Tuesday science boost: The world's oldest fossils
These tubular microfossils were found in 3.4 billion-year-old sandstone.
August 23rd, 2011
10:26 AM ET

Tuesday science boost: The world's oldest fossils

Greetings, science and space fans! Here are some news items and fun stuff to check out today:

–Sure, all fossils are old. But now, scientists say they’ve found the oldest - specifically, single-celled organisms that are 3.4 billion years old. According to The New York Times, around that time, the moon was orbiting a lot closer to Earth, which raised huge tides. Our planet hadn’t evolved to provide oxygen, so our atmosphere was full of methane. If these organisms really did come from that time, it means that life on Earth probably evolved after the Late Heavy Bombardment, which was a period when asteroids were crashing into the planet and heating the surface to molten rock, the Times reports.

–Be sure to add this term to your space vocabulary: "hot Jupiter." A hot Jupiter is a kind of planet outside our solar system that has a mass about the same as our own Jupiter, but has an orbit that is a lot closer to the host star than Jupiter is to the sun. As Time magazine reports, scientists were surprised to find a hot Jupiter that's blacker than you can imagine. This planet, called TrES-2b, reflects only about 1% of sunlight, whereas our Jupiter reflects 50%. And TrES-2b is more than 160 times closer to its star than Jupiter is to the sun. Read the article to find out more about this mysterious discovery.

–And in other exoplanet news, some planets outside our solar system actually have orbits in the opposite direction as the spin of their host stars. Here's a possible explanation, New Scientist reports.

–Coral populations are in jeopardy worldwide, and the decline is especially significant in the Caribbean, where elkhorn coral has decreased by about 90% over the past 15 years, in part because of white pox. But how did coral get white pox? Scientists have found a possible culprit: bacteria from human feces, which leaked into the water from septic tanks. Ecologist James Porter says this is the first time human disease has been shown to kill an invertebrate, Livescience reports.

–Time flies when you're having fun, sometimes, right? Our brains have a curious perception of time, and scientists are trying to figure out why some time spans seem to last longer than others. A new study suggests that channels of neurons are associated with certain time lengths, Wired reports.

–You may not remember your college science days fondly, but here's a gallery to make you crave the classroom: "25 Most Awesome College Labs 2011" from Popular Science. Students in these labs get to crash cars, build robots, brew beer and more. At Cornell, students can major in game design; at MIT, you can build toys and test them on kids. (At Princeton, we went to Six Flags Wild Safari to study animal behavior; that was pretty cool, too).

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Filed under: In Space • News • On Earth
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. lpeters

    @ Mr Sinister- HILARIOUS!!! But boy does he hate being right all the time

    September 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  2. izzysatan?

    hahaha- a pair of balls rather than a crucifix too funny! the fossil is cool, but does that mean that there was life before oxygen? im confused.. and there is a god, his name is planet EARTH!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Acromyrmex-versicolor

      Yes, there was life before there was oxygen (or at least an oxygen-rich atmosphere). The earliest life on earth was anaerobic bacteria, which didn't require oxygen for growth and may have even been harmed by the presence of oxygen.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  3. Woah, JESUSISINME!

    I believe in Jesus and what He came to do. But I don't remotely recognize Jesus in you. He came to love, and to serve. Above all—to serve. He spent time with people who were the worst among society, yet the only ones He was angry at were those who professed to believe yet lived full of hypocrisy. His sermons teach us to listen and forgive and love; not to shout and accuse and speak with arrogance.

    The mere idea that God would enjoy separating Himself from one of His children and more severely punishing that child with extra torture from the prince of this world just proves how little you know about both the Bible and about God. There is no conflict between God and science. God created the mystery of the world and science struggles and mostly fails to explain it. But the search for truth is honorable.

    "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God." (Romans 14:10)

    August 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      People will occasionally write offensive materials simply to get a response. My advice: ignore them.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  4. JesusIsInMe

    Those that believe these lies are going to burn in hell forever. Jesus told us not to trust science because it is Satan's work. Just believe what The Holy Bible says and you will get into Heaven. What is so difficult to understand about that?

    In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Reaper

      People like you are not worth arguing with because you've already surrendered your ability to think rationally, so...

      Jesus was actually a gay gangbanger, the apostles were actually his boyfriends who fu(ked him so hard the Romans had to crucify him in fear that he'll spread AIDS (which did not exist yet) throughout the Roman Empire. Right before Pontius Pilot condemned him to death he raped his mouth and cut his balls off. He actually died of massive bleeding before they crucified him, but they did it anyway out of formality. You should actually be wearing a pair of balls around your neck rather than a cross.

      Dummy.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:32 am |
      • JesusIsInMe

        Demon!!! I will be laughing at you from Heaven while you burn in hell. Chrisitans are better than everyone else because everyone else is going to hell. Unless you get saved by Jesus you are a lower human being as you have just proven. You're in big trouble with GOD he will surely tell Satan to be extra cruel with you. You're just angry because you know that Christianity is the Truth and you don't want to accept Jesus because of your pride and ignorance. Eternity of Hell awaits you and all those that don't believe exactly what saved people believe.

        Burn in hell infidel. I'm better than you because I'm saved. I wish more Christians actually said this to get the point across, all of my friends and family already think this, we should have the courage to say it.

        August 24, 2011 at 7:38 am |
      • Reaper

        lol... wow, it's okay, I forgive you because I know you're just mad that Jesus had daily gay gangbangs and you're too far into the closet to tell your family and friends that you want those too. It's ok, whenever you feel down just think "What Would Jesus Do?" and have a gay gangbang with 12 guys.

        I'll pray for you.

        August 24, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • J7Elevated

      hahaha I 100% agree with what Reaper has to say on the subject. i don't have anything against religion, its just not my thing. to blindly follow something without proof is just not rational to me. But for you to say that you are better than everyone else because you're a Christian is the most absurd thing I've ever heard! What makes you think you're better than me? cause you're a christian! Please tell me you're joking! I according to you and your religion "we are all children of the Lord" so for you to say something like that, well it kinda goes against your beliefs which makes you just one of those ignorant people who just follow and cant think on their own. PLUS is there any proof that Jesus exists or existed? besides a book which was probably originally written by the same people who made up Jesus in the first place (which makes your whole religion a lie btw)? IM SORRY BUT JESUSISINME YOU ARE A MORON!

      August 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
      • Hypocritical

        So sad how you can say youll laugh at people in hell....not very christian of you...

        There is no conflict between God and science.

        Jesus told us not to trust science because it is Satan's work.

        Do you hear yourself ? Do you actually think your thoughts make the world a better place ?

        September 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • beenthere

      LOL! – Why would anyone want to go to heaven if you are there? You give your religion a bad name. I believe you are supposed to act as Jesus would. I highly doubt he would approve of your words, your selfishness, nor your hypocrisy. You call science "Satan Spawn" yet you sit there showing your ignorance on a machine that science and technology made possible. I would be ashamed to have you represent me if I were Jesus. Frankly, I hope I do stand before God, I have a few things I would like to say to him...

      September 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Greg

      "What is so difficult to understand about that?"

      Lets start with: 'That you can say what you said, yet still apparently have the mental capacity to use a computer and post it on the internet'

      September 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  5. Reaper

    People that refuse to acknowledge evidence are either too conditioned (read: brainwashed) or dumb to comprehend how it fits into thinking about the Universe. Such people's opinions are best interpreted like that of a dog's bark or child's temper tantrum cry; superflous and without merit.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  6. Mr Sinister

    Ahh, life ah.. ah... ah... ah..finds a way.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  7. ChaoticDreams

    Now comes the evolutionary debate.
    And here we...go.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Bemused

      Well, ovbiously God put those fossils there and made them look old just to mess with us.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:06 am |
      • Bemused

        whoops..."obviously"

        August 24, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • Reaper

      There is only a social debate not a scientific one. It's a debate between those that believe in superstitious mythology and those that are rational and admit ignorance to the greater questions about the Universe.

      "Only a closed mind is certain"

      "Trust in those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they found it" – Aleister Crowley

      August 24, 2011 at 7:25 am |

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