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Labeled as discuss in The Break Room, started by CraigD, Oct 19, 2020

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  1. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Breathtaking Pic From Hawaii Shows Not One, But Two Rare Sky Phenomena

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    Cameras on the Gemini North telescope at the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea snapped a stunning picture of the multi-colored light show. The National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) released the photo on Wednesday as its "image of the week".

    These colorful lightning phenomena are aptly known as red sprites and blue jets. They're extremely tricky to capture on camera: The flashes last just tenths of a second and can be hard to see from the ground, since they're generally obscured by thunderstorm clouds.


    Regular white lightning is different from sprites and jets in several key ways. Whereas regular lightning shoots between electrically charged air, clouds, and the ground during storms, sprites and jets start in different places in the sky, and move toward space. Their distinctive hues also set them apart.

    Red sprites are ultrafast bursts of electricity that crackle through the upper regions of the atmosphere – between 37 and 80 km (23 and 49 miles) up in the sky – and move spaceward. Some sprites are jellyfish-shaped, while others, like the one in the Gemini Observatory image, are vertical columns of red light with tendrils snaking down. These are called carrot sprites.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/a-thunderstorm-in-hawaii-created-a-truly-amazing-mix-of-phenomenon
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  2. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    NASA Deliberately Made Eerie Glowing Clouds... to Study Eerie Glowing Clouds

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    On 26 January 2018, the Super Soaker rocket mission launched, with one sounding rocket carrying 220-kilograms (485-pounds) of water in two canisters. Two other sounding rockets flew in accompaniment, carrying trimethyl aluminium (TMA) tracers to track wind movement.

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    At an altitude of 85 kilometres, the water was released in a tremendous whoosh. Just 18 seconds later, a laser beam from a ground-based Rayleigh LIDAR detected a faint noctilucent cloud. Over three minutes, the cloud seemed to descend from a peak altitude of 92 kilometres (57 miles) down to 78 kilometres (48 miles).

    "This is the first time anyone has experimentally demonstrated that polar mesospheric cloud formation in the mesosphere is directly linked to cooling by water vapour itself," said space physicist Irfan Azeem of aerospace company Astra, LLC.

    This could explain, the researchers said, why noctilucent clouds seem to follow space launches. Water vapour is a common effluent in spacecraft exhaust, and scientists have observed the connection many times in the Arctic summer.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-is-studying-eerie-glowing-clouds-by-making-eerie-glowing-clouds
     
  3. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Nature’s power to induce awe might also reduce political polarization, study suggests

    Psychologists have found that using nature scenes to experimentally induce a sense of awe can reduce the strength of one’s ideological convictions. The findings, which appear in the journal Emotion, provide evidence that the mix of wonder, reverence, and dread we feel in response to the vastness of the world can promote intellectual humility and reduce polarization.

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    In three studies with 776 participants, the researchers found that inducing a sense of awe was associated with lower levels of conviction in one’s ideological views.

    In the first two studies, which examined attitudes towards capital punishment and racial bias in the criminal justice system, respectively, participants watched either a neutral video clip, a an amusing video clip, or an awe-inducing video clip before reporting how firmly they believed in their views.

    In the third study, participants were randomly assigned to either write about a natural scene that caused them to feel awe, a situation that caused them to feel pride, or something they had done recently. They then indicated how much social distance they desired from those who did not share their views on immigration.

    https://doi.apa.org/record/2019-46364-001
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  4. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Memory Without a Brain: How a Single Cell Slime Mold Makes Smart Decisions

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    Having a memory of past events enables us to make smarter decisions about the future. Researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now identified how the slime mold Physarum polycephalum saves memories – although it has no nervous system.

    The ability to store and recover information gives an organism a clear advantage when searching for food or avoiding harmful environments. Traditionally it has been attributed to organisms that have a nervous system.

    A new study authored by Mirna Kramar (MPI-DS) and Prof. Karen Alim (TUM and MPI-DS) challenges this view by uncovering the surprising abilities of a highly dynamic, single-celled organism to store and retrieve information about its environment.

    https://scitechdaily.com/memory-without-a-brain-how-a-single-cell-slime-mold-makes-smart-decisions/
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  5. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    The weird physics of upside down buoyancy

    Liquid can levitate and boats can float upside down in this gravity-defying physics experiment. Researchers in Paris have been investigating the effect of vertical shaking, which can be used to suspend a layer of liquid in mid-air. They have discovered a peculiar phenomenon that allows lightweight objects to float on the bottom surface of this liquid, with a kind of reverse-buoyancy. This counter-intuitive behaviour is a result of the constant vibrations which changes the forces acting on the floating objects.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2643-8



     
  6. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Aside from the bizarre reverse-buoyancy phenomenon, the layer of liquid suspended in mid-air is in itself, absolutely amazing.

    I imagine that further study will lead to all sorts of wonderful new technological developments.

    Very interesting!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  7. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Ancient Roman Chariot Used in Parades Unearthed 'Almost Intact' Near Pompeii

    An ornate Roman chariot has been discovered "almost intact" near Italy's buried city of Pompeii, the archaeological park announced on Saturday, calling it a discovery with "no parallel" in the country.




    The four-wheeled processional carriage was found in the portico to stables where the remains of three horses were unearthed in 2018, including one still in its harness.

    Pompeii was buried in boiling lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, killing between 2,000 and 15,000 people.

    "A large ceremonial chariot with four wheels, along with its iron components, beautiful bronze and tin decorations, mineralised wood remains and imprints of organic materials (from the ropes to the remains of floral decoration), has been discovered almost intact," a statement issued by the archaeological park said.

    "This is an exceptional discovery... which has no parallel in Italy thus far – in an excellent state of preservation."

    https://www.sciencealert.com/ancien...-parades-unearthed-almost-intact-near-pompeii
     
  8. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    The battery invented 120 years before its time

    At the turn of the 20th Century, Thomas Edison invented a battery with the unusual quirk of producing hydrogen. Now, 120 years later, the battery is coming into its own.

    Traveling down a gravelly road in West Orange, New Jersey, an electric car sped by pedestrians, some clearly surprised by the vehicle's roomy interior. It travelled at twice the speed of the more conventional vehicles it overtook, stirring up dust that perhaps tickled the noses of the horses pulling carriages steadily along the street.

    It was the early 1900s, and the driver of this particular car was Thomas Edison. While electric cars weren't a novelty in the neighborhood, most of them relied on heavy and cumbersome lead-acid batteries. Edison had outfitted his car with a new type of battery that he hoped would soon be powering vehicles throughout the country: a nickel-iron battery. Building on the work of the Swedish inventor Ernst Waldemar Jungner, who first patented a nickel-iron battery in 1899, Edison sought to refine the battery for use in automobiles.



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    Speeding forward to the mid 2010s, a research team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands happened upon a use for the nickel-iron battery based on the hydrogen produced. When electricity passes through the battery as it’s being recharged, it undergoes a chemical reaction that releases hydrogen and oxygen. The team recognised the reaction as reminiscent of the one used to release hydrogen from water, known as electrolysis.

    "It looked to me like the chemistry was the same," says Fokko Mulder, leader of the Delft University research team. This water-splitting reaction is one way hydrogen is produced for use as a fuel – and an entirely clean fuel too, provided the energy used to drive the reaction is from a renewable source.




     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  9. Future Sensors

    Future Sensors 78% of human domainers will be replaced by robots Gold Account

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  10. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    Iceland on high alert

     
  11. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Causal understanding of water displacement by a crow



    Interesting study from 2014.

    Understanding causal regularities in the world is a key feature of human cognition. However, the extent to which non-human animals are capable of causal understanding is not well understood. Here, we used the Aesop's fable paradigm – in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out of reach reward – to assess New Caledonian crows' causal understanding of water displacement.

    We found that crows preferentially dropped stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube; they dropped sinking objects rather than floating objects; solid objects rather than hollow objects, and they dropped objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one. However, they failed two more challenging tasks which required them to attend to the width of the tube, and to counter-intuitive causal cues in a U-shaped apparatus.

    Our results indicate that New Caledonian crows possess a sophisticated, but incomplete, understanding of the causal properties of displacement, rivalling that of 5–7 year old children.

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0092895
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  12. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Massive iceberg, nearly the size of Hobart, breaks off from Antarctica

    Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi from the Australian Antarctic Division joins [ABC] News Channel to discuss the almost 1,300 square kilometre iceberg and what it means for the Antarctic environment.

     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  13. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    How Google's hot air balloon surprised its creators

    Algorithms using artificial intelligence are discovering unexpected tricks to solve problems that astonish their developers. But it is also raising concerns about our ability to control them.


    The gaggle of Google employees peered at their computer screens in bewilderment. They had spent many months honing an algorithm designed to steer an unmanned hot air balloon all the way from Puerto Rico to Peru. But something was wrong. The balloon, controlled by its machine mind, kept veering off course.

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    Salvatore Candido of Google's now-defunct Project Loon venture, which aimed to bring internet access to remote areas via the balloons, couldn't explain the craft’s trajectory. His colleagues manually took control of the system and put it back on track.

    It was only later that they realised what was happening. Unexpectedly, the artificial intelligence (AI) on board the balloon had learned to recreate an ancient sailing technique first developed by humans centuries, if not thousands of years, ago. "Tacking" involves steering a vessel into the wind and then angling outward again so that progress in a zig-zag, roughly in the desired direction, can still be made.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  14. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Robot pool cue



    An automatic pool playing robot - how hard could it be? Turns out harder than I thought. It took me quite a while to work through all the difficulties of this project but when it all finally came together is so worth it.

    Youtube channel: Stuff Made Here


    A very intriguing video. The issue he had with the camera system effectively came down to lens distortion where the wide-angle lens was not correctly calibrated with the imaging mapping software. I think he could have avoided the drama by using a 50mm copy lens from the outset, as it is a distortion-free design.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  15. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Scientists Find 140,000 Virus Species in The Human Gut, And Most Are Unknown

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    The coronavirus pandemic has had the world fixated on viruses like no time in living memory, but new evidence reveals humans never even notice the vast extent of viral existence – even when it's inside us.

    A new database project compiled by scientists has identified over 140,000 viral species that dwell in the human gut – a giant catalogue that's all the more stunning given over half of these viruses were previously unknown to science.

    "It's important to remember that not all viruses are harmful, but represent an integral component of the gut ecosystem," explains biochemist Alexandre Almeida from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.


    The new virus catalogue – called the Gut Phage Database (GPD) – was complied by analyzing over 28,000 individual metagenomes – publicly available records of DNA-sequencing of gut microbiome samples collected from 28 countries – along with almost 2,900 reference genomes of cultured gut bacteria.

    The results revealed 142,809 viral species that reside in the human gut, constituting a specific kind of virus known as a bacteriophage, which infects bacteria, in addition to single-celled organisms called archaea.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/scient...species-in-the-human-gut-and-most-are-unknown
     
  16. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Playing with Sharks: Australian documentary shines light on Valerie Taylor, deep sea diver who swam with sharks

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    Valerie Taylor (seen here, wearing a chainmail sleeve) and her husband Ron were the first people to film sharks without using an underwater cage. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and famously wore a chainmail suit, using herself as shark bait, changing our scientific understanding of sharks forever. (Copyright: Ron & Valerie Taylor)

    She is renowned amongst her peers for her gutsy, pioneering environmentalism over the last 50 years, but it is only now that Valerie Taylor's legacy is being celebrated on screen.

    Famously providing 'real sharks' for Hollywood with husband Ron, the deep-sea diver's remarkable life is explored through breathtaking archive in the new Australian documentary Playing With Sharks...

    The couple — the 'Jacques Cousteaus' of the Asia-Pacific, if you will (albeit without the Frenchman's public purse) — shot thousands of hours of underwater footage.

    You may have seen their images in the pages of National Geographic.

    You've almost certainly seen their live shark footage in Spielberg's Jaws.


    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-07/playing-with-sharks-valerie-taylor-australian-documentary-diver/13116984



    Nat Geo Documentary Films Acquires ‘Playing With Sharks’

    Sundance 2021: Doc chronicles the life of Australian icon, conservationist and filmmaker Valerie Taylor.

    https://www.thewrap.com/nat-geo-documentary-films-acquires-playing-with-sharks/



    The film has been snapped up by National Geographic Documentary Films for an undisclosed sum following its virtual premiere at the Sundance Festival, and will air at cinemas later this year.

    Be sure to keep your eye out when the trailers begin hitting social-media later this year.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  17. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    The Insane Engineering of the Perseverance Rover

     
  18. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Neanderthals had the capacity to perceive and produce human speech

    Neanderthals -- the closest ancestor to modern humans -- possessed the ability to perceive and produce human speech, according to a new study published by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers including Binghamton University Associate Professor of Anthropology Rolf Quam and graduate student Alex Velez.

    "This is one of the most important studies I have been involved in during my career," said Quam. "The results are solid and clearly show the Neanderthals had the capacity to perceive and produce human speech. This is one of the very few current, ongoing research lines relying on fossil evidence to study the evolution of language, a notoriously tricky subject in anthropology."

    The evolution of language, and the linguistic capacities in Neanderthals in particular, is a long-standing question in human evolution.

    "For decades, one of the central questions in human evolutionary studies has been whether the human form of communication, spoken language, was also present in any other species of human ancestor, especially the Neanderthals," said coauthor Juan Luis Arsuaga, professor of paleontology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and co-director of excavations and research at the Atapuerca archaeological sites in northern Spain. The latest study has reconstructed how Neanderthals heard to draw some inferences about how they may have communicated.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210301112358.htm




    An interesting study, but being hominids in the genus Homo (= human), I always naturally? assumed that Neanderthals had language.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  19. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Bottling the world's coldest plasma

    Rice University physicists have discovered a way to trap the world's coldest plasma in a magnetic bottle, a technological achievement that could advance research into clean energy, space weather and astrophysics.

    "To understand how the solar wind interacts with the Earth, or to generate clean energy from nuclear fusion, one has to understand how plasma — a soup of electrons and ions — behaves in a magnetic field," said Rice Dean of Natural Sciences Tom Killian, the corresponding author of a published study about the work in Physical Review Letters.




    Using laser-cooled strontium, Killian and graduate students Grant Gorman and MacKenzie Warrens made a plasma about 1 degree above absolute zero, or approximately -272 degrees Celsius, and trapped it briefly with forces from surrounding magnets. It is the first time an ultracold plasma has been magnetically confined, and Killian, who's studied ultracold plasmas for more than two decades, said it opens the door for studying plasmas in many settings.
     
  20. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Poo-loving superbug grown to treat sewage water in Australian first.

    A superbug that loves human waste has been grown from scratch at a sewage plant in Queensland in an Australian first.

     
  21. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Spectacular Aurora Borealis Over Canada

    This video was taken by the Expedition 53 crew on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken on September 28, 2017, from 07:38:56 to 07:55:34 GMT, on a pass from the northern Pacific Ocean, just south of Alaska, to the Gulf of Mexico, south of Florida. The north-facing camera catches the Aurora Borealis over Canada as the ISS travels from northwestern United States southeast. Large cities like Chicago, Nashville, and Atlanta stand out as the ISS flies southeast toward Florida.

     
  22. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    A 1990s iMac Processor Powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover

    NewScientist reports that the Perseverance rover is powered by a PowerPC 750 processor, which was used in Apple’s original 1998 iMac G3—you remember, the iconic, colorful, see-through desktop. If the PowerPC name sounds familiar, it’s probably because those are the RISC CPUs Apple used in its computers before switching to Intel. (Although now the company is back on the RISC train with its homegrown M1 processor.)

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    “A charged particle that’s racing through the galaxy can pass through a device and wreak havoc,” James LaRosa at BAE Systems told NewScientist. “It can literally knock electrons loose; it can cause electronic noise and signal spikes within the circuit.”

    But why use a processor old enough to remember when Eve 6 released its first album? It has nothing to do with cost—those old processors are the best ones for the job because they are reliable. NASA’s Orion spacecraft, for instance, used the same RAD750 processor.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  23. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks, that was an interesting read.

    The RISC processors on 'Percy' are the hardened 'military grade' BAE systems designs, but I'm not sure how much actual space flight-time they have clocked up.

    Apparently they are also being used on Orion!

    NASA used IBM processors (incl. RISC based systems) for many years because they were designed and empirically tested for military and space environments.

    I remember towards the end of the STS program, NASA were asking the public to donate old 8086 processors to keep the shuttle program going!
    https://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/12/us/for-parts-nasa-boldly-goes-on-ebay.html

    Here's some 'light reading' for anyone interested in aerospace computer systems following the Apollo program:

    IBM System/4 Pi
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System/4_Pi

    IBM and the Space Shuttle
    https://www.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/space/space_shuttle.html

    Advanced Vehicle Automation and Computers. Aboard the Shuttle
    https://history.nasa.gov/sts1/pages/computer.html

    Space Shuttle Computers and Avionics
    http://klabs.org/DEI/Processor/shuttle/
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  24. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    I also thought they had a language, but more basic than Sapiens. Maybe for movies like "Quest for Fire", very good movie by the way!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  25. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Radar images capture new Antarctic mega-iceberg

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