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NASA rover confirms Mars origin of some meteorites that landed on Earth

NASA rover confirms Mars origin of some meteorites that landed on Earth | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet.

 

A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars’ atmosphere by Curiosity’s laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origin of other meteorites.

 

The new measurement is a high-precision count of two forms of argon — argon-36 and argon-38 — accomplished by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument inside the rover. These lighter and heavier forms, or isotopes, of argon exist naturally throughout the solar system. On Mars the ratio of light to heavy argon is skewed because much of that planet’s original atmosphere was lost to space. The lighter form of argon was taken away more readily because it rises to the top of the atmosphere more easily and requires less energy to escape. That left the Martian atmosphere relatively enriched in the heavier isotope, argon-38.

 

Years of past analyses by Earth-bound scientists of gas bubbles trapped inside Martian meteorites had already narrowed the Martian argon ratio to between 3.6 and 4.5 (that is 3.6 to 4.5 atoms of argon-36 to every one of argon-38). Measurements by NASA’s Viking landers in the 1970s put the Martian atmospheric ratio in the range of four to seven. The new SAM direct measurement on Mars now pins down the correct argon ratio at 4.2.

 

“We really nailed it,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, lead author of an Oct. 16 paper reporting the finding in Geophysical Research Letters. “This direct reading from Mars settles the case with all Martian meteorites.”

 

One reason scientists have been so interested in the argon ratio in Martian meteorites is that it was — before Curiosity — the best measure of how much atmosphere Mars has lost since the planet’s wetter, warmer days billions of years ago. Figuring out the planet’s atmospheric loss would enable scientists to better understand how Mars transformed from a once water-rich planet, more like our own, into today’s drier, colder and less-hospitable world.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Lost? Send in the Drones and Robots!

Lost? Send in the Drones and Robots! | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Newfangled robots, drones and heartbeat-detecting tech might just save your ass if you disappear.
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excerpt: "Imagery from search-and-rescue aircraft typically can’t be analyzed prior to landing, whereas drones recently approved by the FAA for civilian use now allow visuals to be streamed live. That’s how DEEMI can rely on a volunteer in, say, Ohio to spot a limb in an image before a pilot maneuvers a drone closer to that specific geolocation, saving “days, hours, minutes and, ultimately, lives,” says Bowie, DEEMI’s director."

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Constructor theory solves the riddle of life – Chiara Marletto – Aeon

Constructor theory solves the riddle of life – Chiara Marletto – Aeon | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Constructor theory is a new vision of physics, but it helps to answer a very old question: why is life possible at all? The early history of evolution is, in constructor-theoretic terms, a lengthy, highly inaccurate, non-purposive construction that eventually produced knowledge-bearing recipes out of elementary things containing none. These elementary things are simple chemicals such as short RNA strands, which can perform only low-fidelity replication, and so do not bear the appearance of design, and are therefore allowed to exist in a pre-biotic environment governed by no-design laws.
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8 Reasons Why Students Should Still Write Research Papers

8 Reasons Why Students Should Still Write Research Papers | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
8 Reasons Why Students Should Still Write Research Papers by Dorothy Mikuska There are plenty of reasons why the research paper is not assigned.
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What Hypnosis Really Does to Your Brain

What Hypnosis Really Does to Your Brain | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Most people agree that hypnosis does something to your brain — specifically something that makes people make fools of themselves at hypnotist shows. But how does it actually affect the human brain? Can it make people recall events perfectly? Are post-hypnotic suggestions a bunch of baloney? What is the truth about hypnotism?
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The Rise of Digital Doors: Why Physical Keys Are No Longer Enough | AT&T Digital Life: What's Trending

The Rise of Digital Doors: Why Physical Keys Are No Longer Enough | AT&T Digital Life: What's Trending | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Here's why digital locks are the best way to keep your home safe.
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Phys.Org Mobile: Dutch 'paddy power' pulls electricity from rice fields

Phys.Org Mobile: Dutch 'paddy power' pulls electricity from rice fields | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Founded in 2009, Plant-e is perfecting a system originally dreamt up at Wageningen University and patented in 2007. All that the system requires to produce electricity is a plant growing in water, be it mangrove swamps, rice paddies, bogs or simply in a pot or your garden.
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Lightweight High-Energy Liquid Laser (HELLADS) prepared for live fire tests

Lightweight High-Energy Liquid Laser (HELLADS) prepared for live fire tests | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' High-Energy Liquid Laser Defense System (HELLADS) has gained US government approval and is now on its way to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for live-fire tests.
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Now Algorithms Are Deciding Whom To Hire, Based On Voice

Now Algorithms Are Deciding Whom To Hire, Based On Voice | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
If you're trying out for a job, the one judging you may not be a person — it could be a computer. Algorithms are evaluating human voices to determine which ones are engaging, calming and trustworthy.
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38 Seminal Articles Every Data Scientist Should Read – Big Data News

38 Seminal Articles Every Data Scientist Should Read – Big Data News | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Here is selection containing both external and internal papers, focusing on various technical aspects of data science and big data. Feel free to add your favorites.
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Search for life on Europa: Nasa chooses tools that will look for living things on Jupiter’s moon

Search for life on Europa: Nasa chooses tools that will look for living things on Jupiter’s moon | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Nasa has picked out the toolbox that it will load up onto a probe and send to one of Jupiter’s moons in search of life.


Via Luca Baptista
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Artificial Intelligence for Research, Analytics, and Reasoning

Artificial Intelligence for Research, Analytics, and Reasoning | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Artificial Intelligence for Research, Analytics, and Reasoning http://t.co/gxXxqdrZ7T
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The Deep Web vs. The Dark Web | Dictionary.com Blog

The Deep Web vs. The Dark Web | Dictionary.com Blog | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Dictionary.com’s latest update contains many terms ushered into existence because of technological advancements. Two of these new entries, deep web and dark web, are so technical in nature that we came across a lot of confusion as to what they actually mean in our research. More tech-savvy publications generally have a disclaimer when discussing the dark web, pleading with their readers that this is not to be confused with the deep web, which is related, but not at all the same thing. So, what exactly are the dark web and the deep web, and why are technology reporters so wary when using either term?
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Epigenetics: phenomenon or quackery? | Machines Like Us

Epigenetics: phenomenon or quackery? | Machines Like Us | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
An online news resource providing the latest in cognition, artificial intelligence, synthetic life, health, medicine, genetics, space, computer science, biology and aging, anthropology, evolution and atheism, science and technology and other science news
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Man Uses Drone to Expose One of America's Biggest Secrets

Man Uses Drone to Expose One of America's Biggest Secrets | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Drones on American soil are revealing some stunning things.
Sharrock's insight:
disgusting
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Genetically Modified Salmon: Coming To A River Near You?

Genetically Modified Salmon: Coming To A River Near You? | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Scientists are trying to predict what might happen if genetically modified salmon escaped growth facilities. It's a scenario often raised by critics who don't want the FDA to approve sale of the fish. Sundström attests that the risk of escape is, for the most part, in the future. "We are expecting very little risk at the moment, because there are very few facilities that actually hold these fish. I think what's a worry to some people is if it becomes commercialized and you find these kind of fish in millions of hatcheries around the world." If that were to happen, he says, the concern is that growers might become lax about containment methods, and then it would just be a matter of time before a fish — or a few — got out.
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Machine Vision Algorithm Chooses the Most Creative Paintings in History

Machine Vision Algorithm Chooses the Most Creative Paintings in History | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Creativity is one of humanity’s uniquely defining qualities. Numerous thinkers have explored the qualities that creativity must have, and most pick out two important factors: whatever the process of creativity produces, it must be novel and it must be influential.

The history of art is filled with good examples in the form of paintings that are unlike any that have appeared before and that have hugely influenced those that follow. Leonardo’s 1469 Madonna and child with a pomegranate, Goya’s 1780 Christ crucified or Monet’s 1865 Haystacks at Chailly at sunrise and so on. Others paintings are more derivative, showing many similarities with those that have gone before and so are thought of as less creative.

The job of distinguishing the most creative from the others falls to art historians. And it is no easy task. It requires, at the very least, an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of art. The historian must then spot novel features and be able to recognize similar features in future paintings to determine their influence.

Those are tricky tasks for a human and until recently, it would have been unimaginable that a computer could take them on. But today that changes thanks to the work of Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh at the University of Washington, who say they have a machine that can do just this.

Via Ashish Umre
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Phys.Org Mobile: Evolution is unpredictable and irreversible, biologists show

This result—that later mutations were dependent on the earlier ones—demonstrates a feature known as contingency. In other words, mutations that are accepted by evolution are contingent upon previous mutations to ameliorate their effects.
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Biochemists devise new technique for blueprinting cell membrane proteins

Biochemists devise new technique for blueprinting cell membrane proteins | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Biochemists from Trinity College Dublin have devised a new technique that will make the difficult but critical job of blueprinting certain proteins considerably faster, easier and cheaper.

 

The breakthrough will make a big splash in the field of drug discovery and development, where precise protein structure blueprints can help researchers understand how individual proteins work. Critically, these blueprints can show weaknesses that allow drug developers to draw up specific battle plans in the fight against diseases and infections.

Professor of Membrane Structural and Functional Biology at Trinity, Martin Caffrey, is the senior author of the research, which has just been published in the international peer-reviewed journal Acta Crystallographica D.

 

He said: "This is a truly exciting development. We have demonstrated the method on a variety of cell membrane proteins, some of which act as transporters. It will work with existing equipment at a host of facilities worldwide, and it is very simple to implement."

 

Over 50% of drugs on the market target cell membrane proteins, which are vital for the everyday functioning of complex cellular processes. They act as transporters to ensure that specific molecules enter and leave our cells, as signal interpreters important in decoding messages and initiating responses, and as agents that speed up appropriate responses.

 

The major challenge facing researchers is the production of large membrane protein crystals, which are used to determine the precise 3-D structural blueprints. That challenge has now been lessened thanks to the Trinity biochemists' advent - the in meso in situ serial crystallography (IMISX) method.

 

Beforehand, researchers needed to harvest protein crystals and cool them at inhospitable temperatures in a complex set of events that was damaging, inefficient and prone to error. The IMISX method allows researchers to determine structural blueprints as and where the crystals grow.

 

Professor Caffrey added: "The best part of this is that these proteins are as close to being 'live' and yet packaged in the crystals we need to determine their structure as they could ever be. As a result, this breakthrough is likely to supplant existing protocols and will make the early stages of drug development considerably more efficient."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Large Plasma Tubes Confirmed to Exist Above The Earth's Atmosphere

Large Plasma Tubes Confirmed to Exist Above The Earth's Atmosphere | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
For over six decades, scientists have speculated about the existence of plasma structures that reside in the magnetosphere’s inner layers.
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The New Moonshots: These Are The Most Futuristic Ideas From Google I/O

The New Moonshots: These Are The Most Futuristic Ideas From Google I/O | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The most futuristic projects at Google come out of their advanced technologies and projects group, or ATAP.
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Industry 4.0: A 'fourth industrial revolution' is about to begin (in Germany)

Industry 4.0: A 'fourth industrial revolution' is about to begin (in Germany) | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Factories are about to get smarter. The machines that make everything from our phones to our sandwiches rely on creaking technology -- but not for long. "We will have a fourth industrial revolution," says professor Detlef Zühlke, a lead researcher in the factories of the future. And that fourth revolution is all about making factories less stupid.

Zühlke and his team have spent the past decade developing a new standard for factories, a sort of internet of things for manufacturing. "There will be hundreds of thousands of computers everywhere," Zühlke tells WIRED.co.uk. "Some of these technologies will be disruptive".

In Germany this impending revolution is known as Industry 4.0, with the government shovelling close to €500m (£357m) into developing the technology. In China, Japan, South Korea and the USA big steps are also being made to create global standards and systems that will make factories smarter. The rest of the world, Zühlke claims, is "quite inactive". Zühlke is head of one of the largest research centers for smart factory technology in the world. The facility, located at the German Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (DFKID) in the south-western city of Kaiserslautern, houses a row of boxes packed with wires and circuitry.

At first it looks like any factory, but then you notice all the machines are on wheels. This, Zühlke explains, is the factory of the future. His vision is based on cyber physical systems, combining mechanical systems with electronics to connect everything together. And the wheels? One day different modules in the factory could potentially drive themselves around to allow factories to alter the production line. For now, moving the modules is done by humans.

The demo factory is currently producing business card holders. Each module performs a different task and they can be rearranged into any order, with the modules able to understand when it is their turn to carry out a task. A storage module feeds into an engraver, a robot arm, a laser marker, a quality control module and so forth. New modules can be added at any time, a process Zühlke compares to playing with Lego.

The idea owes a lot to how we've all been using home computers for years. For more than a decade it has been easy to plug in a new printer or other USB device and have it instantly recognized. On a computer this is known as "plug and play", in a factory Zühlke describes it as "plug and produce". A key breakthrough has been the development of a USB port on an industrial scale, Zühlke explains. This cable, which looks more like a giant hose, sends data and pressurized air to modules in a smart factory, with a control centre receiving information back.

In two years Zühlke expects the first wave of factories using smart technology to be fully operational, with widespread adoption in factories around the world in the next decade. For now, smart factories remain a research project.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Robots Get a Grip on Meat and Vegetables | MIT Technology Review

Robots Get a Grip on Meat and Vegetables | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Advances in robotics make it possible to automate tasks such as processing poultry and vegetables.
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Dinosaurs wiped out rapidly 66 million years ago

Dinosaurs wiped out rapidly 66 million years ago | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Dinosaurs flourished in Europe right up until the asteroid impact that wiped them out 66 million years ago, a new study shows. The theory that an asteroid rapidly killed off the dinosaurs is widely recognized, but until recently dinosaur fossils from the latest Cretaceous--the final stanza of dinosaur evolution--were known almost exclusively from North America. This has raised questions about whether the sudden decline of dinosaurs in the American and Canadian west was merely a local story.

 

The new study synthesizes a flurry of research on European dinosaurs over the past two decades. Fossils of latest Cretaceous dinosaurs are now commonly discovered in Spain, France, Romania, and other countries. By looking at the variety and ages of these fossils, a team of researchers led by Zoltán Csiki-Sava of the University of Bucharest'sFaculty of Geology and Geophysics has determined that dinosaurs remained diverse in European ecosystems very late into the Cretaceous.

 

In the Pyrenees of Spain and France, the best area in Europe for finding latest Cretaceous dinosaurs, meat and plant-eating species are present and seemingly flourishing during the final few hundred thousand years before the asteroid hit.

 

Dr Csiki-Sava said "For a long time, Europe was overshadowed by other continents when the understanding of the nature, composition and evolution of latest Cretaceous continental ecosystems was concerned. The last 25 years witnessed a huge effort across all Europe to improve our knowledge, and now we are on the brink of fathoming the significance of these new discoveries, and of the strange and new story they tell about life at the end of the Dinosaur Era."

 

Dr Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences (UK), an author on the report, added: "Everyone knows that an asteroid hit 66 million years ago and dinosaurs disappeared, but this story is mostly based on fossils from one part of the world, North America. We now know that European dinosaurs were thriving up to the asteroid impact, just like in North America. This is strong evidence that the asteroid really did kill off dinosaurs in their prime, all over the world at once."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Google files patent for creepy teddy bear

Google files patent for creepy teddy bear | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Google filed a patent for a toy that will have sensors and cameras, and can control connected devices.
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