Science

Two-thirds of wildlife species may become extinct by 2020: report

Two-thirds of wildlife species may become extinct by 2020: report

Global populations of vertebrate species will probably be down by more than two-thirds from 1970 levels by the end of current decade, according to the Living Planet Report 2016’s assessment.

According to the newly published report, global populations of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals have declined 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012; and the decline rates in the numbers of wildlife species are still accelerating.

Whale carcass found in Daly City had skull fractures: necropsy says

Whale carcass found in Daly City had skull fractures: necropsy says

A necropsy conducted on the blue whale carcass that washed ashore at a Daly City beach earlier this week revealed that the huge marine creature had suffered multiple skull fractures, Marine Mammal Center officials confirmed.

The officials announced that the precise cause of the blue whale’s death couldn’t be determined, but multiple fractures in the marine mammal’s skull indicated blunt force trauma.

The dead blue whale, measuring around 65 feet in length, washed ashore at the Westmoor Beach near Daisaku Ikeda Canyon in Daly City in the afternoon hours of last Wednesday.

Indirect effects of rising CO2 levels on ecosystems more important than previously thought

Indirect effects of rising CO2 levels on ecosystems more important than previously thought

The indirect effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, such as changes in soil moisture and plant structure, can have a bigger impact on ecosystems than previously thought.

Understanding the importance of these indirect effects, in comparison to the direct effects, will improve our understanding of how ecosystems respond to climate change.

India ranked fifth in terms of bio-capacity, says study

India ranked fifth in terms of bio-capacity, says study

The WWF's Living Planet Report 2016 has ranked India fifth in terms of bio-capacity - an ecosystem's capacity to produce resources such as food, fibre and renewable raw materials and absorb carbon dioxide.

While Indians have a low personal carbon footprint at an individual level, it is a challenge when aggregated by population size. This equation will be further affected as wealth grows and consumption patterns change. India's carbon footprint currently makes up 53 percent of the country's overall ecological footprint.

Scientists to pour $100M into investigating potentially intelligent alien civilization

Scientists to pour $100M into investigating potentially intelligent alien civilization

UC Berkeley researchers involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’s (SETI’s) Breakthrough Listen project are planning to use the program’s $100 million budget to a star that may be surrounded by a large structure built by an intelligent alien civilization.

Dr. Andrew Siemion, the director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, told reporters that a star called KIC 8462852’s light patterns were found to be different from those seen on other stars.

Researchers develop metamaterials that shrink when heated

Researchers develop metamaterials that shrink when heated

A team of scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and other institutions claimed to have developed 3D printed materials with a unique property of shrinking, instead of expanding, when heated.

The 3D printed lightweight metamaterials have negative thermal expansion quality, which enables the materials to be tuned to shrink over a broad range of temperatures. The reesach team involved members from the LLNL, University of Southern California, UC Los Angeles and MIT.

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Scientists develop fastest ever electric current to turn computers, mobile phones ever faster

Scientists develop fastest ever electric current to turn computers, mobile phones ever faster

A team of scientists, including a young Indian, have developed the fastest electric current inside a solid material, which could transform electronic devises like computers or mobile phones ever-faster.

Over the past five decades, scientists have been able to reduce the size of transistors used in modern electronic devises to fit inside an integrated chip, allowing an increasing number of operations to be performed by them. This has led to a revolution in human capacity of fast computing.

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Scientists map Milky Way in unprecedented detail

Scientists map Milky Way in unprecedented detail

In a bid to better understand the Milky Way and make future studies about it more accurate, a team of scientists has created a detailed map of the entire stretch of hydrogen atoms in our galaxy.

The scientists created the detailed map of galaxy's hydrogen atoms called the HI4PI using data collected by the world's two most powerful telescopes, viz. Parkes Observatory in Australia and Effelsberg 100-m Radio Telescope in Germany.

New study challenges ‘dark energy’ theory

New study challenges ‘dark energy’ theory

A team of Oxford University researchers led by Prof. Subir Sarkar has challenged the Nobel-winning theory that suggests the universe has been expanding at an accelerating rate driven by a strange substance called dark energy.

The theory in question was first proposed in the late 1990s after an analysis of Type Ia supernovae (thermonuclear explosion of dying stars) through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Necropsy couldn’t pinpoint cause of whale calf’s death

Necropsy couldn’t pinpoint cause of whale calf’s death

A team of biologists from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries conducted a necropsy on a female sperm whale calf that was found dead on a Cameron Parish beach but they could not determine what killed the marine creature.

The whale calf was first spotted on the Holly Beach on Thursday morning by a beachgoer, who called the wildlife officials and reported the finding. Responding to the report, biologists arrived on the scene and pronounced the calf dead. Holly Beach is in southwestern part of Louisiana.

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