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Kea parrot shows cooperation and smarts like chimps, elephants and children

Kea parrot shows cooperation and smarts like chimps, elephants and children | memories | Scoop.it

Cooperation between individuals is one of the defining features of our species. While other animals, such as chimpanzees, elephants, coral trout and rooks also exhibit cooperative behaviors, it is not clear if they think about cooperation in the same way as humans do. In this study scientists presented the kea, a parrot endemic to New Zealand, with a series of tasks designed to assess cooperative cognition. They found that keas were capable of working together, even when they had to wait for their partner for up to 65 seconds. The keas also waited for a partner only when a partner was actually needed to gain food.

 

This is the first demonstration that any non-human animal can wait for over a minute for a cooperative partner, and the first conclusive evidence that any bird species can successful track when a cooperative partner is required, and when not. The keas did not attend to whether their partner could actually access the apparatus themselves, which may have been due to issues with task demands, but one kea did show a clear preference for working together with other individuals, rather than alone. This preference has been shown to be present in humans but absent in chimpanzees.

 

Taken together, these results provide the first evidence that a bird species can perform at a similar level to chimpanzees and elephants across a range of collaborative tasks. This raises the possibility that aspects of the cooperative cognition seen in the primate lineage have evolved convergently in birds.


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'Expansion entropy': A new litmus test for chaos?

'Expansion entropy': A new litmus test for chaos? | memories | Scoop.it
Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? This intriguing hypothetical scenario, commonly called "the butterfly effect," has come to embody the popular conception of a chaotic system, in which a small difference in initial conditions will cascade toward a vastly different outcome in the future.


Understanding and modeling chaos can help address a variety of scientific and engineering questions, and so researchers have worked to develop better mathematical definitions of chaos. These definitions, in turn, will aid the construction of models that more accurately represent real-world chaotic systems.


Now, researchers from the University of Maryland have described a new definition of chaos that applies more broadly than previous definitions. This new definition is compact, can be easily approximated by numerical methods and works for a wide variety of chaotic systems. The discovery could one day help advance computer modeling across a wide variety of disciplines, from medicine to meteorology and beyond. The researchers present their new definition in the July 28, 2015 issue of the journal Chaos.


"Our definition of chaos identifies chaotic behavior even when it lurks in the dark corners of a model," said Brian Hunt, a professor of mathematics with a joint appointment in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) at UMD. Hunt co-authored the paper with Edward Ott, a Distinguished University Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering with a joint appointment in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) at UMD.


The study of chaos is relatively young. MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz, whose work gave rise to the term "the butterfly effect," first noticed chaotic characteristics in weather models in the mid-20th century. In 1963, he published a set of differential equations to describe atmospheric airflow and noted that tiny variations in initial conditions could drastically alter the solution to the equations over time, making it difficult to predict the weather in the long term.


Mathematically, extreme sensitivity to initial conditions can be represented by a quantity called a Lyapunov exponent. This number is positive if two infinitesimally close starting points diverge exponentially as time progresses. Yet, Lyapunov exponents have limitations as a definition of chaos: they only test for chaos in particular solutions of a model, not in the model itself, and they can be positive even when the underlying model is considered too straightforward to be deemed chaotic.


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Proof Galore: Obama and Allies Created ISIS to “Redraw the Map of the Middle East” - Instigator News

Proof Galore: Obama and Allies Created ISIS to “Redraw the Map of the Middle East” - Instigator News | memories | Scoop.it
Proof Galore: Obama and Allies Created ISIS to “Redraw the Map of the Middle East”

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A Graphic Showing the World's Vanishing Wildlife

A Graphic Showing the World's Vanishing Wildlife | memories | Scoop.it

The toll of human activity on the world's wildlife population over the past 40 years is devastating. The World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) recently released "2014 Living Planet Report"  shows that between 1970 and 2010, the population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe has dropped a shocking 52 percent.


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Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, October 16, 2014 5:52 AM

It's capital, the real capital, and it's disappearing #naturalcapital

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, January 15, 2015 7:32 AM

When talking about "Global Warming" we think of the wrong processes—we take the median to be the issue, when in fact it's the weather extremes that cause the greatest havoc—yet still, "Climate Change" does not give the full picture, either. "Climate" refers to one meta-process, while "Change" is a word that many embrace as potentially positive. "Planetary Upheaval" may be a more generally accurate description of what we are facing.

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Explainer: What is 4D printing?

Explainer: What is 4D printing? | memories | Scoop.it

Additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — is 30 years old this year. Today, it’s found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can print almost anything, not just marks on paper, opens up unlimited opportunities for us to manufacture toys, household appliances and tools in our living rooms.


But there’s more that can be done with 3D printed materials to make them more flexible and more useful: structures that can transform in a pre-programmed way in response to a stimulus. Recently given the popular science name of “4D printing,” perhaps a better way to think about it is that the object transforms over time.


These sorts of structural deformations are not new — researchers have already demonstrated “memory” and “smart material” properties. One of the most popular technologies is known as shape memory alloy, where a change of temperature triggers a shape change. Other successful approaches use electroactive polymers, pressurised fluids or gasses, chemical stimulus and even in response to light.


In a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, we looked at the design of complex self-deformations in objects that have been printed from multiple materials as a means to customize the object into specific forms.


Unlike many others who have demonstrated how to bend simple paper-like shapes, we constructed a two-dimensional grid structure that deforms itself by stretching or shrinking across a complex three-dimensional surface.


Imagine dropping a flat stretchable cloth onto a randomly shaped object, where the cloth molds over the shape beneath it. In geometrical terms, as the curvature of the cloth changes to fit the object, the distances and areas alter. We took this into account by providing a solution that copes with bending and also expansion in size, and came up with several designs that demonstrated that this is possible.


Head of the MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory, Skylar Tibbits, started this line of research a few years ago with expanding materials and simple deformations. The collaboration of researchers from MIT’s Camera Culture group and Self-Assembly Laboratory and the companies Stratasys and Autodesk Inc took this further.


Our approach was to print 3D structures using materials with different properties: one that remained rigid and another that expanded up to 200% of its original volume. The expanding materials were placed strategically on the main structure to produce joints that stretched and folded like a bendy straw when activated by water, forming a broad range of shapes. For example, a 3D-printed shape that resembled the initials “MIT” was shown to evolve into another formation that looks like the initials “SAL.”


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Why Are We So Fat? The Multimillion-Dollar Scientific Quest to Find Out | Magazine | WIRED

Why Are We So Fat? The Multimillion-Dollar Scientific Quest to Find Out | Magazine | WIRED | memories | Scoop.it

In January of this year, the first subject checked into the metabolic ward at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to participate in one of the most rigorous dietary studies ever devised. For eight weeks, he was forbidden to leave. He spent two days of each week inside tiny airtight rooms known as metabolic chambers, where scientists determined precisely how many calories he was burning by measuring changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air. He received meals through vacuum-sealed portholes so that the researchers' breath wouldn't interfere with their measurements. The food itself had been chemically analyzed to ensure an exact number of carbohydrate, protein, and fat calories.

The two-day stays in the chambers were only a small part of the testing, which was also being carried out on subjects at three other institutions around the US. Twice a month, the subjects were required to lie down for dual-energy x-ray absorpti­ometry scans, an accurate way to measure body fat. They offered up their veins again and again so that scientists could measure their lipids and hormone levels. They provided samples of their stools so the researchers could record the different colonies of bacteria residing in their guts.

And yet for all the poking, prodding, measuring, and testing, the most remarkable thing about the $5 million undertaking may be that it's designed to answer a question you'd think we'd have answered long ago: Do we get fat because we overeat or because of the types of food we eat? The Energy Balance Consortium Study, as it's called, is one of the first to be backed by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a nonprofit that prides itself on funding fanatically careful tests of previously overlooked hypotheses. NuSI (pronounced new-see) was launched in September 2012 by crusading science journalist Gary Taubes and former physician and medical researcher Peter Attia. The three NuSI studies now under way, which focus on establishing the root causes of obesity and its related diseases, provide just a glimpse of Taubes and Attia's sweeping ambition. NuSI has already raised more than $40 million in pledges and is in the midst of a $190 million, three-year campaign to fund a new round of studies that will build off the findings in the initial research. Together, the studies are intended as steps toward an audacious goal: cutting the prevalence of obesity in the US by more than half—and the prevalence of diabetes by 75 percent—in less than 15 years.


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First Earth-Sized, Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found – Kepler-186f

First Earth-Sized, Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found – Kepler-186f | memories | Scoop.it
Five hundred light years from Earth, Kepler-186f orbits in the habitable zone of its red dwarf star.

 

A team of astrophysicists at the SETI Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center has just reached a major milestone in the search for life-supporting planets outside our solar system. For the first time, they have discovered an Earth-sized planet nestled in the temperate, liquid-water supporting distance from its star—the so-called habitable zone. 

"This is a historic discovery," says Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the research, "it's the best case for a habitable planet yet found." 

The planet, called Kepler-186f, lies 500 light years from Earth. Scientists discovered it using the now-defunct, Kepler telescope. Between 2009 and 2013 (before a mechanical failure crippled the $600 million planet-hunter) the Kepler telescope tracked roughly 150,000 stars in a small patch of sky, searching for stars that dim at regular intervals as planets pass in front of them. And despite the telescope's premature demise, astronomers still comb through the massive trove of publicly available data, which is how planets such as the one announced today continue to tumble out of the sky. 

The research team estimates that Kepler-186f is only about 10 percent larger than Earth. It orbits its star every 130 days, and inhabits the chillier end of its star's habitable zone. "The temperature on the planet is likely cool, similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day," Marcy says. 

Unlike Earth, Kepler-186f orbits a red dwarf star, one roughly half the size of our sun. Red dwarfs are the most abundant type of stars in the sky—cooler than our sun but more volatile during their early life. Because of Kepler-186f's vast distance from Earth, and the fact that the Kepler telescope's can reveal only the size and orbit of the planet, most of the other details about the planet remain murky at best.


"We can say it's probably rocky," says Tom Barclay, an astrophysicist with the NASA Ames Research Center team. "And because the planet is closer to its star, its days are likely much longer than those on Earth." As for the planet's atmosphere, composition, and whether it harbors liquid water, nobody can say. "And it's important to note that just because this planet is in the habitable zone—that it could support water—that doesn't mean that it is habitable," he says. 

Nonetheless, the fact that the planet's size and distance from its star are right for life (as we know it) has many researchers excited. 

"For literally thousands of years people have wondered: Are there planets like Earth out there?" says Jeff Coughlin, a SETI astronomer with the research team. "And although we've started to find over the years that yes, planets are out there and are quite common, most of them have been rather large gas giants, much like Jupiter. We still haven't found a definitive Earth analogue—a planet with the right size and right temperature. But we are now getting close." 


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Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions, study finds

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions, study finds | memories | Scoop.it

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

 

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

 

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, whichhas been published in the journal Climatic Change.

 

"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

 

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

 

Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.

 

The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its "carbon budget" – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming. The former US vice-president and environmental champion, Al Gore, said the new carbon accounting could re-set the debate about allocating blame for the climate crisis.

 

Leaders meeting in Warsaw for the UN climate talks this week clashed repeatedly over which countries bore the burden for solving the climate crisis – historic emitters such as America or Europe or the rising economies of India and China.

 

Gore in his comments said the analysis underlined that it should not fall to governments alone to act on climate change.

 

"This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming," Gore told the Guardian. "Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution."


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Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis | memories | Scoop.it

Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics, according to the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis published today in the journal Nature Communications. Scientists have observed previously the quantum character of light transport through the molecular machines at work in natural photosynthesis.

 

The majority of light-gathering macromolecules are composed of chromophores (responsible for the colour of molecules) attached to proteins, which carry out the first step of photosynthesis, capturing sunlight and transferring the associated energy highly efficiently. Previous experiments suggest that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner, exploiting quantum phenomena, but crucially, a non-classical explanation could not be conclusively proved as the phenomena identified could equally be described using classical physics.

 

Often, to observe or exploit quantum mechanical phenomena systems need to be cooled to very low temperatures. This however does not seem to be the case in some biological systems, which display quantum properties even at ambient temperatures.

 

Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist.

 

"Energy transfer in light-harvesting macromolecules is assisted by specific vibrational motions of the chromophores," said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. "We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer."

 

Molecular vibrations are periodic motions of the atoms in a molecule, like the motion of a mass attached to a spring. When the energy of a collective vibration of two chromphores matches the energy difference between the electronic transitions of these chromophores a resonance occurs and efficient energy exchange between electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom takes place.

 

Providing that the energy associated to the vibration is higher than the temperature scale, only a discrete unit or quantum of energy is exchanged. Consequently, as energy is transferred from one chromophore to the other, the collective vibration displays properties that have no classical counterpart.

 

The UCL team found the unambiguous signature of non-classicality is given by a negative joint probability of finding the chromophores with certain relative positions and momenta. In classical physics, probability distributions are always positive.

 

"The negative values in these probability distributions are a manifestation of a truly quantum feature, that is, the coherent exchange of a single quantum of energy," explained Edward O'Reilly (UCL Physics & Astronomy), first author of the study. "When this happens electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom are jointly and transiently in a superposition of quantum states, a feature that can never be predicted with classical physics."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Ghassan Elmoukahal
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The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013

The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013 | memories | Scoop.it
Please rate this post and share it to your social networks (The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013 http://t.co/Gw3VhM8J43)

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Florence Boy's curator insight, October 23, 2013 9:37 AM

C'est tout à fait significatif...

Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, October 28, 2013 9:02 PM

To me the most amazing thing about social media in 2013 is how irresistible it is and how it continues to grow exponentially.

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An Amazing Timeline Chronicling The History of Social Media

An Amazing Timeline Chronicling The History of Social Media | memories | Scoop.it

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Emma Stutzman's curator insight, January 3, 2014 2:03 PM

This picture shows how social media has developed over the years. It mentions how many people thought that social media was started with facebook, when in reality it was really started by other projects that you can see above. This picture/concept shows the differences between which sites took off and which didn't, depending on our cultural preferences.

Mhd.Shadi Khudr's curator insight, January 15, 2014 12:05 PM


Many thanks to Roula Haj-Ismail:

@roula haj-ismail

 

Catherine Pascal's curator insight, February 28, 2014 9:08 AM

  YES infographie : synthèse social média.

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Crystal Cave of the Giants - The Largest Salt Crystals on Earth

Crystal Cave of the Giants - The Largest Salt Crystals on Earth | memories | Scoop.it

In what has proved to be the discovery of the largest known crystals on earth, work is underway to document and preserve this historic find. While some minor damage has already occurred in the primary cave and a secondary cavern, called Cave of Dreams, iron doors have been installed by the Peñoles company to prevent damage to the giant, magnificent crystals.


Found deep in a mine in southern Chihuahua Mexico, these crystals were formed in a natural cave totally enclosed in bedrock. When I first stepped into the cavern it was like walking into the Land of the Giants. I have often admired crystal geodes held in my hand, but when photographing these unique natural structures it was almost impossible to get any sense of scale. This is a geode full of spectacular crystals as tall as pine trees, and in some cases greater in circumference. They have formed beautiful crystals that are a translucent gold and silver in color, and come in many incredible forms and shapes. Some of the largest are essentially columnar in shape and stand thirty to fifty feet high and three to four feet in diameter. Many of the smaller examples are four to six feet in circumference, have many incredible geometrical shapes, and probably weigh in excess of ten tons. The columnar pillars are at first the most striking shape, but later I noticed there were thousands of "sharks teeth" up to three feet high placed row upon row and dispersed at odd angles throughout the caverns. While some of the crystals are attached to the ceiling walls and floors of the cave as might be expected, some exist in great masses of spikes and almost float in air. These crystals seem to defy gravity, as they must weigh several tons.


The Naica mine was first discovered by early prospectors in 1794 south of Chihuahua City. They struck a vein of silver at the base of a range of hills called Naica by the Tarahumara Indians. The origin in the Tarahumara language seems to mean "a shady place". Perhaps here in the small canyon there was a grove of trees tucked away by a small canyon spring.


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Sharrock's curator insight, December 13, 2013 11:07 AM

This article is the salt of the Earth.

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"Virtual reality hands" mind-control therapy for stroke patients

"Virtual reality hands" mind-control therapy for stroke patients | memories | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, we saw an amazing demonstration of an EEG skullcap interface that allowed a quadcopter to be controlled with only thoughts. Now the same technology is pioneering a medical therapy in which stroke patients can use their thoughts to guide a simulation, and thus rebuild damaged neurons. As the “virtual reality hands” provide customization and direct feedback of one’s progress, this could be an improvement over traditional therapy methods.

 

After a stroke occurs, it’s possible to rebuild the damaged neural connections and overcome paralysis, generally through a technique where a therapist moves the patient’s limbs while the patient imagines moving their limbs independently.

 

 


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The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today | The Best Schools

The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today | The Best Schools | memories | Scoop.it
The fifty most influential scientists alive today whose work, research, and ideas have significantly advanced science and impacted society
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Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets

Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets | memories | Scoop.it

Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and his students have developed a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. Their goal is to design a new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter.

 

Computers and water typically don't mix, but in Manu Prakash's lab, the two are one and the same. The computer is nearly a decade in the making, incubated from an idea that struck Prakash when he was a graduate student. The work combines his expertise in manipulating droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science – an operating clock.


"In this work, we finally demonstrate a synchronous, universal droplet logic and control," Prakash said. Because of its universal nature, the droplet computer can theoretically perform any operation that a conventional electronic computer can crunch, although at significantly slower rates. Prakash and his colleagues, however, have a more ambitious application in mind.


"We already have digital computers to process information. Our goal is not to compete with electronic computers or to operate word processors on this," Prakash said. "Our goal is to build a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter. Imagine if when you run a set of computations that not only information is processed but physical matter is algorithmically manipulated as well. We have just made this possible at the mesoscale."


The ability to precisely control droplets using fluidic computation could have a number of applications in high-throughput biology and chemistry, and possibly new applications in scalable digital manufacturing.


The results are published in the current edition of Nature Physics.


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How flipped learning works in (and out of) the classroom

How flipped learning works in (and out of) the classroom | memories | Scoop.it

Flipped learning is more than just having students do homework during the school day. It’s more than just putting the onus on students to teach themselves. In fact, it’s neither of those things. Don’t be fooled by simple explanations of flipped classrooms that simplify a highly complex undertaking.


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Jess Farley's comment, May 29, 2016 6:55 PM
Great article Mina! I have seen this strategy on prac. The students love it.
Jess Farley's comment, May 29, 2016 6:55 PM
Great article Mina! I have seen this strategy on prac. The students love it.
Tim Pennycuick's curator insight, June 2, 2016 6:37 AM
Very good comparison between traditional and new ways of teaching and learning.
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A new wave of terror in fiction!

A new wave of terror in fiction! | memories | Scoop.it

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Khaled Talib's curator insight, December 25, 2014 6:52 PM

Book Review of the suspense thriller Smokescreen by Khaled Talib 

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Viagra may permanently damage vision in some men, study finds

Viagra may permanently damage vision in some men, study finds | memories | Scoop.it
Drug may not be safe for people with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye disease that affects around 1 in 50

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Mapping global cultural differences offers advantages in business

Mapping global cultural differences offers advantages in business | memories | Scoop.it
A knowledge of different cultural approaches to business is a tool that can help avoid misunderstanding, conflict and failure, argues author Erin Meyer

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ANA's curator insight, May 25, 2014 3:43 PM

Conocer otras culturas nos ayuda a evitar malentendidos, conflictos y fracasos

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An Amazing Timeline Chronicling The History of Social Media

An Amazing Timeline Chronicling The History of Social Media | memories | Scoop.it

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge, Ghassan Elmoukahal
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Emma Stutzman's curator insight, January 3, 2014 2:03 PM

This picture shows how social media has developed over the years. It mentions how many people thought that social media was started with facebook, when in reality it was really started by other projects that you can see above. This picture/concept shows the differences between which sites took off and which didn't, depending on our cultural preferences.

Mhd.Shadi Khudr's curator insight, January 15, 2014 12:05 PM


Many thanks to Roula Haj-Ismail:

@roula haj-ismail

 

Catherine Pascal's curator insight, February 28, 2014 9:08 AM

  YES infographie : synthèse social média.

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The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013

The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013 | memories | Scoop.it
Please rate this post and share it to your social networks (The top benefits achieved in social media in 2013 http://t.co/Gw3VhM8J43)

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge, Ghassan Elmoukahal
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Florence Boy's curator insight, October 23, 2013 9:37 AM

C'est tout à fait significatif...

Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, October 28, 2013 9:02 PM

To me the most amazing thing about social media in 2013 is how irresistible it is and how it continues to grow exponentially.

Rescooped by Ghassan Elmoukahal from Amazing Science
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Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis | memories | Scoop.it

Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics, according to the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis published today in the journal Nature Communications. Scientists have observed previously the quantum character of light transport through the molecular machines at work in natural photosynthesis.

 

The majority of light-gathering macromolecules are composed of chromophores (responsible for the colour of molecules) attached to proteins, which carry out the first step of photosynthesis, capturing sunlight and transferring the associated energy highly efficiently. Previous experiments suggest that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner, exploiting quantum phenomena, but crucially, a non-classical explanation could not be conclusively proved as the phenomena identified could equally be described using classical physics.

 

Often, to observe or exploit quantum mechanical phenomena systems need to be cooled to very low temperatures. This however does not seem to be the case in some biological systems, which display quantum properties even at ambient temperatures.

 

Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist.

 

"Energy transfer in light-harvesting macromolecules is assisted by specific vibrational motions of the chromophores," said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. "We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer."

 

Molecular vibrations are periodic motions of the atoms in a molecule, like the motion of a mass attached to a spring. When the energy of a collective vibration of two chromphores matches the energy difference between the electronic transitions of these chromophores a resonance occurs and efficient energy exchange between electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom takes place.

 

Providing that the energy associated to the vibration is higher than the temperature scale, only a discrete unit or quantum of energy is exchanged. Consequently, as energy is transferred from one chromophore to the other, the collective vibration displays properties that have no classical counterpart.

 

The UCL team found the unambiguous signature of non-classicality is given by a negative joint probability of finding the chromophores with certain relative positions and momenta. In classical physics, probability distributions are always positive.

 

"The negative values in these probability distributions are a manifestation of a truly quantum feature, that is, the coherent exchange of a single quantum of energy," explained Edward O'Reilly (UCL Physics & Astronomy), first author of the study. "When this happens electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom are jointly and transiently in a superposition of quantum states, a feature that can never be predicted with classical physics."


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Varieties of English - Soundmap

English comes in many variants all over the world. The two best known are British and American English, but there are also African, Asian, Pacific and Caribbean varieties.

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20,000+ FREE Online Science and Technology Lectures from Top Universities

20,000+ FREE Online Science and Technology Lectures from Top Universities | memories | Scoop.it

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Arturo Pereira's curator insight, August 12, 2017 9:01 AM
The democratization of knowledge!
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, September 11, 2017 2:42 AM
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Scoop.It for SEO – A New World of Curation [Infographic]

Scoop.It for SEO – A New World of Curation [Infographic] | memories | Scoop.it

For almost everyone who is a part of the online world coming up with fresh content consistently is a big challenge. Practically every guideline advises that content should be engaging, informative and relevant every single time. Consequently, content curation has taken off in a big way.

Simply put, content curation is the process of curating relevant and interesting content from various sources on the web and putting them together and publishing them on a personal site or blog. As a result of the popularity of the content curation process, a number of content marketing tools have been introduced. These tools are meant to help in the process of content marketing and SEO and facilitate the process of curation...


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Annie 's curator insight, December 5, 2014 8:18 PM

Scoop.it helps with the process of curating content. This is a must for your social media.

drula eric's curator insight, December 1, 2016 12:47 AM
Instagram POURSUIT fils opération séduction Avec Une nouvelle Fonctionnalité Qui devrait ravir des ses 500 millions de Membres et plus particuliérement les Professionnels. En effet, les réseaux sociaux d'Excellents are outils versez partager et Échanger, Mais il y a also des commentaires désobligeants, les insultes OÜ spam. https://www.instagram.com/esselte974/
Elizabeth Hutchinson's curator insight, April 12, 1:19 AM
I have used Scoop.it for years. It is one of the best content curation tools I know. Great for sharing and adding your own thoughts.