Science & Technology
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:17 UTC
More than seven million dry tons biosolids (read: poop) are generated in the US annually by more than 16,500 municipal wastewater treatment facilities. And that sewage contains metals that people ingest and otherwise flush down the toilet, or rinse out in the laundry and shower.
"There are metals everywhere," Dr. Kathleen Smith of the US Geological Survey (USGS) said in a statement, noting that they are "in your hair care products, detergents, even nanoparticles that are put in socks to prevent bad odors."
Comment: Are people going to start waste diving for gold?
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:36 UTC
Strange creatures live in the deep sea, but few are odder than the viruses that inhabit deep ocean methane seeps and prey on single-celled microorganisms called archaea.
The least understood of life's three primary domains, archaea thrive in the most extreme environments on the planet: near hot ocean rift vents, in acid mine drainage, in the saltiest of evaporation ponds and in petroleum deposits deep underground.
Virus in the deep blue sea
While searching the ocean's depths for evidence of viruses, scientists have found a remarkable new one, a virus that seemingly infects archaea that live beneath the ocean floor.
The researchers were surprised to discover that the virus selectively targets one of its own genes for mutation, and that this capacity is also shared by archaea themselves.
The findings appear today in a paper in the journal Nature Communications.
The project was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Dimensions of Biodiversity grant to characterize microbial diversity in methane seep ecosystems. Dimensions of Biodiversity is supported by NSF's Directorates for Biological Sciences and Geosciences.
New information about life in ocean depths
"Our study uncovers mechanisms by which viruses and archaea can adapt in this hostile environment," said David Valentine, a geoscientist at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and co-author of the paper.
The results, he said, raise new questions about the evolution and interaction of the microbes that call the planet's interior home.
"It's now thought that there's more biomass inside the Earth than anywhere else, just living very slowly in this dark, energy-limited environment," said paper co-author Sarah Bagby of UCSB.
Sat, 07 Mar 2015 22:32 UTC
exoplanets, revolving around remote stars, since the first one was discovered in 1988.
Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL)The Earth Similarity Index (ESI) is a measure of Earth-likeness for exoplanets: 1.0 means identical to Earth. Zero means no similarity.
Any exoplanet with an ESI value above 0.8 can be considered Earth-like, which means that it has a similar size and composition to Earth with a temperate atmosphere that might potentially support terrestrial life forms.
Without a university position in hand, these highly educated would-be professors generally have two options: bounce from one part-time teaching job to another or take a job doing something else entirely. And while some—those with engineering and science doctorates, mostly—have the option of well-paid work in the private sector, others do not, and admit to feeling shame and frustration that they didn't make it in academia. At conferences and in the higher-education press, they bemoan a broken system: one that generates experts with training they cannot use without that all-important title of professor.
What if there was an alternative? The Ronin Institute, a three-month-old experiment founded by one of these would-be academics, is asking that question, hoping to revolutionize academia by connecting unaffiliated scholars to research funding and giving them credibility at the same time—no university required.
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 03:33 UTC
Tesla will roll out an auto-steering software update for the Model S in the next three or four months, and owners won't even have to go into a Tesla store for the upgrade, founder Elon Musk said at a Thursday press conference.
Drivers will only be able to engage the autonomous system while on highways, despite having the technical ability to do a lot more.
"It is technically capable of going from parking lot to parking lot," Musk said. "But we won't be enabling that for users with this hardware suite, because we don't think it's likely to be safe in suburban neighborhoods," he continued, noting that such streets often lack posted speed limit signs and pose obstacles like children playing in the street.
Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:52 UTC
The crocodile, called Carnufex carolinensis, which literally means the Carolina butcher, was a very early member of the crocodile family, but unlike its modern ancestors it was not aquatic, nor a quadruped but prowled around on two legs.
It was about 3 meters (10 feet) long and about 1.5 meter (3 feet) tall and had blade-like teeth and a long skull.
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 04:42 UTC
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 04:42 UTC
The study shows that our moral decisions can be influenced by what we are looking at when we make the decision. Using a new experimental method, the researchers tracked participants' eye movements and demanded an answer when their eye rested on a randomly pre-selected answer.
The researchers, from the Division of Cognitive Science at Lund University, University College London (UCL) and the University of California, Merced, studied in real time how people deliberate with themselves in difficult moral dilemmas. The participants had no idea that the researchers were carefully monitoring how their gaze moved in order to demand an answer at the right moment. The results showed that the responses were systematically influenced by what the eye saw at the moment an answer was demanded.
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:47 UTC
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:47 UTC
However, it appears that one feature being added to supposedly consumer-friendly applications is a suite of biometrics called Windows Hello and Windows Passport.
It's all a part of the move toward a full-fledged Smart World where YOU become the password in a matrix of online and real-world activity.
Naturally, the fear of identity theft and cyber crime of all stripes has been the sales pitch to accept this new pervasive identity tech. Apple's Touch ID was introduced in iPhone 5 which employed a fingerprint scanner for phone locking as well as to make purchases in Apple stores.
Solar-system-wide climate change: Astronomy in need of major re-write as 1,000 km high dust clouds and spectacular auroras discovered on Mars
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:04 UTC
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:04 UTC
"This is the first discovery of dust or debris at orbital altitudes around Mars," says Bruce Jakosky, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the mission's principal investigator. "It's hard to understand how this stuff got here."
Jakosky reported the finding on 18 March at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas. But the dust cloud was not the only new finding from MAVEN, which has also discovered a diffuse, high-altitude aurora glowing above Mars's northern hemisphere.
Comment: So Earth isn't the only planet undergoing a dust veil event.
And geomagnetic storms on Mars?! Until yesterday, that was considered 'impossible'...
To find out what's going on, check out:
Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:07 UTC
Researchers at MIT have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles — a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections.
The research, conducted by Polina Anikeeva, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, graduate student Ritchie Chen, and three others, has been published in the journal Science.
Comment: These experiments seem eerily similar to José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado's work. It only takes a slight nudge of the imagination to conceive of other, more insidious, motives that could arise from experiments such as these.