'Stray' black hole found hiding nearby has scientists puzzled

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Finding a black hole when it is floating all alone in space is nearly impossible because there are no emissions to be seen. So imagine the surprise researchers must have felt when, while examining molecular clouds around the supernova remnant W44, they stumbled across signs of a hidden black hole at the…

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Proxima Centauri planet loses its habitable status

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register The recently discovered Earth-sized planet known as Proxima Centauri B (or Proxima B) may not be as habitable as we had hoped, according to new research. When it was first announced in August 2016, astronomers believed that the planet sat well within the nurturing habitable zone of our nearest stellar neighbor, a…

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Humans are destroying natural World Heritage Sites

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Yellowstone National Park in the United States are globally recognized as containing some of the Earth's most valuable natural assets. Despite this, a new University of Queensland-led study warns that more than a hundred of these sites are being destroyed by the encroachment of humans.…

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Do solar storms cause whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings?

Lori Keesey, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center A long-standing mystery among marine biologists is why otherwise healthy whales, dolphins, and porpoises - collectively known as cetaceans - end up getting stranded along coastal areas worldwide. Could severe solar storms, which affect Earth's magnetic fields, be confusing their internal compasses and causing them to lose their way?…

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Galactic tug-of-war propels Milky Way through the universe

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register It's long been known that the Milky Way galaxy and its companion galaxy Andromeda are moving with respect to the expanding universe. This movement means that both galaxies will collide in the very distant future. But what exactly is propelling the Milky Way through space? According to new research published in Nature…

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Maya collapse at Ceibal occurred in waves of warfare, political instability

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Ancient Mayans went through two periods of collapse. The first - called the Preclassic collapse - occurred in the second century A.D., and the second - called the Classic Maya collapse - occurred in the ninth century A.D., when many of the ancient civilization's cities were abandoned. While both events are still…

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Fermi gamma-ray telescope discovers its most extreme blazars yet

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Astronomers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered five of the most distant gamma-ray blazars yet known, and two of them are hiding huge monsters at their centers. The light coming from the most distant object began its journey to us when the universe was 1.4 billion years old. To put…

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Wasp named after singer Ani DiFranco turns ants into slaves

Wasp Named After Musician Ani DiFranco Turns Ants Into Slaves

Several new ant-parasitoid wasp species have been discovered by UC Riverside graduate student Judith Herreid, and she's named one of them Orasema difrancoae - after her favorite musician Ani DiFranco. This particular group of wasps - which belong to the family Eucharitidae - is of particular interest because they could potentially control invasive ant populations, including…

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Citizen scientists needed for new Mars project

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Zooniverse are asking for the public's help in learning more about Mars' ancient, watery past. Through the Planet Four: Ridges project, armchair scientists can comb through images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to help find evidence of large polygonal ridges. Why search for these…

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Sci-Fi holograms one step closer to reality

A tiny device invented by Australian National University (ANU) physicists is capable of creating the highest quality holographic images ever, which they say opens the door to imaging technologies seen in science fiction movies such as Star Wars. Lead researcher Lei Wang said the team created complex holographic images in infrared with the invention that could…

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3D bioprinter spits out human skin on demand

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register You can create a lot of things with your average 3D printer: such as musical instruments, cosmological models, water-cleaning bikinis, robots, and even pasta and real human stem cells. The possibilities are truly endless. Now, researchers from the Carlos III University of Madrid have demonstrated that it is possible to produce proper…

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Estimated 150,000 US youths now identify as transgender

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register An estimated 150,000 youth ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender in the United States, according to a new study from UCLA's Williams Institute. Will they be protected under the new government? Who knows. Minutes after the country's new president was officially sworn in on Friday, January 20, 2017, news broke that…

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Massive ice shelf fracture forces closure of Antarctic research station

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Whether it's due to natural causes or man-made global warming, it appears that Antarctica is undergoing a major upheaval of sorts. For example, a massive rift was discovered in Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf in December 2016. A further warning was issued this month that an iceberg - predicted to be one…

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Chronic winter headaches may he due to vitamin D deficiency

Lola Gayle, STEAM Register Do you find yourself experiencing more headaches during the gloomy winter months? Turns out, there may actually be a real connection between the lack of sunshine and your chronic, unbearable headaches. See, shorter days during winter mean we don't get enough vitamin D - referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin'. It's well-known…

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Happy Holidays!