Saturday, April 03, 2010

More Evidence for Cosmic Acceleration

Astrophysics: Cosmic acceleration confirmed in Nature.
Evidence for the accelerated expansion of the Universe from weak lensing tomography with COSMOS: astrophics preprint.

Why was the ancient Earth so warm?

Early Earth: Faint young Sun redux Early in the Earth's history (several billion years ago) it is thought that the Sun was dimmer, so much so that the oceans would have been frozen. However there is ample evidence that the oceans were mostly liquid during that period. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have kept the Earth warm. But there's a new theory that the Earth's surface may have also been darker in the past, allowing it to retain more heat from the fainter sun and resulting in warmer temperatures.

Prospects for Personal Genomics

Multiple personal genomes await by J. Craig Venter in Nature. Gene sequencing pioneer Venter reviews the current state of the art. One difficult problem is due to chromosomes occuring in pairs, one from each parent. Apparently it isn't easy to distinguish the two copies and the differences between them.

Ice Age Flood went to the Arctic not Atlantic

River reveals chilling tracks of ancient flood in Nature. After the end of the last ice age there was another cool period, the Younger Dryas, 13,000 years ago. One theory was that a huge freshwater lake in Canada, formed from melted glaciers, suddenly drained into the North Atlantic, disrupted the warm water conveyer belt there, resulting in a resumption of cold conditions in the Northern Hemisphere. But now it appears that instead Lake Agassiz drained north into the Arctic Ocean. Did that flood still cause the Younger Dryas cold period?

Chemistry of the Ancient Oceans

Ocean Chemistry and Early Animals in Science. Animal life requires oxygen. What stages took place before the current oxygenated ocean chemistry and animal communities beccame established around 542 million years ago?

Quark Masses

Mass of the Common Quark Finally Nailed Down in Science.
Currently there are six known flavors of quarks, each with a different mass. The masses haven't been known with much accuracy, in part because quarks are never found in isolation, they are are always found bound with other quarks. The binding interaction is so strong that most of the mass of the bound particle (like a proton or neutron) is due to the energy of interaction. These new theorectical calculations may give the quark masses to a greater degree of accuracy.