Amputee Feels in Real-Time with Bionic Hand
Dennis Aabo Sørensen is the first amputee in the world to feel sensory rich information – in realtime – with a prosthetic hand wired to nerves in his upper arm. Sørensen could grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching while blindfolded.
Carlin Gold Mine, Nevada, USA
Size: H:5.2cm x W:3.1cm x D:1.3cm
Blebs of deep red realgar encrusted on a host of calcite with prominent cleavage planes. Flakes of orange pararealgar are also visible due to sunlight exposure.
The news that there are “colours” that you cannot see should not be new news to you. The idea that mixtures of colours based off the visible spectrum that you still cannot see may be however. Certain colours, such as pink, are mixtures of different wavelengths of light, but other colours that are mixtures simply cannot be perceived and sound a bit like a real life octarine. These are colours such as red-green and blue-yellow, which are not actually what you get when you mix the two, but really a reddish variety of green or a bluish yellow colour. So why can’t we see these colours? The answer lies in what are known as “opponent neurons” in the eye’s retina. When red is seen one type of these neurons will fire, which the brain sees as red, when green is seen the neuron is silent and this lack of signaling is perceived as green. Interestingly this is also the basis of Red-Green colour blindness. So although these colours actually exist, we cannot see them because we cannot have a neuron firing and not firing at the same time.
So cool! Italian scientists have “seen” a double helix in higher resolution than ever before. But wait a sec, didn’t Rosalind Franklin do that half a century ago? Here’s the deal:
DNA is smaller than the wavelength of visible light. It is, by definition, invisible to us. But by using wavelengths that are even smaller than visible light, like X-rays, we have been able to discern some of the chemical structure of DNA and other molecules. That X-ray technique gave us Rosalind Franklin’s iconic X-in-an-O image that led to the discovery of the double helix.
But when we use X-rays, we are really looking at a sort of reflection pattern (or more accurately, “diffraction”) of the rays bouncing off of the atoms that make up DNA, not the DNA itself. It’s like trying to figure out the shape of a hand by looking at shadow puppets.
The Italian scientists imaged DNA closer than ever before by dehydrating the double helix onto microscopic silicon pillars, and then shooting it with a beam of electrons. Where the electrons hit the DNA, we see its shape, like a normal camera, just using electrons instead of visible light.
You can even see the fuzzy little notches of the base pairs!
(Read more about it at The Atlantic)
Researchers Say Diamond Film Possible Sans Pressure
Perfect sheets of diamond a few atoms thick appear to be possible even without the big squeeze that makes natural gems. Scientists have speculated about it and a few labs have even seen signs of what they call diamane, an extremely thin film of diamond that has all of diamond’s superior semiconducting and thermal properties.
Now researchers at Rice Univ. and in Russia have calculated a “phase diagram” for the creation of diamane. The diagram is a road map. It lays out the conditions – temperature, pressure and other factors – that would be necessary to turn stacked sheets of graphene into a flawless diamond lattice.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/02/researchers-say-diamond-film-possible-sans-pressure
Epigenetics of Regeneration
Repairing damaged neurons relies on booting a histone deacetylase out of the nucleus so regeneration genes can be turned on.
Y. Cho et al., “Injury-induced HDAC5 nuclear export is essential for axon regeneration,” Cell, 155:894–908, 2013.
To regenerate after injury, a nerve cell must turn on gene programs that have been silenced since development. Epigenetic modifications, important players in the activation and silencing of genes, may underlie the ability for a cell to rebuild. “At some level, some epigenetic change must occur globally to allow the neuron to reprogram itself,” says Valeria Cavalli of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
NASA to create the coldest spot in the known universe on the ISS.
NASA researchers plan to create the coldest spot in the known Universe—inside the International Space Station. The device, known as the Cold Atom Lab, could discover new forms of matter and novel quantum phenomena.
Last week I shared some amazing gifs of air flow — heat rising from a hair straightener, carbonation spilling out of a bottle, air zooming around the Millennium Falcon — all made with a fairly simple visualization technique (scroll to the bottom for details). The technique relies on the way air of different densities bend light.
It made me wonder: could you use this technique to see sound? It turns out a scientist at New Mexico Tech named Mike Hargather has done just that.
This a video (slowed waaaaay down) of a speaker blaring a 10Hz tone at over 100 decibels - about as loud as a football stadium on game day. Because sound is just a traveling wave of compressed air, it creates areas of higher density air and lower density air. With a simple trick (again, see the video down at the bottom) you can see the difference in those densities.
The louder and sharper the sound, the easier the shock wave is to see. Here’s a firecracker:
Mike studies explosives, but he also has video of more subtle sounds:
Those hands belong to Gary Settles, one of the pioneers of this visualization technique and Mike’s former teacher. You can see the puff of air coming out from between his hands, but also the sound wave. Here are a couple more everyday sounds. A book falling:
The end of a frayed towel cracking:
And here’s something traveling faster than sound:
The Kuehne’s lizard, Kuehneosaurus (1962)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Eolacertilia
Family : Kuehneosauridae
Genus : Kuehneosaurus
Species : K. latus
Kuehneosaurus is an extinct genus of Late Triassic kuehneosaurid reptile known from the Late Triassic of southwest England. It was named by P. L. Robinson in 1962 and the type and only species is Kuehneosaurus latus. Measuring 72 centimetres long, it had “wings” formed from ribs which jutted out from its body by as much as 14.3 cm, connected by a membrane which allowed it to slow its descent when jumping from trees. It is a member of a family of gliding reptiles, the Kuehneosauridae, within the larger group Lepidosauromorpha, which also contains modern lizards and tuatara.
Unlike its longer “winged” relative Kuehneosuchus (which may be a species of the same genus or represent a different sexual morph), aerodynamic studies have shown that Kuehneosaurus was probably not a glider, but instead used its elongated ribs to parachute from the trees. A study by Stein et al. in 2008 found that its parachuting speed, descending at a 45-degree angle, would be between 10 and 12 metres per second. Pitch was controlled by lappets on the hyoid apparatus, as in the modern gliding lizard Draco.
A newly released Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image shows the nearby spiral galaxy M83 in rich detail and scientists want your help to understand exactly what they are seeing in the cosmic view.
Also known as the Southern Pinwheel, the galaxy lies 15 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra. Bold magentas and blues indicate the galaxy blazes with star formation, and the galactic panorama depicts stellar birth and death on a vast scale of 50,000 light-years, encompassing thousands of star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of stars, as well as supernova remnants, the last vestiges of dead stars. You can also see a video exploring the galactic image.
But while this Hubble Space Telescope image is striking, it also serves a practical purpose. A new project called “STAR DATE: M83” asks amateur astronomers to use the new M83 image to estimate ages for approximately 3,000 star clusters. Interested space aficionados can use the presence or absence of the pink hydrogen emission, the sharpness of individual stars, and the color of the clusters to estimate ages, a task which computers would have trouble accomplishing.
Epoxy+Electricity=New Hairy Materials
Scientists have created a new kind of structure by running alternating current through a mixture of epoxy, hardener and solvent. Their technique causes long fibers to grow from the raw materials.
The method, developed by Argonne National Laboratory physicists and colleagues, could be useful in producing new materials for batteries, photovoltaic cells or sensors. These technologies require components with high surface areas. Such characteristics are offered by the new “hairy” fiber-sprouting materials, which can then be coated with a semiconducting layer, for example, to meet the technology’s needs.
It could also be used to make superhydrophobic surfaces, which repel water and dust by being covered by nano-sized hairs.
See a video of the hairy fibers growing below.
Sodium react with Water
2 Na + 2 H2O -> 2 NaOH + H2
Sodium metal reacts rapidly with water to form a colourless solution of sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. The resulting solution is basic because of the dissolved hydroxide. This reaction is exothermic meaning that it release energy (hence the fire).
Top 5 misconceptions about evolution: A guide to demystify the foundation of modern biology.
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