Scientific Discoveries: 4-9-12

Wuhan, China – Medical professionals in developing countries have long wondered how to sterilize medical instruments and cleanse patients of bacteria without all of the conveniences of a modern hospital. Lately, a group of researchers in China is working on a new technology that would allow doctors to use a flashlight to destroy bacteria. This device projects a beam of cold plasma from a cylinder that resembles a flashlight, and the cold plasma destroys any bacteria within a few moments of contact. This new technology will allow hospitals in developing countries to sterilize wounds and medical instruments quickly and easily, without the equipment normally required at a modern hospital.

Amherst, Massachusetts – Climatologists are puzzled over what looks like a massive greenhouse-gas global warming event that took place over 55-million years ago, and a group of researchers at the University of Massachusetts think they may have found the answer. The puzzle is centered around massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane present during the event and where it came from. The answer may be Antarctic permafrost, which held large quantities of CO2 and methane. As the permafrost thawed, it released more carbon, which in turn caused the planet to warm and more carbon to be released. The positive feedback cycle resulted in a temperature increase of 5 degrees celsius.

Cambridge, Massachusetts – There continues to be speculation over just how profound an effect carbon dioxide has on the warming of the atmosphere, partially due to the ice cores taken from Antarctica. Environmentalists have long argued that carbon dioxide is the precursor to and main cause of global warming, but ice cores taken from Antarctica have not backed up that hypothesis. Recently, a group of scientists completed a thorough investigation of ice cores from all over the world, and they found that elevated carbon dioxide levels predated rising ocean temperatures.

Liaoning Province, China – The feathered cousin to the Tyrannosaurus Rex may have been recently discovered in China. The discovery was largely unexpected in the scientific world, due to there being little connection between the newly discovered Yutyrannus hauli (the feathered dinosaur) and other species of theropod. The dinosaur was close to nine meters long, and likely weighed over 1400 kilograms as an adult. This considerable size means that the new dinosaur now holds the record for the largest feathered dinosaur on record, beating out the previous record-holder by a factor of forty.

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