Archive for September, 2005

Wild Gorillas Use Tools, Photos Reveal

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 30, 2005   View Article

Researchers have observed and photographed wild gorillas using sticks and stumps to navigate a swampy forest clearing in the Republic of the Congo. The images provide the first documented use of tools among wild gorillas.

In one instance, a female gorilla named Leah tried to wade across a pool of water but found herself waist deep after just a few steps. She retreated, grabbed a branch sticking out of the water, and used it to gauge the water’s depth before wading deeper.

“Lost” Dark Matter Discovered in Space, Scientists Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 28, 2005   View Article

Astronomers say they have found a type of matter that cannot be seen, but which is thought to dominate the cosmos, in a place where it was thought not to exist.

The finding gives weight to a common theory of how the universe is pieced together.

The exact nature of the matter, called dark matter, is unknown, but scientists believe it accounts for more than 90 percent of the mass in the universe.

To Save Sagebrush, Researchers Unleash the Power of Sheep

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 27, 2005   View Article

Researchers in Idaho have found a way to use sheep to rid vast swathes of public grazing sagebrush lands of invasive weeds.

The weeds, spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) and leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), are native to Europe. They were introduced to the United States in the 1800s and now infest much of the northern U.S.

Chameleons Say It With Color

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 26, 2005   View Article

Chameleons are famous for their ability to change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. But experts say camouflage is only half the story of the tropical lizard’s remarkable trait.

“Communication is also partly the function of coloration,” Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator of herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, wrote in an e-mail interview.

Officials May Run Out of Hurricane Names This Year

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 23, 2005   View Article

To get a sense of just how turbulent the 2005 hurricane season has been, consider this: Forecasters may soon exhaust their list of pre- selected names.

Each year 21 common names are reserved for tropical storms. There are just four left for 2005: Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma. After that, they go Greekā€”as in letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and so on.

Babies Use Rhythms to Adapt to Their Culture, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 21, 2005   View Article

By the time babies celebrate their first birthday, their ears are already tuned to the rhythms and sounds of their culture, researchers say.

The finding suggests that one-year-olds in North America, for example, notice subtle changes in waltz-like rhythms but not in the complex dance rhythms unique to other continents.

NASA Aims for Moon by 2018, Unveils New Ship

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 19, 2005   View Article

Today NASA unveiled plans to return humans to the moon by 2018. Astronauts are expected to travel in a new spaceship that combines technologies developed for the space shuttle and Apollo programs.

The last lunar landing was during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The new plan will cost about 104 billion U.S. dollars over the next 13 years and help President George W. Bush achieve the vision for space exploration that he outlined on January 14, 2004. At that time Bush said he wanted humans back on the moon by 2020.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach