Archive for January, 2008

Entire Synthetic Genome Created

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 25, 2008   View Article

Scientists yesterday announced that they have successfully created an entire synthetic genome in the lab by stitching together the DNA of the smallest known free-living bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium.

Experts are hailing the research as an important breakthrough in genetic manipulation that will one day lead to the “routine” creation of synthetic genomes—possibly including those of mammals.

A Blacker Black: Darkest Known Material Created

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 24, 2008   View Article

Scientists have delivered a crushing blow to fans of the cult movie This is Spinal Tap—a material even blacker than the band’s black album cover.

In the 1984 film, lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel looks at the album cover for the first time and opines, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none, none, none more black.”

Parasite Makes Ants Resemble Berries

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 16, 2008   View Article

Fruit pickers beware. That red berry might actually be an infested ant’s rear end.

Scientists have discovered a parasite in the tropical forests of Central and South America that makes its ant hosts look like juicy, red berries ripe for the picking.

Big Dinosaurs Had “Teen Sex”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 14, 2008   View Article

Big dinosaurs, like humans, reached sexual maturity during the messy growth spurts of adolescence, according to a new study.

The reproductive strategy of dinosaurs was unlike that of their reptilian ancestors or their bird descendants, the study concludes.

Perfectly Aligned Galaxies Found For the First Time

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 11, 2008   View Article

Astronomers have found three galaxies in a never before seen perfect alignment—a discovery that may help scientists better understand the mysterious dark matter and dark energy believed to dominate the universe.

The three galaxies are like beads on a string, one directly behind the other, scientists announced yesterday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.

New Dark Matter Map Shows Violent Life of Galaxies

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 10, 2008   View Article

In galaxy clusters, the rough-and-tumble outer suburbs are where most galactic change occurs, a team of astronomers announced today.

There, galaxies harass, strangle, and strip away at each other as they are pulled from the outskirts of a cluster to the inner core by the gravity of dark matter, according to the new research.

Space Weather Forecast: More Solar Storms on the Way

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 9, 2008   View Article

The appearance last Friday of a lone dark spot on the sun signals that a new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity is on the horizon, experts said.

Solar storms can knock out power grids, shut down satellite communications, and expose spacewalking astronauts to harmful radiation.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach