research

Miniature lion fossils lead to discovery of new species

Miniature lion fossils lead to discovery of new species

A new species of miniature marsupial lion has been discovered thanks to a newly uncovered fossil found in Queensland. The new species has been dubbed the Microleo attenboroughi, in honor of Sir Attenborough and in recognition of the creature’s small size. The miniature lion is said to have lived in Northern Australia’s rainforests about 18 million years ago.

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Researchers develop insulin pill as alternative to injections

Researchers develop insulin pill as alternative to injections

Though efforts have been underway to develop a method of insulin delivery that doesn’t require an injection, no great success has been produced. That may change soon, as researchers with Niagara University have revealed a new project in which an insulin pill was developed. This insulin pill, contrary to the way such a pill would ordinarily work, bypasses the stomach's acid to be absorbed in the intestines instead, delivering insulin to the bloodstream.

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Massachusetts is considering a time zone change

Massachusetts is considering a time zone change

The promise of summer’s end is everywhere you look: school has started, stores are stocking autumn products, and the days are noticeably becoming shorter. Soon enough, the days will be so short they will, for some people, be dark before dinner time. That prospect is upsetting, yes, and Massachusetts is tired of dealing with it. Per a newly signed bill, the state will conduct research into the idea of changing the state’s time zone.

Short daylight hours are dreaded by just about everyone, and they have a real effect on daily lives: some people develop depression during the darker days, physical activities suffers, and many people report being less productive during the height of winter darkness. For states with such dim winters, there’s also another issue to contend with: young populations fleeing to states where winter sunsets aren't so early in the day.

During the darkest point of winter, the sun starts to set shortly after 4PM in Boston, giving kids very little daylight to enjoy after school. The state may solve the issue, though, by leaving the eastern time zone in favor of the Atlantic one, and ditching the tiresome model of changing the clocks back and forth. Under such a model, the mornings would stay dark a little longer, but the evenings would stay bright longer, too.

The state has expressed concerns about college students fleeing for brighter states, but it hasn’t determined fully whether this mass flight is due to the short daylight hours during winter or something else. Still, the argument is being made that longer days, as well as the elimination of daylight saving time, will be better for the population’s overall health.

At the end of the day, though, Massachusetts is exploring this possible time zone change as part of a larger economic development plan, and so any changes will likely have to be found fruitful for the economy. The research will be ongoing for months, with the report of findings not being due until July 2017.

SOURCE: Bloomberg
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New mini-moon discovered orbiting Earth

New mini-moon discovered orbiting Earth

This isn't April fools day, and we're not pulling your leg - there is indeed a second rocky companion out in space orbiting Earth - besides our moon. This miniature-moon, as it's nicknamed, goes by the scientific name "2016 HO3". It's an asteroid, technically, but it's nearly unique in our known history of Earth and nearby objects. This quasi-satellite or near-Earth companion is "the best and most stable example to date" of such a space body. "One other asteroid -- 2003 YN107 -- followed a similar orbital pattern for a while over 10 years ago, but it has since departed our vicinity. This new asteroid is much more locked onto us," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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Octobot is a soft-bodied autonomous robot that can fit just about anywhere

Octobot is a soft-bodied autonomous robot that can fit just about anywhere

Scientists and researchers have created a cool autonomous robot that is modeled after an octopus called the octobot. The reason that the team modeled the robot after an octopus is because the octopus has a soft body that allows the cephalopod to squeeze into the tiniest of spaces to escape predators or catch its prey. Octobot is about the size of the palm of your hand and is made from silicone.

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Earth-mass planet found orbiting Proxima Centauri in habitable zone

Earth-mass planet found orbiting Proxima Centauri in habitable zone

Astronomers have made a very interesting discovery using telescopes belonging to the ESO and other facilities. The discovery is clear evidence that a planet is orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth. This planet is known as Proxima b and it orbits very close to its cool parent star with an orbit completed every 11 days. The scientists believe that the planet has surface temperatures that would allow liquid water to form on its surface.

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Researchers suggest ancient round ‘tools’ were actually weapons

Researchers suggest ancient round ‘tools’ were actually weapons

Ancient stone objects are often rudimentary in design and, due to their age and possible exposure to the elements, sometimes lacking in finer details. This can make it difficult to discern what exactly any particular discovery is, and few things are more ambiguous than simple stone spheres. Were previously discovered round hand-sized stones used as tools? Researchers have thought so, but a new study suggests they may actually have been used as projectile weapons.

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NASA STEREO spacecraft contact reestablished after 22 months

NASA STEREO spacecraft contact reestablished after 22 months

Nearly two years ago, NASA lost contact with the STEREO-B spacecraft operating as part of its STEREO Mission. The space agency has been trying to reestablish contact with that spacecraft since then, and now, about 22 months later, NASA has announced that it succeeded. NASA made contact with the spacecraft yesterday, and it will soon perform further tasks to determine STEREO-B's health, status, and other pertinent information.

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‘Adonis’ is Europe’s oldest tree with an age of 1,075 years

‘Adonis’ is Europe’s oldest tree with an age of 1,075 years

Europe’s oldest living tree is located in northern Greece and is, according to a team of researchers, more than 1,075 years old. Dubbed ‘Adonis,’ the tree is of the Bosnian pine variety, and it has recently been dated using dendrochronology — the science of analyzing tree rings. Using this data and the data of similarly old trees could help scientists understand the climate and related history of the region, as well as the effect those changes have on the trees.

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Great Lakes’ second-oldest shipwreck discovered in Lake Ontario

Great Lakes’ second-oldest shipwreck discovered in Lake Ontario

When it comes to shipwrecks discovered in the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan usually gets all the attention. That’s not the case with the latest discovery, though, which has turned up the Great Lakes region's second-oldest shipwreck in Lake Ontario. The ship, which was built in America but owned by Canadians, sank in 1803. The team behind the discovery announced their find in a statement today, saying the shipwreck concerns the vessel “Washington," which has long been known to have sank during a storm.

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Bananas may go extinct soon, but DNA sequencing will (likely) prevent it

Bananas may go extinct soon, but DNA sequencing will (likely) prevent it

A fungus that has been threatening banana crops for many years could bring the fruit to the point of extinction within the next ten years. That is, if researchers don't find a way to combat the fungus in a way that it can't adapt to overcome, which is the subject of a newly published study in PLOS. Most commonly referred to by the disease it causes -- black leaf streak disease -- the fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis is the most harrowing pathogen in the banana industry, but thanks to recent work decoding its genome, there may be a way to stop it.

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WatchMI adds more smartwatch controls without adding hardware

WatchMI adds more smartwatch controls without adding hardware

Most smartwatches these days, except for the likes of the Pebble, have touch screens that try to make using these wearable devices easier. But unlike the bigger touchscreens on our smartphones, the surface area of smartwatches make it harder to utilize multi-touch gestures. As such, most of the time users are limited to taps, tap and hold, and swipes. Researchers from the University of St. Andrews are proposing a new interaction method they have dubbed as WatchMI, which adds three more touch-based gestures to any smartwatch, without requiring additional hardware at all.

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