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rasha kamel
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rasha kamel

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"A caterpillar that was recently discovered in Peru exhibits a behavior previously unknown in caterpillars. It pieces together a tube of leaves and crawls inside; then, it "walks" by grabbing bits of the forest undergrowth with its mouth and pulling itself and its leafy covering forward.
This never-before-seen activity was spotted and documented by Joe Hanson, creator and host of the YouTube science channel "It's OK to Be Smart" presented by PBS Digital Studios, while filming in the Peruvian Amazon with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and guide Pedro Lima".

(Posted by +rasha kamel​)
A caterpillar recently discovered in Peru wears a leafy tube of protective "armor."
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rasha kamel

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"A fatty molecule thought to be unique to flowering plants has turned up in bacteria skimmed from the Adriatic Sea. The surprising finding solves a 20-year-old paleontological mystery and could affect how scientists interpret the presence of this molecule in the ecological record. Where once it suggested the presence of land and flowering plants, it could indicate marine or freshwater-dwelling bacteria instead.
The molecule in question, isoarborinol, is a fatty molecule, or lipid, whose only known biological sources were certain flowering plants, or angiosperms. For this reason, when geobiologists detect isoarborinol they assume flowering plants once flourished in that spot.
"Arborinol lipids can be preserved in sedimentary rocks for millions of years, so they can function as 'molecular fossils' that can inform us about the types of organisms and environments on early Earth," said study co-author Paula Welander, a geobiologist at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.
In the 1990s, however, scientists discovered fossil traces of isoarborinol in ancient sediments from Germany that dated back to the Permian and Triassic eras – about 100 million years before the first appearance of flowering plants. At the time, scientists speculated that an as-yet unknown microbial source of these lipids must also exist, but nobody had found evidence to support this hypothesis – until now".
A fatty molecule thought to be unique to flowering plants has turned up in bacteria skimmed from the Adriatic Sea. The surprising finding solves a 20-year-old paleontological mystery and could affect how scientists interpret ...
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rasha kamel

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"They are famed for their highly developed work ethic ... now a study shows ants' navigational skills are more sophisticated than was previously thought.
Scientists have revealed how the insects - which walk backwards when carrying heavy loads of food - use the sun's position and visual memories of their surroundings to guide them home.
Ants were known to use both processes but, until now, these were assumed to be two separate reflexes that required ants to be facing in their direction of travel.
Instead, scientists have shown that ants walking backwards will occasionally look behind them to check their surroundings, and use this information to set a course relative to the sun's position.
In this way, the insects can maintain their course towards the nest regardless of which way they are facing, the team found.
The findings suggest ants can understand spatial relations in the external world, not just relative to themselves.
The surprisingly flexible and robust navigational behaviour displayed by ants could inspire the development of novel computer algorithms - step-by-step sets of operations - to guide robots.
An international team of scientists, including researchers at the University of Edinburgh, studied a colony of desert ants in Seville to see how the insects navigate when transporting different-sized pieces of food".
They are famed for their highly developed work ethic ... now a study shows ants' navigational skills are more sophisticated than was previously thought.
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rasha kamel

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"Oetzi the famous "iceman" mummy of the Alps appears to have enjoyed a fine slice or two of Stone Age bacon before he was killed by an arrow some 5,300 years ago.
His last meal was most likely dried goat meat, according to scientists who recently managed to dissect the contents of Oetzi's stomach.
"We've analysed the meat's nanostructure and it looks like he ate very fatty, dried meat, most likely bacon," German mummy expert Albert Zink said at a talk in Vienna late Wednesday.
More specifically, the tasty snack is thought to have come from a wild goat in South Tyrol, the northern Italian region where Oetzi roamed around and where his remains were found in September 1991.
Mummified in ice, he was discovered by two German hikers in the Oetztal Alps, 3,210 metres (10,500 feet) above sea level.
Scientists have used hi-tech, non-invasive diagnostics and genomic sequencing to penetrate his mysterious past.
These efforts have determined Oetzi died around the age of 45, was about 1.60 metres (five foot, three inches) tall and weighed 50 kilos (110 pounds)".
Oetzi the famous "iceman" mummy of the Alps appears to have enjoyed a fine slice or two of Stone Age bacon before he was killed by an arrow some 5,300 years ago.
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Tom Nathe's profile photo
 
Maybe something like jerky, so it would travel without spoilage, and be eaten while walking. 
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rasha kamel

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"A small team of researchers at Kiel University in Germany has developed new technology that emulates the way a gecko uses its toes to cling to flat surfaces. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the team describes their new adhesive, how well it works and possible applications.
Geckos are famous for their ability to walk up flat surfaces such as glass with little apparent effort—this ability has fascinated scientists for many years, inciting some to attempt to replicate the ability with various sticky-type materials. To date, there has been some success but most techniques require the use of heat or electronics to get the materials to adhere and let go on demand. In this new effort, the researchers report on a type of adhesive that can be switched on and off simply by shining a UV light on it".
(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers at Kiel University in Germany has developed new technology that emulates the way a gecko uses its toes to cling to flat surfaces. In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, ...
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rasha kamel

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"A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.
In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth's mantle is located relatively close to the crust in those areas, making the heat easily accessible. This means that the boreholes do not need to be very deep and the pipes to the power plant can be short.
But placing a power plant near an active volcano is not without risk, as an eruption can easily destroy any man-made construction in its way.
The scientists have now studied three different parts of the divergent ridge (area where the ocean plates are slowly sliding away from each other) that crosses Iceland from southwest to northeast. The slow movement and separation of the ocean plates can cause cracks in Earth's crust, through which hot magma from the planet's interior rises to the surface. As a result, a large number of volcanos have emerged along the divergent boundary.
'The study includes data with extremely high precision. Data from 1967 to the present, together with the very best modelling software, have yielded the best picture to date of the anatomy of the divergent boundary,' says Md. Tariqul Islam, lead author of the article, which has been published in Journal of Geophysical Research".
A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.
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"What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip down onto the surface of Pluto—starting with a distant view of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon—and leading up to an eventual ride in for a "landing" on the shoreline of Pluto's informally named Sputnik Planitia.
To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they're diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was then draped over the frames to give the best available, actual color simulation of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to Pluto's surface.
After a 9.5-year voyage covering more than three billion miles, New Horizons flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, coming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto. Carrying powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field, New Horizons sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons that show how dynamic and fascinating their surfaces are".
What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...
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rasha kamel

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"New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change.
Led by Monash University in Victoria, Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder, the team used information from a sediment core drilled in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southwest Australia to help reconstruct past climate and ecosystems on the continent. The core contains chronological layers of material blown and washed into the ocean, including dust, pollen, ash and spores from a fungus called Sporormiella that thrived on the dung of plant-eating mammals, said CU Boulder Professor Gifford Miller.
Miller, who participated in the study led by Sander van der Kaars of Monash University, said the sediment core allowed scientists to look back in time, in this case more than 150,000 years, spanning Earth's last full glacial cycle. Fungal spores from plant-eating mammal dung were abundant in the sediment core layers from 150,000 years ago to about 45,000 years ago, when they went into a nosedive, said Miller, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences".
New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate ...
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Boris Borcic's profile photo
 
Didn't a contrary bit of news emerge just a couple days ago, in the form of a megafauna mammal fossil much more recent than these 45000 years -- 15000 years IIRC. Admittedly, a single case doesn't a statistic make...
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rasha kamel

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"Together with collaborators in Austria, scientists at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich (UK) are unravelling the complex mechanisms underlying plants' innate abilities to resist pests and pathogens. In a new paper published in Science, the team reveals how a class of endogenous plant peptides and their corresponding receptor regulate plant immune responses.
Plants possess an incredible capacity to fight off pests and pathogens. Research in Professor Cyril Zipfel's laboratory at TSL seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying innate plant immunity so that we might learn how to exploit and improve plant immunity in our cropping systems.
One way in which plants can defend themselves against disease is by using receptor proteins at the cell surface that detect specific conserved patterns from microbial invaders. FLS2 and EFR are two such well-studied receptors that recognise important bacterial proteins to induce immunity; a step that requires the recruitment of co-receptor proteins.
Together with Dr. Youssef Belkhadir's group at the Gregor Mendel Institute (GMI) in Vienna (Austria), Professor Zipfel and his team describe a novel mechanism that regulates the formation of these active immune receptor complexes, and thus controls the appropriate initiation of plant immune responses".
Together with collaborators in Austria, scientists at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in Norwich (UK) are unravelling the complex mechanisms underlying plants' innate abilities to resist pests and pathogens. In a new paper ...
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rasha kamel

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"Nearly half of all insects are herbivores, but their diets do not consist of only plant material. It is not uncommon for potentially harmful microorganisms to slip in during a feast. In a study published on January 19 in Cell Chemical Biology, researchers report that these insects use an ironic strategy to resist microbial infections. A bacterial species commonly found in the gut of the cotton leafworm and other moths secretes a powerful antimicrobial peptide, killing off competitors while defending its host against pathogens".
Nearly half of all insects are herbivores, but their diets do not consist of only plant material. It is not uncommon for potentially harmful microorganisms to slip in during a feast. In a study published on January 19 in ...
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rasha kamel

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"Researchers have found that major flooding and large amounts of precipitation occur on 500-year cycles in central China. These findings shed light on the forecasting of future floods and improve understanding of climate change over time and the potential mechanism of strong precipitation in monsoon regions".
Researchers have found that major flooding and large amounts of precipitation occur on 500-year cycles in central China. These findings shed light on the forecasting of future floods and improve understanding of climate change over time and the potential mechanism of strong precipitation in monsoon regions.
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"The forces behind the mysterious "fairy circles" that dot a desert in southern Africa do not appear to be supernatural, but they are intricate and complex.
The formations are circles of land dozens of feet wide that create a stunning pattern in the Namib desert and have mystified locals and scientists for ages. Inside the circles it looks like nothing is growing, while plants grow well on the land surrounding them. Similar patterns have also been seen in Australia.
Paranormal powers like fairies and even dragon breath have been credited with creating them. But Princeton University ecologists have come up with a much less shadowy—and maybe less charming—explanation for what's afoot. Using computer simulations, they say an intricate combination of animals and plants cooperating and competing help explain the unusual patterns, according to a study in the journal Nature Wednesday.
Corina Tarnita, the study's lead author, calls it "simple and elegant geometry on such enormous scale."
Until this study, there were two competing explanations: Termites created the pattern or plants surrounding the circles did it. Tarnita's theory borrows from both. The giant circles—from six to 100 feet in diameter—are mostly from termites that cooperate with others in their colony, but compete against other colonies, she said. The unusual patterns seen between circles are plants that establish an orderly root system so they don't compete too much for limited water".
The forces behind the mysterious "fairy circles" that dot a desert in southern Africa do not appear to be supernatural, but they are intricate and complex.
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Wait... They're not supernatural?! Wow, I did not see that coming.
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Introduction
I had PhD in computational chemistry
I am working in archaeological analysis
I am interesting in geology, material science
and environmental sciences