An amazingly well preserved beetle fossil still retains its color - 47 millions years after it came to be.
Despite being tens of millions of years old, some beetle fossils appear almost as they did in life. Not only are their shape and structure preserved, but so are the actual colors of their shells, which have changed only slightly in the intervening eons.
I wonder if it is the case that the color of the beetle is due more to diffraction effects or pigmentation. If it is diffraction then perhaps the reason it is preserved is because the microscopic structures on the beetle’s carapace are unaltered during the fossilization process.
When ten million of tons of building, mixed with 91,000 liters of jet fuel, collapse into a smoking heap, an incredible variety of pulverized materials rise into the air. Though no one took samples of the plume that rose up from the World Trade Center on 9/11, samples of the dust that filtered down in the following days and gas emanating from the pile have given a glimpse of what rescue workers and others breathed in: heavy metals from computers, cellulose from paper, shards of metal and stone from the buildings’ walls, calcium carbonate from the tons of smashed cement, fibers from rugs, fragments of glass and burned hair.
The NYC EPA’s conflicting reports in the days after the disaster—air pollution levels seemed safe, yet rescue workers should wear bulky respirators—appear to have contributed to the ongoing public health crisis of “World Trade Center cough,” lung disease, and increased cancer rates in rescuers and those who worked nearby.
If the Higgs Boson exists, we’re running out of places to find it
After 18 months of study at the Large Hadron Collider, scientists have just about exhausted all of the various possible energies where the Higgs Boson - the “god particle” tying together the Standard Model of particle physics - could be found. Presenters at an August conference in Mumbai put the chances at 95% that the Higgs doesn’t exist. The silver lining exists for a) up-and-coming theoretical particle physicists, who are probably going to be in great demand, and b) Stephen Hawking, who boldly predicted that the Higgs will never be found.
I have heard the story told a bit differently by my friend who works with a group analyzing data for potential Higgs signatures. According to him, the Higgs is thought to most likely exist within two particular energy ranges. Scientists picked a range in the middle hoping to detect direct or indirect evidence of a Higgs signal. So far nothing, but there is still a pretty viable energy range where we could see evidence for the Higgs. Other sources I have heard have said it would take another couple of years of not finding the Higgs before we start looking at other possibilities.
On a side note, I am skeptical that theoretical physicists will ever be in “great demand,” much to my chagrin.
More ground zero police officers have died from cancer than those who were killed in the actual Sept. 11 attacks. The official number is that 23 NYPD officers lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. But 45 officers involved in rescue work have died from cancer since then, and…
While looting often becomes an issue post-disaster, it’s been the exact opposite in Japan.
Since the March earthquake and tsunami that leveled much of Japan, thousands of wallets containing a total of $48 million in cash have washed ashore — and been turned in, ABC reports. In addition, 5,700 safes containing $30 million in cash also have turned up.
Ryuji Ito, professor emeritus at Japan’s Yokohama City University, tells the Daily Mail that these acts of integrity are simply reflective of the culture:
“…The fact that a hefty 2.3 billion yen in cash has been returned to its owners shows the high level of ethical awareness in the Japanese people.” [read more; March 13 photo: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images]