New research published in the American Journal of Psychiatrysuggests that schizophrenia is not a single disease, but rather a group of eight genetically distinct disorders, each of them with its own set of symptoms. The finding could result in improved diagnosis and treatment, while also shedding light on how genes work together to cause complex disorders.
Today’s graphic looks at the 20 common amino acids that are combined to make up the proteins in our bodies. It also gives the three-letter and one-letter codes for each, as well as denoting whether they are ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’.
Read more information & grab the PDF here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-tu
SCIENCE NEWS! There’s life way, way below Antarctica — chilling out in a subglacial lake. Just a few weeks ago, a team of scientists confirmed that half a mile beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a bunch of tiny, single-celled organisms are alive and well… in a lake boasting sub-zero temperatures and no access to sunlight.
The discovery is groundbreaking, leading some to wonder if there might also be life on a similar place — Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.
John Priscu is one of the lead scientists behind the study. In a talk at TEDxBozeman, he explains what it’s like to be a scientist drilling though thousands of feet of ice while living in a tent in Antarctica.
Photos courtesy of NASA.
According to a recent theory the Universe could be a dodecahedron. It is surprising that Plato used a dodecahedron as the quintessence to describe the cosmos. Plato (c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) also stated that time had a beginning; it came together with the universe in one instant of creation.
Plato held the view that mathematical objects really existed so that they are discovered by mathematicians (in the same way that new continents are discovered by explorers) rather than invented. Plato believed that mathematics provided the best training for thinking about science and philosophy. The five regular solids are named Platonic Solids today after Plato.
Of the 5 solids, the tetrahedron has the smallest volume for its surface area and the icosahedron the largest; they therefore show the properties of dryness and wetness respectively and so correspond to Fire and Water. The cube, standing firmly on its base, corresponds to the stable Earth but the octahedron which rotates freely when held by two opposite vertices, corresponds to the mobile Air. The dodecahedron corresponds to the Universe because the zodiac has 12 signs (the constellations of stars that the sun passes through in the course of one year) corresponding to the 12 faces of the dodecahedron.
"To earth, then, let us assign the cubic form, for earth is the most immovable of the four and the most plastic of all bodies, and that which has the most stable bases must of necessity be of such a nature. Now, of the triangles which we assumed at first, that which has two equal sides is by nature more firmly based than that which has unequal sides, and of the compound figures which are formed out of either, the plane equilateral quadrangle has necessarily a more stable basis than the equilateral triangle, both in the whole and in the parts. Wherefore, in assigning this figure to earth, we adhere to probability, and to water we assign that one of the remaining forms which is the least movable, and the most movable of them to fire, and to air that which is intermediate. Also we assign the smallest body to fire, and the greatest to water, and the intermediate in size to air, and, again, the acutest body to fire, and the next in acuteness to air, and the third to water. Of all these elements, that which has the fewest bases must necessarily be the most movable, for it must be the acutest and most penetrating in every way, and also the lightest as being composed of the smallest number of similar particles, and the second body has similar properties in a second degree, and the third body, in the third degree. Let it be agreed, then, both according to strict reason and according to probability, that the pyramid is the solid which is the original element and seed of fire, and let us assign the element which was next in the order of generation to air, and the third to water.We must imagine all these to be so small that no single particle of any of the four kinds is seen by us on account of their smallness, but when many of them are collected together, their aggregates are seen. And the ratios of their numbers, motions, and other properties, everywhere God, as far as necessity allowed or gave consent, has exactly perfected and harmonized in due proportion.“
Plato: Timaeus (55d-56c) p 1181
The posters visualize the five solids in space creating a surreal depiction of Plato’s Universe.
Terraformation of Mars: A New Look
We look at Mars now as a forgotten Red Planet that almost seems barren and life-less judging from our available images and study of it. But study shows Mars was once as ecologically prosperous as our own Earth. But what happened to all of its waters? Better yet why is it so dry and lacking any plants? Once the abundance of oxygen left and the waters froze over or dried off the planet became what it is today. But what if we can in a way reactivate’ Mars? Welcome to Mars, Terraformed’.
Transforming Mars will be a long and complicated process. But this is exactly the type of subject that interests space researchers like Christopher McKay of NASA Ames Research Center. First, greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons that contribute to the growing ozone layer on Earth, will be released into the atmosphere. This traps the heat from the Sun and raises the surface temperature by an average of 4 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this, factories would manufacture chlorofluorocarbons derived from the air and soil. A single factory would require the power equivalent of a large nuclear power plant.
The increasing temperature would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide in the south polar cap. Introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would produce additional warming, melting more of the polar cap until it has been vaporized completely. This would produce an average temperature rise of 70 degrees Celsius.
With the temperature this high, ice will start melting, providing the water needed to sustain life. This water would raise the atmospheric pressure to the equivalent of some mountaintops. While this would be a survivable level, it may still require the use of an oxygen mask. The next step, which may take up to several centuries, would be to plant trees that thrive on carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
Terraforming is the process of transforming a hostile environment into one suitable for human life. Being that Mars is the most Earth-like planet, it is the best candidate for terraforming. Once just the subject of science fiction novels, it is now becoming a viable research area. The famed astronomer and Pulitzer prize winner, Carl Sagan, says that there is enormous promise in the search for ancient life on Mars. If life was once sustainable on Mars, it is important to know what caused Mars to evolve into the cold and lifeless planet it is today. With this knowledge, we can terraform Mars by reversing the process.
NASA scientists believe that it is technologically possible at the present time to create considerable global climate changes, allowing humans to live on Mars. But this will not be by any means an easy task. Raising the atmospheric pressure and surface temperature alone could be achieved in a few decades.
This research has strong environmental implications for Earth. What researchers are trying to do involves global warming, a sort of greenhouse effect on the cold planet Mars. Scientists may be able to test their hypotheses about global warming in their attempts to elevate Mars’ surface temperature. Likewise, once theories, they may be applied to our own planet in an attempt to reverse environmental damage done by pollution and deforestation.
What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.
Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.
The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.
Venus has no magnetic field. WHICH IS CRAZY.
If the Earth lacked a magnetic field we wouldn’t be here to take selfies. (“Earth’s magnetic field serves to deflect most of the solar wind, whose charged particles would otherwise strip away the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation” Wiki).
"It appeared that there were holes on the nightside of Venus’ ionosphere. Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center investigated these mysterious holes, and found evidence that the sun’s magnetic field lines may be penetrating through the planet."
”..the sun’s magnetic field lines may be penetrating through the planet.”
Jellyfish flames in space
The jellyfish-like light show in the animations above shows the life and death of a flame in microgravity. The work is part of the Flame Extinguishment Experiment 2 (FLEX-2) currently flying aboard the International Space Station.
When ignited, the fuel droplet creates a blue spherical shell of flame about 15 mm in diameter. The spherical shape is typical of flames in microgravity; on Earth, flames are shaped like teardrops due to the effects of buoyancy, which exists only in a gravitational field.
The bright yellow spots and streaks that appear after ignition are soot, which consists mainly of hot-burning carbon. The uneven distribution of soot is what causes the pulsating bursts seen in the middle animation. When soot products drift back onto the fuel droplet, it causes uneven burning and flame pulses. The final burst of flame in the last animation is the soot igniting and extinguishing the flame.
Fires are a major hazard in microgravity, where oxygen supplies are limited and evacuating is not always an option. Scientists hope that experiments like FLEX-2 will shed light on how fires spread and can be fought aboard spacecraft. For more, check out NASA’s ScienceCast on microgravity flames. (Image credits: NASA, source video; submitted by jshoer)
The lead researcher on the project is UC San Diego’s Forman Williams and has been studying combustion physics for decades. He explains:
"Combustion in microgravity is both strange and wonderful. We first saw these disruptive burning events in labs and microgravity drop towers more than 40 years ago. The space station is great because the orbiting lab allows us to study them in great detail."
Read more about his experiment here.
There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, new research shows.
Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.
Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.
Our work extends existing approaches undertaken internationally to detect climate change and attribute it to human or natural causes. The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report provided an expert consensus that:
It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.
Decades of Extraordinary Temperatures
July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. The last time the global average surface temperature fell below that 20th-century monthly average was in February 1985, as reported by the US-based National Climate Data Center.
This means that anyone born after February 1985 has not lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month.
We are exploring new modalities of creative photography through robotics and long-exposure photography. Using a robotic arm, a light source is carried through precise movements in front of a camera. Photographic compositions are recorded as images of volumetric light. Robotic light “painting” can also be inverted: the camera is moved via the arm to create an image “painted” with environmental light. Finally, adding real-time sensor input to the moving arm and programming it to explore the physical space around objects can reveal immaterial fields like radio waves, magnetic fields, and heat flows.
Via Mediated Matter (MIT)
A Black Hole Doesn’t Die — It Does Something A Lot Weirder
Black holes are basically “game over, man,” for anything that gets too close to them, but they aren’t invincible. In fact, they’re always in the process of self-destructing. We’ll look at how they fizzle out, and see if we can help them do it faster.
The Event Horizon
Realistically speaking, you are dead as soon as you get anywhere near a black hole. You’ll be snapped like a rubber band by the differences in the gravitational pull on your top and bottom half, or you’ll be fried by radiation (more on that later). No one in the foreseeable future (even if we try to foresee multiple millennia into the future) will get close to a black hole. Pass the event horizon, however, and you don’t even have an unforeseeable future. Once material gets beyond the event horizon, it’s being pulled into the black hole with such force that it doesn’t escape. Not even light gets out. Once something has gone beyond the event horizon, it no longer really “counts” as part of the universe anymore.
600 Million Years and Counting…
I was pretty bored so I decided to make some GIFs of the last 600 million years of our planet’s plate tectonics.
The first GIF is a global mollewide projection. The second one is of the Colorado Plateau and the North American Southwest. The next GIF is of the entire formation of the North American Continent. The fourth GIF is of geologic and tectonic evolution of Europe. And finally the last one is the same as the first except in rectangular format.
I obtained the images from Global Paleogeography and them compiled them one by one into Photoshop with the end result being the above GIFs.
Once we were blobs in the sea, and then fishes, and then lizards and rats and then monkeys, and hundreds of things in between. This hand was once a fin, this hand once had claws! In my human mouth I have the pointy teeth of a wolf and the chisel teeth of a rabbit and the grinding teeth of a cow! Our blood is as salty as the sea we used to live in! When we’re frightened, the hair on our skin stands up, just like it did when we had fur. We are history! Everything we’ve ever been on the way to becoming us, we still are.
I’m made up of the memories of my parents and my grandparents, all my ancestors. They’re in the way I look, in the colour of my hair. And I’m made up of everyone I’ve ever met who’s changed the way I think.