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Posts posted by SciTechPress

  1. tumblr_o1998nh9Ec1qhgo13o1_500.jpg



    Vision has revolutionized the way animals explore their environment and interact with each other and rapidly became a major driving force in animal evolution. However, direct evidence of how ancient animals could perceive their environment is extremely difficult to obtain because internal eye structures are almost never fossilized.  

    Today, paleontologists reconstruct with unprecedented resolution the three-dimensional structure of the huge compound eye of a 160-million-year-old thylacocephalan arthropod from the La Voulte exceptional fossil biota in South East France. The study was published 19 January in Nature Communications.


    This arthropod called Dollocaris ingens had about 18,000 lenses on each eye, which is a record among extinct and extant arthropods and is surpassed only by modern dragonflies. Combined information about its eyes, internal organs and gut contents obtained by X-ray microtomography lead to the conclusion that this thylacocephalan arthropod was a visual hunter probably adapted to illuminated environments, thus contradicting the hypothesis that La Voulte was a deep-water environment.


    - Eye structure of Dollocaris ingens.

    As a group, the Thylacocephala survived to the Upper Cretaceous. Beyond this, there remains much uncertainty concerning fundamental aspects of the thylacocephalan anatomy, mode of life, and relationship to the Crustacea, with whom they have always been cautiously aligned.

    via ScitechPress.org

  2. tumblr_oifshwp2fQ1rvcmm7o1_500.jpg


    X-Rayed Skeleton

    A web of chromatin grows along the DNA inside the nucleus of our cells – it’s represented in bright colours in this mouse nerve cell. The skeleton-like chromatin changes as stem cells develop into nerve cells, shaping the life inside by controlling access to the DNA. Understandably, scientists want to take a close look at chromatin, but many have found it too sensitive to lab techniques. Here, x-rays fired into the nucleus from many angles, gently highlight two different types of chromatin in 3D without causing any damage. One form of chromatin (blue green) is surrounded and linked to heterochromatin (red-yellow), a more compact form which affects which genes can be switched on or off, playing major roles in development. Now the x-ray technique can be applied to different types of cell (even those with genetic mutations), and heterochromatin watched as is moves and shifts, altering life as it goes.

    Written by John Ankers

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    via ScitechPress.org

  3. beautyaboveus:

    1. Gravitational waves are real. More than 100 years after Einstein first predicted them, researchers finally detected the elusive ripples in space time this year. We’ve now seen three gravitational wave events in total.

    2. Sloths almost die every time they poop, and it looks agonising.

    3. It’s possible to live for more than a year without a heart in your body.

    4. It’s also possible to live a normal life without 90 percent of your brain.

    5. There are strange, metallic sounds coming from the Mariana trench, the deepest point on Earth’s surface. Scientists currently think the noise is a new kind of baleen whale call.

    6. A revolutionary new type of nuclear fusion machine being trialled in Germany really works, and could be the key to clean, unlimited energy.

    7. There’s an Earth-like planet just 4.2 light-years away in the Alpha Centauri star system - and scientists are already planning a mission to visit it.

    8. Earth has a second mini-moon orbiting it, known as a ‘quasi-satellite’. It’s called 2016 HO3.

    9. There might be a ninth planet in our Solar System (no, Pluto doesn’t count).

    10. The first written record demonstrating the laws of friction has been hiding inside Leonardo da Vinci’s “irrelevant scribbles” for the past 500 years.

    11. Zika virus can be spread sexually, and it really does cause microcephaly in babies.

    12. Crows have big ears, and they’re kinda terrifying.

    13. The largest known prime number is 274,207,281– 1, which is a ridiculous 22 million digits in length. It’s 5 million digits longer than the second largest prime.

    14. The North Pole is slowly moving towards London, due to the planet’s shifting water content.

    15. Earth lost enough sea ice this year to cover the entire land mass of India.

    16. Artificial intelligence can beat humans at Go.

    17. Tardigrades are so indestructible because they have an in-built toolkit to protect their DNA from damage. These tiny creatures can survive being frozen for decades, can bounce back from total desiccation, and can even handle the harsh radiation of space.

    18. There are two liquid states of water.

    19. Pear-shaped atomic nuclei exist, and they make time travel seem pretty damn impossible.

    20. Dinosaurs had glorious tail feathers, and they were floppy.

    21. One third of the planet can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live.

    22. There’s a giant, 1.5-billion-cubic-metre (54-billion-cubic-foot) field of precious helium gas in Tanzania.

    23. The ‘impossible’ EM Drive is the propulsion system that just won’t quit. NASA says it really does seem to produce thrust - but they still have no idea how. We’ll save that mystery for 2017.

    via ScitechPress.org

  4. Actually, the Big Bang theory does not postulate that the universe was all contained in a single point. The theory only postuates that early in the universe, it was extremely compact, hot, and expanding rapidly. It makes no attempt to extrapolate to zero time, because the math fails, and every professional in the business thinks that a failure in the math means that there is some new physics principle at work that will alter the equations for those super-early moments.

    That doesn’t stop people from ignoring the mathematical failure and postulating what did happen. Indeed, that is the way physics progresses. But the honest answer is that for the very early time, when the universe was no more than a Planck length in size, our current physics theory tells us nothing.

    My own favorite speculation is the one you mention in your question, that time did not exist prior to the Big Bang. But if time didn’t exist, then what does it mean for time to “be created”. That requires movement of time. So many physicists think that when the proper new physics is added it, we will find that the universe existed before the Big Bang, and that what we are seeing is some sort of a “bounce”. But we don’t know the true physics for such super dense material, so we can’t really say much more.

    As I said, I enjoy more the idea that time just started at the Big Bang. But this is not physics; it is playful speculation.

    Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UCBerkeley, auth “Now -The Physics of Time- (to be published 2016)


    via ScitechPress.org

  5. Aging Is Reversible--at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice:


    New research suggests it is possible to slow or even reverse aging, at least in mice, by undoing changes in gene activity—the same kinds of changes that are caused by decades of life in humans.

    By tweaking genes that turn adult cells back into embryoniclike ones, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reversed the aging of mouse and human cells in vitro, extended the life of a mouse with an accelerated-aging condition and successfully promoted recovery from an injury in a middle-aged mouse, according to a study published Thursday in Cell.

    The study adds weight to the scientific argument that aging is largely a process of so-called epigenetic changes, alterations that make genes more active or less so. Over the course of life cell-activity regulators get added to or removed from genes. In humans those changes can be caused by smoking, pollution or other environmental factors—which dial the genes’ activities up or down. As these changes accumulate, our muscles weaken, our minds slow down and we become more vulnerable to diseases.

    Continue Reading.

    via ScitechPress.org

  6. sciencesourceimages:

    Sorry For Overreacting!

    High-speed footage of a Thermite reaction producing molten iron. Thermite is a mixture of powdered aluminum and iron oxide which reacts when ignited, producing iron and aluminum oxide in an exothermic reduction-oxidation (redox) reaction. 


    Molten iron is seen dripping out of the bottom of the flower pot as the reaction progresses. The reaction has a number of commercial uses that make use of its high temperature, including welding steel railroad tracks and cutting through metals in situ. 

    The thermite reaction was discovered in 1893 and patented in 1895 by German chemist named Hans Goldschmidt. Consequently, the reaction is sometimes called the “Goldschmidt reaction” or “Goldschmidt process”. Goldschmidt was originally interested in producing very pure metals by avoiding the use of carbon in smelting, but he soon discovered the value of thermite in welding. 

    Filmed at 250 frames per second (slowed down 10 times).

    Video above © SPL / Science Source

    Explore our Video website

    Explore our Image website

    via ScitechPress.org

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