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Black hole fountains shepherd new galaxies into life

Black hole fountains shepherd new galaxies into life

A black-hole fountain might sound like something from science fiction, but NASA believes it's actually part of a high-energy cycle by which galaxies coalesce. Combining high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope imagery with ground-based captures, scientists were able to observe knots of hot, blue stars that were forming along the jets from active black holes, with a thunderstorm of heated and cooling gases through giant elliptical galaxies.

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Earthworm guts may have commercial value

Earthworm guts may have commercial value

Yesterday we wrote about a study on earthworms and the potential for their newly discovered toxin-destroying guts. Today we've had a chat with the scientists behind that study, confirming that there really, truly is great potential for said guts. We spoke with Manuel Liebeke, lead author on the study and Research Associate at Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology as well as Jacob G Bundy, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, co-author on the study.

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Algorithm could remove obstructions from a photo

Algorithm could remove obstructions from a photo

Anyone who has has tried to use digital camera will have, at one point or another, run into a case where an almost perfect, once in a lifetime shot is ruined by something as simple as a chain-link fence or reflections on a clear window. Although photo editing skills and tools have come a long way, they can only do so much. That, however, may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new algorithm from researchers at Google and MIT that aims to almost magically make these obstructions disappear.

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Ghost of a dying star captured by ESO

Ghost of a dying star captured by ESO

Today we're seeing that the Very Large Telescope has returned an image from space which eclipses all others of its kind. This is the image of a dying star. What you're seeing is the remnants of a star that's long since burned out. Gases are spreading outward in an orb, a sort of ghost of the brightly lit gas giant it once was. This is a nebula, known now as the Southern Owl Nebula, appearing here with a diameter of nearly four light-years.

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Worms defense against plants has big implications for science

Worms defense against plants has big implications for science

A unique compound of chemicals has been discovered in the guts of earthworms in a study on how these creatures break down toxins in soil. This study centered on polyphenols, chemical compounds produced by plants that contain phenol, aka carbolic acid. Soil is polyphenol-rich, meaning earthworms - who eat and process soil - need to cope with a "high-polyphenol diet." They eat toxins, how do they do it? As it turns out, earthworms work with a compound scientists are calling "drilodefensin", able to metabolize these toxins effectively.

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Unprecedented glacial melt to continue even in “stable” climate

Unprecedented glacial melt to continue even in “stable” climate

We've never had glacier retreat happening at as fast a rate as we're having this moment in history. According to data compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and organized into a dataset by a number of scientists including Michael Zemp and Holder Frey, glaciers are melting away faster than at any point since humans have been monitoring glacier activity - that goes back to the year 1600. This happening is classified by these scientists as a true global phenomenon - and it's not going to stop any time soon.

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Stanford researchers show off VR headset that reduces nausea

Stanford researchers show off VR headset that reduces nausea

There are many people out there who want virtual reality to take off, most notably game developers. There are many uses for VR outside of games though, including some in the medical fields. The problem for many with VR headsets available today is that the headset induces nausea in many users and eyestrain. Researchers from Stanford University have a new VR headset that addresses those two issues many users face.

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Scientists turn up oldest evidence of animal reproduction

Scientists turn up oldest evidence of animal reproduction

Some of the world's earliest-known macrofossils have revealed evidence of their revolutionary early reproduction. Scientists publishing research with the scientific journal Nature have studied macrofossils from the late Ediacaran age, from between 580-541 million years ago. In these fossils are the oldest examples of diverse complex organisms found by humans. In these fossils has turned up some of the world's earliest evidence of diverse complex organisms' reproductive abilities. As you might expect, the early complex organisms in this study reproduced asexually for optimum speed and spread.

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Space Peanut passes by Earth: here’s why it’s awesome

Space Peanut passes by Earth: here’s why it’s awesome

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California release video of asteroid that looks remarkably like a peanut. This "space peanut", as it's being called, is around 1.2-miles (2 kilometers) in length. So we're glad it wasn't headed directly at our planet's surface. Instead this is one of many flybys the nutty rock will be making with the Earth in its life circling the sun. The next time we see this space peanut it'll be the year 2054, and once again it'll be far enough away that we can watch it waffle around at a distance.

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Salamander fungus threatens all due to pet trade in USA

Salamander fungus threatens all due to pet trade in USA

Scientists warn of a biodiversity crisis as salamander imports into North America brings a fungal pathogen called "Bsal." This is short for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also called "B. salamandrivorans", and it comes from regions in Asia. These scientists suggest that once inserted into wild host populations, there's no effective means of containment for this pathogen. It'll kill at alarming rates. This Bsal is about to join the already-active "ongoing sixth mass extinction" of "more than 40% of all amphibians" as the emerging infections disease Chytridiomycosis takes hold.

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Keys to “ingredients for life” found on Rosetta’s comet

Keys to “ingredients for life” found on Rosetta’s comet

The comet followed by the ESA's Rosetta mission and landed upon by Philae has turned up "the ingredients for life" in its most recent data package. This data may well also be the last that Philae sends via Rosetta, as the craft have just one more chance to be in alignment before they're cut off from Earth contact forever. To detect the data we're exploring today, Philae employed its Ptolemy and COSAC tools, turning up water vapor, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

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Philae’s last gasp: final Rosetta mission data published

Philae’s last gasp: final Rosetta mission data published

The European Space Agency's Philae lander has sent what's likely its last batch of data home to Earth. Having gone regretfully silent only days after it hit the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko back in November of 2014, the Rosetta mission's Philae lander re-established connection in June of 2015. Now the team's final connection was set for July 9th, and it's entirely possible the ESA won't end up being able to make contact again. We'll have to wait until August, right as the comet makes its closest approach to our Sun.

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