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Tue, 27 Oct 2020
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NASA's SOFIA observatory discovers water spread out across Moon's sunlit surface

moonrise moon
© Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
The US space agency confirmed it has found indisputable proof of something that was previously considered impossible - "massive hydration" of the Moon's sunlit surface by water, that still only exists as separate molecules.

NASA announced that its latest study has helped to resolve the mystery of whether water exists on the Moon once and for all. It is not that claims about the discovery of water on Earth's natural satellite have never been made before but, until recently, the scientists were not entirely sure if it was really water they were talking about.

Now, thanks to the space agency's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), this issue is finally clear. An infrared camera of SOFIA's telescope mounted on a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft has detected a specific wavelength unique to water molecules while surveying the Moon's surface. The study results were published in Nature Astronomy.

Comment: The moon is rusting and scientists are trying to figure out why


New study says 'exosomes' can't be distinguished from viruses

© Anti-Aging and Wellness Medical
In the world of science, beliefs typically die a long, slow death. Such is the case with the germ theory, which really took off in the late 1800s.

At that time, the main proponents of the germ theory, including the Frenchman Louis Pasteur and the German Robert Koch, ardently believed that all the bacteria in living organisms, including human beings, were invaders from the outside. In other words, from our skin inward, we were sterile, except if we had been invaded by a pathogen. Today, 150 years later, this idea seems laughably incorrect and naïve.

Almost everyone now knows that trillions of bacteria live in and on every surface of our bodies. Some people have even attempted to demonstrate that most of our genetic material is bacterial rather than human in origin. We now have conclusive evidence that these trillions of bacteria living in us help digest our food, synthesize crucial nutrients, participate in detoxification functions, help regulate and control our emotions and, in some ways, participate in every normal human function. The early proponents of the germ theory were not only completely inaccurate in their conclusions about the role of bacteria in the human organism, but, more important, they established a framework that postulated that human beings were somehow separate from nature. This insidious and unscientific conclusion, which continues to the present time, has caused grave harm to all living systems.

In the case of viruses, a similar shift is just beginning to happen in the scientific community. The old paradigm about viruses is that we are essentially "virus-free" in our healthy, natural state, and the only viruses that are inside us must be pathogens that came from the outside. This belief was, of course, never proven; it was just stated as dogma, and it dovetailed nicely with the narrative of "nature is out to get us."

Chart Pie

Corruption of science: Multiple journals reject major mask study amid hints that it shows masks don't stop COVID

© Sputnik/Anton Denisov
Masked in Moscow
A major study out of Denmark that sought to examine the efficacy of face masks at limiting the spread of COVID-19 has reportedly been rejected by multiple academic journals amid hints that the study found face coverings are not effective in protecting individuals from the coronavirus.

Masks have been among the most persistent and controversial flashpoints of the COVID-19 epidemic for months. Health officials around the world initially argued strongly against their use, claiming that studies over the years had demonstrated that masks were ineffective at stopping respiratory viruses and unnecessary for the current pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example, told CBS' "60 Minutes" in March: "Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks."

Growing concerns over a purportedly high rate of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 led many of those same officials, including Fauci, to reverse their recommendations, urging people to wear masks whenever they go out in public.

Reflecting the new public sentiment on masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to "wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people."

Mandates by governors and national leaders over the past several months have further enforced those conclusions, with many public leaders issuing orders for citizens to don face coverings while in grocery stores, on public transport, and even in open outdoor areas such as public parks.

Danish study has reportedly been ready for months

In spite of their now-ubiquitous presence in most of the Western world today, relatively little evidence exists to support widespread use of face-masking to prevent the spread of respiratory disease. A 2019 World Health Organization review of pandemic mitigation measures, for instance, found "no evidence" that face coverings helped to stop the spread of influenza.


Cicada-inspired waterproof surfaces closer to reality, report researchers

Cicada Wing
© Photo by Wayne Boo, U.S. Geological Survey
Researchers have demonstrated a new fabrication technique that allows them replicate the nanostructures found on cicada wings that make them water- and microbe-repellent.
Champaign, Illinois. — A multidisciplinary group that studies the physical and chemical properties of insect wings has demonstrated the ability to reproduce the nanostructures that help cicada wings repel water and prevent bacteria from establishing on the surface. The new technique - which uses commercial nail polish - is economical and straightforward, and the researchers said it will help fabricate future high-tech waterproof materials.

The team used a simplified version of a fabrication process - called nanoimprinting lithography - to make a template of the complex pillar-shaped nanostructures on the wings of Neotibicen pruinosus, an annual cicada found in the central region of the United States. The templates are fully dissolvable and produce replicas that average 94.4% of the pillar height and 106% of the original wing, or master structure's pillar diameter, the researchers said.

The results of the study are published in the journal Nano Letters.

"We chose to work with wings of this species of cicada because our past work demonstrates how the complex nanostructures on their wings provide an outstanding ability to repel water. That is a highly desirable property that will be useful in many materials engineering applications, from aircraft wings to medical equipment," said Marianne Alleyne, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who co-led the study with Donald Cropek, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, and Nenad Miljkovic, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois.


'Prewired' to see words at birth says new study

PreWire to See Words
© The Ohio State University
Even before they can read, children's brains are prewired to see words.
Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests.

Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain - called the "visual word form area" (VWFA) - is connected to the language network of the brain.

"That makes it fertile ground to develop a sensitivity to visual words - even before any exposure to language," said Zeynep Saygin, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

The VWFA is specialized for reading only in literate individuals. Some researchers had hypothesized that the pre-reading VWFA starts out being no different than other parts of the visual cortex that are sensitive to seeing faces, scenes or other objects, and only becomes selective to words and letters as children learn to read or at least as they learn language.

"We found that isn't true. Even at birth, the VWFA is more connected functionally to the language network of the brain than it is to other areas," Saygin said. "It is an incredibly exciting finding."

Saygin, who is a core faculty member of Ohio State's Chronic Brain Injury Program, conducted the study with graduate students Jin Li and Heather Hansen and assistant professor David Osher, all in psychology at Ohio State. Their results were published today in the journal Scientific Reports.


Asteroid samples escaping from jammed NASA spacecraft - collection maneuver was 'too successful'

Osiris-Rex Bennu asteroid samples
© NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona
A NASA image shows a "hazard map" and "touch-and-go location" for the Osiris-Rex mission, the agency's first attempt to collect a sample from the surface of an asteroid.
A NASA spacecraft is stuffed with so much asteroid rubble from this week's grab that it's jammed open and precious particles are drifting away in space, scientists said Friday.

Scientists announced the news three days after the spacecraft named Osiris-Rex briefly touched asteroid Bennu, NASA's first attempt at such a mission.

The mission's lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, said Tuesday's operation 200 million miles away collected far more material than expected for return to Earth — in the hundreds of grams. The sample container on the end of the robot arm penetrated so deeply into the asteroid and with such force, however, that rocks got sucked in and became wedged around the rim of the lid.


'Lost' tectonic plate discovered under the Pacific

Mantle tomography image
© University of Houston
A 3D block diagram across North America showing a mantle tomography image reveals the Slab Unfolding method used to flatten the Farallon tectonic plate. By doing this, Fuston and Wu were able to locate the lost Resurrection plate.
Scientists have reconstructed a long-lost tectonic plate that may have given rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean 60 million years ago.

The plate, dubbed Resurrection, has long been controversial among geophysicists, as some believe it never existed. But the new reconstruction puts the edge of the rocky plate along a line of known ancient volcanoes, suggesting that it was once part of the crust (Earth's top layer) in what is today northern Canada.

"Volcanoes form at plate boundaries, and the more plates you have, the more volcanoes you have," Jonny Wu, a geologist at the University of Houston, said in a statement. "Volcanoes also affect climate change. So, when you are trying to model the Earth and understand how climate has changed ... you really want to know how many volcanoes there have been on Earth."

Wu and his co-author, University of Houston geology doctoral candidate Spencer Fuston, used a computer model of Earth's crust to "unfold" the movement of tectonic plates since the early Cenozoic, the geological era that began 66 million years ago. Geophysicists already knew that there were two plates in the Pacific at that time, the Kula plate and the Farallon plate.


The most unpleasant article you'll ever read: The global takeover is underway

prepare for mars
The World Economic Forum public relations video [below], "8 Predictions for the World in 2030," short as it may be, offers a telling glimpse into what the technocratic elite has in store for the rest of us. This includes:
  • "You'll own nothing" — And "you'll be happy about it." Instead, you'll rent everything you need, and it'll be delivered by drone right to your door.
  • "The U.S. won't be the world's leading superpower" — Instead, a handful of countries will dominate together.
  • "You won't die waiting for an organ donor" — Rather than transplanting organs from deceased donors, custom organs will be 3D printed on demand.
  • "You'll eat much less meat" — Meat will be "an occasional treat, not a staple, for the good of the environment and our health." As detailed in many previous articles, this is a foolhardy idea, not just for health reasons but also environmental ones. Integrating livestock is a foundational aspect of successful regenerative farming that can solve both food shortages and environmental concerns at the same time. For a refresher, see "Top 6 Reasons to Support Regenerative Agriculture."
  • "A billion people will be displaced by climate change" — As a result, countries will have to prepare to welcome more refugees.
  • "Polluters will have to pay to emit carbon dioxide" — To eliminate fossil fuels, there will be a global price on carbon. Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., discussed this in a recent interview. Rather than promoting organic and regenerative farming, the technocratic elite are pushing something called zero-budget natural farming. Bill Gates is part of this scheme. As explained by Shiva, the wholly unnatural setup works something like this: The state takes out large loans, which are then divvied out to farmers to grow food for free. The farmers make their money not by selling their crops, but by trading their soil carbon rate on the global market. Basically, carbon is being turned into a tradeable commodity, replacing the actual farm output of grains and other crops. Farmers with higher carbon in their soil will make more money than those with carbon-poor soil. Meanwhile, they'll make nothing from the crops they grow.
  • "You could be preparing to go to Mars" — Scientists "will have worked out how to keep you healthy in space," thus opening up the possibility of becoming a space-faring race and colonizing other planets.
  • "Western values will have been tested to the breaking point."

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

'Not as barren as believed': Over a BILLION trees spotted throughout West African desert and Sahel regions

tree desert
The survey covered about 1.3 million square kilometres, with over 11,000 images being analysed during the course of the study.

The vast expanses of the Sahara and Sahel may be not as barren as was previously believed, after a combination of satellite imagery and deep learning apparently revealed the presence of a significant number of trees in those regions.

The efforts of a group of researchers revealed the existence of some 1.8 billion trees in the West African Sahara and Sahel regions, according to the survey's results that were published in Nature magazine.

Comment: This brings to mind other discoveries such as the super-colony of million of penguins that escaped scientists notice till only a few years ago, as well as the rediscovery of numerous species thought to be extinct. It would seem that we don't have as good an understanding of our planet as we'd often like to think we do:


Women more moral than men says new study

Man & Woman
© Debrocke Classic Stock / Getty Images
Women score consistently more highly than men on moral dimensions of caring, fairness and purity, according to a comprehensive, cross-cultural study of gender differences in morality published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

While the differences were robust, the study found they were stronger in more flexible, individualistic cultures with greater gender equality. Other moral dimensions of loyalty and authority, on the other hand, showed negligible and highly variable sex differences.

These dimensions are thought to be psychologically innate and then moulded by culture.

"Each moral system produces fast, automatic gut-level reactions of like or dislike when certain phenomena are perceived in the social world," write Mohammad Atari and colleagues from the University of Southern California, US, "which in turn guide judgements of right and wrong".

"These systems, according to [the theory], have evolutionarily adaptive underpinnings present in all individuals."

They are: care, aversion to the suffering of others; fairness, based on ideas of justice, rights and autonomy; loyalty to our tribe or group; authority, supporting the merits of leadership and respect for traditions; and spiritual purity.