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Spacetime is like a rainbow, universe has color-like energy versions

© Chris Rogers-Rainbow/Science Faction/Corbis
Spacetime is often discussed as a unified mechanism—but what if were actually that different particles felt its existence in a different way, creating a ‘rainbow’ composed of many forms of spacetime? Physicists from the University of Warsaw have used quantum theory to develop a model that supports this idea.
  • Researchers have suspected that spacetime is sensed in different ways
  • Physicists' model reveals different interactions based on particle energy
  • Thus, classical spacetime structure depends on energy of varying particles
Spacetime is often discussed as a unified mechanism—but what if were actually that different particles felt its existence in a different way, creating a 'rainbow' composed of many forms of spacetime?

Earlier hypotheses on this idea were formed from guesses, but now, physicists from the University of Warsaw have used quantum theory to develop a model that supports ideas of a structure based on the energies of different particles. When white light is passed through a prism, the rainbow on the other side reveals a rich selection of colours - and spacetime works in the same way, the researchers claim.

Just as a normal rainbow can be described in terms of varying wavelength, the physicists suggest the 'spacetime rainbow,' reflects the measure of energy differences.


Russian inventor creates detachable cabin to save lives during plane crashes

© Independent, UK
How the cabin would detach mid-flight as well as during take-off and landing.
The innovation has caused a mixed reaction amongst viewers

A way of saving lives in plane crashes has been conceived, after an inventor released designs for a detachable cabin.

The technology was invented by Tatarenko Vladimir Nikolaevich, who has been working on the project for the past three years. The video above demonstrates exactly how it would work during in-flight emergency situations.

It consists of a detachable cabin that could be ejected at any time during take off, mid-flight or landing and allow the passengers to land safely. Due to parachutes attached to the cabin, which would automatically open once the lower capsule is separated from the aircraft, passengers could land safely on water or on the ground.

The prototype also includes storage space designed to hold luggage under the cabin, so that passengers wouldn't lose any of their personal belongings. The video shows how the cabin would detach mid-flight as well as during take-off and landing

Viewers have had mixed reactions to the innovation, with some supporting the idea but others considering it impractical.

Questions have been raised over the potential impact on the rest of the plane, the possibility of the detached cabin crashing against mountains or buildings before landing and the fate of the pilots.


New type of theoretical 'animated' crystal structure discovered

© Physical Review Letters
Dance diagram for math geeks. In these two-dimensional choreographic crystals, the arrows show directions of particles, arrayed initially on a triangular lattice, that move in straight lines from blue to yellow to pink. The configuration of highest “choreography” has the most rotations and reflections (combined with time shifts) that leave it unchanged (left, 12); the next highest choreography configuration has 6 (right).
A trio of researchers has discovered what they are calling a new type of crystal, one that is always moving. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Latham Boyle, Jun Yong Khoo, and Kendrick Smith describe how the idea for the crystal came about, how it was defined mathematically and whether they believe it could ever possibly exist in the real world.

Crystals are normally defined by their orderly arrangement, one that does not involve any moving parts, but that might change as a new class of crystal has been discovered that could ultimately lead to the discovery of real world crystals that exhibit the behavior that has now been theorized. The theory behind the new crystal arrangement came first from Boyle the team notes, he was studying the LISA Pathfinder project where three satellites have been launched to orbit the sun as a means for detecting gravitational waves. He wondered if adding a fourth satellite might not make more sense as it would allow for gathering more statistical informational about gravity waves if they were actually detected, e.g. their amplitude, polarization and direction. But as he thought about how the satellites would orbit, he found paths for all four that followed a highly dynamic symmetry—and that were a cousin to the tetrahedron. Later he discussed what he had found with his colleagues who devised a means for describing all possible symmetric orbits, which they called a swarm—where choreography was used as a measure of symmetry. The result the combined team claims, is a new type of structure they call choreographic crystals.


Mystery of gene-packed X chromosome finally solved

© Regis Duvignau/Reuters
Although the X chromosome contains about 2,000 genes, compared to 78 in the Y chromosome, for years it racked scientists' brains as to why so few of those genes were actually necessary.

The answer may lie in a lack of pairing. In humans, males have XY chromosomes, while females have XX, but only one of them is active. So both males and females have just one active X chromosome.

The unusual genetic makeup of the X chromosome was discovered in 2002: it contains only a small amount of genes that are necessary for cell function, so-called 'housekeeping' genes.

Researchers from the University of Bath teamed up with Uppsala University and the FANTOM consortium. They analyzed the largest data collection on gene expression in the world and examined the X chromosome's activity compared to that of other chromosomes.

Gene expression is the process by which the heritable information in a gene is made into a functional gene product.


New Horizons photo of Pluto may reveal one of the largest 'ice volcanoes' in the solar system

The new imagery may reveal one of the largest cryovolcanoes in the solar system
A new photograph, released by NASA, may reveal one of the largest 'ice volcanoes' in the solar system on far-flung Pluto.

The latest image of Pluto was taken by the New Horizons space probe during its flyby of the mysterious dwarf planet in July 2015, and its impressive level of detail has left mission scientists intrigued.

The region in the imagery, dubbed 'Wright Mons' by New Horizons mission scientists, reveals a potential ice volcano, also known as a 'cryovolcano'.

At 150 kilometres wide and four kilometres high, the new discovery is potentially the largest cryovolcano in the solar system.

Scientists revealed Wright Mons and one other possible cryovolcano during a press release last year.

Comment: NASA's new images of Pluto's largest moon, Charon show surprisingly complex and violent history


Ultra bright supernova is a stellar mystery

© Corbis
This artist's conception shows a powerful supernova ripping through a nebula.
A network of small, ground-based telescopes hunting the night-time skies for transient supernovas fished out a whopper -- a one-of-a-kind cosmic explosion that at its peak blasted out more light than 50 times all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

The object, which takes its name, ASASSN-15lh from the All-Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae, was first spotted on June 14, 2015. A week later, astronomer Subo Dong, with the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, was looking at the object's spectra, a chemical breakdown of its light, and realized something strange was going on.

The measurements were so different, the survey's automated software didn't even recognize it as a supernova, Dong wrote in an email to Discovery News.

"We thought about various non-supernova, exotic scenarios, but none seemed to work," Dong said.

Working with colleagues at observatories worldwide, Dong started thinking the object may belong to a rare class of so-called superluminous supernovae, a suspicion bolstered by follow-up measurements taken by the 10-meter South African Large Telescope .

"Seeing the SALT spectrum was the moment we knew for sure that we were on to something big," Dong said.

ASASSN-15lh is located about 3.8 billion light-years away, but is so bright that if were as close as Sirius, a bright star 8.6 light-years away from Earth, the supernova would appear to be almost as bright as the sun.


Record-breaking explosion 2.5 times brighter than any previous superluminous supernova found

Control Panel

Free will and the point of no return

© Michael Erazo-Kase
A new study turns over a new leaf in the hot and curious debate on the existence of free will by removing one of the strongest arguments against it.

The existence of free will came under heavy doubt when experiments in the 1980s revealed the subconscious processes behind our conscious actions. Scientists found that when people are asked to do something (for example, to reach out to press a button spontaneously) their brains start subconsciously preparing for the movement seconds before people themselves become aware of their own decision to move.

This and similar findings led neuroscientists to wonder whether the brain's subconscious process "fates" a person to moving, or if the person still has a choice in the matter once it starts. If the brain activity kicks off an unstoppable process leading to movement, it's hard to argue for free will. How could anyone be free if their brain activity has already decided their actions?

Comment: See also:

Ice Cube

World's largest canyon may be hidden under East Antarctic ice sheet

The world's largest canyon may lie under the Antarctic ice sheet, according to analysis of satellite data by a team of scientists, led by Durham University.

Although the discovery needs to be confirmed by direct measurements, the previously unknown canyon system is thought to be over 1,000km long and in places as much as 1km deep, comparable in depth to the Grand Canyon in USA, but many times longer.

The canyon system is made up of a chain of winding and linear features buried under several kilometres of ice in one of the last unexplored regions of the Earth's land surface: Princess Elizabeth Land (PEL) in East Antarctica. Very few measurements of the ice thickness have been carried out in this particular area of the Antarctic, which has led to scientists dubbing it one of Antarctica's two 'Poles of Ignorance'.


The sound of your voice influences your emotional state, says researchers

© Garry Knight/Flickr
Researchers have created a digital audio platform that can modify the emotional tone of people's voices while they are talking, to make them sound happier, sadder or more fearful. New results show that while listening to their altered voices, participants' emotional states change in accordance with the new emotion.

Says lead author Jean-Julien Aucouturier from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS):
"Very little is known about the mechanisms behind the production of vocal emotion.

Previous research has suggested that people try to manage and control their emotions, for example hold back an expression or reappraise feelings. We wanted to investigate what kind of awareness people have of their own emotional expressions."


Breath sensor that can detect cancer could be available by 2022

© David McNew / Reuters
Dr. Antoni Ribas speaks with cancer patient during a promising cancer treatment clinical trial
The Japanese have developed a sensor which can detect cancer from a person's breath and send all the data to a smartphone, making self-checks possible. The invention could cause a revolution in cancer treatment, where early detection is crucial.

The high precision sensor has recently been developed by scientists from the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), who have been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a Swiss equipment maker, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

A tiny chip installed in the small device will be able to detect whether substances associated with cancer are present in a person's breath. The device will even likely be able to warn the person about which type of cancer the patient has, according to NIMS.

The result will be displayed on a smartphone via an app or on the screen of other device with which the sensor is paired.