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The Oldest Ice on Earth May Be Hiding 1.5 Miles Beneath Antarctica

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:55

European scientists looking for some of the oldest ice on the planet have homed in on a particular spot in Antarctica, where they will drill more than 1.5 miles (2.7 kilometers) below the surface of the ice.Over the next five years, the "Beyond EPICA-Oldest Ice" mission will work at a remote location known as "Little Dome C" to start drilling for ice up to 1.5 million years old, the team announced today (April 9) at the meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria."Ice cores are unique for geosciences because they are an archive of the paleo-atmosphere," said Beyond EPICA's coordinator Olaf Eisen of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. [Antarctica: The Ice-Covered Bottom of the World (Photos)]From analyzing gas bubbles, molecules and particles trapped in thin layers of ancient ice, scientists can reconstruct carbon dioxide levels, temperature data and other climate indicators over a long period of time. A major goal of this project will be to understand why the cycle of Earth's ice ages changed in the distant past.Field camp at the selected drill site Little Dome C in Antarctica, where researchers hope to find 1.5-million-year-old ice. Luca Vittuari/PNRAThe expedition will build on a past mission, EPICA (the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica), which took place from 1996 to 2004 at the Concordia research station, jointly operated by France and Italy. The EPICA researchers were able to obtain an ice core with an 800,000-year record of climate data. During this period, the climate flipped from glacial to interglacial periods on a 100,000-year cycle.The EPICA core, however, "doesn't cover the time between 900,000 and 1.2 million years ago, where we had a transition in the climate system," Eisen told reporters during a press conference.Prior to 1.2 million years ago, Earth's ice ages are believed to have been alternating on a quicker, 40,000-year cycle. Scientists don't know what happened during the following transition period in the climate system that caused the glacial periods to get longer and colder. The Beyond EPICA researchers hope to find some answers in the ice from Little Dome C as well as data that will help them build climate forecasts for the future.Over the last three years, the researchers surveyed the region around Concordia as well as the region around Dome Fuji for a potential drill site that would be likely to have 1.5-million-year-old ice.About 2 miles (3.2 km) above sea level, Little Dome C is about 18 miles (30 km) from Concordia station -- or a 2-hour snowmobile ride. The average temperature at the drill site is minus 66 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.5 degrees Celsius), and the team will work only the two months during the Antarctic summer, camped out in shipping containers.The area around Little Dome C is also very dry and hardly sees precipitation, which is good for the goal of the project.The red dot shows where Little Dome C is located. British Antarctic Survey"The smaller the accumulation rate of snow every year, the more years you have in each meter," said project scientist Catherine Ritz, of France's Institute for Geosciences and Environmental Research (IGE).Having more layers packed in tightly is important because, closer to the bedrock, ice can melt due to the heat from beneath the surface of Earth. Melting at the bottom is the reason the previous EPICA ice core only had layers back to 800,000 years."The most exciting information we will be looking at will be squeezed in the deepest part of the core," Carlo Barbante, of the University of Venice, told reporters. "Most probably, the ice as old as 800,000 years to 1.5 million years will be squeezed in the last 200 to 300 meters of ice."It will likely take the Beyond EPICA team years to reach those ancient layers of ice as they remove 13-foot-long (4 meter), 4 -inch-wide (10 centimeters) tubes of ice at a time. That also means the most important results of the project won't come out until at least 2025.The European Union-funded project is estimated to cost about €30 million euros ($33.8 million), according to the BBC. * Antarctica Photos: Meltwater Lake Hidden Beneath the Ice * In Photos: Research Vessel Headed to 'Hidden' Antarctic Ecosystem * In Photos: The Vanishing Ice of Baffin IslandOriginal article on Live Science.


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The Old English Verse 'Beowulf' Was Likely Written by a Single Author

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:55

Over a thousand years ago, a writer (or writers) penned an epic poem about a warrior named Beowulf who must defeat an evil monster (the story is replete with power struggles, lots of killing and, yes, a fire-breathing dragon). That famous work, "Beowulf," is now one of the anchors of Old English literature.It's unclear who wrote the poem; because certain sections are seemingly disconnected, some scholars have suggested that the piece had multiple authors. [Fossil Record: A Gallery of 'Bugged' Medieval Books]But a new study finds evidence to the contrary. Based on a computer analysis that examined style markers in the prose, a group of researchers says that "Beowulf" was likely written by a single person, according to an April 8 report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.The group used a technique called "stylometry," which is a statistical way of analyzing the "style" of literature. The researchers used a computer program to analyze different style indicators such as meter, which is similar to the rhythm of a song -- the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line -- as well as word choice and placement of pauses.The team examined word choice based on "letter combinations," such as counting the number of times a combination of letters "'ab"' and "'ac." was used throughout. The analysis also included so-called "sense pause," which is a small pause between sentences and between ideas or clauses, where punctuation marks in modern English might go, according to a statement about the study."Across many of the proposed breaks in the poem, we see that these measures are homogeneous," co-lead author Madison Krieger, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, said in the statement. "The absence of major stylistic shifts is an argument for unity," Krieger said.Some 19th-century scholars had interpreted certain changes in the story itself as evidence of multiple authors. For example, interspersed throughout the story of Beowulf's encounter with the monster Grendel and their ensuing battles are sections describing Beowulf's swimming prowess and royalty from hundreds of years prior, according to the statement.Also, the handwriting of the original manuscript changes midway through the work. The person who appears to have taken over also seems to have proofread the writing from the first scribe, according to the statement.But in the 1900s, J.R.R. Tolkein, the famous writer of "Lord of the Rings," challenged this view. He wrote the lecture-turned-paper "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" in 1936, which gave momentum to the other viewpoint that Beowulf was written by a single person. His reasoning was that the theme of Christianity is uniformly woven throughout."Arguments based on the poem's content or its author's supposed belief system are vital, of course, but equally important are arguments based on the nitty-gritty of stylistic details," Krieger said in the statement. In any case, he doesn't think the new study results will settle the debate about how many people wrote Beuwolf.The team now hopes to look at other texts using this approach and to understand how English style evolved to its modern-day arrangement. * Real or Not? 6 Famous Historical Curses * Image Gallery: The Athenian 'Snake Goddess' * The 6 Most Tragic Love Stories in HistoryOriginally published on Live Science.


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These Rocks Look Like They Could Topple at Any Moment. They Hold 1,000 Years of Earthquake Secrets.

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:54

Stacks of perfectly balanced large rocks in Israel's Negev Desert appear to defy gravity, but a good shake could send them tumbling. So, researchers are examining them to learn about earthquakes that have struck this region over the past millennium.By evaluating the age and stability of the rocks, researchers have determined that the largest earthquake that struck the faults underlying the Negev over the past 1,300 years was likely not that big -- no greater than a magnitude 5.0."If a strong earthquake occurs in their vicinity, they are likely to break or topple," researchers wrote in an abstract presented at the general assembly of the European European Geosciences Union in Vienna this week. [Photos: The World's Weirdest Balancing Rocks]Likewise, those precariously balanced rocks, or PBRs as they're called, also indicated part of a fault system called the Dead Sea Transform (DST) likely hasn't experienced an earthquake greater than a magnitude 6.5 to 7 during this time period, the researchers found."This suggests that historic earthquakes [that] occurred during the life span of the PBRs were probably not as strong as previously thought," the researchers wrote in a summary, or abstract, of their presentation. (Their study has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.)A researcher goes to inspect a rock formation in Israel. Yaron FinziStudying PBRs as a proxy for earthquake magnitude is hardly a new concept. "This methodology has been proven as effective in evaluating the maximal magnitude on faults and fault systems around the world," the researchers wrote in the abstract. This information is critical for understanding the seismic rumblings in southern Israel, a region that's home to several fault lines, villages and valuable infrastructure, including hazardous-material disposal sites and nuclear research facilities, according to EOS, the news site of the American Geophysical Union, which first covered the research.But finding PBRs takes time, so study lead researcher Yaron Finzi, a geophysicist at the Arava Institute and the Arava Dead-Sea Science Center, and his team collaborated with citizen scientists to find these picturesque rock pillars."I could not have completed the field work without the help of the tour guides and hikers," Finzi told Live Science. These citizen scientists were so enthusiastic, they drew him maps so he could find the rock formations. Many times, he would bump into people at the grocery store who would ask him how the project was going.After looking at the photos of these PBRs, the researchers identified the best ones that could help with their research. Then, study lead author Noam Ganz, who just earned a master's degree in geology from Ben Gurion University and now works as a research assistant at the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, spent about 80 days visiting each of these formations. In all, the team located about 80 limestone PBRs and rock pillars between 2015 and 2018, the tallest measuring more than 130 feet (40 meters) high.Next, the researchers examined digitized images of each PBR to determine each formation's stability. Then, they estimated the ground motion each PBR could withstand, as well as its distance from different rupture points, so they could see how much shaking these rock stacks could take before toppling, EOS reported.In addition, the researchers dated the rocks by analyzing the dust trapped between the cliffs and the pillars with a technique called optically stimulated luminescence. This method allows researchers to determine how long ago quartz crystals in the dust were exposed to the sun."I was relieved that most of the pillars were older than 1,000 years and older than 1,300 years," Finzi told Live Science. "So, they actually give us a bulk of significant and new knowledge about long term seismicity." * The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History * In Photos: The UK's Geologic Wonders * In Photos: Impossible Rocks on a Remote IslandOriginally published on Live Science.


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Here's the stunning first recorded image of a massive black hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:42

On Wednesday morning, the National Science Foundation and the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released what they say is the first recorded image of a massive black hole. And it is stunning. Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun pic.twitter.com/AymXilKhKe — Event Horizon 'Scope (@ehtelescope) April 10, 2019 The image is a composite of images taken from five petabytes worth of data that was captured by a series of radio dishes laid out around Earth that allowed the project to capture continuous data from the black hole even while Earth rotated.  The @ehtelescope team built an Earth-sized telescope by linking radio dishes around the world. In April 2017, all they all swiveled to look at the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy in Virgo constellation. #RealBlackHole #EHTBlackHole pic.twitter.com/0hUPpDbYkH — National Science Foundation (@NSF) April 10, 2019 The black hole is 6.5 billion — BILLION — times more massive than our own sun and is 55 million light years from Earth. We'll continue to update the story as more information becomes available.  WATCH: NASA’s Administrator Jim Bridenstine warns India’s anti-satellite test could be dangerous for the ISS


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First Image of Black Hole Marks ‘Huge Breakthrough for Humanity’

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:41

The results were presented simultaneously by researchers in Brussels, Santiago de Chile, Taipei, Tokyo and Washington. “This major discovery provides visual evidence for the existence of black holes and pushes the boundaries of modern science,” the European Commission in Brussels said in a statement. The collaboration of scientists reveals what is called the “event horizon,” the boundary at the edge of a black hole where the gravitational pull is so strong that no conventional physical laws apply and nothing can escape.


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The iRobot Roomba 895 robot vacuum cleaner is almost £300 off in the Amazon Spring Sale

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:39

When you consider the wide selection of available robot vacuum cleaners, the first thing you realise is that we must really hate doing the vacuuming manually. The second thing you realise is that each model from each brand has a slightly different set of features, and therefore a different speciality. Take the iRobot Roomba 895 for example. This robot vacuum cleaner has a set of impressive features that cover all of the essential components that make an effective device. What sets it apart from the competition is the tangle-free Airforce cleaning system that's ideal for pet hair. So if you have a pet, or pets, in the house, the the Roomba 895 might be the model for you. Read more...More about Roomba, Irobot, Robot Vacuums, Mashable Shopping, and Shopping Solo


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Troop presence reinforced as Sudan sit-in continues for fifth day

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:38

The demonstrators have been camped since Saturday outside the compound, which also includes Bashir's residence and the national security headquarters, in an escalation of protests that have shaken Sudan since December. Forces from Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the riot police have repeatedly tried to break up the sit-in in early morning raids, though the army have moved to protect the protesters. Protesters chanted "Fall, that's all!", "The people want to build a new Sudan", and "Our army protects us".


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Stocks to Gain From Hypersonic Flight Technology

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:32

Hypersonic speed, less flight duration and more utilization rate could make hypersonic air travel profitable for companies.


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The real deal: astronomers deliver first photo of black hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:30

Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled the first photo of a black hole, one of the star-devouring monsters scattered throughout the Universe and obscured by impenetrable shields of gravity. Scientists have been puzzling over invisible "dark stars" since the 18th century, but never has one been spied by a telescope, much less photographed. The supermassive black hole now immortalised by a far-flung network of radio telescopes is 50 million lightyears away in a galaxy known as M87.


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The real deal: astronomers deliver first photo of black hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:27

Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled the first photo of a black hole, one of the star-devouring monsters scattered throughout the Universe and obscured by impenetrable shields of gravity. Scientists have been puzzling over invisible "dark stars" since the 18th century, but never has one been spied by a telescope, much less photographed. The supermassive black hole now immortalised by a far-flung network of radio telescopes is 50 million lightyears away in a galaxy known as M87.


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Scientists Photograph Black Hole for the First Time Ever

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:23

Event Horizon TelescopeA team of 200 scientists unveiled the first-ever picture of a black hole from the Event Horizon Telescope on Wednesday—a remarkable leap in astrophysics that provides an unprecedented glimpse into the depths of the universe’s abyss. “We have seen what we thought was unseeable,” Shep Doeleman, the director of the Event Horizon Telescope project, said at a press conference. “We have taken a picture of a black hole.” The photo of a glowing, irregular orange ring surrounding a small black circle, shows a massive black hole at the center of the nearby Messier 87 galaxy. It’s impossible to actually see the black hole, because it’s so dense that they suck in all the nearby light. Instead, the picture shows the hole’s silhouette, cast against the intense brightness of the hot gases and plasma that scientists think surround it. At some point, those gases cross the hole’s “event horizon”—the point at which nothing can escape its powerful gravitational pull—and are drawn into the blackness. “Even though those processes are things that could happen, we have not seen any of them happening in front of our eyes to be able to understand it,” Dimitrios Psaltis, an Event Horizon Telescope project scientist at the University of Arizona, told The Verge before the image was released. “By taking a picture very, very close to the event horizon, we can now start exploring our theories of what happens when I throw matter onto a black hole.”The irregular shape of the orange glow seems to support Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which postulates that matter moving towards us will appear brighter than matter moving away from us. “Einstein told us 100 years ago exactly what the size and the shape of that [black hole's] shadow should be, Doeleman said at SXSW last month. If we could lay a ruler across that shadow, we’d be able to test Einstein's theory of the black hole boundary.”Getting this picture wasn’t easy. While the hole is millions of times more massive than the sun, it’s also tens of thousands of light years away.  To get the picture, scientists needed a telescope about the size of the Earth. They approximated that with a global network of massive radio telescopes scattered across the globe, in places like in Chile, Antarctica, and Hawaii, that picked up radio waves cast off by the hole. The telescopes captured about five petabytes of data, on half a ton of hard drives—which the University of Arizona's Dan Marrone likened to “all of the selfies that 40k people will take in their lifetime.”The data was so massive that it couldn’t even be transferred digitally—it had to be flown in, which caused problems when winter storms in Antarctica made the data inaccessible for months.  And it reportedly took so much computing power that scientists had to wait for hard drive technology to catch up before they could process their results. But in the end, the millions of gigabytes of data were mashed together in a supercomputer—creating the final picture shown today. The first time the researchers saw the final image, Doeleman said, there was a sense of “astonishment and wonder.”“There was such a buildup, there was a great sense of release, but also surprise,” he added. “When you work in this field for a long time, you get a lot of intermediate results. You could have seen something that was unexpected—but we didn't see something that was unexpected, we saw something so true [...] I think any scientist in any field would know what that feeling is, to see something for the first time.”Read more at The Daily Beast.


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Astronomers unveil the first image of a black hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:21

Paris (AFP) - Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled the first photo of a black hole, one of the star-devouring monsters scattered across the Universe and obscured by impenetrable shields of gravity.


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Biotech Stock Roundup: AMGN's Evenity Earns FDA Approval, Deal Wins & More

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:20

Key highlights of the past week are new drug approvals, collaborations and pipeline updates.


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Here Is the First Image of a Black Hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:20

A supermassive black hole of our galaxy has been revealed.


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Scientists Release First-Ever Photo Of Black Hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:17

Scientists from a global collaboration of telescopes announced Wednesday thatthey have captured the first-ever photo of a black hole


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The most satisfying robocall defense? Your own robot.

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:15

One way to deal with robocalls: sending your own robot to talk to them. Google's version works well, but it's not available to everyone.


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Mapping Armaggedon: Earth's looming tsunamis and mega-quakes

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:12

As villagers along the Sunda Strait were finishing their meals on the evening of 22 December last year, they had no idea of the cataclysmic event that awaited them. After bubbling on and off for months, the active volcano of Anak Krakatoa erupted, triggering a 0.3-kilometre-cubed sized chunk of rock to plunge into the unusually deep waters off the coast of Indonesia's west Java and South Sumatra regions. According to David Tappin, a marine geologist at the British Geological Society who has spent years examining the causes of tsunamis, there are at least 40 active volcanoes next to oceans around the world that "could be potential Anak Krakatoas".


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Here is the first-ever photo of a black hole

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:09

As we expected, the international collaboration of scientists involved in the Event Horizon Telescope project have made good on their promise to provide the first-ever visual evidence of a black hole. At a conference today, which was held simultaneously in several countries and in multiple languages, researchers revealed their findings to the world. What we got is the image you see above. Well, not just that, but it's obviously the most important bit. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a black hole. "Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87," the Event Horizon Project said in a statement. "The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun." What we're seeing here is the effects of the incredible gravitational pull of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, causing light to be bent around the black hole itself, and revealing the black hole's "shadow" near the center. The Event Horizon Telescope is a network of individual observatories located in several countries, working together and combining their power to peer as far into space as possible. The goal has always been to snap the first photo of a black hole, and now we have the first real result. As the researchers explained during the ESO's press conference, this is a discovery that has been over a century in the making. It was Albert Einstein that first theorized that objects like black holes might exist, and further research suggested that they were actually fairly common in the universe, even though no human had never seen one. If you didn't know what you were looking at, the image wouldn't really be that interesting. I mean it's a dark spot in a bright ring, surrounded by a sea of darkness. What you're actually seeing is one of the most powerful forces in the universe sucking in everything around it, and it's just the beginning for the Event Horizon Telescope. Going forward, the group plans to hunt for more black holes and use increasingly powerful telescope technology and collaborations with others around the world to snap images with higher resolution and greater fidelity.


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Make Yours a Dream Garage with a Cool New Epoxy or Tile Floor

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 07:06

Garage floor epoxy coatings or tile flooring will transform your parking cave.


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Watch scientists reveal the first-ever image of a black hole live

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 06:38

Well, the day is finally here. After centuries of wondering and developing technology capable of actually spotting a black hole, the international group of researchers that make up the Event Horizon Telescope project are ready to unveil their findings to the world.Thankfully, the scientists know how big of a deal this is and have chosen to conduct simultaneous press conferences all around the world so that as many people can see and understand the findings as possible. The team is streaming its findings live, and you can watch the entire press conference right here.The conference, which is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. EST, is expected to provide the first visuals of a black hole, giving us an idea of what the incredibly powerful objects look like.The video window below will go live shortly before the event begins, so grab a (virtual) seat and enjoy:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr20f19czeEThe scientists of the Event Horizon Telescope have made some big promises about what is going to be revealed today. Most notably, the team pledged to provide a bounty of "audiovisual material" to help us all understand what we're seeing.The Event Horizon Telescope is a planet-wide network of individual telescopes working together to give researchers the power needed to peer deep into space. Imaging a black hole was never going to be easy, but the hype surrounding this announcement suggests that they've finally pulled it off.We'll have a roundup of all the most significant information shortly after the live stream wraps up, so if you miss some or even all of the press conference, it'll be easy to catch up.


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