From simple charts to complex maps and infographics, Brian Suda's round-up of the best – and mostly free – tools has everything you need to bring your data to life. A common question is how to get started with data visualisations. Beyond following blogs, you need to practice – and to practice, you need to understand the tools available. In this article, get introduced to 20 different tools for creating visualisations.
The world's most powerful laser beams are going to be built in Europe. Scientists say that a blast from them could destroy nuclear waste in seconds — meaning it wouldn't have to be stored for centuries.
Currently there are six potential habitable exoplanets -- four of these objects have been detected in the last year, from September 2011 to September 2012. Gliese 163c is a rock-water world of 2.4 Earth radii, however, it could be as small as 1.8 Earth radii if composed mostly of rock, like Earth.
New data suggests the confirmation of the exoplanet Gliese 581g and the best candidate so far of a potential habitable exoplanet. The nearby star Gliese 581 is well known for having four planets with the outermost planet, Gliese 581d, already suspected habitable. This will be the first time evidence for any two potential habitable exoplanets orbiting the same star. Gliese 581g will be included, together with Gliese 667Cc, Kepler-22b, HD85512, and Gliese 581d, in the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog of the PHL @ UPR Arecibo as the best five objects of interest for Earth-like exoplanets.
A team of researchers at MSU has documented the step-by-step process in which organisms evolve new functions. The results are revealed through an in-depth, genomics-based analysis that decodes how E. coli bacteria figured out how to supplement a traditional diet of glucose with an extra course of citrate.
“It’s pretty nifty to see a new biological function evolve,” said Zachary Blount, postdoctoral researcher in MSU’s BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. “The first citrate-eaters were just barely able to grow on the citrate, but they got much better over time. We wanted to understand the changes that allowed the bacteria to evolve this new ability. We were lucky to have a system that allowed us to do so.” Normal E. coli can’t digest citrate when oxygen is present. In fact, it’s a distinct hallmark of E. coli. They can’t eat citrate because E. coli don’t express the right protein to absorb citrate molecules.
To decipher the responsible mutations, Blount worked with Richard Lenski, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Lenski’s long-term experiment, cultivating cultures of fast-growing E. coli, was launched in 1988 and has allowed him and his teammates to study more than more than 56,000 generations of bacterial evolution. The experiment demonstrates natural selection at work. And because samples are frozen and available for later study, when something new emerges scientists can go back to earlier generations to look for the steps that happened along the way.
The first stage was potentiation, when the E. coli accumulated at least two mutations that set the stage for later events. The second step, actualization, is when the bacteria first began eating citrate, but only just barely nibbling at it. The final stage, refinement, involved mutations that greatly improved the initially weak function. This allowed the citrate eaters to wolf down their new food source and to become dominant in the population.
“We were particularly excited about the actualization stage,” Blount said. “The actual mutation involved is quite complex. It re-arranged part of the bacteria’s DNA, making a new regulatory module that had not existed before. This new module causes the production of a protein that allows the bacteria to bring citrate into the cell when oxygen is present. That is a new trick for E. coli.”
Just how Venus the cat—whose face is divided in two colors—got such a striking coloration is still a mystery, an expert says. (Most famous cat on the planet Venus is still a mystery. Why is she such a two-face?
"Innovation–new ways of thinking, probing, working, learning, living–Wisconsin Science Festival 2012 explores innovation from every possible angle. In Madison and around the state on September 27-30, the festival welcomes people of all ages to look, listen, feel, touch, taste and discover the wonders of all aspects of the sciences, arts and more through interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops, lectures, demonstrations and conversations with leading researchers and creative thinkers.
"So, unleash your curiosity and discover your inner innovator!"
In laboratories around the world, genetic researchers using tools that are ever more sophisticated to peer into the DNA of cells are increasingly finding things they were not looking for, including information that could make a big difference to an anonymous donor. The federal government is hurrying to develop policy options. It has made the issue a priority, holding meetings and workshops and spending millions of dollars on research on how to deal with questions unique to this new genomics era.
The quandaries arise from the conditions that medical research studies typically set out. Volunteers usually sign forms saying that they agree only to provide tissue samples, and that they will not be contacted. Only now have some studies started asking the participants whether they want to be contacted, but that leads to more questions: What sort of information should they get? What if the person dies before the study is completed?
The complications are procedural as well as ethical. Often, the research labs that make the surprise discoveries are not certified to provide clinical information to patients. The consent forms the patients signed were approved by ethics boards, which would have to approve any changes to the agreements — if the patients could even be found.
Sometimes the findings indicate that unexpected treatments might help. In a newly published federal study of 224 gene sequences of colon cancers, for example, researchers found genetic changes in 5 percent that were the same as changes in breast cancer patients whose prognosis is drastically improved with a drug, Herceptin. About 15 percent had a particular gene mutation that is common in melanoma. Once again, there is a drug, approved for melanoma, that might help. But under the rules of the study, none of the research subjects could ever know.
If only there were a way to forget that humiliating faux pas at last night's dinner party. It turns out there's not one, but two opposite ways in which the brain allows us to voluntarily forget unwanted memories, according to research.
We have generally believed that animals are not capable of very complex thought, even though many species use tools and engage in other complex behaviors. This study looks at whether New Caledonian crows, that were caught just for this experiment, are capable of attributing actions to a hidden cause, when they see that possible cause come and go.
Gene patent case could impact patients, researchBaltimore SunEvery time a woman is tested for gene mutations linked to significantly higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer, her blood is sent to a lab in Utah.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a way to combine the photosynthetic protein that converts light into electrochemical energy in spinach with silicon, the material used in solar cells, in a fashion that produces substantially more electrical current than has been reported by previous “biohybrid” solar cells.
“This combination produces current levels almost 1,000 times higher than we were able to achieve by depositing the protein on various types of metals. It also produces a modest increase in voltage,” said David Cliffel, associate professor of chemistry, who collaborated on the project with Kane Jennings, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
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