Astrologers are feeling pretty good today. Because it's made up and not science, anything happening anywhere near a date they predict can be attribution, so talk of a 'supermoon' - a new or full moon at 90% of its closest perigee - followed by an earthquake in Japan makes them seem prescient.
Well, are they? The supermoon which will occur March 19 will be at its closest to Earth in elliptical orbit (lunar perigee) and closer to Earth than it has been in 18 years. How close is that? Only about 2 degrees so unless astrologers have the kind of measurement instruments no one outside NASA has, they can't detect it. Which means it isn't causing huge waves or earthquakes.
In case you were living under the science equivalent of a rock, the Journal of Cosmology published a study by a NASA researcher stating
, essentially, that fossilized bacteria had been found on Earth, but originating from outer space.
That was a bit of a stretch to anyone who thought about it. Holes in rocks can look like lots of things.
Regulatory DNA changes have made a huge impact on the evolution of human-specific traits. A study in the latest issue of Nature covers not just the usual stuff, like what has been added in evolution to make us distinctly 'human', but rather what was lost.
We're obviously different from animals and the researchers set out to find some molecular occurrences that are present in chimpanzees and other mammals but not in people - they found 583, which they call hCONDELs, 510 which were validated, mostly in nonfunctional DNA. One instance sure to catch attention is deletion of a penile spine enhancer from the human androgen receptor (AR) gene, a change correlated with a change in human anatomy - namely loss of penile spines.
It is impossible today to get a 'treaty' ratified that would cause America to obey CO2 limits set by any outside body, for a number of reasons. So Democrats in Congress have been trying to make CO2 the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), which gives it sweeping authority to regulate and penalize businesses
Republicans, more skeptical than not on a CO2 basis for global warming, want that authority removed completely and have been trying to get the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 passed, which keeps the EPA from being able to unilaterally regulate American industry. So Democrats held a hearing to try and slow it down.
You've seen it everywhere by now - Earth's sixth mass extinction: Is it almost here? and other articles discussing an article in Nature (471, 51–57 doi:10.1038/nature09678) claiming the end of the world is nigh.
Hey, I like to live in important times. So do most people. And something so important it has only happened 5 times in 540 million years, well that is really
special. But is it real?
Blogging has been around since the late 1990s and email (effectively) for a decade prior to that - both are now on the wane, according to recent claims (email by social media
and blogging by...social media again
) and while it's true I wouldn't start a standalone email company today, having it as part of a suite seems like a good idea. Since practically the day we began we have had @science20.com email addresses available to columnists and featured authors but one more email address is not really helping most people.