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  1. The future of farming might be inside a warehouse outside New York City via ScitechPress.org
  2. On southern China’s Hainan Island, agricultural drones are used to spray pesticides over crops. The Chinese government has encouraged farmers to move from manual labor to automated farming. (video by Vicky Feng, Robin Fall) via ScitechPress.org
  3. The Biggest Air Refueling Mishaps Caught On Camera via ScitechPress.org
  4. thesassylorax: kittensceilidh: ornithologia: forest-kitten: sizvideos: Watch it in video Follow us on Tumblr SWEET BBY I LOVE CROWS SO MUCH CROW it understood there was water in there…and exactly how to get the water out….it just couldn’t do it alone…hot damn they are fucking smart This crow would have grown up in that area, watching people with bottles. It would have observed them opening the cap, and the water flowing out. Crows are incredibly intelligent, and this further proves the fact that it connected that without that lid water would be available. via ScitechPress.org
  5. sciencesourceimages: What Does A Black Hole Look Like? Astronomers are on a quest to find out by Sarah Kaplan / Washington Post By its very nature, the black hole at the heart of our galaxy is impossible to spot. Its overwhelming gravity allows nothing to escape, not even light. Massive enough to send shivers through space-time itself, yet perfectly invisible, it lurks in the darkness like a monster from a child’s nightmare, felt but unseen. It is the stuff of physicists’ wildest dreams. “Black holes are basically the most mysterious objects in the cosmos,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Even Albert Einstein almost didn’t believe they were real, even though it was his theory of general relativity that helped predict them more than 100 years ago. In the century since, scientists have been able to sense black holes through observations of their influence on nearby matter. And with last year’s detection of gravitational waves emitted by two colliding black holes, they’ve also heard them. But no one has ever seen a black hole. The enigmatic objects hide behind an “event horizon” the boundary at which gravity acts like an invisibility cloak, wrapping around light and matter and swallowing them whole. No telescope on Earth is powerful enough to penetrate that abyss. At least, no single telescope is. Beginning on Wednesday night (April 5th), a battalion of 120 astronomers working at eight observatories on four continents will mobilize in an unprecedented effort to image the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, a body named Sagittarius A*. By combining observations from points across the globe, they’ll create a virtual observatory the size of Earth itself. The “Event Horizon Telescope,” they call it. Read the entire article via ScitechPress.org
  6. neurosciencestuff: How to Make a Motor Neuron A team of scientists has uncovered details of the cellular mechanisms that control the direct programming of stem cells into motor neurons. The scientists analyzed changes that occur in the cells over the course of the reprogramming process. They discovered a dynamic, multi-step process in which multiple independent changes eventually converge to change the stem cells into motor neurons. “There is a lot of interest in generating motor neurons to study basic developmental processes as well as human diseases like ALS and spinal muscular atrophy,” said Shaun Mahony, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and one of the lead authors of the paper. “By detailing the mechanisms underlying the direct programing of motor neurons from stem cells, our study not only informs the study of motor neuron development and its associated diseases, but also informs our understanding of the direct programming process and may help with the development of techniques to generate other cell types.” The direct programming technique could eventually be used to regenerate missing or damaged cells by converting other cell types into the missing one. The research findings, which appear online in the journal Cell Stem Cell on December 8, 2016, show the challenges facing current cell-replacement technology, but they also outline a potential pathway to the creation of more viable methods. “Despite having a great therapeutic potential, direct programming is generally inefficient and doesn’t fully take into account molecular complexity,” said Esteban Mazzoni, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Biology and one of the lead authors of the study. “However, our findings point to possible new avenues for enhanced gene-therapy methods.” The researchers had shown previously that they can transform mouse embryonic stem cells into motor neurons by expressing three transcription factors – genes that control the expression of other genes – in the stem cells. The transformation takes about two days. In order to better understand the cellular and genetic mechanisms responsible for the transformation, the researchers analyzed how the transcription factors bound to the genome, changes in gene expression, and modifications to chromatin at 6-hour intervals during the transformation. “We have a very efficient system in which we can transform stem cells into motor neurons with something like a 90 to 95 percent success rate by adding the cocktail of transcription factors,” said Mahony. “Because of that efficiency, we were able to use our system to tease out the details of what actually happens in the cell during this transformation.” “A cell in an embryo develops by passing through several intermediate stages,” noted Uwe Ohler, senior researcher at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin and one of the lead authors of the work. “But in direct programming we don’t have that: we replace the gene transcription network of the cell with a completely new one at once, without the progression through intermediate stages. We asked, what are the timing and kinetics of chromatin changes and transcription events that directly lead to the final cell fate?“ The research team found surprising complexity – programming of these stem cells into neurons is the result of two independent transcriptional processes that eventually converge. Early on in the process, two of the transcription factors – Isl1 and Lhx3 – work in tandem, binding to the genome and beginning a cascade of events including changes to chromatin structure and gene expression in the cells. The third transcription factor, Ngn2, acts independently making additional changes to gene expression. Later in the transformation process, Isl1 and Lhx3 rely on changes in the cell initiated by Ngn2 to help complete the transformation. In order for direct programming to successfully achieve cellular conversion, it must coordinate the activity of the two processes. “Many have found direct programming to be a potentially attractive method as it can be performed either in vitro – outside of a living organism – or in vivo – inside the body and, importantly, at the site of cellular damage,” said Mazzoni. “However, questions remain about its viability to repair cells – especially given the complex nature of the biological process. Looking ahead, we think it’s reasonable to use this newly gained knowledge to, for instance, manipulate cells in the spinal cord to replace the neurons required for voluntary movement that are destroyed by afflictions such as ALS.” via ScitechPress.org
  7. alithographica: Science Fact Friday - Tapetum lucidum! So why don’t all vertebrates have this adaptation? It’s an advantage to animals that are active in the dark - cats, dogs, owls, raccoons, crocodiles, and so on - but it makes everything slightly blurry. Many daytime vertebrates (including humans and most other primates) do not have one and instead have better day vision. via ScitechPress.org
  8. New Buzzword: Serverless via ScitechPress.org
  9. neurosciencestuff: (Image caption: Mouse olfactory bulb containing distinct populations of neurons generated shortly after birth (red) and during early adult stages (green). Credit: Troy Ghashghaei) When Neurons are ‘Born’ Impacts Olfactory Behavior in Mice New research from North Carolina State University shows that neurons generated at different life stages in mice can impact aspects of their olfactory sense and behavior. The work could have implications for our understanding of neurodevelopmental processes or traumatic brain injuries in humans. Troy Ghashghaei, associate professor of neurobiology at NC State, studies the ways neurons develop and integrate into the “circuitry” of the brain. Mice are an excellent model for study, because even in adulthood they continue to produce neurons in two regions, one of which deals with the smell, or olfactory, centers of the brain. Working with a population of young adult mice, Ghashghaei and his team looked at olfactory neurons that were generated when the mice were either newborn or young adults. The team wanted to know if there was a difference between the function of neurons that developed at different life stages. “One way to study the function of different populations of neurons is to shut them off during different behavioral paradigms,” says Ghashghaei. To shut off neurons, they introduced a gene into olfactory stem cells in the mice. The gene encoded a protein that would respond to a particular drug by turning off those olfactory neurons after they had matured. Thus the researchers could shut off neurons that were generated at different developmental time points. In young adult mice, stopping activity of adult-born neurons affected their ability to recognize and develop memories for novel food odors – odors that they had never been exposed to before. In contrast, if the odor was aversive, or indicated danger – like the scent of a fox, for example – shutting off the adult-generated neurons had no effect; the mice responded normally by freezing in place. The adult-generated neurons, therefore, did not appear to have a role in mediating the innate response the mice had to aversive odors. Puzzled by this finding, Ghashghaei and the team wondered if neurons generated immediately after mice are born were connected with responses to aversive odors. So they shut off ‘early-born’ neurons in the mice and found that the usual response to aversive odors was interrupted: the mice seemed unaffected by presence of a fox odor. “Developmentally, there is a progression of neuronal addition to the olfactory system in mice,” Ghashghaei says. “What this study demonstrates is that there are developmentally defined circuits – generated at specific points in time – that regulate different values of new sensory stimuli, and how sensory responses are processed and learned. “The next questions to explore are how specific sets of neurons, generated at specific points in time, work together in complex behaviors, and how they may or may not be working in neurodevelopmental diseases or in conditions such as autism. Additionally, we want to look at how the neurons we have discovered are wired to other brain regions and whether or not these networks are responsible for regulating hedonic aspects of sensory perception.” The work appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience. via ScitechPress.org
  10. wildcat2030: See on Scoop.it - The Future of Water & Waste A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water. The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts, and will now be tested against existing desalination membranes. It has previously been difficult to manufacture graphene-based barriers on an industrial scale. Reporting their results in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists from the University of Manchester, led by Dr Rahul Nair, shows how they solved some of the challenges by using a chemical derivative called graphene oxide. Isolated and characterised by a University of Manchester-led team in 2004, graphene comprises a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Its unusual properties, such as extraordinary tensile strength and electrical conductivity, have earmarked it as one of the most promising materials for future applications. But it has been difficult to produce large quantities of single-layer graphene using existing methods, such as chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Current production routes are also quite costly. On the other hand, said Dr Nair, “graphene oxide can be produced by simple oxidation in the lab”. via ScitechPress.org
  11. Tackling the kraken: Unique dolphin strategy delivers dangerous octopus for dinner via ScitechPress.org
  12. Russian Uran-9 military robot undergoes tests in Moscow region. The vehicle is armed with machine-guns, cannons and anti-tank missile launchers. via ScitechPress.org
  13. Scorching lava can still be seen flowing onto the slopes of Mount Etna, more than one week after the Italian volcano dramatically erupted. Stunning Ruptly footage shows huge amounts of magma oozing from the 3,329 meter-high mountain. via ScitechPress.org
  14. What’s inside a Tesla Battery? Small correction: the black sheet is not pure lithium. It’s a lithium carbonate mix that is deposited onto a thin sheet of aluminum. The amount of pure lithium in a Tesla cell only accounts for about 2% of it weight. via ScitechPress.org
  15. Designers and manufacturers showcased their developments at 2nd Russian Military Robotics Conference Russian robotics designers and manufacturers showcased their last developments, which could potentially join the Russian army. About 89 models were demonstrated during the 2nd Russian Military Robotics Conference at the Patriot Park in Kubinka near Moscow. In 2014, The Russian Defense Ministry approved a complex program called ‘Creating of Advanced Military Robotics for 2025l,’ which prioritized robotics as one of the top priorities of the Russian arms program. via ScitechPress.org
  16. Tardigrades turn into glass to survive complete dehydration: mindblowingscience: They are probably the toughest creatures on Earth, and now we know how they manage to survive years of complete dehydration. Water bears, or tardigrades, have been recorded surviving the vacuum of space, high doses of radiation and pressure. These water dwelling creatures can also survive dry environments in a shrivelled-up, dormant state for as long as a decade, reviving within an hour when exposed to water. To pull off this remarkable trick, the animals rely on proteins unique to them, called tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins (TDPs). When there is water around, these anti-dehydration proteins are jelly-like and don’t form into well-defined three-dimensional structures like most known proteins. But when water bears start to dry out, these proteins turn into a kind of glassy sanctuary that cocoons all dehydration-sensitive materials in the animal from harm. “When the animal completely desiccates, the TDPs vitrify, turning the cytoplasmic fluid of cells into glass,” says lead author Thomas Boothby of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We think this glassy mixture is trapping [other] desiccation-sensitive proteins and other biological molecules and locking them in place, physically preventing them from unfolding, breaking apart or aggregating together,” says Boothby. Continue Reading. via ScitechPress.org
  17. lerios: Proof that someone has bitched and will bitch about young peoples’ technology throughout all of time and space. via ScitechPress.org
  18. Mercedes is reportedly pouring $562 million into delivery van drones — here's a glimpse of what's to come: emergentfutures: Pretty slick concepts via ScitechPress.org
  19. wildcat2030: See on Scoop.it - Knowmads, Infocology of the future If you find yourself torn between cravings and ethical concerns every time you tuck into a chicken nugget, there might soon be a way you can have your meat and eat it too. Memphis Meats has just served up chicken and duck meat cultivated in a lab from poultry cells, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of the meal. Along with the ethical issues of animal cruelty that surround a carnivorous diet, feeding, breeding and keeping livestock for food has an enormous environmental impact. The animals burp more greenhouse gases into the air than all modes of human transport, and require large swathes of land to be cleared, not to mention all the food, water, and care they need. Studies show that growing meat in a lab setting could go a long way towards solving those problems. In 2013, the public got a taste of beef that had never actually been a cow, but as impressive as that achievement was, it was reportedly pretty bland and cost as much as a house. Companies like Impossible Burger are working on improving the look and taste, and in February 2016, Memphis Meats unveiled what it called a “clean” meatball. via ScitechPress.org
  20. Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new approach to the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. In findings published in Nature Materials, the researchers explain how this approach will make it possible to produce hydrogen in a centralized manner at the point of sale (for example, at a gas station for electric cars fueled by hydrogen) located far from the solar farm. The new technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of producing the hydrogen and shipping it to the customer. The study was led by Avigail Landman, a doctoral student in the Nancy & Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), and Dr. Hen Dotan from the Electrochemical Materials & Devices Lab. Ms. Landman is working on her doctorate under the guidance of Prof. Avner Rothschild from the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, and Prof. Gideon Grader, Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. via ScitechPress.org
  21. peashooter85: Atomic Annie — The M65 Atomic Cannon, Designed in 1949 by the American Engineer Robert Schwarz, the M65 “Atomic Annie” was inspired by German railway guns used during World War II. The M65 however, was designed to deliver a nuclear payload to its target. The gun and carriage itself weighed around 85 tons, was manned by a crew of 5-7, and was transported by two specially designed towing tractors. At 280mm in caliber and capable of firing a projectile over 20 miles, the gun was certainly powerful enough as a conventional weapon, but the Atomic Annie was certainly no conventional weapon. In 1953 it was tested for the first time at the Nevada Test Site, where it fired a 15 kiloton nuclear warhead, creating a blast similar in size to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the successful test, 20 M65 cannons were produced for the US Army and deployed in Europe and Korea. They were almost always in constant motion so the Soviets never knew where they were and could not target them. While an interesting weapon, the Atomic Annie suffered from limited range, especially after the development of ballistic missiles which could strike a target from thousands of miles away. The last M65 Atomic Cannon was retired in 1963. Today only 8 survive, and are displayed in museums across the country. via ScitechPress.org
  22. neurosciencestuff: Contrary to popular belief, language is not limited to speech. In a recent study published in the journal PNAS, Northeastern University Prof. Iris Berent reveals that people also apply the rules of their spoken language to sign language. Language is not simply about hearing sounds or moving our mouths. When our brain is “doing language,” it projects abstract structure. The modality (speech or sign) is secondary. “There is a misconception in the general public that sign language is not really a language,” said Berent. “Part of our mandate, through the support of the NSF, is to reveal the complex structure of sign language, and in so doing, disabuse the public of this notion.” THE EXPERIMENT To come to this conclusion, Berent’s lab studied words (and signs) that shared the same general structure. She found that people reacted to this structure in the same way, irrespective of whether they were presented with speech or signs. In the study, Berent studied words and signs with doubling (e.g., slaflaf)—ones that show full or partial repetition. She found that responses to these forms shift, depending on their linguistic context. When a word is presented by itself (or as a name for just one object), people avoid doubling. For example, they rate slaflaf (with doubling) worse than slafmak (with no doubling). But when doubling signaled a systematic change in meaning (e.g., slaf=singular, slaflaf=plural), participants now preferred it. Next, Berent asked what happens when people see doubling in signs (signs with two identical syllables). The subjects were English speakers who had no knowledge of a sign language. To Berent’s surprise, these subjects responded to signs in the same way they responded to the words. They disliked doubling for singular objects, but they systematically preferred it if (and only if) doubling signaled plurality. Hebrew speakers showed this preference when doubling signaled a diminutive, in line with the structure of their language. “It’s not about the stimulus, it’s really about the mind, and specifically about the language system,” said Berent. “These results suggest that our knowledge of language is abstract and amodal. Human brains can grasp the structure of language regardless of whether it is presented in speech or in sign.” SIGN LANGUAGE IS LANGUAGE Currently there is a debate as to what role sign language has played in language evolution, and whether the structure of sign language share similarities with spoken language. Berent’s lab shows that our brain detects some deep similarities between speech and sign language. This allows for English speakers, for example, to extend their knowledge of language to sign language. “Sign language has a structure, and even if you examine it at the phonological level, where you would expect it to be completely different from spoken language, you can still find similarities. What’s even more remarkable is that our brain can extract some of this structure even when we have no knowledge of sign language. We can apply some of the rules of our spoken language phonology to signs,” said Berent. Berent says these findings show that our brains are built to deal with very different types of linguistic inputs. The results from this paper confirm what some scientists have long thought, but hasn’t truly been grasped by the general public—language is language no matter what format it takes. “This is a significant finding for the deaf community because sign language is their legacy. It defines their identity, and we should all recognize its value. It’s also significant to our human identity, generally, because language is what defines us as a species ” To help further support these findings, Berent and her lab intend to examine how these rules apply to other languages. The present study focused on English and Hebrew. via ScitechPress.org
  23. did-you-kno: In 1897, Indiana almost passed a bill to change the value of pi. An amateur mathematician decided he had proof that pi was not 3.14, but actually 3.2, so he convinced the state to take on the bill. It passed the House unanimously, made it through a Senate committee, and likely would’ve been approved if a professor from Purdue hadn’t been in town. After hearing the news, he went to the state- house, watched the debate, decided to intervene, and eventually convinced the Senate that the theory was nonsense. Source Source 2 via ScitechPress.org

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