Fragments of Science
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Fragments of Science
The history, present and future and nature of science and their relationship
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Birth of solar system triggered by dying giant?

Birth of solar system triggered by dying giant? | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A red giant star rather than a supernova may have triggered the birth of the Sun and solar system. Also; hurricanes on Earth producing gamma-rays that are picked up in space, and over 100 geysers observed on Saturn's ice moon Enceladus.
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Egyptian mummification began before the Pharaohs

Egyptian mummification began before the Pharaohs | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Prehistoric Egyptians practised mummification well before the time of the Pharaohs, suggests an analysis of resin-soaked linen.
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Diamonds in the sky

Diamonds in the sky | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
This sparkling jewel box of stars is the globular cluster IC 4499.

A globular cluster is a tight glittering collection of thousands of old stars orbiting around a galaxy.

This one is located about 55,000 light years away on the outer halo of the Milky Way, beyond the galaxy's spiral arms.

The most massive stars appear blue or white - they are usually hotter and burn through their nuclear fuel faster than the smaller yellow or red stars.

The kaleidoscope of colours in this image was thought to be due to the different masses and ages of the individual stars.

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DNA Analysis Shows That Native American Genealogy Is One of the Most Unique in the World

DNA Analysis Shows That Native American Genealogy Is One of the Most Unique in the World | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

The origin and history of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas have been studied for years by researchers from different countries, and a recent DNA study showed that the genealogy of the western aboriginals is one of the most unique in the world.

The question of whether Native Americans derived from a single Asian population or from a number of different populations has been a subject of research for decades. Now, having compared the DNA samples from people of modern Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of researchers concluded on the validity of the single ancestral population theory.

The study follows up on earlier research that found a unique variant of a genetic marker in the DNA of modern descendants of Native Americans. “While earlier studies have already supported this conclusion, what’s different about our work is that it provides the first solid data that simply cannot be reconciled with multiple ancestral populations,” said Kari Britt Schroeder of the University of California, one of the authors of the study.

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New geoglyphs found in Nazca desert after sandstorm

New geoglyphs found in Nazca desert after sandstorm | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

While flying over the famous Nazca desert recently, pilot Eduardo Herrán Gómez de la Torre spotted some geoglyphs that had not been seen before. He believes the geoglyphs or Nazca Lines, as others call them, were exposed after recent sand-storms carried away soil that was covering them.

 

The Nazca Lines have become world famous, showing up in paintings, movies, books and news articles. They exist on the floor of the Nazca desert in a southwestern part of Peru, near the ocean. Scientists believe the figures (approximately 700 in all) were created by the ancient Nazca people over a time period of a thousand years—500BC to 500AD.

 

The geoglyphs vary in size and have been categorized into two distinct categories: natural objects and geometric figures. The natural objects include animals such as birds, camelids, or snakes. It is believed the lines were created by removing iron-oxide coated pellets to a depth of four to six inches—that left the lighter sand below in stark contrast to the surrounding area. The images vary dramatically in size, with the largest approximately 935 feet long. It is a myth that the figures on the desert floor can only be seen by aircraft (they were first "discovered" by a pilot flying over the desert in 1939). In fact, they can be seen quite easily when standing on nearby mountains or hills.

 

The newly revealed figures discovered by de la Torre are of a snake (approximately 196 feet in length), a bird, a camelid (perhaps a llama) and some zig-zag lines. They are actually on some hills in the El Ingenio Valley and Pampas de Jumana near the desert floor. Archeologists have been alerted to authenticate the find.

 

The reason for the creation of the geoglyphs is still uncertain, though a host of possible explanations have been offered, many centered around religion and or water. Interestingly, all of the figures are believed to have been created using a single line that never crosses itself. Similar to how a picture might be drawn with a pencil, never lifting it from the paper. It has also been noted that many of the images depicted by geoglyphs also appear on pottery made by people over the same time period, and, archeologists have found evidence of wooden stakes used to help create the images, suggesting they were made using very simple techniques.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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IBM cracks open a new era of computing with brain-like chip: 4096 cores, 1 million neurons, 5.4 billion transistors

IBM cracks open a new era of computing with brain-like chip: 4096 cores, 1 million neurons, 5.4 billion transistors | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Scientists at IBM Research have created by far the most advanced neuromorphic (brain-like) computer chip to date. The chip, called TrueNorth, consists of 1 million programmable neurons 256 million programmable synapses spread out across 4096 individual neurosynaptic cores. Built on Samsung's 28nm process and with a monstrous transistor count of 5.4 billion, this is one of the largest and most advanced computer chips ever made. Perhaps most importantly, though, TrueNorth is incredibly efficient: The chip consumes just 72 milliwatts at max load, which equates to around 400 billion synaptic operations per second per watt -- or about 176,000 times more efficient than a modern CPU running the same workload, or 769 times more efficient than other state-of-the-art neuromorphic approaches. Yes, IBM is now a big step closer to building a brain on a chip.
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The never-ending conundrums of classical physics

The never-ending conundrums of classical physics | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

In the old physics, mass and energy were separately conserved; particles’ positions and momenta could be arbitrarily specified; gravity acted instantaneously at a distance; the equality of gravitational and inertial mass was just a coincidence; and there was no speed limit. All these ideas and assumptions are now known to be in some way untenable. They're either inaccurate or theoretical dead-ends.

To put it plainly, classical physics is wrong. As such, there's really only one thing to do—physicists have since abandoned the old, mistaken ideas, right? It's reminiscent of how doctors discarded the system of humors, chemists chucked out phlogiston, and astronomers turned away from astrology and geocentrism.

Not quite. Classical physics in fact survives as the foundation for most of engineering. At human scales, when velocities are not too close to the speed of light, distances are less than astronomical, and particles are not too small, modern physics reduces to classical physics, which provides an excellent approximation under such conditions. (Experts may grumble here that I’m not quite technically correct. Where I refer to particle size I should really speak of quantum number, remembering the phenomena of superfluidity and superconductivity. Also, precise measurements sometimes make the nonclassical nature of reality apparent even at human scales. For example, the effect of gravity on the speed of light means that we have to use general relativity in the design of the GPS navigation system.)

However, the practical utility of classical physics is not what this story is about. You see, the incorrect hanger-on we call classical physics remains a vibrant arena of active research. Its foundations and the fundamental problems posed by several of its subfields still engage the imaginations of thousands of physicists throughout the world. And like all areas in active development, it attracts contention and controversy to this very day.

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Tidal forces gave moon its shape early in its history, new analysis finds

Tidal forces gave moon its shape early in its history, new analysis finds | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The shape of the moon deviates from a simple sphere in ways that scientists have struggled to explain. A new study shows that most of the moon's overall shape can be explained by taking into account tidal effects acting early in the moon's history. The results provide insights into the moon's early history, its orbital evolution, and its current orientation in the sky.
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Extinct mega penguin was tallest and heaviest ever

Extinct mega penguin was tallest and heaviest ever | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A fossil foot bone found in Antarctica suggests that one extinct species of penguin was a true giant, clocking in at 115 kilograms
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A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers

A mathematical theory proposed by Alan Turing in 1952 can explain the formation of fingers | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Alan Turing, the British mathematician (1912-1954), is famous for a number of breakthroughs, which altered the course of the 20th century. In 1936 he published a paper, which laid the foundation of computer science, providing the first formal concept of a computer algorithm. He next played a pivotal ...
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Engineering a Protein to Prevent Brain Damage from Toxic Agents | NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering

Engineering a Protein to Prevent Brain Damage from Toxic Agents | NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Research at New York University is paving the way for a breakthrough that may prevent brain damage in civilians and military troops exposed to poisonous chemicals—particularly those in pesticides and chemical weapons.
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An interactive map of human genetic history revealed

An interactive map of human genetic history revealed | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

The interactive map produced by researchers from Oxford University and UCL (University College London), details the histories of genetic mixing between each of the 95 populations across Europe, Africa, Asia and South America spanning the last four millennia.

 

The study, published this week in Science, simultaneously identifies, dates and characterises genetic mixing between populations. To do this, the researchers developed sophisticated statistical methods to analyse the DNA of 1490 individuals in 95 populations around the world. The work was chiefly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

 

'DNA really has the power to tell stories and uncover details of humanity's past,' said Dr Simon Myers of Oxford University's Department of Statistics and Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, co-senior author of the study.

 

'Because our approach uses only genetic data, it provides information independent from other sources. Many of our genetic observations match historical events, and we also see evidence of previously unrecorded genetic mixing. For example, the DNA of the Tu people in modern China suggests that in around 1200CE, Europeans similar to modern Greeks mixed with an otherwise Chinese-like population. Plausibly, the source of this European-like DNA might be merchants travelling the nearby Silk Road.'

 

The powerful technique, christened 'Globetrotter', provides insight into past events such as the genetic legacy of the Mongol Empire. Historical records suggest that the Hazara people of Pakistan are partially descended from Mongol warriors, and this study found clear evidence of Mongol DNA entering the population during the period of the Mongol Empire. Six other populations, from as far west as Turkey, showed similar evidence of genetic mixing with Mongols around the same time.

 

'What amazes me most is simply how well our technique works,' said Dr Garrett Hellenthal of the UCL Genetics Institute, lead author of the study. 'Although individual mutations carry only weak signals about where a person is from, by adding information across the whole genome we can reconstruct these mixing events. Sometimes individuals sampled from nearby regions can have surprisingly different sources of mixing.

 

'For example, we identify distinct events happening at different times among groups sampled within Pakistan, with some inheriting DNA from sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps related to the Arab Slave Trade, others from East Asia, and yet another from ancient Europe. Nearly all our populations show mixing events, so they are very common throughout recent history and often involve people migrating over large distances.'

 

The team used genome data for all 1490 individuals to identify 'chunks' of DNA that were shared between individuals from different populations. Populations sharing more ancestry share more chunks, and individual chunks give clues about the underlying ancestry along chromosomes.

 

'Each population has a particular genetic 'palette', said Dr Daniel Falush of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, co-senior author of the study.

 

'If you were to paint the genomes of people in modern-day Maya, for example, you would use a mixed palette with colours from Spanish-like, West African and Native American DNA. This mix dates back to around 1670CE, consistent with historical accounts describing Spanish and West African people entering the Americas around that time. Though we can't directly sample DNA from the groups that mixed in the past, we can capture much of the DNA of these original groups as persisting, within a mixed palette of modern-day groups. This is a very exciting development.'


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Marylène Goulet's curator insight, July 30, 2014 2:15 AM

Pretty technical but pretty interesting too!

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Earth's pull melts layer around Moon's core

Earth's pull melts layer around Moon's core | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The power of Earth's gravity heats up a layer around the Moon's core keeping it liquid, suggests a new model of the lunar interior.
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Computer simulations improve atom experiments

Computer simulations improve atom experiments | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
It is extremely difficult to conduct experiments with atoms, so many scientists use computer simulations, before they perform actual experiments in the laboratory. At a recent Danish quantum science conference, Danish and international scientists presented some of the newest methods in computer simulations with atoms.
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Tiny dust grains may be from interstellar space

Tiny dust grains may be from interstellar space | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Scientists believe they have captured the first samples of space dust that comes from beyond our solar system.
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Quantum Mechanics Reveals How We Are All Truly Connected

Quantum Mechanics Reveals How We Are All Truly Connected | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

 

In order to truly understand what is happening at a sub-atomic level when we think of someone or when we feel the lightness of love for another; we must first bridge the gap between the micro-world and the macro-world. This is much easier said than done, because the micro-world operates under significantly different laws. String Theory states that our universe is made up of tiny little string particles and waves. These strings are the building blocks of the universe we experience, and make up the multiverse and the 11 dimensions Albert Einstein predicted that exist in the multiverse.

Read more at: http://www.learning-mind.com/quantum-mechanics-reveals-how-we-are-all-truly-connected/

 

In order to truly understand what is happening at a sub-atomic level when we think of someone or when we feel the lightness of love for another; we must first bridge the gap between the micro-world and the macro-world. This is much easier said than done, because the micro-world operates under significantly different laws. String Theory states that our universe is made up of tiny little string particles and waves. These strings are the building blocks of the universe we experience, and make up the multiverse and the 11 dimensions Albert Einstein predicted that exist in the multiverse.

Read more at: http://www.learning-mind.com/quantum-mechanics-reveals-how-we-are-all-truly-connected/

 

In order to truly understand what is happening at a sub-atomic level when we think of someone or when we feel the lightness of love for another; we must first bridge the gap between the micro-world and the macro-world. This is much easier said than done, because the micro-world operates under significantly different laws. String Theory states that our universe is made up of tiny little string particles and waves. These strings are the building blocks of the universe we experience, and make up the multiverse and the 11 dimensions Albert Einstein predicted that exist in the multiverse.

Read more at: http://www.learning-mind.com/quantum-mechanics-reveals-how-we-are-all-truly-connected/

"In order to truly understand what is happening at a sub-atomic level when we think of someone or when we feel the lightness of love for another; we must first bridge the gap between the micro-world and the macro-world. This is much easier said than done, because the micro-world operates under significantly different laws. String Theory states that our universe is made up of tiny little string particles and waves. These strings are the building blocks of the universe we experience, and make up the multiverse and the 11 dimensions Albert Einstein predicted that exist in the multiverse"

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10 Amazing Inventions From Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

10 Amazing Inventions From Nikola Tesla That Changed The World | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Perhaps one of Tesla’s most famous inventions deals directly with energy, something that is the talk of many social and political conversations and something that could be free to everyone if we used Nikola Tesla’s invention. Over the years, as more and more people begin to recognize the game being played in our society, Nikola Tesla and his story has been becoming more and more popular. This is natural as the increase in people educating themselves outside of the education system leads them to amazing bits of information that otherwise stay hidden.
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Clam fossils offer 10,000 year history of El Nino Southern Oscillation

Clam fossils offer 10,000 year history of El Nino Southern Oscillation | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

A research team working in Peru, with members from France, Peru and the U.S. has found a way to track the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) going back as far as ten thousand years. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team reports that their study of clam fossils has revealed clear patterns of the ENSO and report that it has not been increasing in intensity over the course of the Holocene as some have suggested.

People have been living on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Peru for a long time, and as they've done so, they've eaten clams, tossing the shells onto waste areas that grew to become huge mounds over thousands of years. In this new effort, the researchers dug down into several such mounds and extracted clam fossils they found, along with dirt and charcoal—remnants of ancient fires used to cook the clam meat. By taking measurements of oxygen isotopes in the clam shells, the researchers were able to calculate ocean surface temperatures at two to four week intervals throughout the lives of the individual clams, while radiocarbon dating of the dirt and charcoal revealed when the clams made their way into the mound. Examining multiple clams at different depths in the mounds allowed for creating a historical record of sea surface temperatures, and that allowed for charting the cycle of the ENSO going back ten thousand years.

 

The charts created by the research team suggest that the ENSO cycle does not have a predictable cycle and also that it has not been increasing in strength over the course of the Holocene as others have suggested. They did find some patterns, however. During a period approximately 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, for example, the ENSO was relatively weak, and during another period, from 6,700 to 7,500 years ago, ocean temperatures along the coast of Peru appeared to have been skewed by the location of warm water from an El Niño when trade winds push warm water into the Eastern Pacific.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Origins of our solar system revealed

Origins of our solar system revealed | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The cloud that formed our solar system brewed for 30 million years before the birth of the Sun, a new study has found.
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The Game Theory of Life | Quanta Magazine

The Game Theory of Life |  Quanta Magazine | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

"In what appears to be the first study of its kind, computer scientists report that an algorithm discovered more than 50 years ago in game theory and now widely used in machine learning is mathematically identical to the equations used to describe the distribution of genes within a population of organisms. Researchers may be able to use the algorithm, which is surprisingly simple and powerful, to better understand how natural selection works and how populations maintain their genetic diversity.

By viewing evolution as a repeated game, in which individual players, in this case genes, try to find a strategy that creates the fittest population, researchers found that evolution values both diversity and fitness.

Some biologists say that the findings are too new and theoretical to be of use; researchers don’t yet know how to test the ideas in living organisms. Others say the surprising connection, published Monday in the advance online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help scientists understand a puzzling feature of natural selection: The fittest organisms don’t always wipe out their weaker competition. Indeed, as evidenced by the menagerie of life on Earth, genetic diversity reigns."

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Pigeon paradox reveals quantum cosmic connections

Pigeon paradox reveals quantum cosmic connections | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A thought experiment has exposed a new kind of quantum link that could connect every particle in the universe, all the time
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Enzyme discovery offers hope of a new generation of antibiotics

Enzyme discovery offers hope of a new generation of antibiotics | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Antibiotic resistance is one of our time's gravest threats. New research on cell division offers hope of developing a new generation of antibiotics that can meet the challenge.
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Error in satellite record may have overestimated Antarctic sea ice expansion

Error in satellite record may have overestimated Antarctic sea ice expansion | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

"John Abraham: A jump is discovered in estimated Antarctic sea ice extent due to a satellite algorithm"

 

"Specifically we find that a change in the intercalibration across a 1991 sensor transition when the data set was reprocessed in 2007 caused a substantial change in the long-term trend. Although our analysis does not definitively identify whether this change introduced an error or removed one, the resulting difference in the trends suggests that a substantial error exists in either the current data set or the version that was used prior to the mid-2000s… furthermore, a number of recent studies have investigated physical mechanisms for the observed expansion of the Antarctic sea ice cover. The results of this analysis raise the possibility that much of this expansion may be a spurious artifact of an error in the processing of satellite observations."

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"Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor" discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea

"Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor" discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Vast methane plumes have been discovered boiling up from the seafloor of the Arctic ocean on the continental slope of the Laptev Sea by a dream team of international scientists. Over the last decade a warming tongue of Atlantic ocean water has been flowing along the Siberian Arctic ocean's continental slope destabilizing methane ice, hypothesize the team of Swedish, Russian and American scientists. The research team will take a series of measurements across the Siberian seas to attempt to understand and quantify the methane release and predict the effect of this powerful greenhouse gas on global and Arctic warming. Because the Siberian Arctic contains vast stores of methane ices and organic carbon that may be perturbed by the warming waters and Arctic climate, Arctic ocean and Siberian sea methane release could accelerate and intensify Arctic and global warming.
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Ultra-precise atomic clock will reveal if physical constants really are constant

Ultra-precise atomic clock will reveal if physical constants really are constant | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
New network of quantum entangled clocks will be so precise that it can measure if physical constants change on a daily basis.
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