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Tue, 12 Dec 2017
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Neutrophil power: White blood cell inspired propulsion using acoustic vibrations and magnetic fields

Neutrophil and eosophil

Neutrophil and Eosinophil
When white blood cells are summoned to combat invasive bacteria, they move along blood vessels in a specific fashion, i.e., like a ball propelled by the wind, they roll along the vascular wall to reach their point of deployment. Since white blood cells can anchor themselves to the vasculature, they are capable of moving against the direction of the blood flow.

This type of behaviour of the white blood cells served as an inspiration for the postdoc, Daniel Ahmed, who was working in Professor Bradley Nelson's research group at ETH Zurich. In the lab, Ahmed and hi co-workers developed a novel system that enables aggregates composed of magnetised particles to roll along a channel in a combined acoustic and magnetic field. In addition, researchers of Jürg Dual's group have developed numerical and theoretical studies of the project. Their work was published recently in the journal, Nature Communications.

Arrow Up

Mass of warm rock is rising beneath New England, seismic study reveals

Seismic data revealed a rising balloon of warm rock beneath New England
© Vadim Levin/Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Seismic data revealed a rising balloon of warm rock beneath New England.

"We did not expect to find abrupt changes in physical properties beneath this region," researcher Vadim Levin said.

Deep beneath New England, a giant mass of warm rock is slowly but steadily rising toward the surface. The revelation undermines some of what scientists thought they understand about plate tectonics and the geology of the mantle.

"The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England," researcher Vadim Levin, a geophysicist and professor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said in a news release.

The mass of rock is not on the scale of Yellowstone. It measures a couple hundred miles across, and though it may one day form a new volcanic system, it is unlikely to yield an eruption for millions of years.

Scientists were first alerted to something peculiar after noticing a temperature anomaly deep beneath New England.

Levin and his colleagues used seismic data collected by the EarthScope project. For two years, a nation-wide system of seismic sensors, each positioned 46.6 miles apart, measured seismic waves traveling through the continental United States.

Seismic waves can reveal details about the medium through which it's traveling -- in this case, the lithosphere, which includes the upper mantle and crust.

Blue Planet

Disastrous super-eruption could happen sooner than first thought

Volcano erupting
Volcanoes pose a greater threat to humanity than first thought, with Earth scientists in the UK reporting that super-eruptions are historically more frequent than previous data revealed.

Analyzing volcanic activity within the last 100,000 years, researchers from the University of Bristol revised the timeline for super-eruptions, which can produce around 1,000 gigatons of erupted mass.

The Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming is classed as one such supervolcano, which could emit sustained pyroclastic eruptions with climate- and life-changing results.

Arrow Down

Satellite data shows no acceleration in global warming for last 23 years

al gore
© JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Global warming has not accelerated temperature rise in the bulk atmosphere in more than two decades, according to a new study funded by the Department of Energy.

University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientists John Christy and Richard McNider found that by removing the climate effects of volcanic eruptions early on in the satellite temperature record it showed virtually no change in the rate of warming since the early 1990s.

"We indicated 23 years ago - in our 1994 Nature article - that climate models had the atmosphere's sensitivity to CO2 much too high," Christy said in a statement. "This recent paper bolsters that conclusion."

Christy and McNider found the rate of warming has been 0.096 degrees Celsius per decade after "the removal of volcanic cooling in the early part of the record," which "is essentially the same value we determined in 1994 ... using only 15 years of data."

The study is sure to be contentious. Christy has argued for years that climate models exaggerate global warming in the bulk atmosphere, which satellites have monitored since the late 1970s.

Comment: They're right, but good luck getting anyone to listen. Global warming is one of the central dogmas of today's religion of idiocy.


Brazilian scientist proposes alternate cosmic theory: 'There was no Big Bang' - the universe is cyclical

© CC0
The Big Bang is a widely accepted explanation for the origins of the universe; however, Brazilian physicist Juliano Cesar Silva Neves has come up with a new "cyclical" theory, which challenges this prevailing concept.

A scientist in Brazil has proposed a way of overcoming the problem presented by the Big Bang theory, the need for the singularity of spacetime, by doing away with the theory altogether.

In an article entitled, "Bouncing cosmology inspired by regular black holes," published in the September issue of the General Relativity and Gravitation journal, Neves puts forward the notion that the universe expands and contracts in a cyclical way.

"One of the consequences of my work could be a 'cyclical' vision of the universe," Juliano Cesar Silva Neves, a physicist at Brazil's University of Campinas (IMECC-UNICAMP), told Sputnik Brasil.



Error in mission input data likely cause of Russian Meteor-M weather satellite crash

Russian Meteor-M weather satellite
© Marina Lystseva / TASS
Human error may have caused Russia's Meteor-M weather satellite to crash into the sea two hours after liftoff on Tuesday, according to space industry officials.

The satellite was sent into space early Tuesday in what was only the second launch from Russia's newly-built Vostochny cosmodrome in the Far East. The $5-billion cosmodrome's first launch took place after a 24-hour delay in April 2016.


Deepest sea fish known collected from Mariana Trench

The Mariana snailfish is the deepest fish collected from the ocean floor. (UW Photo)
© UW Photo
The Mariana snailfish is the deepest fish collected from the ocean floor.
They look like ghosts of the abyss, but the wispy, pinkish-white, smooth-skinned creatures at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench have a distinction of substance: They're the deepest fish ever brought up from the deep sea.

Now the species known as the Mariana snailfish has its official scientific name: Pseudoliparis swirei, a Latin-inspired designation paying tribute to Herbert Swire, a navigator on the 19th-century expedition that discovered the Mariana Trench.

A researcher at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories played a key role in Pseudoliparis swirei's discovery. UW's Mackenzie Gerringer is the lead author of a paper on the species' discovery, published today in the open-access journal Zootaxa.


'Megathrust' earthquake and devastating tsunami could hit New Zealand, scientists warn, as hazardous fault awakens

Hikurangi subduction zone

Geologists claim the dangerous Hikurangi subduction zone - running offshore from the top of the South Island to Gisborne in the north - has begun to move
New Zealand could be potentially hit by a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake followed by a "towering" tsunami, scientists warn. According to the researchers, a 2016 quake that hit the area reawakened a hazardous fault that was believed to be dormant.

The Hikurangi subduction zone - a deep trench in the Earth's crust running along the eastern shore of New Zealand's North Island - is now active and could trigger magnitude 8.5 earthquakes, which would be far more devastating that the one that hit the islands in 2016, a group of scientists from the GNS research institute warn. The earthquakes are also likely to be followed by tsunamis that could reach New Zealand's coast within mere minutes, the geologists add.

"We need to think Japan 2011, basically, because if our whole plate boundary ruptured, it would be a magnitude 9 earthquake," Ursula Cochran, an earthquake geologist at the GNS, told the local media. "The Hikurangi subduction zone is potentially the largest source of earthquake and tsunami hazard in New Zealand, but there is still much to learn about it," GNS Science said in a statement earlier.

Subduction zones similar to the one located near New Zealand are areas in which tectonic plates collide, with one being forced over the top of one another, creating what the geologists call a "megathrust." In case of the Hikurangi subduction zone, the Australian plate is overhanging the Pacific one.

Earlier earthquakes that took place in such zones include the devastating 2011 earthquake followed by tsunami in Japan that claimed lives of thousands of people and triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as well as a 2004 Indonesia magnitude 9.0 earthquake that left as many as 250,000 people dead.

A disaster that could potentially hit New Zealand would affect many heavily populated areas, such as Napier, Gisborne, Nelson, Wellington, Blenheim and Palmerston North. All those areas are located too close to the Hikurangi subduction zone for the scientists to issue a timely warning.

Comment: See also:


Yeti or bear? DNA study disproves 'abominable snowman' claims

© Icon Films Ltd
A femur bone from the decayed body of a purported Yeti found in a cave in Tibet.
The 'yeti' has long been a scare story for travelers passing through the Himalayan mountains, with some climbers even claiming to have found remains of the mythical beast. Now, though, a new study is casting doubt on these claims.

According to established folklore, the yeti is an ape-like creature native to the frozen and mountainous regions of Tibet and Nepal. The star of countless horror films and B-movies, the beast, otherwise known as 'the abominable snowman', has seen its place in popular culture boosted by fantastical exhibits of skin and bone purported to have come from the mythical creature.

Described as the "most rigorous analysis" of the yeti's existence to date, scientists from the University of Buffalo have carried out DNA testing on samples collected from the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayan region by an Italian mountaineering museum and a documentary film company.

Published in the Royal Society B journal, the research found that in all cases except one, the samples were found to come from bears. A tooth donated to the study from the Italian museum was identified as deriving from a dog.

Comment: See also:
This man searched for the Yeti for 60 Years-and found It
Alleged Bigfoot hairs analyzed and identified, but new mystery surfaces


The politics of science: Scientists might not say what the evidence supports

Suppose a scientist makes a bold claim that turns out to be true. How confident are you that this claim would become widely accepted?

Let's start with a mundane case. About a century ago, cosmologists began to realize that we can't explain the motions of galaxies unless we assume that a certain amount of unknown matter exists that we cannot yet observe with telescopes. Scientists called this "dark matter." This is a bold claim that requires extraordinary evidence. Still, the indirect evidence is mounting and most cosmologists now believe that dark matter exists. To the extent that non-scientists think about this issue at all, we tend to defer to experts in the field and move on with our lives.