Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dragon Blood, Skin Guns, Frog Snot - 13 Mind-Boggling Discoveries Made in 2017

by Michelle Crouch

The Ghostbusters Dinosaur

Scientists in Toronto identified a new species of dinosaur and named it Zuul, after the doglike monster in the 1984 film Ghostbusters. Like its namesake, the dinosaur had horns behind its eyes, spikes on its face, and a barbed, sledgehammer-like tail. The dinosaur’s fossilized skeleton, unearthed in Montana, is one of the most complete ankylosaurs—­armored, lizard-like dinosaurs—ever found, with skull and tail club intact.

Spray-on skin for burn victims

If a burn victim's wounds are severe, home remedies for burns aren't nearly enough. So biomedical scientists have created a device that sprays stem cells onto wounds, helping them grow a new, healthy layer of skin in as few as four days. Biotech firm Renova­Care recently obtained a patent for the ­SkinGun
and has used it to successfully treat dozens of burn patients in trials. While the device still needs FDA approval, it’s a game changer that could help eliminate the painful and scarring process of skin grafting.

Shrimp so loud, they were named after a rock band

On the Pacific coast of Panama, scientists discovered a new type of pistol shrimp that uses its large pink claw to create a noise so loud

it can stun—or even kill—small fish. In fact, the boom created by the animal’s snapping claw can reach 210 decibels. For comparison, a loud concert is about 110 to 140 decibels. (Humans can lose their hearing from loud concerts and even loud cities.) The team members dubbed it Synalpheus pinkfloydi, inspired by their love of Pink Floyd.

An 8th Continent—hidden under the ocean

Scientists presented evidence for a new continent in the
southwest Pacific beneath New Zealand, called Zealandia. Even though the landmass is 94 percent underwater, geologists say it meets all the important criteria to be recognized as Earth’s eighth continent. As no scientific body formally recognizes continents, it remains to be seen whether Zealandia will appear in future geography textbooks.


Spider venom that may halt stroke damage

A bite from an Australian funnel-web spider could kill you in 15 minutes if not treated promptly. But scientists discovered that a peptide found in the venom of one species may protect brain cells from being destroyed by a stroke, even when given eight hours after the event. If the treatment fares well in human trials, it may become the first drug that can protect against stroke-induced brain damage.

Three Earth-like planets

Astronomers found not just one but seven planets outside our solar system that circle a tiny star called TRAPPIST-1, about 40 light-years away. Three are in what NASA calls the habitable zone, which could be right for water to exist and possibly for extraterrestrial life.

Flu-fighting frog mucus

Scientists discovered that the slime covering the skin of a frog from southern India contains antimicrobial peptides that destroy bacteria and viruses—including key strains of the human flu—while protecting normal cells. So far, the therapy has been used only in the lab.

Dragon blood that kills infections

Scientists found a new anti­microbial compound in the blood of Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizards. In the lab, the substance healed infected wounds on mice faster than existing options, potentially giving doctors a new tool to fight antibiotic-resistant infections

'new Stonehenge' in Brazil

Researchers using drones identified more than 450 Stonehenge-like formations in the remote northwestern part of Brazil, indicating settlers lived in the area far earlier than scientists originally thought. While it’s unclear how prehistoric peoples used the stone enclosures, they date back at least 1,000 years, long before Europeans arrived.

An artificial womb to nurture preemies

Marking what could be a huge breakthrough in treating premature babies, scientists successfully built an artificial womb that was able to keep premature lambs alive and developing normally. The lambs lived for four weeks inside the device, which looks like an oversize plastic bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid. The faux womb could one day help bring human preemies to term outside the uterus.


A tool to repair DNA in ­embryos

Chinese scientists devised a gene-editing tool that may eliminate certain disease-causing mutations in the DNA of human embryos. It is the first such technology to be used on viable human embryos and could one day help prevent ­babies from inheriting serious genetic diseases. But it has already raised ethical concerns about the potential to effectively design children—and alter the genetic heritage of humankind.

A 'living drug' that can kill cancer

An immunotherapy drug that turns a patient’s own blood cells into cancer killers is on the fast track to FDA approval. In an ongoing clinical trial, the treatment was administered to advanced lymphoma patients who had not responded to standard treatments or continued to relapse. At three months, 37 percent of patients showed no signs of cancer. As trials progress, scientists hope the therapy could be the next big step forward in cancer treatment.

First human-pig hybrid created in a lab

In a development that sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, researchers for the first time created embryos that were part human, part animal. The embryos contained cells from both humans and pigs. The hope is that the process could one day help scientists grow human organs inside animals for later transplant, but it also sparked ethical concerns.

A new state of matter

Science classes everywhere teach about the four states of matter (solid, liquid, gas and plasma), but now, for the first time, scientists have successfully created an entirely new form of matter called 'time crystals.' The crystals have a strange atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, putting them in perpetual motion without energy. That may sound abstract, but excited researchers say the crystals could herald in a new era in physics and eventually revolutionize how we store and transfer information in quantum computing. 

A surprising new power source: your stomach acid

Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital invented a small voltaic cell that runs on the fluids in your stomach. The device could power sensors that would stay in your gastrointestinal tract for an extended period, monitoring vital signs or delivering drugs. Similar sensors today have to be powered by small batteries, which create a safety risk and eventually run out of power.

A therapy that reverses aging in mice

As we age, senescent, or damaged, cells build up in our tissues, possibly promoting age-related diseases. Scientists from the Netherlands developed a molecule that purges those cells. When tried on ­elderly mice, their fur regrew, their kidney function improved, and they could run twice as far as untreated mice. One scientist called it a landmark advance in the field of aging.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Best Eclipse Photo - Solar Photobomb

  by Chris Mills                                                                                            © Provided by BGR
If your friends are anything like mine, every single social app that encourages over-sharing is full of blurry eclipse photos right now. As it turns out, turning up the digital zoom to 11 isn’t the greatest way to capture a generational event, but luckily, NASA’s got you covered.

A NASA photographer captured this incredible eclipse photobomb during the partial eclipse. If you look closely, you can see the International Space Station transiting over the front of the sun, just before the moon blocks everything out.

ISS transits over the sun aren’t uncommon and often make for excellent photos, but it’s    incredibly rare that you’re going to get the sun, moon, and space station all in one image. The other black dots you can see are sunspots on the surface of our local star, not dust on the lens.

Taking a telephoto image of the sun is challenging, and doubly so when you need the timing to get three objects in frame. Pointing an unprotected camera on the end of a telephoto lens at the sun can cause so much heat buildup that the camera melts and explodes, so photographers have to use special filters to get the image.

Monday, August 21, 2017


TIME          PHASE

9:12 am     Partial Eclipse begins – Moon touches Sun’s edge

10:27 am   Max Eclipse – Moon is closest to center of the Sun.

11:47 am   Partial Eclipse ends – Moon leaves the Sun’s edge.



Eclipses and Transits Visible in Lewiston in the next 3 years:

Jan 31, 2018 Total Lunar Eclipse
Total Lunar Eclipse North/East Europe, Asia, Australia, North/East Africa, North America, North/West South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic, Antarctica

Jan 20, 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse
Total Lunar Eclipse Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic

Partial Mercury Transit South/West Europe, South/West Asia, Africa, Much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica

Jul 4, 2020 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse South/West Europe, Much of Africa, Much of North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica


Friday, August 11, 2017

What Do Americans Think of the TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

Later this month, the U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse, a rare occurrence, and most Americans are interested in possibly trying to get a glimpse of it.

Sixty-eight percent are interested enough in the eclipse to say they plan to or may try to see it, including a third who are excited about it. Three in 10 say they won't be paying much attention to it.

The Solar Eclipse

Excited or interested 68%
Excited & plan to see it 32%
Interested & may try to see 36%
Won't pay much attention 31%

Women are more interested than men in witnessing the eclipse. Older Americans are less curious about it than those who are younger. The last total eclipse was 38 years ago so this month's eclipse may be a first for some younger Americans. Unlike 1979, this year's eclipse can be seen from coast to coast.

The eclipse will start in the western U.S. and move across the country over the Midwest and then some of the South. Southerners are a bit more likely than those in other regions of the country to be excited about the eclipse.


Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-7-42-10-pm.png

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