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Japan scientists can 'read' dreams, study claims

Japan scientists can 'read' dreams, study claims | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it

Scientists in Japan said Friday they had found a way to "read" people´s dreams, using MRI scanners to unlock some of the secrets of the unconscious mind.

Researchers have managed what they said was "the world´s first decoding" of night-time visions, the subject of centuries of speculation that have captivated humanity since ancient times. 

In the study, published in the journal Science, researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, western Japan, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to locate exactly which part of the brain was active during the first moments of sleep. The scientists then woke up the dreamers and asked them what images they had seen, a process that was repeated 200 times.

These answers were compared with the brain maps that had been produced by the MRI scanner, the researchers said, adding that they later built a database, based on the results. On subsequent attempts they were able to predict what images the volunteers had seen with a 60 percent accuracy rate, rising to more than 70 percent with around 15 specific items including men, words and books, they said.

"We have concluded that we successfully decoded some kinds of dreams with a distinctively high success rate," said Yukiyasu Kamitani, a senior researcher at the laboratories and head of the study team. "Dreams have fascinated people since ancient times, but their function and meaning has remained closed," Kamitani told AFP. "I believe this result was a key step towards reading dreams more precisely."

His team is now trying to predict other dream experiences such as smells, colours and emotion, as well as entire stories in people´s dreams. "We would like to introduce a more accurate method so that we can work on a way of visualising dreams," he said.

Kamitani, however, admits that there is still a long way to go before they are anywhere near understanding a whole dream. He said the decoding patterns differ for individuals and the database they have developed cannot be applied generally, rather it has to be generated for each person.

The experiment also only used the images the subjects were seeing right before they were woken up. Deep sleep, where subjects have more vivid dreams, remains a mystery. "There are still a lot of things that are unknown," he added.

Kamitani´s experiment is the latest in a government-led brain study programme aimed at applying the science to medical and welfare services, government officials said.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Hubble telescope spots death of a white dwarf 10 billion years ago

Hubble telescope spots death of a white dwarf 10 billion years ago | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it

When a white dwarf explodes as a type Ia supernova, its death is so bright that its light can be detected across the Universe. A new observation using the Hubble Space Telescope identified the farthest type Ia supernova yet seen, at a distance of greater than 10 billion light-years. In the tradition of supernova surveys, this event was nicknamed for Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States. The previous record-holder, Supernova Mingus, was about 350 million light-years closer to Earth.

 

White dwarfs are the remains of stars similar in mass to the Sun. Since such a star would have to live out its entire life to form a white dwarf, there are limits to how early in the Universe's history a type Ia supernova can explode. Only 8 white dwarf supernovas have been identified farther than 9 billion light-years away. (Some core-collapse supernovas, which are the explosions of very massive stars, have been seen farther than Supernova Wilson.) Since all such explosions happen in a similar way, cosmologists use them to measure the expansion rate of the Universe.

 

Astronomers found this violent event by comparing the light from several separate long exposures of the same patch of the sky, known as CANDELS (the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey). Bright as it was, the distance was so great that Supernova Wilson appeared as an enhancement of the luminosity of its host galaxy. The researchers subtracted the light of the galaxy without the supernova from the combined supernova-galaxy combination, then analyzed the residual light to identify it as type Ia.

 

The Universe was only a few billion years old when Supernova Wilson exploded, nearly as early as such an event could possibly occur. The early era of Supernova Wilson's explosion means it was likely the result of two white dwarfs merging rather than a single white dwarf exceeding its maximum mass. This is because the most massive white dwarfs require more time to form than the Universe's existence had provided.


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Bring Art and Science Out of Academic Isolation

Bring Art and Science Out of Academic Isolation | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
STEM has been a huge acronym buzz word in education in recent years, standing for the "hard science" pillars of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but an initiative led by the Rhode Island...
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Voyager 1 Has Apparently Left the Solar System

Voyager 1 Has Apparently Left the Solar System | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
It looks like humanity has become the Earth’s first interstellar species. The spacecraft Voyager 1, launched on Sep. 5, 1977, has apparently left the solar system.
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Weird Science: Biotechnology as Art Form | ARTnews

Weird Science: Biotechnology as Art Form | ARTnews | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Weird Science: Biotechnology as Art Form | ARTnews http://t.co/R7E11PDb8W via @ARTnewsmag
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Whale Songs Found in Seismic Recordings : DNews

Whale Songs Found in Seismic Recordings : DNews | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
A rich, but untapped trove of whale calls hides in decades of recordings collected by geologists surveying the ocean floor.
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Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text

Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Newly deciphered text tells part of the Jesus crucifixion story with apocryphal plot twists.
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Why are there no green stars? : Bad Astronomy

Why are there no green stars? : Bad Astronomy | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Apparently the universe hates the Irish - Why are there no green stars? : Bad Astronomy http://t.co/Fe0IjJnC07
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Norbert Mueller describes his wave disk generator

Michigan State University associate professor of mechanical engineering Norbert Mueller describes his Wave Disk Generator, for which he has received a $2.5 m...

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ALVA NOTO - PVX2

ALVA NOTO - PVX2 videoclip original (Alva Noto is a stage name of sound artist Carsten Nicolai who uses art and music as complementary tools to create...
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The Most Exciting Video of "Nothing Happening": The Pitch Drop Experiment in 2013"

The Most Exciting Video of "Nothing Happening": The Pitch Drop Experiment in 2013" | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it

The world's longest-running scientific experiment is about to drop into the headlines. For over 80 years, two physicists at the University of Queensland have been standing guard over the Pitch Drop Experiment. Now, the decade-awaited moment of truth is bearing down: a drop is about to fall.

 

In 1927, the first physics professor at the University of Queensland, Thomas Parnell, sought to demonstrate that some materials exhibit seemingly contradictory properties. Once used to seal the bottom of boats, tar pitch feels solid at room temperature and shatters like glass under a hammer blow. But, as Parnell has undeniably demonstrated, pitch is actually a very, very viscous fluid.

So one day, Parnell placed a block of tar pitch in a sealed funnel. Three years later, the pitch had settled into the bottom of the funnel and in 1930 the bottom of the funnel stem was cut.

The first drop fell in December, 1938!

 

It is something of an overstatement to say that the pitch has been dripping ever since. In 86 years, a total of eight drops have dripped, with about a decade between drop falls. Now, the ninth is about to drop, probably in 2013. If you're lucky, you may see what no one has seen before—no one has ever witnessed the drop fall.

John Mainstone, a physics professor at the University of Queensland and the experiment's current custodian, missed the last two drops by pure bad luck.

 

Awaiting the eighth drip from a business trip, Mainstone secured a video surveillance system to trail the elusive drop. Alas, the video feed failed precisely during the fall of the eighth pitch-drop. Listen to John Mainstone tell the story of the missed adventure on last week's Radio Lab.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Jan Peter van Zijl's curator insight, March 16, 2013 1:37 PM

 

Het langst lopende wetenschappelijke experiment: Pitch Drop Experiment.

Jan Peter van Zijl's curator insight, May 4, 2013 11:19 AM

 

Het traagste én langst-lopende experiment ter wereld staat weer volop in de belangstelling.

15maart13 werd het experiment al vermeld in de wetenschapsbijlagen van de kranten.

Nu weer -4mei13-! De negende druppel gaat eerdaags(!) vallen.

 

Het wordt steeds spannender in Brisbane (Australië). Nog nooit heeft iemand een druppel zien vallen. Nu wordt het experiment bewaakt met behulp van drie (!) webcams..

 

Pek lijkt een vaste stof, maar gedraagt zich als een vloeistof.

Dat wordt ook wel gezegd over glas, maar dat verhaal is niet helemaal juist ....

 

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glas ;

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Every School Used To Have It --Chalk : What Is It Made Of? Coccolithophores!

Every School Used To Have It --Chalk : What Is It Made Of? Coccolithophores! | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it

When a school teacher writes her name on a blackboard on the first day of class, what she's really doing is crushing the skeletons of terribly ancient earthlings into a form that spells out the name "Mrs. ...".

 

A piece of chalk, when you think about too much, is a miracle. What is it, exactly? Well, if you look under a microscope, as British naturalist Thomas Huxley did in the 1860s, what you see is this (see figure). Chalk is composed of extremely small white globules. They look, up close, like snowballs made from brittle paper plates. Those plates, it turns out, are part of ancient skeletons that once belonged to roundish little critters that lived and floated in the sea, captured a little sunshine and carbon, then died and sank to the bottom. There still are trillions of them floating about in the oceans today, sucking up carbon dioxide, pocketing the carbon. Over the millennia, so many have died and plopped on top of each other, the weight of them and the water above has pressed them into a white blanket of rock, entirely composed of teeny skeletons. Scientists call these ancient plates "coccoliths." Technically, they are single-celled phytoplankton algae.

 

Chalk doesn't proclaim itself. It is usually out of view, buried in the ground below. Every so often, when a highway is being carved through a mountain, or when the sea and wind erode the side of a hill, that's when the green cover comes off, then you can see it. The White Cliffs of Dover are all chalk, piled hundreds of feet high.

 

In 1853, when the transatlantic cable was being laid, engineers would occasionally yank thick loops of wire up 10,000 feet from the ocean bottom, and every time, they found the same coating of white muck: chalk again. It turns out, writes biologist Bernd Heinrich, "the Atlantic mud, which stretches over a huge plain thousands of square miles, is raw chalk."

“A great chapter of the history of the world is written in chalk.

 

Since then geologists have found a chalk layer stretching 3,000 miles across Europe into Asia. It's under France, Germany, Russia, Egypt, Syria. How did it get there?

 

That, said Thomas Huxley (who first saw those teeny skeletons under his microscope) is one of the "most startling conclusions of physical science." In 1868, he gave a lecture to the "working men of Norwich" where he declared that "a great chapter of the history of the world is written in chalk."

 

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ron Peters's curator insight, December 10, 2013 2:32 PM

Chalks Undersea Connection...

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Bob Paquette's Microphone Museum, One Man's Collection of Over 1,000 Early Microphones

Bob Paquette's Microphone Museum, One Man's Collection of Over 1,000 Early Microphones | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Since 1950, Bob Paquette Sr. has been amassing a private collection of more than 1,000 vintage microphones, most of which date from before the year 1950. The collection can be viewed at Bob Paquett...

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For Early Primates, a Night Was Filled With Color

For Early Primates, a Night Was Filled With Color | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
A genetic examination of tarsiers indicates that the saucer-eyed primates developed three-color vision when they were still nocturnal.

 

A new study suggests that primates’ ability to see in three colors may not have evolved as a result of daytime living, as has long been thought. The findings, published in the journalProceedings of the Royal Society B, are based on a genetic examination oftarsiers, the nocturnal, saucer-eyed primates that long ago branched off from monkeys, apes and humans.

 

By analyzing the genes that encodephotopigments in the eyes of modern tarsiers, the researchers concluded that the last ancestor that all tarsiers had in common had highly acute three-color vision, much like that of modern-day primates.

 

Such vision would normally indicate a daytime lifestyle. But fossils show that the tarsier ancestor was also nocturnal, strongly suggesting that the ability to see in three colors somehow predated the shift to daytime living.

The coexistence of the two normally incompatible traits suggests that primates were able to function during twilight or bright moonlight for a time before making the transition to a fully diurnal existence.

 

“Today there is no mammal we know of that has trichromatic vision that lives during night,” said an author of the study, Nathaniel J. Dominy, associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth. “And if there’s a pattern that exists today, the safest thing to do is assume the same pattern existed in the past.

 

“We think that tarsiers may have been active under relatively bright light conditions at dark times of the day,” he added. “Very bright moonlight is bright enough for your cones to operate.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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QMP's curator insight, April 19, 2013 5:50 PM

This is a great article about how the night time helped early primates to evolve the colored vision that we experience today.

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Big Bang’s afterglow shows universe is 80 million years older than scientists thought

Big Bang’s afterglow shows universe is 80 million years older than scientists thought | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it

A new examination of what is essentially the universe’s birth certificate allows astronomers to tweak the age, girth and speed of the cosmos, more secure in their knowledge of how it evolved, what it’s made of and its ultimate fate.

 

Sure, the universe suddenly seems to be showing its age, now calculated at 13.8 billion years — 80 million years older than scientists had thought. It’s got about 3 percent more girth — technically it’s more matter than mysterious dark energy — and it is expanding about 3 percent more slowly.

 

But with all that comes the wisdom for humanity. Scientists seem to have gotten a good handle on the Big Bang and what happened just afterward, and may actually understand a bit more about the cosmic question of how we are where we are.

 

All from a baby picture of fossilized light and sound.The snapshot from a European satellite had scientists from Paris to Washington celebrating a cosmic victory of knowledge Thursday — basic precepts that go back all the way to Einstein and relativity.

 

The Planck space telescope mapped background radiation from the early universe — now calculated at about 13.8 billion years old. The results bolstered a key theory called “inflation,” which says the universe burst from subatomic size to its vast expanse in a fraction of a second just after the Big Bang that created the cosmos.

 

“We’ve uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe,” said George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge who announced the Planck findings in Paris. “There’s less stuff that we don’t understand by a tiny amount.”

 

The map of the universe’s evolution — in sound echoes and fossilized light going back billions of years — reinforces some predictions made decades ago solely on the basis of mathematical concepts.

 

“We understand the very early universe potentially better than we understand the bottom of our oceans,” said Bob Nichols, director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth in Britain. “We as humanity put a satellite into space, we predicted what it should see and saw it.”


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The Art of Persuasion: The Perfect Sound Bite

The Art of Persuasion: The Perfect Sound Bite | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Words transcend their owner. Once you’re done speaking, how are people going to remember you?
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Backwards signals appear to sensitize brain cells, rat study shows

Backwards signals appear to sensitize brain cells, rat study shows | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Backwards signals appear to sensitize brain cells, rat study shows
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Can Birds Evolve to Avoid Being Road Kill?

Can Birds Evolve to Avoid Being Road Kill? | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Cliff swallows may be evolving shorter wings to avoid becoming road kill.
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Why Sinkholes Are Eating Florida : DNews

Why Sinkholes Are Eating Florida : DNews | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Sinkholes are an increasingly deadly risk in Florida, due primarily to the region's geology.
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Medieval Knight's Tomb Found Beneath Parking Lot

Medieval Knight's Tomb Found Beneath Parking Lot | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
A skeleton and a carved sandstone slab, decorated with markers of nobility, were unearthed during construction in Edinburgh.
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Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral Underway in New Zealand

Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral Underway in New Zealand | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
Courtesy of Christchurch City Libraries' Flickr Shigeru Ban just can’t get enough of paper tubes. The Japanese architect, renowned for his design of
Louise Magnusson's insight:

Emergency architecture, just brilliant.

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Star-gazing girls of Georgian England

Star-gazing girls of Georgian England | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
A while ago I came across this Solar System sampler in the Museum’s textiles store. It was uncanny - the arrangement of concentric rings was so familiar and immediately recognisable, but so strange...
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Gastric-Brooding Frog Genome Reactivated By Lazarus Project - Science News - redOrbit

Gastric-Brooding Frog Genome Reactivated By Lazarus Project - Science News - redOrbit | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
A team of scientists has used sophisticated cloning techniques to revive and reactivate the genome of an extinct Australian frog. (Lazarus Project Attempts To Resurrect Extinct Frog - RedOrbit: RedOrbitLazarus Project Attempts To Resurrect E...
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LHCb studies particle tipping the matter-antimatter scales

LHCb studies particle tipping the matter-antimatter scales | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
The LHCb experiment at CERN reports precise new measurements—but leaves open the question of why our matter-dominated universe exists.

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The British Library releases the first-ever audio...

The British Library releases the first-ever audio... | Crescat scientia; vita excolatur | Scoop.it
The British Library releases the first-ever audio guide to how Shakespeare should really sound. Sampled here, Romeo & Juliet.

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