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National Post

'The ultimate battle of fire and ice': Watch live as the 'comet of the century' hurtles toward the sun 
NASA is calling on the space-obsessed to pull out some popcorn and watch the show on Thursday as the ‘comet of the century’ hurtles toward the sun.
The comet, called ISON, has been on stargazers’ radar since late last year when it was seen hurtling towards the sun and showing every sign of passing very close to the centre of the solar system.
If the stars align, the large comet rocketing towards the sun will be putting on a show to delight more than just the world’s astronomers. (NASA)

'The ultimate battle of fire and ice': Watch live as the 'comet of the century' hurtles toward the sun 

NASA is calling on the space-obsessed to pull out some popcorn and watch the show on Thursday as the ‘comet of the century’ hurtles toward the sun.

The comet, called ISON, has been on stargazers’ radar since late last year when it was seen hurtling towards the sun and showing every sign of passing very close to the centre of the solar system.

If the stars align, the large comet rocketing towards the sun will be putting on a show to delight more than just the world’s astronomers. (NASA)

Tagged with:  #news  #space  #Comet ISON  #science  #NASA
Unsuspecting scientist narrowly misses being blown away as whale corpse explodes in front of him
It was a dirty job, but Bjarni Mikkelsen, a marine biologist at the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, had to do it.
After two whales died this week near the Faroe Islands, the government wanted to use one of the skeletons in the National Museum. So Mikkelsen began the first step of cutting the animal’s gut open. But little did he expect that it would explode in his face.
“The animal was more than two days old when we took it so we knew there would be some pressure on the inside, but nothing like what happened,” he told the Daily Mail.

Unsuspecting scientist narrowly misses being blown away as whale corpse explodes in front of him

It was a dirty job, but Bjarni Mikkelsen, a marine biologist at the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, had to do it.

After two whales died this week near the Faroe Islands, the government wanted to use one of the skeletons in the National Museum. So Mikkelsen began the first step of cutting the animal’s gut open. But little did he expect that it would explode in his face.

“The animal was more than two days old when we took it so we knew there would be some pressure on the inside, but nothing like what happened,” he told the Daily Mail.

Tagged with:  #news  #whale  #science
Is this new, ultra-hydrophobic surface the driest ever designed?
A traditional solution to making water roll off a surface is to spray it with chemicals, like Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet, which contains acetone (nail polish remover), liquid petroleum gas, and a few additional “magic” ingredients.
But scientists are now focussing on designing surfaces that naturally repel water, with a texture that sheds liquids instead of absorbing them.

Is this new, ultra-hydrophobic surface the driest ever designed?

A traditional solution to making water roll off a surface is to spray it with chemicals, like Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet, which contains acetone (nail polish remover), liquid petroleum gas, and a few additional “magic” ingredients.

But scientists are now focussing on designing surfaces that naturally repel water, with a texture that sheds liquids instead of absorbing them.

Tagged with:  #news  #science
Anthropologists amazed after 24,000-year-old body of Siberian boy shows relation to Europeans, Native Americans
The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises for anthropologists.
The first is that the boy’s DNA matches that of Western Europeans, showing that during the last Ice Age people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia than previously supposed. Although none of the Mal’ta boy’s skin or hair survive, his genes suggest he would have had brown hair, brown eyes and freckled skin.
The second surprise is that his DNA also matches a large proportion — some 25 percent — of the DNA of living Native Americans. The first people to arrive in the Americas have long been assumed to have descended from Siberian populations related to East Asians. It now seems that they may be a mixture between the Western Europeans who had reached Siberia and an East Asian population. (Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty Images)

Anthropologists amazed after 24,000-year-old body of Siberian boy shows relation to Europeans, Native Americans

The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises for anthropologists.

The first is that the boy’s DNA matches that of Western Europeans, showing that during the last Ice Age people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia than previously supposed. Although none of the Mal’ta boy’s skin or hair survive, his genes suggest he would have had brown hair, brown eyes and freckled skin.

The second surprise is that his DNA also matches a large proportion — some 25 percent — of the DNA of living Native Americans. The first people to arrive in the Americas have long been assumed to have descended from Siberian populations related to East Asians. It now seems that they may be a mixture between the Western Europeans who had reached Siberia and an East Asian population. (Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty Images)

Tagged with:  #news  #science  #anthropology
This ‘superb pair’ of ‘duelling’ dinosaur fossils could be yours for a mere $7-million 
It started with a dinosaur pelvis protruding through the rock at a Montana ranch. Three more months of chiseling and digging revealed a remarkable discovery: two nearly complete, fossilized dinosaur skeletons of a carnivore and herbivore, their tails touching.
A pushed-in skull and teeth of one dinosaur embedded in the other suggested a mortal confrontation between them.
Clayton Phipps, a fossil hunter who made the discovery on his neighbour’s land in 2006 in the fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation, dubbed them the “Montana Duelling Dinosaurs.”
Phipps and the ranch owners have put them up for sale at Bonhams auction house on Tuesday for an estimated US$7-million to US$9-million, a price out of the reach of most museums. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

This ‘superb pair’ of ‘duelling’ dinosaur fossils could be yours for a mere $7-million 

It started with a dinosaur pelvis protruding through the rock at a Montana ranch. Three more months of chiseling and digging revealed a remarkable discovery: two nearly complete, fossilized dinosaur skeletons of a carnivore and herbivore, their tails touching.

A pushed-in skull and teeth of one dinosaur embedded in the other suggested a mortal confrontation between them.

Clayton Phipps, a fossil hunter who made the discovery on his neighbour’s land in 2006 in the fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation, dubbed them the “Montana Duelling Dinosaurs.”

Phipps and the ranch owners have put them up for sale at Bonhams auction house on Tuesday for an estimated US$7-million to US$9-million, a price out of the reach of most museums. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

nationalpostphotos:

Selfie with Hadron Collider — A visitor takes a phone photograph of a large back lit image of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the  Science Museum’s ‘Collider’ exhibition on November 12, 2013 in London, England. At the exhibition, which opens to the public on November 13, 2013  visitors will see a theatre, video and sound art installation and artefacts from the LHC, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva. It touches on the discovery of the Higgs boson, or God particle, the realisation of scientist Peter Higgs theory.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

nationalpostphotos:

Selfie with Hadron Collider — A visitor takes a phone photograph of a large back lit image of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the  Science Museum’s ‘Collider’ exhibition on November 12, 2013 in London, England. At the exhibition, which opens to the public on November 13, 2013  visitors will see a theatre, video and sound art installation and artefacts from the LHC, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva. It touches on the discovery of the Higgs boson, or God particle, the realisation of scientist Peter Higgs theory.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Tagged with:  #Large Hadron Collider  #science  #LHC  #CERN
There are at least 8.8 Billion Earth-size, just-right planets in the Milky Way alone, study finds
pace is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life.
Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.
As for what it says about the odds that there is life somewhere out there, it means “just in our Milky Way galaxy alone, that’s 8.8 billion throws of the biological dice,” said study co-author Geoff Marcy, a longtime planet hunter from the University of California at Berkeley. (Photo: Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

There are at least 8.8 Billion Earth-size, just-right planets in the Milky Way alone, study finds

pace is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life.

Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.

As for what it says about the odds that there is life somewhere out there, it means “just in our Milky Way galaxy alone, that’s 8.8 billion throws of the biological dice,” said study co-author Geoff Marcy, a longtime planet hunter from the University of California at Berkeley. (Photo: Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Tagged with:  #news  #space  #science  #Milky Way  #astronomy  #aliens
‘Virtual autopsies’ using CT and MRI scans joining traditional dissection methods for post mortems
The scene plays out in autopsy rooms around the world, not to mention on any number of TV crime dramas: a scalpel-wielding pathologist calmly dissects a lifeless body for clues to an untimely death.
The chest and abdominal cavities are pried open, organs removed and the brain eased out through a sawn-off skull in a medical tradition as ancient as the Pharaohs.
It is a tradition, though, facing very modern competition. Led partly by a prominent Canadian pathologist, some specialists are pushing to augment, or on occasion even replace, those conventional post mortems with “virtual autopsies” that use CT and MRI scans to probe bloodlessly inside cadavers.
Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in Canada to begin using imaging machines designed to diagnose the living as a tool to uncover the medical secrets of the dead. (Photo: Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich)

‘Virtual autopsies’ using CT and MRI scans joining traditional dissection methods for post mortems

The scene plays out in autopsy rooms around the world, not to mention on any number of TV crime dramas: a scalpel-wielding pathologist calmly dissects a lifeless body for clues to an untimely death.

The chest and abdominal cavities are pried open, organs removed and the brain eased out through a sawn-off skull in a medical tradition as ancient as the Pharaohs.

It is a tradition, though, facing very modern competition. Led partly by a prominent Canadian pathologist, some specialists are pushing to augment, or on occasion even replace, those conventional post mortems with “virtual autopsies” that use CT and MRI scans to probe bloodlessly inside cadavers.

Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in Canada to begin using imaging machines designed to diagnose the living as a tool to uncover the medical secrets of the dead. (Photo: Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich)

Tagged with:  #news  #science  #autopsy  #MRI  #CT scan  #medicine

Let there be light! With giant mirrors’ help, mountain town getting winter sun for the first time ever

Residents of the small Norwegian town of Rjukan have finally seen the light.

Tucked in between steep mountains, the town is normally shrouded in shadow for almost six months a year, with residents having to catch a cable car to the top of a nearby precipice to get a fix of midday vitamin D.

But on Wednesday faint rays from the winter sun for the first time reached the town’s market square, thanks to three 17-square-metre mirrors placed on a mountain. (AP Photo/NTB Scanpix, Terje Bendiksby; KRISTER SOERBOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Scientists discover ‘lost world’ of strange creatures in remote Australian rainforest perched on giant boulder
Scientists have discovered a “lost world” of unknown creatures in a remote rainforest perched on a giant boulder plateau in Queensland, Australia.
In an expedition bearing parallels to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, the team of biologists found three unidentified reptile species living on the upland plateau, which is accessible only by helicopter because of a “monstrous wall” of “millions of giant, piled up boulders the size of houses and cars”.
It is believed that the species have been isolated from their closest cousins for millions of years. “We’re talking about animals that are ancient” said Dr. Conrad Hoskin, from James Cook University. (Photo: CONRAD HOSKIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Scientists discover ‘lost world’ of strange creatures in remote Australian rainforest perched on giant boulder

Scientists have discovered a “lost world” of unknown creatures in a remote rainforest perched on a giant boulder plateau in Queensland, Australia.

In an expedition bearing parallels to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, the team of biologists found three unidentified reptile species living on the upland plateau, which is accessible only by helicopter because of a “monstrous wall” of “millions of giant, piled up boulders the size of houses and cars”.

It is believed that the species have been isolated from their closest cousins for millions of years. “We’re talking about animals that are ancient” said Dr. Conrad Hoskin, from James Cook University. (Photo: CONRAD HOSKIN/AFP/Getty Images)

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: Chris Hadfield has big plans for life after the final frontier
Commander Chris Hadfield, an accomplished fighter jet and test pilot before he was the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, is the kind of person Canadians should recognize on the street. His accomplishments in the military and space are impressive enough, but Hadfield’s public profile goes further than that. His social media presence — almost a million Twitter followers, and hundreds of thousands more on other platforms — as well as his public outreach efforts while aboard the station made him a household name. In many ways, he straddles the line between an accomplished public figure (of which Canada does not lack) and a bona fide celebrity (rather rarer).
But for a celebrity, he’s pretty down to Earth. (Photo: JAMES BLAIR/AFP/Getty Images)

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: Chris Hadfield has big plans for life after the final frontier

Commander Chris Hadfield, an accomplished fighter jet and test pilot before he was the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, is the kind of person Canadians should recognize on the street. His accomplishments in the military and space are impressive enough, but Hadfield’s public profile goes further than that. His social media presence — almost a million Twitter followers, and hundreds of thousands more on other platforms — as well as his public outreach efforts while aboard the station made him a household name. In many ways, he straddles the line between an accomplished public figure (of which Canada does not lack) and a bona fide celebrity (rather rarer).

But for a celebrity, he’s pretty down to Earth. (Photo: JAMES BLAIR/AFP/Getty Images)

Baby born with HIV may be cured, three-year-old U.S. girl shows no infection 
Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus — a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated.
The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom’s blood.
The new report, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, makes clear that the girl, now 3, was infected in the womb. She was treated unusually aggressively and shows no active infection despite stopping AIDS medicines 18 months ago.
“At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission. It is possible that the baby has actually been cured. We don’t have a definition for cure as we do for certain cancers, where after five years or so you can be relatively certain the person is not going to go and relapse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. (Photo: AP Photo/Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Baby born with HIV may be cured, three-year-old U.S. girl shows no infection 

Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus — a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated.

The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom’s blood.

The new report, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, makes clear that the girl, now 3, was infected in the womb. She was treated unusually aggressively and shows no active infection despite stopping AIDS medicines 18 months ago.

“At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission. It is possible that the baby has actually been cured. We don’t have a definition for cure as we do for certain cancers, where after five years or so you can be relatively certain the person is not going to go and relapse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. (Photo: AP Photo/Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Tagged with:  #news  #science  #medicine  #HIV  #AIDS  #health
nationalpostphotos:

A portrait of Saturn — This NASA portrait received October 18, 2013 shows a view looking down on Saturn and its rings, created from images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on October 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic. This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts.The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint. (GORDAN UGARKOVIC/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/AFP/Getty Images)

nationalpostphotos:

A portrait of Saturn — This NASA portrait received October 18, 2013 shows a view looking down on Saturn and its rings, created from images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on October 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic. This image has not been geometrically corrected for shifts in the spacecraft perspective and still has some camera artifacts.The mosaic was created from 12 image footprints with red, blue and green filters from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. Ugarkovic used full color sets for 11 of the footprints and red and blue images for one footprint. (GORDAN UGARKOVIC/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/AFP/Getty Images)

Tagged with:  #space  #science  #Saturn  #NASA  #Cassini
Discovery of pre-human skull nearly two-million-years-old gives vivid picture of early evolution
The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor buried under a medieval Georgian village provides a vivid picture of early evolution and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than some believe, scientists say.
The fossil is the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. With other partial remains found at the rural site, it provides the earliest evidence of human ancestors moving out of Africa and spreading north to the rest of the world, says a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of pre-humans of various sizes living at the same time, something scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush. (Handout/Georgian National Museum)

Discovery of pre-human skull nearly two-million-years-old gives vivid picture of early evolution

The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor buried under a medieval Georgian village provides a vivid picture of early evolution and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than some believe, scientists say.

The fossil is the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. With other partial remains found at the rural site, it provides the earliest evidence of human ancestors moving out of Africa and spreading north to the rest of the world, says a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of pre-humans of various sizes living at the same time, something scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush. (Handout/Georgian National Museum)

Tagged with:  #news  #science  #anthrpology  #evolution  #fossils
Oxford geneticist claims DNA evidence proves ‘yetis’ are roaming Himalayas
While sightings of an apelike creature wandering the Himalayas have been a source of fascination for decades, few believed that the yeti would turn out to be anything other than a myth.
Now, however, an Oxford geneticist claims to have solid evidence that the elusive creature does exist.
Professor Bryan Sykes has found a genetic match between two separate hair samples found in the upper reaches of mountains and a large bear that lived more than 40,000 years ago. The findings suggest that there are several “yetis” roaming the area. (Photo: Roger Patterson / files)

Oxford geneticist claims DNA evidence proves ‘yetis’ are roaming Himalayas

While sightings of an apelike creature wandering the Himalayas have been a source of fascination for decades, few believed that the yeti would turn out to be anything other than a myth.

Now, however, an Oxford geneticist claims to have solid evidence that the elusive creature does exist.

Professor Bryan Sykes has found a genetic match between two separate hair samples found in the upper reaches of mountains and a large bear that lived more than 40,000 years ago. The findings suggest that there are several “yetis” roaming the area. (Photo: Roger Patterson / files)