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Startup wants to fix nutrition communication gap between MDs, parents, children

Startup wants to fix nutrition communication gap between MDs, parents, children | amzing | Scoop.it
“ Fitwits, a nutrition engagement startup from Carnegie Mellon University, wants to help physicians, parents and teachers work with kids o improve their nutrition choices.”
Via Celine Sportisse
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First Evidence Of A Correction To The Speed of Light

First Evidence Of A Correction To The Speed of Light | amzing | Scoop.it
When astronomers first observed light from a supernova arriving 7.7 hours after the neutrinos from the same event, they ignored the evidence. Now one physicist says the speed of light must be slower than Einstein predicted and has developed a theory that explains why.In the early hours of the morning on 24 February 1987, a neutrino detector deep beneath Mont Blanc in northern Italy picked up a sudden burst of neutrinos. Three hours later, neutrino detectors at two other locations picked up a similar burst. The event consisted of two bursts of neutrinos separated by three hours followed by the first optical signals 4.7 hours later.Some 4.7 hours after this, astronomers studying the Large Magellanic cloud that orbits our galaxy, noticed the tell-tale brightening of a blue supergiant star called Sanduleak -69 202, as it became a supernova. Since then, SN 1987a, as it was designated, has become one of the most widely studied supernovas in history.Neutrinos and photons both travel at the speed of light and should therefore arrive simultaneously, all else being equal. The mystery is what caused this huge delay of 7.7 hours between the first burst of neutrinos and the arrival of the optical photons.Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of James Franson at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Franson has used the laws of quantum mechanics to calculate the speed of light travelling through a gravitational potential related to the mass of the Milky Way.Because all previous speed-of-light calculations have relied only on general relativity, they do not take into account the tiny effects of quantum mechanics. But these effects are significant over such long distances and through such a large mass as the Milky Way, says Franson.He says that quantum mechanical effects should slow down light in these kinds of circumstances and calculates that this more or less exactly accounts for the observed delay.First, some background about the mechanism behind the supernova. A supernova begins with the collapse of a star’s core, generating both neutrinos and optical photons. However, the density of the core delays the emergence of the photons by about 3 hours. By contrast, the neutrinos interact less strongly with matter and so emerge unscathed more or less immediately.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Carlos Garcia Pando's comment, June 27, 2014 4:51 AM
"They ignored the evidence" Interesting. Why? Because the observation did not fit into the theory. Theory was their religion and couldn't be denied by facts.
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Ray Caesar | DOROTHY CIRCUS GALLERY | Rome Gallery Tours

Ray Caesar | DOROTHY CIRCUS GALLERY | Rome Gallery Tours | amzing | Scoop.it
The Trouble with Angels 14 Feb 2014 - 06 Apr 2014 Solo exhibition by Ray Caesar Dorothy Circus Gallery Via dei Pettinari, 76 Rome
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Little Women

Little Women | amzing | Scoop.it
“mudwerks:“ (via Big Chair and Table, Bazaar, 1963 | © Pleasurephoto)models were smaller then…””
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Early 1900s

Early 1900s | amzing | Scoop.it
“ancientfaces:“ Early 1900s Fashion What a sense of fashion! Jessie (Wood) Frost, taken in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. [ Original: Jessie Wood Frost Pennsylvania ]””
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The Drive to Life on Wet and Icy Extraterrestrial Worlds

The Drive to Life on Wet and Icy Extraterrestrial Worlds | amzing | Scoop.it
A recent study presents the reformulation of the submarine alkaline hydrothermal theory for the emergence of life in response to recent experimental findings on Enceladus and other extraterrestrial worlds. The theory views life, like other self-organizing systems in the Universe, as an inevitable outcome of particular disequilibria. In this case, the disequilibria were two: (1) in redox potential, between hydrogen plus methane with the circuit-completing electron acceptors such as nitrite, nitrate, ferric iron, and carbon dioxide, and (2) in pH gradient between an acidulous external ocean and an alkaline hydrothermal fluid. Both CO2 and CH4 were equally the ultimate sources of organic carbon, and the metal sulfides and oxyhydroxides acted as protoenzymatic catalysts.The realization, now 50 years old, that membrane-spanning gradients, rather than organic intermediates, play a vital role in life's operations calls into question the idea of “prebiotic chemistry.” It informs our own suggestion that experimentation should look to the kind of nanoengines that must have been the precursors to molecular motors—such as pyrophosphate synthetase and the like driven by these gradients—that make life work. It is these putative free energy or disequilibria converters, presumably constructed from minerals comprising the earliest inorganic membranes, that, as obstacles to vectorial ionic flows, present themselves as the candidates for future experiments.In systems driven far from equilibrium, self-organized dynamic structures, acting as engines (i.e., “free energy converters”), arise spontaneously (Cottrell, 1979). Their effect is invariably to accelerate the rate at which the driving disequilibrium generates entropy and is thereby dissipated (Prigogine, 1978). Tellingly, the Universe itself, at the moment of its Big Bang birth, was by a vast measure the most extreme example, known or conceivable, of a far-from-equilibrium system, born as it was in a condition of disequilibrium so great as to be virtually inestimable (Penrose, 2005). From this pinnacle of improbability, it could only, as the second law of thermodynamics demands, go endlessly “down” to ever increasing total entropy. Indeed, the history of the Universe has been “nothing but” the playing out of the dynamics of accelerated entropy production via emergent, self-organizing engines. All the dynamic structures and processes of the Universe, both great and small, from galactic superclusters to burning and dying stars, black holes, the writhing pirouettes of quasar jets, planetary systems, convective currents in myriad guises, to the poppies on the cool green hills of Earth—all are engines, all contributing members of this great self-organizing cascade of accelerated entropy production.But in this medley of engines, black holes stand apart and have a special role to play. They are not only an end point in the production of entropy through gravitational collapse, at which the entropy per unit mass is a maximum; but almost all the Universe's entropy inventory is currently, and will increasingly be, in the form of supermassive black holes (Ruffini and Wheeler, 1971; Penrose, 2005; Scharf, 2012). Finally, they are themselves the most powerful and consequential engines in the Universe. When they accrete matter from other stars or the interstellar medium, they become extraordinarily powerful internal combustion engines, with fuel, carburetion, a combustion chamber, and multiple exhaust systems. They can be throttled from a quiet idling to an explosive roar of transgalactic impact. These engines are suspected of regulating the formation of stars and galaxies and driving their evolution, creating most of the magnetic flux in the universe, and ionizing the Universe itself shortly after the Big Bang (Meier, 2012).We are thus justly, and most ironically, to be seen as the spawn of black holes, themselves the spawn of a Universe born in the greatest possible discomfort of disequilibrium. Without going into detail, we can follow the history of the Universe's engines from galactic and stellar processes through planetary accretion and geophysical convection to the emergence and evolution of life itself (Russell, 2007; Nitschke and Russell, 2010; Branscomb and Russell, 2013; Vattuone et al., 2013). And as the mist begins to lift from the divide that separates geochemistry from biochemistry, we can glimpse the biological bank that lies directly opposite. What is revealed is that, whereas life, like all other dynamic phenomena in the Universe, is forced to operate through the invention and deployment of engines to convert disequilibria—dissipating one to create another—the engines of living cells comprise a vast and uniquely complex heterarchical networked system of linked conversions. This great system, driven by externally supplied disequilibria, produces a myriad of internal “intermediate” and enabling disequilibria in the form of both structures and processes. These it uses, among much else, to drive the otherwise intractable reactions at the very beginnings of metabolic pathways up such steep thermodynamic gradients. The challenge before us, then, is to work out how it could all have gotten started.

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Goldilocks effect through histone anchors keep embryonic development balanced

Goldilocks effect through histone anchors keep embryonic development balanced | amzing | Scoop.it
The "Goldilocks effect" in fruit fly embryos may be more intricate than previously thought. It's been known that specific proteins, called histones, must exist within a certain range—if there are too few, a fruit fly's DNA is damaged; if there are too many, the cell dies. Now research out of the University of Rochester shows that different types of histone proteins also need to exist in specific proportions. The work further shows that cellular storage facilities keep over-produced histones in reserve until they are needed.Associate Professor of Biology Michael Welte has discovered that the histone balance is regulated by those storage facilities, called lipid droplets—which are best known as fat depots.The findings were published today in the journal Current Biology.Welte had previously discovered that another protein—called Jabba—anchored histones onto lipid droplets. In his latest research, he found that excess histones migrate outside the nucleus to the droplets, where they are temporarily held until needed to create new chromosomes."People have observed histone proteins on lipid droplets in multiple organisms, including mammals," said Welte. "The results of this research project may very well help us understand the role of histones and lipid droplets in humans."Welte found that by deleting the Jabba anchors from the cell, one particular type of histone increased in proportion in the nucleus, since they had no way to be held in reserve away from the cell nuclei. That made the embryo more sensitive to environmental stresses like higher temperature, leading to defects during cell division and reduced viability.Just as it is in humans, the embryonic stage is a crucial time for the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Starting from a single cell, it has to rapidly multiply in cell number and develop into a larva while coping with stresses from the environment. The embryo does all of that by activating a myriad of genetic on-off switches, a process that involves unwrapping and rewrapping various regions of DNA.Histones are important to the process because they act as spools that DNA molecules wrap around to form chromosomes, making it possible for the DNA to do its work in the first place. Welte discovered that if the different histones are not in the correct proportion, the embryo has trouble developing correctly and may even die.Achieving the correct proportion of histones is not something that happens automatically in the fruit fly embryo, as Welte found in his research. Instead, when a certain histone type is made in excess, it is redirected to the lipid-droplet holding sites outside the nucleus where it is kept until needed.Welte and his team will try next to identify which parts of the Jabba protein actually bind with the histone. Once that's determined, scientists may have the ability to manipulate the histone storage process.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Researchers use light to coax stem cells to repair teeth

Researchers use light to coax stem cells to repair teeth | amzing | Scoop.it
A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue, an advance they reported in Science Translational Medicine. The research, led by David J. Mooney, Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), lays the foundation for a host of clinical applications in restorative dentistry and regenerative medicine more broadly, such as wound healing, bone regeneration, and more.The team used a low-power laser to trigger human dental stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue that is similar to bone and makes up the bulk of teeth. What’s more, they outlined the precise molecular mechanism involved, and demonstrated its prowess using multiple laboratory and animal models. A number of biologically active molecules, such as regulatory proteins called growth factors, can trigger stem cells to differentiate into different cell types. Current regeneration efforts require scientists to isolate stem cells from the body, manipulate them in a laboratory, and return them to the body—efforts that face a host of regulatory and technical hurdles to their clinical translation. But Mooney’s approach is different and, he hopes, easier to get into the hands of practicing clinicians.“Our treatment modality does not introduce anything new to the body, and lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low,” said Mooney, who is also a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. “It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Drugmakers find breakthroughs in medicine that are tailored to individuals’ genetic makeups

Drugmakers find breakthroughs in medicine that are tailored to individuals’ genetic makeups | amzing | Scoop.it
“One-size-fits-all drugs are giving way to treatments tailored to individuals’ genetic makeups.”When the Food and Drug Administration recently a promising new lung cancer drug named Zykadia four months ahead of schedule, it heralded the medication as a “breakthrough” therapy.The drug isn’t meant for everyone with the devastating disease, which kills an estimated 160,000 Americans each year. Or even for the majority of patients with its most common form, non-small-cell lung cancer.Rather, Zykadia is designed for a sliver of patients — about 5 percent — who have advanced non-small-cell lung cancer and have a specific gene mutation that causes tumors to become resistant to existing treatment. For them, and only them, the drug has the proven potential to shrink tumors and extend lives.The FDA’s speedy approval of Zykadia offered the latest evidence that the age of “personalized medicine,” while long predicted, is increasingly becoming reality. For reasons scientific and economic, one-size-fits-all blockbuster drugs are giving way to treatments tailored to individuals’ genetic makeups and aimed at narrow subsets of broader diseases.“It’s a new world,” said Wendy Selig, president of the Melanoma Research Alliance, the largest private funder of research on the disease, which this year is expected to kill nearly 10,000 Americans. “We’re segmenting what we thought of as large diseases into smaller populations of patients that are defined by genetic distinctions. . . . The goal is to match the right therapy to the right patient, and to do it with minimal collateral damage.”Since 2011, the FDA has approved numerous new treatments for melanoma patients with certain types of genetic mutations. The agency also has given the green light to many drugs for other specific cancers, and to a revolutionary treatment for a small proportion of people with cystic fibrosis. Companion diagnostic tests often help identify which patients might benefit from the targeted treatmen
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Biological comlexity of other worlds: Milky Way may have 100 million life-giving planets

Biological comlexity of other worlds: Milky Way may have 100 million life-giving planets | amzing | Scoop.it
Are we alone? It seems highly unlikely, based on a new study. There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support life above the microbial level, reports a group of astronomers in the journal Challenges (open access), based on a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.“This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets; we’re saying that there are planetary conditions that could support it, according to the paper’s authors*. “Complex life doesn’t mean intelligent life — though it doesn’t rule it out or even animal life — but simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms,” the researchers explain.The scientists surveyed more than 1,000 planets and used a formula that considers planet density, temperature, substrate (liquid, solid or gas), chemistry, distance from its central star and age. From this information, they developed and computed the Biological Complexity Index (BCI).The BCI calculation revealed that 1 to 2 percent of the planets showed a BCI rating higher than Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have a subsurface global ocean that may harbor forms of life. With about 10 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, the BCI yields 100 million plausible planets.The authors cite one study that suggests that “some exoplanets may be more optimally suited for life than Earth. … Such ‘superhabitable’ worlds would likely be larger, warmer, and older, orbiting dwarf stars.”“It seems highly unlikely that we are alone,” say the researchers. “We are likely so far away from life at our level of complexity that a meeting with such alien forms might be improbable for the foreseeable future.”References: - Louis N. Irwin et al., Assessing the Possibility of Biological Complexity on Other Worlds, with an Estimate of the Occurrence of Complex Life in the Milky Way Galaxy, Challenges, 2014, DOI: 10.3390/challe5010159 (open access)
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Chandra helps confirm evidence of jet in Milky Way’s black hole | Astronomy.com

Chandra helps confirm evidence of jet in Milky Way’s black hole | Astronomy.com | amzing | Scoop.it
Astronomers have finally identified a jet in Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, January 6, 2014 10:48 AM

This is a fascinating discovery...

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F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013

F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013 | amzing | Scoop.it
After three decades of increases, adult obesity rates remained level in every state except for one, Arkansas, in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013, a report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The full report is available here. Visit http://www.FasinFat.org/ for interactives, graphs, charts and obesity rates for the states and nation going back decades. Thirteen states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, 41 states have rates of at least 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent, according to the report. In 1980, no state was above 15 percent; in 1991, no state was above 20 percent; in 2000, no state was above 25 percent; in 2007, only Mississippi was above 30 percent.* Since 2005, there has been some evidence that the rate of increase has been slowing. In 2005, every state but one experienced an increase in obesity rates; in 2008, rates increased in 37 states; in 2010, rates increased in 28 states; and in 2011, rates increased in 16 states.*
Via Seth Bilazarian, MD
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Austin Newby's curator insight, December 10, 2015 3:57 PM

1. Through the use of many statistics the author has made their case effective.

2. This article was about the weights in some states and how high the obesity rates are, and how the rates remained level in mostly every state the past year.

3. The article definitely was not the most interesting one I have read, but was very informative.

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Astronomers Find a New Type of Rocky Planet: The "Mega-Earth"

Astronomers Find a New Type of Rocky Planet: The "Mega-Earth" | amzing | Scoop.it
Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a new type of planet - a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered "super-Earths," making it a "mega-Earth.""We were very surprised when we realized what we had found," says astronomer Xavier Dumusque of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), who led the data analysis and made the discovery."This is the Godzilla of Earths!" adds CfA researcher Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. "But unlike the movie monster, Kepler-10c has positive implications for life." The team's finding was presented today in a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).The newfound mega-Earth, Kepler-10c, circles a sunlike star once every 45 days. It is located about 560 light-years from Earth in the constellation Draco. The system also hosts a 3-Earth-mass "lava world," Kepler-10b, in a remarkably fast, 20-hour orbit.Kepler-10c was originally spotted by NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Kepler finds planets using the transit method, looking for a star that dims when a planet passes in front of it. By measuring the amount of dimming, astronomers can calculate the planet's physical size or diameter. However, Kepler can't tell whether a planet is rocky or gassy.Kepler-10c was known to have a diameter of about 18,000 miles, 2.3 times as large as Earth. This suggested it fell into a category of planets known as mini-Neptunes, which have thick, gaseous envelopes.The team used the HARPS-North instrument on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) in the Canary Islands to measure the mass of Kepler-10c. They found that it weighed 17 times as much as Earth - far more than expected. This showed that Kepler-10c must have a dense composition of rocks and other solids."Kepler-10c didn't lose its atmosphere over time. It's massive enough to have held onto one if it ever had it," explains Dumusque. "It must have formed the way we see it now."Planet formation theories have a difficult time explaining how such a large, rocky world could develop. However, a new observational study suggests that it is not alone.Also presenting at AAS, CfA astronomer Lars A. Buchhave found a correlation between the period of a planet (how long it takes to orbit its star) and the size at which a planet transitions from rocky to gaseous. This suggests that more mega-Earths will be found as planet hunters extend their data to longer-period orbits.The discovery that Kepler-10c is a mega-Earth also has profound implications for the history of the universe and the possibility of life. The Kepler-10 system is about 11 billion years old, which means it formed less than 3 billion years after the Big Bang.
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NASA receives mysterious X-ray signal from Perseus cluster 240 million light years away

NASA receives mysterious X-ray signal from Perseus cluster 240 million light years away | amzing | Scoop.it
“A mysterious X-ray signal has been found in a detailed study of galaxy clusters using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton.”One intriguing possibility is that the X-rays are produced by the decay of sterile neutrinos, a type of particle that has been proposed as a candidate for dark matter.While holding exciting potential, these results must be confirmed with additional data to rule out other explanations and determine whether it is plausible that dark matter has been observed.Astronomers think dark matter constitutes 85% of the matter in the Universe, but does not emit or absorb light like “normal” matter such as protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the familiar elements observed in planets, stars, and galaxies. Because of this, scientists must use indirect methods to search for clues about dark matter.The latest results from Chandra and XMM-Newton consist of an unidentified X-ray emission line, that is, a spike of intensity at a very specific wavelength of X-ray light. Astronomers detected this emission line in the Perseus galaxy cluster using both Chandra and XMM-Newton. They also found the line in a combined study of 73 other galaxy clusters with XMM-Newton.“We know that the dark matter explanation is a long shot, but the pay-off would be huge if we're right,” said Esra Bulbul of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass. who led the study. “So we're going to keep testing this interpretation and see where it takes us.”The authors suggest this emission line could be a signature from the decay of a “sterile neutrino.” Sterile neutrinos are a hypothetical type of neutrino that is predicted to interact with normal matter only via gravity. Some scientists have proposed that sterile neutrinos may at least partially explain dark matter.“We have a lot of work to do before we can claim, with any confidence, that we’ve found sterile neutrinos,” said Maxim Markevitch, a co-author from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “But just the possibility of finding them has us very excited.
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Metamaterial gives visible light a nearly infinite wavelength

Metamaterial gives visible light a nearly infinite wavelength | amzing | Scoop.it
The new metamaterial is made by stacking silver and silicon nitride nanolayers. It may find applications in novel optical components or circuits and the design of more efficient leds. The work will appear on October 13th in Nature Photonics.The phase velocity and group velocity of light dictate how light propagates in a material. The phase velocity determines how the peaks and valleys of the wave move in the material, whereas the group velocity describes the transport of energy. According to Einstein’s laws, the transport of energy of light can never be faster than the speed of light. Therefore the group velocity is limited. There are however no physical limitations to the phase velocity. When the phase velocity becomes zero, there is no movement of the peaks and valleys of the wave; when it is infinite the wavelength diverges to very large values. In nature however, no materials with such special properties exist.MetamaterialsThe research team now presents a metamaterial composed of a unit cell structure much smaller than the wavelength of light. By stacking nanoscale layers of silver and silicon nitride a new material is fabricated in which light ‘feels’ the optical properties of both layers. The way light travels through matter is dependent on the material permittivity: the resistance of a material against the electric fields of light waves. Because the permittivity of silver is negative and that of silicon nitride is positive, the combined material has a permittivity which is effectively equal to zero. Therefore, it seems that the light experiences zero resistance, and propagates with an infinite phase velocity. The wavelength of the light is nearly infinite.The researchers fabricated this material using focused ion beam milling, a technique that allows control over the structure of a material on the nanoscale. With a specially built interferometer it was shown that light indeed propagates through the metamaterial with no significant change of phase, corresponding to an almost infinite wavelength. This new material may find applications in novel optical components or circuits and the design of more efficient leds.ContactProf.dr. Albert Polman, +31 (0)20 754 74 00www.erbium.nl | www.amolf.nl/research/photonic-materialsReferenceRuben Maas, James Parsons, Nader Engheta and Albert PolmanExperimental realization of an epsilon-near-zero metamaterial at visible wavelengthsNature Photonics 7, (2013) | DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.256
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Frida Kahlo | Scuderie del Quirinale | Art in Rome

Frida Kahlo | Scuderie del Quirinale | Art in Rome | amzing | Scoop.it
FRIDAcurated by Helga Prignitz-Poda18 Mar 2014 - 31 Aug 2014 The Scuderie del Quirinale hosts a magnificent exhibition on the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), a symbol of the artistic avant-garde and of the exuberance of Mexican culture in the 20th century. The exhibition sets out to gather around a corpus of her work a selection of absolute masterpieces from major collections, key works belonging to other public and private collections in Mexico, the United States and Europe. Scuderie del QuirinaleVia XXIV Maggio, 16Rome
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1930s pre-code photograph of Peggy Shannon

1930s pre-code photograph of Peggy Shannon | amzing | Scoop.it
“That coat!“ Grapefruit Moon: 1930s pre-code photograph of Peggy Shannon, shown as a sophisticated flapper it girl by Otto Dyar””
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Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film – review

Hollywood Before Glamour: Fashion in American Silent Film – review | amzing | Scoop.it
“"To the feminine mind nothing appeals quite as strongly as clothing, hats, or shoes – in fact finery of any kind," opined Moving Picture World in 1916. Gentlemen spectators apparently preferred fil...”
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Non-linear Interferometers: Viewing Deeper into the Quantum World

Non-linear Interferometers: Viewing Deeper into the Quantum World | amzing | Scoop.it
“Researchers have experimentally demonstrated that interferometers, the most sensitive measuring instruments yet invented, can be improved using nonlinear physics. The result answers a fundamental question in quantum mechanics and could open the way to more sensitive detection of magnetic fields in delicate systems such as the human heart.”As with all quantum objects, photons -- the basic building blocks of light -- display a "wave-particle" duality. Interferometers exploit the wave-like behaviour of photons to measure a signal, known as a phase shift, affected by tiny forces acting on the interferometer. However, the particle-like behaviour of the same photons introduces noise into the measurement, reducing the quality of the results and limiting the sensitivity of these instruments.This limitation is an expression of Heisenberg's famous Uncertainty Principle, which, in this context, states that the more precisely we know the phase of an interferometer signal, the less precisely we know the number of particles that are being measured, and vice versa. The standard approach for overcoming this sensitivity limit is to use quantum-entanglement among the photons, meaning that individual photons become correlated at the quantum level. The noise introduced by a quantum fluctuation associated with one photon can be cancelled by an equivalent and opposite fluctuation from another photon.An alternative approach exploits interactions between particles in a nonlinear interferometer to enhance the signal that is being measured. Theorists have predicted that such nonlinear interferometers should outperform their linear counterparts when a sufficiently large number of photons are used in the measurement. So what is the difference between these two types of interferometers? In a linear interferometer, the photons do not interact amongst each other within the device -- instead, researchers must first create a fragile entangled state and then send them through the interferometer. In contrast, in a nonlinear interferometer all interactions between photons take place within the device itself. Even without generating entanglement among the photons, the signal of the interferometer is enhanced because the response of one photon is increased by the presence of other photons within the device.In a pioneering experiment that took place three years ago, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof at ICFO Morgan Mitchell were able to experimentally demonstrate a proof-of-principle nonlinear interferometer that exploited interactions between photons to measure the tiny magnetization of a cloud of laser-cooled atoms. Now the same group has gone further with a new study, recently published in Physical Review X, which, for the first time, demonstrates that such a nonlinear interferometer can outperform an equivalent linear measurement, confirming the proposed theoretical predictions.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Researchers transmit broadband data from Earth to Moon at 19.44mbps, 4800 times the previous record

Researchers transmit broadband data from Earth to Moon at 19.44mbps, 4800 times the previous record | amzing | Scoop.it
Aside from air, water and fresh vegetables, what would need to survive on the moon? One thing that would likely of feature high on the list is a decent, reliable wireless internet. And thanks to a group of researches from MIT and Nasa this kind of connectivity could be within the realms of possibility.Between them, the two organisations have demonstrated for the first time that data communication technology is capable of providing those in space with the same kind of connectivity we enjoy on Earth, and can even facilitate large data transfers and high-definition video streaming.To do this it uses four separate telescopes based at a ground terminal in New Mexico to send the uplink signal to the moon. A laser transmitter that can send information as coded pulses of invisible infrared light feeds into each of the telescopes, which results in 40 watts of transmitter power.Nasa and MIT will present their findings at the CLEO laser technology conference in California on 9 June, but the findings have also been detailed by the Optical Society. The team will explain how their laser-powered communication uplink between the moon and Earth breaks previous record transmission speeds -- achieved by RF signals -- by a factor of 4,800.The team has transmitted data across the 384,633km distance between Earth and the moon at a rate of 19.44mbps and has also managed to download data at a rate of 622mbps. "Communicating at high data rates from Earth to the moon with laser beams is challenging because of the 400,000-kilometre distance spreading out the light beam," says Mark Stevens of MIT Lincoln Laboratory. "It's doubly difficult going through the atmosphere, because turbulence can bend light-causing rapid fading or dropouts of the signal at the receiver."
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's curator insight, May 31, 2014 12:02 PM

Research into space colonization http://sco.lt/5LzScr, is gaining a lot of attention given the threats of climate change http://sco.lt/86HUtl, to food security http://sco.lt/5CifIH.

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Powerful lasers create table-top supernova

Powerful lasers create table-top supernova | amzing | Scoop.it
“Laser beams 60,000 billion times more powerful than a laser pointer have been used to recreate scaled supernova explosions in the laboratory as a way of investigating one of the most energetic events in the Universe.”To recreate a supernova explosion in the laboratory the team used the Vulcan laser facility at the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Lab. 'Our team began by focusing three laser beams onto a carbon rod target, not much thicker than a strand of hair, in a low density gas-filled chamber,' said Ms Jena Meinecke an Oxford University graduate student, who headed the experimental efforts. The enormous amount of heat generated more than a few million degrees Celsius by the laser caused the rod to explode creating a blast that expanded out through the low density gas. In the experiments the dense gas clumps or gas clouds that surround an exploding star were simulated by introducing a plastic grid to disturb the shock front. 'The experiment demonstrated that as the blast of the explosion passes through the grid it becomes irregular and turbulent just like the images from Cassiopeia,' said Professor Gregori. 'We found that the magnetic field is higher with the grid than without it. Since higher magnetic fields imply a more efficient generation of radio and X-ray photons, this result confirms that the idea that supernova explosions expand into uniformly distributed interstellar material isn't always correct and it is consistent with both observations and numerical models of a shockwave passing through a 'clumpy' medium.'
'Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the universe,' said Don Lamb, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. 'We're pretty sure that the fields didn't exist at the beginning, at the Big Bang. So there’s this fundamental question: how did magnetic fields arise?' These results are significant because they help to piece together a story for the creation and development of magnetic fields in our Universe, and provide the first experimental proof that turbulence amplifies magnetic fields in the tenuous interstellar plasma.
The advance was made possible by the extraordinarily close cooperation between the teams performing the experiments and the computer simulations. 'The experimentalists knew all the physical variables at a given point. They knew exactly the temperature, the density, the velocities,' said Petros Tzeferacos of the University of Chicago, a study co-author. 'This allows us to benchmark the code against something that we can see.' Such benchmarking – called validation – shows that the simulations can reproduce the experimental data. The simulations consumed 20 million processing hours on supercomputers at Argonne National Laboratory, in the USA.

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Hubble's Most Spectacular Photo Ever Shows 10,000 Galaxies

Hubble's Most Spectacular Photo Ever Shows 10,000 Galaxies | amzing | Scoop.it
NASA calls it the most colorful image ever captured by the Hubble Space Telescope--and the most comprehensive. It has to be one of the most spectacular.But the image--the remarkable payoff of a new survey called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field--is more than merely beautiful. It may also help fill in some gaps in our understanding of how stars form.Previous versions of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field captured wavelengths of light from visible and near-infrared as well as the far-ultraviolet (UV), Alan Boyle wrote on the NBC News website. But near-ultraviolet light wasn't covered nearly as well.When you add the UV light, you get quite a view. And what a view it is! The new image, a false-color compilation of shots taken during the course of 841 orbits of Hubble between 2003 and 2012, contains roughly 10,000 galaxies in a vast variety of shapes and sizes."The galaxies show every possible shape and size, astronomer Phil Plait wrote on Slate. "Many are distorted, victims of collisions with other galaxies, their mutual gravity pulling them into weird shapes like taffy quadrillions of kilometers across. Many are very blue, showing active star formation, while others are exceedingly red, probably galaxies much farther away, their light taking far longer to reach us. Note that most of the very red galaxies are smaller dots, another indication of their tremendous distance."Named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, the Hubble Space Telescope is a venture of NASA and the European Space Agency. It was launched in 1990 and has been wowing us ever since.
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Biological comlexity of other worlds: Milky Way may have 100 million life-giving planets

Biological comlexity of other worlds: Milky Way may have 100 million life-giving planets | amzing | Scoop.it
Are we alone? It seems highly unlikely, based on a new study. There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support life above the microbial level, reports a group of astronomers in the journal Challenges (open access), based on a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe.“This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets; we’re saying that there are planetary conditions that could support it, according to the paper’s authors*. “Complex life doesn’t mean intelligent life — though it doesn’t rule it out or even animal life — but simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms,” the researchers explain.The scientists surveyed more than 1,000 planets and used a formula that considers planet density, temperature, substrate (liquid, solid or gas), chemistry, distance from its central star and age. From this information, they developed and computed the Biological Complexity Index (BCI).The BCI calculation revealed that 1 to 2 percent of the planets showed a BCI rating higher than Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have a subsurface global ocean that may harbor forms of life. With about 10 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, the BCI yields 100 million plausible planets.The authors cite one study that suggests that “some exoplanets may be more optimally suited for life than Earth. … Such ‘superhabitable’ worlds would likely be larger, warmer, and older, orbiting dwarf stars.”“It seems highly unlikely that we are alone,” say the researchers. “We are likely so far away from life at our level of complexity that a meeting with such alien forms might be improbable for the foreseeable future.”References: - Louis N. Irwin et al., Assessing the Possibility of Biological Complexity on Other Worlds, with an Estimate of the Occurrence of Complex Life in the Milky Way Galaxy, Challenges, 2014, DOI: 10.3390/challe5010159 (open access)
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We Need To Get More Comfortable With People Dying In Space

We Need To Get More Comfortable With People Dying In Space | amzing | Scoop.it
It would be wonderful if nobody died in our efforts to explore space. But building a program around that goal is no way to accomplish anything of note.
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Cancer-resistant blind mole rat gets its genome sequenced

Cancer-resistant blind mole rat gets its genome sequenced | amzing | Scoop.it
Scientists have sequenced the genome of the blind mole rat, a mammal that digs with its teeth, has skin over its eyes and lives for more than 20 years. It is also resistant to cancer, like its distant cousin the naked mole rat.Among the results were what the researchers believe are the genetic signatures of the mole rat's complete loss of vision and its impressive tolerance of low oxygen (or "hypoxia"). They also discovered how its special cancer-fighting mechanism might have evolved.One of the study's lead authors, Prof Eviatar Nevo from the University of Haifa in Israel, has studied blind mole rats for more than 50 years. In all of that time, a spontaneous tumour has never been discovered.Even when treated with carcinogenic chemicals, these remarkable rodents were incredibly resistant to cancer.Most animals rely on cells detecting a cancerous malfunction and shutting themselves down (programmed cell death or "apoptosis"), but the blind mole rat's immune system attacks tumours and causes "necrosis" instead. The new study reports that genes involved in this immune defence have been favoured by evolution, and some have been expanded or duplicated.All this may have happened because one of the key mediators of the normal cell-shutdown defence, a protein called p53, is mutated in the mole rats as part of their adaptation to low oxygen.The mole rat spends its entire life under the ground, where oxygen is scarce. In other animals this would send p53 into overdrive. "When there is low oxygen, in other species, normal p53 would mean that some cells would die from apoptosis - but not in blind mole rats, because that would be a disaster," said Dr Denis Larkin from the Royal Veterinary College in London, one of the study's authors.So the mole rats have evolved a unique trade-off, weakening p53 and boosting the immune system's necrotic defence, which "the cancer doesn't know how to deal with," Dr Larkin. The blind mole rat (the newly sequenced species is Spalax galili) is only distantly related to the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber), another unusual, subterranean critter with remarkable cancer resistance.Their evolutionary histories diverged over 70 million years ago, according to calculations in the new study, and the two mole rats adapted completely separately to life underground.The new work, published in the journal Nature Communications, will help unpick those secrets and the wider adaptation of animals to difficult environments.
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