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Old 10-08-2013, 12:03 PM   #621
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meridiantoo View Post
"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.
Congrats to Peter Higgs on his Nobel Prize for postulating the Higgs boson. This was announced today and thought I'd post a quick follow-up to your post, Corkey.

Cheers
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:38 PM   #622
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http://news.yahoo.com/black-hole-ind...161159470.html


Black hole ingestion captured by radio telescope.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #623
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I follow this guy's blog -- Sean Carroll. He's a theoretical physicist. Used to be at Caltech. I don't think he's anywhere now. Not sure.

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/

Anyway, he had a good article about the Nobel in the NYTimes recently.

No Physicist is an Island
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:18 PM   #624
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When We Lose Antibiotics, Here’s Everything Else We’ll Lose Too

This week, health authorities in New Zealand announced that the tightly quarantined island nation — the only place I’ve ever been where you get x-rayed on the way into the country as well as leaving it — has experienced its first case, and first death, from a strain of totally drug-resistant bacteria...
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:58 PM   #625
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Default I have been thinking

My mother took DES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethylstilbestrol

and I have begun to find studies (as it was given from the 1940's-1971 and beyond off label) because the off spring of the women who were given the drug are now old enough to follow regarding the higher incidence of autoimmune disease, reproductive issues (structural and getting pregnant), mood disorders such as bi polar and depression and finally because of the timing of when it was introduced to the mother (week 8 through the birth) variances in the neurobiology regarding the influx and time of hormones in the brain on gender expression, sexuality and (at this point) in DES sons, more incidences of transitioning.

I am as much interested in the impact of the drug on automimmune diseases and mood disorders as gender expression because my sister and ex (who are one day apart in age) have suffered similar trajectories (mine has been a little different) the were born in 1952 and I was born in 1949 and there might have been different dosing and different strenghts because of the similarities in their reproductive organs being affected, their autoimmune, etc.

Neither of them is as masculinized in id as I am but interestingly, because there have also been studies regarding hormones and handedness, we are all left handed. I am getting more and more into the neurobiology of the brain, etc. as I teach human behavior and development and include more current literatire.

So I was just curious if anyone knows if their mother took DES and if they have an autoimmune diseases. For my sister this has been difficult to correlate and she is very sick with lupus and one large study in Sweden has found a correlation.

Thank you in advance if you should decide to respond
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:07 AM   #626
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Default I love this! This indeed meets the definition of exploration of a different kind...

The biodegradable burial pod that turns your body into a tree

By Paula Erizanu, CNN

Updated 7:44 AM ET, Wed May 3, 2017


(CNN) Your carbon footprint doesn't end in the grave.

While you rest in peace, the wood, the synthetic cushioning and the metals generally used in traditional coffins -- as well as the concrete around reinforced graves -- continue to litter the earth.

"A lot of energy also goes into producing these materials, which are used for a very short time and then buried. They're not going to break down very fast," says Jennifer DeBruyen, an Associate Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science at the University of Tennessee.

Italian designers Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli might have a solution. They call it Capsula Mundi -- "world's capsule" in Latin -- and it's an egg-shaped, organic casket that's suitable for ashes, too.

Once buried, they say, the biodegradable plastic shell breaks down and the remains provide nutrients to a sapling planted right above it.

Bretzel and Citelli believe that death is as closely related to consumerism as life. Their goal? To create cemeteries full of trees rather than tombstones, reduce waste, and create new life out of death.

The idea for the Capsula Mundi came in 2003, when the pair saw tons of furniture trashed at the end of Milan's famous design fair, "Salone del Mobile."

"It was a big competition to design new things, but almost nobody cared about future impact or whether anyone would actually use these things", Bretzel said.

"We started thinking about projects that could have an environmental aspect. Death is part of our life but at design fairs nobody cares about that because it's one side of our life that we don't want to look at. We don't like to think of death as part of life."

The science behind it
The designers are launching the first version of their product, which is for ashes only. A later model will be suitable for bodies, to be encapsulated in the fetal position.

Bacteria in the soil first break down the bio-plastic, then the ashes gradually come into contact with the soil, without changing its chemical balance too dramatically.

While the burial of ashes may be environmentally friendly, cremation has its critics: "It's a very energy-demanding process," says DeBruyen.

On top of that, older dental fillings can release polluting mercury, which is why some crematoriums have installed mercury filters.

Although sowing a seed on top of the Capsula may sound like an attractive concept, Jacqueline Aitkenhead-Peterson, Associate Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, suggests more mature trees should be used.

"Because the body will purge within a year in a buried environment, the nutrients are released into the soil quite quickly, so a decently sized tree planted on top would be key. Capturing these nutrients is also important to protect groundwater," she said.

But would it really benefit the environment? DeBruyen seems to think so: "The problem with traditional burials is that they're completely anaerobic. The remains are buried deep and sealed in a coffin. There's a lot of incomplete degradation."

"These pods may help maintain some oxygen flow into the system. The other thing they bring to the whole system is carbon [from the starch-based bioplastic]. One of the constraints and challenges with decomposing a human body is that it's very nitrogen rich. And so, the microbes that are trying to break down all that nitrogen need some carbon to balance it out."




http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/world/...ndi/index.html
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:51 PM   #627
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Default Fascinating!

SCIENCE

In the Bones of a Buried Child, Signs of a Massive Human Migration to the Americas

Carl Zimmer. JAN. 3, 2018

The girl was just six weeks old when she died. Her body was buried on a bed of antler points and red ocher, and she lay undisturbed for 11,500 years.

Archaeologists discovered her in an ancient burial pit in Alaska in 2010, and on Wednesday an international team of scientists reported they had retrieved the child’s genome from her remains. The second-oldest human genome ever found in North America, it sheds new light on how people — among them the ancestors of living Native Americans — first arrived in the Western Hemisphere.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, shows that the child belonged to a hitherto unknown human lineage, a group that split off from other Native Americans just after — or perhaps just before — they arrived in North America.

“It’s the earliest branch in the Americas that we know of so far,” said Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, a co-author of the new study. As far as he and other scientists can tell, these early settlers endured for thousands of years before disappearing.

The study strongly supports the idea that the Americas were settled by migrants from Siberia, and experts hailed the genetic evidence as a milestone. “There has never been any ancient Native American DNA like it before,” said David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study.

The girl’s remains were unearthed at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in the Tanana River Valley in central Alaska. Ben A. Potter, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska, discovered the site in 2006.

It was apparently home to short-lived settlements that appeared and disappeared over thousands of years. Every now and then, people arrived to build tent-like structures, fish for salmon, and hunt for hare and other small game.

In 2010, Dr. Potter and his colleagues discovered human bones at Upward Sun River. Atop a hearth dating back 11,500 years were the cremated bones of a 3-year-old child. Digging into the hearth itself, archaeologists discovered the remains of two infants.

The two infants were given names: the baby girl is Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay (“sunrise girl-child,” in Middle Tanana, the dialect of the local community), and the remains of the other infant, or perhaps a fetus, is Yełkaanenh T’eede Gaay (“dawn twilight girl-child”).

The Healy Lake Village Council and the Tanana Chiefs Conference agreed to let scientists search the remains for genetic material. Eventually, they discovered mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mother to child, suggesting each had different mothers. Moreover, each infant had a type of mitochondrial DNA found also in living Native Americans.

That finding prompted Dr. Potter and his colleagues to begin a more ambitious search. They began collaborating with Dr. Willerslev, whose team of geneticists has built an impressive record of recovering DNA from ancient Native American bones.

Among them are the 12,700-year-old Anzick Child, the oldest genome ever found in the Americas, and the Kennewick Man, an 8,500-year-old skeleton discovered in a riverbank in Washington State. Questions over his lineage provoked a decade-long legal dispute between scientists, Native American tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Living Native Americans descend from two major ancestral groups. The northern branch includes a number of communities in Canada, such as the Athabascans, along with some tribes in the United States like the Navajo and Apache.

The southern branch includes the other tribes in the United States, as well as all indigenous people in Central America and South America. Both the Anzick Child and Kennewick Man belonged to the southern branch, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues have found.

So he was eager to see how the people of Upward Sun River might be related. But the remains found there represented a huge scientific challenge.

The search for DNA in the cremated bones ended in failure, and Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues managed to retrieve only fragments from the remains of Yełkaanenh T’eede Gaay, the youngest of the infants.

But the researchers had better luck with Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay. Eventually, they managed to put together an accurate reconstruction of her entire genome. To analyze it, Dr. Willerslev and Dr. Potter collaborated with a number of geneticists and anthropologists.

Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay, they discovered, was more closely related to living Native Americans than to any other living people or to DNA extracted from other extinct lineages. But she belonged to neither the northern or southern branch of Native Americans.

Instead, Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay was part of a previously unknown population that diverged genetically from the ancestors of Native Americans about 20,000 years ago, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues concluded. They now call these people Ancient Beringians.

Beringia refers to Alaska and the eastern tip of Siberia, and to the land bridge that joined them during the last ice age. Appearing and disappearing over the eons, it has long been suspected as the route that humans took from Asia to the Western Hemisphere.

There has been little archaeological evidence, however, perhaps because early coastal settlements were submerged by rising seas. Thanks to her unique position in the Native American family tree, Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay has given scientists a clear idea how this enormous step in human history may have happened.

Her ancestors — and those of all Native Americans — started out in Asia and share a distant ancestry with Chinese people. In the new study, the scientists estimate those two lineages split about 36,000 years ago.

The population that would give rise to Native Americans originated somewhere in northeast Siberia, Dr. Willerslev believes. Archaeological evidence suggests they may have hunted for woolly rhino and other big game that ranged over the grasslands.

“It wasn’t such a bad place as we kind of imagine it or as we see it today,” he said. In fact, Siberia appears to have attracted a lot of genetically distinct peoples, and they interbred widely until about 25,000 years ago, the researchers determined.

About a third of living Native American DNA can be traced to a vanished people known as the ancient north Eurasians, known only from a genome recovered from the 24,000-year-old skeleton of a boy.

But the flow of genes from other Asian populations dried up about 25,000 years ago, and the ancestors of Native Americans became genetically isolated. About 20,000 years ago, the new analysis finds, these people began dividing into genetically distinct groups.

First to split off were the Ancient Beringians, the people from whom Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay descended. About 4,000 years later, the scientists estimate, the northern and southern branches of the Native American tree split.

According to Ripan Malhi, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois and a co-author of the new study, these genetic results support a theory of human migration called the Beringian Standstill model.

Based on previous genetic studies, Dr. Malhi has argued that the ancestors of Native Americans did not rush across Beringia and disperse across the Americas. Instead, they lingered there for thousands of years, their genes acquiring increasingly distinctive variations.

But while the new study concludes early Native Americans were isolated for thousands of years, as Dr. Malhi had predicted, it doesn’t pinpoint where.

“The genetics aren’t giving us locations, with the exception of a few anchor points,” said Dr. Potter.

Indeed, while the co-authors of the new study agree on the genetic findings, they disagree on the events that led to them.

“Most likely, people were in Alaska by 20,000 years ago, at least,” said Dr. Willerslev. He speculated that the northern and southern branches split afterward, about 15,700 years ago as the ancestors of Native Americans expanded out of Alaska, settling on land exposed by retreating glaciers.

Dr. Potter, however, argues that the lineage that led to Native Americans started splitting into three main branches while still in Siberia, long before reaching Alaska.

Pointing to the lack of archaeological sites in Beringia from 20,000 years ago, he believes it was too difficult for people to move there from Asia at that time. “That split took place in Asia somewhere — somewhere not in America,” Dr. Potter said.

If he is right, the mysterious earliest settlers of this hemisphere didn’t arrive in a single migration. Instead, the Ancient Beringians and the ancestors of the tribes we know today took separate journeys. “Even if there was a single founding population, there were two migrations,” he said.

But these scenarios all depend on timing estimated from changes in DNA, which “can be very sensitive to errors in the data,” Dr. Reich cautioned. More tests are required to be confident that the Ancient Beringians actually split from other Native Americans 20,000 years ago, he said.

NOTE: Long article, rest at link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/03/s...a-siberia.html
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:29 PM   #628
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PUBLIC RELEASE: 8-SEP-2017

A Female Viking Warrior

STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY

War was not an activity exclusive to males in the Viking world. A new study conducted by researchers at Stockholm and Uppsala Universities shows that women could be found in the higher ranks at the battlefield.

Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, who led the study, explains: "What we have studied was not a Valkyrie from the sagas but a real life military leader, that happens to be a woman".

The study was conducted on one of the most iconic graves from the Viking Age. It holds the remains of a warrior surrounded by weapons, including a sword, armour-piercing arrows, and two horses. There were also a full set of gaming pieces and a gaming board. "The gaming set indicates that she was an officer", says Charlotte, "someone who worked with tactics and strategy and could lead troops in battle".

The warrior was buried in the Viking town of Birka during the mid-10th century. Isotope analyses confirm an itinerant life style, well in tune with the martial society that dominated 8th to 10th century northern Europe.

Anna Kjellström, who also participated in the study, has taken an interest in the burial previously. "The morphology of some skeletal traits strongly suggests that she was a woman, but this has been the type specimen for a Viking warrior for over a century why we needed to confirm the sex in any way we could."

And this is why the archaeologists turned to genetics, to retrieve a molecular sex identification based on X and Y chromosomes. Such analyses can be quite useful according to Maja Krezwinska: "Using ancient DNA for sex identification is useful when working with children for example, but can also help to resolve controversial cases such as this one".

Maja was thus able to confirm the morphological sex identification with the presence of X chromosomes but the lack of a Y chromosome.

Jan Storå, who holds the senior position on this study, reflects over the history of the material: "This burial was excavated in the 1880's and has served as a model of a professional Viking warrior ever since. Especially, the grave-goods cemented an interpretation for over a century". It was just assumed she was a man through all these years. "The utilization of new techniques, methods, but also renewed critical perspectives, again, shows the research potential and scientific value of our museum collections".

The study is a part of the ongoing ATLAS project, which is a joint effort by Stockholm University and Uppsala University, supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences) and Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council), to investigate the genetic history of Scandinavia.

###

More information

The article "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics" is published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...jpa.23308/full


Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, Dept. Archaeology, Uppsala, Phone: 46-(0)8-519 55 724, 46-(0)70-371 07 17, E-mail: charlotte.hedenstierna-jonson@arkeologi.uu.se
Anna Kjellström, Dept. Archaeology & Classic Studies, Stockholm University, Phone 46-(0)73-756 50 91
Maja Krezwinska, Dept. Archaeology & Classic Studies, Stockholm University, Phone 46-(0)8-16 49 72

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea...-aoa090817.php
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:49 PM   #629
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Speaking of Science

NASA lost contact with a satellite 12 years ago. An amateur just found its signal.

By Avi Selk January 31 at 6:31 PM

NASA confirmed an incredible discovery Tuesday — that an amateur radio astronomer, on the hunt for a classified government satellite, stumbled upon signals from a spacecraft that had been thought lost 12 years earlier, raising hope that NASA can resurrect a mission that changed our understanding of the “invisible ocean” around the Earth.

1. Lost

IMAGE was a machine designed to “see the invisible,” as one of the mission's lead scientists once put it.

It was a squat and boxy thing, like many satellites, with a long technical name — Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration — that obscured its plain and noble purpose: to map the roiling sphere of electric gas around the Earth that protects us from the sun, and which we had never seen in full before.

Before IMAGE launched in 2000, humans had known only for a few decades that a magnetosphere surrounded the planet. In an essay before the launch, the mission's lead investigator, James L. Burch, called it an “invisible ocean . . . where nothing tangible — no snow or sand or tree or even a cloud — records titanic currents and pulses.”

The sphere shields our planet from the sun's harsh winds while letting through its light. Like an ocean, its plasma ripples and flows in a solar wind. But also like an ocean, it is prone to storms — solar disruptions so violent they can knock out satellites and even power grids on Earth.

IMAGE was built, Burch wrote, to send home images of the global magnetosphere for the first time in history and help predict those storms.

For five years, it astonished us.

The satellite beamed back pictures of an enormous solar storm in the summer of 2000 and allowed scientists to essentially live-stream “weather” in space. The sphere around the Earth proved to be a much stranger place than had been thought. IMAGE discovered that the Earth spits out jets of its own atmosphere to defend itself from space storms — like a squid shooting ink — the Dallas Morning News wrote in 2002. It discovered cracks in the Earth's magnetic field, tracked down the source of mysterious radiation and imaged 100,000-volt charged particles whipping around the circumference of the globe.

And in the last month of 2005 — on the same day the U.S. president addressed the nation from the Oval Office, promising an end to a still-young Iraq War — IMAGE stopped sending pictures. The satellite had suddenly gone invisible itself.

The scientists tried to figure out why. A tripped breaker in the radio was their best guess. But without a radio, they couldn't tell it to turn itself back on.

After a month of silence from IMAGE, NASA published a news release that declared the satellite's mission a great success — one that was now over.

“The craft's power supply subsystems failed,” the agency wrote, “rendering it lifeless.”

NASA was wrong. IMAGE was not dead, but it would circle Earth for more than a decade before a man with no professional astronomy training — one who did not always accept the official explanation of events — heard its call.

2. Contact

The 21st century moved into its second decade, and space exploration changed. New machines were sent into orbit, and some of them, like IMAGE, were lost too.

In the first month of 2018, an unknown government agency used a private company to launch a secret satellite, code-named “Zuma.” It was nothing like IMAGE; it was a machine intended to be invisible to most of the world.

And it failed immediately.

No one has said publicly what, exactly, went wrong during the Jan. 7 launch, whether Zuma crashed back into an ocean or simply died in space. Its fate and purpose have become a mystery of the new Space Age — and all of this bothered Scott Tilley very much.

Tilley is a 47-year-old electrical engineer who lives on the west coast of Canada. His hobby is radio astronomy. In a sense, it's also his cause.

“Space is not owned by anybody,” Tilley told The Washington Post. “Anybody should be able to look up and know those little dots moving across the night sky are not bombs.”

Secret military satellites and classified orbits bother him, so he has banded together with a small group of fellow amateurs across the world to to track down every satellite whose operators don't want it to be seen.

Maybe Zuma was in pieces at the bottom of an ocean, Tilley thought. But maybe not. So he began to scan. He used no telescope, listening instead for radio signals out there, in the invisible ocean.

When Tilley caught a signal after a week of searching, on Jan. 20, he almost ignored it. Whatever it was, it was orbiting much higher than Zuma was supposed to be. There are hundreds of active satellites in space, most of which didn't interest him. “I didn't think of it much more,” he wrote on his blog.

But as he continued to scan for Zuma, he came across the signal again — stronger this time — and out of curiosity checked it against a standard catalogue.

The signal matched for IMAGE. But IMAGE was supposed to be dead.

Tilley had to Google the old satellite to find out what it was, as it had been all but forgotten on Earth. Eventually, he came across a decade-old NASA report on the mission's failure.

“Once I read through the failure report and all the geeky language the engineers use, I immediately understood what had happened,” Tilley told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News.

Then he rushed to contact NASA himself.

3. Answers

That old news release announcing the death of IMAGE had not actually been the end of its story on Earth. A week later, in early 2006, NASA quietly convened a board of experts to pore over the satellite's entire data set and figure out what went wrong.

They worked for months. When their final report was released, the board still figured IMAGE had tripped a power breaker and essentially bricked itself, like a bad iPhone.

But they had come up with a theory for how the satellite might be fixed. Or rather how it might fix itself.

IMAGE was solar-powered and designed so that if its battery ever drained enough, it would try to reset its computer and flip the breaker back. The board thought this was most likely to happen in late 2007, when IMAGE's orbit would put it in the Earth's shadow from the sun — from the satellite's point of view, a deep eclipse.

But the theory didn't pan out. When NASA tried to the contact IMAGE after the eclipse, it remained as silent as ever, so the agency closed down the mission for good.

And then, a decade later, Tilley found the machine chirping away.

After his discovery, another independent astronomer, Cees Bassa, looked for IMAGE's signal in years of old data. He hypothesized that while the 2007 eclipse didn't manage to reset the satellite, another one did the trick, probably sometime between 2014 and 2016.

“Most likely the battery efficiency degraded such over the IMAGE lifetime that during the less deep eclipses the battery drained sufficiently to lead to the reset and bring the transmitter aboard IMAGE back to life,” Bassa wrote.

NASA hasn't confirmed that. In fact, the agency was initially skeptical that the signal Tilley found actually came from IMAGE.

After Tilley contacted NASA last week, scientists trained antennas at the Goddard Space Flight Center on the object. Initial tests showed its orbit, frequency, oscillation and spin rate all matched their old, lost satellite.

Even so, NASA was cautious in its public updates, writing Sunday that it still wanted to analyze the signal's encoded data before it could be sure.

Meanwhile, astronomers amateur and professional were getting excited. “The team is collectively holding their breath,” Patricia Reiff, an investigator on the original mission, told Science Magazine.

On his blog, Tilley quoted from an email sent to him by Burch, the lead investigator on the IMAGE mission, who wrote so many years ago of a machine to map an invisible sea.

“Very excited,” Burch wrote to Tilley.

Confirmation finally came Tuesday. It came couched in the technical jargon of space science and was no less momentous for it.

“On the afternoon of Jan. 30, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, successfully collected telemetry data from the satellite,” NASA wrote. “The signal showed that the space craft ID was 166 — the ID for IMAGE.

“The NASA team has been able to read some basic housekeeping data from the spacecraft, suggesting that at least the main control system is operational.”

Translation: There is hope that IMAGE will one day tell us more about the “ocean” it's been adrift in for more than 12 years.

“I really hope the scientists who built this thing and put it in space are able to repurpose this and put it back into action,” Tilley told CBC News. “And we get the benefit of all the beautiful science coming home.”

He was named nowhere in NASA's news release, except as an anonymous “amateur astronomer.”

But that's fine. He found the thing, when the professionals might have left it in the dark forever.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...rainbow&wpmm=1
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:00 PM   #630
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My mother took DES:
I was just curious if anyone knows if their mother took DES and if they have an autoimmune diseases. For my sister this has been difficult to correlate and she is very sick with lupus and one large study in Sweden has found a correlation.
Thank you in advance if you should decide to respond
I was exposed to DES, I don't have Lupus/any other autoimmune disease (as far as I know) nor does anyone else I've known who was exposed to it.
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Default Nat Geo has an upcoming special Feb. 6th about this find: The lost treasures of the Maya Snake King

Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle

2 February 2018



A split image with one side showing an aerial look on Mayan ruins in Guatemala's northern jungle, and the other side showing a digital landscape that strips away the forest canopy to reveal structures under the ground. WILD BLUE MEDIA/CHANNEL 4

* The Maya city of Tikal was found to be just a fraction of an immense hidden metropolis.
* Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough.
* Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications.

The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested. The researchers mapped over 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) in northern Peten. Archaeologists believe the cutting-edge technology will change the way the world will see the Maya civilisation.

"I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology," said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University. Mr Houston told the BBC that after decades of work in the archaeological field, he found the magnitude of the recent survey "breathtaking". He added, "I know it sounds hyperbolic but when I saw the [Lidar] imagery, it did bring tears to my eyes."

Most structures are believed to be stone platforms for pole-and-thatch homes. Results from the research using Lidar technology, which is short for "light detection and ranging", suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilisation more akin to sophisticated cultures like ancient Greece or China. "Everything is turned on its head," Ithaca College archaeologist Thomas Garrison told the BBC. He believes the scale and population density has been "grossly underestimated and could in fact be three or four times greater than previously thought".

How does Lidar work?
Described as "magic" by some archaeologists, Lidar unveils archaeological finds almost invisible to the naked eye, especially in the tropics. It is a sophisticated remote sensing technology that uses laser light to densely sample the surface of the earth. Millions of laser pulses every four seconds are beamed at the ground from a plane or helicopter. The wavelengths are measured as they bounce back, which is not unlike how bats use sonar to hunt. The highly accurate measurements are then used to produce a detailed three-dimensional image of the ground surface topography.

Revolutionary treasure map
The group of scholars who worked on this project used Lidar to digitally remove the dense tree canopy to create a 3D map of what is really under the surface of the now-uninhabited Guatemalan rainforest. "Lidar is revolutionising archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy," Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist, told National Geographic. "We'll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we're seeing."

The Lidar images have surprised surveyors
Archaeologists excavating a Maya site called El Zotz in northern Guatemala, painstakingly mapped the landscape for years. But the Lidar survey revealed kilometres of fortification wall that the team had never noticed before. "Maybe, eventually, we would have gotten to this hilltop where this fortress is, but I was within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and didn't see anything," Mr. Garrison told Live Science.

While Lidar imagery has saved archaeologists years of on-the-ground searching, the BBC was told that it also presents a problem. "The tricky thing about Lidar is that it gives us an image of 3,000 years of Mayan civilisation in the area, compressed," explained Mr Garrison, who is part of a consortium of archaeologists involved in the recent survey. "It's a great problem to have though, because it gives us new challenges as we learn more about the Maya."

Hidden insights
Maya civilisation, at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million. "With this new data it's no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there," said Mr Estrada-Belli, "including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable."

Most of the 60,000 newly identified structures are thought to be stone platforms that would have supported the average pole-and-thatch Maya home. The archaeologists were struck by the "incredible defensive features", which included walls, fortresses and moats. They showed that the Maya invested more resources into defending themselves than previously thought, Mr Garrison said.

One of the hidden finds is a seven-storey pyramid so covered in vegetation that it practically melts into the jungle. Another discovery that surprised archaeologists was the complex network of causeways linking all the Maya cities in the area. The raised highways, allowing easy passage even during rainy seasons, were wide enough to suggest they were heavily trafficked and used for trade.

"The idea of seeing a continuous landscape, but understanding everything is connected across many square miles is amazing," said Mr Houston. "We can expect many further surprises," he added.

The Lidar survey was the first part of a three-year project led by a Guatemalan organisation that promotes cultural heritage preservation. It will eventually map more than 5,000 sq miles (14,000 sq km) of Guatemala's lowlands.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42916261
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:37 AM   #632
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Default Science is truly amazing!

This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It’s Taking Over Europe

By Carl Zimmer FEB. 5, 2018



The marbled crayfish is a mutant species that clones itself, scientists report. The population is exploding in Europe, but the species appears to have originated only about 25 years ago.

Frank Lyko, a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, studies the six-inch-long marbled crayfish. Finding specimens is easy: Dr. Lyko can buy the crayfish at pet stores in Germany, or he can head with colleagues to a nearby lake.

Wait till dark, switch on head lamps, and wander into the shallows. The marbled crayfish will emerge from hiding and begin swarming around your ankles.

“It’s extremely impressive,” said Dr. Lyko. “Three of us once caught 150 animals within one hour, just with our hands.”

Over the past five years, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues have sequenced the genomes of marbled crayfish. In a study published on Monday, the researchers demonstrate that the marble crayfish, while common, is one of the most remarkable species known to science.

Before about 25 years ago, the species simply did not exist. A single drastic mutation in a single crayfish produced the marbled crayfish in an instant.

The mutation made it possible for the creature to clone itself, and now it has spread across much of Europe and gained a toehold on other continents. In Madagascar, where it arrived about 2007, it now numbers in the millions and threatens native crayfish.

“We may never have caught the genome of a species so soon after it became a species,” said Zen Faulkes, a biologist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, who was not involved in the new study.

The marbled crayfish became popular among German aquarium hobbyists in the late 1990s. The earliest report of the creature comes from a hobbyist who told Dr. Lyko he bought what were described to him as “Texas crayfish” in 1995.

The hobbyist — whom Dr. Lyko declined to identify — was struck by the large size of the crayfish and its enormous batches of eggs. A single marbled crayfish can produce hundreds of eggs at a time.

Soon the hobbyist was giving away the crayfish to his friends. And not long afterward, so-called marmorkrebs were showing up in pet stores in Germany and beyond.

As marmorkrebs became more popular, owners grew increasingly puzzled. The crayfish seemed to be laying eggs without mating. The progeny were all female, and each one grew up ready to reproduce.

In 2003, scientists confirmed that the marbled crayfish were indeed making clones of themselves. They sequenced small bits of DNA from the animals, which bore a striking similarity to a group of crayfish species called Procambarus, native to North America and Central America.

Ten years later, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues set out to determine the entire genome of the marbled crayfish. By then, it was no longer just an aquarium oddity.

For nearly two decades, marbled crayfish have been multiplying like Tribbles on the legendary “Star Trek” episode. “People would start out with a single animal, and a year later they would have a couple hundred,” said Dr. Lyko.

Many owners apparently drove to nearby lakes and dumped their marmorkrebs. And it turned out that the marbled crayfish didn’t need to be pampered to thrive. Marmorkrebs established growing populations in the wild, sometimes walking hundreds of yards to reach new lakes and streams. Feral populations started turning up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine in Europe, and later in Japan and Madagascar.

Sequencing the genome of this animal was not easy: No one had sequenced the genome of a crayfish. In fact, no one had ever sequenced any close relative of the crayfish.

Dr. Lyko and his colleagues struggled for years to piece together fragments of DNA into a single map of its genome. Once they succeeded, they sequenced the genomes of 15 other specimens, including marbled crayfish living in German lakes and those belonging to other species.

The rich genetic detail gave the scientists a much clearer look at the freakish origins of the marbled crayfish.

It apparently evolved from a species known as the slough crayfish, Procambarus fallax, which lives only in the tributaries of the Satilla River in Florida and Georgia.

The scientists concluded that the new species got its start when two slough crayfish mated. One of them had a mutation in a sex cell — whether it was an egg or sperm, the scientists can’t tell.

Normal sex cells contain a single copy of each chromosome. But the mutant crayfish sex cell had two.

Somehow the two sex cells fused and produced a female crayfish embryo with three copies of each chromosome instead of the normal two. Somehow, too, the new crayfish didn’t suffer any deformities as a result of all that extra DNA.

It grew and thrived. But instead of reproducing sexually, the first marbled crayfish was able to induce her own eggs to start dividing into embryos. The offspring, all females, inherited identical copies of her three sets of chromosomes. They were clones.

Now that their chromosomes were mismatched with those of slough crayfish, they could no longer produce viable offspring. Male slough crayfish will readily mate with the marbled crayfish, but they never father any of the offspring.

In December, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues officially declared the marbled crayfish to be a species of its own, which they named Procambarus virginalis. The scientists can’t say for sure where the species began. There are no wild populations of marble crayfish in the United States, so it’s conceivable that the new species arose in a German aquarium.

All the marbled crayfish Dr. Lyko’s team studied were almost genetically identical to one another. Yet that single genome has allowed the clones to thrive in all manner of habitats — from abandoned coal fields in Germany to rice paddies in Madagascar.

In their new study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the researchers show that the marbled crayfish has spread across Madagascar at an astonishing pace, across an area the size of Indiana in about a decade.

Thanks to the young age of the species, marbled crayfish could shed light on one of the big mysteries about the animal kingdom: why so many animals have sex.

Only about 1 in 10,000 species comprise cloning females. Many studies suggest that sex-free species are rare because they don’t last long.

In one such study, Abraham E. Tucker of Southern Arkansas University and his colleagues studied 11 asexual species of water fleas, a tiny kind of invertebrate. Their DNA indicates that the species only evolved about 1,250 years ago.

There are a lot of clear advantages to being a clone. Marbled crayfish produce nothing but fertile offspring, allowing their populations to explode. “Asexuality is a fantastic short-term strategy,” said Dr. Tucker.

In the long term, however, there are benefits to sex. Sexually reproducing animals may be better at fighting of diseases, for example.

If a pathogen evolves a way to attack one clone, its strategy will succeed on every clone. Sexually reproducing species mix their genes together into new combinations, increasing their odds of developing a defense.

The marbled crayfish offers scientists a chance to watch this drama play out practically from the beginning. In its first couple decades, it’s doing extremely well. But sooner or later, the marbled crayfish’s fortunes may well turn.

“Maybe they just survive for 100,000 years,” Dr. Lyko speculated. “That would be a long time for me personally, but in evolution it would just be a blip on the radar.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/s...es-europe.html
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:39 PM   #633
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Originally Posted by *Anya* View Post
This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It’s Taking Over Europe

By Carl Zimmer FEB. 5, 2018



The marbled crayfish is a mutant species that clones itself, scientists report. The population is exploding in Europe, but the species appears to have originated only about 25 years ago.

Frank Lyko, a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, studies the six-inch-long marbled crayfish. Finding specimens is easy: Dr. Lyko can buy the crayfish at pet stores in Germany, or he can head with colleagues to a nearby lake.

Wait till dark, switch on head lamps, and wander into the shallows. The marbled crayfish will emerge from hiding and begin swarming around your ankles.

“It’s extremely impressive,” said Dr. Lyko. “Three of us once caught 150 animals within one hour, just with our hands.”

Over the past five years, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues have sequenced the genomes of marbled crayfish. In a study published on Monday, the researchers demonstrate that the marble crayfish, while common, is one of the most remarkable species known to science.

Before about 25 years ago, the species simply did not exist. A single drastic mutation in a single crayfish produced the marbled crayfish in an instant.

The mutation made it possible for the creature to clone itself, and now it has spread across much of Europe and gained a toehold on other continents. In Madagascar, where it arrived about 2007, it now numbers in the millions and threatens native crayfish.

“We may never have caught the genome of a species so soon after it became a species,” said Zen Faulkes, a biologist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, who was not involved in the new study.

The marbled crayfish became popular among German aquarium hobbyists in the late 1990s. The earliest report of the creature comes from a hobbyist who told Dr. Lyko he bought what were described to him as “Texas crayfish” in 1995.

The hobbyist — whom Dr. Lyko declined to identify — was struck by the large size of the crayfish and its enormous batches of eggs. A single marbled crayfish can produce hundreds of eggs at a time.

Soon the hobbyist was giving away the crayfish to his friends. And not long afterward, so-called marmorkrebs were showing up in pet stores in Germany and beyond.

As marmorkrebs became more popular, owners grew increasingly puzzled. The crayfish seemed to be laying eggs without mating. The progeny were all female, and each one grew up ready to reproduce.

In 2003, scientists confirmed that the marbled crayfish were indeed making clones of themselves. They sequenced small bits of DNA from the animals, which bore a striking similarity to a group of crayfish species called Procambarus, native to North America and Central America.

Ten years later, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues set out to determine the entire genome of the marbled crayfish. By then, it was no longer just an aquarium oddity.

For nearly two decades, marbled crayfish have been multiplying like Tribbles on the legendary “Star Trek” episode. “People would start out with a single animal, and a year later they would have a couple hundred,” said Dr. Lyko.

Many owners apparently drove to nearby lakes and dumped their marmorkrebs. And it turned out that the marbled crayfish didn’t need to be pampered to thrive. Marmorkrebs established growing populations in the wild, sometimes walking hundreds of yards to reach new lakes and streams. Feral populations started turning up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine in Europe, and later in Japan and Madagascar.

Sequencing the genome of this animal was not easy: No one had sequenced the genome of a crayfish. In fact, no one had ever sequenced any close relative of the crayfish.

Dr. Lyko and his colleagues struggled for years to piece together fragments of DNA into a single map of its genome. Once they succeeded, they sequenced the genomes of 15 other specimens, including marbled crayfish living in German lakes and those belonging to other species.

The rich genetic detail gave the scientists a much clearer look at the freakish origins of the marbled crayfish.

It apparently evolved from a species known as the slough crayfish, Procambarus fallax, which lives only in the tributaries of the Satilla River in Florida and Georgia.

The scientists concluded that the new species got its start when two slough crayfish mated. One of them had a mutation in a sex cell — whether it was an egg or sperm, the scientists can’t tell.

Normal sex cells contain a single copy of each chromosome. But the mutant crayfish sex cell had two.

Somehow the two sex cells fused and produced a female crayfish embryo with three copies of each chromosome instead of the normal two. Somehow, too, the new crayfish didn’t suffer any deformities as a result of all that extra DNA.

It grew and thrived. But instead of reproducing sexually, the first marbled crayfish was able to induce her own eggs to start dividing into embryos. The offspring, all females, inherited identical copies of her three sets of chromosomes. They were clones.

Now that their chromosomes were mismatched with those of slough crayfish, they could no longer produce viable offspring. Male slough crayfish will readily mate with the marbled crayfish, but they never father any of the offspring.

In December, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues officially declared the marbled crayfish to be a species of its own, which they named Procambarus virginalis. The scientists can’t say for sure where the species began. There are no wild populations of marble crayfish in the United States, so it’s conceivable that the new species arose in a German aquarium.

All the marbled crayfish Dr. Lyko’s team studied were almost genetically identical to one another. Yet that single genome has allowed the clones to thrive in all manner of habitats — from abandoned coal fields in Germany to rice paddies in Madagascar.

In their new study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the researchers show that the marbled crayfish has spread across Madagascar at an astonishing pace, across an area the size of Indiana in about a decade.

Thanks to the young age of the species, marbled crayfish could shed light on one of the big mysteries about the animal kingdom: why so many animals have sex.

Only about 1 in 10,000 species comprise cloning females. Many studies suggest that sex-free species are rare because they don’t last long.

In one such study, Abraham E. Tucker of Southern Arkansas University and his colleagues studied 11 asexual species of water fleas, a tiny kind of invertebrate. Their DNA indicates that the species only evolved about 1,250 years ago.

There are a lot of clear advantages to being a clone. Marbled crayfish produce nothing but fertile offspring, allowing their populations to explode. “Asexuality is a fantastic short-term strategy,” said Dr. Tucker.

In the long term, however, there are benefits to sex. Sexually reproducing animals may be better at fighting of diseases, for example.

If a pathogen evolves a way to attack one clone, its strategy will succeed on every clone. Sexually reproducing species mix their genes together into new combinations, increasing their odds of developing a defense.

The marbled crayfish offers scientists a chance to watch this drama play out practically from the beginning. In its first couple decades, it’s doing extremely well. But sooner or later, the marbled crayfish’s fortunes may well turn.

“Maybe they just survive for 100,000 years,” Dr. Lyko speculated. “That would be a long time for me personally, but in evolution it would just be a blip on the radar.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/s...es-europe.html
Wonder if anyone has done research (scientific or kitchen) to see if they are edible by humans.
If we could predate on this exploding mutant species, sounds like they just discovered a very much needed new protein source.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:25 PM   #634
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This is last is why I try to explain the science. There's a lot at stake. I'm going to give just one example: Huntington's chorea. There is a gene on chromosome 4 that consists of a single 'word' CAG (you can, in some ways, think of a genome) that repeats over again. On average people have between 6 and 15 repeats. Any number of repeats up to 35 and you're fine. The trouble starts at 39 or higher. Here's Matt Ridley talking about how not only do we know what gene causes it we can predict, based upon the number of repeats at what age you can expect to start showing symptoms.

(Matt Ridley -- Genome: Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters)

Now, we don't know what the gene is actually there for but one day we will and when we do we will be able to manipulate the genome so that we can simply edit out all repeats above 35. We could test for it pretty much as soon as the woman realizes she is pregnant. When we can, we should.

That's the promise. It would be beyond sin if we turned our back on this technology.

Cheers
Aj
Aj,

I have Huntington's it is called HUntingtons Disease, my CAG repeat is 40, i am interested in speaking with you perhaps because it seems you are knowledgeable about huntington's disease. I am 6th generation.

Gaea
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:56 AM   #635
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Default What New Science Techniques Tells Us About Ancient Women Warriors

What New Science Techniques Tells Us About Ancient Women Warriors
Recent studies show that man was not always the hunter.

By Annalee Newitz
Mx. Newitz is a contributing Opinion writer for the New York Times
Jan. 1, 2021


Claire Merchlinsky

Though it’s remarkable that the United States finally is about to have a female vice president, let’s stop calling it an unprecedented achievement. As some recent archaeological studies suggest, women have been leaders, warriors and hunters for thousands of years. This new scholarship is challenging long-held beliefs about so-called natural gender roles in ancient history, inviting us to reconsider how we think about women’s work today.

In November a group of anthropologists and other researchers published a paper in the academic journal Science Advances about the remains of a 9,000-year-old big-game hunter buried in the Andes. Like other hunters of the period, this person was buried with a specialized tool kit associated with stalking large game, including projectile points, scrapers for tanning hides and a tool that looked like a knife. There was nothing particularly unusual about the body — though the leg bones seemed a little slim for an adult male hunter. But when scientists analyzed the tooth enamel using a method borrowed from forensics that reveals whether a person carries the male or female version of a protein called amelogenin, the hunter turned out to be female.

With that information in hand, the researchers re-examined evidence from 107 other graves in the Americas from roughly the same period. They were startled to discover that out of 26 graves with hunter tools, 10 belonged to women. Bonnie Pitblado, an archaeologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, told Science magazine that the findings indicate that “women have always been able to hunt and have in fact hunted.” The new data calls into question an influential dogma in the field of archaeology. Nicknamed “man the hunter,” this is the notion that men and women in ancient societies had strictly defined roles: Men hunted, and women gathered. Now, this theory may be crumbling.

While the Andean finding was noteworthy, this was not the first female hunter or warrior to be found by re-examining old archaeological evidence using fresh scientific techniques. Nor was this sort of discovery confined to one group, or one part of the world.

Three years ago, scientists re-examined the remains of a 10th-century Viking warrior excavated in Sweden at the end of the 19th century by Hjalmar Stolpe, an archaeologist. The skeleton had been regally buried at the top of a hill, with a sword, two shields, arrows and two horses. For decades, beginning with the original excavation, archaeologists assumed the Viking was a man. When researchers in the 1970s conducted a new anatomical evaluation of the skeleton, they began to suspect that the Viking was in fact a woman. But it wasn’t until 2017, when a group of Swedish archaeologists and geneticists extracted DNA from the remains, that the sex of the warrior indeed proved to be female.

The finding led to controversy over whether the skeleton was really a warrior, with scholars and pundits protesting what they called revisionist history. Although the genetic sex determination thus was indisputable (the bones of the skeleton had two X chromosomes), these criticisms led the Swedish researchers to examine the evidence yet again, and present a second, more contextual analysis in 2019. Their conclusion again was that the person had been a warrior.

The naysayers raised fair points. In archaeology, as the researchers admitted, we can’t always know why a community buried someone with particular objects. And one female warrior does not mean that many women were leaders, just as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I was not part of a larger feminist movement.

Challenges to “man the hunter” have emerged in new examinations of the early cultures of the Americas as well. In the 1960s, an archaeological dig uncovered in the ancient city of Cahokia, in what is now southwestern Illinois, a 1,000-to-1,200-year-old burial site with two central bodies, one on top of the other, surrounded by other skeletons. The burial was full of shell beads, projectile points and other luxury items. At the time, the archaeologists concluded that this was a burial of two high-status males flanked by their servants.

But in 2016 archaeologists conducted a fresh examination of the grave. The two central figures, it turned out, were a male and a female; they were surrounded by other male-female pairs. Thomas Emerson, who conducted the study with colleagues from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey at the University of Illinois, alongside scientists from other institutions, said the Cahokia discovery demonstrated the existence of male and female nobility. “We don’t have a system in which males are these dominant figures and females are playing bit parts,” as he put it.

Armchair history buffs love to obsess about mythical societies dominated by female warriors, like Amazons and Valkyries. Let’s be clear. These findings don’t reveal an ancient matriarchy. But neither do they reaffirm the idea of societies in which men dominate completely. What they indicate is a lot more mundane and relatable: Some women were warriors and leaders; many weren’t. There was inequality, but it wasn’t absolute, and there were a lot of shifts over time. When it comes to female power, and gender roles, the past was as ambiguous as the present.

Annalee Newitz (@annaleen), a science journalist and a contributing Opinion writer, is the author of the forthcoming “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/o...gtype=Homepage
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:01 PM   #636
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Post SpaceX


Team is targeting 9:15 p.m. EST for tonight's Falcon 9 launch.


SpaceX is targeting 9:15 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 7 for launch of the Turksat 5A mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. There is a back-up opportunity available on Friday, January 8, with a four-hour launch window opening at 8:28 p.m. EST, or 01:28 UTC on January 9.

Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously supported launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 03 and two Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the Just Read the Instructions droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s fairing is also flight-proven: one half previously supported the GPS III Space Vehicle 03 mission and the other flew aboard the ANASIS-II mission.
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Old 01-18-2021, 04:01 PM   #637
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Post Radishes In Space

Astronauts Harvest Radish Crop on International Space Station


On Nov. 27, 2020, NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins checks out
radish plants growing for the Plant Habitat-02 experiment that seeks to optimize plant growth
in the unique environment of space and evaluate nutrition and taste of the plants. Credits: NASA



Photo documentation of the Plant Habitat-02 investigation aboard the International Space Station on
Nov. 30, 2020. Plant Habitat-02 uses the Advanced Plant Habitat to cultivate radishes, a model plant that
is nutritious and edible and has a short cultivation time. This research could help optimize plant growth in
the unique environment of space, as well as evaluation of nutrition and taste of the plants. Credits: NASA


By Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center
(Editor's Note: This feature was updated on Dec. 11, 2020)

On Nov. 30, 2020, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins harvested radish plants growing in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) aboard the International Space Station. She meticulously collected and wrapped in foil each of the 20 radish plants, placing them in cold storage for the return trip to Earth in 2021 on SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission.

The plant experiment, called Plant Habitat-02 (PH-02), is the first time NASA has grown radishes on the orbiting laboratory in the APH. NASA selected radishes because they are well understood by scientists and reach maturity in just 27 days. These model plants are also nutritious and edible, and are genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage that researchers frequently study in microgravity.

“Radishes are a different kind of crop compared to leafy greens that astronauts previously grew on the space station, or dwarf wheat which was the first crop grown in the APH,” said Nicole Dufour, NASA APH program manager at Kennedy Space Center. “Growing a range of crops helps us determine which plants thrive in microgravity and offer the best variety and nutritional balance for astronauts on long-duration missions.”

The structure of the experiment will allow NASA to identify the optimum balance of care and feeding needed to produce quality plants. While growing inside the habitat, the radishes required little maintenance from the crew.

Unlike previous experiments in NASA’s APH and Vegetable Production System (Veggie), which used porous clay material preloaded with a slow-release fertilizer, this trial relies on precisely defined quantities of provided minerals. Such precision allows for a better comparison of nutrients provided to and absorbed by the plants.

The chamber also uses red, blue, green and broad-spectrum white LED lights to provide a variety of light to stimulate plant growth. Sophisticated control systems deliver water, while control cameras and more than 180 sensors in the chamber allow researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to monitor the plant growth as well as regulate moisture levels, temperature, and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration.

The study’s principal investigator, Karl Hasenstein, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has conducted plant experiments with NASA since 1995. From this project, Hasenstein hopes to learn how space conditions like weightlessness affect plant growth, and how well the light response and metabolism resembles “Earth-grown” plants.

“Radishes provide great research possibilities by virtue of their sensitive bulb formation,” Hasenstein said. “We can grow 20 plants in the APH, analyze CO2 effects, and mineral acquisition and distribution.”

The team has set up a control population of plants in the ground control plant habitat unit in the International Space Station Environmental Simulator (ISSES) chamber inside Kennedy’s Space Station Processing Facility. Radishes have been growing under nearly identical conditions in the ISSES since Nov. 17, and researchers will harvest the control crop Dec. 15 for comparison with the radishes grown on station.

This historic harvest does not mean the experiment is over, Dufour added.

“The APH has two science carriers, so shortly after the first harvest, the second carrier will be used to repeat the experiment by planting another set of radish seeds,” she said. “Replicating the plant experiment increases the sample size and improves scientific accuracy.”

The researchers credit two partner organizations with helping make the mission a success.

Hasenstein highlighted the contracted support team from Techshot. Teams from this mission, integration, and support contractor helped shape the payload from the beginning and guided it through the path to space. Project scientists also assist the principal investigator with the experiment and made it possible for researchers to interact with payloads even when they aren’t at the center.

Likewise, Dufour cited Sierra Nevada Corporation’s team in Madison, Wisconsin, for remotely monitoring the telemetry from the APH flight unit and helping tweak performance parameters. She said their dedication contributed to the success of the flight implementation.

With plans to explore the Moon and someday Mars, NASA knows astronauts will need to grow their own food to support long-duration missions far from home. As part of the Artemis program, NASA plans to establish sustainable exploration on and around the Moon by the end of the decade.

“It’s a privilege to help lead a team that is paving the way to the future of space crop production for NASA’s exploration efforts,” Dufour said. “I’ve worked on APH since the beginning, and each new crop that we’re able to grow brings me great joy because what we learn from them will help NASA send astronauts to Mars and bring them back safely.”

The Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington provides funding for Veggie, the APH, and related investigations.






Source: nasa.gov
Website: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/astrona...-space-station
Date: December 11, 2020
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Old 01-24-2021, 04:24 PM   #638
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Post SpaceX - Third Mission of 2021

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of Transporter-1 rideshare mission with 143 spacecraft



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Post The International Space Station

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHlM...b_channel=NASA">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHlM...b_channel=NASA" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">
Spot the Station Over the Super Bowl


The International Space Station’s orbital path will take it within sighting range of Tampa,
Florida at 7:15 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 7. Weather permitting, the sighting opportunity
will be about the same time two football teams will be competing to win Super Bowl LV.
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Old 02-19-2021, 04:43 AM   #640
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Post Rover on Mars


NASA releases first images taken by Mars Perseverance rover after historic landing.
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