On Science – Glacier Melting Fast

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,301
    2-4-14: On this episode of On Science, a glacier in Greenland is melting at unprecedented speeds, scientists discover fiery-red coral in the Pacific Ocean, and there are only four true human facial expressions as opposed to the six that were previously thought.

    Where's fastest glacier in the world?


    What's red hot and found in the Pacific ocean?


    A new technique for studying particles from out of this world….


    And the four faces of human expression coming today… On Science!


    Hello and welcome to On Science.  I’m Emerald Robinson.


    A glacier in Greenland is breaking the speed limit.  Researchers from the University of Washington and the German Space Agency say that a Greenland glacier is moving at unprecedented speeds.  Comparing satellite data, they say the current speeds are four times faster than those observed on a glacier in the 1990s.  Just how fast is fast for glacier?  This one clocked in at 10 miles per year---setting the record for fastest glacier or ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica.  And thanks to its fast melting, it has contributed an .03 inch rise in sea level in the past ten years and is expected to contribute a bit more over the next decade.  Pull over that ice is too fast.


    While that sea may be icy, there’s a fire beneath the Peruvian Pacific.  Scuba drivers recently collected a new fiery-red coral species in Peru’s Paracas National Reserve.  Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute say this coral may be a one of a kind—not to be found anywhere else in the world.  Researchers identified the new species of soft coral using light and scanning-electron microscopy. Researchers say they’re beginning to discover the amazing biodiversity of corals and marine invertebrates in the Peruvian Pacific.  Here’s a little bonus for researchers.  Obviously, you find it you name it.  The new species is named Psammogorgia hookeri for biologist Yuri Hooker. 


    And scientists have a new technique for studying life ingredients that are out of this world. Earth is constantly blasted with dust from comets and asteroids.  Researchers at NASA say that, despite their small size, these dust particles “may have provided higher quantities and steadier supply of extraterrestrial organic material to early Earth” than meteorite impacts.  But their extremely small size has kept them from being studied heavily.  Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory used a nanoflow liquid chromatography instrument to sort the molecules, then applied nanoelectrospray ionization to identify the molecules based on their mass.  They said they “are pioneering the application of these techniques for the study of meteorite organics.”  They also said that these techniques and any others they develop will be beneficial to future sample-return missions, such as ones to Mars, where sample size will be limited.


    Let’s play guess the expression. What am I feeling? (making face) What am I feeling now? If you guess, surprise then fear you were correct.  But you’re probably saying, they both looked the same.  New research from the University of Glasgow says that humans only display four rather than six basic emotions.  Using new technology to look at the “temporal dynamics” of facial expression, they found the “fear” and “surprise” share typical facial signals as does “anger” and “disgust.” These finds help researchers better understand the basics of human emotion communication. 


    Today is World Cancer Day—a day in which to celebrate survivors and spread awareness for those who’ve been lost.  Cancer cases are predicted to surge 57% worldwide in the next 20 years due to a growing and aging population.  Researchers say that treatment will not be enough.  Our focus needs to be on preventive public health policies involving prevention and early detection.  But on a positive note, half of all cancers are preventable and can be avoided if current medical knowledge is acted upon.  So to honor World Cancer Day, start living a healthier lifestyle and addressing bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.  And remember the key is early detection.


    And that’s the latest in science news! See you tomorrow, On Scientists!