bwiese + science   376

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here - The New York Times
In the United States, scientists recently found the population of monarch butterflies fell by 90 percent in the last 20 years, a loss of 900 million individuals; the rusty-patched bumblebee, which once lived in 28 states, dropped by 87 percent over the same period

The current worldwide loss of biodiversity is popularly known as the sixth extinction: the sixth time in world history that a large number of species have disappeared in unusually rapid succession, caused this time not by asteroids or ice ages but by humans.

The German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.

What we’re losing is not just the diversity part of biodiversity, but the bio part: life in sheer quantity. While I was writing this article, scientists learned that the world’s largest king penguin colony shrank by 88 percent in 35 years, that more than 97 percent of the bluefin tuna that once lived in the ocean are gone.
insects  nature  science  bugs  extinction  biology 
7 weeks ago by bwiese
Corn with odd number of rows
Ears of corn almost always have an even number of rows. explains the science:

Row number is always an even number because corn spikelets are borne in pairs, and each spikelet produces two florets: one fertile and one sterile. Stress at a particular stage in development could theoretically produce an ear with an odd number of rows - but I believe if you looked under a microscope, you would find an unseen row that failed to develop fully.

When corn ears are found that have an odd number of rows, that's considered weird enough to make news. For instance, cases of odd-rowed corn surfaced in 1930 (found by Everett Kelderhouse of Collins, Iowa), 1941 (found by Ignac Sedlacek of Malmo, Nebraska), and 1949 (found by Alfred Kohnert of Calamus, Iowa
corn  nebraska  science  food  history 
12 weeks ago by bwiese
This spaghetti-breaking problem stumped physicist Richard Feynman. Two MIT students have now solved it. - The Washington Post
The twist is crucial, Patil told The Post. He created a mathematical model to explain the theory drawing on the research done by Audoly and Neukirch.

A decade ago, the French scientists discovered that when a long thin object is broken by applying pressure evenly to both ends, the force creates a “snapback effect” — a wave of energy released from the initial break that causes other sections of the object to also fracture.

“In our study, we go a bit further and show that actually you can control this fracture cascade and get two pieces if you twist it,” Patil said. “You can control the fracture process and then you get two pieces instead of many, many pieces.”

By twisting and bending, the stress placed on the object being broken is distributed, Patil said. The “snapback effect” is weakened by the twist and the pasta unwinding itself releases energy, preventing more fractures, according to a news release from MIT.
physics  science  spaghetti 
august 2018 by bwiese
What Caused the Dinosaur Extinction? - The Atlantic
A Princeton geologist has endured decades of ridicule for arguing that the fifth extinction was caused not by an asteroid but by a series of colossal volcanic eruptions. But she’s reopened that debate.
dinosaur  science  history  volcano  asteroid 
august 2018 by bwiese
What is Focus Shift? - Photography Life
When the lens is stopped down (the size of the aperture is decreased), light rays no longer reach the edge or the “periphery” of the lens and only the ones close to the optical axis make it through. As a result, the point of best focus with the circle of least confusion is moved to the right, as shown in the second illustration above. If focus is not re-adjusted after this change of aperture, it will shift the sharpest focus plane (hence the name “focus shift”) away from the lens, essentially moving it slightly behind the focused area. Imagine focusing on an eye, only to find out later that you ended up with a nose in focus instead, just because you changed camera aperture.

AF Fine Tune function in some advanced cameras like Nikon D7000 is not going to help, because it does not allow micro-adjusting focus for different apertures. If you adjust focus for a lens at f/2.8, focus will certainly shift at f/1.4 and vice-versa.

Anyway, here is the list of tricks or workarounds to reduce focus shift:

1) Use maximum aperture – take pictures at the maximum aperture and you won’t have to worry about focus shift. Might not be practical for most lenses, because they are soft wide open. See the next bullet point for an alternative solution.
2) AF Fine Tune optimal aperture – if your camera has the ability to fine tune autofocus, set your lens to its optimal aperture that you will be primarily using, then fine tune autofocus. You will then have to shoot at this optimized aperture all the time and stop down when needed. Using larger apertures will result in focus errors after this type of calibration.
3) Use a slower lens – if you want to avoid focus shift problems, use slower f/1.8-f/2.8 lenses that have much less issues with focus shift.
4) Stop down the lens – usually stopping down the lens to apertures smaller than f/2.8 will take care of the focus shift problem due to increased depth of field. Not very practical for fast aperture lenses, but will certainly take care of the problem.
5) Use Contrast Detect AF – not practical for most situations, because Contrast Detect AF is slow and requires the mirror to be raised up, blocking the viewfinder.
6) Use Manual Focus Lenses with Aperture Rings – a manual focus lens with an aperture ring will allow you to control the aperture from the lens, so you can stop it down before manually acquiring focus. You will have to reacquire focus every time you change aperture though.
focus  dof  focusshift  photography  reference  lens  autofocus  manualfocus  optics  science 
june 2018 by bwiese
This giant demon plant gives you burns if you touch it, and it's spreading | Popular Science
This horrifying nightmare of a plant mostly grows in the northeastern part of the U.S., but recently it’s been spreading. Folks recently found a patch of giant hogweed in Virginia, considerably farther south than the plant has crept in the past. Unlike many other invasive species, it’s not just harmful to the environment—it’s directly harmful to humans.
weed  sunburn  science  medical 
june 2018 by bwiese
NASA wants its long-lost Moon dust back
When the Apollo 11 crew returned from its historic flight in 1969, the Moon rocks and soil collected made their way to no less than 150 labs worldwide. One of these was the Space Sciences Laboratory in Latimer Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. But after tests on the dust were completed, the samples were supposed to have been sent back to NASA.
nasa  moon  science 
june 2018 by bwiese
This lab uses coffee grounds to extract lead and other toxins from water | PBS NewsHour
a lab at the Italian Institute of Technology wants to put those discarded grounds to good use.

The team has engineered a coffee grounds-infused foam that removes hazardous metals, like lead, from water. Though still in its prototype phase, this foam might be able to clear the worst levels of lead contamination found in places like Flint, Michigan, within a few hours.

Scientists have known for years that coffee contains chemical groups — called carboxylates — that stick to metals. Early attempts at this water remediation concept tried smashing the coffee grounds into a fine powder, which was then mixed into lead-tainted water. The toxic metals bind the powder, and together, they are filtered out of the water. But this procedure is a bit redundant — you need a filter for a filter.

Left panel: Bioelastic foam with the spent coffee powder indicated by the
yellow circles and the inset. Right panel: Pure elastic foam without coffee powder. Photo by Chavan et al., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016
“Both the coffee and the heavy metal ions are entrapped in the foam,” Fragouli said of her findings published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. “Therefore, no additional procedures are required for the removal of the [coffee] adsorbents and the pollutants from the water.”
coffee  lead  polution  environment  filtration  science 
may 2018 by bwiese
Stephen Hawking, physicist who came to symbolize the power of the human mind, dies at 76 - The Washington Post
By Joel Achenbach and Boyce Rensberger March 14 at 12:01 AM Email the author
Stephen W. Hawking, the British theoretical physicist who overcame a devastating neurological disease to probe the greatest mysteries of the cosmos and become a globally celebrated symbol of the power of the human mind, has died at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

His family announced the death but did not provide any further details.

Unable to move a muscle, speechless but for a computer-synthesized voice, Dr. Hawking had suffered since the age of 21 from a degenerative motor neuron disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Initially given two years to live, a diagnosis that threw him into a profound depression, he found the strength to complete his doctorate and rise to the position of Lucasian professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, the same post held by Isaac Newton 300 years earlier.
stephenhawking  physics  death  science 
march 2018 by bwiese
Physicists Created a New Form of Light - Motherboard
While a photon is ‘on’ a rubidium atom, it can create a hybrid atom-photon called a polariton. If multiple polaritons are formed in the cloud, they can interact with one another by way of the rubidium element of the hybrid as the polaritons continue to move through the rubidium cloud. When the polaritons reach the ‘edge’ of the cloud, the rubidium atoms remain in the clouds while the still-bound-together photons exit. According to the researchers, this entire process occurs within a millionth of a second.
physics  science  light 
february 2018 by bwiese
The developer decomposed – Part 1: Developing agents – Printer Attic
I will cover the principles of development and developing agents and the respective differences (part I) and the other ingredients of developer solutions with their functions (part II). In the final installment, part III, we will dissect the recipe of what many consider the benchmark developer: Kodak D76 / Ilford ID-11 and compare it to the recipe for one of the many versions of the infamous Rodinal.
filmphotography  development  science  developer  reference 
september 2017 by bwiese
Physicists Want to Rebuild Quantum Theory From Scratch | WIRED
Quantum theory was empirically motivated, and its rules were simply ones that seemed to fit what was observed. It uses mathematical formulas that, while tried and trusted, were essentially pulled out of a hat by the pioneers of the theory in the early 20th century.
quantummechanics  science 
september 2017 by bwiese
Lyme Disease’s Worst Enemy? It Might Be Foxes - The New York Times
ick-borne disease is on the rise, they are feeding on the ubiquitous white-footed mice and other small mammals notorious for harboring pathogens that sicken humans.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. A new study suggests that the rise in tick-borne disease may be tied to a dearth of traditional mouse predators, whose presence might otherwise send mice scurrying into their burrows. If mice were scarcer, larval ticks, which are always born uninfected, might feed on other mammals and bird species that do not carry germs harmful to humans.
fox  nytimes  lymedisease  science  nature 
august 2017 by bwiese
Controversial New Theory Suggests Life Wasn't a Fluke of Biology—It Was Physics | WIRED
The paper strips away the nitty-gritty details of cells and biology and describes a simpler, simulated system of chemicals in which it is nonetheless possible for exceptional structure to spontaneously arise—the phenomenon that England sees as the driving force behind the origin of life. “That doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to acquire that structure,” England explained. The dynamics of the system are too complicated and nonlinear to predict what will happen.
The simulation involved a soup of 25 chemicals that react with one another in myriad ways. Energy sources in the soup’s environment facilitate or “force” some of these chemical reactions, just as sunlight triggers the production of ozone in the atmosphere and the chemical fuel ATP drives processes in the cell. Starting with random initial chemical concentrations, reaction rates and “forcing landscapes”—rules that dictate which reactions get a boost from outside forces and by how much—the simulated chemical reaction network evolves until it reaches its final, steady state, or “fixed point.”
physics  life  evolution  science  biology  chemistry  wired 
august 2017 by bwiese
Genetically Modified Cells Just Cured Two Babies of Leukemia
off-the-shelf” approach, are known as CAR-T cell therapy, although they are not yet sold commercially.

babies were on a standard chemotherapy regimen before the experiment, which has given some people doubt whether the successful treatment was the engineered T-cells, the chemotherapy, or perhaps both.
cancer  medicine  science  leukemia 
january 2017 by bwiese
How Did a Lightning Strike Kill 323 Reindeer? | Outside Online
“step voltages,” which involve an electric current traveling overland and impacting any person or object connected to the ground. It's common for lightning-strike victims to be injured or killed by step voltages. Usually the current enters a body through one leg and exits through the other—well below a person’s heart and lungs. But for a four-legged animal whose heart is located between its front and hind legs, the voltage often passes through its heart before exiting.*
lightning  reindeer  norway  science 
september 2016 by bwiese
Why Do We Love Images Of Emptiness? Scientists And Artists Explain | Co.Design | business + design
He believes a lack of people in a photograph may help viewers imagine themselves in the image, creating a potentially mesmerizing experience.

In 1757, the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke published a treatise on an idea he called "the sublime"—a concept that transcends simpler ideas of beauty and instead refers to a moral, spiritual, or aesthetic experience that is so intense that it completely overwhelms the senses.
"Looking at a space where there are the telltale signs of human life but no humans, we do inevitably project experience into there, our memories, thoughts about what might be going on," Vessel says. "It happens almost as time-lapse in our head—a full day passing in a moment."

Margaroli put it like this: "If you photograph an absence, you also reveal the presence."
art  science  landscape  sublime 
september 2016 by bwiese
Chronological listing of OTA Reports - Hospital Financing in Seven Countries
Hospital Financing in Seven Countries
GPO stock #052-003-01413-1

At a national policy level, there appears to be little for the United States to adopt from abroad. Other countries have managed to keep hospital and total costs down by, in one way or another, imposing cash limits on the health care system. A market-oriented system, such as the current U.S. system, is not as amenable to absolute limits, and in the 1990s progress is more likely to come from within than through imported solutions. This background paper is part of a larger study, International Differences in Health Care Technology and Spending, which consists of a series of
background papers. International Health Statistics: What the Numbers Mean for the United States was published in November 1993, International Comparisons of Administrative Costs in Health Care appeared in September 1994, and Health Care Technology and Its Assessment in Eight Countries, in February 1995
healthcare  international  review  science  study  ota 
june 2016 by bwiese
Scientists Can Now Make Leukemia Cells Kill Each Other | IFLScience
Rare antibodies transform cancer cells into "Natural Killer" cells of the original cancer cells. The researchers hope that this technique – which they’ve called “fratricidin therapy” – can be used to transform a range of cancer cells into specific NK cells in order to actually cure a patient of their cancer altogether.
leukemia  cancer  science  medicine 
november 2015 by bwiese
The world's deepest hole lies hidden beneath this rusty metal cap | MNN - Mother Nature Network
Even more surprising, the rock had been thoroughly fractured and was saturated with water. Free water was not supposed to exist at such depths. Geologists now surmise that the water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that were squeezed out of the surrounding rock by enormous pressure, and is retained there due to a layer of impermeable rock above.
russia  geology  coldwar  mystery  science  drilling 
november 2015 by bwiese
7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss
Sat fat good for: cardio health, stronger bones, liver, lungs, nerves
food  meat  fats  science  timferriss  bones  health  diet 
august 2015 by bwiese
The LHC Has Discovered a New Sub-Atomic Particle Called a Pentaquark
Quarks are a series of charged sub-atomic particles that come together to form larger particles—such as protons and neutrons, which are each made of three of the things (a class of particle referred to as baryons). First proposed in 1964 by American physicist Murray Gell-Mann, their existence changed the way people thought about particle physicists. But quarks can come together to form other entities, too. For a long time, people have speculated that another class of quark ensemble, called the pentaquark, could in theory exist. The pentaquark is, perhaps unsurprisingly, supposed to be made up of five smaller entities—four quarks and an anti-quark. Now, for the first time, researchers working on the LHCb experiment at the Collider have found evidence for their existence.
lhc  quark  science  physics  particlephysics 
july 2015 by bwiese
One Twin Exercises, the Other Doesn't -
The sedentary twins had lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages, and signs of insulin resistance, signaling the onset of metabolic problems. (Interestingly, the twins tended to have very similar diets, whatever their workout routines, so food choices were unlikely to have contributed to health differences.)

The twins’ brains also were unalike. The active twins had significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.

Presumably, all of these differences in the young men’s bodies and brains had developed during their few, brief years of divergent workouts, underscoring how rapidly and robustly exercising — or not — can affect health, said Dr. Urho Kujala, a professor of sports and exercise medicine at the University of Jyvaskyla who oversaw the study.
health  brain  dna  twins  science  exercise 
march 2015 by bwiese
Study Suggests Chemical "Emulsifiers" In Food Are Disrupting Gut Microbes And Making Us Fat
two commonly used emulsifiers, namely carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and promoted robust colitis in mice predisposed to this disorder
medicine  food  diet  emulsifier  microbiome  science 
march 2015 by bwiese
Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease | Earth. We are one.
The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.
diet  disease  salt  processedfood  food  science  medicine 
march 2015 by bwiese
NOVA | Great Cathedral Mystery
Florence Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral dorm built by Brunelleschi by using flower petal pattern to guide ropes for arch construction (inverted arch design for strength) and using "spina pesca" (fish spine" brick work pattern to break up the sheer lines from masonry. Also created first dual / reverse gear to raise and lower materials with oxen pulling rope.

The dome’s realization, seen as impossible at its time, is associated with the name of one man, Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)
“Which man, whatever harsh or jealous, would not praise Filippo when seeing this enormous construction rise to the heavens, so vast that it could cover all the people of Tuscany with its shadow, and executed without the aid of beams or wooden struts.”
video  engineering  science  nova  brickwork  bricks  dome  architecture  mystery  cathedral  florence 
february 2015 by bwiese
Limnic eruption - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A limnic eruption, also referred to as a lake overturn, is a rare type of natural disaster in which dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) suddenly erupts from deep lake water, suffocating wildlife, livestock and humans. Such an eruption may also cause tsunamis in the lake as the rising CO2 displaces water. Lakes in which such activity occurs may be known as limnically active lakes or exploding lakes. Some features of limnically active lakes include:

CO2-saturated incoming water
A cool lake bottom indicating an absence of direct volcanic interaction with lake waters
An upper and lower thermal layer with differing CO2 saturations
Proximity to areas with volcanic activity

Scientists have recently determined, from investigations into the mass casualties in the 1980s at Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos, that although limnic eruptions can be indirectly related to volcanic eruptions, they are actually separate types of disaster events
disaster  death  volcano  eruption  lake  cameroon  geology  geography  science 
january 2015 by bwiese
Jumping DNA and the Evolution of Pregnancy – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science
Evolution from egg layers, to marsipuals, to mammals...

The answer involves jumping DNA. Many bit of the genome can cut themselves away from the surrounding DNA and paste themselves in elsewhere. Others can copy themselves and insert the duplicates into new spots. These sequences are genomic parasites—they reproduce, often at the expense of their host. If they disrupt other genes when they land, they can cause cancer and other diseases. But sometimes, they settle somewhere useful.
pregnancy  science  evolution  kangaroo  duckbilledplatapus  genetics  dna 
january 2015 by bwiese
Neurontin and Lyrica are Highly Toxic to New Brain Synapses | Studies
The paper, to be published online Oct. 8 in the journal Cell, looks at the interaction between neurons — the extensively researched nerve cells that account for 10 percent of the cells in the brain — and the less-studied but much more common brain cells called astrocytes

In this new study, Barres, lead author Cagla Eroglu, PhD, and their colleagues demonstrate how thrombospondin binds to a receptor found on neurons’ outer membranes. The role of this receptor, known as alpha2delta-1, had been obscure until now. But in an experiment with mice, the scientists found that neurons lacking alpha2delta-1 were unable to form synapses in response to thrombospondin stimulation.

when gabapentin was administered in developing mice, it bound to alpha2delta-1, preventing thrombospondin from binding to the receptor and, in turn, impeding synapse formation

gabapentin does not dissolve pre-existing synapses, but only prevents formation of new ones. less problem for adults
drugs  pregnant  baby  fetus  lyrica  medicine  science  neuropathy  nervepain  gabapentin  neurontin 
january 2015 by bwiese
Absurd Creature of the Week: The Anglerfish and the Absolute Worst Sex on Earth | WIRED
Once the male closes in, he bites onto the female, usually her belly, and their tissues fuse together to permanently join the pair in incredibly unholy matrimony. The male’s eyes and fins atrophy away, and here he will live out the rest of his life nourished by her blood, still breathing with his own gills and, importantly, still producing sperm. “This establishes a hormonal connection,” said Pietsch, “so that probably the maturation of eggs and sperm is synchronized by the sharing of hormones. And once the eggs are mature and the male is ready, she extrudes the eggs” in a kind of gelatinous sheath that can be 30 feet long. This acts like a sponge, readily absorbing the water that the male has released his sperm into. Keep in mind that this is happening several miles down, where there is little plankton for juvenile fish to eat. So the whole gelatinous mess is buoyant, slowly making its way to the surface, where the larvae hatch and feed, ideally growing big and then migrating down t
fish  anglerfish  sex  science  biology  parasite  ocean  wired 
january 2015 by bwiese
Intelligent People All Have One Thing In Common: They Stay Up Later Than You
According to “Psychology Today,” intelligent people are more likely to be nocturnal than people with lower IQ scores. In a study run on young Americans, results showed that intelligent individuals went to bed later on weeknights and weekends than their less intelligent counterparts.
intelligence  iq  science  psychology  nightowel  carpenoctem  night  sleep 
january 2015 by bwiese
The Town Without Wi-Fi | People & Politics | Washingtonian
Only diesel vehicles are allowed on-site, because a gasoline-powered engine’s spark plugs give off interfering radiation. Pine trees on the outskirts buffer passing cars. Even the cafeteria’s microwave—which, like all microwaves, emits radiation—is kept in a shielded cage. Arnie Stewart, on the other hand, became convinced the disease was real after doing a little detective work himself. Stewart—who grew up visiting a family farm outside Green Bank and moved there as a retiree seven years ago—knew that a few of his buddies in his (sanctioned) ham-radio club thought the whole thing was a sham. So he asked an electrosensitive to come to a club meeting earlier this year to explain her disease. “She was presenting her case, and about ten minutes later she came up to me and says, ‘Arnie, someone has a cell phone on in here,’ ” Stewart recalls, noting that he saw the electrosensitive woman’s hands redden and her wrists swell. He asked the room if anyone had a phone powered up. “And this on
technology  wifi  weird  world  science  telescope  radio  electromagnetic  electrosensitive  health  radiation 
january 2015 by bwiese
This Lingerie Company A/B Tests The World's Hottest Women To See Who Makes You Click "Buy" | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
"Picture has a huge impact on sale when it comes to fashion,
buy based on - emotions that the product conveys

Blondes don't work. Props distract. Couches are fine. Playing with hair is ideal.

For every thousand people that come on the site, 500 will see picture A, another 500 will see picture B and over time, one will sell better than the other. Practice used all the time on the internet.

Companies use A/B testing to personalize the shopping experience or test how well sales pitches work.

AdoreMe subjects all of its images to testing every single month, going as far as to test one hand position against another, and in doing so has collected a trove of intel on what works and what doesn't.

Born in France, Hermand-Waiche studied math and computer science at Ecole de Mines, the MIT of Paris. "Technically, my undergrad really made me a strong geek," he said. Adore Me, which he founded in 2010 after attending Harvard Business School, has A/B tested since it could afford the practice.
emotion  computerscience  fashionphotography  fashion  photography  posing  internet  science  entrepreneurship  sales  beauty  society  scienc  abtesting  lingerie 
november 2014 by bwiese
Study sounds warning alarm for Swiss cow bells - The Local
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Study sounds warning alarm for Swiss cow bells
Cows wear ceremonial bells during the desalpe at Charmey. Photo: Caroline Bishop
Study sounds warning alarm for Swiss cow bells
Published: 25 Sep 2014 10:44 GMT+02:00

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The future of one of Switzerland’s most iconic symbols is under threat after a new study found that cow bells can damage the hearing and feeding habits of the alpine cows that wear them.

Cows injure two women in Graubünden Alps (08 Sep 14)
Village fetes cows’ descent from Swiss Alps (03 Oct 13)
Shock! Swiss farmers in underpants are models! (12 Sep 13)
The findings, reported by newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, came as part of a doctoral dissertation carried out by agricultural scientist Julia Johns and a fellow researcher at the top-flight Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ).

The pair strapped 5.5kg bells to more than 100 cows in 25 farms across th
sound  science  switzerland  cowbell  cows 
november 2014 by bwiese
This Device Tracks Your Sleep Without Ever Touching You | Innovation | Smithsonian
At the heart of the S+ is a highly-tuned motion sensor, sensitive enough to detect a person’s heart rate and breathing patterns through a heavy down comforter and as far as four feet away. The device also has an ambient light sensor and a thermometer.

Read more:
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
science  biometrics  smithsonian  sleepmonitor  sleep 
november 2014 by bwiese
Everything Dies, Right? But Does Everything Have To Die? Here's A Surprise : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR
Hydras seem to never die... their cells continually replenish themselves. Small living organisms should have shorter life spans, but hydras do not!
hydra  science  death  immortality 
september 2014 by bwiese
Fasting for two days could regenerate the immune system, according to research - Science - News - The Independent
“It gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system.

“And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.”
cancer  medicine  science  fasting 
june 2014 by bwiese
Dinosaur DNA cannot be extracted from amber
"Intuitively, one might imagine that the complete and rapid engulfment in resin, resulting in almost instantaneous demise, might promote the preservation of DNA in a resin entombed insect, but this appears not to be the case," noted Penney to The Telegraph, "So, unfortunately, the Jurassic Park scenario must remain in the realms of fiction."

This is all a bit of a moot point, by the way. Late last year scientists were able to peg the half-life of DNA at 521 years, meaning that, under ideal conditions, every last piece of DNA would be gone by 6.8 million years, and there would only be enough to be readable at around 1.5 million years. The dinos went dodo about 65 million years ago.
dinosaurs  science  dna  jurassicpark 
april 2014 by bwiese
Bioethical Issues - Contraception
Hormonal contraceptives come with their own health risks – some of which will remain unknown. They also raise a host of medical questions concerning their mechanism of action (how the contraceptive actually works) and whether or not contraceptives have an abortifacient effect (a drug which allows conception to occur yet renders the woman’s womb hostile to implantation – effectively, working as an early abortion). This is particularly problematic for Judeo-Christian or Islamic tradition where life begins at conception.
science  culture  morality  prolife  abortifacient  abortion  ethics  birthcontrol  contraception 
march 2014 by bwiese
Million to one apple is half red, half green - Telegraph
7:00AM BST 25 Sep 2009
The fruit's striking colouring is thought to be caused by a random genetic mutation at odds of more than a million to one.
The apple has caused such a stir in the village of Colaton Raleigh, Devon, that Mr Morrish is inundated with neighbours queuing up to take pictures of it.
Mr Morrish, 72, who has been harvesting the apples from trees in his garden for 45 years, said: "It's truly amazing.
"It looks as if a green apple and a red apple has been cut in half and stuck together."
mutation  genetics  darwin  biology  science  nature  apple 
march 2014 by bwiese
A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA -
It is already known, for instance, that Crispr can sometimes change genes other than the intended ones. That could lead to unwanted side effects.

The technique is also raising ethical issues. The ease of creating genetically altered monkeys and rodents could lead to more animal experimentation.
genetics  bioethics  ethics  programming  science  dna 
march 2014 by bwiese
The Fundamentals of the Law of Attraction (atoms of creation)
“When I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, ’cause they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” -Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Your thoughts do indeed create your reality. Thoughts are forms of energy that are sent ahead and eventually manifest as physical matter. The thoughts you think determine the outcome of your worldly experiences, from finances to health, relationships to environment. In fact, there is no aspect of your life that is not affected by your thoughts.

“Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.” -Albert Einstein

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” -William James
video  energy  self  science  atoms  astrophysics  philosophy  universe  attraction 
february 2014 by bwiese
ExtremeTech - Sugar Battery more powerful than Lithium Ion
almost every living cell on Earth generates its energy (ATP) from glucose. Now, researchers at Virginia Tech have successfully created a sugar-powered fuel cell that has an energy storage density of 596 amp-hours per kilo — or “one order of magnitude” higher than lithium-ion batteries. This fuel cell is refillable with a solution of maltodextrin, and its only by products are electricity and water. The chief researcher, Y.H. Percival Zhang, says the tech could be commercialized in as soon as three years.

This equates to a power output of 0.8 mW/cm, current density of 6 mA/cm, and energy storage density of 596 Ah/kg. This last figure is impressive, at roughly 10 times the energy density of the lithium-ion batteries in your mobile devices.
fuelcell  energy  technology  lithium  battery  research  science  biology  sugar 
february 2014 by bwiese
▶ THIS IS A BUTTERFLY! (Scanning Electron Microscope) - Part 2 - Smarter Every Day 105 - YouTube
"something as simple as a butterfly has complicated mysteries that you and I will never understand"
mystery  science  youtube  video  butterfly  quote  smartereveryday  beauty 
december 2013 by bwiese
The Science of G.A.S.
When something rewarding or negative happens, we change our behaviors to increase the likelihood of reward and decrease the likelihood of harm. This type of learning is called behavioral reinforcement and it is pivotal to helping humans survive in the world.

Drugs induce a high, but after continued use the high becomes smaller and smaller. In order to feel the high as it once was, it’s necessary to consume a greater amount of the drug. For the photographer the high of buying something new will eventually lead to habituation. This may in turn lead to purchases that are more frequent or greater in cost as a way to combat the habituation.
technology  addiction  brain  mind  science  gas  gear  photography 
december 2013 by bwiese
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