologists say look remarkably modern."

      "The woman, probably about 25 years old, was buried some 2,500 years ago and found in 1993. She most likely belonged to the Pazyryk tribe, nomads who inhabited the area for centuries. Kept cold in the permafrost, she was, say the scientists, well enough preserved that one can see intricate tattoos of animals and what appear to be deities." 06-09

  24. -08-28-12 Orangutans Endangered (CBS News)
      "Huge plantations for producing palm oil are wiping out the rainforests in Sumatra where most orangutans live."

      " 'It 's a very, very precarious situation,' said Ian Singleton, who heads the Orangutan Conservation Program in Sumatra."

      "Singleton said the biggest threat is the growing demand for palm oil."

      " 'You'd be amazed just how many products it's in. It's in shampoos, it's in soaps, it's in your biscuits, in chocolates. It's everywhere,' Singleton said."

      "So those working to save the animals are asking consumers to start looking for a label that says 'orangutan friendly.' " 08-12

  25. -09-15-12 Brain Implant Improves Thinking in Monkeys (New York Times)
      "Scientists have designed a brain implant that sharpened decision making and restored lost mental capacity in monkeys, providing the first demonstration in primates of the sort of brain prosthesis that could eventually help people with damage from dementia, strokes or other brain injuries."

      "The device, though years away from commercial development, gives researchers a model for how to support and enhance fairly advanced mental skills in the frontal cortex of the brain, the seat of thinking and planning." 09-12

  26. -09-18-12 Mars Has a Blizzard (Time.com)
      "Now comes word from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that it’s snowing on the Red Planet — a lot. A massive, 310-mile-diameter (500 km) cloud persists all winter long over the planet’s south polar cap, dumping snow to blizzard-level depths. The catch: this snow isn’t made from water crystals, but carbon dioxide, and that’s just a little bit of what makes the new findings — and the way they were uncovered— so intriguing." 09-12

  27. -10-09-12 Spider 100 Million Years Old Found in Amber (CBS News)
      "Like an old photograph, a 100-million-year-old fossil has captured something extraordinary from time: A battle involving a spider attacking its prey." 10-12

  28. -10-17-12 Climate Change Supercomputer Powers Up (Time.com)
      "NCAR says Yellowstone will also be able to help “work toward the development of seasonal forecasts of sea ice,” improve fire pattern predictions when wildfires break out, locate with more precision gas and oil in areas miles beneath the earth’s surface (as well as subsurface areas that could be used to store carbon) and lay the groundwork for pollutant modeling, which could yield more accurate air quality forecasts days in advance." 10-12

  29. -10-17-12 Planet Found Orbiting Nearby Star (Time.com)
      "The new planet, designated Alpha Centauri B b (ok, not so memorable) is about the same size, and quite possibly the same composition, as Earth." 10-12

  30. -10-18-12 Shiny Objects Found on Mars (CNN News)
      "As the rover Curiosity tries out more of its tools on Mars, surprises emerge on the Red Planet. After using the rover to scooping dirt, scientists saw something unexpected: small bright objects.” 10-12

  31. -11-02-12 Extremely Rare Whale Discovered (ABC News)
      "It was Rochelle Constantine, a marine biologist at the University of Auckland, and her graduate student Kirsten Thompson, who had conducted routine DNA analyses on the beached whales. 'I hope you’re sitting down,' Constantine said. Those animals stranded in December were not Gray’s. They were instead a pair of spade-toothed beaked whales. It was a name to make a certain kind of scientist weak in the knees: the most elusive species of whale in the world, known only from several bone fragments washed up over the course of 140 years. It had never been seen in the flesh before. Van Helden looked up at the ceiling and swore." 11-12

  32. -11-20-12 Einstein, Albert: Photos of Einstein's Brain Revealed (MSNBC.com)
      "Albert Einstein's brain had extraordinary folding patterns in several regions, which may help explain his genius, newly uncovered photographs suggest."

      " 'His anatomy is unique compared to every other photograph or drawing of a human brain that has ever been recorded.' " 11-12

  33. -11-26-12 Extreme Life Forms Found Under Ice (USA Today)
      "The microbes thrive despite 8 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, 20% salinity in the brine and high concentrations of ammonia and sulfur. They likely live off of chemical reactions with hydrogen in the lake water. The lake and its unusual bugs, the researchers suggest, help show that life could survive elsewhere on frozen worlds beyond our own planet. According to the study, the find 'is a potential analog for habitats on other icy worlds,' such as Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's geyser-spewing moon Enceladus."

  34. Many Planets Found Outside Our Solar System (ABC News)
      "NASA's planet-hunting telescope is finding whole new worlds of possibilities in the search for alien life. An early report from a cosmic census indicates that relatively small planets and stable multi-planet systems are far more plentiful than previous searches showed." 02-11

Papers
  1. -06-13-12 Scientists Map the Entire Genome of a Human Fetus (Time.com)
      "It may sound like something conjured by Jules Verne, but it happened at the University of Washington: a professor and his graduate student used DNA samples from the parents of a baby boy who was still in utero and reconstructed his entire genetic makeup from A to Z." 06-12

  2. Li-Fi May Supplement Wi-Fi (CNN News)
      "The dominant technology used for wireless data transfer, Wi-Fi, is transmitted through radio wave signals. However, radio waves represent only a small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum and so, as demand for wireless connectivity grows, the supply of available bandwidth diminishes."

      "Meanwhile, the number of bytes we transmit through mobile devices is doubling every year, according to a report from networking equipment giant Cisco Systems."

      "Haas and his team at the UK's University of Edinburgh, are the brains behind a new patented technology that uses beams of flickering light to transmit digital information wirelessly, a process known as Visible Light Communication (VLC)."

      " 'The visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the radio frequency spectrum,' he explains." 11-12

   
   


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