Scitech Briefs

Bigfoot is back!

In the Malaysian state of Johor, the Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman announced that the government will form an official Bigfoot-tracking team in response to sightings of three giant human-like creatures. Wildlife officials plan to set up camera traps in the jungle to capture images; the tourism department hopes that the monsters will attract visitors to Johor and the Endau Rompin National Park forest, where the beasts were last seen.


You won’t get full on this: the world’s smallest fish

In an acidic peat swamp in Thailand, scientists have found the world’s smallest fish. The fish lives in dark, tea-colored water with an acidity of pH 3 (at least 100 times more acidic than rainwater), it has a see-through body, and a head that is unprotected by a skeleton. These small fishes are of the species Paedocypris progenetica, a member of the carp family. Females only grow to 7.9 millimeters (0.31 inches) and males have enlarged pelvic fins and exceptionally large muscles that may be used to grasp the female during copulation. “This is one of the strangest fish that I’ve seen in my whole career,” said Ralf Britz, a zoologist at the Natural History Museum in London; he helped analyze the fish’s skeleton.

Source: Yahoo News

Another planet?

Astronomers have discovered another planet outside the solar system. It is a ball of rock and ice about 5.5 times as massive as Earth. This planet is smaller than any of the 160 previously discovered exoplanets; it is even smaller than Neptune. It orbits a reddish star 21,000 light-years from here. It has been named OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb and is about 234 million miles from its star. “At that distance, its surface temperature would be minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Jean-Philippe Beaulieu of the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris.

Source: The New York Times

Frozen methane gas deposit discovered in California

Scientists have discovered an undersea deposit of frozen methane just off the coast of southern California that could potentially be used as a source of energy. The size of the deposit is unknown, but the researchers believe it to be substantial. Methane hydrates, ice-like crystals that form under seabeds and Arctic permafrost, can be used to power the world for centuries to come. Developing the technology to tap into these natural resources poses a problem, however.

Source: The Mercury News

Intel and partners to spend $10 billion on Itanium products

Intel Corp. and a group of industry partners plan to invest $10 billion over the next five years to aid in the development and promotion of products based on the Itanium processor. The money will be spent on research and development, sales and marketing, and supporting software vendors as they port applications to Itanium. A portion of this money will go to the Itanium Solutions Alliance, an organization launched in September 2005 to promote the Itanium architecture.

Source: IDG News Service