The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (1/24)

Biocentric

Telltale chemistry could reveal ET

Alien life might be hard to find for the simple reason that it is fundamentally unlike Earth life. It might not use DNA, or contain protein. But whatever and wherever it is, its tendency to chemically alter its environment might just give it away. Life has had a radical impact on Earth's chemistry – perhaps most notably leading to soaring atmospheric oxygen concentrations around 2.2 billion years ago. If life has had a comparable impact elsewhere in the solar system, the relative abundances of chemicals key for its survival – whatever they may be – could betray its presence.

Green_laser1 Laser attacks on planes doubled in 2010

For less than $30 you can purchase a laser pointer upwards of 100 milliwatts, powerful enough to pinpoint a star in the night sky with an unwavering beam of eerie green. Astronomers are especially fond of the devices. Unfortunately, so are pranksters and vandals. Reports of lasers aimed at airplanes have nearly doubled in the last year, leaping from 1,527 in 2009 to 2,836 in 2010 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500x_world20war20ii20soldiers20training (1) What's the Carbon Footprint of War?

In the past few years, some researchers have explored whether warfare and societal collapse might be explained in part by swings in climate. But what about the opposite effect? Can humanity's skirmishes change the climate? A 2007 study found that periods of cold weather preceded 12 of 15 major conflicts in China's ancient dynasties. The frost would have created food shortages, the study suggested, which would have inspired rebellions and made communities more vulnerable to invasion. More recently, a study in Science argued that dramatic shifts in climate would have affected agriculture, contributing to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Thumb160x_divorce-procedure-in-uk_3 Does Facebook Destroy Marriages?

Him: "Are you unhappy?" Her: "No, of course not. Why do you ask?" Him: "Well, the few rare times we make love you cry out his name, not mine." Her: "Who's name?" Him: "Facebook." Yeah, pretty heavy huh? Real life stuff pouring out all over the pages of Gizmodo. But what's it mean? It means Facebook ends marriages, that's what it means. An astonishing 80% of U.S. divorce lawyers report that social media evidence is now cited in divorce cases as one of the many reasons a marriage comes crashing to an end. One in five doomed married couples cite Facebook by name in their divorce proceedings, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

500x_untitled-2 Five Best Android Newsreaders

First Gizmodo took a look at the five most popular newreader apps for iOS. Now they're back to balance things out with a peek at the five most popular newsreaders for the Android. Earlier this week they asked their readers to share their favorite Android newsreader. They tallied up the nominations, and now they're back to share the five most popular readers.

 

Himalayan Glaciers Shrinking, With One Exception

An important portion of the Himalaya’s glacier cover is currently stable and, thanks to an insulating layer of debris, may be even growing, a new study finds. The study’s conclusion contradicts a portion of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that had to be retracted last year because it could not be substantiated. Though the IPCC report stated that the risk of the region’s glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high,” the new study finds that ice cover is stable in the Karakoram mountains, a northern range that holds about half of the Himalaya’s store of frozen water. That’s not to imply that water reservoirs on what’s often called the roof of the world aren’t under stress. Throughout most Himalayan ranges, roughly 65 percent of the studied glaciers were shrinking, Dirk Scherler of the University of Potsdam, Germany, and his colleagues report in the January 23 Nature Geoscience. But in Karakoram, 58 percent of studied glaciers were stable or slowly expanding up to 12 meters per year.

Himalayas-karakoram-glacier-flickr

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