The Most Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment Ever : Krulwich Wonders... Claude Monet /The Metropolitan Museum of Art I'm standing on a beach and I see, a few hundred yards out, a mound of water heading right at me. It's not a wave, not yet, but a swollen patch of ocean, like the top of a moving beach ball, what sailors call a "swell." As it gets closer, its bottom hits the rising shore below, forcing the water up, then over, sending it tumbling onto the beach, a tongue of foam coming right up to my toes — and that's when I look down, as the wave melts into the sand and I say, "Hi, I'm from New York. Yes, I'm asking a wave to tell me where it was born. His name is Walter Munk, now in his 90s and a professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. His equations said that the swells hitting beaches in Mexico began some 9,000 miles away — somewhere in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, near Antarctica. "Could it be?" He decided to find out for himself. Professor Munk was not the first scientist to study swells. ...
NASA: We will find aliens within 20 years Published time: July 16, 2014 17:34 An artist's impression of an exoplanet (Image from Wikipedia.org) A series of new telescopes – a magnitude more powerful than the ones already in use – will allow humanity to detect alien life within decades, according to top NASA scientists. “I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” announced NASA astronomer Kevin Hand, during a public talk in Washington that showcased the US space agency’s top extra-terrestrial life specialists. While the prediction may have seemed bold, it chimed with the utter certainty of all experts present, fueled by the already impressive work of the Kepler telescope – which is about to be superseded. "What we didn't know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 percent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone. Such a project is currently limited by the payload restrictions of rockets currently in use.
Black Holes Feed On Quantum Foam, Says Cosmologist — The Physics arXiv Blog If Spaans is right, black holes grow by feeding on spacetime itself and their quantum feeding habits effectively solve the problem of how the biggest black holes become so massive, so quickly. “Supermassive black holes can acquire a lot of their mass through these quantum contributions over the life time of the universe,” he says. Here’s some useful background. Nobody has ever observed quantum foam but there is widespread agreement that the fabric of the universe must be made of something like it. In ordinary circumstances, quantum foam has little impact. Spaans’ approach is to ask what happens when a black hole meets quantum foam. He says this kind of growth can easily account for the observed size of relatively young supermassive black holes. That’s interesting stuff but new ideas are worth little unless they make experimentally testable predictions and Spaans does not disappoint in this respect. And that ought to be measurable.
Why do we have blood types? When my parents informed me that my blood type was A+, I felt a strange sense of pride. If A+ was the top grade in school, then surely A+ was also the most excellent of blood types – a biological mark of distinction. It didn’t take long for me to recognise just how silly that feeling was and tamp it down. But I didn’t learn much more about what it really meant to have type A+ blood. By the time I was an adult, all I really knew was that if I should end up in a hospital in need of blood, the doctors there would need to make sure they transfused me with a suitable type. And yet there remained some nagging questions. In 1900 the Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in 1930. “Isn’t it amazing?” My knowledge that I’m type A comes to me thanks to one of the greatest discoveries in the history of medicine. Such calamities gave transfusions a bad reputation for 150 years.
One injection stops diabetes in its tracks: Treatment reverses symptoms of type 2 diabetes in mice without side effects -- ScienceDaily In mice with diet-induced diabetes -- the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans -- a single injection of the protein FGF1 is enough to restore blood sugar levels to a healthy range for more than two days. The discovery by Salk scientists, published today in the journal Nature, could lead to a new generation of safer, more effective diabetes drugs. The team found that sustained treatment with the protein doesn't merely keep blood sugar under control, but also reverses insulin insensitivity, the underlying physiological cause of diabetes. Equally exciting, the newly developed treatment doesn't result in side effects common to most current diabetes treatments. "Controlling glucose is a dominant problem in our society," says Ronald M. Type 2 diabetes, which can be brought on by excess weight and inactivity, has skyrocketed over the past few decades in the United States and around the world.
New Type of Star Emerges From Inside Black Holes — The Physics arXiv Blog Black holes have fascinated scientists and the public alike for decades. There is special appeal in the idea that the universe contains regions of space so dense that light itself cannot escape and so extreme that the laws of physics no longer apply. What secrets can these extraordinary objects hide? Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Carlo Rovelli at the University of Toulon in France, and Francesca Vidotto at Radboud University in the Netherlands. Rovelli and Vidotto call these objects “Planck stars” and say they could solve one of the most important questions in astrophysics. Black holes arise naturally from Einstein’s theory of general relativity which predicts that gravity influences the trajectory of photons moving through space. Astrophysicists have long believed that black holes form when stars a little bigger than the Sun run out of fuel. But this has never been entirely satisfactory. Even worse, many physicists believe black holes slowly evaporate and disappear.
The Map Of Native American Tribes You've Never Seen Before : Code Switch Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has designed a map of Native American tribes showing their locations before first contact with Europeans. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption itoggle caption Hansi Lo Wang/NPR Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has designed a map of Native American tribes showing their locations before first contact with Europeans. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans. As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a continental U.S. map like this, depicting more than 600 tribes — many now forgotten and lost to history. Carapella has designed maps of Canada and the continental U.S. showing the original locations and names of Native American tribes.
New Device Makes It Possible to Take Pictures With Your Mind The technology of mind command recognition is coming to the market: A British company unveiled an application that connects Google Glass to a wearable electroencephalography (EEG) device, giving users the ability to take pictures with the power of thought. The company This Place, based in London, offers free software called MindRDR to pique the interest of developers who could design new applications. The application connects Google’s electronic glasses with another gadget, the Neurosky EEG biosensor that costs around 71 pounds (or 121$). This wearable, lightweight device consists of electrodes that touch the user’s head and reads the brainwaves associated with concentration and focus. To take pictures, a user has to focus their mind on a white line that appears on the screen of Google Glass. However, technology is advancing rapidly and This Place is confident that in the future the software could be used by surgeons or patients with mobility problems.
Secrets of the Creative Brain As a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who studies creativity, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted and high-profile subjects over the years, but Kurt Vonnegut—dear, funny, eccentric, lovable, tormented Kurt Vonnegut—will always be one of my favorites. Kurt was a faculty member at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the 1960s, and participated in the first big study I did as a member of the university’s psychiatry department. I was examining the anecdotal link between creativity and mental illness, and Kurt was an excellent case study. He was intermittently depressed, but that was only the beginning. His mother had suffered from depression and committed suicide on Mother’s Day, when Kurt was 21 and home on military leave during World War II. While mental illness clearly runs in the Vonnegut family, so, I found, does creativity. For many of my subjects from that first study—all writers associated with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—mental illness and creativity went hand in hand.