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  #41  
Old 02-12-2014, 05:26 AM
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Default NASA says it may have discovered flowing water on Mars

http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/214...water-on-mars/

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Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory say new images from the surface of Mars may hold evidence that flowing water exists on the planet.

The potential discovery is noteworthy, since scientists have held on to the possibility of traces of water existing under the surface of Mars but had almost written off the possibility of flowing water still existing on the planet’s surface.

Orbiting spacecraft captured the imagery, which appears to show liquid flowing down a slope on the planet’s surface during a seasonal change in which surface temperatures rise.


This newly released image shows a potential water flow on the surface of Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL

“We still don't have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we're not sure how this process would take place without water," said Lujendra Ojha, lead author of the new report and a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. RSL refers to recurring slope lineae, the techincal term for the potential water flow.

“The flow of water, even briny water, anywhere on Mars today would be a major discovery, impacting our understanding of present climate change on Mars and possibly indicating potential habitats for life near the surface on modern Mars," said JPL’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist Richard Zurek.

In theory, that could mean previously frozen water was temporarily melting and moving downward.

But even “warm” temperatures on the red planet’s surface are still well below freezing. So, how could water move at all?

NASA says iron-rich minerals on the planet’s surface, such as ferric sulfate, could act as a sort of antifreeze, allowing water to remain liquid despite freezing temperatures.

The potential finding follows a 2011 study from Ojha that first pointed to potential saltwater flows on the planet’s surface. In his new paper, Ojha said the water flows appear to continue for about two months' time.

The results were published in the latest issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
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  #42  
Old 02-18-2014, 02:30 PM
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Default U of M study finds fertilization destabilizes global grassland ecosystems

http://esciencenews.com/articles/201...and.ecosystems

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U of M study finds fertilization destabilizes global grassland ecosystems

Published: Monday, February 17, 2014 - 04:26 in Earth & Climate
A new study led by University of Minnesota researchers demonstrates that fertilization of natural grasslands -- either intentionally or unintentionally as a side effect of global farming and industry -- is having a destabilizing effect on global grassland ecosystems. Using a network of natural grassland research sites around the world called the Nutrient Network, the study represents the first time such a large experiment has been conducted using naturally occurring sites. Led by Yann Hautier, a Marie Curie Fellow associated with both the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, the research team included U of M associate professors Eric Seabloom and Elizabeth Borer, and research scientist Eric Lind, along with scientists from institutions around the world including Andy Hector at Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences. The findings were published on February 16 in the journal Nature.

The researchers found that plant diversity in natural ecosystems creates more stable ecosystems over time because of less synchronized growth of plants. "This is sometimes called the portfolio effect," says Seabloom. "If you have money in two investments and they're both stocks, they're going to track each other, but if one is a stock and one is a bond, they're going to respond differently to the overall economy and are more likely to balance each other."

The researchers collected plants from each of the sites, then sorted, dried, and weighed them to monitor the number of species of plants and total amount of plants, or "biomass," grown over time. They used this information to quantify species diversity and ecosystem stability. Says Hautier: "It was really striking to see the relationship between diversity and stability" and the similarities to data collected from artificial grasslands as part of a research effort called BioDepth, indicating that the results from natural grasslands of the Nutrient Network could be predicted from the results of artificial grasslands.

"The results of our study emphasize that we need to consider not just how productive ecosystems are but also how stable they are in the long-term, and how biodiversity is related to both aspects of ecosystem functioning," says Andy Hector.

The researchers also found that grassland diversity and stability are reduced when fertilizer is added. Fertilizers are intentionally used in grassland to increase livestock fodder. Fertilizer addition is also occurring unintentionally in many places around the world because nitrogen, a common fertilizer, is released into the atmosphere from farming, industry, and burning fossil fuels. Rainfall brings nitrogen out of the atmosphere and on to grasslands, changing the growth and types of plant species. This study placed measured amounts of fertilizer on a portion of their research sites and measured the changes that ensued.

"What we find is that the stabilizing effect [of species diversity] is lost, and we have less stable ecosystems when we have more nutrients coming into that system," says Borer. This, the researchers found, was due to more synchronized growth of plants, eliminating the "portfolio effect."

This study was made possible due to the formation of the Nutrient Network, also known as NutNet. Borer and Seabloom led a small group of scientists who created NutNet to standardize the way that ecology research is conducted. NutNet is a "grassroots campaign" that is supported by scientists who volunteer their time and resources. There are now 75 sites around the world that are run by more than 100 scientists participating in the NutNet experiment. "It's a great project and I'm happy to be a part of it," says Hautier. "The collaboration is fantastic."

NutNet scientists collected data for this study for three years, measuring plant growth in 41 sites on five continents, so the researchers feel confident that their results have global applications. "We can line it up and say -- apples to apples -- this is what's happening and it allows us to say it's a general effect. We know it's the same because we measured it in the same way in all these different places," says Lind. The group ultimately wants to continue experiments for at least ten years to gather information about long-term trends in plant species diversity and ecosystem stability, extinctions, species invasions, and many other important changes in the world's grasslands.
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  #43  
Old 02-20-2014, 04:13 PM
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Default NANOFORCE sheds some light on nanoparticle toxicity

http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36448_en.html

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Nanotechnology is expected to be one of the vital technological drivers for transforming the EU into a true Innovation Union. From improving cosmetics and fabrics to helping to preserve food for longer, the potential for nano-enabled products is huge.

However, along with these welcome benefits, engineered nanomaterials (ENM) and nanotechnology applications also bring concerns about their possible effects on human health and safety, and on the environment. In the past, we saw a lack of systematic studies on hazards of or exposure to ENM but in recent years the European research community has been working to address this. About 50 FP6 and FP7 projects progressing both nanotechnology and its safety management, and representing a total investment of ¿137 million, are either completed or running.

NANOFORCE, one of these valuable projects which focuses in particular on nanotechnology in the chemical industry, recently announced testing achievements from labs in Italy, Slovenia and Poland. These labs were all investigating the toxicity of the nanoparticles in various products.

Veneto Nanotech, based in Italy, explored the risk factors associated to nanoparticles found in many antibacterial products. The testing showed that when a user was exposed when varnishing, the risk was very low, especially when using a brush. However if the powder was released indoors from a cleaning product, the risk was higher. Meanwhile, colleagues at the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia explored the toxicity of nanoparticles in water leached from paints. Results here showed that washing/rain released far fewer nanoparticles from paint than immersion. The Polish partners at the Institute of High Pressure Physics (IHPP, Poland) simultaneously investigated the toxicity of synthesised ZnO nanopowder. Through their experiments, the team observed in fact that simple tests where nanoparticles are added to a medium are not suitable for making conclusions about nanoparticles toxicity.

With the aim of linking scientific knowledge and business in the Central Europe space, NANOFORCE is taking a unique approach by directly interacting with industry, specifically chemical enterprises. A representative of NANOFORCE noted, 'Our overall aim is to better integrate science, industry, finance, management and regulation to let nanotechnologies to generate their benefits for the present and the future generations in Europe.'

And NANOFORCE is just one part of the European nanosafety movement. It is a member of the EU Nanosafety Cluster which was established in order to ensure that ongoing nanosafety research, like that of the NANOFORCE members, is as coordinated and collaborative as possible. The Cluster, which incorporates FP6 and FP7 projects, aims to maximise the synergies between projects addressing all aspects of nanosafety including toxicology, ecotoxicology, exposure assessment, mechanisms of interaction, risk assessment and standardisation.
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  #44  
Old 02-20-2014, 04:14 PM
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Default Hubble watches stars’ clockwork motion in nearby galaxy

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/0...-nearby-galaxy

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Hubble watches stars’ clockwork motion in nearby galaxy

Astronomers have for the first time precisely measured the rotation rate of a galaxy based on the movement of its stars.

By NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. | Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014


This photo illustration shows Hubble measurements of the rotation of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the nearest visible galaxy to our Milky Way.
NASA/ESA/A. Feild and Z. Levay (STScI)/Y. Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory)/R. van der Marel (STScI)

Using the sharp-eyed NASA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have for the first time precisely measured the rotation rate of a galaxy based on the clock-like movement of its stars.

According to their analysis, the central part of the neighboring galaxy, called the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), completes a rotation every 250 million years. It takes our Sun the same amount of time to complete a rotation around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

The Hubble team — Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and Nitya Kallivayalil of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia — used Hubble to measure the average motion of hundreds of individual stars in the LMC, located 170,000 light-years away. Hubble recorded the stars' slight movements during a seven-year period.

"Studying this nearby galaxy by tracking the stars' movements gives us a better understanding of the internal structure of disk galaxies," said Kallivayalil. "Knowing a galaxy's rotation rate offers insight into how a galaxy formed, and it can be used to calculate its mass."

Disk-shaped galaxies such as the Milky Way and the LMC generally rotate like a carousel. Hubble's precision tracking offers a new way to determine a galaxy's rotation by the "sideways" proper motion of its stars, as seen in the plane of the sky. Astronomers have long measured the sideways motions of nearby celestial objects, but this is the first time the precision has become sufficient to see another distant galaxy rotate.

"The LMC is a very important galaxy because it is very near to our Milky Way," said van der Marel. "Studying the Milky Way is difficult because you're studying from the inside, so everything you see is spread all over the sky. It's all at different distances, and you're sitting in the middle of it. Studying structure and rotation is much easier if you view a nearby galaxy from the outside."

For the past century, astronomers have calculated galaxy rotation rates by observing a slight shift in the spectrum of its starlight. This shift is known as the Doppler effect. On one side of a galaxy's spinning stellar disk, the stars swinging in the direction of Earth will show a spectral blueshift — the compression of light waves due to motion toward the observer. Stars swinging away from Earth on the opposite side of a galaxy will show a spectral redshift — the stretching of light to redder wavelengths due to motion away from the observer.

The newly measured Hubble motions and the Doppler motions measured previously provide complementary information about the LMC's rotation rate. By combining the results, the Hubble team obtained a fully 3-D view of stellar motions in another galaxy.

"By using Hubble to study the stars' motions over several years, we can actually, for the first time, see a galaxy rotate in the plane of the sky," said van der Marel.

Hubble is the only telescope that can make this kind of observation because of its sharp resolution, its image stability, and its 24 years in space.

"If we imagine a human on the Moon, Hubble's precision would allow us to determine the speed at which the person's hair grows," said van der Marel . "This precision is crucial because the apparent stellar motions are so small because of the galaxy's distance. You can think of the LMC as a clock in the sky on which the hands take 250 million years to make one revolution. We know the clock's hands move, but even with Hubble we need to stare at them for several years to see any movement."

The research team used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys to observe stars in 22 fields spread across the vast disk of the LMC, which appears in the southern night sky as an object about 20 times the diameter of the Moon. Arrows on the accompanying image show the predicted motion over the next 7 million years, based on the Hubble measurements.

Each observed field contains not only dozens of LMC stars, but also a background quasar, a brilliant beacon of light powered by a black hole in the core of the distant active galaxy. The astronomers used the quasars as fixed reference points to measure the subtle motion of the LMC stars.

This measurement is the culmination of ongoing work with Hubble to refine the calculation of the LMC's rotation rate. Van der Marel began analyzing the galaxy's rotation in 2002 by creating detailed predictions, now confirmed by Hubble, of what the rotation should look like.

"Because the LMC is nearby, it is a benchmark for studies of stellar evolution and populations," Kallivayalil said. "For this, it's important to understand the galaxy's structure. Our technique for measuring the galaxy's rotation rate using fully 3-D motions is a new way to shed light on that structure. It opens a new window to our understanding of how stars in galaxies move."

The team next plans to use Hubble to measure the stellar motions in the LMC's diminutive cousin, the Small Magellanic Cloud, using the same technique. The galaxies are interacting, and that study should also yield improved insight into how the galaxies are moving around each other and around the Milky Way.
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  #45  
Old 02-24-2014, 03:59 AM
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Default EU scientists set out to tackle radiation-related gender issues in space

http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36454_en.html

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Why are there more men than women in space? The answer might not be as straightforward as you first think. According to physiological models used by NASA, female astronauts have a lower threshold for space radiation than their male counterparts, meaning opportunities for space exploration are more limited for them.

Radiation exposure from a long time spent in deep space or on the surface of certain planets is thought to cause an increase in the probability of developing cancer. According to NASA, the added risk of a male developing cancer on a 1 000-day Mars mission lies somewhere between 1 percent and 19 percent. The odds are worse for women. In fact, because of breasts and ovaries, the risk to female astronauts is nearly double the risk to males. This means that while all astronauts are somewhat are limited in the missions they can fly, the limitations on female astronauts are far harsher.

The work of the ongoing EU Project SR2S ('Space Radiation Superconductive Shield') may change this. Driven by the belief that technology can be sufficiently developed to allow both genders to withstand a long duration stay in space, SR2S aims to solve the issue of radiation protection for all astronauts within the next three years.

But how can the project deliver this level of protection to radiation? According to project organisers, the SR2S superconducting shield will provide an intense magnetic field, 3 000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field and will be confined around the space craft. The magnetic fields will extend to about 10 metres in diameter and ionizing particles will be deflected away. Project organisers say that shielding the astronauts from ionising radiation in this way is a prerequisite to realistically plan for exploration missions to Mars, Near Earth Asteroids or for setting on the Moon surface.

Speaking about the evolution of SR2S, Project leader Professor Roberto Battiston said, 'We believe we will succeed in this goal of solving the radiation protection issue. In the last few months the international teams working at CERN have solved two major technical issues relevant to the superconducting magnets in space [...] These developments open the way to larger and more effective space radiation shields and in turn facilitate deep space travel for female astronauts'.

Professor Battiston added, 'Researchers must focus on both genders in current and future studies. The next exploration challenges, deep space travel to Near Earth Asteroids and long duration stay on Mars and on the moon, require an effective way to actively shield astronauts.'

SR2S, which began in January 2013, comprises an impressive research team drawn from top institutes around Europe: Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), CERN, Compagnia Generale per lo Spazio (CGS SpA), Columbus Superconductor SpA, Thales Alenia Space - Italia S.p.A. and Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA).

For more information, please visit:

SR2S
http://www.sr2s.eu/ Project

factsheet
http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/106623_en.html
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  #46  
Old 03-05-2014, 12:48 PM
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Default

Scientists revive giant 30,000-year-old virus from Siberian permafrost – and say it could signal return of smallpox in modern times



http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...s-9168442.html
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  #47  
Old 03-14-2014, 11:21 AM
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Default 70 million years old deadly dinosaur found in Alaska

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/31960943.cms
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  #48  
Old 03-20-2014, 06:51 AM
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Default Earth Narrowly Missed Catastrophic 'Solar Superstorm' Equal to a Billion Hydrogen Bom

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/earth-narro...114552344.html
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  #49  
Old 03-31-2014, 07:47 AM
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Default EU funding for robots that learn and think for themselves

http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36504_en.html

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Over two-thirds of European workers in manufacturing are employed in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The sector's primary means of competition is to respond rapidly to changing production needs and to keep product quality at a very high level.

While robots are able to carry out repetitive tasks to a high standard, they do not currently meet the demands of SMEs for high flexibility. Today´s robots know only their nominal task which limits their ability to deal with frequent changes in the manufacturing process.

An EU-funded project, SMEROBOTICS, aims to address this conundrum by bringing the concept of cognitive robotics from vision to reality. The three-year initiative, which runs until 31 December 2015, seeks to develop SME-suitable robots that are sufficiently agile to enable companies to change processes and robot assignments without having to call in specialists.

Another core project objective is to enable humans and robots to learn from each other for the overall benefit of industrial manufacturing, which calls for better software components.

SMEROBOTICS has already been drawing much attention. The SMErobotics team has notably created a homepage that addresses students who are considering which 'field' they want to invest their future in, as well as a viral video called 'Louise' - which shows a girl who had seemingly programmed a robot to splash her boyfriend with cola. The widely-viewed video is meant to arouse interest and communicate the opportunities in the field of robot technology. It also sought to illustrate how much research still needs to be done.

Several automation technologies will also be presented at the AUTOMATICA trade fair in June 2014, including a lightweight robot for small production runs, a sensor-controlled welding robot capable of learning from the welder, a cost-effective robot cell for general manipulation tasks such as 'bin picking' or machine feeding, as well as innovative software.

A follow-up to the successful predecessor project SMErobot, the FP7-funded initiative brings together leading European robot manufacturing and research institutes and experts. They include Jesper Johansen, of the Danish Technological Institute, who says, 'There is a need for flexible robots that can be used by production workers on their premises. We hear this from all sides. Now it is up to us and the researchers of the future to meet the expectations - there is still a lot of work to be done in this field.'

His comments are echoed by SMErobotics coordinator Martin Hagele, from Fraunhofer, who said, 'The goal is to augment state-of-the-art industrial robots with cognitive capabilities. An intelligent robot system doesn't simply follow a once-given instruction. Rather, it should learn intuitively and efficiently from its human operator - continuously improving its performance in collaboration with the worker.'
For more information, please visit:

SMErobotics
http://www.smerobotics.org

Project factsheet
http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/101283_en.html
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:48 AM
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Default A high-tech solution for detecting bacteria in water

http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36501_en.html
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Water quality and safety can never be taken for granted. Every day, millions of tons of inadequately treated sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes are poured into the world's lakes, rivers, and oceans - the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population in the form of pollution. Many industries, from food to metal working, require huge quantities of water for their processes and water quality may seriously affect the quality of finished products.

Researchers on an EU-funded project have devised an innovative new way of potentially combating waterborne death and illness.

They have developed a high-tech device designed to detect bacteria in water. The new system will be able to monitor, in real time, the quality of industrial process water and effluents using an 'opto-ultrasonic' device and lipid- based diagnostic kit.

This is the result of the AQUALITY initiative, a project launched in December 2011 and funded under the EU´s Seventh Framework Programme. The research ended in February and the device is currently undergoing field tests in Norway.

These field tests are of crucial importance for the industry, where water quality impacts directly on production performances, operational costs and sustainability.

The danger posed by pollutants is illustrated by the fact that fresh water contaminated with pathogens used in the preparation of food has been the source of foodborne disease. It is estimated to cause 76m illnesses and 325 000 serious illnesses resulting in hospitalisation and 5 000 deaths in the USA each year alone. The situation in Europe is similar - in the UK, for example, foodborne and waterborne illness affected one in every 1 000 in 2005, doubling the number of reported cases in 1995.

Identifying pollutants in water is, currently, mostly carried out manually through sampling and laboratory analysis (off-line analysis). But existing methods are time consuming and costly, meaning that the number of analyses have to be kept to an absolute minimum.

This is why industry called for both novel and cost-effective solutions and more rapid methods, online and at laboratory scale, for detecting major waterborne pathogens.

The online water monitoring device developed under the AQUALITY project is the first of its kind and is designed to replace routine sampling and lab testing of pathogens. The system will be able to detect a range of bacteria strains in water, including salmonella, listeria monocytogenes and campylobacter.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates the medical costs and productivity losses associated with these three types of bacteria alone amounts to at least $6.9 billion annually.

AQUALITY involved a multi-member state consortium, coordinated by the Spanish company, ENSATEC.

Jose Manuel Ochoa Martinez, from the project, said the three-year research had produced tangible results, notably a new method for microbiological contamination analysis which will 'rapidly' detect the presence of bacteria strains in water and wastewater. Preliminary results, he noted, are 'really promising and in line with expectations.'

He added, 'The novelty of our approach is the use of engineered liposomes for detecting bacteria in water. This achievement represents a potentially huge competitive advantage for the enterprise proposing it and could open up a significant international market.'
For more information, please visit:

AQUALITY
http://aquality-project.eu

Project factsheet
http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/101297_en.html
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  #51  
Old 04-11-2014, 08:56 AM
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Default The Kara-Winter-2014 Ice Expedition Has Started Field Studies in the Artic Zone

http://www.rosneft.com/news/news_in_press/09042014.html

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The Kara-Winter-2014 Expedition organized by the Arctic Research and Design Center (a joint venture of Rosneft and ExxonMobil) with expert support from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Federal State Budget Institution left the Port of Murmansk on board the Yamal Ice-Breaker. This is going to be the largest ice expedition by the sea area coverage and duration (55 days) since the USSR collapse and it will study ice conditions of three seas: the Laptev, Kara, and East-Siberian Seas.
The studies are to be conducted in winter to determine the ice phases, the morphometric parameters of the ice cover, physical and chemical properties of the ice, ice ridges and stamukhas as well as weather and water mass conditions. For the first time iceberg drift will be studied by means of placing buoys on their bodies and engineering surveys will be conducted for the East Siberia and Laptev Seas.
To fulfill the above tasks, in addition to the 23 KT nuclear ice-breaker, the expedition will use satellites, a helicopter, an unmanned air drone, an underwater camera, buoys and a great number of research instruments. The equipment and technologies to be used by the expedition meet the world’s most modern requirements.
The expedition route runs along some of the least explored sea areas of the Arctic Ocean. The data obtained by the expedition will be interpreted and 3D models of ice formations will be built to support exploration and subsequent oil and gas field facility design activities. In addition, these data are of great scientific interest as no such studies have ever been conducted in the regions.
The expedition will also focus on biological studies and environmental protection measures. Marine mammal and bird observations will be conducted throughout the expedition, including on board the drone and helicopter. The data obtained will be used to develop environmentally friendly Arctic oil and gas exploration and production technologies.
All the works will be carried out considering exclusive standards of the partner companies regarding ecological and industrial security. Before the expedition started an additional audit of the Ice-Breaker compliant international IMCA standards has been conducted.
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  #52  
Old 04-13-2014, 03:16 PM
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Default NASA says weird Mars lights are not a sign of life

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/nasa-says-...1.html#QMuQHJL
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:35 PM
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Default New mouse model could revolutionize research in Alzheimer's disease

Date:
Quote:
April 13, 2014
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
Alzheimer’s disease, the primary cause of dementia in the elderly, imposes a tremendous social and economic burden on modern society. Unfortunately, it has proven very difficult to develop drugs capable of ameliorating the disease. After a tremendous burst of progress in the 1990s, the pace of discoveries has slowed. Part of the difficulty is the inadequacy of current mouse models to replicate the real conditions of Alzheimer’s disease and allow an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration. Scientists have now reported the creation of two new mouse models of Alzheimer's disease that may potentially revolutionize research into this disease.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0413154050.htm
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:55 PM
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Default NASA Cassini Images May Reveal Birth of New Saturn Moon

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/april...w-saturn-moon/
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons. Images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013 show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring's edge. Scientists believe the arc and protuberances are caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object. Details of the observations were published online today (April 14, 2014) by the journal Icarus.
The object is not expected to grow any larger, and may even be falling apart. But the process of its formation and outward movement aids in our understanding of how Saturn's icy moons, including the cloud-wrapped Titan and ocean-holding Enceladus, may have formed in more massive rings long ago. It also provides insight into how Earth and other planets in our solar system may have formed and migrated away from our star, the sun.
"We have not seen anything like this before," said Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London, and the report's lead author. "We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right."
The object, informally named Peggy, is too small to see in images so far. Scientists estimate it is probably no more than about a half mile in diameter. Saturn's icy moons range in size depending on their proximity to the planet -- the farther from the planet, the larger. And many of Saturn's moons are comprised primarily of ice, as are the particles that form Saturn's rings. Based on these facts, and other indicators, researchers recently proposed that the icy moons formed from ring particles and then moved outward, away from the planet, merging with other moons on the way.
"Witnessing the possible birth of a tiny moon is an exciting, unexpected event," said Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. According to Spilker, Cassini's orbit will move closer to the outer edge of the A ring in late 2016 and provide an opportunity to study Peggy in more detail and perhaps even image it.
It is possible the process of moon formation in Saturn's rings has ended with Peggy, as Saturn's rings now are, in all likelihood, too depleted to make more moons. Because they may not observe this process again, Murray and his colleagues are wringing from the observations all they can learn.
"The theory holds that Saturn long ago had a much more massive ring system capable of giving birth to larger moons," Murray said. "As the moons formed near the edge, they depleted the rings and evolved, so the ones that formed earliest are the largest and the farthest out."
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
To view an image of the Saturn ring disturbance attributed to the new moon, visit:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/...hp?id=PIA18078
For more information about Cassini, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/cassini
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:00 AM
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Default Dana-Farber researchers uncover link between Down syndrome and leukemia

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-dru041814.php

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Dana-Farber researchers uncover link between Down syndrome and leukemia

BOSTON –Although doctors have long known that people with Down syndrome have a heightened risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during childhood, they haven't been able to explain why. Now, a team of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators has uncovered a connection between the two conditions.
In a study posted online today by the journal Nature Genetics, the researchers track the genetic chain of events that links a chromosomal abnormality in Down syndrome to the cellular havoc that occurs in ALL. Their findings are relevant not only to people with Down syndrome but also to many others who develop ALL.
"For 80 years, it hasn't been clear why children with Down syndrome face a sharply elevated risk of ALL," said the study's lead author, Andrew Lane, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber's Division of Hematologic Neoplasia. "Advances in technology – which make it possible to study blood cells and leukemias that model Down syndrome in the laboratory – have enabled us to make that link."
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for a variety of health problems, including heart defects, respiratory and hearing difficulties, and thyroid conditions. Their risk for childhood ALL is 20 times that of the general population.
The syndrome occurs in people who have an extra copy of a single chromosome, known as chromosome 21. The addition may involve the entire chromosome or a portion of it.
To trace the link between Down syndrome and ALL – specifically, the most common form of the disease known as B cell ALL, or B-ALL – Lane, who is also a medical oncologist in the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program, and his colleagues acquired a strain of mice that carry an extra copy of 31 genes found on chromosome 21 in humans.
"B-ALL occurs when the body produces too many immature B cells, which are a type of white blood cell that normally fights infections," Lane explained. "When we tested the mice's B cells in the laboratory, we found they were abnormal and grew uncontrollably – just as B cells from B-ALL patients do."
The researchers then scanned the mice's B cells to ascertain their "molecular signature" – the pattern of gene activity that distinguished them from normal B cells in mice. The chief difference was that in the abnormal cells, the group of proteins called PRC2 was not functioning. Somehow, the loss of PRC2 was spurring the B cells to divide and proliferate before they were fully mature.
To confirm that a shutdown of PRC2 is critical to the formation of B-ALL in people with Down syndrome, Lane's team focused on the genes controlled by PRC2. Using two sets of B-ALL cell samples – one from patients with Down syndrome, the other from patients without the syndrome – they measured the activity of thousands of different genes, looking for differences between the two sets. About 100 genes turned out to be much more active in the Down syndrome group, and all of them were under control of PRC2. When PRC2 is silenced – as it is in the B cells of Down syndrome patients – those 100 genes respond with a burst of activity, driving cell growth and division.
The question then was, what gene or group of genes was stifling PRC2 in Down syndrome patients' B cells? Using cells from the mice with an extra copy of 31 genes, the investigators systematically switched off each of those genes to see its effect on the cells. When they turned off the gene HMGN1, the cells stopped growing and died.
"We concluded that the extra copy of HMGN1 is important for turning off PRC2, and that, in turn, increases the cell proliferation," Lane remarked. "This provides the long-sought after molecular link between Down syndrome and the development of B cell ALL."
Although there are currently no drugs that target HMGN1, which could potentially short-circuit the leukemia process in people with Down syndrome, the researchers suggest that drugs that switch on PRC2 could have an anti-leukemic effect in some of those people. Work is under way to improve these drugs, known as histone demethylase inhibitors, so they can be tested in cell samples and animal models.
As other forms of B-ALL also have the same 100-gene signature as the one discovered for B-ALL associated with Down syndrome, drug agents that target PRC2 might be effective in those cancers as well, Lane added.
###
Funding for the research was provided by the Conquer Cancer Foundation; the Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; the Alex Lemonade Stand Foundation; the U.S. Department of Defense; the Israel Science Foundation; the U.S. Israel Binational Foundation; the Stellato Fund; and the National Institutes of Health awards CA15198-01 and CA172387-A01.
The senior author of the study is David Weinstock, MD, of Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Co-authors are Bjoern Chapuy, MD, PhD, Charles Lin, PhD, Trevor Tivey, Hubo Li, Elizabeth Townsend, PhD, Diederik van Bodegom, PhD, Tovah Day, PhD, Shuo-Chieh Wu, Huiyun Liu, Akinori Yoda, PhD, Gabriela Alexe, PhD, Anna Schinzel, PhD, Timothy Sullivan, Kristen Stevenson, Donna Neuberg, ScD, Lewis Silverman, MD, Stephen Sallan, MD, and James Bradner, MD, of Dana-Farber; Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, and William Hahn, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute; David Pellman, MD, of Dana-Farber and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Jordan Taylor, and Jacob Jaffe, PhD, of the Broad Institute; Sébastien Malinge, PhD, of Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France; Michael Bustin, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health; Geertruy te Kronnie, PhD, of the University of Padova, Padova, Italy; Shai Izraeli, MD, of Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; Marian Harris, MD, of Boston Children's Hospital; and John Crispino, PhD, of Northwestern University.
About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It provides adult cancer care with Brigham and Women's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and it provides pediatric care with Boston Children's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center is the top ranked cancer center in New England and fifth nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:12 AM
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Default Oceans Apart: 3 Humpback Whale Subspecies Identified

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Humpback whale populations across the world may actually be separate subspecies, a new genetic study reveals.
Though the expert swimmers make the longest migrations of any mammal, the subpopulations in the North Pacific, North Atlantic and the Southern Hemisphere oceans stick to separate routes.
"Humpback whale populations are actually more isolated from one another than we thought. Their populations appear separated by warm equatorial waters that they rarely cross," study co-author Jennifer Jackson, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement.


This isolation may explain why the northern swimmers tend to have darker coloring on their underbellies and tails than their southern counterparts. The results suggest the different populations are evolving independently.


As a result, the populations in the three oceans should be classified as distinct subspecies, the researchers found.
Long-distance swimmers
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) usually feed at high latitudes, then make their way toward the equator to breed — a journey that can cover 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers). The whales also seem to travel in strikingly straight lines, rarely veering off course by more than 1 degree, though exactly how they accomplish this amazing navigation remains a mystery.
To understand how the different populations were linked, Jackson and colleagues used tiny darts to collect DNA from more than 2,600 whales in five different ocean regions. The team then analyzed the whales' mitochondrial DNA, which is carried in the egg and passed on through the maternal line, as well as DNA found in the nucleus of the cell, which is inherited from both parents.
Because mitochondrial DNA changes more quickly, it provided a snapshot of how the different humpback whale populations migrated and intermingled over the last million years, whereas the more slowly mutating nuclear DNA revealed longer-term trends for the species.

Isolated populations
The DNA analysis revealed these populations have kept to themselves for quite a long time.
"Although female whales have crossed from one hemisphere to another at certain times in the last few thousand years, they generally stay in their ocean of birth. This isolation means they have been evolving semi-independently for a long time," Jackson said in a statement.
The new findings could mean some humpback populations are more fragile than scientists had thought. Scientists can't assume dwindling populations in one ocean will be replenished with emigrants from distant oceans.
The study was published today (May 20) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
http://news.discovery.com/animals/wh...ied-140522.htm
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  #57  
Old 05-19-2015, 04:56 AM
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Default Mapping Mt. St. Helens magma progresses, 35 years after eruption

https://in.news.yahoo.com/mapping-mt...001250701.html
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:12 AM
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http://news.sky.com/story/1485843/mi...and-himself-in

A submariner who went on the run after highlighting security fears over the Trident nuclear programme has said he will hand himself into police.

Able Seaman William McNeilly disappeared last week after posting a lengthy document online claiming the programme was a "disaster waiting to happen".

Police have been searching for the 25-year-old following the allegations about submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde.
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Passage Isaiah 62

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,


"I ask then, has God rejected His people? By no means! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable."
(Romans 11:1,2,29)
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:22 AM
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Default

I read about that, but I dismissed it as the sailor is quite junior and absconding, while those who have trained with RN speak very, very highly of its professionalism.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:14 AM
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Default Caltech scientists detect farthest galaxy

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015...8001441399317/
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