It's impossible to talk about hoverboards without invoking a particular movie title, so we're not even going to try: Remember that awesome scene from Back to the Future Part II? It's one step closer to reality: A California startup just built a real, working hoverboard. Arx Pax is attempting to crowdfund the Hendo Hoverboard as a proof of concept for its hover engine technology -- it's not quite the floating skateboard Marty McFly rode through Hill Valley (and the Wild West), but it's an obvious precursor to the imagined ridable: a self-powered, levitating platform with enough power to lift a fully grown adult.
I initially approached the floating pallet with caution, expecting it to dip and bob under my weight like a piece of driftwood. It didn't. The levitating board wiggled slightly under my 200-pound frame, but maintained its altitude (a mere inch or so) without visible strain. Arx Pax tells me that the current prototype can easily support 300 pounds and future versions will be able to hold up to 500 pounds without issue. Either way, you'll need to hover over a veryspecific kind of surface to get it to hold anything: The Hendo uses the same kind of electromagnetic field technology that floats MagLev trains -- meaning it will only levitate over non-ferrous metals like copper or aluminum.
Riding the contraption was a lot fun, but also quite the challenge: The Hendo hoverboard doesn't ride at all like McFly's flying skateboard. In fact, without a propulsion system, it tends to drift aimlessly. Arx Pax founder and Hendo inventor Greg Henderson says it's something the company is working on. "We can impart a bias," he tells me, pointing out pressure-sensitive pads on the hoverboard's deck that manipulate the engines. "We can turn on or off different axes of movement." Sure enough, leaning on one side of the board convinces it to rotate and drift in the desired direction. Without feeling the friction of the ground, however, I had trouble knowing how much pressure to exert -- Henderson's staff had to jump in and save me from spinning out of control. Clearly, this might take some practice.
As fun as its current form is, Henderson didn't necessarily set out to reinvent transportation. The Hendo engine's original inspiration came from architecture. "It came from the idea of hovering a building out of harm's way," he says. "If you can levitate a train that weighs 50,000 kilograms, why not a house?" After some prodding, he clarifies the idea as a sort of emergency lifting system that could theoretically raise a building off of its foundation during an earthquake, essentially rendering the natural disaster's tremors harmless. The idea sounds as fictional as, well, a hoverboard -- but he already built one of those.
A well-known computer scientist parachuted from a balloon near the top of the stratosphere on Friday, falling faster than the speed of sound and breaking the world altitude record set just two years ago.
The jump was made by Alan Eustace, 57, a senior vice president at Google. At dawn he was lifted by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium, from an abandoned runway at the airport here.
For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of 135,908 feet, more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall.
“It was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”
Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at a speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by observers on the ground.
Seven physicists found out, by turning data from CERN’s experiments in to songs, then playing them in situ Helping scientists to discover the Higgs boson was, it seems, just one of the Large Hadron Collider’s talents.
Lately there's been news of a radical new theory proposing that the universe began from a hyper-dimensional black hole. Most of the reports seem to stem from an article posted a while back on the Nature blog, which references the original paper. So let's have a little reality check.
No one is abandoning the big bang model. The original paper hasn't even been peer reviewed yet and the paper doesn't present a radical new theory to overturn the big bang. What the paper is actually about is higher-dimensional gravitational theory.
The standard theory of gravity (general relativity) describes our universe as a geometry of three-dimensional space with one dimension of time. This is sometimes called 3 + 1 space, and it gives a very accurate description of the universe we observe. But theorists like to play around with alternative models to see how they differ from regular general relativity. They may look at 2 + 1 space, a kind of flatland with time, or 2 + 2, with two time dimensions. There isn't necessarily anything "real" about these models, and there certainly isn't any experimental evidence to support anything other than 3 + 1 gravity, but alternative models are useful because they help us gain a deeper understanding of general relativity. In this particular paper, the authors were exploring 4 + 1 gravity. That is, a five-dimensional universe with 4 spatial dimensions and 1 time.
Back in 2000, another team of authors proposed a model where our regular 3 + 1 gravity could be treated as a brane within a larger 4 + 1 universe. It is similar to the way a 2 + 1 universe could be imagined as a 2-dimensional surface (the brane) within our 3-dimensional space. In the 2000 paper, the authors showed that a particular 4 + 1 universe with a 3 + 1 brane could give rise to the type of gravity we actually see.
The new paper takes this model one step further. In it, the authors show that 4 + 1 gravity allows for the existence of black holes. So if a 4 + 1 universe had large stars, some of those stars could collapse into a 4-dimensional "hyper black hole". Like black holes in regular general relativity, these hyper black holes would have a central "singularity" of extremely dense and hot matter/energy. The authors then went on to show that a hyper black hole with the right conditions could not only create a three-dimensional brane, but the new brane would look very similar to the early universe we actually observe.
"In this article, we review environmentally mediated epigenetic regulation in plants using two case histories. One of these, vernalization, mediates adaptation of plants to different environments and it exemplifies processes that are reset in each generation. The other, virus-induced silencing, involves transgenerationally inherited epigenetic modifications."
A new study claims that yoga and other exercises, which have relaxing effect on our bodies, can help people with social anxiety disorders look at the world positively. (I know a local Tampa company that believes in this!
Almost 2,000 extrasolar planets have been discovered to date and this number is constantly increasing. Yet, we still know little about these alien worlds, especially their atmospheres. The atmospheres of terrestrial exoplanets could betray the presence of life on the planet, sparking NASA's interest in acquiring the spectra that appears as starlight shines through these planetary atmospheres.
A paper by Timothy Brandt and David Spiegel, exo-planetary scientists at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, details what is needed in a next generation telescope for it to be capable of detecting signatures of life in the atmospheres of alien planets. The paper has been published in the September issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Astronomers employ several different methods to study the atmospheres of gas giants that orbit close to their host stars. One such method involves comparing the spectrum of a star when a planet is transiting across the surface to a spectrum when the planet is out of transit. By comparing the spectra, it is possible to see which elements exist in the planet's atmosphere.
Methods like this still can't be used for terrestrial planets, as the height of the atmosphere engulfing a rocky planet is miniscule compared to that of a gas giant. Earth-like planets also orbit their stars at a larger distance, making it even more difficult to observe their atmospheres.
Observations of terrestrial planet atmospheres will require a specialized space mission that will use a coronograph to block out the blinding light of the star. While the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2018, will be capable of detecting elements in planetary atmospheres, it will still be limited to more massive planets.
"Our paper is an attempt to better define the requirements for a mission capable of detecting oxygen and water," says Brandt. "This is NASA's target, assuming technology developments in coronagraphy and adaptive optics permit it."
A research team led by a Brown University physicist has produced new evidence for an exotic superconducting state, first predicted a half-century ago, that can arise when a superconductor is exposed to a strong magnetic field.
"It took 50 years to show that this phenomenon indeed happens," said Vesna Mitrovic, associate professor of physics at Brown University, who led the work. "We have identified the microscopic nature of this exotic quantum state of matter."
The research is published in Nature Physics.
Superconductivity—the ability to conduct electric current without resistance—depends on the formation of electron twosomes known as Cooper pairs (named for Leon Cooper, a Brown University physicist who shared the Nobel Prize for identifying the phenomenon). In a normal conductor, electrons rattle around in the structure of the material, which creates resistance. But Cooper pairs move in concert in a way that keeps them from rattling around, enabling them to travel without resistance.
Magnetic fields are the enemy of Cooper pairs. In order to form a pair, electrons must be opposites in a property that physicists refer to as spin. Normally, a superconducting material has a roughly equal number of electrons with each spin, so nearly all electrons have a dance partner. But strong magnetic fields can flip "spin-down" electrons to "spin-up", making the spin population in the material unequal.
"The question is what happens when we have more electrons with one spin than the other," Mitrovic said. "What happens with the ones that don't have pairs? Can we actually form superconducting states that way, and what would that state look like?"
In 1964, physicists predicted that superconductivity could indeed persist in certain kinds of materials amid a magnetic field. The prediction was that the unpaired electrons would gather together in discrete bands or stripes across the superconducting material. Those bands would conduct normally, while the rest of the material would be superconducting. This modulated superconductive state came to be known as the FFLO phase, named for theorists Peter Fulde, Richard Ferrell, Anatoly Larkin, and Yuri Ovchinniko, who predicted its existence. To investigate the phenomenon, Mitrovic and her team used an organic superconductor with the catchy name κ-(BEDT-TTF)2Cu(NCS)2. The material consists of ultra-thin sheets stacked on top of each other and is exactly the kind of material predicted to exhibit the FFLO state.
After applying an intense magnetic field to the material, Mitrovic and her collaborators from the French National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Grenoble probed its properties using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). What they found were regions across the material where unpaired, spin-up electrons had congregated. These "polarized" electrons behave, "like little particles constrained in a box," Mitrovic said, and they form what are known as Andreev bound states.
Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives for extremely precise measurements of molecular properties and may also contribute to the development of molecular clocks and quantum technology. The results were published in the scientific journal Nature Physics.
Spectroscopy, the study of the interaction between matter and light, is probably the most important method for investigating the properties of molecules. Molecules can only absorb light at well-defined wavelengths which correspond to the difference between two quantum-mechanical energy states. This is referred to as a spectroscopic transition. An analysis of the wavelengths and the intensity of the transitions provides information about the chemical structure and molecular motions, such as vibration or rotation.
In certain cases, however, the transition between two energy levels is not permitted. The transition is then called "forbidden". Nevertheless, this restriction is not categorical, meaning that forbidden transitions can still be observed with an extremely sensitive method of measurement. Although the corresponding spectra are extremely weak, they can be measured to an exceptionally accurate degree. They provide information on molecular properties with a level of precision not possible within allowed spectra.
In the present study, individual charged nitrogen molecules (ions) were generated in a well-defined molecular energy state. The ions were then implanted into a structure of ultra-cold, laser-cooled calcium ions – a Coulomb crystal – in an ultra-high vacuum chamber. The molecular ions were thus cooled to a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero to localize in space. In this isolated, cold environment, the molecules could be investigated without perturbations over long periods of time. This enabled the researchers to excite and observe forbidden transitions in the infrared spectral domain using an intensive laser.
The great desert was born some 7 million years ago, as remnants of a vast sea called Tethys closed up. The movement of tectonic plates that created the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps also sparked the drying of the Sahara some 7 million years ago, according to the latest computer simulations of Earth’s ancient climate.
Though North Africa is currently covered by the world’s largest non-polar desert, climate conditions in the region have not been constant there for the last several million years. Subtle changes in Earth’s tilt toward the sun periodically increase the amount of solar energy received by the Northern Hemisphere in summer, altering atmospheric currents and driving monsoon rains. North Africa also sees more precipitation when less of the planet’s water is locked up in ice. Such increases in moisture limit how far the Sahara can spread and can even spark times of a “green Sahara”, when the sparse desert is replaced by abundant lakes, plants and animals.
Before the great desert was born, North Africa had a moister, semiarid climate. A few lines of evidence, including ancient dune deposits found in Chad, had hinted that the arid Sahara may have existed at least 7 million years ago. But without a mechanism to explain how it emerged, few scientists thought that the desert we see today could really be that old. Instead, most scientists argue that the Sahara took shape just 2 to 3 million years ago. Terrestrial and marine evidence suggest that North Africa underwent a period of drying at that time, when the Northern Hemisphere started its most recent cycle of glaciation.
Now Zhongshi Zhang of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues have run simulations of climate change in North Africa over the last 30 million years. Their simulations take into account changes in Earth’s orbital position, atmospheric chemistry and the ratio of land to ocean as driven by tectonic forces. The models shows that precipitation in North Africa declined by more than half about 7 million years ago, causing the region to dry out. But this effect could not be explained by changes in vegetation, Earth’s tilt or greenhouse gas concentrations—leaving tectonic action.
About 250 million years ago, a huge body of water called the Tethys Sea separated the supercontinents of Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. As those supercontinents broke apart and shuffled around, the African plate collided with the Eurasian plate, birthing the Alps and the Himalayas but closing off the bulk of the Tethys Sea. As the plates kept moving, the sea continued to shrink, eventually diminishing into the Mediterranean.
What set off the aridification in Africa was the replacement of the western arm of the Tethys Sea with the Arabian Peninsula around 7 to 11 million years ago. Replacing water with land, which reflects less sunlight, altered the region’s precipitation patterns. This created the desert and heightened its sensitivity to changes in Earth’s tilt, the researchers conclude in a study published today in Nature.
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There are about sixteen international locations which border the Mediterranean Sea, due to this fact, a selected copy of the Mediterranean eating regimen is not going to be made up of 1 particular alternative of foods. Do not forget that amongst all these international locations are many cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and religions. There may be additionally a giant variation within the economies in addition to the agricultural methods. For that reason, there's a certain quantity of variation with separate variations of the Mediterranean Diet. Despite the above, there are components that are frequent to the entire Mediterranean countries. Learn on to search out out extra particularly what the eating regimen really consists of. The eating regimen requires a excessive consumption of fruits, greens, beans, nuts and seeds, in addition to some bread and cereal. An vital monounsaturated fats supply is the olive oil used within the diet. Meals objects which may be consumed in low to reasonable quantities embody dairy merchandise, fish, poultry and crimson meat. Eggs could also be eaten not less than 4 instances a week. The Mediterranean eating regimen additionally permits a low to reasonable use of wine. It's as much as every particular person to place collectively a eating regimen that you just really feel comfy with. You need to make a duplicate of Mediterranean-model dietsand evaluate these to diets which can be really helpful by the American Coronary heart Association. The most important distinction you will discover is the Mediterranean Eating regimen has a excessive share of energy from wholesome fats. The actual fact is, coronary heart illness is lesser within the Mediterranean space than within the United States. The general loss of life charge is decrease within the Mediterranean space as well. Now there are different life-style components at work right here equivalent to completely different types of bodily exercise and prolonged social assist systems. Nonetheless, the eating regimen of the Mediterranean space does have plenty of affect over the well being of its people. Everytime you resolve to start a eating regimen, it's at all times advisable to seek the advice of along with your Doctor first. Moreover, it's a good suggestion to get into the behavior of studying the meals labels of merchandise you might be planning to purchase. At all times keep away from meals which have added chemical substances or meals coloring as this stuff are poisonous to your body. Understanding the variations in fat is crucial when placing collectively a eating regimen plan. A duplicate of Mediterranean eating regimen reveals that olive oil is used loads however you could substitute canola oil if you're not use to utilizing olive oil. If you're utilizing olive oil, attempt to use the additional virgin selection as it's much more wholesome than the common type. Basically, we're going to devour wholesome fats. The two fat to keep away from are known as saturated and trans fat. These are often known as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats and they're identified to lift blood ldl cholesterol levels. That's the reason it is vitally vital that you just learn the substances on the labels. Recipes may be altered and it's advisable to do this when needed. If you're not a wine drinker or favor to not drink wine then grape juice is extremely recommended. Research have proven that ingesting grape juice has the identical helpful impact as ingesting wine. The seeds of the grapes are highly effective free radical quenchers. Bear in mind if you do drink wine or grape juice, simply do it in moderation. There are different components concerned with the eating regimen that may be substituted as effectively if necessary. Following the Mediterranean eating regimen is an efficient option to shed extra pounds however allow us to suggest to you that you just train frequently as well. Drink not less than 6 glasses of water a day. Devour a reasonable quantity of crimson wine or grape juice. Now allow us to have a look at a duplicate of Mediterranean eating regimen itself and see how we would be capable to put it to use for ourselves. One of many essential parts really helpful to eat is plenty of fruits, greens and a reasonable quantity of complete grains. Bear in mind too that you may eat plenty of fish and rooster plus a reasonable quantity of crimson meat. The Mediterranean eating regimen, when effectively adopted is nice for individuals who have coronary heart disease. Now that now we have checked out the eating regimen, we are able to put collectively a meal plan. I'm going to place collectively a meal plan for one day. I do advise that you just work out your plan in keeping with your individual meals preferences. A One Day Model of the Mediterranean Eating regimen: Breakfast: * Half a Grapefruit * Scrambled eggs & steamed tomatoes with a pinch of chili or cracked pepper * Small Glass Orange juice (squeezed ideally) Mid-day Snack: * A glass of grape juice * Fruit combination of melon, strawberries, apples, and peaches Lunch: * Rooster and vegetable salad * Consists: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, fetta cheese, pitted kalamata olives, rooster breast strips with lemon, olive oil, pepper salad dressing (oil and vinegar). * A glass of water After Midday Snack: * Glass of water * Watermelon, orange or different contemporary fruit in season Dinner: * Fish in lemon juice frivolously broiled * Brown Rice, diced steamed greens (squeeze lemon, olive oil and cracked pepper sauce over all) * Darkish Lettuce and Peach Salad * Asparagus Suggestions * Glass of crimson wine or grape juice Drink water each day till you could have consumed not less than 6-eight glasses.
A new study claims that yoga and other exercises, which have relaxing effect on our bodies, can help people with social anxiety disorders look at the world positively. (I know a local Tampa company that believes in this!