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Science found 7 earth sized/like worlds in one system

Submitted by: Goshin @ 01:35 PM | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | (url: https://www.nasa....)

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NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water key to life as we know it under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.

In contrast to our sun, the TRAPPIST-1 star classified as an ultra-cool dwarf is so cool that liquid water could survive on planets orbiting very close to it, closer than is possible on planets in our solar system. All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. The planets also are very close to each other. If a person was standing on one of the planets surface, they could gaze up and potentially see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear larger than the moon in Earth's sky.


Category: Technology | 37 Comments
Tags: science

new form of matter discovered

Submitted by: Goshin @ 02:07 PM | Monday, January 30, 2017 | (url: http://www.popula...)

Crystals are structures in which a pattern of atoms or molecules repeats in space. Now, two teams of researchers have figured out that crystals' repeating patterns can also exist through time. These "time crystals," detailed in a new paper in Physical Review Letter, are an entirely new kind of matter, one that can never reach equilibrium.

To create the time crystals, researchers at University of Maryland hooked together 10 ytterbium atoms and hit them with two lasers multiple times to keep them out of equilibrium. Though the atoms did settle into a pattern, they could not reach equilibrium, meaning that the crystals perpetually remain in motion, though they don't contain any energy. Almost all of physics is based in studying matter that is at equilibrium, so the ability to create these non-equilibrium crystals is a huge deal for the future of physics.

This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter," lead researcher Norman Yao from the University of California, Berkeley told EurekaAlert!.

The idea of time crystalsa form of matter that appears to move even at its energy-less ground statewas first proposed by Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek in 2012. Usually, if matter is in its ground state, movement should be impossible, because it contains no energy.

The researchers say that time crystals resemble Jell-O. When you tap Jell-O, it jiggles. The only difference is that the crystals are jiggling without using any energy, without any tap. By definition, time crystals can never stop oscillating, no matter how little energy they contain.

Right now, it's unclear what the practical use of this discovery will be, but it's possible that these crystals could serve a function in quantum computers.


also metallic hydrogen was created last week or somethin

Category: Technology | 27 Comments
Tags: science

Ocean temperatures faithfully recorded in mother-of-pearl

Submitted by: Odio @ 08:23 PM | Friday, December 16, 2016 | (url: http://phys.org/n...)

Mother-of-pearl or nacre (pronounced nay-ker), the lustrous, tough-as-nails biomineral that lines some seashells, has been shown to be a faithful record of ancient ocean temperature.
Writing online Thursday, Dec. 15, in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison physics Professor Pupa Gilbert describes studies of the physical attributes of nacre in modern and fossil shells showing that the biomineral provides an accurate record of temperature as the material is formed, layer upon layer, in a mollusk.
"We can very accurately correlate nacre tablet thickness with temperature," says Gilbert, explaining that mother-of-pearl is formed as mollusks lay down microscopic polygonal tablets of the mineral aragonite like brickwork to build layers of the shiny biomineral.
The work is important because it provides scientists with a new and potentially more accurate method of measuring ancient ocean temperatures, improving on methods now used with other biominerals to tease out the record of the environmental conditions at which the materials formed in the distant past.
"Everyone else measures temperatures in the ancient world using chemical proxies," says Gilbert, referencing methods that, for example, use ratios of isotopic oxygen locked into tiny fossil shells made by marine microorganisms known as Foraminifera to get a snapshot of ocean temperatures in the distant past.

Category: Technology | 2 Comments
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These 2.5-billion-year-old bacteria predate the rise of oxygen on Earth

Submitted by: Odio @ 10:23 PM | Tuesday, November 29, 2016 | (url: http://geology.gs...)

Fossilised bacteria have been uncovered in two separate locations in South Africa, and theyve been dated to 2.52 billion years ago - long before oxygen started to saturate Earths atmosphere.

Instead of thriving in oxygen, like the trees and multicellular organisms that came after them did, these bacteria oxidised sulphur to survive, suggesting that life could be sustained on a planet with less than one-thousandth of a percent of Earths current oxygen levels.

The fossils were uncovered in a layer of hard, silica-rich rock in the Kaapvaal Craton of the Limpopo Province in South Africa - one of the two remaining areas in the world where Earths crust from 3.6 to 2.5 million years ago is still accessible.

The sulphur-oxidising bacteria they revealed were "exceptionally large", according to the University of Cincinnati team that uncovered them, indicating that these life forms had no problem living in the absence of oxygen.

"These are the oldest reported fossil sulphur bacteria to date," says one of the researchers, Andrew Czaja.

"And this discovery is helping us reveal a diversity of life and ecosystems that existed just prior to the Great Oxidation Event, a time of major atmospheric evolution."

Category: Politics | 15 Comments
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You guys. It's finally aliens!

Submitted by: Goshin @ 09:45 AM | Tuesday, August 30, 2016 | (url: http://www.cnn.co...)


Astronomers engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) are training their instruments on a star around 94 light years from Earth after a very strong signal was detected by a Russian telescope.

An international team of researchers is now examining the radio signal and its star, HD 164595 -- described in a paper by Italian astronomer Claudio Maccone and others as a "strong candidate for SETI" -- in the hopes of determining its origin.



"The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it's artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind," astronomer Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, which searches for life beyond Earth, tells CNN.

Whenever a strong signal is detected, "it's a good possibility for some nearby civilization to be detected," Maccone tells CNN.

In a statement, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with the SETI Institute, said that "it's hard to understand why anyone would want to target our solar system with a strong signal."

"This star system is so far away they won't have yet picked up on any TV or radar that would tell them that we're here," he added.

METI International will be observing the star from the Boquete Optical SETI Observatory in Panama, Vakoch says, "searching for any brief laser pulses that might be sent as a beacon from advanced extraterrestrials."

He stressed the importance of all of the SETI community following up on a signal detected by any single member.

"Without corroboration from an independent observatory, a putative signal from extraterrestrials doesn't have a lot of credibility."

The SETI Institute is also examining HD 164595, using the Allen Telescope Array in California.


I wonder if this is anywhere in the neighborhood of that star that is dimming

Category: Technology | 47 Comments
Tags: science

A New Company Is Trying to Grow Human Bones From Fat Cells

Submitted by: Odio @ 09:15 PM | Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | (url: http://futurism.c...)

Scientists from EpiBone, a Brooklyn-based biotech company, are now testing growing bones from stem cells. The process involves taking a fat tissue sample from which to extract the stem cells, and a CT scan of the bone they want to engineer. These will be used to create the shape of the bone, or what Nina Tandon, CEO and co-founder, call a scaffold. Cells are then infused into the scaffold, and over about three weeks the cells mature into a piece of bone thats ready for implantation.

The company claims that this process is better than conventional reconstructive procedures since making new bones is more sustainable that cutting a piece of bone out of one part of the body and transplanting it on another. Tandon hopes patients would no longer need immunosuppressant drugs. She tells Scientific American there would be a recognition that its the bodys own, since its your own DNA.

Biomedical engineer Warren Grayson of Johns Hopkins University is a shareholder in EpiBone. Even with his obvious interest in the companys success he tells Business Insider that EpiBone is having some challenges making it work in patients. The companys first hurdle is getting federal approval, which may prove difficult.

Typically, the Food and Drug Administration requires years of heavy study and testing. Even more, since the process uses living tissue, the bar for federal approval may be set even higher, according to professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Steven Eppell.

Tandon says they are currently doing animal experiments, and are about 18 months away from human trials. The goal is to have the bone in the market by 2023. If the research is successful, the application will be a great leap forward in medical technology. After blood, bone is the most transplanted material in the U.S. alone.

Category: Technology | 3 Comments
Tags: science

A promising anti-ageing drug is about to undergo human trials for the first time

Submitted by: Odio @ 10:44 PM | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | (url: http://www.scienc...)

Can we really hope to slow down the ageing process? The compound nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) has shown plenty of promise at increasing the lifespans of mice, and is about to be put to the test in human clinical trials for the first time.

Next month, 10 healthy volunteers will be given NMN to see if it can slow down ageing without any harmful side-effects. If the results are positive and the drug is given the all-clear for public use, it'll be the first genuine anti-ageing product on the market.

As George Dvorsky reports at Gizmodo, NMN stimulates the production of a class of proteins called sirtuins, which usually grow weaker as we get older.

When tested on mice, NMN was shown to stop the natural declines in metabolism, eyesight, and glucose intolerance, all of which tend to drop off as we get older. The question is, can it have the same effect in humans?

Mice are often used to test treatments because they share 95 to 98 percent of our genomes, and are afflicted by many of the same diseases. That said, there is plenty of doubt over how well tests on mice end up translating to the human body, so we'll just have to wait and see how well NMN does in human beings.

The trial will be run by Keio University in Japan with help from Washington University in St. Louis. The issue of ageing is of course a hot topic in Japan, where 40 percent of the population will be over 65 by the year 2055.

"We've confirmed a remarkable effect in the experiment using mice, but it's not clear yet how much [the compound] will affect humans," lead researcher Shin-ichiro Imai told The Japan News. "We'll carefully conduct the study, which I hope will result in important findings originating in Japan."

Category: Technology | 17 Comments
Tags: science

In Just 3 Days, AI Solves Biology Mystery

Submitted by: Odio @ 05:19 AM | Wednesday, June 15, 2016 | (url: http://futurism.c...)

In just three days, an Artificial intelligence has solved one of biologys biggest mysteries independently- how a sliced up flatworm can regenerate into new organisms.

A group of computer scientists from the University of Maryland programmed a computer to randomly predict how a worms genes formed a regulatory network capable of regeneration, which experts would evaluate afterwards through simulation.

Researcher Michael Levin said that solving how flatworms regenerate, through AI, is not just statistics or number-crunching.
The invention of models to explain what nature is doing is the most creative thing scientists do. This is the heart and soul of the scientific enterprise. None of us could have come up with this model; we (as a field) have failed to do so after over a century of effort, he said.

It is important to note, however, that even if the computer only took three days to create the worm model, it took the scientists several years to put together the program.

Researchers are opening up the use of the worm model to create other scientific models and theories in different areas, including cancer research. But, they said, in order to transfer the computers abilities to other areas, massive databases of scientific experiments would need to be prepared in order to have enough raw material for discoveries to be made.

The study by Daniel Lobo and Michael Levin, Inferring Regulatory Networks from Experimental Morphological Phenotypes, was published on Thursday (4 June) in the journal PLOS.


There's hope for Ender yet!

Submitted by: Odio @ 08:21 PM | Monday, March 14, 2016 | (url: http://medicalxpr...)

Today, there is only one class of antiviral medicines against herpesvirusesa family of viruses that cause mononucleosis, herpes, and shingles, among other illnesses - meaning options for treating these infections are limited. If viruses become resistant to these frontline treatments, a growing problem particularly in clinical settings, there are no alternative drugs to serve as backup.
In a search for new drugs to treat viral infections, scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine found that a medicine routinely used to treat heart failure, spironolactone, has an unexpected ability to block infection by Epstein Barr virus (EBV), a herpesvirus that causes mono and is associated with several human cancers. They find that the drug's antiviral properties stem from its ability to block a key step in viral infection that is common to all herpesviruses. Spironolactone's target is distinct from that of existing drugs, revealing that it could be developed into a new class of anti-herpesvirus drug.
"It's remarkable that a drug we have used safely in the clinic for over 50 years is also an effective EBV inhibitor," says senior author Sankar Swaminathan, M.D., chief of infections disease at University of Utah Health Care and professor of internal medicine. "It goes to show how basic research can reveal things we would never have found otherwise." In collaboration with research assistant professor of internal medicine Dinesh Virma, Ph.D., and Jacob Thompson, he published the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Russian woman makes science information avaiable to masses, Jews try to shut her down

Submitted by: Odio @ 08:24 AM | Saturday, February 13, 2016 | (url: http://www.scienc...)

A researcher in Russia has made more than 48 million journal articles - almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published - freely available online. And she's now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world's biggest publishers.

For those of you who aren't already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it's sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn't afford to access the articles needed for her research, and it's since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of papers being downloaded daily. But at the end of last year, the site was ordered to be taken down by a New York district court - a ruling that Elbakyan has decided to fight, triggering a debate over who really owns science.

"Payment of $32 is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research. I obtained these papers by pirating them," Elbakyan told Torrent Freak last year. "Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And thats absolutely legal."

If it sounds like a modern day Robin Hood struggle, that's because it kinda is. But in this story, it's not just the poor who don't have access to scientific papers - journal subscriptions have become so expensive that leading universities such as Harvard and Cornell have admitted they can no longer afford them. Researchers have also taken a stand - with 15,000 scientists vowing to boycott publisher Elsevier in part for its excessive paywall fees.

Don't get us wrong, journal publishers have also done a whole lot of good - they've encouraged better research thanks to peer review, and before the Internet, they were crucial to the dissemination of knowledge.

Category: Technology | 31 Comments
Tags: science

Laser Creates Quantum Whirlpool

Submitted by: Hologram @ 07:21 PM | Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | (url: http://www.labora...)

Physicists at The Australian National Univ. (ANU) have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons. Polaritons are hybrid particles that have properties of both matter and light. The ability to control polariton flows in this way could aid the development of completely novel technology to link conventional electronics with new laser- and fiber-based technologies. Polaritons form in semiconductors when laser light interacts with electrons and holes (positively charged vacancies) so strongly that it is no longer possible to distinguish light from matter.


Cancer cells love high fructose corn syrup s

Submitted by: KnightMare @ 07:53 AM | Thursday, August 5, 2010 | (url: http://www.reuter...)

- Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose.

Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to proliferate. "Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different," Heaney's team wrote.