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Enigma: Black Holes Glow with a Hot Ring of Light

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Stephen Hawkings great discovery was that the mysterious regions in space we call black holes radiate heat through quantum effects. Hawking has said that "black holes are not really black after all: they glow like a hot body, and the smaller they are, the more they glow." Hawking's famous theory says that the temperature of a black hole varies inversely to its mass. The mathematician Louis Crane proposed a scifi-like scenario back in 1994 that billions of years in the future, after all the stars have burned out, that small black holes could be created to generate heat and guarantee survival of the species.

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Has Dark Matter Altered the Universe Beyond Recognition?

0158_ir In the early Universe clumps of dark matter are thought to have attracted gas, which then coalesced into stars that eventually formed the galaxies we see today. In their efforts to understand galaxy formation and evolution, astronomers have spent a good deal of time attempting to simulate the build up of dark matter.

Two astronomers based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have found a hint of the way dark matter behaves near black holes.

The UNAM astronomers, Dr. Xavier Hernandez and Dr. William Lee, calculated the way in which the black holes millions and billions of times the mass of the Sun found at the center of galaxies absorb dark matter.

The researchers modelled the way in which the dark matter is absorbed by black holes and found that the rate at which this happens is very sensitive to the amount of dark matter found in the black holes’ vicinity. If this concentration were larger than a critical density of seven Suns of matter spread over each cubic light year of space, the black hole mass would increase rapidly, hence engulfing such large amounts of dark matter, that soon the entire galaxy would be altered beyond recognition.

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Will a New Object in Andromeda Predict Milky Way's Fate?

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A laser-like spot of light could predict the eventual collision of the Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy. Loránt Sjouwerman of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, and colleagues have glimpsed a bright, laser-like spot of microwave radiation, called a maser, in Andromeda that could help measure its sideways movement. The speed at which Andromeda is moving towards the Milky Way can be determined from the Doppler shift of the light it emits. But the galaxy is too spread out for its subtle sideways motion in the sky to be detected. If it moves sideways fast enough it may miss colliding the Milky Way altogether.

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When Did Proto-Life Emerge in the Universe?

6a00d8341bf7f753ef0133edb95240970b-320wi Three of Europe's cosmologists believe that the key to understanding the origin of life lies in identifying the time onset and the conditions which prevailed in our universe when life was first fashioned. Based on recent cosmological measurements complex life appeared on Earth 9.6 Gyrs (9.6 billion years) after the Big Bang.

However, these life forms may have been derived from earlier life forms, perhaps proto-life which emerged within a few billions years after the Big Bang according to research by Nicola Poccia, Alessandro Ricci, Antonio Bianconi all physicists with Sapienza University of Rome. The team theorizes that life could have emerged in different regions in the cosmos in the time range between 1.5- 9.6 Gyrs, the time range that marked the onset of dark energy domination in the universe, coupled with rapid star formation and supernovas.

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Is There a Neanderthal in Your DNA?

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A remarkable finding could answer the question whether our human ancestors and the Neanderthals interbred some time after both species left Africa many thousands of years ago. Only 10 years after scientists triumphantly decoded the human genome, an international research team has mapped the genes of the long-extinct Neanderthal people and report there's a pinch of Neanderthal in all of us.

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EcoAlert: One of the Planet's Most Ancient Lakes Endangered

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Geologists led by Brown University have determined that Lake Tanganyika, the source of the Congo River, has experienced unprecedented warming during the last century, and its surface waters are the warmest on record. Lake Tanganyika is bordered by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia — four of the poorest countries in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index. An estimated 10 million people live near the lake, and they depend upon it for drinking water and for food. Fishing is a crucial component for the region's diet and livelihood: Up to 200,000 tons of sardines and four other fish species are harvested annually from Lake Tanganyika, a haul that makes up a significant portion of local residents' diets, according to a 2001 report by the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project.

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The Daily Flash -Sci, Space, Tech (1/31)


Fabric Fingerprints on fabrics could now solve crimes

Picture the scene: a body is found dead after falling from a high balcony. As forensics teams gather at the scene they need to understand whether it was an accident or something more sinister. Now, the dead man's shirt might hold the answer. A new technique developed by scientists at the University of Abertay in Dundee, UK, and The Scottish Police Services Authority can detect fingerprints on fabrics. The technique, which uses fine layers of gold and zinc in a vacuum to detect the print, is already used on hard surfaces, but has now been developed to work on fabrics too. 

Egypt Tutankhamun relics escape looters again

Tutankhamun is famed the world over. Not because he abandoned the contentious religious experiments of his father, Akhenaten, but because his grave was not robbed in antiquity. Last week, his grave goods appear to have survived the looters once more. A week of turmoil in Egypt that has reportedly left more than 100 people dead drew the country's cultural heritage into the conflict on Friday. Riot police withdrew from the area around the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, giving looters the opportunity to break in.

Twitter-logo Egypt Shut Down Its Net With a Series of Phone Calls

Egypt’s largest ISPs shut off their networks Thursday, making it impossible for traffic to get to websites hosted in Egypt or for Egyptians to use e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. The regime of President Hosni Mubarak also ordered the shut down of mobile phone networks, including one run by the U.K.-based Vodafone, all in an attempt to undermine the growing protests over Mubarak’s autocratic rule of the country. What’s different with Egypt is the scale,” said Craig Labovitz, the chief scientist at Arbor Networks.“By that I mean that Egypt has fairly significant internet infrastructure with a diversity of paths — satellite, microwave and fiber links — a number of large providers and hundreds of smaller providers. It is one of the more significant internet infrastructures in the Middle East and certainly within Africa. Egypt has a very well-developed economy with a significant reliance on the internet, this is very different from Burma.”

Egypt-protest-blackberry-rim-topfea How Egyptians Protestors Use BlackBerrys in a Tech Blackout


While mobile phone service to much of Egypt was shut off this past weekend, BlackBerry devices quietly continued to work (mostly), offering a crucial portal to the outside world. Will other countries pressure RIM to slam shut the access?Egyptian protestors have discovered a powerful tool: BlackBerry devices. Stellar encryption appears to have allowed users of the devices to escape (for the most part) the Egyptian government's crackdown on communications with the outside world.


Is There a Vast Buried Ocean on Saturn's Enceladus?

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NASA and ESA researchers have been debating whether Saturn's tiny moon, Enceladus, harbors a vast underground ocean. New evidence suggests that Enceladus has an ocean that is probably seltzer-like and could be friendly to microbial life.

In 2005 NASA's Cassini probe flew past Enceladus for a close encounter and found that the moon was ejecting plumes of water vapor, icy particles, and organic compounds out through fissures -named Tiger Stripes- in its frozen surface. Mimas, a nearby moon about the same size, was as dead as researchers expected, but Enceladus was exepectedly  active.

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New Discovery: Prehistoric Body Clock in Humans Same as That in Algae

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The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. The circadian clock arose early in the evolution of life. Its purpose is traditionally thought to enable organisms in adapting to the cycle of day and night. Recently, the vast extent and importance of circadian regulation has come to be more fully realized. In fact, research suggests that nearly all behaviors and physiology are somewhat controlled by the process.

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Image of the Day: How an Invisible, Supermassive Black Hole Looks to NASA Astronomers

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This is how the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy M84 looks to astronomers. M84 is in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, 50 million light-years from Earth. This black hole has the mass of 300 million Suns. Scientists used Hubble Space Telescope's Imaging Spectrograph to capture this zig zag shapes, which shows the "rapid rotation of gas at the galaxy's center" as it gets eaten by the voracious monster.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA and gizmodo.com