Choose a discussion

Cool science shit

13

blogs.technet.com/b/ne... would love this as a coffee table

0 |
13

motherboard.vice.com/r...

0 |

canary island mega-tsumani will probably not happen

blogs.agu.org/landslid...

0 |

Malawian teenager taught himself how to build a windmill out of junk and bring power to his village. He then went on to build a second, larger windmill to power irrigation pumps. He did this all from books he read in the library.
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/af...

0 |

Ido Bachelet DNA nanobots summary with a couple of extra videos

In a brief talk, Bachelet said DNA nanobots will soon be tried in a critically ill leukemia patient. The patient, who has been given roughly six months to live, will receive an injection of DNA nanobots designed to interact with and destroy leukemia cells—while causing virtually zero collateral damage in healthy tissue.

According to Bachelet, his team have successfully tested their method in cell cultures and animals and written two papers on the subject, one in Science and one in Nature.

Contemporary cancer therapies involving invasive surgery and blasts of drugs can be as painful and damaging to the body as the disease itself. If Bachelet's approach proves successful in humans, and is backed by more research in the coming years, the team’s work could signal a transformational moment in cancer treatment.

If this treatment works this will be a medical breakthrough and can be used for many other diseases by delivering drugs more effectively without causing side effects.

nextbigfuture.com/2015...

0 |

Bloodhound: Superwheels for supersonic car go into production - www.bbc.co.uk/news/sci...

0 |

Horizon-Dancing In The Dark..The End Of Physics

How alone are we if these are our best minds?

0 |

The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers, were published today.

www.nature.com/nature/...

0 |

meh my kids can worry about that shit whilst i dribble onto my pyjamas

0 |

Droplets suspended in mid air using sound-waves
i.imgur.com/FaYj4hs.gifv

1 |

1 |

Hahaha

0 |

UK to Australia in 4 hours. Test flight begins 2019.

0 |

www.ufointernationalpr...

1 |

www.bbc.co.uk/news/blo...

0 |

25+ Extremely Beautiful Minerals And Stones
www.boredpanda.com/ama...

0 |

motherboard.vice.com/r...

0 |

0 |

'Eternal' camera can take pictures forever

www.bbc.co.uk/news/tec...

0 |

www.healthguidance.org...

1 |

L’appel du vide.

0 |

GMO yeast will soon make it possible to home-brew opiates www.wired.com/2015/05/...

0 |

This Man Controls His Robotic Arms With His Mind

gizmodo.com/this-man-c...

0 |

Awesome time lapse shows the entire transformation of bees as they hatch

loid.gizmodo.com/aweso...

0 |

This 200-Trillion Watt Laser Produces Plasma Hotter Than The Sun

"It’s amazing that scientists can recreate natural phenomena in labs experiments, including plasma many times hotter than the center of our own sun. In the middle of the photo above you can see a little star, white hot plasma produced by a 200-trillion watt laser."

gizmodo.com/this-200-t...

0 |

Desalination: the quest to quench the world's thirst for water

Technological advances have made removing salt from seawater and waste water less energy-intensive, but will they simply encourage us to use more?

www.theguardian.com/te...

0 |

www.facebook.com/David...

0 |

Wonder how much power it uses to melt the plastics down + what other by products are produced.

0 |

Experiment Provides Further Evidence That Reality Doesn't Exist Until We Measure It

www.iflscience.com/phy...

0 |

Denisovans: The lost humans who shared our world

www.newscientist.com/a...

Copy & pasted in case you cant see it all...

They lived on the planet with us for most of our history, yet until six years ago we didn't know they existed. Meet the species rewriting human evolution

THERE was very little to go on – just the tiniest fragment of a finger bone. What's more, it was clear that whoever it had once belonged to was long dead. This was the coldest of cold cases. Yet, there was also a suspicion that the remains, discovered in a cave high up in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, had a story to tell. So Michael Shunkov from the Russian Academy of Science bagged and labelled the shard, and sent it off for analysis.

At his lab in the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Svante Pääbo was just about to finish the first sequencing of a Neanderthal genome when the package arrived. He was perfectly placed to confirm Shunkov's suspicion. By comparing ancient DNA from the bone fragment with his sequence, Pääbo would surely show that it belonged to a Neanderthal. But they were all in for a surprise. The Siberian genome was quite unlike the Neanderthal's. And it didn't match that of any modern human. It was something completely new. Here was evidence that a previously unimagined species of humans had existed some 50,000 to 30,000 years ago – around the time when our own ancestors were painting their masterpieces in the Chauvet cave in France. "It was really amazing," says Pääbo.

Six years on, the new species has a moniker – Denisovan, after the cave where its remains were discovered. Our picture of these mysterious people is still being painstakingly pieced together. That first sliver of bone, together with a couple of teeth, is all we have to go on – there is still no body – but what these meagre remains have revealed is remarkable. The more we find out, the more we are forced to reconsider our own species. Far from being confined to Siberia, the Denisovans were more widespread than the Neanderthals with whom early Homo sapiens also shared the world. And they are not merely a historical curiosity – their genes live on today in some of us. The Denisovans challenge our conceptions of what it means to be human (see "Humanity in 96 genes").

The Denisova cave is named after a hermit called Denis who lived there in the 18th century. Human habitation there stretches back much further, however, as Russian palaeontologist Nikolai Ovodov discovered in the 1970s when he visited, looking for remains of cave bears, and found ancient stone tools. Excavations have since unearthed several hundred artefacts revealing a human presence, on and off, lasting at least 125,000 years. Human fossils are rare, but by 2008, when Shunkov's team discovered the Denisovan bone fragment, archaeologists were convinced that the cave had been home to Neanderthals as well as early modern humans. The surprise addition of Denisovans to that mix makes the site a treasure trove for anyone interested in human origins. But there is a problem. The main inhabitants were not our ancestors, but hyenas, cave lions and cave bears. "Hyenas dig around and make dens, so they mix everything around," says Bence Viola, also at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. That makes it impossible to say when each group of hominins arrived and left, whether they overlapped, or which sets of tools belonged to whom.

Nifty finger work

Fortunately there is an alternative to the traditional archaeological approach. The past decade has seen an explosion of research on ancient DNA, much of it spearheaded by Pääbo, as geneticists figure out how to read ever-older genomes. Although DNA gradually breaks down, it does so in predictable ways, so we can work back and figure out what the original sequence was. DNA preserves best in cold areas, so in that respect the Denisova cave was ideal; it took just 30 milligrams of crushed bone to reveal an entirely new species.

Once Pääbo and his colleagues had uncovered the Denisovans, their first challenge was to figure out how the group fits into the human family tree. Their initial study, published in early 2010, sequenced the mitochondrial genome, a short packet of genes held in the sausage-shaped mitochondria that power animal cells. It suggested that Denisovans were quite distant relatives of ours, the two lines having separated long before the Neanderthals branched off (Nature, vol 464, p 894). But mitochondrial DNA can be misleading because it is inherited only from one's mother. To get a better picture they needed to sequence the genome inside a cell nucleus.

This proved surprisingly straightforward. "Unlike the Neanderthal sequence, where we had to sweat blood, the Denisovan genome was of relatively high quality," says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Within months, he and Pääbo had a draft sequence. It showed that the Denisovans were actually a sister group to Neanderthals (Nature, vol 468, p 1053). Our best estimates now suggest that their common ancestor branched off from our lineage around 600,000 years ago. Then Denisovans split from Neanderthals some 200,000 years later, perhaps parting ways in the Middle East, with Neanderthals heading into Europe and Denisovans into Asia. Given how recent the Denisova cave specimen is, it's quite plausible that the Denisovans were around for some 400,000 years. Modern humans have so far only managed 200,000.

With the bone sliver proving so enlightening, the hunt was on for more remains. In 2010, DNA analysis of a forgotten tooth found in the Denisova cave in 2000 revealed it too was Denisovan. Suddenly there were two fossils.

Archaeologists love teeth because they can reveal so much about an animal's body and habits, especially its diet. The specimen, a third molar – a wisdom tooth from the back of the mouth – should have been a vital clue, but it was singularly baffling. At almost 1.5 centimetres across, it is a whopper. That marks it as primitive: our apelike ancestors had larger teeth because they needed to grind up tough food like grasses. But by 50,000 years ago humans were eating softer foods, and their teeth had shrunk. The Denisovan tooth looks like a throwback. "It's probably the biggest in the last 2 million years," says Viola. Still, hominins with unusual teeth do sometimes crop up, and wisdom teeth are the most variable in the jaw, so this enormous gnasher could simply have been an anomaly.

Then, in August 2010, Denisova's archaeologists found another large tooth. Viola, who was present, thought it belonged to a bear but genetic analysis showed it to be Denisovan. It too was a wisdom tooth, although from a different individual, strengthening the case that the first was not unusual. "It probably means Denisovans in general had weird and big teeth," says Viola.

That hints at a fibrous, plant-based diet, but evidence for this idea is still lacking. Sometimes ancient teeth have the remains of food preserved on their surfaces. Not in this case – Viola has tried to recover plant microfossils and DNA, to no avail. His team has now taken moulds of both teeth and plans to reconstruct the scratches or "microwear" caused by chewing, which should provide a better idea of what the Denisovans ate.

You can infer a lot about lifestyle from diet, such as whether people hunted, dug for roots and tubers, and had learned to use fire for cooking. The teeth surely have more to tell. Meanwhile, the nuclear genome has already revealed another secret about the Denisovans – one that changes everything.

When Pääbo and Reich published the first Neanderthal genome, the big news was that on average 1.7 per cent of the DNA in modern people other than Africans comes from Neanderthals. In other words, our ancestors interbred. Did they also interbreed with Denisovans? To find out, the geneticists looked at the few parts of the genome that vary from person to person, searching for individuals who carry Denisovan versions of these sections. Most of the people the sampled had no sign of Denisovan DNA, even if they were from mainland Asia, where our ancestors might have been expected to run into Denisovans. However, as part of the Neanderthal study, the researchers had sequenced the genome of someone from Papua New Guinea. "That was a fortuitous choice," says Reich. "When you analysed the Papuan sequence, bang: you got this huge signal." More comparisons showed that other Melanesian people also carried Denisovan DNA, with an average 4.8 per cent of their genome coming from Denisovans.

Clearly interbreeding did occur. But if Denisovans lived in southern Siberia, how on earth did their DNA wind up in Melanesia, thousands of kilometres away across open sea? The most obvious explanation is also the most startling: Denisovans ranged over a vast swathe of mainland Asia and also crossed the sea to Indonesia or the Philippines. That means they had a bigger range than the Neanderthals. Alternatively, perhaps they interbred with modern humans on mainland Asia, and the descendants of such encounters later moved south-east, leaving no trace on the mainland. That would mean the Denisovans weren't as widespread as all that.

To figure out which was correct, Reich teamed up with Mark Stoneking at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig to sequence the genomes of indigenous peoples from Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Polynesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea. They reasoned that if the interbreeding had happened on mainland Asia before people populated the islands, then people on all those islands should carry some Denisovan genes. But if Denisovans had reached the islands and interbred with humans already there, some isolated populations might be Denisovan-free. They found the latter pattern. "Island South-East Asia 45,000 years ago was a patchwork of populations, with and without Denisovan ancestry," says Reich. "That means it's unlikely the admixture happened on the mainland."

So the genetics is telling us that the Denisovans mated with early modern humans somewhere in what is now South-East Asia. If that is true, these people were formidable colonisers. From their origins at the split with Neanderthals, they appear to have made it out of the Middle East, spreading both north into Siberia and east to Indonesia and on to Melanesia. On their way, they would have had to cross one of the greatest natural barriers on Earth: the Wallace line. It runs through the Lombok Strait, a deep sea channel separating the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok, and is traversed by a powerful current.

It is tempting to conclude that the Denisovans must have been skilled seafarers, perhaps piloting dugout canoes, but the crossings may have been accidental, says Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. He points to the Asian tsunami of 2004. "People were found on rafts of vegetation after a week at sea, 150 kilometres from where they started." Stringer proposes that some Denisovans lived in mangrove swamps close to the shore where seafood was plentiful but where they were also vulnerable to tsunamis, which could have carried them together with buoyant swamp plants out to sea and, by chance, to another island. "OK, they've got to do it several times to go from Sulawesi to Flores. But given hundreds of thousands of years, it's possible." Only if Denisovans clearly moved rapidly from island to island is there any reason to suppose they used watercraft, he says.

During the last ice age, between 110,000 and 12,000 years ago, South-East Asia would have been an especially good place to live. Instead of lush forests, there were open grassy spaces. The ice at the poles locked up lots of water, lowering sea levels by tens of metres. As a result, Sumatra and Borneo were part of the mainland (see diagram). "At times of low sea level there was a whole continent exposed in South-East Asia which, when the conditions were relatively cool, would have been dry and ideal for hunter-gatherers," says Stringer. He thinks we have had the story of the Denisovans backwards: they may be named for a cave in Siberia, but that was not their usual abode. "South-East Asia was their centre, and they pulsed," he says. "When conditions were good they expanded north, and when conditions were bad those populations would have died out or disappeared."

The remains at Denisova are so sparse because Denisovans were hardly ever there. "Siberia may be the outer limit of their range." Indeed, the DNA in modern Melanesians, although clearly Denisovan, is different from the Siberian samples, suggesting that the northerners were outliers. What's more, a higher-quality version of the Denisovan genome published in 2012 reveals variants of genes that, in humans, are associated with dark skin, brown hair and brown eyes – consistent with the features of Melanesians today.

If the Denisovans' heartland was in South-East Asia, then that is where we should look for fossils. It may not even be necessary to dig for new evidence; many hominin specimens from this region have never been analysed. Good Denisovan fossils could be sitting in museum drawers, mislabelled as other species. But proving this will be a challenge because DNA breaks down quickly in a hot, humid climate. Still, Pääbo is setting up a new lab in Beijing, China, where researchers will attempt to extract ancient DNA from Asian fossils. "Our big hope is China," says Viola. However, he is also looking in colder countries including Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

So far, all these leads have drawn a blank. One problem, of course, is that we won't know what a Denisovan looks like until we find one. In theory, the genome could provide clues, but in practice even simple things like height are controlled by hundreds of genes. One clue has come from a surprising source. In late 2013, Pääbo's team obtained DNA from a specimen of Homo heidelbergensis found in a cave in northern SpainMovie Camera. At 400,000 years old, it is the oldest hominin genome ever read, and it was similar to that of Denisovans. As well as supporting the idea that H. heidelbergensis was the common ancestor of Denisovans and Neanderthals, this specimen, and those found with it, may hint at the stature of their descendants. "These are big and robust guys, with body mass estimates around 100 kilograms," says Viola, which suggests that Denisovans were also large.

We don't know when the Denisovans became extinct, but some 400,000 years of evolution, as well as breeding with humans, may have changed their physical appearance. To confuse things further, it turns out that they also interbred with Neanderthals long after the split from their possible common ancestor H. heidelbergensis. Pääbo and Reich recently compared DNA from a Neanderthal toe bone, found in the Denisova cave, with DNA from other Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans. At least 0.5 per cent of the Denisovan genome came from Neanderthals. The Denisovans also interbred with an unknown group, perhaps the last remnants of H. heidelbergensis.

The revelations are likely to keep coming. Earlier this year, it emerged that the genes we inherited from Neanderthals affect skin and hair, and make people more vulnerable to certain diseases including type 2 diabetes. Now Reich's team is busy sequencing the genomes of more Melanesian people to figure out precisely which of their genes come from Denisovans. As well as indicating what these do today, it may reveal some of the ways in which the Denisovans were adapted to their Asian environment, including the local diseases to which they had developed resistance.

That first finger-bone fragment has divulged a wealth of genetic information, but there are key questions it cannot address. For instance, were Denisovans relatively simple-minded like their H. heidelbergensis ancestors, or did they have the higher mental abilities of Neanderthals and early modern humans? DNA analysis cannot answer that, because we don't understand the genetic changes that made modern humans. But a skull with a big or small braincase would tell us. So the biggest challenge remains the same: to find a body. "Denisovans are a genome in search of a fossil," says Reich.

Discover more in our interactive map: "How the upright ape conquered the world"

This article appeared in print under the headline "Mystery relations"

Humanity in 96 genes
The discovery that our ancestors lived alongside Denisovans and that some Denisovan genes linger on in modern humans challenges the way we see ourselves. It is now clear that modern humans are the product of a patchwork of species that evolved separately and then interbred. But studying the Denisovans should also help us answer a profound question: what makes us human?

Our closest living relatives are chimpanzees. We have evolved a great deal since the time of our common ancestor over six million years ago, but we do not know which genetic changes happened when we were still apelike, and which pushed us over the threshold into becoming fully human. To find out, we need to see how we differ from extinct species of hominins that existed as we were taking those steps in our evolution. "Neanderthals and Denisovans together are our closest evolutionary relatives," says Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "They are the ones we need to look at."

A crib card for humanity

By comparing human, Neanderthal, Denisovan and chimp DNA, Pääbo has found 96 functional mutations – ones that alter the protein produced by a gene – that are unique to modern humans. In most cases we do not know what they do, but three are involved in cell division in the brain, suggesting they may have played a role in boosting our brainpower. In effect, Pääbo has identified a crib list of genes that were crucial in the very last stage of our evolution. And as we come to understand what differences they make to our psychology, physiology and biochemistry, we will get new insights into our evolution.

If the unexpected discovery of the Denisovans tells us anything, it's that there is still a lot to learn about human evolution. Despite decades of research, we had missed an entire species that lived relatively recently and was geographically widespread. Given that, it is a safe bet that we can expect plenty more surprises in the years to come.

0 |

The Boy Who Built A 500 Million-Degree Nuclear Fusion Reactor

The following excerpt is from The Boy Who Played with Fusion by Tom Clynes. The book, released today, tells the story of science prodigy Taylor Wilson, who by age 14 had built a 500-million-degree nuclear fusion reactor.

gizmodo.com/the-boy-wh...

0 |

Pretty cool!

0 |

motherboard.vice.com/r...

1 |

ALMA and the centre of the Milky Way
cdn.eso.org/images/pub...

0 |

That was meant for cool space shit.

0 |

Interesting comment I found earlier about what would happen if a black hole the size of a coin suddenly appeared nearby:

'Different things will happen if you mean the black hole has the 'mass' of a coin, or if it has the 'radius.' The equation of a black hole is really simple:

Radius = 2 (Gravitational Constant) (Mass) / (Speed of light)^2

Suppose a nickel in your pocket magically collapsed into a black hole. A US nickel has a mass of 5 grams. This black hole would have a radius of 10^-30 meters. For comparison, an atom is about 10^-10 meters. If atoms were made of atoms, this black hole would be the size of the micro-atom that makes up the milli-atoms that makes up real atoms. Basically, it's unimaginably small.

Such a small black hole would have a similarly unimaginably short lifetime to decay by Hawking radiation- it would radiate away what little mass it has in 10^-23 seconds. This 5 grams of mass will be converted to 450 teraJoules of energy, which is comparable to the detonation of about 100,000 tonnes of TNT, and will produce an explosion three times bigger than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. In this case, you die.

Of course, if the black hole has the radius of a common coin, then it will be considerably more massive. A nickel, again, has a radius of about 10 mm. This black hole has a mass of 10^24 kilograms - slightly bigger than the mass of the earth. Its surface gravity is a billion billion times greater than earth's. If it is in your pocket, you will find yourself being drawn towards the black hole at breakneck speeds. Literally breakneck. The difference between your chin and your teeth is about ten trillion g's of acceleration. You'll cross the event horizon before you even realize what's happening. The black hole is now a dominant gravitational piece of the earth-moon-black hole of death system. If you watch sci-fi movies a lot, you might think that the black hole sinks towards the center of the planet and will consume it from the inside out. In actuality, the earth will also move up onto the black hole, and begin to bob around as [if it was orbiting the black hole] upload.wikimedia.org/w... , all while having swaths of mass eaten with each pass. The bulk of the planet earth is consumed after some time, leaving a scattered disk of hot dust and rock in a tight orbit where the earth once was. The black hole grows slowly during this time, eventually doubling its mass by the time it's done feeding.

The effects on the solar system are awesome, but moreso in the Biblical sense of "awesome", which more closely means terrifying. The moon's orbit is now highly elliptical. Tidal forces from the black hole could disrupt the asteroid belt, sending rocks careening through the solar system - bombardment and impacts may become commonplace for the next few million years. The planets are slightly perturbed, but they stay approximately on the same orbit. The black hole we used to call earth will now continue on orbiting the sun, in the earth's place.

1 |

Researchers discover first sensor of Earth's magnetic field in an animal

ys.org/news/2015-06-se...

0 |

You no longer have to look to science fiction to find the cyborg. We are all cyborgs now. Mobile phones, activity trackers, pacemakers, breast implants and even aspirins all act as biological, cognitive or social extensions and enhancements of our bodies and minds. Some have even predicted that human beings as we know them will be replaced by technically enhanced, god-like immortal beings within 200 years. Or at least rich people will.

www.iflscience.com/tec...

0 |

what's the driving force behind it all? why do we do it, evolve? for what purpose? who's behind it?
I've been looking at the term 'creationism' this past bit, and how i can find a way to adapt it into my liberal, 21st century European enlightenment way of doing things.
not young earth creationism, not buying that.
but the purpose behind technological advances and genetic mutations. there is a reason it happens, isn't there.

0 |

not a big bang. but a big finale at the end of time.
wrong way round Hawkins.

0 |

It's a fundamental principal of all life to better ourselves. Be it via genetics (primitive bucking based on the strongest/fastest/smartest, knowledge of the environment, technology... it's just natural development, imo. Even commercialism drives progress, in some cases.

0 |

We all have times we wish we could go back in time and make a different decision. Now that appears to
be possible – for single atoms, at least. Physicists at the Australian National University have confirmed
one of the most profound thought experiments of quantum physics. It appears to show that present
actions can affect past events.
Andrew Truscott and his team showed that if you offer a speeding helium atom two possible paths, the
route it takes appears to be retroactively determined by the act of measuring the atom at the end of its
journey. The team reported the strange discovery in Nature Physics in May.

cosmosmagazine.com/phy...

1 |

A biotech startup has managed to 3-D print fake rhino horns that carry the same genetic fingerprint as the actual horn. The company plans to flood Chinese rhino horn market at one-eighth of the price of the original, undercutting the price poachers can get and forcing them out eventually.
www.digitaljournal.com...

1 |

Not so cool science shit


0 |

A dying cell's last act

Before they die, do infected immune cells shout a warning to their neighbours?

cosmosmagazine.com/lif...

0 |

Ocean-going spiders can use their legs to windsurf across water.
Http://www.newscientis...

0 |

What Happens When you put a Mouse in Mountain Dew for 30 Days? - www.iflscience.com/pla...

0 |

This Is What Radiation Can Do To The Human Body

Warning: the image below is enough to make the hardiest stomach turn - especially as this guy lasted 3 months in this state.

What you’re seeing is the wasted body of 35 year old Hiroshi Ouchi, who had suffered a terrible accident at the uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo where he had worked, on 30 September 1999. The cause of the accident was the depositing of a uranyl nitrate solution, which contained roughly 16.6kg of uranium, into a precipitation tank, exceeding its critical mass. Three workers were exposed to incredible amounts of the most powerful type of radiation in the form of neutron beams.

www.iflscience.com/phy...

0 |

Wow, that's some nasty shit takki. The poor guy.

0 |

I won't be able to eat bacon for at least 24 hours.

0 |

looks like the cenobites got to him

1 |