Cool Stories Science

Cool! Never Before Seen ‘Dance of Avoidance’ of Neptune’s Moons

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that are relatively close to one another. In 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft flyby happened upon two of these inner moons, Naiad and Thalassa.

Scientists have more recently observed Naiad’s unique orbit consisting of oscillating patterns in order to avoid collision with Thalassa. They’ve labelled it a “dance of avoidance.”

These moons are quite small when compared to the Earth’s moon – a pithy 60 miles or so in length to 2,159 miles in diameter. In addition, at least relatively speaking, the two moons are quite close together, orbiting only 1,150 miles apart.

But because of the shape of their orbits, they are prevented from colliding with one another. The data that confirmed this was collected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope between 1981 and 2016.

“We are always excited to find these co-dependencies between moons,” said co-author of the article in the journal Icarus, Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.

“Naiad and Thalassa have probably been locked together in this configuration for a very long time, because it makes their orbits more stable. They maintain the peace by never getting too close.”

Super Fast Zigzag

Naiad takes 7 hours to orbit Neptune while Thalassa takes 7.5 hours, so to avoid Thalassa, Naiad moves in a zigzag pattern, crossing the other’s orbit twice from above and twice from below, repeating the pattern again and again.

Naiad’s tilt and timing are impeccable each time, keeping the two from coming too close. They remain 2,200 miles or so apart even when the two orbits cross paths.

“We refer to this repeating pattern as a resonance,” lead author Marina Brozović, an expert in solar system dynamics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said.

“There are many different types of ‘dances’ that planets, moons, and asteroids can follow, but this one has never been seen before.”

Brozović and her colleagues think that this unique moon movement has been occurring since Neptune captured Triton, it’s the largest satellite at 1,680 miles.

“We suspect that Naiad was kicked into its tilted orbit by an earlier interaction with one of Neptune’s other inner moons,” said Brozović. “Only later, after its orbital tilt was established, could Naiad settle into this unusual resonance with Thalassa.”

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that...

Health Nature & Tech Science

Plant-Based Meats are Being Processed to Copy Real Meat

To date, protein is being made from a process that converts carbon dioxide into an ingredient that copies nutritional values found in animal protein and has been announced by the company, Air Protein. Their goal is to create microbe-derived protein for burgers and tacos, competing with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

Air Protein is a startup company based in the Bay area.  They are introducing their version of air-based meat, using technology discovered by NASA back in the 60s when scientists were experimenting with ways to feed astronauts in space.

They discovered they could use microorganisms to convert carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts and turn them into food.

Air Protein

Air Protein said their process is similar to processing yogurt.  It’s made in a closed fermenter where natural microbes consume carbon dioxide and what they refer to as a blend of “mineral nutrients” to create an ingredient that is 80% protein.

It’s believed to have the same nutritional value as meat but does not contain hormones or antibiotics. Air Protein also believes it has 2 times the protein found in soybeans. They said their process is different from Beyond Meat and Impossible foods that use protein made from soybeans and peas.

In a statement by Jeremy Ertl, spokesperson for Air Protein, this revolutionary new protein source will be able to make meatless burgers, protein-rich pasta, cereals, beverages, and so much more.

This new product developed by Air Protein is just one of the latest inventions in the field of alternative meats.  The goal is to transform the consumption of American food.  The market for plant-based foods has grown significantly by 11% over the past year.

According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, this new industry is bringing in a total of $4.5 billion to date.

 

There are already plant-based foods on the market including pasta, cauliflower, chickpea, pizza, oat mild, and meatless burgers.  Many of these products are already available in grocery stores and fast-food chains.

As of late, Burger King has announced they will add meatless Impossible Burgers in kids’ meals and chains like KFC, White Castle, and Del Toro are already carrying alternatives.

These products are high in demand, not just by consumers with food allergies but also among meat-eaters who are looking for alternatives for protein. Many consumers are looking for sustainable options in the diets.

According to data collected by a market research firm, NPD Group,  it shows that approximately 95% of consumers who bought a plant-based burger still eat meat.

To date, protein is being made from a process that converts carbon dioxide into an ingredient that copies nutritional values found in animal protein...

Health Nature & Tech Science

Scientists Have Created a 3D-Printed Living Skin With Blood Vessels

Scientists developed a 3D-printed living skin in hopes of one day preventing the body from rejecting grafted tissue. Researchers combined cells found in human blood vessels with other elements along with animal collagen then printed a skin-like material. A few weeks later, the cells began to form into the vasculature.

Then the skin was grafted onto a mouse and they found it connected with the animal’s vessels. The vasculature is the arrangement of blood vessels in an organ or other parts of the body.

Associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pankaj Karande, led the research and said it was very important because they know there is a transfer of blood and nutrients to the graft, keeping the graft alive. He added that it’s like a really high-tech Band-Aid which helps the healing process then at some point it will fall off.

The researchers’ work was published in the Tissue Engineering Part A journal after the team showed human cells could be used to print material that is very similar to skin. With further work, the team will see about editing the skin cells using CRISPR technology so they can match the recipient’s cells making it less likely to be rejected by the body.

Help Heal a Variety of Conditions

Karande is hopeful the technology will help people with pressure ulcers or diabetes to slowly heal their wounds. He added that these patients are perfect because ulcers usually show in very distinct locations on the body and therefore can be focused on to apply smaller pieces of skin.

Deepak Vashishth said this is a significant development that will highlight the vast potential of 3D bioprinting in precision medicine so solutions can be tailored to specific situations and eventually to individual patients. Vashishth is the director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The skin is the newest medical advancement made possible by the technology of 3D printing. Back in May, another team of scientists offered the idea of 3D-printed internal organs closer to reality by creating a complex tangle of vessels in a lung-like structure.

Kelly Stevens is an assistant professor at the University of Washington and co-author of the paper published in Science. Stevens explained to Newsweek that the body contains various networks of pipes that bring nutrients to the organs and removes waste from the organ in the body.

Because many of these networks of pipes are entangled, it’s been very difficult for scientists to replicate by 3D printing. This new approach allows scientists to create multiple entangled networks of pips in 3D-printed tissues. They were quite surprised to see how structurally complex features could be printed with this new method.

Scientists developed a 3D-printed living skin in hopes of one day preventing the body from rejecting grafted tissue. Researchers combined cells found...

Category - Science

Nature & Tech Science

Ancient Native American Village Uncovered in Florida’s Gulf Coast

A chance discovery in 2010 led researchers to find a village in Florida that dated back to 900-1200AD. The pre-Columbian village was seen when the research team from the University of Florida
(UF) were using imaging technology to look at the environmental impact after the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon.

The amazing discovery came out through the use of LiDAR. The technology, Light Detection, and Ranging allowed the researchers to see through the very dense vegetation. The instruments were fitted to drones and used to make a 3D map of the area and it was then that they saw the signs of the ancient settlement.

LiDAR exposes any topographical features and man-made structures that were not normally visible and this enabled the team to conduct surveys much faster than they could when using traditional methods.

The scientists were working on Raleigh Island when they spotted several large ring structures. The area, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is currently uninhabited but it seems that in the pre-Columbian era there was indeed a human settlement here.

Evidence shows that the people who lived there were making a good living from the production of beads which they produced by harvesting seashells.

This latest find is one of only a few similar developments where beads were produced on a large scale. It may be that the settlement began when society started to demand high quantities of marine shells, and the site produced some strong evidence that bead manufacture was the major economic activity.

It is known that beads were often used in rituals and they became social popular overseas at this time.

Oyster-Shells Residence

LiDAR revealed that there were around 37 residences in the area and that these were enclosed using oyster shells formed into 13ft high ridges. The entire purpose of the settlement was to produce beads and they found evidence that these were being produced within residential spaces.

The village is an unprecedented archaeological find in the region, particularly the scale and organization of the settlement and the reason it was established.

The team concluded that the harvesting of shells to make beads was a central part of the local economy in eastern North America for the Native Americans living in the area at the time. However, there is still little information about where the shells were collected or how the beads were made.

Although evidence of bead production has been found in other areas, the Raleigh Island site is unique because of the scale of production and also because it was largely outside any chiefly oversight.

It was commonplace for beads to be developed from imported but the settlement on Raleigh Island is the first to have been found at the source of the shell. There is no indication where the completed beads were sent but it is assumed that, like many others, they were exported to meet social demand in other areas.

A chance discovery in 2010 led researchers to find a village in Florida that dated back to 900-1200AD. The pre-Columbian village was seen when the research team from the University of Florida
(UF) were using imaging technology to look at the environmental...

Animals Nature & Tech Science

Armour Plated – The Fish With the Toughest Scales on Earth

The Arapaima fish lives in Amazonian lakes have evolved armor-like scales to protect itself. The fish is huge – growing up to 4 meters in length and weighing in at around 200kg and is likely to be the largest freshwater fish on the planet. Scientists are hoping that the scales can help them build more efficient armor to protect human beings.

The hardened scales are heavily mineralized and act to protect the fish from predators including the piranhas that infest the waters in which it lives. The scales remain flexible because of the existence of protrusions and ridges and there is a collagen layer underneath which binds the scales to the body without losing flexibility.

The layer appears as a series of twisting layers known as a Bouligand structure which is also seen in beetle, lobster and crab shells.

Test of Strength

A series of tests were conducted on the scales designed to see exactly how much stress they could resist.

Having soaked crushed scales in water for 48 hours the scientists exerted central pressure and pulled the edges apart. This causes the outer layer to increase in size, eventually cracking and peeling away. However, the fractures did not spread and this has been attributed to the way they are structured: The inner and outer layers of the scales work in unison to provide a light and tough barrier.

When looking to engineer armor there needs to be a combination of strength and flexibility and this is what the structure of the fish’s scales seems to achieve. If scientists can develop similarly lightweight but tough materials it could have wide-reaching impacts on industry, including aerospace engineering.

The Arapaima fish lives in Amazonian lakes have evolved armor-like scales to protect itself. The fish is huge – growing up to 4 meters in length and weighing in at around 200kg and is likely to be the largest freshwater fish on the planet. Scientists are...

Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Science

NASA: New Spacesuit for First Woman on the Moon Revealed

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.

The two suits each have a unique purpose.

The xEMU suite (Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit is intended to be used on the Artemis program which aims to launch the first woman to walk on the surface of the moon in 2024. The long term aim is to establish a presence there and there are hopes that it will help pave the way to future missions to Mars.

The xEMU suit has several new features that have been incorporated based on the experience of spacewalks. Specifically, the suit has been made more resistant to dust – essential because of the makeup of the moon’s soil. It can also withstand huge changes in temperature from -25oF to 25oF in light of the temperatures that exist on the dark and light sides of the moon.

The backpack of the suit has been altered to include miniature versions of life-support equipment, allowing a back-up to be carried in case of a system failure or for use on longer walks on the surface. New materials and technology have been utilized to make the suit more flexible, allowing easier movement. Communication improvement includes a microphone directly embedded within the suit.

Modular and Personalized

The xEMU suit has a wide range of interchangeable parts and the module design lends well to full customization; it can be set up according to the specific needs of the astronaut and where the suit will be used. It is possible to add extra layers in cases of extreme cold and the visor can now be easily replaced and repaired with no need to return it to Earth.

The Orion suit is a flight suit – used by the astronauts on the Artemis and Orion during launch and re-entry, during an emergency or in a high-risk situation. This has been improved on since the Space Shuttle missions and the helmet is no longer one-size-fits-all; it is fire resistant, can adjust to varying temperatures, is stronger, more comfortable and helps reduce noise levels to assist communication.

The Orion suit has been designed in a bright orange to make it easier to find astronauts when they must leave the capsule after re-entry and landing. The suits also have a built-in emergency survival kit. The Orion can sustain life for up to 6 days enabling an astronaut a better chance of returning to Earth if cabin pressure is lost.

Like the xEMU the Orion is also more mobile, it is custom-built to the astronaut and can be put on or taken off more quickly. The gloves are specially designed for protection and strength while taking into account the need to be flexible enough to use touch screen technology.

The next stage is that the suits will be subjected to testing in spaceflight conditions to ensure they perform before they are officially commissioned

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.
The two suits each have a unique purpose.

The xEMU suite (Exploration Extravehicular Mobility...

Cool Stories Science

Hubble Spots a Big, Weird Blob of Star Gas

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see that they’re no longer just diamonds in the sky.

Take NGC 2022, for example, which can be found in the Orion constellation. When you see what it looks like through a telescope, it’s fantastic. It’s a star approaching the end of its life.

Different stars do different things when they age, depending on their size and makeup. When thinking about stars and the effect they have on us, the most crucial one to keep tabs on is our very own Sun. Eventually, it will become a red giant, just as NGC 2022 has done.

A Planetary Nebula

NASA explains in a new blog post:

“When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red. These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space. More than half of such a star’s mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas. At the same time, the star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.”

What is left is planet-like in appearance, which is why it’s called a planetary nebula. This all may sound fascinating and exciting, but the effect of our Sun becoming a red giant will be devastating for our planet. Planets that closely orbit stars headed toward the end of their life are swallowed up completely. Others are stripped of their atmosphere.

In our case, most likely Mercury and Venus will be swallowed up, but Earth won’t. However, all life on earth is sure to be eradicated because of the intense heat of the star.

Don’t run off and start panicking, though. We’ve still got about 5.4 billion years till this all goes down, and till then, the sun will very gradually get brighter and hotter.

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see...

Fashion Science

New Probiotic Suit Fights Body Odor

A bio-engineered bodysuit could handle unpleasant body-odor with micro-organisms woven into its fibers.

Named “Skin II,” the leotard-like piece of clothing incorporats live, healthy probiotic bacteria that, when activated by perspiration, can diminish personal odors, help skin cells regenerate and improve our immune system.

“It’s not the sweat on your body that causes body odor, it’s the bacteria,” designer Rosie Broadhead told Reuters in an interview. “So we’ve incorporated healthy bacteria into the textiles to enable a healthy microbiome which will help to reduce your body odor,”

With her probiotic fabric, Broadhead hopes to revolutionize the interaction between fabric and skin. Other than its health (and social life!) aspects, she’s also keen on the environmental impact of her invention:

“My project offers an alternative to chemicals such as antibacterial finishes on clothing and cosmetics,” Broadhead says, “Due to the deodorizing effect the probiotics have on the body, it may reduce the amount of time you need to wash your clothes.”

Our modern life fixation on cleanliness makes it hard for “good” micro-organisms to survive, so Skin II is a big opportunity for sustainable fashion.

Probiotics are living micro-organisms that are beneficial to our bodies when in sufficient amounts. Probiotics are found naturally in some foods, like yogurt, and, surprisingly, pickles, but you can also take them as dietary supplements.

Broadhead collaborated with Belgian microbiologist Chris Callewaert of Ghent University to develop the fabric. Callewaert has done extensive research on the causes of body odor, and he provided her with probiotic bacteria. This bacteria are found on our skin and are different from the digestive system bacteria we all know from food products.

“A lot of focus is on the fashion industry’s unsustainable practices concerning waste and environmental impact,” says Broadhead, “However, much less is known about the use of chemical finishes on our clothing that can impact our bodies.”

She wanted to create clothing that was good for the skin, but has a minimal impact on the environment, “which meant using technology that had a deodorizing effect. By working with probiotics that are common on our skin I have developed ways to add function and performance to our clothing in a natural way.”

Broadhead and Callewaert plan to market Skin II with a full sportswear line, and in this heat – we just can’t wait for it to hit the shelves :-)

A bio-engineered bodysuit could handle unpleasant body-odor with micro-organisms woven into its fibers.

Named “Skin II,” the leotard-like piece of clothing incorporats live, healthy probiotic bacteria that, when activated by perspiration, can...

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Giant Telescope the Focus of Hawaii Protest

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.

Colette has more:

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.
Colette has more:

Animals Cool Stories Science

A Pocket Shark That Glows in the Dark!

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been identified, according to a study published in the  Zootaxa journal.

Named the American Pocket Shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis) was identified as a new species based on an analysis performed on a single 5½-inch-long male that was caught in the Gulf in 2010.

In Louisiana, researchers from Tulane University applied several different techniques including X-ray imaging and high-resolution CT scans to examine the specimen.  It was determined it was a different species of the pocket shark  (Mollisquama parini)  that was ever reported.  In 1979, a pocket shark was captured in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Only two ever captured

Director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute, Henry Bart, said in the history of science, these are the only two pocket sharks ever captured or reported.  He said that both sharks are separate species and from different oceans.

They are both extremely rare and the fact that only one pocket shark was reported from the Gulf of Mexico, this new species emphasizes how very little scientists know about the Gulf, especially in deeper waters. This has led scientists to question how many new species might be in the Gulf, yet to be discovered.

Both M. mississippiensis and M. parini have similar characteristics, they both have two rather large “pockets” near their front fins and gills. In a paper, the latest pocket shark has a fluid that glows and then attracts prey.

Even though both species have similarities, they also have notable differences, according to the Tulane scientists.  The M. mississippiensis has fewer vertebrae than the shark found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  Also, the species found in the Gulf has many light-producing organs known as photophores which have been found all over the body.

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been...

Science TooCool

Russia Wants to 3D-Print ‘Large Scale Structures’ on the Moon

Journeys to the moon are undertaking more and more; before, it was a feat to simply set foot on the moon, but now that we’ve done that, new endeavors are being planned, especially by Russia.

A spokesperson for the country’s space corporation Roscosmos told Russian state-owned news agency TASS that they’re working on building a lunar base on the moon by 2040.

How will they do this? With 3D printing technologies that use lunar soil.

The lunar base is the final part of a three-stage program which begins with sending a spacecraft to orbit the moon, according to The Moscow Times. Stage two, expected to take place between 2025 and 2034, will be sending a manned mission to the moon for the purpose of beginning construction on the base.

Stage three, of course, will involve completing the lunar base, utilizing “additive technologies and local resources” for the “construction of large-scale structures,” said the Roscosmos spokesperson, who also noted that this third stage would include “furnishing scientific and industrial objects with equipment.”

They plan on creating structures with the capability of supporting astronaut life on the moon, as well.

3D- Printed Spare Parts

In the past, Dmitry Rogozin, the Director-General of Roscosmos, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the 3D printing will be used to create repair equipment as well as new parts for the technology to reduce the need for resupply missions.

The Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin also said that the 3D printing technology would use solar energy as its power source and moon dust as its resource for creating objects.

“We’re talking about creating a long-term base, not constantly manned, but visitable,” Rogozin told RIA Novosti in November of 2018. Therefore, Roscosmos plans to have “avatars” on the lunar base controlled by humans on Earth.

NASA also has plans in mind for creating a permanent presence on the moon – just one of the steps towards finally reaching Mars – and plans to begin sustainable lunar surface missions before 2030, conducted from NASA’s lunar “Gateway,” a small spaceship meant to hold both astronauts and science experiments while it orbits the moon.

Next on NASA’s agenda, however, is getting the first woman on the moon, and they plan to accomplish this mission, called “Artemis,” by 2024. Many challenges need yet to be overcome to make it possible for people to be on the moon for any extended amount of time, however, so the next several years are full of research, experiments, and trials.

Journeys to the moon are undertaking more and more; before, it was a feat to simply set foot on the moon, but now that we’ve done that, new endeavors are being planned, especially by Russia.

A spokesperson for the country’s space corporation Roscosmos...

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Weird ‘Praying Monk’ Ice Daggers Host Life in an Extreme Environment

We first heard of nieves penitentes in scientific literature written by Charles Darwin back in the 1800s, but most of us have never heard of this strange term.

This is because nieves penitentes, strange blades of ice found in remote places, were discovered first in the Andes which are difficult and extreme and therefore, extremely hard to venture into, especially for an extended period of time for study.

However, a group of brave scientists made the trip into Chile’s Volcán Llullaillaco, recording their findings in the journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. “This is a very remote area that’s difficult to access,” study co-author Steve Schmidt, from the University of Colorado Boulder, said in a statement.

“The entire back of one of our pickup trucks had to be filled with barrels of drinking water. It’s no trivial thing to go out there, and that’s one of the reasons these formations haven’t been studied much.”

Nieves penitentes are long blades of hardened snow and ice ranging anywhere from a few inches to 16 feet long. They are found in cold, dry regions about 13,000 feet, the most extreme, high-altitude environments on Earth.

Since UV radiation is high and humidity is low, the temperature changes drastically and the winds are extreme, making it difficult for life to exist.

These snow formations usually form pointed toward our sun, and they were named nieves penitentes – meaning “penitent snow” – because of their resemblance to praying monks wearing white robes.

Red Ice?

What the scientists found was astounding: the penitente fields, found at a height of over 16,000 feet, had red ice patches. This means that microscopic life exists! Further analysis showed that the patches held a community of snow algae closely related to that which has been found in other alpine and polar environments.

“In this environment penitentes provide both water and shelter from harsh winds, high UV radiation and thermal fluctuations, creating an oasis in an otherwise extreme landscape,” the team wrote.

This is the first time life has been recorded in these formations. Since they are believed to exist on other bodies within the solar system, including Pluto and Jupiter’s moon Europa, this could provide insight into extra-terrestrial life.

The scientists say its meaning is significant when we consider the search for alien life.”Intriguingly, recent planetary investigations have suggested the existence of penitente-like structures on other planetary bodies of our solar system,” the team concludes.

“Therefore, penitentes and the harsh environment that surrounds them provide a new terrestrial analog for astrobiological studies of life beyond Earth.”Lara Vimercati, lead author of the study, said in a statement:

“Snow algae have been commonly found throughout the cryosphere on both ice and snow patches, but our finding demonstrated their presence for the first time at the extreme elevation of a hyper-arid site.” They found nieves penitentes near the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth; moreover, it’s landscape is thought to be most similar to Mars.

These discoveries giving insight into life existing on such harsh environments help scientists understand what types of places it could show up in the rest of the solar system. Currently, researchers strongly believe that Jupiter’s moon could be harboring microscopic lifeforms in its subsurface, saline ocean since they’ve found thousands of species beneath Antarctica’s surface.”

Our study shows how no matter how challenging the environmental conditions, life finds a way when there is availability of liquid water,” Vimercati said. Schmidt added: “We’re generally interested in the adaptations of organisms to extreme environments. This could be a good place to look for upper limits of life.”

We first heard of nieves penitentes in scientific literature written by Charles Darwin back in the 1800s, but most of us have never heard of this strange term.

This is because nieves penitentes, strange blades of ice found in remote places, were discovered...

Inspiring Stories Science

New Alan Turing Banknote

Earlier this year, Alan Turing was named the most iconic figure of the 20th Century.  He is now the new image on the Bank of England’s £50 Note. What’s interesting, this is the last banknote to move from paper to polymer.  People will be able to use this note at the end of 2021.

Alan Turing worked for the British Government’s Code and Cipher School before WW II, He was a brilliant mathematician who cracked codes during World War Two. It is believed that he and other code breakers shortened the war by several years.

In 1939, he worked at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. He was involved in top-secret work and was able to crack Germany’s military codes. Turing’s main job was to crack a code known as the Enigma Code. The code got its name from the machine called the Enigma used by the Germans to send secret messages.

Turing and Gordon Welchman, another code breaker, invented the machine called the Bombe.  This machine helped to significantly reduce the work of the code-breakers.

Because he spent the majority of his life working in secret, it was not until many years after his death that his legacy, life, and work came to light.  Due to his efforts during the war,  he had an enormous influence on the development of computer science and artificial intelligence.  There is no wonder why Alan Turing has been honored on the £ 50 note!

Decriminalization

Because being homosexual was illegal in Britain back then, in 1952 Turing was arrested for being gay. In 2013, he was posthumously pardoned which is the term for being pardoned after one’s death.  Turing died on June 7, 1954. In 2017, the government agreed to officially pardon men accused of similar crimes and expunged their criminal records.

This pardon is known as the Alan Turing Law.

Earlier this year, Alan Turing was named the most iconic figure of the 20th Century.  He is now the new image on the Bank of England’s £50 Note. What’s interesting, this is the last banknote to move from paper to polymer.  People will be able...

Cool Stories Science

Beach or Car Door? Optical Illusion Confuses the Internet

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Eye Institute defined an optical illusion as “something that plays tricks on your vision,” relating to the way our brains and eyes work together to see an image, and this new photo of a car door that looks like a stormy beach that has been shared over 1,000 times is trickier than most.

“If you can see a beach, ocean sky, rocks and stars then you are an artist, but it’s not a painting its lower part of the car gate which needs to be repaired,” user @nxyxm wrote.

Respondents have found it nearly impossible to identify what part of a car is pictured, but @nxyxm did is best to help them out:

“Focus on the dark side you will see the car gate…It’s a car door, the sealing panel under it is damaged, the bend in the door gives the illusion of a beach, the sealing panel is damaged and scratched which gives an illusion of water on the edge of a beach,” he commented.

When looking at a 2D image, the brain can be tricked since it doesn’t have all the information it needs to make sense of what it’s looking at – things like position, depth, and light. Scientists often use optical illusions to understand how the brain processes images.

The journal JNeurosci published a study recently looking at the Pinna-Brelstaff motion illusion where thick lines arranged into circles appear to rotate when one looks at them while moving their head back and forth.

How Fast Do We See?

Scientists scanned the brains of those who looked at it and found that people processed the still illusion the same way they would a moving object and that in the area of the brain critical for picking up visual motion, there was a processing gap of 15 milliseconds by the neurons. As a result, the non-moving image came alive!

The cartoonist W. E. Hill created another famous illusion in 1915 which continues to confuse those who look at it. The image makes it hard to distinguish whether one is looking at an old or a young woman.

Scientific Reports performed a study to discover if people’s own age biases affected their face perception subconsciously, and the results concluded that they did. Younger people picked out a young woman more often while older participants saw the old woman.

An author of the paper from Flinders, Mike Nicholls, told Newsweek at the time: “We were interested in how individual differences in traits, such as age, cause people to see things differently. The most interesting thing is that this bias seems to be sub-conscious. The image was only shown for half a second and observers were not told that they would have to make a judgement of age.”

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Eye Institute defined an optical illusion as “something that plays tricks on your vision,” relating to the way our brains and eyes work together to see an image, and this new photo of a car door that looks like a...

Animals Nature & Tech Science

Heads Up! Cockroaches Are Becoming Almost Impossible To Control!

Studies have shown that the cockroach has developed a resistance to bug sprays and might actually become impossible to control with chemicals.

New research published by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana believes there is a strain of German cockroaches, known as Blatella germanica L, which are becoming difficult to get rid of as future generations are going to be increasingly immune to our efforts to control them.

Scientists have strongly stated that these insects must be controlled as they threaten human health. They can spread bacteria and their feces triggers allergies and asthma in both children and adults.

A Losing Battle

A professor in the Department of Entomology, Michael Scharf, said: “This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches”.  He led a 6-month study that was then published in the Scientific Reports journal.  He believes these insects are becoming resistant to many insecticides which will make controlling them almost impossible using chemicals alone.

This species of cockroaches cannot survive in areas without humans and thrive in warm indoor places with access to food and water.  This statement was made by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Purdue researchers believe insecticides used to remove the spread come in different classes and each works differently for eliminating cockroaches.  Some of these sprays contain a blend of multiple classes to ensure that at least one will impact these very tough insects.  New experiments are planned to test these sprays’ effectiveness.

German roaches were collected from apartments in Indianapolis and Danville.  Chemicals were purchased from Univar Solutions.  During the first test, 3 kinds of insecticides were rotated for 3 months before repeating the process.  The second test had a mixture of 2 insecticides for a period of 6 months. In the third test, scientists used a single insecticide on roaches that had low resistance and ran the test for another 6 months.

In the first rotation, researchers said they could keep the population down but failed to reduce it.  During the mixture test, nothing worked and instead the population started to grow.

What happened next was really shocking!

In a single insecticide test, scientists discovered they were able to eliminate the roach population because of the low starting resistance in the chosen insecticide.  That said, not all was good news.  With another single insecticide experiment the population with only 10% resistant but managed to grow.

Scharf believes that cockroaches will survive a certain treatment and essentially become immune to the insecticide in the future and that includes their offspring.  They have also gained resistance to other classes of insecticides even if the insects were never exposed to the treatments and never had a previous resistance.

He went on to say that resistance will increase four or six-fold in just one generation.  He said no one had any idea that something like this could happen so fast.

Female cockroaches have a 3-month reproductive cycle which will bring in another 50 offspring. Even a number this small can lead to a lot of trouble down the road.  It is suggested that even if a population is wiped out by one working bug spray, they could spring back in a matter of a few months.

Further research will have to be conducted to come up with a plan for removing cockroaches from the human population.  Chemicals have become a concern among most people, so how strong will a new variety of bug spray have to be to control the problem?  Adding to that, how long would a new bug spray last before these tough insects become immune to that as well?

That said, insects have been around since the beginning of time, so they might just survive us as well!

Studies have shown that the cockroach has developed a resistance to bug sprays and might actually become impossible to control with chemicals.

New research published by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana believes there is a strain of German...