Scientists solve a decades-old mystery in the Earth’s upper atmosphere
(PhysOrg) - New research published in the journal Nature resolves decades of scientific controversy over the origin of the extremely energetic particles known as ultra-relativistic electrons in the Earth’s near-space environment and is likely to influence our understanding of planetary magnetospheres throughout the universe.
Discovering the processes that control the formation and ultimate loss of these electrons in the Van Allen radiation belts—the rings of highly charged particles that encircle the Earth at a range of about 1,000 to 50,000 kilometers above the planet’s surface—is a primary science objective of the recently launched NASA Van Allen Probes mission.
Understanding these mechanisms has important practical applications, because the enormous amounts of radiation trapped within the belts can pose a significant hazard to satellites and spacecraft, as well astronauts performing activities outside a craft…
image: Jacob Bortnik/UCLA
Jewelry can make a basic outfit look complete or a fashionable outfit look outdated. Your jewelry says a lot about you, so show off your jewelry and let your personality shine. There are several ways to match your jewelry and there is no hard rule as long…
Eight little Rangifer tarandus pull Santa’s sleigh…
Here in North America we know them as caribou, but in Europe, where the St. Nick folklore originated, they’re known as reindeer.
The idea of reindeer (or caribou) as working animals is perhaps not so far-fetched, as in Lapland the animals still do occasinally pull small sleds called pulks. They are considered only semi-domesticated, however, as most of the time they are kept in free-ranging herds and raised primarily for uses not involving much interaction with humans.
In Canada and Alaska, they are mainly raised for meat. The nine subspecies are classified into two groups, according to the habitat regions they live in - tundra and boreal. Boreal caribou are noticeably larger than tundra subspecies.
Both males and females bear antlers, the only member of the deer family Cervidae to do so. In males in the largest subspecies, North America’s woodland caribou, the antlers can reach up to 39 inches (100 cm) across and 53 inches (135 cm) top to bottom - the second largest rack among deer, with only moose growing larger. The antlers of most mature males fall off by mid-December, but those of females fall off in spring - so, if popular illustration is to be believed, Santa’s reindeer are probably all girls.
photo by myheimu on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)
Scientists Discovery New Species of Tapir in South America!
by Jeremy Hance
In what will likely be considered one of the biggest (literally) zoological discoveries of the Twenty-First Century, scientists today announced they have discovered a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it’s still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for “tapir” in the local Paumari language: “Arabo kabomani.”
Tapirus kabomani, or the Kobomani tapir, is the fifth tapir found in the world and the first to be discovered since 1865. It is also the first mammal in the order Perissodactyla (which includes tapirs, rhinos, and horses) found in over a hundred years. Moreover, this is the largest land mammal to be uncovered in decades: in 1992 scientists discovered the saola in Vietnam and Cambodia, a rainforest bovine that is about the same size as the new tapir…
(read more: MongaBay)
photograph by Cozzuol et al.
(Christmas) Song Of The Day
Future Cinematic Classic of the day: Forget Batman vs Superman, this is the silver screen showdown we’ve all been waiting for.
Peppermint Marshmallows! Get the marshmallow recipe HERE. Replace the vanilla extract with peppermint extract and top with crushed candy cane before you powder the top.
These cut into a many pieces so this is like, the cheapest, tastiest, bestest most impressive gift ever! I package mine in clear little bags tied with Christmassy ribbons and give them with a homemade hot chocolate mix. This gift is low-cost, low-time AND low-calorie. : )
Poppy, Step 2
More Creatures Discovered in the Deep Sea of the Antarctic
by Liz Langley
A sea snail feeding off a dead octopus’ beak is among the 30 new species found during an expedition to Antarctica‘s Amundsen Sea (map), according to the first study to shed light on the sea’s bottom dwellers.
The newfound sea snail, or limpet, is from a group that specializes in feeding on the decaying beaks of squid, octopi, and their relatives, according to study leader Katrin Linse of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
Linse and a team of marine biologists from BAS and other institutions hauled up 5,469 specimens belonging to 275 species from the depths of the little-explored sea of the Southern Ocean during a 2008 research cruise.
That year, scientists on the RSS James Clark Ross took advantage of the thin summer ice to get close to the edge of the ice shelf and bring up the thousands of specimens, including some newly discovered in Antarctic waters. At least 10 percent of all the species collected are new to science, and the figure is likely to rise, Linse said.
It’s taken a global team years to identify and categorize only a small fraction of the species, which are described October 1 in the journal Continental Shelf Research…
(read more: National Geo)
photos by British Antarctic Survey - A young king crab, Neolithodes yaldwyni, Common Heart Urchin, Antarctic octopus, Pareledone turqueti, Bristle Cage Worm