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rasha kamel
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Japan scientists detect rare, deep-Earth tremor - Scientists who study earthquakes in Japan said Thursday they have detected a rare deep-Earth tremor for the first time and traced its location to a distant and powerful storm.
Scientists who study earthquakes in Japan said Thursday they have detected a rare deep-Earth tremor for the first time and traced its location to a distant and powerful storm.
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rasha kamel

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"A little known—and difficult to obtain—element on the fringes of the periodic table is broadening our fundamental understanding of chemistry. In the latest edition of the journal Science, Florida State University Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt captures the fundamental chemistry of the element berkelium, or Bk on the periodic table.
"What this really gives us is an understanding of how chemistry is changing late in the table," Albrecht-Schmitt said. "The purpose is to understand the underlying chemistry of the element. Even after having it for almost 70 years, many of the basic chemical properties are still unknown."
Berkelium, discovered in 1949, resides at the very end of the periodic table among a group of elements called the actinide series. These elements are some of the heaviest, yet least understood chemical elements on Earth.
In a series of carefully choreographed experiments both at his specialized lab and at the FSU-based National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Albrecht-Schmitt made a berkelium borate compound and a complex berkelium molecule in the form of crystals, and also completed a series of measurements of the element to better understand its structural and chemical similarities to surrounding elements such as californium (Cf) and Curium (Cm).
Through this process, Albrecht-Schmitt found that that berkelium was very similar to its periodic table neighbor californium in its structure, but chemically it had some significant differences".
A little known—and difficult to obtain—element on the fringes of the periodic table is broadening our fundamental understanding of chemistry. In the latest edition of the journal Science, Florida State University Professor ...
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"Imagine how much dental care you'd need if you had 300 or more teeth packed together on each side of your mouth".
Imagine how much dental care you'd need if you had 300 or more teeth packed together on each side of your mouth.
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"Earth scientists have untangled the curious landscape of China's Tarim Basin using a model simulation of ancient events. Despite lying in arid desert and being the site of rapidly growing, elongated folds of stratified rock called anticlines, the Tarim Basin region features huge flat surfaces that have been beveled across the tops of those folds. The folds are caused by the ongoing convergence between India and Asia".
Earth scientists have untangled the curious landscape of China's Tarim Basin using a model simulation of ancient events. Despite lying in arid desert and being the site of rapidly growing, elongated folds of stratified rock called anticlines, the Tarim Basin region features huge flat surfaces that have been beveled across the tops of those folds. The folds are caused by the ongoing convergence between India and Asia.
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rasha kamel

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"In Cerro Colorado, located in the Ica Desert of Peru, sedimentary sequences dating back nine million years have been found to host the fossil skeletons of hundreds of marine vertebrates. In 2008, remains of a giant raptorial sperm whale, Livyatan melvillei, were discovered at this site. In September 2014, the same international team of researchers, guided by Giovanni Bianucci from Pisa University (Italy), found a partial skeleton of a mysticete whale in a rock boulder.
Besides fossil bones of the skull and mandibles, the rock containing the skeleton showed perfect casts of the whale baleen. The exceptionality of the finding is that the casts provide details at the submillimetric scale, revealing under the microscope the subtle structure of the baleen bristles. Indeed, fossilized baleen bristles have been studied for the first time by chemical and mineralogical analyses. The data obtained allow researchers to compare the Miocene whale feeding habits to those of the extant sea whale, and strengthen the preservation potential of the Ica desert for the marine vertebrate fossil record".
In Cerro Colorado, located in the Ica Desert of Peru, sedimentary sequences dating back nine million years have been found to host the fossil skeletons of hundreds of marine vertebrates. In 2008, remains of a giant raptorial sperm whale, Livyatan melvillei, were discovered at this site. In September 2014, the same international team of researchers, guided by Giovanni Bianucci from Pisa University (Italy), found a partial skeleton of a mysticete w...
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That's really cool and all, but you know Earth is only 6,000 years old, right?
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"A team of researchers with members from France, Hungary and Madagascar has found that a type of carp bred to have fewer scales and subsequently released into the wild in Madagascar a century ago has devolved to get its scales back. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes how they collected large numbers of specimens to study their scales and to look at their DNA and what they found".
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from France, Hungary and Madagascar has found that a type of carp bred to have fewer scales and subsequently released into the wild in Madagascar a century ago has devolved ...
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rasha kamel

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"American alligators and South African crocodiles populate waterways a third of the globe apart, and yet both have detectable levels of long-lived industrial and household compounds for nonstick coatings in their blood, according to two studies from researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, and its affiliated institutions, which include the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Production of some compounds in this family of environmentally persistent chemicals--associated with liver toxicity, reduced fertility and a variety of other health problems in studies of people and animals--has been phased out in the United States and many other nations. Yet all blood plasma samples drawn from 125 American alligators across 12 sites in Florida and South Carolina contained at least six of the 15 perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFAAs) that were tracked in the alligator study.
The two studies are first-of-their-kind examinations of PFAA levels in "sentinel" reptile species, especially useful for investigating the impacts of long-lived chemicals in the environment. PFAAs have been used in products that include water-repellent clothes, stain repellents, waxes, nonstick pans and fire-suppressing foams.
In alligators, plasma levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) ranged from 1,360 to 452,000 parts per trillion. In May 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a drinking-water health advisory for PFOS and another PFAA, recommending a maximum exposure level of 70 parts per trillion for one of the PFAAs or the sum of the two. High PFOS levels reported for alligators at several sites may suggest the need to test drinking water for contamination at those locations, according to the researchers".
All plasma samples drawn from 125 alligators in Florida and South Carolina and 45 crocodiles in South Africa contain at least four different PFAAs.
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"Can the woolly mammoth be brought back from the dead? Scientists say it's only a matter of time.
In fact this year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature issued its first official set of guidelines on resurrecting extinct species. What's more, university research labs and non-governmental agencies have projects in motion to bring back extinct species. But is all of this a good idea?
A new paper by UC Santa Barbara researchers explores de-extinction—the process of resurrecting an extinct species—as a potential win for conservation and suggests how to make it so.
In an analysis in the journal Functional Ecology, UCSB ecologist Douglas McCauley and colleagues recommend several ways in which the science of de-extinction would have to evolve in order to make it maximally benefit ecological communities and ecosystems.
"The idea of de-extinction raises a fundamental and philosophical question: Are we doing it to create a zoo or recreate nature?" said co-author Benjamin Halpern, director of UCSB's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. "Both are reasonable answers, but restoring species to a natural state will be a much, much harder endeavor. We offer guidelines for how to make ecological de-extinction more successful and how to avoid creating 'eco-zombies.' "
Bringing back species useful for conservation requires big-picture thinking. For example, the grassland ecosystem in which the mammoth once lived looks totally different today. For a variety of reasons—human population expansion among them—some areas where these creatures once roamed cannot be restored to their former ecology".

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Can the woolly mammoth be brought back from the dead? Scientists say it's only a matter of time.
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"In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass," the Red Queen explains to Alice how a race works in Wonderland, stating, "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." So, too, does this statement hold true in nature. Competitive species are under constant pressure to evolve as rapidly as possible so as to outgun their competition, and this is often referred to as the Red Queen Theory. The rabbit needs to outrun the fox to avoid being killed, whereas the fox needs to catch the rabbit in order to avoid starvation. Well, statistical modeling has also suggested the inverse since 2003: the Red King Theory. If two species are mutualists -- that is, each benefits from the activity of the other -- they should evolve at a slower rate, so as to avoid interrupting their partnership. Makes sense, right? Think again! In a new study published in Nature Communications, comparative genomic analysis shows that the complete opposite may actually be true.
"We originally set out to uncover the genetic basis of mutualistic behavior in ants," said Dr. Benjamin Rubin, recent PhD graduate from University of Chicago and The Field Museum and now postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University. "So, we sequenced the genomes of three mutualistic species of plant-ants and four of their closely-related, non-mutualistic relatives. We were surprised to learn that the mutualists actually had a higher rate of evolution across their genomes than the generalists."
Specifically, the genes that are under significant pressure are those attributed to neurogenesis and muscle activity -- exactly what you might expect to see. Neurogenic genes are tied to behavior, while muscle activation genes likely help the ants protect their host plants through increased activity and speed".
If two species are mutualists -- that is, each benefits from the activity of the other -- the Red King Theory predicts that they should evolve at a slower rate, so as to avoid interrupting their partnership. Makes sense, right? Think again! In a new study published in Nature Communications, comparative genomic analysis shows that the complete opposite may actually be true.
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"96 percent of marine species, and 70 percent of terrestrial life died off in the Permian-Triassic extinction event, as geologists know it. It is also known as The Great Dying Event for obvious reasons.
"The mass extinction was likely triggered by a explosive event of volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia. These eruptions lasted for a million years and emitted enormous amounts of volatiles, such as carbon dioxide and methane, which made our planet unbearably hot." says Jochen Knies, researcher at CAGE.
Life took an extraordinary long time to recover from this extinction, from 5 to 9 million years. Why recovery was so delayed, has remained a mystery".
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Wow!!
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"The Caribbean islands form a natural laboratory for the study of evolution due to their unique biological and geological features. There has been heated discussion since the early 20th century on how species appeared on the islands.
The Cuban solenodon is a small, rare, endangered animal, belonging to the mammalian order Eulipotyphla. It is a mole-like nocturnal animal with a long snout that feeds on insects and is found in only a few fragmented locations in Cuba. Its evolutionary origins have been widely contested and have remained relatively elusive because they have been so difficult to capture and examine.
In 2012, a team of researchers successfully captured seven living Cuban solenodons and collected DNA samples before releasing them. They analysed five specific protein-coding genes and compared them to the same genes in another 35 species belonging to the same order.
While another research group had suggested that solenodons lived with dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period, this team found that the solenodon family evolved from its ancestor around 59 million years ago, long after the dinosaur extinction. The team's analysis also revealed that the Cuban solenodon and the Hispaniolan solenodon (the other existing solenodon species) diverged from each other in the Early Pliocene Epoch (3.7 to 4.8 million years ago), while the previous study set the divergence at 25 million years ago. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean and is currently home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti".
An international research team suggests the endangered Cuban solenodon evolved after the extinction of dinosaurs.
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"An African desert-dwelling male bird favours his biological sons and alienates his stepsons, suggests research published today in Biological Letters.
"Nepotism has likely played a vital role in the evolution of family life in this species," said Martha Nelson-Flower, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia's faculty of forestry but formerly of the University of Cape Town, where she conducted the research.
The species is the southern pied babbler, a black and white bird found in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The bird lives in groups, and chicks are raised by both parents as well as other adult birds. The groups can range in size from three to up to 14 birds.
The group's dominant male bird appears to decide which of the subordinate males to tolerate in the group. Nelson-Flower's research shows subordinate male birds spend less time in a group if they are unrelated to the dominant male bird. These subordinate male birds are essentially pushed out of the group by their stepdads or, in some cases, their brothers-in-law. They are then forced to join other groups as subordinates or to live alone.
Over the course of five years in the summer, Nelson-Flower observed 45 different groups of southern pied babblers in the Kalahari Desert, walking around with the birds at dawn and dusk. She also relied on data collected by her co-author, Amanda Ridley, of the University of Western Australia. Combined, the researchers analyzed data from 11 years of observation.
The preferential treatment seen in the male birds was not observed amongst the females".
An African desert-dwelling male bird favors his biological sons and alienates his stepsons, suggests research published today in Biological Letters.
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I had PhD in computational chemistry
I am working in archaeological analysis
I am interesting in geology, material science
and environmental sciences

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