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rasha kamel
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"Scientists at the John Innes Centre have taken another crucial step towards understanding how plants initiate flowering".
Scientists at the John Innes Centre have taken another crucial step towards understanding how plants initiate flowering.
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rasha kamel

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"The rapid growth in the illegal killing of African elephants seen since 2006 seems to have stabilised and may be decreasing.
Two new reports indicate that across the continent, the numbers of elephants being killed for ivory has slowed.
But the picture is mixed as the slaughter in Central and West Africa shows no sign of moderating.
Some experts believe that the decline in deaths could be down to fewer elephants being alive to poach".
The rapid growth in the illegal killing of African elephants seen since 2006 seems to have stabilised and may be decreasing.
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"The crew of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus has posted a YouTube video of their discovery of a mysterious purple orb-shaped creature living very near the bottom of the Pacific Ocean not far off the coast of Los Angeles. In addition to footage of the creature, the researchers can be heard making observations and engaging in a discussion about whether or not to capture it and bring it aboard for further study.
The Nautilus is a ship operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, which was set up by Robert Ballard with the goal of conducting both scientific research and capturing images of an undersea world that most people never get to see. Recently, the current crew of eaight has been investigating the tectonically active area off the coast of California, looking for organisms that likely live nowhere else. To conduct their studies, they operate two undersea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)—Hercules and Argus—that they control from onboard the Nautilus. In addition to mobility, the ROVs have appendages that can be used to manipulate the nearby environment and implements, such as a suction hose, for pulling in specimens that are found.
As can be seen in the video, the camera aboard the ROV shows images of various undersea creatures in their environment, when suddenly, a very small purple orb comes into view just above the ocean floor and under an overhang. The researchers clearly have no idea what it is and begin referring to it as a purple 'blob'. They zoom in and discover the blob is actually spherical and is spotted with whitish dots. They toss around some ideas regarding what it may be before deciding to pull it aboard for a closer look. As they maneuver into position, a nearby crab also apparently notices the orb and moves toward it, eventually knocking it around a bit as the crew continues to debate the nature of the creature. Eventually they agree to deploy the suction hose, but first use lasers to determine whether it will fit in their vacuum—their measurements suggest it is no bigger than six or seven centimeters, so they go ahead and suck it up".
(Phys.org)—The crew of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus has posted a YouTube video of their discovery of a mysterious purple orb-shaped creature living very near the bottom of the Pacific Ocean not far off the coast of Los ...
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sporadic -Z's profile photorasha kamel's profile photoRalf Prehn's profile photo
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looks a little like a debris covered cuttlefish egg...
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"The development of petroleum-based plastics is one of the crowning achievements of the 20th century, but they come with a hefty cost.
Yes, they're inexpensive and feature extraordinary mechanical properties that have made them the materials of everyday life.
However, the vast scale of plastics manufacturing and the environmental consequences associated with disposal have illuminated the limits to which the planet can cope with our current "take, make and dispose" model of resource utilization. Biodegradable plastics derived from renewable sources offer an attractive alternative, but so far they can't match the price and performance of petroleum plastics.
Now, researchers at Stanford and IBM Research report the development of new chemical approaches that could efficiently and inexpensively generate biodegradable plastics suitable for making an array of items as diverse as forks, medical devices and fabrics. The study is published in the current issue of Nature Chemistry.
As with many chemical reactions, creating biodegradable polyesters requires the assistance of a catalyst – a special class of chemical that increases the rate of a reaction or pushes it over an energetic hurdle. The standard catalysts used to make biodegradable plastics are metal-based, which are difficult or expensive to remove from the final material, and do not degrade in the environment.
The research group headed by Robert Waymouth of Stanford and James Hedrick of IBM Research presents an alternative catalyst made from common organic compounds".
The development of petroleum-based plastics is one of the crowning achievements of the 20th century, but they come with a hefty cost.
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"Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a new study".
Video surveillance is the most effective method for detecting animals flying around solar power towers, according to a new study.
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"Wolves are having something of an identity crisis. Gray wolves and coyotes might be the only pure wild canine species in North America, a new genetic analysis suggests. Other wolves — like red wolves and eastern wolves — appear to be blends of gray wolf and coyote ancestry instead of their own distinct lineages.
Red wolves contain about 75 percent coyote genes and 25 percent wolf genes, an international team of scientists reports online July 27 in Science Advances. Eastern wolves have about 25 to 50 percent coyote ancestry.
That finding adds another twist to the ongoing battle over wolf protection and regulation in the United States: how to protect a population that’s not its own species but carries valuable genetic information.
Gray wolves used to roam much of North America — until they were hunted to near-extinction. Protection under the Endangered Species Act has helped them to rebound, but their current range is still far smaller than it used to be. Red wolves, found in the southeastern United States, and eastern wolves, found in the Great Lakes region, look similar to gray wolves but are often treated as distinct species. The two groups occupy territory where gray wolves are now scarcer (in the Great Lakes area) or completely gone (in the southeast).
The new study examined the entire genetic makeup, or genome, of 23 wild canines from around North America. The researchers compared the mixed genomes to those from pure coyotes and Eurasian wolves to figure out what percent of each animal’s genetic material came from the wolf and what part came from the coyote.
Red and eastern wolves have historically mated with coyotes, the team found. But gray wolves have recent coyote ancestry too, and neither eastern wolves nor red wolves differ genetically from gray wolves any more than from other individuals of their species. That suggests that these different groups of wolves are more evolutionarily intertwined than previously believed, says Robert Wayne, a biologist at UCLA who coauthored the study . Red wolves and eastern wolves probably arose when gray wolf populations in the eastern United States were hunted by early settlers, says Doug Smith, a biologist who leads the Wolf Restoration Program in Yellowstone National Park. That created room for coyotes to move east, where the struggling wolves bred with them. Mixing genes with coyotes probably helped wolves survive in lean times".
Red and eastern wolves might be gray wolf/coyote blends instead of distinct species
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+Rachel Garber actually, ted nugent is very much a conservationist. If you know anything about ted that would be very clear to you.
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rasha kamel

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"Detailed analysis of data collected by Rosetta show that comets are the ancient leftovers of early Solar System formation, and not younger fragments resulting from subsequent collisions between other, larger bodies.
Understanding how and when objects like Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko took shape is of utmost importance in determining how exactly they can be used to interpret the formation and early evolution of our Solar System.
A new study addressing this question led by Björn Davidsson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (USA), has been published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
If comets are primordial, then they could help reveal the properties of the solar nebula from which the Sun, planets and small bodies condensed 4.6 billion years ago, and the processes that transformed our planetary system into the architecture we see today.
The alternative hypothesis is that they are younger fragments resulting from collisions between older 'parent' bodies such as icy trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). They would then provide insight into the interior of such larger bodies, the collisions that disrupted them, and the process of building new bodies from the remains of older ones.
"Either way, comets have been witness to important Solar System evolution events, and this is why we have made these detailed measurements with Rosetta – along with observations of other comets – to find out which scenario is more likely," says Matt Taylor, ESA's Rosetta project scientist.
During its two-year sojourn at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta has revealed a picture of the comet as a low-density, high-porosity, double-lobed body with extensive layering, suggesting that the lobes accumulated material over time before they merged.
The unusually high porosity of the interior of the nucleus provides the first indication that this growth cannot have been via violent collisions, as these would have compacted the fragile material. Structures and features on different size scales observed by Rosetta's cameras provide further information on how this growth may have taken place".
Detailed analysis of data collected by Rosetta show that comets are the ancient leftovers of early Solar System formation, and not younger fragments resulting from subsequent collisions between other, larger bodies.
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"Koalas have quickly learned to use wildlife passageways to cross busy roads in Australia's Queensland state as they move between habitats, writes Myles Gough.
A new study tracked 72 koalas living near six wildlife crossings, specially installed by the Queensland government between 2010 and 2013.
It was the first study to test the effectiveness of the crossings, which were part of a $20 million retrofit project to help stop roadway deaths of the vulnerable marsupial.
"I was really sceptical about whether the animals would use them," says Prof Darryl Jones, a behavioural ecologist at Griffith University in Brisbane who studies the impact of roadways on wildlife.
"I have to admit straight up that I thought koalas were going to be a pretty dumb animal. They spend most of their time stoned on eucalyptus oil."
"But that's not the case. This proves they really can innovate," he says. "No koala has ever walked under a road on a ledge ever before in its evolutionary history, and indeed they were doing it within a couple of months."
(They were able to learn new tricks far faster than anyone would have thought)."
Koalas have quickly learned to use wildlife passageways to cross busy roads in Australia's Queensland state as they move between habitats.
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"How can we ever know what ancient animals ate? For the first time, the changing diets of elephants in the last two million years in China have been reconstructed, using a technique based on analysis of the surface textures of their teeth.
The work was carried out by a University of Bristol student, working with an international team of researchers. The research was published online in Quaternary International.
Today, elephants live only in remote, tropical parts of Africa and southern Asia, but before the Ice Ages they were widespread.
As his undergraduate research project, Zhang Hanwen, MSci Palaeontology and Evolution graduate and now PhD student at the University of Bristol, undertook cutting-edge analysis of fossilised elephant teeth from China.
In a collaboration with the University of Leicester, and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, where the fossilised teeth are curated, Hanwen sampled 27 teeth for tiny wear patterns called microwear.
"We are talking huge, brick-sized molars here – the largest of any animal," said Hanwen, "but the signs of tooth wear are tiny, down to thousandths of a millimetre. However, these microscopic surface textures can tell us whether they were eating grass or leaves."
Hanwen took peels of the fossilised teeth in China, using high-grade dental moulding materials, and captured the 3-D surface textures under a digital microscope at the University of Leicester. The textures were quantified and analysed to identify what the elephants were eating in the days and weeks before they died.
By comparing the results with information from modern ruminants (deer, antelopes and oxen) of known diet, the study concluded two extinct elephants from Southern China – Sinomastodon and Stegodon – were primarily browsing on leaves. The third, Elephas, which includes the modern Asian elephants, shows much more catholic feeding habit, incorporating both grazing and browsing".
How can we ever know what ancient animals ate? For the first time, the changing diets of elephants in the last two million years in China have been reconstructed, using a technique based on analysis of the surface textures ...
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"Johannesburg, South Africa - an international team of researchers led by scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute and the South African Centre for Excellence in PalaeoSciences today announced in two papers, published in the South African Journal of Science, the discovery of the most ancient evidence for cancer and bony tumours yet described in the human fossil record.
The discovery of a foot bone dated to approximately 1.7 million years ago from the site of Swartkrans with definitive evidence of malignant cancer, pushes the oldest date for this disease back from recent times into deep prehistory. Although the exact species to which the foot bone belongs is unknown, it is clearly that of a hominin, or bipedal human relative.
In an accompanying paper appearing in the same journal, a collaborating team of scientists identify the oldest tumour ever found in the human fossil record, a benign neoplasm found in the vertebrae of the well-known Australopithecus sediba child, Karabo from the site of Malapa, and dated to almost two million years in age. The oldest previously demonstrated possible hominin tumour was found in the rib of a Neanderthal and dated to around 120,000 years old.
Edward Odes, a Wits doctoral candidate and lead author of the cancer paper, and co-author on the tumour paper, notes (Modern medicine tends to assume that cancers and tumours in humans are diseases caused by modern lifestyles and environments. Our studies show the origins of these diseases occurred in our ancient relatives millions of years before modern industrial societies existed)".
Johannesburg, South Africa - an international team of researchers led by scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute and the South African Centre for Excellence in PalaeoSciences today ...
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"The newest and thorniest members of a diverse ant family may have extra help holding their heads high.
Found in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, Pheidole drogon and Pheidole viserion worker ants have spines protruding from their thoraxes. For many ant species, the spiky growths are a defense against birds and other predators. But Eli Sarnat and colleagues suggest the spines might instead be a muscular support for the ants’ oversized heads, which the insects use to crush seeds. The heads “are so big that it looks like it would be difficult to walk,” says Sarnat, an entomologist at the Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology Graduate University in Japan.
Micro‒CT scans of worker ants with larger heads revealed bundles of thoracic muscle fibers within spines just behind their heads. Worker ants with smaller heads did not have muscles in their spines, the researchers report online July 27 in PLOS One. More research is needed to establish the spines’ function and understand why they evolved, Sarnat says. While buff spines may support big heads, hollow spines probably keep predators at bay, the researchers suspect". 
Two newly discovered ant species provide new insights into spiny evolution.
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"It's called the Smart Flower Recognition System but it might never have happened were it not for a chance encounter last year between Microsoft researchers and botanists at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS). Yong Rui, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), was explaining image-recognition technology at a seminar—much to the delight of IBCAS botanists whose own arduous efforts to collect data on regional flower distribution were experiencing poor results. The IBCAS botanists soon realized the potential of MSRA's image-recognition technology. At the same time, Yong Rui knew he had found the perfect vehicle to improve image recognition while addressing a reality-based problem that benefits society. It also helped that IBCAS had accumulated a massive public store of 2.6 million images. Since anyone in the world could upload pictures to this flower photo dataset—and no human could possibly supervise the uploads—the MSRA team had to create algorithms to filter out the "bad" pictures. That was the first of many difficult problems facing researcher Jianlong Fu and his team in building a tool capable of discerning tiny anomalies among the many species of flowers.
To do so they trained a deep neural network to recognize images using a set of learnable filters. In a nutshell, it works like this: During the forward pass, each filter is convolved across the width and height of the input volume, computing the dot product between the entries of the filter and the input. This produces a 2-dimensional activation map of that filter. As a result, the network learns filters that activate per specific types of features at a given spatial position in the input".
Has this ever happened to you? You're out walking with your daughter. She finds a beautiful flower, quizzes you on it, but you're stumped—you have no idea what it is. Instead of having to admit you don't know, what if you ...
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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

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