Asteroid 2008HJ is the fastest-rotating natural object in our solar system
By Dawn StoverPosted 05.28.2008 at 4:56 pm 0 Comments
Asteroid 2008HJ is not only a "superfast rotator," it's the fastest of the superfast. According to the British amateur astronomer Richard Miles, who clocked the asteroid using the remotely operated Faulkes Telescope South, 2008HJ makes a full rotation every 42.67 seconds—almost twice as fast as the previous record holder.
This upcoming luxury sedan will go head-to-head with the Bentley Continental in the battle for high-dollar dominance
By Dawn Stover and Mike SpinelliPosted 05.27.2008 at 4:55 pm 3 Comments
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today provided a peek at what its next luxury car will look like. Design sketches of the car known internally as RR4 hint at a model that is smaller and sleeker than the big-ticket Rolls-Royce Phantom. Car wonks say the RR4 will face off against the successful Continental from Volkswagen-owned Bentley, at a price of between $250,000 and $280,000, according to Edmunds Inside Line.
Tens of millions of starfish-like creatures live side by side on an underwater mountain.
By Dawn StoverPosted 05.19.2008 at 4:18 pm 1 Comment
Scientists surveying the submerged Macquarie Ridge, which stretches from New Zealand almost to the Antarctic Circle, have discovered a water world teeming with life. Tens of millions of starfish-like creatures live on an underwater mountain dubbed "Brittlestar City," whose unique shape and location make it possible for these animals to survive in such crowded conditions.
By Dawn StoverPosted 05.14.2008 at 5:30 pm 8 Comments
It's official: polar bears are in trouble. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has announced that he is accepting the recommendation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the polar bear as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act. That means the bear is just one step from becoming "endangered," a category reserved for species on the brink of extinction.
An international team of scientists today published the first analysis of the genome sequence of Glennie, a female duck-billed platypus from Australia. Because the platypus occupies a unique branch on the tree of life, Glennie's genome could provide important clues about how humans and other mammalian species evolved.
Like all mammals, the platypus nourishes its young with milk. But platypus babies hatch from eggs, a characteristic usually associated with birds and reptiles.
By comparing the platypus genome with the genomes of other animals—including the human, mouse, dog, chicken and green anole lizard—the scientists hope to pinpoint which genes are common to all mammals, and when various traits have appeared or disappeared in the mammalian lineage.
6,000 hours in an F-16 Fighting Falcon . . . and counting
By Dawn StoverPosted 05.02.2008 at 1:46 pm 0 Comments
By the time Lieutenant Colonel Michael Brill touched down after a combat mission over Iraq earlier today, he had broken his own world record for the most hours spent flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Brill, a 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilot, has logged more than 6,000 hours in the F-16.
The good news is that the ozone hole over Antarctica is slowly healing, thanks to controls on ozone-depleting substances that were once widely used in products such as refrigerators and aerosol cans. Stratospheric ozone protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause problems such as skin cancer and crop damage.
Materials that repel sharks could save lives . . . of sharks
By Dawn StoverPosted 04.22.2008 at 11:09 pm 2 Comments
A metal that reacts with seawater to produce an electric field may help keep sharks at bay. But the idea isn't to protect humans from shark attacks. Just the opposite: scientists hope the metal will save sharks from senseless deaths in fishing nets.
An estimated 11 million to 13 million sharks die each year as "bycatch," collateral damage in the hunt for other fish. Sharks grow slowly and can take many years to reach reproductive age, so their populations are being severely impacted by fishing.
For the third time in five years, a returning Soyuz spacecraft misses its mark.
By Dawn StoverPosted 04.21.2008 at 1:53 pm 1 Comment
The three members of the 16th International Space Station crew experienced a "ballistic trajectory" while returning from the station to the steppes of Kazakhstan in their Soyuz capsule on Saturday. Translation: Their spacecraft fell to earth like a lead weight, subjecting them to double the g-forces expected.
A half-decade study to track the flu's travels could lead to better vaccines
By Dawn StoverPosted 04.16.2008 at 2:59 pm 2 Comments
Flu travel patterns
Seasonal influenza strains typically emerge in Asia and spread to the rest of the world along the routes shown here.
Courtesy of NASA/University of Cambridge
Where does the flu come from? Scientists at the University of Cambridge and the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Surveillance Network tracked the migrations of flu viruses and discovered that the most common originate in East and Southeast Asia and spread in a distinctive pattern around the world. Understanding how these viruses evolve and travel will lead to better vaccines against flu epidemics that currently infect 5 to 15 percent of the world's population each year.