News Round-Up

Dave Kirk, Science Jerk

It’s another lazy Monday morning, and what better way is there to wake up your brain and look like you’re working than by reading sciencey words on a screen. Here are the big stories of the last week.

Find me a new home, Kepler, Earth is kinda really awful. Kepler telescope finds new planets despite faulty system.Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle.

Planet Discovered In Goldilocks Zone Around “Nearby” Star

The Kepler telescope has discovered three slightly-larger-than-Earth-sized planets in orbit around a dwarf star some 150 light-years away. One of these planets is thought to be in the star’s Goldilocks zone, the “not-too-hot/not-too-cold” region of space around a star where water might exist on a planet. This planets are close enough for their atmospheres to be studied from Earth. More on Science Daily and IFLScience.

Daily 20-Minute Walk Helps Stave Off Premature Death

Just 20 minutes a day of walking is all that’s required to reduce the risk of premature…

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Study: Sea level rise accelerating more than once thought

Ethics Asylum

WASHINGTON (AP) – The world’s oceans are now rising far faster than they did in the past, a new study says.

The study found that for much of the 20th century – until about 1990 – sea level was about 30 percent less than earlier research had figured. But that’s not good news, scientists say, because about 25 years ago the seas started rising faster and the acceleration in 1990 turns out to be more dramatic than previously calculated.

The current sea level rise rate – which started in 1990 – is 2.5 times faster than it was from 1900 to 1990, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Scientists say that faster pace of sea level rise is from melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica and shrinking glaciers, triggered by man-made global warming.

“We’re seeing a significant acceleration in the past few decades,” said…

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Nice guys finish first, says science

Metro

There’s a widely-held belief that in order to win at life, you have to be a selfish, ruthless, exploitative reprobate.

Not so, says science.

In fact, according to AsapScientists Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, nice guys finish first – and here’s why:

Using the example of the famous game theory puzzle ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’, Moffit and Brown show that strategies where you are ‘nice’ from the off, ‘forgive’ deceit and are ‘non-envious’ of the other’s success lead to the best overall results.

[metro-link url=”http://metro.co.uk/2014/12/04/science-explains-why-you-get-the-urge-to-eat-puppies-and-squish-babies-faces-4973344/” title=”Science explains why you get the urge to eat puppies and squish babies’ faces”]

(Picture: AsapSCIENCE) ‘Nice’ strategies paid off (Picture: AsapSCIENCE)

‘All the top ranking strategies began with what the scientists classified as “niceness”,’ Moffit explained.

But this strategy carries over to real life. Birds will help others remove ticks from hard to reach spots. Those that are helped but don’t reciprocate are ousted from their communities.

Vampire bats will…

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A Hole in the Stars?

hogewash

LDN 483Some of the stars appear to be missing, but the black gap in this starfield is not really a hole. It’s a region clogged with gas and dust. This dark cloud is called Lynds Dark Nebula 483 0r LDN 483. Clouds such as this are the birthplaces of future stars.

LDN 483 is about 700 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent). The cloud contains enough dusty material to completely block the visible light from background stars. Such a dense molecular cloud qualifies as a dark nebulae because of this obscuring property. One might think that the starless nature of a cloud like LDN 483 would suggest that it’s not a place where stars can take root and grow. The opposite is true: dark nebulae offer the most fertile environments for eventual star formation.

Studies of star formation in LDN 483 have discovered some of the youngest observable kinds of baby stars hidden in LDN 483. These gestating stars…

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Happy New Year, Sun

hogewash

20150101_001043_coronal_holeWhile people on Earth celebrated the New Year with fireworks, the Sun was quite with very few small flares. Indeed, this image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a huge coronal hole present just after midnight on 1 January UTC.

Coronal holes are regions of the Sun’s corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface. Particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun rather than being trapped near the surface. Those trapped particles can heat up and glow, giving us the lovely AIA images. In the parts of the corona where the particles leave the sun, the glow is much dimmer and the coronal hole looks dark.

Image Credit: NASA

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