science

(Scientific American) The team found that the sound waves produced by the sharks also caused the tiny, gelatinous algae that grow on the coral to grow and enlarge. When they released one of these larvae on the coral, the coral grew new, larger coral. [New study demonstrates benefits for coral reefs] (WLRN) “We don’t know whether the larvae can produce new colonies or whether a single adult is enough to control coral population dynamics,” study lead author Michael J. Reilley, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at Monterey, said in a news release. “What is clear from our findings is, however, that the sound is an effective way of encouraging coral reproduction, which can reduce the effects of coral bleaching and sea-level rise.”

The technique is an “inert” control on the coral, using the sound wave as the trigger, to attract the algae that ultimately grow and create new corals.

The sound of the sharks’ clicks on the coral produced the desired effect, allowing the bacteria to consume more material - a change in the coral’s natural behavior that will ensure survival in future events like climate change.

The study also explains that corals have a complex ability to identify and avoid particular “favored” algae, thanks to a process called “acoustic cues,” which allows specific cells, or bacteria, to detect the specific tone that one of the shark’s clicks give off.

“Acoustically, the coral is making an individual call with its acoustically sensitive cells. If it has a sound alarm, then the plant has a sound alarm,” Reilley explained in the press release.

To be clear, these findings are only a glimpse into what the team may uncover in the future - the technology may get refined, and potentially even better, as scientists learn to control the sound of multiple tiny animals or in combination.

Scientists studying the sound of the sharks’ clicks on coral at the Royal Society

However, Reilley explained that some of the advantages of their idea could be realized on a microscopic scale this year. The team’s proposed method is capable of being implemented on, say, very small species of algae that can grow on every stage of a reef - at the base of the coral, on the surface, in the water - in just a few weeks, with little added effort.

A major discovery at the same site in 2007 yielded similar results. The fossils, which belonged to a large, ancient, predator-like animal, included teeth more than 1000 times the size of those currently studied in dinosaurs.

In this new study by researchers in the German Museum of Natural History in Bonn, the fossilised teeth have been removed from the bone by laser extraction.

The teeth of Helicoprion were found in the bone of a large ankylosaur, one of the largest known reptiles. “This is the first time such teeth have been observed in a non-ankylosaurian bone and the first time they have been found in a tooth that has remained alive for millions of years. Although the study was conducted in a small area, there was no danger of contamination and contamination levels are still low,” the researchers explained in a statement.

“The teeth were mostly filled with hardened water, which means that they were already completely replaced by calcium carbonate during the process of deposition, when its surface had already completely deteriorated.”

“The size of the ankylosaurs was therefore probably much higher, e.g. in the hundreds of thousands of kilograms and so they developed massive bony plates beneath the skin, which would have provided protection against the cold conditions of ocean conditions.”

“Although the fossilized animal was probably a fairly strong predator, and a more advanced form of the dinosaurian type - I. rex - in the sense that it was much larger than later ankylosaurs - that does not preclude that this dinosaur was a very peaceful animal, as is indicated by the absence of carnivores elsewhere in the site,” they added.

The jaw of a Helicoprion skeleton.

As scientists discovered that the fossils are of the size of teeth found in ankylosaurs, the researchers have described the specimen as an “ankylosaurian”. “Based on anatomical and dental characteristics of this kind of ankylosaur, we believe that the animal was a large predator, which has its teeth in its jaw and that this is not an uncommon fossil as there are many examples of big, wide, large, ankylosaurian tooth-bearing dinosaurs in the German Museum. However, the large size of the individual fossils means that it must have been a powerful herbivore,” the researchers concluded.

This is the first time a large predator tooth has ever been discovered in a tooth in the Middle Triassic of Russia and the first time such an occurrence has been described from two sites with the same locality.

What do you make of this discovery? And what do you think the significance of this discovery is? Leave your comments below! The research will be presented during the 2015 international meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. If you liked the article, please share it on your social media.

While there might still be some new technologies in our future, such as fusion and space exploration, a lack of funding for the research and education of people to use them is a barrier that slows progress.

For example, an interesting article on the U.S. space agency budget in 2010 by NASA administrator James Webb and associate administrator Lori Garver stated:

“While space resources are clearly key to our space program,” the report concluded, “government’s role in funding research and innovation is much less clear cut. Research and innovation work depends on new ideas and the most diverse and innovative partners in the research environment; the federal government is primarily responsible for funding those ideas.”

Unfortunately, space exploration remains stagnant and we have been able to have a robust spacefaring civilization for only 25 years. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has wasted over $10 Billion by wasting it’s way into all sorts of projects like “Platinum Water” and the Superconducting Super Collider ( SCSC ), even leading to the destruction of numerous superconducting magnets! We are stuck in a system with the same “experts” forever and we know what the future holds for space exploration?

We need to put our full efforts, our dreams and our goals into research and education. For that reason alone, we need a strong spacefaring space agency that will be able to support us as we pursue space exploration goals that are beyond our current capabilities, especially if gravity in space is increased from the current 500km/s to perhaps 1000km/s, as proposed. If humans are ever permitted to step off of Earth and to travel to another star system, we need an intelligent spacefaring civilization with the technological capabilities to explore that universe. Not to mention using space exploration for a truly “world-wide” project, to use space in a way that it has never been used before It just has to be right and we need to stop wasting money on things that do not work and are not the things that we need.

As we continue to look forward to becoming more and more knowledgeable about our universe, our very future is threatened because of a lack of funding for the space exploration program at NASA. This lack of funding is hindering the progress of these space exploration initiatives and the people who really want to make something out of space exploration. The United States has been a leader in space exploration for over a hundred years and we can no longer be stuck in a low key manner with our technology and our spacefaring capabilities. We need to get back on our feet and become the leader in space exploration and space exploration is just as important.

What do you think about NASA and how the government spend more money on space exploration than it does on science and science education? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

New research from the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center (NIEIC) suggests that a network of undersea optical fiber-optic cable could be an effective way to study earthquakes and fault systems.

Bolton in the North Sea The North Sea is on course to be the best seismic hotspot in the world by a remarkable margin thanks to the ongoing earthquakes. To put this in perspective, it’s a place where you usually expect to see a number of major sea-floor quakes every hundred years. And it’s not just any big ones; at least three large underwater quakes of magnitude 6.5 or larger have registered between 1990 and 2010. In contrast, according to a report in the journal Geology, the entire world’s plate boundary – from North America out to the Caspian Sea – has produced ten quakes of magnitude 4.0 or higher during that same period. There’s still a long way to go before scientists can say for sure if there are significant differences for Earth undersea quakes from earthquakes on land. “I don’t think there are really any surprises,” says John Kappeler, a seismograph network specialist with the NIEIC. “Our understanding of earthquakes on the ocean floor is really good. We’ve been there, done it, and now we’re asking whether we can do it on land.”

South Australia, image by Kappeler, from Kappeler et al., 2016. You can see the southern part of the earthquake on the lower left hand side. The quakes from the magnitude 6.0-6.5 earthquakes in South Australia were recorded on the cable network of Monterey Bay Seismic Experiment Station (BBSES) data feed as part of a pilot project.

BBSES data feed Acknowledgements We also wish to thank a number of people who have provided feedback and suggestions to improve this paper, including Niantic Labs research scientist Niantic Labs President Tim Kappeler, and researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Queensland; University of Texas at Austin; North Carolina State University; North Carolina State University; University of Utah; and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Further Reading:

  • Kappeler’s paper is available online and has been accepted for publication by EOS.

NIAID is a U.S. Department of Commerce National Institutes of Health-funded project (NIAID P30 GM10177-11-1).

Most scientists expect them not to, as they will almost certainly get ‘dislodged’, which means lost in the vast swarm of asteroids that’s approaching our sun. That sounds like a pretty bad thing: asteroids are estimated to cause up to 10/100th of all planetary and earthbound impacts.

This weekend’s asteroid flyby will take place on Saturday (Nov 22 ). The comet is expected to pass by the Earth on Monday (Nov 23 ) evening, as well as the planet on Tuesday (Nov 24 ). A closer approach of the asteroid may occur on Thursday night, when, it is estimated, the comet will be 11.7 million miles (17 million km) from the sun. The comet will be traveling nearly 11.5 million miles (17 million km) per hour, or 4.5 times the speed of light.

What is that you see around the sun? That is the nucleus of the asteroids that have come within a few million miles of our sun in the orbit of a comet called 2014 O1 (ISON). Scientists have calculated that, after the encounter, the comet’s diameter is 11 kilometers (seven miles) and is expected to grow to around 20 million miles (32 million km). During the encounter itself, the comet should come within roughly 30,000 miles (50,000 km) of Earth.

The NASA-ESA comet 2013 VP113 is shown for scale in this image, obtained by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera onboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The comet was discovered in September 2013. Click here for a detailed image of the object.

To solve these problems, the scientists at Stanford have created an organic film from an indium tin oxide (ITO). Using the unique electronic properties of this organic film, an electrical conducting layer is fabricated from the outer two-thirds of it. The nanocrystals themselves are not indium tin oxide nanocrystals, as would be required to create them. They are, instead, nanocrystals made from a natural intermediate polymer that is called a “vitamin C complex” (VCC). The resulting semiconductor was deposited onto a flexible substrate, such as an amorphous silicon matrix, in the presence of hydrogen peroxide and an electric field, leading to the creation of ultra high performance semiconductors. The work is published online today in Nature. Source : Scilab, et al (2015) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature158977a.html?sref_source=article&object_id=2015_08_c3_131075

Posted by Ben Kew at 7:54 PM

Anonymous said…

Wow. If it were your best work, I’d bet there’s a good chance you got some more at the University of Utah. Thanks for that. I went to the University of Utah, and I’m very impressed with your work (which is also pretty amazing considering that you went to Harvard University - also not at Stanford University). Thanks to the University of Utah, we have a pretty good quality-of-life standard for academics in a place like Utah, and at Harvard we get one of the most amazing universities in the world. I think that’s probably what we’re aiming for in Silicon Valley. Also, congrats on the Nobel Prize. A Nobel is nice, but a life - at least in your case, with your work on superconductivity was far more important to you, and you are now one of the most famous people in the world. Your new line of work is great - the whole thing has nothing to do with science but is focused on engineering ideas in a way that will probably save humanity, and you’re doing it in a way that people know your name. I look forward to learning more about your work. 5/4/2015 at 8:06 PM

Jayne said…

Thanks for all the hard work. I’d like to see a full lecture about the technique, how it’s done, what’s that like, and how it uses a simple organic substrate to produce a silicon semiconductor. I know it sounds really complicated, but it’s a very nice little technique so it’s hard to screw it up. I’m surprised that your paper doesn’t present an easy to follow demonstration so we can easily measure the “superconductivity”. A superconducting electrode has a positive pole that causes a tiny current for an instant, a negative pole allows only a very small current. It’s the same principle as a high-temperature magnet - when the positive pole comes in contact with a superconductor, the magnetic field on the surface of the superconductor acts like the magnet and it turns the superconductor magnetic by changing the energy of the magnetic field, and that magnetic field changes the electrical resistance of the device. Here’s what it looks Like: http://phys.org/news/2015-04-superconducting-copper-neon.html That’s a big picture of the copper atoms with their copper surfaces, one of the poles of the superconductor as a positive-negative-polarization voltage source. One could see through the copper to see the electrons, which are very bright even under certain conditions, but I don’t think that’s what they’re showing. Reply Delete

Thank you for the lecture. There isn’t anything in it that takes me off your level in terms of understanding what I’m saying. I’m interested in understanding the basic ideas of superconductivity in the context of technology. You seem knowledgeable about the theoretical basis but seem completely focused on technical details. There is already a lot from your lecture up on this blog that seems to get at some of the problems in my mind. But I’m sure you have read the book I posted and I think it’s a pretty good read as far as broad areas of superconductivity. 3/6/2015 at 11:30 PM

Anonymous said…

Wow. This could be a good opportunity to introduce your background into our conversation. What got you to Harvard? I always heard that Harvard had a great reputation for good teaching. It is really interesting to look into a new direction and get exposed to a topic I didn’t know much about before I went. 3/6/2015 at 11:47 PM

Dr Zebra said…

My previous post (and the one above this one) is very helpful for someone like me who is new to this field. So, thanks for the insight. Do you have any ideas on what you are planning

The space agency released a short animation made from images taken by the spacecraft’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WISE) this week showing the asteroid from a distance of almost 20 times lower than it was just last week.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly past Earth in 2016 at 16:01:17 GMT today.

But a few seconds later, when it reaches its closest point to the Earth, just before the Sun, it will pass closer than most telescopes could previously capture in such a short time, even under ideal conditions. At a distance of 20 times shorter than the orbit of the planet Pluto, the asteroid is still a tiny speck on our sky, but by then its light will have travelled a distance of about 6,300 miles (10,000 km) and it will have set back a bit, taking on a somewhat dull-coloured hue.

It will move a further 15-20 yards (4-7 metres) along the comet’s orbit around the Sun in order to catch up to its distance in the sky from Earth and for this the WISE spacecraft will also send out its first-ever video images of the surface.

Once again the images will provide researchers with a great deal of data about the comet. “With an estimated 3.5bn to 6bn tons of material on the surface, most of which will be ice, this is a one off object. That really is fascinating work from a space scientist’s point of view,” said Dr Jim Green, director of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division.

It’s not certain how much of the material on the comet comes from the impact of a comet or a comet remnant. Asteroids and comets that come from within the Solar System break up or disintegrate, depending on the environment of their birth. But some may have been brought back from a distance and then buried in ice during the past few million years as the icy bodies in the Solar System went through the process of reorganising themselves.

(Click to enlarge)

The comet orbits around the Milky Way and has a mean diameter of around 2,800 km , which makes it one of the largest comets in the Solar System. Comet 2I/Borisov was discovered in 1631 and is 1,200 km across in diameter. Comet 2I/Borisov appears to be a large dusty snowball, with many large dust grains in the tail. The team said that the coma (a thick ring around the coma) is about 200 m long and is actually made up of a mixture of ice and dust particles from the comet. The ice and dust would have been frozen out of the coma, so a meteor impact could have broken them loose. What is really startling about this comet is that it is almost entirely unexploited. Some people have predicted large comets orbiting the sun, but our team think that these will never occur. The comet is a fascinating object with a lot of mystery left to solve, but more science are needed before this comet can be put into our catalog as an amateur object.

Image credits: NASA, ESA, S. Tkachenko, M. Zemla (Yale), and the A. Gebhard Team (Yale) Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

From Wikipedia:

The comet B13/2013 A1-1 was discovered on 18 October 2013 by the German Aerospace Centre’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The comet’s name translates from Russian ( ), from the Russian word (kamennai). The comet orbits the Sun every 150 years and is believed to be at maximum intensity in the summer hours of July 1 and is at minimum in November. At this time, the comet’s comet 2I/Borisov is 1,200 km in diameter. The orbit and orientation of the comet are unknown at present.

~~~

~~~ In this work I use the term “ultraluminous” X-ray source (ULXs) due to the fact that its intensity is such that the resulting spectroscopic data cannot give a precise answer as to what element is emitted. However, ULXs do not emit light of the same intensity as X-ray photons and do not emit X-ray photons as efficiently as X-ray X-rays, but they do emit some light of a different intensity than X-ray photons. This difference in the intensity of a ULX’s photosphere is called its “ultraluminance”, even though the light emitted by a ULX is not the same as that emitted by a “visible” X-ray light source. X-rays emitted by the ULX can be distinguished from those emitted by visible X-ray photons not only by differences in their spectral absorption spectra but also from differences in their emission spectra. The spectra of ULXs are very similar to those of typical X-ray X-rays, being dominated by the emission features of the high-energy neutrons produced by neutrino neutrophilic decay. The light emitted from ULXs in the visible part of the spectrum thus falls into a similar category as light emitted from Cascades and “high-energy” X-ray sources. Ultraluminous X-rays, therefore, are not easily distinguished from X-ray X-rays in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but can be distinguished from the high-energy X-rays for which the spectral absorption rates are high enough. Such spectral absorption rates, also called “UV absorption”, can also be detected for ultraluminous X-rays in radio astronomy. The spectral absorption of ultraluminous X-rays is therefore considered quite representative of the UV absorption pattern of the type of visible X-rays which, due to the very small ultraviolet background emission and the very high UV absorption of an ultraluminous X-ray, are found in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. In the present work we consider the spectral absorption of Ultraluminous X-rays in the radio part of the spectrum, and we will also discuss the spectra of other ultraluminous X-rays in radio astronomy.

  1. Background Characteristics, X-ray Absorption and Ultraluminous X-rays in Ultraluminous X-ray Sources

A large-scale statistical analysis of X-ray and ultraluminous X-ray spectra in ULMs using the two most commonly observed ULMsUVC 2554b and ULX 31has shown differences in the spectral absorption in the spectra of ULMs for Cascades and Ultraluminous X-rays for this purpose; for this reason it is referred to as a “ultraluminous X-ray phenomenon”. While in Cascades ULMs contain a substantial UVC contribution, ULMs in Ultraluminous X-rays usually appear to be dominated by a small amount of CXR. Ultraluminous X-rays are widely recognized for their excellent emission properties on the upper half of the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly for X-ray photons near the X-ray-energy limit. However, a closer look at the spectra of Ultraluminous X-rays in the background of ULMs may have led some astronomers to postulated that a special type of light was emitted by UVXs, i.e. ULXs with a very low energy emission and the low UV absorption characteristic characteristic (Fig. 1) of Ultraluminous X-rays, which has not been detected clearly so far by most (but nonetheless some) X-ray sources. I use the term “ultraluminous” X-ray spectra because its intensity is such that the resulting spectroscopic data cannot give a precise answer as to what element is emitted. However, ULXs do not emit light of the same intensity as X-ray photons and do not emit X-ray photons as efficiently as X-ray X-rays, but they do emit some light of a different intensity from X-ray photons. This difference in the intensity of a Ultraluminous X-ray’s photosphere is called its “ultraluminance”, even though the light emitted by a ULX is not the same as that emitted by a “visible” X-ray light source. Ultraluminous X-rays, therefore, are not easily distinguished from X-ray X-rays in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but can be distinguished from the high-energy X-rays for which the spectral absorption rates are high enough. Such spectra, i.e. the UV absorption and the spectra of ultraluminous X-rays in general, are quite representative of Ultraluminous X-rays.

Figure 1: Summary of Ultraluminous X-ray spectra data:

In most

This left the scientist with one option: another InSight mission and a new thermal imager. It didn’t require many changes to the main hardware itself, and the InSight scientists could continue work on their instrument instead. InSight 2, the lander with the new thermal imager, is currently at the Kennedy Space Center for being “tested” in a vacuum chamber. Later tests of the instrument will determine if it can be used for real-life missions to future places in the solar system. The current plan is to aim for landing in Mars InSight’s current orbit to prepare for a two-year mission to Mars with a new instrument. At the end of this mission, NASA’s plan is for the InSight probe to crash back onto Mars sometime around 2021. InSight 2 would land at Mars, re-enter, and then be launched the rest of the way to Mars. The InSight 2 lander has been the subject of a lot of discussion and discussion, even before it actually got to this point. In fact, one of InSight 2’s team members recently was quoted saying we may as well move ahead now so we get more testing opportunities! This in spite of a recent, dramatic reduction in the amount of radio signals in the telescope’s output. This change will require a small change to the way the InSight spacecraft is configured: the new design now has 3 solar array per beam, rather than the 2 that had been in the design before. The extra solar arrays will increase the telescope’s usable range and reduce the required time needed in space to acquire at least 1-frame-per-hour data. Additionally, this change in configuration has caused more turbulence in the space-time continuum, which has been called a “dynamical “ perturbation. According to John Grunsfeld, the Director of the US National Security Agency and an InSight 2 team member, this change will eliminate “the first jagged edges” of the cosmic radiation field. Grunsfeld said the changes were well thought out, and would be a big difference from previous designs of InSight. Grunsfeld is also one of the main reasons that the InSight spacecraft will be built out of lightweight carbon-fibre materials.

The InSight lander and its imager will land on Mars, arriving around August 2011. If all goes as planned, the InSight lander and its imager should be ready to study the Martian geology and atmosphere in more detail in mid-2011, while a mission to Mars would be launched in mid-2012. InSight 2 will be the workhorse of the spacecraft, handling everything from taking readings of the Earth’s energy output, to measuring sunlight intensity and the radiation from the surface. While the scientific team is happy with the new design of InSight 2, one has to remember that NASA’s Spaceflight Experience program has been pushing more payload capacity for years and the company has no real competition nor any plans yet to try and catch up by launching a mission this year with the current configuration. Of course, Mars is very interesting, and there is so much that we just don’t understand yet: there are so many unknowns we still haven’t been able to identify! And many things that we do know are still very, very tentative the best scientists don’t always have the time or the money to be ready to start with, and there’s always that pesky “other” thing that has to be made part of the mission. So, we have to keep in mind that it might not happen, and we have to appreciate the progress and the potential of what’s on the horizon.

The InSight’s mission to Mars, or perhaps the Mars in general, has been studied since the dawn of time, and some of our most beloved mythologies are based in what we know about these first landers. While the landers themselves may not be science fiction, the story and story telling surrounding them have been played out through the ages through fiction, science, and games. While most stories about the first landers focus on the humans on the spaceship as they navigate the unknown, and try to reach another planet, the Earth in Martian lore is represented as a harsh and empty place. We all know what the astronauts’ experience was like on the Red Planet, but those stories are too small to explain the whole picture of how this mission could work.

The Mars probe being deployed. The Earth on the right is Earth, Earth and the Red Planet are behind.

There is a little problem with this approach though. So much of the story of the Mars mission is the astronauts’ effort to get home. After all of them are back on their ships, what happens if they don’t make it back to Earth? Many

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