NASA: Charon's chasms likely caused by ancient, frozen subterranean ocean | Ancient, well-preserved wheel offers new insights into Bronze-Age Britain | Plants have their own kind of intelligence, author says
The huge chasms seen on the surface of Pluto's moon Charon may have been caused by a once-warm ocean under the surface that froze and expanded, NASA scientists say. The expanding ice from an ancient, underground sea would have split open the icy outer shell, creating the massive cracks and fractures, researchers suggest. Images taken by New Horizons' Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager helped scientists calculate the size and form of Serenity Chasma, one of Charon's many chasms.
A well-preserved wheel dating back about 3,000 years has been found in Peterborough, England, at the site of what's known as "Britain's Pompeii," giving archaeologists more information about the Bronze Age in Britain. Researchers say it may have been part of a cart or a chariot. "The existence of this wheel expands our understanding of Late Bronze Age technology and the level of sophistication of the lives of people living on the edge of the Fens 3,000 years ago," said Historic England's Duncan Wilson.
Author Richard Mabey makes the case for the innate intelligence of the Earth's flora in his new book, "The Cabaret of Plants." He explains that plants don't need to have brains to be intelligent. "What the new work shows is that plants, by means we do not yet fully understand, are capable of behaving like intelligent beings. They are capable of storing -- and learning from -- memories of what happens to them," he says.
A series of devastating storms in the 13th and 14th centuries destroyed the once-thriving English port town of Dunwich, according to an ultrasound study by divers on the Suffolk coast. The images reveal a series of buildings and some shipwrecks covered by the ocean. "It offers a marvelous history of climate change and coastal erosion," said the University of Southampton's David Sear.
Vaccinations for the HPV virus are having a significant impact, lowering the levels of human papillomavirus in teens by about two-thirds and in women in their early 20s by about one-third, according to findings published in Pediatrics. Researchers compared data on the virus' prevalence from 2003 to 2006, before the vaccine was offered, with data gathered from 2009 to 2012, and found that the four HPV strains vaccinated against were down by 64% in teens between the ages of 14 and 19, and down by 34% in women ages 20 to 24.
People who believe they are following orders feel less responsible for their actions, according to a study published in Current Biology. The research is similar to that done by Stanley Milgram during the 1960s. "Coercion produces some subjective experience of distancing. Instructions really can change the way we feel about what we're doing," said the current study's senior author, Patrick Haggard.
Researchers evaluated data from 4,978 adults with diabetes who were enrolled in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study between 2003 and 2007 and found a 5 mg/dL lower serum glucose in fully adjusted generalized linear models among users of calcium channel blockers than nonusers of CCB. The findings in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice also showed users of verapamil, a CCB, had average 10 mg/dL lower serum glucose than CCB non-users, with considerably greater differences among those who used insulin.
University of Richmond researchers received a $310,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationship between coral and algae. The project will look into how algae cells become absorbed symbiotically into the cells of corals. The study could affect the understanding and treatment of parasites.
Are you taking advantage of everything Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society has to offer? American Scientist is the premier interdisciplinary magazine for science and research. Act now and receive a one-year subscription for only $30. Subscribe today.
Membership in Sigma Xi is an honor worth sharing
Take a look at our website today and learn more about the honor of membership in Sigma Xi.