Sicilian volcano Mount Etna awakes from slumber and erupts

Italy’s Mount Etna volcano has had its second eruption this year, with bright lava pouring down the side of the crater, contrasting with the snow-capped peaks of the Sicilian island. Etna is the highest active volcano in mainland Europe, with an approximate height of 3,330 meters (10,926 feet), and despite being known to awaken several times a year, it hasn’t had a major eruption since 1992.

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New study shows bees are capable of flexible decision making and adaptive behaviour

Scientists at the Queen Mary University of London have managed to prove through various tests that bees are a lot more intelligent than previously thought, with the insects displaying flexible decision making and adaptation to external factors to which they had never previously been exposed to. Up until now, it was known that bees were able to communicate to each other using “waggle dances” that indicated to their counterparts the direction of food, and were able to pull string to access said food. However, the latest discovery by biologist Olli J. Loukola and his team shows that bees are capable of much more.

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Seven Earth-sized, habitable-zone planets found by NASA’s Spitzer Telescope

Another day, another NASA discovery, with the agency announcing that their Spitzer Space Telescope has found seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around a single star, with several fixed firmly within the habitable zone. Their solar system, named TRAPPIST-1 is quite similar to ours, although the star and planets are all smaller compared to our own. This latest find represents one of NASA’s biggest space discoveries in recent history, up until now, not that many habitable-zone planets had been found to be orbiting a single star.

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Oroville Dam near-failure shines light on Atmospheric Rivers

The Oroville dam in California has been the cause of much concern over the past week, with torrential rain pushing it to its’ limits, leading authorities to evacuate over 180,000 people whose homes could be destroyed by a potential failure of the dam’s spillway system. Whilst the Oroville dam held-fast and the risk of a failure is considered to have waned, scientists have begun looking at the factors that started the situation in the first place. Continue reading Oroville Dam near-failure shines light on Atmospheric Rivers

Living microorganisms found trapped inside 60,000 year-old crystals

When NASA isn’t launching satellites into space or helping others service the International Space Station, they are making discoveries closer to home. A group of scientists from the famed space organization have uncovered a unique group of microorganisms dwelling inside the giant crystals of the Naica mine in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

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