Health Science

New Technology In Genetic Testing!

Don’t start rolling your eyes just yet. I know that blockchain technology is suggested as the savior to everything. However, in the world of genetic testing, it’s becoming a genuinely viable solution to a problem that is showing no signs of getting any better.

Genetic testing is one of the most powerful tools that we have as a species, but it’s also an industry that is fraught with data leaks and other such problems.

With DNA sequencing now a fully affordable solution, more and more people are getting involved with it. However, the question has to be asked – how will that data be used in the first place? How will the medical industry use our genetic data to help make the world a better place?

Privacy, of course, is the next big challenge. We look at the world and we see the increase of data and the drop-off of privacy becoming a major problem. Genetic testing, then, is no different: so how could we make a genetic testing industry that is both affordable and private?

According to the CEO of Geneyx, David Yizhar, the solution is going to be a blockchain technology offer. Stressing that it offers the security and anonymity that is needed to help keep genetic tasting data safe, this could be the bespoke solution that the industry has been crying out for.

Blockchain and genetic testing: a happy combination?

As Yizhar says, they want to make genomic data available without having to put people’s privacy at needless risk. The hope is that, by using the data of your own genomes, you could hunt down people who suffer from the same condition as you – anonymously at first. It might help those with rare genetic mutations to find treatments in other parts of the world.

The challenge is making sure that it’s sliced up into enough tiny screeds of data as to be more or less impossible to take over. This means that if one piece of data was collected, it could never be enough for a hacker or leaker to be able to trace the source of the data itself.

At present, genome data is secured in the one location, on a single local server. For a hacker, that’s a piece of cake to get around. Though Geneyx has around 50,000 genomes at the moment, they want to get to 100,000 before they can start to use it to anything like its full potential.

For now, though, it’s certainly a good and honest idea. Many people feel unsure about giving out their contact details online: it’s then much harder to convince someone to give out their genetic data. So, if this system managed to show a safer and more trustworthy way of making this work, more people would likely take part.

It’s all a bit carrot and stick at the moment. If genome testing could become a safer experience, and more anonymous, people would take part. With a blockchain-style solution, though, that might not be so far off now.

Don’t start rolling your eyes just yet. I know that blockchain technology is suggested as the savior to everything. However, in the world of...

Earth

Turning CO2 Back Into Coal. Is That Even Possible?

As we know, the world has a bit of a problem with CO2 particles. While useful for things like plants, too much CO2 going into the air is simply going to get trapped. However, this then leads to problems like dirty air and a drop-off in living standards.

Science, though, might be in a position where they could finally overcome this problem. How so? A team of scientists at RMIT University, Australia, have managed to take a CO2 gas and turn it into solid carbon particles.

This would be a solution for helping to combat problems with greenhouse gases. It would be a safe solution, too, and could be the groundbreaking solution that we need to try and overcome the CO2 problem in the air.

Presently, we use a solution that captures carbon and tries to compress the CO2 into a form of a liquid, then injecting it back underground. Engineering issues and the economic cost of production, though, has seen progress halt on this move.

Now, though, it’s likely that, thanks to the work of Dr. Torben Daeneke and co. that this problem could be solved. The much more cost-effective and easily managed system developed down under could be the ideal solution to this problem.

This could become a more sustainable approach, according to Dr. Daeneke, who said: “While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock.

‘To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable. By using liquid metals as a catalyst, we’ve shown it’s possible to turn the gas back into carbon at room temperature, in a process that’s efficient and scalable. While more research needs to be done, it’s a crucial first step to delivering solid storage of carbon.’

An important step forward in environmental sustainability

This is a huge step forward and has been a major boon for the science community. Using an electro-chemical technique developed by Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh, they are able to take atmospheric CO2 and turn it into a solid form of carbon.

The process itself sounds very interesting and could be an essential step forward in our ability to combat the man-made problems hurting our environment. This could be used in various ways; it could even be turned into electrodes and used in other formats. This is very interesting and could become a breakthrough moment in modern science.

Produced in the Nature Communications journal, this groundbreaking study was put together by people from the University of Munster, Nanjing University and the North Carolina State University alongside RMIT and other Australian groups.

While it might be some time until it can be used in a viable circumstance, this could be a genuinely life-changing solution to the problems we face on this planet.

As we know, the world has a bit of a problem with CO2 particles. While useful for things like plants, too much CO2 going into the air is simply going...

Science

Solving The Mystery Of Green Icebergs

Since long before the 1900’s, explorers and sailors around Antarctica have been greeted by the sight of beautiful, but strange,  green icebergs.  Researchers have been perplexed for decades by the unusually colored ice formations.

The mystery may finally be laid to rest, however.  A recent publication released in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans reports that the brilliant emerald green colorations occur because of mainland Antarctica’s rock dust is heavy in iron oxides.  The findings were revealed by a University of Washington glaciologist team, headed by Stephen Warren.

In a Newsweek report, Warren explained that the green icebergs wouldn’t have been seen before 1774’s discovery of the Antarctic Ocean by James Cook’s expedition.  In fact, a famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge, describes the phenomenon:
“Ice, mast high, came floating by, as green as emerald.”  It seems this was based on fact, not poetic license.

Warren went on to explain that a German expedition in 1903 noted the green icebergs, and they made the scientific headlines in 1921.  The novelty has been spotted on occasion by a number of sea captains and explorers.

When ice breaks apart from an ice shelf or a glacier, it forms an iceberg. Layers and layers of snow will pile onto the iceberg, gradually becoming solid.  These formations will contain light reflecting air pockets.  The iceberg absorbs less blue light than red, giving them a bluish appearance.

Layers Of Different Ice

The emerald green icebergs in the Antarctic Ocean contain layers of frozen ocean water under the ice shelf.  This marine ice lacks air pockets, making the icebergs look darker and more clear than normal icebergs.  According to Warren, one percent of all icebergs have this layer of visible marine ice.

The theory behind the green icebergs was traditionally that they were formed out of marine ice, not glacier ice.  The iceberg, it was thought, would take on a greenish hue because of dead marine animals or plants trapped in it as it froze. When this organic material began to break down, it took on a yellowish tinge as it produced organic carbons.  The green color, accordingly, was as elementary as this yellow marine ice mixing with the blue tinged glacier ice.

Warren, however, found that the same amounts of organic materials were found in both blue ice and the green.  This 1990’s discovery torpedoed the long-standing theory.  Something else had to be at work within the green icebergs.

A recent discovery by Tasmanian researchers found that an ice sample taken from the Antarctica Amery Ice Shelf had a significantly higher iron content at its base than was produced by the glacier ice above.  In fact, there was nearly 500 times more iron at the base of the core sample.

Rocks and soils that have heavy iron oxide content will be red, yellow or orange in color.  Warren began to consider that perhaps this is why the icebergs in Antarctica were green. The researchers theorized that when ocean water mixes with the mainland rock of Antarctica, the result was green marine ice.  If the ice turned over as it was breaking away from the main ice sheet, the green bottom layer would be exposed and create a green iceberg.

Scientists are considering the uses of this information and suggest that these icebergs play an important role as a delivery system of iron nutrients to the Southern Ocean.  Tiny marine plants at the bottom of the food chain, known as phytoplankton, need iron to survive.

Warren believes that the green icebergs are responsible for delivering iron directly to the phytoplankton that use it.  This means that green icebergs are more than just a bizarre fluke of nature, they are, in fact, very important to marine life.

Currently, Warren is teaming up with colleagues from the Hobart, Australia Antarctic Center for more testing.  They are hoping to gather more iceberg samples of all colors to check iron content and prove the theory.  The Australian team specialize in measuring the levels of iron in seawater and sea ice.

Warren says, “If our project is approved, we will travel by ship to the Australian Antarctic stations close to the Amery Ice Shelf, where green icebergs are commonly found. The iron analyses will be done in Australia. Spectral reflectance of icebergs will be measured by others of our group. We have submitted a proposal to do this work.”

Since long before the 1900’s, explorers and sailors around Antarctica have been greeted by the sight of beautiful, but strange,  green icebergs. ...

Category - Nature & Tech

Science

Awesome 3D Printing With Light

For years, 3D printing has become a hugely important part of the tech world. Offering people the chance to print objects that would previously have taken ages to manufacture, it’s been a technology with many pros and very few cons. However, 3D printing looks set to take another jump into the unknown with the production of a light-powered 3D printer system.

This new platform by UC Berkeley is likely to change the way that 3D printing takes place, as this is capable of building every layer of the required object at once, instead of layer-by-layer. While other 3D printers need to do everything on a piece-by-piece basis, this goes on a totally different route.

Thanks to the device which is being developed, we could see a huge jump forward in how this industry works.

Speaking about this was Hayden Taylor, the research lead at UC Berkeley on this project, who said: “Basically, you’ve got an off-the-shelf video projector, which I literally brought in from home, and then you plug it into a laptop and use it to project a series of computed images, while a motor turns a cylinder that has a 3D-printing resin in it.

“Obviously there are a lot of subtleties to it — how you formulate the resin, and, above all, how you compute the images that are going to be projected, but the barrier to creating a very simple version of this tool is not that high.”

While using light-based techniques to create patterns is not new in itself, doing it in this manner almost certainly is. This manages to also break the mold as it allows the whole system to do it all at once, instead of the layer-by-layer approach mentioned above: that’s a massive step forward.

Smooth, Safe And Simple

One of the biggest reasons why this is such a huge progression, though, is the fact that the objects tend to come out very smooth. Yes, they will obviously need some more work and tend to come out looking like a prototype, but they can often include features that other 3D printers would probably struggle to create.

It can even be used to help cure the resin around an already present product, which is something other printers would not be able to manage. All uncured resin used within can be re-used, too, which makes this a touch more eco-friendly than other 3D printers.

While it’s unlikely that we’ll see this kind of 3D printer on the market anytime soon, it’s made more than enough of a positive first impression to ensure that it should become the focus of 3D printing for a long time to come. One thing is for sure: the already advanced 3D printing industry might be about to take another vital step forward.

For years, 3D printing has become a hugely important part of the tech world. Offering people the chance to print objects that would previously have taken ages to manufacture, it’s been a technology with many pros and very few cons. However, 3D printing...

Animals Cool Stories TooCool

Must See: Viral Dramatic Dog Photos

Known for their ability to see things outside of the box, photographers tend to be among the most creative people around. They often see an opportunity to create a very cool picture and take it with both hands. One photographer who has found herself going viral recently, though, is that of Jess Bell.

The Canadian has been around for three years and often gets rave reviews for her work, with her specialty being artistic imagery involving animals.

Desiring to make a big impact with her next shoot, though, Bell decided to get some dogs together that belonged to her friends. The idea was to get the dogs in natural, normal poses – such as catching a Frisbee.

Before they would go for the big jump, though, she would cover the dog with colorful powder and watch as art became nature. The results are pretty incredible, which you can see for yourself below.

The images are pretty incredible, showing just how easy it is to blend together nature with some added color and zest. By picking colors which would immediately create a positive contrast with the dog itself, each shot would show the dogs standing out amid the chromatic explosion of dust all around them.

Jess, a loving dog owner and trainer, decided to go for this approach as it would offer something totally different. It also helped to show just how unique dogs can be: when we see a couple of dogs jumping, we just see two dogs. With the help of this photo shoot, we can see far more than that: we get to see the unique shape and form of each of the dogs come to life in stunning fashion.

An Explosion Of Color

Given her love of dogs and her ability to train them so well, you can rest assured that these creative displays would never hurt or risk the health of the dogs in any way, shape or form.

By using non-toxic color sets, and with ample ventilation, each shot would only produce a stunning image, with no health risk or challenge put to the dogs – and also ensuring that the dogs would never inhale the powder by ensuring it stayed clear of their airwaves.

Part of the inspiration for this shot came from Andrea Zachrau, a specialist in horse photography who used a similar approach to make horses stand out in stunning style. After taking a look at her photos, it’s easy to see where the inspiration would have come from for Jess.

However, she made her shot well and truly her own, with some pretty spectacular results coming along the way. Take a look yourself; if you are a photographer, you might get some pretty outstanding inspiration!

Known for their ability to see things outside of the box, photographers tend to be among the most creative people around. They often see an opportunity to create a very cool picture and take it with both hands. One photographer who has found herself going...

Tech News

Could Two-Handed Robots Make Ecommerce Faster?

Ever since the rise of the internet as our main source of buying and selling, the speed in which we can get goods has been incredible. Every year, it feels simpler and faster to just do all of your shopping online, as it can often be delivered to you so fast and so easy. eCommerce, then, looks set to change the way in which we shop for at least a generation to come.

However, with the rise of machine learning and AI, we could be about to see another quantum leap: starting with ambidextrous robots (ambidextrous= using both hands equally well).

Massive warehouses are needed to help fulfill the incredible orders being taken online, which obviously means trying to get staff to help manage said orders. However, it looks like we’re moving towards trying to automate the whole experience instead, with the use of ambidextrous robots.

This became clear from a UC Berkeley paper which was produced in mid-January, in the Science Robots journal.

Engineers at UC Berkeley have been using decades of progress so far to come up with new algorithms that could help to compute robot pick points, allowing robots to work with a large variety of objects without having to undergo the training that they would need to normally.

The postdoctoral researcher on this project, Jeff Mahler, who is also the lead author, said: “Any single gripper cannot handle all objects,

“For example, a suction cup cannot create a seal on porous objects such as clothing, and parallel-jaw grippers may not be able to reach both sides of some tools and toys. ‘Ambidextrous’ robots offer greater diversity.”

How Might This Change eCommerce?

At the moment, the robots used in the majority of fulfillment centers will be using the standard suction cup session mentioned above. This can limit the range and style of objects that it could actually pick up and work with, which would drastically limit their usage in a warehouse environment.

With ambidextrous robots, though, this would not be quite the case. This would make them compatible with more than one gripper type, allowing for much easier for the robot to decide which gripper is most likely to succeed when picking up any given item.

This would help to ensure that, by using a reward function, ensuring that fulfillment could be much faster and far less rigid in what it can and cannot pick up.

The researchers managed to train functions for using a parallel-jaw gripper and then a suction cup gripper to a two-armed robot. The result was that it could take on 25 objects never seen before with around 300 picks in an hour, with around 95% reliability: that’s incredible.

While this might not be commonplace yet just in every warehouse, it’s definitely something that we can expect to arrive in the next few years – with massive, positive results for the already in-demand eCommerce industry.

Ever since the rise of the internet as our main source of buying and selling, the speed in which we can get goods has been incredible. Every year, it feels simpler and faster to just do all of your shopping online, as it can often be delivered to you so fast...

Animals

Watch: Surprising Best Friends

This is the heartwarming saga of Jupiter the Impala and his little human friend little Oliver. The orphaned impala was brought to live at the Free to Be Wild Sanctuary in Zimbabwe, where he met baby Oliver. The two have been best friends ever since.

We can understand when dogs and other domesticated animals remember people. We hear all the time about cats and dogs that travel long distances to return to their homes, after being stranded or lost in faraway places.

But the Impala is a wild animal, and we don’t expect such creatures to be friendly with the human species. Yet, here it is, kissing the small human child it has befriended a couple of years before.

Up Close And Personal

The scene is full of warmth and heart and raises questions about how closely all living things are related. In the wild there are strict rules about who’s a predator and who’s prey.

If you take away the need to hunt or be hunted from the equation, it brings everyone much closer. Animals that once instinctively ran away from us will now sidle up to us, and even show some affection.

Emotional Impala

These watershed moments teach us that animals are emotional creatures capable of understanding and love. It’s quite amazing to realize that living things so seemingly far apart can actually be so close.

Even though impalas don’t speak in a human tongue, they are still capable of communicating in the universal language of love. If you were ever one of those who hunted impala, you might be inclined to give up your rifle, or perhaps just aim it at artificial targets after watching this.

Even though the Impala is so much bigger than Oliver, not to mention that he sports dangerous looking horns that any predator in the wild must be wary of, he’s actually very gentle with the human child, kissing Oliver, and patiently accepting of Oliver ‘s little hands reaching toward its muzzle.

Oliver’s parents are amused by the interaction, as they obviously know something about the relationship that we don’t. The two aren’t new at this; theirs is a recurring tryst, but a lifelong and permanent friendship.

We can take away important lessons here, that whether you are two-legged or four, none of us are aliens on Planet Earth. We all belong here, sharing the great blue marble with divergent physical forms. We have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

This is the heartwarming saga of Jupiter the Impala and his little human friend little Oliver. The orphaned impala was brought to live at the Free to Be Wild Sanctuary in Zimbabwe, where he met baby Oliver. The two have been best friends ever since.

We can...

Earth

Scientists’ Response To Presidential Climate Change Tweets

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine wants to clear misconceptions put out by individuals with high influence.

Quick Response

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are looking into a “quick response capability” to confront the misinformation told to the public about climate change.

One recommendation in a report from last month which was aimed at making it easier for experts to communicate climate issues, such as the undoubtedly real problems caused by global warming, effectively, is now the strategy for independent national academies. These academies advise the government on issues of science.

They did not mention President Donald Trump in the report. But the quick-response tactics being considered are aimed at the mischaracterizations of the science of climate done by highly influential people or groups, stated the “Climate Communications Initiative Strategic Plan.”

They can make policies that would make it possible for academics to give a response to issues that pertain to climate within 48 hours.

According to the report, the National Academies might choose to respond quickly in different scenarios, like when a statement that is made to the public contains information about the climate which is scientifically incorrect and may misinform or confuse them.

Also, the National Academies may decide to control the situation by communicating quickly when there appears to be significant potential for misinformation.

This report was formed by an independent advisory committee which the academies formed a year ago to look into communication on climate science.

In a tweet he posted this week, Trump indicated to millions of his that the severe cold spells being experienced in some parts of the country disprove the presence of global warming. “What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you,” he tweeted.

 

 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine wants to clear misconceptions put out by individuals with high influence.

Quick Response
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are looking into a “quick response...

Health

DIY: Junk Food Makeovers

Ding Dongs, Cheez-its, and Doritos. For most adults today, these items of junk food were a major part of their school lunchboxes and vending machine experiences. Unfortunately, these snacks are packed with fat, preservatives, salt, and other chemicals.

Those who loved them as children, walk by them as adults, but this doesn’t mean that though have to. You can stop ignoring your cravings because now, we have healthy versions of five of your favorite childhood snacks!

Ding Dongs

If you have a kitchen and a bit of spare time you can make homemade dingdongs. Using oiled and floured cupcake pans, bake chocolate cake batter. Make sure that you are not using a liner or filling each section too high.

Once this is done, you can either slice each cake in half, spreading ice cream between its layers, or pipe some frosting cream into the center of each cake. Spread chocolate ganache over the treat. The are endless variations of this treat. You could use gluten-free or organic ingredients and different flavors of filling.

Cheez-Its

It would always be satisfying to hear that thud the bag of Cheez-its makes when it hits the bottom of the vending machine. Recreating the salty, crisp, cheesy snack is actually not that hard. Recipes to mimic this snack are readily available online. There are even keto-friendly options that are baked with cheddar cheese, sea salt, and almond flour. You can munch away guilt-free.

Doritos

Doritos are usually a very easy snack to make healthier. Start with small corn tortillas cut into triangular pieces. Lightly spray olive oil on the triangles, and place your favorite toppings on them, baking to a crisp. You can season with cajun powder, cheddar cheese, and parmesan and garlic. There are also recipes for seasonings that are similar to traditional flavors of Doritos available online

Fruit Roll-ups

Making healthy fruit roll-ups is actually surprisingly easy. Start by choosing three cups of your favorite blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, or any other fruit, adding sweetener to taste. Puree the fruits and spread the mixture on parchment paper in a thin layer. Heat your oven to 150 degrees, and bake them until they are dried. Cut the sheets into smaller pieces and roll them up – just like your lunchbox snack.

Fudge Striped Cookies

If you have circular cookie cutters and a favorite recipe for sugar cookies, you can use them to make homemade fudge striped cookies. Get some melted baker’s chocolate and once you have baked your cookies, dip the bottoms into the chocolate. Once that is dry, you can put stripes on the tops. Since you are controlling what goes in both the chocolate and the cookies, you can make sure that they are as healthy as you want.

Ding Dongs, Cheez-its, and Doritos. For most adults today, these items of junk food were a major part of their school lunchboxes and vending machine experiences. Unfortunately, these snacks are packed with fat, preservatives, salt, and other chemicals.
Those...

Science

How Cold Is It? Watch Water Instantly Freezing

This remarkable video clip of the water contained in a plastic bottle instantly turning into ice when placed outside in the cold weather demands to be seen. And as this chilling clip runs all of nine seconds, we’re going to call this instantaneously icy all-natural clip The Deep Freeze.

The footage herein was recorded and released by 23-year-old Daniel Dück of Germany, while he was taking a break from his work in a supermarket in Euskirchen, a town in Germany’s surprisingly chilly region of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Freeze In 7 Seconds

As can be seen in the clip, young Dück firmly slams a filled water bottle onto a slab of snowy concrete, stirring up and water and setting off a chain reaction wherein the water is transformed into ice in less than seven seconds.

The alteration of the water from liquid to solid form begins at the top of the bottle and quickly works its way down to the bottom and resembling a fog moving vertically across a rainy sky. The yield is a silvery, solid mass of bottled ice! Can somebody say “Ice, Ice, Baby”???

The image of the lightning-fast freezing effect immediately calls to mind hyper-real scenes of elemental altering one sees in comic books and superhero movies. But upon a few chilling glimpses of the clip, one comes away surmising that the powers of Iceman Bobby Drake of the X-Men and Jack Frost, both of Marvel Comics, as well as Lucius Best aka Frozone of Disney’s The Incredibles franchise, pale in comparison to Mother Nature’s omnipotence when it comes to all things concerning weather and climate change.

We can’t even imagine so effective an image of water and ice coming from the pen of Robert Frost, whose moniker and atmospheric, nature-filled writings speak for themselves.

As the chill of winter makes its way across the United States, NOW is the time to dip into the icy depths of this elemental video clip, which can only inspire those in an appropriate climate to commence their own experiments in this positively primal, atmospheric forum.

If the climate is right, here’s what you should be doing: take a bottle, fill it with water, head outside, slam that baby onto the ground and then enjoy what you’re seeing. Oh, and keep warm while you’re doing it—and definitely make sure there’s a mug full of steaming hot cocoa (or maybe something a little stronger) waiting for you indoors—so it’s not your liquids that freeze over!

This remarkable video clip of the water contained in a plastic bottle instantly turning into ice when placed outside in the cold weather demands to be seen. And as this chilling clip runs all of nine seconds, we’re going to call this instantaneously icy...

Tech News

Breakthrough: Sending Sound On Laser

Researchers at MIT have discovered a way to send audio signals directly to someone’s ear at a distance using laser beams. The system uses a photoacoustic effect in which water vapor in the air absorbs light then forms sound waves.

This research could pave the way for allowing audible messages to be sent to agents, spies or possibly law enforcement, warning them of encroaching danger.

How It Works:

Researchers used a laser beam that fired at wavelengths absorbed by water.  By sweeping the beam at the speed of sound, they were able to generate sound that can only be heard at distance from the transmitter.

After many tests, they discovered this would allow a message to be sent to a specific individual instead of just anyone who happened to be passing by the laser path.

The scientists said this system can be used in dry locations because, at any given time, there is moisture in the air, especially around people.  Also, the lasers are very safe to one’s ears, eyes, and skin while localizing an audible signal to an individual at any setting.

They also discovered a method that works by modulating rather than sweeping a beam.  The traditional modulation method offers sound with a much higher fidelity where the laser sweeping offers a sound with louder audio.

To date, the system will work at more than 8 feet or 2.5 meters.  Scientists are currently working to increase the distance and believe they will eventually have a very significant commercial technology for future use.

We look forward to hearing more about this new and exciting technology, so stay tuned!

Researchers at MIT have discovered a way to send audio signals directly to someone’s ear at a distance using laser beams. The system uses a photoacoustic effect in which water vapor in the air absorbs light then forms sound waves.

This research could...

Health Science

Research: Your Brain Has Two Clocks

One of those clocks relies on our memories of past experiences and the other on rhythm.  They are both critical to our ability to navigate and enjoy the world and our surroundings.

You have to be able to calculate when you move, anticipate the timing of future events, and adjust your attention and actions when needed.

According to a new UC Berkeley research, the neural networks that support each of these clocks are split between two different areas of the brain depending on what you need to accomplish.

Timing Is Not A United Process

It doesn’t matter if it’s music, sports, speech or allocating attention, the study suggests that timing is not a united process.

There are two different ways you can make temporal predictions and they depend on different areas of the brain, according to lead author Assaf Breska, a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

When working together, both brain systems will allow you to exist at the moment and anticipate the future as well. Both Breska and Richard Ivry a UC Berkeley neuroscientist studied anticipatory timing strength and deficits of people with Parkinson’s and people with cerebellar degeneration.

It revealed that if one of these neutral clocks is not working properly, the other will step in. The study also revealed that the context of neurological patients that are impaired can adjust their surroundings to interact better in the world.

The brain uses two different mechanisms for anticipatory timing which challenges theories that a single brain system handles all our needs.  Results from their studies suggest there are at least two different ways the brain has evolved to anticipate the future.

The rhythm-based system is sensitive to periodic events such as inherent in speech and music.  An interval system offers a more general anticipatory ability that is sensitive to temporal regularities even in the absence of a rhythmic signal.

One of those clocks relies on our memories of past experiences and the other on rhythm.  They are both critical to our ability to navigate and enjoy the world and our surroundings.
You have to be able to calculate when you move, anticipate the timing of...

Cool Stories Science

Going, Going, Gone! Moon Rocks Sold For 600K!

Most of us will never experience exploring outer space to discover it’s many mysteries. Outer space and the oceans, now known as the “Blue Planet”, are the only two true final frontiers.

There are those of great wealth who are trying to make plans for commercial space flights which only goes to show how very enticing outer space really is.

A Piece Of The Moon

This brings us to the subject of this post.  What if you could actually have a piece of space in your hand?  Moon rocks have become a very strong attraction and people will pay almost anything to own one.  Well, just recently, a moon rock sold at auction in Boston for 600K!!

You might wonder why it sold for such a huge price tag.  Well, the average meteorite will be the size of a golf ball or a walnut. They are really small after entering our atmosphere because they are traveling so fast and are burned up in the process.

These meteorites are not exactly plentiful so you don’t have a lot of options for getting your hands on one. This particular lunar meteorite came in at an amazing 12 pounds which is extremely rare!

This 12-pound meteorite was put up for auction by RR Auction in Boston, MA and sold for $612,500 to someone representing the Tam Chuc Pagoda complex, located in the Ha Nam Province in Vietnam.

Where Was This Moon Rock Found?

You might think it was brought back to earth from the moon by an astronaut but you’d be wrong.  When astronauts collect and bring back rocks from the moon, these rocks become government property.

As it’s impossible for you to jump on a flight to the moon, the only way you could possibly come into possession would be right here on Earth.

This particular rock was found by Aerolite Meteorites in a remote region in Northwest Africa. It’s believed this meteorite landed on Earth thousands of years ago.

Paraphrasing Geoff Notkin, CEO of Aerolite Meteorites, they knew the minute they saw this rock it was extraordinarily unusual and about as close to a once-in-a-lifetime find as you can get.

Now Known As The Moon Puzzle

Even though the original meteorite weighed 12 pounds, it’s actually broken up into 6 different pieces with the largest weighing 6 pounds. That’s how it got its nickname the Moon Puzzle because the pieces all fit together just like pieces of a puzzle.

Robert Livingston, president of RR Auctions, said he was so proud to have the meteorite at the auction and believes this Moon Puzzle will be a great inspiration for all students interested in science for generations to come.

Another unique quality of this meteorite, it has a partial fusion crust which simply means as it entered Earth’s orbit, it burned.  In most cases, people will not usually pay 600K for an object that is burned and broken but then again, there are not a lot of meteorites available for the public.

I would have to ask myself if I had that kind of money, would I spend it on a damaged moon rock? Maybe I would do just that!

In the meantime, all we can do, for now, is fantasize and try to imagine what it would be like to travel to outer space.  We can only wonder if reincarnation really exists and come back as Captain Kirk and Spock traveling at the speed of light on the Starship Enterprise!!

Most of us will never experience exploring outer space to discover it’s many mysteries. Outer space and the oceans, now known as the “Blue Planet”, are the only two true final frontiers.

There are those of great wealth who are trying to make plans...

Earth

Watch: Burning Tracks To Help Train Pass

The sparks are flying—literally!—in this eerily beautiful video footage of fires lit on the tracks of Chicago’s famed El train this week, meant to keep the trains running during the worst cold snap to hit the area in almost a generation.

The Arctic blast that struck Chicago on January 28th and 29th was described by the National Weather Service as “brutal, historic, and potentially life-threatening.” No kidding! We’ve heard reports that the temperatures dropped into double digits below zero—that it’s so cold, mere minutes of exposure to the air can cause frostbite to set in. That’s cold!

The footage in this video shows sections of burning railway on Chicago’s Union Pacific West Line on Monday, January 28th.

Why Are They Doing It?

Chicago’s Metra railway authority, charged with the task of keeping the trains running, and safe from pull-aparts (which can cause derailment and serious injury to passengers), no matter how unforgiving the weather might get, explained the track fires and the science behind them in an Instagram post on January 21st: .

“Pull-aparts are rail defects in which two rails separate at their connection. They occur in extreme cold when the metal shrinks and the rails literally pull apart from each other. How Metra forces make repairs is by warming the metal with fire until it expands and the two rails can be reconnected.”

By around 6:50pm local time on Tuesday the 29th, the National Weather Service in Chicago said that temperatures in Rockford, Illinois, fell below zero between 3pm and 4pm, and would most likely not rise above zero until Friday morning, at the earliest.

The temperature recorded at Chicago O’Hare Airport also reached sub-zero temperatures before 6pm, and the National Weather Service noted that the temps would stay that cold until Thursday, if not longer. The result?

This unexpectedly lovely video—all shades of blue, gray, and white, the calming tranquility of which is periodically broken by bright orange flames licking up from the train tracks.

It’s definitely hypnotizing, as fire usually is for us humans, and we’re sure that Chicago area commuters, making the long trek to work in the unforgiving cold, appreciated this little spark of visual and literal warmth to accompany them on their voyage.

It’s the little things in life, after all. Still, we’re pretty sure they’ll be even happier once the temperatures finally warm up enough that lighting the tracks on fire is no longer necessary.

The sparks are flying—literally!—in this eerily beautiful video footage of fires lit on the tracks of Chicago’s famed El train this week, meant to keep the trains running during the worst cold snap to hit the area in almost a generation.

The Arctic...

Tech News

Robot Hotel Fires Half Its Robotic Workers

If you are concerned about losing your job in hospitality to artificial intelligence soon, there is no need to worry.

A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan called the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel ‘fired’ more than 50% of the 243 robots working there because instead of providing benefits to guests, they turned out to be quite inconvenient.

The hotel used robots to check-in guests, take luggage to rooms and answer queries. There is even a robot in each room called Chu-ri who helps turn off lights, set alarms and provide weather forecasts.

Multi-Lingual Robot

Describing the experience of a guest at the hotel, their website says that you will be greeted at the front desk by multi-lingual robots who will help check you in or out. In the cloakroom, a robotic arm will take your luggage and store it.

These fun moments are a mix of human and robotic, and they will definitely warm your heart.

Also, as soon as you register your face with their facial recognition system, the struggle of carrying a room key around and worrying about losing it is completely gone.

Human Touch

This type of Android paradise sounds blissful on paper. But the experience of the guests staying at the hotel is quite the opposite. Most of the time, they still need receptionists to answer questions at the front desk and the Chu-ri robots break down regularly.

The Wall Street Journal says that Yoshihisa Ishikawa’s robot regularly talked to him in the middle of the night because it was triggered by his snoring.

This hotel received attention worldwide in 2015 when it was first opened. It was a glimpse of what the future could possibly look like. Now, technology has advanced to a point where the hotel ‘staff’ are outdated and cost too much to repair when they are broken.

For now, it is unclear whether the hotel plans to restock its robotic population, but at least the guests can sleep through the night without malfunctioning robots in their rooms.

If you are concerned about losing your job in hospitality to artificial intelligence soon, there is no need to worry.

A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan called the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel ‘fired’ more than 50% of the 243 robots working there...