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Sat, 22 Oct 2016
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Science & Technology


LSU professor finds alternate explanation for dune formation on Saturn's largest moon

Baton Rouge - A new and likely controversial paper has just been published online in Nature Geoscience by LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology Chair Patrick Hesp and United States Geological Survey scientist David Rubin. The paper, "Multiple origins of linear dunes on Earth and Titan," examines a possible new mechanism for the development of very large linear dunes formed on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.


Carnivorous Clock eats bugs, begins doomsday countdown

It's not enough that humans gave robots a place to congregate to plan our demise, now we've adapted them with the ability to extract fuel from the very nectar of life.

All that innocent experimentation with fuel cells that run on blood has led to this, a flesh-eating clock. This prototype time-piece from UK-based designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau traps insects on flypaper stretched across its roller system before depositing them into a vat of bacteria. The ensuing chemical reaction, or "digestion," is transformed into power that keeps the rollers rollin' and the LCD clock ablaze.


Diving Deep for a Living Fossil

For 33 years, Peter A. Rona has pursued an ancient, elusive animal, repeatedly plunging down more than two miles to the muddy seabed of the North Atlantic to search out, and if possible, pry loose his quarry.

Like Ahab, he has failed time and again. Despite access to the world's best equipment for deep exploration, he has always come back empty-handed, the creature eluding his grip.

The animal is no white whale. And Dr. Rona is no unhinged Captain Ahab, but rather a distinguished oceanographer at Rutgers University. And he has now succeeded in making an intellectual splash with a new research report, written with a team of a dozen colleagues.

They have gathered enough evidence to prove that his scientific prey - an organism a bit larger than a poker chip - represents one of the world's oldest living fossils, perhaps the oldest. The ancestors of the creature, Paleodictyon nodosum, go back to the dawn of complex life. And the creature itself, known from fossils, was once thought to have gone extinct some 50 million years ago.


Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts

© Minh Uong / The New York Times
Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings?

The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users.

An emerging field known as sentiment analysis is taking shape around one of the computer world's unexplored frontiers: translating the vagaries of human emotion into hard data. This is more than just an interesting programming exercise. For many businesses, online opinion has turned into a kind of virtual currency that can make or break a product in the marketplace.

Eye 2

Saying "I'm sorry" influences Jurors

Apologizing for negative outcomes - a practice common even with children - may lead to more favorable verdicts for auditors in court, according to researchers at George Mason University and Oklahoma State University. The results of the study will be available in a forthcoming issue of Contemporary Accounting Research.


Asteroid Search Spawns Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey

© Robert Gendler
The arrow points to a supernova discovered in a nearby pair of colliding galaxies called the Antennae. The supernova was discovered in the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey that uses data collected by UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory observers using telescopes in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson.
Astronomers have been mining a mother lode of astronomical data from The University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey and finding more "optical transients" than they can characterize during the past 17 months.

They have found more than 700 unique "optical transients," or objects that change brightness on time scales of minutes to years. They've also found 177 supernovae. That's more than dedicated supernova surveys have turned up during that time.

Their discoveries include the most energetic supernova ever seen, and a nearby stellar explosion in the Antennae galaxy that is helping astronomers refine the cosmic distance scale. Unlike most dedicated supernova surveys, Catalina Sky Survey telescopes cover the entire sky each month, allowing the team to record supernovae in dim galaxies where others weren't looking.


Citizen Sky Invites Public To Help Resolve A Stellar Mystery

© www.CitizenSky.org / Nico Camargo
An artistic representation by Citizen Sky participant Nico Camargo of the epsilon Aurigae system as seen at low inclination.
This fall a bright star will begin a puzzling transformation that only happens every 27 years. To help study this event, astronomers have launched a new citizen science project called "Citizen Sky".

Epsilon Aurigae is a bright star that can be seen with the unaided eye even in bright urban areas of the Northern Hemisphere from fall to spring.

This fall it is predicted to gradually lose half its brightness until early winter. It will remain faint during all of 2010 before slowly regaining its normal brightness by the summer of 2011.

Since its discovery in 1821, the cause of this dip in brightness has remained a mystery to astronomers. But this time they have a powerful new resource to help study the upcoming event: thousands of citizen scientists.


Robot with bones moves like you do

You may have more in common with this robot than any other - it was designed using your anatomy as a blueprint.


Neural networks mapped in dementia patients

Different types of dementia show dissimilar changes in brain activity. A network mapping technique described in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience has been applied to EEG data obtained from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD, a less common type of dementia with more prominent behavioral symptoms).


Online social networks leak personal information to tracking sites

Worcester, Massachusetts - More than a half billion people use online social networks, posting vast amounts of information about themselves to share with online friends and colleagues. A new study co-authored by a researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has found that the practices of many popular social networking sites typically make that personal information available to companies that track Web users' browsing habits and allow them to link anonymous browsing habits to specific people.

The study, presented recently in Barcelona at the Workshop on Online Social Networks, part of the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications, is the first to describe a mechanism that tracking sites could use to directly link browsing habits to specific individuals.