umbrafeline's forum posts

#1 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio
#2 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio
#3 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

The sun is gearing up for a major solar flip, NASA says.

In an event that occurs once every 11 years, the magnetic field of the sun will change its polarity in a matter of months, according new observations by NASA-supported observatories.

The flipping of the sun's magnetic field marks the peak of the star's 11-year solar cycle and the halfway point in the sun's "solar maximum" — the peak of its solar weather cycle. NASA released a new video describing the sun's magnetic flip on Monday (Aug. 5).

"It looks like we're no more than three to four months away from a complete field reversal," Todd Hoeksema, the director of Stanford University's Wilcox Solar Observatory, said in a statement. "This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system."

As the field shifts, the "current sheet" — a surface that radiates billions of kilometers outward from the sun's equator — becomes very wavy, NASA officials said. Earth orbits the sun, dipping in and out of the waves of the current sheet. The transition from a wave to a dip can create stormy space weather around Earth, NASA officials said.

"The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity," Stanford solar physicist Phil Scherrer said in a statement. "This is a regular part of the solar cycle."

While the polarity shift can stir up some stormy weather, it also provides extra shielding from dangerous cosmic rays. These high-energy particles, which are accelerated by events like supernova explosions, zip through the universe at nearly the speed of light. They can harm satellites and astronauts in space, and the wrinkled current sheet better protects the planet from these particles.

The effects of the rippled sheet can also be felt throughout the solar system, far beyond Pluto and even touching the Voyager probes near the barrier of interstellar space.

"The sun's north pole has already changed sign, while the south pole is racing to catch up," Scherrer said. "Soon, however, both poles will be reversed, and the second half of solar max will be underway."

The current solar maximum is the weakest in 100 years, experts have said. Usually, at the height of a solar cycle, sunspot activity increases. These dark regions on the sun's surface can give birth to solar flares and ejections, but there have been fewer observed sunspots this year than in the maximums of previous cycles.

#4 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

Brenda is all that and a whole potato crop =P


Brenda is in her 20s

#5 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

A bizarre ancient ape whose gait has stumped researchers for decades walked on all fours and swung from the trees, new research suggests.

Oreopithecus bambolii, an ape that lived on an isolated island 7 million to 9 million years ago in what is now Tuscany and Sardinia, Italy, didn't have the pelvis or spine necessary for regular upright walking, the researchers said. Rather, the beast traversed Earth on all fours.

Their conclusion, detailed online July 23 in the Journal of Human Evolution, overturns an earlier hypothesis that the mysterious ape independently evolved bipedal, or two-legged, walking.

Ape oddity

When O. bambolii was alive, Italy formed a string of islands that were covered with swampy forests and teeming with crocodilians. The ape went extinct after a land bridge connected their island to other land, allowing large saber-toothed cats and other predators to stalk the island.

But the strange creature was a bit of a mystery: Scientists couldn't decide whether it was an ape or a monkey. (Apes have longer arms for swinging through trees, and monkeys often have tails that let them grab branches). O. bambolii had apelike arms, odd teeth with ridges more like a monkey's and feet that each had one backward-pointing toe, similar to those found on birds. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

"It's always been a kind of controversial beast. It's an ape that's not closely related to any living apes at all," said William Jungers, a physical anthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York who was not involved in the study.

In the 1990s, one group of researchers took a second look at O. bambolii's pelvis and spine, and concluded the animal had adapted to walk on two legs.

That was a bold claim.

Because no other mammals, aside from humans and their ancestors, routinely walked upright, anthropologists use bipedal adaptations to determine which fossil apes are in humans' direct evolutionary lineage, said study co-author Liza Shapiro, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin.

If O. bambolii, which isn't considered a direct ancestor to humans, had independently evolved upright walking, that line of logic would have to be rethought.

"It would be really extraordinary to see an animal we don't think is closely related to us who got around this way," said William Sanders, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the study.

Second look

Shapiro and her colleague Gabrielle Russo, an anatomist at Northeast Ohio Medical University, decided to take a second look at O. bambolii.

The team carefully analyzed a fossilized Oreopithecus skeleton that was discovered by a French paleontologist in 1872.

Prior research suggested this specimen had a wider pelvis compared with apes' and a unique lower-back curvature called lordosis. Both of these features give humans better balance when walking upright.

But Shapiro's team looked at the skeleton from several perspectives and found no evidence of these changes: no lower-back curvature and no widening of the pelvis. It also lacked the distinctive widening of vertebrae at the base, which allows the human spine to stack like a pyramid and efficiently direct force into the pelvis.

The team concluded that O. bambolii wasn't a two-legged walker. Instead, it probably used its long, hanging arms and apelike spine to swing from the branches in a forest.

Earlier work had probably drawn different conclusions because the specimen's spine was crushed and distorted, Sanders said.

The new study should put the debate to rest, he said.

That doesn't mean the ancient ape never walked on two legs — just that it wasn't its dominant mode of transport.

"A chimpanzee with an armful of bananas can stand up on two legs and run quite a distance," Sanders told LiveScience. "But that's not a habitual bipedality."

#6 Edited by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

it was 1/3 of the nation indo-china

hank hills neighbors are from laos

#7 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

@thehulk said:

This guy, the Antichrist? Please.

Granted Pearl Harbor sucked, but Michael Bay also gets hate because people think he's directing the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Hulk think people need to do some research. Michael Bay isn't directing it. He's only producing it. The director of TMNT 2014 is Johnathan Liebsman, who did Wrath of the Titans. Plus, good news. Reports say the Turtles aren't aliens anymore. They're mutants again.

Now, Hulk want to hear from you. What is your favorite Michael Bay film and why? Tell Hulk in the comments below.

it doesn't matter if bay is directing, writing or producing that fact is is that hes involved which makes the film already a rotten tomato nominee

#8 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

Huge meat-eating dinosaurs that stalked a vast floodplain some 150 million years ago in what is now Portugal left behind traces of their progeny: eggshells.

Some of the eggshells, which belonged to two Jurassic-Era theropods, or a group of carnivorous dinosaurs, once harbored embryos of Torvosaurus, the largest predator of its day.

"It was the equivalent of the T. rex in the Cretaceous," said study co-author Vasco Ribeiro, a paleontologist at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal.

Ribeiro and his colleagues aren’t sure how the eggs came to be abandoned.

Delicate finds

Because they are so delicate, dinosaur eggs are a relatively rare find. Paleontologists unearthed some of the most primitive Torovosaurus embryos ever found earlier this year, and there have been occasional dinosaur nursery finds, including a clutch of hundreds of dinosaur egg fragments found in Spain. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur Daycare]

Ribeiro and his colleagues found the eggshell fragments at two separate sites, both of which were part of the Lourinhã Formation, a geological formation known for its rich Jurassic dinosaur nest sites. During that time period, the area was a floodplain that cycled through dry seasons and monsoon rains.

The eggshells were shattered and there was no trace of the dinosaur embryos that once coiled inside. But by analyzing the size, shape and texture of the eggshells, the team was able to deduce which animals left those eggs so long ago.

The shells found at one site came from spherical eggs that were about 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter. They likely belonged to a Torvosaurus, a massive, bipedal dinosaur that grew up to 36 feet (11 meters) tall.

The eggs at the other site were harder to identify. But the researchers believe the eggs may have contained embryos of Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, a theropod that was about 15 feet (4.5 m) long when full-grown. When intact, the eggs from that site would have been about 5 inches (13 cm) along the long axis and 3.5 inches (9 cm) along the short axis.

Neglected or protected?

The researchers don't know exactly how the eggs came to be abandoned.

One possibility is that the ancient carnivores laid many eggs and simply left those eggs to their own fates. Other researchers argue that these dinosaurs, like crocodiles, were attentive parents during embryonic development, guarding their clutches from predators.

Either way, once the hatchlings emerged, they were probably on their own, Ribeiro said.

"We have no evidence that mother dinosaur took food to the nest or protected the nest," Ribeiro told LiveScience.

#9 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

Scientists have discovered a new spider species in Laos, in Southeast Asia.

The spider, dubbed Ctenus monaghani, was discovered crawling across a researchers path while he was filming a nature documentary called "Wild Things."

The unobtrusive little creature measures just 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) across and is part of a genus of wandering spiders, meaning it catches prey without weaving a web. Instead, wandering spiders typically prowl the jungle floors at night, pounce on unsuspecting prey and deliver a deadly sting.

Southeast Asia is teeming with biodiversity. Scientists have discovered several endangered frog species in Laos in recent years. Southeast Asia is also home to several endangered lizard species, such as the Komodo dragon.

Peter Jäger, an arachnologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, was filming "Wild Things" when he noticed the little spider scurry across his path.

Jäger decided to name the species after Dominic Monaghan, an actor in the movie.

This isn't the only spider that Jäger has discovered while filming his documentary. In 2012, the researcher found the daddy of all daddy longlegs, an arachnid with 13-inch-long (33 centimeters) leg span was found lurking in caves in the country as well. The longest daddy longlegs every found had a leg span of 13.4 inches (34 cm).

And there are likely many more undiscovered spider species in Laos. Scientists estimate that about half of all species haven't been described yet.

#10 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.

The findings, detailed today (Aug. 1) in the journal Science, come from the most complete analysis of the male sex chromosome, or the Y chromosome, to date. The results overturn earlier research, which suggested that men's most recent common ancestor lived just 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Despite their overlap in time, ancient "Adam" and ancient "Eve" probably didn't even live near each other, let alone mate. [The 10 Biggest Mysteries of the First Humans]

"Those two people didn't know each other," said Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.

Tracing history

Researchers believe that modern humans left Africa between 60,000 and 200,000 years ago, and that the mother of all women likely emerged from East Africa. But beyond that, the details get fuzzy.

The Y chromosome is passed down identically from father to son, so mutations, or point changes, in the male sex chromosome can trace the male line back to the father of all humans. By contrast, DNA from the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell, is carried inside the egg, so only women pass it on to their children. The DNA hidden inside mitochondria, therefore, can reveal the maternal lineage to an ancient Eve.

But over time, the male chromosome gets bloated with duplicated, jumbled-up stretches of DNA, said study co-author Carlos Bustamante, a geneticist at Stanford University in California. As a result, piecing together fragments of DNA from gene sequencing was like trying to assemble a puzzle without the image on the box top, making thorough analysis difficult.

Y chromosome

Bustamante and his colleagues assembled a much bigger piece of the puzzle by sequencing the entire genome of the Y chromosome for 69 men from seven global populations, from African San Bushmen to the Yakut of Siberia.

By assuming a mutation rate anchored to archaeological events (such as the migration of people across the Bering Strait), the team concluded that all males in their global sample shared a single male ancestor in Africa roughly 125,000 to 156,000 years ago.

In addition, mitochondrial DNA from the men, as well as similar samples from 24 women, revealed that all women on the planet trace back to a mitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago — almost the same time period during which the Y-chromosome Adam lived.

More ancient Adam

But the results, though fascinating, are just part of the story, said Michael Hammer, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study.

A separate study in the same issue of the journal Science found that men shared a common ancestor between 180,000 and 200,000 years ago.

And in a study detailed in March in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Hammer's group showed that several men in Africa have unique, divergent Y chromosomes that trace back to an even more ancient man who lived between 237,000 and 581,000 years ago. [Unraveling the Human Genome: 6 Molecular Milestones]

"It doesn't even fit on the family tree that the Bustamante lab has constructed — It's older," Hammer told LiveScience.

Gene studies always rely on a sample of DNA and, therefore, provide an incomplete picture of human history. For instance, Hammer's group sampled a different group of men than Bustamante's lab did, leading to different estimates of how old common ancestors really are.

Adam and Eve?

These primeval people aren't parallel to the biblical Adam and Eve. They weren't the first modern humans on the planet, but instead just the two out of thousands of people alive at the time with unbroken male or female lineages that continue on today.

The rest of the human genome contains tiny snippets of DNA from many other ancestors — they just don't show up in mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA, Hammer said. (For instance, if an ancient woman had only sons, then her mitochondrial DNA would disappear, even though the son would pass on a quarter of her DNA via the rest of his genome.)

As a follow-up, Bustamante's lab is sequencing Y chromosomes from nearly 2,000 other men. Those data could help pinpoint precisely where in Africa these ancient humans lived.

"It's very exciting," Wilson Sayres told LiveScience. "As we get more populations across the world, we can start to understand exactly where we came from physically."