Science & Technology
Thu, 06 Apr 2017 17:28 UTC
National Geographic photographer Keith Ladzinski posted the creepy alien-esque scene to the nature magazine's Instagram account on Wednesday.
In roughly 24 hours, the video has amassed over 540,000 likes and generated an animated discussion with more than 10,000 netizens commenting on the strange phenomenon.
In the post, Ladzinski explains that he happened upon the plough snails' feeding frenzy while travelling along South Africa's picturesque Garden Route, a stretch of coast along the southwest of the country.
The Globe and Mail
Wed, 05 Apr 2017 14:25 UTC
The monsters Dr. Broderick has in mind are supermassive black holes: terrifying giants that lurk in the hearts of galaxies, including our own, where they can devour stars and interstellar gas like cosmic vacuum cleaners.
Fortunately, Earth is in no danger of encountering such a lethal entity. The nearest one is at least 25,000 light years away from our solar system's quiet celestial suburb. But astronomers have long known that something very dark and heavy is sitting at the galactic centre. Indirect evidence points to a black hole that is more than 30 times the sun's diameter and a staggering 4.3 million times the sun's mass. The extreme gravity of such a dense object would be enough to trap light as well as matter. Falling into it would be a one-way trip, even for a laser beam. (Hence the term "black hole.")
Beyond designer babies: Epigenetic modification may be the next game-changer - but we would be wise to go slow
Los Angeles Review of Books
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:00 UTC
Ongoing efforts at self-regulation among leading scientists in the field certainly deserve our respect and support. But what seems to have gone relatively unnoticed over the last decade is the development of a separate but equally potent pathway for genetically engineering — and thus redesigning — human bodies and minds: epigenetics. Over the coming decades, altering our kids' DNA may not be the most appealing way to proceed. In fact, if the cutting-edge field of epigenetics fulfills its promise, the hoopla over designer babies may end up being misplaced. "Designer adults," created through epigenetic modification, may instead be the real game-changer. In such a world, bioenhancement tools used by today's "body hackers" like Peter Thiel and Ray Kurzweil — transfusions of youthful blood, elaborate daily regimens of pills and potions — would seem as crude and quaint as the leeches of yesteryear.
Tue, 04 Apr 2017 20:10 UTC
Current solar cell on panels widely distributed to retailers offer a maximum of 16-25 percent efficiency rate. The best examples of traditional silicon solar cells top out at around 25 percent efficiency, whereas multi-junction cells have achieved more than 40 percent.
The new type of electrode created by RMIT University researchers could boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 percent.
But the graphene-based prototype also opens a new path to the development of flexible thin film all-in-one solar capture and storage, bringing us one step closer to self-powering smart phones, laptops, cars and buildings.
The new electrode is designed to work with supercapacitors, which can charge and discharge power much faster than conventional batteries. Supercapacitors have been combined with solar, but their wider use as a storage solution is restricted because of their limited capacity.
RMIT's Professor Min Gu said the new design drew on nature's own genius solution to the challenge of filling a space in the most efficient way possible -- through intricate self-repeating patterns known as "fractals".
When it was discovered by Andre Geim and his colleague Konstantin Novoselov, physics professors working at Manchester University around 2004, graphene was hailed as a ground-breaking discovery, with the media calling it a "wonder material."
The Guardian once suggested it "could change the world" because theoretically the unique properties of the thinnest material on Earth could allow it to carry 1,000 times more electricity than copper and thus make it a replacement for silicon in computer chips.
Graphene is also thought to be 150 times stronger than the equivalent weight of steel, effectively making it the strongest-measured material in existence.
It is also as flexible as rubber and can stretch to more than 100 percent of its length.
It seemed, however, that no one could find a real everyday use for graphene - until now, that is.
Sun, 02 Apr 2017 00:00 UTC
Szymanski expanded on his remarks in a brief interview later, saying he has his eye on a number of technologies, including pharmaceutical aids. But the results of one breakthrough involving the direct application of electrical stimulation to the brain have particularly caught his eye.
"In experiments, people who were watching these screens ... their ability to concentrate would fall off in about 20 minutes," Szymanski said. "But they did studies whereby a little bit of electrical stimulation was applied, and they were able to maintain the same peak performance for 20 hours."
Transcranial electrical stimulation was one of the technologies touted by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in July 2016 as part of his Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental), or DIUx, initiative. Since then, multiple SEAL units have begun actively testing the effectiveness of the technology, officials with Naval Special Warfare Command told Military.com
Comment: Super soldiers, expendable at all costs.
Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:38 UTC
Solar flares are brief eruptions of intense high-energy radiation from the sun's surface. However, fear not, as "harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground," NASA says.
The flares sprang from the surface of the sun on Sunday and Monday. Images of the phenomenon leaping out from the sun's surface were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly watches our galaxy's glowing orb.
The pale-coloured loach, shown above, is thought to have diverged from surface fish as glaciers from the last ice age receded some 16,000 to 20,000 years ago.
"Our first genetic studies, plus knowledge of the geological history of the region, suggest the cave loach population is amazingly young, certainly not older than 20,000 years," says Jasminca Behrmann-Godel at the University of Konstanz in Germany, who led the team that analysed the fish. "Despite this short time span, the fish show trademark adaptions to cave life compared with loaches from surface locations nearby, including a pale body colouration, much smaller eyes, plus larger nostrils and barbels."
It shows that adaptation to these subterranean habitats can be fast, and just a few thousand years might be enough for a fish to adapt to cave life, says Behrmann-Godel. "Cavefish could exist virtually everywhere in principle, and there's no good reason to expect long evolution times for them to adapt to cave environments," she says.
Sat, 01 Apr 2017 00:00 UTC
Every single day over 3.2 billion people access the internet to connect with others around the world or to find information, listen to music, watch videos, read books — you name it, and it's on the internet and everyone wants access to it. WiFi technology has certainly enhanced our lives in many ways, but has this access to instant information and connection come at a cost?
Because we can't see the frequencies of our WiFi devices, it's easy to overlook the potential harm they might be causing. If we could see them, would it make us think twice about how often we are using them? Using an Android app and long exposure photography designer, Luis Hernan was able to depict what this actually looks like.
Comment: As vivid and interesting as these pictures are, the signals that are emitted by cellphones, laptops, modems and cell towers disrupt the normal functioning of the human nervous system and have been shown to cause numerous health problems such as headaches, depression, brain fog, anxiety and in some cases, cancer.
- The Health & Wellness Show: EMF Exposure Part I
- The Health & Wellness Show: EMF Exposure Part II
- EMF pollution - What is EMF?
- EMF Pollution: Man-Made EMF, Dirty Power, and AC magnetic fields
- EMF pollution: The health impacts of wireless RF radiation
- EMF pollution: What you can do to reduce your EMF exposure
Daily Mail, UK
Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:39 UTC
In a remarkable interactive website, researchers have plotted all the major meteor streams that orbit the sun, revealing the paths of those which give rise to meteor showers on Earth.
The visualization, created by engineer Ian Webster, allows users to view each stream in relation to our entire solar system or even watch from the perspective of Earth, showing the breathtaking magnitude of the space pebbles that bombard our planet.
The interactive site shows 12 different meteor showers that occur throughout the year, from the upcoming Lyrids in April to the Ursids in December. Or, you can choose to view every meteor shower at once.
The data comes from measurements by NASA's CAMS video camera surveillance network and calculations by meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center.