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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Skipping Breakfast Might be Just Fine, According to a New Study

An old and beloved adage says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but new research suggests that it might need to retire.

According to a new study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, skipping breakfast might be just fine. It challenges the long-standing belief that starting your day with the right combination of healthy foods is the best strategy for all day energy, improved focus and concentration and overall well-being for a busy day.

This is actually not the first study to provide evidence that breakfast-eaters fare no better than non-breakfast-eaters (the evidence says, basically, breakfast is a wash, you could take it or leave it). While some previous studies have suggested that skipping breakfast could lead to heart disease down the line, this new study provides evidence that, at least in the short term, opting for big meal later in the day fares you no better or worse than bulking up on nutrition first thing in the morning.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New app 'reads minds' to post pictures

Posting a photograph to Twitter using just the power of thought may sound like a futuristic idea, but a new app that works with Google Glass means it is now possible to snap a picture and tweet it without lifting a finger or saying a word.

The app, called MindRDR, works through a second headset that the user wears alongside Google Glass, and communicates with the wearable device through Bluetooth.

It was created by London-based start-up This Place, which came up with the idea after using Glass, and finding that it could be more hands-free.

The headset, called the Neurosky EEG biosensor, uses a sensor that sits on your forehead and measures brainwaves. Concentrating triggers a higher brainwave reading, and this tells the app to take a picture, and then post it to Twitter.

Chloe Kirton, the company's creative director, said: "We started off by getting hold of Google Glass, which was really exciting for us - we really respect them and getting hold of one of their new products was really exciting.

"But when we started to use it we started to encounter what maybe you could call a usability issue; which is when you're swiping around looking for photos your arm can get a bit tired and we found ourselves holding our arms up and using the device, and we affectionately called this Glass elbow.

"So we wanted to task ourselves with finding a better way of using it, and not everyone has the high level of dexterity that is needed. The idea of mind control came up and we thought lets run with that and see where it can go. "

Monday, June 30, 2014

How Much Elephant Is In That Mouse?

‘New mouse species has elephant DNA,’ declared the headlines. It must have been hard to resist, considering the contrast in size between these animals. The wording conjures up images of runt elephants evolving into dwarf and then pocket pachyderms before shrinking so small that they could run up their bigger cousins’ trunks.

To further support the idea, the new species is part of a group called sengis, also known as elephant shrews.

Sadly, it’s all complete rubbish. Macroscelides micus is as closely related to elephants as aardvarks are. Yes, they share genes, but so do all creatures. Go back far enough and every living thing is related.

Part of the confusion arises because of the common name, which was probably given to them because of their long thin snouts.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

NASA Can Smell other Distant Planets now!

So what if NASA can't reach out to distant planets, but they have found out a way to smell them. A recent interplanetary smell-o-scope experiment was conducted by NASA to smell Titan, the moon of the planet Saturn.

The experiment involved a series of spectroscopic tests to be performed on the data collected by the spacecraft Cassini. Eventually from this virtual test this data is able to show chemical composition of a target's atmosphere, which in this case was Saturn's moon Titan.

The research team was led by Joshua Sebree, Assistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Also, he was a former postdoctoral fellow at NASA Goddard.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Astronomers are predicting the astronomical event of a lifetime next week. On 24 May 2014, Earth will pass through the debris tail of Comet 209P/LINEAR, which will unleash a myriad of cosmic explosions lighting up the night sky.

This will be the first time Earth has ever experienced this particular meteor shower. A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through debris left in space by a comet; the chunks of rock, ice and other materials, burn up in the atmosphere to form ‘shooting’ or ‘falling stars’.

The meteor shower, known as Camelopardalids, has its genesis from Comet 209P/LINEAR, a dim, nearly imperceptible comet that orbits the sun every five years. The comet was discovered in 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. This will be the first time Earth has crossed through the debris field left by Comet 209P/LINEAR.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Young and Smart Gene

A gene known for its anti-aging effects also benefits the brain, according to a new study published in the journal Cell Reports. Variants of the gene could help scientists to develop treatments to improve memory and learning.

Patients with a variant of the gene produce more of a hormone called klotho—named for the Fate from Greek mythology who spun the thread of life—and typically enjoy longer lives. This recent study, however, suggests that the hormone also benefits cognition, and not just among the elderly.

"Based on what was known about klotho, we expected it to affect the brain by changing the aging process," said the study's director and UC-San Francisco professor Lennart Mucke. "But this is not what we found."

Mucke put their results gently—the scientists' hypothesis was totally wrong. The study found that rather than reducing cognitive decline, high levels of klotho had relatively little effect on this type of health.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Sun's Neighbor Is The Coldest Brown Dwarf Star Ever Found

Astronomers have discovered one of the sun's neighbors - a brown dwarf star which is as frosty as Earth's Arctic.

Penn State University astronomers believe the brown dwarf is the coldest of its kind, writes Science World Report.

The star, named WISE J085510.83-071442, was found 7.2 light years away making it the fourth closest neighbor to our Sun.

It was discovered using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescopes.

"It is very exciting to discover a new neighbor of our solar system that is so close," said Kevin Luhman, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and a researcher in the Penn State Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Astronomers discover most 'habitable,' Earth-like planet yet

April 17, 2014: This artist's rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA AMES/SETI INSTITUTE/JPL-CALTECH
LOS ANGELES – Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

"This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid," University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA's orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet's size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NASA Discovers First Exomoon

In a paper that will be featured in the Astrophysical Journal, the first exomoon candidate has been discovered. Using telescopes based in New Zealand, in June of 2011 a brief brightening in the Sagittarius constellation occurred as a rare phenomenon called microlensing, when a celestial object passes between earth and a distant star. NASA-funded researchers, including the lead author from the University of Notre Dame David Bennett, have reported that while observing the gravitational magnification of the starlight, astronomers hypothesized that it was either a small star or brown dwarf and a Neptune-sized planet about 19 times the mass of earth, or a planet larger than Jupiter with an orbiting moon smaller than earth.

The possible exomoon was observed during a joint study by the Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork, or PLANET, and the Japan-New Zealand-American Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics, or MOA. The ratio of the large object to its small companion is 2,000 to one, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, but unfortunately the encounter was by chance and therefore cannot be viewed again to confirm their suspicions. If it is an exomoon, the chief scientist for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, Wes Traub, believes that the planet may have been ejected from another planetary system along with its companion moon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Papyrus Referring to Jesus’s Wife Is More Likely Ancient Than Fake, Scientists Say

A faded fragment of papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.

Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife...’ ” Too convenient for some, it also contained the words “she will be able to be my disciple,” a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests.

The papyrus fragment has now been analyzed by professors of electrical engineering, chemistry and biology at Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who reported that it resembles other ancient papyri from the fourth to the eighth centuries. (Scientists at the University of Arizona, who dated the fragment to centuries before the birth of Jesus, concluded that their results were unreliable.)

The test results do not prove that Jesus had a wife or disciples who were women, only that the fragment is more likely a snippet from an ancient manuscript than a fake, the scholars agree. Karen L. King, the historian at Harvard Divinity School who gave the papyrus its name and fame, has said all along that it should not be regarded as evidence that Jesus married, only that early Christians were actively discussing celibacy, sex, marriage and discipleship.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Scientists create ‘designer’ chromosome

PARIS : Scientists have created the first man-made chromosome for a complex-celled organism - a feat hailed Friday as a big step towards acquiring the controversial ability to redesign plants or animals.

A synthetic chromosome was inserted into a brewer’s yeast cell, which functioned as normal - the key test of success, the international team reported in the journal Science. “Our research moves the needle in synthetic biology from theory to reality,” said Jef Boeke, director of the New York University’s Institute for Systems Genetics, who was a member of the research team. Yeast is a closely-studied representative of the group of eukaryotes, organisms with complex cells that contain a nucleus and other structures enclosed within membranes. All plants and animals, including humans, have eukaryotic cells.

Chromosomes have previously been synthesised for bacteria, which are simpler, prokaryotic organisms. Yeast is used to make beer, biofuel and medicines, and researchers believe it can be made to work more efficiently with genetic modifications.

Boeke and his team unravelled the coding of one of yeast’s 16 chromosomes, then used software to make changes to it - removing repetitive and less-used regions.

They then built a synthetic version of this altered chromosome from scratch, stringing together individual nucleotides - the chemical building blocks of the genes that make up chromosomes, which in turn comprise the genome.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fierce 2012 magnetic storm barely missed Earth

Earth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012. According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections - the most intense eruptions on the sun - sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth's orbit.

Had the eruption come nine days earlier, it would have hit Earth, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.

The solar bursts would have enveloped Earth in magnetic fireworks matching the largest magnetic storm ever reported on Earth, the so-called Carrington event of 1859. The dominant mode of communication at that time, the telegraph system, was knocked out across the United States, literally shocking telegraph operators. Meanwhile, the Northern Lights lit up the night sky as far south as Hawaii.

In a paper appearing today (Tuesday, March 18) in the journal Nature Communications, former UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow and research physicist Ying D. Liu, now a professor at China's State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, UC Berkeley research physicist Janet G. Luhmann and their colleagues report their analysis of the magnetic storm, which was detected by NASA's STEREO A spacecraft.

"Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous," said Luhmann, who is part of the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Observatory) team and based at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.

A study last year estimated that the cost of a solar storm like the Carrington Event could reach $2.6 trillion worldwide. A considerably smaller event on March 13, 1989, led to the collapse of Canada's Hydro-Quebec power grid and a resulting loss of electricity to six million people for up to nine hours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Superhero Vision Coming in Graphene Contact Lenses?

It sounds like something from a spy thriller movie: putting on contact lenses that give you infrared vision without the need for a bulky contraption that covers your face. But now, thanks to research at the University of Michigan, such a contact lens is a real possibility.

The Michigan researchers turned to the optical capabilities of graphene to create their infrared contact lens. IBM last year demonstrated some of the photoconductivity mechanisms of graphene that make it an attractive infrared detector.

Graphene is capable of detecting the entire infrared spectrum, with visible and ultraviolet light thrown in. But where graphene giveth, it also taketh away. Because graphene is only one atom thick, it can absorb only 2.3 percent of the light that hits it. This is not enough to generate an electrical signal and without a signal, it can’t operate as a infrared sensor.

"The challenge for the current generation of graphene-based detectors is that their sensitivity is typically very poor," said Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, in a press release. "It's a hundred to a thousand times lower than what a commercial device would require."

In research that was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology ("url=http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2014.31.html] Graphene photodetectors with ultra-broadband and high responsivity at room temperature"), the Michigan researchers devised a new method for generating the electrical signal. Instead of trying to measure the electrons that are released when the light strikes the material, they amplified an electrical current that is near the electrical signals generated by the incoming light.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Nasa Plots Daring Robotic Mission to Jupiter's Watery Moon

Nasa is plotting a daring robotic mission to Jupiter's watery moon Europa, a place where astronomers speculate there might be some form of life.

The space agency set aside $15 million in its 2015 budget proposal to start planning some kind of mission to Europa. No details have been decided yet, but Nasa chief financial officer Elizabeth Robinson said on Tuesday that it would be launched in the mid-2020s.

Robinson said the high radiation environment around Jupiter and distance from Earth would be a challenge. When Nasa sent Galileo to Jupiter in 1989, it took the spacecraft six years to get to the fifth planet from the sun.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute astronomer Laurie Leshin said it could be "a daring mission to an extremely compelling object in our solar system."

Past Nasa probes have flown by Europa, especially Galileo, but none have concentrated on the moon, one of dozens orbiting Jupiter. Astronomers have long lobbied for a mission to Europa, but proposals would have cost billions of dollars.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Artificial ‘Leaf’ Could Be Answer To Clean Energy, Device Converts Water Into Hydrogen And Oxygen

Engineers have designed a means of using solar energy to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using an artificial “leaf.”
Scientists are constantly in pursuit of newer and more efficient energy sources. Hydrogen fuel has long been an area of interest, but producing pure hydrogen, which does not occur naturally in the environment and takes a great amount of energy to manufacture, has hindered plans to put it to good use.

Now, researchers may be one step closer to achieving cheaper and cleaner hydrogen production. A group of U.S. engineers has designed an artificial means of using solar energy to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using an artificial “leaf.”

The team from Arizona State University and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago have drew inspiration from nature, looking to the way leaves harness the power of sunlight to produce hydrogen and oxygen through photosynthesis. Their study, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, details the progress they’ve made on an electron relay that mimics photosynthesis.

"Initially, our artificial leaf did not work very well, and our diagnostic studies on why indicated that a step where a fast chemical reaction had to interact with a slow chemical reaction was not efficient," ASU chemistry professor Thomas Moore said in a statement. "The fast one is the step where light energy is converted to chemical energy, and the slow one is the step where the chemical energy is used to convert water into its elements hydrogen and oxygen."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Researchers Develop Termites-Inspired Robots To Build Shelter On Mars

In a new research it is said termite-inspired robots may help doing several important tasks on Mars or Moon for human beings. It may even build shelters there for us.

Similar to the termites, the robots will be capable of building structures several times bigger and larger than themselves. Moreover, these robots don’t need instructions as to how to do the job. They will be self sufficient once the handlers orders the terms along with some simple rules as well as master plan such as when to build the stairs or when to seek shelter when there is bad weather.

Computer scientist Justin Werfel at the Harvard University said the inspiration of robots from the termites is really great. He added the phenomenon in which the termites operate is called stigmergy, which means they don’t observe each other and still completes their task. All the robots operate in the same principal.

Each of the robots are small, but are simple and contains four simply types of sensors apart from three actuators. Engineers simply program the robots with blueprints and leave them alone to perform the desired task of their own. Also, the robots can be scaled up or scaled down according to the needs.

The project paper has been published in the Science magazine on February 14 titles as Designing Collective Behavior in a Termite-Inspired Robot Construction Team.

Source: http://www.thealmagest.com/

Friday, February 14, 2014

Scientists take big step on path to fusion energy

Clean electrical power from a fusion reactor remains a distant goal, but it's one step closer following a test in which fusion energy output exceeded the energy pumped into a fuel pellet.

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have reported an important step on the way to fusion energy: a reaction in which fusing hydrogen gave off more energy than the lasers put in to initiate the reaction.

Fusion, the reaction that powers the sun and the more powerful part of thermonuclear explosions, combines lightweight atoms like hydrogen and releases a lot of energy in the process. In contrast, heavy elements such as uranium are split to release energy in the fission reactions that powered the first atomic weapons and today's nuclear power reactors.

Scientists long have hoped to harness fusion's power to produce energy free from the radioactive byproducts that are so troublesome with fission reactors. But controlled fusion has been extremely hard to create: it requires an extraordinarily high concentration of energy to get the reaction started and to produce enough extra energy to achieve a self-sustaining reaction.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

VIDEO: Watch man use first bionic hand with a sense of touch

Dennis Sorensen was able to 'feel' and describe objects while blindfolded thanks to the revolutionary prosthetic which could change the lives of millions of amputees.

Using a bionic hand to grip an object, blindfolded Dennis Sorensen can tell from how it feels it is a plastic cup.

This astonishing feat was made possible as he is the first person to have a prosthetic hand fitted which has a sense of touch.

Dennis, 36, who lost his left hand in a firework accident nine years ago, said it was “quite amazing” to suddenly be able to feel things again.

The incredible technology uses sensors in the prosthetic device to pick up information about touch. This data is then converted into impulses which his nerves can interpret.

The signals are sent through wires into four electrodes that were surgically implanted into what remains of Dennis’s arm nerves.

He said: “You can feel round things and hard things and soft things.

“The feedback was totally new to me, and suddenly when I was doing the movements I could feel actually what I was doing, instead of looking at what I was doing.”

The dad added: “It was quite amazing because suddenly I could feel something I had not been feeling for nine years. My kids thought it was cool.”

Sunday, February 2, 2014

VIDEO: Terrifying footage of Felix Baumgartner's death-defying space jump

This is the terrifying new footage of Felix Baumgartner’s space jump.

It was released by the company who provided the cameras, GoPro.

The daredevil jumped from a balloon 24.5miles above the Earth and managed to land on his feet.

He reached speeds of 834mph and travelled the distance in just five minutes.

Felix, 44, became the first skydiver to break the sound barrier after only 34 seconds of fall in October 2012.

He also set records for the highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump and the fastest speed achieved by a human through the atmosphere.

The tiny capsule took two hours to reach 128,177ft above the New Mexico desert.

Speaking afterwards he said: “Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble.

“It's not about breaking records any more. It's not about getting scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive.

“When I was spinning the first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life but I was disappointed because I'm going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this.”

Source: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stephen Hawking’s new research: ‘There are no black holes’

Exactly 40 years after famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking brought event horizons and black holes into the public eye, he is now claiming that black holes don’t actually exist. Instead of all-consuming event horizons and black holes which nothing can escape from, Hawking now proposes that there are “apparent horizons” which suck in matter and energy — but only temporarily, before eventually releasing them again.

To be clear, Hawking isn’t proposing that black holes don’t exist — just that black holes, as we’ve understood them for the last 40 years or so (thanks to work done by Hawking and others), don’t exist. The current understanding is that black holes are surrounded by an event horizon — a boundary in spacetime which only allow matter and energy to pass through one way, towards the black hole. It is, in other words, the point of no return. This is why black holes appear black — energy can’t escape, and so they produce no light and no heat. In thermodynamics terms, a black hole is a perfect black body — an object that absorbs all energy and radiation.

The problem with this theory, though, is that it’s based on general relativity. In recent years, as our understanding of quantum theory has improved, numerous conflicts have arisen, especially in places where both theories apply — such as black holes and event horizons. Basically, quantum mechanics has a big issue with the idea that event horizons completely and utterly destroy information — a big no-no in the world of quantum. Hawking’s new proposal tries to ameliorate this conflict between the two theories.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Water detected on dwarf planet Ceres

Image: Dwarf planet Ceres is located in the main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, as illustrated in this artist's conception. Observations by the Herschel space observatory between 2011 and 2013 find that the dwarf planet has a thin water vapor atmosphere. This is the first unambiguous detection of water vapor around an object in the asteroid belt. Artist's concept image by ESA/ATG medialab.

Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, dwarf planet Ceres.

“This is the first time water vapor has been unequivocally detected on Ceres or any other object in the asteroid belt and provides proof that Ceres has an icy surface and an atmosphere,” said Michael Küppers of ESA in Spain, lead author of a paper in the journal Nature.

Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with important NASA contributions. Data from the infrared observatory suggest that plumes of water vapor shoot up from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly.

The results come at the right time for NASA's Dawn mission, which is on its way to Ceres now after spending more than a year orbiting the large asteroid Vesta.

Dawn is scheduled to arrive at Ceres in the spring of 2015, where it will take the closest look ever at its surface.

“We've got a spacecraft on the way to Ceres, so we don't have to wait long before getting more context on this intriguing result, right from the source itself,” said Carol Raymond, the deputy principal investigator for Dawn at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Dawn will map the geology and chemistry of the surface in high resolution, revealing the processes that drive the outgassing activity.”

For the last century, Ceres was known as the largest asteroid in our solar system.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chimpanzees can communicate using Gestures

Georgia State University researchers have concluded that Chimpanzees can communicate using meaningful gestures. Two language-trained chimpanzees named Panzee and Sherman helped human researcher to find hidden food, about which he was not aware.

The experiment conducted by Dr. Charles Menzel and his team at Language Research Center of Georgia State University found that chimpanzees helped human researchers find hidden food by offering meaningful clues. Chimpanzees were interested in offering help for goal-completion task, which gives clue about communication between chimpanzees.

Dr. Menzel and his team members further noticed that chimpanzees use directional gestures. The research team is also confident of memory power of chimpanzees and their communication skills between each other. The study may provide clue to development of language at basic level.

University of Chester’s Department of Psychology researcher Dr. Anna Roberts commented that the research findings are important as they inform us about capability of chimpanzees to share information. They live in community and help each other. They may choose to help each other in finding food. Many other animals communicate between each other whenever they perceive any risk to their life.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Super-Earths Have Land Continents and Oceans, Making Them Much Similar to Earth Than Previously Thought

"Super-Earths" were just recently found to be more common in the universe than previously known, but now the exoplanets are believed to be more Earth-like than ever.

Super-Earths get their name for having a similar makeup to our own planet and for being slightly larger as well. Recent studies have found them to exist more commonly in the universe and our own Milky Way Galaxy.

According to Space.com, a new study finds the tectonically active super-Earths have exposed continents of land surrounded by oceans. Like Earth, these exoplanets most likely store their water in the mantle, creating a stable environment similar to our planet.

"Super-Earths are expected to have deep oceans that will overflow their basins and inundate the entire surface, but we show this logic to be flawed," study researcher Nicholas Cowan said in a press release. "Terrestrial planets have significant amounts of water in their interior. Super-Earths are likely to have shallow oceans to go along with their shallow ocean basins."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sound Waves Used to Levitate and Move Objects (Video)

Sound waves can levitate and move objects through space, according to the three researchers and coauthors of a recent study, Jun Rekimoto, Takayuki Hoshi and Yoichi Ochiai — but, they’re not wizards, no — they are scientists from the University of Tokyo. Their study is called “Three-dimensional Mid-air Acoustic Manipulation by Ultrasonic Phased Arrays.”

It’s been claimed and might some day be proven that sound waves brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down. These three scientists, however, weren’t examining the potential of using sound as a WMD, but were trying to use a levitation rig and ultrasonic standing waves to move objects in and through space, and essentially, time, if Einstein was right.

The technical term for what the scientists are doing with sound waves is acoustic levitation. The idea and dream of being able to levitate objects acoustically has been around for thousands of years, but it is now becoming a reality.

The paper that the three researchers wrote was submitted just this past month to the Arxiv science site at Cornell University. While objects, and even live frogs, have been levitated using magnetism, and some objects have previously been levitated using sound waves, this is the first time that researchers have figured out how to also move the levitated objects.

Did the researchers attempt to levitate an elephant using sound waves?

The researchers are starting off modestly, as far as size goes — they have no plans to levitate anything the size of an elephant, at least not until they can work up to something that size, gradually.

The study is based on the scientists using high-frequency sound waves to levitate objects which are extremely light. Then, after they levitate or suspend the objects in the air, the researchers have discovered how to move the objects through space by manipulating the sonic waves, something that they couldn’t do with their earlier experiments where they tried bouncing sound waves off of solid surfaces.

Past experiments involving sound waves to levitate objects in mid-air used in-line speakers and utilized sound reflected, or bounced off of, a sound-reflecting surface. The method that the three scientists from Tokyo detail in their study is very different, though.

They didn’t use speakers lined up in a row. Instead, they used four arrays of speakers, facing towards each other, so that they sound emanating from all of the speakers converged into a single focal point where the ultrasonic waves met and merged together. Where the sonic waves converged at this focal point was, the researchers found, an ideal place to levitate small objects.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rarest Weather Forecast Revealed! Hubble Sees Atmosphere Of Distant Super-Earth [Video]

Astronomers used the Hubble Telescope to reveal accurate details of weather conditions on an alien world, and the forecast is for clouds, clouds and more clouds. Hubble telescope provides first accurate details of climate on exoplanet 40 light years from Earth. (Photo : NASA)
Hubble telescope provides first accurate details of climate on exoplanet 40 light years from Earth.

Astronomers used the Hubble Telescope to reveal accurate details of weather conditions on an alien world, and the forecast is for clouds, clouds and more clouds.

The planet, dubbed GJ 1214b, is considered a super-Earth because its mass is somewhere in between that of Earth's and Neptune's. Super-Earths are believed to be the most plentiful type of planet in the Milky Way, although none exists in our own solar system. 

A team of scientists led by experts at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago used the Hubble telescope to determine the weather forecast of GJ 1214b, an exoplanet discovered in 2009.

Past observations of GJ 1214b have suggested the planet's atmosphere consisted of water vapor or another heavy molecule, or high-altitude clouds that prevented observation of the planet's surface.

Published in the journal Nature, recently research leaders, Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean, were able to confirm the existence of clouds with data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The observations used 96 hours of telescope time spread over 11 months, the largest Hubble program ever devoted to studying a single exoplanet, a University of Chicago release said Friday.