April 18, 2012
By David Freeman
“This is crazy stuff. Interested read. It doesn’t come from some weird alien source – but a serious scientist and a report from the Huffington Post.” –KTRN
Imagine an alien world ruled by “advanced dinosaurs” as smart as humans—maybe even smarter.
Science fiction? Not necessarily, says the author of a provocative new study whose title–“Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids”—gives no hint of any worrisome extraterrestrial implications.
Published in the March 25 issue of the “Journal of the American Chemical Society,” the study addresses the chemistry of amino acids here on Earth. But study author Dr. Ronald Breslow, a professor of chemistry at Columbia University in New York City, said in a written statement the work suggests that if life forms do exist on other planets, they “could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs.”
It’s long been known that certain molecules, including DNA and amino acids, exist in two mirror-image forms—a phenomenon known as chirality. And with few exceptions, the amino acids that make up the proteins in life on Earth exist only in the L (left-handed) form. The question is how did this “homochirality” come to be?
Some scientists have speculated that the amino acids that predominate on Earth came to our planet via meteorites four billion years ago. And if that’s what happened on Earth, Dr. Breslow said in the statement, it’s possible that life that might exist on other planets could be based on D amino acids.
April 16, 2012
By Irene Klotz
“NASA has known about life on Mars since the 1970s, yet they continue to keep the information to themselves. This report does not come from some ‘conspiracy theory weirdo,’ it’s from Discovery News.” –KTRN
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.
“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.
“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.
Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.
Researchers crunched raw data collected during runs of the Labeled Release experiment, which looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples scooped up and processed by the two Viking landers. General consensus of scientists has been that the experiment found geological, not biological, activity.
The new study took a different approach. Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. Since living systems are more complicated than non-biological processes, the idea was to look at the experiment results from a purely numerical perspective.
April 6, 2012
By Jason McClellan
Various discoveries by NASA and other organizations during the past few years have generated considerable interest within the mainstream media and the general public in the search for extraterrestrial life.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope has been on a planet-hunting mission since 2009, searching for Earth-like planets. The mission has already confirmed the discovery of 61 planets and found more than 2,000 planetary candidates. And recent data from the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) planet-hunting telescope suggests that there are tens of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, many thought to have the correct conditions to support life.
These recent discoveries have excited scientists, and are fueling additional efforts to search for life elsewhere in the universe. The Canadian Astrobiology Network (CAN), centered at the University of Western Ontario, announced today a partnership with NASA. The press release from CAN stated, “A number of extraterrestrial targets, including Mars and the moons Europa and Titan, have been identified by NASA as having the potential to host life or to provide valuable insight for researchers and scientists into the conditions that may have been present on Earth when life started.” As an affiliate within the NASA Astrobiology Network, CAN hopes to “strengthen existing ties, facilitate the establishment of new collaborations, and enhance training opportunities for both Canadian and American researchers and students,” according to CAN chair Neil Banerjee.
March 22, 2012
Free Wood Post
By Sarah Wood
“Lord, hear our prayer – please do not let Rick Santorum win the GOP nomination. The man thinks the sun revolves around the Earth. He has lost his marbles. Amen.” –KTRN
At a rally in Independence, Missouri, Rick Santorum revealed to a large crowd a lot more information regarding his beliefs on science. He told the crowd that not only is climate change “make-believe,” but all science is “made up by the government to control our way of life.” He said that the only way to live is by the “Holy book,” and everything else taught in the “liberal schools” is “designed to indoctrinate our children into the realm of Satan.”
One of Mr. Santorum’s most outrageous claims came when he told his crowd of supporters that “the sun revolves around the earth.” He said that, “in order to think that the earth revolves around the sun you have to be of the thinking that we are not the most dominant planet and species in the universe. I’m not going to let my children grow up in a society that tells them to believe the planet they live on is only a small speck in the bigger picture. God created our planet to be special because we are. He created the sun to keep us warm and provide light to our crops. He created man to be the keeper of it all. This is what we need to teach our children, not some mumbo-jumbo science that only seeks to pull our children away from the Lord.”
Scientists quickly refuted Santorum’s claims with centuries full of evidentiary information to prove science is indeed real, and that the earth does without question revolve around the sun.
Rick Santorum’s campaign advisor was not able to be reached for comment, but he was last seen burying his head deep in his hands. He may have been praying, or he may have finally given up on his candidate.
March 5, 2012
“Is NASA ever going to do something right (and interesting)? This is the same organization that lost boat loads of boxes of old Apollo film footage. Makes you wonder what they don’t want us to see. NASA, by the way, is NOT a civilian agency – they are part of the defense department. Don’t kid yourself. They don’t really care about exploring space. They would rather spend money on building rockets for bombs. –KTRN
Four dozen high-tech computing devices disappeared from the offices of NASA over a two-year span, including one laptop that contained the code needed to command the International Space Station.
No big deal, guys!
A laptop with the algorithm used to control the ISS was one of 48 gizmos and gadgets that NASA either reported lost or stolen between April 2009 and April 2011, the agency’s inspector general, Paul Martin, tells the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Although the incidents date back to nearly three years ago, Martin has only now informed Congress of the accidents. They are discussed in a written statement he authored and published this week under the title “NASA Cybersecurity: An Examination of the Agency’s Information Security.”
For the Cliff Notes version, we’ve got you covered. Information security at NASA: not so good.
Over the course of ten pages, Martin makes mention of what he says are five issues that NASA believes, based on their “extensive audit and investigative work,” make up NASA’s “most serious challenges in the admittedly difficult task of protecting the agency’s information.”
For starters, we suggest putting a damn lock on the safe.
Martin goes on to list those challenges as including a “lack of full awareness of Agency-wide security posture,”“shortcomings in implementing a continuous monitoring approach to IT security” and the “slow pace of encryption.” Also, however, he adds that one “challenge” in particular, is the ability to handle a sophisticated cyber attack.
Now, what separates a sophisticated cyber attack from a stupid, simple-minded one is something Martin would have to extrapolate on a bit more. But in regards to losing four dozen mobile computing devices — well, keeping a close eye on those things isn’t rocket science. And if it was, you’d expect NASA of all agencies to be able to handle it, wouldn’t you?
According to the congressional testimony, NASA spends around $1.5 billion each year on IT-related activities, which includes approximately $58 million on IT security. And while the statement acknowledges that losing sensitive information could “adversely affect national security,” Martin makes note that lapses have caused concern time and time again. He also admits that security within the agency is not up to snuff, while at the same time revealing that NASA is a “regular target” of such attacks.
The 48 missing mobile devices isn’t the biggest number in the report, though. In 2010 and 2011, reveals the report, NASA reported over 5,400 incidents where either malicious software was found on computers or unauthorized users were granted access to the agency’s systems. For the sake of pointing out the significance of how spectacular of a security flaw this is, we will publish this line as a standalone statement:
By William Kitner
(KTRN Exclusive) I came across this video today on-line and it really hit home. I have said for the longest time that if I ever have children, I would absolutely home school them. While a lot of people think this is a fringe idea – or something only weirdos do – it’s something I think is crucial in our current American educational system. And if they think I’m a weirdo, awesome. It’s fun being weird.
I would have no problem with my kids going to school to learn math and science, but history? No way. School is just a way to indoctrinate the children – to teach them about the greatness of America and how we are always the “good guys.” The American history that is thought in school is pure propaganda. We are teaching our children constant lies – not just about history either. Take health for example. We teach the food pyramid which has been created with help from lobbyists from the meat and dairy industries. The food pyramid being taught in schools is horribly wrong, yet we do nothing about it. My children would be taught the truth – then again the truth would probably scare the crap out of them. It scares me every day.
January 30, 2012
By Katie Drummond
“What would you do with the power of invisibility? Do you think you could resist being bad?” –KTRN
After five years of steady progress, scientists are now edging closer and closer to mastering real-world invisibility.
Sure, researchers have already made marked strides toward making objects unseeable. But much of the work was more like mimicry: Meta-materials that bent light around an object to conceal it, but only worked in two dimensions. Or a device that played tricks on the eye, by harnessing the mirage effect to make objects behind it “disappear.”
Now, a team of researchers have taken an incredible leap forward. They’ve successfully made a 3-D object disappear.
A group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have figured out how to “cloak a three-dimensional object standing in free space.” That means the object is invisible, from any angle of observation.
“This object’s invisibility is independent of where the observer is,” Professor Andrea Alu, the study’s co-author, tells Danger Room. “So you’d walk right around it, and never see it.”
Of course, the Pentagon’s been hot on the invisibility trail for years, and for obvious reasons. Invisibility would make plenty of covert operations way easier to execute, not to mention safer for U.S. personnel and deadlier for their foes.
Already, scientists have taken impressive steps forward, and at a freakily fast pace. Researchers in the U.K. have harnessed the mirage effect to mask objects placed behind a device, and Army-backed research is making impressive strides using meta-materials to bend light around objects. Just a few weeks ago, the world’s mind was collectively blown when Pentagon-funded scientists managed to cloak an actual event.
The latest research, published this week in the New Journal of Physics, uses “plasmonic meta-materials” to make an 18-inch cylindrical tube invisible. Put simply: An everyday object is visible because light rays bound off it, hitting our eyes and allowing our brains to process the info. Different cloaking techniques take different approaches to messing with those light rays.
January 20, 2012
By Charles Q. Choi
“If Saturn’s moon is somewhat earth-like – which is in our own solar system – the chances of there being other earth-like planets and moon is astronomical. To believe we are alone in the universe is like believing in the tooth fairy.” –KTRN
Saturn’s moon Titan may be more similar to an Earth-like world than previously thought, possessing a layered atmosphere just like our planet, researchers said.
Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, and is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere. A better understanding of how its hazy, soupy atmosphere works could shed light on similar ones scientists might find on alien planets and moons. However, conflicting details about how Titan’s atmosphere is structured have emerged over the years.
The lowest layer of any atmosphere, known as its boundary layer, is most influenced by a planet or moon’s surface. It in turn most influences the surface with clouds and winds, as well as by sculpting dunes.
“This layer is very important for the climate and weather — we live in the terrestrial boundary layer,” said study lead author Benjamin Charnay, a planetary scientist at France’s National Center of Scientific Research.
Earth’s boundary layer, which is between 1,650 feet and 1.8 miles (500 meters and 3 kilometer
January 18, 2012
By Eryn Brown
“Antibiotics aren’t working any more and here is proof.” –KTRN
At least a dozen people in India are infected with a type of tuberculosis that is resistant to all antibiotics used to treat the disease.
In December, the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases published an online report that documented four of the cases. This weekend, news outlets in India reported that there were actually at least 12 people with the drug-resistant lung disease.
Officials fear that what they’ve seen so far is just the beginning, and that many more cases are lurking undetected.
“It’s estimated that on average, a tuberculosis patient infects 10 to 20 contacts in a year, and there’s no reason to suspect that this strain is any less transmissible,” study co-author Zarir Udwadia of the Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre in Mumbai told New Scientist. “Short of quarantining them in hospitals with isolation facilities till they become non-infectious – which is not practical or possible – there is nothing else one can do to prevent transmission.”
December 20, 2011
“There is still much we don’t know about the universe. Just imagine what is out there for us discover. Instead we choose to stay on Earth and fight about God. What a waste. We need the space elevator.” –KTRN
Scientists claim to have produced particles of light out of vacuum, proving that space is not empty.
An international team says that its ingenious experiment in which tiny parcels of light, or photons, are produced out of empty space has confirmed that a vacuum contains quantum fluctuations of energy, the ‘Nature’ journal reported.
In fact, the scientists have demonstrated for the first time a strange phenomenon known as the dynamical Casimir effect, or DCE for short.
The DCE involves stimulating the vacuum to shed some of the myriad “virtual” particles that fleet in and out of existence, making them real and detectable. Moreover, the real photons produced by the DCE in their experiment collectively retain a peculiar quantum signature that ordinary light lacks.
The research, led by Chris Wilson of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, shows that a related dynamic effect can occur when such a mirror moves very fast through the vacuum. The DCE was predicted over 40 years ago, but had not yet been observed experimentally due to the difficulty of creating the required experimental conditions.
“The DCE was conceived as a kind of thought experiment, sort of like Schrodinger’s Cat. According to quantum theory, if one could accelerate a mirror very quickly to near the speed of light, the mirror would radiate light as some of the mirror’s motional energy is imparted to virtual photons lurking in the vacuum, converting them into real photons.