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CaaC (John)

Science & Environment

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Why do some birds lay colourful eggs? From pale blue to speckled red, they come in every shade and hue.

The answer, say, scientists, is that coloured eggs evolved millions of years ago in birds' ancestors, the dinosaurs.

The patterns and colours may have served to camouflage eggs from predators as white eggs stand out more against darker backgrounds.

Thus, the likes of Oviraptor may have sat on eggs of the darkest blue rather than plain white ones.

"The dinosaur nesting world was more colourful than we thought," Dr Jasmina Wiemann of Yale University told BBC News.

"We think that camouflage is one of the main drivers."

The researchers detected the same two pigments that are present in colourful birds eggs in a group of dinosaurs called eumaniraptorans.

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Comparisons with the eggs of modern birds suggest the clawed predator Deinonychus laid a blue egg with brown blotches.

The birdlike feathered Oviraptor had eggs that were a dark blue-green, like an emu.

The research, published in the journal Nature, suggests that egg colour provided an evolutionary advantage to dinosaurs that had nests with exposed eggs, rather than burying them as alligators and turtles do.

Modern birds inherited this ability.

"We are looking at a single evolutionary origin of egg colour," said Dr Wiemann. "It seems as if egg colour co-evolved with open nesting habits, which is quite neat."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46096317

Edited by CaaC - John
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Those pictures of dinosaurs being big fluffy creatures with peacock like feathers around their arms cracks me up man, the least intimidating site of the most intimidating species

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4 hours ago, Danny said:

Those pictures of dinosaurs being big fluffy creatures with peacock like feathers around their arms cracks me up man, the least intimidating site of the most intimidating species

:D

 

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Climate change: Bug covered 'bionic mushroom' generates clean energy

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US researchers have successfully tested the rather whacky idea of producing electricity from a mushroom covered in bacteria.

The scientists used 3D printing to attach clusters of energy-producing bugs to the cap of a button mushroom.

The fungus provided the ideal environment to allow the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of power.

The authors say their fossil-free "bionic mushroom" could have great potential.

As researchers the world over search for alternative energy sources, there has been a sharp rise in interest in cyanobacteria.

These organisms, widely found in the oceans and on land, are being investigated for their abilities to turn sunlight into electrical current.

One big problem is that they do not survive long enough on artificial surfaces to be able to deliver on their power potential.

That's where the humble button mushroom comes in.

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This fertile fungus is already home to many other forms of bacterial life, providing an attractive array of nutrients, moisture, and temperature.

So the scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the US developed a clever method of marrying the mushroom to the sparky bugs.

Appropriately enough, they came up with the idea while having lunch!

"One day my friends and I went to lunch together and we ordered some mushrooms," said Sudeep Joshi, a postdoctoral researcher and author of the study.

"As we discussed them we realized they have a rich microbiota of their own, so we thought why not use the mushrooms as a support for the cynaobacteria. We thought let's merge them and see what happens."

Using a special bio-ink, the team printed the bacteria on the cap of the mushroom in a spiral pattern. They had previously used an electronic ink to embed graphene nano-ribbons on to the surface of the fungus to collect the current.

When they shone a light on this magical mushroom, it caused the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of electricity.

Not quite a lightbulb moment but proof that the idea works. The researchers say that several mushrooms wired up together could light a small lamp.

"We are looking to connect all the mushrooms in series, in an array, and we are also looking to pack more bacteria together," said Sudeep Joshi.

"These are the next steps, to optimize the bio-currents, to generate more electricity, to power a small LED."

A big plus for the experiment was the fact that the bugs on the fungus lasted several days longer compared with cyanobacteria placed on other surfaces.

The researchers believe that the idea could have potential as a renewable energy source.

"Right now we are using cyanobacteria from the pond, but you can genetically engineer them and you can change their molecules to produce higher photocurrents, via photosynthesis," said Sudeep Joshi.

"It's a new start; we call it engineered symbiosis. If we do more research in this we can really push this field forward to have some type of effective green technology."

The leap from fossil fuel to fungus fuel may not be that far away.

The study has been published in the journal Nano Letters.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46127318

Edited by CaaC - John
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Now that's what I call a magic mushroom! :D 

I must say that the whole 3D bioprinting, bio ink and tissue fabrication stuff is like magic to me. Can you imagine what a breakthrough it will be once we can actually print out complex tissue structures with blood vessels and nerves?... It's incredible. I read that the first mainstream application of it should be 3D-printed corneas. Amazing, especially considering how many people would be saved from blindness without needing a donor.

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1 hour ago, nudge said:

Now that's what I call a magic mushroom! :D 

I just KNEW someone would come up with something like that and it was you||  :rofl:

 

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Mystery monkey: the history of unique Xenothrix fossil revealed

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A mysterious extinct monkey from Jamaica that is unlike any other in the fossil record has South American roots, according to new evidence.

DNA extracted from fossilised bones suggests the monkey first colonised the island 11 million years ago.

It had no predators there and it evolved strange features not seen in living monkeys today.

But the animal went extinct a few hundred years ago, likely due to hunting and habitat loss.

Scientists say the discovery highlights how vulnerable unique island animals are to extinction.

"It was a really weird animal indeed," Prof Samuel Turvey from international conservation charity, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), told BBC News.

"Possibly with legs like a rodent; body maybe like a slow loris. Because it's so weird no-one's been able to agree what it was related to."

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The researchers extracted ancient DNA from the fossilised cave bones of the Jamaican monkey, Xenothrix mcgregori.

DNA evidence shows it was a type of titi monkey with some unusual morphological features, not a wholly distinct branch of evolution.

"Evolution can act in unexpected ways in island environments, producing miniature elephants, gigantic birds, and sloth-like primates," said Dr Ross MacPhee of the American Museum of Natural History.

More stories you might like:

Titi monkeys are small tree-dwelling animals found across tropical South America, with long soft red, brown, grey or black fur.

They are active during the day, and very vocal, with an elaborate system of communication.

Xenothrix's ancestors likely reached Jamaica from South America after being stranded on natural rafts of vegetation that were washed out of the mouths of rivers.

Other animals, such as large rodents called hutias, that still survive on some Caribbean islands, probably arrived in the same way.

The islands of the Caribbean have been home to some of the most unusual species to have ever walked the Earth.

The region has also experienced a very high rate of mammal extinction, likely caused by hunting and habitat loss by humans, and hunting by animals brought in by early settlers.

The research, published in the PNAS journal, also reveals that monkeys must have colonised the Caribbean islands more than once.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46187670

Edited by CaaC - John
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Massive impact crater beneath Greenland could explain Ice Age climate swing

The serendipitous discovery may just be the best evidence yet of a meteorite causing the mysterious, 1,000-year period known as Younger Dryas.
By Anna Groves  |  Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Greenlandcrater
Topography under Hiawatha glacier in Greenland, mapped with airborne radar data (1997 to 2014, NASA; 2016 Alfred Wegener Institute). Black triangles and purple circles are elevated peaks around the rim and center. Dotted red lines and black circles show locations of additional sampling.
Kjæer et al./Science Advances
Most of Earth’s surface has been plotted, mapped and measured. And along the way, scientists have turned up a plethora of craters big and small. But there was always one major crater missing.

12,800 years ago, during the Pleistocene, Earth was warming up from its last Ice Age. Temperatures slowly rose while glaciers retreated, that is, until something major happened that triggered a cold snap big enough to leave its mark on the geologic record. Over the course of just decades – the blink of an eye in geological timescales – the planet cooled somewhere between 3 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 6 degrees Celsius). The resulting period is known as the Younger Dryas, a mysterious 1000-year blip in history.

Many scientists have suggested – with evidence – that the Younger Dryas was triggered by a meteorite impact. But others have held out, suggesting that volcanic eruptions or, what seems to be the leading favorite, some sort of massive freshwater flood temporarily disrupted climate cycles based out of the North Atlantic. But the main reason scientists have been slow to accept the impact hypothesis is simple: There’s just no crater.

But research out today in the open-access journal Science Advances suggests that maybe we haven’t looked everywhere.

The work, led by Kurt Kjær, professor at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and University of Copenhagen, describes a previously overlooked, 19-mile-wide crater that’s been hiding in plain sight in northwest Greenland’s Hiawatha Glacier. In fact, it’s only about 150 miles from Thule Air Base – the U.S.’s northernmost Air Force base and the place where NASA’s IceBridge planes took flight. You can see about a third of the crater’s rounded outline on Google Earth.

Could this be the sought-after Younger Dryas crater? That depends on how old it is, but it hasn’t been precisely dated yet. Right now, the researchers can only confidently say it’s between 3 million and 12,000 years old – definitely from the Pleistocene.

Dating a crater like this is certainly possible, but because this crater is so deep below the ice in such a remote location, the team couldn’t exactly stop by to pick up some samples. Kjær says they’re working on raising enough interest to embark on the type of field expedition that would be required to core through the 3,000 feet of ice and into the crater itself.

This latest study describes the evidence used to verify that the strange circular feature is, in fact, a crater caused by an asteroid. But early age estimates show that it’s at least possible that this is the 12,800-year-old crater that so many researchers have hoped to find for decades. We’ll have to wait and see.
 
 

More on http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/11/massive-impact-crater-beneath-greenland-could-explain-ice-age-climate-swing

 

 
Very exciting discovery that would not only explain the sudden climate change some 10000 years ago, but could also explain the origins of the Great Flood myth that is prevalent in so many cultures and religions all over the world!
Imagine living through a cataclysmic event like this though... and the possibility of one of such asteroids hitting the Earth again :/ 
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6 minutes ago, nudge said:

Dating a crater like this is certainly possible, but because this crater is so deep below the ice in such a remote location, the team couldn’t exactly stop by to pick up some samples. Kjær says they’re working on raising enough interest to embark on the type of field expedition that would be required to core through the 3,000 feet of ice and into the crater itself.

 

That's gonna be some task if they can do that, bloody 3,000 feet of ice, phew. 

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30 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

That's gonna be some task if they can do that, bloody 3,000 feet of ice, phew. 

Yes - and can't imagine what it might hide underneath... even more so I wonder what we might find in Antarctica if we ever get to drill it properly, considering it's 5km thick in some places :o Lake Vostok is particularly fascinating; its waters could have been isolated for tens of millions of years and it's possible that we might find unusual life forms there (if any).

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New Antarctica Anomalies Documentary 2018 There is DEFINITELY Something Under the Ice

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Published on Sep 5, 2018
 
Is one of the worlds greatest secrets about to be uncovered? There is a huge magnetic anomaly in Antarctica, on the east coast of lake Vostok's shoreline. This is what you would see if you found the ruins of an ancient, buried city! Such a discovery would be absolutely dazzling, sending ripples through our world. And there were even stranger stories suddenly coming from the "bottom of the world" in this same time frame, such as witnesses claiming a huge UFO has been discovered under the ice. There are of course the sudden and mysterious evacuations that no one has an explanation for. This is not a natural anomaly, but generated by some unknown technology deep under the icecap–it may reveal the physics of time and could potentially allow control of the past, and by implication the future.The mind boggles as to what is really going on. Watch thought provoking, extraordinary, educational, eye opening, awesome documentaries by subscribing and of course hit the bell button twice at the top tight of the screen. We will make each film expand the horizons of the viewers open to learning more about the world. We hope you will become aware of many facts you may have been previously unaware of in this Antarctica Documentary.
 
 

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40 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

New Antarctica Anomalies Documentary 2018 There is DEFINITELY Something Under the Ice

AN66SAxqK85O-CYwRrdNbTyOEpDy01xF1Gr2l4s6
Published on Sep 5, 2018
 
Is one of the worlds greatest secrets about to be uncovered? There is a huge magnetic anomaly in Antarctica, on the east coast of lake Vostok's shoreline. This is what you would see if you found the ruins of an ancient, buried city! Such a discovery would be absolutely dazzling, sending ripples through our world. And there were even stranger stories suddenly coming from the "bottom of the world" in this same time frame, such as witnesses claiming a huge UFO has been discovered under the ice. There are of course the sudden and mysterious evacuations that no one has an explanation for. This is not a natural anomaly, but generated by some unknown technology deep under the icecap–it may reveal the physics of time and could potentially allow control of the past, and by implication the future.The mind boggles as to what is really going on. Watch thought provoking, extraordinary, educational, eye opening, awesome documentaries by subscribing and of course hit the bell button twice at the top tight of the screen. We will make each film expand the horizons of the viewers open to learning more about the world. We hope you will become aware of many facts you may have been previously unaware of in this Antarctica Documentary.
 
 

WTF xD The narrator was doing well until like 8th minute when he suddenly claimed that magnetic anomalies can't be explained by any natural cause (wtf?...natural tectonic forces, mineral deposits, Earth crust, composition of rocks, etc. are responsible for numerous magnetic anomalies all over the world) and then BAM! - he moved directly to alien spaceships, sunken civilizations, Atlantis, UFOs and then the best part, apparently the distance between Mars and Earth is 52 miles xD 

There's a lot of interesting and curious stuff about Antarctica, but none of it needs far fetched (to put it nicely) conspiracy theories to be explained... If you want something about Antarctica that haven't been resolved yet and that has left scientists puzzled, take a look at this: https://interestingengineering.com/abnormal-particles-flying-up-from-antarctica-leave-scientists-puzzled Now that's truly fascinating and could change physics as we know it.

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4 minutes ago, nudge said:

WTF xD The narrator was doing well until like 8th minute when he suddenly claimed that magnetic anomalies can't be explained by any natural cause (wtf?...natural tectonic forces, mineral deposits, Earth crust, composition of rocks, etc. are responsible for numerous magnetic anomalies all over the world) and then BAM! - he moved directly to alien spaceships, sunken civilizations, Atlantis, UFOs and then the best part, apparently the distance between Mars and Earth is 52 miles xD 

There's a lot of interesting and curious stuff about Antarctica, but none of it needs far fetched (to put it nicely) conspiracy theories to be explained... If you want something about Antarctica that haven't been resolved yet and that has left scientists puzzled, take a look at this: https://interestingengineering.com/abnormal-particles-flying-up-from-antarctica-leave-scientists-puzzled Now that's truly fascinating and could change physics as we know it.

Some of the narrators can be a bit puzzling sometimes xD  I was trying to eat a pepperoni pizza watching and listening to his comments so really I didn't take in much what he said or the conclusions he came up with, I enjoyed the pizza though  :D

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“Little ogres”: A scientific discovery has unearthed a new kingdom of life

Dave Gershgorn         17 hrs ago

 

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Scientists say we’re all eukaryotes: Plants, animals, fungi, and tiny multicelled organisms called protists are the four kingdoms of life, which encompass everything living that we’ve found on Earth.

But a new discovery from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, published in Nature, claims to have discovered a fifth kingdom of life—a new kind of eukaryote. The paper describes two organisms, one newly unearthed in Nova Scotia and one discovered in 1988, which upon DNA analysis are more distinct from anything else than previously thought.

The new organism is now called Hemimastix kukwesjijk, named after a greedy, hairy ogre from local Mi’kmaq mythology. The organism flails its hair-like tendrils wildly, curling them around prey and sucking out their juices.

“They represent a major branch… that we didn’t know we were missing,” Dalhousie professor Alastair Simpson, co-author of the new study, told the CBC. “There’s nothing we know that’s closely related to them.”

Graduate student Yana Eglit found the samples while on a hike outside of Halifax, according to the CBC, collecting some dirt on a whim.

Weeks later, after hydrating the soil and looking at the contents under a microscope, she recognized the rare movement of the new organism and investigated further. After watching it hunt, Eglit and another grad student started to feed the organism and produce more of its prey, so they could breed it.

“It really shows how much more there is out there,” Eglit told the CBC.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/“little-ogres”-a-scientific-discovery-has-unearthed-a-new-kingdom-of-life/ar-BBPOdy3?li=AAnZ9Ug

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China’s 'artificial sun' is now hot enough for nuclear fusion

16 Nov 2018
 

It's a hot one

Things are heating up in China.

On Tuesday, a team from China’s Hefei Institutes of Physical Science announced that its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor — an “artificial sun” designed to replicate the process our natural Sun uses to generate energy — just hit a new temperature milestone: 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit).

For comparison, the core of our real Sun only reaches about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit — meaning the EAST reactor was, briefly, more than six times hotter than the closest star.

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Image: BBC

Nuclei smash

When two hydrogen nuclei combine, they produce an enormous amount of energy. That process, known as nuclear fusion, is how our Sun generates light and heat, and it’s the great white whale of the energy world — if we could find a way to harness it, we’d have a near-limitless source of clean energy.

Tokamaks like EAST could help us do just that. They’re devices that use magnetic fields to control plasma in a way that could support stable nuclear fusion, and it’s this plasma that EAST heated to such an incredible temperature.

Going nuclear

Not only is EAST’s new plasma temperature milestone remarkable because, wow, it’s really hot, it’s also the minimum temperature scientists believe is needed to produce a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction on Earth.

Now that China’s “artificial sun” is capable of heating plasma to the necessary temperature, researchers can focus on the next steps along the path to stable nuclear fusion.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/china-s-artificial-sun-is-now-hot-enough-for-nuclear-fusion/

 

 

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Whoever dug them up must have thought they could sell them like lumps of gold!!  

 

Scotland

Meteorite hunters dig up 60 million-year-old site in Skye

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Efforts are to be made to protect part of a 60-million-year-old meteorite impact site in Skye.

Geologists believe deposits from the meteorite were dug up and taken away by meteorite hunters earlier this month.

Dr Simon Drake, who discovered the impact site with colleague Dr Andy Beard in 2017, said he was appalled by the damage.

He said plans were being made to shield the affected area, which is only a few meters across, with reinforced glass.

A tiny amount of rare minerals, measuring less than the diameter of a human hair, have been found at the so-called ejecta deposit site.

One of the minerals, a brown crystal called niobium rich osbornite (TiNbVN), had never been recorded until Drake and Beard's discovery last year.

The TiNbVN was found together with another mineral, vanadium-rich osbornite (TiVN).

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TiVN was previously found in a sample of the minerals that were collected as particles in the wake of comet Wild-2 by Nasa's Stardust mission in 2006.

Dr Drake said the minerals had been found in such tiny amounts and at microscopic size that anyone taking - or buying - the rock from Skye would have no idea if their sample contained them.

Mini digger

Dr Drake said local crofters and Scottish government representatives were involved in the plan to protect the site from further damage.

The Birkbeck, University of London, a geologist said: "The glass would prevent further samples from being taken from this fragile site, but would still allow students and children on school trips to visit the site and see what is there."

A plaque explaining what is under the glass has also been proposed, he said.

On the damage caused to the site, Dr Drake said: "Up to a cubic metre of rock has been removed.

"The right-hand side of the outcrop has been cut into using a mini digger and picks and shovels.

"Four or five hundred fist-sized pieces of loose rock have also been taken."

Dr Drake said another part of the meteoric ejecta deposit was on land owned by the John Muir Trust and that the conservation charity was keen to keep this area protected.

He appealed to people not to collect samples.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-46262827

Edited by CaaC - John
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Science & Environment

David Attenborough takes 'people's seat' at climate change talks

By Victoria Gill

Science correspondent, BBC News

2 hours ago

Sir David Attenborough has said that a failure to tackle climate change will be a catastrophe for the planet.

The naturalist and broadcaster made the comments in an interview with BBC News as he took on a new UN role.

He will take up the UN's "people's seat" at the opening of crucial climate change talks in December in Poland.

It is a platform from which he will give a speech made up of submitted climate change comments from the public for world leaders.

"The people's seat is meant to represent the hundreds of millions of people are around the world whose lives are about to be affected by climate change," Sir David told BBC News.

"It will sit there to remind politicians who are working at [this] conference -  and administrators and governments - that this is not a theoretical enterprise - they aren't working in a vacuum. They are dealing with real people's futures."

Sir David will take up the seat in his role giving the people's address for the opening sessions of the conference.

He is launching the campaign with a video inviting viewers to share their thoughts on climate change. Ahead of the conference, people will be invited to submit their experiences and opinions on climate change to an online poll and conversations on social media, using the hashtag #TakeYourSeat.

Any comments submitted after that address, the UN says, will become part of the meeting "showing the power of the voice of the people".

But while the seat may remind politicians around the table of what is at stake, it will still be up to those around the table to decide what actions are taken.

Sir David, though, told the BBC that including voices from people experiencing the reality of climate change was vital: "There are fishermen all around the world who know what changes are taking place," he said.

"There are people whose houses have been destroyed by increasingly extreme weather. Summarising what is taking place is an almost impossible job, but it's something that has to be done."

He added: "People know that the world is changing; they are behind politicians taking action."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46266348

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With no moving parts, this plane flies on the ionic wind

Devin Coldewey       6 hrs ago

Since planes were invented, they've flown using moving parts to push air around. Sure, there are gliders and dirigibles, which float more than fly, but the powered flight is all about propellers (that's why they call them that). Today that changes, with the first-ever 'solid state' aircraft, flying with no moving parts at all by generating "ionic wind."

If it sounds like science fiction... well, that's about right. MIT's Stephen Barrett explains that he took his inspiration directly from Star Trek.

"In the long-term future, planes shouldn’t have propellers and turbines,”  Barrett said in an MIT news release. 

. “They should be more like the shuttles in ‘Star Trek,’ that have just a blue glow and silently glide."

"When I got an appointment at the university," he explained, "I thought, well, now I've got the opportunity to explore this, and started looking for physics that enabled that to happen."

He didn't discover the principle that ended up making his team's craft fly — it's been known about for nearly a century, but has never been able to be applied successfully to flight.

The basic idea is simply that when you have a powerful source of negatively charged electrons, they pass that charge on to the air around them, "ionizing" it, at which point it flows away from that source and towards — if you set it up right — a "collector" surface nearby. (Nature has a much more detailed explanation. The team's paper was published in the journal today.)

Essentially what you're doing is making negatively charged air flow in a direction you choose. This phenomenon was recognized in the '20s, and in the '60s they even attempted some thrust tests using it. But they were only able to get about 1 percent of the input electricity to work as thrust. That's inefficient, to say the least.

To tell the truth, Barrett et al.'s system doesn't do a lot better, only getting 2.6 percent of the input energy back as thrust, but they have the benefit of computer-aided design and super-lightweight materials. The team determined that at a certain weight and wingspan, and with the thrust that can be generated that that scale, the flight should theoretically be possible. They've spent years pursuing it.

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                                        © Provided by AOL Inc.

After many, many revisions (and as many crashes) they arrived at this 5-meter-wide, 2.5-kilogram, multi-decker craft, and after a few false starts it flew... for about ten seconds. They were limited by the length of the room they tested in, and figure it could go farther, but the very fact that it was able to sustain flight significantly beyond the bounds of gliding is proof enough of the concept.

"This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system," Barrett Said. "This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions."

No one, least of all the crew, thinks this is going to replace propellers or jet engines any time soon. But there are lots of applications for a silent and mechanically simple form of propulsion — drones, for instance, could use it for small adjustments or to create soft landings.

There's lots of work to do. But the goal was to invent a solid-state flying machine, and that's what they did. The rest is just engineering

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/with-no-moving-parts-this-plane-flies-on-the-ionic-wind/ar-BBPYumt?ocid=chromentp

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Looks like a neat concept, little efficiency or power though. Well at least at the moment; if they can improve and develop it further, this could work well for drones in the future.

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1 minute ago, nudge said:

Looks like a neat concept, little efficiency or power though. Well at least at the moment; if they can improve and develop it further, this could work well for drones in the future.

I guess everything will change in the future and maybe this will be one of them, people complain nowadays when they build an airport near their homes of all the overhead noise and buildings rattling, a silent flight would stop all the complaints. 

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2 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

I guess everything will change in the future and maybe this will be one of them, people complain nowadays when they build an airport near their homes of all the overhead noise and buildings rattling, a silent flight would stop all the complaints. 

Yes, the concept is definitely cool and silent flight with no gas emissions would be a huge benefit, but ionocraft has many limitations as it takes a loooooot of energy to ionize gas and then the thrust to weight ratio and power efficiency is very low... You're right in that it's just an early prototype and a demonstration of a concept though; who knows what future brings. Maybe they'll use it in biological warfare for silently delivering bubonic plague to enemy areas :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, nudge said:

Maybe they'll use it in biological warfare for silently delivering bubonic plague to enemy areas :ph34r:

A bit like a stealth bomber, you can't pick it up on the radar yet it can deliver a silent killer blow.

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Amazon rainforest deforestation 'worst in 10 years', says Brazil

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Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has hit its highest rate in a decade, according to official data.

About 7,900 sq km (3,050 sq miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed between August 2017 and July 2018 - an area roughly five times the size of London.

Environment Minister Edson Duarte said illegal logging was to blame.

The figures come amid concerns about the policies of Brazil's newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro.

During the 2018 election campaign, Mr Bolsonaro pledged to limit fines for damaging forestry and to weaken the influence of the environmental agency.

An aide for the president-elect has also announced the administration will merge the agriculture and environment ministries, which critics say could endanger the rainforest.

The latest government data says most of the deforestation occurred in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará and marked a 13.7% rise over last year's figures.

Mato Grosso is the top producer of grains in Brazil, and critics say expanding agriculture is also encroaching on the rainforest.

Mr Duarte blamed "an upsurge in organized crime" for the illegal deforestation, and said the country must broaden the fight against "environmental violations and in defence of sustainable development of the biome".

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Satellite data from the deforestation monitoring project known as Prodesinformed the annual survey.

While the rate does mark a significant rise from last year, when the rate of deforestation dropped 16% in a 12-month period, it still marks a 72% drop from 2004, when the Brazilian federal government launched measures to combat deforestation.

In that year, an area the size of Haiti - more than 27,000 sq km - was cleared from the rainforest.

The Amazon region holds the largest tropical rainforest in the world and is home to plant and animal species that are still being discovered by scientists.

Most of its millions of square kilometres are inside Brazil, where under laws dating back to 1965, landowners must keep a percentage of their property forested.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-46327634

Edited by CaaC - John
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@SirBalon , Unicorns could be real after all  xD   

 

Science & Environment

'Siberian unicorn' walked Earth with humans

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A giant rhino that may have been the origin of the unicorn myth survived until at least 39,000 years ago - much longer than previously thought.

Known as the Siberian unicorn, the animal had a long horn on its nose and roamed the grasslands of Eurasia.

New evidence shows the hefty beast may have eventually died out because it was such a picky eater.

Scientists say knowing more about the animal's extinction could help save the remaining rhinos on the planet.

Rhinos are in particular danger of extinction because they are very picky about their habitat, said Prof Adrian Lister of the Natural History Museum, London, who led the study.

"Any change in their environment is a danger for them," he told BBC News. "And, of course, what we've also learned from the fossil record is that once a species is gone, that's it, it's gone for good."

Weighing in at a mighty four tonnes, with an extraordinary single horn on its head, the "Siberian unicorn", shared the earth with early modern humans up until at least 39,000 years ago.

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What do we know about the ancient rhino?

The rhino, Elasmotherium sibericum, was thought to have become extinct between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago.

By radiocarbon-dating a total of 23 specimens, researchers found the Ice Age giant in fact survived in Eastern Europe and Central Asia until at least 39,000 years ago.

They also isolated DNA from the ancient rhino for the first time, showing it split from the modern group of rhinos about 40 million years ago.

The extinction of the Siberian unicorn marks the end point of an entire group of rhinos.

Why might it have gone extinct?

The study also involved examining the animals' teeth, confirming they grazed on tough, dry grasses.

"It was walking along like a kind of prehistoric lawnmower really...it's just grazing along the ground," said Prof Lister.

The rhino's specialised diet may have been its downfall. As the Earth warmed up and started to emerge from the Ice Age around 40,000 years ago, grasslands started to shrink, likely pushing the animal to extinction.

Hundreds of large mammal species disappeared after the last Ice Age, due to climate change, loss of vegetation and human hunting.

What does it tell us about the fate of modern rhinos?

Today there are just five remaining species of rhino. Very few survive outside national parks and reserves due to persistent poaching and habitat loss over many decades.

By studying fossilised rhinos, scientists can learn more about the fate of the many prehistoric rhino species that once roamed the planet and how they adapted to climate change and human pressures.

Where do unicorn myths come from?

Legends of the unicorn, or a beast with a single horn, have been around for millennia.

Some have argued that the horn of the rhino may have been the basis of myths about unicorns, although other animals - such as the tusked narwhal - are more likely contenders.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46358789

Edited by CaaC - John
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https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/11/802-eleventy-which-802-11ax-and-802-11ay-explained/

A brief discussion about the new AX and AY standards in 802.11 wireless tech. The MIMO with MU/SU explanation is so fantastic and yet saddening because we have really nothing that actually uses it. Still, the new standards in 2019 will make multi-device connectivity with faster switch protocols so much better for households with multiple devices. Now, if those nice ladies and gents on the power side of the science could put their heads together and come up with better battery life we might actually see better connectivity.

And, just as an add-on this is a great read about 1Gbps connections of course all on SU-MIMO device with single line of sight and usage.

https://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/china-to-leapfrog-broadband-world-to-dominate-1-gbps-connections/

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10 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/11/802-eleventy-which-802-11ax-and-802-11ay-explained/

A brief discussion about the new AX and AY standards in 802.11 wireless tech. The MIMO with MU/SU explanation is so fantastic and yet saddening because we have really nothing that actually uses it. Still, the new standards in 2019 will make multi-device connectivity with faster switch protocols so much better for households with multiple devices. Now, if those nice ladies and gents on the power side of the science could put their heads together and come up with better battery life we might actually see better connectivity.

And, just as an add-on this is a great read about 1Gbps connections of course all on SU-MIMO device with single line of sight and usage.

https://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/china-to-leapfrog-broadband-world-to-dominate-1-gbps-connections/

China to leapfrog broadband world to dominate 1 Gbps connections

 

The Chinese are in everything atm and more than likely they are going to land on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn etc before we know it, then it will be "Beam me up, Chinese takeaway" with broadband   :dam: xD

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On a more serious 'scientific' topic, who in the world on a consumer level even needs a damn 1Gbps connection? Even porn comes in for much less and has a streaming packet transfer rate that will run on a measly 4Mbps connection with stable throughput. 

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Science & Environment

Climate change: CO2 emissions rising for the first time in four years

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Global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track says the UN, as it details the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years.

The emissions gap report says that economic growth is responsible for a rise in 2017 while national efforts to cut carbon have faltered.

To meet the goals of the Paris climate pact, the study says it's crucial that global emissions peak by 2020.

But the analysis says that this is now not likely even by 2030

The report comes days before a major UN climate conference starting in Poland from 2-14 December.

The report comes days before a major UN climate conference starting in Poland from 2-14 December.

 

 
 
 
 

What is the emissions gap?

For the last nine years,  UN Environment have produced an assessment of the latest scientific studies on current and future emissions of greenhouse gases.

It highlights the difference between the level of greenhouse gas emissions that the world can sustain to keep temperatures within safe limits, with the levels that are likely based on the promises and actions taken by countries.

This year's report records the largest gap yet between where we are and where we need to be.

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Why are emissions rising again?

Between 2014 and 2016, global emissions of CO2 from industry and the production of energy were essentially stable while the global economy grew modestly - but in 2017 these emissions went up by 1.2% pushed along by higher GDP.

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While the rise might seem small, it needs to be seen in the context of efforts to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5C, as recently outlined in a key IPCC report.

According to the UN, to keep the world below that target, global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 would have to be 55% lower than today.

"There is still a tremendous gap between words and deeds, between the targets agreed by governments worldwide to stabilise our climate and the measures to achieve these goals," said Dr Gunnar Luderer, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the authors of the study.

The scientists say that to tackle the gap, nations must raise their ambition fivefold to meet the 1.5C goal.

Right now, the world is heading for a temperature rise of 3.2C by the end of this century the report says.

No peaking?

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One key aspect of the study is about the peaking of global greenhouse emissions.

The report says that peaking of emissions in 2020 is "crucial for achieving the temperature targets in the Paris agreement," but the scale of the current efforts is insufficient.

The study says that by 2030, around 57 countries representing about 60% of global emissions will have peaked. Nowhere near where the world needs to be.

Does the report point the finger at countries that are doing badly?

In some ways yes. The study says that countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, the EU (including the UK), South Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the US, are falling short of achieving their nationally determined contributions for 2030.

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Three countries, Brazil, China and Japan are currently on track, while three others, India, Russia and Turkey are set to beat their targets.

The authors believe that some of these achievements may be down to settling relatively low targets for their national plans.

Is there any positive news in the report?

Undoubtedly, yes.

The UN is placing great hopes in what it terms "non-state actors", meaning local, city and regional governments, businesses and higher education institutions can have major impacts on the future gap.

They estimate that, right now, more than 7,000 cities from 133 countries and 6,000 companies with at least $36 trillion in revenue have pledged to take climate action.

But the authors believe this is just scratching the surface. With over 500,000 publicly traded companies worldwide, there are many more that can take steps that cumulatively would have a significant impact on the gap.

The study says that there is the potential to cut emissions from this sector by 19 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030 - that's enough to keep the world on a 2-degree path.

The future is fiscal?

The report also suggests that government tax plans could be hugely important in tackling emissions.

It says that carbon taxes or carbon trading systems cover only 15% of the global carbon output, which could rise to 20% if China implements its planned market. But the report says that half of the emissions from fossil fuels are not taxed at all and only 10% are priced at a level consistent with keeping warming to 2C.

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"When governments embrace fiscal policy measures to subsidise low-emission alternatives and tax fossil fuels, they can stimulate the right investments in the energy sector and significantly reduce carbon emissions," said Jian Liu, UN Environment's chief scientist.

"If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10% by 2030. Setting the right carbon price is also essential. At $70 per tonne of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40% are possible in some countries."

What happens now?

This report is aimed at informing delegates to next week's key climate conference in Katowice, Poland. Negotiators will be trying to finish the rules on how to implement the rule book of the Paris agreement - but the report's authors hope it can push countries to greater levels of ambition.

"Germany and Europe could demonstrate leadership in this area by pledging complete greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 and a clear strengthening of the emission reduction targets for 2030," said Dr Gunnar Luderer.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46347453

Edited by CaaC - John
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Science & Environment

Strong chance of a new El Niño forming by early 2019

By Matt McGrath

Environment correspondent

27 November 2018

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The World Meteorological Organization says there's a 75-80% chance of a weak El Niño forming within three months.

The naturally occurring event causes changes in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and has a major influence on weather patterns around the world.

It is linked to floods in South America and droughts in Africa and Asia.

El Niño events often lead to record temperatures as heat rises from the Pacific.

According to the WMO update, sea surface temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific have been at weak El Niño levels since October. However the atmosphere has not yet responded to the extra warmth that's produced by the upwelling seas.

Scientists have been predicting the likelihood of a new event since May this year, with confidence increasing.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology are now estimating that an El Niño event will start in December. US forecasters are saying there's a 90% chance of the event starting in January.

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The WMO models say that a fully fledged El Niño is estimated to be 75-80% likely between December and February 2019.

At this point, the WMO says its predictions for the event range from just a warm-neutral condition through to a moderate strength event with sea surface temperatures peaking between 0.8C to 1.2C above average.

The chance of a strong event is currently low.

"The forecast El Niño is not expected to be as powerful as the event in 2015-2016, which was linked with droughts, flooding and coral bleaching in different parts of the world," said Maxx Dilley, director of WMO's Climate Prediction and Adaptation branch.

"Even so, it can still significantly affect rainfall and temperature patterns in many regions, with important consequences to agricultural and food security sectors, and for management of water resources and public health, and it may combine with long-term climate change to boost 2019 global temperatures," he said.

In terms of food security, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have issued a report detailing the countries that could suffer food shortages as a result of the event.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46347451

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