Geology

World’s largest canyon discovered under Antarctic ice sheet – dwarfs Grand Canyon in size

We know little about lies beneath the vast expanse of ice in Antarctica but researchers this week announced two new findings that boggle the mind – analysis of satellite imagery reveals that underneath Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, lies a hidden world  containing a canyon as deep and twice as long as the Grand Canyon and a massive subglacial lake estimated to be about 775 square miles in area. Scientists first spotted signs of the canyon using satellite imagery. They then used radio-echo waves sent through the ice to confirm that a canyon did indeed exist, unseen, several miles beneath the ice. The canyon is believed to be over 600 miles long and in places, more than half-a-mile deep.   Researchers think the landscape underneath the ice sheet was…
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Space

Inversion layer creates picture that blurs the line between Earth and Space

A wonderfully beautiful picture taken on the outskirts of the Atacma Desert shows a Geminids meteor falling in a perfectly dark sky above the apparently daylight landscape surrounding the La Silla Observatory (Chile). The picture, appearing to show a night sky in the daytime, is difficult to believe is not two separate images. Alas, the image’s unusual characteristic is possible because of an "inversion layer" located slightly above the 7,900 foot observatory. An “inversion” is an unusual deviation from the normal atmospheric properties that vary with altitude. Normally the air within the lower atmosphere (called the troposphere) near the surface of the Earth is warmer than the air above it. This occurs because the lower atmosphere is heated from solar radiation striking the Earth’s surface.…
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Biology

The miracle of science – new experimental cancer therapy clears baby girl of "incurable" leukemia after only two months

Take a good, hard look at the beautiful little lady above – she may have just made history.  One-year-old Layla Richards was suffering from incurable leukemia (a form of cancer).  Her parents were told there were no options left to save their baby.  Chemotherapy failed.  So did bone-marrow transplants.  Finally, doctors tried a new form of experimental therapy – they gave Layla "genetically-altered immune cells" that attack the leukemia cells while leaving all of Layla's normal cells alone (doctors gave the treatment the unruly name "TALEN gene-edited allogeneic CAR-T therapy").  After two months, Layla was cancer free.  She is now back at her home with her parents. Doctors explained, "As this was the first time that the treatment had been used, we didn’t know if…
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Physics and math

Large Hadron Collider may rewrite physics if contact with parallel universe is successful

The staggering complex Large Hadron Collider (aka Atom smasher) in Geneva is already running at its highest level.  Thus far, it has discovered the God particle (aka Higgs boson particle) but this week, it could transform our understanding of the universe as well as open up a portal to something, or somewhere, beyond human comprehension. If the experiment is successful, an entirely new universe will be revealed. Mir Faizal, one of the three-strong team of physicists behind the experiment, told reporters: “Just as many parallel sheets of paper, which are two dimensional objects can exist in a third dimension , parallel universes can also exist in higher dimensions. We predict that gravity can leak into extra dimensions, and if it does, then miniature black holes…
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Animal Kingdom

Meet death on eight legs – the fierce and awesome Camel Spider was born to give people nightmares

Large, hairy, and growing to 6-inches long, they are also called “wind scorpions” for their amazing speed. The many legends surrounding the Camel Spider will give you nightmares. It has been told that they eat camel stomachs – from the inside out - and are said to scream as they speed across the desert floor, leap incredible distances to chase fleeing humans, and kill people by injecting them with venom then feeding on their bodies as they sleep. Of course, none of this is true but with jaws about a third of their body length, they can shred prey as big as rodents.  I would say that's enough to give pause when you run across one. Camel spiders are arachnids but belong to a different order than most other spiders. Despite…
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Animal Kingdom

Twice as smart or twice as scary? Rare two-headed snake sells for $50,000

Fifty thousand dollars?!? For a snake!?! But Medusa is no ordinary snake. The four-year old Honduran Milk Snake, born in Florida, has two fully-functioning heads. In fact, the owner says the two heads even fight each other for food sometimes. "I bring a mouse up to them and both opened their mouths. Then the right head struck and yanked the mouse right out of my hand. Then the left head grabbed the mouse's butt end. I couldn't believe how quickly they were eating. They were going to meet in the middle -- and these types of snakes eat other snakes!” Owner Todd Ray says he quickly cut the mouse in two before a riot broke out and now holds a playing card sideways between the…
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Space

Here’s what it would have looked like had you been aboard New Horizons as if zoomed past Pluto

As NASA’s New Horizons space probe raced past Pluto, it snapped photos as fast as it could, beaming back pictures to the grinning geeks at NASA.  NASA then took the images and created this animated gif showing what it would look like had you hitched a rid aboard the spacecraft.  Each second of the movie represents about 30 minutes travel time for New Horizons. New Horizons flew about 7,800 miles above Pluto at a speed of about 32,435 miles per hour. It was launched on January 19, 2006 – over 9 years ago!  When it passed Pluto on July 15, 2015, it became the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet. New Horizons is alive and well and heading towards the Kuiper Belt.  This month,…
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Weather

Grab your bathing suits and sunscreen – ocean levels are rising much faster than we thought

Scientists this week admit that they goofed (again) when estimating the increasing sea levels that result from global warming. If you live in any of the eleven of the fifteen largest cities in the world, you might want to make sure you have a bathing suit handy. Eleven of the fifteen largest cities in the world are located on the coast with lovely oceanside views. Typically these seaside residents take great pride in their sunny beachfront locations, proclaiming with renewed fervor, “Nah, nah, nah, we live by the ocean and enjoy frolicking on the beach all day!” In 100 years however, these cries of joy may change tune and sound more like, “Blub, blub, blub” as the Oceanside residents wonder how the waters rose so fast…
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Weather

What a sight! Three Category 4 hurricanes pass through Pacific at the same time! (Very rare event)

If the satellite image above doesn’t make your skin crawl then you’ve got eh, skin made of steel. A very rare meteorological event occurred on Saturday when three Category 4 hurricanes plowed through the Pacific Ocean at the same time. The three hurricanes, Hurricane Kilo, Hurricane Ignacio, and Hurricane Jimena had all reached sustained wind speeds of at least 130 MPH at the same time turning the Pacific Ocean into the world’s largest blender. How rare is this weather event? It is the first time in recorded history of three Category 4 hurricanes in central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time. In fact, it’s the first time with three major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) in those basins simultaneously. As of the time…
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Weather

50 things you can do to help stop global warming (or 50 things you can do to guarantee seaside property after all the icebergs melt)

Global warming is a serious problem and if we wait for governments to propose a solution, it may be too late. In fact, it may already be too late to stop the unnatural warming of our planet.  Many think the solution to the global warming problem lies in someone else's hands but there are things each of us can do to minimize the problem. Below are 50 simple things that Global Warming Facts has suggested we implement in order to combat the global warming problem. Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Install a programmable thermostat Programmable thermostats…
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