It’s a science fiction horror story – a young astronaut takes a year-long mission closely orbiting a black hole. When he returns home, thousands of years have passed and everyone he has ever known has been dead for centuries. Is there a hint of truth to this terrifying tale?
This imaginary astronaut’s story is a prediction from Einstein’s theories of relativity. Einstein proposed that the speed of all light is the same, no matter where you are standing, and no matter how fast you’re moving. That means space can shrink and stretch, and the steady tick of time isn’t so steady after all. Continue Reading →
Scanning electron micrograph of a cluster of Syn 3.0. Credit: Tom Deerinck and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at the University of California at San Diego.
It takes a lot of information to make a human. It’s kept in our cells as DNA, which contains at least 20 000 genes. Some other forms of life can get by with much less DNA and fewer genes. Now one team of scientists think they’re close to making the simplest living thing possible.
The team used a bacterium known as Mycoplasma mycoides, which has a very small set of DNA. The team looked at all the genes in the bacterium and tried to work out which ones were most important. Continue Reading →
Australians love dogs. About 40 per cent of Australian households have a dog. And if you love your dog, you should give it a hug, right? Probably not, new research shows.
Stanley Coren, a psychologist and dog expert at the University of British Columbia, searched the internet for pictures of people hugging dogs. In more than 80 per cent of the pictures, the dogs were showing multiple signs of stress. Only 10 per cent looked to be having a good time. Continue Reading →
We’re a bit late to the party, but every year, museums from around the world gather together to participate in a deeply serious dancing competition, held by the When You Work At a Museum blog. This year’s very serous champion is the Museum of Victoria. Check out their sombre and deadpan performance below.
It’s been really busy at Double Helix headquarters in the last few weeks. We’ve moved office, to the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra. There are lots of cool things at our new workplace, including a whole museum of CSIRO science! And when CSIRO staff need to zip into town or out to a research station, we get to drive around in brand new electric cars.
Most cars burn petrol, releasing pollutants into the air including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. Electric cars run on electricity, stored in batteries. They don’t directly emit any gases into the air – they don’t even use tailpipes! Continue Reading →
Dinosaur eggs by the dozen! Image: The Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Almost two years ago, we reported on the discovery of a special fossilized dinosaur specimen – the first pterosaur egg preserved in 3D! Pretty impressive, huh? Since then, there have been some other interesting finds. So we thought it was time to crack open the fossil files and take a look at some of the most egg-citing dinosaur egg finds!
Dr Thomas Rich is Senior Curator in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Melbourne Museum. He says: “Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a single egg found in Australia. But fossilized dinosaur egg discoveries aren’t all that rare, if you know where to look. Argentina, Montana and China are some of the most significant discovery sites.” Continue Reading →