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Dog family tree reveals hidden history of canine diversity created by humans

Dog family tree reveals hidden history of canine diversity created by humans | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Genetic map showing how dog breeds are related provides a wealth of information about their origins.

 

What a tangled web humans have weaved for domestic dog breeds. A new family tree of dogs containing more than 160 breeds reveals the hidden history of man’s best friend, and even hints how studying canine genomes might help with research into human disease.

In a study published on 25 April 2017 in Cell Reports, scientists examined the genomes of 1,346 dogs to create one of the most diverse maps produced so far tracing the relationship between breeds1. The map shows the types of dog that people crossed to create modern breeds and reveals that canines bred to perform similar functions, such as working and herding dogs, don't necessarily share the same origins. The analysis even hints at an ancient type of dog that could have come over to the Americas with people thousands of years before Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World.

 

The new work could come as a surprise to owners and breeders who are familiar with how dogs are grouped into categories. “You would think that all working dogs or all herding dogs are related, but that isn’t the case,” says Heidi Parker, a biologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and a study author.

 

When geneticists tried to map out herding-dog lineages in the past, they couldn’t do so accurately. Parker and Elaine Ostrander, also a biologist at the NIH and a study author, say that this was because herding dogs emerged through selective breeding at multiple times and in many different places. “In retrospect, that makes sense,” says Ostrander. “What qualities you’d want in a dog that herds bison are different from mountain goats, which are different from sheep, and so on.”

 

Most of the breeds in the study arose from dog groups that originated in Europe and Asia. But domestic dogs came to the Americas thousands of years ago, when people crossed the Bering land bridge linking Alaska and Siberia. These New World dogs later disappeared when European and Asian dogs arrived in the Americas. Researchers have looked for the genetic legacy of these ancient canines in the DNA of modern American breeds, but have found little evidence until now.

 

The way that two South American breeds, the Peruvian hairless dog and the Xoloitzcuintli, clustered together on the family tree suggested to Ostrander and Parker that those animals could share genes not found in any of the other breeds in their analysis. Parker thinks that those genes could have come from dogs that were present in the Americas before Columbus’s arrival. “I think our view of the formation of modern dog breeds has historically been one-dimensional,” says Bob Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We didn’t consider that the process has a deep historical legacy.”

 

That extends to what was probably the first period of domestication for canines in hunter-gatherer times. Ostrander and Parker think that dog breeds underwent two major periods of diversification. Thousands of years ago, dogs were selected for their skills, whereas a few hundred years ago, the animals were bred for physical traits. “You would never be able to find something like this with cows or cats,” says Wayne, “We haven’t done this kind of intense deliberate breeding with anything but dogs.”


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Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances

Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Female dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead.

Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, witnessed the behavior for the first time in the moorland hawker dragonfly (Aeshna juncea).

 

While collecting their larvae in the Swiss Alps, he watched a female crash-dive to the ground while being pursued by a male. The female then lay motionless on her back. Her suitor soon flew away, and the female took off once the coast was clear.

 

“I was surprised,” says Khelifa, who had never previously seen this in 10 years of studying dragonflies.


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Astronomers Reveal Catalog of Nearby Stars, Detect 114 Potential Exoplanets

Astronomers Reveal Catalog of Nearby Stars, Detect 114 Potential Exoplanets | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Astronomers today released the largest-ever compilation of exoplanet-detecting observations made with a technique called radial velocity. They also demonstrated how these observations can be used to hunt for exoplanets by detecting 114 potential exoplanets, including one orbiting a star 8.1 light-years away.

 

The radial velocity method is one of the most successful techniques for finding and confirming exoplanets.

It takes advantage of the fact that in addition to an exoplanet being influenced by the gravity of the star it orbits, the exoplanet’s gravity also affects the star. Astronomers are able to use sophisticated tools to detect the tiny wobble the exoplanet induces as its gravity tugs on the parent star. The newly available observations were taken by the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), an instrument mounted on the Keck Observatory’s 10-m telescope at Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

 

HIRES is designed to split a star’s incoming light into a rainbow of color components. Astronomers can then measure the precise intensity of thousands of color channels, or wavelengths, to determine characteristics of the starlight.

 

For two decades, they have pointed HIRES at 1,624 nearby stars, all within a relatively close 325 light-years from Earth.

The instrument has recorded 60,949 observations, each lasting anywhere from 30 sec to 20 min, depending on how precise the measurements needed to be. With all these data compiled, any given star in the dataset can have several days’, years’, or even more than a decade’s worth of observations.

 

“This dataset will slowly grow, and you’ll be able to go on and search for whatever star you’re interested in and download all the data we’ve ever taken on it,” said Dr. Jennifer Burt, an astronomer at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and co-author of a paper accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.


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Loreto Vargas's curator insight, February 19, 2017 7:20 PM
This is amazing news - Looking forward to trekking in outer Space.... maybe in a next life? 
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Wild Birds Learn to Recognize Individual Humans They Hate

Wild Birds Learn to Recognize Individual Humans They Hate | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Antarctic seabirds called skuas are so clever that they can recognize individual humans after seeing them only a few times. Some Korean researchers discovered this by messing with the birds’ nests and then waiting to get attacked. They’re either very brave or have never watched The Birds.

 

The study took place on Antarctica’s King George Island. The animals here didn’t evolve around humans. People have only been making appearances on the island since the 1950s or so. Today 10 countries have research stations on the island. Korea Polar Research Institute scientist Won Young Lee and his coauthors study brown skuas here, which are like big, dark-colored gulls.

 

In the winter of 2014–2015, researchers visited skua nests once a week to check on their eggs and chicks. They suspected that the birds could recognize them, and were unhappy about humans poking at their nests. If a skua wants you to go away, it will give not-so-subtle hints like attacking your head.

 

So the researchers set up an experiment. Starting in the fourth week of their study, two researchers visited each nest at a time. One of them, the “intruder,” had checked on the nest in previous weeks. The other, “neutral” researcher had never been to the nest before. As they approached the nest, the researchers recorded how close they could get before the birds attacked. Then they split up and walked in opposite directions, observing which person the birds chased after.

 

As the weeks went on, skuas attacked from greater distances. But they didn’t attack just anybody. All seven of the nesting pairs directed their attacks at the known intruder. The birds “reacted very aggressively” after five visits, the authors write, including kicking intruders in the head. They ignored the neutral humans.

Even though the researcher pairs wore identical clothing for their experiments, the skuas had no trouble spotting people who had fiddled with their nests in the past. The researchers don’t think the birds were using smell to tell them apart, since the site is windy. More likely, the birds relied on human facial features and body postures.

 

This is especially impressive since the birds evolved without ever seeing a human. There’s no reason they should have a natural ability to recognize us. Two other local bird species, sheathbills and Antarctic terns, don’t seem to discriminate between people.

 

The scientists chalk it up to “high cognitive abilities” on the part of brown skuas. In other words, they may just be especially smart. This makes sense; the birds are predators that have to be flexible to find their prey. Brown skuas have been seen chasing other large birds and taking their food. They’ll even steal drops of breast milk from nursing elephant seals. This is a bird you don’t want to cross—and after you do, you might want to wear a mask.


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Highest Resolution Image of Eta Carinae: raging winds in famous massive stellar system

Highest Resolution Image of Eta Carinae: raging winds in famous massive stellar system | natural sciences | Scoop.it

An international team of astronomers have used the Very Large Telescope Interferometer to image the Eta Carinae star system in the greatest detail ever achieved. They found new and unexpected structures within the binary system, including in the area between the two stars where extremely high velocity stellar winds are colliding. These new insights into this enigmatic star system could lead to a better understanding of the evolution of very massive stars.

 

Led by Gerd Weigelt from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, a team of astronomers have used the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory to take a unique image of the Eta Carinaestar system in the Carina Nebula. This colossal binary system consists of two massive stars orbiting each other and is very active, producing stellar winds which travel at velocities of up to ten million kilometres per hour [1]. The zone between the two stars where the winds from each collide is very turbulent, but until now it could not be studied.

 

The power of the Eta Carinae binary pair creates dramatic phenomena. A “Great Eruption” in the system was observed by astronomers in the 1830s. We now know that this was caused by the larger star of the pair expelling huge amounts of gas and dust in a short amount of time, which led to the distinctive lobes, known as the Homunculus Nebula, that we see in the system today. The combined effect of the two stellar winds as they smash into each other at extreme speeds is to create temperatures of millions of degrees and intense deluges of X-ray radiation.

 

The central area where the winds collide is so comparatively tiny — a thousand times smaller than the Homunculus Nebula — that telescopes in space and on the ground so far have not been able to image them in detail. The team has now utilised the powerful resolving ability of the VLTI instrument AMBER to peer into this violent realm for the first time. A clever combination — an interferometer — of three of the four Auxiliary Telescopes at the VLT lead to a tenfold increase in resolving power in comparison to a single VLT Unit Telescope. This delivered the sharpest ever image of the system and yielded unexpected results about its internal structures.

 

The new VLTI image clearly depict the structure which exists between the two Eta Carinae-stars. An unexpected fan-shaped structure was observed where the raging wind from the smaller, hotter star crashes into the denser wind from the larger of the pair. “Our dreams came true, because we can now get extremely sharp images in the infrared. The VLTI provides us with a unique opportunity to improve our physical understanding of Eta Carinae and many other key objects”, says Gerd Weigelt.


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#education The #mystery of why you can't remember being a #baby #brain #neurology #science

#education The #mystery of why you can't remember being a #baby #brain #neurology #science | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Babies are sponges for new information – so why does it take so long for us to form your first memory? BBC Future investigates.
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A Map Of Where Your Food Originated May Surprise You

A Map Of Where Your Food Originated May Surprise You | natural sciences | Scoop.it
A new study reveals the full extent of globalization in our food supply. More than two-thirds of the crops that underpin national diets originally came from somewhere else — often far away.
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Neil Bombardier's curator insight, July 18, 2016 11:34 AM
Fascinating map of where your food comes from
Eric Larson's curator insight, July 22, 2016 4:01 PM
Interesting maps. 
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How EVE Online's Project Discovery is remapping human biology

How EVE Online's Project Discovery is remapping human biology | natural sciences | Scoop.it

EVE Online isn't just a game about internet spaceships and sci-fi politics. Since March, developer CCP Games has been running Project Discovery – an initiative to help improve scientific understanding of the human body at the tiniest levels. Run in conjunction with the Human Protein Atlas and Massively Multiplayer Online Science, the project taps into EVE Online's greatest resource – its player base – to help categorise millions of proteins.

 

"We show them an image, and they can change the colour of it, putting green or red dyes on it to help them analyse it a little bit better," Linzi Campbell, game designer on Project Discovery, tells WIRED. "Then we also show them examples – cytoplasm is their favourite one! We show them what each of the different images should look like, and just get them to pick a few that they identify within the image. The identifications are scrambled each time, so it's not as simple as going 'ok, every time I just pick the one on the right' – they have to really think about it."

 

The analysis project is worked into EVE Online as a minigame, and works within the context of the game's lore. "We have this NPC organisation called the Drifters – they're like a mysterious entity in New Eden [EVE's interplanetary setting]," Campbell explains. "The players don't know an awful lot about the Drifters at the minute, so we disguised it within the universe as Drifter DNA that they were analysing. I think it just fit perfectly. We branded this as [research being done by] the Sisters of Eve, and they're analysing this Drifter DNA." 

 

The response has been tremendous. "We've had an amazing number of classifications, way over our greatest expectations," says Emma Lundberg, associate professor at the Human Protein Atlas. "Right now, after six weeks, we've had almost eight million classifications, and the players spent 16.2 million minutes playing the minigame. When we did the math, that translated – in Swedish measures – to 163 working years. It's crazy."

 

"We had a little guess, internally. We said if we get 40,000+ classifications a day, we're happy. If we get 100,000 per day, then we're amazed," Lundberg adds. "But when it peaked in the beginning, we had 900,000 classifications in one day. Now it's stabilised, but we're still getting around 200,000 a day, so everyone is mind-blown. We never expected it."


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If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist?

If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist? | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Experiments in evolution are exploring what would happen if we rewound the tape of life.

 

http://nautil.us/issue/34/adaptation/if-the-world-began-again-would-life-as-we-know-it-exist-rp


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SVS: Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 1979-2015 with Area Graph

SVS: Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 1979-2015 with Area Graph | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. The ice parameters derived from satellite ice concentration data that are most relevant to climate change studies are sea ice extent and sea ice area. This graph displays the area of the minimum sea ice coverage each year from 1979 through 2015. In 2015, the Arctic minimum sea ice covered an area of 3.885 million square kilometers.

This visualization shows the expanse of the annual minimum Arctic sea ice for each year from 1979 through 2015 as derived from SSMI data. A semi-transparent graph overlay shows the area in million square kilometers for each year's minimum day. The date shown in the upper right corner indicates the current year being displayed.


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World record: First robot to solve a Rubik's Cube in under 1 second (0.887 s)

Prior to the world record attempt a WCA-conform modified speed cube was scrambled with a computer generated random array and positioned in the robot. Once the start button was hit two webcam shutters were moved away. Thereafter a laptop took two pictures, each picture showing three sides of the cube. Then the laptop identified all colors of the cube and calculated a solution with Tomas Rokicki's extremely fast implementation of Herbert Kociemba's Two-Phase-Algorithm. The solution was handed over to an Arduino-compatible microcontroller board that orchestrated the 20 moves of six high performance steppers. Only 887 milliseconds after the start button had been hit Sub1 broke a historic barrier and finished the last move in new world record time.

Needing several hundreds of working hours to construct, build, program and tune Sub1, it is the first robot that can independently inspect and solve a Rubik's Cube in under 1 second.

The world record has been approved by Guinness World Records on 18-Feb-2016.

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'Cannibalism' between stars

'Cannibalism' between stars | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Stars do not accumulate their final mass steadily, but in a series of violent events manifesting themselves as sharp stellar brightening. According to this theory of Eduard Vorobyov from the University of Vienna, stellar brightening can be caused by fragmentation due to gravitational instabilities in massive gaseous disks surrounding young stars, followed by migration of dense gaseous clumps onto the star.

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Mining social media can help improve disaster response efforts

Mining social media can help improve disaster response efforts | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Leveraging publicly available social media posts could help disaster response agencies quickly identify impacted areas in need of assistance, according to a Penn State-led team of researchers. By analyzing the September 2013 Colorado floods, researchers showed that a combination of remote sensing, Twitter and Flickr data could be used to identify flooded areas.


"FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Red Cross and other response agencies use social media now to disseminate relevant information to the general public," said said Guido Cervone, associate professor of geography and associate director of the Penn State's Institute for CyberScience. "We have seen here that there is potential to use social media data from community members to help identify hotspots in need of aid, especially when it is paired with remote sensing imagery of the area."


After a disaster, response teams typically prioritize rescue and aid efforts with help from imagery and other data that show what regions are affected the most. Responders commonly use satellite imagery, but this on its own has drawbacks.


"Publicly available satellite imagery for a location isn't always available in a timely manner -- sometimes it can take days before it becomes available," said Elena Sava, graduate student in geography, Penn State. "Our research focused on identifying data in non-traditional data streams that can prove mission critical for specific areas where there might be damage. We wanted to see if social media could help filling the gaps in the satellite data."


The 2013 Colorado flooding was an unprecedented event. In nine days in September, Boulder, Colo., received more than 43 centimeters, or 17 inches of rain -- nearly the amount of rainfall it normally receives in a year. Officials evacuated more than 10,000 people and had to rescue several thousand people and pets.


Because the flooding occurred in an urban setting, the researchers were able to access more than 150,000 tweets from people affected by the flooding. Using a tool called CarbonScanner, they identified clusters of posts suggesting possible locations of damage. Then, they analyzed more than 22,000 photos from the area obtained through satellites, Twitter, Flickr, the Civil Air Patrol, unmanned aerial vehicles and other sources.


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NASA:  Light Pillars over Alaska

NASA:  Light Pillars over Alaska | natural sciences | Scoop.it

What's happening behind those houses? Pictured here are not auroras but nearby light pillars, a nearby phenomenon that can appear as a distant one. In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun-pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere. Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun-pillar. The featured image was taken in FortWainwright near Fairbanks in central Alaska.


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Christopher Chilvers's curator insight, May 21, 2017 7:25 AM
How ice crystals refract light generating unusual optical effects.
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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 | natural sciences | 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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A Danish astronaut has captured the best-ever images of rare blue flashes

A Danish astronaut has captured the best-ever images of rare blue flashes | natural sciences | Scoop.it
These transient features are so named because they last about 20 milliseconds.

 

Scientists don't know much about the mysterious, powerful electric discharges that sometimes occur in the upper levels of the atmosphere in conjunction with thunderstorms. The first photograph of the phenomenon—which can occur as high as about 90km above the surface of the Earth and are known variously as sprites, pixies, elves, or jets—was only taken from Earth in 1989.

 

Fortunately for scientists interested in these storms, the International Space Station offers an excellent vantage point at an altitude of about 400km. So Danish researchers devised a "Thor experiment"—named after the hammer-wielding Norse god—to study the phenomenon. As part of the experiment, an astronaut on board the station would image thunderstorms under certain conditions, and these observations would be correlated with data collected by satellites and ground-based radar and lightning detection systems.

 

It may sound easy to catch a few quick snaps of electrical storms, but given the station's movement at 28,000km/hour and ephemeral nature of these events, it's actually quite difficult. Sprites and other features got their other-worldly names precisely because they are so short-lived, lasting on the order of 20 milliseconds.

 

When Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen spent 10 days on the station in September 2015 as part of an ESA-Roscosmos contract that designated him a visiting crew member, one of his primary tasks was to complete the Thor experiment. Perched in the station's cupola, with a Nikon D4 set at 6400 ISO and recording 24 frames per second, Mogensen readied himself to capture images at locations where forecasters predicted thunderstorm activity would occur below.

 

 

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Newly Discovered 'Blue Whirl' Fire Tornado Burns Cleaner for Reduced Emissions

Newly Discovered 'Blue Whirl' Fire Tornado Burns Cleaner for Reduced Emissions | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Fire tornados, or ‘fire whirls,’ pose a powerful and essentially uncontrollable threat to life, property, and the surrounding environment in large urban and wildland fires. But now, a team of researchers in the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering say their discovery of a type of fire tornado they call a ‘blue whirl’ could lead to beneficial new approaches for reducing carbon emissions and improving oil spill cleanup.

 

A new paper published online August 4, 2016, in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) describes this previously unobserved flame phenomenon, which burns nearly soot-free.

 

“Blue whirls evolve from traditional yellow fire whirls. The yellow color is due to radiating soot particles, which form when there is not enough oxygen to burn the fuel completely,” said Elaine Oran, Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering and co-author of the paper. “Blue in the whirl indicates there is enough oxygen for complete combustion, which means less or no soot, and is therefore a cleaner burn.”

 

The Clark School team initially set out to investigate the combustion and burning dynamics of fire whirls on water. What they discovered was a novel, swirling blue flame that they say could help meet the growing worldwide demand for high-efficiency, low-emission combustion.

 

“A fire tornado has long been seen as this incredibly scary, destructive thing. But, like electricity, can you harness it for good? If we can understand it, then maybe we can control and use it,” said Michael Gollner, assistant professor of fire protection engineering and co-author of the paper.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Kit Newton's comment, January 2, 2017 9:47 AM
It's more efficient in terms of energy production and cleaner as regards soot residue. But I don't think it will reduce carbon dioxide emission. Greater efficiency means less fuel is needed to generate a given amount of energy. But as more carbon is oxidized per unit of fuel, the amount of CO2 would be roughly the same.
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‘Star Trek’ at 50: How a space saga inspired a generation of scientists, engineers and writers

‘Star Trek’ at 50: How a space saga inspired a generation of scientists, engineers and writers | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Fifty years after “Star Trek” made its debut, the science-fiction saga’s biggest legacy may well be its inspirational impact on millions of scientists and engineers, writers and fans over the decades.

Humanity hasn’t yet invented the starships and transporters that are commonplace in the TV shows and movies, but we do have plenty of people who are exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and laying plans to boldly go where no one has gone before.

We asked a variety of space-savvy luminaries to reflect on the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek,” which is being celebrated today at Seattle’s EMP Museum. Here are six of the responses:


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The Next Wearable Technology Could Be Your Skin

The Next Wearable Technology Could Be Your Skin | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Technology can be awkward. Our pockets are weighed down with ever-larger smartphones that are a pain to pull out when we’re in a rush. And... read more

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Anna Hu 's curator insight, July 1, 2016 12:55 AM
How cool is this
Gust MEES's curator insight, July 1, 2016 1:24 PM
Technology can be awkward. Our pockets are weighed down with ever-larger smartphones that are a pain to pull out when we’re in a rush. And... read more

 

Learn more / En savoir plus / Mehr erfahren:

 

http://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-innovative-technologies-and-developments/?tag=wearables

 

 

www.pcloudy.com's comment, April 12, 9:04 AM
good to have
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Electronic devices that melt in your brain

Electronic devices that melt in your brain | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Two implantable devices developed by American and Chinese researchers are designed to dissolve in the brain over time and may eliminate several current problems with implants.

 

University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an electrode and an electrode array, both made of layers of silicon and molybdenum that can measure physiological characteristics (like neuron signals) and dissolve at a known rate (determined by the material’s thickness). The team used the device in anesthetized rats to record brain waves (EEGs) and induced epileptic spikes in intact live tissue.

 

In another experiment, they showed the dissolvable electronics could be used in a complex, multiplexed ECoG (intracranial electroencephalography) array over a 30-day period.

 

As the researchers note online in Nature Materials, this new technology offers equal or greater resolution for measuring the brain’s electrical activity, compared to conventional electrodes, while eliminating “the risks, cost, and discomfort associated with surgery to extract current devices used for post-operative monitoring,” according to senior co-author Brian Litt, MD, a professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Bioengineering at the Perelman School of Medicine.

 

Other potential uses of the dissolvable electronics include:

Disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression, chronic pain, and conditions of the peripheral nervous system. “These measurements are critically important for mapping and monitoring brain function during and in preparation for neurosurgery, for assisting in device placement, such as for Parkinson’s disease, and for guiding surgical procedures on complex, interconnected nerve structures,” Litt said.Post-operative monitoring and recording of physiological characteristic after minimally invasive placement of vascular, cardiac, orthopaedic, neural or other devices. At present, post-operative monitoring is based on clinical examination or interventional radiology, which is invasive, expensive, and impractical for continuous monitoring over days to months.Heart and brain surgery for applications such as aneurysm coiling, stent placement, embolization, and endoscopic operations. These new devices could also monitor structures that are exposed during surgery, but are too delicate to disturb later by removing devices.More complex devices that also include flow, pressure, and other measurement capabilities.

 


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Ra's curator insight, May 15, 2016 7:31 AM
Just to repeat...MELT in your BRAIN
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CDC confirms Zika virus causes microcephaly, other birth defects

CDC confirms Zika virus causes microcephaly, other birth defects | natural sciences | Scoop.it
This confirms what researchers have suspected with mounting evidence about harms caused by the virus.

 

Federal health officials confirmed Wednesday that the Zika virus causes a rare birth defect and other severe fetal abnormalities, marking a turning point in an epidemic that has spread to nearly 40 countries and territories in the Americas and elsewhere.

 

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a careful review of existing research and agreed that the evidence was conclusive, Director Thomas Frieden said. It is the first time a mosquito-borne virus has been linked to congenital brain defects.

 

"It is now clear, and CDC has concluded, that the virus causes microcephaly," Frieden said. CDC is launching more studies to determine whether children with that rare condition, which is characterized at birth by an abnormally small head, represent the "tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems."


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"It is now clear, and CDC has concluded, that the virus causes microcephaly," Frieden said. CDC is launching more studies to determine whether children with that rare condition, which is characterized at birth by an abnormally small head, represent the "tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems."

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Toshiba's Chihira Kanae robot is human-like and speaks 4 languages

Toshiba's Chihira Kanae robot is human-like and speaks 4 languages | natural sciences | Scoop.it

Toshiba has shown off the latest generation of its Chihira robot at a trade fair in Berlin.

 

The machine - which is designed to look as human-like as possible - has had the German language added to its repertoire. The firm also told the BBC that it upgraded the machine's control system to make its movements smoother. However, one expert suggested the realistic appearance might not be best suited to Western audiences.

 

Prof Noel Sharkey - a roboticist at the University of Sheffield - said he thought the machine still fell "clearly on this side of the uncanny valley". The term refers to the fact that many people feel increasingly uncomfortable the closer a robot gets to appearing like a human being, so long as the two remain distinguishable.

 

Toshiba brought the Chihira Kanae droid to the ITB travel expo to highlight what it hopes could become a viable product for the tourism industry. The machine has been installed at an information desk where it responds to attendees' verbal questions about the conference.

 

It marks the first appearance of the robot outside Japan, where it was unveiled last month.

 

The earlier models in the series are:

Chihira Aico, which made its debut at Japan's Ceatec tech show in 2014Chihira Junko, which was launched last October and is currently in use at a Tokyo shopping centre's information desk

 

"We have improved the software and the hardware to improve the air pressure system," explained Hitoshi Tokuda, chief specialist at Toshiba's research and development center. "If the air pressure is unstable, her movements become affected by vibrations. So, if the air flow is very precisely controlled, her movements are smoother."


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Il Museo Tattile tra i Piccoli Musei d'Italia - VareseNews

Il Museo Tattile tra i Piccoli Musei d'Italia - VareseNews | natural sciences | Scoop.it
E' entrato a fare parte dell'associazione piccoli musei, che sviluppa una rete di relazioni nazionali tra queste realtà piccole ma originali e dinamiche
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Absorbing acoustics with soundless spirals

Absorbing acoustics with soundless spirals | natural sciences | Scoop.it
Researchers at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS, and the University of Lorraine have recently developed a design for a coiled-up acoustic metasurface which can achieve total acoustic absorption in very low-frequency ranges.

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Largest rocky exoplanet found (half the size of Neptune)

Largest rocky exoplanet found (half the size of Neptune) | natural sciences | Scoop.it
A planet roughly half the size of Neptune might be 100 percent rock, making it the largest known rocky world.

 

When it comes to big balls of rock, exoplanet BD+20594b might have all other known worlds beat. At roughly half the diameter of Neptune, BD+20594b is 100 percent rock, researchers suggest online January 28 at arXiv.org. The planet seems to defy recent calculations that indicate a planet this large should be gassy (SN: 8/22/15, p. 32).


BD+20594b sits about 500 light-years away in the constellation Aries. The planet is about 16 times as massive as Earth but just a little over twice as wide, making its density about 8 grams per cubic centimeter, Néstor Espinoza, an astrophysicist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, and colleagues report. Earth’s density, by comparison, is 5.5 grams per cubic centimeter. The new rocky planet was discovered in 2015 with the Kepler space telescope, which looks for the silhouettes of planets passing in front of their stars.


BD+20594b is comparable to Kepler 10c, a rocky “mega Earth” reported in 2014 (SN: 7/12/14, p. 10) to be 2.4 times as wide as Earth with a hefty mass (equal to about 17 Earths). Recent measurements indicate, however, that Kepler 10c isn’t quite as “mega” or as rocky as thought — only 14 times as massive as Earth — which means that the planet is probably encased in shell of gas or water. 


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