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10 Discoveries Unexplained By #Science

Impossible planets, mysterious noises from the deep, and inexplicable artifacts buried for centuries, there are some things even the smartest of scientists s...
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Nature and the universe are a wonder. Insufficiently explored...
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Clean energy generated using #bacteria-powered #solar panel #renewables #science

Clean energy generated using #bacteria-powered #solar panel #renewables #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
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Mirror-image polymerase copies mirror-world #DNA

Mirror-image polymerase copies mirror-world #DNA | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have created a mirror-image version of a protein that performs two of the most fundamental processes of life: copying DNA and transcribing it into RNA.

The work is a “small step” along the way to making mirror-image life forms, says molecular biologist Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. “It’s a terrific milestone,” adds his Harvard colleague George Church, who hopes one day to create an entire mirror-image cell.

Many organic molecules are ‘chiral’: that is, they can exist in mirror-image forms that cannot be superimposed, like a right-handed and left-handed glove. But life almost always employs one version: cells use left-handed amino acids, and have DNA that twists like a right-handed screw, for instance.

 

Life forms created in this mirrored way would not be able to use any of the biological material of our normal world.

 

In their research paper, the Tsinghua researchers also present their work as an effort to investigate why life’s chirality is the way it is. This remains mysterious: it may simply be down to chance, or it could have been triggered by a fundamental asymmetry in nature.

 

But Steven Benner, at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida, says it’s unlikely that creating a mirror form of biochemical life could shed any light on this question. Almost every physical process behaves identically when viewed in a mirror. The only known exceptions — called ‘parity violations’ — lie in the realm of subatomic physics. Such tiny differences would never show up in these biochemical experiments, says Benner. (He is also interested in making DNA that can avoid unwanted degradation by natural enzymes or viruses, but rather than using mirror-DNA, he has created artificial DNA with non-natural building blocks.)

 

Church’s ultimate goal, to make a mirror-image cell, faces enormous challenges. In nature, RNA is translated into proteins by the ribosome, a complex molecular machine. “Reconstructing a mirror-image of the ribosome would be a daunting task,” says Zhu. Instead, Church is trying to mutate a normal ribosome so that it can handle mirror-RNA.

 

Church says that it is anyone’s guess as to which approach might pay off. But he notes that a growing number of researchers are working on looking-glass versions of biochemical processes. “For a while it was a non-field,” says Church. “But now it seems very vibrant.”

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Bionic Spinal Cord Lets You Move Robotic Limbs With Power of Thought

Bionic Spinal Cord Lets You Move Robotic Limbs With Power of Thought | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

Australian researchers have created a “bionic spinal cord.” They claim that this device could give paralyzed people significant hope of walking again. And if that’s not enough, it could do it utilizing the power of thought and without the necessity of open brain surgery.

 

A research team from the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne developed the novel neural-recording device, which both eschews invasive surgery and decreases the risks of a blood-brain barrier breach by being implanted into the brain’s blood vessels.

 

Developed under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, the Stentrode can potentially safely expand the use of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) in the treatment of physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

 

The researchers describe their “proof-of-concept results” which come from a study conducted on sheep, demonstrating high-fidelity measurements taken from the region of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement (called the motor cortex) with the use of the novel device which, as it happens, is just about the size of a paperclip.

 

Notably, the device records neural activity that has been shown in pre-clinical trials to move limbs through an exoskeleton.

 

The team, led by neurologist Thomas Oxley, M.D., published their study in an article in the journal Nature Biotechnology.


Via Mariaschnee, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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#Physicists Just Found a Link Between Dark Energy and the Arrow of Time #physics

#Physicists Just Found a Link Between Dark Energy and the Arrow of Time #physics | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

Is dark energy the reason time moves forward?
BRENDAN COLE 20 MAY 2016

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, Tania Gammage, The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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Carl #Jung: “But remember what the #Pope said: "The world should be more conscious of the presence of angels."

Carl #Jung: “But remember what the #Pope said: "The world should be more conscious of the presence of angels." | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

Via Maxwell Purrington
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Albert #Einstein- How I See the World #genius #science #physics #math

Albert #Einstein- How I See the World #genius #science #physics #math | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Albert Einstein- How I See the World https://t.co/xNXR89JnJS #Science
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Lisa A Frank's Exquisite Connections to the Patterns in #Nature

Lisa A Frank's Exquisite Connections to the Patterns in #Nature | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

These beautiful photographic patterns are constructed from daily snapshots that Lisa A Frank takes while walking in the woods, then the images are “sewn” together through extreme image layering and masking.


Via Andrea Zeitz, The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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Nvidia #GTX 1080 review: The new performance king #gaming

Nvidia #GTX 1080 review: The new performance king #gaming | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Nvidia pushes the performance curve once again—but has it gone far enough?
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#FF #science theory The Chilling Regularity of Mass #Extinctions

#FF #science theory The Chilling Regularity of Mass #Extinctions | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Scientists say new evidence supports a 26-million-year cycle linking comet showers and global die-offs.
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200,000 year old soil found at mysterious crater, a 'gate to the subterranean world' Interesting

200,000 year old soil found at mysterious crater, a 'gate to the subterranean world' Interesting | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Locals hear 'booms from the underworld' in giant ravine but now scientists say it holds secrets of the planet's past.
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Self-healing, flexible electronic material restores functions after many breaks #science #tech

Self-healing, flexible electronic material restores functions after many breaks #science #tech | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Electronic materials have been a major stumbling block for the advance of flexible electronics because existing materials do not function well after breaking and healing. A new electronic material created by an international team, however, can heal all its functions automatically even after breaking multiple times. This material could improve the durability of wearable electronics.

Via Mariaschnee
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World-first scanning helium #microscope unveiled at #University of Newcastle #medicine #science

World-first scanning helium #microscope unveiled at #University of Newcastle #medicine #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Australian researchers build a world-first prototype of a new microscope that will open scientific doors.

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Google a step closer to developing machines with human-like intelligence #AI #science #tech

Google a step closer to developing machines with human-like intelligence #AI #science #tech | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
An algorithm developed by Google is designed to encode thought, which could lead to computers with ‘common sense’ within a decade, says leading AI scientist
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Stem cell gene Oct4 helps to prevent heart attack, stroke, and counteracts aging #gentech #science

Stem cell gene Oct4 helps to prevent heart attack, stroke, and counteracts aging #gentech #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered that a gene called Oct4 — which scientific dogma insists is inactive in adults — actually plays a vital role in preventing ruptured atherosclerotic plaques inside blood vessels, the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes.

 

The researchers found that Oct4 controls the conversion of smooth muscle cells into protective fibrous “caps” inside plaques, making the plaques less likely to rupture. They also discovered that the gene promotes many changes in gene expression that are beneficial in stabilizing the plaques. In addition, the researchers believe it may be possible to develop drugs or other therapeutic agents that target the Oct4 pathway as a way to reduce the incidence of heart attacks or stroke.

 

The researchers are also currently testing Oct4′s possible role in repairing cellular damage and healing wounds, which would make it useful for regenerative medicine.

 

Oct4 is one of the “stem cell pluripotency factors” described by Shinya Yamanaka, PhD, of Kyoto University, for which he received the 2012 Nobel Prize. His lab and many others have shown that artificial over-expression of Oct4 within somatic cells grown in a lab dish is essential for reprogramming these cells into induced pluripotential stem cells, which can then develop into any cell type in the body or even an entire organism.

 

“Finding a way to reactivate this pathway may have profound implications for health and aging,” said researcher Gary K. Owens, director of UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. “This could impact many human diseases and the field of regenerative medicine. [It may also] end up being the ‘fountain-of-youth gene,’ a way to revitalize old and worn-out cells.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The largest objects in #space, get acquainted with the #giants of the #universe, a huge space body

The largest objects in space - a huge monster. Each of them is a heavyweight in the group. The universe is unimaginably great place. It is so great that it is ...
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#Neanderthals built mystery underground circles 175,000 years ago #history #science #UFO

#Neanderthals built mystery underground circles 175,000 years ago #history #science #UFO | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
They worked by torchlight, following the same procedure hour after hour: wrench a stalagmite off the cave floor, remove the tip and base, and carefully lay it with the others.

Today we can only guess as to why a group of Neanderthals built a series of large stalagmite structures in a French cave – but the fact they did provides a rare glimpse into our extinct cousin’s potential for social organisation in a challenging environment.

Gone are the days when we thought of Neanderthals as crude and unintelligent.

Via Mariaschnee
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In 2050, superbugs may kill 1 person every 3 seconds, report warns

In 2050, superbugs may kill 1 person every 3 seconds, report warns | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
UK report outlines global action plan to avert disastrous post-antibiotics world.
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Western IQs drop by 14 points in last century, study says

Western IQs drop by 14 points in last century, study says | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
A new study by researchers in Europe claims that the average IQ of people in Western nations fell by an average of 14 points between 1889 and 2004.
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April breaks global temperature record - BBC News

April breaks global temperature record - BBC News | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
April was the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records, Nasa figures show.
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Sacred Geometry and #Mandala Arts

Sacred Geometry and #Mandala Arts | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it

"Love is my reference and thats the point of this art. I have to express this love to you! These are 'roses from my soul' and if you see beauty and wonderment in my paintings, that is because you can see part of yourself, like in a mirror you see something you know...something totally cosmic is reflected back at you."

Stephen Meakin - artist - teacher - antiquarian - independent researcher


 


Via Andrea Zeitz, The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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#India’s #drought foretells of greater struggles as #climate warms #science

#India’s #drought foretells of greater struggles as #climate warms #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Cracked soils, farmer suicides and desperate migration are at odds with the country's image as an emerging economic and technological power, says T. V. Padma  
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New horned #dinosaur species discovered in #Montana by amateur #history #science

New horned #dinosaur species discovered in #Montana by amateur #history #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
(AP) — A novice fossil collector's lucky find in a remote Montana badlands more than a decade ago represents a new kind of spectacularly-horned dinosaur, researchers announced Wednesday.
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IBM #scientists achieve storage memory breakthrough #PCM #tech

IBM #scientists achieve storage memory breakthrough #PCM #tech | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using a relatively new memory technology known as phase-change memory (PCM).

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New Research Suggests #Humans Drove #Hobbits to #Extinction. I'm not surprised, you? #history #science

New Research Suggests #Humans Drove #Hobbits to #Extinction. I'm not surprised, you? #history #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Homo floresiensis, aka the ‘Hobbit’ people, were first discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia and ever since researchers have wondered how they were able to co-exist with early humans when no other group had. The answer? They didn’t. New excavations and dating have concluded that the Hobbit people died away 50,000 years ago, …

Via rita roberts, Jukka Melaranta, Ben Salve, The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California
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IBM's #Watson #AI is better at diagnosing #cancer than human #doctors (Wired UK)

IBM's #Watson #AI is better at diagnosing #cancer than human #doctors (Wired UK) | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
Watson, IBM claims, is better at cancer diagnosis than human doctors, and its deployment could also reduce healthcare costs

Via Khannea Suntzu
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#Astronomers Measure a Black Hole Equal to 660 Million Times the Sun's Mass #space #science

#Astronomers Measure a Black Hole Equal to 660 Million Times the Sun's Mass #space #science | Limitless learning Universe | Scoop.it
It's not easy to get the measure of a monster black hole, but the ALMA observatory just weighed one at 660 million times the mass of the Sun.

Via Mariaschnee
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