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Wed, 08 Feb 2023
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Moon

Animals tune their behavior by lunar cycles; but how?

full moon
© Ganapathy Kumar via Unsplash.
Tonight's moon will be full, so here is a timely question. Many unrelated animals tune their behavior by the lunar cycle. How do they do it, given that sunlight overpowers moonlight?

Researchers in Austria think they have found a clue: a cryptochrome protein that appears to respond to the lunar cycle. Cryptochrome proteins are also implicated in the geomagnetic sense in birds. Whatever they found, it surely must represent only a piece of a biological puzzle. Let them explain in this from the University of Wien:
Many marine organisms, including brown algae, fish, corals, turtles and bristle worms, synchronize their behavior and reproduction with the lunar cycle. For some species, such as the bristle worm Platynereiis dumerilii, lab experiments have shown that moonlight exerts its timing function by entraining an inner monthly calendar, also called circalunar clock. Under these laboratory conditions, mimicking the duration of the full moon is sufficient to entrain these circalunar clocks. However, in natural habitats light conditions can vary considerably. Even the regular interplay of sun- and moon creates highly complex patterns. Organisms using the lunar light for their timing thus need to discriminate between specific moon phases and between sun and moonlight. This ability is not well understood. [Emphasis added.]

Biohazard

USDA approves use of world's first vaccine for honeybees, intensive farming blamed for rise of foulbrood disease

honeybees
© Anadolu Agency/Getty
Vaccine aims to curb foulbrood, a serious disease caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae that can weaken and kill hives.
The world's first vaccine for honeybees has been approved for use by the US government, raising hopes of a new weapon against diseases that routinely ravage colonies that are relied upon for food pollination.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine created by Dalan Animal Health, a US biotech company, to help protect honeybees from American foulbrood disease.

"Our vaccine is a breakthrough in protecting honeybees," said Annette Kleiser, chief executive of Dalan Animal Health. "We are ready to change how we care for insects, impacting food production on a global scale."


Comment: Indeed. Which means that, if this goes wrong, as with the experimental covid jabs, there may be hell to pay.


Bizarro Earth

Rate of scientific breakthroughs slowing over time - study

gravitational waves
© N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno / MAX PLANCK INSTISTUTE FOR GRAVITATIONAL PHYSICS/AFP/File
The measurement of gravitational waves was deemed a "disruptive" recent breakthrough by the researchers
The rate of ground-breaking scientific discoveries and technological innovation is slowing down despite an ever-growing amount of knowledge, according to an analysis released Wednesday of millions of research papers and patents.

While previous research has shown downturns in individual disciplines, the study is the first that "emphatically, convincingly documents this decline of disruptiveness across all major fields of science and technology," lead author Michael Park told AFP.

Park, a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, called disruptive discoveries those that "break away from existing ideas" and "push the whole scientific field into new territory."


Comment: This is a most revealing admission; because it's quite clear that scientific research, from climate to basic biology (i.e gender), that does not promote the establishment's, often warped, version of reality, is unlikely to receive funding.


The researchers gave a "disruptiveness score" to 45 million scientific papers dating from 1945 to 2010, and to 3.9 million US-based patents from 1976 to 2010.

Comment: The contrived coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdowns were perhaps the penultimate example of how science is now so readily corrupted by nefarious interests, and enforced by pathological and incompetent people in positions of influence.

That said, there is hope, because, whilst Russia and China tow the line on a number of mainstream theories, it's clear from their actions, that they are not stunted by the same ideologies destroying Western institutions; and this can be seen in how China recently became the country with the most cited scientific papers in the world.

For further insight into the crisis mainstream science is facing, check out the following podcast from SOTT radio: MindMatters: Follow the Science? A Peek Behind the Curtain of Institutional Science




Comet 2

Possible naked-eye comet will visit Earth for first time in 50,000-years

The comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye as it passes the sun and Earth at the end of the first month of 2023.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)
© Hisayoshi Sato via NASA/JPL-Caltech
An image of the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) taken by astrophotographer Hisayoshi Sato as seen in a still image from a NASA video.
At the start of 2023 Earth will be visited by a newly discovered comet that may just be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye.

The comet, named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), is currently passing through the inner solar system. It will make its closest approach to the sun, or perihelion, on Jan. 12, and will then whip past Earth making its closest passage of our planet, its perigee, between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

If the comet continues to brighten as it currently is, it could be visible in dark skies with the naked eye. This is difficult to predict for comets, but even if C/2022 E3 (ZTF) does fade it should still be visible with binoculars or a telescope for a number of days around its close approach.

According to NASA, observers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves in the direction of the northwest during January. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will become visible for observers in the Southern Hemisphere in early February 2023.

Arrow Up

Newfound kind of supernova can tear apart a planet's atmosphere

Exoplanet
© titoOnz via Getty Images
An artist's depiction of an exoplanet.
Supernovas are bad news. They can wreck biospheres and flood planets with deadly radiation. And now, a recent study has added a new potential threat: a special type of supernova that can destroy a planet's ozone layer years after the initial explosion.

When giant stars die in massive explosions called supernovas, they temporarily become some of the most luminous objects in the universe. A single supernova can outshine the combined light of hundreds of billions of stars.

To give you some perspective, the nearby star Betelgeuse is going to explode any day now. (That's an astronomical "any day," meaning sometime within the next few million years.) Even though the star is over 600 light-years from us, when it goes supernova, it will be the brightest object in our sky, second only to the sun. Betelgeuse will be visible during the day, shining brighter than a full moon. For a few weeks, during the peak of the blast, it will be so bright that it will cast shadows in the middle of the night.

Despite the fearsome brightness, the visible light portion of a supernova represents only a tiny fraction of all the energy output. And besides, while intense amounts of visible light may cause blindness, it doesn't have a lot of other serious effects. What's more worrisome is the high-energy radiation associated with the supernova, usually in the form of X-rays and gamma-rays.

Snowflake Cold

W. Hudson Bay polar bear population decline stories are unethical and ignore critical caveats

Polar Bear Population
© Unknown
From Polar Bear Science

Dr. Susan Crockford

Canadian government scientists created headline news worldwide last week when they told the media that Western Hudson Bay polar bear numbers appeared to have declined by 27% between 2017 and 2021, based on a survey report that has not been made public. This is called 'science by press release'. Its practice is rightfully considered unethical, as it is usually associated with "people promoting scientific 'findings' of questionable scientific merit who turn to the media for attention when they are unlikely to win the approval of the professional scientific community."

Info

Spontaneous baby movements have purpose

Seemingly random movements in newborns are important for development of coordinated sensorimotor system.
Spontaneous movements.
© 2022 Kanazawa et al.
Spontaneous movements. The markers for the motion capture camera were gently applied to the baby’s limbs and head and belly, enabling the team to capture the full range of movement.
Spontaneous, random baby movements aid development of their sensorimotor system, according to new research led by the University of Tokyo. Detailed motion capture of newborns and infants was combined with a musculoskeletal computer model, to enable researchers to analyze communication among muscles and sensation across the whole body. Researchers found patterns of muscle interaction developing based on the babies' random exploratory behavior, that would later enable them to perform sequential movements as infants. Better understanding how our sensorimotor system develops could help us gain insight into the origin of human movement as well as earlier diagnosis of developmental disorders.

If you've spent time with a baby, you'll probably have noticed that they hardly keep still. Right from birth — and even in the womb — babies start to kick, wiggle and move seemingly without aim or external stimulation. These are called "spontaneous movements" and researchers believe that they have an important role to play in the development of the sensorimotor system, i.e., our ability to control our muscles, movement and coordination. If we can better understand these seemingly random movements and how they are involved in early human development, we might also be able to identify early indicators for certain developmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy.

Currently, there is limited knowledge about how newborns and infants learn to move their body. "Previous research into sensorimotor development has focused on kinematic properties, muscle activities which cause movement in a joint or a part of the body," said Project Assistant Professor Hoshinori Kanazawa from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. "However, our study focused on muscle activity and sensory input signals for the whole body. By combining a musculoskeletal model and neuroscientific method, we found that spontaneous movements, which seem to have no explicit task or purpose, contribute to coordinated sensorimotor development."

Telescope

Stunning photo shows every visible planet in the solar system lining up across the night sky

all planets in sky
© Dr Gianluca Masi
Dr Gianluca Masi took the image from the roof of the building where he lives last night, using a camera with special lenses. It shows Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and the Moon
Stargazers have been capturing some spectacular images of a rare astronomical event that means every planet in the solar system is visible in the night sky at the same time.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all be seen with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune are possible to spot with binoculars or a telescope.

Astronomer Dr Gianluca Masi shared a picture he took of the five planets that could be seen with the naked eye, while other skywatchers across the world also captured images of the 'planet parade'. He took it from the roof of a building in Rome, Italy last night, using a camera with special lenses.

Info

40-year study finds mysterious patterns in temperatures at Jupiter

Scientists have completed the longest-ever study tracking temperatures in Jupiter's upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where the giant planet's weather occurs and where its signature colorful striped clouds form. The work, conducted over four decades by stitching together data from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescope observations, found unexpected patterns in how temperatures of Jupiter's belts and zones change over time. The study is a major step toward a better understanding of what drives weather at our solar system's largest planet and eventually being able to forecast it.
Jupiter Temperature Changes
© ESO / L.N. Fletcher, NAOJ
Figure 1: (Left) Color composite images of Jupiter in the wavelengths of 8.6 and 10.7 microns, obtained by the VLT in February, and March 2016, respectively. The colors represent the temperatures and cloudiness: The darker areas are cold and cloudy, and the brighter areas are warmer and cloud-free. (Right) Jupiter at a wavelength of 18 microns obtained in May 2019 with COMICS on the Subaru Telescope.
Jupiter's troposphere has a lot in common with Earth's: It's where clouds form and storms churn. To understand this weather activity, scientists need to study certain properties, including wind, pressure, humidity, and temperature. They have known since NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11 missions in the 1970s that, in general, colder temperatures are associated with Jupiter's lighter and whiter bands (known as zones), while the darker brown-red bands (known as belts) are locations of warmer temperatures.

But there weren't enough data sets to understand how temperatures vary over the long-term. An international research team of planetary scientists from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA, University of Leicester (UK), and other institutes broke new ground by studying images of the bright infrared glow (invisible to the human eye) that rises from warmer regions of the atmosphere (upper troposphere), directly measuring Jupiter's temperatures above the colorful clouds. The scientists collected these images at regular intervals over three of Jupiter's orbits around the Sun, each of which lasts 12 Earth years.

Display

Scientists digitally reconstruct 'handsome' face of Ramses II

ramses III
© Dominio público
Researchers used CT software to "digitally unwrap" the mummy of one of ancient Egypt's greatest pharaohs of Egyptian history

Egyptian and British scientists have unveiled a facial reconstruction of Ramses II, having used computer tomography (CT) software to "digitally unwrap" the mummy of the famous Ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The joint scientific project allowed historians for the first time to observe what the ruler looked like at different points in his life.

The researchers say they used earlier CT scans of the pharaoh's mummy and applied them to analysis software. They were then able to differentiate between the skull and other materials used during the embalming process and produce a 3D rendering of the skull. They then applied the average facial muscle layer measurements believed to be appropriate for ancient Egyptians to reconstruct the pharaoh's face.