Science & Technology


Study shows psychopaths tend to prefer bitter foods

© Fatih Saribas / Reuters
Vain, selfish, psychopathic, everyday sadist - this is what you might be if you prefer bitter foods like strong black coffee or tonic water, Austrian researchers discovered.

The Innsbruck University scientists tested over 1,000 people during their study.

The first experiment involved about 500 people, 35 years old on average, who were asked to rate their food preferences, and then completed four personality tests.

Comment: Now, now -- just because you enjoy a cup of black coffee doesn't mean that you're a psychopath (unless you like your coffee with a side plate of dandelion salad, escarole and juju beans).


Study reveals that blocking over 200 genes boosts lifespan by 60%, points to possible key to longevity

© Pichi Chuang / Reuters
Once a bucket of genes linked to aging is removed, the lifespan of cells increases significantly, American scientists discovered during ten years of meticulous research, stressing that the results could be applied to humans.

An "exhaustive, ten-year effort" allowed scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of Washington to identify some 238 genes which could be targeted to improve human health and possibly extend life spans by 60 percent. The paper was published on Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism.


DARPA's genetically modified soldiers: What are the risks?

You've seen it as science-fiction on TV or in the movies, but now it's science-fact. I'm talking about the Pentagon's DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) creation of a super soldier army with super human abilities achieved through genetic modification. Going on for some years, shrouded in secrecy, these mutants will make future wars totally different games.

The genetic modification of specific human genes will give these soldiers certain characteristics advantageous on the battlefield, giving rise to the most amazing abilities and performances.

Smarter, sharper, more focused and more physically stronger than their enemy counterparts these soldiers will be capable of telepathy, run faster than Olympic champions, lift record-breaking weights through the development of exoskeletons, re-grow limbs lost in combat, possess a super-strong immune system, go for days and days without food or sleep...


Russia and China sign a deal to build new satellite factory: GLONASS-BeiDou navigation systems to rival GPS

© Ilya Naymushin / RIA Novosti
Engineers work on a GLONASS-K space navigation satellite
China's BeiDou navigation satellite system, which reportedly boasts accuracy to the centimeter, and Russia's GLONASS, hailed as the only global rival to GPS, plan to join forces and build a production facility. The news was broken by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who spoke in Harbin, the capital of the northeast Chinese province of Heilongjiang. He added that it is planned that the facility for production of receiver modules and chipsets will be based in Russia.

According to the Xinhua news agency, China began to build the BeiDou satellite navigation system in 1994, two decades after the US developed GPS. China is the third country to have an independent satellite navigation and positioning system, after the US and Russia.

BeiDou now has about 20 satellites that ensure positioning to an accuracy of 10 meters, which is set to get even better with the introduction of next generation satellites. With the help of ground-based facilities, the positioning precision of BeiDou is now accurate to the centimeter, according to Xinhua.

Comment: Russia and China will start equipping trucks transporting goods across the Sino-Russian border with the GLONASS/Beidou navigation systems:
"Users will have identical services both in China and in Russia," Bondarenko said "A truck driver will be able to call technical support, receive assistance on the road, find the closest gas station and obtain other services included in the satellite navigation."
See also:

Ice Cube

Math errors discovered in climate model shows UN climate panel overestimated global warming by at least 10x

Dr David Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.

A mathematical discovery by Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans may change everything about the climate debate, on the eve of the UN climate change conference in Paris next month.

A former climate modeller for the Government's Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.

He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly. He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate's sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought. It turns out the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.

"Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it's about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades".

Dr Evans says his discovery "ought to change the world". "But the political obstacles are massive," he said.

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting. "The model architecture was wrong," he says. "Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control."

Comment: Dr. Evans is not alone


Boeing releases video of revolutionary lightweight metal, '99.99 percent air'

Microlattice is a 3D open-cellular polymer structure made out of small hollow metallic tubes, and represents a criss-cross diagonal pattern with small open spaces.

Evil Rays

DARPA awarding grants for research into how light, sound, magnets, electrical impulses affect body via peripheral nervous system

As part of its ElectRx program, which seeks to heal by treating the body like the electrical system it is, the government agency has awarded grants to seven teams
Much like robots, humans depend on internal electricity to function. Our nervous systems pretty much consist of sparks of electricity jumping from one nerve to another to regulate nearly all our vital functions. Our brains are storms of electricity, our hearts pump thanks to electrical impulses and we make sense of the images that come in through our eyes through an electrical process.

It makes sense then that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a unit within the US Department of Defense that focuses on cutting-edge research for military applications, is interested in exploring ways to treat the human body as the electrical system it really is.

DARPA has created an initiative called Electrical Prescriptions, or ElectRx, to investigate how light, sound waves, magnets and outside electrical pulses could help soldiers heal. On Monday, the agency announced that it will be awarding grants to seven different teams involved with mapping and treating the body's electrical systems.

"The peripheral nervous system [communicates] a vast array of sensory and motor signals that monitor our health status and effect changes in brain and organ functions to keep us healthy," ElectRx program manager Doug Weber explained in a statement. Weber is a biomedical engineer who previously worked as a researcher for the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We envision technology that can detect the onset of disease and react automatically to restore health by stimulating peripheral nerves to modulate functions in the brain, spinal cord and internal organs."

Each of the teams chosen by DARPA will be investigating a different way of approaching health and healing.

Comment: Under the illusion of helping the troops in the mythical war on terror, there is an endless sea of tax dollars for these destructive murdering thugs to spend. What do you suppose they really want this technology for? We doubt it's for health and healing.


Mysterious fast-moving wave-like structures observed traveling away from young star

© Top: NASA, ESA, G. Schneider (Steward Observatory), and the HST GO 12228 team. Bottom: NASA, ESA, ESO, and A. Boccaletti (Paris Observatory)
This set of images of a 40-billion-mile-diameter edge-on disk encircling the young star AU Microscopii reveals a string of mysterious wave-like features.
There's something strange going on inside the protoplanetary disk of a nearby star and astronomers are at a loss to explain what it means.

AU Microscopii (AU Mic) is a young star sporting one of the finest examples of an edge-on dusty circumstellar disk. Planetary formation models predict that this disk will one day give rise to a system of planets, but there's something stirring inside the disk that no planetary formation model can currently account for.

After astronomers analyzed observational data from the European Southern Observatory's SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research) instrument, which is attached to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, they saw what appeared to be very fast-moving wave-like structures traveling away from the star through the disk.

Located only 32 light-years from Earth allows us a very detailed view of this disk, and after looking back over archived Hubble Space Telescope data, the features were detected after some image analysis.


Hubble telescope spots mysterious space objects

© AP Photo/ NASA/file
Hubble Space Telescope.
Scientists from the Paris Observatory have discovered mysterious undulating objects on space photos made with the Hubble space telescope and ESO's Very Large Telescope, scientific magazine Nature wrote.

A team of astronomers led by Anthony Boccaletti has been searching the gas-and-dust disc of a young star AU Microscopii for any signs of clumpy or warped features, as such signs might give away the location of possible planets. AU Mic is located in the Microscope constellation, 32 light years away from Earth. It is a small dim star, classified as a red dwarf and a flaring temporary star.

Having analyzed the images, the scientists discovered five unknown wave-like formations, resembling ripples in water, within the planet-forming disc of the AU Mic. These structures present another astronomic mystery to be solved, because nothing similar was ever seen before. The scientists haven't yet determined the nature of these "waves".

"Everything about this find was pretty surprising!" said co-author Carol Grady of Eureka Scientific, USA. "And because nothing like this has been observed or predicted in theory we can only hypothesise when it comes to what we are seeing and how it came about."


Research shows histones play an important role in epigenetic inheritance

© doble.d / Fotolia
Researchers show that there is something apart from DNA that plays an important role in inheritance in general, and could determine whether a father's children and grandchildren will be healthy or not.
If you have diabetes, or cancer or even heart problems, maybe you should blame it on your dad's behaviour or environment. Or even your grandfather's. That's because, in recent years, scientists have shown that, before his offspring are even conceived, a father's life experiences involving food, drugs, exposure to toxic products and even stress can affect the development and health not only of his children, but even of his grandchildren.

But, despite a decade of work in the area, scientists haven't been able to understand much about how this transmission of environmental memories over several generations takes place. McGill researchers and their Swiss collaborators think that they have now found a key part of the molecular puzzle. They have discovered that proteins known as histones, which have attracted relatively little attention until now, may play a crucial role in the process.

They believe that this finding, which they describe in a paper just published in Science, has the potential to profoundly change our understanding of how we inherit things. That's because the researchers show that there is something apart from DNA that plays an important role in inheritance in general, and could determine whether a father's children and grandchildren will be healthy or not.