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Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack - Gizmodo

Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack - Gizmodo | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack
Gizmodo
It's believed that last week the Syrian government murdered hundreds of its own civilians with chemical weapons.

 

It’s believed that last week the Syrian government murdered hundreds of its own civilians with chemical weapons. We don’t know which weapon they used, but we do know it’s one of a handful of chemicals called nerve agents.

Nerve agents were invented accidentally by a Nazi-era scientist trying to make a more effective pesticide. That’s why these molecules are so similar in their structure to the most common class of insecticides, chemicals called organophosphates because they contain carbon-based (“organic”) groups coupled to a phosphorous atom. And the way a nerve agent kills you is very similar to the way an organophosphate pesticide kills an insect.

It looks like last week’s massacre could lead to war (the White House is talking about a missile strike). With that in mind, here’s a look at the science of what happened.

This post originally appeared on Puff the Mutant Dragon, and has been republished with permission.

How do we know the Syrian govt used nerve agents?

The symptoms are unmistakable. For example, the pupils of victims’ eyes had narrowed to the size of pinpoints. That’s exactly what happened to the German scientist who invented tabun, the first nerve agent. The pinpoint pupils is a hallmark of nerve agent poisoning. There is no other chemical weapon that would cause these kinds of symptoms.

What did they use?

All the nerve agents cause similar symptoms, so there’s no way to know for sure without a sample for testing.

 

 

 

 

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Record low temperature recorded in Antarctica -scientists.

Record low temperature recorded in Antarctica -scientists. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
SAN FRANCISCO - The Arctic air blasting the eastern United States is positively balmy compared to the record minus 136 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 93 degrees Celsius) temperature measured in Antarctica in August 2010, according to research released on Monday.

Scientists made the discovery while analyzing 32 years of global surface temperatures recorded by satellites.

They found that a high ridge in the East Antarctic Plateau contains pockets of trapped air that dipped as low as minus 136 Fahrenheit on Aug. 10, 2010, researchers said at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

The previous record low was minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica, said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

"We had a suspicion this Antarctic ridge was likely to be extremely cold, and colder than Vostok because it's higher up the hill," Scambos said in a statement.

The temperatures are about 50 degrees F colder than anything recorded in Alaska or Siberia.

The research grew out of studies of snow dunes. Scientists noticed cracks in the snow and wondered if the top layer of snow was shrinking. That set them off on a hunt for temperature data.

The super-cold temperatures are due to air being caught and held for a while. If the skies are clear for a few days, the ground radiates remaining heat into space, creating a layer of super-chilled air above the snow.

"By causing the air to be stationary for extended periods, while continuing to radiate more heat away into space, you get the absolute lowest temperatures we're able to find," Scambos said. — Reuters
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New Ghost-Like Cave-Dwelling 'Shrimp' Discovered in California.

New Ghost-Like Cave-Dwelling 'Shrimp' Discovered in California. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
A translucent underwater cave dweller that looks like a skeleton and travels like an inchworm is the newest member of California's array of marine life.

 

Scientists found a new species of skeleton shrimp — a group of tiny crustaceans that are actually caprellid amphipods, not shrimp — in vials collected from a small cave offshore of Southern California's Catalina Island. The two vials, one containing a male and one containing a female, were housed in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

 

Lead study author José Manuel Guerra-García, a caprellid expert at the University of Seville in Spain, realized the "shrimp" were a never-before-recognized species during a 2010 visit to the museum. Guerra-García compared the ghostlike creatures with other species of the genus, Liropus, and confirmed other scientists had never described the tiny crustaceans.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The Bizarre, Beautiful, Fascinating World Beneath #Antarctic Ice.

The Bizarre, Beautiful, Fascinating World Beneath #Antarctic Ice. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Rob Robbins and Steve Rupp have been diving under the Antarctic sea ice for a combined 60 years.

 

Hang around their dive headquarters at McMurdo Station and you’ll see rows of oxygen tanks, wetsuits, and breathing apparatus; above an old mulberry couch, a map labeled Ross SeaSoundings in Fathom and Feet; a Magic 8 Ball (“we consult it for anything and everything!”), Maxwell House coffee grounds, and a wall of magnetic poetry (“nuzzle me bad”). You’ll hear constant jokes like “it’s a fish-eat-fish world” while reading daunting titles on the bookshelves: Proceedings of Repetitive Diving Workshop; Man in the Sea Volumes I & II; Mixed Gas Diving; and the Antarctica Scientific Diving Manual, which includes this advice: “drilling a safety hole allows continued surface access in cases where a Weddell seal appropriates the primary dive hole.”


Dive hole “appropriations” by curious seals are more like totalcoups d'état once one squeezes its 1,000-pound body up the blue hole and bobs around indefinitely. These incursionsare a near-daily reality, and just one of the challenges unique to diving in Antarctica.

 

Other difficulties include the enormous risk of diving beneath an unending ice ceiling, the shocks suffered when wearing a heated suit underwater (Steve’s teeth keep getting zapped), and the one that horrified me most: enduring extraordinarily frigid water on your exposed face for half an hour or more. Rob, as well as the newest diver on their team, Martin Schuster, both swear they don’t even notice the icy water and cheerfully assured me that “the face goes numb so fast!” I smiled as though I agreed this was comforting information and moved one step closer to the diesel stove. 

But I did believe Rob when he told me that even after 35 years of Antarctic diving, there’s never a single day when he’s not excited to go diving again. The contrast between the desolate white continent above and the explosion of bizarre and beautiful marine life below is just extraordinary. Beneath 10 feet of sea ice is a wildly colorful, dense, and ever-changing aquatic landscape, and Rob is one of the few humans who ever sees it firsthand: heaps of neon-pink sea stars, glow-in-the-dark jellies floating spookily by, yellow sea spiders breathing through holes in their bodies, amphipods, toothfish, and yes, hundreds of swirling seals.

 

A team of environmental physiologists led by Anne Todgham is spending several seasons at McMurdo conducting experiments on two Antarctic species—the dragonfish and the emerald rock cod—to determine what their fate might be, and by extension, the fate of the larger polar ecosystem. Last week we piled onto snowmobiles and bright-red Pisten Bullies (vehicles and gear in Antarctica tend to be red or orange to make them easier to find in a rescue) and headed out with the divers to collect more juvenile fish samples.

I rode in a Pisten Bully with Ph.D. student Erin Flynn; we discussed the wonders of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, and munched on our peanut butter sandwiches, and Erin began knitting a hat from beautiful blue wool she picked up in New Zealand.* The volcano Mount Erebus loomed outside our window for most of the ride, smoldering with white fumes. We’d learned from an Antarctic vulcanologist (now there's a sexy job title) that Mount Erebus has recently surged in activity and is spitting out up to six firebombs each day.

 

More than an hour later, we arrived at our destination: a tiny heated shed plopped on top of a large hole drilled in the middle of the Ross Sea ice. Elaborate and lengthy preparations began: The three divers donned multiple layers of suits, tossed giant flippers around, and wiped down their fogged-up goggles with their thumbs. A rope with flares and flags was lowered down the hole, their dive-prep soundtrack of “American Woman” blasted from an iPod, and finally the divers strapped on their tanks and jumped into the hole, each making a cannonball splash. After all that commotion, the water smoothed back over, and it was eerily still and quiet. The other eight of us sat around the dive hole staring into the vertigo-inducing dark-blue waters, snacked some more (Fig Newtons this time—you have to eat constantly in Antarctica to keep your body temperature up), and listened to the intermittent buzz of the walkie-talkies from other field research sites (“Mac Ops, Mac Ops, how copy?”). The divers had told us that groups of juvenile cod flit in and out of cracks in a nearby ice wall. It was suspenseful to sit waiting in silence, wondering what it looked like down there and whether they were finding the fish. After 30 minutes, enormous bubbles began welling up in the hole, signaling the divers’ return.

On previous trips, the divers had carefully spatulaed up batches of dragonfish eggs, extraordinary pearlescent orbs laid on a single rock. Because the water is so cold, these eggs develop at a glacial pace, taking 10 months—longer than a human baby—to gestate. The dragonfish mother stands guard for most of this time; an angry dragonfish once even bit through a diver’s glove when he came for some of her eggs.

  On this trip, the dive team gathered about 200 juvenile emerald rock cod, primarily using little green fishing nets, the kind you’d use in a child’s aquarium. As the divers emptied their tubes of collected fish into the waiting cooler, Todgham’s team huddled around to examine the catch. Soon the hut became filled with shouts like “We got some amphipods!” and “It might just be a bork!”

Back at Crary Aquarium in McMurdo Station, the science team moved the juvenile fish to their new aquarium quarters and checked on hundreds of other dragonfish eggs and cod juveniles that are part of their research. Dozens of containers are kept at different temperatures and bubble with varying amounts of carbon dioxide, which simulate the best- and worst-case scenarios for ocean warming and acidification forecasted for the next century. In the past 200 years, the ocean has absorbed 50 percent of our skyrocketing carbon emissions, and even if we hugely curb our destructive output, the ocean is still headed for a record change in temperature and chemical makeup. Todgham and her team want to know how the combination of warming and acidity will impact these fragile fish, which species have a fighting chance of adapting, and how their physiology might allow them to survive.

We gathered Saturday for an early Thanksgiving dinner, and each of us offered thanks to the team members for their hard work and positive spirits, and expressed gratitude that after the miserable U.S. government shutdown put the entire project (and all work on the continent) in peril, science was able to move forward after all. “I don’t think people realize how much can be accomplished, in a very short time, by a team of dedicated people like you guys all working and collaborating together,” said Todgham, raising a blue plastic cafeteria water glass filled with sauvignon blanc to toast the group. Somewhere below the sea ice, as we dug into our mashed potatoes and green beans, hundreds of dragonfish mothers stood guarding their eggs, dedicated and hard-working guardians of the next generation.


*Correction, Nov. 26, 2013: Due to an editing error, this post originally misidentified Ph.D. student Erin Flynn as Erin Flynn Klawitter. (Return.)



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Who owns the moon? Time to call in the 'space lawyers' - Telegraph.

Who owns the moon? Time to call in the 'space lawyers' - Telegraph. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
As civilians prepare to venture into space, are earthly problems like property disputes, health and safety nightmares, and crime sure to follow? Enter the 'space lawyers’, reports Edward Helmore. (RT @Telegraph: Who owns the moon? 

 

In October 2018, a 1,600ft-wide asteroid named Bennu will pass Earth, close enough for Nasa to land a spacecraft on it. Five years later, the craft will return to Earth carrying rock samples that could tell us exactly how planets are formed. But the mission, dubbed OSIRIS-REx, has another purpose: to lay the groundwork for the development of an asteroid-mining industry. Nasa has competition, though. Last year, a group of private investors (among them Google executives Larry Pageand Eric Schmidt) formed a company called Planetary Resources, with the intention of mining asteroids for valuable minerals. But before Nasa, or anybody else, starts mining on Bennu, the Moon, or any other celestial body, a few questions need to be answered. Does anyone actually have the right to profit from space rocks? And if something should go wrong up there, far from Earth-bound laws, who is responsible? This is where “space lawyers” come in.

Space is still the new frontier, and like any frontier it’s a potentially lawless environment. But since the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957 there’s been an ongoing effort to draft treaties, establish jurisdiction and evolve a body of space law.

As the private sector – particularly Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic– looks toward commercial activity in space, from tourism to exploration, the ensuing legal minefield will be tough to navigate. And if there’s one person who knows what they’re talking about in this rapidly expanding area of law, it’s likely to be Joanne Gabrynowicz, professor of space law at the University of Mississippi, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Space Law (“a journal devoted to space law and the legal problems arising out of human activities in outer space”) and official observer for the International Institute of Space Law to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Legal Subcommittee.

On any given week, Gabrynowicz can be found far from home. Last week, it was Virginia, a centre for the growing privatised space sector in the United States; this week it’s Beijing for the 64th International Astronautical Congress.

More than 20 years ago, Gabrynowicz left a legal career in Manhattan to teach space law at the University of North Dakota. She’s now the leading expert in a field that’s expanding as the number of countries and private firms looking for new ways to utilise the vast wilderness of space grows. But what of the legal aspects of space mining? Apollo astronauts gathering a few moon rocks (842lb of lunar material, to be exact) is one thing, but space mining is another.

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Planet Hunters is a collaboration between Yale University and the Zooniverse. The lightcurves provided on the site are from the publicly released data obtained by NASA's Kepler mission.

Planet Hunters is a collaboration between Yale University and the Zooniverse. The lightcurves provided on the site are from the publicly released data obtained by NASA's Kepler mission. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Planet Hunters is a collaboration between Yale University and the Zooniverse. The lightcurves provided on the site are from the publicly released data obtained by NASA's Kepler mission.

 

NASA's Kepler spacecraft is one of the most powerful tools in the hunt for extrasolar planets. The Kepler team's computers are sifting through the data, but we at Planet Hunters are betting that there will be planets which can only be found via the remarkable human ability for pattern recognition.

This is a gamble, a bet if you will, on the ability of humans to beat machines just occasionally. It may be that no new planets are found or that computers have the job down to a fine art. And yet, it's just possible that you might be the first to know that a star somewhere out there in the Milky Way has a companion, just as our Sun does. Fancy giving it a try?

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Better droplet condensation could boost worldwide production of electricity and clean water

Better droplet condensation could boost worldwide production of electricity and clean water | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

Steam condensation is key to the worldwide production of electricity and clean water: It is part of the power cycle that drives 85 percent of all electricity-generating plants and about half of all desalination plants globally, according to the United Nations and International Energy Agency. So anything that improves the efficiency of this process could have enormous impact on global energy use.

 

It has been known for years that making steam-condenser surfaces hydrophobic—that is, getting them to repel water—could improve the efficiency of condensation by causing the water to quickly form droplets. But most hydrophobic materials have limited durability, especially in steamy industrial settings. The new approach to coating condenser surfaces should overcome that problem, the MIT researchers say.

 

The findings are reported this week in the journal Advanced Materials by MIT professors Karen Gleason and Kripa Varanasi, graduate student Adam Paxson and postdoc Jose Yagüe. Tests of metal surfaces coated using the team's process show "a stark difference," Paxson says. In the tests, the material stood up well even when exposed to steam at 100 degrees Celsius in an accelerated endurance test. Typically, the steam in power-plant condensers would only be about 40 degrees Celsius, Varanasi says.

 

When materials currently used to make surfaces hydrophobic are exposed to 100 degrees Celsius steam, "after one minute, you start to see them degrade," Paxson says: The condensing water becomes "a film that covers the surface. It kills the hydrophobic surface, and degrades heat transfer by a factor of seven." By contrast, the new material shows no change in performance after prolonged endurance tests.

 

Varanasi and Paxson were part of a team that published research earlier this year on a different kind of durable hydrophobic material, a rare-earth ceramic. Varanasi says that the two approaches will likely both find useful applications, but in different situations: The ceramic material can withstand even higher temperatures, while the new coating should be less expensive and appropriate for use in existing power plants, he says. "Before, we had nothing, and we have two possible systems now," he says.

 

The new coating can easily be applied to conventional condenser materials—typically titanium, steel, copper or aluminum—in existing facilities, using a process called initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD).

 

Another advantage of the new coating is that it can be extremely thin—just one-thousandth of the thickness of conventional hydrophobic coatings. That means other properties of the underlying surface, such as its electrical or thermal conductivity, are hardly affected. "You can create ultrathin films, with no effect on thermal conductivity," Varanasi says, "so you're getting the best of all worlds here."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Elizabeth Oneil's comment, September 20, 2013 10:44 AM
VVX cool
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The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting

The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
"Friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, (Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons from Aristotle on the Art of Connecting | Brain Pickings
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Australia's new government dumps science minister post - environment - 17 September 2013 - New Scientist.

Australia's new government dumps science minister post - environment - 17 September 2013 - New Scientist. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

Australia will no longer have a science minister, following the election of a new government just over a week ago. That could be bad news for climate change, and big science efforts such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

The incoming government clashed with scientists almost immediately, when itdramatically switched strategy on climate change– dumping the nation's embryonic emissions trading scheme, for example.

Now it has emerged that the new cabinet will have many fewer posts – including no minister for science.

"Science will largely be in the industry portfolio," said the incoming prime minister, Tony Abbot – who ran for election on a platform of "scrapping the carbon tax" – with some responsibilities also falling to the minister for education.

Scientists don't agree that this will pick up the slack. Les Field, a chemist and policy secretary at the Australian Academy of Science, says a minister is needed so that there is a long-term vision.

Looking to the future

One thing that will suffer is the nation's strategy on climate change. "The horizon for dealing with climate change is decades rather than one or two years," says Field, "so one needs a strategic vision that looks forward decades".

This is also true of research projects such as the SKA, he says, a vast internationally funded telescope array, part of which will be in Australia. "We're about to embark on a huge telescope [project]," he says. "The lifetime of that venture is 30 years plus and you need a plan for managing it."

Catriona Jackson, CEO of Science & Technology Australia, agrees. "It's absolutely critical that we have a minister of science," she says. "You need someone to go into cabinet and fight for the scientific cause. There's science in virtually everything the government does."

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Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack - Gizmodo

Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack - Gizmodo | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

Deadly Cloud: The Science Behind the Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack
Gizmodo
It's believed that last week the Syrian government murdered hundreds of its own civilians with chemical weapons.

 

It’s believed that last week the Syrian government murdered hundreds of its own civilians with chemical weapons. We don’t know which weapon they used, but we do know it’s one of a handful of chemicals called nerve agents.

Nerve agents were invented accidentally by a Nazi-era scientist trying to make a more effective pesticide. That’s why these molecules are so similar in their structure to the most common class of insecticides, chemicals called organophosphates because they contain carbon-based (“organic”) groups coupled to a phosphorous atom. And the way a nerve agent kills you is very similar to the way an organophosphate pesticide kills an insect.

It looks like last week’s massacre could lead to war (the White House is talking about a missile strike). With that in mind, here’s a look at the science of what happened.

This post originally appeared on Puff the Mutant Dragon, and has been republished with permission.

How do we know the Syrian govt used nerve agents?

The symptoms are unmistakable. For example, the pupils of victims’ eyes had narrowed to the size of pinpoints. That’s exactly what happened to the German scientist who invented tabun, the first nerve agent. The pinpoint pupils is a hallmark of nerve agent poisoning. There is no other chemical weapon that would cause these kinds of symptoms.

What did they use?

All the nerve agents cause similar symptoms, so there’s no way to know for sure without a sample for testing.

 

 

 

 

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Four Reasons Physics Says You Shouldn’t Exist

Four Reasons Physics Says You Shouldn’t Exist | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
You’re almost unfathomably lucky to exist, in almost every conceivable way. Don’t take it the wrong way. You, me, and even the most calming manatee are nothing but impurities in an otherwise beautifully simple universe.
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It's just science: Merit badges educate boys in STEM

It's just science: Merit badges educate boys in STEM | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Proud to be an American? Absolutely, but this hurts a little: American fourth- and eighth-graders are far from No. 1 in math and science. In fact, we're just outside of or barely in the top 10 in b...
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U.S. Weighs Informed Consent Rules in Wake of Infant Study Controversy | Science/AAAS | News

U.S. Weighs Informed Consent Rules in Wake of Infant Study Controversy | Science/AAAS | News | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
U.S. Weighs Informed Consent Rules in Wake of Infant Study Controversy http://t.co/7zsOrqpNGH
#health
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fitdr: ABOUT DR. FISCHER I'm a physician/author/radio host whose career has included an Internal Medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center.



What could be more controversial than an essay by Jonathan Swift? How about, "A Modest Weight-Loss Proposal", an essay reminiscent of his sardonic wit, describing an imaginary "diet" that would ensure near-total compliance? You'll be able to read the complete essay at the end of this brief introduction and judge for yourself. But please be seated and have smelling salts at hand !

It was only a matter of time before politicians and insurance companies decided to impose penalties on those whose weight is excessive. I wrote the my Swiftian essay about 7 years ago, and it was immediately deleted from the manuscript for "The Park Avenue Diet." Too incendiary, I guess.

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White Shark | #TOPP White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are the ocean's largest predatory sharks.

White Shark | #TOPP White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are the ocean's largest predatory sharks. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are the ocean's largest predatory sharks. The occasional encounter with humans (and movie producers) has made them the most famous. Although they can grow to almost 21 feet (7 meters), the length of an average shark is closer to 15 feet (5 meters); they weigh about 1,500 pounds (700 kg). White sharks, like some other fish such as salmon sharks and tuna, are warm-bodied -- that is, parts of their bodies can be warmer than the cold water in which they swim.

In the eastern Pacific, white sharks can be found from Alaska to Mexico, but you don't often see them north of Washington State. They hang out near haul-out sites for marine mammals, their main food. People used to believe they roamed only along the California coast. But our tags show that they travel regularly from California to Hawaii. Juvenile white sharks are found in the Southern California Bight, which appears to be an important nursery ground.

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Solar System Visualizer

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Just 2 Genes from Y Chromosome Needed to Define Male Mice.

Just 2 Genes from Y Chromosome Needed to Define Male Mice. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Researchers hope the findings will be used to create treatment for men who cannot produce healthy sperm cells

 

The Y chromosome is thought to be important for male reproduction. A research group has recently shown that, with the use of assisted reproduction, live offspring can be obtained from mice lacking the entire Y chromosome long arm. Now, they demonstrate that live mouse progeny can also be generated by using germ cells from males with the Y chromosome contribution limited to only two genes, the testis determinant factor Sry and the spermatogonial proliferation factor Eif2s3y. Sry is believed to function primarily in sex determination during fetal life. Eif2s3y may be the only Y chromosome gene required to drive mouse spermatogenesis, allowing formation of haploid germ cells that are functional in assisted reproduction. Our findings are relevant, but not directly translatable, to human male infertility cases.

 

"Only two Y-chromosome genes are needed to have children with the help of assisted reproduction," study author Monika Ward, a reproductive biologist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, told LiveScience. The scientists detailed their findings online today (Nov. 21, 2013) in the journal Science. 

 

Past research showed that when a gene called Sry was inserted into mouse embryos that are genetically female, "it changed the fate of the mice," Ward said. "Even though they had two X chromosomes, they developed into males." These mice developed testicles and produced sperm precursor cells known as spermatogonia; however, these cells did not develop into sperm cells.

 

In the new work, the researchers added other Y-chromosome genes, one at a time, into such mice. The trial-and-error process eventually revealed a gene called Eif2s3y helped spermatogonia occasionally develop into spermatids, or immature sperm.

 

Spermatids are round cells, lacking the whiplike tails that mature sperm use to swim toward and fertilize egg cells. This means that although mice with Sry and Eif2s3y are male and can generate sex cells, they cannot normally have offspring.

 

To see if males with this pair of Y genes could reproduce with a little help, Ward and her colleagues injected these spermatids directly into egg cells. They found they could successfully fertilize the eggs with this method, resulting in viable offspring.

 

The researchers emphasized the whole Y chromosome is likely needed for normal reproduction — its other genes help mature sperm develop.

 

"We're not trying to eliminate Y chromosomes with our work — or men, for that matter," Ward explained. "We're just trying to understand how much of the Y chromosome is needed, and for what."

 

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Deep sea ecosystem may take decades to recover from Deepwater Horizon spill..

Deep sea ecosystem may take decades to recover from Deepwater Horizon spill.. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

The deep-sea soft-sediment ecosystem in the immediate area of the 2010's Deepwater Horizon well head blowout and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will likely take decades to recover from the spill's impacts, according to a scientific paper reported in the online scientific journal PLoS One.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-deep-sea-ecosystem-decades-recover.html#jCp

 

The paper is the first to give comprehensive results of the spill's effect on deep-water communities at the base of the Gulf's food chain, in its soft-bottom muddy habitats, specifically looking at biological composition and chemicals at the same time at the same location.

"This is not yet a complete picture," said Cynthia Cooksey, NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science lead scientist for the spring 2011 cruise to collect additional data from the sites sampled in fall 2010. "We are now in the process of analyzing data collected from a subsequent cruise in the spring of 2011. Those data will not be available for another year, but will also inform how we look at conditions over time."

"As the principal investigators, we were tasked with determining what impacts might have occurred to the sea floor from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," said Paul Montagna, Ph.D., Endowed Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "We developed an innovative approach to combine tried and true classical statistical techniques with state of the art mapping technologies to create a map of the footprint of the oil spill."

"Normally, when we investigate offshore drilling sites, we find pollution within 300 to 600 yards from the site," said Montagna. "This time it was nearly two miles from the wellhead, with identifiable impacts more than ten miles away. The effect on bottom of the vast underwater plume is something, which until now, no one was able to map. This study shows the devastating effect the spill had on the sea floor itself, and demonstrates the damage to important natural resources."

"The tremendous biodiversity of meiofauna in the deep-sea area of the Gulf of Mexico we studied has been reduced dramatically," said Jeff Baguley, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno expert on meiofauna, small invertebrates that range in size from 0.042 to 0.300 millimeters in size that live in both marine and fresh water. "Nematode worms have become the dominant species at sites we sampled that were impacted by the oil. So though the overall number of meiofauna may not have changed much, it's that we've lost the incredible biodiversity."

The oil spill and plume covered almost 360 square miles with the most severe reduction of biological abundance and biodiversity impacting an area about 9 square miles around the wellhead, and moderate effects seen 57 square miles around the wellhead.




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Astronaut Abby: Celebrating the Past and Looking Toward the Future: Space Shuttle Atlantis Grand Opening.

Astronaut Abby: Celebrating the Past and Looking Toward the Future: Space Shuttle Atlantis Grand Opening. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Thoughts of an aspiring astronaut

 

Celebrating the Past and Looking Toward the Future: Space Shuttle Atlantis Grand Opening. JULY 3, 2013 BY ABIGAIL HARRISON  

 

When ATK offered to sponsor me to attend the Space Shuttle Atlantis grand opening at Kennedy Space Center, I was excited. Who wouldn’t want to go to the grand opening of the exhibit that so proudly displays such a prominent part of United States space history? Plus it was a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center, which I have not been to since the STS-134 Endeavour launch in 2011. I was also excited to have a chance to meet with ATK employees and learn more about the NASA SLS (Space Launch System) Rockets that they are working on. These are the rockets that will someday send me to Mars, so of course I was very excited!

But I was not prepared for the experience I was about to embark on. I didn’t realize that if ATK was at the Space Shuttle Atlantis Grand Opening, Lockheed Martin would be there as well, with showcasing the NASA Orion spacecraft. The Orion is the spacecraft that will take me to Mars and back in either 2031 or 2033 as one of the first astronauts to make that trip (I will likely have several partner astronauts). And, well, if Lockheed Martin was going to be there than of course Aerojet Rocketdyne, who makes the engines for NASA SLS rockets, would be there, and well, you get the point. The list goes on and on of companies who are doing the work today and everyday to someday get me to Mars.

But it doesn’t stop there. I also did not realize that along with all the private space companies that contract with NASA to build the spacecrafts and launch systems of the future there would also be many NASA scientists, engineers, education outreach specialists, and other professionals set up throughout the Kennedy Space Center with their exhibits, ready to explain their work.

Not only was every professional present excited about their work, they couldn’t wait to share it with me. I learned about the heat shields that are currently being produced will indeed get me to the surface of Mars.  I learned how space mining is being developed as we speak – not only to bring precious resources back to Earth, but even more importantly to mine oxygen and fuel on Mars (or along the way) so that we don’t have to carry all our resources with us and back. This work alone will cut the price to go to Mars down by five times the amount (currently missions to Mars have been estimated to cost anywhere from 20 billion to 100 billion USD). Bringing the cost of a mission to Mars down will enviably help make the mission possible. This is exciting!

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Earthquake Reported Near Fukushima

Earthquake Reported Near Fukushima | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
RT reports a moderate earthquake has struck near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan: URGENT: Earthquake strikes near #Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan - Details to follow http://t.co/FmF0zLHjQV— RT (@RT_com) September 19, 2013 (RT...
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Plankton are a critically important food source. No plankton = No life in the Ocean.

Plankton are a critically important food source. No plankton = No life in the Ocean. | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

Plankton are a critically important food source.

No plankton = No life in the ocean

Plankton also play an important role in the global carbon cycle. This cycle captures the sun’s energy and the atmosphere’s CO2 at the surface of the ocean and releases it to other organisms and other areas of the ocean.

Understanding where and when plankton occur at different depths in the ocean allows scientists to get a global understanding of the function and health of the ocean from small to global scales.

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Infiltration Amphibian - Google+

Infiltration Amphibian - Google+ | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
Infiltration Amphibian - Via #Cove Guardian @VidarOceans Infiltration Amphibian: Journal's, Environmental Studies, World News.
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All about Geo-Science

All about Geo-Science | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
All About Geo-science:

Earth science, Natural science & Zoology student Odin Prometheus.
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Opinion: Bright Nights, Big Problems

Opinion: Bright Nights, Big Problems | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
With the rapid rise of light pollution, most Americans under 40 have never known real darkness. (All over the globe our nights are growing brighter, and almost nowhere are they growing darker.
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Six stubborn myths about cancer

Six stubborn myths about cancer | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it
David Robert Grimes: The internet is awash with misinformation about cancer, with potentially tragic consequences for patients (RT @guardianscience: 'Sharks don't get cancer' and five other stubborn #cancer myths, debunked by @drg1985
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Dr. Stuart Fischer (TheFitDr) on Twitter

Dr. Stuart Fischer (TheFitDr) on Twitter | @ThorMercury1 Promotes Science | Scoop.it

The latest from Dr. Stuart Fischer (@TheFitDr). Internist, former emergency room attending physician, respected author, & media health expert, I worked with Dr. Atkins for 8 yrs as his practice associate.

 

ABOUT DR. FISCHER

I'm a physician/author/radio host whose career has included an Internal Medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center, a four-year stint as an Attending Physician in the emergency room of Cabrini Medical Center, and nine years as an associate of Dr. Robert Atkins.
I have an extensive history of media appearances including CNN This Morning, CBS: The Early Show, Inside Edition, "Eyewitness News" (ABC), ESPN, Geraldo, Fox and Friends, Montel Williams, Good Day New York, Daily Buzz, Access Hollywood, Better TV, Westwood One etc. and interviews with The New York Times, The Sunday Times of London, W Magazine, The New York Post (including Page Six), USA Today, eHarmony, AOL, Prevention, Star Magazine, Weekly Reader, WebMD, Redbook, Glamour, New York Magazine, and Opera News.
I graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in psychology.

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