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The Secret Behind How This Guy Balances Rocks Is Very Unusual. Can You Guess It?

The Secret Behind How This Guy Balances Rocks Is Very Unusual. Can You Guess It? | Love | Scoop.it
This requires some next-level skill right here...

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LOVE is The Universe 

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Whales switch from right to left-handed when diving for food

Whales switch from right to left-handed when diving for food | Love | Scoop.it

Ambidextrous behavior by “right-handed” blue whales has surprised scientists studying the huge creatures’ feeding habits.

Like many other animals, blue whales display laterality, or “handedness” – generally a bias towards the right. But a study using video cameras attached to the backs of whales has shown how they switch laterality when feeding.

 

Over a period of six years, the team attached suction “tags” fitted with video cameras, hydrophones and motion sensors to the backs of 63 blue whales off the coast of southern California. The tags were designed to detach after several hours and float to the surface, so they could be recovered and their data downloaded.

 

Blue whales are famous for their dramatic “lunge feeding” acrobatics close to the ocean surface. As they launch themselves upwards into swarms of the tiny crustaceans, called krill, on which they feed, the whales execute 360 degree barrel rolls. And according to the video evidence, they almost always roll to the left. This is in marked contrast to the way they normally feed at greater depths, when they execute 90-degree right-handed side rolls.

 

Rolling to the left while lunge feeding allows the blue whale’s dominant right eye to target smaller patches of krill more effectively, suggests US lead researcher Ari Friedlaender, at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute. “We were completely surprised by these findings, but when considering the means by which the whales attack smaller prey patches, the behaviour really seems to be effective, efficient, and in line with the mechanisms that drive their routine foraging behaviours,” he says. It was the first known example of an animal altering handedness to adjust to the context of a performed task.

 

Journal reference: Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.10.023


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Amish Mutation in PAI-1 Protects Against Diabetes and May Extend Life

Amish Mutation in PAI-1 Protects Against Diabetes and May Extend Life | Love | Scoop.it

Amish men and women who carried a genetic mutation appeared to be in better cardiovascular health and had longer telomeres, a barometer of longevity.

 

The findings, published on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, shed light on the processes underlying cellular aging and could lead to new therapies for chronic diseases, some experts say. The researchers are planning at least one follow-up trial that will recreate the effects of the mutation so they can study its impact on obese people with insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

 

The mutation described in the new paper affects a mysterious protein called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, or PAI-1, that is known primarily for its role in promoting blood clotting. The mutation was first identified in 1991 in a secluded Amish farming community in Berne, Ind. An estimated 5 percent of the community carries the mutation, which causes them to produce unusually low levels of PAI-1.

 

Scientists have long suspected that PAI-1 has other functions outside of clotting that relate to aging. Dr. Douglas Vaughan, a cardiologist at Northwestern medical school, noticed, for example, that mice that had been genetically engineered to produce high levels of the protein age fairly quickly, going bald and dying of heart attacks at young ages. People who have higher levels of the protein in their bloodstreams also tend to have higher rates of diabetes and other metabolic problems and to die earlier of cardiovascular disease.

 

Dr. Vaughan took a team of 40 researchers to their town, set up testing stations in a recreation center, and spent two days doing extensive tests on 177 members of the community, many of whom arrived by horse and buggy. The researchers pored over birth and death records and took extensive genealogical histories. They drew blood, did ultrasounds of their hearts, and rigorously examined their cardiac and pulmonary function.

 

“Some of the young men we collected blood from fainted because they had never had a needle stick in their life,” said Dr. Vaughan, who is chairman of medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “These people live sort of an 18th century lifestyle and generally don’t take advantage of modern medicine. But they were so gracious and courteous and cooperative.”

 

What Dr. Vaughan and his colleagues discovered was striking. Amish carriers of the mutation live on average to age 85, about 10 years longer than their peers. Among the Amish who did not have the mutation, the rate of Type 2 diabetes was 7 percent. But for carriers of the mutation, the rate was zero, despite leading the same lifestyle and consuming similar diets. Tests showed that carriers of the mutation had 28 percent lower levels of insulin, a hormone whose chronic elevation can lead to Type 2 diabetes. “Diabetes is something that develops more as we age,” Dr. Vaughan said. “This is a terrific indicator that the mutation actually protected them from a metabolic consequence of aging.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Can data storage in DNA solve our massive data storage problem in the future?

Can data storage in DNA solve our massive data storage problem in the future? | Love | Scoop.it

The latest in high-density ultra-durable data storage has been perfected over billions of years by nature itself.

 

Now ‘Smoke on the Water’ is making history again. This September, it was one of the first items from the Memory Of the World archive to be stored in the form of DNA and then played back with 100% accuracy. The project was a joint effort between the University of Washington, Microsoft and Twist Bioscience, a San Francisco-based DNA manufacturing company.

The demonstration was billed as a ‘proof of principle’ – which is shorthand for successful but too expensive to be practical. At least for now.

 

Many pundits predict it’s just a matter of time till DNA pips magnetic tape as the ultimate way to store data. It’s compact, efficient and resilient. After all, it has been tweaked over billions of years into the perfect repository for genetic information. It will never become obsolete, because as long as there is life on Earth, we will be interested in decoding DNA. “Nature has optimised the format,” says Twist Bioscience’s chief technology officer Bill Peck.

Players like Microsoft, IBM and Intel are showing signs of interest. In April, they joined other industry, academic and government experts at an invitation-only workshop (cosponsored by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)) to discuss the practical potential for DNA to solve humanity’s looming data storage crisis.

 

It’s a big problem that’s getting bigger by the minute. According to a 2016 IBM Marketing Cloud report, 90% of the data that exists today was created in just the past two years. Every day, we generate another 2.5 quintillion (2.5 × 1018) bytes of information. It pours in from high definition video and photos, Big Data from particle physics, genomic sequencing, space probes, satellites, and remote sensing; from think tanks, covert surveillance operations, and Internet tracking algorithms. EVERY DAY, WE GENERATE ANOTHER 2.5 QUINTILLION BYTES OF INFORMATION.

 

Right now all those bits and bytes flow into gigantic server farms, onto spinning hard drives or reels of state-of-the-art magnetic tape. These physical substrates occupy a lot of space. Compare this to DNA. The entire human genome, a code of three billion DNA base pairs, or in data speak, 3,000 megabytes, fits into a package that is invisible to the naked eye – the cell’s nucleus. A gram of DNA — the size of a drop of water on your fingertip — can store at least the equivalent of 233 computer hard drives weighing more than 150 kilograms. To store the all the genetic information in a human body — 150 zettabytes — on tape or hard drives, you’d need a facility covering thousands, if not millions of square feet.

 

And then there’s durability. Of the current storage contenders, magnetic tape has the best lifespan, at about 10-20 years. Hard drives, CDs, DVDs and flash drives are less reliable, often failing within five to ten years. DNA has proven that it can survive thousands of years unscathed. In 2013, for example, the genome of an early horse relative was reconstructed from DNA from a 700,000-year-old bone fragment found in the Alaskan permafrost.


Via Integrated DNA Technologies, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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For the first time, a robot passed a medical licensing exam

For the first time, a robot passed a medical licensing exam | Love | Scoop.it

Experts generally agree that, before we might consider artificial intelligence (AI) to be truly intelligent —that is, on a level on par with human cognition— AI agents have to pass a number of tests. And while this is still a work in progress, AIs have been busy passing other kinds of tests.

 

Xiaoyi, an AI-powered robot in China, for example, has recently taken the national medical licensing examination and passed, making it the first robot to have done so. Not only did the robot pass the exam, it actually got a score of 456 points, which is 96 points above the required marks.

 

This robot, developed by leading Chinese AI company iFlytek Co., Ltd., has been designed to capture and analyze patient information. Now, they’ve proven that Xiaoyi could also have enough medical know-how to be a licensed practitioner.

 

Local newspaper China Daily notes that this is all part of the country’s push for more AI integration in a number of industries, including healthcare and consumer electronics. China is already a leading contender on the global AI stage, surpassing the United States in AI research, in an ultimate effort to become a frontrunner in AI development by 2030. The country’s determination, driven by the realization that AI is the new battleground for international development, could put the U.S. behind China in this worldwide AI race.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Analysis | Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age

Analysis | Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age | Love | Scoop.it
Using numbers scrawled by Bronze Age merchants on 4,000-year-old clay tablets, a historian and three economists have developed a novel way to pinpoint the locations of lost cities of the ancient world.

The ancient city of Kanesh, located in the middle of modern-day Turkey, was a hub of trade in the Anatolian region four millennia ago. Modern-day archaeologists have unearthed artifacts from the city, including more than 23,000 cuneiform texts, inscribed in clay by ancient Assyrian merchants.

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MultiBrief: So you have a sports injury? Here’s what you need to eat

MultiBrief: So you have a sports injury? Here’s what you need to eat | Love | Scoop.it
​For athletes and regular exercisers of all types, injuries can seem like the end of the world. When your sport or activity is such a big part of your life, suddenly being unable to train and compete leaves a gaping hole.

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Volcanic eruptions may have contributed to war in ancient Egypt

Volcanic eruptions may have contributed to war in ancient Egypt | Love | Scoop.it
Distant volcanic eruptions may have indirectly triggered a series of revolts by the people of ancient Egypt against their despised Ptolemaic overlords according to a new study that analyses volcanic and historic records.

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You Can Now Take a Virtual Hike Around Canada's Polar Desert

You Can Now Take a Virtual Hike Around Canada's Polar Desert | Love | Scoop.it
Quttinirpaaq National Park just became the northernmost spot on Google Streetview.

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Ancient, lost mountains in the Karoo reveals the secrets of massive extinction event

Ancient, lost mountains in the Karoo reveals the secrets of massive extinction event | Love | Scoop.it
For her Ph.D., Viglietti studied the fossil-rich sediments present in the Karoo, deposited during the tectonic events that created the Gondwanides, and found that the vertebrate animals in the area started to either go extinct or become less common much earlier than what was previously thought.

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Scavenging to survive below the seafloor

Scavenging to survive below the seafloor | Love | Scoop.it
Microorganisms living in the sediments buried below the seafloor obtain their nutrients by using secreted enzymes to degrade adsorbed detritus. A new study shows that in order to survive for long time scales, microorganisms eat one another after they die.

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New evidence for dark matter makes it even more exotic

New evidence for dark matter makes it even more exotic | Love | Scoop.it
Galaxy clusters are the largest known structures in the Universe, containing thousands of galaxies and hot gas. But more importantly, they contain the mysterious dark matter, which accounts for 27 percent of all matter and energy. Current models of dark matter predict that galaxy clusters have very dense cores, and those cores contain a very massive galaxy that never moves from the cluster's center.

But after studying ten galaxy clusters, David Harvey at EPFL's Laboratory of Astrophysics and his colleagues in France and the UK have discovered that the density is much smaller than predicted, and that the galaxy at the center actually moves.

Every galaxy cluster contains a galaxy that is brighter than the others, aptly named "brightest cluster galaxy" or BCG. Recent evidence from simulations of exotic, non-standard dark matter shows that BCGs actually wobble long after the galaxy cluster has relaxed. This is residual wobbling caused by massive merging of galaxy clusters.

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Out of the darkness

Out of the darkness | Love | Scoop.it
Some of the darkest places on Earth sparkle with light thanks to a curious natural phenomenon known as bioluminescence, writes Rachel Sullivan.

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Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs

Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs | Love | Scoop.it
The study, published today in the journal Royal Society: Open Science, is part a series of tests given to the sheep to monitor their cognitive abilities. Because of the relatively large size of their brains and their longevity, sheep are a good animal model for studying neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease.

The ability to recognise faces is one of the most important human social skills. We recognise familiar faces easily, and can identify unfamiliar faces from repeatedly presented images. As with some other animals such as dogs and monkeys, sheep are social animals that can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans. Little is known, however, about their overall ability to process faces.

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As Earth's rotation slows, 2018 could see a spike in large earthquakes

As Earth's rotation slows, 2018 could see a spike in large earthquakes | Love | Scoop.it

Every so often, the Earth’s rotation slows by a few milliseconds per day. This is inconsequential to the average human, and causes only mild annoyance to the people whose job it is to measure Earth’s rotation with great precision.

 

That may be about to change, if the hypothesis set out by two geologists proves true. In a study published in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this year, Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana predict that, because of Earth’s slowing rotation, the world will see a significant spike in large earthquakes in 2018.

 

To make this prediction, Bilham and Bendick studied every earthquake since 1900 that recorded more than 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale. They found that approximately every 32 years, there is an uptick in these large quakes. The only factor that strongly correlates is a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation in a five-year period before the uptick.


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Physicists unify quantum coherence with nonclassicality of light

Physicists unify quantum coherence with nonclassicality of light | Love | Scoop.it

Physicists have demonstrated that two independently developed concepts—quantum coherence and the nonclassicality of light—both arise from the same underlying resources. The ability to explain seemingly distinct phenomena within a single framework has long been a fulfilling aspiration in physics, and here it may also have potential applications for quantum information technologies.


The physicists, Kok Chuan Tan, Tyler Volkoff, Hyukjoon Kwon, and Hyunseok Jeong, at Seoul National University, have published a paper on their work in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. "The results unify two well-known yet independently developed notions inquantum information theory and quantum optics: the concept of quantumcoherence that was recently developed based on the framework of quantum resource theories, and the notion of nonclassicality of light that has been established since the 1960s based on the quantum theory of light," Jeong explains.

 

As Jeong stated, an important question in physics is how to draw the line between "quantum" and "classical" and how to quantify the degree of "quantum." In their new work, the physicists developed a procedure that quantifies the amount of coherence in a superposition of coherent states. This information essentially tells how "quantum" vs. how "classical" these states are, which is useful for many quantum information tasks.

 

In the process of doing this, the scientists found that the same resource that measures coherence can also be used to measure the nonclassicality of light. This finding helps to explain some previous observations, such as that both coherence and nonclassical light can be converted to quantum entanglement. As the new results show, this is because nonclassical light may be interpreted as a form of coherence.

 

"I think it is always interesting to apply new ideas to old concepts to see if we can get additional insight," Tan said. "In this case, the resource theory of coherence is a relatively new tool available to the community while nonclassical light is, comparatively speaking, a much older concept from a mature field of study. By providing a connection between the two concepts, our hope is to be able to create synergy, where the tools and insights we gain from coherence can be used to achieve greater insight into the inner workings of nonclassical light and vice versa. For instance, our work suggests that the fact that both coherence and nonclassical light can both be converted to entanglement is no mere accident."


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Just How Little Do We Know about the Ocean Floor?

Just How Little Do We Know about the Ocean Floor? | Love | Scoop.it
Less than 0.05 percent of the ocean floor has been mapped to a level of detail useful for detecting items such as airplane wreckage or the spires of undersea volcanic vents

 

Unlike mapping the land, we can’t measure the landscape of the sea floor directly from satellites using radar, because sea water blocks those radio waves. But satellites can use radar to measure the height of the sea’s surface very accurately. And if there are enough measurements to subtract the effects of waves and tides, satellites can actually measure bumps and dips in the sea surface that result from the underlying landscape of the ocean floor.

Where there’s a large underwater mountain or ridge, for example, the tiny local increase in gravity resulting from its mass pulls sea water into a slight bump above it. If instead there is an ocean trench, the weaker local gravity produces a comparative dip in the ocean surface.

 

Reading those bumps and dips in the sea’s surface is an astounding feat of precision measurement, involving lasers to track the trajectory of the measuring satellite and inevitably a lot of maths to process the data. The new map uses data from the Cryosat-2 and Jason-1 satellites and shows features not seen in earlier maps using data from older satellites. The previous global map of the ocean floor, created using the same techniques and published in 1997, had a resolution of about 20km.

 

So we do actually have a map of 100% of the ocean floor to a resolution of around 5km. From that, we can see the main features of its hidden landscape, such as the mid-ocean ridges and ocean trenches – and, in that sense, the ocean floor is certainly not “95% unexplored”. But that global map of the ocean floor is admittedly less detailed than maps of Mars, the Moon, or Venus, because of our planet’s watery veil.

 

NASA’s Magellan spacecraft mapped 98% of the surface of Venus to a resolution of around 100 meters. The entire Martian surface has also been mapped at that resolution and just over 60% of the Red Planet has now been mapped at around 20m resolution. Meanwhile, selenographers have mapped all of the lunar surface at around 100 meter resolution and now even at seven meter resolution.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ancient skull from China may rewrite the origins of our species

Ancient skull from China may rewrite the origins of our species | Love | Scoop.it
The 260,000-year-old Dali skull was found in China, but it looks a lot like the earliest known members of our species – which were found in Africa
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Special Collection - Yoga for improving health and well-being | Cochrane Library

Special Collection - Yoga for improving health and well-being | Cochrane Library | Love | Scoop.it
Yoga originated thousands of years ago in India as an integrated physical, mental, and spiritual practice based on ancient Vedic philosophy, and is connected to Ayurveda, the system of traditional Indian medicine. During the 20th century, yoga became increasingly recognised outside India, and over the past decades it has continued to grow in popularity worldwide as system for promoting health and well-being. While modern yoga often focuses on physical poses and is sometimes thought of as a type of exercise, the practice usually incorporates one or more of the mental or spiritual elements that are traditionally part of yoga, such as relaxation, concentration, or meditation. For this reason, yoga is considered a mind-body exercise.There are currently many different types or schools of yoga, each with a different emphasis on and approach to practice. It is widely thought that some of these yoga practices may help treat or prevent physical or mental illnesses, and improve overall quality of life. There is therefore a need for information on the potential health benefits and harms of yoga.This Cochrane Library Special Collection of systematic reviews on yoga focuses on reviews evaluating the effectiveness of yoga for improving physical or mental symptoms and quality of life in a range of health conditions. It has been developed to bring the best available evidence on the health-related effects of yoga to the attention of the general public, patients, health professionals, and other decision makers, and to inform choices on the use of yoga to improve health and well-being.This Special Collection has been collated by L Susan Wieland of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field, with reviews prepared by the authors and editors of several Cochrane groups (see Acknowledgements).

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If You Tear a Knee Ligament, Arthritis Is Likely to Follow in 10 Years

If You Tear a Knee Ligament, Arthritis Is Likely to Follow in 10 Years | Love | Scoop.it
The limited research on the long-term effects of damage to connective tissue indicates that a patient, no matter how young, has a 50 percent chance of developing arthritis within a decade.

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Liz PT PYT ATC CSCS's curator insight, November 8, 10:55 AM
This article doesn't consider rehabilitation; perhaps that is part of the problem?
Phil Garofalo Broadway Physical Therapy, Inc. www.nsptinc.com 781-284-0559's curator insight, November 9, 8:59 AM

Interesting article. Does it apply to you? Let us help you 781-284-0559

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Will Italy's Ominous Supervolcano Erupt Soon?

Will Italy's Ominous Supervolcano Erupt Soon? | Love | Scoop.it
Phlegrean Fields is waking up. Scientists are trying to predict what it will do next, and what its unrest means for volcanoes worldwide

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How bright is the moon, really?

How bright is the moon, really? | Love | Scoop.it
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning to take new measurements of the Moon's brightness, a highly useful property that satellites rely upon every day.

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Translocated hawks thrive in Hispaniola

Translocated hawks thrive in Hispaniola | Love | Scoop.it
Species translocation -- capturing animals in one place and releasing them in another -- is a widely used conservation method for establishing or reestablishing populations of threatened species. However, translocation projects often fail when the transplanted animals fail to thrive in their new home. A new study demonstrates how close monitoring of the animals being released into a new area is helping wildlife managers gauge the success of their effort to save the Ridgway's hawk of Hispaniola.

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Yellowstone spawned twin super-eruptions that altered global climate

Yellowstone spawned twin super-eruptions that altered global climate | Love | Scoop.it
A new geological record of the Yellowstone supervolcano's last catastrophic eruption is rewriting the story of what happened 630,000 years ago and how it affected Earth's climate. This eruption formed the vast Yellowston

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The secret sea garden › Photos (ABC Science)

The secret sea garden › Photos (ABC Science) | Love | Scoop.it
Deep below the waves, photographer Ian Wallace discovers a beautiful world of seaweed gardens that few people get to see.

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The Kapok Tree - a giant under threat in the Amazon rainforest - dw.com

The Kapok Tree - a giant under threat in the Amazon rainforest - dw.com | Love | Scoop.it
I am one of the tallest trees in the Amazon rainforest. I grow to a height of up to 50 meters and live for several hundred years. Many regard me as magical.

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