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Global warming could suffocate life on Earth as oxygen levels fall as soon as 2100, study shows

Global warming could suffocate life on Earth as oxygen levels fall as soon as 2100, study shows | Nanopunk | Scoop.it

Falling oxygen levels caused by global warming could be a greater threat to the survival of life on planet Earth than flooding, according to researchers from the University of Leicester published in Bulletin of Mathematical Biology.


A study led by Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leicester’s Department of Mathematics, has shown that an increase in the water temperature of the world’s oceans of around six degrees Celsius – which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 – could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.


“Global warming has been a focus of attention of science and politics for about two decades now,” Professor Petrovskii explained. “A lot has been said about its expected disastrous consequences; perhaps the most notorious is the global flooding that may result from melting of Antarctic ice if the warming exceeds a few degrees compared to the pre-industrial level. However, it now appears that this is probably not the biggest danger that the warming can cause to the humanity.”


“About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton – and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale,” he added. “This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”

The team developed a new model of oxygen production in the ocean that takes into account basic interactions in the plankton community, such as oxygen production in photosynthesis, oxygen consumption because of plankton breathing and zooplankton feeding on phytoplankton.


While mainstream research often focuses on the CO2 cycle, as carbon dioxide is the agent mainly responsible for global warming, few researchers have explored the effects of global warming on oxygen production.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Leonardo Wild's curator insight, December 2, 2015 8:20 AM

And "they" continue to use the wrong terminology—very anthropocentric, very short-sighted—regarding "global warming" as a statistics that shows the "Global" but hides the Essentials—like a bikini. What we are facing is not a statistical increase in "median average temperature" but the effects of extreme weather as the complex climate system swings wider and wider. This is Climate Change, not "global warming." But thus the misnomer continues, and those who oppose it have all the right to say: "Global Warming? Really?" It is the extremes that will cause the destruction, not the "average" as a "triangulation" based on a single point of reference.

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3D video footage captured from inside a flying insect

3D video footage captured from inside a flying insect | Nanopunk | Scoop.it

Dipteran flies are amongst the smallest and most agile of flying animals. Their wings are driven indirectly by large power muscles, which cause cyclical deformations of the thorax that are amplified through the intricate wing hinge. Asymmetric flight manoeuvres are controlled by 13 pairs of steering muscles acting directly on the wing articulations. Collectively the steering muscles account for <3% of total flight muscle mass, raising the question of how they can modulate the vastly greater output of the power muscles during manoeuvres.


A team of scientists from Oxford University, Imperial College, and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland now present the results of a synchrotron-based study performing micrometre-resolution, time-resolved microtomography on the 145 Hz wingbeat of blowflies.


These data represent the first four-dimensional visualizations of an organism's internal movements on sub-millisecond and micrometer scales. This technique allows us to visualize and measure the three-dimensional movements of five of the largest steering muscles, and to place these in the context of the deforming thoracic mechanism that the muscles actuate.


These visualizations show that the steering muscles operate through a diverse range of nonlinear mechanisms, revealing several unexpected features that could not have been identified using any other technique. The tendons of some steering muscles buckle on every wingbeat to accommodate high amplitude movements of the wing hinge. Other steering muscles absorb kinetic energy from an oscillating control linkage, which rotates at low wingbeat amplitude but translates at high wingbeat amplitude. Kinetic energy is distributed differently in these two modes of oscillation, which may play a role in asymmetric power management during flight control. Structural flexibility is known to be important to the aerodynamic efficiency of insect wings, and to the function of their indirect power muscles. The video shows that it is integral also to the operation of the steering muscles, and so to the functional flexibility of the insect flight motor.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Experts warn on wire-tapping of the cloud

Experts warn on wire-tapping of the cloud | Nanopunk | Scoop.it
Leading privacy expert Caspar Bowden has warned Europeans using US cloud services that their data could be snooped on.In a report, he highlights how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendm...
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Bionics 101

Bionics 101 | Nanopunk | Scoop.it
Merging biology and electronics[Bionics] gives access to a new and upcoming technology. This has led to the development of a super thin and highly flexible material like a tattoo, embedded with a w...
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Mystery bright spots could be first glimpse of another universe leaving its mark on ours

Mystery bright spots could be first glimpse of another universe leaving its mark on ours | Nanopunk | Scoop.it

The curtain at the edge of the universe may be rippling, hinting that there’s more backstage. Data from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope could be giving us our first glimpse of another universe, with different physics, bumping up against our own.


That’s the tentative conclusion of an analysis by Ranga-Ram Chary, a researcher at Planck’s US data centre in California. Armed with Planck’s painstaking map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – light lingering from the hot, soupy state of the early universe – Chary revealed an eerie glow that could be due to matter from aneighbouring universe leaking into ours.


This sort of collision should be possible, according to modern cosmological theories that suggest the universe we see is just one bubble among many. Such a multiverse may be a consequence of cosmic inflation, the widely accepted idea that the early universe expanded exponentially in the slimmest fraction of a second after the big bang.


Once it starts, inflation never quite stops, so a multitude of universes becomes nearly inevitable. “I would say most versions of inflation in fact lead to eternal inflation, producing a number of pocket universes,” says Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an architect of the theory.


Energy hidden in empty space drives inflation, and the amount that’s around could vary from place to place, so some regions would eventually settle down and stop expanding at such a manic pace. But the spots where inflation is going gangbusters would spawn inflating universes. And even areas within these new bubbles could balloon into pocket universes themselves.


Like compositions on the same theme, each universe produced this way would be likely to have its own spin on physics. The matter in some bubbles – the boring ones – would fly apart within 10-40 seconds of their creation. Others would be full of particles and rules similar to ours, or even exactly like ours. In the multiverse of eternal inflation, everything that can happen has happened – and will probably happen again. That notion could explain why the physical constants of our universe seem to be so exquisitely tuned to allow for galaxies, stars, planets and life (see “Just right for life?“).


Sadly, if they do exist, other bubbles are nigh on impossible to learn about. With the space between them and us always expanding, light is too slow to carry any information between different regions. “They could never even know about each other’s existence,” says Matthew Johnson of York University in Toronto, Canada. “It sounds like a fun idea but it seems like there’s no way to test it.”


In 2007, Johnson and his PhD adviser proposed that these clashing bubbles might show up as circular bruises on the CMB. They were looking for cosmic dance partners that resembled our own universe, but with more of everything. That would make a collision appear as a bright, hot ring of photons.


By 2011, they were able to search for them in data from NASA’s WMAP probe, the precursor to Planck. But they came up empty-handed. Now Chary thinks he may have spotted a different signature of a clash with a foreign universe. “There are two approaches, looking for different classes of pocket universes,” Johnson says. “They’re hunting for lions, and we’re hunting for polar bears.” Instead of looking at the CMB itself, Chary subtracted a model of the CMB from Planck’s picture of the entire sky. Then he took away everything else, too: the stars, gas and dust.


With our universe scrubbed away, nothing should be left except noise. But in a certain frequency range, scattered patches on the sky look far brighter than they should. If they check out, these anomalous clumps could be caused by cosmic fist-bumps: our universe colliding with another part of the multiverse (arxiv.org/abs/1510.00126). These patches look like they come from the era a few hundred thousand years after the big bang when electrons and protons first joined forces to create hydrogen, which emits light in a limited range of colours. We can see signs of that era, called recombination, in the light from that early hydrogen. Studying the light from recombination could be a unique signature of the matter in our universe – and potentially distinguish signs from beyond. “This signal is one of the fingerprints of our own universe,” says Jens Chluba of the University of Cambridge. “Other universes should leave a different mark.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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"Smart and Sharp" SciFi #RT

"Smart and Sharp" SciFi #RT | Nanopunk | Scoop.it
The Big Freeze - a third of Earth’s population dead. Alister, a teenager orphaned as a child, discovers he's not the last of his family; his sister, a top nano-scientist, is alive and he sets out t...
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nanopunk is A great action sci-fi novel.

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Scientists develop innovative twists to DNA nanotechnology

Scientists develop innovative twists to DNA nanotechnology | Nanopunk | Scoop.it
Mar. 21, 2013 — In a new discovery that represents a major step in solving a critical design challenge, Arizona State University Professor Hao Yan has led a research team to produce a wide variety ...
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The first steps to the singularity

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Big Bang inflation model confirmation indicates ‘infinite number of universes’ exist

Big Bang inflation model confirmation indicates ‘infinite number of universes’ exist | Nanopunk | Scoop.it

Scientists just announced the exciting results of the European Space Agency’s Planck space probe experiment, which observed conditions about the universe in the milliseconds after the Big Bang by looking at background radiation in the sky. They found that scientists’ theory of inflation—that the universe expanded in a sudden rush in a fraction of a second after the Big Bang—was actually correct. Which is pretty incredible, because the theory had been based sheerly on abstract math. Lo and behold, the first observable data about the moments directly after the Big Bang show the inflation model is exactly what actually happened.

 

“We’ve uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe,” said George Efstathiou of Cambridge University, who announced the results. They also uncovered some additional little details, like the universe is about 80 million years older than scientists had thought, and filled with slightly more regular matter and less dark matter than they’d thought.

 

So you’d think all the scientists would be psyched, right? Pats on the back, champagne all around. Especially the guys who camee up with the inflation theory in the first place—it’s widely thought they could win a Nobel Prize.

Except those guys are troubled.

 

Associated Press reports: Efstathiou said the pioneers of inflation theory should start thinking about their own Nobel prizes. Two of those theorists – Paul Steinhardt of Princeton and Andreas Albrecht of University of California Davis – said before the announcement that they were sort of hoping that their inflation theory would not be bolstered.

 

That’s because taking inflation a step further leads to a sticky situation: An infinite number of universes.

 

In order for inflation theory to work—and it was confirmed as being a reality yesterday—”that split-second of expansion may not stop elsewhere like it does in the observable universe,” the scientists say. “That means,” notes AP, “there are places where expansion is zooming fast, with an infinite number of universes that stretch to infinity.”

 

So the idea of an infinite number of universes existing in parallel to our own universe is now no longer the stuff of sci-fi, but the most likely reality as interpreted by our most advanced science.

 

“You can get very, very strange answers to problems when you start thinking about what different observers might see in different universes,” Efstathiou said.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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