Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Astronomers unveil the most Earth-like exoplanet yet->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "In a paper just published in Science, Elisa Quintada, an astronomer at NASA, and her colleagues, describe the detection of a particularly special exoplanet. Kepler 186f appears to be the closest relative to Earth yet discovered. Located about 500 light-years away, in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, Kepler-186f has a radius between 0.97 and 1.25 that of Earth. And it orbits its parent star firmly inside the "habitable zone", in which temperatures are just right for liquid water."
Link to Original Source

+ - Paper microscope magnifies objects 2100 times and costs less than $1->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "If ever a technology were ripe for disruption, it is the microscope. Microscopes are expensive and need to be serviced and maintained. Unfortunately, one important use of them is in poor-world laboratories and clinics, for identifying pathogens, and such places often have small budgets and lack suitably trained technicians.
Now Manu Prakash, a bioengineer at Stanford University, has designed a microscope made almost entirely of paper, which is so cheap that the question of servicing it goes out of the window. Individual Foldscopes are printed on A4 sheets of paper (ideally polymer-coated for durability). A pattern of perforations on the sheet marks out the ’scope’s components, which are colour-coded in a way intended to assist the user in the task of assembly.
The Foldscope’s non-paper components, a poppy-seed-sized spherical lens made of borosilicate or corundum, a light-emitting diode (LED), a watch battery, a switch and some copper tape to complete the electrical circuit, are pressed into or bonded onto the paper. (The lenses are actually bits of abrasive grit intended to roll around in tumblers that smooth-off metal parts.) A high-resolution version of this costs less than a dollar, and offers a magnification of up to 2,100 times and a resolving power of less than a micron. A lower-spec version (up to 400x magnification) costs less than 60 cents."

Link to Original Source

+ - UN report reveals odds of being murdered country-by-country-> 4

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "A new UN report (link to data) details comprehensive country-by-country murder rates. Safest is Singapore, with just one killing per 480,000 people in 2012. In the world’s most violent country, Honduras, a man has a 1 in 9 chance of being murdered during his lifetime. The Economist includes an intriguing 'print only interactive' (see the PDF) and has some tongue-in-cheek tips on how to avoid being slain:
>First, don’t live in the Americas or Africa, where murder rates (one in 6,100 and one in 8,000 respectively) are more than four times as high as the rest of the world.
Next, be a woman. Your chance of being murdered will be barely a quarter what it would be were you a man. In fact, steer clear of men altogether: nearly half of all female murder-victims are killed by their partner or another (usually male) family member. But note that the gender imbalance is less pronounced in the rich world, probably because there is less banditry, a mainly male pursuit. In Japan and South Korea slightly over half of all murder victims are female.
Then, sit back and grow older. From the age of 30 onwards, murder rates fall steadily in most places."

Link to Original Source

+ - Organ regenerated inside a living animal for the first time->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Scientists at Edinburgh University have successfully persuaded an organ to regenerate inside an animal. As they report in the journal Development, they have treated, in mice, an organ called the thymus, which is a part of the immune system that runs down in old age. Instead of adding stem cells they have stimulated their animals’ thymuses to make more of a protein called FOXN1. This is a transcription factor (a molecular switch that activates genes).
The scientists knew from earlier experiments that FOXN1 is important for the embryonic development of the thymus, and speculated that it might also rejuvenate the organ in older animals. They bred a special strain of mice whose FOXN1 production could be stimulated specifically in the thymus by tamoxifen, a drug more familiar as a treatment for breast cancer.
In one-year-olds, stimulating FOXN1 production in the thymus caused it to become 2.7 times bigger within a month. In two-year-olds the increase was 2.6 times. Moreover, when the researchers studied the enlarged thymuses microscopically, and compared them with those from untreated control animals of the same ages, they found that the organs’ internal structures had reverted to their youthful nature."

Link to Original Source

+ - 1930s immigrants to US who Americanized their names got income boost-> 1

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Economists—most famously the Freakonomics duo, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner—have long worried that having the “wrong” name could set you back in the labour market. A number of studies show that having an “ethnic-sounding” name tends to disadvantage job applicants (though others suggest that names matter little).
Waves of migrants to America did not need economists to tell them that their name could be a disadvantage. Many changed their names to fit in. Almost a third of naturalising immigrants abandoned their first names by 1930 and acquired popular American names such as William, John or Charles. What was the impact? The authors draw on a sample of 3,400 male migrants who naturalised in New York in 1930.
The authors found that changing from a purely foreign name to a very common American name was associated with a 14% hike in earnings."

Link to Original Source

+ - How to prevent a plane from vanishing again->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "In an age of big data—when our cellphones track our location and American spooks know what we ate for breakfast—it seems bizarre that a huge airliner with 239 people on board could vanish with barely a trace.The incident reveals numerous security lapses that are relatively easy to fix—and must be, to maintain public confidence in air travel.
The first is the continual tracking of commercial airliners. Prior to MH370’s disappearance, most people would have presumed that aeroplanes are in constant communication with ground stations for security reasons if not navigational ones. But there is no requirement that they maintain continuous contact. The aviation industry plans to upgrade its radar to a GPS-based system that would accomplish this, but the process has faced delays. It should be implemented immediately.
Second, MH370 “went dark” about 40 minutes after takeoff because two communications systems were mysteriously deactivated: the secondary radar (which identifies the aircraft, among other data, to radar screens) and ACARS, a system for sending status updates and messages.
There are good reasons why pilots should be able to disable equipment on board, the threat of fires being one of them. But in such cases, the aeroplane should automatically send out an alert that the system is being shut off, so that authorities are immediately aware of this, and know to track the aircraft with conventional radar (where it appears as a blip on a screen without the identifying information)."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Stanford institute to target bad science-> 1

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "John Ioannidis, the epidemiologist who published an infamous paper entitled 'Why most published research findings are false', has co-founded an institute dedicated to combating sloppy medical studies. The new institute is to focus on irreproducibility, waste in science and publication bias. The institute, called the Meta-Research Innovation Centre or METRICS, will, the Economist reports, 'create a “journal watch” to monitor scientific publishers’ work and to shame laggards into better behaviour. And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies. All this in the name of the centre’s nerdishly valiant mission statement: “Identifying and minimising persistent threats to medical-research quality.”'"
Link to Original Source

+ - Why P-values cannot tell you if a hypothesis is correct ->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "P values, the 'gold standard' of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume. Critically, they cannot tell you the odds that a hypothesis is correct. A feature in Nature looks at why, if a result looks too good to be true, it probably is, despite an impressive-seeming P value."
Link to Original Source

+ - Graphene conducts electricity ten times better than expected-> 1

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Physicists have produced nanoribbons of graphene — the single-atom-thick carbon — that conduct electrons better than theory predicted even for the most idealized form of the material. The finding could help graphene realize its promise in high-end electronics, where researchers have long hoped it could outperform traditional materials such as silicon.
In graphene, electrons can move faster than in any other material at room temperature. But techniques that cut sheets of graphene into the narrow ribbons needed to form wires of a nano-scale circuit leave ragged edges, which disrupt the electron flow. Now a team led by physicist Walt de Heer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta has made ribbons that conduct electric charges for more than 10 micrometres without meeting resistance — 1,000 times farther than in typical graphene nanoribbons. The ribbons made by de Heer's team in fact conduct electrons ten times better than standard theories of electron transport they should, say the authors."

Link to Original Source

+ - India to build world's largest solar plant->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "India has pledged to build the world’s most powerful solar plant. With a nominal capacity of 4,000 megawatts, comparable to that of four full-size nuclear reactors, the ‘ultra mega' project will be more than ten times larger than any other solar project built so far, and it will spread over 77 square kilometres of land — greater than the island of Manhattan.
Six state-owned companies have formed a joint venture to execute the project, which they say can be completed in seven years at a projected cost of US$4.4 billion. The proposed location is near Sambhar Salt Lake in the northern state of Rajasthan."

Link to Original Source

+ - Scientists reading fewer papers for first time in 35 years->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "A 35-year trend of researchers reading ever more scholarly papers seems to have halted. In 2012, US scientists and social scientists estimated that they read, on average, 22 scholarly articles per month (or 264 per year), fewer than the 27 that they reported in an identical survey last conducted in 2005. It is the first time since the reading-habit questionnaire began in 1977 that manuscript consumption has dropped."
Link to Original Source

+ - Elsevier opens its papers to text-mining->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. But some scientists object that even as publishers roll out improved technical infrastructure and allow greater access, they are exerting tight legal controls over the way text-mining is done.
Under the arrangements, announced on 26 January at the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, researchers at academic institutions can use Elsevier’s online interface (API) to batch-download documents in computer-readable XML format. Elsevier has chosen to provisionally limit researchers to 10,000 articles per week. These can be freely mined — so long as the researchers, or their institutions, sign a legal agreement. The deal includes conditions: for instance, that researchers may publish the products of their text-mining work only under a licence that restricts use to non-commercial purposes, can include only snippets (of up to 200 characters) of the original text, and must include links to original content."

Link to Original Source

+ - Acid bath offers easy path to stem cells->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "In 2006, Japanese researchers reported a technique for creating cells that have the embryonic ability to turn into almost any cell type in the mammalian body — the now-famous induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In papers published this week in Nature, another Japanese team says that it has come up with a surprisingly simple method — exposure to stress, including a low pH — that can make cells that are even more malleable than iPS cells, and do it faster and more efficiently.
The work so far has focused on mouse white blood cells but the group are now trying to make the method work with cells adult humans. If they're succesful, that would dramatically speed up the process of creating stem cells for potential clinical applications."

Link to Original Source

+ - Stephen Hawking claims "there are no black holes" ->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "Stephen Hawking has proposed a new solution to the black-hole firewall paradox, which has been vexing physicists for almost two years, after its discovery by theoretical physicists Joe Polchinski at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, and colleagues. The paradox troubles physicists because if the firewall scenario is correct, Einstein’s general theory of relativity is flouted. But the classical theory black hole cannot be reconciled to the quantum mechanical prediction that energy and information can escape from a black hole.
Now Hawking has proposed a tantalizingly simple solution to the paradox which allows both quantum mechanics and general relativity to remain intact--black holes simply do not have an event horizon to catch fire. The key to his claim is that quantum effects around the black hole cause spacetime to fluctuate too wildly for a sharp boundary surface to exist. As Hawking writes in his paper, "The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.""

Link to Original Source

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

Working...