Fast-sinking jellyfish could boost the oceans’ uptake of carbon dioxide
Munich, Germany (SPX) May 29, 2013 – The oceans absorb about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by human activities. Since the industrial revolution, they have taken up about half of the man-made CO2. Billions of planktonic organisms, too tiny to be seen with the naked eye, make this valuable service possible: When carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves in seawater, various species convert it to organic carb … more

Untangling the tree of life
Nashville TN (SPX) May 29, 2013 – These days, phylogeneticists – experts who painstakingly map the complex branches of the tree of life – suffer from an embarrassment of riches. The genomics revolution has given them mountains of DNA data that they can sift through to reconstruct the evolutionary history that connects all living beings. But the unprecedented quantity has also caused a serious problem: The trees produced by … more

Chinese hackers spying on US weapons programs
Washington (AFP) May 28, 2013 – Chinese hackers have gained access to secret designs for a slew of sophisticated US weapons programs, officials said Tuesday, possibly jeopardizing the American military’s technological edge. The breaches were part of a broad Chinese campaign of espionage against top US defense contractors and government agencies, officials said, confirming a Washington Post account of a Pentagon report. … more

New Images of Comet ISON Hurtling Toward the Sun
Hilo, HI (SPX) May 31, 2013 – A new series of images from Gemini Observatory shows Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) racing toward an uncomfortably close rendezvous with the Sun. In late November the comet could present a stunning sight in the twilight sky and remain easily visible, or even brilliant, into early December of this year. The new Gemini time-sequence images, spanning early February through May 2013, show the comet’s … more

Hydrogen ‘food’ could help sustain life in ocean’s crust or on Mars.
Boulder CO (SPX) May 31, 2013 – A chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen “food” to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, also hint at the possi … more