Lacerant Plainer2013-04-09 00:40:45
Game of Thrones on Cello!

Amazing share h/t +Avinash Jaisinghani on the GOT theme song

The theme song of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is considered just as awesome as the show, so it’s no wonder it has generated so many tributes and covers. However, the one above is perhaps the most jaw-dropping you’re likely to hear today, this week or this month.

Cello rock band Break of Reality has thought it fitting to pay tribute to the amazing opening theme from the show, by Ramin Djawadi, with their own, slightly different version.

“We are big fans of the show and have received many requests for this cover. Happy to have finally recorded it!” the band says in the description of the video posted on YouTube.

Courtesy: Game of Thrones theme song arranged and performed by cello rock band Break of Reality. Original composition and soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi.

Original post:

#music #gameofthrones #gameofthronesseason3 #cello #breakofreality  
  • 841 plusses - 91 comments - 451 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-01-16 08:19:11

    Studying the bond between Cats and their Humans

    Article Extract
    It took 120 hours of observing 40 cat-human pairs for scientists to conclude that the bond between the two can be similar to other human relationships. And, yes, I know that most of you who have cats—or know someone who has a cat—will not find that surprising, so let’s delve into the details. It turns out that this study isn’t as simple as it appears.

    The scientists (whose study appears in the journal Behavioural Processes) sent a team of researchers repeatedly into the homes of cat-human pairs in Vienna, Austria. The team would visit for about 45 minutes around the cat’s feeding time, with one person interacting with the cat and human and the other wielding a video camera. They evaluated the personalities of both the human (with a personality test) and the cat, through both observations (e.g., did the cat accompany the human to the door?) and a series of tests that included the cat’s reaction to being picked up. The video of the cat’s behavior and interactions with the humans in the room was later coded and the researchers analyzed it all with a computer program that looked for patterns in the behaviors of the cats and the humans.

    The scientists found some correlations between human personality and the behaviors of the cats—such as that cats with humans classified as “extroverted” or “conscientious” exhibited more complex patters of behaviors—and concluded that “it seems that an important area of negotiation between the owner and the cat is mutual attention and friendly tactile interactions” and that the patterns in the relationships between the cats and humans resemble other long-term and complex relationships, “such as those between humans.”

    Article Link:

    Pic courtesy:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #caturday   #cats   #biology  
  • 953 plusses - 312 comments - 184 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-13 09:20:09
    Stephen Hawking predicts end-of-Earth scenario

    Stephen Hawking, one of the world's greatest physicists and cosmologists, is once again warning his fellow humans that our extinction is on the horizon unless we figure out a way to live in space. Not known for conspiracy theories, Hawking's rationale is that the Earth is far too delicate a planet to continue to withstand the barrage of human battering. "We must continue to go into space for humanity," Hawking said. "We won't survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet."

    For years, Hawking has advised people to begin the search for new planets to inhabit. In 2006, he iterated some of today's sentiment saying the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe. In 2011, he said, "Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space."

    Hawking has achieved success in published academic works of popular science in which he discusses personal theories on the universe, its creation and cosmology in general. His book “A Brief History of Time” was on the British Sunday Times best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.

    Article Link:

    Additional link:

    Pics courtesy:,

    #science #scienceeveryday #earth #future #doomsday  
  • 724 plusses - 311 comments - 219 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-10-13 05:35:01
     Upgrade your body 

    Powered Exoskeletons

    Cyberdyne's robot-suit "HAL" (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is being mass produced at 500 units per year. It has been available for rent for around three years in Tokyo. Enquiries are coming in from around the world for use in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. At around $2000 per month, the HAL exoskeleton helps the wearer carry out everyday tasks, including walking, climbing up and down stairs, and lifting heavy objects. The suit can operate for almost five hours before it needs recharging.

    Flash news: New Page here +HASHTAGS Of The World, Unite To TREND Over… - circle them for some awesomeness - coming soon!

    #science   #ScienceEveryDay   #exoskeleton  
  • 704 plusses - 155 comments - 272 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-07-04 02:49:44
    Grow a tooth? : Stem-Cell Dental Implants Grow New Teeth Right In Your Mouth. The loss of a tooth is a minor deformity and a major pain. Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out. If only adult teeth could be regenerated, right?

    Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, has unveiled a growth factor-infused, three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to regenerate an anatomically correct tooth in just nine weeks from implantation. By using a procedure developed in the university's Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Mao can direct the body's own stem cells toward the scaffold, which is made of natural materials. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue.

    Article Link:

    Pic comment: Human molar scaffolding Dr. Jeremy Mao has unveiled a technique that directs the body's stem cells into a scaffolding that will aid in the regeneration of a new tooth. Columbia University Medical Center.

    #tooth #stemcells #regeneration #regenerativemedicine #scaffolding #science #scienceeveryday  
  • 504 plusses - 81 comments - 327 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-08 06:57:48
    First Tests For Fusion-Powered Spaceship Propulsion Successful

    University of Washington researchers and scientists at a Redmond-based space-propulsion company are currently building components of a fusion-powered rocket, which could enable astronauts to travel to Earth’s neighboring planet Mars within weeks instead of months, at speeds considerably faster than feasible until now. The current travel speeds using fuel rockets make Mars travel a journey of about four years but the new fusion technology being tested by researchers at the University of Washington promises that in 30 to 90 days.

    “Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” said lead researcher John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. “We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”

    The team has developed a technology using a special type of plasma that will be encased in a magnetic field. When the plasma is compressed with high pressure by the magnetic field, nuclear fusion takes place. The process has successfully been tested by researchers and they plan on having the first full test to be done by the end of this summer.

    Article Link:

    Nuclear fusion, in which the nuclei of atoms are forced to join together, could produce vast amounts of energy. Most designs for fusion reactors drive the reaction by confining the fuel in a magnetic field, using a device called a tokamak.

    Unfortunately, tokamaks are prohibitively heavy, so designs for fusion rockets tend to focus on another method of triggering fusion, called inertial confinement fusion.

    Additional reference:

    #science #scienceeveryday #nuclear #fusion #spacecraft #exploration  
  • 502 plusses - 90 comments - 231 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-13 05:57:10
    Plasma Device Could Revolutionize Energy Generation and Storage

    Scientists at the University of Missouri have devised a new way to create and control plasma that could transform American energy generation and storage. Randy Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, and his team developed a device that launches a ring of plasma at distances of up to two feet. Although the plasma reaches a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun, it doesn’t emit radiation.

    "Launching plasma in open air is the 'Holy Grail' in the field of physics," said Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Missouri's College of Engineering. "Creating plasma in a vacuum tube surrounded by powerful electromagnets is no big deal; dozens of labs can do that. Our innovation allows the plasma to hold itself together while it travels through regular air without any need for containment." The plasma device at MU could be enlarged to handle much larger amounts of energy, according to Curry. With sufficient funding, they could develop a system within three to five years that would also be considerably smaller. He noted that they used old technologies to build the current prototype of the plasma-generating machine. Using newer, miniaturized parts, he suggests they could shrink the device to the size of a bread box.

    “We have a world-class team at MU’s Center for Physical & Power Electronics, but that team will evaporate without funding.”

    Article Link:

    Additional link:

    Read more at:

    #science #scienceeveryday #plasma #energy #sustainability #power  
  • 578 plusses - 82 comments - 172 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-04 09:07:19
    Skin attachable music player : Chih-Wei Wang and Shou-His Fu came up with the unique idea of skin attachable music player that can power itself with one’s body heat. This music playback device can be kept attached onto your skin while you are involved in any kind of physical activities like walking, running or exercising. After attaching it onto your skin and turning on the power, you can keep on enjoying uninterrupted music without even connecting the device to any earphones.

    Design concept sources : designbuzz and ecofriend.

    #music #eco-friendly #skin #musicplayer #concept #design #greenenergy  
  • 390 plusses - 82 comments - 161 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-12-18 13:53:49
    Coffee Chemistry

    These latest findings suggest that the antioxidants present in coffee can also lower the risk of heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

    Coffee contains hundreds of components including substantial amounts of chlorogenic acid, caffeine, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B3, trigonelline and lignans.

    Chlorogenic acid has been shown in animal experiments to reduce glucose concentrations; coffee also contains tannin, which is beneficial for heart and arteries.

    Researcher Dr. Rob van Dam of the Harvard School of Public Health, says that coffee, if taken in moderate amounts, can actually prevent colon, liver and rectal cancer. 

    Link to Dr. Dam's article:

    Need Fiber? Have a Cup of Coffee

    Some good news for coffee lovers: a cup of joe may get you going in more ways than one. A new study shows that brewed coffee contains soluble fiber, the roughage found in oatmeal and apples that aids digestion, helps the body absorb vital nutrients and keeps a lid on cholesterol.

    More about coffeechemistry

    Joseph Rivera is the founder and creator of He began his career with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) over 10 years ago after receiving with a degree in Food Chemistry. As Director of Research with CQI, he utilized knowledge of chemistry with practical coffee science to develop a number of testing methodologies currently in use today. As such his work has allowed him to play a key role in the development of numerous international training and certification programs including the Q.

    Joseph served as the Director of Science and Technology for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) from 2001-2009 and served as the coffee industry’s coffee scientist/expert.

    He has been a frequent contributor to numerous trade publications and has been featured on the History Channel’s Coffee documentary, Discovery Channel, National Public Radio (NPR), Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

    Link to cup of Joe:

    Link to coffee chemistry:

    Coffee science Link:

    Who drinks the most coffee? :

    Image courtesy: Coffeechemisty, ecosalon

    #coffee   #science   #scienceeveryday  
  • 297 plusses - 79 comments - 208 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-02-27 21:49:42
    Coffee isn’t just warm and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you.

    Coffee Can Make You Smarter:
    The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
    By blocking the inhibitory effects of Adenosine, caffeine actually increases neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Many controlled trials have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, demonstrating that caffeine can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function.

    Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat and Improves Physical Performance
    There’s a good reason why you will find caffeine in most commercial fat burning supplements. Caffeine, partly due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, both raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids.

    Coffee May Drastically Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes
    In observational studies, coffee has been repeatedly associated with a lower risk of diabetes. The reduction in risk ranges from 23% all the way up to 67%. A massive review article looked at 18 studies with a total of 457.922 participants. Each additional cup of coffee per day lowered the risk of diabetes by 7%. The more coffee people drank, the lower their risk.

    Even though coffee in moderate amounts is good for you, drinking way too much of it can still be harmful. The author would also like to point out that many of the studies above were epidemiological in nature. Such studies can only show association, they can not prove that coffee caused the effects.

    Article Link:

    Earlier article on coffee:

    Picture courtesy: coffeechemistry.

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #coffee   #coffeechemistry   #goodmorning  
  • 369 plusses - 46 comments - 160 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-08-30 16:37:10
    Carl Warner's Human Bodies make up a landscape : Each landscape in the new series appears to include several bodies, and yet actually is created from photographs of a single person. “The scenes can simply be one shot of a part of their body or multiple shots that are composited together to make a more intricate scene,” Warner explains. “Once I have posed, lit and photographed the subject, I then take the image in to post production in order to grade and finesse it. I simply add a sky to the scene to give the image a sense of scale.”

    The texture of his models’ skin and the shapes that they can make—a bent knee or elbow, an arched back and a flexed abdomen, for instance—give Warner the elements he needs to piece together a barren desert or rocky Moab-like setting. He sketches out a composition before each photo shoot, but inevitably, during the shoot, he sees other poses, which he incorporates into a new drawing.

    Article Link:

    #scienceart #art #photography  
  • 404 plusses - 117 comments - 101 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-28 04:52:16
    Learned behavior of plants : I read about this some time back, but am posting only after I did some digging. There is definitely some gaps in our knowledge of plants and how they get around to taking advantage of their environment. This is a surprising study and you can draw your own inferences from it...

    Article Extract: The researchers studied Mimosa pudica, which folds inwards when touched to protect itself from predators. The University of Western Australia study, which also involved Professor Stefano Mancuso at the University of Florence in Italy, found the action is not simply a reflex.

    They examined the species’ short and long-term memories under both high and low light environments by repeatedly dropping water on the plants using a custom-designed apparatus to look at their response. The strange fauna flora (sic) stopped curling up once it learned that the water was not a threat to its survival and no damage was done, according to the study, which was published in the journal Oecologia. Mimosa plants were able to acquire the learnt behaviour in a matter of seconds and as in animals, learning was faster in low light.
    ‘Most remarkably, these plants were able to remember what had been learned for several weeks, even after environmental conditions had changed,' the researchers said. The study shows that Mimosa pudica plants can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals, but of course, they do it all without a brain.

    Article Link:

    Additional link:

    Research Paper (Abstract only) :

    The Secret World of plants (earlier post) :

    The Root brain hypothesis (Earlier post) :

    Wikipedia Link:

    +Google #science #plants #lpsamazingplantfacts  
  • 209 plusses - 63 comments - 240 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-03-31 20:31:57
    Brilliant Earth Time-lapse

    Using footage from the International Space Station, photographer Bruce W. Berry, Jr. created a stunning compilation of our planet

    Heaven meets the Earth in this moving time-lapse video showing gorgeous landscapes underneath an ever-changing night sky.

    A time lapse journey round the Earth, first during the day and then through the night - day time passes over Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and California / Mexico, and night time passes over the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the USA, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. Several night sequences feature the fabulous Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and watch out for the Milky Way, and thunderstorms at night over mid-West USA.

    Photograph sequences were taken by the crews of Expedition 30 and Expedition 31 on board the International Space Station (ISS) between December 2011 and June 2012. Images courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center,

    Read more:

    #science #scienceeveryday #sciencesunday #earth #timelapse  
  • 388 plusses - 33 comments - 125 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-26 15:46:02
    Special characters on Googleplus
    A lot of people have asked 'How do I insert special characters?' and there are shortcuts and combinations of keys to be pressed which a number of people have posted about.

    But I remembered this site which has all the characters one could possibly need, and decided to post it here. (please note I am in no way associated with this site!)

    ✔ Have a ☕ and enjoy these ❤. This is not a comprehensive screenshot ✌ so do take a look at the link...

    #googleplus #googleplushelp #googleplushelp #googleplustipsandtricks  
  • 225 plusses - 67 comments - 189 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-04 08:01:51
    How fast is Spaceship Earth traveling through space? : The answer is not as simple as one would assume. Because all motion is relative. So it could be a variety of different answers. Depending on the frame of reference, the answer could be zero or a variety of different answers. We do know that everything is moving. The Earth, the Sun, the Milky way, the local galactic cluster..... all of it. Read on to look at the motion from different perspectives....

    Article Extract: The problem with motion is that “true motion” doesn’t exist.  The best we can do is talk about “relative motion” and that requires something else to reference against.  What you consider to be stationary (what you chose to define your movement with respect to) is a matter of personal choice.  The universe isn’t bothered one way or the other.

    Relative to the Earth: The Earth turns on its axis (you may have heard), and that amounts to about 1,000 mph at the equator.  The farther you are from the equator the slower you’re moving.  This motion can’t be “ignored using relativity”, since relativity only applies to constant motion in a straight line, and movement in a circle is exactly not that.On a planetary scale it’s responsible for shaping global air currents.

    Relative to the Sun: The Earth orbits the Sun at slightly different speeds during the year; fastest around new years and slowest in early July (because it’s farther from or closer to the Sun respectively).  But on average it’s around 66,500 mph.  By the way, the fact that this lines up with our calendar year (which could be argued to be based on the tilt of the Earth, which dictates the length of the day) to within days is a genuine, complete coincidence.  This changes slowly over time, and in several thousand years from now it will no longer be the case.

    Relative to the Milky Way: The Sun moves through the galaxy at somewhere around 52,000 mph.  This is surprisingly tricky to determine.  There’s a lot of noise in the the speed of neighboring stars (It’s not unusual to see stars with a relative speed of 200,000 mph) and those are the stars we can see the clearest.  Ideally we would measure our speed relative to the average speed of the stars in the galactic core (like we measure the speed at the equator with respect to the center of the Earth), however that movement is “sideways” and in astronomy it’s much much easier to measure “toward/away” speed using the Doppler effect.  Of the relative speeds mentioned in this post, the speed of our solar system around the galaxy is the only one that isn’t known very accurately.

    Relative to the CMB: The Milky Way itself, along with the rest of our local group of galaxies, is whipping along at 550 km/s (1.2 million mph) with respect to the Cosmic Microwave Background.

    Article Link and source:

    Spaceship Earth concept:

    Spaceship earth from Discovery:

    From Urban Astronomer :

    Rotational motion (NASA) :

    Earlier post on spaceship earth:

    Our solar system's tail :

    Does the sun rotate? :

    Pics courtesy: Main pic on left - Pic right top - from NASA via Pic right center: The solar system is not a vortex (artist's impression) - from Right bottom - from Chandra

    #space #science #earth #spaceship #speed #relativemotion  
  • 253 plusses - 61 comments - 173 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-15 11:28:54
    Thorne-Zytkow objects : Still not 'news' but astronomers have a candidate for a Thorne-Zytkow object. What is it? When a superdense neutron star is captured by a red giant or supergiant star. One star is then nested in the other. This was first theorized in 1975, but no such star had been found...yet..... read on!

    Article Extract: Once the neutron star is eaten, it settles in the core of the supergiant, interrupting normal fusion processes inside the star’s guts. This, according to the theorists, should create a very specific chemical signature in the “host” star’s chemical make up. What’s more, there should be a few dozen Thorne-Żytkow object specimens in our galaxy.

    Emily Levesque, of the University of Colorado in Boulder, has reported the discovery of another Thorne-Żytkow object candidate, the strongest candidate to date. Levesque announced her discovery at the 223rd American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., but fell short of naming the particular star as her research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    What is known, however, is that the star is one of 22 supergiants surveyed in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy next door to the Milky Way, by the Magellan telescopes in Chile. The mystery oddball stellar behemoth has elevated quantities of lithium, rubidium and molybdenum — elements that are theorized to arise from the presence of a neutron star inside a red supergiant, forcing the old star to carry out different forms of fusion processes.

    Article Link:

    Nature Article :

    Abstract from paper:

    Wikipedia link:

    Pics from Nature : Thorne-Zytkow objects could form when a red giant swallows a neutron star (right). John Foster/Science Photo Library

    #stars #science #physics #astronomy  
  • 418 plusses - 33 comments - 62 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-04 15:26:34
    Wireless electricity : Wireless electricity is pretty safe. In 1899,  Nikola Tesla built a 142-foot-tall, 12-million-volt electric coil in Colorado Springs and transmitted electricity wirelessly across 25 miles, illuminating 200 lamps with the charge. After he flipped the switch, flashes of lightning leaped from the coil, but no one was harmed.

    In 2006, Marin Soljacic, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sent wireless electricity across a room to light a 60-watt bulb. Soljacic used electromagnetic induction, but with a twist. By tuning the sending and receiving coils in his electromagnetic field to resonate at the same frequency and engage only at that frequency (the way glass will shatter when struck by sound waves of just the right pitch), the current is focused and bypasses everything else, humans included. Resonant coupling, as Soljacic's process is known, is far more efficient than Tesla's attempts, and safer too.

    Article Link:

    Earlier post on wireless power reaching the tipping point :

    Related article:

    Fun with lightbulb trick :

    Soljacic's company :

    Pic courtesy: (Medical use : )
  • 279 plusses - 61 comments - 131 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-15 05:45:56
    3D Printed Moon base

    The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking to build a lunar base with 3D printing using local materials on the moon. The 3D structures are built layer-by-layer. The lunar material would be combined with magnesium oxide, which turns it into a "paper" to be printed with. Then, for the "ink," a binding salt is added to transform the material into a solid. The architects are trying to create a structure that can handle the harsh weather and environment that the moon can have. “3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” said Scott Hovland of ESA’s human spaceflight team.

    Dini's Plans for a Moonbase
    Dini has lunar plans for the D-shape, and is in discussions with La Scuola Normale Superiore, Norman Foster (a UK architecture firm), and Alta Space, as part of the Aurora program run by the European Space Agency (ESA), to build a modified D-Shape that could use lunar regolith (moon dust) to build a moon base. Dini will carry out trials in a vacuum chamber at Alta Space’s facility in Pisa to ensure the process is possible in a low-atmosphere environment such as the moon.

    Giant NASA spider robots could 3D print lunar base
    Sintering is quite cheap, in terms of power as well as materials, and an Athlete rover should be able to construct a bubble volume in only two weeks, Rousek estimates. He said: "It would have a very good cost-value ratio as you don't need to import as much material from Earth. The whole expandable module, with the membranes to cover the base when built, would be carried by the same rocket that would bring other modules of the outpost, but it can build a volume four times bigger than a rigid cylindrical module. Since we don't have the necessary transport capacity to the Moon at the moment, estimating a price now would be very inaccurate.

    ESA program article link:

    Dini's ESA program link:

    NASA Spiderbot 3D program link:

    NASA official program page:

    #science #scienceeveryday #moon #moonbases #robots #robotics #3dprinting #base #space #exploration  
  • 290 plusses - 52 comments - 97 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-28 05:03:09
    When will wireless power reach the tipping point?

    If you’re waiting to see when wireless power will hit the mass market, then you’re not alone. Delivering power wirelessly is perhaps one of the most hyped, long anticipated changes to the way we design and use products and machinery since the invention of electricity itself. But if you’ve been watching this space, you’ll know these solutions have been slow in coming to market and are anything but commonplace.

    Why is that? What’s it going to take for this technology to hit the mainstream? Over the past two years we have witnessed first generation implementations of wireless power, mostly in the smartphone after-market. These come in the form of sleeves and charging pads but are rarely sighted amongst early adopters. Each claims to be supporting the best technology — the one that will lead the world in becoming completely unplugged. Yet, in my view, what we have seen and heard so far are a combination of impossible claims and poor end-user functionality.

    WiTricity CEO Eric Giler imagines a future where power devices are embedded in the walls and carpets of homes, making for a truly wire-free household. He says with a big enough power supply and small wireless repeaters, one could even power a grocery store or office building. Conventional charging devices such as the cord for a cell phone use electromagnetic induction to transmit power. Through electromagnetic induction, an electric current is sent through a magnetic field generated by a power conductor to a smaller magnetic field generated by a receiving device. (See related quiz: "What You Don't Know About Electricity")

    Eric Giler demo: Eric Giler demos wireless electricity

    Article Link:

    Natgeo article:

    WiTricity website: (MIT commercial venture).

    Thanks to +James Brine  and +Jonah Miller for mentioning Tesla.... well it got me thinking and researching!

    #science #scienceeveryday #sciencesunday #electricity #wireless #wirelesscharging #wirelesselectricity  
  • 234 plusses - 47 comments - 116 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-08-25 06:53:37
    The Science behind the Eternal Shelf Life of Honey : Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey. Honey can remain preserved in a completely edible form, and while you wouldn’t want to chow down on raw rice or straight salt, one could ostensibly dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old. Moreover, honey’s longevity lends it other properties–mainly medicinal–that other resilient foods don’t have.

    “Honey in its natural form is very low moisture. Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die. They’re smothered by it, essentially.” What Harris points out represents an important feature of honey’s longevity: for honey to spoil, there needs to be something inside of it that can spoil. With such an inhospitable environment, organisms can’t survive long enough within the honey to have the chance to spoil. Honey is also naturally extremely acidic. “It has a pH that falls between 3 and 4.5, approximately, and that acid will kill off almost anything that wants to grow there,” Harris explains. So bacteria and spoil-ready organisms must look elsewhere for a home–the life expectancy inside of honey is just too low.

    Nectar, the first material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very high in water–anywhere from 60-80 percent, by Harris’ estimate. But through the process of making honey, the bees play a large part in removing much of this moisture by flapping their wings to literally dry out the nectar. On top of behavior, the chemical makeup of a bees stomach also plays a large part in honey’s resilience. Bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose oxidase (PDF). When the bees regurgitate the nectar from their mouths into the combs to make honey, this enzyme mixes with the nectar, breaking it down into two by-products: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. “Then,” Harris explains, “hydrogen peroxide is the next thing that goes into work against all these other bad things that could possibly grow.”

    A jar of honey’s seal, it turns out, is the final factor that’s key to honey’s long shelf life, as exemplified by the storied millennia-old Egyptian specimens. While honey is certainly a super-food, it isn’t supernatural–if you leave it out, unsealed in a humid environment, it will spoil. As Harris explains, ” As long as the lid stays on it and no water is added to it, honey will not go bad. As soon as you add water to it, it may go bad. Or if you open the lid, it may get more water in it and it may go bad.”

    Article Link:

    More about honey as an antibiotic :

    #science #scienceeveryday #honey #bees #chemistry  
  • 147 plusses - 80 comments - 151 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-24 04:18:00
    Swarm robotics

    Swarm robotics is a technological technique of using multiple simple robots to work as a team and follow instructions. This technology has been greatly inspired by the nature. There are many animals, insects and fishes which live in a swarm.

    If you've ever seen a trail of ants streaming up a wall or over a counter, you'd be forgiven for thinking they were working in strict, militant harmony. Not so. A robotic test bed developed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark shows that this apparent order can emerge in artificial bodies following just a few simple rules.

    Symbrion (Symbiotic Evolutionary Robot Organisms) is a project funded by European Commissions to develop a framework in which a homogeneous swarm of miniature interdependent robots can co-assemble into a larger robotic organism to gain problem-solving momentum. One of the key-aspects of Symbrion is inspired by the biological world: an artificial genome that allows to store and evolve (sub)optimal configurations in order to achieve an increased speed of adaptation.

    Dr Roderich Gross, head of the Natural Robotics Lab, in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield, says swarming robots could have important roles to play in the future of micromedicine, as 'nanobots' are developed for non-invasive treatment of humans. On a larger scale, they could play a part in military, or search and rescue operations, acting together in areas where it would be too dangerous or impractical for humans to go. In industry too, robot swarms could be put to use, improving manufacturing processes and workplace safety.

    Sources: Wikipedia., Newscientist,

    Further reading:

    Alicebots on NewScientist:

    Reference :

    #science #scienceeveryday #robots #robotics #swarm #swarming #artificialintelligence  
  • 212 plusses - 33 comments - 128 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-02 05:48:12
    Want a better G+ experience? ..... Here is how.... add this circle!

    My VIP circle of top engagers melded with the circle of people who are my friends, supporters and essentially those who make what G+ is for me.

    Wonderfully supportive of my writing, posting and most of them are now close friends. When I started out, it was all about engagement, I did not expect so many friends! (I may have missed some people here due to oversight, please just comment and I will rectify it. No sleight is intended).

    Thank you all for being who you are and for the wonderful time on Googleplus!! Share if you like the circle :)

    #sharingcircle #vip #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #sharingiscaring #awesomepeople #awesomesauce #topcircles #circle #circleshare #suggesteduserlist  
  • 139 plusses - 262 comments - 68 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-01-08 03:47:26
    Scientific illustrator Danny Quirk creates breathtaking anatomical illustrations on peoples bodies using Sharpie markers and acrylic on latex.

    Description of Danny's work on his blog
    My anatomical works combine classic poses, in dramatic chiaroscuro lighting, with a very contemporary twist... illustrating what's underneath the skin, and the portrayed figure dissects a region of their body to show the structures that lay beneath. 

    Article h/t:

    Original Artist blog:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #scienceart  
  • 232 plusses - 37 comments - 107 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-20 06:24:53
    Theia : One of the most favored theories which explains the formation of the Moon involves a collision with a large Mars-sized planet called Theia. The impactor not only increased the size of Earth, it also gave us a large Moon, vital to life on our planet.

    Article extract: The giant impact hypothesis states that the Moon was formed out of the debris left over from a collision between the Earth and a body the size of Mars, approximately four and a half billion years ago. Supporting evidence includes: the Earth's spin and Moon's orbit having similar orientations, Moon samples indicating the surface of the Moon was once molten, the Moon's relatively small iron core, lower density compared to the Earth, evidence of similar collisions in other star systems (that result in debris disks), and that giant collisions are consistent with the leading theories of the formation of the solar system. Finally, the stable isotope ratios of lunar and terrestrial rock are identical, implying a common origin.

    From : New research potentially plugs a big hole in the giant impact theory, long the leading explanation for the moon's formation. Previous versions of the theory held that the moon formed primarily from pieces of a mysterious Mars-size body that slammed into a proto-Earth — but that presented a problem, because scientists know that the moon and Earth are made of the same stuff. The two studies both explain how Earth and the moon came to be geochemical twins. However, they offer differing versions of the enormous smashup that apparently created Earth's natural satellite, giving scientists plenty to chew on going forward.

    Video link: Early Earth Collision with Minor Planet


    Paper in Nature :

    Pic detail ( : This artist's conception of a planetary smashup whose debris was spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in 2009 gives an impression of the carnage that would have been wrecked when a similar impact created Earth's moon. Image released Oct. 17, 2012. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    #science #Earth #moon  
  • 290 plusses - 95 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-11-19 05:01:16
    Bacterial Evolution : How Bacteria evolve and behave may answer many questions about life itself. These ancient organisms evolved since the beginning of biology on Earth, and some of the mysteries of our existence is locked in their code. Researchers are just starting to understand some of the basic goals of such organisms, and the findings are fascinating and quite interesting.

    Evolution Never Stops : Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world. That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century. Day after day — including holidays and weekends — workers in Lenski's lab at Michigan State University in East Lansing feed and care for the E. coli bacteria. The bacteria eat and divide again and again. The original microbes have produced more than 50,000 generations over the last 25 years. It turns out, though, that the bacteria haven't stopped evolving, and it looks like they never will, according to a in the journal Science.

    DNA Grabbing Bacteria : Lab tests involving microbes and a mammoth bone have shown that bacteria can passively soak up the genetic remains of long-dead organisms from the environment and add them to their own genomes. By absorbing snippets of DNA that float in the environment, bacteria can access a junk shop of genetic material – some of which may no longer be in circulation in living things. What's more, the mechanism requires hardly any cellular machinery, suggesting it may be left over from the earliest forms of life. Long before the advent of sex, the first cells may have randomly scavenged stray bits of DNA to survive and evolve.

    Bacteria join forces to create electricity : Bacterial cells use an impressive range of strategies to grow, develop and sustain themselves. Despite their tiny size, these specialized machines interact with one another in intricate ways. The research group demonstrates that the light-sensitive green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium can act in tandem with Geobacter, an anode respiring bacterium. The result is a light-responsive form of electricity generation.

    Bacterial hyperswarms : Posted concurrently at describes how watching Bacteria evolve may be useful in combating resistance.
    Article link for Evolution never stops:

    Additional link:

    Related research link:

    Article Link for DNA Grabbing Bacteria:

    Related research link:

    Article link for Bacteria join forces to create electricity:

    Related article:

    Additional reference (bacterial evolution) :

    Pics detail: Pic on left : Bacterial evolution offers clues to tradeoffs in financial investments, from Kurzweil AI. Pic on right: The Evolution of the Flagellum (from evolutionarymechanism)

    #science #scienceeveryday #evolution  
  • 192 plusses - 158 comments - 73 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-02-09 15:05:25
    Concept Car which uses photosynthesis!

    SAIC YeZ Concept Car inhales C02, emits Oxygen

    Love this concept; how often do you hear Car and Photosynthesis in the same sentence?

    The concept vehicle features solar panels, which are located on the rooftop and small wind turbines, placed on its wheels. Besides the solar panels, the roof of the YeZ will benefit from an innovative system that will capture carbon dioxide from the surrounding air and then release oxygen in the atmosphere.

    The electric energy generated by the solar panels and the wind turbines it’s going to be stored in onboard batteries that will power the vehicle. No technical specifications are available, since the YeZ concept is only a dream of eco-friendly cars that will be used in 2030.

    Not much info has been made available in the YeZ, but SAIC claims it will “work during both sunny and overcast days while also being able to leverage wind power”, enabling “mobility with zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Unless solar panel efficiency evolves massively in the next two decades, we expect the YeZ will have a regular appointment at the powerpoint, but, that isn't all that bad.

    Gizmag Article:

    Article on SAIC:

    Additional information:

    Video Link: Why SAIC's Yez Concept Car is a landmark automobile

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #photosynthesis   #car   #technology   #vehicle   #green   #sustainability  
  • 258 plusses - 61 comments - 75 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-10 13:03:43
    How The CIA Tried To Turn A Cat Into A Cyborg Spy

    Misadventure though it was, the agency's Operation Acoustic Kitty was a visionary idea 50 years ahead of its time.

    n the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency recruited an unusual field agent: a cat. In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon transformed the furry feline into an elite spy, implanting a microphone in her ear canal and a small radio transmitter at the base of her skull, and weaving a thin wire antenna into her long gray-and-white fur. This was Operation Acoustic Kitty, a top-secret plan to turn a cat into a living, walking surveillance machine. The leaders of the project hoped that by training the feline to go sit near foreign officials, they could eavesdrop on private conversations.

    The problem was that cats are not especially trainable—they don’t have the same deep-seated desire to please a human master that dogs do—and the agency’s robo-cat didn’t seem terribly interested in national security.

    Operation Acoustic Kitty, misadventure though it was, was a visionary idea just 50 years before its time. Today, once again, the U .S. government is looking to animal-machine hybrids to safeguard the country and its citizens. In 2006, for example, DARPA zeroed in on insects, asking the nation’s scientists to submit “innovative proposals to develop technology to create insect-cyborgs.”

    Consider two of the tiny, completely synthetic drones that engineers have managed to create: The Nano Hummingbird, a flying robot modeled after the bird, with a 6.5-inch wingspan, maxes out at an 11-minute flight, while the DelFly Micro, which measures less than 4 inches from wingtip to wingtip, can stay airborne for just 3 minutes.

    Article Link:

    Additional link:

    #caturday #cats #robots #spy #science #scienceeveryday #kitty #surveillance #robotics  
  • 243 plusses - 48 comments - 88 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-03-18 23:02:05
    Henry Segerman’s Mathematical Sculptures

    To say that Henry Segerman is schooled in mathematics is an understatement. The 33-year-old research fellow at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, earned a master’s degree in math at Oxford and then a doctorate in the subject at Stanford. But the mathematician moonlights as an artist. A mathematical artist. Segerman has found a way to illustrate the complexities of three-dimensional geometry and topology—his areas of expertise—in sculptural form.

    First things first…three-dimensional geometry and topology? “It is about three-dimensional stuff, but not necessarily easy to visualize three-dimensional stuff,” says Segerman, when we talk by phone. “Topology is sort of split along low-dimensional stuff, which usually means two, three and four dimensions, and then high-dimensional stuff, which is anything higher. There are fewer pictures in the high-dimensional stuff.”

    Since 2009, Segerman has made nearly 100 sculptures that capture, as faithfully as is physically possible, some of these hard-to-grasp lower-dimensional mathematical concepts.He uses a 3D modeling software called Rhinoceros, typically used to design buildings, ships, cars and jewelry, to construct shapes, such as Möbius strips, Klein bottles, fractal curves and helices. Then, Segerman uploads his designs to, one of a few 3D printing services online. “It is really easy,” he says. “You upload the design to their Web site. You hit the ‘add to cart’ button and a few weeks later it arrives.”

    Article Link:

    #science #scienceeveryday #art #3dprinting #3ddesign #scienceart  
  • 274 plusses - 35 comments - 61 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-11-17 06:56:36
    Synchronicity : We are always living slightly behind reality. While this is just a few milliseconds, it's still something which is quite interesting.

    Article Extract: "Time" is something that both philosophers and physicists have been wondering for about, well, a long time. And now, the neuroscientists have joined in. They have found a man who, when he looks at you, hears what you are saying to him before your lips move.

    About two to three months after the onset of the myaesthenia gravis, Mr PH noticed something strange about his daughter's TV sets. He was hearing people on the TV speak before he saw the lips move and he said to his daughter: "Hey, you've got two TVs that need sorting!" But the TVs were fine. Instead, something odd was happening to the timing circuits inside his brain. Now you might not realise this, but in terms of vision you are always living 0.3 second (or 300 milliseconds) behind reality. That's how long it takes between when the incoming light lands on the cells in your retina, and you get that full magnificent wraparound 3D colour sensation that we call vision.

    We don't notice this delay in reality because we have evolved to be able to deal with this. We can anticipate actions or patterns through experience. Now it turns out that it also takes time for the incoming audio signals from our ears to be processed. If you've ever dealt with audio and video computer files, you would know that the audio files are much much smaller than the video files. So in the case of the human brain, when the Brodmann areas associated with hearing, areas 41 and 42, start processing the incoming audio information, they can do so quite quickly, because the amount of data is rather small. Normally, we process this audio information in just 100 milliseconds.

    So how come we normally see the lips moving at the same time as we hear the voice? Almost certainly, it's because our brain deliberately inserts a delay of about 200 milliseconds on the audio circuit.

    Why does vision take so long to resolve? : There's a lot that has to happen inside your head. First, the rods or the cones in your retina turn the incoming light into electricity. Then the remaining nine layers of cells in the retina compress and process that electricity. By this time, your retina 'knows' the difference between a horizontal bar in your field of view and a vertical bar. Furthermore, your retina 'knows' if it's a white bar on a black background or vice versa. Then the compressed signal gets sent along the optic nerves to some sections of your brain right at the back of your skull called the Brodmann areas 17, 18 and 19. These then decompress and deconvolute the electrical information to give you this thing we call 'vision'. This all takes a significant amount of time — 300 milliseconds.

    Article Link:

    Audio of story:

    When your Ears and Eyes are out of Synch:

    Research paper:

    Related link :

    #science #synchronicity  
  • 139 plusses - 89 comments - 117 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-12-20 11:05:31
    Concept Waterscraper

    For the last five years, eVolo Magazine has hosted a futuristic skyscraper design competition. Usually, the entrants imagine giant buildings taller than anything under construction today. However, the most impressive entry in this year's competition goes the opposite route, by dropping the building straight into the sea. This floating building would generate its own electricity and food, house thousands, and plunge deep beneath the waves.

    Designed by Sarly Adre bin Sarkum of Malaysia, the waterscraper would be about as tall as the Empire State Building, but with only a couple of stories exposed above the surface. The whole building would be a self-sufficient, floating, arcology. Wind, solar, and wave power would provide energy, hydroponics and the green space at the top would provide food and oxygen, and the structure would provide housing, work spaces, and areas for recreation.

    Ballast tanks would keep the structure level, like in a submarine, as would the tentacles. The tentacles would also move around in the ocean tides, generating electricity from kinetic energy.

    Adre bin Sarkum deliberately designed this building to contrast with the skyscrapers that dominate the rest of the competition, and to highlight sustainable architecture.

    Obviously, no one has any plans to build anything remotely like this. But if global warming throws us into a WaterWorld like future, Adre bin Sarkum's aqua-condo looks like much sweeter digs than a rickety boat captained by a urine-drinking fish-man.

    Article link:

    #science   #concept   #architecture
  • 221 plusses - 39 comments - 82 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-05 03:51:24
    Brinicle: Icy death: What's cooler than being cool? Brine-cold. When salt-rich water leaks out of sea ice, it sinks into the sea and can occasionally create an eerie finger of ice called a brinicle. New research explains how these strange fingers of ice form and how the salty water within sea ice could have been a prime environment in which life may have evolved.

    When sea ice freezes, the salt and other ions in the water is excluded from the water crystals, said study author Bruno Escribano, a researcher at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics in the Basque Country in northern Spain. This salt-heavy brine accumulates in fractures and compartments within the sea ice. (Typically the sea ice forms over water, so a number of creatures live under the sea ice).

    Inevitably, however, sea ice cracks, and the brine leaks out. The brine itself is colder than the freezing point of seawater, since salt-rich water freezes at lower temperatures (hence the reason people put salt on icy sidewalks in the winter, enabling the ice to remain a liquid when it's below freezing).

    Since the concentration of water in the brine is lower than that in the ocean — and water moves from high to low concentrations, via osmosis — water is attracted to the brine. But the brine is so cold that the water freezes, forming a descending tube of ice.

    Article Link:

    Video Link (with commentary) : Brinicle- Sinking Brine (BBC's Frozen Planet).

    Research Article:

    Additional source:

    Wikipedia Link:

    Pic Detail: A brinicle grows from the ice sheet above in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Over the course of 12 hours, it descends to the seafloor below, then extends another 20 feet along the sea bed, trapping anything it touches in ice. Most creatures here move far too slowly to escape its path of death.

    #science #scienceeveryday #brine #ice #physics  
  • 227 plusses - 54 comments - 70 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-20 10:27:19
    Is the mass of Earth increasing? : An interesting question which someone once asked me on a post which got me thinking. Yes due to a number of factors, and No due to an equal number of factors. Logically speaking, since there are a number of factors, we need to do some math...

    Article Extract: Using some back-of-the-envelope-style calculations, Dr Smith, with help from physicist and Cambridge University colleague Dave Ansell, drew up a balance sheet of what's coming in, and what's going out. All figures are estimated. By far the biggest contributor to the world's mass is the 40,000 tonnes of dust that is falling from space to Earth, says Dr Smith.

    Another much less significant reason the planet is gaining mass is because of global warming. Nasa has calculated that the Earth is gaining energy due to rising temperatures. Dr Smith and his colleague Mr Ansell estimate this added energy increases the mass of Earth by a tiny amount - 160 tonnes.

    Population growth and new buildings are not a factor, because both of these are actually made up of existing matter on the planet.

    The Earth's core is like a giant nuclear reactor that is gradually losing energy over time, and that loss in energy translates into a loss of mass. But there is something else that is making the planet lose mass. Gases such as hydrogen are so light, they are escaping from the atmosphere. "Physicists have shown that the Earth is losing about three kilograms of hydrogen gas every second. It's about 95,000 tonnes of hydrogen that the planet is losing every year.

    Overall, Dr Smith has calculated that the Earth - including the sea and the atmosphere - is losing mass.

    Article Link:

    Read more about Cosmic dust:

    Frasier Cain's article in Universetoday:

    The meteor dust showered Earth for months:

    Earth Shape change (paper) :

    #science #earth #mass

    Pic courtesy : 101Spacetime (blog).
  • 264 plusses - 64 comments - 42 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-16 10:04:43
    3D Printed Prosthetic arm : It does capture the imagination and is a wonderful idea. The Nottingham researchers have revealed some exciting possibilities.

    Article extract: 3D printing can render everyday artefacts in clear plastic, so we can see in unprecedented detail how they work – and this exquisite model of a prosthetic arm is a brilliant example. It is one of the highlights at the London Science Museum's 3D printing exhibition. Designed by Richard Hague, director of the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Research Group at the University of Nottingham, UK, and his students the arm shows how the printers can create strong structure, mobile joints and delicate sensors – like spiral-shaped metal touch-detectors – all in one process.

    "It's a mock-up but it shows circuits that sense temperature, feel objects and control the arm's movement," says Hague. "3D printing gives us the freedom to make complex, optimised shapes, and our research aim is focused on printing-in electrical, optical or even biological functions."

    Article Link:

    Sciencemuseum link:

    Related link on 'Robohand' :

    Pics courtesy:

    #science #3dprinting #prosthetics  
  • 215 plusses - 16 comments - 69 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-22 08:29:54
    The woodpecker : Tongues that can be over double their body length, barbed, with a sensing mechanism, and a skull that can withstand 1000 Gees when slamming their beaks against wood . The woodpecker is indeed amazing!.

    In order to navigate the insect gallery, some woodpecker's tongue is so long it forks in the throat, goes below the base of the jaw, and wraps behind and over the top of the head, where the forks rejoin and insert in the bird's right nostril (below left) or around the eye socket. Within the entire length of woodpecker's tongue lies the "hyoid apparatus," a linear series of tiny bones sheathed in muscles and soft tissue; the ultra-thin hyoid bones, which fold up accordion-like along part of their length.The woodpecker's tongue also contains paired longitudinal muscles that move it side to side as the bird probes for food.

    Woodpeckers' head-pounding pecking against trees and telephone poles subjects them to enormous forces — they can easily slam their beaks against wood with a force 1,000 times that of gravity. (In comparison, Air Force tests in the 1950s pegged the maximum survivable g-force for a human at around 46 times that of gravity, though race-car drivers have reportedly survived crashes of over 100 G's.)

    Why Woodpeckers don't get concussion:

    Anatomy and Evolution of the Woodpecker's tongue:

    Woodpecker amazing facts:

    The family Picidae:

    #science #scienceeveryday #woodpecker #birds #tongue #skull #force #trauma #lpsamazinganimalfacts  
  • 146 plusses - 33 comments - 102 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-01 08:52:44
    Well we have all debated if we are in the Matrix : But scientists are looking at testing the hypothesis. Some surprising parallels do exist - all matter is information, the pixellation in a computer can be likened to the smallest building blocks of all matter, and dark matter may well be one of the algorithms of such a simulation.

    Article extract: Three physicists at the University of Washington in Seattle are working on new ideas to test Bostrom’s “simulation hypothesis.” In a paper recently posted on arXiv, a scientific e-print service, University of Washington theoretical physicist Martin Savage and colleagues, note that the underlying lattice structure imprint of such quantum super-computer numerical simulations might involve dividing our observed space-time continuum into a “four dimensional grid.”

    Even though science fiction is rife with holographic realities and simulations used to both entertain and control, Bostrom says the fact that we may be living in a simulated universe wouldn’t mean that we’re any “less real” than biological entities in a non-simulated universe.

    Article extract:

    UW article:

    Arxiv paper:

    Symmetry magazine related article:

    Discovery article (related) :

    *Please note this is not a post to be talking about religion.

    Pic courtesy: the simulation issue, ufo mag.

    #science #scienceeveryday #simulation #computer  
  • 133 plusses - 50 comments - 100 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-09 09:43:05
    Volcanic lightning : For a long time, the lightning in volcanoes mystified people. Indeed some researchers risked life and limb to capture this phenomenon. Now scientists have duplicated this lightning in the lab. Fascinating indeed!

    Article Extract: Volcanic lightning, the researchers hypothesize, is the result of charge-separation. As positively charged ejecta makes its way skyward, regions of opposite but separated electrical charges take shape. A lightning bolt is nature's way of balancing the charge distribution. The same thing is thought to happen in regular-old thunderstorms. But this much is obvious, right? So what makes volcanic lightning different?

    Few scenes in nature give off menacing vibes as effectively as flashes of lightning dancing around a tower of ash being spewed angrily from the fiery maw of a volcano. It’s enough to catch the Eye of Sauron. Turbulent motion was the key to creating the miniature lightning discharges that flickered around the outside of the jet in large numbers.

    So what is it about the turbulent motion? There are a number of ways in which individual particles build positive or negative charges—mostly collision interactions—but those charges need to be separated to trigger an electric discharge. The turbulence creates a lot of complex motion that inevitably clusters particles together. If one cluster happens to be dominated by particles with negative charge and another is positive, you get lightning. When there are multiple sizes of particles, each behaves differently during the eruption, which can also help create charge separation.

    +Discovery News link:

    +Ars Technica Link and story :

    Youtube Video Link: Volcano Lightning in the Lab 1

    +National Geographic link:

    Research paper:

    Pics courtesy: Natgeo, Ars Technicia, Gizmodo.

    #volcano #lightning #science  
  • 167 plusses - 24 comments - 87 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-02-23 14:35:59
    Genetics reveals how conquerors affect populations : I saw this once on a program on the genome project. Though, the cases were more in the nature of random hits, a researcher was able to trace a number of people of Chinese descent... and confirm their linkage to Genghis Khan ; all through genetics.

    The story of our genes is the story of violence, of passion, of conquest and assimilation, as told in this article in Popular Science.

    Article Extract: Scientists have previously used genes to trace immigrations in the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. Now, an ambitious new project has attempted to use genetics to identify many of the major movements of humans over the last 4,000 years. The New York Times has a nice graphic showing how genes are able to trace populations. When two populations meet, they tend to mix genes. If two populations met recently, the pieces of DNA they inherit from one another tend to be large. If they met generations ago, then the pieces of DNA they inherit from each other are smaller.

    By measuring the sizes of different chunks of DNA in modern people, a team of geneticists and statisticians from the U.K. and Germany identified more than 100 major population movements. They saw the spread of Mongol genes across the Mongol empire, the appearance of European genes in Maya and Pima Indians during colonization, and the arrival of Cambodian genes at the fall of the Khmer empire. The scientists also made an interactive map where you can explore the ancestry of people around the world. The scientists never needed to consult historians to find evidence of these historical events, which is pretty cool.

    Article Link:

    Sciencemag (Genetic Atlas) :

    The interactive map (Read the instructions) :

    Pic courtesy : Spread of Mongol Empire. Astrokey44 on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 (from PopSci).

    #genes #history #tracingyourroots #science  
  • 184 plusses - 11 comments - 79 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-11-04 04:36:46
    Beginnings of Bionic
    Flexible, stretchable electronics could launch cyborg era

    Michael McAlpine’s shiny circuit doesn’t look like something you would stick in your mouth. It’s dashed with gold, has a coiled antenna and is glued to a stiff rectangle. But the antenna flexes, and the rectangle is actually silk, its stiffness melting away under water. And if you paste the device on your tooth, it could keep you healthy.

    The electronic gizmo is designed to detect dangerous bacteria and send out warning signals, alerting its bearer to microbes slipping past the lips. Recently, McAlpine, of Princeton University, and his colleagues spotted a single E. coli bacterium skittering across the surface of the gadget’s sensor. The sensor also picked out ulcer-causing H. pylori amid the molecular medley of human saliva, the team reported earlier this year in Nature Communications.

    At about the size of a standard postage stamp, the dental device is still too big to fit comfortably in a human mouth. “We had to use a cow tooth,” McAlpine says, describing test experiments. But his team plans to shrink the gadget so it can nestle against human enamel. McAlpine is convinced that one day, perhaps five to 10 years from now, everyone will wear some sort of electronic device. “It’s not just teeth,” he says. “People are going to be bionic.”

    McAlpine belongs to a growing pack of tech-savvy scientists figuring out how to merge the rigid, brittle materials of conventional electronics with the soft, curving surfaces of human tissues. Their goal: To create products that have the high performance of silicon wafers — the crystalline material used in computer chips — while still moving with the body. Beyond detecting bacteria to nip potential illnesses before they begin, such devices could comfortably monitor a person’s vital signs and deliver therapeutic treatments.

    Full Article:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #transhumanism   #cyborg  
  • 163 plusses - 27 comments - 80 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-17 03:46:09
    Kinematics modular robotic building blocks :  Fascinating toys for kids to learn about robotics and renewable energy. Highly recommended by a friend, this looks real fun as well!

    Article Extract: kinematics is a building block construction kit that allows children with no computer skills build interactive robots introducing them to mechanics, sensors and renewable energy. the modular kinetic parts and adaptor blocks were invented by leonhard oschütz at bauhaus university weimar developed through 3D printing technologies, which allowed them to easily draft up prototypes of the individual components. the construction system is composed from kinetic modules and adapter blocks which can easily be connected to one another freely without the use of cables. the major feature of the kit is that the components use an integrated servo motor that allows a variety of movements--three different modules for rotational, tilt and shift functions.

    The highly creative modular robotic system, Kinematics, allows a wide range of applications. It is possible to construct models based on bionics as well as autonomously moving vehicles – anything is possible. Only a few examples are available now but in the next couple months many new models will be added. All modules can be connected to each other by a 360° rotating-plug-connector. This feature enables the user to both create stable constructions and also guarantees integrated data and power transmission. Stability and wireless connectivity ensures the foolproof joining and separation of, the modules and allows many types of design and movement configurations.

    Article Link:

    Additional article source:

    Must watch YouTube video: Kinematics - Robotik für Kinder

    Additional link :

    The science behind Kinematics (Paper) :

    Link to MIT DRL wiki:

    Read more about modular robots:

    #science #scienceeveryday #toys #modular #robotics #kinematics  
  • 111 plusses - 13 comments - 109 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-08-17 06:37:01
    Shine On, You Crazy Levitating Diamond Particle : Physicists have floated microscopic diamonds in midair using laser beams. Researchers have already used lasers to levitate extremely small particles, such as individual atoms, but this is the first time that the technique has worked on a nanodiamond, which, in this case, measures just 100 nanometers (3.9 x 10-8 inches) across, or more than 1,000 times thinner than a fingernail.

    A laser beam, which is made up of photons, creates a tiny force that usually can't be felt. "If we turn on a light or open a door and feel the sun, we don't feel this push or pull," study researcher Nick Vamivakas said in a video released by the university. "But it turns out that if you focus a laser down with a lens to a very small region of space, it can actually pull on microscopic, nanoscopic particles." The team hopes the findings will have applications in quantum computing and, more theoretically, help explain how friction operates on extremely small scales.

    Article Link:

    Rochester orginal article:

    Youtube video: Optically Levitated, Glowing Diamonds for Nanoscale Research

    Additional link (photonics);

    #science #scienceeveryday #nanodiamonds #nanomaterials #photonics #physics
  • 126 plusses - 19 comments - 96 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-01 05:21:42
    Greening deserts with Seawater : The most remarkable thing about this little island of glass and greenery (Called the Sahara Forest Project) is that there is no external supply of either water or electricity – the plants are kept cool and watered using only sunlight and seawater.

    Some see this pilot project as the first step towards turning hundreds of square kilometres of parched coastal desert into fertile farms. The head of the project, Norwegian biologist Joakim Hauge, has an even bigger dream. He wants to do nothing less than revegetate the desert. And the claim isn't as crazy as it might sound.

    This greenhouse is different. For starters, whereas greenhouses in temperate lands are mostly for keeping crops warm, here in Qatar the main task is keeping them cool. This is done by evaporative cooling. The clever part is that no precious fresh water is wasted on this task; instead, it is done with seawater. The seawater will also be used to create algae farms and may be used for a fishery.

    Article Link:

    Additional link:

    #science #scienceeveryday #sciencesunday #greenliving #greenhouse #sustainability #greenenergy  
  • 145 plusses - 26 comments - 78 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-06 11:28:30
    Axolotl : The Axolotl is the Peter Pan of Salamanders. Other than its amazing regenerative properties, due to its low levels of growth hormones, it displays Neoteny. The Axolotl continues in its larval form throughout it's life. Inject this creature with Iodine, and it metamorphoses into what resembles a Tiger Salamander.

    Excerpt from : It is generally accepted that neoteny is a "backward" step in evolution, because the Axolotl is descended from what were once terrestrial salamanders, like the closely related species, the Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum and Ambystoma mavortium spp. (in fact, one likely theory suggests that the Axolotl is in fact a Tiger salamander off-shoot, as it can interbreed with that species with some success). Through some quirk of nature, a neotenous form developed and, probably due to environmental conditions, prospered. Neoteny is sometimes found in other amphibians, but tends to be caused by low levels of iodine (an essential element for animals to make thyroxine hormones, necessary for growth and development), or possibly by random genetic mutation. Research has also shown that very low temperatures can suppress the production of these hormones, thus also inducing neoteny.

    Except from Arkive: Axolotls usually never fully resemble an adult salamander. Unlike other amphibians, most axolotl fail to metamorphose, living permanently in water. Although it does develop lungs, the axolotl’s most bizarre feature is its retention of its branch-like gills. These are external projections from the neck on each side of the head. Each side has three branches covered with feathery filaments which increase the surface area for gas exchange.

    Wikipedia Link:


    Natgeo Link:


    Pic courtesy:

    #science #scienceeveryday #axolotl #regeneration #neoteny  
  • 135 plusses - 45 comments - 74 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-26 08:47:28
    Triton : Artificial Gills : More science fiction than science in the tech involved in this gadget. But its fascinating to think that someone has been working on this concept. The Wikipedia link as more. Other approaches including the diving beetle's method of breathing underwater and the BBC article are also linked at the end.

    Article Extract: Out of all the attributes that separate humans from fish, the ability to breathe underwater is one that makes us land dwellers most envious. So it's hard not to get worked up over word this past week that a Korean design student claims to have come up with a blueprint for a wearable device that can extract sufficient air from seawater, enabling just about anyone to breathe like a fish.

    Codenamed "Triton," the mysterious concept comes in the form of a small mouthpiece, reminiscent of the "rebreather" James Bond uses. It is designed to mechanically capture the oxygen gas present in water and store it in a compressed air tank.

    This problem is amplified thanks to sea water only containing 7 ppm of oxygen. As a result of this low concentration, 1,000 tonnes of sea water holds only 14 lbs. of O2. Since an average diver needs 1 quart of oxygen per minute, you would need 51 gallons of sea water per minute to pass through the ‘gills’.

    Article Link:

    Artificial gills from diving beetles:

    Wikipedia Link:

    Article (BBC) on 'LikeAFish' :

    #science #gills
  • 133 plusses - 46 comments - 74 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-02-10 05:54:53
    Bubble Physics : Computer simulations of bubbles helps in understanding fluid dynamics and much, much more. The humble bubble is fascinating indeed.

    Simulation of bursting bubbles : Pic on top right - In collaboration with the Technical University of Munich, scientists simulated 15,000 bursting bubbles using 6.4 million threads on Sequoia, the IBM machine at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory listed as the third-fastest supercomputer in the world. The simulation could lead to advances in kidney stone and cancer treatment as well as improvements in high pressure fuel injector technology. Collapsing bubbles could also be used to shatter kidney stones due to their high pressure. Collapsing bubbles could also be used to destroy tumorous cancer cells and to precisely deliver cancer drugs exactly where they are needed.  (

    UC Berkeley research : Two UC Berkeley researchers have now described mathematically the successive stages in the complex evolution and disappearance of foamy bubbles (the images right middle and bottom are based off of a computer-generated video that uses their equations). The work has applications in industrial processes for making metal and plastic foams (like those used to cushion bicycle helmets) and in modeling growing cell clusters, which rely on these types of equations. The problem with describing foams mathematically has been that the evolution of a bubble cluster a few inches across depends on what’s happening in the extremely thin walls of each bubble, which are thinner than a human hair. ( )

    Soap Bubble science : Soap bubbles can help to solve complex mathematical problems of space, as they will always find the smallest surface area between points or edges. A bubble can exist because the surface layer of a liquid (usually water) has a certain surface tension, which causes the layer to behave somewhat like an elastic sheet. However, a bubble made with a pure liquid alone is not stable and a dissolved surfactant such as soap is needed to stabilize a bubble. A common misconception is that soap increases the water's surface tension. Actually soap does the exact opposite, decreasing it to approximately one third the surface tension of pure water. Soap does not strengthen bubbles, it stabilizes them, via an action known as the Marangoni effect. As the soap film stretches, the surface concentration of soap decreases, which causes the surface tension to increase. ( )

    Bubbles as lenses : The main advantage of a bubble lens is just how quickly and easily researchers can reconfigure the bubble's location, size, and shape -- all of which affect the direction and focus of any light beam passing through it. Huang's team created separate simulations of the light beams and bubble lens to predict their behaviors and optimize conditions before combining the two in the laboratory. ( )

    Video Link: Meet the Scientists - Pop! The Sound of Bubbles

    UC Berkeley link :

    About Helen Czerski (bubble scientist) :

    Research paper on bubble lens:

    Wikipedia article on Soap bubbles:

    Main pic link on reddit:

    BBC link on the science of bubbles:

    #physics #science #bubble #bubbles #chemistry  
  • 125 plusses - 19 comments - 90 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-19 09:40:39
    Chocolate tempering : The chemistry of chocolate reveals that heating and cooling rapidly within certain specific temperature ranges gives rise to Type V crystals. This is what has the desirable traits of glossiness, longer shelf life and smooth mouth feel. (Of course you have to be careful not to burn it) Read on..

    Article extract: Crystallization of cocoa butter typically results in crystals of varying size. This causes the surface of the chocolate to appear mottled and matte, and causes the chocolate to crumble rather than snap when broken. The uniform sheen and crisp bite of properly processed chocolate are the result of consistently small cocoa butter crystals produced by the tempering process. The fats in cocoa butter can crystallize in six different forms (polymorphous crystallization). The primary purpose of tempering is to assure that only the best form is present. The six different crystal forms have different properties.

    Making chocolate considered "good" is about forming as many type V crystals as possible. This provides the best appearance and texture and creates the most stable crystals, so the texture and appearance will not degrade over time.

    Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate. Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, a type of phenolic. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes, but cocoa powder can contain up to 10% its weight in flavonoids.

    Heston Blumental on Chocolate tempering: heston blumenthal chocolate


    Pics courtesy: The food blog, tumblr and

    #science #chemisty #chocolate  
  • 130 plusses - 36 comments - 78 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-08-02 03:53:40
    Mirror Spider : Nicky Bay captured this shimmering spider as it transformed itself from a somewhat rhinestone-studded arachnid into a solid wall of spider mirror. The shiny, reflective patches on this spider’s abdomen may be produced by guanine crystals, which can be a source of structural color in arthropods. Also commonly referred to as a “sequined” spider, the arachnid is a member of the Thwaitesia genus. In a post on his website, Bay described how the shiny patches were initially quite small, perhaps because the spider was agitated. But as it chilled out, the spider's mirrored patches grew and grew, eventually forming a mesh of beautiful silver cells.

    Article Link and more pics:

    #arachnid #spider #mirror #science #scienceeveryday #biology  
  • 144 plusses - 30 comments - 72 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-27 10:50:58
    What is 'The Cosmological constant'? : Einstein first proposed the cosmological constant (not to be confused with the Hubble Constant) usually symbolized by the greek letter "lambda" (Λ), as a mathematical fix to the theory of general relativity. In its simplest form, general relativity predicted that the universe must either expand or contract. Einstein thought the universe was static, so he added this new term to stop the expansion. Friedmann, a Russian mathematician, realized that this was an unstable fix, like balancing a pencil on its point, and proposed an expanding universe model, now called the Big Bang theory. When Hubble's study of nearby galaxies showed that the universe was in fact expanding, Einstein regretted modifying his elegant theory and viewed the cosmological constant term as his "greatest mistake".

    . Since then increasingly accurate probes have confirmed to high precision the need for dark energy, but the nature of the dark energy is now the issue being investigated. As of 2010 the measured properties of dark energy remain consistent with those of a cosmological constant. However, massive observing efforts are underway to test whether this is the correct explanation for the acceleration or whether some other sort of dark energy, perhaps one that changes with time or one that is motivated by some form of quantum gravity, is needed to explain the acceleration we see.

    Article links and sources:


    UCLA Article: - what is dark energy? :

    Image source: NASA, Dark Energy by ~JerX88 on deviantART

    #space #constant #darkenergy #cosmological #constant #repulsion #expandinguniverse  
  • 108 plusses - 30 comments - 94 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-14 07:02:47
    Cats Recognize Their Owner’s Voice But Choose to Ignore It : Since they are our masters, they have obviously chosen the path of knowingly ignoring us! More than a definitive research, this is an interesting observation...

    Article extract: Cats, according to new research, recognize their owner’s voice. They just can’t be bothered to react to it. Researchers in Japan arrived at this conclusion after performing experiments with twenty house cats. They played recordings of the cats’ owners’ calling to their pets in whatever cat-talk voice they typically used. They also played recordings of three strangers calling to the cats, using the same words.

    To quantify the cats’ reactions, the researchers recorded how often cats moved their head, tail, paws or ears, or whether they meowed or dilated their pupils. While the cats showed a significantly greater response to their owners calling their names than to strangers doing so, they did not bother to get up in either instance, the researchers found. As the Independent explains, the authors think cats’ dismissive attitudes are a product of their evolutionary history over the past 9,000 years.

    Article Link:

    Research paper:

    Related article:

    Pic courtesy:

    #caturday #scienceeveryday #cats  
  • 185 plusses - 43 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-13 13:16:54
    Jumping Spider (Salticidae) : The ground-dwelling jumping spider is a fearsome beast. It can scale vertical surfaces with ease and spring 25 times its body length to nab prey. Its legs are the eight crucial tools responsible for the pounce, but until recently, the evolutionary origin of some of their structures was misunderstood. By comparing the legs of 330 species, German biologists determined that the sticky feather-like hairs at the end of the leg, called setae, evolved from hairy pads that originally helped the spiders wrangle food. Now, the hairs provide 32,000 contact points per leg, enabling the arachnids to walk up walls. Other appendages also help with the hunt: two claws for grasping and bristles that detect air currents, tastes, and smells. To jump, the spider directs its hemolymph to the legs. The sudden rush causes them to extend all at once, and the spider goes flying.

    Article Link:

    Wikipedia source:

    Video: jumping spider in action:

    Linked paper from JEB:

    Pic courtesy: Spider Leg, Jonas O. Wolff

    #science #jumpingspider #lpsamazinganimalfacts  
  • 174 plusses - 51 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-07-14 12:01:06
    Squito: A throwable camera prototype worth catching : Squito is a standalone device that can be launched skywards to capture panoramic views. It is a prototype throwable camera ball capable of producing stabilized 360-degree images and video that could prove useful in several different fields.

    Video Link : Squito™ Throwable 360° Panoramic Camera

    The throwable camera imagined and now prototyped by Hollinger is the size of a tennis ball, and employs three cameras, an inertial measurement unit (IMU), a microcontroller, and an image processor to pull off its impressive feat of capturing images along its airborne trajectories. All images and video are transmitted wirelessly to the user's computer, tablet, or smartphone. According to Hollinger, possible future uses for the Squito include "recreation, professional sports, architecture, reconnaissance, search-and-rescue, first responder scene assessment, landscape photography, projectile point-of-view, full spherical capture for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), and 3D mapping applications."

    Article Link:

    Article courtesy : Dave Parrack

    #photography #equipment #squito #camera #photo #panorama #throwablecam
  • 170 plusses - 20 comments - 59 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-03 05:56:38
    Physicists burst bubble mystery

    _With the help of high speed video, scientists have discovered that there is far more to bursting bubbles than meets the eye. Under the right conditions, a bursting bubble on a liquid surface does not simply vanish, but creates a perfect ring of tiny "daughter bubbles". This occurs as the ruptured bubble retracts into the liquid, forming a doughnut shape of trapped air. _

    Eventually, the daughter bubbles are sufficiently tiny that they rupture to form sharp "jets" that propel small aerosol droplets into the atmosphere. James Bird from Harvard University, who led the research, explained that his main interest was in the fundamental physics of how bubbles behave. But his discovery could eventually help to fine-tune many manufacturing processes.

    The scientists pointed that the finding could even have implications for health research - aerosol droplets from bursting bubbles have been implicated in the transmission of diseases in swimming pools and hot tubs.

    Article Link: (2010 article)

    This post is dedicated to +Rajini Rao's Birthday, and wishing her a very happy B'day!

    Video Description: the science of bubbles, how bubbles work and the amazing things we can do with them. That is exactly what my touring show for schools, museums, festivals... THE SECRET WORLD OF soap BUBBLES is all about.

    #science #scienceeveryday #happybirthdayrajinirao #Wolverine2WonderWomanHappyBD #bubbles #bubbleart #physics  
  • 156 plusses - 17 comments - 68 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-04 09:54:56
    Cat domestication : A new study points to the domestication of Cats beginning in China. I earlier posted about a study which assumed that the earliest domestication of cats to be in Egypt around 4,000 years ago (, though the study in PNAS looks at domestication 5300 years ago..... read on...

    Article Extract: The earliest evidence for cat domestication comes from Chinese farms dating to 5300 years ago, a new study confirms. It looks like China beat Egypt as being the first to discover the merits of cats. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pinpoint the early Chinese village of Quanhucun as being the likely ground zero for cat domestication.

    "Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored." She continues, "Results of this study show that the village of Quanhucun was a source of food for the cats 5300 years ago, and the relationship between humans and cats was commensal, or advantageous for the cats. Even if these cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual benefits."

    The researchers found that the cats were eating grain millet grown by the farmers. Yet another ate so much human-grown grain that the researchers suspect it was fed. The researchers also determined that farmers then were battling rodents, since they found an ancient rodent burrow into a grain storage pit and grain storage pots designed to be rodent proof. It probably didn't take long for the farmers to figure out that the cats went after the rats and mice, so they were good animals to keep around.

    Article Link:

    Research Paper:

    Additional link:

    Pic source: and

    #caturday #china #science #domestication  
  • 204 plusses - 34 comments - 25 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-02 13:13:05
    The World's Most Advanced Building Material Is... Wood : And it's also the most sustainable. While reading about how wood gets its strength by using the structural design of it's components, I was quite taken aback at how much of difference it makes. CLT is not new, but the recent applications are prompting architects and designers to call it "Wood on Steroids." Read on to know more!

    Article Extract: The Stadthaus tower’s strength and mass rely on a highly engineered material called cross-laminated timber (CLT). The enormous panels are up to half a foot thick. They’re made by placing layers of parallel beams atop one another perpendicularly, then gluing them together to create material with steel-like strength. “This construction has more in common with precast concrete than traditional timber frame design,” Thistleton says. Many engineers like to call it “plywood on steroids.”

    Why the sudden interest in wood? Compared with steel or concrete, CLT, also known as mass timber, is cheaper, easier to assemble, and more fire resistant, thanks to the way wood chars. It’s also more sustainable. Wood is renewable like any crop, and it’s a carbon sink, sequestering the carbon dioxide it absorbed during growth even after it’s been turned into lumber. Waugh Thistleton estimates that the wood in Stadthaus stores 186 tons of carbon while the steel and concrete for a similar, conventionally built tower would have generated 137 tons of carbon dioxide during production. Wood nets a savings of 323 tons.

    Matthew Linegar, the project director for Techniker, and the project engineer on Stadthaus, says 25-storey CLT buildings are achievable – and introducing a concrete core would enable one to go higher still, perhaps up to 50 stories. The sky, it appears, is the limit for CLT structures.

    Article Link (PopSci):

    Additional Link (NYT):

    (Research Paper) Use of CLT and analysis under fire:

    Guardian Link:

    Springer Research link on Cyclic loads:

    Video link (timelapse) : Bridport House - timelapse of the construction

    Link on warping (researchgate) :

    Wiley link:

    Pic link and detail:

    #wood #clt #science #strength #construction  
  • 139 plusses - 31 comments - 66 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-31 09:57:26
    2014 : Happy new year folks!!!.... I've taken the opportunity to wish you in a post and notifying all the people in my Notification circle and then some.

    A year of hope : In my opinion, we are on the cusp of some ground-breaking tech. Hopefully some of these will bear out in 2014. Rapid advances are being made in Sustainable energy, materials tech, Fusion ignition, robotics, transportation tech, biomemetics, medical science, chemistry and in understanding our own brain.... we are and will always be learning.

    It is a pleasure to explore this Universe and it's mysteries. We don't always know the answers, but its fun to speculate and think of the ramifications of discoveries made by people who push the envelope in learning about ourselves....

    *If you are notified and wish never to be notified ever again, let me know by commenting and or though a PM. If you wish to be notified (and are not currently being notified) let me know in a similar manner!!!

    [What I am trying to say (in an extremely roundabout way) is I've notified friends as well, who are not part of my notification circle, but if you wish to be in them, let me know]

    Pic detail: An electronic circuit that dissolves in the presence of water. From video by University of Illinois (
  • 150 plusses - 154 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-31 09:07:15
    3D Printed cast : While this has been shared before, the sheer beauty of this bio-inspired exoskeleton cast is something to wonder about. Its still in the concept stage, but has some unique characteristics which allow the patient's skin to breathe while giving support to the limb.

    Article extract: Cortex is a project that aims to replace casts, and get rid of all the sweaty, uncomfortable experiences that go along with them. As Jake Evill describes the issues behind this work, "After many centuries of splints and cumbersome plaster casts that have been the itchy and smelly bane of millions of children, adults and the aged alike, the world over, we at last bring fracture support into the 21st century. The Cortex Exoskeletal Cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localized support system that is fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and extremely cool!"

    Main link:

    Jake Evill's website with other projects:

    Article in Ubergizmo:

    NPR link:

    Jake Evills mention in school of design, Victoria, Wellington:

    #3dprinting #cast #cortex  
  • 170 plusses - 30 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-12 04:56:04
    4th rock from the Sun: Mars sits in the outer boundaries of the habitable zone in a solar system. Without a molten core (such as is found on Earth), it offers no protection by virtue of a magnetic field. Now NASA's MAVEN will attempt to answer some important questions; while Mars One plans to send people to Mars on a one-way trip. I personally prefer a much more elegant solution of Terraforming the planet using microbes ....

     *Inspiration Mars (Couples special)* : In 2018, the planets will align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars intends to send a two-person American crew—a man and a woman—on a journey to within 100 miles of Mars and return them to Earth safely. This quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. By using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station, Inspiration Mars intends to use this opportunity to focus on human endurance and psychology where the mission would set new precedents in human space exploration.

    Terraforming Mars : Transforming Mars will be a long and complicated process. First, greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons that contribute to the growing ozone layer on Earth, will be released into the atmosphere. This traps the heat from the Sun and raises the surface temperature by an average of 4 degrees C. The increasing temperature would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide in the south polar cap. Introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would produce additional warming, melting more of the polar cap until it has been vaporized completely. This would produce an average temperature rise of 70 degrees Celsius. With the temperature this high, ice will start melting, providing the water needed to sustain life. This water would raise the atmospheric pressure to the equivalent of some mountaintops. While this would be a survivable level, it may still require the use of an oxygen mask. The next step, which may take up to several centuries, would be to plant trees that thrive on carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

    Mars One : Five months after the Netherlands-based private spaceflight project Mars One announced it would begin accepting applications for a one-way trip to Mars. The first of four selection rounds ended August 31. There are even plans to launch a reality TV show to choose the final candidates. The goal is for 24 to 40 people to begin a seven-year training program in 2015. Then, working with the private space flight company SpaceX, Mars One hopes to send the prospective Martian settlers to the red planet in teams of four, beginning in 2023.

    Genetically engineered microbes may help settle Mars:

    Popsci related article:

    Earth's magnetic field:

    Inspiration Mars:

    Radiation sheilding (Inspiration Mars):

    Post on MAVEN :

    Terraforming Mars:

    Terraforming Mars (options) :

    Water on Mars:

    Article on (MAVEN) :

    Pic detail: Gale crater on Mars, pics courtesy

    #science #scienceeveryday #mars #colonization #humans #terraforming  
  • 148 plusses - 40 comments - 46 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-18 05:10:56
    More than just the Slipstream : This is not something we do not know about, but what is amazing is not only do birds use the slipstream when flying in formation, but use the leading edge vortex upwash to save energy. The lead birds have a higher heart rate, which translates to using up far more energy. We see the same fundamental principle used in cycling in peletons.

    Article Extract: the flying 'V' formation is believed to be ideal for energy and aerodynamics. A study published in Nature not only confirms this idea, but it also fills in the blanks of how and why birds use it. Most of what we know about the physics of flying comes from studying airplanes—birds push air down to stay aloft and glide through the air similarly. Wings also leave a vortex of air in their wake: air flowing off the top of the wingtips (upwash) creates lift, and air coming off the bottom (downwash) pushes down.

    Whether you’re a bird or a plane, you theoretically want to ride the small upwash part of the vortex. And the flying V configuration, the authors find, helps birds to do that.

    What comes naturally to birds actually requires great skill and precision. Trailing birds in the V follow the exact wingtip path of the bird ahead to catch their upwash. But, when directly behind another bird, they do the opposite and flap off beat, avoiding downwash. For various reasons, birds shuffle their positions in flight, changing their flapping rhythm in the process. “Somehow they can sense things that we can’t,” says Portugal. “How fast the bird [in front] is flying, how fast it’s flapping, so they can flap at the best possible time.” Racing cyclists similarly know to position themselves behind a lead rider to avoid drag and save energy.

    Article Link:

    Additional Link:

    Research Article:

    Video Link (must see) : Come fly with me

    Related earlier post (Earthflight) :

    More on the leading edge vortex: (related)

    Pics courtesy : Main pic on left (from Northern bald ibises in flight formation above Tuscany. (Photo: Markus Unsöld / Waldrappteam);,  and

    #science #flight #birds
  • 193 plusses - 34 comments - 20 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-14 07:57:36
    Tracking an aircraft : While there has been much consternation of the Malaysian airliner MH370 which has 'disappeared', the relatives of the people are understandably inconsolable. This does bring the whole tracking systems used into question. I decided to do some digging into the various technologies available. The system currently used is highly dependent on Radar, and a the transponder in the aircraft pinging back. Here is what I found.... it's open to discussion on cost etc, but there is a lot to digest.

    Article Extract: ACARS Messaging : Modern aircraft can communicate with airline operations bases and sometimes with the headquarters of its manufacturers automatically to send maintenance alerts known as ACARS messages. It was this system that sent out the hourly pings, apparently over several hours, the sources said. (Reuters: Honeywell detail on ACARS ( See more on the story.

    ADS-B : ADS-B, which consists of two different services, "ADS-B Out" and "ADS-B In", will be replacing radar as the primary surveillance method for controlling aircraft worldwide. In the United States, ADS-B is an integral component of the NextGen national airspace strategy for upgrading or enhancing aviation infrastructure and operations. (From +Wikipedia (More on ADS-B from )

    Radar : Radar only extends so far. Most of us  understand that air traffic controllers typically use radar to monitor a flight's progress. That's all very well over land. But radar also has a limited range, and you can't put a radar station in the middle of the ocean. So pilots often have to stay in contact through other means, such as periodic radio check-ins. In between check-ins, the controller has only a general idea of where a plane is and where it's headed. (from Washington Post

    Proba-V Tracking : s Proba-V has become the first satellite to pick up aircraft tracking signals, allowing aircraft across the globe to be followed in flight from space. Though Proba has been deployed to map vegetation growth. ESA Link

    Wi-Fi : WiFi would almost certainly have helped. Mobile devices on the plane would have been communicating with the Internet right up until its other communications systems went down. But Malaysia Airlines does not appear to offer in-flight WiFi.

    Iridium satellite constellation : The constellation consists of 66 active satellites in orbit, and additional spare satellites to serve in case of failure. Satellites are in low Earth orbit. (See Fueled by aircraft power and highly portable, the Iridium aircraft tracking devices provide aircraft operators with: automatic flight following, geofencing, two-way text messaging, emails and confirmation capabilities.Using Iridium-enabled technology, aircraft tracking units have made it possible for the DOI aircraft operators to transport personnel and cargo throughout the Alaskan region. (Edited article: )

    Using TV signals to track aircraft : Passive radar relies on existing signals, such as television and radio broadcasts, to illuminate aircraft. This involves using multiple antennas to listen out for signals from broadcast towers, and for reflections of those signals that have bounced off aircraft, and comparing the two. Passive radar requires a lot of processing power, but because there is no need for a transmitter, it ends up being cheaper than conventional radar.  See more at

    Flightradar : It's not a technology by itself but uses the ADS-B and Radar used by aircraft ( see aircraft here )

    Pics courtesy: Planefinder pic on right bottom:, Pic on left : From ESA, , Pic on right top: from

    #mh370 #flight #tracking #malaysiaairlines #technology  
  • 114 plusses - 94 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-30 04:59:50
    Li-Fi : While the tech is not new anymore, researchers are now saying they have been able to achieve amazing data transmission speeds; around 10 Gbits/s. Read on....

    Article extract: Li-Fi — that just-over-the-horizon wireless technology which could transform your everyday LED lighting fixtures into 10 Gbps wireless modems — has a lot of people talking these days. With a commercial product promised later this year and the tech already in beta, we might all be trippin' the lamplight fantastic real soon. Unlike wi-fi, or wireless fidelity, so-called “li-fi” transmits data through variations in light intensity. Researchers in China recently showed that, using a one-watt LED bulb, li-fi could connect four computers to the Internet at data transfer rates up to 150 megabits per second.

    Li-fi has drawbacks. The technology works only when the LED’s light can reach the gadget. Stray from the LED, and you lose your connection. On the plus side, the visible light spectrum can handle way more traffic than wi-fi’s already crowded radio spectrum. And any LED bulb can be a network connection.

    Article link:

    Dvice link:

    BBC link:

    Wikipedia link:

    Li-fi consortium:

    #lifi #technology #internet  
  • 131 plusses - 35 comments - 56 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-07 06:14:20
    The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body : It is a curious story, which I was not very sure of posting about. On reading further, I realized it's well-documented and there is a paper which talks about it. Strange indeed. The MRI also reveals some astonishing facts....

    Article Extract: After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. "She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this," wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

    An unusual find, wrote the scientists, University of Ottawa researchers Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier--this is the first person to be studied able to have this type of experience on demand, and without any brain abnormalities. Instead of an "out-of-body" experience, however, the researchers termed it a "extra-corporeal experience" (ECE), in part because it lacks the strong emotions that often go hand-in-hand. To better understand what was going on, the researchers conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of her brain. They found that it surprisingly involved a "strong deactivation of the visual cortex." Instead, the experience "activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery," such as mental representations of bodily movement.

    Article Link:

    Paper in FMRI:

    PubMed link:

    +Wikipedia  link:

    More on OBE from +Mother Nature :

    Pic courtesy:  Image Credit: Louish.Pixel @

    via .....

    #science   #outofbody   #biology   
  • 135 plusses - 74 comments - 36 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-29 16:31:31
    Accelerator on a chip : In a news article, which had me intrigued, I saw that Stanford researchers (with SLAC and DOE) had used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 time higher than in conventional comparable tech, in a nanostructured glass chip. While not yet ready for commercial use, this is just amazing.

    From sciencedaily: "We still have a number of challenges before this technology becomes practical for real-world use, but eventually it would substantially reduce the size and cost of future high-energy particle colliders for exploring the world of fundamental particles and forces," said Joel England, the SLAC physicist who led the experiments. "It could also help enable compact accelerators and X-ray devices for security scanning, medical therapy and imaging, and research in biology and materials science."

    In the accelerator-on-a-chip experiments, electrons are first accelerated to near light-speed in a conventional accelerator. Then they are focused into a tiny, half-micron-high channel within a fused silica glass chip just half a millimeter long. The channel had been patterned with precisely spaced nanoscale ridges. Infrared laser light shining on the pattern generates electrical fields that interact with the electrons in the channel to boost their energy. Turning the accelerator on a chip into a full-fledged tabletop accelerator will require a more compact way to get the electrons up to speed before they enter the device.

    From This initial demonstration achieved an acceleration gradient, or amount of energy gained per length of the accelerator, of 300 million electronvolts per meter. That's roughly 10 times the acceleration provided by the current SLAC linear accelerator.

    Article link:

    Stanford link:

    Research Article:

    Simultaneous related paper:

    #science #scienceeveryday #accelerator #physics  
  • 156 plusses - 18 comments - 47 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-03-08 20:07:15
    Cat plays with optical illusion

    Caturday post

    Not that you need an additional reason to watch a cat video, but this clip of a cat looking at an optical illusion could be scientifically valuable, too. YouTube user rasmusab posted the clip of a cat attacking a version of the rotating snakes illusion like it just saw a laser pointer aimed at the ground, suggesting the cat might've seen the wheels "spinning" and tried to get a paw on them. Now rasmusab's created a Google doc for people to replicate the experiment and report their findings. (We could get so many cat videos out of this experiment, you guys.) For the record, other studies have found that animals--owls, in particular--might see and respond to optical illusions the same way people do.

    this might be a tough experiment to get accurate results for--cats, after all, sort of seem to like paper in general, so it's tough to say if they're reacting to stimuli. But it's not like we could be against watching cat videos for science.

    Main Article:

    Rotating snakes pic: Rotating Snakes:  Akiyoshi Kitaoka via RIKEN BSI Neuroinformatics Japan Center

    #cat   #cats   #caturday   #science   #scienceeveryday   #sciencesunday   #opticalillusion  
  • 152 plusses - 18 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-11 11:37:19
    Life after the discovery of the Higgs Boson : After the Nobel prize has gone deservedly to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert for positing it's existence around 50 years back, its time to take stock of what the discovery means...

    A new headache for Physicists : For all the excitement the award has already generated, finding the Higgs — arguably the most important discovery in more than a generation — has left physicists without a clear roadmap of where to go next. While popular articles often describe how the Higgs might help theorists investigating the weird worlds of string theory, multiple universes, or supersymmetry, the truth is that no one is sure which of these models, if any, will eventually describe reality. The Standard Model is supposed to account for all known particles and their interactions, but scientists know that it’s incomplete.

    Why is the Higgs so light? : When the particle was found, its mass was also pinned down and, coming in at about 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), the Higgs is surprisingly light. If this mass is plugged into the standard model along with the masses of all the other known particles, it leads to a prediction that the universe is unstable. And that points to new physics, says Buchmueller. Obviously the universe is here now, so a light Higgs raises the prospect of further particles to stabilise things. "If the Higgs boson had a mass of 135 to 140 GeV, the universe would have been stable. Then we really would have problems for what to do next," says Buchmueller.

    'Standard model just accounts for 4% of matter' : Scientists hailed CERN's confirmation of the Higgs Boson in July of 2012, speculating that it could one day make light speed travel possible by "un-massing" objects or allow huge items to be launched into space by "switching off" the Higgs. CERN scientist Albert de Roeck likened it to the discovery of electricity, when he said humanity could never have imagined its future applications. CERN physicists hope that the "new physics" will provide a more straightforward explanation for the characteristics of the Higgs boson than that derived from the current Standard Model. This new physics is sorely needed to find solutions to a series of yet unresolved problems, as presently only the visible universe is explained, which constitutes just four percent of total matter.

    Links to Articles

    New Headache from Science 2.0:

    Why is the Higgs so light? from NewScientist:

    4% of matter:

    Linked Wired article:

    Standard model - what is it? :

    Pic courtesy: LHC ( )

    #higgs #higgsboson #physics  
  • 153 plusses - 41 comments - 38 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-12-23 15:55:09
    And Man Created Dog - Brilliant program and worth watching!

    On August 8, 2010 at 9pm ET/PT, National Geographic Channel premiered “And Man Created Dog,” a new two-hour, high-definition special that traces the evolution of the wolf into a dog–as well as our working partner, protector, and best friend.

    Coinciding with this program is the publication of Made For Each Other, a book about this special relationship between man and dog and how it has evolved since prehistoric times. This book is authored by Meg Olmert, who also wrote the National Geographic Channel special.

    The program not only traces the evolution of the dog/human relationship from its very beginnings but it also stresses the extent to which the dog as a species has been literally invented by humans. Backed by exhaustive research (after all, it is National Geographic) and illuminated by evocative visual set-pieces and computer-aided graphics, the program describes how mankind has shaped the dog’s evolution from wolf to man’s best friend.

    First domesticated by ice age hunter-gatherers to help hunt their prey and guard their camps, the dog became more than a tame wolf, eventually evolving into a different species with characteristics treasured by their keepers. No wonder, then, that dogs now are the most varied mammal on the planet, coming in all shapes and sizes, but all sharing the same interdependence with humans.

    Article link:

    #dogs   #evolution   #science   #scienceeveryday   #sciencesunday  
  • 132 plusses - 25 comments - 56 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-05 07:11:08
    Hydrogen fuel cell : In a manner. Its not ideal and its not the only one. But once these reactors hit the market, consumer electronics companies are likely to take notice and refine / tweak and modify for ease of usability. Its the beginning of the future.... I'm going to be following this story.

    Article Extract: For years, scientists have been trying to find a sensible alternative to powering our world with the burning of fossil fuels. Electricity itself is not the answer, what is needed is an environmentally sustainable method of producing the electricity. The answer we have been promised for years by science that will be a proper alternative to the internal combustion engine is the fuel cell. Somehow it has been around floating in conversations for what seems like an age- always slightly over the technology horizon and not quite ready for use.

    The Brunton Hydrogen Reactor removes recharging from the equation by using hydrogen fuel-cell technology to generate power. It doesn’t require a power outlet to build up a charge, so it will come in handy for emergencies. The Brunton version is a licensed, reworked, and improved version of Horizon’s portable fuel-cell charger, rebranded for campers and hikers.

    With a fuel-cell device, you’re basically developing electricity live and on-the-spot. The Walkman-sized Reactor uses removable and replenishable hydrogen cores, each of which are about the size of two C batteries stacked on top of one another. The rechargeable hydrogen cores are rated at 1,000 cycles apiece. When they’re spent, you can recycle them. When a hydrogen core is loaded into the device, the Reactor’s internal fuel cell uses a platinum catalyst to separate positively-charged hydrogen ions from negatively-charged electrons. The electrons are routed through a circuit, supplying the electricity that powers your gadget. The hydrogen ions are shot through an electrolyte membrane, where they combine with oxygen from the air to create water vapor. You hear little puffs of vapor come out of the device as your gadget charges — water and mild heat are the Reactor’s only environmental emissions.

    First news about a Hydrogen reactor for fuel cells was from Stevens Institute of Technology in April 2011. See more here :

    Article Link:

    Additional link :

    Outside times (outdoor use) :

    Video Link: Brunton Hydrogen Reactor presentation

    #fuel #recharging #mobile  
  • 113 plusses - 35 comments - 61 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-28 06:28:10
    The Mariana Trench : The deepest point on Earth where only two people have descended to (The Challenger) depths. The Mariana trench is a quite astounding in what little we know about it. At almost 11 kms depth, the pressure is enormous. At this subduction zone, the Pacific plate literally dives below the Philippine tectonic plate and is constantly being 'devoured' by it.

    Extract from deepseachallenge: Located in the western Pacific east of the Philippines approximately 200 kilometers east of the Mariana Islands, the Mariana Trench is a crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust that measures more than 2,550 kilometers long and 69 kilometers wide on average.  The Mariana Trench is part of a global network of deep troughs that cut across the ocean floor. They form when two tectonic plates collide. At the collision point, one of the plates dives beneath the other into the Earth’s mantle, creating an ocean trench.

    Because of its extreme depth, the Mariana Trench is cloaked in perpetual darkness and the temperature is just a few degrees above freezing. The water pressure at the bottom of the trench is a crushing eight tons per square inch—or about a thousand times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. Pressure increases with depth.

    Life in the trench: Life has been found in the trench, including amphipods (shrimp-like crustaceans), sea cucumbers, foraminiferans (to mention the large ones). Also see this video for a mysterious life form - Researchers Identify Mysterious Life Forms in the Extreme Deep Sea .

    Main Article Link :

    Life in the Trench:

    More about the tectonics at the Mariana Trench :

    Facts about the Mariana Trench:

    #science #scienceeveryday #earth #tectonics  
  • 140 plusses - 43 comments - 37 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-20 05:43:37
    The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath : This is a story which I saw some time back and has been open in my browser as I struggled to decide if I wanted to post it. I'm not posting Jim Fallon's pic here, but the story really caught my imagination.

    Article Extract: Neuroscientist James Fallon was looking at brain scans of serial killers as part of a research project at UC Irvine. He was sifting through thousands of PET scans to find anatomical patterns in the brain that correlated with psychopathic tendencies in the real world. “I got to the bottom of the stack, and saw this scan that was obviously pathological,” he says, noting that it showed low activity in certain areas of the frontal and temporal lobes linked to empathy, morality and self-control. Knowing that it belonged to a member of his family, Fallon checked his lab’s PET machine for an error (it was working perfectly fine) and then decided he simply had to break the blinding that prevented him from knowing whose brain was pictured. When he looked up the code, he was greeted by an unsettling revelation: the psychopathic brain pictured in the scan was his own.

    Many of us would hide this discovery and never tell a soul, out of fear or embarrassment of being labeled a psychopath. Perhaps because boldness and disinhibition are noted psychopathic tendencies, Fallon has gone all in towards the opposite direction, telling the world about his finding in a TED Talk, an NPR interview and now a new book published last month, The Psychopath Inside. In it, Fallon seeks to reconcile how he—a happily married family man—could demonstrate the same anatomical patterns that marked the minds of serial killers.

    When he underwent a series of genetic tests, he got more bad news. “I had all these high-risk alleles for aggression, violence and low empathy,” he says, such as a variant of the MAO-A gene that has been linked with aggressive behavior. Eventually, based on further neurological and behavioral research into psychopathy, he decided he was indeed a psychopath—just a relatively good kind, what he and others call a “pro-social psychopath,” someone who has difficulty feeling true empathy for others but still keeps his behavior roughly within socially-acceptable bounds.

    “I was loved, and that protected me,” he says. Partly as a result of a series of miscarriages that preceded his birth, he was given an especially heavy amount of attention from his parents, and he thinks that played a key role.

    Article Link:

    NPR Interview:

    Pics courtesy: and smithsonianmag

    #science #neuroscience #psychopath
  • 82 plusses - 54 comments - 65 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-02-22 06:25:34
    Crazy Ants v/s Fire Ants : A story of chemical warfare and epic battles fought across centuries. Of an arms race which escalated to using your own venom on yourself. The front lines spewing venom at each other. This story makes our human wars seem like minor skirmishes.

    Article Extract: The two species march to war across an arid landscape. When they meet, it is an immediate mixture of carnage and chemical warfare. Both sides swarm the front lines, spewing corrosive venom and dying by the thousands. But while the melee may look uneven at first glance—one species has reigned this foreign soil uncontested for decades, while the other is a smaller and weaker newcomer—the odd newcomer is the clear victor when the dust settles.

    "Other ant species typically avoid fire ants," says LeBrun, "fire ant venom is so toxic that it's not something other ants will confront. But these crazy ants will just charge on into the fray with what seems like wild, willful abandon."

    The key to their success, is the crazy ants' chemical defenses. Once a crazy ant suffers what should be a fatal dose of fire ant venom, the ant quickly retreats from the battle to apply its own caustic venom onto its body. For reasons the researchers still don't quite understand, the crazy ant venom acts like a healing salve, neutralizing the effect of the fire ant's toxic ammunition. "And when they're done, they'll run right back in to fight and take on another fire ant," LeBrun says. This tactic is so effective that in the places where both kinds ants live, "the tawny crazy ants are just steamrolling the fire ant populations."

    "One of the really fascinating things is that these two species share a long, common evolutionary history," Holway says. "They're both from some of the same parts of South America. So this detoxification ability in the crazy ants is something that might have emerged from interactions with the fire ants over many millennia." In other words: While the U.S. is a new battleground for these two species, theirs is an age-old conflict.

    Article Link:

    Sciencemag paper:

    Pic from main article, courtesy Science/AAAS.

    Youtube video link: Fire ants vs. Rasberry Crazy Ants

    Additional reading:

    #ants #fireants #crazyants #science #warfare  
  • 151 plusses - 37 comments - 28 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-12 09:51:13
    Growing Batteries

    My dream: to be able to drive a virus-powered car. — Angela Belcher

    Inspired by an abalone shell, Angela Belcher programmes viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, Belcher has produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells.

    As head of the Biomolecular Materials Group at MIT, Belcher brings together the fields of materials chemistry, electrical engineering and molecular biology to engineer viruses that can create batteries and clean energy sources.

    Scientists at MIT used the viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a battery, the cathode and anode, the journal Science reports. Essentially, a battery turns chemical energy into electrochemical energy when an electron flow passes from the negative end to the positive end through a conductive chemical, the electrolyte. Researchers constructed a lithium-ion battery, similar to those used in millions of devices, but one which uses genetically engineered viruses to create the negatively charged anode and positively charged cathode. The virus is a so-called common bacteriophage which infects bacteria and is harmless to humans.

    MIT scientists manipulated genes inside a virus that coaxed the particles to grow and self-assemble to form a nanowire anode one-tenth the width of a human hair. The microbes are encouraged to collect exotic materials - cobalt oxide and gold - and because the particles are negatively charged, they can be formed into a dense, virus-loaded film which acts as an anode and "grows" on a polymer separator.

    Article Link:

    Further reading:

    Additonal source:

    Picture credits: and

    #science #scienceeveryday #virus #bioengineering #battery #greentech #sustainability #genetics #virology  
  • 141 plusses - 27 comments - 38 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-30 15:05:51
    Blue Lava : Some of the things reported are quite amazing. But the reality is when you realize the science of it, it makes eminent sense. Such is the case with Indonesia's Kawah Ijen Volcano which glows with an otherwordly blue light due to the lava glowing blue. Read on!

    Article Extract: You've heard of "red hot" and "white hot" to describe searing temperatures. But what about "blue hot"? That's the surreal hue of Indonesia's Kawah Ijen Volcano. The mountain contains large amounts of pure sulfur, which emits an icy violet color as it burns, turning the rocky slopes into a hot (at least 239 degrees Fahrenheit), highly toxic environment.

    Despite the dangers, photographer Olivier Grunewald captured the scene, along with a group of men who toil on the volcano at night, battling noxious gases to mine sulfur from the crater and carry it out by hand.

    As the light of day recedes, an eerie incandescence appears to rise from the depths of the Kawah Ijen crater. The high-temperature liquid sulphur that flows from an active vent at the edge of the world's largest hydrochloric acid lake flares in blue flames that can reach up to 5 metres.

    Article Link and Video :

    Additional link:

    Video Link: Volcano with BLUE Lava ! AMAZING

    PopMech link:

    Pics courtesy : Huffpost.

    #science #lava #blue #volcano  
  • 118 plusses - 13 comments - 58 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-11-03 10:58:34
    Nuclear fusion : We are probably very close to an economic Ignition point in fusion. While fusion has been achieved by scientists, and now also in the basements and garages of people, large scale projects like ITER and the NIF are all looking at achieving 'ignition'... the point where the resultant energy from the fusion reaction exceeds the energy which has been used to create it.

    The Sun is an incredible fusion engine. It transmutes elements from lighter to heavier elements, it is self-sustaining, and it's something we have been struggling to achieve for some time now....

    Article extract: Fusion reactions combine lighter atoms, such as hydrogen, together to form larger ones. Generally the reactions take place at such high temperatures that the atoms have been ionized, their electrons stripped off by the heat; thus, fusion is typically described in terms of "nuclei" instead of "atoms".

    NIF Breakthrough : Researchers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have made a major breakthrough toward achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion. The fusion process is designed to replicate the inside of a star, mimicking the Sun's long-lasting, self-sufficient energy creation here on Earth for a vast, cheap supply of power. Scientists have been working towards creating fusion energy in the lab for decades, but creating a system that puts out more energy than it takes in has so far proved impossible. Now, the NIF has reportedly conducted an experiment in which the amount of energy released by the fusion reaction was greater than the amount of energy that went into the pellet.

    The race to ignition : Besides the NIF news, the ITER and General Fusion as well as several smaller experiments done by both private companies as well as individuals are in the race to achieve ignition. If someone does make a breakthrough, it will change the paradigm for energy production and costs forever.

    NIF News:

    Link to 'Home-brewed fusion' :

    Link to post on the ITER initiative:

    Link to article:

    Research Paper :

    BBC link to the NIF news:

    SA link to fusion:

    Link to ICF :

    Homemade fusion reactors:

    Pics courtesy :

    #science #fusion #energy  
  • 132 plusses - 45 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-24 04:43:46
    In a woman's shoes : In a departure from my normal posts, this one is about my experiment in playing a role in Second Life (SL) which is a MMORPG. It was a eye-opener for me. I was hit on continuously and propositioned randomly.

    Quite some time back, I read about some fellow who decided to see how it is to be a woman. He cross-dressed and the experience shocked him. I tried it out online. I does give you an insight into how prevalent predatory and sometimes pushy behavior is exhibited by males. All in the name of 'innocent' flirting.

    It has taken me some time to share this. I recommend all guys to try this out. It was not a good experience.

    (Pic taken by me on SL)

    Tagging people (not within the post) who I would like to notify this once.

  • 127 plusses - 107 comments - 9 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-05-19 05:20:47
    Using Cornstarch to mine Gold

    _ Northwestern University scientists have struck gold in the laboratory. They have discovered an inexpensive and environmentally benign method that uses simple cornstarch—instead of cyanide—to isolate gold from raw materials in a selective manner. _

    This green method extracts gold from crude sources and leaves behind other metals that are often found mixed together with the crude gold. The new process also can be used to extract gold from consumer electronic waste.

    Current methods for gold recovery involve the use of highly poisonous cyanides, often leading to contamination of the environment. Nearly all gold-mining companies use this toxic gold leaching process to sequester the precious metal.

    He found that it was alpha-cyclodextrin, a cyclic starch fragment composed of six glucose units, that isolates gold best of all.  The Northwestern procedure is also more efficient than current commercial processes.

    Article Link:

    Additional reading:

    #science #scienceeveryday #sciencesunday #gold #extraction #mining #cornstarch #chemisty  
  • 145 plusses - 11 comments - 41 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-02-15 10:52:45
    Who watches over us?

    Our spaceship Earth got hit by a meteorite which exploded in the air over Russia. People have covered this pretty comprehensively, and I have included the link from Johnathan on the meteor.

    Other interesting information on the 'Skywatchers' and telescopes can be found in this linkfest!

    Can we know about all the space rocks?
    Post about asteroids in the link titled 'Who cares" see here

    Imminent closure of the Siding Spring observatory was covered here

    Details of the Lowell telescope here (DCT)

    News about the GMT (Giant Magellan Telescope) can be found here

    More about ALMA ( Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) here

    +Johnathan Chung has posted about the meteor over Russia - (please see the edits in the OP).

    Pictured on the left- Meade 12 inch LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope and on the right - the SDSS telescope.

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #meteor   #telescope   #asteroid   #earth   #sky   #asteroidmappers  
  • 29 plusses - 28 comments - 103 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-03-10 22:12:21
    3D holographic chats on the Telepod

    Crystal balls and magic mirrors through which you can talk to others are simply mystical. Three dimensional tele communication has been on the mind of many people ever since they saw Princess Leia talk to Obi Wan Kenobi through a holographic image of herself in the smashing sci-fi hit Star Wars. But if research efforts of a team from Human Media Lab at the Canadian Queens University work out well, then you will be able to experience the thrill of holo chat in reality soon.

    Dubbed as the telepod, this tubular cylinder will hold the image of the person you are taking to right in front of you. The life sized image will have sufficient depth and will look as good as real. You can view the person being telecast from all sides and even walk around them. Yeah, you got it right, this is a stark 3D image, and not the 2D shows with slight depth that you usually see. The mechanism is not as breathtaking as the 3D holograms in Star Wars as yet but the fine tuning is going on. And when it rolls out, it will completely transform the transmission of teleconferences and 3D advertisements.

    Video Link: TeleHuman: Life-size hologram-like telepods revolutionize videoconferencing

    Article Link:

    Human Media Lab website:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #technology   #hologram   #telepod  
  • 123 plusses - 22 comments - 47 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-30 13:16:00
    Help NASA decide : On the new spacesuit for astronauts. No kidding. Here is the +NASA Link :

    It has 3D views as well as dark / light views. Have fun choosing how they look.... this is seriously cool!

    From +Jalopnik : Remember how pissed you were that NASA didn't even TRY to contact you before they retired the shuttle? Well, they've learned their lesson, because now they're reaching out to you to help them with something tricky: picking a new spacesuit!


    Pic courtesy : Main NASA link.

    #nasa #spacesuit #sciencesunday  
  • 130 plusses - 54 comments - 28 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-08-18 11:04:26
    Reinventing the Tyre: Airless Tyre concept : Since the Scottish inventor Robert Thomson patented pneumatic tires in 1845, they have become standard on every vehicle with two, four or 18 wheels. But the tires still have weaknesses, not least of which is the tendency to go flat. Both Bridgestone (pic on right) and Polaris (pic on left) are working on the airless tyre concept.

    The tire consists of a band of rubber tread wrapped around a dense web of thermoplastic spokes that radiate from a central aluminum wheel. To mimic the firm, springy feel of a pneumatic tire, engineers had to make the spokes stiff enough to avoid vibration (which wastes energy) yet soft enough to provide a comfortable ride. Guided by computer models, they wove the spokes into a lattice pattern that can bear the weight of the vehicle but will still give when the tire rolls over obstacles.

    Reinventing the Wheel:

    Bridgestone's concept:

    Website link:

    Cnet link:

    #science #tyre #airless #punctureproof #resin  
  • 122 plusses - 37 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-31 07:29:37
    The Black Hornet Nano UAV : I have been following the development of this Norwegian nano drone for some time now. It has been deployed as a test in some of the worst possible situations (Nuclear installations and beta in the field). Interesting to see how stable it is.

    Article Link: The unmanned air vehicle was designed for small units that required a quick, tactical "stealth" camera in the sky, said Ole Aguirre, vice president of sales and marketing for Prox Dynamics AS, the Norwegian company that produces the Black Hornet. Indeed, troops working with the Black Hornet say it runs silent and is invisible at more than 30 feet. A Brigade Reconnaissance Force sergeant quoted in a U.K. Ministry of Defense announcement said the system is "very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground."

    A complete kit comes with two Black Hornets, a docking station for battery recharging, a remote control unit and a mobile device with a 7-inch-wide screen to watch the camera feed — all of which is carried in a tough, waterproof case, for a total weight of almost 3 lbs.

    Pulled out of the case and readied for action, the drone follows GPS waypoints to reach its target. Once there, it sends video and still images back to the operator. The Black Hornet can fly for 20 to 25 minutes before needing to recharge, so it's limited to traveling just three-quarters of a mile (1,200 m) in one shot.

    From Popsci: In a world of delicate, experimental nano-drones, the Black Hornet is the first operational system deployed. A hand-launched observation drone, it can resist gusting winds, fly for 25 minutes, and travel nearly a mile from its operator. The autopilot can follow GPS coordinates to conduct a preplanned patrol or simply hover and stare. All in a drone that weighs less than 0.6 ounces.

    Article Link:

    +PopSci link :

    Video link: Nano UAV - Black Hornet- PD-100 PRS

    Manufacturer website:

    BBC link (while still in Beta) :
  • 113 plusses - 40 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-02-24 06:30:49
    Flowers Buzz with electricity

    Bees and plants communicate via electric signals, say scientists

    Plants use electric fields to communicate with bees, scientists have learned.

    Bees are able to find and decipher weak electric signals emitted by flowers, according to the study. Tests revealed that bees can distinguish between different floral fields, as if they were petal colours. The electric signals may also let the insects know if another bee has recently visited a flower.

    How bees detect the fields is unknown, but the researchers suspect the electrostatic force might make their hair bristle. A similar hair-raising effect is seen when placing one's head close to an old-style TV screen. Plants are known to emit weak negatively charged electric fields, and bees acquire a positive charge of up to 200 volts as they fly through the air.

    But bees -- busy as they famously are -- don't have time to waste visiting pretty flowers whose nectar has just been taken by another insect. "The last thing a flower wants is to attract a bee and then fail to provide nectar," said Daniel Robert, co-author of the study, in a statement. "Bees are good learners and would soon lose interest in such an unrewarding flower."

    So flowers, the researchers confirmed, emit a different electrical signal after their nectar has been harvested. They found that petunias became slightly more positively charged after a bee visited them, according to ScientificAmerican. That revised electrical charge acts as a kind of "No Vacancy" sign to other bees, which learn to trust the signals that the flowers emit.

    Article Link:

    Sources: Nature, Guardian, cbsnews, Scientificamerican

    Pics courtesy:,

    #bees   #flowers   #symbiotic   #nature   #science   #scienceeveryday  
  • 126 plusses - 44 comments - 33 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-28 08:17:26
    Stoplight loosejaw : One of the more bizarre denizens of the sea, the spotlight loosejaw has an evolutionary adaptation which leads to the lack of skin on its lower jaw. This allows the jaw to shoot out with minimal water resistance to snare prey. In addition it has a sniper scope which is the red light under its eye. This color is not in the visible spectrum for many of the creatures in the deep sea.

    Article Extract: The stoplight loosejaws are small, deep-sea dragonfishes of the genus Malacosteus. Not only is it capable of producing both red and blue-green light, but it can also dislocate its head in order to lunge out with its lower jaw at prey (much like a dragonfly larva). Hence its common name, the stoplight loosejaw. It belongs in the family Stomiidae, also known as the dragonfishes

    The first recorded Malacosteus specimen was collected by Captain Joseph Porter in 1848 in the northwest Atlantic, south of Newfoundland. The fish was found at the surface, probably close to death, and 'made no attempt to escape' when captured. It was presented to the Boston Society of Natural History where it was examined by William Orville Ayres, who named the fish Malacosteus niger (meaning 'soft boned and black'). Ayres described the skeleton as being extremely delicate: 'the bones can be pierced even in their hardest parts by a needle with the greatest ease'. He also noticed the light organ below the eye but was not able to guess its function.

    Article Link: Encyclopedia of life:

    +Wikipedia link :

    Additional link :

    More reading :

    Pic courtesy :

    #spotlight #fish #biology  
  • 142 plusses - 19 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-28 07:19:19
    Brilliant bioluminescent light : It's diffuse and it's green, but it's brilliant for some other reasons. I have very little to add, so I'm quoting from the article.... There’s something very special about bioluminescent algae. They soak up sunlight, absorb carbon dioxide, and in return, breathe out oxygen while emitting a soft fluorescent glow. In essence, it’s nature’s all-in-one version of a solar panel, a carbon sink and a light bulb.

    But how much of a difference maker can these goopy little marine organisms be? I mean no one’s ever heard of a lamp saving the world. Well, the fact is that microalgae is incredibly efficient at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, about 150 to 200 times more than trees. Basically, an algae lamp can remove as much CO2 in one year as a tree would in its lifetime. Also, extracting algae from aquatic environments, such as oceans, could potentially save fish and other marine life since rapid increases known as algal blooms have caused widespread mortality due to harmful toxins that are sometimes released.

    Article Link:

    Pics courtesy : Parsonsadmissions, Smithsonianblogs via tumblr.

    #algae #sustainability #ecofriendly  
  • 112 plusses - 32 comments - 46 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-10-19 04:02:28
    2012 Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

    The Earth will soon be traveling through the stream of debris left behind by Halley’s Comet, providing the annual sky show called the Orionid Meteor Shower. This usually reliable meteor shower is expected to peak this coming weekend, October 20-21, 2012, and should produce about 25 meteors per hour, according to the McDonald Observatory at The University of Texas in Austin.

    The meteors for the Orionid shower meteors appear to fall from above the star Betelgeuse, the bright orange star marking the shoulder of the constellation Orion, so if you live in the northern hemisphere look towards the southeast, and in the southern hemisphere look towards the northeast during the best viewing times. The best viewing times are usually about midnight to 2 am, or in the hours just before dawn in your area. The quarter Moon will have set about midnight, so it won’t be a hindrance.
    As always, for the best view get away from city lights. If your backyard is lit by too many streetlights, look to go to state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Lie on a blanket or reclining chair to get a full-sky view. If you can see all of the stars in the Little Dipper, you have good dark-adapted vision, say the folks at StarDate, a bi-monthly publication put out by the McDonald Observatory.

    Read more:

    Source : Universetoday

    #universetoday   #science   #astronomy   #orionid  
  • 104 plusses - 9 comments - 61 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-21 15:26:20
    Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle : While I'm not getting into the math of it, for readability issues, there is now a precise proof the the principle. Also linking to Heisenberg's Microscope for good orders sake..

    Article Link: An international team of scientists has provided proof of a key feature of quantum physics – Heisenberg's error-disturbance relation - more than 80 years after it was first suggested. One of the basic concepts in the world of quantum mechanics is that it is impossible to observe physical objects without affecting them in a significant way; there can be no measurement without disturbance. Now Professor Paul Busch of the University of York, UK, Professor Pekka Lahti of the University of Turku, Finland and Professor Reinhard Werner of Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany have finally provided a precise formulation and proof of the error-disturbance relation in an article published today in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    Heisenberg's Microscope: Early students of quantum theory had to be reassured that naive measurements to violate it, were bound always to be unworkable. One way in which Heisenberg originally illustrated the intrinsic impossibility of violating the uncertainty principle is by using an imaginary microscope as a measuring device. He imagines an experimenter trying to measure the position and momentum of an electron by shooting a photon at it. If the photon has a short wavelength, and therefore, a large momentum, the position can be measured accurately. But the photon scatters in a random direction, transferring a large and uncertain amount of momentum to the electron. If the photon has a long wavelength and low momentum, the collision does not disturb the electron's momentum very much, but the scattering will reveal its position only vaguely. If a large aperture is used for the microscope, the electron's location can be well resolved; but by the principle of conservation of momentum, the transverse momentum of the incoming photon and hence, the new momentum of the electron resolves poorly. If a small aperture is used, the accuracy of both resolutions is the other way around.

    The combination of these trade-offs imply that no matter what photon wavelength and aperture size are used, the product of the uncertainty in measured position and measured momentum is greater than or equal to a lower limit, which is (up to a small numerical factor) equal to Planck's constant. Heisenberg did not care to formulate the uncertainty principle as an exact limit, and preferred to use it instead, as a heuristic quantitative statement, correct up to small numerical factors, which makes the radically new noncommutativity of quantum mechanics inevitable.

    Article Link:

    Link to original paper:

    Wikipedia Link on Heisenberg's microscope:

    Related article:

    Picture detail: (Courtesy Wikimedia commons) The evolution of an initially very localized gaussian wave function of a free particle in two-dimensional space, with colour and intensity indicating phase and amplitude. The spreading of the wave function in all directions shows that the initial momentum has a spread of values, unmodified in time; while the spread in position increases in time: as a result, the uncertainty Δx Δp increases in time.

    #HUP #Heisenberg #quantumphysics  
  • 108 plusses - 23 comments - 52 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-25 03:53:06
    Solar boat : The world's largest fully solar-powered boat, "Turanor PlanetSolar," docked in New York on Tuesday during a mission to study the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream current.

    Sponsored in part by the Swiss government, the 35-meter (115-foot) catamaran is crowned with solar panels that retract in port but open like a bird's wings to take best advantage of the sun's rays when at sea.

    In May 2012, the vessel became the first solar-powered vehicle to travel all the way around the globe. It was an epic adventure that took 584 days and spanned more than 60,000 kilometers (37,282 miles). Weighing in at 90 tonnes, it travels at an average five knots.

    "Since the ship is powered by solar energy it does not emit any polluting substances that could distort the data collected on its 8,000-kilometer journey between Miami and Bergen, Norway," he added.

    Article Link:

    #solarpower #science #scienceeveryday #boat #research #solarenergy  
  • 111 plusses - 21 comments - 51 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-02-09 06:25:53
    Role Reversal : Following the old adage 'Attack is the best form of defense, the Ground Beetle Epomis larve act like prey to amphibians such as frogs and salamanders and then end up eating them. Their strike rate? 100%... They even get eaten by the frogs and then after being regurgitated by the frog, they end up preying on them.

    Article Extract: When frogs and toads see Epomis beetle larvae waggling their antennae and jiggling their jaws, they must think, "Aha! Easy meal." The little larvae latch onto the bodies of their would-be predators, sucking them dry of fluids, gnawing on their flesh, and leaving behind nothing but a pile of bones.

    In some cases, the frogs and toads succeeded in swallowing the beetle larvae, only to vomit them up later. Post-regurgitation, the larvae promptly attached themselves to the amphibians and began to eat.

    In 382 separate tests, they found that the larvae clearly had the upper hand. In every case, the encounter was fatal for the amphibian. But what made the interaction especially strange was how the beetle larvae often lured their larger predator to them. In 70 percent of the cases, the larva began moving its antennae and jaws in an enticing pattern as the frog or toad approached. The closer the potential predator, the more intense the movements.

    Article Link:

    PLOS One Paper:

    Wikipedia link:

    Additional link and video:

    Video and links:

    #epomis #rolereversal #biology #science  
  • 113 plusses - 31 comments - 44 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-15 08:52:48
    How accurate is the depiction of Forensic Science? : If you have seen the TV series Bones, you probably have seen one of the best depictions of how the process works. Even then, as Kathy Reichs herself admits, there is a lot of creative license you need. For example, a clear DNA match or quick turnarounds or even time of death accuracy is not always such a simple matter as shown on TV.... (h/t to +Gita Jaisinghani for putting me on this track)

    Article Extract: Brennan is a fictional crime fighter, but she's based on the work of a real person, Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist and professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Like many prime-time science-oriented TV dramas, Bones certainly takes its scientific liberties. But this is Hollywood, and it’s a show about human relationships set in the context of forensics.

    As explained in an article by Courtney Malpass: Concerning the TV show "Bones" as far as correct and accurate information is concerned, my research proved that Hollywood did do their own research and tried to fit into the show as much as they could while still maintaining a drama-focused prime-time television show. I am not upset that I did not definitely prove my hypothesis right or wrong because that's what it's all about- getting it less wrong, not completely right.

    Main Article (Interview with Kathy Reichs) :
    How does DNA testing work? (BBC) :
    Meet the Brains behind Bones (NPR) :
    Wired article (Fact checker Bones) :
    The forensics of Temperance Brennan:
    Forensics outreach on Bones: Beginner's guide to performing an autopsy:
    Courtney Malpass article link:
    Smithsonian interview with Kathy Reichs:
    Forensic myths spread by TV:
    Nova Southeastern Univ interview:
    How accurate is Forensic analysis:

    #science #forensics #bones  
  • 120 plusses - 27 comments - 41 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2012-12-23 05:30:11
    How Beer Gets Its Color

    Two basic chemical reactions are responsible for beer being "beer-colored" rather than clear like water. One reaction couples amino acids to sugars; the other spurs sugars to decompose. In addition to adding color to beer, the products of these reactions also add significant flavor to the resultant brew.

    A century ago in October, the Maillard reaction made its debut in the scientific literature thanks to the work of French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard. And the Maillard reaction is one of the most important reactions to understand how an amber beer looks different from a stout, which in turn looks different from a wit beer or pale ale.

    The Maillard reaction is also known as "browning." When you toast bread or sear meat, that's the Maillard reaction. In beer making, kilning malted barley kicks off the Maillard reaction to produce darker malts such as Special B, chocolate malt and black patent malt. It and a process called caramelization are what gives roasted malts their characteristic caramel or toasty flavors, and beers such as stouts their characteristic dark color. (Long boil times will also spur these two reactions, so if you want a light-colored beer, make sure to keep boil times short.)

    Caramelization, on the other hand, is a form of pyrolysis: thermochemical decomposition without the presence of oxygen. Basically: you heat sugar until it falls apart by itself. Again, there are many possible products of caramelization, but some of the main aroma compounds are furans, diacetyl and ethyl acetate. Caramelization only happens at elevated temperatures.

    H/t to +Rajini Rao for reminding me about the Maillard reaction on another post!

    Full Article:

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #beersci  
  • 98 plusses - 26 comments - 54 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-12-15 15:22:58
    Goldilocks zone: How a phase-change material was used to keep coffee at the optimum temperature : How often have we had too hot a cup of coffee or too cold? This story which started in 2011 is about how  a research assistant in University of North Carolina and an Engineer were both working on the same problem.... the perfect temperature for coffee and how to maintain it.

    Article Link: Unless you're someone who drinks their coffee fast, you likely face a bit of a conundrum when it comes to temperature – either you start with it at the perfect temperature but end up with it getting too cold, or you end up with it cooling down to the perfect temperature by starting with it too hot.

    The Coffee Joulie : Each Joulie contains a proprietary non-toxic phase change material, sealed inside of a polished stainless steel shell. The product is placed in the bottom a coffee mug (or other container), to which the hot java is then added. The secret interior material is designed to melt at 140F (60C), absorbing heat energy from the coffee as it does so. This reportedly allows it to cool coffee three times faster than normal. Once the Joulie has cooled down past 140 degrees, however, it starts to solidify again, thus releasing the energy it stored while melting. This is what keeps the coffee warm for twice the time of a non-Joulified beverage.

    Phase-Change mug : The stainless steel travel mug is a variation on the standard double-wall vacuum flask. In those, insulation is provided by a gap of empty space, between the vessel's exterior and interior surfaces. The tripled-walled Temperfect likewise has a layer of vacuum insulation between its outer and middle walls, but it also features a layer of phase-change material between its middle and inner walls.

    In the case of the Temperfect, this means that excess heat from freshly-brewed coffee (as an example) will be absorbed in just a couple of minutes, bringing the beverage down to a hot-but-drinkable temperature. As the phase-change material cools and reverts, that heat is released to flow back through the inner wall and into the coffee, maintaining its "just right" temperature of about 140ºF (60ºC).

    Article Link:


    Kickstarter link:

    Additional link at

    Pics courtesy: All pics courtesy gizmag.

    #coffee #science #scienceeveryday +Yvette Schroeder 
  • 97 plusses - 25 comments - 55 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-06 12:12:44
    What Pangaea Would Look Like With Today's Political Boundaries : With the continental drift and landmasses shifting constant (though on a geological scale, which is pretty slow for species like us).... this is an amazing map imagined by Massimo.

    Article Extract: About 300 million years ago, the supercontinent of Pangaea started to break apart into the continents we live on today. An Italian designer who goes by the name Massimo put Pangaea back together, then added on modern political boundaries, creating the map you see here. Brazil and Nigeria were neighbors, once upon a time. (Toronto is the center of the world, no wait its Spain!)

    iO9 Article: What you see here is an anachronistic mashup — a modern map, complete with geological features that did not exist 300-million years ago, with its various parts relocated to the general position they would have occupied before Pangea began rifting apart some 200-million years ago. It's a view of the supercontinent not often seen, and a mind-bending way of relating to the world on a geological time scale.

    Article Link:

    iO9 Link:

    Want to know what the world will look like in the future? See this Video : Earth 100 Million Years From Now (Paleogeographic Views of Earth's History provided by Ron Blakey, Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University.)

    #maps #pangea #world  
  • 123 plusses - 16 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-04-09 10:45:25
    Quantum Tornados And Kelvin Waves : Anyone who has drained a bathtub knows that it forms a spinning 'tornado'. Faster spinning water creates a vortex, which is one of the first introductions to classical mechanics. Now researchers have observed quantum tornadoes, which display 'reconnection' and develop ripples called Kelvin waves. Read on to know more!

    Article Extract: In a bathtub, as water is drained, a vortex appears. Yet if the water is extremely cold liquid helium, the fluid will swirl around an invisible line to form a vortex that obeys the laws of quantum mechanics. Sometimes, two of these quantum tornadoes flex into curved lines, cross over one another to form a letter X shape, swap ends, and then violently retract from one another—a process called reconnection.

    Computer simulations have suggested that after the vortexes snap away from each other, they develop ripples called "Kelvin waves" to quickly get rid of the energy caused by the connection and relax the system. However, the existence of these waves had never been experimentally proven. Now researchers have provided visual evidence confirming that the reconnection of quantum vortexes launches Kelvin waves.

    What is the application? : Understanding turbulence in quantum fluids, such as ultracold liquid helium, may offer clues to neutron stars, trapped atom systems and superconductors. Superconductors, which are materials that conduct electricity without resistance below certain temperatures, develop quantized vortices. Understanding the behavior of the vortices may help researchers develop superconductors that remain superconducting at higher current densities.

    Article Link:

    Youtube video: Reconnnection causes kelvin waves on quantum vortices

    What is a Kelvin wave? :

    Additional information:

    Research paper:

    UMD Link:

    #science #quantum #vortex #kelvin #waves  
  • 147 plusses - 12 comments - 30 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-03-14 23:38:40
    PI facts

    Pi day has rolled around once more: the day when mathematics fans everywhere – particularly in the US, where the date is written 3.14 – celebrate everyone's favourite mathematical constant.

    If you are wondering about the best time of day to celebrate, unfortunately you have already missed it. The first few digits, 3.14159, translates this year into March 14 at 1:59 am. It will be at a more sociable hour in four years' time, when the festivities should kick off on 3.14.15 at 9:26:53.

    If that sounds a bit dry, you might prefer Michael John Blake's  transformation of pi's digits into music (see video). And while you are on a musical tip, you might enjoy entertainer David C. Perry's tribute Talking Pi, which features "the most unsingable chorus ever".

    Article Link:

    Additional reading

    Pi Jokes:

    3.1415926 Reasons to Celebrate Pi Day :

    #science #scienceeveryday #Pi #Piday  
  • 93 plusses - 16 comments - 61 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-10-13 12:52:06
    Will some sentient creatures one day see our solar system like this? : Stellar graveyards point to clues of water-rich asteroids orbiting dead stars.... this is possibly how we may end up one day.

    From Article: The next time you gaze up at the night sky, remember that you’re looking at a graveyard. The Milky Way is studded with dead stars, from black holes to neutron stars to dim white dwarfs. Once in a while, they provide clues to how they—and any planets they once hosted—lived and died. Now, scientists have discovered evidence that a white dwarf known as GD 61 was once orbited by a rocky, water-rich asteroid—just the kind of thing you’d need to build a habitable alien world.

    Astronomers were surprised when they discovered that some white dwarfs are cloaked in layers of “pollution” made up of silicon, oxygen, and other elements much higher up on the periodic table.
    This pollution is made up of “pieces of planetary systems that are falling into their central stars,” explains Jay Farihi. By measuring the pollution’s constituent elements, scientists can peer back in time and discover what the original solar system’s asteroids, comets, and planets were made of. In GD 61’s pollution, astronomers noticed a curious abundance of oxygen. Their first thought was that the original asteroid must have been encrusted with carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice. Trouble is, there was no carbon anywhere to be found around GD 61. So in order to account for the extra oxygen, “the only chemically viable substance left is water,” Farihi says.

    Article Link:

    Linked paper:

    Jay Farihi's website:

    Pic detail: The white dwarf GD 61 devoured a water-rich asteroid, pointing to the possibility that its solar system contained habitable exoplanets before its parent star died. Image: Mark A. Garlick

    #science #stellar #astronomy
  • 151 plusses - 10 comments - 28 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-01-01 17:00:39
    The 2010 Big Sleep Survey : One of the largest citizen science projects on sleeping partners was something I was following from 2010. Its results are both interesting and intuitive, though surprisingly there was not much information available on sleeping partners before this study (No this is actually about  sleep). The study was undertaken with a view to understanding sleep apnoea and the issues which are associated with having sleep partners and their role in sleeping. Read on to know more,....

    Article Extract: When sleep scientist Kerri Melehan started to look at who we sleep with she found that there wasn't much data available. "A lot of my research is about the impact of sleep apnoea on the partner. But when I started looking at the prevalence of bed sharing, there wasn't really any information out there to find out how many people actually slept next to somebody. Over 10,000 people donated their time to take part in ABC Science's first citizen science project  run in conjunction with the Woolcock Institute.

    The results were both expected and surprising. Around 70 per cent of people surveyed sleep next to their partner either every night or occasionally, a figure that Melehan expected. However, 13 per cent shared a bed with a child, either every night or occasionally. But the biggest surprise was that almost a quarter of survey respondents shared their bed with a pet, either every night or occasionally. These findings will have direct impacts on Melehan's work with people suffering from sleep apnoea.

    Dr Nathaniel Marshall, a research fellow at the Woolcock Institute and the University of Sydney's Nursing School, has just submitted a paper for publication on the relationship between technology use and problematic sleep in high school students who took part in the survey. Ironically, the timing of the survey placed it mid-way through the rise of the smartphone, and just before the first tablet technology was introduced. "We looked at four main families of devices," says Marshall, "And the problem was we got caught in the middle of the rise of the iPhone. And the iPhone was doing pretty much all the things we asked about separately — which were radio, TVs, mobile phones and computers. The technology changed on us."

    Article Link:
    Big Sleep Survey results:

    Earlier post on sleep:

    Related article from Natgeo (Secrets of sleep) :

    Related study:

    Pic courtesy: ABC.

    #research #sleep #whodowesleepwith  
  • 163 plusses - 17 comments - 17 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-04-18 11:03:56
    Hunt begins for Alien megaprojects

    With scans for alien radio signals drawing a blank, three teams are now searching for signs of extraterrestrial engineering. Rather than trying to intercept alien communications, perhaps we should go looking for alien artefacts.

    What they're after is something rather grander than flint arrowheads or shards of pottery. Something big. Planet-sized power stations. Star-girdling rings or spheres. Computers the size of a solar system. Perhaps even an assembly of hardware so vast it can darken an entire galaxy.

    Humanity has already covered vast areas of Earth's surface with roads and cities, and begun sending probes to other planets. If we can do all this in a matter of centuries, what could more advanced civilisations do over many thousands or even millions of years?

    In a similar position, alien civilisations could start building solar power plants, factories and even habitats in space. With material mined from asteroids, then planets, and perhaps even the star itself, they could really spread out. Dyson's conclusion was that after thousands or millions of years, the star might be entirely surrounded by a vast artificial sphere of solar panels.

    All this guesswork seems futile to Walkowicz. "People spend a lot of time trying to psychoanalyse ET, but we have no info about what their technology would be like. The more you try to imagine what aliens would do, the more you limit your scope." That's why her team is looking for anything strange. Walkowicz thinks they should turn up interesting candidates in a matter of months.

    Main Article:

    Earlier post on search for Dyson's spheres:

    #science #scienceeveryday #sciencefiction #alien #seti #artefact  
  • 118 plusses - 41 comments - 32 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-18 04:18:33
    Bohemian Gravity: This is just brilliant (H/t to +Avinash Jaisinghani for bringing this to my notice!)... here is the background from iO9 : Question: What do you get when you mix a cappella, sock puppets, string theory and Queen? Answer: The geekiest (and astonishingly good, musically speaking) cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" EVAR. Easily the greatest physics-themed cover of the classic we've ever heard. Seriously. The thing's a masterpiece.

    To be fair, "Bohemian Gravity" may well be the only physics-themed version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" ever made, but that doesn't change the fact that it is very, very well done. The creation of McGill University Masters candidate Timothy Blaise (who posted this link to his recently submitted thesis, along with the video), the track does way more than touch on some of the more confounding elements of string theory; from a compositional standpoint, it also manages to be an outstanding cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody," full stop. Also, there's an Einstein sock puppet.

    Article Link:

    #science #geek #acappella #gravity  
  • 80 plusses - 24 comments - 61 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-11-24 07:36:51
    Shrimpoluminescence: Why Snapping shrimps are amazing : Both the Mantis Shrimp and the Pistol shrimp snap their claws at an incredible speed. The animal snaps a specialized claw shut to create a cavitation bubble that generates acoustic pressures. As it extends out from the claw, the bubble reaches speeds of 60 mph and releases a sound (ultrasound) reaching 218 decibels,  a pressure strong enough to kill small fish. The resultant bubble reaches temperatures of 5000K (close to the temperature on the surface of the Sun! No it's not fusion!!!)

    Mantis Shrimp 'club' : It has also been known to crack, and even break, aquarium glass. The mantis shrimp has two raptorial appendages on the front of its body that act as its "clubs." These clubs accelerate with the same velocity as a bullet leaving a twenty-two-caliber rifle. In less than three-thousandths of a second, the mantis shrimp can strike prey with about 1,500 newtons of force. That number made no sense to me at first too, but here's some perspective on 1,500 newtons of force. If the human arm could accelerate with one-tenth of that speed (150 newtons), we would be able to throw a baseball into orbit.

    Pistol Shrimpoluminescence : Pistol shrimp produce a raucous sound when they rapidly snap their specialised claw shut, as a way to stun their prey.  The sound is produced by the bursting of a bubble that appears when the shrimp closes its claw speedily, which causes the water to cavitate. Researchers showed that a penetrating flash of light appears when the cavitation bubble pops because of the high temperatures and pressure inside of the bubble, similar to sonoluminescence. Sonoluminescence is defined as the emission of short bursts of light from imploding bubbles in a liquid when excited by sound.

    How Ultrasound makes sonoluminescent bubbles : A liquid is rarely entirely pure. It is usually full of salts, swirling pieces of grit, and dissolved gas. When it is agitated by something like the vibrations of sound energy, small pressure waves move through the liquid. As the pressure of some parts of the liquid decreases, the gas stops being dissolved, and forms bubbles. When the pressure comes back on, the bubbles collapse with a great degree of force. This force heats the liquid near enough that sometimes the molecules of the liquid come apart, and creates temperatures comparable to the surface of the sun. A tiny bit of that energy goes into the formation of light. Most of the time, it's not visible.

    Sonoluminescence: Once thought to be fusion in a jar : Dubbed 'Star in a Jar', it was later disproven to be fusion. The find of the star in a jar, had the scientific community scrambling to replicate the work of what was touted to be fusion. It was bad science and later on discredited when replication failed. In the past, sonoluminescence has proved a controversial subject. In 2002 Rusi Taleyarkhan, then at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, US, and colleagues claimed to find evidence for nuclear fusion occurring alongside sonoluminescence. Although a few other research groups have since made similar claims, most nuclear scientists believe them to be misguided. Taleyarkhan has since moved to Purdue University, where in 2008 he was reprimanded by the university for “research misconduct” related to a paper on fusion.
    Popular mechanics source:

    iO9 Source:

    Wikipedia Source :

    Nature Abstract:

    Additional Link:

    Paper on bubble cloud dynamics:

    Falsification of 'Bubble fusion' :

    'No sign of Fusion' :

    More on the Mantis Shrimp:

    Additional link:

    Read more about the phenomenon of Sonoluminescence:

    UCLA paper 'Sound into light' :

    BBC Video: BBC Horizon - An Experiment to Save the World

    Earlier post on the Pistol shrimp:

    Pics sources: BBC Horizon (Sonoluminescence), BBC weird nature (Pistol Shrimp), Natgeo and TOL.

    #science #shrimp #scienceeveryday +ScienceSunday 
  • 127 plusses - 24 comments - 32 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-06-25 08:12:52
    Cassini captures giant hurricane on Saturn : Saturn's great white spot has an odd hexagonal pattern in the clouds at its north pole, and when the planet tilted enough to illuminate it, the light revealed a giant hurricane embedded in the center of the hexagon. Scientists think the immense storm may have been there for years.

    But Saturn is also home to transient storms that show up sporadically. The most notable of these are the Great White Spots, which can persist for months and alter the weather on a planetary scale. Great White Spots are rare, with only six having been observed since 1876. When one formed in 2010, we were lucky enough to have the Cassini orbiter in place to watch it from close up. Even though the head of the storm was roughly 7,000 km across, Cassini's cameras were able to image it at resolutions where each pixel was only 14 km across, allowing an unprecedented view into the storm's dynamics.

    The storm turned out to be very violent, with convective features as big as 3,000 km across that could form and dissipate in as little as 10 hours. Winds of over 400 km/hour were detected, and the pressure gradient between the storm and the unaffected areas nearby was twice that of the one observed in the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. By carefully mapping the direction of the winds, the authors were able to conclude that the head of the White Spot was an anti-cyclone, with winds orbiting around a central feature.

    Article link:

    NASA's video with commetary :

    Timelapse of Cassini approaching Saturn: Timelapse of Cassini satellite approaching Saturn

    #science #scienceeveryday #saturn #greatwhitespot #hurricane #solarsystem #space  
  • 109 plusses - 9 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2014-03-17 10:20:37
    The Placebo Effect : Since I was in the Pharmaceutical industry a long time back, the placebo effect has always mystified me. It even works when the patient knows that it is a placebo apparently. However, it makes me feel better that scientists also do not really know why it exists. In fact, a lot of alternative medicines rely on the effect. It's fascinating.

    Article Extract: Dr Kallmes, a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota – one of the world’s leading hospitals; has been treating patients with damaged backs for 15 years. All of the 130 patients he studied were prepared for their “operation” in the same way, including being wheeled into theatre and given a local anaesthetic in their back, but only half actually underwent the operation. Dr Kallmes said his team had a “script” that they followed if a patient was placed on the placebo list. “We pressed on the back and said okay ma’am, the cement is going in now, everything’s going fine, things are going well, a few more minutes here, okay we’re all done,” he said. One patient, Bonnie Anderson, 76, was active again shortly after her fake operation. “Within a week I was able to play golf,” she said. “I took it a little easy, but I was able to play golf almost every day.”  Dr Kallmes said: “There was no statistically significant difference in degree of pain relief between the patients who had undergone vertebroplasty and placebo. (IOL Scitech: )

    A cure in the mind : A man whom his doctors referred to as “Mr. Wright” was dying from cancer of the lymph nodes. Orange-size tumors had invaded his neck, groin, chest and abdomen, and his doctors had exhausted all available treatments. Nevertheless, Mr. Wright was confident that a new anticancer drug called Krebiozen would cure him. Mr. Wright was bedridden and fighting for each breath when he received his first injection. But three days later he was cheerfully ambling around the unit, joking with the nurses. Mr. Wright’s tumors had shrunk by half, and after 10 more days of treatment he was discharged from the hospital. And yet the other patients in the hospital who had received Krebiozen showed no improvement. (SA: )

    Some facts : Classical conditioning, Hunter explained, is a physiologic response to being given a treatment over time, and is not necessarily a conscious reaction. "How we respond to a medication depends in part on what we've been given before and how we've responded before," said Hunter. Even animals given an injection over the course of several days will continue to show a response to that medication, even if it is switched to a placebo, she said. (Livescience: )

    A fundamental response : Described in the Sept. 10 on-line issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the new findings demonstrate that the placebo effect can be activated outside of conscious awareness, and provide an explanation for how patients can show clinical improvement even when they receive treatments devoid of active ingredients or of known therapeutic efficacy. ( Sciencedaily : )

    Placebos are getting more effective : Ironically, Big Pharma's attempt to dominate the central nervous system has ended up revealing how powerful the brain really is. The placebo response doesn't care if the catalyst for healing is a triumph of pharmacology, a compassionate therapist, or a syringe of salt water. All it requires is a reasonable expectation of getting better. That's potent medicine. (Wired Science: )

    Harnessing the placebo effect:

    The Placebo Effect in Clinical practice:

    Paper in sciencedirect:

    Understanding the placebo effect from an evolutionary perspective :

    Placebo from Wikipedia:
    Pics courtesy : and

    Earlier post on the Placebo effect:

    Pics courtesy : and
    (image edited to remove the name of the drug).

    #scienceeveryday #science #medicine #placebo  
  • 96 plusses - 60 comments - 33 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-09-04 08:07:13
    Life under Ice? : Even by Antarctic standards, the Lake Vostok research station is inhospitable. The outpost holds the record for the lowest (naturally occurring) temperature ever observed on Earth. Scientists commonly describe the place as the most desolate place on the planet. Nearly 4,000 meters below the station, beneath the crushing East Antarctic ice sheet, sits an enormous body of water. Lake Vostok has existed for millennia in dark, frigid isolation, presumably harboring nothing but the toughest microbes.
    Now a Russian team has drilled through the ice, breaching Lake Vostok for the first time in 15 million years. Bits of genetic material in ice core samples of frozen lake water include DNA not just from microbes, but hints of much more complex life: a water flea, a mollusk, maybe something related to a sea anemone. Even more intriguing, some genetic sequences appear similar to bacteria and parasites typically found living inside fish, lobsters and shrimp.

    The case for complex life in Lake Vostok requires an intricate ecosystem in the absence of sunlight and photosynthesis, but there is nothing to rule out the possibility that a strange and otherworldly collection of creatures is waiting to be discovered deep beneath one of the most remote places on Earth. Even so, some scientists cannot wrap their minds around the idea of a thriving Vostokian ecosystem. It is presumed by many to be a contamination of the samples being studied.

    Article Link:

    Research article:

    Further reading:

    Initial findings:

    Pic detail: Courtesy Pat Perry, Lake Vostok is a behemoth, and not just by Antarctic standards. It is nearly as big as Lake Ontario and much deeper — estimated to be more than 900 meters in some places. By volume, Vostok is the seventh largest lake in the world. While there were clues that a large body of water lay beneath Vostok station, the lake’s existence wasn’t confirmed until the mid-1990s.

    #science #ice #antartic #vostok #biology #scienceeveryday #extremophiles  
  • 121 plusses - 28 comments - 32 shares | Read in G+
  • Lacerant Plainer2013-02-17 05:11:17
    The Whirring Dragonfly

    Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, some 300 million years ago. Modern dragonflies have wingspans of only two to five inches, but fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to two feet.

    There are more than 5,000 known species of dragonflies, all of which (along with damselflies) belong to the order Odonata, which means “toothed one” in Greek and refers to the dragonfly’s serrated teeth.

    In their larval stage, which can last up to two years, dragonflies are aquatic and eat just about anything—tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, other insect larvae and even each other.At the end of its larval stage, the dragonfly crawls out of the water, then its exoskeleton cracks open and releases the insect’s abdomen, which had been packed in like a telescope. Its four wings come out, and they dry and harden over the next several hours to days.

    Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate mid-air. If they can’t fly, they’ll starve because they only eat prey they catch while flying. Dragonflies catch their insect prey by grabbing it with their feet. They’re so efficient in their hunting that, in one Harvard University study, the dragonflies caught 90 to 95 percent of the prey released into their enclosure.

    Nearly all of the dragonfly’s head is eye, so they have incredible vision that encompasses almost every angle except right behind them. Each compound eye contains as many as 30,000 lenses, or ommatidia.

    Forced to follow the rains that replenish their breeding sites, the globe skimmer set a new insect world record when a biologist documented its 11,000 mile trip between India and Africa.

    Sources: Smithsonianmag, MNN, Nature, Discoverychannel, Animalplanet,

    Video Link: Science Nation - Dragonflies: The Flying Aces of the Insect World

    #science   #scienceeveryday   #dragonfly   #dragonflydreams   #lpsamazinganimalfacts  
  • 121 plusses - 28 comments - 32 shares | Read in G+