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...

Inspiring Stories Science

Happy Uplifting Music Will Increase Creativity

A study was performed in 2017 and published in PLOS ONE by Simone Ritter from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Sam Ferguson from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. The study showed that listening to happy uplifting music will generate creative innovative solutions in comparison to silence.

Creativity plays a very important role in our world today.  Creativity generates innovative ideas for a wide range of issues that are addressed with new ideas. One question that constantly arises, what promotes creative understanding?

This has been widely debated and studied and even though music has previously shown to benefit cognition, very little is known how listening to music really affects creativity.

Emotional Music

A further study showed that researchers had 155 participants who completed a questionnaire and were then split into different groups.  Each group listened to 4 different styles of music covering calm, sad, anxious, and happy, depending on their positive or negative emotions.  High or low arousal was also taken into consideration and there was one group that just listened to silence.

Once the music started, the participants performed different tasks that would test their different and connecting creative thinking.  Those who scored the highest had come up with the most creative, original solutions. Those who came in with a single possible solution to a given task scored higher in convergent creativity.

Researchers found that those who listened to classical music, or happy music, showed positive demeanor, high arousal, and promoted creativity thinking vs those in silence. The researchers believe that happy music may actually enhance flexibility in thinking.

In turn, additional solutions might not have been taken into consideration if the participants were in silence when trying to create.

The study clearly showed that creativity may be enhanced through music.  Further research could reveal the different ambient sounds that may affect creativity and those participants of diverse cultures, different ages, and levels of musical knowledge.

The authors also believe that further studies may show that music could promote creative thinking for solutions that are inexpensive and efficient for different areas including scientific, educational, and organizational settings.

A study was performed in 2017 and published in PLOS ONE by Simone Ritter from Radboud University in the Netherlands and Sam Ferguson from the...

Nature & Tech Science

Cassini Finds New Complex Details On Saturn’s Ring

NASA’s spacecraft, Cassini,  has revealed even more intricate details on the rings around Saturn.  The craft’s mission ended two years ago but NASA is still collating data on the planet.  This latest revelations shows new temperatures, colors and textures within the planet’s complex ring system.

In Science magazine, a new paper shows how the rings interact with the particles around them, leading scientists to conclude that the rings are part of the processes that directly impact upon our solar system.

Cassini was able to identify fine details such as patterns and texture which varied in appearance and structure.  Cassini’s close-up images have shown that there are 3 distinct textures present in the rings – clumpy, streaky and smooth areas – that happen with sharp boundaries and are not necessarily connected to any specific characteristics already identified within the rings.

It has also provided maps showing changes in chemistry, temperature and color that exist across Saturn’s rings.  The data was collected initially between December 2016 and April 2017, names by NASA as the Ring Grazing Orbits (December 2016 to April 2017) and between April to September 2017, the Grand Finale of the mission.

Clues about the ring’s origins

Cassini’s observations have allowed NASA scientists to conclude that the outer edge of the ring systems were likely to have been hit at the same time leading to the similarly generated streaks that can be seen in the F ring.  It is likely, therefore, that the rings was not shaped by comets or other space debris at random, but instead by the materials that circle the planet.

The otter mystery found by Cassini was discovered as a result of the  visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) detecting weak water-ice bands.  Scientists were surprised to see this in the A ring’s vicinity.  The reflective nature of this water could indicate the presence of less contaminated ice and water bands.

Spectral imaging has also given a great insight into the composition of the rings.  As well as water which was already known, scientists have discovered that there was no ammonia or methane ice.  However, no organic compounds were seen.

The science team have been excited to establish new information about what was going on in the rings but as each question is answered more arise, making the Cassini project one to watch in the months and years to come.

NASA’s spacecraft, Cassini,  has revealed even more intricate details on the rings around Saturn.  The craft’s mission ended two years ago but...

Category - Science

Earth Science

Floating Islands Could Be Essential for Combating Climate Change

Unless you speak to the most self-assured climate change denier, just about everyone can appreciate the reality of climate change. We just need to look around us and see the ever-changing conditions in which we all live within.

It’s a scary thing, climate change, and it can play a huge role in how we do everything. It’s now an emergency that we must act on as a species: how we react to it, though, will be essential in creating a safer world. Thankfully, people far smarter than myself are working on creating some outside of the box solutions to the problem at hand.

For example, the creation of floating islands that then convert the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere into something else could be the secret. Scientists have been working on coming up with theories on what we can do to stop or at least slow down climate change. If enough of these were built, the research team in Norway and Switzerland believe, we could stop the build-up of so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

By creating them on large oceanic parts of the planet that aren’t going to be so prone to uncompromising weather, too, we could help to limit the extent of global warming in a relatively short space of time. However, it’s obvious an idea that, at the moment, is still a long way from being complete.

When published as part of the PNAS paper, the proposal, titled ‘Solar Methanol Islands’, was put forward as a wacky but realistic solution to put ourselves back on track to, you know, save the planet.

An interesting (but unlikely) idea

In their announcement of the paper, the lead authors wrote: “Humankind must cease CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning if dangerous climate change is to be avoided,

“However, liquid carbon-based energy carriers are often without practical alternatives for vital mobility applications. The recycling of atmospheric CO2 into synthetic fuels, using renewable energy, offers an energy concept with no net CO2 emission.”

Apparently, the idea was able to evolve from a Norwegian government request that they start putting fish farms out at the open sea. It was then seen as a problem as these fish farm grids would need an energy source – how would that be possible? And then the idea of such islands began to appear.

By using photovoltaic cells that turn solar energy into actual power, they would also use hydrogen produced and CO2 extracted from the seawater to ensure this is entirely sustainable. Putting it through a reaction, too, they would create a form of methanol that would then be used as a fuel source.

Seemingly, 70 of these islands could be used to make up a single square-kilometer worth of these islands. They would be placed in areas where waves can reach significant heights, that have high water depth, and which are likely to be safe from issues such as a hurricane.

However, before we start thinking we’ve found ‘the’ solution to climate change, slow down. The science team believes they would need around 3.2m of these islands to be made: with production not even started on one, we might need something a bit faster to stop what is quickly becoming the major battle of our time.

Unless you speak to the most self-assured climate change denier, just about everyone can appreciate the reality of climate change. We just need to look around us and see the ever-changing conditions in which we all live within.

It’s a scary thing, climate...

Nature & Tech Science

Could Helium Shortage Have Serious Repercussions for Humanity?

You know when you go to a party, and someone whips out some helium balloons? It’s all very funny. Watching someone turn into a cartoon character for a few sentences will always produce a few laughs.

Sadly, we might be seeing a slow-down in such party tricks; the world has a present helium shortage. And it could be putting more than just party balloons at risk: it could have an impact on everything from our ability to explore the stars to how we handle healthcare worldwide.

This is the third major shortage of helium in the last 15 years, and it does have a bit of an impact on the industry as a whole. Many might not think it matters much but trust us – it does. It really does. Helium is used in all manner of industries, from healthcare and technology to being used in some forms of space exploration.

This super-light element is used as a semiconductor in various fields. That is now at risk.

Helium is generated underneath the earth; the product of radioactive decaying of uranium and thorium. It’s then drilled out from the surface using massive drilling techniques. However, it’s becoming more and more challenging to get enough helium out from the earth. It’s having an impact on everything from research into gas chromatography to issues with healthcare needs.

While healthcare is often the industry that gets prioritized over everything else (rightly so), it’s becoming a common issue. To have a shortage once every five years almost is a big change in the way we used to deal with a substance that, at once, was almost in complete abundance.

Finding new sources of helium

The next challenge, then, is going to be finding newer sources of helium. With the cost of helium going up so much due to demand, the sooner we can find a higher volume of supply the better.

Indeed, some companies out in Canada are working on a form of production that would make it easier for us to find the supply we need. Indeed, companies like North American Helium currently have six major wells completed and have over one million acres worth of helium imports.

However, the time it takes to create a well from conception to a fully operating helium plant is many years. As such, it’s not quite quick enough to deal with the immediate shortages that we are facing at the moment. Canada, though, has a slightly different form of helium: it appears to be formed by underground nitrogen reservoirs.

Getting this out of the ground is much easier and it would have a much small environmental impact when pulling it out. As such, a lot of effort and concentration is going into helping this particular kind of development become the norm.

Given that this is quite unique to Canada, though, it’s still not going to help with the global shortages we are facing – not everyone can use the same easier solutions for extraction.

The demand for helium is real, and something has to be done to try and keep up with demand.

You know when you go to a party, and someone whips out some helium balloons? It’s all very funny. Watching someone turn into a cartoon character for a few sentences will always produce a few laughs.

Sadly, we might be seeing a slow-down in such party...

Earth Science

Did Water on Earth Come From the Moon?

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the debris of a Mars-sized body called Theia which has been thought to form the moon also brought water to our planet. The Theia theory is called the “giant impact hypothesis.”

Since our planet is thought to have formed in a dry inner solar system which lacked substance, scientists have long been unable to figure out where the source of water originated.

“The formation of the moon and the origin of Earth’s water are two of the fundamental open questions in cosmo-chemistry,” Gerrit Budde, the study’s lead author, told Newsweek. “Unraveling these processes is essential to understand the early evolution of the solar system, the formation of planets and the development of life.”

The solar system split in half

Scientists have previously surmised from the little they know about the world’s origin that the solar system was split in half for the first million years – that is, if their timeline is correct. When Jupiter formed, it was like a barrier against the exchange of materials between the inner and outer regions. Most of what they know about these matters is speculation, however.

The outer solar system was populated by meteorites containing water-rich “carbonaceous” material. Meanwhile, the inner solar system was filled mostly with non-carbonaceous meteorites that lacked water.

One of the more popular explanations for where the Earth first got water is that the “carbonaceous” bodies from the outer solar system brought large amounts of carbonaceous material to the earth. This explanation is still yet to be proven, however, and scientists haven’t been able to figure out when it could have happened or what the quantities involved may have been.

Scientists have attempted to get to the bottom of this issue by analyzing data on variants of a silvery-white metal called molybdenum which they obtained from a meteorite as well as terrestrial rock samples.

Fortunately, isotopes, which are variants of a chemical element that differ in the number of neutrons, allowing the scientists to clearly distinguish between carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous materials, which has given them slight leeway in discovering the truth.

“By comparing the molybdenum isotope composition of Earth and meteorites, for the first time we were able to constrain the timing and amount of the addition [of] outer solar system material to the Earth, as well as the origin of the moon-forming impactor and Earth’s water,” Budde said.

“In short, Earth’s water was delivered by water-rich carbonaceous material that derived from the cold outer solar system, probably beyond the orbit of Jupiter,” he said. “This happened relatively late at the end of Earth’s main growth history, and this material was delivered most likely by the giant impactor—Theia—that also caused the formation of the moon.

In turn, this means that the impactor itself originated from the outer solar system—it is generally assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth.”

All in all, it’s clear that there is much more to this issue than meets the eye. With so many things unclear about how our planet came to be, it makes one speculate about the theory of one Designer who planned it all.

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the...

City Life Science

Women Think Better in Warmer Rooms, Study Suggests

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room temperatures and the effect it has on employees’ productivity.

The study occurred in Berlin where 542 students were recruited by researchers to take math, cognition, and verbal tests. Forty percent of the participants were female. First, the tests were taken in a room kept at 61.14 F, but then they were taken in another room at 90.63 F.

Overall, the women performed better on math and verbal tests in the warmer room while the men did better on those tests in the colder room. However, the cognitive tests were unaffected by temperature.

Warmer is better for everyone

“Our findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the authors wrote.

Study co-author Agne Kajackaite, head of the Ethics and Behavioral Economics research group at WZB Berlin Social Science Center, told Newsweek: “There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men. However, nobody looked at the effect of these differences in comfort on performance.

“We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about comfort. It is much more—in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s [is] at low temperatures. Importantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men.”

Kajackaite continued: “This is just the first study looking at the effects of temperature on cognitive performance by gender. We ran the experiment with a homogeneous sample at a German university. More research looking at different groups—age, educational background, country—and different cognitive tasks is needed.”

Wouter Van Marken Lichtenbelt, a professor of ecological energetics and health at Maastricht University who has also published research on body temperature, told Newsweek that the study was written as if men had an opposite response to that of women, but “there is not one statistically significant effect observed in the data of the men.”

Wei Luo, a Ph.D. student at Maastricht University working with van Marken Lichtenbelt, confessed that the methods used were not wholly sufficient as the order of the different tests was fixed and the participants could have simply been tired. “This makes comparison between tests difficult,” said LuoHe.

The paper also lacked any information concerning participants’ clothes or the length of the tests, said van Marken Lichtenbelt, and this information could have had a significant impact on the results.

However, the results still strongly suggest that offices would be more productive if they slightly increased their room temperatures, agreed Van Marken Lichtenbelt, who also did a study in 2015 that found that exposures to temperatures outside our comfort zone could affect things like diabetes and obesity.

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room...

Inspiring Stories Science

NASA Finds Beresheet Impact Location on Moon

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the particular probe or unit has been left to its own devices. A fine example of this was on the 11th April mission when SpaceIL sent up the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft.

This first-ever private spacecraft made it to the moon but had problems in the final phase of landing and crashed. Therefore, it was left on the moon with no real way of being able to save it.

NASA used its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to look out for the Beresheet and has now found it on the Moon. They took a snap of the point of impact, with the LROC taking a shot around 56 miles from the surface. They found a 10-meter wide smudge on the ground which, according to the experts, is the point of crash for the Beresheet.

It’s uncertain if it left a crater, or if it just dented the surface. More investigation and close-up imagery would be needed to help confirm that particular information. According to NASA, though, it’s possible that the crater the little spacecraft left behind could be ‘too small’ to have left a full crater, saying: “It’s possible the crater is just too small to show up in photos,

“Another possibility is that Beresheet formed a small indent instead of a crater, given its low angle of approach, light mass (compared to a dense meteoroid of the same size), and low velocity (again, relative to a meteoroid of the same size; Beresheet’s speed was still faster than most speeding bullets).”

Good Shot

The LRO camera which managed to get the shot has been circling the moon for around a decade. It passes a part of the Earth satellite on a twice-per-month basis, once during the lunar day and once during the lunar evening. By using a series of wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras, this manages to capture some pretty spectacular shots.

This latest find, though, could be a quite important one for making sure that in the future we know exactly where important tools sent up to the Moon have vanished.

According to NASA, though, it’s important to note that the landing site is not yet conclusive. As they mentioned, the fine soil particles which came up during descent could have created a highly reflective surface.

Others suggest that it would be gas that has come from the crash. Either way, NASA noted: “There are many clues that we’re actually looking at a man-made crater instead of a meteoroid-caused one,

“This is an important consideration, since the Moon, having no atmosphere, is constantly bombarded by space rocks that leave craters.”

So, while we might not get a definitive answer until it passes again in late May, at the moment it looks like we know where the Beresheet has landed.

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the...

Science

Hiroshima Beaches Full of Glass Beads from A-Bomb

When the United States of America made the decision to drop an atomic bomb on the Japanese in the Second World War, the world change. We watched first-hand the world adjust to a whole new kind of weaponry and firepower: a world that now knew planet-devastating horror.

Today, we have weapons of mass destruction that make the weapons dropped on Hiroshima seem like a cuddly toy. Depressingly, we as a species show no signs of slowing down in our desire to create warped weapons of infernal warfare that would, if used, bring about the end times.

Even the weapon dropped on Hiroshima, so weak compared to modern equivalents, is having an impact on the environment so many years later. Indeed, beaches which are situated close to the city of Hiroshima are loaded with tiny glass beads. These beads have formed over time after the nuclear bomb was dropped and are tiny pieces of debris which were melted by the ferocity of the fire blast.

This odd revelation was found by study scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. They have done some research on the facility and found a host of beads that were never noticed until now. They seemingly formed in the atomic cloud from concrete, marble, stainless steel, and rubber. All of this was caught up in the explosion and could have created thousands of tons of these particles.

As Mario Wannier, a retired geologist at Berkeley Lab and study lead said: “This was the worst man-made event ever, by far,

“In the surprise of finding these particles, the big question for me was, you have a city, and a minute later you have no city … Where is the city? Where is the material? It is a trove to have discovered these particles. It is an incredible story.”

A world-changing discovery

The story if a horrifying example of the unique and demonic power of the nuclear bomb. The bomb itself was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, and wiped out over 70,000 people in an instant.

Many more died – an equal number, many suggest – from the sickening after-effects of such an attack. Indeed, it destroyed the part of 90% of the structures in the city. The Japanese city of Nagasaki suffered the same fate only three days later.

These small beads have been around for some time, then, but only now are being noticed as part of the fabric of the beach. Collected by a colleague, Marc de Urreiztieta, on the Motoujina Peninsula, around four miles from the city.

Wannier, an expert in studying local marine environments and the study of sand, was notified immediately. Alongside UC Berkeley mineralogist, Rudy Wenk, the analyzed these beads further. What they found was that it was made up of a wide range of chemicals, made from numerous structures which were eviscerated in the strike.

If you wish to find out more about this engaging study, you can read more about it in the Anthropocene journal. We now have more proof, though, about the long-term and lasting damage that could be caused by the use of atomic firepower. Hopefully, we never have to witness its consequences again.

When the United States of America made the decision to drop an atomic bomb on the Japanese in the Second World War, the world change. We watched first-hand the world adjust to a whole new kind of weaponry and firepower: a world that now knew...

Science

New Crystalline Material Sparks Interest in Scientific Community

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out everything that we can about, well, everything?

Sometimes though, we can find objects that totally shatter the conventional rules of what we thought we knew.

For example, a new crystalline material has been found that appears to have electronic properties never seen in the past. This unique new material was found recently and is made up of a mixture of aluminum and platinum.

It’s got a set of electronic properties that are unique, in that we have never seen their likes in the past. This was picked up in the Nature Physics science journal. Apparently, the structure is capable of producing Rarita-Schwinger fermions through its interior and also its Fermi arcs. That’s very interesting and shows a material state that behaves like an actual particle.

The finding is noted to be of significant importance moving forward. The research team working on it at the Paul Scherrer Institute, using the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source SLS, used this to observe the particles for the first time. It’s a very interesting finding and one that breaks away from a lot of conventional findings.

Unusual formation

Indeed, there is a repeated pattern of atoms taking place in a cube-shaped style, forming a cell unit of up to two elements. Inside this particular crystalline formation, there is a different layout. Normally, there would be a symmetry of sorts taking place within. This is different, with a slightly offset design in the middle. This forms what is known as a helical line.

This is known as a chiral crystal – a pair of mirror images, in essence. It’s very exciting and is the kind of finding which is often exceptionally rare in these particular fields. By using the SLS X-ray in conjunction with photoelectron spectroscopy tools at PSI, they were able to look at these unique electrical properties.

They found that it was not only chiral; it was also topological, meaning that it shows resistance to defects.

The hope is that, in time, this kind of finding could be used to assist in the creation of high-end computing equipment, such as quantum computing, in the near future.

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out...

Inspiring Stories Science

Utah Non-profit DNA Testing Lab to ‘Revolutionize Cold Cases’

The Utah Cold Case Coalition, a non-profit in Utah, just signed a lease for lab space in an office building in the city of Murray where they plan to build a DNA testing lab that will completely transform how cold cases are handled. The non-profit was first formed to bring attention to the cold case murder of six-year-old Rose Tapia in 1995, and it wholly relies on volunteer staff.

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, its co-founder Karra Porter, a defense attorney, said, “This is going to revolutionize cold cases across the United States. We saw this need and it was too big to ignore.”

An estimated 103,780 of the murders that have occurred in America between 1996 and 2016 remain unsolved, said a report by the U.S. Department of Justice. In the state of Utah, The Utah Department of Public Safety website has recorded about 400 cold cases that run the gamut from missing persons to murders to unidentified bodies.

Crowd Funding

Porter hopes to begin by helping solve Utah’s cold case and moving from there to help police all over the country. The coalition launched a GoFundMe page with a beginning goal of $81,000 and hopes to raise a total of $200,000 for DNA lab equipment.

The GoFundMe page says: “Despite being staffed by volunteers, we’re one of the most creative and aggressive cold case organizations in the U.S. We began in Utah, but are now contacted by families and law enforcement throughout the country.  Early on, we learned how much evidence has not undergone DNA testing due to its high cost.  We’re doing something about it.”

Francine Bardole pointed out to the Tribune that the department has an enormous backlog of untested DNA, rape kids, and more and that DNA testing could take anywhere from 8 to 18 months. According to a police investigator in the Utah city of West Jordan, a DNA lab would help immensely to lessen the time and cost it takes to deal with cold cases.

“The price can be overwhelming,” Bardole said, adding that going to a private lab can cost about $6,000.

She asked, “How many departments can afford to pay, on one case, $6,000?”

The Utah legislature passed a law last year that required law enforcement agencies to enter cold cases or any cases that go unsolved for at least three years into the database.

The Utah Cold Case Coalition, a non-profit in Utah, just signed a lease for lab space in an office building in the city of Murray where they plan to build a DNA testing lab that will completely transform how cold cases are handled. The non-profit was first...

Nature & Tech Science

The Newest Moon of Neptune: Something We’ve Seen Before?

Every now and then, we get a crazy story from the worlds leading astronomers. What’s going on in our own world is hard enough to understand, so information from outside of this planet can seem quite confusing.

However, we often love to hear about things like the discovery of a new planet, or the moon of a planet. One recent finding was that of the Hippocamp moon that was discovered in 2013. This moon, though, was first thought to be a new moon. Now, scientists believe it might actually be a chip-off from a larger moon, known as Proteus.

This was likely caused by a ‘cosmic explosion’ (sounds cool, right?) many years ago.

It was a puzzling discovery in 2013, and in 2019 it’s still confusing the prominent people looking into it. Speaking about this was SETI Institute expert Mark Showalter, who said: “The first thing we realized was that you wouldn’t expect to find such a tiny moon right next to Neptune’s biggest inner moon,

“In the distant past, given the slow migration outward of the larger moon, Proteus was once where Hippocamp is now.”

That’s quite an interesting view. With the orbit of the two moons being around 7,500 miles apart, they are breaking a lot of conventions that we know about space. Normally, it would be expected that Proteus would have swallowed up the smaller moon – that has not happened.

The major deciding point that builds the chipping theory, though, comes from as far back as a photo taken in 1989. Then, the Voyager 2 found a large impact crater on Proteus.

This is, as far as we know, the first evidence that points to this kind of thing being possible in the first place. It’s quite the finding. Alongside Showalter was Imke de Pater of UC Berkeley and Jack Lissauer of NASA’s Ames Research Centre.

Speaking about this finding, Lissauer said: “Based on estimates of comet populations, we know that other moons in the outer solar system have been hit by comets, smashed apart, and re-accreted multiple times. This pair of satellites provides a dramatic illustration that moons are sometimes broken apart by comets.”

Hippocamp itself is actually the product of many years of violent change in space. It was created by the mass tear-up of what took place when the Triton moon was ‘captured’ by Neptune from the Kuiper Belt. This should have been powerful enough to cause major damage to the entire moon system around Neptune.

De Peter summed it up well when he said: “This discovery is yet another example of the violent collisional history and continuous evolution of our solar system,”

For space fans and people who love to see changes take place in real-time, this is a very exciting and satisfying discovery. Quite what it means, we’re yet to find out: we just know that this further shows how unpredictable the worlds beyond our own are.

Every now and then, we get a crazy story from the worlds leading astronomers. What’s going on in our own world is hard enough to understand, so information from outside of this planet can seem quite confusing.

However, we often love to hear about things...

Nature & Tech Science

Could the Beetle Be the Key to Creating Biofuels Properly?

For many people, beetles are horrible, disgusting little freaks. Up close and in your line of sight, they are a genuine eyesore that can put you off looking at them. However, the beetle is more than just a hard little eyesore: they might hold the key to creating better biofuels in the future.

This was recently looked into by scientific experts at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. They have done some research into the beetle, as their diet of dying wood apparently makes an excellent starting point for the creation of biofuels.

The gut of the beetle has closely adapted and adjusted to ensure that it is strong enough to handle plant material, such as cellulose and lignin, without issue. It then transforms these plant materials into necessary things like ethanol, methane and other biofuels which are loaded with energy such as hydrogen.

That diversity is one of the many reasons why it has become a go-to choice for a whole lot of scientists. The assistant adjunct professor of environmental science at UC Berkley, and senior author of the study about beetles, Eoin Brodie, said:

“We brought together a team of experts and used advanced molecular biology tools, together with spectrometry and tiny sensors, to discover that the beetle’s gut is made of up specialized compartments — each with a distinct microbiome — that work together almost like a factory production line, using unique biochemistry to turn the wood into food and fuel,

“The key innovation that nature has provided here is a way to combine biochemical processes that are otherwise incompatible,” he concluded.

A Truly Special Find

This is a landmark discovery and could go some way to making sure that the humble and proud beetle plays a major role in environmental transformation. According to Javier Ceja-Navarro, a Berkeley Lab research scientist and lead author of the study:

“It turns out that the beetle’s gut architecture, such as the length and thickness of its gut walls, has evolved to suit its microbiome so that specific metabolic processes are favored in different gut regions,

“This beetle and its microbes have worked out what scientists around the world are hurrying to optimize – how to efficiently turn woody plant biomass into biofuels and bioproducts,”

The fact that the beetle is such a resilient breeding ground for such biofuels makes it a hugely compelling part of nature. It could help with the production of things like acetate, a major energy source, and could become a valuable learning tool as we try to become more aware of the changes we need to make to help the production of biofuels become a more common part of society.

So, the next time that you see a beetle scurrying around, remember the vast potential that they contain within!

For many people, beetles are horrible, disgusting little freaks. Up close and in your line of sight, they are a genuine eyesore that can put you off looking at them. However, the beetle is more than just a hard little eyesore: they might hold the key to...

Nature & Tech Science

MIT’s Stunning Agro-Tech Solution for Growing Basil

As one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking, basil has an important role in our lives. However, it’s hard to grow basil these days. While most of us might grow some basil at home simply by leaving it on the windowsill and letting it get some sunlight and water, we no longer need to.

Humanity is slowly being replaced by technology, and the latest example comes in the form of technologically driven agriculture.

Now, basil dishes are going to be created by machine-learning hydroponic solutions. This will not only help to reduce manpower needs for basil growing, but also optimize and develop the flavor of the basil further.

The aim of this program, over at the MIT Media Lab and the University of Texas at Austin, was to help improve automation of farming practices that we need to survive. The aim was to try and find out if a growing environment would be able to deliver a growing strategy that delivers a highly powered basil that comes with richer, stronger and more developed tastes.

To do that, a whole host of changes were needed to make it possible. For one, they decided to adjust things like the watering frequency, lighting volume and the soil type. This helped them to come up with a model that allowed for the best output. As the equipment makes the decision on behalf of the basil itself, the plant is always getting what is the best for its needs.

According to Caleb Harper of MIT, this process is very important. He said: “We’re really interested in building networked tools that can take a plant’s experience, its phenotype, the set of stresses it encounters, and its genetics, and digitize that to allow us to understand the plant-environment interaction,”

How does this work?

By adjusting the lighting that was allowed to get to the plants, this helped to improve the depth, strength, and concentration of the flavor. The results of the testing were quite surprising, too. For example, they found that one of the major suggestions was to undergo 24/7 lighting on the plants, using UV light.

This was the recommendation of the machine learning system which came forward through the extensive analysis carried out.

Despite going against general knowledge of how basil likes to grow, the researchers gave it a go. They found that it was actually going to deliver a much more immersive, satisfying flavor – massively so, in fact. They also found that it really did manage to produce double – or close to double – the flavor of a plant grown in a more controlled environment.

This is very interesting and shows a unique breakthrough in the agricultural industry. If our computers continue to come up with such intelligence solutions to help improve agriculture, this can only be a good thing.

Not only could we start growing more food, but we could improve food taste simply by modifying the growing process in a natural manner. It’s a very exciting time for agriculture, that’s for sure!

As one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking, basil has an important role in our lives. However, it’s hard to grow basil these days. While most of us might grow some basil at home simply by leaving it on the windowsill and letting it get some...

Earth Science

White Dwarf System Gives Glimpse into Our Solar System’s Demise

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star, we can take a look at what our solar system will look like in about 5 billion years.

It’s been common in the last few decades to find planets beyond our own solar system orbiting stars. Just like our sun, these solar systems have main-sequence stars that get their energy from core nuclear reactions. When these stars run out of fuel, they become red giants.

When our sun begins this process, it will consume Mercury, Venus, and most likely Earth, as well, and expand into the solar system. Once the core collapses, it becomes a white dwarf, too. For those of you who may not know, a white dwarf is an extremely dense, faint star that’s about the size of a planet.

Planets that orbit white dwarfs gradually move closer to the star until they collide, smash, and become floating debris.

Christopher Manser, of the U.K.’s University of Warwick, published a study done with his colleagues in Science. They presented evidence of a small, intact planetary body orbiting the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9.

“The gaseous planetary disc around this white dwarf was the first discovered, and is currently still the brightest disc known, making it great for observations,” Manser told Newsweek. “The observations were taken as a pilot test to see if we could detect anything happening on the time it takes material to orbit the white dwarf (roughly hours).”

A Planetesimal

The team was astonished to discover a planetesimal, which is a solid object formed through colliding rocks that have clumped together. The only way it wasn’t torn apart by the white dwarf’s gravitational pulls was because it was 370 miles in diameter and very dense. They’ve surmised that this planetesimal could be the core of one of the solar system’s planets.

“To survive so close to the white dwarf, the body either has to have a large density, or a high internal strength to avoid being ripped apart,” Manser said. “Currently, we cannot distinguish between the two, only that it requires some minimal amount of internal strength and a density around that of iron—if the internal strength is greater, our density estimate can be reduced.”

 Scientists are fascinated to see a glimpse into the destiny of our own solar system. It seems as though the three inner planets will be destroyed while the rest stay intact.

“By studying systems like SDSSJ122859.93+104032.9, we can learn more about the future of the solar system, and the majority of all known exoplanetary systems, which orbit stars that will themselves eventually become white dwarfs,” Manser said. He also mentioned they plan to find more planetesimals like this one.

A professor in University College London’s physics and astronomy department who was not involved in the study, Jay Farihi, said the planetesimal was similar to a “ring moon”—an object orbiting in the disc of rock and dust surrounding the star.

“This likely means the disks or rings around white dwarfs are highly dynamical and changing environments that will continue to do interesting things and elucidate more exoplanetary science,” he said.

“Continued monitoring of these real-time events should give insight into the total masses of the rings, the planetary parent bodies that were disrupted or otherwise destroyed to create the dust and gas, and most of all how they compare to Earth and the terrestrial planets.”

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star...