Daily Archives: February 8, 2012

Is this our Earliest Ancestor?

The creature, Otavia antiqua, was found in 760-million-year-old rock in Namibia and was as tiny as it may be important. “The fossils are small, about the size of a grain of sand, and we have found many hundreds of them,” said study leader Anthony Prave, a geologist at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K. “In fact, when we look at thin sections of the rocks, certain samples would likely yield thousands of specimens. Thus, it is possible that the organisms were very abundant.” From … Continue reading

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Most fish actually evolved on land, not the sea

Science is always good for an awesomely counter-intuitive finding, and this one has to be the mother of them all. Despite the fact that life itself originally came from the sea, the same can’t be said of the ocean’s current occupants. Stony Brook researchers Greta Vega and John Wiens have found that about 75% of all living fish species trace their evolutionary history back to freshwater sources, not saltwater ones. If you go back 170 million years — a time contemporaneous … Continue reading

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The EPR Paradox

The EPR paradox is an early and influential critique leveled against quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (known collectively as EPR) designed a thought experiment intended to reveal what they believed to be inadequacies of quantum mechanics. To that end they pointed to a consequence of quantum mechanics that its supporters had not noticed. According to quantum mechanics, a single system has its own wave function, its own unitary quantum-theoretical description. If such a … Continue reading

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An ocean once covered part of Red Planet

ESA’s Mars Express has returned strong evidence for an ocean once covering part of Mars. Using radar, it has detected sediments reminiscent of an ocean floor within the boundaries of previously identified, ancient shorelines on Mars. The MARSIS radar was deployed in 2005 and has been collecting data ever since. Jérémie Mouginot, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) and the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues have analysed more than two years of data and found that the … Continue reading

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Revealing how a battery material works

Since its discovery 15 years ago, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) has become one of the most promising materials for rechargeable batteries because of its stability, durability, safety and ability to deliver a lot of power at once. It has been the focus of major research projects around the world, and a leading technology used in everything from power tools to electric vehicles. But despite this widespread interest, the reasons for lithium iron phosphate’s unusual charging and discharging characteristics have remained … Continue reading

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The Earliest Ever Human Paintings

According to new dating tests, these are the first paintings ever made by humans. They are seals painted more than 42,000 years ago, located in the Cave of Nerja, in Málaga, Spain. And they may change our ideas about humanity’s evolution. - Until now, archeologists thought that the oldest art was created during the Aurignacian period, by modern humans. But these are way older, way more primitive than the ones in Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, the 32,000-year-old paintings featured in Herzog’s Cave of … Continue reading

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