Renewables’ deep-sea mining conundrum

Written by David Shukman

Deep sea miningImage copyright: NOC/NERC
Image caption: These are early days of prospecting. Mining proper has yet to get under way

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals. Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of “astonishingly rich” rock.

Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land.

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Brain cell therapy ‘promising’ for Parkinson’s disease

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brain cellsImage copyright: SPL

Scientists believe they have found a way to treat and perhaps reverse Parkinson’s disease, by making replacement cells to mend the damaged brain. They say human brain cells can be coaxed to take over the job of the ones that are destroyed in Parkinson’s.

Tests in mice with Parkinson-like symptoms showed that the therapy appeared to ease the condition. Many more studies are needed before similar tests can begin in people. Experts say the research published in Nature Biotechnology is hugely promising, although at a very early stage.

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NASA Now Knows Why Mars Became Uninhabitable

Written by Andrew Follett

Mars’ atmosphere is full of metal, potentially explaining how the planet became uninhabitable, according to new results from a NASA probe published Monday.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) found metal ions capable of showing how the planet’s upper atmosphere behaves. Mars doesn’t have a global magnetic field like Earth, preventing metal ions from being locked into the atmosphere in layers. This helps explain how the martian atmosphere was lost to space, eventually rendering the planet uninhabitable.

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Upper part of Earth’s magnetic field reveals details of a dramatic past

Written by Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Satellites have been mapping the upper part of the Earth magnetic field by collecting data for three years and found some amazing features about the Earth’s crust. The result is the release of highest resolution map of this field seen from space to date. This ‘lithospheric magnetic field’ is very weak and therefore difficult to detect and map from space. But with the Swarm satellites it has been possible.

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Metastasizing Academic Cancer

Written by Walter E. Williams

The average American has little knowledge of the extent to which our institutions of higher learning have been infected with a spreading cancer. One aspect of that cancer is akin to the loyalty oaths of the 1940s and ’50s. Professors were often required to sign statements that affirmed their loyalty to the United States government plus swear they were not members of any organizations, including the Communist Party USA, that sought the overthrow of the United States government. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down loyalty oaths as a condition of employment in 1964.

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Ocean tech: Robot sea snakes and shoal-swimming subs

Written by Zoe Kleinman

EelumeImage copyright: EELUME
Image caption: The self-propelling Eelume robot moves like a snake through the water

In the near future, ocean search-and-repair specialists won’t need arms or legs, according to one vision. In fact, they are destined to be much more slithery. “We try to get people to move away from the word snake because it’s seen as kind of scary but even I find myself all the time calling it a snake,” says Richard Mills from marine tech firm Kongsberg.

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Scientists Admit Losing Control of Artificial Intelligence

Written by Shivali Best

From driving cars to beating chess masters at their own game, computers are already performing incredible feats.

And artificial intelligence is quickly advancing, allowing computers to learn from experience without the need for human input. But scientists are concerned that computers are already overtaking us in their abilities, raising the prospect that we could lose control of them altogether.

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Poop sediments record Antarctic ‘penguin Pompeii’

Written by Jonathan Amos

PenguinsImage copyright: STEPHEN ROBERTS

The perilous history of a penguin colony on a small Antarctic island has been recorded in their excrement. For thousands of years, the birds have nested on the Ardley outcrop where their poop, or guano, would collect at the bottom of a lake. But when scientists drilled into these sediments, they got quite a surprise.

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Modern Solar Grand Maximum Ends: ‘Little Ice Age’ Cooling Coming!

Written by Kenneth Richard

During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Earth’s inhabitants have enjoyed an epoch of very high solar activity that is rare or unique in the context of the last several thousand years.  The higher solar activity and warmer temperatures have allowed the planet to briefly emerge from the depths of the successive solar minima periods and “Little Ice Age” cooling that lasted from the 1300s to the early 1900s.  Unfortunately, solar scientists have increasingly been forecasting a return to a solar minimum period in the coming decades, as well as the concomitant cooler temperatures.

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Hubble spots auroras on Uranus

Written by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Ever since Voyager 2 beamed home spectacular images of the planets in the 1980s, planet-lovers have been hooked on auroras on other planets. Auroras are caused by streams of charged particles like electrons that come from various origins such as solar winds, the planetary ionosphere, and moon volcanism. They become caught in powerful magnetic fields and are channeled into the upper atmosphere, where their interactions with gas particles, such as oxygen or nitrogen, set off spectacular bursts of light.

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The race to destroy space garbage

Written by Jane O'Brien

A visualisation of the satellites and other debris around earthImage copyright: EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
Image caption: A visualisation of the satellites and other debris around earth

Millions of pieces of human-made trash are now orbiting the Earth. Some are tiny, others are large enough to be seen with a telescope, but all pose a risk to space craft and satellites. And according to experts the threat is growing as space becomes more and more crowded.

Some 23,000 pieces of space junk are large enough to be tracked by the US Space Surveillance Network. But most objects are under 10cm (4in) in diameter and can’t be monitored. Even something the size of a paper clip can cause catastrophic damage.

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Climate change scientists’ bid to drill Everest glacier

Written by Max Evans

Climate-change scientists are to travel to the Himalayas in a bid to become the first team to successfully drill through the world’s highest glacier.

The Aberystwyth University-led group will use a drill adapted from a car wash to cut into the Khumbu glacier in the foothills of Everest.

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Disingenuous Climate Science Debunked

Written by Dale Leuck

In the February 18 American Thinker edition, Dennis Avery described path-breaking findings by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) reviving the Sun as the controlling mechanism of climate and debunking the so-called global warming “consensus.”  Perpetuators of the global warming myth had proposed that historical global average temperatures manifested a “hockey stick” shape of sharply higher temperatures in the last decades of the twentieth century.

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