“Geochemists have found probable evidence for life on Earth at least 4.1 billion years ago — 300 million years earlier than previously documented, pushing the origin of life close to when the planet formed, 4.54 billion years ago.
Carbon in 4.1 billion year old zircon.
University of California – Los Angeles. “Life on Earth likely started 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists thought: Evidence that early Earth was not dry and desolate.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2015.
http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/“In 2013, President Obama unveiled “The Brain Initiative,” a ten-year, nearly one billion dollar effort to unlock the mysteries of the brain. With contributions by everyone from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Google, the initiative focuses on diverse fields and research methodologies. Readers will find much to explore on this accompanying website from NSF, including several dozen beautifully produced videos designed for classroom use. The videos, most of which are about five-minutes in length, cover topics such as the thinking brain, the perceiving brain, brain states and consciousness, the evolving brain, the emotional brain, the effects of musical training on the brain, and interviews with a number of groundbreaking brain researchers. Additionally, readers may peruse information about the brain initiative on the site, including Funding, Events, Resources, and News related to the project.”[CNH]
Source: Scout Report, Univ. of Wisc., 7/17/2015, Vol. 21 (27)
“Thomson Reuters releases greenhouse gas emissions data on Global Energy Providers – 21 May 2015
Thomson Reuters has released a new research Global 500 Greenhouse Gas Report: The Fossil Fuel Energy Sector, revealing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from 32 global energy companies, a key subset of the world’s largest publically traded businesses. The report, written in collaboration with global sustainability consultancy BSD Consulting, is the second in a series of GHG reports designed to create transparency and enable sound management of global GHG emissions.
Building on the previous report, the new report includes data around consumers’ use of a company’s products, called Scope 3 data, to present a fuller view of the business’s overall contribution to GHG emissions. Among the data included in the report, 31 percent of GHG emitted globally on an annual basis comes from 32 global energy companies and the population’s use of their products.
From 2010 to 2013, GHG emissions from the 32 energy companies and use of their products increased by 1.3 percent, a sharp contrast to the 2014 United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report, which recommended a 4.2 percent reduction of GHG emissions over the same time period to keep global temperatures within manageable limits.
In addition to contributions from the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Climate Accountability Institute, self-reported GHG emissions data was gathered from energy sector businesses and combined with estimates pulled from Thomson Reuters ASSET4, a provider of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data. ASSET4 gathers standardised, objective, quantitative and qualitative ESG data on more than 4,800 publicly listed companies.”
“This image sparked scientific debate when it was released last year, with researchers arguing over whether newly forming planets were responsible for gaps in the dust and gas swirling around the young star.”
Credit: Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
“University of Toronto, May 5, 2015. Summary: A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we’ve seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by astrophysicists. The team found that circular gaps in a disk of dust and gas swirling around the young star HL Tau are in fact made by forming planets.”
Daniel Tamayo, Amaury H. M. J. Triaud, Kristen Menou, Hanno Rein. Dynamical Stability of Imaged Planetary Systems in Formation: Application to HL Tau. Astrophysical Journal, 2015 [link]
University of Toronto. “Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2015.
Summary: A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.”
Illustration of an extremely ravenous black hole devouring material.
Credit: Illustration: CXC/M. Weiss; X-ray images: NASA/CXC/Penn State/B. Luo et al.
A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early Universe.
B. Luo, W. N. Brandt, P. B. Hall, Jianfeng Wu, S. F. Anderson, G. P. Garmire, R. R. Gibson, R. M. Plotkin, G. T. Richards, D. P. Schneider, O. Shemmer, Yue Shen. X-ray Insights into the Nature of PHL 1811 Analogs and Weak Emission-Line Quasars: Unification with a Geometrically Thick Accretion Disk?The Astrophysical Journal, 2015 [link]
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2011 to manage the International Space Station. In addition to making access to the station faster and easier, connecting funders to scientists, and making research accessible to the public, CASIS hosts an excellent website packed with information about the space station. Readers may view the short videos on the homepage for more information on the projects CASIS sponsors, or peruse articles under the News & Events tab. Perhaps the most interesting part of the site, however, are the three tabs set aside for researchers, businesses, and educators. In fact, the For Educators tab is especially helpful, as it features Lesson Plans on topics such as “The Laws of Newton” and “Tracking Satellites,” a Q&A section, and Additional Resources for teachers. [CNH]“
Source: Scout Report, Univ. of Wisconsin, March 27, 2015, Vol. 21(12)
“Our Mission: NBC Learn believes in the power of great stories — historic news reports, original video content, and current events coverage — to engage, inspire and educate K-12 and Higher Ed students.” Among the free resources there are those that deal with the science of sports, chemistry, and environmental issues.
Featured this month is: “Finishing the Dream” — Martin Luther King Jr’s “Dream”
“The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research today released the first set of findings from its inaugural environment poll. The poll surveys a nationally representative sample of American adults and provides a portrait of what the public thinks and feels about environmental issues, and what actions they are taking as consumers.”