In March this year, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) began work on a subterranean wall of frozen soil mainly on the seaward side of the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, with most of another wall on the landward side begun in June. The purpose of the barriers is to stop the flow of groundwater into the plant buildings -- a problem that has resulted in enormous volumes of contaminated water. However, three months since the freezing process began, TEPCO is ominously silent on the ice wall's effectiveness, and the plan is quickly approaching its do-or-die moment.
Google is one of the companies at the forefront of robotics and artificial intelligence research, and being in that position means they have the most to worry about. The idea of a robot takeover may still be an abstract, science fictional concept to us, but Google has actually compiled a list of behaviors that would cause them great concern, both for efficiency and safety in the future.
Beijing is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world. Due to over-exploitation of groundwater, the Beijing region has been suffering from land subsidence since 1935. In this study, the Small Baseline InSAR technique has been employed to process Envisat ASAR images acquired between 2003 and 2010 and TerraSAR-X stripmap images collected from 2010 to 2011 to investigate land subsidence in the Beijing region. The maximum subsidence is seen in the eastern part of Beijing with a rate greater than 100 mm/year. Comparisons between InSAR and GPS derived subsidence rates show an RMS difference of 2.94 mm/year with a mean of 2.41 ± 1.84 mm/year. In addition, a high correlation was observed between InSAR subsidence rate maps derived from two different datasets (i.e., Envisat and TerraSAR-X). These demonstrate once again that InSAR is a powerful tool for monitoring land subsidence. InSAR derived subsidence rate maps have allowed for a comprehensive spatio-temporal analysis to identify the main triggering factors of land subsidence. Some interesting relationships in terms of land subsidence were found with groundwater level, active faults, accumulated soft soil thickness and different aquifer types. Furthermore, a relationship with the distances to pumping wells was also recognized in this work.
‘Is there life after death?’ is a question that has dominated human thinking since time immemorial. But now researchers have discovered that an animal’s genes can ‘live’ on for up to four days after its body has died, Science Magazine reported.
the Smithsonian has named Dr. Caldicott one of the most influential women of the 20th century. (Now why isn't Dr Caldicott being asked as a witness in the South Australian Nuclear Citizens jury?) #WomanCrushWednesday: Dr. Helen Caldicott http://www.wand.org/2016/06/29/womancrushwednesday-dr-helen-caldicott/ by Honora Gibbons, WAND Intern, Arlington, MA Dr. Helen Caldicott holds a special place in our hearts and…
New study shows that the same cellular machinery exists in humans.
The ability to grow a new limb may seem like something straight out of science fiction, but new research shows exactly how animals like salamanders and zebrafish perform this stunning feat—and how humans may share the biological machinery that lets them do it. Scientists have long known of the regenerative powers of some species of fish and amphibians: To recreate a limb or fin lost to a hungry predator, they can regrow everything from bone to muscle to blood vessels with stem cells that form at the site of the injury. But just how they do it at the genetic level is a mystery.
To figure out what might be happening, scientists amputated the appendages of two ray-finned fish—zebrafish and bichir—and a salamander known as the axolotl, all of which can regrow their legs and fins. They then compared RNA from the site of the amputation. They found 10 microRNAs—small pieces of RNA that regulate gene expression—that were the same in all three species. What’s more, they seemed to function in the same way, despite the structural difference between the axolotl (pictured above) and the fishes.
The finding supports an existing idea that the three master limb-replacers last shared a common ancestor about 420 million years ago, and it suggests that the evolutionary process of growing limbs is saved over time, not developed independently in separate species, the researchers report today in PLOS ONE. What does this mean for humans? If these microRNAs can be programmed to work like they do in salamanders and fish, humans could enhance their ability to heal from serious injuries. But don’t expect to get Wolverine-like powers just yet—scientists say such modifications are still a long way off.
Biologists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered that the evolutionary history of a hormone responsible for sexual maturity in humans is written in the genes of the humble starfish.
The onset of puberty and sexual development in humans is triggered by the release of a brain hormone known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH. Scientists at QMUL's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, working in collaboration with teams at the University of Warwick and KU Leuven in Belgium, have found that the history of this important sex hormone is a tale of loss.
It was already known that fruit flies (Drosophila) have two GnRH-like hormones - one that mobilises stored fats to power flight (adipokinetic hormone or AKH) and another that makes insect hearts beat faster (corazonin). What was missing was information from other invertebrate animals that are more closely related to humans than insects. Research on the starfish published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports has provided the missing link.
A new study of the 37,000-year old remains of the "Deep Skull" - the oldest modern human discovered in island South-East Asia - has revealed this ancient person was not related to Indigenous Australians, as had been originally thought.
The Deep Skull was also likely to have been an older woman, rather than a teenage boy.
The research, led by UNSW Australia Associate Professor Darren Curnoe, represents the most detailed investigation of the ancient cranium specimen since it was found in Niah Cave in Sarawak in 1958.
"Our analysis overturns long-held views about the early history of this region," says Associate Professor Curnoe, Director of the UNSW Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre (PANGEA).
"We've found that these very ancient remains most closely resemble some of the Indigenous people of Borneo today, with their delicately built features and small body size, rather than Indigenous people from Australia."
The study, by Curnoe and researchers from the Sarawak Museum Department and Griffith University, is published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
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