Helium, an element commonly used in party balloons, has become so scarce that scientists are worried it will be gone within the next 30 years. Researchers are blaming party patrons for squandering the element which cannot be made artificially. Helium, a substance that most party-goers seem to be familiar with, is dwindling in supply at an alarming rate according to scientists and medical professionals. The world's second-lightest element, which is crucial to the usage of equipment such as MRI scanners and neutron beams, is disappearing so fast that experts are warning it could be gone as soon as 2025. Due to a law passed in 1996, helium has become "too cheap to recycle" and the sharply declining stock of the gas could ultimately spell doom for the medical industry says The Independent.
Guinness World Records has recognized Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider as the device which has set a new standard for achieving the "Highest Man-Made Temperature": a mind boggingly extreme 4 trillion degrees Celsius -– which is 250,000 times hotter than the center of the Sun.
The heavy ion collider achieved this remarkable feat by smashing gold ions together at nearly the speed of light. The collider, which is 2.4 miles long, produced the collision — which resulted in impact energy so intense that the neutrons and protons inside the gold nuclei "melted," releasing fundamental quarks and gluons that then formed a nearly friction-free primordial plasma.
Astronomers have spotted one of the rarest and most extreme galaxy clusters in the universe and, behind it, an object that shouldn’t exist. Galaxy clusters are collections of galaxies that orbit one another and are the most massive objects in the universe. The newly discovered cluster, first detected by the Hubble space telescope, is over 500 trillion times the mass of the sun. It is located approximately 10 billion light-years away. Because looking out into the distant cosmos means also looking back in time, the cluster formed during an era when the universe was a quarter its present age.
The cluster, named IDCS J1426.5+3508, is extreme because during this period in cosmic history, massive collections of galaxies were just beginning to form. Only one other cluster of comparable size has been seen at this distance and it is a lightweight compared to IDCS J1426.5+3508. Adding to the object’s strangeness, a mysterious arc of blue light was seen just behind the galaxy cluster. Astronomers think this indicates another massive star-forming galaxy located even further away at an even earlier epoch.
Light from this more distant — and yet unnamed – galaxy has been highly distorted by an effect known as gravitational lensing. The gargantuan mass of the galaxy cluster bends and twists light coming from the distant galaxy, creating the strange blue arc. The farther galaxy is estimated to be 10 to 13 billion light-years away and have a mass approximately 70 trillion times the sun.
3M said the thin film can easily be applied to windows, generating power and cutting heat, and will begin sales next year.
The solar film, on display at the Ceatec electronics conference in Japan, is arrayed in narrow, translucent green strips with clear gaps between and then glued to windows in large patches. A square meter of the film can generate roughly enough electricity to charge an iPhone under peak sunlight, but still allows for high visibility.
The product currently generates only about 20 percent of the electricity that a traditional silicon solar panel does, and will cost about half as much, though the final price has not been decided.
But it is also far easier to install and takes up no additional space. 3M has strong expertise in adhesives, where its less technical products include Scotch tape and Post-it sticky notes.
Since the demise of Concorde in 2003, supersonic flights have been off the mainstream aviation radar, and many believe it’s unlikely that we’ll see a commercial airliner travelling at these speeds again. But the prospects for private aviation look much brighter.Currently in development, the futuristic SonicStar is designed to carry up to 20 people travelling speeds of 2740 mph. This would enable a trip from Paris to New York in less than 2 hours and would make the SonicStar the world’s fastest passenger aircraft.
One major reason for suspending Concorde operations in 2003 was its prohibitive operating costs. To fly from London to New York, Concorde used about the same amount of fuel as a fully loaded 747 which could carry four times as many passengers.
Manufacturer HyperMach claims the SonicStar will be 30% more efficient than Concorde. To save weight the hull and wings of the jet will be largely built from super lightweight materials such as composite or titanium.
Then there is the SonicStar’s propulsion concept called the S-MAGJET. Unlike current jet engines this is a hybrid system in which a generator unit provides electric energy used by highly efficient propulsion fans. This is a totally new concept in aviation which HyperMach claims would result in 70% more operational efficiency and a significantly reduced carbon footprint compared to other aircraft. In fact, you wouldn’t hear any supersonic boom from the ground.
Other manufacturers are working on designs for supersonic jets, including the Aerion Corporation, but the Citation X, G650 and their rivals can rest easy for a few more years. Such ground-breaking technology takes time, so we will probably have to wait another decade or more to see supersonic aircraft in action.
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a new toilet system that converts human waste to electricity and fertiliser. Dubbed the "No-Mix Vacuum Toilet", the system has two chambers which separate liquid and solid wastes. It also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent, compared to current toilet systems in Singapore. The conventional water closet uses about four to six litres of water per flush. With the vacuum suction technology, only 0.2 litres of water is needed to flush liquids, and one litre of water to flush solids.
Hawking, 70, has been working with scientists at Standford University who are developing a the iBrain - a tool which picks up brain waves and communicates them via a computer.
The scientist, who has motor neurone disease and lost the power of speech nearly 30 years ago, currently uses a computer to communicate but is losing the ability as the condition worsens. But he has been working with Philip Low, a professor at Stanford and inventor of the iBrain, a brain scanner that measures electrical activity. Researchers will unveil their latest results at a conference in Cambridge next month, and may demonstrate the technology on Hawking.
How Many Computers to Identify a Cat? 16,000 processors!
A neural network of computer processors, fed millions of YouTube videos, taught itself to recognize cats, a feat of significance for fields like speech recognition. Inside Google’s secretive X laboratory, known for inventing self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses, a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain.
There Google scientists created one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the Internet to learn on its own. Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats. The neural network taught itself to recognize cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the Internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognizing objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items.
It's been a half-century since the advent of a reliable birth control option for women, and we've developed virtually nothing similar for men. But now, owing to research done at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, an innovative new treatment holds promise as a reversible birth control option for men -– a combination of gels that get applied through the skin.
The secret is combining the male hormone testosterone with a new synthetic progestin called Nestorone, which reduces male sperm production dramatically, according to a research team led by Christine Wang. Very low sperm counts resulted for about 89% of men who used the new combination of hormones.
Solar eclipses separated by 1, 5 or 6 lunations are usually quite dissimilar. They are often of unlike types (i.e., partial, annular, total or hybrid) with diverse Sun-Moon-Earth alignment geometries, and with different lunar orbital characteristics (i.e., longitude of perigee and longitude of ascending node). More importantly, these short periods are of no value as predictors of future eclipses because they do not repeat in any recognizable pattern.
A simple eclipse repetition cycle can be found by requiring that certain orbital parameters be repeated. The Moon must be in the new phase with the same longitude of perigee and same longitude of the ascending node. These conditions are met by searching for an integral multiple in the Moon's three major periods-the synodic, anomalistic and draconic months. A fourth condition might require that an eclipse occur at approximately the same time of year to preserve the axial tilt of Earth and thus, the same season, as well as the distance from the Sun.
By synchronizing 98 tiny cameras in a single device, electrical engineers from Duke University and the University of Arizona have developed a prototype camera that can create images with unprecedented detail.
The camera's resolution is five times better than 20/20 human vision over a 120 degree horizontal field. The new camera has the potential to capture up to 50 gigapixels of data, which is 50,000 megapixels. By comparison, most consumer cameras are capable of taking photographs with sizes ranging from 8 to 40 megapixels. Pixels are individual "dots" of data -- the higher the number of pixels, the better resolution of the image.
The researchers believe that within five years, as the electronic components of the cameras become miniaturized and more efficient, the next generation of gigapixel cameras should be available to the general public.
Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador say Lonesome George, a giant tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, has died. Scientists estimate he was about 100 years old.
Park officials said they would carry out a post-mortem to determine the cause of his death. With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.
For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands. Park officials said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena.
The best semiconductors are grown, not made. At least, this might one day be the case. Proteins that can build silica nanostructures on our behalf have been "evolved" in the lab. The structures could find a use in the semiconductor industry. Luke Bawazer, now at the University of Leeds, UK, and his colleagues wondered whether proteins that evolved to help build animal skeletons could be used to grow new electronics components.
The team chose silicateins – proteins that build the silica skeletons of marine sponges – as the basis for their work. Using DNA amplification techniques, they grew millions of strands of DNA that code for silicateins. Mutations arise naturally during the process, so the final pool of DNA contained enough variation to ensure that some of the silicateins would build different kinds of mineral structures.
A Dutch company aims to land humans on Mars by 2023 as the first step toward establishing a permanent colony on the Red Planet. Price tag: $6 billion for first 4 people — and they won't be coming back.
The project, called Mars One, plans to drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023. New members of the nascent colony will arrive every two years after that, and none of the Red Planet pioneers will ever return to Earth.
To pay for all of this, Mars One says it will stage a media spectacle the likes of which the world has never seen — a sort of interplanetary reality show a la "Big Brother." "This project seems to be the only way to fulfill humanity's dream to explore outer space," theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for Mars One, said in an introductory video posted on the company'swebsite. "It is going to be an exciting experiment. Let's get started."
The full lecture title is "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies" by Bert Vogelstein. The Johns Hopkins Center for Biotechnology Education and the Department of Biology in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences hosted the American Society for Microbiology's Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) on the Homewood campus. Bert Vogelstein gave the closing plenary lecture, "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies". He teaches at John Hopkins University.
ASMCUE, now in its 18th year, is a professional development conference for approximately 300 educators. Each year, its steering committee organizes a program that offers access to premier scientists in diverse specialties and to educators leading biology education reform efforts. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.asmcue.org/page02d.shtml
Below the Surface’s “Driving Innovation” Team established the first official algae-fueled motorcycle speed records during The Texas Mile land speed event on March 24th, 2012. Team leader Kristian Gustavson reached 94.6 mph using a 50/50 blend of biodiesel derived from algae and cooking oil waste from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Fellow team member, Devin Chatterjie, reached 96.2 MPH on 100% algae-derived Green Crude diesel fuel supplied by Sapphire Energy Inc., one of the world’s leaders in algae-based oil crude production. Together, they established the fastest and only known records to date for an algae-fueled motorcycle. The Driving Innovation Team rode a unique turbo-charged, 800cc diesel powered Track Motorcycle manufactured in Holland. The bike was shipped from Holland to the US last fall courtesy of FedEx Express in a show of support for the project.
Scientists have developed a small-molecule-inhibiting drug that in early laboratory cell tests stopped breast cancer cells from spreading and also promoted the growth of early nerve cells called neurites.
The inhibitor overcomes a number of previous scientific challenges by precisely targeting a single component of a cell signaling protein complex called Rho GTPases. This complex regulates cell movement and growth throughout the body. Miscues in Rho GTPase processes are also widely implicated in human diseases, including various cancers and neurologic disorders.
Because the role of Rho GTPases in cellular processes and cancer formation is well established, researchers have spent years trying to identify safe and effective therapeutic targets for specific parts of the protein complex. In particular, scientists have focused on the center protein in the complex called RhoA, which is essential for the signaling function of the complex. In breast cancer for example, increased RhoA activity makes the cancer cells more invasive and causes them to spread, while a deficiency of RhoA suppresses cancer growth and progression.
Despite this knowledge, past efforts to develop an effective small-molecule inhibitor for RhoA have failed, explained Zheng, who has studied Rho GTPases for over two decades. Most roadblocks stem from a lack of specificity in how researchers have been able to target RhoA, a resulting lack of efficiency in affecting molecular processes, problems with toxicity, and the inability to find a workable drug design.
The Special Issue on Mind Uploading (Vol. 4, issue 1, June 2012) of the International Journal of Machine Consciousness “constitutes a significant milestone in the history of mind uploading research: the first-ever collection of scientific and philosophical papers on the theme of mind uploading,” as Ben Goertzel and Matthew Ikle’ note in the Introduction to this issue.
“Mind uploading” is an informal term that refers to transferring the mental contents from a human brain into a different substrate, such as a digital, analog, or quantum computer. It’s also known as “whole brain emulation” and “substrate-independent minds.”
Serious mind uploading researchers have emerged recently, taking this seemingly science-fictional notion seriously and pursuing it via experimental and theoretical research programs, Goertzel and Ilke’ note.
ME 599: Nanoparticles and Nanomanufacturing Video Course - taught by Professor John Hart at the University of Michigan, discusses the properties, synthesis, assembly and applications of nanostructures and nanostructured materials. The course has 24 individual lectures, each 90 min long.
A genetic study of thousands of specimens of sharks and rays has uncovered scores of potential new species and is fuelling biologists’ debates over the organisation of the family tree of these animals. The work also raises the possibility that some species are even more endangered than previously thought.
Gavin Naylor, a biologist at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and his colleagues sequenced samples from 4,283 specimens of sharks and rays as part of a major effort to fill the gaps. The team found 574 species, of which 79 are potentially new.
Welcome to SETI Talks - your best way to learn more about your Universe! The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley and the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life on other planets. For example, electromagnetic radiation is monitored for signs of transmissions from civilizations on other worlds. The United States government contributed to early SETI projects, but recent work has been primarily funded by private sources. There are great challenges in searching across the cosmos for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent, since its direction, spectrum and method of communication are all unknown beforehand. SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search, the foremost being that electromagnetic radiation would be a medium of communication for advanced extraterrestrial life.
The Gregorian calendar is the one commonly used today. It was proposed by Aloysius Lilius, a physician from Naples, and adopted by Pope Gregory XIII (pictured above) in accordance with instructions from the Council of Trent (1545-1563) to correct for errors in the older Julian Calendar. It was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in a papal bull on 24 February 1582. This bull is named “Inter Gravissimas” after its first two words.
In the Gregorian calendar, the tropical year is approximated as 36597/400 days = 365.2425 days. Thus it takes approximately 3300 years for the tropical year to shift one day with respect to the Gregorian calendar. The approximation 36597/400 is achieved by having 97 leap years every 400 years.
The papal bull of February 1582 decreed that 10 days should be dropped from October 1582 so that 15 October should follow immediately after 4 October, and from then on the reformed calendar should be used.
This was observed in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. Other Catholic countries followed shortly after, but Protestant countries were reluctant to change, and the Greek orthodox countries didn’t change until the start of the 1900s. So in effect, every country changed at a different data, from late 1500s to early 1900s, being out of sync for a long time.
An object conceived in the human mind, and built by our tools, and launched from our planet, will be the first object made by man to sail out into interstellar space.
With absolutely no attempt at hyperbole at all, it is fair to say that this is one of - if not the - biggest achievement of the human race. For, as we speak, an object conceived in the human mind, and built by our tools, and launched from our planet, is sailing out of the further depths of our solar system - and will be the first object made by man to sail out into interstellar space.
The Voyager 1, built by Nasa and launched in 1977 has spent the last 35 years steadily increasing its distance from Earth, and is now now 17,970,000,000km - or 11,100,000,000miles - away, travelling at 10km a second. Indications over the last week implies that Voyager 1 is now leaving the heliosphere - the last vestige of this solar system.
Greenland sharks live in by far the coldest waters of any shark species. That's bad news for a cold-blooded species, and the best way to conserve their energy is to move as little and as slowly as possible. That's why it's so strange that scientists have found seal remains inside the stomachs of these Greenland sharks. These sharks have an average speed of about a mile per hour, and if they are really gunning it, they can hit a top speed of about 1.6 miles per hour. Everything about these sharks is in slow-motion - it even takes seven whole seconds for these creatures to complete a single tail sweep that propels it forward. By comparison, the world's fastest known shark, the shortfin mako, can cut through the water at speeds over twenty miles per hour.
The neighboring seals, on the other hand, average about 2 miles per hour - still not particularly fast, but easily enough to outpace even the fastest Greenland shark alive. And yet the sharks do still dine on these seals, and analysis by the Norwegian Polar Institute indicates the seals were eaten alive, so this isn't a case of sharks turning to scavenging. No, what we're looking at here is something pretty much right in the middle between hunting and scavenging.
The sharks simply wait until the seals fall asleep, and then they go to work as slowly as they like