Scientific discoveries this week: 11-8-10

Batavia, Illinois – Researchers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, have been studying one of the most illusive particles in existence. Known as antineutrinos, these almost undetectable particles are pumped out by the sun in massive quantities, but because they are so small and lightweight, all but the very smallest number of them pass through the Earth without leaving any trace. Understanding these particles may help in understanding more about the presence of other “hidden particles.”

Oxford, United Kingdom – Researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom have discovered that by shocking the parietal lobe of the brain with mild electrical pulses temporarily increases the brain’s ability to do math and remember values. The study was conducted with 15 university students testing their ability to remember the relative values of 9 different made-up symbols. This shock therapy could last up to 6 months, allowing people with various degenerative brain illnesses to live normal lives.

Houston, Texas – The comet Hartley 2 was sighted by the EPXOI spacecraft at 10:00 AM Friday, travelling at nearly 43,000 Kilometers per hour. The comet, which is actually the conglomeration of two separate comets, is roughly the shape of a dong’s bone chew toy, kind of a long cylinder flattened in the middle. This is the fifth comet to have been imaged this closely; it was first seen by Deep Space 1 in 2001.

Jerusalem, Israel – The ruins of what looks to be a lush, tropical garden have been discovered near Jerusalem. The gardens, which are dated from the 7th century BC, were a sign of great political power in that era. The ability to hold water enough to irrigate these massive gardens was only possible for the wealthy and powerful, and signified their ownership of a certain geographical area. The only similar garden from that era is located in Mesopotamia, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

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