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Oldest plant fossil – Fossil friday

Oldest plant fossils - Liverwort cryptospores
You are looking at the oldest plant remains scientists have ever found. These are spores (cryptospores to be precise) which are no bigger than 40 µm (micrometers) from at least five different species including an unknown one (h). They dated the rocks containing them and found their age to be 471 to 473 millions of years old! Although none of the species that produced these spores are alive today, their descendants still are however. They form a clade of primitive plants (more…)

Billion dollar asteroid

Did you know a billion dollar asteroid has flown by
What is several hundreds of meters long, moves at an unbelievable speed, could destroy humanity and is worth billions of dollars?

This year, the New-Horizon probe has attracted quite a bit of attention but another massive event happened that went a bit under the radar. In July, an asteroid made a fly-by. Its particularity ? It could contain a billion dollars worth treasure inside of it. Sci&Fi investigated a little deeper into the 2011 UW158 asteroid. (more…)

Water on Mars – What we really know – part 1

There has been much hype in the media about water on Mars, about the latest discovery of ravines etc.. At Sci&Fi, we are not too fond of science being made sensational and inaccurate. If you were to pay close attention to what a variety of sources have to say, it seems that we have discovered at least three times that there is water on Mars. Well it isn’t so!! Follow us on a little historical journey on what scientist have actually said and what we currently know; truth is always more interesting than what they’ll have you believe.

Back in time: 2009
Banner - picture of phoenix lander and its landing zone on Mars
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Getting out of a black hole

We picture black holes as mighty beasts that will inevitably engulf everything around them, not even light has a chance to escape.
However, a few scientists have claimed that black holes actually aren’t so black so to speak. Dr Stephen Hawking, for instance, claims that some things can indeed come out and that radiations could be observed as if coming out of a black hole. So here it is, our topic on what goes out of a black hole.

EDIT: we made a little mistake in the second panel, the mass of a black hole is finite (about a few solar masses for black holes originating from collapsed stars) but the gravity within the horizon is infinite.
EDIT 2: Mistake corrected 🙂
Infographics on exiting a black hole according to Hawking
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Visual Credits:
Dr Stephen Hawking and starry background, Wikimedia.

References:
KTH, Hawking offers new solution to black hole mystery.
Prasanna Kumar,K.N., Kiranagi, B.S. and Bagewadi, C.S. (2012) Hawking Radiation – An Augmentation Attrition Model. Advances in Natural Science.

The progressive Pope

Sci&Fi quizz - what is the link between evolution, the big bang and climate change
Whatever one’s stance on Science and religion may be or if one has faith or not, one has to recognize that a turning point in the History of Science has been passed. Three of the most fundamental scientific concepts have been officially recognised by the Pope, namely the Evolution, the Big-bang and Climate change.

Could the Pope be more scientific than some of His believers ?

Why is that of any interest some would ask. Well, let’s be honest religion and science have not (more…)

The desert locust, millenary plague

It is one of the ten Biblical plagues but a source of food; harmless when alone, a curse when grouped in swarms of millions of individuals… the desert locust.

It’s biology is complex and changing, it can turn into a monster devouring everything on its path in a matter of days if the conditions force it too. As it was a fascinating subject, we decided to do something bigger than our usual infographic, we made a a poster out of it.
Poster on the desert locust - biology, life cycle and damages
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Surtsey’s suspended fate

Have you ever wondered what happen to volcanic islands that rise from the sea? Footage of their rising out of the ocean is always spectular but no one ever mentions what goes on next. Think things remain the way they are? You would be so wrong, so many slow processes occur. Actually, many of new volcanic islands never last long until they fall apart back on the seafloor or are eroded by the waves.

We’ve taken the example of Surtsey, which is a tiny island off the coast of Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean. It rose from the depths a bit more than 50 years ago but it has already been largely gnawed away by the ocean. Will it survive the erosion process? Scientists have studied it ever since its birth and only a study of its geologic evolution can answer this question. Have a look…
Infographic on the geologic evolution of the volcanic island of Surtsey

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Visual credits: (more…)

The Vikings in the Americas

The Vikings are the first Eurasians to have “discovered” the Americas.

The Vikings, these fierce sailors, had set foot on the East coast of the Americas well before Christopher Columbus did. Regularly, we hear stories that others before them did it such as the Arabs or the Chinese via the west coast. At Sci&Fi, we only believe what we see, and in this case only the Vikings left an indisputable archeological proof of their visits: l’Anse aux Meadows. From their tales (named the Sagas), we also know how they named this land, the Vinland (the land where vines grow). The most amazing part in all of this is that these events happened more than a thousand years ago! See for yourself.
Infographic of the archeology of the viking in america - l'anse aux meadows

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Visual credits: (more…)

Europe’s only wild monkeys

Picture of a Barbary macaque
Man is not the only primate present in Europe. But would you know where to find the other one?
If you have ever been to the Rock of Gibraltar, in the South of Spain, you surely haven’t missed its main attraction, the macaques. If you have never been then know that these are the only wild monkeys present in Europe! Let’s explore in more details who they are…

Infographic on the Barbary macaque from Gibraltar

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