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Wed, 20 Feb 2019
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Beaker

Physicists create exotic electron liquid stable at room temperatures

electron liquid
© QMO Lab, UC Riverside
In conventional electronic devices, electricity requires the movement of electrons (blue spheres) and their positive counterparts, called holes (red spheres), which behave much like the gas molecules in our atmosphere. Although they move rapidly and collide infrequently in the gas phase, electrons and holes can condense into liquid droplets akin to liquid water in devices composed of ultrathin materials.
By bombarding an ultrathin semiconductor sandwich with powerful laser pulses, physicists at the University of California, Riverside, have created the first "electron liquid" at room temperature.

The achievement opens a pathway for development of the first practical and efficient devices to generate and detect light at terahertz wavelengths-between infrared light and microwaves. Such devices could be used in applications as diverse as communications in outer space, cancer detection, and scanning for concealed weapons.

The research could also enable exploration of the basic physics of matter at infinitesimally small scales and help usher in an era of quantum metamaterials, whose structures are engineered at atomic dimensions.

Microscope 2

Nanoparticles: Potential promoters of cancer metastasis

Blood vessels/treated
© National University Singapore
When blood vessel cells (left) are treated with a short exposure of titanium dioxide nanoparticles for 30 minutes, cell-sized gaps (right) began to form. These gaps can be exploited by cancer cells to migrate out of the primary tumour or from blood circulation. Researchers from the National University of Singapore also observed this phenomenon for other common nanoparticles made from gold, silver and silver dioxide.
Nanoparticles can be found in processed food (e.g. food additives), consumer products (e.g. sunscreen) and even in medicine. While these tiny particles could have large untapped potential and novel new applications, they may have unintended and harmful side effects, according to a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Specifically, NUS researchers found that cancer nanomedicine, which are designed to kill cancer cells, may accelerate metastasis. Using breast cancer as a model, they discovered that common nanoparticles made from gold, titanium dioxide, silver and silicon dioxide - and also used in nanomedicines - widen the gap between blood vessel cells, making it easier for other cells, such as cancer cells, to go in and out of "leaky" blood vessels.

The phenomenon, named 'nanomaterials induced endothelial leakiness' (NanoEL) by the NUS team, accelerates the movement of cancer cells from the primary tumour and also causes circulating cancer cells to escape from blood circulation. This results in faster establishment of a bigger secondary tumour site and initiates new secondary sites previously not accessible to cancer cells.

Hourglass

Darwinism still a theory in crisis as anomalies accumulate

Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
© Sergio Martínez-Nebreda and Paula Medina-García/University of Bristol, via EurekAlert
Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Darwin Day, February 12, is just a week from today! To help celebrate, here are a few recent findings that contradict Darwinism. The key word is recent. Listing all of them for the last 160 years would require a large book. A theory can only survive as many anomalies as Darwinism has if it is supported by a highly desired foundational ideology.

Bird Beaks

The rotund, colorful beak of the puffin accompanies this headline from the University of Bristol: "Bird beaks did not adapt to food types as previously thought." Haven't we all been taught that bird beaks adapt to the food source by natural selection? Aren't Darwin's finches the classic example?
The observation that Galapagos finch species possessed different beak shapes to obtain different foods was central to the theory of evolution by natural selection, and it has been assumed that this form-function relationship holds true across all species of bird.

However, a new study published in the journal Evolution suggests the beaks of birds are not as adapted to the food types they feed on as it is generally believed. [Emphasis added.]
It's not that there is no linkage, but "The connection between beak shapes and feeding ecology in birds was much weaker and more complex than we expected," one of the researchers confessed. Truth is, birds use their beaks for many functions besides just picking food - essentially, everything. Linking beak shape solely to feeding behavior is simplistic. How could such a myth survive for so long? Answer: by assumption, without empirical rigor. Another on the team says, "This is, to our knowledge, the first approach to test a long-standing principle in biology: that the beak shape and function of birds is tightly linked to their feeding ecologies." What took them so long?

Car Black

Self-driving cars will cruise the streets to avoid parking fees and traffic havoc will ensue

self driving car
© Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters
If you think traffic in city centers is bad now, just wait until self-driving cars emerge on the scene, cruising around to avoid paying hefty downtown parking fees.

Even worse, because cruising is less costly at lower speeds, self-driving cars will slow to a crawl as they "kill time," says transportation planner Adam Millard-Ball, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"Parking prices are what get people out of their cars and on to public transit, but autonomous vehicles have no need to park at all. They can get around paying for parking by cruising," he said. "They will have every incentive to create havoc."

Millard-Ball analyzes "The Autonomous Vehicle Parking Problem" in the current issue of Transport Policy.

That scenario of robot-fueled gridlock is right around the corner, according to Millard-Ball, who says autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles are likely to become commonplace in the next five to 20 years. Millard-Ball is the first researcher to analyze the combined impact of parking costs and self-driving cars on city centers, where the cost and availability of parking is the only tool that effectively restricts car travel.

Microscope 2

Stem cell dental implants grow new teeth in 2 months

stem cell dental implants
Scientists really never back down. A new dental replacement procedure is in the works, and it could be a whole lot better than getting regular dentures or standard implants.

Losing a tooth is a source of major pain, and it also comes with a lot of issues and long-term discomforts. Dentures are one way to replace a lost or bad tooth, but they come with a lot of burdens on their own.

It takes a while to get used to having teeth you were not born with, and some people's gums and jaw bones are just not suitable to receive implants.

Comment: See also:


Brain

Study shows brain can continue to learn even during deep sleep

sleep laboratory
© Simon Ruch/Marc Züst, University of Bern
Left panel: In the sleep laboratory, the electrical activity of the brain is recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Right panel: During deep sleep, slow oscillatory high-amplitude waves emerge in the EEG. These waves are generated by the brain cells' rhythmic alternation between highly active phases (red: "up-states") and passive phases (blue: "down-states").
Researchers of the University of Bern, Switzerland, showed that we can acquire the vocabulary of a new language during distinct phases of slow-wave sleep and that the sleep-learned vocabulary could be retrieved unconsciously following waking. Memory formation appeared to be mediated by the same brain structures that also mediate wake vocabulary learning.

Sleeping time is sometimes considered unproductive time. This raises the question whether the time spent asleep could be used more productively - e.g. for learning a new language? To date sleep research focused on the stabilization and strengthening (consolidation) of memories that had been formed during preceding wakefulness. However, learning during sleep has rarely been examined. There is considerable evidence for wake-learned information undergoing a recapitulation by replay in the sleeping brain. The replay during sleep strengthens the still fragile memory traces und embeds the newly acquired information in the preexisting store of knowledge.

If re-play during sleep improves the storage of wake-learned information, then first-play - i.e., the initial processing of new information - should also be feasible during sleep, potentially carving out a memory trace that lasts into wakefulness. This was the research question of Katharina Henke, Marc Züst und Simon Ruch of the Institute of Psychology and of the Interfaculty Research Cooperation "Decoding Sleep" at the University of Bern, Switzerland. These investigators now showed for the first time that new foreign words and their translation words could be associated during a midday nap with associations stored into wakefulness. Following waking, participants could reactivate the sleep-formed associations to access word meanings when represented with the formerly sleep-played foreign words. The hippocampus, a brain structure essential for wake associative learning, also supported the retrieval of sleep-formed associations. The results of this experiment are published open access in the scientific journal "Current Biology".

Comment: See also:


Comet 2

Comet Iwamoto fast approaching Earth

Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
© Emilio Lepeley
Emilio Lepeley in Elqui Valley, Vicuna, Chile, caught comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) – the green fuzzball at bottom center – on February 3, 2019, in the same field of view as the famous Sombrero Galaxy. Thank you, Emilio!
A new celestial visitor - a comet - was discovered by Japanese astronomer Masayuki Iwamoto in late 2018. It'll provide nice opportunities for astrophotographers, as it will pass close to a couple of Messier objects in February 2019. It's a fast-moving comet that will be closest to Earth on February 12, 2019, at around 2:57 p.m. ET (19:57 UTC; translate to your time zone). The celestial visitor will safely pass by Earth at some 28 million miles (45 million km). The comet has been designated C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto).

This comet is fast! Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) is traveling through space at the amazing speed of 147,948 miles per hour (238,099 km/h) or 66 km per second, relative to Earth.

The best nights for observing the comet (with binoculars and small telescopes) should be on February 11 and 12. Preliminary estimates suggest the newly found comet might reach a brightness or magnitude between 7 and 7.8 , which means it should be easily seen with small telescopes and binoculars. It will not be visible to the eye alone.

Comet 2

Oumuamua a debris of disintegrated interstellar comet says latest study

Oumuamua
© Universe Today
Since it was first detected hurling through our Solar System, the interstellar object known as 'Oumuamua has been a source of immense scientific interest. Aside from being extrasolar in origin, the fact that it has managed to defy classification time and again has led to some pretty interesting theories. While some have suggested that it is a comet or an asteroid, there has even been the suggestion that it might be an interstellar spacecraft.

However, a recent study may offer a synthesis to all the conflicting data and finally reveal the true nature of 'Oumuamua. The study comes from famed astronomer Dr. Zdenek Sekanina of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who suggests that 'Oumuamua is the remnant of an interstellar comet that shattered before making its closest pass to the Sun (perihelion), leaving behind a cigar-shaped rocky fragment.

Having worked with the JPL for almost 40 years - where he specializes in the study of meteors, comets and interstellar dust - Dr. Sekanina is no stranger to celestial objects. In fact, his work includes groundbreaking studies on Halley's comet, the Tunguska event, and the break-up and impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter.

His latest study, titled "1I/'Oumuamua As Debris of Dwarf Interstellar Comet That Disintegrated Before Perihelion", recently appeared online. In it, Sekanina addresses the possibility that the observations that began in October of 2017 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) was actually a fragment of the original object that entered our system in early 2017.

Binoculars

First pics of Russia's new autonomous 'Hunter' drone appear online

russian drone
The world first got wind of Russia's massive, 20-ton stealth drone fighter last summer when Russian defense industry sources told TASS, a Russian state-owned media outlet:

According to the defense official, the sixth generation jet program "has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known."
"First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, the stealth drone will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,' the source said, adding that the drone will be able to "take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield."

"However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons - this will be decided by a human," he said.
Well, as LiveJournal now reports, new images of the first prototype of the unmanned recon-strike drone - nicknamed "Hunter" - have been taken at the airdrome of the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant.
russian drone
This model is undergoing factory ground tests there from November 2018. The start of the prototype flight tests of the prototype is scheduled for 2019.

SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: Mind the Gaps: Locating the Intelligence in Evolution and Design

DNA ADN
© CC0/Pixbay
Neo-Darwinism is dead. But is intelligent design the answer? While most proponents of ID are neutral as to the source of the intelligence behind biological design, the vast majority seem to hold a traditional view of God as the creator of biological information. A few others, like Perry Marshall, locate the intelligence of design in the cells themselves. But are there other possibilities?

Today on the Truth Perspective we wade into the debate and propose a third option that incorporates the best aspects of both, without the problems each of these opposing options runs into. The answer may not be 'either/or' but rather 'both/and', with intelligence on both sides of the equation.

Running Time: 01:33:00

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