Science Communica...
Follow
1.8K views | +0 today
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Cleverer still - Geniuses are getting brighter. Girls are not as far behind boys as they used to be

Cleverer still - Geniuses are getting brighter. Girls are not as far behind boys as they used to be | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

SCIENCE has few more controversial topics than human intelligence—in particular, whether variations in it are a result of nature or nurture, and especially whether such variations differ between the sexes. The mines in this field can blow up an entire career, as Larry Summers found out in 2005 when he spoke of the hypothesis that the mathematical aptitude needed for physics and engineering, as well as for maths itself, is innately rarer in women than in men. He resigned as president of Harvard University shortly afterwards.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by mdashf
Scoop.it!

What is Theory of Relativity !!

What is Theory of Relativity !! | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Just from a simpler form of Gravity I have proved in an article written couple days ago thats to be completed with these derivations but the ideas have been described: that gravitational time dilat...
mdashf's insight:

Whats Relativity theory and how some of its most talked about ideas are quantitatively Relativistic but conceptually even classical ideas (such as Galilean/Newtonian theory) gives rise to such. Some mentions here but some other Relativity articles in the same period gives more details.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by mdashf
Scoop.it!

Whats Pseudo Force? Is Gravity amenable to Quantization?

Whats Pseudo Force? Is Gravity amenable to Quantization? | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics can together be called New Mechanics and its also called Modern Physics. But in this nomenclature the unprepared can mix it with the definition given in the true se...
mdashf's insight:

This is a very detailed long article but in very simple language describing such concepts as the basis of expectations of "Quantization of Gravity with other forces" which is colloquially known as Einstein's dream of GUT (Grand Unified Theory) and whether such is possible or not and what we may be missing. This also describes briefly Pseudo Forces and in detail the basis of Physics Formalism and what are waves and particle from a Formal POV of Physics. (slightly but much can be based and expanded on such) This is one of the most well written article by me (Manmohan Dash) as I think.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Caltech engineers have created a device that can focus light into a single point just a few nanometers across

Caltech engineers have created a device that can focus light into a single point just a few nanometers across | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
As technology advances, it tends to shrink. From cell phones to laptops—powered by increasingly faster and tinier processors—everything is getting thinner and sleeker. And now light beams are getting smaller, too.

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a device that can focus light into a point just a few nanometers (billionths of a meter) across—an achievement they say may lead to next-generation applications in computing, communications, and imaging. Because light can carry greater amounts of data more efficiently than electrical signals traveling through copper wires, today's technology is increasingly based on optics. The world is already connected by thousands of miles of optical-fiber cables that deliver email, images, and the latest video gone viral to your laptop. As we all produce and consume more data, computers and communication networks must be able to handle the deluge of information. Focusing light into tinier spaces can squeeze more data through optical fibers and increase bandwidth. Moreover, by being able to control light at such small scales, optical devices can also be made more compact, requiring less energy to power them. But focusing light to such minute scales is inherently difficult. Once you reach sizes smaller than the wavelength of light—a few hundred nanometers in the case of visible light—you reach what's called the diffraction limit, and it's physically impossible to focus the light any further. But now the Caltech researchers, co-led by assistant professor of electrical engineering Hyuck Choo, have built a new kind of waveguide—a tunnellike device that channels light—that gets around this natural limit. The waveguide is made of amorphous silicon dioxide—which is similar to common glass—and is covered in a thin layer of gold. Just under two microns long, the device is a rectangular box that tapers to a point at one end.

Instead of focusing the light alone—which is impossible due to the diffraction limit—the new device focuses these coupled electron oscillations, called surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). The SPPs travel through the waveguide and are focused as they go through the pointy end. Because the new device is built on a semiconductor chip with standard nanofabrication techniques, says Choo, the co-lead and the co-corresponding author of the paper, it is easy integrate with today's technology Previous on-chip nanofocusing devices were only able to focus light into a narrow line. They also were inefficient, typically focusing only a few percent of the incident photons, with the majority absorbed and scattered as they traveled through the devices. With the new device, light can ultimately be focused in three dimensions, producing a point a few nanometers across, and using half of the light that's sent through, Choo says. (Focusing the light into a slightly bigger spot, 14 by 80 nanometers in size, boosts the efficiency to 70 percent). The key feature behind the device's focusing ability and efficiency, he says, is its unique design and shape.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Plants Grow Fine Without Gravity. Potential of Growing Crops in Space and Other Planets

Plants Grow Fine Without Gravity. Potential of Growing Crops in Space and Other Planets | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Turns out plants grow just fine on the International Space Station. When researchers sent plants to the International Space Station in 2010, the flora wasn't meant to be decorative. Instead, the seeds of these small, white flowers—called Arabidopsis thaliana—were the subject of an experiment to study how plant roots developed in a weightless environment.

Gravity is an important influence on root growth, but the scientists found that their space plants didn't need it to flourish. The research team from the University of Florida in Gainesville thinks this ability is related to a plant's inherent ability to orient itself as it grows. Seeds germinated on the International Space Station sprouted roots that behaved like they would on Earth—growing away from the seed to seek nutrients and water in exactly the same pattern observed with gravity.

Since the flowers were orbiting some 220 miles (350 kilometers) above the Earth at the time, the NASA-funded experiment suggests that plants still retain an earthy instinct when they don't have gravity as a guide.

"The role of gravity in plant growth and development in terrestrial environments is well understood," said plant geneticist and study co-author Anna-Lisa Paul, with the University of Florida in Gainesville. "What is less well understood is how plants respond when you remove gravity.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

Gravity ain't responsible for how fauna grows?

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

After 9 years and 18 expeditions to New Guinea, we now have pictures of every living species of bird of paradise

After 9 years and 18 expeditions to New Guinea, we now have pictures of every living species of bird of paradise | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
It took eight years. But now every bird of paradise species has been photographed in the wild.

Birds of paradise represent an extreme example of Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection: Females choose mates based on certain appealing characteristics, thus increasing the odds that those traits will pass from one generation to the next. In New Guinea an abundance of food and a scarcity of predators have allowed the birds to flourish—and to exaggerate their most attractive traits to a degree that even literal-minded scientists have called absurd.

The brilliant plumes have been prized as decorative objects in Asia for thousands of years. Hunters who traded the first specimens to Europeans in the 16th century often removed the birds’ wings and legs to emphasize plumes. This inspired a notion that they were literally the birds of the gods, floating through the heavens without ever alighting, gathering sustenance from the paradisiacal mists.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare

Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
t’s been fashionable in military circles to talk about cyberspace as a “fifth domain” for warfare, along with land, space, air and sea. But there’s a sixth and arguably more important warfighting domain emerging: the human brain.

This new battlespace is not just about influencing hearts and minds with people seeking information. It’s about involuntarily penetrating, shaping, and coercing the mind in the ultimate realization of Clausewitz’s definition of war: compelling an adversary to submit to one’s will. And the most powerful tool in this war is brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, which connect the human brain to devices.

Current BCI work ranges from researchers compiling and interfacing neural data such as in the Human Conectome Project to work by scientists hardening the human brain against rubber hose cryptanalysis to technologists connecting the brain to robotic systems. While these groups are streamlining the BCI for either security or humanitarian purposes, the reality is that misapplication of such research and technology has significant implications for the future of warfare.

Where BCIs can provide opportunities for injured or disabled soldiers to remain on active duty post-injury, enable paralyzed individuals to use their brain to type, or allow amputees to feel using bionic limbs, they can also be exploited if hacked. BCIs can be used to manipulate … or kill.
Via Daniel House, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

Ethical Paradigms of science

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

The 100 Year Starship Initiative by DARPA and NASA proposes to send people to the stars by 2100

The 100 Year Starship Initiative by DARPA and NASA proposes to send people to the stars by 2100 | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
The 100 Year Starship (100YSS) initiative by DARPA and NASA proposes to send people to the stars by the year 2100 — a huge challenge that will require bold, visionary, out-of-the-box thinking. One possible solution is mind-uploading — what could give rise to highly versatile and resilient software-based astronauts and their e-crews. And at the same time, the development of the requisite technologies could result in important spinoffs in neuroscience, computer science, and longevity — perhaps even including indefinite life extension.

There are major challenges. "Using current propulsion technology, travel to a nearby star (such as our closest star system, Alpha Centauri, at 4.37 light years from the Sun, which also has a a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting it) would take close to 100,000 years," according to Icarus Interstellar, which has teamed with the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence and the Foundation for Enterprise Development to manage the project.

To make the trip on timescales of a human lifetime, the rocket needs to travel much faster than current probes, at least 5% the speed of light. … It's actually physically impossible to do this using chemical rockets, since you'd need more fuel than exists in the known universe," Icarus Interstellar points out.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Scientists report new dark matter finding from merging galaxy cluster

Scientists report new dark matter finding from merging galaxy cluster | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Astronomers were puzzled earlier this year when NASA's Hubble Space Telescope spotted an overabundance of dark matter in the heart of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520. This observation was surprising because dark matter and galaxies should be anchored together, even during a collision between galaxy clusters.

 

Astronomers have abundant evidence that an as-yet-unidentified form of matter is responsible for 90 percent of the gravity within galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Because it is detected via its gravity and not its light, they call it "dark matter." Now, a new observation of Abell 520 from another team of astronomers using a different Hubble camera finds that the core does not appear to be over-dense in dark matter after all. The study findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal.

 

"The earlier result presented a mystery. In our observations we didn't see anything surprising in the core," said study leader Douglas Clowe, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio University. "Our measurements are in complete agreement with how we would expect dark matter to behave."

 

Hubble observations announced earlier this year by astronomers using Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 suggested that a clump of dark matter was left behind during a clash between massive galaxies clusters in Abell 520, located 2.4 billion light-years away. The dark matter collected into a "dark core" that contained far fewer galaxies than would be expected if the dark and luminous matter were closely connected, which is generally found to be the case. Because dark matter is not visible, its presence and distribution is found indirectly through its gravitational effects. The gravity from both dark and luminous matter warps space, bending and distorting light from galaxies and clusters behind it like a giant magnifying glass. Astronomers can use this effect, called gravitational lensing, to infer the presence of dark matter in massive galaxy clusters. Both teams used this technique to map the dark matter in the merging cluster.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

"World's smallest wrench" is able to rotate individual cells

"World's smallest wrench" is able to rotate individual cells | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

A team from the University of Texas at Arlington, led by assistant professor Samarendra Mohanty, created the device.

 

The business end of the fiber-optic spanner consists of two optical fibers, which are situated end-to-end with a small gap between them. A beam of laser light is emitted from each of these fibers – when the two beams are lined up, the force of the streaming photons is sufficient to trap a microscopic object such as a cell between them. If the fibers are slightly offset, however, and their beams hit that cell on either side, they can actually spin it around in place.

 

By changing the orientation of the fibers, the cell can be turned on any axis. It’s similar to the technology used in “optical tweezers,” although those are used more just for pushing or holding microscopic objects, not for rotating them.

 

Along with its use for examining cells, the researchers believe that the fiber-optic spanner could also be used for applications such as untwisting DNA strands, guiding neurons within the spinal cord, or mixing fluids in lab-on-a-chip devices.


Via Ray and Terry's , Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

the wrench .. hmm its called a wrenchie in Odia (obviously a borrowed word from English) there is a formula why ie is used for ee, ii, i, and y or yi etc

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

New Evidence of Human Influence on Global Warming - Troposphere warms and stratosphere cools

New Evidence of Human Influence on Global Warming - Troposphere warms and stratosphere cools | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Using state-of-the-art climate models, a new study has found clear evidence of a discernible human influence on atmospheric temperature.

 

Specifically, Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and 21 colleagues found that while the troposphere — the lowest part of the atmosphere — has warmed over the past three decades, the stratosphere, which starts 5 to 12 miles above the ground, has cooled. This is exactly what you’d expect if greenhouse gases were trapping heat near the surface rather than letting it percolate upward. “This is not a new idea,” Santer said in an interview. “We did the first fingerprinting studies of the troposphere and stratosphere back in 1996.”

 

The problem back then, Santer said, was that only a couple of climate models were available for studies like this. Models are crucial in this kind of research because you can’t do controlled experiments with the planet the way doctors do when they test new pharmaceuticals. With medicines, you give some patients the drug and others a placebo, or sugar pill, and see the difference in how their illnesses respond.

 

With the climate system, by contrast, there’s only one patient, and it’s already been dosed with extra greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. So scientists like Santer do simulations of how the atmosphere should look both with and without those extra gases. Unlike in 1996, Santer and his co-authors had 20 different simulations to work with for this study, all of them state-of-the-art models developed for the upcoming major report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due out starting in 2014.

 

The obtained results mean, that the warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere can’t be explained in any other way than by the heat-trapping effects of human-generated greenhouse gases. “It was surprising to me how large the signal was,” Santer said

This is only one of the fingerprints scientists expect to see in a human–influenced climate, moreover. “In the past we’ve looked at ocean surface temperatures changes in hurricane-forming regions, patterns in atmospheric pressure; rainfall patterns, and changes in Arctic sea ice,” Santer said. All of these and more can be identified more easily and clearly with the new models. “I think these simulations are like a scientific gold mine,” Santer said. “Analysts will be exploiting them for many years to come.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Most of the harmful mutations in humans arose in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years

Most of the harmful mutations in humans arose in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

European Americans have a larger proportion of potentially harmful variants than African Americans --- probably an artefact of their original migration out of Africa.

 

The human genome has been busy over the past 5,000 years. Human populations have grown exponentially, and new genetic mutations arise with each generation. Humans now have a vast abundance of rare genetic variants in the protein-encoding sections of the genome.

 

A study published in Nature now helps to clarify when many of those rare variants arose. Researchers used deep sequencing to locate and date more than one million single-nucleotide variants — locations where a single letter of the DNA sequence is different from other individuals — in the genomes of 6,500 African and European Americans.

 

The findings confirm their earlier work suggesting that the majority of variants, including potentially harmful ones, were picked up during the past 5,000–-10,000 years.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
Whitney Souery's curator insight, August 29, 2013 9:49 AM

Genetic mutations (both negative and positive included) arose during migration. This article descirbes how European Americans have a greater amount of mutations than African Americans- meaning that after the migration from Africa, mutations began to arise. 

Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Catfish strand themselves to catch and eat pigeons

Catfish strand themselves to catch and eat pigeons | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

In Southwestern France, a group of fish have learned how to kill birds. As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish—1 to 1.5 metres long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds.

 

Other aquatic hunters strand themselves in a similar way, including bottlenose dolphins from South Carolina, which drive small fish onto beaches, and Argentinian killer whales, which swim onto beaches to snag resting sealions. The behaviour of the Tarn catfishes is so similar that Julien Cucherousset from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse describes them as “freshwater killer whales”.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

Bastards !! LOL

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Permanently dye white hair with gold nanoparticles

Permanently dye white hair with gold nanoparticles | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Attention seniors: French scientists have developed a process that permanently dyes white hair without harmful chemicals.

 

Philippe Walter and colleagues soaked white hairs in a solution containing fluorescent gold nanoparticles.

 

The hairs turned pale yellow and then darkened to a deep brown. The color remained even after repeated washings.

 

 


Via Ray and Terry's , Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

where do you think the golden aura in my hair comes from ?

more...
Steve Kingsley's curator insight, October 12, 2013 4:35 PM

When is this going to be commercially avaiable?

Ramanathan's curator insight, August 11, 2:03 AM

Permanent hair dye with nanoparticles!

Scooped by mdashf
Scoop.it!

Whats up with Gravity?

Whats up with Gravity? | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
The basic difference is a Gravity Force/Field is experienced by huge objects which are not operating in the quantum scales and for a unification with all other 3 forces which are quantum-scale forc...
mdashf's insight:

Whats a Gravitational Force and what are the ideas of its unification with other fundamental forces. Is it a necessary fact that unification and quantization are imminent or is it just a foolish sticky dream? Manmohan Dash thinks such has never been thought in details. That Gravity may not at all exist in the quantum mechnaical scale below a certain level (eg say a molecular level and not below) Read in the other Gravity articles to see some latest ideas of his. (Is Gravity amenable to quantization"" and whats theory of Relativity") Read the very effective analogy of whale in an ocean as the gravity force's nature for getting the idea why Gravity may not be a GUT force (as envisioned by Einstein)  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by mdashf
Scoop.it!

Science, Democracy and Michio Kaku’s wishful inventions.

Science, Democracy and Michio Kaku’s wishful inventions. | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Society kills curiosity, are all kids born scientists?
mdashf's insight:

A brief extemporaneous explanation of the subject "are all kids born scientists when society kills curiosity"

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Plants Grow Fine Without Gravity. Potential of Growing Crops in Space and Other Planets

Plants Grow Fine Without Gravity. Potential of Growing Crops in Space and Other Planets | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Turns out plants grow just fine on the International Space Station. When researchers sent plants to the International Space Station in 2010, the flora wasn't meant to be decorative. Instead, the seeds of these small, white flowers—called Arabidopsis thaliana—were the subject of an experiment to study how plant roots developed in a weightless environment.

Gravity is an important influence on root growth, but the scientists found that their space plants didn't need it to flourish. The research team from the University of Florida in Gainesville thinks this ability is related to a plant's inherent ability to orient itself as it grows. Seeds germinated on the International Space Station sprouted roots that behaved like they would on Earth—growing away from the seed to seek nutrients and water in exactly the same pattern observed with gravity.

Since the flowers were orbiting some 220 miles (350 kilometers) above the Earth at the time, the NASA-funded experiment suggests that plants still retain an earthy instinct when they don't have gravity as a guide.

"The role of gravity in plant growth and development in terrestrial environments is well understood," said plant geneticist and study co-author Anna-Lisa Paul, with the University of Florida in Gainesville. "What is less well understood is how plants respond when you remove gravity.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
mdashf's curator insight, December 14, 2012 12:49 PM

Gravity ain't responsible for how fauna grows?

Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

New SARS-Like Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells

New SARS-Like Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
A SARS-like virus discovered this summer in the Middle East may infect more than just humans. The pathogen, a close cousin to the one that caused the 2002 to 2003 SARS outbreak, may also be able to infect cells from pigs and a wide range of bat species, researchers report today. The findings may help public health officials track the source of the outbreak and identify the role of wild animals and livestock in spreading the virus, researchers say.

Scientists first detected the virus in a 60-year-old man from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who developed severe pneumonia this past spring. Unable to identify the microbe causing the illness, doctors sent samples to Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. There, scientists identified the infectious agent as a coronavirus, a group known to cause many ailments, such as the common cold and a variety of gastrointestinal infections. Cases have popped up in Qatar and Jordan as well; in total, researchers have so far confirmed nine infections, including five deaths. Several other cases are suspected but haven't been confirmed.

Researchers have fully sequenced the virus, which they dubbed hCoV-EMC (short for human coronavirus-Erasmus Medical Center). Scientists knew that the SARS virus uses a receptor called ACE2 to pry open cells. Because these receptors are mainly found deep inside the human lung, patients developed very severe illness that frequently left them too sick to spread SARS to many others; the people most at risk were health care workers who take care of patients. If hCoV-EMC used the same receptor, researchers would have a head start in understanding how it spreads and how to stop it—primarily by protecting health care workers. It might also help them in the development of drugs and vaccines. To find out, the team engineered baby hamster kidney cells to express the human ACE2 receptor. These cells could be infected with the SARS coronavirus, as expected, but not hCoV-EMC. That finding, supported by additional experiments, led them to conclude that the new coronavirus does not use ACE2 to get in.

Epidemiologists also want to know which species of animals it is capable of infecting to keep the new coronavirus from spreading further. To determine what types of animals hCoV-EMC can infect, Drosten and colleagues infected cells from humans, pigs, and a wide variety of bats, the key natural reservoirs of coronaviruses. The new virus could infect all of these types of cells. "It's unusual for a coronavirus to easily go back to bats," Drosten says. "Most coronaviruses come from bats, but once they jump to other species, you could never get them to reinfect bat cells." The SARS virus, for instance, originated in Chinese horseshoe bats, but once it ended up in humans, it had changed so much that scientists were unable to infect bat cells with it. Based on the findings, however, it seems likely that the new coronavirus can infect a wide range of species, Drosten says. That means public health officials may have to start looking for infections and deaths in local wild animal and livestock populations to keep the virus in check, he says.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Quantum correlations with no causal order

Quantum correlations with no causal order | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Causality is one of the oldest and most important concepts of Physics. Even recently, at the beginning of the XX century, with the invention of Special Relativity, this concept was in some sense rediscovered. As in a relativistic framework the events can change their temporal order a great effort was made in order to preserve causality in the theory.

There is a general consensus in the scientific community about this concept: For all scientific theories, even for all the theories that will come in the future, causality should be preserved. If causal relations are broken an important number of paradoxes and counter-intuitive results arise. You could even go back in time and kill your grandgrandfather!

In quantum mechanics the discovery of entangled states, that are states with correlations than can act immediately even in they are separated by a distance of millions of light years, challenged this concept. The solution for preserving causality was to accept that quantum systems are intrinsically random and no theory can give a complete description of them.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Searching for Life: NASA Eyes Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa in 2020

Searching for Life: NASA Eyes Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa in 2020 | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Researchers are developing a mission that would assess the habitability of the icy satellite.

Astrobiologists regard Europa, which is about 1,900 miles (3,100 kilometers) wide, as one of the best bets in our solar system to host life beyond Earth. The moon is believed to harbor a large ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell. Further, this ocean is likely in direct contact with Europa's rocky mantle, raising the possibility of all sorts of interesting chemical reactions, Senske said. The irradiation of Europa's surface and tidal heating of its interior also mean the moon likely has ample energy sources — another key requirement for life as we know it.

NASA has long been interested in exploring the icy moon and its ocean. Several years back, the agency drew up an ambitious mission concept called the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO), which would have made detailed studies of Europa and the incredibly volcanic Jupiter moon Io.

The science returns from such a mission would have been impressive, according to the 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey, which outlined the scientific community's goals in the field over the coming decade. The decadal survey ranked JEO as the second-highest priority among large-scale missions, just behind Mars sample-return. But the report said its $4.7 billion price tag was just too high.

"The recommendation was, immediately go and do a de-scope," said Senske, who was also involved in JEO. "They loved the science; the science was great. But focus it." So researchers got to work developing a leaner, cheaper Europa mission that would fit under a firm $2 billion cost cap. They came up with two main options: the clipper and a Europa orbiter (a lander was ruled out as premature).

Because of the intense radiation environment around Europa, the orbiter would have to be heavily shielded, adding weight and cost. Even with this armor, the concept initially called for a nominal design life at Europa of just 30 days, with later versions boosting that up to 109 days, Senske said.

While the orbiter would gather a great deal of interesting and valuable information, it falls short of what the flyby concept could deliver on a dollar-to-dollar basis, Senske said. For example, a $2 billion orbiter would not be able to carry an instrument that could investigate the composition and chemistry of Europa's surface and atmosphere (and, by extension, its ocean). "In terms of an apples-to-apples comparison, Clipper really does rise to the top," Senske said.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

DNA directly imaged with electron microscope for the first time

DNA directly imaged with electron microscope for the first time | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

It's the most famous corkscrew in history. Now an electron microscope has captured the famous Watson-Crick double helix in all its glory, by imaging threads of DNA resting on a silicon bed of nails. The technique will let researchers see how proteins, RNA and other biomolecules interact with DNA.

 

The structure of DNA was originally discovered using X-ray crystallography. This involves X-rays scattering off atoms in crystallised arrays of DNA to form a complex pattern of dots on photographic film. Interpreting the images requires complex mathematics to figure out what crystal structure could give rise to the observed patterns.

 

The new images are much more obvious, as they are a direct picture of the DNA strands, albeit seen with electrons rather than X-ray photons. The trick used by Enzo di Fabrizio at the University of Genoa, Italy, and his team was to snag DNA threads out of a dilute solution and lay them on a bed of nanoscopic silicon pillars.

 

The team developed a pattern of pillars that is extremely water-repellent, causing the moisture to evaporate quickly and leave behind strands of DNA stretched out and ready to view. The team also drilled tiny holes in the base of the nanopillar bed, through which they shone beams of electrons to make their high-resolution images. The results reveal the corkscrew thread of the DNA double helix, clearly visible. With this technique, researchers should be able to see how single molecules of DNA interact with other biomolecules.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Most powerful black hole blast discovered - 100 times the energy of whole Milky Way ejected

Most powerful black hole blast discovered - 100 times the energy of whole Milky Way ejected | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Astronomers analysed the energy being carried away from a huge quasar – the bright centres of distant galaxies which are powered by supermassive black holes and spew out vast amounts of matter.

 

Scientists have long claimed that extraordinarily powerful quasars must exist and play a key role in the formation of new galaxies, but until now none had been discovered which came close to their predictions.


Now measurements of a quasar known as SDSS J1106+1939 have established that it releases energy with about two million million times the power output of the Sun – the type of very high energy proposed by theorists. The team of scientists, who made their observations using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), calculated that a mass equivalent to 400 Suns is given off by the quasar each year, at a speed of 800km per second. Dr. Nahum Arav of Virginia Tech University, who led the study, said: “We have discovered the most energetic quasar outflow known to date ... I’ve been looking for something like this for a decade, so it’s thrilling to finally find one of the monster outflows that have been predicted."


Theorists claim that the existence of quasars with such a powerful outflow of energy could solve a number of unanswered questions in cosmology, such as how the central black hole mass of galaxies helps determine the overall mass of the galaxy, and why the universe has so few very large galaxies.


Until now it was unclear whether quasars were powerful enough to produce such vast galaxies as some seen in the distant universe, but the researchers established that both SDSS J1106+1939 and one other quasar each have tremendous outflows.

 

They are now studying a further 12 similar quasars to determine whether the same is true of other luminous quasars spread across the universe.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Tens of Billions of Earth-like Rocky Planets Orbit Red Dwarf Stars in Milky Way Alone

Tens of Billions of Earth-like Rocky Planets Orbit Red Dwarf Stars in Milky Way Alone | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it
Data released early this year from the European Space Agency's (ESO) HARPS planet finder shows that rocky planets not much bigger than Earth are very common in the habitable zones around faint red stars. The international team estimates that there are tens of billions of such planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and probably about one hundred in the Sun’s immediate neighbourhood. This was the first direct measurement of the frequency of super-Earths around red dwarfs, which account for 80% of the stars in the Milky Way.

 

This first direct estimate of the number of light planets around red dwarf stars was announced early this year by an international team using observations with the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. A prior announcement, showing that planets are ubiquitous in our galaxy used a different method that was not sensitive to this important class of exoplanets.

 

The HARPS team has been searching for exoplanets orbiting the most common kind of star in the Milky Way — red dwarf stars (also known as M dwarfs). These stars are faint and cool compared to the Sun, but very common and long-lived, and therefore account for 80% of all the stars in the Milky Way.

 

"Our new observations with HARPS mean that about 40% of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet," says Xavier Bonfils (IPAG, Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble, France), the leader of the team."Because red dwarfs are so common — there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way — this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone."

 

The HARPS team surveyed a carefully chosen sample of 102 red dwarf stars in the southern skies over a six-year period. A total of nine super-Earths (planets with masses between one and ten times that of Earth) were found, including two inside the habitable zones of Gliese 581 and Gliese 667 C respectively. The astronomers could estimate how heavy the planets were and how far from their stars they orbited.

 

By combining all the data, including observations of stars that did not have planets, and looking at the fraction of existing planets that could be discovered, the team has been able to work out how common different sorts of planets are around red dwarfs. They find that the frequency of occurrence of super-Earths in the habitable zone is 41% with a range from 28% to 95%.

 

On the other hand, more massive planets, similar to Jupiter and Saturn in our Solar System, are found to be rare around red dwarfs. Less than 12% of red dwarfs are expected to have giant planets (with masses between 100 and 1000 times that of the Earth). As there are many red dwarf stars close to the Sun the new estimate means that there are probably about one hundred super-Earth planets in the habitable zones around stars in the neighbourhood of the Sun at distances less than about 30 light-years.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Search For Extraterrestrial Life Suggests Other Solar Systems More Habitable Than Ours

Search For Extraterrestrial Life Suggests Other Solar Systems More Habitable Than Ours | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Scattered around the Milky Way are stars that resemble our own sun—but a new study is finding that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth. That’s because the interiors of any terrestrial planets in these systems are likely warmer than Earth—up to 25 percent warmer, which would make them more geologically active and more likely to retain enough liquid water to support life, at least in its microbial form.

 

The preliminary finding comes from geologists and astronomers at Ohio State University who have teamed up to search for alien life in a new way. They studied eight “solar twins” of our sun—stars that very closely match the sun in size, age, and overall composition—in order to measure the amounts of radioactive elements they contain. Those stars came from a dataset recorded by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher spectrometer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

 

They searched the solar twins for elements such as thorium and uranium, which are essential to Earth’s plate tectonics because they warm our planet’s interior. Plate tectonics helps maintain water on the surface of the Earth, so the existence of plate tectonics is sometimes taken as an indicator of a planet’s hospitality to life.

 

Of the eight solar twins they’ve studied so far, seven appear to contain much more thorium than our sun—which suggests that any planets orbiting those stars probably contain more thorium, too. That, in turn, means that the interior of the planets are probably warmer than ours.

 

For example, one star in the survey contains 2.5 times more thorium than our sun, said Ohio State doctoral student Cayman Unterborn. According to his measurements, terrestrial planets that formed around that star probably generate 25 percent more internal heat than Earth does, allowing for plate tectonics to persist longer through a planet’s history, giving more time for live to arise. “If it turns out that these planets are warmer than we previously thought, then we can effectively increase the size of the habitable zone around these stars by pushing the habitable zone farther from the host star, and consider more of those planets hospitable to microbial life,” said Unterborn.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

Another proof of the contingent creation of life

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mdashf from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Brain 'reading centers' are culturally universal

Brain 'reading centers' are culturally universal | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Learning to read Chinese might seem daunting to Westerners used to an alphabetic script, but brain scans of French and Chinese native speakers show that people harness the same brain centers for reading across cultures.


Via Sakis Koukouvis, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
more...
No comment yet.