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ULg Reflexions

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
The age at which #puberty occurs is changing and so is the age at which it ends. This variation in terms of the duration of puberty in different individuals is of great interest to researchers. Two publications have demonstrated the impact that #environmental #factors can have on this important stage of development. A research lead by Pr Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, pediatric endocrinologist at +Université de Liège (ULg) 

Popularized article http://reflexions.ulg.ac.be/en/pubertydisrupters
Original publication ( +Elsevier Health ) http://orbi.ulg.ac.be/handle/2268/178663
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Frank Dachille's profile photoawdw awdw's profile photopatricia marcoux's profile photoNiraj Limaye's profile photo
7 comments
 
Not only hormones, but hormone-mimicking pollutants. And now we need the studies on the effect on boys, male fertility, etc.
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Scientists have long worked to understand how crystals grow into complex shapes. Now, an international group of researchers has shown how nature uses a variety of pathways to grow crystals that go beyond the classical, one-atom-at-a-time route. By understanding how animals form crystals into working structures – such as shells, teeth and bones – scientists can better interpret crystals formed in nature. The insights may also help in the design of novel materials and explain unusual mineral patterns in rocks. Likewise, knowing how pollutants are transported or trapped in the minerals of sediments has implications for environmental management of water and soil. Read more at http://www.pnnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=4218.
 
* * *
 
The findings, published today in Science, have implications for decades-old questions in science and technology such as how animals and plants grow minerals into shapes that have no relation to their original crystal symmetry. Or why some contaminants are so difficult to remove from stream sediments and groundwater.
 
"Researchers across all disciplines have made observations of skeletons and laboratory-grown crystals that cannot be explained by traditional theories," said Patricia Dove, a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and the C.P. Miles Professor of Science in the College of Science. "We show how these crystals can be built up into complex structures by attaching particles — as nanocrystals, clusters, or droplets — that become organized into complex shapes. Many scientists have contributed to identifying these particles and pathways to becoming a crystal — our challenge was to put together a framework to understand them."
 
The results emerged from discussions among 15 scientists working in the fields of geochemistry, physics, biology, and the earth and materials sciences, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). At home, these researchers conduct lab experiments, investigate animal skeletons, study soils and streams, or use computer simulations to visualize how particles can form and attach.
 
The international group met for a three-day workshop in Berkeley, California, that was sponsored by the Council on Geosciences of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the Department of Energy.
 
"Because crystallization is a ubiquitous phenomenon across a wide range of scientific disciplines, a shift in the picture of how this process occurs has far-reaching consequences," said materials scientist and physicist James De Yoreo at PNNL. "Moreover, because we largely show a community consensus on this topic, the study has the potential to define the directions of future research on crystallization."
 
In animal and laboratory systems alike, the process begins by forming the particles. They can be small molecules, clusters, droplets, or nanocrystals. All of these particles are unstable and begin to combine with each other and with nearby crystals and other surfaces.
 
For example, nanocrystals prefer to become oriented along the same direction as the larger crystal before attaching, much like adding Legos. In contrast, amorphous conglomerates can simply aggregate. These atoms later become organized by "doing the wave" through the mass to rearrange into a single crystal, researchers said.
 
Study authors say much work needs to be done to understand the forces that cause these particles to move and combine. It is one of the frontiers for new research.
 
"Particle pathways are tricky because they can form what appear to be crystals with the traditional faceted surfaces or they can have completely unexpected shapes and chemical compositions," said Dove, the corresponding author of the study and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our group synthesized the evidence to show these pathways to growing a crystal become possible because of interplays between of thermodynamic and kinetic factors."
 
By understanding how animals form crystals into the working structures known as shells, teeth, and bones, scientists will have a bigger toolbox for interpreting the crystals formed in nature.
 
The insights may also help in the design of novel materials and explain unusual mineral patterns in rocks.
 
Likewise, knowing how pollutants are transported or trapped in the minerals of sediments has implications for environmental management of water and soil.
 
"How we think about the ways to crystallization impacts how we interpret natural crystallization processes in geochemical and biological environments, as well as how we design and control synthetic crystal growth processes," said De Yoreo. "I was surprised at how widespread a phenomenon particle-mediated crystallization is and how easily one can create a unified picture that captures its many styles."
 
The work was supported by the Council on Geosciences of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

#basicresearch   #chemistry #materialsscience #nanotechnology
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Shashikant Pandit's profile photoRangsiman Ketkaew (Nutt)'s profile photoThomas Vranken's profile photoRico Shor's profile photo
2 comments
 
We use symmetry to deduce something, but we should use something to deduce symmetry.
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Chad Haney

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Play along, but please read the instructions first.
edit
Please see previous examples of #ISeeTheWorldWithScience
http://goo.gl/98ZhNL via  +Mark Crowley  
http://goo.gl/kPz2Kr via +Rajini Rao 
http://goo.gl/3nhaI4 via +Johnathan Chung 
http://goo.gl/XpKIco via me
https://goo.gl/3qVpYl via me
 
Resuming #ISeeTheWorldWithScience.
I have not played #ISeeTheWorldWithScience for a while. The way the game works, if you haven't played before, either tell me what science you see or tell me something about the device that suggests you know what it is. 
Do not just blurt out your guess. I will delete those comments.

For example, if I had an MR image of an onion, you could ask, "is it in the allum family".

#ScienceEveryday  
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Chad Haney's profile photoJC Franc's profile photoJonathan Dajome's profile photo
17 comments
 
I threw you all a real curve ball. The network cables on the floor really have nothing to do with the collimators other than being part of the same SPECT scanner. You can read about SPECT and collimators here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ChadHaney/posts/d9DBmk4MLyn
The other tricky thing is that these are unique, patented cylindrical collimators. Collimators are usually flat and bolt onto the detector.
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Gary Ray R
owner

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
SpaceX CRS-7 Launch Live, Now

It is almost time for the launch of the newest SpaceX supply mission to the ISS.  You can sign up and watch it live now. 7:09AM Pacific Daylight Time

EDIT:  The Rocket exploded T+ 2 minutes 25 seconds into the flight.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/science/space/spacex-rocket-explodes-during-launch.html

http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

After seven successful missions to the International Space Station, including six official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their seventh official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting lab. Liftoff is targeted for Sunday, June 28, 2015, at 10:21am ET. If all goes as planned, Dragon will arrive at the station approximately two days after liftoff. Dragon is expected to return to Earth approximately five weeks later for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of southern California. Dragon is the only operational spacecraft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth, including experiments. The live launch webcast will begin here at approximately 10am ET
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft..
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Gladys figueroa.'s profile photoAbhishek Mani's profile photoAli Mihandoost (AliMD)'s profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
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Keren .... melanglang buana ke planet 
 ·  Translate
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Hamilton Carter

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Remember the whole kerfluffle a few months back about the glowing pink cloud spotted in the predawn sky over New Mexico and Arizona? The cloud turned out to be due to an Air Force sponsored, rocket-launched experiment studying the properties of the ionosphere. It was the latest in a series of experiments stretching all the way back to 1950s. I got to interview one of the scientists, Dr. Natasha Jackson-Booth! The interview appeared last Sunday.in  +The Mary Sue 

Additional References:
https://books.google.com/books?id=iNsDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA114&dq=popular%20mechanics%20gladych%20smoke%20puff&pg=PA114#v=onepage&q=popular%20mechanics%20gladych%20smoke%20puff&f=false

1.  AFRL on MOSC

http://www.kirtland.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123310746

2.  About the scintillations

http://www.ips.gov.au/Satellite/6/3

3.  About the ionosphere

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere#E_layer

4.  Smoke Puff

http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1742832
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Peter Edenist's profile photoHamilton Carter's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
4 comments
 
No problem +Peter Edenist 
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A new material developed at the University of Michigan stays liquid more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit below its expected freezing point, but a light touch can cause it to form yellow crystals that glow under ultraviolet light.

The team investigated a family of organic molecules widely used in pigments and electronic devices like solar cells, LEDs and transistors looking for ways to streamline the production of their amorphous forms. These molecules can be described as a rigid core flanked by two flexible side chains. If the chains are short, the core molecules drive crystallization, but if they are long, the chains interact to form a different kind of crystal.

Kim’s team found that by varying the lengths of the side chains, they could cause a stalemate between two modes of crystallization. “We found that the core unit and side chains are working in opposite directions,” said Kim.

As a result, the molecule remained liquid even when cooled below its melting temperature of 273 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, this would also be the material’s freezing point. Instead, the molecules stay in a stable, “supercooled” liquid state down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the molecules solidify into a glass.

In addition to the unusually broad temperature range for the supercooled liquid state, the group found that it crystallized when rubbed with a stylus, changing from dark red to bright yellow. The rubbing broke the stalemate between the two ways for the molecules to connect, allowing the side chains to link up.
A new material developed at the University of Michigan stays liquid more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit below its expected freezing point, but a light touch can cause it to form yellow crystals that glow under ultraviolet light.
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Ana Ramos's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
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Justin Chung

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
In many ways, photogrammetry -- a new method that uses two dimensional images of an archaeological find to construct a 3D model -- is much more precise than older, more time-consuming methods which required plenty of measuring, photographing, note-taking and drawing.

Archaeologists for the NTNU University Museum have used this technique to map a Viking grave as well as a sunken ship. Photogrammetry also made it easier for them to share their findings as the 3D models can be saved as regular PDF files which they sent to colleagues for feedback.
 
Viking's Grave & Sunken Ship: Photogrammetry Transforms Archaeological Sites!

Mapping an archaeological dig takes plenty of measuring, photographing, note-taking and drawing plus a great deal of time. Now, most of this work can be done with photogrammetry -- a method that uses two dimensional images of an archaeological find to construct a 3D model. In many ways, this is much more precise than older, more time-consuming methods.

Archaeologists are already putting this technique to use. When a possible Viking grave was found in Skaun in Sør-Trøndelag (2014), the excavation site was mapped using photogrammetry.

For archaeologists studying a site, the manner in which artifacts are found, how deeply they're buried, and where they're placed in relation to each other can provide a lot of information. Photogrammetry also makes it easier for archaeologists to share their findings with others as the 3D models produced can be saved as regular PDF files which they can send to colleagues for feedback.

Example of a Viking archaeological site: https://ntnu.box.com/shared/static/51nxbf6fi269suwklzi574za62j3eric.pdf 

Marine archaeologist Fredrik Skoglund of NTNU University Museum tried this with the Dutch ship "De Grawe Adler" (the Grey Eagle), which sank in 1696 by Strømsholmen in Hustadvika, and was discovered in 1982 when dredging for sand destroyed parts of the ship.

"I swam along the whole length of the wreck a few years ago and took pictures," Skoglund says.

But Skoglund did this without ever considering the possibility of making a 3D model of the wreck. The photos were taken underwater making it slightly harder to put them together, but not impossible. If the results are precise enough, they can be used to monitor the ship's decomposition, which can be difficult to see. This will help put in place appropriate protection measures.

Model of "De Grawe Adler": https://ntnu.box.com/shared/static/5cdo0m36b94def106vd8dhnh4l7gh6la.pdf

In the future, perhaps we'll be able to put on 3D-glasses and virtually visit an excavation site.

Image:
NTNU University Museum - Detailed image of a shield boss found in what is likely a Viking's grave in Skaun

Full story:
http://gemini.no/en/2015/05/the-vikings-grave-and-the-sunken-ship

Additional:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogrammetry

#vikings #archaeology #photogrammetry #3dmodeling #3d #computational #algorithms #computer #science #technology #sciencesunday #scienceeveryday
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Robert Hacker's profile photoGary Ray R's profile photoNilesh Bokde's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
6 comments
 
+Gary Ray R, LIDAR for caves? That's interesting! This technique is different than constructing 3D images from 2D photos, since LIDAR captures 3D data, but it's still interesting that scientists are now creating 3D models of caves as well.
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Light waves trapped on a metal's surface travel nearly as fast as light through the air, and new PNNL research shows these waves, called surface plasmons, travel far enough to possibly be useful for ultra-fast electronic circuit interconnects. Researchers captured the waves on video, moving at least 250 microns across the surface. Because circuit interconnects based on these waves could be much faster than current interconnects, this basic research could lead to faster computer circuits and provide significant advances in the chemical, biological, and health fields. Read more at http://www.pnnl.gov/science/highlights/highlight.asp?id=4007.
 
* * *
 
When a surface plasmon is generated on a metal surface, it can be observed by using laser light to emit electrons. By detecting these photo-electrons, with a special instrument called a photoemission electron microscope (PEEM), the scientists explored the nature of surface plasmons.
 
In their experiments, the team applied two laser pulses to the sample: one is called the pump, used to generate the surface plasmon; the other is called the probe, used to detect the plasmon. The probe pulse strikes the sample and detects the plasmon at different time delays. By continuously tuning the time delay between the pump and probe pulses, the team monitored the motion of the plasmon on the gold surface, finding that the wave traveled up to 250 microns on the metal surface.
 
"The distance is surprisingly long because plasmon waves don't propagate like a normal free space wave," said Dr. Yu Gong, a scientist at PNNL and the lead author on this study. "In our case, the plasmons travel unexpectedly long distances in metal films."
 
The team applied numerical simulations to further confirm their experimental results.
 
Why is this important? Because circuit interconnects based on surface plasmons could be much faster than current interconnects, this basic research could lead to faster computer circuits and provide significant advances in the chemical, biological, and health fields. Also, the results give insights about these trapped light waves to the scientific communities. The study experimentally confirms the linear relationship between the input light waves and generated surface plasmons. It also indicates the plasmons have a long life and low dissipation, critical fundamental information needed to use the waves in circuits and other applications.
 
What's Next? Now, the team is exploring how to control the propagation of the surface plasmon. For example, how efficiently can the surface plasmon be generated? How can it be guided? How can it be stopped? The scientists are using the PEEM and other resources, including those in DOE's EMSL, to answer these and other questions. The results are crucial to making circuits that operate at light speed a reality.
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Neortis Guild Speak's profile photoVito Enzo Salatino's profile photoAbak Hoben's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
2 comments
 
The description and the only reference cited as an Abstract in the "Nano Letters" are not sufficient to understand or try to interprete  the advantages for chemical research of the Plasmons produced on Gold metal surface by this instrument,  that appears as a laser source and an electronic microscope at the same time, that besides seems working on Gold surface distances far away from atomic and molecular usual distances.
Some additional informations or references could be useful to understand better the matter.
Thanks and kind regards.
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Vitaliy Kaurov

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Your life on earth - How you and the world have changed since you were born. A great BBC website that puts your life into a scientific perspective: 

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141016-your-life-on-earth

Find out how, since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space. Investigate how the world around you has changed since you've been alive; from the amount the sea has risen, and the tectonic plates have moved, to the number of earthquakes and volcanoes that have erupted. Grasp the impact we've had on the planet in your lifetime; from how much fuel and food we've used to the species we've discovered and endangered. And see how the BBC was there with you, capturing some of the most amazing wonders of the natural world. Explore, enjoy, and share with your friends either the whole page, or your favourite insights. This is your story, the story of your life on earth.

DATA SOURCES:
http://www.bbc.com/earth/bespoke/your-life/docs/sources.pdf

 #life #earth #time 
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Steffy philou's profile photoMufariz Mohideen™'s profile photoInsha Nigar's profile photoJames Chen's profile photo
5 comments
 
goods
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Scientists from PNNL and several other research organizations – working at the +Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)  at PNNL – reconstructed the first complete genomes for Archaea, a domain of single-celled microorganisms, using cultivation-independent methods, revealing these organisms play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Read more at http://www.emsl.pnnl.gov/emslweb/news/archaeal-tree-life.
 
* * *
 
Archaea, a domain of single-celled microorganisms, represent a significant fraction of the earth’s biodiversity, yet they remain much less understood than bacteria. One reason for this lack of knowledge is relatively poor genome sampling, which has limited accuracy of the Archaeal phylogenetic tree. In a recent study, researchers approximately doubled the genomic diversity sampled from this domain and reconstructed the first complete genomes for Archaea using cultivation-independent methods resulting in an extensive revision of the Archaeal tree of life.
 
Researchers from PNNL, University of California, Berkeley; The Ohio State University; Columbia University; the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Joint Genome Institute; EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE national scientific user facility at PNNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used genome-resolved metagenomic analyses to investigate the diversity, genomes sizes, metabolic capacities and potential roles of Archaea in terrestrial subsurface biogeochemical cycles. They sequenced DNA in sediment and groundwater samples from a uranium-contaminated aquifer at DOE’s Integrated Field Research Challenge site near Rifle, Colo. This is a former uranium mill and the primary site for DOE’s Subsurface Systems Scientific Focus Area. RNA-Seq was conducted using the 5500XL SOLiD sequencers at EMSL.
 
By sampling genomes of 100 different Archaea, researchers identified two novel phyla—named Woesearchaeota and Pacearchaeota—within the recently proposed DPANN superphylum. The unprecedented reconstruction of two complete genomes for members of this major superphylum showed these organisms have small genomes and limited metabolic capacities. Detailed metabolic analyses of DPANN representatives revealed their primary contributions to the earth’s biogeochemical cycles involve carbon and hydrogen metabolism. Moreover, most core biosynthetic pathways were absent or incomplete in DPANN Archaea, suggesting they are symbionts or parasites that depend on other organisms for basic metabolic requirements.
 
Strikingly, the key features of DPANN Archaea closely parallel those of a putative bacterial superphylum. Their members are also predicted to have small genomes and to lack core metabolic pathways. Taken together, findings suggest these organisms depend on other members of the microbial community to survive and similar conditions have shaped two of the three major branches of the tree of life.
 
Why is this important? The study revealed Archaea in the terrestrial subsurface contribute primarily to carbon and hydrogen cycling, suggesting these organisms may be involved in processing the sizeable reservoir of buried organic carbon. This finding can be immediately implemented within genome-resolved ecosystem models to more accurately reflect the key role played by Archaea in the global carbon cycle.
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Gary Ray R's profile photoEzilda Tacchi's profile photo
 
If you are like me and did not know much about Archaea, Wiki has a good write up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaea

Also more information at:
Introduction to the Archaea
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/archaea/archaea.html

and more at:
http://www.microbeworld.org/types-of-microbes/archaea

There is even a peer-reviewed, open access journal called Archaea:
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/archaea/
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
By identifying and characterizing major pathways involved in lipid accumulation in a promising yeast species, a recent study at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, advances efforts to engineer these organisms to maximize the yield of carbon-based products and successfully transition to a #biofuel -based energy system. Read more at https://www.emsl.pnl.gov/emslweb/news/yeast-biofuels.

* * *

With increasing emphasis on sustainable energy sources, lipid-derived biofuels have been proposed as a promising substitute for fossil fuels. In particular, the yeast species Yarrowia lipolytica has strong potential as a biofuel-producing organism because it accumulates large amounts of lipids, but little is known about the key biological processes involved. To address this gap in knowledge, a recent study identified and characterized major pathways involved in lipid accumulation from glucose in Y. lipolytica.

Researchers from EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) used a comprehensive approach to characterize metabolic processes associated with lipid accumulation in Y. lipolytica. They profiled lipids using analytical chemistry techniques and monitored changes in cell shape using capabilities in the Quiet Wing at EMSL. EMSL is a Department of Energy national scientific user facility.

They found lipids accumulated rapidly and peaked at 48 hours during the five-day experiment, concurrent with altered amino acid metabolism. Accumulation of lipids to their maximum level occurred when cells began to synthesize amino acids in the presence of excess glucose—the major carbon source in the culture medium. However, the highest proportion of a biofuel-friendly lipid occurred at 24 hours, suggesting the biofuel quality of the lipids was highest prior to peak lipid accumulation.

By 72 hours, the cells with depleted glucose levels began to make thicker cell walls, possibly to protect themselves until they could find more favorable environmental conditions. From the perspective of a bioengineer interested in converting glucose input into lipid output, the development of a thicker cell wall under starvation conditions represents wasted carbon that would otherwise be used for lipid production. Therefore, genes involved in cell wall synthesis could be promising targets to improve the efficiency of lipid producing yeast strains.

Taken together, the findings provide important insights into optimal timing and nutrient conditions for harnessing lipids from yeast. Moreover, the new comprehensive dataset describing lipid accumulation in Y. lipolytica will enable more detailed experiments to provide specific genetic targets for future metabolic engineering efforts.

Why is this important? This study sets the stage for efforts to engineer yeast to optimize lipid accumulation and maximize the yield of carbon-based products. Because lipids from Y. lipolytica have chemical properties similar to those of diesel fuel, they can be readily used as biodiesel using current vehicles and existing infrastructure at gas stations. For this reason, harnessing lipids from Y. lipolytica could represent a practical approach for transitioning more quickly to a biofuel-based energy system. 
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Arran Frood

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
How will global agriculture react to he increasing frequency of extreme weather events?

If you saw any of the recent 'Global warming increases food shocks threat' headlines everywhere from BBC to New Scientist, then this blog post from the Global Food Security programme will be of interest. It's by GFS champion Professor Tim Benton, and it summarises the four research reports on the topic that led to these headlines and widespread media coverage: "Rarely a week goes by without there being news of weather records being broken," says Benton.

And the four reports are free to download from either the blog post or this news story: http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/news-events/news/2015/150814-pr-taskforce-reports-weather-food-supplies.

Here are the links to the four papers:
http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/extreme-weather-resilience-of-global-food-system.pdf

http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/images/blog/150817-climate-cover-220.jpg

http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/review-of-responses-to-food-production-shocks.pdf

http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/country-impacts-of-global-grain-production-shocks.pdf
Rarely a week goes by without there being news of weather records being broken. We have recently had the hottest June recorded across four continents. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) trumpeted that in a single week in February 2185 local weather records were broken ...
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Arran Frood's profile photoThasneem Sultana's profile photo
4 comments
 
Hi James, thanks for your comments. You are right in that the UK doesn't grow all of it's own food (like Japan) and nor should it. Trading food (and other commodities is a good way to strengthen relationships and but the infrastructure in place that we will need in the future. Another way to put it is that growing all your own food is putting all your eggs in one basket.

There's a good post on this here on the GFS blog: http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/blog/2010/01/why-should-the-uk-grow-food/
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
With their warm, waterlogged soils, rice paddies contribute up to 17 percent of global methane emissions, the equivalent of about 100 million tons each year. With the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane from its paddies during growth. Read more at http://www.pnnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=4214.
 
* * *
 
Rice serves as the staple food for more than half of the world's population, but it's also the one of the largest manmade sources of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Now, with the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane from its paddies during growth. It also packs much more of the plant's desired properties, such as starch for a richer food source and biomass for energy production, according to a study in Nature.
 
SUSIBA2 rice, as the new strain is dubbed, is the first high-starch, low-methane rice that could offer a significant and sustainable solution.
 
Researchers created SUSIBA2 rice by introducing a single gene from barley into common rice, resulting in a plant that can better feed its grains, stems and leaves while starving off methane-producing microbes in the soil.
 
The results, which appear in the July 30 print edition of Nature and online, represent a culmination of more than a decade of work by researchers in three countries, including Christer Jansson, director of plant sciences at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and EMSL, DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. Jansson and colleagues hypothesized the concept while at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and carried out ongoing studies at the university and with colleagues at China's Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Hunan Agricultural University.
 
"The need to increase starch content and lower methane emissions from rice production is widely recognized, but the ability to do both simultaneously has eluded researchers," Jansson said. "As the world's population grows, so will rice production. And as the Earth warms, so will rice paddies, resulting in even more methane emissions. It's an issue that must be addressed."
 
Channeling carbon: During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is absorbed and converts to sugars to feed or be stored in various parts of the plant.  Researchers have long sought to better understand and control this process to coax out desired characteristics of the plant. Funneling more carbon to the seeds in rice results in a plumper, starchier grain. Similarly, carbon and resulting sugars channeled to stems and leaves increases their mass and creates more plant biomass, a bioenergy feedstock. 
 
In early work in Sweden, Jansson and his team investigated how distribution of sugars in plants could be controlled by a special protein called a transcription factor, which binds to certain genes and turns them on or off.
 
"By controlling where the transcription factor is produced, we can then dictate where in a plant the carbon — and resulting sugars — accumulate," Jansson said.
 
To narrow down the mass of gene contenders, the team started with grains of barley that were high in starch, then identified genes within that were highly active. The activity of each gene then was analyzed in an attempt to find the specific transcription factor responsible for regulating the conversion of sugar to starch in the above-ground portions of the plant, primarily the grains.
 
The master plan: Upon discovery of the transcription factor SUSIBA2, for SUgar SIgnaling in BArley 2, further investigation revealed it was a type known as a master regulator. Master regulators control several genes and processes in metabolic or regulatory pathways. As such, SUSIBA2 had the ability to direct the majority of carbon to the grains and leaves, and essentially cut off the supply to the roots and soil where certain microbes consume and convert it to methane.
 
Researchers introduced SUSIBA2 into a common variety of rice and tested its performance against a non-modified version of the same strain. Over three years of field studies in China, researchers consistently demonstrated that SUSIBA2 delivered increased crop yields and a near elimination of methane emissions.
 
Next steps: Jansson will continue his work with SUSIBA2 this fall to further investigate the mechanisms involved with the allocation of carbon using mass spectrometry and imaging capabilities at EMSL. Jansson and collaborators also want to analyze how roots and microbial communities interact to gain a more holistic understanding of any impacts a decrease in methane-producing bacteria may have.
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Jarto Tarpio's profile photoDan Sutch's profile photoJonathan Dajome's profile photoTerrys Terryorisms's profile photo
 
If Greenpiece attacks this one as hard as Golden Rice, it speaks volumes about how dangerous they really think Climate Change is.
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Gary Ray R
owner

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
If You Want To Increase Your Science Research Skills, I Recommend This Course

We here at SoG+ are always insisting on references from reputable sources.  Now Google Senior Research Scientist +Dan Russell and his team are starting up the excellent Power Searching classes.  

This Free online course is the one that I first took the last time it was offered and the skills I learned help me every day to be a better moderator and science researcher. 

So to all you science buffs and anyone who wants to be more efficient and find better references, I highly recommend taking this course.  I will be taking it again to refresh my skills and learn the new techniques of Power Searching on Google. 
 
 
Wanted to let everyone know that we're launching a NEWLY updated version of PowerSearchingWithGoogle.com on Monday, July 20th.  

Let your search-inclined friends know about the launch.  Teachers, students, librarians, searchers, researchers, moms, dads, kids ... anyone who ever looks something up... might all benefit or enjoy the online class.  

It will run for 2 weeks from July 20 - 31.  

We'll be re-running the course at least once more (possibly twice) in August, so if you (or your friends) don't catch it this time, you'll have more chances in the near future!  

SIGN UP NOW!

(Did I mention it's free?)  
  
Search Education Online. Improve your Google search skills with our Power Searching and Advanced Power Searching online courses. Learn tips and tricks to become a fast and effective fact-finder with Power Searching with Google. Deepen your understanding of solving complex research problems using ...
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Janica Germaine's profile photoARINDAM SARKAR's profile photoBrian Blais's profile photoGabriel Barreto's profile photo
 
Looking forward to the course. 
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Justin Chung

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
A team of researchers have been working on a brain-machine approach to restore a sense of independence for disabled people. The idea is to control a robot remotely from home with one's thoughts. A wheeled robot, equipped with a video camera and screen, would relay video as it moves while displaying the remote pilot's face. This allows the pilot to interact with whoever the robot crosses paths with.
 
Disabled Patients Pilot Telepresence Robot w/ Their Thoughts!

Visiting other people is extremely difficult for those suffering from paralysis or limited mobility. But researchers headed by José del R. Millán at the Defitech Foundation Chair in Brain-Machine Interface (CNBI) have been working on a brain-machine approach to restore a sense of independence for disabled people. The idea is to control a robot remotely from home with one's thoughts.

For several weeks, 9 disabled people and 10 healthy people in Italy, Germany and Switzerland put on electrode-studded hats capable of analyzing their brain signals. Then, from their home country, they transmitted real-time instructions for the robot to move via the Internet. A wheeled robot with a video camera and screen in a laboratory at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) was able to relay video as it moved while displaying the remote pilot's face. The pilot was able to interact with whoever the robot crossed paths with. Professor Millán says, "Each of the 9 subjects with disabilities managed to remotely control the robot with ease after less than 10 days of training." The tests revealed no difference in piloting ability between healthy and disabled subjects.

The technology developed by the researchers goes even further as the robot is able to avoid obstacles, even without being told to. The pilot can also take a break from indicating the direction the robot is to move. If it doesn't receive more indications, the robot will continue on the indicated path until it receives an order to stop. In this way, control over the robot is shared between the human and computer, allowing the pilot to rest while navigating.

These results bring to a close the European project called TOBI (Tools for Brain-Computer Interaction), which began in 2008.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=7115302
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=7109824
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=7109829
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-06/epfd-dpp062315.php

#bci #bmi #robots #brain #computer #interface #telepresence #robotics #medical #science #technology #sciencesunday #scienceeverday
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David Virebayre's profile photoDaniel Goncharov's profile photoAdam Viskovich's profile photoJonathan Dajome's profile photo
3 comments
 
Brain switches or memory storage? 
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Es Einsteinium

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
How do Batteries Work?

A really basic introduction to the inside of a battery. For some people, batteries literally control their lives. Give them light in the dark. But how do they work? How does this chunk of metal turning into electricity?

Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNmHLDiqSLU

If you are interested in the pen set with the batteries and components, check out Circuit Scribe.
http://www.circuitscribe.com/

References
http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/power/2-how-do-batteries-work.html
http://www.explainthatstuff.com/batteries.html
http://www.livescience.com/50657-how-batteries-work.html
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/battery.htm
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Sajjad Shakarami's profile photo
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Justin Chung

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
If you missed the coverage for NASA's LDSD (Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator) vehicle's test flight, here are some details from the experiment and preliminary analysis...
 
NASA's LDSD Project Completes Second Experimental Test Flight!

Yesterday, a high-altitude balloon carrying NASA's saucer-shaped LDSD (Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator) test vehicle launched at 7:45am HST (10:45am PST/1:45pm EDT) from the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

At 11:35am the vehicle separated from the balloon at about 120,000 feet. Then an onboard rocket motor took the vehicle to 180,000 feet where the first braking technology -- the SIAD (Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator) -- deployed at 11:37am while it was traveling at about Mach 3.

Fourteen seconds after SIAD inflation, the test vehicle's parachute was released into the supersonic slipstream. Preliminary analysis of images and other data received during the test indicates the Supersonic Ringsail parachute deployed. The chute began to generate large amounts of drag and a tear appeared in the canopy around the time of full inflation (This 100-foot-wide parachute is the largest supersonic parachute ever flown. It's more than double the area of the parachute that carried the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars).

The LDSD splashed down at 11:49am in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Kauai, Hawaii. This flight test was the second for the project. The first flight was on June 28, 2014.

"Early indications are that we got what we came for, new and actionable data on our parachute design," said Mark Adler, project manager for LDSD at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "At present, our data is in the form of low-resolution video and some other nuggets of data which were downlinked in real-time. But this will soon change when our test vehicle makes port, and we have the opportunity to inspect the ultra-high resolution, high-speed imagery and other comprehensive information carried in the memory cards on board our saucer."

"The physics involved with LDSD is so cutting-edge we learn something profound every time we test," said Ian Clark, principal investigator for LDSD at JPL. "Going into this year's flight, I wanted to see that the parachute opened further than it did last year before it began to rupture. The limited data set we have at present indicates we may not only have gone well down the road to full inflation, but we may have achieved it.

"We also saw another successful inflation of our 20-ft SIAD and another successful deployment and inflation of our supersonic ballute (an inflatable drag device that extracts the parachute). Both of those devices have now had two great flights, and we have matured them to the point where they can be used, with confidence, on future missions," Clark added. "We're not just pushing the envelope. We flew a 7,000-pound test vehicle right through it."

NASA expects to make hi-res images and comprehensive data from the test available to the public in about two weeks.

More about this project at: www.nasa.gov/ldsd

#nasa #ldsd #siad #journeytomars #imonboard #mars #supersonic #spacecraft #space #planetary #exploration #science #technology #scienceeveryday
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Milly Kay's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
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Mile Zakerman

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
Breakthrough: Light Gated Potassium channel to Control Biological Processes
Discussion: http://goo.gl/cn5keU

Dr.Anaa Moroni discusses the novel approach to control potassium ion channel gating using light. The use of optogenetics in controlling ion channels can enable us to control biological process at cellular level with potential implication in degenerative pathologies.

Using the strategy of ex novo coupling of sensors to pores, a synthetic blue-light-gated potassium channel 1 (BLINK 1) was engineered, creating a control mechanism through which cell membrane potential can be manipulated and cell processes can be regulated.

original paper:  http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6235/707.short

#potassiumchannels   #neuroscience   #optogenetics   #ionchannels   #bioengineering  
Using the strategy of ex novo coupling of sensors to pores, a synthetic blue-light-gated potassium channel 1 (BLINK 1) was engineered, creating a control mechanism through which cell membrane potential can be manipulated and cell processes can be regulated.
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Mile Zakerman's profile photoPeter Edenist's profile photoMaria c Valdez's profile photo
3 comments
 
Thanks +Mile Zakerman!
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American Scientist

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
 
BLOG: "We discuss one such issue here, because it is interesting in its own right and because numerous commentators have raised it in an attempt to erroneously dismiss our findings. We refer to the use of gendered personalities to disguise the central purpose of the experiments."

Read the full post, "Describing Applicants in Gendered Language Might Influence Academic Science Hiring," by Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci: bit.ly/1KmCVgi 

#WomeninScience   #Science   #WomeninSTEM   #Blog   #research   #socialissues   #careers   #Gender  
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Elizabeth McFife's profile photo‫احمد شریف پور‬‎'s profile photo
5 comments
 
Perhaps. 
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Joe Kulangara

• General/Interdisciplinary  - 
 
A device developed by +NASA and DHS was used to rescue 4 men trapped under earthquake debris in Nepal. From the article:
"The device called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) uses microwave-radar technology to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Following the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, two prototype FINDER devices were deployed to support search and rescue teams in the stricken areas."

There isn't a lot of detail about how the devices were used in the field to find these four men. However, it's good to see that some of the enormous resources allocated to the US DHS is being used to build and deploy tools like this. Additional information about FINDER can be found here: Detecting Heartbeats in Rubble: DHS and NASA Team up to Save Victims of Disasters http://goo.gl/gEGU4z
Four men trapped under up to 10 feet of bricks, mud and other debris have been rescued in Nepal thanks to new search-and-rescue technology developed in partnership by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and JPL.
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‫احمد شریف پور‬‎'s profile photo燕小's profile photo
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