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Nature Science

Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia

Paleontologists have discovered a 3.8 million-year-old skull in Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia that reveals the face of a male Australopithecus anamensis.

The newfound hominin cranium provides new information about our earliest ancestors.

Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia
Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia

Hominin bones before Lucy, the 3.2m-year-old iconic skeleton, previously served as a missing link in explaining the human evolutionary tree.

The leading scientist of the study, Yohannes Haile-Selassie, describes the unearthed skull a “game changer in our understanding of human evolution”.

The precious discovery of the Australopithecine as reported via Nature now represents the face of our oldest direct ancestor.

Yohannes Haile-Selassie with the complete skull of Australopithecus anamensis
Yohannes Haile-Selassie with the complete skull of Australopithecus anamensis
Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia
Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia
Rare Hominin skull excavated in Ethiopia
Categories
Science

Watch a soap bubble freeze

Did you know that you can blow up soap bubbles and instantly freeze them into ice orbs?

If you’re searching for a fun cold-weather activity, this is worth trying out.

Popular Science explains the science behind bubble freeze, in addition to instructions on how to make one.

There’s some interesting science at play here. Every bubble is made up of three individual layers: a thin layer of water molecules squished between two layers of soap. It might look like the entire surface of the bubble is freezing, but what you’re actually seeing is the innermost layer of water—which freezes at warmer temperatures than soapy water—turning to ice within the film.

As the soapy water turns into ice crystals, the inside of the bubble appears to swirl around to create a beautiful effect of a snowglobe — very photographic!

But the ice bubbles don’t last forever, notes bubble photographer Chris Ratzlaff: “Bubbles are such ephemeral things,” he says. “To be able to literally freeze them in time is such a rare experience.”

Enjoy some more bubble freezing videos below:

Watch a soap bubble freeze
via twitter
via Nan Walton/tw
Categories
Science Technology

MesoSPIMs: Custom-built microscopes that can scan individual neurons in the brain

MesoSPIMs are open-source light-sheet microscopes for imaging cleared tissue.

The custom-built microscopes enable scientists to look at individual neurons using sheets of light rather than cutting a brain into slices.

A chicken embryo captured under the mesoSPIM microscope

The mesoSPIM Initiative paves the way for the future discovery and understanding of the brain’s complex organization. The studies may one day reveal vital information on the neuronal networks that drive mental illnesses and addictions.

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Architecture & Design Science Technology

Watch styrofoam dancing to sound waves

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.

What looks like a dubstep rave of little ghost people is actually styrofoam dancing to sound waves in a massive plexiglass pipe known as a Kundt’s tube.

In 1866 German physicist August Kundt constructed the apparatus to measure the speed of sound in a gas or a solid rod.

The faux mosh pit is the result of a process called sound looking which demonstrates what audible vibrations may actually look like.

No one can doubt that life moves to fascinating rhythms & vibrations.

Watch the entire video below.

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Nature Science Travel

How Australia’s Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Lake Hillier in the Recherche Archipelago of Western Australia is known for its pink color.

The lake’s solid bubble-gum color continues to be debated but scientists indicate that the pink body of water is the result of the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.

The Halobacteria is known to produce red pigments which when mixed with salt-tolerant Dunaliella Salina, creates a stunning strawberry milkshake color.

Australia's Lake Hillier pink color
via twitter
How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
via twitter
How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
via twitter

Unlike other pink lakes that morph into colors, Lake Hillier retains its pink hue all year round. It’s also safe to swim in.

When viewed from above, the contrast between the pink and dark blue ocean is also striking. You can learn more about the bubblegum lake here.

Categories
Nature Science

The race to save coffee

“Coffee is the common man’s gold…”

Sheik Abd-al-Kabir ‘In praise of coffee’ (1587)

We take coffee for granted.

Judging by the ubiquity of Starbucks stores, you’d think that coffee was abundant. But the coffee we like to drink, the fruity-tasting coffee arabica, is projected to decline given the dual pressures of climate change which reduces suitable land to grow coffee and the ever-growing human demand for a “cup of joe.”

So how do we grow more coffee?

We breed new varieties. Right now, there are over 3,000 distinct varieties of watermelon and only 36 breeds of coffee.

Organizations like World Coffee Research have begun a version of plant sex (i.e., swapping pollen) to bloom a new type of arabica coffee that can resist drought and high temperatures.

Through a process called molecular breeding (non-GMO), the team will spend a decade screening baby plants trying to nail down the right formula of seeds it can distribute to the world’s farmers.

The life cycle of coffee
via twitter