Perturbation theory: are we covering up new physics? | Jon Butterworth | Life & Physics | Science A graphical representation of a proton-proton collision. Loosely speaking, the red, yellow and some blue bits are the skeleton, and the green stuff is squishy. Credit: Frank Krauss, Sherpa. We're measuring all kinds of stuff at the Large Hadron Collider right now. The question we're addressing could be summed up as Does the Standard Model of particle physics work at LHC energies or not? If it works, there is a Higgs boson but not much else new. This begs the question (of me at least) How well do we really understand the predictions of the Standard Model at these energies? This isn't an easy one. The strength of a force can be expressed as a number. This is mostly true at LHC energies, except for when it isn't. The bits when isn't mostly involve the strong nuclear force, Quantum Chromodynamics. For example, aspects of how quarks and gluons are distributed inside the protons we collide can't be calculated from first principles. * See here for what might be a good quote on that.
Carbon sequestration by soils: Our best shot at cooling the planet might be right under our feet | Global Development Professionals Network It’s getting hot out there. Every one of the past 14 months has broken the global temperature record. Ice cover in the Arctic sea just hit a new low, at 525,000 square miles less than normal. If we want to stay below the upper ceiling of 2 degrees, though, we still have a shot. How to make up the difference is one of the biggest questions of the 21st century. This leaves us in a bit of a bind. Soil is the second biggest reservoir of carbon on the planet, next to the oceans. As our soils degrade, they are losing their ability to hold carbon, releasing enormous plumes of CO2 [pdf] into the atmosphere. There is, however, a solution. The science on this is quite exciting. Yet despite having the evidence on their side, proponents of regenerative farming – like the international farmers’ association La Via Campesina – are fighting an uphill battle. Scientists are calling their bluff. The battle here is not just between two different methods. Ultimately, this is about more than just soil.
Immoral thoughts: how does the brain react? When a person thinks about naughty things, does one side of the brain get more exercised than the other? Eight scientists studied that question. Their report, Hemispheric Asymmetries During Processing of Immoral Stimuli, appears in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience. The stated goal is to describe "the neural organisation of moral processing". Debra Lieberman, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Miami, Florida, acts as spokesperson for the team. They had to work with a few limitations – the same limitations that apply to anyone who tries to describe what's going on in the brain. With the exception of a few crackpots or geniuses, scientists don't claim to understand how the 100,000,000,000 or so parts of the human brain manage to think thoughts. The study does not risk getting bogged down in those larger, complicated conundrums. The scientists sought their answer by recruiting some test subjects.
Heating up the Games: Why the British Isles could be the only viable Olympic hosts Only four Northern hemisphere cities are likely to be cool enough to host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games by 2100 – Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow Tropical Rio de Janeiro is in the middle of an Olympic-Paralympic Games festival of sport, with Tokyo primed to take over in 2020, and Paris, Los Angeles, and Budapest jostling over who gets to host the Games four years after that (Rome is also technically in the running but nobody expects its bid to survive much longer if the new mayor sticks to her election promises). But a warming climate suggests that sites for future Olympics will be significantly more restricted. Summary of all 645 northern hemisphere cities in 2085 capable of mounting the Summer Olympics.
Sleep is More Important than Food - Tony Schwartz by Tony Schwartz | 10:37 AM March 3, 2011 Let’s cut to the chase. Say you decide to go on a fast, and so you effectively starve yourself for a week. At the end of seven days, how would you be feeling? You’d probably be hungry, perhaps a little weak, and almost certainly somewhat thinner. Now let’s say you deprive yourself of sleep for a week. Here’s what former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had to say in his memoir White Nights about the experience of being deprived of sleep in a KGB prison: “In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. So why is sleep one of the first things we’re willing to sacrifice as the demands in our lives keep rising? Many of the effects we suffer are invisible. So how much sleep do you need? When I ask people in my talks how many had fewer than 7 hours of sleep several nights during the past week, the vast majority raise their hands. Great performers are an exception. Go to bed earlier — and at a set time.
Green-powered boat prepares for round-the-world voyage | Environment Dubbed the “Solar Impulse of the seas”, the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world. A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse – the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July – the Energy Observer will be powered by the sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled. The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint Malo on France’s west coast, awaiting the installation of solar panels, wind turbines and electrolysis equipment, which breaks down water to produce its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. “We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” says Frenchman Victorien Erussard, who is behind the project – confidential until now – with compatriot Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver. The vessel itself has a storied past.
6 Big HealthTech Ideas That Will Change Medicine In 2012 “In the future we might not prescribe drugs all the time, we might prescribe apps.” Singularity University‘s executive director of FutureMed Daniel Kraft M.D. sat down with me to discuss the biggest emerging trends in HealthTech. Here we’ll look at how A.I, big data, 3D printing, social health networks and other new technologies will help you get better medical care. Kraft believes that by analyzing where the field is going, we have the ability to reinvent medicine and build important new business models. For background, Daniel Kraft studied medicine at Stanford and did his residency at Harvard. Artificial Intelligence Siri and IBM’s Watson are starting to be applied to medical questions. For example, an X-ray gun in remote africa could send shots to the cloud where an artificial intelligence augmented physician could analyze them. This has the potential to disintermediate some fields of medicine like dermatology which is a pattern based field — I look at the rash and I know what it is.
Ship found in Arctic 168 years after doomed Northwest Passage attempt | World news The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries. HMS Terror and Franklin’s flagship, HMS Erebus, were abandoned in heavy sea ice far to the north of the eventual wreck site in 1848, during the Royal Navy explorer’s doomed attempt to complete the Northwest Passage. All 129 men on the Franklin expedition died, in the worst disaster to hit Britain’s Royal Navy in its long history of polar exploration. Search parties continued to look for the ships for 11 years after they disappeared, but found no trace, and the fate of the missing men remained an enigma that tantalised generations of historians, archaeologists and adventurers. Now that mystery seems to have been solved by a combination of intrepid exploration – and an improbable tip from an Inuk crewmember.
Scientists select new species for top 10 list; issue SOS The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists - scientists responsible for species exploration and classification - today announce the top 10 new species described in 2009. On the list are a minnow with fangs, golden orb spider and carnivorous sponge. The top 10 new species also include a deep-sea worm that when threatened releases green luminescent "bombs," a sea slug that eats insects, a flat-faced frogfish with an unusual psychedelic pattern, and a two-inch mushroom that was the subject of a "Bluff the Listener" segment on the National Public Radio quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." Rounding out the top 10 list are a banded knifefish, a charismatic plant that produces insect-trapping pitchers the size of an American football, and an edible yam that uncharacteristically sports multiple lobes instead of just one. Issuing an SOS The winners are ... It's about diversity Commemorating May 23 birth of Linnaeus
Arctic Ocean shipping routes 'to open for months' Image copyright SPL Shipping routes across the Arctic are going to open up significantly this century even with a best-case reduction in CO2 emissions, a new study suggests. University of Reading, UK, researchers have investigated how the decline in sea-ice, driven by warmer temperatures, will make the region more accessible. They find that by 2050, opportunities to transit the Arctic will double for non ice-strengthened vessels. These open-water ships will even be going right over the top at times. And if CO2 emissions are not curtailed - if the aspirations of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise "well below two degrees" are not implemented - then moderately ice-strengthened vessels could be routinely ploughing across the Arctic by late century for perhaps 10-12 months of the year. "The reduction in summer sea-ice, perhaps the most striking sign of climate change, may also provide economic opportunities," commented Reading's Dr Nathanael Melia. Image copyright NASA