Tag Archives: science

Neanderthal woman’s genome reveals unknown human lineage

NOTE:  For those of you newer to my blog site, you might not know my viewpoint on God, the Universe and Science.  You see, I am a right-wing Christian fundamentalist – but nothing like what you think that really means.  I believe in God and the Bible, but I also have three science degrees, love all people, have a 168 IQ and write magazine columns on astro-physics.  My belief in God is not based on blind faith, although for many that is true.  For others, their non-belief comes to them the same way, through blind acceptance and not a true search for truth.

I believe that science and creation theory are the same.  If there is no God, it just happened.  If there is a God, then he is a being far beyond our comprehension who created the original time/space anomaly that popped existence as we know it today into being.  With my background in statistics, I believe it is far more possible that the intricacies we view at all levels imply a design, which implies a designer.  However, there is no proving that.  One can equally believe it “just happened” and is not the result of a design.

So, I don’t believe in a bearded man in the clouds.  I believe in someone beyond our comprehension, who is therefore, by definition, and advanced alien being.  My theory, which is only my own and not shared by many Christians, is that there are multiple aliens who have experimented on mankind for a long, long time.  I think there were advanced civilizations that have come and gone and been long forgotten and lost to us.

So, how do I explain my lack of belief in the Evolution Theory?  First, I absolutely believe things evolve.  My only disagreement is that I believe we evolved due to outside influences, and that we were created in God’s image.  By His image, I believe we have a physical, temporary life, but we have an immortal essence.  For whatever reason, this existence is our testing zone.  The ones who can show love and compassion for each other will be transformed after to death into a reality we have no comprehension of at all.  In fact, “we shall be transformed in an instant” and there “will be no male or female, but spirits of light.”

For this reason, I find it very possible that ancient Sumerian myths of fish gods teaching them, the ancient alien theorists, the Greek gods, ancient writing and creatures, do in fact have basis in external manipulation on this planet.  As we find more and more about early man, we are finding it was not a chain of evolution, but pockets of similar humans living in different spots, sometimes interbreeding.  Adam and Eve were not the first humans in the Bible.  In fact, when Cain was driven out, he was afraid others would kill him, so a mark was put on him, and he took another woman for his wife.  The Bible makes references to other tries at children of God and earlier extinctions.

I don’t try to convince you of any of this.  All I ask is that you keep an open mind when I post about early man, new archaeology, and other finds.  I really don’t think any of us have much of a clue what went on past 5,000 years ago.  Including me.

– Michael Bradley

Neanderthal woman’s genome reveals unknown human lineage

By Charles Q. Choi

Published December 19, 2013

LiveScience
  • neanderthal-illustration

    Neanderthals were once the closest living relatives of modern humans, dwelling across a vast area ranging from Europe to the Middle East to western Asia. This ancient lineage of humans went extinct about 40,000 years ago, about the same time mo(MAURO CUTRONA)

The existence of a mysterious ancient human lineage and the genetic changes that separate modern humans from their closest extinct relatives are among the many secrets now revealed in the first high-quality genome sequence from a Neanderthal woman, researchers say.

The Neanderthal woman whose toe bone was sequenced also reveals inbreeding may have been common among her recent ancestors, as her parents were closely related, possibly half-siblings or another near relation.

Although modern humans are the world’s only surviving human lineage, others also once lived on Earth. These included Neanderthals, the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, and the relatively newfound Denisovans, whose genetic footprint apparently extended from Siberia to the Pacific islands of Oceania. Both Neanderthals and Denisovans descended from a group that diverged from the ancestors of all modern humans. [See Photos of Neanderthal Bone & Denisovan Fossils]

The first signs of Denisovans came from a finger bone and a molar tooth discovered in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia in 2008. To learn more about Denisovans, scientists examined a woman’s toe bone, which was unearthed in the cave in 2010 and showed physical features resembling those of both Neanderthals and modern humans. The fossil is thought to be about 50,000 years old, and slightly older than previously analyzed Denisovan fossils.

Human interbreeding
The scientists focused mostly on the fossil’s nuclear DNA, the genetic material from the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell that a person receives from both their mother and father. They also examined the genome of this fossil’s mitochondria the powerhouses of the cell, which possess their own DNA and get passed down solely from the mother.

The investigators completely sequenced the fossil’s nuclear DNA, with each position (or nucleotide) sequenced an average of 50 times. This makes the sequence’s quality at least as high as that of genomes sequenced from present-day people.

The genetic analysis revealed the toe bone belonged to a Neanderthal. When compared with other Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA samples, this newfound fossil’s closest known relatives are Neanderthals found in Mezmaiskaya Cave in the Caucasus Mountains about 2,100 miles away.

These findings helped the scientists refine the human family tree, further confirming that different human lineages interbred. They estimated about 1.5 to 2.1 percent of DNA of people outside Africa are Neanderthal in origin, while about 0.2 percent of DNA of mainland Asians and Native Americans is Denisovan in origin.

“Admixture seems to be common among human groups,” said study lead author Kay Prfer, a computational geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Intriguingly, the scientists discovered that apparently Denisovans interbred with an unknown human lineage, getting as much as 2.7 to 5.8 percent of their genomes from it. This mystery relative apparently split from the ancestors of all modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans between 900,000 years and 4 million years ago, before these latter groups started diverging from each other.

This enigmatic lineage could even potentially be Homo erectus, the earliest undisputed predecessor of modern humans. There are no signs this unknown group interbred with modern humans or Neanderthals, Prferadded. [The 10 Biggest Mysteries of the First Humans]

“Some unknown archaic DNA might have caught a ride through time by living on in Denisovans until we dug the individual up and sequenced it,” Prfertold LiveScience. “It opens up the prospect to study the sequence of an archaic (human lineage) that might be out of reach for DNA sequencing.”

Interbreeding took place between Neanderthals and Denisovans as well. These new findings suggest at least 0.5 percent of the Denisovan genome came from Neanderthals. However, nothing of the Denisovan genome has been detected in Neanderthals so far.

In addition, “the age of the Neanderthals and Denisovans we sequenced also doesn’t allow us to say whether any gene flow from modern humans to Neanderthals or Denisovans happened,” Prfer said. The Neanderthals and Denisovans that researchers have sequenced the DNA of to date “probably lived at a time when no modern humans were around,” he explained.

Modern humans’ distinguishing features
It remains uncertain when modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged from one another. The researchers currently estimate modern humans split from the common ancestors of all Neanderthals and Denisovans between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago, and Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged from each other between 381,000 and 473,000 years ago.

Genetic analysis revealed the parents of the woman whose toe bone they analyzed were closely related possibly half-siblings, or an uncle and niece, or an aunt and nephew, or a grandfather and granddaughter, or a grandmother and grandson. Inbreeding among close relatives was apparently common among the woman’s recent ancestors. It remains uncertain as to whether inbreeding was some kind of cultural practice among these Neanderthals or whether it was unavoidable due to how few Neanderthals apparently lived in this area, Prfer said.

By comparing modern human, Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes, the researchers identified more than 31,000 genetic changes that distinguish modern humans from Neanderthals and Denisovans. These changes may be linked with the survival and success of modern humans a number have to do with brain development.

“If one speculates that we modern humans carry some genetic changes that enabled us to develop technology to the degree we did and settle in nearly all habitable areas on the planet, then these must be among those changes,” Prfer said. “It is hard to say what exactly these changes do, if anything, and it will take the next few years to find out whether hidden among all these changes are some that helped us modern humans to develop sophisticated technology and settle all over the planet.”

Prfer and his colleagues detailed their findings in the Dec. 19 issue of the journal Nature.

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Secret second code found hiding within human DNA

Secret second code found hiding within human DNA

Published December 13, 2013

news.com.au
  • dna molecules.jpg
    AP GRAPHICSBANK

Scientists have long believed that DNA tells the cells how to make proteins. But the discovery of a new, second DNA code overnight suggests the body speaks two different languages.

The findings in the journal Science may have big implications for how medical experts use the genomes of patients to interpret and diagnose diseases, researchers said.

The newfound genetic code within deoxyribonucleic acid, the hereditary material that exists in nearly every cell of the body, was written right on top of the DNA code scientists had already cracked.

‘A basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture.’

– John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine

Rather than concerning itself with proteins, this one instructs the cells on how genes are controlled.

Its discovery means DNA changes, or mutations that come with age or in response to viruses, may be doing more than what scientists previously thought, he said.

“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said lead author John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine.

“Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture,” he said.

“Many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programs or even both mechanisms simultaneously.”

Scientists already knew that the genetic code uses a 64-letter alphabet called codons.

But now researchers have figured out that some of these codons have two meanings. Coined duons, these new elements of DNA language have one meaning related to protein sequence and another that is related to gene control.

The latter instructions “appear to stabilise certain beneficial features of proteins and how they are made,” the study said.

The discovery was made as part of the international collaboration of research groups known as the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, or ENCODE.

It is funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute with the goal of finding out where and how the directions for biological functions are stored in the human genome.

Get more science and technology news at news.com.au.

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World’s thinnest glass shatters records — by accident

World’s thinnest glass shatters records — by accident

Published September 13, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • researchers.jpg

    Cornell University graduate student Pinshane Huang and Professor David Muller with a model that depicts the atomic structure of glass. They were the first to directly image the world’s thinnest sheet of glass. (Jason Koski/University Photography)

  • glassscience.jpg

    A microscopic photo of a sheet of glass only two atoms thick blends with an artist’s conception to show the structural rendering. (Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science)

They’re shattering records. 

At just one molecule thick, researchers at Cornell and Germany’s University of Ulm have discovered the world’s thinnest sheet of glass — by accident.

‘This is the work that, when I look back at my career, I will be most proud of.’

– David A. Muller, director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science 

The unexpected discovery came after scientists notices “muck” on their graphene, a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms shaped in a chicken-wire crystal formation that they had been studying.

It turns out the smudge they thought they saw was actually a “pane” of glass so thin that its individual silicon and oxygen atoms are visible only via an electron microscope.

“It’s the first time that anyone has been able to see the arrangement of atoms in a glass,” director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science David A. Muller told the Cornell Chronicle. “This is the work that, when I look back at my career, I will be most proud of.”

Besides making it into the Guinness Book of World Records, the discovery may lead to the creation of ultra-thin material that could improve the performance of processors in computers and smartphones.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Cornell Center for Materials Research.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/13/world-thinnest-glass-shatters-records-accident/?intcmp=features#ixzz2f5SV1BDb

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After Watson, IBM Looks to Build ‘Brain in a Box’

After Watson, IBM Looks to Build ‘Brain in a Box’

By Jennifer Booton

Your World Tomorrow

Published August 22, 2013

FOXBusiness
  • IBM Watson Supercomputer, IBM
    REUTERS

Imagine Watson with reason and better communication skills.

The Watson supercomputer may be able to beat reigning Jeopardy champions, but scientists at IBM (IBM) are developing new, super-smart computer chips designed from the human brain — and that might ultimately prove much more impressive.

These new silicon “neurosynaptic chips,” which will be fed using about the same amount of energy it takes to power a light bulb, will fuel a software ecosystem that researchers hope will one day enable a new generation of apps that mimic the human brain’s abilities of sensory perception, action and cognition.

It’s akin to giving sensors like microphones and speakers brains of their own, allowing them to consume data to be processed through trillions of synapses and neurons in a way that allows them to draw intelligent conclusions.

IBM’s ultimate goal is to build a chip ecosystem with ten billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses, while consuming just a kilowatt of power and occupying less than a two-liter soda bottle.

“We want to create a brain in a box.”

– IBM’s Dharmendra Modha 

“We are fundamentally expanding the boundary of what computers can do,” said Dharmendra Modha, principal investigator of IBM’s SyNAPSE cognitive computing project. “This could have far reaching impacts on technology, business, government and society.”

The researchers envision a wave of new, innovative “smart” products derived from these chips that would alter the way humans live in virtually all walks of life, including commerce, logistics, location, society, even the environment.

“Modern computing systems were designed decades ago for sequential processing according to a pre-defined program,” IBM said in a release. “In contrast, the brain—which operates comparatively slowly and at low precision—excels at tasks such as recognizing, interpreting, and acting upon patterns.”

These chips would give way to a whole new “cognitive-type of processing,” said Bill Risk, who works on the IBM Research SyNAPSE Project, marking one of the most dramatic changes to computing since the traditional von Neumann architecture comprised of zeros and ones was adopted in the mid-1940s.

“These operations result in actions rather than just stored information, and that’s a whole different world,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, who has written about the research. “It really allows for a human-like assessment of problems.”

It is quite a complex system, and it is still in early stages of development. But IBM researchers have rapidly completed the first three phases of what will likely by a multi-stage project, collaborating with a number of academic partners and collecting some $53 million in funding. They are hopeful the pace of advancement will continue.

Modha cautioned, however, this new type of computing wouldn’t serve as a replacement for today’s computers but a complementary sibling, with traditional analog architecture serving as the left brain with its speed and analytic ability, and the next era of computing acting as the right cortex, operating much more slowly but more cognitively.

“Together, they help to complete the computing technology we have,” Modha said.

Providing a real-life example of how their partnership might one-day work, Kay imagined a medical professional giving triage to a patient.

Digital computers would provide basic functions such as the patient’s vitals, while the cognitive computer would cross reference data collected at the scene in real-time with stored information on the digital computer to assess the situation and provide relevant treatment recommendations.

“It could be a drug overdose or an arterial blockage, a human might not know which is which [from the naked eye],” explains Kay. “But a [cognitive] computer could read the symptoms, reference literature, then vote using a confidence level that can kind of infer which one is more likely the case.”

Endless Possibilities Seen

The IBM researchers have put together building blocks of data to make cognitive applications easier to build and to create an ecosystem for developers. The data come in the form of “corelets” that each serve a particular function, such as the ability to perceive sound or colors.

So far they have developed 150 corelets with the intention to eventually allow third parties to go through rigorous testing to submit more. Eventually, corelets could be used to build “real-life cognitive systems,” researchers hope.

To help get the ball rolling, the researchers envisioned a slew of product ideas that would make perfect use of these genius chips in real-world functions.

Here are just a few:

-An autonomous robot dubbed “Tumbleweed” could be deployed for search and rescue missions in emergency situations. Researchers picture the sphere-shaped device, outfitted with “multi-modal sensing” via 32 mini cameras and speakers, surveying a disaster and identifying people in need. It might be able to communicate with them, letting them know help is on its way or directing them to safety.

-For personal use, low-power, light-weight glasses could be designed for the near blind. Using these chips, which would recognize and analyze objects through cameras, they’d be able to plot a route through a crowded room with obstacles, directing the visually-impaired through speakers.

-Putting these chips to use in a business function, the researchers foresee a product they’ve dubbed the “conversation flower” that could process audio and video feeds on conference calls to identify specific people by their voice and appearance while automatically transcribing the conversation.

-Giving a glimpse into its potential use in the medical world, a thermometer could be developed that could not only measure temperature, but could also be outfitted with a camera that would be able to detect smell and recognize certain bacterial presence based on their unique odor, giving an alert if medical attention is needed.

-In an environmental function, researchers could see this technology being outfitted on sensor buoys, monitoring shipping lanes for safety and environmental protection.

Given the fluid motion of the project, it’s unclear how long it will take for the first generation of cognitive computers to begin applying themselves in real-world applications, but Modha and his team are optimistic they will be crafted sooner than later.

“We need cognitive systems that understand the environment, can deal with ambiguity and can act in a real-time, real-life context,” Modha said. “We want to create a brain in a box.”

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/08/22/after-watson-ibm-looks-to-build-brain-in-box/#ixzz2dagDD2vE

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Scientists create levitation system with sound waves

Scientists create levitation system with sound waves

By Tia Ghose

Published July 16, 2013

LiveScience
  • acoustic levitation.jpg

    A new technique uses sound waves to levitate objects and move them in mid-air. (Dimos Poulikakos)

Hold on to your wand, Harry Potter: Science has outdone even your best “Leviosa!” levitation spell.

Researchers report that they have levitated objects with sound waves, and moved those objects around in midair, according to a new study.

Scientists have used sound waves to suspend objects in midair for decades, but the new method, described Monday, July 15, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, goes a step further by allowing people to manipulate suspended objects without touching them.

‘If you have some dogs around, they are not going to like it at all.’

– Daniele Foresti, a mechanical engineer at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland 

This levitation technique could help create ultrapure chemical mixtures, without contamination, which could be useful for making stem cells or other biological materials.

Parlor trick
For more than a century, scientists have proposed the idea of using the pressure of sound waves to make objects float in the air. As sound waves travel, they produce changes in the air pressure — squishing some air molecules together and pushing others apart.

By placing an object at a certain point within a sound wave, it’s possible to perfectly counteract the force of gravity with the force exerted by the sound wave, allowing an object to float in that spot.

In previous work on levitation systems, researchers had used transducers to produce sound waves, and reflectors to reflect the waves back, thus creating standing waves.

“A standing wave is like when you pluck the string of a guitar,” said study co-author Daniele Foresti, a mechanical engineer at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland. “The string is moving up and down, but there are two points where it’s fixed.”

Using these standing waves, scientists levitated mice and small drops of liquid.

But then, the research got stuck.

Acoustic levitation seemed to be more of a parlor trick than a useful tool: It was only powerful enough to levitate relatively small objects; it couldn’t levitate liquids without splitting them apart, and the objects couldn’t be moved.

Levitating liquids
Foresti and his colleagues designed tiny transducers powerful enough to levitate objects but small enough to be packed closely together.

By slowly turning off one transducer just as its neighbor is ramping up, the new method creates a moving sweet spot for levitation, enabling the scientists to move an object in midair. Long, skinny objects can also be levitated.

The new system can lift heavy objects, and also provides enough control so that liquids can be mixed together without splitting into many tiny droplets, Foresti said. Everything can be controlled automatically.

The system blasts sounds waves at what would be an ear-splitting noise level of 160 decibels, about as loud as a jet taking off. Fortunately, the sound waves in the experiment operated at 24 kilohertz, just above the normal hearing range for humans.

However, “if you have some dogs around, they are not going to like it at all,” Foresti told LiveScience.

Right now, the objects can only be moved along in one dimension, but the researchers hope to develop a system that can move objects in two dimensions, Foresti said.

Major advance
The new system is a major advance, both theoretically and in terms of its practical applications, said Yiannis Ventikos, a fluids researcher at the University College London who was not involved in the study.

The new method could be an alternative to using a pipette to mix fluids in instances when contamination is an issue, he added. For instance, acoustic levitation could enable researchers to marinate stem cells in certain precise chemical mixtures, without worrying about contamination from the pipette or the well tray used.

“The level of control you get is quite astounding,” Ventikos said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/07/16/scientists-create-levitation-system-with-sound-waves/?intcmp=features#ixzz2ZHRSSz3j

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Human head transplants soon possible

It’s alive! Scientist claims Frankenstein-like human head transplants are now possible

Published July 02, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • Spinal cord and skull istock.jpg

One neuroscientist may soon get the nickname Dr. Frankenstein after making an ambitious claim about a completely novel medical procedure that has many experts’ ‘heads spinning.’

In a recent paper in the journal Surgical Neurology International, Dr. Sergio Canevero, a member of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, asserted that it soon may be possible to conduct full human head transplants, noting that they have been done in animals for the past 40 years, Quartz reported.

According to Canevero, the technical barriers that come with grafting one individual’s head to another person’s body can now be overcome.  However, the main issue scientists have had with animal head transplants has been being unable to connect the spinal cord of the head to the donor’s body.  This leaves the animal paralyzed from the neck down.

But recent medical advancements regarding the reconnection of surgically severed spinal cords has lead Canevero to believe the procedure can be done.

“It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage,” he wrote in the paper “….[S]everal up to now hopeless medical connections might benefit from such a procedure.”

In his paper, Canevero details a head transplant procedure similar to that of Robert White – a neurosurgeon famous for his head transplants in living monkeys.  In order for the process to work, both the donor and recipient must be in the same operating room, and the donated head must be cooled to between 54.6 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then, surgeons must rapidly remove both heads at the exact same time, reconnecting the new head to the recipient’s body and circulatory system within one hour.

Once the new head is connected, the donor’s heart can be restarted – and the surgeons can continue to reconnect the head to the body’s spinal cord and to other vital systems, Quartz reported.

Canevero said that encouraging the body’s natural healing mechanisms help to connect the spinal cords together, but it’s imperative that the spinal cord be cut with an extremely thin knife.

“It is this ‘clean cut’ [which is] the key to spinal cord fusion, in that it allows proximally severed axons to be ‘fused’ with their distal counterparts,” Canevero wrote. “This fusion exploits so-called fusogens/sealants….[which] are able to immediately reconstitute (fuse/repair) cell membranes damaged by mechanical injury, independent of any known endogenous sealing mechanism.”

This type of procedure could not be used to help those with spinal cord injuries, however.  Also, the ethics surrounding this type of surgery are hotly debated.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/07/02/it-alive-scientist-claims-human-head-transplants-may-soon-be-possible/?intcmp=trending#ixzz2YOxfd6Ii

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Invisibility Cloak Created

New ‘invisibility cloak’ creates holes in time

By Tia Ghose

Published June 06, 2013

LiveScience

  • Invisibility Cloak

    The magic of science means Harry Potter’s “invisibility cloak” is an impending reality. (Warner Brothers)

A new invisibility cloak for data can make information vanish by creating holes in time, new research suggests.

The researchers, who describe their work June 5 in the journal Nature, found that by tweaking the optical signals in telecommunications fibers, they created a way to essentially mask data sent between a sender and a receiver to outside observers. This isn’t the first time researchers have taken a page from Harry Potter: Last year, scientists also demonstrated a similar invisibility cloak.

But the new “time cloak” can create many time holes in rapid succession, which means masked data could be sent at commercial data speeds, said Martin McCall, a theoretical-optics researcher at Imperial College London who was not involved in the study.

‘Imagine that some cars at the front of the stream speed up and ones behind slow down, so a gap can open up.’

– Martin McCall, a theoretical-optics researcher at Imperial College London 

Time cloak
In 2006, McCall proposed the idea of making optical data (information sent through optical fibers) invisible to an outsider by manipulating the light that transmits that data.

The process involves manipulating the flow of photons, or particles of light, in an optical data stream.

“If you consider light as a flow of particles a bit like cars going down a highway, you can imagine that some of the cars at the front of the stream speed up and ones behind slow down so a gap can open up,” McCall said.

If data are sent within that gap in time, when the photons eventually change speed to close up the gap, it appears to an outside observer as though nothing ever happened.

Last year, Cornell University researcher Alexander Gaeta and his colleagues demonstrated that a time cloak was possible. But that method was able to create short, 12-picosecond time cloaks that were separated by 24 microseconds meaning a user would have to wait a million times the length of the gap to send any more hidden data. That was much too slow for commercial applications.

Commercial cloak
To attempt to speed up the process, Joseph Lukens, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate at Purdue University, and his colleagues began developing a time cloak that used existing commercial equipment and could transmit optical data at high speeds.

They also employed the principle that light is both a particle and a wave at the same time. In their method, they created a pattern in the traveling light beam so that the wave’s peaks were focused on smaller and smaller areas, and the troughs, or dark spots, got bigger and bigger. This time-lensing effect created several spots in time and space where there was zero light, Lukens said.

“By doing this type of interference effect, we focus the light to even smaller points in time,” Lukens told LiveScience. “So, in the middle, we have all of our energy focused on very small points, and between them, we have regions where, if something were to happen, it would not be detected because there’s no light there to pick it up.”

At the end of the path, the researchers would undo the operations so that to an outside observer, it would seem as though the holes never existed.

The new method covers 46 percent of the spots in a cable, through which the optical data runs, with time holes that can be repeated at 12.7 gigabits per second a speed used in commercial applications.

The new technique could one day be used to create ultrasecure Internet communications, or to foil communications between criminals such as terrorists. On a more mundane level, it could be used to avoid data traffic jams at connection points in networks, Lukens said.

The findings are a significant advance, McCall said.

“It does make it possible to do these things at telecommunication data rates,” McCall told LiveScience. “And as we all know, once the tabletop demonstration has been shown, it’s then a matter of technology the miniaturization, the efficient system engineering tend to follow.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/06/06/new-invisibility-cloak-creates-holes-in-time/?intcmp=trending#ixzz2VeUZwyPt

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NASA confirms history of water on Mars

NASA confirms Curiosity rover found evidence of ancient stream on Mars

Published May 31, 2013

FoxNews.com

  • gravel river mars.jpg

    The Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). The image of Link, obtained by NASA’s Curiosity rover, shows rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches within the rock outcrop. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and PSI)

  • marsstream12.jpg

    This image taken by the NASA rover Curiosity shows sediment at the bottom of an ancient streambed on Mars. (AP/NASA)

A new analysis of pebble-containing slabs investigated by NASA’s Curiosity rover confirms a stream once ran through Gale Crater on Mars.
During a pit stop last year, Curiosity came upon hundreds of smooth, round pebbles that look strikingly similar to deposits in river banks on Earth.

‘Most people are familiar with rounded river pebbles. Seeing something so familiar on another world is exciting.’

– Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute 

Scientists believe the rover rolled onto an ancient streambed, but needed to study the stones in more detail. So Curiosity snapped high-resolution pictures and fired its laser at several pebbles to analyze the chemical makeup.

Researchers say the roundness of the stones was shaped by a fast-flowing stream that probably was ankle to waist-deep. Curiosity landed in the crater near the equator last summer.

Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute, the lead author of the new report, said that researchers were able to determine the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at the site.

“These conglomerates look amazingly like streambed deposits on Earth,” Williams said. “Most people are familiar with rounded river pebbles. Maybe you’ve picked up a smoothed, round rock to skip across the water. Seeing something so familiar on another world is exciting and also gratifying.”

Sanjeev Gupta, a co-author of the report, said that analysis of the amount of rounding on the pebbles indicates that the stream was flowing at a sustained, vigorous speed.

“The rounding indicates sustained flow. It occurs as pebbles hit each other multiple times. This wasn’t a one-off flow. It was sustained, certainly more than weeks or months, though we can’t say exactly how long,” Gupta said.

The stream carried the gravel at least a few miles, the researchers estimated.

The analysis appears in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/05/31/rounded-pebbles-on-mars-reveal-past-flowing-water/?intcmp=features#ixzz2V24BCUAn

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A Movie Starring Actual Atoms

This is a pretty amazing movie.  Not for the acting, direction, quality or plot.  What makes it amazing is that it uses photography of atoms and makes the movie by moving the atoms around.  IBM made this film and even with my science background, I am not real clear on how.  Time for me to do some research…  Pretty impressive stuff!  I have truly never heard of nor seen anything like it ever before.  Check it out:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1nYjx5/:Lrx2mFNE:Q$pKJr32/bit.ly/10iKpZ8/

ibm-atom-movie-4

 

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27 Science Fiction Technologies Made Real in 2012

27 SCIENCE FICTIONS THAT BECAME SCIENCE FACTS IN 2012

We may never have our flying cars, but the future is here. From creating fully functioning artificial leaves to hacking the human brain, science made a lot of breakthroughs this year.
 1. QUADRIPLEGIC USES HER MIND TO CONTROL HER ROBOTIC ARM


At the University of Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of Scheuermann’s mind.
The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. Placed in the motor cortex, which controls all limb movement, the integration process was faster than anyone expected. On the second day, Jan could use her new arm with a 3-D workspace. By the end of the 13 weeks, she was capable of performing complex tasks with seven-dimensional movement, just like a biological arm.
To date, there have been no negative side effects.
Source: gizmodo.com

2. DARPA ROBOT CAN TRAVERSE AN OBSTACLE COURSE

Once the robot figures out how to do that without all the wires, humanity is doomed.
DARPA was also hard at work this year making robots to track humans and run as fast as a cheetah, which seems like a great combination with no possibility of horrible side effects.
Source: jwherrman

3. GENETICALLY MODIFIED SILK IS STRONGER THAN STEEL


Photo Courtesy of Indigo Moon Yarns.

At the University of Wyoming, scientists modified a group of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight, stronger than steel. Different groups hope to benefit from the super-strength silk, including stronger sutures for the medical community, a biodegradable alternative to plastics, and even lightweight armor for military purposes.
Source: bbc.co.uk

4. DNA WAS PHOTOGRAPHED FOR THE FIRST TIME


Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio and his team at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa snapped the first photos of the famous double helix.
Source: newscientist.com / via: davi296

5. INVISIBILITY CLOAK TECHNOLOGY TOOK A HUGE LEAP FORWARD


British Columbia company HyperStealth Biotechnology showed a functioning prototype of its new fabric to the U.S. and Canadian military this year. The material, called Quantum Stealth, bends light waves around the wearer without the use of batteries, mirrors, or cameras. It blocks the subject from being seen by visual means but also keeps them hidden from thermal scans and infrared.
Source: toxel.com

6. SPRAY-ON SKIN


ReCell by Avita Medical is a medical breakthrough for severe-burn victims. The technology uses a postage stamp–size piece of skin from the patient, leaving the donor site with what looks like a rug burn. Then the sample is mixed with an enzyme harvested from pigs and sprayed back onto the burn site. Each tiny graft expands, covering a space up to the size of a book page within a week. Since the donor skin comes from the patient, the risk of rejection is minimal.
Source: news.discovery.com

7. JAMES CAMERON REACHED THE DEEPEST KNOWN POINT IN THE OCEAN


Cameron was the first solo human to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench. At 6.8 miles deep, it is perhaps more a more alien place to scientists than some foreign planets are. The 2.5-story “vertical torpedo” sub descended over a period of two and a half hours before taking a variety of samples.
Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

8. STEM CELLS COULD EXTEND HUMAN LIFE BY OVER 100 YEARS


When fast-aging elderly mice with a usual lifespan of 21 days were injected with stem cells from younger mice at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh, the results were staggering. Given the injection approximately four days before they were expected to die, not only did the elderly mice live — they lived threefold their normal lifespan, sticking around for 71 days. In human terms, that would be the equivalent of an 80-year-old living to be 200.
Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

9. 3-D PRINTER CREATES FULL-SIZE HOUSES IN ONE SESSION


The D-Shape printer, created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story building, complete with rooms, stairs, pipes, and partitions. Using nothing but sand and an inorganic binding compound, the resulting material has the same durability as reinforced concrete with the look of marble. The building process takes approximately a fourth of the time as traditional buildings, as long as it sticks to rounded structures, and can be built without specialist knowledge or skill sets.
Source: gizmag.com

10. SELF-DRIVING CARS ARE LEGAL IN NEVADA, FLORIDA, AND CALIFORNIA


Google started testing its driverless cars in the beginning of 2012, and by May, Nevada was the first state to take the leap in letting them roam free on the roads. With these cars logging over 300,000 autonomous hours so far, the only two accidents involving them happened when they were being manually piloted.
Source: en.wikipedia.org

11. VOYAGER I LEAVES THE SOLAR SYSTEM


Launched in 1977, Voyager I is the first manmade object to fly beyond the confines of our solar system and out into the blackness of deep space. It was originally designed to send home images of Saturn and Jupiter, but NASA scientists soon realized eventually the probe would float out into the great unknown. To that end, a recording was placed on Voyager I with sounds ranging from music to whale calls, and greetings in 55 languages.
Source: space.com

12. CUSTOM JAW TRANSPLANT CREATED WITH 3-D PRINTER


A custom working jawbone was created for an 83-year-old patient using titanium powder and bioceramic coating. The first of its kind, the successful surgery opens the door for individualized bone replacement and, perhaps one day, the ability to print out new muscles and organs.
Source: telegraph.co.uk

13. ROGUE PLANET FLOATING THROUGH SPACE


Until this year, scientists knew planets orbited a star. Then, in came CFBDSIR2149. With four to seven times the mass of Jupiter, it is the first free-floating object to be officially defined as an exoplanet and not a brown dwarf.
Source: sciencenews.org

14. CHIMERA MONKEYS CREATED FROM MULTIPLE EMBRYOS


While all the donor cells were from rhesus monkeys, the researchers combined up to six distinct embryos into three baby monkeys. According to Dr. Mitalipov, “The cells never fuse, but they stay together and work together to form tissues and organs.” Chimera species are used in order to understand the role specific genes play in embryonic development and may lead to a better understanding of genetic mutation in humans.
Source: bbc.co.uk

15. ARTIFICIAL LEAVES GENERATE ELECTRICITY


Using relatively inexpensive materials, Daniel G. Nocera created the world’s first practical artificial leaf. The self-contained units mimic the process of photosynthesis, but the end result is hydrogen instead of oxygen. The hydrogen can then be captured into fuel cells and used for electricity, even in the most remote locations on Earth.
Source: sciencedaily.com

16. GOOGLE GOGGLES BRING THE INTERNET EVERYWHERE


Almost everyone has seen the video of Google’s vision of the future. With their Goggles, everyday life is overlaid with a HUD (Head’s Up Display). Controlled by a combination of voice control and where the user is looking, the Goggles show pertinent information, surf the web, or call a loved one.
Source: heraldsun.com.au

17. THE HIGGS-BOSON PARTICLE WAS DISCOVERED


Over the summer, multinational research center CERN confirmed it had discovered a particle that behaved enough like a Higgs boson to be given the title. For scientists, this meant there could be a Higgs field, similar to an electromagnetic field. In turn, this could lead to the scientists’ ability to interact with mass the same way we currently do with magnetic fields.
Source: forbes.com

18. FLEXIBLE, INEXPENSIVE SOLAR PANELS CHALLENGE FOSSIL FUEL


At half the price of today’s cheapest solar cells, Twin Creeks’ Hyperion uses an ion canon to bombard wafer-thin panels. The result is a commercially viable, mass-produced solar panel that costs around 40 cents per watt.
Source: extremetech.com

19. DIAMOND PLANET DISCOVERED


An exoplanet made entirely of diamonds was discovered this year by an international research team. Approximately five times the size of Earth, the small planet had mass similar to that of Jupiter. Scientists believe the short distance from its star coupled with the exoplanet’s mass means the planet, remnants of another star, is mostly crystalline carbon.
Source: io9.com

20. EYE IMPLANTS GIVE SIGHT TO THE BLIND


Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. After years of blindness, both had regained “useful” vision within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as their brains rewire themselves for sight.
Source: telegraph.co.uk

21. WALES BARCODES DNA OF EVERY FLOWERING PLANT SPECIES IN THE COUNTRY


Photo Courtesy of Virtual Tourist.

Led by the National Botanic Garden’s head of research and conversation, a database of DNA for all 1,143 native species of Wales has been created. With the use of over 5,700 barcodes, plants can now be identified by photos of their seeds, roots, wood, or pollen. The goal is to help researchers track things such as bee migration patterns or how a plant species encroaches on a new area. The hope is to eventually barcode both animal and plant species across the world.
Source: walesonline.co.uk

22. FIRST UNMANNED COMMERCIAL SPACE FLIGHT DOCKS WITH THE ISS


SpaceX docked its unmanned cargo craft, the Dragon, with the International Space Station. It marked the first time in history a private company had sent a craft to the station. The robotic arm of the ISS grabbed the capsule in the first of what will be many resupply trips.
Source: nytimes.com

23. ULTRA-FLEXIBLE “WILLOW” GLASS WILL ALLOW FOR CURVED ELECTRONIC DEVICES


Created by New York–based developer Corning, the flexible glass prototype was shown off at an industry trade show in Boston. At only 0.05mm thick, it’s as thin as a sheet of paper. Perhaps Sony’s wearable PC concept will actually be possible before 2020.
Source: bbc.co.uk

24. NASA BEGINS USING ROBOTIC EXOSKELETONS


The X1 Robotic Exoskeleton weighs in at 57 lbs. and contains four motorized joints along with six passive ones. With two settings, it can either hinder movement, such as when helping astronauts exercise in space, or aid movement, assisting paraplegics with walking.
Source: news.cnet.com

25. HUMAN BRAIN IS HACKED


Usenix Security had a team of researchers use off-the-shelf technology to show how vulnerable the human brain really is. With an EEG (electroencephalograph) headset attached to the scalp and software to figure out what the neurons firing are trying to do, it watches for spikes in brain activity when the user recognizes something like one’s ATM PIN number or a child’s face.
Source: extremetech.com

26. FIRST PLANET WITH FOUR SUNS DISCOVERED


Discovered by amateur astronomers, the planet closely orbits a pair of stars, which in turn orbit another set of more distant stars. It’s approximately the size of Neptune, so scientists are still trying to work out how the planet has avoided being pulled apart by the gravitational force of that many stars.
Source: io9.com

27. MICROSOFT PATENTED THE “HOLODECK”


The patent suggests Microsoft wants to take gaming beyond a single screen and turn it into an immersive experience — beaming images all over the room, accounting for things like furniture, and bending the graphics around them to create a seamless environment.
Source: bbc.co.uk

Found on: buzzfeed.com

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