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Science is Cool!
Check out all the amazing things being discovered through science!
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World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power

World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

The first power has been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced. The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction on schedule to be finished by the end of the year. The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.

 

London Array is being built about 20km off the coasts of Kent and Essex. The wind farm will be installed on a 245 square kilometers site and will be built in two phases. Phase One will include 175 turbines with a combined capacity of 630MW. If approved, the second phase will add enough capacity to bring the total to 870MW.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The True Size Of Africa

The True Size Of Africa | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

This is another old classic image that I might have shared earlier but it merits repeating. As Salvatore Natoli (a leader in geography education) once said, "In our society we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power." This is one reason why many people have underestimated the true size of Africa relative to places that they view as more important or more powerful.


Via Seth Dixon, Sue Tamani, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ricardo Salaya Monsell's comment, November 5, 2012 1:31 PM
Although I do not think they do to "trick", it is true that confuses many people and makes them believe in a world disproportionate. (Apologies for my terrible google-English)
Laurence Cuffe's curator insight, August 1, 2013 4:46 AM

While size is not every thing, and Ireland seems to have returned to the UK, This is an image worth discusing in Class.

Afrikasources's curator insight, January 15, 10:10 AM

Just a reminder

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Previously Unknown Population Explosion of Human Species 40,000 Years Ago Discovered

Previously Unknown Population Explosion of Human Species 40,000 Years Ago Discovered | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
DNA sequencing of 36 complete Y chromosomes has uncovered a previously unknown population explosion that occurred 40 to 50 thousand years ago, between the first expansion of modern humans out of Africa 60 to 70 thousand years ago and the Neolithic expansions of people in several parts of the world starting 10 thousand years ago. This is the first time researchers have used the information from large-scale DNA sequencing to create an accurate family tree of the Y chromosome, from which the inferences about human population history could be made.

 

"We have always considered the expansion of humans out of Africa as being the largest population expansion of modern humans, but our research questions this theory," says Ms Wei Wei, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the West China University of Medical Sciences. "The out-of-Africa expansion, which happened approximately 60,000 years ago, was extremely large in geographical terms with humans spreading around the globe. Now we've found a second wave of expansion that is much larger in terms of human population growth and occurred over a very short period, somewhere between 40,000 to 50,000 years ago."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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New Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System for Bladder Cancer Allows for 3x the Maximum Tolerated Dose Delivery

New Nanoparticle Drug Delivery System for Bladder Cancer Allows for 3x the Maximum Tolerated Dose Delivery | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

A team of UC Davis scientists has shown in experimental mouse models that a new drug delivery system allows for administration of three times the maximum tolerated dose of a standard drug therapy for advanced bladder cancer, leading to more effective cancer control without increasing toxicity. The delivery system consists of specially designed nanoparticles that home in on tumor cells while carrying the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel. The same delivery system also was successfully used to carry a dye that lights up on imaging studies, making it potentially useful for diagnostic purposes.

 

Cancer of the bladder usually develops in the cells of the inner lining of the bladder. Survival rates are high if the disease is caught early, but it remains difficult to treat in advanced stages ― when the tumor has grown outside of the bladder or metastasized to distant sites. It is the fourth most common cancer in men; it occurs less frequently in women. Paclitaxel is a drug used to treat advanced bladder cancer and other cancers, but it is associated with serious safety concerns. It can be toxic to bone marrow, leading to reduced levels of red and white blood cells, putting patients at risk of infection. In addition, because the drug is not readily soluble in blood, it is typically dissolved in castor oil, which has caused severe ― and sometimes fatal ― allergic reactions.

 

The drug delivery system used in this study makes use of nanoparticles called micelles developed by Kit Lam, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. Micelles are aggregates of soap-like molecules that naturally form a tiny spherical particle with a hollow center. The researchers incorporated specific targeting molecules ― called ligands ― into the micelle structure. These ligands, developed by UC Davis researchers, were successfully shown in earlier studies to preferentially bind to bladder cancer cells derived from dogs and humans.

 

In addition to the cancer-targeting ligands, the micelles were loaded with paclitaxel. Experiments were run on mice receiving different dosages of the drug: the standard dosage currently used for therapy, and another dosage three times that amount. Mice receiving the standard dosage had significantly less tumor growth and longer overall survival compared to control mice who received a saline solution instead of drug therapy. Mice that received the high dosage took the longest time to develop a tumor and had the most days of tumor control. They also had nearly three times longer survival than mice that received drug therapy in the conventional way ― without the use of the nanoparticle delivery system. The high dosage conferred few side effects and no deaths.


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For Science, a Consequential Election - Huffington Post (blog)

For Science, a Consequential Election - Huffington Post (blog) | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago Nobel Prizes were awarded to the first scientist who cloned a mammal and the first scientist to turn an adult cell into something like a primitive stem...

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Earth's magnetic field made quick flip-flop - NBCNews.com

Earth's magnetic field made quick flip-flop - NBCNews.com | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
Earth's magnetic field made quick flip-flopNBCNews.comEarth's magnetic field reversed extremely rapidly soon after modern humans first arrived in Europe, completely flip-flopping in less than a thousand years, new research suggests.
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Model-Dependent Realism

Model-Dependent Realism | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Introduced by the two renowned theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinov in their book The Grand Design in 2010, model-dependent realism is a new controversial understanding of the universe. Based on solid logical reasonings and recent development in physics, this concept may well be an incredible breakthrough for philosophy and science, as well as metaphysics.

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Smallest flowering plant in the world - Wolffia angusta

Smallest flowering plant in the world - Wolffia angusta | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Wolffia, commonly referred to as watermeal and misidentified as duckweed, is officially the world’s smallest flower, with each bloom weighing about as much as two grains of sand. It takes about 5,000 of these teeny-tiny flowers to fill a thimble, and they’re amazingly small when seen against the grooves in a human fingerprint. Woffia sometimes grow in colonies that form a dense-looking mat on sheltered waters. The only way to identify the exact species of a wolffia flower is to view it under a microscope.


Each wolffia flower has a single pistil and stamen and produces the world’s smallest fruit, called a utricle. It has no leaves, stem or roots, floating freely in quiet freshwater lakes and marshes. Woffia is highly nutritious, serving as food for fish and waterfowl in nature and occasionally cultivated for use as livestock feed or even human cuisine. It’s eaten as a vegetable in Burma, Laos and Thailand.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Christian Allié's curator insight, January 10, 10:08 AM

.........""""...........

 

......  These 7 extreme flowers include the world’s largest, smallest, stinkiest and most dangerous. Stunning examples of the incredibly unexpected wonders that nature can serve up, the world’s most bizarre blooms entice, amaze and disgust.................

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Can cobalt-graphene nanoparticles replace platinum as a catalyst for fuel cells?

Can cobalt-graphene nanoparticles replace platinum as a catalyst for fuel cells? | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it has at least two drawbacks: It is expensive, and it degrades over time. Brown chemists have engineered a cheaper and more durable catalyst using graphene, cobalt, and cobalt-oxide — the best nonplatinum catalyst yet.

 

The oxygen reduction reaction occurs on the cathode side of a hydrogen fuel cell. Oxygen functions as an electron sink, stripping electrons from hydrogen fuel at the anode and creating the electrical pull that keeps the current running through electrical devices powered by the cell. The reaction requires a catalyst, and platinum is currently the best one, but it’s very expensive and has a very limited supply, and that’s why you don’t see a lot of fuel cell use aside from a few special purposes.

 

Thus far scientists have been unable to develop a viable alternative. A few researchers have developed new catalysts that reduce the amount of platinum required, but an effective catalyst that uses no platinum at all remains elusive. Lab tests showed that the new graphene-cobalt material was a bit slower than platinum in getting the oxygen reduction reaction started, but once the reaction was going, the new material actually reduced oxygen at a faster pace than platinum. The new catalyst also proved to be more stable, degrading much more slowly than platinum over time. After about 17 hours of testing, the graphene-cobalt catalyst was performing at around 70 percent of its initial capacity. The platinum catalyst the team tested performed at less than 60 percent after the same amount of time.

 

Cobalt is an abundant metal, readily available at a fraction of what platinum costs. Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure. Developed in the last few years, graphene is renowned for its strength, electrical properties, and catalytic potential.

 


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2,000-year-old beef found in NW China

2,000-year-old beef found in NW China | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
Chinese archaeologists have said that a black substance found in an ancient tomb in northwest China`s Shaanxi Province is a 2,000-year-old portion of beef.
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Most tightly-packed exoplanet system discovered 1,100 light years away -- a year lasts only a few days

Most tightly-packed exoplanet system discovered 1,100 light years away -- a year lasts only a few days | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

The Kepler space telescope has spotted the most tightly-packed exoplanet system yet, with five planets orbiting around the star KOI-500 within a fraction of the distance between Mercury and our Sun. The planets orbit their star in (going from innermost to outermost) 1.0, 3.1, 4.6, 7.1, and 9.5 days each, respectively, and each planet is between 1.3 and 2.6 times the size of the Earth. The outer four planets exist in a kind of orbital resonance, which sees them return to a set formation every 191 days -- that seems to keep them from being knocked out of orbit by each others' gravitaties and hurled either further out into the system or into the star to burn up.

 

The system was discovered by Darin Ragozzine, a planetary scientist at the University of Florida at Gainesville, and his team. It's roughly 1,100 light years from us, in the direction of the constellation Lyre. Its five planets are each slightly larger than the Earth, but their orbits are remarkably close to KOI-500 -- 150 times smaller than the orbit of the Earth. That's even less than the orbital distance of Mercury. Yet despite flying around so fast that it's only a manner of Earth days for each "year", they exist in an orbital resonance that keeps them from crashing into each other or falling into the star.


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Republican Party voter registration worker: ‘I don’t get credit for Democrats’ | The Raw Story

Republican Party voter registration worker: ‘I don’t get credit for Democrats’ | The Raw Story | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
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Fossil reveals complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought | The Raw Story

Fossil reveals complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought | The Raw Story | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
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3-D printing enters the fourth dimension

3-D printing enters the fourth dimension | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Saul Schleimer, a mathematician at the University of Warwick, and Henry Segerman, a mathematician at the University of Melbourne, are the co-creators of the Thirty Cell puzzle. They are both theoretical math researchers who also enjoy using 3-D printing—a technique for manufacturing a three-dimensional object from a computer program—to create mathematical art and visualizations. (In August, Scientific American featured some of Segerman’s sculptures in a slide show from the Bridges math-art conference.) This puzzle is a projection of a four-dimensional shape into our three-dimensional world. To explain how the projection was created, Schleimer brings it down a dimension and starts with a three-dimensional cube. Imagine a cube sitting inside a sphere. Now put yourself at the middle, holding a flashlight. The light projects all the edges and vertices out to the surface of the sphere. “We replace the usual cube that we know and love with a roundy cube on the sphere,” says Schleimer. This process is called radial projection.

 

Segerman and Schleimer use the company Shapeways to print their models. They use programs such as Python, Adobe Illustrator and Rhino to create files of an object that they send to Shapeways to translate into very precise 3-D models. Shapeways uses the computer files to program a laser to fuse powders into the shape of a 3-D object. It can even print objects with multiple interlinked components, such as the the fidget above. Another popular type of 3D printer, MakerBot, melts new layers of a material over previously deposited ones, so the models must be supported during the entire process. Shapeways doesn’t have that constraint, but its printers are more expensive. The company lets people upload their models and then ships the printed material out to them, rather than having users own printers themselves.

 

 


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Scientists unearth ostrich-like dinosaurs

Scientists unearth ostrich-like dinosaurs | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Ostrich-like dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago using feathers to attract a mate or protect offspring rather than for flight, according to a new study. Researchers from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, and the University of Calgary made the discovery in the 75-million-year-old rocks in the badlands of southern Alberta.

 

The ostrich-like dinosaurs, known as ornithomimids, were thought to be hairless, fleet-footed birds and were depicted as such in the Hollywood movie Jurassic Park. But the researchers found evidence of feathers with a juvenile and two adult skeletons of ornithomimus, a species within the ornithomimid group.


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Curiosity's First X-Ray Analysis Reveals Martian Soil is of Volcanic Origin

Curiosity's First X-Ray Analysis Reveals Martian Soil is of Volcanic Origin | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

NASA’s Curiosity rover has completed the first-ever detailed X-ray analysis of Martian sand, determining that it contains minerals similar to volcanic soil found at places like the Mauna Kea shield volcano in Hawaii. Curiosity has been scooping and sampling the Martian regolith at an area called Rocknest for the past month. The probe is starting to live up to its original, official name Mars Science Laboratory, doing lab work that hasn’t until now been possible on Mars. No previous lander or rover has been able to perform X-ray diffraction because the machines required for the technique are typically the size of a refrigerator. Engineers were able to shrink the instrument down to roughly the size of a shoebox and make it less power-hungry, allowing it to be packed and sent to Mars on the rover.

 

Curiosity recently delivered an aspirin-sized sample of fine soil to CheMin, which was placed in one of the windowed cells seen in the image below. Those cells vibrate 2,000 times a second to shake up the Martian sand, which is then blasted with X-rays. The X-rays penetrate into the tiny grains, determining the spacing of their atoms and uniquely identifying which minerals are present and their quantity.

 

CheMin revealed the presence of crystalline feldspar, pyroxenes, and olivine, which on Earth can be formed from volcanic processes and broken down by weathering, which may include rain and flowing water. Nothing about the analysis was particularly surprising because scientists have in the past had indications of all these minerals on Mars, but it is the first direct measurement of them. Because these fine particles are blown from all over the Martian surface by wind, future analysis will help researchers understand more about the complex geological history of Mars.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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ProtoHouse - the architectural potential of the latest selective laser sintering technologies

ProtoHouse - the architectural potential of the latest selective laser sintering technologies | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Softkill Design‘s ProtoHouse project investigates the architectural potential of the latest Selective laser sintering technologies, testing the boundaries of large scale 3D printing by designing with computer algorithms that micro-organize the printed material itself.

With the support of Materialise, Softkill Design produced a high-resolution prototype of a 3D printed house at 1:33 scale. The model consists of 30 detailed fibrous pieces that can be assembled into one continuous cantilevering structure, without need for any adhesive material.


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The DNA of Aztec conquest - Nature.com

The DNA of Aztec conquest - Nature.com | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
Nature.comThe DNA of Aztec conquestNature.com“Our results show that the Otomí inhabitants of the sampled houses were not maternally related to the Aztec-era inhabitants of those houses,” says Mata-Míguez, “but we need to study biparentally...
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Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man - U.S. News & World Report

Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man - U.S. News & World Report | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man.

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100-million-year-old coelacanth fish discovered in Texas is new species from Cretaceous

100-million-year-old coelacanth fish discovered in Texas is new species from Cretaceous | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
A fossil discovered in Texas is a new species of coelacanth fish. Paleontologists identified the skull as a 100 million-year-old coelacanth, making it the youngest discovered in Texas.
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California meteor hit suburban house

California meteor hit suburban house | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
Fragment from meteorite over Northern California dented roof of nearby home...
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A kidney-like organ grown from scratch in the lab has been shown to work in animals

A kidney-like organ grown from scratch in the lab has been shown to work in animals | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it
Donated kidneys are in huge demand worldwide. In the UK alone, there are 7200 people on the waiting list – a state of affairs that the new study takes a small step towards ending.

 

Christodoulos Xinaris of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Bergamo, Italy, and his colleagues extracted cells from the kidneys of mouse embryos as they grew in the mother. The cells formed clumps that could be grown for a week in the lab to become "organoids" containing the fine plumbing of nephrons – the basic functional unit of the kidney. A human kidney can contain over 1 million nephrons.

 

Next, Xinaris's team incubated the organoids in the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which makes blood vessels grow. Then they transplanted the organoids onto the kidneys of adult rats. By injecting the rats with extra VEGF, the researchers encouraged the new tissue to grow its own blood vessels within days. The tissue also developed features called glomeruli, chambers where blood enters the nephrons to be cleansed and filtered.

The researchers then injected the animals with albumin proteins labelled with markers that give out light. They found that the kidney grafts successfully filtered the proteins from the bloodstream, proving that they could crudely perform the main function of real kidneys.

 

"This is the first kidney tissue in the world totally made from single cells," says Xinaris. "We have functional, viable, vascularised tissue, able to filter blood and absorb large molecules from it. The final aim is to construct human tissues." "This technique could not be used clinically, but it shows a possible way forward for developing a functional kidney in the future," says Anthony Hollander, a tissue engineer at the University of Bristol, UK. Although it will be several years before lab-grown tissues can benefit patients, the team says that the latest findings are a key milestone on the way.

 

Kidneys are the latest of several lab-grown organs and replacement parts to be developed, including livers, windpipes, parts of voiceboxes and hearts.


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Separated after birth

Separated after birth | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Scientists have long believed that Earth itself emerged from a series of giant impacts. These impacts would have made the early Earth spin near its stability limit of about two hours per revolution. The last giant impact, they believe, formed a moon that is a twin of the Earth.

 

When the giant impact occurred between Theia and the fast-spinning Earth, the high speed of the Earth’s spin caused the ejection of material from Earth into orbit. They believe that the ejected material formed a moon with chemical composition similar to Earth. After the impact, the rapidly rotating Earth was slowed down by the gravitational interaction between the sun and the moon.


The previous giant-impact models held that a small planet, Theia, hit the Earth, sending a cloud of debris from Theia into orbit that formed the moon. But the chemistry of the moon matches that of the Earth. Now, Sarah T. Stewart, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and her SETI colleague Matija Ćuk propose a new model in which pieces of the Earth broke off and formed the moon.


The researchers present a dynamic model of their theory, based on the results of chemical analyses of isotopes from the Earth and moon, in a paper published online today in the journal Science. The results are also being presented this week at the 44th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, Nev.


Additionally, Stewart and Ćuk propose that prior to the collision and creation of the moon, the Earth was spinning much faster than it does now, and had a day that was only two to three hours long.
Many scientists believe that Earth itself emerged from a series of giant impacts. These impacts would have made the early Earth spin near its stability limit of about two hours per revolution. The last giant impact, they believe, formed a moon that is a twin of the Earth. 


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The Sharp Shape of Frozen Water

The Sharp Shape of Frozen Water | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Frozen water droplets take on a whole new shape when they freeze: Instead of staying round, they form a pointy tip, and eventually sprout a tiny forest of ice crystals on their surface. In order to observe these effects, researchers dripped tiny beads of water on a plate kept at a chilly -20°C. In the 18 seconds that it took the 4-millimeter-diameter droplets (top row) to solidify, researchers snapped photos of the water freezing from the bottom up. During the final stage of freezing, the ice drops developed a pointy tip (middle row), which continued to grow and eventually formed delicate ice crystals on the surface, the team reported last month in Physics of Fluids. Researchers believe the unusual pointy tip is caused by the vertical expansion of the ice combined with the surface tension on remaining liquid. Once frozen, the sharp tip of the drop attracts water vapor from the air, and produces treelike ice crystals (bottom row).


Via Sakis Koukouvis, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Large asteroid Vesta once had molten core, magnetic field

Large asteroid Vesta once had molten core, magnetic field | Science is Cool! | Scoop.it

Models of our solar system's formation suggest that the inner rocky planets were built in stages, as small objects combined to create planetesimals, which merged to protoplanets. Collisions among these built the planets we're familiar with. Although this process happened over four billion years ago, it may still be possible to understand this era. Some evidence implies that Saturn's moon Phoebe may be a planetesimal, while some of the largest asteroids appear to be protoplanets. By studying them, we can look back to the earliest stages of our Solar System's history.


Thanks to NASA's Dawn mission, we recently got a better look at one of these protoplanets, called Vesta. The spacecraft's visit revealed a surprising amount of volatile material and features that suggest the planet's interior was once sufficiently hot for it to become differentiated, with different materials layered based on their density. Now, a piece of Vesta that has fallen to Earth suggests that not only was the interior once molten, but it produced a spinning dynamo that generated a magnetic field.

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