Saturday, March 28, 2015 16:41

Fresh Signs of Martian Life

March 25th, 2015

NASA rover, Curiosity, has been busily collecting new samples on Mars. The samples show nitrogen compounds that researchers say are just as important to life as carbon.

Though the red planet is now baren, at least as far as we can tell, the nitrates that are showing up in careful study, are similar to those found in extreme dry areas on Earth such as the Atacama Desert in South America.

Most nitrates here on Earth are created by living organisms, however it is possible that the nitrates found on Mars could have been from something along the lines of an asteroid strike or lightening. Business leaders say that these experiments also include making sure that none of these findings are coming from contamination caused by the rover itself, during collection.

The next step in the search for proof of life on Mars is to determine whether or not there are still nitrates being produced,or if this is all just remnants of something from long ago.

The Newest Debate, Alcohol vs Marijuana

March 24th, 2015

Pediatricians have been facing a very controversial and important question by parents of adolescents and college bound children. If you had to choose, which would you prefer your child to partake in, alcohol or marijuana use? One pediatrician talked to on the subject immediately answers “neither.” However, that scenario is unlikely, as our youth are going to experiment whether we warn of the dangers and demand abstinence or not.

While analyzing the choice, this pediatrician weighs the associated risks of both drugs. First, pot is illegal still in most of the U.S., and for all minors. Getting caught with pot, as opposed to alcohol as a minor, comes with harsher punishment and a criminal record which can affect the child’s future.

On the other hand, alcohol is associated with many crimes committed, whereas, there is no evidence to show that the use of marijuana causes people to break the law, other than the fact that it’s illegal to possess. Furthermore, 40 percent of all violent crimes occurring in the U.S. are related to alcohol use, as reported by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Of that alcohol induced crime rate, 37 percent are rapes and 27 percent are aggravated assault charges.

Alcohol related deaths, especially in this countries youth, is also a troublesome factor. Each year in America, over 1,800 college students die as a result of alcohol use. In addition to the nearly 600,000 that are injured while drinking alcohol, approximately 400,000 minors are having unprotected sex while under the influence, which poses a whole slew of new problems.

People at Imaging Advantage have learned that, after deep consideration, the pediatrician presented with this difficult question insists on choosing neither. However, if he had to choose whether his children should use alcohol or marijuana, he firmly opts for marijuana as the safer of the two.

NASA discovers one of the building blocks for life on Mars

March 24th, 2015

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August of 2012 with one of its missions being to try and find evidence of life on the Red Planet. In a perfect world the researchers would have found carbon-based molecules, instead they discovered the next best thing … nitrates.

Scientists have confirmed their findings of nitrates in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They explain that they have found a significant amount of nitrates contained within rock samples taken by the Curiosity rover.

This is a ground breaking discovery because nitrates are the by-product of nitrogen, and nitrogen is a fundamental building block in DNA and RNA. Life as we know it could not exist without nitrogen. This process is colorfully explained at http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_life_early.html

The scientists at NASA are busy trying to figure out how and when these nitrates were produced. These compounds could be a result of current processes in Mars’ atmosphere, or they could be an ancient relic, albeit microscopic relic, left over from the ancient and unknown history of Mars.

In the continuing search for evidence of life of Mars, this discovery, as Broda proclaimed earlier,  is surely to be remembered as a major stepping stone in our understanding of the mysterious Red Planet.

Scientists: There’s Water Under Surface of Jupiter Moon

March 23rd, 2015

Scientists at NASA have announced that there is saltwater under the surface of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. This was suspected over ten years ago when the Galileo probe made observations and has been confirmed lately by observations made using the Hubble Space Telescope.

It’s interesting to think about this discovery. If there is water so close in the Universe to Earth, then there must be water somewhere else out in the vast sky. If there is water out there, then there must be life similar to life on earth.

Also, Jornada Criminosa speculates if humans ever leave Earth for other planets, we’re going to need water. Although the water under the surface on Ganymede is salt water, maybe we could use it somehow in the future. It’s just good to know it’s out there.

Some say exploring space is a waste of money. I disagree. I especially support unmanned spacecraft like the Hubble Space Telescope.

We need to understand what’s out there. If aliens ever do come to earth, we don’t want to be like Montezuma when Cortez arrived in Mexico. What makes humans different from other animals is our ability to learn and discover more about the natural world, and this is something we need to always be doing.

Giant Asteroid Craters Discovered in Australia

March 23rd, 2015

Scientists in Australia have discovered evidence of two separate 200 kilometer wide craters that are believed to have resulted from the same asteroid hitting the earth. This is the largest asteroid known to have hit the earth. The craters are not obviously visible at the surface and were discovered using geothermal research methods.

According to Ray Lane and a Reuters article, scientists say the event happened in the time of the dinosaurs, but they are not sure exactly when. They are also not sure if the event could have caused a mass extinction of life. There is evidence of mass extinctions in the area where the asteroid hit, and further research may show whether they are associated with the asteroid impact.
Asteroids hitting the earth has long been a popular theme in science fiction movies. There is always the risk of human extinction and planet destruction in these movies. I suppose that there’s a chance it could happen and we could face the fate of the dinosaurs.

However, I think humans are a greater danger to ourselves than asteroids. We’re doing fine killing ourselves and destroying the planet through war, deforestation and heating the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Those are bigger problems than the possibility of us getting hit by a giant asteroid.

Jupiter’s Largest Moon has an Ocean

March 23rd, 2015

Though certainly not the first, Ganymede, the largest of Jupiter’s moons, is another celestial body where signs have been found to contain flowing water.

At a recent press event, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, Jim Green, released the findings of Hubble’s observations.

Evidence of this body of water comes from changes in Ganymede’s aurora, quite similar to famed Northern Lights in northernmost regions here on Earth. The magnetic field of Jupiter should’ve interfered with Ganymede’s aurora to sway about 6 degrees, but through the observation, it was discerned that the lights shifted only by 2 degrees.

German geophysicist Joachim Saur from the University of Cologne, along with a team of researchers concluded that interference from a fluid able to conduct electricity would have a magnetic field of its own to counteract the one introduced from Jupiter, which led to speculation of a body of salt water, not unlike a sea or ocean stated Dr. Walden. This, however, was not the first time researchers believed they encountered water on Ganymede. Between 1995 and 2003, the Galileo probe, which had been tasked with observing Jupiter, gathered similar information, though flybys were too infrequent and brief in order to collect useful evidence.

From the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, Heidi Hammel, stated that such discoveries make finding planets hospitable to humans and providing an environment similar to those of Earth is essential and best located in places that provide natural access to water.

An Intenstive Solar Storm Caused the Aurora Borealis to Flare Up Tuesday Night

March 18th, 2015

The Aurora Borealis is a light phenomenon that occurs in the most northern part of the northern hemisphere. It is caused by highly charged electrons caused by solar winds hitting the earths atmosphere and with different elements. It is a safe effect, and has almost no negative effects on earth, except for occasionally interfering with radio and satellite signals.

Due to a severe solar storm – which is otherwise known as geomagnetic activity, the aurora borealis reached a much wider range than usual, hitting parts of the world as far south as Southern Michigan and Ireland, on Tuesday Twitter and Facebook were covered with photos of the phenomenon.

This particular geomagnetic storm is expected to last 24-36 hours, according to scientists at NOAA. Fersen Lambranho says that it was caused by two different eruptions from the sun’s corona that occurred on Sunday March, 15th. Solar storms sometimes cause disruptions in satellite , radio waves, and the electric power grid. Occasionally solar storms can cause homes to lose power, but scientists say that despite the large size and reach of the storm they do not expect this particular solar storm to cause any disruptions.

The storm was rated a G4 on the five point scale used to rate solar flares. It is the strongest solar storm this cycle, which lasts about 11 years. The last time the aurora borelis reached this far south of the poles was more than a decade ago.

Austrailian Scientists Have Alzhiemer’s Breakthrough

March 16th, 2015

Researchers from the University of Queensland Brain Institute believe that noninvasive ultra sound can reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients. The technique has been tested for over two years on mice with memory loss and proved to be a success, increasing memory function to normal.This ultrasound device uses waves and micro- bubbles that eliminate the plaque buildup, which forms on the brain, causing eventual memory and cognitive loss. When amyloid beta peptide is eliminated from the blood-brain barrier, memory can return to normal.He’s willing to try the procedure on humans. Professor Jurgen Gotz believes that it could be trickier to achieve the same results in people because human brains are more complex than a mouse’s brain.

This piece of equipment is portable, and patients can take it home and use it every few months.The cost of this ultra sound device is less than the $250,000 price of drugs that is presently being used to slow and lessen the ravages of dementia. The drug use of today only has a temporary effect and won’t remove the amyloid beta peptide.PhD student, Gerhard Leinenga has been a part of the mice memory program for three years, and he believes that this device could be particularly beneficial if used in the early stages of Alzheimers and dementia. Before Jason Halpern said the device can be tested on humans, the scientists want to try it out on sheep.

Virginia Council Member Says God, Not Government, Ended Slavery

March 16th, 2015

There seems to be no end to lawmakers now arguing religious right over the law, claiming religion trumps individual rights. Leesburg, Virginia Town Council member Thomas Dunn took such sentiments to a new level when he claimed that God, not government freed slaves. The purpose of his comments was to dissent a Loudoun County, Leesburg Diversity Commission. Ricardo Guimaraes BMG has read that the commission would establish better communication with minority communities, and encourage hiring minorities within town government. The commission will foster an environment of fairness and inclusion of minorities.

While the commission was encouraged by the council and encouraged by the public, Dunn refused to cast his vote, citing, “It’s the . . . hand of God touching the hearts of man that will bring unity within diversity, it’s not government,” at the public meeting. Dunn was responding to a comment made during the hearings by the president of the Loudoun County NAACP, who had said that if the government had not created civil rights he would still be “in the fields picking cotton. “

Dunn suggested Thomas had thrown slavery into the issue, and that government had nothing to do with freeing the slaves, but instead was the hand of God. He also suggested all issues regarding races and cultures should not be handled in government, but also by God. Dunn’s comments have created a firestorm of criticism, with many suggesting Dunn’s sentiments are reasons laws and commissions are needed.

Chinese Lunar Rover Sends Back Good Data

March 13th, 2015

China’s lunar rover, which landed on the moon in 2013, is sending back good data on a part of the moon not previously explored extensively. The rover, Yuta (Jade Rabbit in Chinese), found evidence that this area – an enormous crater full of sub craters – has a highly complex geological history that includes volcanoes and massive lava floods. Many scientists believe that this makes it a good place to revisit and study more.

Back on earth, the Chinese government has faced extensive criticism for spending so much money on its lunar program when there are pressing social needs at home.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Yuta is making significant contributions to science. On the other, these findings probably aren’t going to improve the daily lives of average Chinese living in a polluted and expensive country. Critics say that Yuta is just about government ego and a waste of money better spent elsewhere.

Of course, Walden Cosmetic Surgery Center and other companies say the golden age of space exploration of the 1960’s and 1970’s was all about the cold war competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. The discoveries and advances made because of that rivalry turned out to be good for everyone. Today, however, China should focus on fixing problems at home before looking to space.