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Google's World Wonders Project – Bringing to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world

Google's World Wonders Project – Bringing to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Together with partners including UNESCO, the World Monument Fund and Getty Images, we have brought world heritage sites online so that they can be explored by people around the world and preserved for future generations.

 

The World Wonders Project also presents a valuable resource for students and scholars and offers an innovative way to teach history and geography in schools. Primary and secondary school teachers can download teacher guides and lesson plans from the website for free and use them in their classroom.

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De novo germline and postzygotic mutations in AKT3, PIK3R2 and PIK3CA cause megalencephaly syndromes

De novo germline and postzygotic mutations in AKT3, PIK3R2 and PIK3CA cause megalencephaly syndromes | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A research team led by Seattle Children's Research Institute has discovered new gene mutations associated with markedly enlarged brain size, or megalencephaly. Mutations in three genes, AKT3, PIK3R2 and PIK3CA, were also found to be associated with a constellation of disorders including cancer, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, autism, vascular anomalies and skin growth disorders.

 

The discovery offers several important lessons and hope for the future in medicine. First, the research team discovered additional proof that the genetic make-up of a person is not completely determined at the moment of conception. Researchers previously recognized that genetic changes may occur after conception, but this was believed to be quite rare. Second, discovery of the genetic causes of these human diseases, including developmental disorders, may also lead directly to new possibilities for treatment.

 

AKT3, PIK3R2 and PIK3CA are present in all humans, but mutations in the genes are what lead to conditions including megalencephaly, cancer and other disorders. PIK3CA is a known cancer-related gene, and appears able to make cancer more aggressive. Scientists at Boston Children's Hospital recently published similar findings related to PIK3CA and a rare condition known as CLOVES syndrome in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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Scientists see AIDS vaccine within reach after many decades

Scientists see AIDS vaccine within reach after many decades | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
At an ill-fated press conference in 1984, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler boldly predicted an effective AIDS vaccine would be available within just two years.

 

But a string of failed attempts - punctuated by a 2007 trial in which a Merck vaccine appeared to make people more vulnerable to infection, not less - cast a shadow over AIDS vaccine research that has taken years to dispel.

 

A 2009 clinical trial in Thailand was the first to show it was possible to prevent HIV infection in humans. Since then, discoveries have pointed to even more powerful vaccines using HIV-fighting antibodies. Now scientists believe a licensed vaccine is within reach.
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Hypersonic plane to fly at 20 times speed of sound -- Hypersonic travel almost a reality

Hypersonic plane to fly at 20 times speed of sound -- Hypersonic travel almost a reality | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

We have the opportunity to usher in a new area of flight. Within four years we'll be able to travel anywhere on earth in an under an hour. At least that's the hope of the US military as it spearheads technological development and flight tests X-planes.

 

The project, titled Integrated Hypersonics, is being carried out by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has developed stealth aircraft for the US government for over 30 years.

 

DARPA has conducted two test flights of prototype hypersonic aircraft in the past two years. In August last year, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) reached Mach 20, but only remained airborne for nine minutes. Moving forward, the program will conduct further ground tests and test flights of prototype vehicles, as well as modelling and simulation that will culminate in a full-scale flight of the X-plane in 2016.

 

DARPA will host an event on August 14 in Arlington, Virginia, to detail the areas for which technical and research proposals are being sought.

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The laser-powered bionic eye that gives a 576-pixel grayscale vision to the blind

The laser-powered bionic eye that gives a 576-pixel grayscale vision to the blind | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The Bio-Retina developed by Nano Retina costs around $60,000 and is a vision-restoring sensor that is actually placed inside the eye, on top of the retina. The operation only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic.

 

Basically, with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, the light-sensitive rods and cones in your retina stop working. The Bio-Retina plops a 25×23-resolution (576-pixel!) sensor right on top of your damaged retina, and 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into the optic nerve. An embedded image processor converts the data from each of the pixels into electrical pulses that are coded in such a way that the brain can perceive different levels of grayscale.The best bit, though, is how the the sensor is powered. The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough.

 

Human trials of Bio-Retina are slated to begin in 2013 — but US approval could be a long time coming. European approval is predicted to occur much earlier. Multiple research groups are working on bionic eyes with even more electrodes and much higher resolution. A lot of work is being done on understanding how the retina, optic nerve, and brain process and perceive images

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FDA Approves First Drug To Prevent HIV Infection

FDA Approves First Drug To Prevent HIV Infection | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The drug was approved for people who test negative for HIV infection. It's supposed to be used in combination with safe-sex practices, such as using a condom, to reduce infection risk. The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV.

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Life after Nanotech: Femtotech -- Computing at the femtometer scale using quarks and gluons

Life after Nanotech: Femtotech -- Computing at the femtometer scale using quarks and gluons | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

How the properties of quarks and gluons can be used (in principle) to perform computation at the femtometer (10^-15 meter) scale. The next smallest thing in nature is the nucleus, which is about 100,000 times smaller, i.e., 10-15 m in size — a femtometer, or “fermi.” A nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons (i.e., “nucleons”), which we now know are composed of 3 quarks, which are bound (“glued”) together by massless (photon-like) particles called “gluons.” If you want to compute at the femto level, how do you do that? What would you need?

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World's first single atom photo using highest-resolution LIGHT microscopy

World's first single atom photo using highest-resolution LIGHT microscopy | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In an international scientific breakthrough, a Griffith University research team has been able to photograph the shadow of a single atom for the first time. "We have reached the extreme limit of microscopy; you cannot see anything smaller than an atom using visible light," Professor Dave Kielpinski of Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics in Brisbane. "We wanted to investigate how few atoms are required to cast a shadow and we proved it takes just one," Professor Kielpinski said. At the heart of this Griffith University achievement is a super high-resolution microscope, which makes the shadow dark enough to see. No other facility in the world has the capability for such extreme optical imaging. Holding an atom still long enough to take its photo, while remarkable in itself, is not new technology; the atom is isolated within a chamber and held in free space by electrical forces.

 

A video describing this effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC5JvbtQRhQ&feature=plcp

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India To Biometrically Identify All Of Its 1.2 Billion Citizens

India To Biometrically Identify All Of Its 1.2 Billion Citizens | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A small group of Indian entrepreneurs within the government have set out to identify to every one of their 1.2 billion residents by using biometric technologies, such as iris scans and fingerprints.In the next few years, each man, woman and child will receive an “Aadhaar” (meaning: foundation) 12-digit unique identification number. For the poor in India, this would end a vicious cycle where a person cannot prove who they are, and thus they are denied what they are supposed to receive. Now, using the features of the body, technology can identify someone in a matter of seconds. There will no longer be a need for passports, driver licenses, or other old school paper based identification.

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Next Up For Robotic Automation: Serving Pizza Untouched By Human Hands

Next Up For Robotic Automation: Serving Pizza Untouched By Human Hands | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Let’s Pizza is a pizza vending machine that produces fresh 11-inch pizzas in 2.5 minutes for about $6. It mixes the flour and water, kneads the dough, then adds sauce, cheese, and other toppings, and finally bakes it in an infrared oven for about a minute. Currently, the machines offer cheese, pepperoni, ham, smoked bacon, and fresh veggies.

 

The entire pizza-making process is automated and viewable through a window at the front of the machine. Each machine is connected through the web so that refrigerated inventory can be replenished as needed (it stores enough ingredients to make 90 pizzas). The company intends to offer opportunities for franchising one or more of the machines, but it is also entertaining companies that want to distribute the machines nationally.

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Crowdfunding - Kickstarter is funding the commercialization of new technologies

Crowdfunding - Kickstarter is funding the commercialization of new technologies | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Kickstarter, a New York City–based website originally founded to support creative projects, has become a force in financing technology startups. Entrepreneurs have used the site to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time to develop and produce products, including a networked home sensing system and a kit that prints three-dimensional objects.

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What kinds of string theory are there? Where are we in extra dimensions?

What kinds of string theory are there? Where are we in extra dimensions? | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The list of uncompactified string theories is short - it only contains 6 entries:

 

- type I string theory with

   spin(32)/Z_2 gauge group

- type IIA string theory

- type IIB string theory

- heterotic E_8 x E_8 string theory

- heterotic spin(32)/Z_2 string theory

- M-theory

 

The first five entries should be called “string theory” because vibrating 1-dimensional strings are the most important objects they contain. All of the string theories contain closed strings (e.g. the graviton is always a closed string); type I string theory is the only one on the list whose strings are unorientable and that also contains open strings. The last entry in the list is the eleven-dimensional M-theory and contains no strings. Instead, it has other extended objects, namely M2-branes and M5-branes. The numerals in the brane nomenclature count the number of spatial dimensions; so strings in string theories are also known as F1-branes (“F” stands for “fundamental”); they may also be obtained as M-theory’s M2-branes with one dimension wrapped around the compact dimension of the M-theory spacetime.

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Fossil records show ocean rise risk much higher than previously anticipated

Fossil records show ocean rise risk much higher than previously anticipated | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Sea levels may rise much higher than previously thought, according to scientists from The Australian National University, who have used fossil corals to understand how warmer temperatures in the past promoted dramatic melting of polar ice sheets.

 

Dr. Andrea Dutton, formerly of the Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) in the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, teamed up with Professor Kurt Lambeck of the RSES to analyse fossil corals around the world from the last interglacial period, 125,000 years ago.

 

They built an extensive database by compiling age and elevation data of fossil corals that live near the sea surface, and used a model to factor in the physics of how changing masses of ice sheets would affect regional sea level at the various fossil coral sites.

 

They concluded that sea level during the last interglacial period peaked at 5.5 to 9 metres above present sea level.

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Zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn about everything in between

Zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn about everything in between | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The power of 10 in a modern presentation

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Prefab: What if We Could Modify Any Interface?

Imagine if every interface was open source. Any of us could modify the software we use every day. Unfortunately, we don't have the source.

 

Prefab realizes this vision using only the pixels of everyday interfaces. This video shows the use of Prefab to add new functionality to Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes, and Microsoft Windows Media Player. Prefab represents a new approach to deploying HCI research in everyday software, and is also the first step toward a future where anybody can modify any interface.

Presented by Morgan Dixon and James Fogarty at CHI 2010.
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Genetically-modified mosquitoes could eradicated mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever

Genetically-modified mosquitoes could eradicated mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A team of scientists based in the UK has shown that genetically-modified mosquitoes could prove effective in eradicating mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, but critics claim that the proposal is being rushed and is risky. Oxitec, a British biotech company from nearby Oxford University, is leading the research and development in the fight against insect- transmitted disease. For now it’s focussing on dengue fever, which can lead to excruciating pain and death, but in the future the company hopes to help combat malaria as well.

 

Scientists have created male mosquitoes which are genetically modified so that their offspring die before reproducing, or they themselves fail to find a mate. Scientists are in effect creating a sterile mosquito. Scientists at Oxitec’s Oxford headquarters insist that there is no danger and no chance that the genetically-modified mosquitoes could cross mate with other species.

 

But critics of the scheme are more cautious. The mosquitoes in the Oxitec project are genetically modified to need the antibiotic tetracycline to develop from larvae. The concern is, that if a mosquito bit the flesh of an animal that contained tetracycline, it could survive. This is a theory which the boffins at Oxitec reject. In their most recent trial in the Cayman Islands not a single mosquito survived. Even if they had done, they would have been so weak that they would have not have lived as long as their wild counterparts and would have been very susceptible to pesticide.

 

With incidences of dengue fever rising all over the world, there are pressures for a solution. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there may be as many as 50 million cases of dengue fever each year and some 20,000 deaths, in what some countries are calling “explosive” outbreaks.

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Record-breaking laser shot hits 500 trillion watts

Record-breaking laser shot hits 500 trillion watts | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Laser physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have broken the record for the highest-power laser shot with a collection of beams delivering more than 500 trillion watts of peak power. The National Ignition Facility fired 192 beams at the same time, delivering 1.85 megajoules of ultraviolet laser light to a target a mere two millimetres in diameter. To put those numbers into perspective, the 500 terawatt figure is 12,500 times greater than the demand for electricity in 2006 in Britain, which averaged out at 40 gigawatts.

 

The National Ignition Facility is the world's foremost laser research establishment, producing lasers than can regularly carry more than 100 times the energy of any other laser. The 500 terawatt firing hits a milestone set in the late 90s when the facility was being planned, and takes researchers a step closer to the goal of igniting hydrogen fusion.

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First it was smallpox, now a tropical infection poised to become second human disease ever eradicated

First it was smallpox, now a tropical infection poised to become second human disease ever eradicated | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Scientists are on the verge of killing off a parasite (Dracunculus medinensis) that had plagued the human race since ancient times. Cases of Guinea worm disease have fallen by 99 per cent from 3.5million cases in 1986 to 1,060 in 2011. The disease has affected the poorest communities in Africa and is now found in just South Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia, and Chad.

 

The guinea worm makes his home in the fat layer of the human skin and sometimes pokes through it to lay eggs. The well known medical symbol -  the "staff of Aesculap" - is representing the former practice to remove the worm slowly using a little stick to wrap the worm around without breaking it in order to avoid infection if a part of the worm is left inside the body.

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Researchers discover magnetic cells in the nose trout and its lateral line

Researchers discover magnetic cells in the nose trout and its lateral line | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Michael Winklhofer, a biogeophysicist at the University of Munich and colleagures have identified cells in the nose of trout that respond to magnetism. The researchers chose to study the olfactory tissues of trout based on decade-old research, which showed that magnetic fields affected the electrical activity of nerves that carried information from the fishes' noses. Instead of grinding up the tissues for analysis, as older methods tended to do, the researchers gently isolated whole cells from the tissues and put them into Petri dishes.

 

When the team applied rotating magnetic fields to those dishes, about one out of every 10,000 cells spun with the same frequency as the fields. luminated by the light of the microscope, structures inside of these cells also shone brilliantly, making them easy to detect. A closer look revealed crystals attached to inside the cell membranes that contained what appeared to be magnetite, an iron-rich magnetic material. Scientists don't yet know how these structures work, but Winklhofer suspects that they excite membranes inside neurons and trigger nerve impulses that send direction-related information to the brain.

 

Based on the abundance of magnetic cells in the samples, Winklhofer estimates that each fish had a total of between 10 and 100 of these cells in its nose. As expected, there were no magnetic cells in the animals' muscle tissue. Even more magnetic cells were detectable in the trout's lateral line, a sensory organ in fish that detects vibrations.

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Carl Sagan's Cosmos Series

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. It covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980 and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television until The Civil War (1990). As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. It won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and has since been broadcast in more than 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people.

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Turning skin cells into brain cells helps understand Huntington's degeneration disease

Turning skin cells into brain cells helps understand Huntington's degeneration disease | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Johns Hopkins researchers, working with an international consortium, say they have generated stem cells from skin cells from a person with a severe, early-onset form of Huntington’s disease (HD), and turned them into neurons that degenerate just like those affected by the fatal inherited disorder. The general midlife onset and progressive brain damage of HD are especially cruel, slowly causing jerky, twitch-like movements, lack of muscle control, psychiatric disorders and dementia, and — eventually — death.

 

By creating “HD in a dish,” the researchers say they have taken a major step forward in efforts to better understand what disables and kills the cells in people with HD, and to test the effects of potential drug therapies on cells that are otherwise locked deep in the brain. Although the autosomal dominant gene mutation responsible for HD was identified in 1993, there is no cure. No treatments are available even to slow its progression.

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Criminals and Terrorists in a Technological and Borderless Arms Race

Criminals and Terrorists in a Technological and Borderless Arms Race | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Technologies now integral to our daily lives continue advancing at exponential rates, leading to remarkable medical advancements in genetics, robotics, communications, neuroscience and biotechnology, global and ubiquitous connectivity, big data processing, and the miniaturization of the portable technology we carry in our pockets. But, technology has also advanced with a dark side. These same world-changing technologies are now being used by criminals that operate without borders. Every open social network, mobile and satellite phone, internet search engine, and technology operations center is now their playground for hacking and criminally manipulating our lives – from criminal controlled weaponized flying drones, to 3D printing of handguns, and even personalized and customized biological weapons, designed to pinpoint anyone, anytime.

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Stanford Course Online: Astrobiology and Space Exploration - Are we alone in the Universe?

This course covers subjects from astrochemistry to astrobiology, the search for other Earth-like exoplanets to life in the Universe. It also tries to answer the question what life really is, how fast evolution can be and whether life can exist in other non-earth-like extreme environments.

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How to steer sound using light - The ability to create phonons and then steer them using laser beams

How to steer sound using light - The ability to create phonons and then steer them using laser beams | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The ability to create phonons and then steer them using laser beams could lead to a new generation of applications,

 

Zap an optical fiber with a couple of laser beams and the resulting interference pattern causes an interesting effect -- it squeezes the material, an effect known as electrostriction. This creates a compression wave called a phonon, a packet of sound, which travels along the fiber. Not to be outdone, phonons also influence light because they change the refractive index of the material. This bends light and alters its frequency, an effect known as Brillouin scattering.

After that, things get complicated. This mechanism sets in train a complex set of feedback effects in which photons generate phonons which influence the photons and so on.

 

For the first time, researchers were able to simulate how light generates phonons inside an optical fibre and how the phonons then interact with the light that generated them. They then tested their ideas by measuring the way phonons scatter light in two types of fiber. Their conclusion has interesting implications. They say that the light ends up guiding the phonons that it creates.

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The Great Mass Extinctions - The Time When The Earth Nearly Died

Permian Extinction 250 Millions years ago, which caused extinction of 95% of all living species in both animals & plants life. This extinctions was slow and took nearly 80000 years in 3 stages:

 

1- Increase in world temperature by 5 degrees Centigrade casued by super lengthy eruptions of Siberian Trapes

 

2-melting the frozen resoviours of Methan gas in the seabeds and releasing Carbon 12 (C12), which is a green house gas and raised sea temp by anothre 5 degrees, and that casued

 

3-world temp raised 10 degrees and that caused the mass extinctions

 

it took Earth millions of years to recover and after 20 millions years from then Dinosaurs first appeared.

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