Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Check out the amazing photos from our 2010 trips!

Voting is now open for the Discovery Student Adventures 2010 Photo Contest. We’ve posted the best pictures from last summer’s travel season on our Facebook page. Now it’s up to you to the pick your favorites in 5 different categories. We’ll choose our winners based on your selections, but you’ve got to be a Discovery Student Adventures Facebook fan to vote. To cast your vote, simply click on the “Wall” tab on our Facebook page and click on the posts Adventure, Iconic Landmark/Landscape, Cultural Interaction, Service Learning, or Student/Teacher. Voting will run through Thursday, September 30, and we’ll announce the winners on our Facebook page Friday, October 1. Best of luck to our photo finalists!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New volcano probes: Journey to the center of the Earth?

Super-heat-resistant radio transmitters could soon be dropped into volcanoes to provide early warnings of eruptions. Conventional electronics are made with silicon, but such technology fails to function at about 660 degrees F. The new electronics are made of silicon carbide, and can theoretically withstand up to 1,650 degrees F, the kind of heat found inside jet engines. The researchers are now working to integrate components made from the silicon-carbon compound into devices about the size of an iPhone. Scientists could drop such gadgets into the depths of the earth to help measure subtle changes in the levels of key volcanic gases, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. They could then wirelessly feed back real-time data to the surface, providing vital details regarding volcanic activity and potential eruptions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Does the Loch Ness Monster have English relatives?

The hunt is on for a new lake monster -- not at Scotland's Loch Ness, home of the fabled "Nessie," but this time in nearby England. Ever since 2006, when the first report emerged from England's biggest lake of a 20-foot-long creature in Lake Windermere, a new lake monster legend has gained strength on the sightings of something dubbed "Bow-Nessie." Lake Windermere, located in the northern part of England, is bordered by two towns, Ambleside and Bownesson-Windermere -- hence the clever monster nickname Bow-Nessie. Monster hunters are now using sonar to try to find the elusive animal that reportedly lurks in the 220-foot-deep lake.

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 Photo Contest: Win up to $1,500 in travel vouchers!

Did you shoot amazing photos on your Discovery Student Adventures journey last summer? Share them with us and you could be rewarded with travel money to use toward a 2011 journey with Discovery Student Adventures. We will award 5 travel vouchers in 5 categories worth $500 each, plus a $1,000 to the best overall photo. That means our grand prize winner will receive travel money totaling $1,500. Send us as many pictures as you want through September 20. Click here to enter.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mars not "dead" afterall?

If new results from the now-defunct Mars Phoenix mission are any indication, the red planet is not dead yet. Data from the Mars Phoenix lander indicate that water has been weathering the planet's surface throughout its history, even into recent geological times. The data also suggest that geologically recent volcanic eruptions have replenished the planet's carbon-dioxide atmosphere in what could be an ongoing activity. The evidence comes in the form of intricate measurements the lander took of the planet's atmosphere--specifically, the relative abundance of different forms of carbon and oxygen in atmospheric CO2.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green gym generates electricity from bikers

With row after row of exercise machines, most gyms burn far more electrical power than calories. But by equipping stationary bikes and elliptical machines with generators, a San Diego gym has become as healthy for the Earth as it is for its patrons. The gym, named the Greenasium, uses a special bike called the visCycle. The visCycle generates enough electricity to offset the box fan that the Greenasium uses to cool down the room. That fan constitutes most of the gym's electricity use, as there is no air conditioning. When more than one person uses a visCycle or similarly equipped elliptical, the cardio machines put out enough power to offset the music, computer and lights as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Twins boost China's panda baby boom

The birth of twin pandas at a research center brought the number of the endangered species born in captivity this year in China to a record 25. The twins, both weighing about 5.5 ounces, were born September 6 at the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The as-yet-unnamed cubs were the first for their 8-year-old mother Youyou, the report said. The bears are the sixth set of twins born to captive pandas this year—a sign of the growing success of China’s extensive breeding program, which relies heavily on artificial insemination, Chinese researchers say.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Human-like brain found in worm

Brain structures directly related to the human brain have been identified in a marine ragworm, according to a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Cell. The discovery means that the origins of the human brain can now be traced back at least 600 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with this species, Platynereis dumerilii, a relative of the common earthworm. “This worm lives in self-made tubes, explores its environment actively for food, and shows signs of learning behavior,” lead author Raju Tomer told Discovery News.

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