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What’s New(s): 5/8 – 5/14

What’s New(s): 5/8 – 5/14

As the school year winds down, I am busier than ever! However, there’s always time for SCIENCE! This week was definitely one for the books! Here’s What’s New(s)!

  1. A Real Life “Dino Statue”: In the morning hours of May 12, 2017, Canada’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology unveiled what is sure to be one for the books – an almost perfectly preserved fossil of a dinosaur. Now I’m not talking a nice fossil of a dinosaur skeleton, like we’re used to seeing at museums. I’m talking a perfectly preserved fossil of the actual dinosaur. So much so, in fact, that it looks like a statue chiseled by an ancient Greek sculptor. The fossil was found in 2011, but has been carefully and meticulously refined so it can be shown in all of its glory. Researchers believe the fossil to be a nodosaur from about 110,000,000 years ago. Holy smokes! Check out National Geographic for more details.
  2.  Crab Nebula Gets a “Five Times Better”: It should be no surprise by now that astronomy is something I find completely and utterly fascinating. There is SO much we don’t know about the universe, but what we do know is mind bending. Take nebula’s (star nurseries) for example – giant areas of dense gas mixed with tiny particles where the birth and death of stars take place. An endless, albeit beautiful, cycle of death and creation. Thanks to incredible technology, we have pictures of these gas clouds – but astronomers and researchers from the University of Buenos Aires have a brand new picture of the Crab Nebula made from combining images from 5 different telescopes, each with their own “vision.” Pictures of the Crab Nebula from telescopes that see x-rays, infrared light, optical light, radio waves, and ultraviolet light were combined to create the most detailed picture of a nebula yet. Using these 5 different telescope images allow us to see things that the naked eye cannot (i.e. radio waves, ultraviolet rays, infrared). If this picture doesn’t blow your mind, then I don’t know what will!

    Crab Nebula
    Credit: (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA; Ultraviolet: ESA/XMM-Newton).
  3. Solar Energy Camouflaged: Elon Musk is at it again. As the CEO of Tesla, he and his company are revolutionizing renewable energy. His newest creation, Solar Roof Tiles, are much more aesthetically pleasing than your run of the mill solar panel, and you can cover the whole roof to power your entire house – from the SUN. You can order yourself these Solar Roof Tiles for about $21.85 per square foot with a $1000 deposit. Solar energy is the future no doubt, but until more companies get on board and we make the disconnect between big oil and money-hungry people, solar energy will remain pricey and we’ll still have a long way to go.
  4. Thoughts About First Life on Earth Get Shaken: For years now, it has been the popular theory among the scientific community that life on this Earth started in the ocean – specifically around hot hydrothermal vents – and slowly made its way onto land. New fossils found in Australia, however, are shaking up this previously thought notion. Scientists have found fossils of microbial life dating all the way back to 3.8 billion years ago. Here’s why this is a big deal: these fossils were found in terrestrial (on land) rocks – not rocks that would have been found near underwater hydrothermal vents. These terrestrial rocks were found near what would have been an on-land hot spring, not an ocean vent. This throws the notion of life beginning in the oceans for a loop. More research will have to be done to come to any solid conclusions, but the evidence for this is compelling. Land near on-land hot springs would have been full of essential minerals for bacteria to flourish, making this a very plausible theory. Not to mention, these rocks have been nearly unchanged since then, unlike other rocks with fossilized signs of microbial life that have been found. For more information, visit LiveScience.
  5. Carnivorous Deer?: Herbivores, like deer, rabbits, and squirrels, eat only a plant based diet – no meat. They’re usually seen as adorable, innocent little forest creatures that could never harm another living soul. What I’m about to tell you is about to change that vision forever. But first, a little backstory. Forensic scientists have these facilities called “Body Farms” where they study the decomposition of human corpses in order to better identify and solve postmortem mysteries. As gross as it sounds, it’s a real thing with real rotting human carcasses (don’t worry, all humans used have donated their bodies to science). Now, back to the deer. Cameras are posted throughout these facilities to constantly monitor the bodies. Animals do pass through occasionally, and yes, some even take a nibble at the bodies. Scientists were stunned, however, when they captured numerous deer eating the decomposing carcasses. DEER. Adorable, cute, innocent, flesh-eating deer. The pictures are ultra creepy and have forever ruined my previous love for Bambi and adorable woodland creatures. Luckily, they spared us having to see pictures of the deer eating the more “complete” humans. Long story short, don’t get lost in the woods!

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