Europa’s salty surface goes well with fries. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Europa, the fourth-biggest moon orbiting gas giant Jupiter, hides a salty, liquid ocean underneath its icy shell and thus, may harbor the ingredients necessary for life. A new study has found that Europa’s surface is full of sodium chloride — table salt — and concludes the hidden ocean underneath Europa’s ice may be more similar to Earth’s oceans than previously imagined. The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances by researchers at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, show for the first time how yellow patches on Europa’s surface, first noticed by NASA proves Voyager and Galileo decades ago, actually indicate the presence of sodium chloride. More astonishing is the fact the table salt has been hidden in plain view for years. Scientists just hadn’t been looking for it. “Sodium chloride is a bit like invisible ink on Europa’s surface,” NASA’s Kevin Hand said in a press release. “Before irradiation, you can’t tell it’s there, but after irradiation, the color jumps right out at you.” To make the discovery, the team irradiated plain white table salt in a laboratory that simulated the conditions present on Europa. They found that the white salt turned a shade of yellow — the same shade of yellow spotted by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on its imaging missions between 1995 and 2003. To confirm, they turned the Hubble Space Telescope to Europa and had it confirm the yellows on the surface were giving off a chemical signal that represented the irradiated table salt. It did.It’s a particularly important finding because of what it can tell us about the subsurface ocean chemistry. If the sodium chloride does originate from within Europa, then the moon’s ocean may resemble Earth’s much more closely. In a far-flung future, it could provide somewhere to mine as a resource or even settle. However, the authors note that they can’t yet say whether the surface table salt definitely represents the compositon of the subsurface ocean.Still, it opens the door for further investigation of Europa and suggests it may even be more geologically active than scientists once thought. If you want to sneak a look at Jupiter and its moons, there’s no better time. Jupiter is so close to the Earth right now that you only need a pair of binoculars. Europa is particularly bright so you shouldn’t have trouble spotting it. Take some popcorn and make a night of it. 3 Share your voice Comments Tags Space geeks tweak NASA images of Jupiter’s red spot 20 Photos Sci-Tech
Oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel on Tuesday, breaking out of a month-long trading range on technical buying and industry talk as well as U.S. government data suggesting the global supply glut could be ebbing.Global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 rallied for a third straight day and closed above $50 a barrel the first time in a month. In post-settlement trade, it briefly jumped $3 after an industry group reported an unexpected weekly drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.Earlier, Brent rose on a U.S. government forecast for tighter oil supplies, and indications that Russia, Saudi Arabia and other big producers might pursue further talks to support the market. A weaker dollar and chart-based buying also bolstered crude prices.Some dealers were convinced there was now little chance that Brent and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark for U.S. crude would slide back to the 6-1/2-year lows touched in August.”We have reduced the probability of a return to the $37 to $38 area per nearby WTI,” said veteran oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch. “We will maintain a longstanding view that price declines below this support level are virtually off of the table.”Brent settled up $2.67, or 5.4 percent, at $51.92, breaking out of the $47 to $50 band it had held since early September. Its session peak, a penny shy of $52, was the highest since Sept. 3, pushing three-day gains past 7 percent.WTI closed up $2.27, or 4.9 percent, at $48.53 a barrel.After settlement, Brent and WTI rose more when the American Petroleum Institute reported a weekly U.S. crude stockpile draw of 1.2 million barrels. [API/S] Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a second straight weekly increase in crude inventories.Official stockpile numbers will be published on Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). [EIA/S]”Steeper U.S. production declines over the near term have created a bid for oil prices,” said Chris Jarvis, analyst at Caprock Risk Management in Frederick, Maryland.In its monthly supply-demand report on Tuesday, the EIA said global oil demand will grow in 2016 by the most in six years while non-OPEC supply stalls.Oil executives at an industry conference in London warned of a “dramatic” decline in U.S. output that could lead to a price spike if fuel demand escalates.Russia’s energy minister said Russia and Saudi Arabia discussed the oil market in a meeting last week.OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said in London that OPEC and non-OPEC members should work together to reduce the global supply glut.Iran’s crude sales were on track to hit seven-month lows as its main Asian customers bought less.
Recently, Google has made some big changes in how it ranks websites, leaving enterprise companies with the difficult task of reworking their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy across teams and departments.Here is a new SEO approach for enterprise companies, based on my experience working with brands like Coca Cola, Target and IBM, and focusing on the key factors that matter most for search engine results.Results: 17 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Website Traffic1. Rethinking keyword researchSome might argue that keyword research is a dying art, but it’s only become a more sophisticated one. According to Google’s research, roughly 70 percent of the engine’s searches are for synonyms of keywords — not exact keywords — that Google must identify and understand to direct the user to the right place.As a result, Google is now focusing more on intent of the user versus the specific keywords used, turning search into more of a conversation than ever before. For enterprise companies, this means that your SEO experts need to work more closely with the editorial board to develop important topics and themes that are relevant to your audience’s interests, while also looking for ways to create content that’s inclusive of all the different things they might be searching for.2. Adopting new rules for contentDeveloping content for SEO may feel like old hat for your content team, which is why it’s important to bring them up to date on Google’s changing expectations for optimal content. Searchmetrics has identified a number of content factors that affect rank in 2015, including word count, how keywords are distributed, internal links and the use of header and meta-tags.Take a look at Searchmetric’s infographic about the factors (or put someone in charge of reading the full report and presenting the key elements to your content team).3. Embracing the user experience (UX) imperativeUser experience (UX) is another major area that’s influencing search. Cross platform compatibility and site speed have both been shown to affect search rank, but your enterprise teams will also have to pay attention to more nuanced UX variables, like proper content structure and useful internal linking.In the past, optimizing for the search engines and optimizing for website users were sometimes conflicting goals, but Google has moved more toward bridging that gap. Encouraging your teams to evaluate all factors that influence how easily users interact with your website and content will be valuable for both.Related: 5 Must-Use Google Analytics Strategies to Measure SEO Success4. Getting proactive about public relationsLink building strategies — such as listing your site on web directories, posting links on low quality Web 2.0 sites, and leaving links in forum comments — no longer help rank, and can actually cause penalties in Google search. That said, the value of legitimate, high quality citations and mentions is higher than ever before. That’s why it’s important to have at least a few people on your team who are regularly reaching out to publishers and influencers in your industry, building relationships and earning high-quality links through valuable mentions and citations on their platforms.According to data from Moz and BuzzSumo, well-researched content, opinion-informing journalism, long form content, list posts and “Why” posts are all likely to garner a large number of natural citations, as well as social shares.5. Going local Even if your business operates at the national or international level, the biggest mistake an enterprise company can make is to ignore the importance of local search optimization. According to seoClarity’s research, local search results rank number one 93 percent of the time, compared to 25 percent of the time in older analyzes. So if your business has no local presence, it’s increasingly likely it won’t rank high in search results.Having someone in charge of developing and maintaining a local search presence gives enterprise companies a valuable edge. Specifically, assign someone — internally or externally — to update and maintain local listings on your website and on third party platforms such as social media or review sites. 6. Building a social media empireBuilding a social presence has been considered an essential marketing strategy for a while now, but new research from Searchmetrics has shown that Google is now taking social signals (shares, tweets, +1s, etc.) into consideration for search ranks as well. In fact, they found that the number of social signals on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest all correlated with higher rank position in Google.For enterprise businesses, this means that building a social media empire across relevant platforms and assigning a team to promote and engage is more important than ever before — not only for building brand awareness, but for remaining competitive in search.As 2016 looms nearer, new data will continue to shed light on which SEO factors your business should focus on. The most important thing you can do is to keep up with this research and actively disseminate new knowledge to important team members throughout your company.How else are you preparing your enterprise-level SEO strategy for 2016? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below.Related: 6 Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2016 December 24, 2015 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »