The latest images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have scientists stunned – not only for their breathtaking views of Pluto’s majestic icy mountains, streams of frozen nitrogen and haunting low-lying hazes, but also for their strangely familiar, arctic look.
Gary Bamford's insight:
Wow - a must-view set of shots - beautiful in the extreme!
Distillery toasts ‘space whisky’ experiment as malt returns to Earth after four-year journey tasting out of this world Whisky fired into space almost four years ago as part of an experiment has returned to Earth with enhanced flavour and character,...
This paper outlines a thermodynamic theory of biological evolution. Beginning with a brief summary of the parallel histories of the modern evolutionary synthesis and thermodynamics, we use four physical laws and processes (the first and second laws of thermodynamics, diffusion and the maximum entropy production principle) to frame the theory. Given that open systems such as ecosystems will move towards maximizing dispersal of energy, we expect biological diversity to increase towards a level, Dmax, representing maximum entropic production (Smax). Based on this theory, we develop a mathematical model to predict diversity over the last 500 million years. This model combines diversification, post-extinction recovery and likelihood of discovery of the fossil record. We compare the output of this model with that of the observed fossil record. The model predicts that life diffuses into available energetic space (ecospace) towards a dynamic equilibrium, driven by increasing entropy within the genetic material. This dynamic equilibrium is punctured by extinction events, which are followed by restoration of Dmax through diffusion into available ecospace. Finally we compare and contrast our thermodynamic theory with the MES in relation to a number of important characteristics of evolution (progress, evolutionary tempo, form versus function, biosphere architecture, competition and fitness).
Life’s a Gas: A Thermodynamic Theory of Biological Evolution Keith R. Skene
Is it possible to predict how individuals will perform before the teamwork begins? Research by former cyclist Hugh Trenchard and others suggests that the mathematics of pelotons– the groups and bunches that cyclists form during a race – could be key to understanding how cyclists behave as a collective entity. While these collective dynamics may not tell us who will win the Tour de France, they do have broader applications to a variety of other biological systems. Here, Trenchard tells us more about his research, and how it might even provide some clues to the origin of life.
Mass panic? Stampedes? Nonsense, say the experts trying to stop another disaster like last week’s in Mecca: they’re failures of management, and they aren’t inevitable. So why aren’t they a thing of the past?
Among Malcolm Turnbull's first words as the newly elected leader of the Liberal Party, and hence heading for the Prime Minister's job, were: "The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, ...
The Standard Model of particle physics, which explains most of the known behaviors and interactions of fundamental subatomic particles, has held up remarkably well over several decades. This far-reaching theory does have a few shortcomings, however—most notably that it doesn't account for gravity. In hopes of revealing new, non-standard particles and forces, physicists have been on the hunt for conditions and behaviors that directly violate the Standard Model.
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