The most powerful
solar storm in decades continued to buffet Earth Thursday morning
while another major storm appeared headed for the planet by Friday.
The back-to-back pairing of two historically huge flares is unprecedented,
one physicist says. There is a chance the two storms could join
forces as the second one catches up with the first.
In 1984, HARBOR
BRANCH scientists exploring deep waters off the Bahamas in one
of the institution's Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles discovered a
small piece of sponge that harbored a chemical with a remarkable
ability to kill cancer cells. Despite almost two decades of searching,
though, the group was never able to find enough of the sponge again
to fully explore its potential. But thanks to some creative detective
work, the team has finally found the animal's secret hiding place.
change in Arctic temperatures and sea ice cover may be a harbinger
of global climate changes to come, according to a recent NASA study.
The Arctic warming study, appearing in the November 1 issue of
the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, shows
that compared to the 1980s, most of the Arctic warmed significantly
over the last decade, with the biggest temperature increases occurring
over North America.
cleverest ideas are just too pricey. Supersonic travel, for example.
Fans unable to afford tickets on Concorde's final flight tomorrow
may never have another chance to smash the sound barrier. Sleek,
snowy Concorde is a technological marvel: the only commercial plane
to fly faster than the speed of sound. But Concorde has an insatiable
appetite for fuel and maintenance; the cost of these has forced
the fleet into retirement.
a European particle accelerator say they've spotted a never-before-seen
elementary particle composed of five of the fundamental constituents
known as quarks and antiquarks. In contrast, protons and neutrons
contain three quarks, and no particle is known to have four quarks.
The new report marks only the second sighting ever of a five-quark
particle, the first one having been found last summer by three
independent groups working in the United States, Japan, and Russia.
An entirely new
way of generating electricity has been discovered. The way it works
is simple: squeeze water through fine pipelines and an electrical
current flows. If the output can be increased, says Larry Kostiuk
of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, then high pressure
water could one day be used to power small devices such as mobile
phones and calculators.
It is hard to
imagine that graphite, the soft "lead" of pencils, can
be transformed into a form that competes in strength with its molecular
cousin diamond. Using a diamond anvil to produce extreme pressures
and the ultra-brilliant X-ray beams at the Advanced Photon Source
in Illinois, scientists with the High-Pressure Collaborative Access
Team (HPCAT)* have surmounted experimental obstacles to probe the
changes that graphite undergoes to produce this unique, super-hard
substance. The study is reported in the October 17, issue of Science.
Monkeys can control
a robot arm as naturally as their own limbs using only brain signals,
a pioneering experiment has shown. The macaque monkeys could reach
and grasp with the same precision as their own hand. "It's
just as if they have a representation of a third arm," says
project leader Miguel Nicolelis, at Duke University in Durham,
North Carolina. Experts believe the experiment's success bodes
well for future devices for humans that are controlled solely by
getting more involved in the fight against diseases by studying
the folding of proteins, which they hope will eventually lead to
the development of new drugs. Illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease
and even some cancers are the result of protein folding that has
gone awry. Since proteins in the body perform different functions
according to their shape, the folding process is considered a very
important area of study.
There's a gleam
in electrical engineer Shawn Yu Lin's eyes these days. It's a reflection
of yellowish light given off by a brightly glowing metallic flake
inside a vacuum chamber. Heated to incandescence by an electric
current, the metal sliver in Lin's lab at Sandia National Laboratories
in Albuquerque is made of tungsten, as is an ordinary light-bulb
filament. But this experimental filament is markedly different
from the delicate wires that light up homes and businesses. Electron-microscope
imaging reveals the sliver as tiny tungsten rods, each less than
one-hundredth the thickness of a human hair, neatly stacked in