Giant Virus-Eating Virus Discovered in Antarctica Lake

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A virus, dubbed "Organic Lake Virophage" or OLV, was discovered in Organic Lake, a 6,000-year-old body of saltwater in eastern Antarctica. Researchers found its genome hidden in sequences of local Phycodnaviruses — giant viruses that basically live in the lake and attack algae. Evidence suggests these two viruses have been swapping genes and co-evolving. Scientists have concluded that the OLV depends on the Phycodnaviruses for survival. The scientists also believe there may be other virus-eating viruses lurking in the depths.

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Could Jupiter Hold the Key to Solving the Mystery of Dark Energy? (A ‘Galaxy’ Most Popular)

Jupiter-altair Utane Sawangwit and Tom Shanks of Durham University believe that errors on the “gold standard” cosmic microwave background results from the WMAP satellite that includes dark matter, dark energy and the exponential expansion after the Big Bang known as inflation may be greater than previously supposed.

It is the pattern of ripples detected by microwave background telescopes such as WMAP that underpin the idea that the Universe is composed of 22% dark exotic particles and 74% dark energy with the remaining 4% being the atoms in the ordinary material that we see around us.

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The Milky Way Has Two Billion Earthlike Planets: How Many Will Prove to be Twin Earths?

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"Aliens could have been pointing their antennas at Earth for 4.6 billion years, without picking up a signal. Maybe the inhabitants [of a Twin Earth] are at the level of the classical Romans … or maybe trilobites. We need to check out hundreds of thousands of Earthlike worlds."

Dimitar Sasselov — Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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Image of the Day -The Brightest Quasar in the Observable Universe

QSO_1229+204 At the center of this barred spiral galaxy lurks quasar QSO 1229+204 — an object brighter than anything in the known universe. The distant quasar appears so bright that astronomers had to use the high resolving power of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) just to observe the host galaxy that astronomers discovered is in the process of colliding with a dwarf galaxy, which possibly fuels a supermassive black hole causing QSO 1229+204 to shine so brightly.

Image credit: NASA/Hubble

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‘The Urban Species’: UN warns of “a deadly collision between climate change and urbanization”

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"As a species we have lived in wild nature for hundreds of thousands of years, and now suddenly most of us live in cities—the ultimate escape from nature. If we do not learn to build, expand and design our cities with a respect for nature, we will have no nature left anywhere.”

Peter Kareiva, Conservancy chief scientist

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