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CraigD

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Post and discuss interesting articles & videos about science and technology.

You don't need to be an expert - just interested in the wonders of modern science, technology, and the history of these fields.

Please keep it rational, and post articles from reputable sources.
Try not to editorialise headlines and keep the copy to just a paragraph with a link to the original source. When quoting excerpts from articles, I think the best method is to italicise the copy, and include a link to the source.

Have some fun with your comments and discussions... just keep the sources legitimate.

Other threads:
The Break Room has a number of other popular threads, so there is no need to post material here that is better suited to these other threads:

- Covid19-Coronavirus updates and news
- Conspiracy Thread Free For All
- The *religious* discussion thread


Please enjoy!
 
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J Sokol

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Lampposts, rings, cameras: over 25,000 pounds of junk cleared from Lake Tahoe​

A California non-profit started an ambitious project beneath the surface of Lake Tahoe that concluded Tuesday: hire scuba divers to gather the litter in the top 25 ft of the lake.

Divers have now pulled out more than 25,000 pounds of debris from the 72 miles of the lake’s shoreline, working in a circle from Stateline, Nevada. As volunteer divers navigated the lake, they plucked plastic bottles, engagement rings, 1980s Nikon film cameras, entire lampposts, “no littering” signs, big pieces of broken-down boats and engine blocks, lost wallets and cordless home telephones, according to Clean Up the Lake.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/11/lake-tahoe-california-cleanup
 

Sutruk

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This is the first time this picture has been taken.

Black hole at center of Milky Way pictured for first time​

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/black-hole-center-milky-way-pictured-first-time-rcna28508

"The first image of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole was revealed Thursday, providing the first direct visual evidence of "the gentle giant" that lies at the center of our galaxy.

The photo, which shows an oval-shaped void surrounded by a bright ring of glowing gas, is only the second image captured of a black hole, and it is the first to provide a detailed glimpse of the immense feature, dubbed Sagittarius A*, at the Milky Way's core.

“For decades, astronomers have wondered what lies at the heart of our galaxy, pulling stars into tight orbits through its immense gravity,” Michael Johnson, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement.

Now, scientists have the first direct image that confirms Sagittarius A* is indeed a black hole.

The research was conducted by an international team of astronomers known as the Event Horizon Telescope, which is made up of more than 300 scientists from 80 different institutions around the world.

The findings were published Thursday in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Sagittarius A* is about 27,000 light-years away and is 4 million times more massive than the sun. It's thought that almost all galaxies contain a black hole at their center, but since these behemoths do not emit light, it is challenging for astronomers to get direct views of them.

Sagittarius A* is completely dark, but the photo captured a glowing ring around a cloaked center — what astronomers identified as the black hole's telltale shadow, said Feryal Özel, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Arizona and a member of the research team.

The observations show how black holes "eat," swallowing nearby gas and bending light with its powerful gravity, she added.

"Light escaping from the hot gas swirling around the black hole appears to us as the bright ring," Özel said. "Light that is too close to the black hole — close enough to be swallowed by it — eventually crosses its horizon and leaves behind just the dark void in the center."
 

koolishman

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'Night-time solar' technology can now deliver power in the dark


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UNSW researchers have made a major breakthrough in renewable energy technology by producing electricity from so-called ‘night-time’ solar power.

The team from the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering generated electricity from heat radiated as infrared light, in the same way as the Earth cools by radiating into space at night.

A semiconductor device called a thermoradiative diode, composed of materials found in night-vision goggles, was used to generate power from the emission of infrared light.

The results of the research have now been published in ACS Photonics.
 

koolishman

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Plants have been grown in lunar soil for the 1st time ever


In a landmark first, scientists have grown plants in lunar soil using samples collected during the Apollo missions to the moon. This is the first time plants have been sprouted and grown on Earth in soil from another celestial body.

The study could lay the foundation for growing plants that supply oxygen and food on the moon, a timely consideration as NASA's Artemis program looks to land the first woman and the first person of color at the lunar south pole later this decade.

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But the experiments also reveal just how stressful it is for plants to grow in lunar regolith, or soil, which is wildly different from natural habitats on Earth.


A study detailing the plant experiment published Thursday in the journal Communications Biology.
 

koolishman

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A new underwater greenhouse could reveal the future of agriculture


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One hundred and thirty feet offshore from the village of Noli in Italy’s Liguria region, six large clear domes, or biospheres, like a bloom of enormous jellyfish moored to the ocean floor are growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

The project is known as Nemo's Garden, and it's the world's first—and only—underwater greenhouse. These biospheres utilize the ocean's favorable environmental qualities like temperature stability, CO2 absorption, and natural pest control to create a habitat appropriate for producing a plethora of fresh produce, according to Euronews Green.

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Nemo's Garden has significant implications for the future of Earth, as it was specifically designed for regions where environmental, economic, or morphologic factors make plant development particularly challenging. The world will need to feed a global population of 9.3 billion amid increasingly unstable climate conditions by 2050, per United Nations, and the team behind the project believes that underwater farms could provide a supply of food for coastal populations where agriculture must be innovative to survive.
 

koolishman

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Reducing harmful air pollution has led to a surprising effect — more hurricanes in the North Atlantic


A new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances found that over the past four decades, a 50% decrease in aerosols — tiny particles of air pollution — over North America and Europe led to a 33% increase in the number of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic.

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On the other side of the world, the study found that a 40% increase in aerosol pollution in China and India over the same time period sparked a 14% decline in the number of tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific. Air pollution surged significantly in China and India during that time due to the countries' economic and industrial growth.
 

koolishman

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Death could be reversible, as scientists bring dead eyes back to life


Dead eyes from organ donors have been “brought back to life” in a breakthrough which hints that brain death may be reversible.

Scientists in the US proved that photosensitive neuron cells in the retina can still respond to light and communicate with each other up to five hours after death, sending signals “resembling those recorded from living subjects”.

Crucially these neurons form part of the central nervous system (CNS), which encompasses the brain and spinal cord, bringing the possibility that other cells in the CNS could be similarly restored, perhaps bringing back consciousness.

Writing in the journal Nature, the authors said that the study “raises the question of whether brain death, as it is currently defined, is truly irreversible”.
 

koolishman

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AI-engineered enzyme eats entire plastic containers


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Out of the millions of possible combinations, the researchers zeroed in on three suggested amino acid substitutions. Combined with two modifications from a previous PETase engineering effort, they designed an enzyme that is ‘highly, highly active, especially at lower temperatures, compared to anything else that’s out there’, Alper says.

At 50°C, the enzyme is almost twice as active in hydrolysing a small sample of a PET food container than another engineered PETase at 70°C. The enzyme even depolymerised an entire plastic cake tray within 48 hours, and the team showed that it can make a new plastic item from the degraded waste.
 

koolishman

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Potentially Alive 830-Million-Year-Old Organisms Found Trapped in Ancient Rock

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A team of geologists has just discovered tiny remnants of prokaryotic and algal life – trapped inside crystals of halite dating back to 830 million years ago.

Halite is sodium chloride, also known as rock salt, and the discovery suggests that this natural mineral could be a previously untapped resource for studying ancient saltwater environments.


Moreover, the organisms trapped therein may still be alive.

The extraordinary study also has implications for the search for ancient life, not just on Earth, but in extraterrestrial environments, such as Mars, where large salt deposits have been identified as evidence of ancient, large-scale liquid water reservoirs.
 

koolishman

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Ancient tooth suggests Denisovans ventured far beyond Siberia


Molar found in Laos could be the first fossil evidence that the hominin species was far-ranging and able to adapt to different climates.

A fossilized tooth unearthed in a cave in northern Laos might have belonged to a young Denisovan girl that died between 164,000 and 131,000 years ago. If confirmed, it would be the first fossil evidence that Denisovans — an extinct hominin species that co-existed with Neanderthals and modern humans — lived in southeast Asia.


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koolishman

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The effects of sun intensity during pregnancy and in the first 12 months of life on childhood obesity


Obesity not only leads to immense medical costs associated with treating obesity-related illness but is also associated with lower employment prospects and earnings. This study shows that sunshine-induced vitamin D may have a preventive effect on obesity for children.

It investigates the relation between sun intensity from pregnancy until infancy on obesity at age six, using population data of more than 600,000 children. Our findings show that the effects of sun intensity on subsequent obesity are concentrated in the first six months of life: 100 hours of additional sunshine over this period reduce overweight by 1.1 percent and severe obesity by 6.2 percent.


We offer two main explanations for this pattern. First, infants’ vitamin D levels are particularly sensitive to sunshine in the first six months of life, when lactation is highest. Second, the first six months of life are a sensitive period for later obesity, as this is the period when infants rapidly gain weight and adipose tissue develops.
 

koolishman

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AI can tell your race from an X-ray image — and scientists can't figure out how


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A new study by an international team of scientists from Canada, the U.S., Australia and Taiwan reports that artificial intelligence used to read X-rays and CT scans can predict a person’s race with 90 per cent accuracy — and humans can’t. The scientists, including those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, have no idea how the program does it.


Be afraid, be very very afraid.:xf.wink:
 

koolishman

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koolishman

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An approximation to determine the source of the WOW! Signal

Abstract​


In this paper it is analysed which of the thousands of stars in the WOW! Signal region could have the highest chance of being the real source of the signal, providing that it came from a star system similar to ours. A total of 66 G and K-type stars are sampled, but only one of them is identified as a potential Sun-like star considering the available information in the Gaia Archive. This candidate source, which is named 2MASS 19281982-2640123, therefore becomes an ideal target to conduct observations in the search for techno-signatures. Another two candidate stars have a luminosity error interval that includes the luminosity of the Sun, and 14 candidates more are also identified as potential Sun-like stars, but the estimations on their luminosity were unknown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wow!_signal
 

koolishman

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A 15-year snapshot of US diets reveals a gradual shift away from beef


A gradually waning appetite for meat over the past twenty years has pushed the greenhouse gas emissions of US diets down by 35%, finds a surprising and hopeful new study.

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The country’s emissions still far exceed the suggested national limit to keep global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement. But the results of the new research suggest that tapping into this emerging sustainable consumption trend could be one promising route to help the US reach its climate targets.

By using data from a national dietary survey of US adults between 2003 and 2018, and conducting a life cycle analysis on the reported foods, the researchers found that the diet-related greenhouse gas emissions of US citizens almost halved, falling from 4 kilograms of CO2 equivalent to 2.45 kg CO2e over the 15 year study period.
 
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koolishman

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Scientists just broke the record for the highest efficiency solar cell

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A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created a solar cell with a record efficiency of 39.5 percent under 1-sun global illumination, breaking the world record for solar cell efficiency, according to a recent study published in the journal Joule.

Amazingly, it has the highest efficiency recorded for any type of cell ever measured in real-world conditions.
 

koolishman

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Ancient forest discovered in China — in the bottom of a sinkhole


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The sinkhole reportedly measures 306 meters long, and 150 meters wide. When explorers ventured to the bottom of the sinkhole, they found three large caves in the walls, and an ancient forest with vegetation measuring up to 40 meters tall.


One of the explorers on the team that discovered the sinkhole, Chen Lixin, told Xinhua he “wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now.”
 

koolishman

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Long-hypothesized 'next generation wonder material' created for first time


For over a decade, scientists have attempted to synthesize a new form of carbon called graphyne with limited success. That endeavor is now at an end, though, thanks to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.


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Graphyne has long been of interest to scientists because of its similarities to the "wonder material" graphene—another form of carbon that is highly valued by industry whose research was even awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. However, despite decades of work and theorizing, only a few fragments have ever been created before now.
 
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