Science & Technology

Comet 2

Rosetta's comet findings fuel debate on origins of Earths oceans

comet 67p water
© Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Comet: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam
First measurements of comet's water ratio
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet's oceans.

The measurements were made in the month following the spacecraft's arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov - Gerasimenko on 6 August. It is one of the most anticipated early results of the mission, because the origin of Earth's water is still an open question.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
© ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
Comet on 20 November. This mosaic comprises four individual NAVCAM images taken from 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 20 November 2014. The mosaic has been slightly rescaled, rotated, and cropped, and measures roughly 4.2 x 5.0 km.
One of the leading hypotheses on Earth's formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off. But, today, two thirds of the surface is covered in water, so where did it come from?

In this scenario, it should have been delivered after our planet had cooled down, most likely from collisions with comets and asteroids. The relative contribution of each class of object to our planet's water supply is, however, still debated.

Comment: Take a good look at Comet 67's close-up. Does that look like an "icy snowball"? Yet the scientists interviewed on mainstream media will mindlessly quote those words when discussing this or that comet and profess to be puzzled when the pictures don't fit their expectations, even though the last few years of research have produced many such images. But they hang on to their theories for dear life. A marginalized, but much better explanation can be found in the Electric Universe theories of Wallace Thornhill.


Quantum teleportation of subatomic particles reaches 15.5 miles across optical fiber

© GAP, University of Geneva (UNIGE)
These crystals captured and stored quantum information at the end of the teleportation.
A new distance record has been set in the strange world of quantum teleportation.

In a recent experiment, the quantum state (the direction it was spinning) of a light particle instantly traveled 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) across an optical fiber, becoming the farthest successful quantum teleportation feat yet. Advances in quantum teleportation could lead to better Internet and communication security, and get scientists closer to developing quantum computers.

About five years ago, researchers could only teleport quantum information, such as which direction a particle is spinning, across a few meters. Now, they can beam that information across several miles.

Scientists estimate that there are nearly 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean

garbage in the ocean
We know the oceans are home to tons of plastic garbage, from discarded nylon fishing nets that ensnare sea turtles to packing straps that strangle the life out of marine mammals. But because all that plastic is coming from everywhere, it's difficult to tell how much of it, exactly, is floating around - an important question, given its pernicious effects on the ecosystem and possible toxic repercussions to humanity's dinner plate.

Thanks to an international research effort spanning six years, we now have a much better idea of the sheer bulk of plastic water pollution. The minimum count is 5.25 trillion plastic particles littering the seas, say scientists in a new study in PLOS ONE. All those teeny bits - the result of the gradual breakdown of larger plastics, as well as escaped nurdles and microbeads used in cosmetics - add up to 269,000 tons, or about the weight of 2,150 adult blue whales.
Cell Phone

More veiled Russophobia? Forbes names YotaPhone 2 'most disruptive smartphone' of 2014

© AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev
Head of Yota Devices Vladislav Martynov holds a Yotaphone with a dual screen during its presentation in central Moscow on December 2, 2014.
For once being disruptive is a good thing. Forbes magazine describes the new Russian designed YotaPhone 2 as 2014's Most Disruptive Smartphone. The review calls it exciting and innovative and is "a rare beast" with both a radical and conformist design.

Comment: Reviewer Ewan Spence failed to provide any real reasons for using the word 'disruptive' in the article title.

According to reviewer Ewan Spence, the developers created a product which combines features which makes it stand out among other smartphones. They are modern and innovative designs; the second e-Ink display on the back of the device and its unique software.

The model features a power-saving electronic paper-like screen on the back that displays basic information like a clock and message alerts and can also be used to read books. There are special apps just for the display and games are available too. A second regular display lights on only when needed for more complex tasks.

Comment: Yes, there is a learning curve for using the product, as well as distinct advantages when compared to the products of established market leaders like Samsung and Apple. Every company faces challenges when they release their products. In fact, YotaPhone 2 did extraordinarily well considering the fact that it is a new product and it is competing with established global leaders. This is not 'disruptive' as Forbes claims. It is disruptive to the sales of Samsung and Apple.It has become normal for Western leaders and their authoritarian followers to criticize anything Putin promotes.

Fireball 2

Russian scientist spies mountain-sized asteroid heading our way

In a video posted online Sunday, astrophysicist Vladimir Lipunov says the newly discovered asteroid could collide with Earth during its three-year orbital cycle. A giant meteor exploded over a Russian city in 2013.

Comment: What is NASA doing other than making self-calming statements like 'one-in-a-thousand-years' and 'there is no threat'? The NASA "gorilla" consumes 16 billion American tax dollars every year. And yet they're doing nothing to inform the public, or protect them, against what is probably humanity's biggest existential threat.


10 things you didn't know about spiders

© Wikimedia Commons
Just saying the word "spider" can elicit responses of fear or awe from people, but regardless of which side you fall on, there's a good chance that there is quite a bit you don't know about eight-legged arachnids. That's because, simply put, spiders are amazing creatures. There are 40,000 different species of spiders living on every continent except Antarctica, and nearly every one of those species is poisonous. Spiders can range in size from tiny to nearly the size of a small puppy. Here are some other amazing facts about these curious creatures.

Comment: Certainly amazing creatures deserving respect.


Biochemist captures images of liquid, crystallized DNA

liquid crystal DNA
© bibliotecapleyades
Liquid crystal DNA
These fascinating images, that on first inspection look like a Grateful Dead gatefold, are actually liquid DNA molecules crystallizing. They were captured by the artist and biochemist Linden Gledhill for a new project called MSSNG.

MSSNG is an ambitious program launched by the advocacy organization Autism Speaks. As scientists sequence the DNA of 10,000 families affected by autism, all the data collected will be made available as open source to other researchers around the world in an attempt to fill in the missing pieces surrounding the condition.

Paying attention makes touch-sensing brain cells fire rapidly and in sync

A step toward cracking the code of how brains work.

Whether we're paying attention to something we see can be discerned by monitoring the firings of specific groups of brain cells. Now, new work from Johns Hopkins shows that the same holds true for the sense of touch. The study brings researchers closer to understanding how animals' thoughts and feelings affect their perception of external stimuli.

The results were published Nov. 25 in the journal PLoS Biology.

"There is so much information available in the world that we cannot process it all," says Ernst Niebur, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Many researchers believe the brain copes with this by immediately throwing away most of what we take in -- that's called selective attention. But we need to be certain that what is thrown away is really the irrelevant part. We investigated how our neurons do that."

Comment: There is enough research to indicate, that consciously paying attention prevents one's brain from deteriorating. More so, ignoring reality and just going through the motions of life makes one open to myriad harmful influences and manipulation. If we are to become functioning and thinking human beings, we must make an effort to be aware and always pay attention.
'Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the world will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the 'Future.' -- Cassiopaeans, 09-28-02
Pay attention to this:


Scientists find brain mechanism that keeps us reaching for the glucose

© Unknown
British scientists have found a brain mechanism they think may drive our desire for glucose-rich food and say the discovery could one day lead to better treatments for obesity.

In experiments using rats, researchers at Imperial College London found a mechanism that appears to sense how much glucose is reaching the brain and prompts animals to seek more if it detects a shortfall. In people, the scientists said, it may play a role in driving our preference for sweet and starchy foods.

Glucose, a component of carbohydrates, is the main energy source used by brain cells.

Comment: As far as changing the diet goes, here is the latest science:


Ripples in space-time fabric could reveal 'strange stars'

purple quark
The three valence quarks that make up each proton account for about one percent of its mass; the rest comes from interactions among the quarks and gluons.
By looking for ripples in the fabric of space-time, scientists could soon detect "strange stars" - objects made of stuff radically different from the particles that make up ordinary matter, researchers say.

The protons and neutrons that make up the nuclei of atoms are made of more basic particles known as quarks. There are six types, or "flavors," of quarks: up, down, top, bottom, charm and strange. Each proton or neutron is made of three quarks: Each proton is composed of two up quarks and one down quark, and each neutron is made of two down quarks and one up quark.

strangelet chart
Strangelet atom reaction.
In theory, matter can be made with other flavors of quarks as well. Since the 1970s, scientists have suggested that particles of "strange matter" known as strangelets - made of equal numbers of up, down and strange quarks - could exist. In principle, strange matter should be heavier and more stable than normal matter, and might even be capable of converting ordinary matter it comes in contact with into strange matter. However, lab experiments have not yet created any strange matter, so its existence remains uncertain.

One place strange matter could naturally be created is inside neutron stars, the remnants of stars that died in catastrophic explosions known as supernovas. Neutron stars are typically small, with diameters of about 12 miles (19 kilometers) or so, but are so dense that they weigh as much as the sun. A chunk of a neutron star the size of a sugar cube can weigh as much as 100 million tons.

Under the extraordinary force of this extreme weight, some of the up and down quarks that make up neutron stars could get converted into strange quarks, leading to strange stars made of strange matter, researchers say.

Comment: You would think that the Earth should be experiencing gravity waves continuously since they should be coming from any cosmic event that significantly disturbs the fabric of space-time, as they describe it. If you think about other kinds of waves, granted we primarily have knowledge about those that take place on the planet, we have earthquakes, tornadoes, tidal waves and airwaves as models. Every time you walk into a room, you are disturbing the air around you. A land mass creaks and you have radiating ground waves. These are observable because they are motion and we are equipped with motion sensors. So, if a dying star explodes into a supernova, the force expelled should send a literal tsunami of telltale gravitational waves. These should be detectable if they are there. Any particle possesses wave properties.

The first LIGO hunted the waves for nearly a decade and found none - limited range and sensitivity? or inadequate filters? Or, is the space-time aspect a not-fully-understood game-changer? According to Einstein's theory of relativity, when a gravitational wave arrives, space-time is distorted. Are we unable to detect this motion because we are in the same space-time as the occurrence, or because we are within our own gravity wave or because what is relative just is?

Strangelets have been thought to be a concern of sorts. Some scientists believe their composition has the properties that would "puncture" planets and leave tracer exit craters. Others speculate that when a strangelet comes into contact with ordinary matter, it hits a nucleus that is immediately catalyzed and converted into strange matter, and the process keeps going until all matter in the vicinity is converted. If true, you can imagine the problem, especially when scientists produce this peculiar particle in the collider at Brookhaven. The "strange matter" hypothesis remains unproven and no one, so far, has witnessed the little assimilator in action!

Strange stars sure make strange articles!