A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 18-19. Credit: SDO/AIA.
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The planet HD 40307g, 44 light-years away, is seven times the Earth's mass and could have liquid water on its surface.
The dwarf star HD 40307, located 44 light-years from Earth, hosts a system of six planets, including one at an orbital distance just right to support life as we know it. The planet could theoretically be photographed by next-generation space satellites now on the drawing board.
The alien planet, classified as a super-Earth, has the name HD 40307g and it is the sixth planet from its sun. The planet orbits at a distance of 55.8 million miles (90 million kilometers) from the star. This distance puts it into HD 40307’s habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on a planet’s surface. The planets Earth and Mars orbit within our sun’s habitable zone.
Sophisticated bladelets suggest that humans passed on their technological skill down the generations...
A haul of stone blades from a cave in South Africa suggests that early humans were already masters of complex technology more than 70,000 years ago1.
The tiny blades — no more than about 3 centimetres long on average — were probably used as tips for throwable spears, or as spiky additions to club-like weapons, says Curtis Marean, an archaeologist at Arizona State University in Tempe who led the team that found the bladelets.
Twenty-seven such blades, called microliths by archaeologists, were found in layers of sand and soil dating as far back as 71,000 years ago and representing a timespan of about 11,000 years, showing how long humans were manufacturing the blades.
A new method that studies the critical process of cell transport dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales has revealed properties of diffusive and directed motion transport in living cells.
Using dispersion-relation fluorescence spectroscopy (DFS), researchers at the University of Illinois’ Beckman Institute report an approach that labels molecules of interest with a fluorophore whose motion gives rise to spontaneous fluorescence intensity fluctuations that are analyzed to quantify the governing mass transport dynamics.
The data are characterized by the effective dispersion relation, they say.
Gabriel Popescu, leader of the university’s Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory, said the multiplicity of scales the method offers over techniques like fluorescence correlated spectroscopy (FCS) is key.
“I think that the beauty of this method is that you can use a commercial fluorescence microscope that is found everywhere to collect and analyze data in a very simple way,” said Ru Wang, a researcher in Popescu’s lab.
The task of aligning quantum mechanics, which deals with the behaviour of fundamental particles, with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which describes gravity in terms of curved space-time, has proved an enormous challenge.
The analysis does not model gravity explicitly, and so is not an attempt to formulate a theory of ‘quantum gravity’ that brings general relativity and quantum mechanics under one umbrella.
Wilczek and his co-authors set up a hypothetical system with a single quantum particle moving along a wire that abruptly splits into two. The stripped-down scenario is effectively the one-dimensional version of an encounter with ripped space-time...
A Northwestern University research team has found a way to manufacture single laser devices that are the size of a virus particle and that operate at room temperature. These plasmonic nanolasers could be readily integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, all-optical circuits and nanoscale biosensors. Reducing the size of photonic and electronic elements is critical for ultra-fast data processing and ultra-dense information storage. The miniaturization of a key, workhorse instrument -- the laser -- is no exception.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
An experimental device that converts energy from a beating heart could provide enough electricity to power a pacemaker. Such pacemakers could eliminate the need for surgeries to replace pacemakers with depleted batteries.
The findings suggest that patients could power their pacemakers -- eliminating the need for replacements when batteries are spent.
In a preliminary study, researchers tested an energy-harvesting device that uses piezoelectricity -- electrical charge generated from motion. The approach is a promising technological solution for pacemakers, because they require only small amounts of power to operate.
Piezoelectricity might also power other implantable cardiac devices like defibrillators, which also have minimal energy needs...
We tend to think of a brain as an organ, as something solid, monolithic, continuous. But it’s not. A brain is not an organ but an organization of stand-alone neurons, a centralization of neurons.
You see, we over-identify with our brains. We think of brains as our central organs whereas in reality we are a massive neural colony (nervous system) on a body-wide scale. We think that we are in our skulls.
Habits are behaviors wired so deeply in our brains that we perform them automatically. This allows you to follow the same route to work every day without thinking about it, liberating your brain to ponder other things, such as what to make for dinner.
However, the brain's executive command center does not completely relinquish control of habitual behavior.
Via Sakis Koukouvis
See star charts for the month's most interesting celestial sights.
The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon...
With QAMA as the student's regular calculator and used exclusively, calculations can no longer be performed without involving the head and the proper comprehension of the ingredients. As expected, its effects on performance and, more importantly - understanding, are phenomenal.
It is even fun: Getting estimates accepted is satisfying.
It has been proposed that ovale malaria in humans is caused by two closely related but distinct species of malaria parasites: P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri.
We have extended and optimized a Real-time PCR assay targeting the parasite’s small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) gene to detect both these species. When the assay was applied to 31 archival blood samples from patients diagnosed with P. ovale, it was found that the infection in 20 was due to P. ovale curtisi and in the remaining 11 to P. ovale wallikeri.
Thus, this assay provides a useful tool that can be applied to epidemiological investigations of the two newly recognized distinct P. ovale species, that might reveal if these species also differ in their clinical manifestation, drugs susceptibility and relapse periodicity.
The results presented confirm that P. ovale wallikeri is not confined to Southeast Asia, since the majority of the patients analyzed in this study had acquired their P. ovale infection in African countries, mostly situated in West Africa.
Image : Wikimedia
On Monday, Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the Mid-Atlantic with heavy rains and tropical storm force winds as it closed in for landfall.
Earlier, NASA's CloudSat satellite passed over Hurricane Sandy and its radar dissected the storm get a profile or sideways look at the storm. NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared view of the cloud tops and NOAA's GOES-13 satellite showed the extent of the storm.
The National Hurricane Center reported at 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29 that Hurricane Sandy is "expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and coastal hurricane winds plus heavy Appalachian snows."
NASA's CloudSat passed over Sandy at 10:32 a.m. EDT on Oct. 27, 2012. Light to moderate precipitation associated with parts of the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy were moving on shore into parts of North Carolina where CloudSat intersected the system.
Cloudsat showed heavier showers and thunderstorms further south and east of the Atlantic coastline over the open water. Credit: NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University
To understand the structure, extent and behavior of Sandy, NASA's CloudSat passed over Sandy at 1832 UTC (10:32 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, when the storm was about 335.5 miles (540 km) southeast of Charleston, S.C. CloudSat data was used to create a profile image of Hurricane Sandy by Shigeru Suzuki at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
At the time of the image Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 75 mph and Sandy had a minimum pressure of 961 millibars making the storm a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane Sandy was moving slowly to the northeast at 11 mph almost parallel to the southeast United States coast and directly traversing the Gulf Stream...
Lead scientist Professor Simon Cutting, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, has developed the jabs through the use of probiotic spores.
He carried out fundamental studies into the biology of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis which attracted the attention of microbiologists due to its ability to form spores that can last millions of years before germinating under the appropriate environmental conditions.
Professor Cutting discovered that the Bacillus spores act as ideal vehicles to carry antigens and promote an immune response.
He explains: "Rather than requiring needle delivery, vaccines based on Bacillus spores can be delivered via a nasal spray, or as on oral liquid or capsule.
Alternatively they can be administered via a small soluble film placed under the tongue, in a similar way to modern breath freshners.
As spores are exceptionally stable, vaccines based on Bacillus do not require cold-chain storage alleviating a further issue with current vaccine approaches."
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a radically new design for a concentrator solar cell that, when irradiated from the side, generates solar conversion efficiencies which rival, and may eventually surpass, the most ultra-efficient photovoltaics.
The new cell architecture developed at the David Ben-Gurion National Solar Research Center at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev can exceed an ultra-efficient 40 percent conversion efficiency with intensities equal to 10,000 suns.
When irradiated from the side, it generates solar conversion efficiencies that rival, and may eventually surpass, the most ultra-efficient photovolataics.
This diagram is a schematic drawing of a 3-tier 6-terminal MBVJ solar cell. The number of tiers/materials is a design variable, and both the width (sub-cell dimension along the x-axis) and depth (sub-cell dimension along the z-axis) of each vertical junction need to be optimized.
Weight loss, whether it’s from dietary changes alone or from diet combined with exercise, can help improve the quality of sleep among people who are overweight or obese, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.
"We found that improvement in sleep quality was significantly associated with overall weight loss, especially belly fat," says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology...
Thirty-nine-year-old Salvatore Iaconesi has been diagnosed with brain cancer but is seeking a cure in an unconventional and radical way, by uploading his medical data as an open source project inviting responses from around the world. Uncomfortable with being 'replaced' by his dehumanising clinical records, he cracked their codes and on September 10 (2012) converted them into open formats to share online.
Fermi has helped make the most accurate measurement of starlight in the universe, establishing the total amount that has ever shone.
Astronomers using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have made the most accurate measurement of starlight in the universe and used it to establish the total amount of light from all of the stars that have ever shone, accomplishing a primary mission goal.
"The optical and ultraviolet light from stars continues to travel throughout the universe even after the stars cease to shine, and this creates a fossil radiation field we can explore using gamma rays from distant sources," said lead scientist Marco Ajello, a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University in California and the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
Covering part of the Eastern Mediterranean this Envisat image is dominated by the island of Cyprus, a former British colony that became independent in 1960.
The island was shaped from the collision of the African and European tectonic plates. It is located on the Anatolian plate and therefore belongs geologically to Asia.
Scientific reform promised to give Italy’s scientists the respect and autonomy they deserve, and political posturing must not be allowed to tip the burgeoning system off balance.
Three separate Italian court decisions, each in some way hinged on science, have shocked the international research community in recent months.
On 12 October, Italy’s highest civil court ruled that compensation should be paid to a man who developed a tumour close to his brain that he claimed was caused by work-related use of mobile phones. On 22 October, a judge in L’Aquila sentenced six scientists and a government official to prison for manslaughter, saying that they failed to appropriately convey the risk of the 2009 earthquake, causing the deaths of 29 people who would otherwise have left their homes (see page 15).
“In Italy there is a perception that science doesn’t even matter.”
Amalfi Coast : photograph by Jose Fuste Raga/ National Geographic.
Anesthesiologists aren’t totally lying when they say they’re going to put you to sleep. Some anesthetics directly tap into sleep-promoting neurons in the brain, a study in mice reveals.
The results may help clarify how drugs that have been used around the world for decades actually put someone under. “It’s kind of shocking that after 170 years, we still don’t understand why they work,” says study coauthor Max Kelz of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Most neurons in the brain appear to be calmed by anesthetics, says neuropharmacologist and anesthesiologist Hugh Hemmings Jr. of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. But the new results, published online October 25 in Current Biology, show that two common anesthetics actually stimulate sleep-inducing neurons.
“It’s unusual for neurons to be excited by anesthetics,” Hemmings says...
Hurricane Sandy could be the biggest storm to hit the United States mainland when it comes ashore on Monday night, bringing strong winds and dangerous flooding to the East Coast from the mid-Atlantic states to New England, forecasters said on Sunday.
Sandy could have a brutal impact on major cities in the target zone like Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, one of the most densely populated regions of the country and home to tens of millions of people...