Monday, August 31, 2009

Photosynthetic viruses keep world's oxygen levels up

NEXT time you take in a lungful of oxygen, consider this: it was made possible in part by ocean viruses.

The viruses, which infect single-celled algae called cyanobacteria, are hyperefficient photosynthesisers thanks to a unique set of genes.

Previous work had shown that cyanophage viruses have some photosynthesis genes, apparently used to keep the host cyanobacteria on life support during the infection, which otherwise knocks out the cells' basic functions.

Now Oded Béjà from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa says that the cyanophages' photosynthetic proficiency doesn't stop there. While screening DNA sequences in water samples collected during Craig Venter's Global Ocean Sampling Expedition, his team discovered seven more photosynthesis genes coding for a complex of proteins collectively named photosystem I. They believe the viral complex has a unique shape that makes cyanophage photosynthesis hyperefficient.
The viral complex has a unique shape that makes photosynthesis hyperefficient

In normal photosynthesis, photosystem I grabs electrons from proteins higher up in the photosynthesis chain reaction. The team believe the viral photosystem I genes allow the cyanophages to not only take electrons from the proteins involved in photosythesis but also from other algal proteins.

"We suspect that when these phages enter the cell, they start to replace [the cell's] photosystem," says Béjà. "By grabbing electrons from all sources available at the time, they get more energy out of photosynthesis."

Eric Wommack of the University of Delaware in Newark says the discovery suggests these viruses may play a role in global oxygen production. "Their hosts produce half the world's oxygen and roughly 10 per cent of these cells are infected by cyanophages," he says. "So it is possible that as much as 5 per cent of the world's oxygen production results from cyanophage infected cells."

Source : New Scientist

Friday, August 28, 2009

Zoom in on molecules at last

Thanks to specialised microscopes, we have long been able to see the beauty of single atoms. But strange though it might seem, imaging larger molecules at the same level of detail has not been possible – atoms are robust enough to withstand existing tools, but the structures of molecules are not. Now researchers at IBM have come up with a way to do it.

The earliest pictures of individual atoms were captured in the 1970s by blasting a target – typically a chunk of metal – with a beam of electrons, a technique known as transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Later refinements of this technique, such as the TEAM project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California achieved resolutions of less than the radius of a single hydrogen atom. But while this method works for atoms in a lattice or thin layer, the electron bombardment destroys the arrangement of atoms in molecules.

Other techniques use a tiny stylus-like scanning probe to explore the atom-scale world. One method uses such a probe to measure the charge density associated with individual atoms – a technique called scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM).

Another, called atomic force microscopy (AFM), measures the attractive force between atoms in the probe and the target. The image is created by bumping the probe over the atoms of the molecule – much in the way we might feel our way around in a dark bedroom.

Source: New Scientist

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steam-powered car breaks century-old speed record

The land speed record for steam-powered cars has been broken for the first time in more than 100 years, after a British-built car achieved an average speed of 225 kilometres per hour (140 miles per hour) on Tuesday.

Many of the earliest road vehicles were powered by steam, which were easier and safer to start than early gas-powered cars, which had to be cranked by hand. But by the 1920s, the convenience of the internal combustion engine had essentially made steam cars obsolete.

Now, Charles Burnett III has driven them back into the spotlight. He reached speeds of 219 km/hr (136 mph) and 243 km/hr (151 mph) during two drives at California's Edwards Air Force Base on Tuesday.

That smashes the previous official record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) set in 1906 by Fred Marriott of the US in a modified version of the then-popular steam car known as the Stanley Steamer. Officials from motor sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), are expected to ratify the new record shortly.

Source: NewScientist

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Warmer seas mean more food for fish

The sheer diversity of ocean food webs has made experts fear it would be impossible to predict how climate change will affect marine ecology. But Mary O'Connor and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, may have solved the problem. They have found that plankton, the basis of marine food webs, might react predictably to ocean warming.

The team warmed 4-litre "microcosms" of seawater. They found that phytoplankton grew slightly faster with every degree of temperature rise. But zooplankton grew – and ate the phytoplankton – faster still. Zooplankton only retain about 10 per cent of the biomass of phytoplankton they eat, so there was a fall in biomass overall.

This might not be entirely bad news for people, says O'Connor. More zooplankton means more food for fish, though such top-heavy food webs could crash, she warns. "The effect could be translated up the food chain," she says. But if nutrients in the water are limited, "that top-heavy food web structure could be less stable, and crash all together."

Journal reference: PLoS Biology, vol 7 p e1000178
Courtesy: Newscientist

Friday, August 21, 2009

Global warming could change Earth's tilt

Warming oceans could cause Earth's axis to tilt in the coming century, a new study suggests. The effect was previously thought to be negligible, but researchers now say the shift will be large enough that it should be taken into account when interpreting how the Earth wobbles.

The Earth spins on an axis that is tilted some 23.5° from the vertical. But this position is far from constant – the planet's axis is constantly shifting in response to changes in the distribution of mass around the Earth. "The Earth is like a spinning top, and if you put more mass on one side or other, the axis of rotation is going to shift slightly," says Felix Landerer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The changing climate has long been known to move Earth's axis. The planet's north pole, for example, is migrating towards 79 °W – a line of longitude that runs through Toronto and Panama City – at a rate of about 10 centimetres each year as the Earth rebounds from ice sheets that once weighed down large swaths of North America, Europe, and Asia.

The influx of fresh water from shrinking ice sheets also causes the planet to pitch over. Landerer and colleagues estimate that the melting of Greenland's ice is already causing Earth's axis to tilt at an annual rate of about 2.6 centimetres – and that rate may increase significantly in the coming years.

Now, they calculate that oceans warmed by the rise in greenhouse gases can also cause the Earth to tilt – a conclusion that runs counter to older models, which suggested that ocean expansion would not create a large shift in the distribution of the Earth's mass.

Source - NewScientist

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Great threat to LIONs in Kenya

It has been found that Kenya is loosing 100 lions a year. According to the calculations it is estimated that Kenya would be devoid of all wildlife if such a terrible rate prevails.

These all circumstances are because of big bomb i.e. population explosion. The herbivorous animals are killed for meat and the grasslands are been used as homes for new population.

With the rapid growth of population the stage is reached that nearly within 10 years all the lions will disappear from Kenya.

Kenya's forest department has no strict action to control this. The biggest threat to lions is outside the protected areas. "This is because of increasing cases of poisoning by communities due to livestock loss through carnivore depredation. Typically, the communities use the insecticide Furadan by applying it on livestock carcasses."

Across the continent, the future looks bleak for lions. "Only drastic action on many fronts – policy change, effective law enforcement, giving rural people an economic stake in their natural heritage, and a great deal of investment – will prevent the loss of wildlife in Africa.

Thirstiness could again grab India...

India, a land of famine until half a century ago, could soon go hungry again for want of water to grow crops.

"Some areas of India are going to run out of water, with very severe economic and social consequences," says the chief author of a UN-backed study of water supplies for Asian agriculture, published this week.

Indian farmers now pump 60 per cent of their water from underground reserves beneath their land because irrigation canals are emptying the country's rivers, says Colin Chartres, head of the International Water Management Institute, a non-profit research centre based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

But water tables are falling fast. "The situation is especially bad in southern India. They will run out of water first, because the hard rocks [there] have much less capacity to store the monsoon rains," says Chartres.

Half of all the water pumped from underground worldwide is in south Asia, he says. To keep bellies full, India will have to double the amount of food it produces for a given amount of water.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sea water can be used as jet fuel

Faced with global warming and potential oil shortages, the US navy is experimenting with making jet fuel from seawater.

Navy chemists have processed seawater into unsaturated short-chain hydrocarbons that with further refining could be made into kerosene-based jet fuel. But they will have to find a clean energy source to power the reactions if the end product is to be carbon neutral.

The process involves extracting carbon dioxide dissolved in the water and combining it with hydrogen – obtained by splitting water molecules using electricity – to make a hydrocarbon fuel.

Music - ' Everyone likes '

Thinking about music gives as a pleasure. But what strategy really is is again a big question. So, let's begin with what music really is.

It is a proved sentence that "Music connects us to our soul". Now music can be of different type according to hearer's choice but remember that all the various forms of music have evolved from a singe word called 'Sur'. So, sur is an important part of a vast world of music.

Basically each and every form of music has been evolved from classical music according to whatever we want changes to suite our ears.

But remember if you really want to get more benefit out of music you need to switch your mind towards "Indian Classical Music" as it involves both meditation and recreational exercise for proper functioning of your body and soul.

Now let's enjoy music with a different theme.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cockroaches future is safe against climate change

Recent, research proved that cockroaches can hold there breath for about 40 minutes.
While resting they stop breathing and save the loss of water. Though they are the creatures of wet and moist land but they are adapted to live in dry places also.

They are blessed with such a strong system through which they can change their breathing pattern to control level of oxygen, carbon-dioxide and moisture. They close the spiracles through which they breathe primarily to save water. In dry environments these insects took shorter breaths than in moist conditions.

"Cockroaches lose water across their respiratory surfaces when they breathe," so taking shorter breaths in dry conditions reduces the amount of water they will lose.

The same thing doesn't necessarily apply to other insects. The butterfly pupae hold their breath to prevent oxygen damage, rather than to conserve water.

"So, finally cockroaches will do well for surviving against climate change.

A night time photo

This night time photo is taken from satellite. It shows about developed and developing countries.

Black hole parasites explain cosmic flashes

SOME of the brightest flashes in the universe may be the result of black holes burrowing into stars and devouring them from inside.

The flashes are known as gamma-ray bursts because most of their energy is in the form of high-energy radiation, including gamma rays and X-rays. The longer flashes, lasting at least a few seconds, have long been thought to signal the deaths of massive stars that have run out of fuel, causing them to collapse to form black holes, unleashing powerful jets of radiation in the process.

Now an alternative explanation has been given new lease of life: a black hole may instead be an external attacker that dives into the belly of a massive star and consumes it.

Glycine - Amino acid found on a comet

An amino acid has been found on a comet for the first time, a new analysis of samples from NASA's Stardust mission reveals. The discovery confirms that some of the building blocks of life were delivered to the early Earth from space.

Methane bubbles up by Arctic water warming

At the deep Arctic ocean the water is warming due to climate change. This causes mega tonnes of methane to bubble out beneath the sea floor.The methane is probably coming from reserves of methane hydrate beneath the sea bed. These hydrates, also known as clathrates, are water ice with methane molecules embedded in them.

The methane plumes were discovered by an expedition aboard the research ship James Clark Ross, led by Tim Minshull of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, in the UK.

The region where the team found the plumes is being warmed by the West Spitsbergen current, which has warmed by 1 °C over the past 30 years.

With the rise bigger bubbles can escape out to atmosphere and the smaller ones can get dissolve with the ocean water and can increase the acidic nature of water which could harm life adversely.

The methane being released from hydrate in the 600-square-kilometre area studied probably adds up to 27 kilotonnes a year, which suggests that the entire hydrate deposit around Svalbard could be releasing 20 megatonnes a year.

If methane began escaping at similar rates throughout the Arctic, it would dramatically increase methane levels in the atmosphere.

Globally, it's thought that around 500 to 600 megatonnes of methane are released into the atmosphere each year.

Methane hydrate could be used as a new, somewhat greener fossil fuel, but extracting the methane without releasing any into the atmosphere remains a challenge.

4G Latest technology

What is 4G? “The user has freedom and flexibility to select any desired service with reasonable QoS and affordable price, anytime, anywhere” • Beyond 2.5G and 3G Wireless Networks • High-speed data rates at 20 to 100 Mbps • Suitable for high-resolution movies and television • Initial deployments are anticipated in 2006-2010 Applications of 4G •Visualized virtual navigation Telegeoprocessing: GIS, GPS •Life- saving: Telemedicine •Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for IPv6 A Fourth Generation Mobile System • A 4G Architecture is based on Mobile IPv6 & Supports ABC Services • Architecture is based on some Assumption

Monday, August 17, 2009

Proof of Life at Titan

In a recent invention it has been found that there is some electrical activity at TITAN, the largest moon of Saturn. After that research, it is a hot matter of discussion in scientific community, whether there is life on Saturn or not.

Now it is possible to generate electrical energy while soldiers march

A new research in Leeds says that it can be possible now to capture Kinetic Energy that soldiers produce while marching and it can be converted to electrical energy.

This will help soldiers to reduce the weight of their bags up to 10 Kg. as they don't require to carry batteries anymore to charge their electronic equipments.

The cost of this project is around $1.64 million which will be funded by Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Water found on mars

Phoenix Mars Lander of NASA has recently detected snow fall from Martian Clouds. Soil experiment by this spacecraft has detected interaction between minerals on Mars Surface and liquid water. This new discovery has again raised questions on the presence of water on Mars.

Black Hole mystery solved

Black holes are an object of research and mystery for the whole scientific community from decades. Many researchers are working day and night to explore the mysteries of black holes. In this series, a recent invention by Yale University Astrophysicist revels the fact that, There is a upper limit of the mass of any black hole. This research has been also published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


As most of you are aware BLACK HOLE is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even electromagnetic radiation can escape from it. Dur to this black holes can not be seen (as they absorbs light radiations) but can only be experienced by their ultra strong gravitational pull. That's why they are named as BLACK HOLE.. They continue to grow in size by absorbing any matter that comes in range of their gravitational field.


Till now it was not sure that what can be maximum size of a black hole. These black holes are now known to exist throughout the Universe and the largest and most massive are at the centers of the largest galaxies. These "ultra-massive" black holes have reported to have mass about One Billion Times that of our own Sun.


According to the new research by Priyamvada Natarajan, an Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, it has been proved, that even the biggest of these Black Holes can't keep growing forever. Instead, they appear to curb their own growth - once they accumulate about 10 billion times the mass of the Sun.


Normally Black Holes continue to accumulate mass by absorbing matter from neighboring gas, dust and stars. But according to new research by Priyamvada Natarajan, that it is possible only to a certain limit, irrespective of the position of black hole. The reason behind this is that, "Eventually these Black Holes reach the point when they radiate so much energy as they consume their surroundings that they end up interfering with the very gas supply that feeds them, which may interrupt nearby star formation."


Natarajan used existing Optical and X-ray Data of these Ultra-Massive Black Holes to show that, in order for those various observations to be consistent, the black holes must essentially stop at some point in their evolution. This helped her to prove this fact that these black holes can not grow indefinitely in mass and there is some upper mass limit of black holes.

Samsung S9110 Watch phone – A New Wave in Mobile Industry


The considerable features of Samsung S9110 wrist phone are 1.76 inch glass, scratch proof touchscreen, stainless steel body with many other facilities such as Bluetooth 2.1, Outlook Email sync, MP3 Player, 2.1 speakerphone and voice recognition system. Some other features are 176 x 220 pixel, 262k color TFT TSP display, 40 MB memory, Li-Ion 630 mAh battery and 57.5 x 41.1 x 11.98mm / 91g footprint.

New species of East Himalayas

Glaciers at Antarctica Melting at Shocking Rates

Scientist has reported that glaciers at Antarctica a melting at an alarming rates. It has been observed that “Pine Island”, a gigantic glacier in West Antarctica is melting at four times higher rate that it was 10 years ago. This glacier is around twice the size of Scotland.

According to a recent research, published in “Geophysical Research Letters” journal, it has been estimated that at this rate the main section of glaciers will disappear in 100 years. This is six time sooner than it was estimated previously.

This research was led by Professor Duncan Wingham at University College London, and was funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hidden Treasures in the Blues

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Planets found orbiting in opposite direction to its stars

As we all know that almost every planet revolve in the same direction as its star rotate on its axis.
But recently two new planets are found that revolve in opposite (backward) direction to its star's rotating direction. Namely WASP - 7b and HAT-P-7b. These are 1000 light years away from our mother earth.