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Submission + - Hints of Life's Start Found in a Giant Virus (

An anonymous reader writes: In the world of microbes, viruses are small — notoriously small. Pithovirus is not. The largest virus ever discovered, pithovirus is more massive than even some bacteria. Most viruses copy themselves by hijacking their host’s molecular machinery. But pithovirus is much more independent, possessing some replication machinery of its own. Pithovirus’s relatively large number of genes also differentiated it from other viruses, which are often genetically simple — the smallest have a mere four genes. Pithovirus has around 500 genes, and some are used for complex tasks such as making proteins and repairing and replicating DNA. “It was so different from what we were taught about viruses,” Abergel said.

The stunning find, first revealed in March, isn’t just expanding scientists’ notions of what a virus can be. It is reframing the debate over the origins of life.

Submission + - LHCb experiment observes new matter-antimatter difference

An anonymous reader writes: Matter and antimatter are thought to have existed in equal amounts at the beginning of the Universe, but today the Universe appears to be composed essentially of matter. By studying subtle differences in the behaviour of particle and antiparticles, experiments at the LHC are seeking to cast light on this dominance of matter over antimatter.

Now the LHCb experiment has observed a preference for matter over antimatter known as CP-violation in the decay of neutral B0s particles. The results are based on the analysis of data collected by the experiment in 2011.

Ocean-Crossing Dragonflies Discovered 95

grrlscientist writes "While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the Globe Skimmer, Pantala flavescens, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world."

Small Asteroid Making 400,000 Mile Pass By Earth 157

AtariKee writes "Universe Today is reporting that a small 10m asteroid, discovered earlier this month and named 2009 BD, is passing within 400,000 miles of Earth. Although the asteroid poses no threat to the planet, the site reports that the asteroid is still very interesting, as it may be a rare co-orbital asteroid (as in, shares the same orbit as Earth)."

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.