Scientific anomalies
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Researchers at CERN have turned up the first evidence of exotic short-lived atoms with pear-shaped nuclei

Researchers at CERN have turned up the first evidence of exotic short-lived atoms with pear-shaped nuclei | Scientific anomalies |

It's only a small thing, but it could be big news: researchers at CERN have turned up the first evidence of exotic (and short-lived) atoms with pear-shaped nuclei.


The reasons the boffins are excited is they believe the eccentric nuclei can help them probe one of physics' official Big Questions: how come there's something instead of nothing?


Instead of the more typical profile for a nucleus – spherical or elliptical – the “pear shaped” nuclei were created by whacking beams of radium and radon atoms into targets of nickel, cadmium and tin, using CERN's ISOLDE ion separator facility. The collisions excited the nuclei to energy levels at which they revealed their internal structures via the patterns of gamma rays they gave off.


According to University of Michigan professor and co-atom-squeezer Tim Chupp, the pear shape “means the neutrons and protons, which compose the nucleus, are in slightly different places along an internal axis.”

That's special because the placement of the neutrons and protons provides hints at the subatomic interactions taking place.


Drilling into this is tortuous, but let's make the attempt. The reason this universe exists and we're here to wonder about it is that for some reason, back at Big Bang time, we ended up with a small asymmetry: there was more matter than antimatter. If matter and antimatter had been perfectly in balance, they would have annihilated each other.


To make the quest for a reason even more tasty: there's nothing in the Standard Model that predicts the matter-antimatter asymmetry.


Hence experiments such as this one: the researchers hope exotic atoms will hint at interactions that aren't seen in normal matter, and that by analysing those interactions, they can shed light on why we're all here.


One suggestion is that a type of interaction not yet written into the Standard Model exists – and if it does, its nature might be revealed in the relationship between the axis of atomic nuclei and their spin. In the pear-shaped nuclei, nuclear forces are presumed to be pushing the protons away from the centre of the nucleus – and that's what has Chupp's interest.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art

Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art | Scientific anomalies |

Threatened forest icon may be a hybrid of two extinct species.


The European bison (Bison bonasus) may be the continent’s largest land mammal, but its origins have long been a mystery. Hunted for millennia and pushed into the wild corners of Europe as agriculture expanded, the bison — also known as wisent — were reduced to just a few zoo specimens by the late 1920s. Today, a semi-wild population roams Białowieża Forest, near the Poland–Belarus border, where they slip between hornbeams and mighty oaks, their curly coats and horns lending an aura of the Pleistocene to the ancient forest. It took a reach into the past using ancient DNA and cave art to unveil the wisent’s origin story. Researchers published the species’ family tree on 19 October in Nature Communications1.


The team took almost a decade to complete their work. Much of the analysis used ancient mitochondrial DNA derived from 65 bison specimens ranging from 14,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until technological advances made it possible to examine nuclear DNA that researchers were able to produce a coherent family tree.


According to the team’s analysis, the wisent is a hybrid of two extinct animals: the steppe bison (Bison priscus), the Eurasian ancestor of the American bison, and the aurochs (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of modern cattle. The steppe bison went extinct more than 11,000 years ago and the last aurochs was shot in 1627. From the DNA evidence researchers estimate that hybridization took place 120,000 or more years ago. In most cases, hybrid animals are less fertile and fit than their parents. But in this case, a whole new species seems to have taken flight.

Via Integrated DNA Technologies, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

What's the tallest mountain on Earth?

What's the tallest mountain on Earth? | Scientific anomalies |

"Mount Everest is usually said to be the highest mountain on Earth. Reaching 29,035 feet at its summit, Everest is indeed the highest point above global mean sea level—the average level for the ocean surface from which elevations are measured. But the summit of Mt. Everest is not the farthest point from Earth’s center.

Earth is not a perfect sphere, but is a bit thicker at the Equator due to the centrifugal force created by the planet’s constant rotation. Because of this, the highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. The summit of Chimborazo is 20,564 feet above sea level. However, due to the Earth’s bulge, the summit of Chimborazo is over 6,560 feet farther from the center of the Earth than Everest’s peak. That makes Chimborazo the closest point on Earth to the stars.  

You may be surprised to learn that Everest is not the tallest mountain on Earth, either. That honor belongs to Mauna Kea, a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea originates deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and rises more than 32,800 feet from base to peak."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 25, 6:42 PM

I've tried to answer this question without any visual aids and there is always at least one confused look in the class.  This infographic is the most straightforward way to give the 'long' answer to a seemingly simple question, "what is the tallest mountain on Earth?"  It all depends on how you measure it and what your reference point is.   


Tags: physicalEcuador, Nepal.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

The Viruses That Made Us Human

The Viruses That Made Us Human | Scientific anomalies |

Viruses that infected our ancestors provided the genetic foundations for many traits that define us.


The rise of the mammals may be feel like a familiar tale, but there’s a twist you likely don’t know about: If it wasn’t for a virus, it might not have happened at all.


One of the few survivors of the asteroid impact 65 million years ago was a small, furry, shrew-like creature that lived in underground burrows and only ventured out at night, when predators weren’t active. The critter—already the product of some 100 million years of evolution—looked like a modern mammal, with body hair and mammary glands, except for one tiny detail: according to a recent genetic study, it didn’t have a placenta. And its kind might never have evolved one if not for a chance encounter with a retrovirus.


Unlike most viruses, which infect, replicate, and then leave their host, retroviruses elbow their way into their host’s genome where they are copied and passed on to daughter cells for the life of the host. This retrovirus, however, managed to sneak its way into one of our ancestor’s sperm or egg cells, able to be passed on to every cell in every subsequent generation. Virus and host had become one.

Via Neelima Sinha, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation.

Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation. | Scientific anomalies |

"The area below the red line includes most of Nova Scotia, in Canada's east, but most of the population comes from the area a little farther west, in a sliver of Quebec and a densely populated stretch of Ontario near the Great Lakes."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 5, 5:15 PM

Admitted, the web Mercator projection of this map distorts the far northern territories of Canada, but still it hammers home some fascinating truths about Canada's population distribution.  Land-wise, Canada one of the world's biggest countries, but population-wise, most of it is quite barren.  What geographic factors explain the population concentration and distribution in Canada?  


TagsCanada, map, North America, population, density.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, June 4, 10:27 AM
This article highlights the geographic concept of Spatial Significance
Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 4, 5:13 PM

Factors influencing settlement patterns - concentrations of population 

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Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally

Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally | Scientific anomalies |

Sharing genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could revolutionize cancer prevention and care, according to a paper in Nature Medicine by the Cancer Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). Hospitals, laboratories and research facilities around the world hold huge amounts of this data from cancer patients, but it’s currently held in isolated “silos” that don’t talk to each other, according to GA4GH, a partnership between scientists, clinicians, patients, and the IT and Life Sciences industry, involving more than 400 organizations in over 40 countries. GA4GH intends to provide a common framework for the responsible, voluntary and secure sharing of patients’ clinical and genomic data.


“Imagine if we could create a searchable cancer database that allowed doctors to match patients from different parts of the world with suitable clinical trials,” said GA4GH co-chair professor Mark Lawler, a leading cancer expert fromQueen’s University Belfast. “This genetic matchmaking approach would allow us to develop personalized treatments for each individual’s cancer, precisely targeting rogue cells and improving outcomes for patients.


“This data sharing presents logistical, technical, and ethical challenges. Our paper highlights these challenges and proposes potential solutions to allow the sharing of data in a timely, responsible and effective manner. We hope this blueprint will be adopted by researchers around the world and enable a unified global approach to unlocking the value of data for enhanced patient care.”


GA4GH acknowledges that there are security issues, and has created a Security Working Group and a policy paper that documents the standards and implementation practices for protecting the privacy and security of shared genomic and clinical data.


Examples of current initiatives for clinico-genomic data-sharing include the U.S.-based Precision Medicine Initiative and the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, both of which have cancer as a major focus.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Herve Moal's curator insight, May 26, 4:47 AM

l'enjeu du partage des données

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Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity | Scientific anomalies |
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim on the region is lessening as a younger generation turns to Protestantism, a Pew study found.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 18, 3:36 PM

The Catholic Church was a main governing force in colonial times and was a significant political force in rallying support for independence movements throughout the Americas.  In the early twentieth century over 90% of Latin American were Catholic, but recently polls now show that the Catholic population is under 70%.  The Catholic Church is responding; in addition to a charismatic renewal to mass services appealing to younger audiences, the first non-European pope (Pope Francis) is from Latin America.      


Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

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Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water

Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water | Scientific anomalies |
The amount of rainfall a place gets isn't the only factor in how much water is available to it. These major urban areas show how dire the coming global freshwater shortage could get.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 13, 3:58 PM

Seen from space, this planet is a blue marble, a world where the surface is dominated by water.  The Pacific Ocean alone is nearly half of the surface area of our planet.  Add in polar ice caps and the rivers and lakes, we can see that water profoundly impacts Earth.  Yet most of that water is salt water (97%) and two-thirds of our non-salty water locked away in ice sheets (2% of the global water). Everything else, rivers, lakes, marshes, aquifers, and reservoirs represent that remaining 1% of the Earth's water supply--and that 1% of water is what sustains human settlements and allows for agricultural expansion.  The geography of this 1% is highly uneven and a huge water crisis can cause governments crumble--the fact that this precious resources has been wasted and polluted becomes more frustrating as water resources are being strained in so many places.  In this article, it  describes 8 major metro areas where water is being depleted rapidly -- Tokyo, Miami, London, Cairo, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Bangalore and Mexico City. 


Tags: urban, water, land use, megacities, urban ecology, consumption, environment, resources.

Ken Feltman's curator insight, April 24, 8:24 AM
Seth Dixon has another "uh oh!" article.
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It's official: a global mass extinction is under way

It's official: a global mass extinction is under way | Scientific anomalies |

"New research confirms that the next mass extinction is in progress, and we’re the cause. There’s been little doubt that humans have been severely altering the planet and reducing biodiversity, but it has been unclear how many species go extinct under normal circumstances, without human influence.

This new research clarifies the rate of 'background extinction' (the rate of extinction during the point before humans became a primary contributor to extinction). The research confirms that human activity is driving species extinct at a rate far higher than the background rate. A look at previous events suggests cause for concern. Geologists recognize five previous mass extinction events— the end of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods, meaning that we’re now in the 6th."


Tags: physical, biogeography, environment, ecology, environment modify, sustainability, geology.

Via Seth Dixon
Ivan Ius's curator insight, February 28, 7:03 PM

Geographic Thinking Concepts: Patterns and Trends; Interrelationships;

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

How Not to Be Ignorant About the World

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 17, 2015 5:01 PM

Our preconceived notions of places, as well as some of the dominant narratives about regions, can cloud our understanding about the world today.  This video is a good introduction to the Ignorance Project which shows how personal bias, outdated world views and news bias collectively make combating global ignorance difficult.   However, the end of the video shows some good rules of thumb to have a more fact-based world view.  

Tagsstatistics, placeregions, media, models, gapminderdevelopment, perspective.

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, September 18, 2015 11:32 PM

adicionar sua visão ...

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Why Earthquakes Are Devastating Nepal

Why Earthquakes Are Devastating Nepal | Scientific anomalies |
The May 12 7.3 magnitude aftershock was one of many that followed the April 25 earthquake that shook Nepal. Why is this part of the world such a hotbed of tectonic activity?

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 13, 2015 8:11 AM

This video is in a series by National Geographic designed to show the geography behind the current events--especially geared towards understanding the physical geography.  Check out more videos in the '101 videos' series here.   


Tags physicalNational Geographic, tectonics, disasters, video.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, May 21, 2015 9:44 AM

Summer reading, tectonic plates

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 30, 2015 9:16 AM

Geography determines human activity, and not the other way around; that has been the theme of this course, and it holds true as we look at the devastating impacts of earthquakes in the nation of Nepal. Sitting right over one of the most active plate boundaries in the world, with the Indian subcontinent being violently forced under the rest of Asia, Nepal is therefore the home of both the infamous Himalayan Mountains and numerous earthquakes, varying in severity and frequency. As violent and as costly as they are, violent earthquakes are just another part of life in Nepal, as are other natural events in other parts of the globe, and the people who call it home adjust their lives accordingly, through a variety of means. However, nothing can prepare anyone for the extremes of earth's power, and the violent earthquake that shook the nation to its very core in May has left behind a great deal of human suffering and destruction. I hope that those who lost their homes and businesses are already well along on their path to recovery, although I don't think it's possible to every truly heal from such a traumatic experience, at least not completely.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

The Armenian Genocide-100 years

The Armenian Genocide-100 years | Scientific anomalies |

“For most of the world, the Armenian Genocide is the slaughter you know next to nothing about. But every year on April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day, we Armenians remember the injustice of a crime that is rarely acknowledged and often flatly denied. It was April 24, 1915, when the Armenian intellectuals, professionals, editors and religious leaders in Constantinople were rounded up by the Ottoman authorities — and almost all of them executed. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire killed three of every four of its Armenian citizens. The majority of Armenians alive today are descendants of the few survivors.”

Via Seth Dixon
Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, April 17, 2015 7:37 PM


Cada año el 24 de abril, día de la conmemoración del Genocidio, nosotros los armenios recordamos la injusticia de un crimen que rara vez se reconoció y a menudo negó rotundamente.

Era el 24 de abril de 1915, cuando los intelectuales armenios, profesionales, editores y líderes religiosos de Constantinopla fueron detenidos por las autoridades otomanas - y casi todos ellos ejecutados. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, el Imperio Otomano mató a tres de cada cuatro de sus ciudadanos armenios. La mayoría de los armenios vivos hoy son descendientes de los pocos sobrevivientes ".

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 1, 2015 4:17 PM

I have to be honest, I never knew we had a Genocide Remembrance Day.  As I get older, there seems to be a day for everything.  This is a horrific act.  Unfortunately, as we've seen historically many countries have tried this.  There is never a good outcome.  It's atrocious that we could ever standby and not do something.  

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 6:24 PM

Unit 3

For most of the world, the Armenian Genocide is the slaughter we know almost nothing about. But every year on April 24,Genocide Remembrance Day, Armenians all over the world remember the injustice of a crime that is rarely acknowledged and often flatly denied. It was April 24, 1915, when the Armenian intellectuals, professionals, editors and religious leaders in Constantinople were rounded up by the Ottoman authorities — and almost all of them executed. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire killed three of every four of its Armenian citizens. The majority of Armenians alive today are descendants of the few survivors

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Scientist uncovers Mars' climate history in unique meteorite known as Black Beauty

Scientist uncovers Mars' climate history in unique meteorite known as Black Beauty | Scientific anomalies |

Research underway at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory may one day answer those questions — and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet. By analyzing the chemical clues locked inside an ancient Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty, Florida State University Professor Munir Humayun and an international research team are revealing the story of Mars’ ancient, and sometimes startling, climate history.

The team’s most recent finding of a dramatic climate change appeared in Nature Geoscience, in the paper “Record of the ancient Martian hydrosphere and atmosphere preserved in zircon from a Martian meteorite.”

The scientists found evidence for the climate shift in minerals called zircons embedded inside the dark, glossy meteorite. Zircons, which are also abundant in the Earth’s crust, form when lava cools. Among their intriguing properties, Humayun says, is that “they stick around forever.”

“When you find a zircon, it’s like finding a watch,” Humayun said. “A zircon begins keeping track of time from the moment it’s born.”

Last year, Humayun’s team correctly determined that the zircons in its Black Beauty sample were an astonishing 4.4 billion years old. That means, Humayun says, it formed during the Red Planet’s infancy and during a time when the planet might have been able to sustain life.

“First we learned that, about 4.5 billion years ago, water was more abundant on Mars, and now we’ve learned that something dramatically changed that,” said Humayun, a professor of geochemistry. “Now we can conclude that the conditions that we see today on Mars, this dry Martian desert, must have persisted for at least the past 1.7 billion years. We know now that Mars has been dry for a very long time.”

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Digital mapping uncovers ‘super henge’ that dwarfed Stonehenge

Digital mapping uncovers ‘super henge’ that dwarfed Stonehenge | Scientific anomalies |

Every summer solstice, tens of thousands of people throng to Stonehenge, creating a festival-like atmosphere at the 4,400-year-old stone monument. For the 2015 solstice, they will have a bit more room to spread out. A just-completed four-year project to map the vicinity of Stonehenge reveals a sprawling complex that includes 17 newly discovered monuments and signs of 1.5 kilometre-round “super henge”.


The digital map — made from high-resolution radar and magnetic and laser scans that accumulated several terabytes of data — shatters the picture of Stonehenge as a desolate and exclusive site that was visited by few, says Vincent Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham, UK, who co-led the effort.


Take the cursus, a 3-kilometer-long, 100-meter-wide ditch north of Stonehenge that was thought to act as barrier. The team’s mapping uncovered gaps in the cursus leading to Stonehenge, as well as several large pits, one of which would have been perfectly aligned with the setting solstice Sun. New magnetic and radar surveys of the Durrington Walls (which had been excavated before) uncovered more than 60 now-buried holes in which stones would have sat, and a few stones still buried.


“They look as they may have been pushed over. That’s a big prehistoric monument which we never knew anything about,” says Gaffney, who calls the structure a ‘super henge.’ His team will discuss the work at the British Science Festival this week, and they plan to present it to the institutions that manage the site. “I’m sure it will guide future excavations,” Gaffney says.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization

“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization | Scientific anomalies |
For widemouthed, musical midshipman fish, melatonin is not a sleep hormone — it’s a serenade starter.

In breeding season, male plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) spend their nights singing — if that’s the word for hours of sustained foghorn hums. Males dig trysting nests under rocks along much of North America’s Pacific coast, then await females drawn in by the crooning.

New lab tests show that melatonin, familiar to humans as a possible sleep aid, is a serenade “go” signal, says behavioral neurobiologist Ni Feng of Yale University.

From fish to folks, nighttime release of melatonin helps coordinate bodily timekeeping and orchestrate after-dark biology. The fish courtship chorus, however, is the first example of the hormone prompting a launch into song, according to Andrew Bass of Cornell University. And what remarkable vocalizing it is.

The plainfin midshipman male creates a steady “mmm” by quick-twitching specialized muscles around its air-filled swim bladder up to 100 times per second in chilly water. A fish can extend a single hum for about two hours, Feng and Bass report October 10 in Current Biology. That same kind of super-fast muscle shakes rattle-snake tails and trills vocal structures in songbirds and bats.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean

Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean | Scientific anomalies |

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.


In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione’s crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.


The authors modeled the icy shells of Enceladus and Dione as global icebergs immersed in water, where each surface ice peak is supported by a large underwater keel. Scientists have used this approach in the past but previous results have predicted a very thick crust for Enceladus and no ocean at all for Dione. “As an additional principle, we assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms,” said Mikael Beuthe, lead author of the new study. “More stress would break the crust down to pieces.”


According to the new study, Enceladus’ ocean is much closer to the surface, especially near the south pole where geysers erupt through a few kilometers of crust. These findings agree well with the discovery last year by Cassini that Enceladus undergoes large back-and-forth oscillations, called libration, during its orbit. Enceladus’ libration would be much smaller if its crust was thicker. As for Dione, the new study finds it harbors a deep ocean between its crust and core. “Like Enceladus, Dione vibrates but below the detection level of Cassini,” said Antony Trinh, co-author of the new study. “A future orbiter hopping around Saturn’s moons could test this prediction.”

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement

Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement | Scientific anomalies |

A collaboration of physicists and a mathematician has made a significant step toward unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics by explaining how spacetime emerges from quantum entanglement in a more fundamental theory. 


Physicists and mathematicians have long sought a Theory of Everything (ToE) that unifies general relativity and quantum mechanics. General relativity explains gravity and large-scale phenomena such as the dynamics of stars and galaxies in the universe, while quantum mechanics explains microscopic phenomena from the subatomic to molecular scales.


The holographic principle is widely regarded as an essential feature of a successful Theory of Everything. The holographic principle states that gravity in a three-dimensional volume can be described by quantum mechanics on a two-dimensional surface surrounding the volume. In particular, the three dimensions of the volume should emerge from the two dimensions of the surface. However, understanding the precise mechanics for the emergence of the volume from the surface has been elusive.


The paper announcing the discovery by Hirosi Ooguri, a Principal Investigator at the University of Tokyo's Kavli IPMU, with Caltech mathematician Matilde Marcolli and graduate students Jennifer Lin and Bogdan Stoica, will be published in Physical Review Letters as an Editors' Suggestion "for the potential interest in the results presented and on the success of the paper in communicating its message, in particular to readers from other fields."


Now, Ooguri and his collaborators have found that quantum entanglement is the key to solving this question. Using a quantum theory (that does not include gravity), they showed how to compute energy density, which is a source of gravitational interactions in three dimensions, using quantum entanglement data on the surface. This is analogous to diagnosing conditions inside of your body by looking at X-ray images on two-dimensional sheets. This allowed them to interpret universal properties of quantum entanglement as conditions on the energy density that should be satisfied by any consistent quantum theory of gravity, without actually explicitly including gravity in the theory. The importance of quantum entanglement has been suggested before, but its precise role in emergence of spacetime was not clear until the new paper by Ooguri and collaborators.


Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon whereby quantum states such as spin or polarization of particles at different locations cannot be described independently. Measuring (and hence acting on) one particle must also act on the other, something that Einstein called "spooky action at distance." The work of Ooguri and collaborators shows that this quantum entanglement generates the extra dimensions of the gravitational theory.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking

VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking | Scientific anomalies |

"If you're heading out on the road for your vacation this year, you'll probably get directions from a GPS or navigational system. Does that mean that the traditional map is a relic of the past? Mark Albert hits the road to find out."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 23, 10:16 AM

This video is designed for a general news audience and it nicely shows the public how cartography is not rendered unimportant in the era of digital maps, but has become all the more useful.  I could see this video as useful resource to share with parents who are worried that studying geography won't lead to careers.  


Tags: GIS, video, mapping, cartography, geospatial, technology.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from SciFrye!

Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time

Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time | Scientific anomalies |

Is dark energy the reason time moves forward?

For years, physicists have attempted to explain dark energy - a mysterious influence that pushes space apart faster than gravity can pull the things in it together. But physics isn’t always about figuring out what things are. A lot of it is figuring out what things cause.

And in a recent paper, a group of physicists asked this very question about dark energy, and found that in some cases, it might cause time to go forward.

When you throw a ball into the air, it starts with some initial speed-up, but then it slows as Earth’s gravity pulls it down. If you throw it fast enough (about 11 km per second, for those who want to try), it’ll never slow down enough to turn around and start falling back towards you, but it’ll still move more slowly as it moves away from you, because of Earth’s gravity.

Physicists and astronomers in the 1990s expected something similar to have occured after the big bang - an event that threw matter out in all directions. The collective gravity from all that matter should have slowed it all down, just like the Earth slows down the ball. But that’s not what they found.

Instead, everything seems to have sped up. There’s something pervading the Universe that physically spreads space apart faster than gravity can pull things together. The effect is small - it’s only noticeable when you look at far-away galaxies - but it’s there. It’s become known as dark energy - "dark", because no one knows what it is.

Science is nothing if not the process of humans looking for things they can’t explain, so this isn’t the first time the Universe has stumped us. For centuries, one of those stumpers has been time itself: Why does time have an arrow pointing from the past to the present to the future?

It might seem like a silly question - I mean, if time didn’t go forward, then effects would precede causes, and that seems like it should be impossible - but it’s less of one than you might think.

The Universe, as far as we can tell, only operates according to laws of physics. And just about all of the laws of physics that we know are completely time-reversible, meaning that the things they cause look exactly the same whether time runs forward or backward.

One example is the path of a planet going around a star, which is governed by gravity. Whether time runs forward or backward, planetary orbits follow the exact same paths. The only difference is the direction of the orbit.

But one important piece of physics isn’t time-reversible, and that’s the second law of thermodynamics. It states that as time moves forward, the amount of disorder in the Universe will always increase. Just like dark energy, it’s something we’ve noticed about the Universe, and it’s something that we still don’t totally understand - though admittedly we have a better idea of it than we do of dark energy.

Physicists have, for this reason, reluctantly settled on the second law as the source of time’s arrow: disorder always has to increase after something happens, which requires that time can only move in one direction.

So physicists A. E. Allahverdyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute and V. G. Gurzadyan from Yerevan State University, both in Armenia, decided to see if - at least in a limited situation - dark energy and the second law might be related. To test it, they looked at the simple case of something like a planet orbiting a star with a changing mass.

They found that if dark energy either doesn’t exist or if it pulls space together, the planet just dully orbits the star without anything interesting happening. There’s no way to tell an orbit going forward in time from one going backward in time.

But if dark energy pushes space apart, like it does in our Universe, the planet eventually gets thrown away from the star on a path of no return. This gives us a distinction between the past and the future: run time one way, and the planet is flung off, run it the other way, and the planet comes in and gets captured by the star.

Dark energy naturally leads to an arrow of time.

The authors stress that this is a really limited situation, and they’re certainly not claiming dark energy is the reason time only ever moves forward. But they’ve shown a possible link between thermodynamics and dark energy that could help us to understand either - or maybe both - better than we ever have.

The research has been published in Physical Review E.

Via Kim Frye
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Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought | Scientific anomalies |
India is to divert water from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges to deal with severe drought, a senior minister tells the BBC.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 16, 11:09 AM

The drought has been bad enough that (coupled with rising debt to seed companies) many farmers are committing suicide to escape the financial pain of this drought.   The monsoon rains can be lethal, but critical for the rural livelihoods of farmers and the food supply.


TagsIndia, agriculture, labor, agriculture, South Asia, physical, weather and climate.



Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking

Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking | Scientific anomalies |
Human activity is playing a role in the dwindling size of Utah's Great Salt Lake, according to new research.While the research group acknowledged the role that climate fluctuations, such as droughts and floods, have played in the shift of the lake's water levels over time, the decrease in the lake's size is predominantly due to human causes. According to the report, the heavy reliance on consumptive water uses has reduced the lake level by 11 feet and its volume by 48 percent.


Tags: physical, Utah, environment modify, environment, water.

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 6, 12:15 PM

The railroad causeway that creates the color difference between the northern and sotuhern portions of the Great Lake is as the Union Pacific plans to change the causeway; the proposed bridge would allow for the two distinct salinities to intermingle more.  Environmentally, this lake is not exceptional.  Like many lakes in dry climates with growing populations, the people are using the freshwater flow into the lakes more extensively than they have in the past.  The Great Salt Lake, the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, Lake Urmia, and the Dead Sea are all drying up.  

Sally Egan's curator insight, April 10, 11:05 PM
Another great example of human activities changing the biophysical environment.
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences

Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences | Scientific anomalies |

"Globalisation was supposed to tear down barriers, but security fears and a widespread refusal to help migrants and refugees have fuelled a new spate of wall-building across the world, even if experts doubt their long-term effectiveness. When the Berlin Wall was torn down a quarter-century ago, there were 16 border fences around the world. Today, there are 65 either completed or under construction, according to Quebec University expert Elisabeth Vallet."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 18, 2015 12:11 PM

This is an intriguing opinion piece that would be good fodder for a class discussion on political geography or the current events/refugee crisis. 

Tags: borders, political.

Nflfootball Live's curator insight, September 19, 2015 8:04 AM

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 23, 2015 3:53 PM

unit 2 or 4

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Living in the Shadow of Industrial Farming

"The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina's rural poor." 

Via Seth Dixon
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, August 17, 2015 1:50 PM

Industrial farming, manure lagoons... do you know this type of farming?

Lilydale High School's curator insight, August 17, 2015 7:33 PM

Consequences of living near industrial sites - even if it is farming.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This is pretty insane. I've seen other video's where it is a similar situation around chicken farms in the U.S. The people can't even go outside most of the time due to the smell, and it makes me wonder how much of the way we eat is truly devastating the planet. Beyond the smell, I can't help wonder what these types of farms would do the ground water beneath.

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Motion of Tectonic Plates

"This video is from the BBC documentary film Earth: The Power Of The Planet.  The clip is also embedded in this story map that tells the tale of Earth’s tectonic plates, their secret conspiracies, awe-inspiring exhibitions and subtle impacts on the maps and geospatial information we so often take for granted as unambiguous."

Tags: physical, tectonics, disasters, mapping, geospatial, mapping, video, ESRI.

Via Seth Dixon
Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Geography Education!

Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless

Unkind Architecture: Designing Against the Homeless | Scientific anomalies |

"Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…"

Via Seth Dixon
Sallyann Griffin's insight:

Just another sign of what the human race is becoming - heartless, with no moral sense at all.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 5, 2015 7:58 PM

The government should try to develop better methods to keep homeless out of the street. Planning and designating a place to the homeless group by offering better conditions, will change the problem.  As the architects have new ideas to resolve a problem with the homeless, they should also be formulating ideas to prevent homelessness such as providing feasible shelter on the street. Part of the problem is that shelters should be marketed in the communities. Local businesses, policies and general communities could be more active in helping these minority groups to get aid and better their life. Cities should provide more programs and aid for the homeless group. 

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 8:07 PM

These structures such as benches with dividers that make it impossible to lie down, spikes and protrusions on window ledges and in front of store windows, forests of pointed cement structures under bridges and freeways, emissions of high pitched sounds, and sprinklers that intermittently go off on sidewalks to prevent camping overnight are very rude and without a shadow of a doubt send a message to the homeless that they aren't welcomed, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure they cannot be comfortable; even something as simple as sitting on a windowsill.  

Logan Haller's curator insight, May 25, 2015 7:11 PM

This article deals with unit 7 because it discusses architecture and new  things in cities. In some cities they have defensive architecture to make it harder for homeless people to live. For example benches with dividers, and pointed cement structures under bridges. This tells the homeless they are unwanted and that others don't care about them.Some corporations have turned to aggressive ways to keep out homeless and the article says the government is denying it. In addition there are few resources to help the homeless and what they do have is insufficient. It also notes that free shelters are very rare. The author says that we should worry a little more about the homeless because "given just the right turn of events, it could happen to us."

Rescooped by Sallyann Griffin from Amazing Science!

Are 75% of Australia's living species still unknown?

Are 75% of Australia's living species still unknown? | Scientific anomalies |

Australia may be known for its unique plants and animals, but how many do we actually know about? Jo Harding is the manager of Bush Blitz, a program supported by federal and state government agencies and research institutions, which documents plants and animals around Australia, leading to the discovery of hundreds of new species.

Ms. Harding states: "There's estimated to be about 75 per cent of Australia's biodiversity that's largely unknown. So there's certainly a lot out there still to find. We've discovered 700 new species so far, that's over the last approximately four years, and we're still counting."


The word 'biodiversity' has a complex scientific definition, but generally speaking, it is used as a catch-all phrase for all plants, animals and other living organisms in a particular area, a spokeswoman for Bush Blitz said.


It covers all types of plants (including algae) and fungi as well as vertebrates (such as mammals, reptiles, fish and birds) and invertebrates (such as insects and octopuses) in both marine and land environments.


A recent CSIRO publication on biodiversity says the scientific definition "includes more than just organisms themselves". "Its definition includes the diversity of the genetic material within each species and the diversity of ecosystems that those species make up, as well as the ecological and evolutionary processes that keep them functioning and adapting," the publication said.

"Biodiversity is not simply a list of species, therefore. It includes the genetic and functional operations that keep the living world working, so emphasizing inter-dependence of the elements of nature."

Undescribed species are species that may have been found before, maybe in different areas or by different people, but which haven't been formally identified. It is then up to an expert to examine the specimen to ensure it really is an undescribed species. The expert will then write a description for the species. Once the description of the new species has been established and published, it is called a described specimen.


Ms Harding's claim that about 75 per cent of Australia's biodiversity is unknown is based on a 2009 report published by the federal environment department. It aggregates information from a large number of sources and previous studies to calculate the number of species already discovered and estimate the number of species yet to be discovered both around the world and in Australia.


It determined that Australia had 147,579 "accepted described species", 26 per cent of its estimated total Australian species.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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