You mat have read recently about chemical fossils discovered in sedimentary rocks in Oman. Those fossil steroids, remnants of a type of sponge known as Demosponges, are between 635 and 750 million years old
. They date back to around the time of the Marinoan glaciation, the last of the huge ice ages at the end of the Neoproterozoic era.
Many of the world's cultural treasures are creations made of organic materials such as paper, canvas, wood and leather which, in prolonged warmth and dampness, attract mold, micro-organisms and insects, causing decay and disintegration.
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown for the first time that the active training of the working memory brings about visible changes in the number of dopamine receptors in the human brain. The study, which is published in the prestigious scientific journal Science, was conducted with the help of PET scanning and provides deeper insight into the complex interplay between cognition and the brain's biological structure.
"Brain biochemistry doesn't just underpin our mental activity; our mental activity and thinking process can also affect the biochemistry," says Professor Torkel Klingberg, who led the study. "This hasn't been demonstrated in humans before, and opens up a floodgate of fascinating questions."
Sensors able to identify individuals’ brain patterns and heart rhythms could become part of security systems which also use more traditional forms of biometric recognition, thanks to pioneering work being done by European researchers.
Since 9/11, the need to secure important facilities from terrorist attack has become a top priority around the world. And one of the keys to this is making sure the right people are allowed into sensitive areas and the wrong people are kept out.
A range of technologies and systems have been deployed in the past few years, but the more successful they are the more obtrusive they tend to be, causing disruptions and delays.
Want to learn how to survive in exteme environments? A marine bacterium living 8,000 feet below the ocean's surface can show you the way.
The bacterium Nautilia profundicola, a microbe that survives near deep-sea hydrothermal vents, was found in a fleece-like lining on the backs of Pompeii worms, a type of tubeworm that lives at hydrothermal vents, and in bacterial mats on the surfaces of the vents' chimney structures.
One gene, called rgy, allows the bacterium to manufacture a protein called reverse gyrase when it encounters extremely hot fluids from the Earth's interior released from the sea floor.
Scientists can easily explain the structural order that makes steel and aluminium out of molten metal and they have discovered the molecular changes that take place as water turns to ice, but glass blowers have been plying their trade since the first century BC and we have only just begun to understand what makes molten glass solid.
One hundred and fifty years after the construction of Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition, scientists at The University of Nottingham and the University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with the University of Bath, have presented an explanation of how atoms behave as glass cools and hardens. Their research has just been published online in Science Express, in advance of publication in Science.