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Strong Future Forecast for Renewable Energy

Strong Future Forecast for Renewable Energy | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy could be the fastest growing power sources over the next few decades.

The story that renewable energy advocates often share of how their favorite power sources have grown so rapidly over recent years belies the reality that those industries have expanded from small market shares to start.


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Astronomers Have Detected the Brightest 'Fast Radio Burst' Ever Seen and Still Have No Idea What's Causing Them

Astronomers Have Detected the Brightest 'Fast Radio Burst' Ever Seen and Still Have No Idea What's Causing Them | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have been one of the more puzzling and fascinating areas of astronomical study ever since the first was detected in 2007 (known as the Lorimer Burst). Much like gravitational waves, the study of these short-lived radio pulses (which last only a few milliseconds) is still in its infancy, and only a 33 events have been detected. What’s more, scientists are still not sure what accounts for them. In early March 2018, scientists using the Parkes Radio Telescope detected three FRBs, one of which was the brightest ever observed.

 

While some believe that they are entirely natural in origin, others have speculated that they could be evidence of extra-terrestrial activity. Regardless of their cause, according to a recent study, three FRBs were detected this month in Australia by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in remote Australia. Of these three, one happened to be the most powerful FRB recorded to date.

 

The signals were detected on March 1st, March 9th, and March 11th of 2018, and were designated as FRB 180301, FRB 180309 and FRB 180311. Of these, the one recorded on March 9th (FRB 180309) was the brightest ever recorded, having a signal-to-noise ratio that was four times higher than the previous brightest FRB. This event, known as FRB 170827, was detected on August 27th, 2017, by the UTMOST array in Australia.

 

All three of these events were detected by the Parkes radio telescope, which is located in New South Wales about 380 kilometers (236 mi) from Sidney. As one of three telescopes that makes up the Australia Telescope National Facility, this telescope has been studying pulsars, rapidly spinning neutron stars, and conducting large-scale surveys of the sky since 1961. In recent years, it has been dedicated to the detection of FRBs in our Universe.

 

Considering how rare and short-lived FRBs are, recording three in the space of one month is quite the achievement. What’s more, the fact that the detections happened in real-time, rather than being discovered in archival data, is also impressive. Shortly after the event, Stefan Oslowski (of the Swinburne University of Technology) tweeted about this rather fortunate discovery (see below). At present, none of the three events are believed to be “repeaters” – aka. Repeating Fast Radio Bursts. So far, only one FRB has been found to be repeating. This was none other than FRB 121102, which was first detected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on November 2nd, 2012. In 2015, several more bursts were detected from this some source which had properties that were consistent with the original signal.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Great Pacific Garbage Patch weighs more than 43,000 cars and is much larger than we thought

Great Pacific Garbage Patch weighs more than 43,000 cars and is much larger than we thought | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch weighs 87,000 tons -- 16 times more than previous estimates -- and contains more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, according to a new analysis.

 

A new analysis, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, reveals the makeup of this massive collection of floating trash in the North Pacific in a way that’s never been done before. The patch weighs 87,000 tons — 16 times more than previous estimates — and contains more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, the study shows. But its findings on the individual pieces of plastic inside the patch might hold the key to cleaning up this human-made mess.

 

Plastics tend to break down, due to heat and sunlight exposure, into small particles known as microplastics. In the past, scientists estimated the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by hopping on a boat and trawling the trash with fine nets — nets originally designed for catching plankton.

 

Running these nets through the patch, which extends from California to Hawaii, was not only laborious, it failed to catch big things like bottles and buoys. Scientists tried counting these larger items by eye, but they could only do so for small sections of the patch. By extrapolating, they could develop a sense of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch size, but their final estimates — especially for large pieces of trash — varied dramatically.

 

Three year ago, The Ocean Cleanup foundation opted for a more direct approach. The Netherlands-based organization hired 18 ships to trawl at different spots across the whole patch. But they used 652 nets capable of catching microplastics or larger trash.


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Industrial brewing yeast engineered for the production of primary flavor determinants in hopped beer

Industrial brewing yeast engineered for the production of primary flavor determinants in hopped beer | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Can you brew a hoppy beer without hops? Beer purists might regard the idea with suspicion, but researchers at UC Berkeley, with some help from UC Davis have shown that you can brew a tasty hoppy beer using gene-edited yeast to replace hop flavors.

 

According to Charles Denby, a former postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, growing hops uses a lot of water – 50 pints of water to grow enough hops (the crumbly flowers of the hop vine) for a pint of craft beer.

 

Denby and Rachel Li, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to engineer brewer’s yeast to include genes from mint, basil and hops. Their goal was to create yeast that could make two chemicals, linalool and geraniol, that produce hoppy flavors. They brought their most promising yeast strains to Charles Bamforth, professor of malting and brewing science at UC Davis and an authority on all things beer-related, and asked him to test them out in some brews.

 

Bryan Donaldson, Innovations Manager at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, Calif. and a former student of Bamforth’s, organized a blind taste testing with Lagunitas employees. The testers found the beer made with engineered yeast to be more hoppy than a beer made by conventional means.

 

Denby originally came to Berkeley to work with Professor Jay Keasling on biofuels and stumbled into the brewing project through home brewing with other lab members.

 

The work, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, was supported by the National Science Foundation. Additional coauthors are Van Vu of UC Berkeley, Weiyin Lin, Leanne Jade Chan, Christopher Petzold, Henrik Scheller and Hector Garcia Martin of the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville (part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and Joseph Williams of UC Davis.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Sandracbl's curator insight, March 24, 12:21 PM

Genetic engineering to make #beer without hops?  Enter the market of "organic beer" vs "cerveza artesanal" vs...

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Kagome Metal: New Exotic Quantum Material Developed by Scientists

Kagome Metal: New Exotic Quantum Material Developed by Scientists | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Traditional Japanese basket-weaving techniques incorporate a pattern known as kagome, which consists of interlaced, symmetrical triangles arranged in a lattice.

 

Physicists have been fascinated by this pattern for decades, hypothesizing that if the atoms of a metal or other conductive substance could be arranged in such a pattern, the resulting material would likely display exotic electronic properties.

 

Now, scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have announced the creation of an exotic new material known as kagome metal—an electrically conductive crystal consisting of layers of iron and tin atoms arranged in a kagome lattice pattern. The new material is described in a study published in the journal Nature.

 

When the researchers passed an electric current across the atomic layers in the crystal, the current behaved in very unusual ways. Instead of the electrons in the current flowing straight through the lattice as expected, they bent into tight circular paths and flowed along the edges without losing energy.


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Frontiers | Identification and Expression Analysis of Medicago truncatula Isopentenyl Transferase Genes (IPTs) Involved in Local and Systemic Control of Nodulation | Plant Science

Frontiers | Identification and Expression Analysis of Medicago truncatula Isopentenyl Transferase Genes (IPTs) Involved in Local and Systemic Control of Nodulation | Plant Science | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
Cytokinins are essential for legume plants to establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with rhizobia. Recently, the expression level of cytokinin biosynthesis IPTs (ISOPENTENYLTRANSFERASES) genes was shown to be increased in response to rhizobial inoculation in Lotus japonicus, Medicago truncatula and Pisum sativum. In addition to its well-established positive role in nodule primordium initiation in root cortex, cytokinin negatively regulates infection processes in the epidermis. Moreover, it was reported that shoot-derived cytokinin inhibits the subsequent nodule formation through AON (autoregulation of nodulation) pathway. In L. japonicus, LjIPT3 gene was shown to be activated in the shoot phloem via the components of AON system, negatively affecting nodulation. However, in M. truncatula, the detailed analysis of MtIPTs expression, both in roots and shoots, in response to nodulation has not been performed yet, and the link between IPTs and AON has not been studied so far. In this study, we performed an extensive analysis of MtIPTs expression levels in different organs, focusing on the possible role of MtIPTs in nodule development. MtIPTs expression dynamics in inoculated roots suggest that besides its early established role in the nodule primordia development, cytokinin may be also important for later stages of nodulation. According to expression analysis, MtIPT3, MtIPT4, and MtIPT5 are activated in the shoots in response to inoculation. Among these genes, MtIPT3 is the only one the induction of which was not observed in leaves of the sunn-3 mutant defective in CLV1-like kinase, the key component of AON, suggesting that MtIPT3 is activated in the shoots in an AON-dependent manner. Taken together, our findings suggest that MtIPTs are involved in the nodule development at different stages, both locally in inoculated roots and systemically in shoots, where their expression can be activated in an AON-dependent manner.
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Medicago truncatula copper transporter 1 (MtCOPT1) delivers copper for symbiotic nitrogen fixation - Senovilla - 2018 - New Phytologist -

Medicago truncatula copper transporter 1 (MtCOPT1) delivers copper for symbiotic nitrogen fixation - Senovilla - 2018 - New Phytologist - | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
Copper is an essential nutrient for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. This element is delivered by the host plant to the nodule, where membrane copper (Cu) transporter would introduce it into the cell to synthesize cupro‐proteins.
COPT family members in the model legume Medicago truncatula were identified and their expression determined. Yeast complementation assays, confocal microscopy and phenotypical characterization of a Tnt1 insertional mutant line were carried out in the nodule‐specific M. truncatula COPT family member.
Medicago truncatula genome encodes eight COPT transporters. MtCOPT1 (Medtr4g019870) is the only nodule‐specific COPT gene. It is located in the plasma membrane of the differentiation, interzone and early fixation zones. Loss of MtCOPT1 function results in a Cu‐mitigated reduction of biomass production when the plant obtains its nitrogen exclusively from symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Mutation of MtCOPT1 results in diminished nitrogenase activity in nodules, likely an indirect effect from the loss of a Cu‐dependent function, such as cytochrome oxidase activity in copt1‐1 bacteroids.
These data are consistent with a model in which MtCOPT1 transports Cu from the apoplast into nodule cells to provide Cu for essential metabolic processes associated with symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
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Symbiosis genes for immunity and vice versa

Symbiosis genes for immunity and vice versa | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Highlights

• Several LysM receptor proteins have a dual function in symbiosis and immunity.
• Symbiotic transcription factors can also control pathogen infection.
• Genes of hormonal pathways regulate both pathogen and symbiont colonisation.
• Crosstalk between symbiosis and immunity also occurs within the flavonoid pathway.

Basic molecular knowledge on plant–pathogen interactions has largely been gained from reverse and forward genetics in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, as this model plant is unable to establish endosymbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi or rhizobia, plant responses to mutualistic symbionts have been studied in parallel in other plant species, mainly legumes. The resulting analyses led to the identification of gene networks involved in various functions, from microbe recognition to signalling and plant responses, thereafter assigned to either mutualistic symbiosis or immunity, according to the nature of the initially inoculated microbe. The increasing development of new pathosystems and genetic resources in model legumes and the implementation of reverse genetics in plants such as rice and tomato that interact with both mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens, have highlighted the dual role of plant genes previously thought to be specific to mutualistic or pathogenic interactions. The next challenges will be to determine whether such genes have similar functions in both types of interaction and if not, whether the perception of microbial compounds or the involvement of specific plant signalling components is responsible for the appropriate plant responses to the encountered microorganisms.

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Subtilisin‐like proteases in plant defence: the past, the present and beyond - Figueiredo - 2018 - Molecular Plant Pathology -

Subtilisin‐like proteases in plant defence: the past, the present and beyond - Figueiredo - 2018 - Molecular Plant Pathology - | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
Subtilisin‐like proteases (or subtilases) are a very diverse family of serine peptidases present in many organisms, but mostly in plants. With a broad spectrum of biological functions, ranging from protein turnover and plant development to interactions with the environment, subtilases have been gaining increasing attention with regard to their involvement in plant defence responses against the most diverse pathogens. Over the last 5 years, the number of published studies associating plant subtilases with pathogen resistance and plant immunity has increased tremendously. In addition, the observation of subtilases and serine protease inhibitors secreted by pathogens has also gained prominence. In this review, we focus on the active participation of subtilases in the interactions established by plants with the environment, highlighting their role in plant–pathogen communication.
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China wants to make the chips that will add AI to any gadget

China wants to make the chips that will add AI to any gadget | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
The AI boom offers Chinese chipmakers a chance to catch up after years of lagging behind.

 

In an office at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a computer chip is crunching data from a nearby camera, looking for faces stored in a database. Seconds later, the same chip, called Thinker, is handling voice commands in Chinese. Thinker is designed to support neural networks. But what’s special is how little energy it uses—just eight AA batteries are enough to power it for a year.

 

Thinker can dynamically tailor its computing and memory requirements to meet the needs of the software being run. This is important since many real-world AI applications—recognizing objects in images or understanding human speech—require a combination of different kinds of neural networks with different numbers of layers.

 

In December 2017, a paper describing Thinker’s design was published in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, a top journal in computer hardware design. For the Chinese research community, it was a crowning achievement. The chip is just one example of an important trend sweeping China’s tech sector. The country’s semiconductor industry sees a unique opportunity to establish itself amid the current wave of enthusiasm for hardware optimized for AI. Computer chips are key to the success of AI, so China needs to develop its own hardware industry to become a real force in the technology (see “China’s AI Awakening”).


Via Ben van Lier, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Dominick Runyon's curator insight, March 18, 5:26 PM

China has been working to improve its technology industry to enter the race for AI, competing against companies such as Google and Intel. The goal is to develop a chip, named Thinker, which will add AI to any device. However, due to China's industry lacking far behind other countries, such as the U.S., China has been increasing its import of integrated circuits and has recorded a near 13% increase of imports since last year. In December of 2017, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a paper describing their 3 year plan to be able to mass-produce the Thinker chips by the year 2020.

 

I believe that the concept China is going for will be  huge step forward in our ever-expanding technology industry. It will allow all electronic devices, such as computer and phones, to have AI capabilities similar to Apple's SIRI software and Samsung's Bixby software. However. I also believe that it will only add to the debate about if mankind is becoming more dependent on technology. Integrating AI software into all of our devices will minimize the actions we will have to do to power and work devices and make those devices more independent.

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A new mysterious purple aurora found and named 'Steve'

A new mysterious purple aurora found and named 'Steve' | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

The phenomenon of ‘Steve’ - a glowing arc seen in Alberta, Canada by amateur scientists – has now been named by Nasa the unusual name 'Steve'..

 

The history behind this discovery is the following: A group of citizen scientists in Alberta, Canada, weren’t sure what the glowing purple (sometimes green) arc in the night sky they had been photographing really was. Nor were the scientists Elizabeth MacDonald, a space physicist at Nasa, and Eric Donovan, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary; the group – known as the Alberta Aurora Chasers, who photograph the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights – showed them their pictures in a pub. It wasn’t, Donovan told them, a proton aurora (the northern lights are normally a result of electrons colliding with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere), as they had thought. “They pulled up this beautiful photograph of this thing,” Donovan told the New York Times last year. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t know what that is, but it’s not the proton aurora.’” It needed a name: “Steve” sounded as good as any. It was inspired by a scene in the 2006 animation Over the Hedge, in which the animal characters are confronted with a mysterious row of shrubs.

 

The phenomenon does now have a backronym of an official name: strong thermal emission velocity enhancement (Steve for short). It can be spotted further south than the northern lights and is thought to be, according to a recently published paper, “an optical manifestation” of another phenomenon, the sub-auroral ion drift. Steve is a visible strip of ionized gas, traveling at 4 miles/s.

 

Last week, Nasa called on citizen scientists and photographers to help with its research into Steve and report sightings to the Aurorasaurus project. It is, Donovan has said, “a truly new era” of collaboration between amateur scientists and professionals.


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Novel quantum effect observed in a carbon nanotube film could lead to the development of unique lasers

Novel quantum effect observed in a carbon nanotube film could lead to the development of unique lasers | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

A novel quantum effect observed in a carbon nanotube film could lead to the development of unique lasers and other optoelectronic devices, according to scientists at Rice University and Tokyo Metropolitan University.

 

The Rice-Tokyo team reported an advance in the ability to manipulate light at the quantum scale by using single-walled carbon nanotubes as plasmonic quantum confinement fields.

 

The phenomenon found in the Rice lab of physicist Junichiro Kono could be key to developing optoelectronic devices like nanoscale, near-infrared lasers that emit continuous beams at wavelengths too short to be produced by current technology.

 

The new research is detailed in Nature Communications. The project came together in the wake of the Kono group's discovery of a way to achieve very tight alignment of carbon nanotubes in wafer-sized films. These films allowed for experiments that were far too difficult to carry out on single or tangled aggregates of nanotubes and caught the attention of Tokyo Metropolitan physicist Kazuhiro Yanagi, who studies condensed matter physics in nano materials.

 

"He brought the gating technique (which controls the density of electrons in the nanotube film), and we provided the alignment technique," Kono said. "For the first time we were able to make a large-area film of aligned nanotubes with a gate that allows us to inject and take out a large density of free electrons."

 

"The gating technique is very interesting, but the nanotubes were randomly oriented in the films I had used," Yanagi said. "That situation was very frustrating because I could not get precise knowledge of the one-dimensional characteristics of nanotubes in such films, which is most important. The films that can only be provided by the Kono group are amazing because they allowed us to tackle this subject."

 

Their combined technologies let them pump electrons into nanotubes that are little more than a nanometer wide and then excite them with polarized light. The width of the nanotubes trapped the electrons in quantum wells, in which the energy of atoms and subatomic particles is "confined" to certain states, or subbands. Light then prompted them to oscillate very quickly between the walls. With enough electrons, Kono said, they began to act as plasmons.

 

"Plasmons are collective charge oscillations in a confined structure," he said. "If you have a plate, a film, a ribbon, a particle or a sphere and you perturb the system (usually with a light beam), these free carriers move collectively with a characteristic frequency." The effect is determined by the number of electrons and the size and shape of the object.


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What's new, Atlas? - YouTube | #Research #Robots #Robotics #Technology #STEM

What have you been up to lately, Atlas?

 

Learn more / En savoir plus / Mehr erfahren:

 

https://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-innovative-technologies-and-developments/?&tag=Robotics

 

https://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-innovative-technologies-and-developments/?&tag=Robots

 


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Mumps outbreaks linked to waning vaccine protection, study says

Mumps outbreaks linked to waning vaccine protection, study says | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

The recent resurgence of mumps outbreaks may be due to waning protection bestowed by the mumps portion of the MMR vaccine. A booster shot at age 18 could thwart future outbreaks.

 

Mumps, which is typically spread through saliva and mucus, causes fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite and the characteristic puffy cheeks and jaw from swollen salivary glands. In 1977, theUS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began to recommend two doses of the MMR vaccine for children.
 
For the new study, Lewnard and Yonatan Grad, assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at TH Chan, examined data from six separate mumps vaccine effectiveness studies conducted in the United States and Europe. Their goal was to understand the underlying reasons for a series of mumps outbreaks on college campuses since 2006.
 
CDC recommends booster shot of MMR vaccine during mumps outbreaks. These outbreaks are troubling for two reasons, Lewnard and Grad wrote. First, up to 10% of mumps infections in teenagers or adults may cause severe complications, including deafness, meningitis and involvement of the testes or ovaries. Children who get sick with the mumps typically do not experience such severe symptoms. Second, most recent mumps outbreaks have occurred among people who had received the recommended two vaccine doses. The researchers wondered, is the vaccine less effective against emerging and circulating strains of the mumps virus? Or does the protection provided by the vaccine wane over time?
 
The new study showed the vaccine to be effective in providing "broad protection against all different strains of the mumps virus," Lewnard said. However, this protection did not last forever.
"We estimated that protection lasts on average 27 years," he said. "We estimate that about 25% of people will lose protection and be at risk for mumps in about eight years and that 50% will be at risk in about 19 years, and 75% of people will be at risk within 38 years. So the timing at which people lose protection can definitely vary individually."

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Artificial intelligence identifies 6,000 new craters on the Moon

Artificial intelligence identifies 6,000 new craters on the Moon | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
The advanced method could streamline the formerly manual technique.

 

Despite vast developments in technology over the last few decades, our method for counting craters on the Moon hasn’t advanced much, with the human eye still being heavily relied on for identification. In an effort to eliminate the monotony of tracking lunar cavities and basins manually, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough came up with an innovative technique that resulted in the discovery of 6,000 new craters.

 

“Basically, we need to manually look at an image, locate and count the craters, and then calculate how large they are based off the size of the image. Here we’ve developed a technique from artificial intelligence that can automate this entire process that saves significant time and effort,” said Mohamad Ali-Dib, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Toronto’s Centre for Planetary Sciences and co-developer of the technology, in a news release.

 

The method utilizes a convolutional neural network, the same machine learning algorithm used for computer vision and self-driving cars. The research team used data from elevation maps, collected by orbiting satellites, to train the algorithm on an area that covers two-thirds of the Moon’s surface. They then tested the technology on the remaining third, an area it hadn’t yet seen.

 

The algorithm was able to map the unseen terrain with incredible accuracy and great detail. It identified twice as many craters as manual methods, with about 6,000 new lunar craters being discovered. “Tens of thousands of unidentified small craters are on the Moon, and it’s unrealistic for humans to efficiently characterize them all by eye,” said Ari Silburt, a former University of Toronto Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics grad student, who helped create the AI algorithm. “There’s real potential for machines to help identify these small craters and reveal undiscovered clues about the formation of our solar system.”

 

Because the Moon doesn’t have flowing water, plate tectonics, or an atmosphere, its surface undergoes very little erosion. With its ancient craters remaining relatively intact, researchers are able to study factors like size, age, and impact to gain insight into our solar system’s evolution and the material distribution that occurred early on.


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Engineered and coated with magnetic nanoparticles, bacteriophages can find and separate bacteria from food or water

Engineered and coated with magnetic nanoparticles, bacteriophages can find and separate bacteria from food or water | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Certain viruses, called bacteriophages or just phages, naturally latch onto bacteria to infect them (SN: 7/12/03, p. 26). By tweaking the phages’ DNA and decking them out with magnetic nanoparticles, researchers created a tool that could both corral bacteria and force them to reveal themselves. These modifications can boost the sensitivity and speed of rooting out bacteria in tainted food or water, the researchers reported March 20 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

 

“You’re taking the power of what evolution has done … to bind bacteria, and then we’re just helping that out a little bit,” said Sam Nugen, a food and biosystems engineer who leads the team designing these phages at Cornell University.

 

Competing technologies for detecting bacteria use antibodies, the product of an immune response. But these are expensive to produce and work best in a narrow temperature and pH range. In contrast, phages “exist everywhere,” making them potentially more broadly useful as bacteria hunters, Nugen said. “They've had to evolve to bind well in much broader conditions than antibodies.”

 

Phages identify and grab bacteria using proteins on their leglike tail fibers, which form a strong bond with compounds on the bacterial cell surface. To infect the cell, the phage injects its genetic material. This hijacks the cell, forcing its machinery to produce phage clones.

 

Nugen and collaborators programmed phages to tag E. coli bacteria. The team’s engineered phages contained extra DNA that told the bacteria to make an easily detectable enzyme. When the infection caused the bacterial cells to rupture and release the new phages, a chemical reaction involving the enzyme produced a measurable signal: light, color or an electric current. For example, the phages exposedE. coli in milk and orange juice by turning the liquids red or pink.

 

The researchers also loaded the phages with nanoparticles with a magnetic iron and cobalt core. Once the phages latched onto the bacteria, researchers could use a magnet to round the bacteria up even before the bacteria ruptured and announced their presence. This allowed the researchers to detect low concentrations of bacteria: less than 10 E. coli cells in half a cup of water. Conventional methods grow the bacteria into colonies to find them, which can take up to two days. But using the phages, Nugen and his colleagues skipped this step and found the cells within a few hours.

 

Using phages for magnetic separation would be “really nice for food and environmental samples because they tend to be really dirty,” said Michael Wiederoder, a bioengineer at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, who was not involved in the research. The salt, sugar and fats in food can slow the reactions of antibody-based tests, he said.


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Quantitative single-cell RNA sequencing is transforming our understanding of biological processes

Quantitative single-cell RNA sequencing is transforming our understanding of biological processes | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is currently transforming our understanding of biology, as it is a powerful tool to resolve cellular heterogeneity and molecular networks. Over 50 protocols have been developed in recent years and also data processing and analyzes tools are evolving fast. Here, a group of scientists review the basic principles underlying the different experimental protocols and how to benchmark them. They also review and compare the essential methods to process scRNA-seq data from mapping, filtering, normalization and batch corrections to basic differential expression analysis. 


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OpenAI Wants to Make Safe AI, but That May Be an Impossible Task

OpenAI Wants to Make Safe AI, but That May Be an Impossible Task | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

True artificial intelligence is on its way, and we aren’t ready for it. Just as our forefathers had trouble visualizing everything from the modern car to the birth of the computer, it’s difficult for most people to imagine how much truly intelligent technology could change our lives as soon as the next decade — and how much we stand to lose if AI goes out of our control.

 

Fortunately, there’s a league of individuals working to ensure that the birth of artificial intelligence isn’t the death of humanity. From Max Tegmark’s Future of Life Institute to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Future Society, the world’s most renowned experts are joining forces to tackle one of the most disruptive technological advancements (and greatest threats) humanity will ever face.

 

Perhaps the most famous organization to be born from this existential threat is OpenAI. It’s backed by some of the most respected names in the industry: Elon Musk, the SpaceX billionaire who founded Open AI, but departed the board this yearto avoid conflicts of interest with Tesla; Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator; and Peter Thiel, of PayPal fame, just to name a few. If anyone has a chance at securing the future of humanity, it’s OpenAI. But there’s a problem. When it comes to creating safe AI and regulating this technology, these great minds have little clue what they’re doing. They don’t even know where to begin.


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YODA MAP3K kinase regulates plant immune responses conferring broad‐spectrum disease resistance - Sopeña‐Torres - 2018 - New Phytologist -

YODA MAP3K kinase regulates plant immune responses conferring broad‐spectrum disease resistance - Sopeña‐Torres - 2018 - New Phytologist - | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
Mitogen‐activated protein kinases (MAPKs) cascades play essential roles in plants by transducing developmental cues and environmental signals into cellular responses. Among the latter are microbe‐associated molecular patterns perceived by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which trigger immunity.
We found that YODA (YDA) – a MAPK kinase kinase regulating several Arabidopsis developmental processes, like stomatal patterning – also modulates immune responses. Resistance to pathogens is compromised in yda alleles, whereas plants expressing the constitutively active YDA (CA‐YDA) protein show broad‐spectrum resistance to fungi, bacteria, and oomycetes with different colonization modes. YDA functions in the same pathway as ERECTA (ER) Receptor‐Like Kinase, regulating both immunity and stomatal patterning.
ER‐YDA‐mediated immune responses act in parallel to canonical disease resistance pathways regulated by phytohormones and PRRs. CA‐YDA plants exhibit altered cell‐wall integrity and constitutively express defense‐associated genes, including some encoding putative small secreted peptides and PRRs whose impairment resulted in enhanced susceptibility phenotypes. CA‐YDA plants show strong reprogramming of their phosphoproteome, which contains protein targets distinct from described MAPKs substrates.
Our results suggest that, in addition to stomata development, the ER‐YDA pathway regulates an immune surveillance system conferring broad‐spectrum disease resistance that is distinct from the canonical pathways mediated by described PRRs and defense hormones.
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Plant elicitor peptides promote plant defences against nematodes in soybean - Lee - 2018 - Molecular Plant Pathology -

Plant elicitor peptides promote plant defences against nematodes in soybean - Lee - 2018 - Molecular Plant Pathology - | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
Plant elicitor peptides (Peps) are widely distributed among angiosperms, and have been shown to amplify immune responses in multiple plant families. Here, we characterize three Peps from soybean (Glycine max) and describe their effects on plant defences against two damaging agricultural pests, the root‐knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) and the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines). Seed treatments with exogenous GmPep1, GmPep2 or GmPep3 significantly reduced the reproduction of both nematodes. Pep treatment also protected plants from the inhibitory effects of root‐knot nematodes on above‐ground growth, and up‐regulated basal expression levels of nematode‐responsive defence genes. GmPep1 induced the expression of its propeptide precursor (GmPROPEP1), a nucleotide‐binding site leucine‐rich repeat protein (NBS‐LRR), a pectin methylesterase inhibitor (PMEI), Respiratory Burst Oxidase Protein D (RBOHD) and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in leaves. In addition, GmPep2 and GmPep3 seed treatments up‐regulated RBOHD expression and ROS accumulation in roots and leaves. These results suggest that GmPeps activate plant defences through systemic transcriptional reprogramming and ROS signalling, and that Pep seed treatments represent a potential strategy for nematode management.
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Artificial Intelligence Quickly Entering Aerospace Manufacturing | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week

Artificial Intelligence Quickly Entering Aerospace Manufacturing | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
More than 80% of leading executives in aerospace and defense companies expect to see artificial intelligence (AI) systems working alongside their human employees in just the next few years, according to the latest annual edition of Accenture’s Technology Vision report.
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Scientists Find Over 500 Genes Linked To Intelligence

Scientists Find Over 500 Genes Linked To Intelligence | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
A new piece of research has identified over 500 genes that appear to be linked to sharp intelligence.

 

How much a person’s intelligence is governed by nature or nurture has been debated throughout the ages. A new piece of research has thrown some interesting evidence into the mix, identifying over 500 genes that appear to be linked to sharp intelligence.

 

The research is the largest study looking at how genes and intelligence are linked to date. Using the heaps of data gathered by the UK Biobank, scientists at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Southampton, and Harvard University compared DNA variants in over 248,000 people from across the world.

 

As they explain in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry, they managed to find 538 genes that play a role in intellectual ability, along with 187 regions in the human genome that are linked to cognitive skills.

 

In theory, this means that scientists could get an insight into your IQ just by analyzing your spit in a pot. As part of this new study, the researchers tested out this idea and managed to predict differences in intelligence of a group of individuals using their DNA alone. 

 

“Our study identified a large number of genes linked to intelligence," Dr David Hill, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology, said in a statement. "Importantly, we were also able to identify some of the biological processes that genetic variation appears to influence to produce such differences in intelligence, and we were also able to predict intelligence in another group using only their DNA.” 

 

That said, the impact of genetics or environment on a person’s intelligence remains as hazy as ever. Their study was only able to predict 7 percent of the intelligence differences between those people, which is not totally definitive. “We know that environments and genes both contribute to the differences we observe in people’s intelligence," Professor Ian Deary, Principal Investigator, added.

 

"This study adds to what we know about which genes influence intelligence, and suggests that health and intelligence are related in part because some of the same genes influence them.”

 

So, don’t be too disheartened by the suggestion that some aspects of intelligence could be programmed into your DNA. Just as other scientific studies have suggested, it appears that the brilliance of your brain is also influenced by a cocktail of external influences, from your upbringing and life experiences, to even your health.


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Is It Possible? Will You Soon be Able to Replace Your Glasses And Contacts With Nanoparticle Eyedrops?

Is It Possible? Will You Soon be Able to Replace Your Glasses And Contacts With Nanoparticle Eyedrops? | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

A revolutionary, cutting-edge technology, developed by researchers at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), has the potential to provide a new alternative to eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser correction for refractive errors.

 

The technology, known as Nano-Drops, was developed by Dr. David Smadja (Ophthalmologist from Shaare Zedek Medical Center), Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, from Bar-Ilan’s Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, and Prof. Jean-Paul Moshe Lellouche, Head of the Department of Chemistry at Bar-Ilan. A related patent on this new invention was recently filed by Birad – Research & Development Company Ltd., the commercializing company of Bar-Ilan University.

 

Nano-Drops achieve their optical effect and correction by locally modifying the corneal refractive index. The magnitude and nature of the optical correction is adjusted by an optical pattern that is stamped onto the superficial layer of the corneal epithelium with a laser source. The shape of the optical pattern can be adjusted for correction of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of accommodation ability).

 

The laser stamping onto the cornea takes a few milliseconds and enables the nanoparticles to enhance and ‘activate’ this optical pattern by locally changing the refractive index and ultimately modifying the trajectory of light passing through the cornea.

 

The laser stamping source does not relate to the commonly known ‘laser treatment for visual correction’ that ablates corneal tissue. It is rather a small laser device that can connect to a smartphone and stamp the optical pattern onto the corneal epithelium by placing numerous adjacent pulses in a very speedy and painless fashion.  Tiny corneal spots created by the laser allow synthetic and biocompatible nanoparticles to enter and locally modify the optical power of the eye at the desired correction.

 

In the future this technology may enable patients to have their vision corrected in the comfort of their own home. To accomplish this, they would open an application on their smartphone to measure their vision, connect the laser source device for stamping the optical pattern at the desired correction, and then apply the Nano-Drops to activate the pattern and provide the desired correction.

 

Upcoming in-vivo experiments in rabbits will allow the researchers to determine how long the effect of the Nano-Drops will last after the initial application. Meanwhile, this promising technology has been shown, through ex-vivo experiments, to efficiently correct nearly 3 diopters of both myopia and presbyopia in pig eyes.


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Hubble Measures Universe Expansion, Gets Intriguing Hints of potentially ‘New Physics’

Hubble Measures Universe Expansion, Gets Intriguing Hints of potentially ‘New Physics’ | All About the World ! | Scoop.it
A team of U.S. astronomers has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to make a new measurement of the Hubble constant, the rate at which the Universe is expanding. The results, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, are forcing the scientists to consider that they may be seeing evidence of something unexpected at work in the Universe.

 

The team — led by Nobel Laureate Adam Riess, a professor of astronomy and physics at the Johns Hopkins University and a senior member of the science staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute — has been successful in refining the Hubble constant value by streamlining and strengthening the construction of the cosmic distance ladder, which astronomers use to measure accurate distances to galaxies near to and far from Earth. The astronomers have compared those distances with the expansion of space as measured by the stretching of light from receding galaxies. They then have used the apparent outward velocity of galaxies at each distance to calculate the Hubble constant. But the Hubble constant’s value is only as precise as the accuracy of the measurements.

 

Scientists cannot use a tape measure to gauge the distances between galaxies. Instead, they have selected special classes of stars and supernovae as cosmic yardsticks or milepost markers to precisely measure galactic distances. Among the most reliable for shorter distances are Cepheid variables, pulsating stars that brighten and dim at rates that correspond to their intrinsic brightness. Their distances, therefore, can be inferred by comparing their intrinsic brightness with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth.

 

The new Hubble result is based on measurements of the parallax (apparent shift of an object’s position due to a change in an observer’s point of view) of eight Cepheids in our Milky Way Galaxy. These stars are about 10 times farther away than any studied previously, residing between 6,000 light-years and 12,000 light-years from Earth, making them more challenging to measure.

They pulsate at longer intervals, just like the Cepheids observed by Hubble in distant galaxies containing another reliable yardstick, exploding stars called Type Ia supernovae. This type of supernova flares with uniform brightness and is brilliant enough to be seen from relatively farther away.

 

Previous Hubble observations studied 10 faster-blinking Cepheids located 300 light-years to 1,600 light-years from Earth. To measure parallax with Hubble, Professor Riess and co-authors had to gauge the apparent tiny wobble of the Cepheids due to Earth’s motion around the Sun. These wobbles are the size of just 1/100 of a single pixel on the telescope’s camera, which is roughly the apparent size of a grain of sand seen 100 miles away.

 

Therefore, to ensure the accuracy of the measurements, they developed a clever method that was not envisioned when Hubble was launched. They invented a scanning technique in which the telescope measured a star’s position a thousand times a minute every six months for four years. The authors calibrated the true brightness of the eight Cepheids and cross-correlated them with their more distant blinking cousins to tighten the inaccuracies in their distance ladder. They then compared the brightness of the Cepheids and supernovae in those galaxies with better confidence, so they could more accurately measure the stars’ true brightness, and therefore calculate distances to hundreds of supernovae in far-flung galaxies with more precision.

 

The new value of the Hubble constant reinforces the disparity with the expected value derived from observations of the early Universe’s expansion, 378,000 years after the Big Bang — the violent event that created the Universe roughly 13.8 billion years ago. Those measurements were made by ESA’s Planck satellite, which maps the cosmic microwave background, a relic of the Big Bang. The difference between the two values is about 9%.

The new Hubble measurements help reduce the chance that the discrepancy in the values is a coincidence to 1 in 5,000.

 

Planck’s result predicted that the Hubble constant value should now be 67 km per second per megaparsec (3.3 million light-years), and could be no higher than 69 km per second per megaparsec. This means that for every 3.3 million light-years farther away a galaxy is from us, it is moving 67 km per second faster. But Professor Riess and colleagues measured a value of 73 km per second per megaparsec, indicating galaxies are moving at a faster rate than implied by observations of the early Universe.

The Hubble data are so precise that astronomers cannot dismiss the gap between the two results as errors in any single measurement or method. “Both results have been tested multiple ways, so barring a series of unrelated mistakes. It is increasingly likely that this is not a bug but a feature of the Universe,” Professor Riess said.

 

The team proposes a few possible explanations for the mismatch, all related to the 95% of the Universe that is shrouded in darkness. One possibility is that dark energy, already known to be accelerating the cosmos, may be shoving galaxies away from each other with even greater — or growing — strength. This means that the acceleration itself might not have a constant value in the Universe but changes over time. Another idea is that the Universe contains a new subatomic particle that travels close to the speed of light.

 

Such speedy particles are collectively called ‘dark radiation’ and include previously-known particles like neutrinos, which are created in nuclear reactions and radioactive decays.

Unlike a normal neutrino, which interacts by a subatomic force, this new particle would be affected only by gravity and is dubbed a ‘sterile neutrino.’ Yet another attractive possibility is that dark matter interacts more strongly with normal matter or radiation than previously assumed.

 

Any of these scenarios would change the contents of the early Universe, leading to inconsistencies in theoretical models. These inconsistencies would result in an incorrect value for the Hubble constant, inferred from observations of the young cosmos. This value would then be at odds with the number derived from the Hubble observations.


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Astronomers Have Detected the Brightest 'Fast Radio Burst' Ever Seen and Still Have No Idea What's Causing Them

Astronomers Have Detected the Brightest 'Fast Radio Burst' Ever Seen and Still Have No Idea What's Causing Them | All About the World ! | Scoop.it

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have been one of the more puzzling and fascinating areas of astronomical study ever since the first was detected in 2007 (known as the Lorimer Burst). Much like gravitational waves, the study of these short-lived radio pulses (which last only a few milliseconds) is still in its infancy, and only a 33 events have been detected. What’s more, scientists are still not sure what accounts for them. In early March 2018, scientists using the Parkes Radio Telescope detected three FRBs, one of which was the brightest ever observed.

 

While some believe that they are entirely natural in origin, others have speculated that they could be evidence of extra-terrestrial activity. Regardless of their cause, according to a recent study, three FRBs were detected this month in Australia by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in remote Australia. Of these three, one happened to be the most powerful FRB recorded to date.

 

The signals were detected on March 1st, March 9th, and March 11th of 2018, and were designated as FRB 180301, FRB 180309 and FRB 180311. Of these, the one recorded on March 9th (FRB 180309) was the brightest ever recorded, having a signal-to-noise ratio that was four times higher than the previous brightest FRB. This event, known as FRB 170827, was detected on August 27th, 2017, by the UTMOST array in Australia.

 

All three of these events were detected by the Parkes radio telescope, which is located in New South Wales about 380 kilometers (236 mi) from Sidney. As one of three telescopes that makes up the Australia Telescope National Facility, this telescope has been studying pulsars, rapidly spinning neutron stars, and conducting large-scale surveys of the sky since 1961. In recent years, it has been dedicated to the detection of FRBs in our Universe.

 

Considering how rare and short-lived FRBs are, recording three in the space of one month is quite the achievement. What’s more, the fact that the detections happened in real-time, rather than being discovered in archival data, is also impressive. Shortly after the event, Stefan Oslowski (of the Swinburne University of Technology) tweeted about this rather fortunate discovery (see below). At present, none of the three events are believed to be “repeaters” – aka. Repeating Fast Radio Bursts. So far, only one FRB has been found to be repeating. This was none other than FRB 121102, which was first detected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on November 2nd, 2012. In 2015, several more bursts were detected from this some source which had properties that were consistent with the original signal.


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What's new, Atlas? - YouTube | #Research #Robots #Robotics #Technology #STEM

What have you been up to lately, Atlas?

 

Learn more / En savoir plus / Mehr erfahren:

 

https://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-innovative-technologies-and-developments/?&tag=Robotics

 

https://www.scoop.it/t/21st-century-innovative-technologies-and-developments/?&tag=Robots

 


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