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The Lounge>Science is Cool....
Fish 09:43 PM 05-21-2012
This is a repository for all cool scientific discussion and fascination. Scientific facts, theories, and overall cool scientific stuff that you'd like to share with others. Stuff that makes you smile and wonder at the amazing shit going on around us, that most people don't notice.

Post pictures, vidoes, stories, or links. Ask questions. Share science.

This is in support of the Penny 4 NASA project. If you enjoy anything you learned from this thread, consider making a donation and signing the petition.

http://www.penny4nasa.org/

Why should I care?:


[Reply]
Fish 11:00 PM 09-18-2019
Water found in habitable super-Earth's atmosphere for first time



Orbiting around a relatively docile red dwarf star, the exoplanet is "the best candidate for habitability that we know right now."

Astronomers have finally uncovered water vapor in the atmosphere of a super-Earth exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of its star. The find means that liquid water could also exist on the rocky world's surface, potentially even forming a global ocean.

The discovery, made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, serves as the first detection of water vapor in the atmosphere of such a planet. And because the planet, dubbed K2-18 b, likely sports a temperature similar to Earth, the newfound water vapor makes the world one of the most promising candidates for follow-up studies with next-generation space telescopes.

"This is the only planet right now that we know outside the solar system that has the correct temperature to support water, it has an atmosphere, and it has water in it, making this planet the best candidate for habitability that we know right now," lead author Angelos Tsiaras, an astronomer at University College London, said in a press conference.

K2-18 b: The basics

Planet K2-18 b sits some 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo, and it orbits a rather small red dwarf star that's roughly one-third the mass of our own Sun. Red dwarfs are infamous for being active stars that emit powerful flares, but the researchers point out that this particular star appears to be surprisingly docile.

This bodes well for the water-bearing planet, as its 33-day orbit brings it about twice as close to its star as Mercury is to the Sun. "Given that the star is much cooler than the Sun, in the end, the planet is receiving similar radiation to the Earth," said Tsiaras. "And based on calculations, the temperature of the planet is also similar to the temperature of the Earth."

Specifically, the paper suggests K2-18 b has a temperature between about –100 °F (–73 °C) and 116 °F (47 °C). For reference, temperatures on Earth can span from below –120 °F (–84 °C) in regions like Antarctica to above 120 °F (49 °C) in regions like Africa, Australia, and the Southwestern United States.

Although K2-18 b flaunts some of the most Earth-like features observed in an exoplanet so far — water, habitable temperatures, and a rocky surface — the researchers point out the world is still far from Earth-like. First off, K2-18 b is roughly twice the diameter of Earth, which makes it about eight times as massive. This puts K2-18 b near the upper limit of what we call a super-Earth — which typically refers to planets between about one and 10 Earth masses.

But the density of K2-18 b is what really cements it as a rocky planet. With a density about twice that of Neptune, K2-18 b has a composition most similar to Mars or the Moon. So, because the planet is believed to have a solid surface, and it's known to have an extended atmosphere with at least some water vapor, researchers say it's feasible that K2-18 b could actually be a water world with a global ocean covering its entire surface.

However, they cannot say for sure.

The uncertainty is because Hubble can't probe the atmospheres of distant exoplanets in great detail. For instance, thanks to a sophisticated algorithm, the researchers were able to tease out the undeniable signal of water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18 b, But they couldn't tell exactly how much water vapor is really there. So, in their paper, they took the conservative approach and gave a broad-range estimate for the abundance of water — somewhere between 0.01 percent and 50 percent.

In order to pin down exactly how much water is really on K2-18 b, the researchers say we'll have to wait for the next generation of advanced space telescopes to come online. Specifically, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2021, and the European Space Agency's Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large survey (ARIEL) telescope, planned for launch in the late 2020s, are perfectly suited for the challenge.

The new research was published September 11 in Nature Astronomy. A preprint of the study is available at arXiv.org
[Reply]
Fish 11:11 PM 09-18-2019
It's scientifically proven, if you don't fart enough, you will literally burp up your would-be farts.... LOL Science!! Don't be afraid to fart. Ever!

Methane and the Gastrointestinal Tract

Introduction

Several gases are produced through enteric fermentation in the intestinal tract. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and methane are thought to be the most common of these. Recent evidence suggests that methane may not be inert. In this review article, we summarize the findings with methane.

[...]

Results

The majority of these gases are eliminated via flatus or absorbed into systemic circulation and expelled from the lungs. Excessive gas evacuation or retention causes gastrointestinal functional symptoms such as belching, flatulence, bloating, and pain. Between 30 and 62% of healthy subjects produce methane. Methane is produced exclusively through anaerobic fermentation of both endogenous and exogenous carbohydrates by enteric microflora in humans. Methane is not utilized by humans, and analysis of respiratory methane can serve as an indirect measure of methane production. Recent literature suggests that gases such as hydrogen sulfide and methane may have active effects on gut function.
[Reply]
Fish 11:24 PM 09-18-2019
So here's something cool. It has long been known that certain animals can readily smell cancer in humans. For example dogs, bees, etc. Science is slowly catching up. And there is a ton of potential here...

This Device Can Recommend the Best Cancer Treatment — Using Just a Patient’s Breath

The newest cancer sniffer might not be as cute as a sharp-nosed canine, but it could give doctors a new way to determine the best treatment for patients using just the melange of compounds in their breath.

The eNose can detect with 85 percent accuracy if a person will respond to immunotherapy, say researchers in a paper published today in Annals of Oncology. That could make it an alternative to current methods of determining which cancer treatment is best suited to different patients.

What’s in a Whiff?
Normally, determining what treatment will work for people with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is invasive and time-consuming. Immunotherapy, a type of treatment that equips the immune system to fight off cancer cells, is an option, but it’s only effective in about a fifth of patients. To see if it will work, doctors take tissue samples, sometimes from the lungs, and analyze them in a lab. In some cases, results can take weeks to come back. But the eNose, after analyzing a patient’s breath, can churn out results in less than a minute.

The device consists of a tube and seven sensors that sniff out particles in the breath of patients with advanced NSCLC. Think of it as a breathalyzer, but for determining cancer treatments.

When a patient breathes into the device, sensors analyze volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gaseous molecules that carry important information about our metabolic processes. Based on the presence of telltale biomarkers in the breath, the device is able to recommend whether immunotherapy is a good option or not.

The researchers took breath samples of 143 patients with advanced lung cancer two weeks before they started immunotherapy treatment. After three months, they analyzed the progress of the treatment to see if the eNose had prescribed an effective solution.

They concluded that 85 percent of those patients were prescribed the most effective treatment.

Besides being a quicker alternative to previous methods, the eNose is noninvasive. That means it offers a way to detect cancer without requiring doctors to snip any tissues from a patient’s body.

A Long Way to the Hospital
While the researchers are optimistic about the eNose’s potential, they also acknowledge that it might be a while before it becomes a regular diagnostic tool in hospitals.

Since these trials were conducted in a clinical setting, the dataset is lacking the perspective of a larger-scale lab trial among patients. In a press release, the researchers say that the results of this first trial lay the groundwork for further trials – likely something on a larger scale.

But, said study author and oncologist Michel van den Heuvel in the release, “We are convinced that this study merely scratches the surface.”

The science of using breath to churn out speedy diagnoses is in its beginning stages. But our exhalations have more potential than we realize.
[Reply]
Fish 11:40 PM 09-18-2019
This is certainly surprising. Lots of data though. Pretty thorough study. Certainly a topic that deserves lots of focus in my opinion.

The Kids (Who Use Tech) Seem to Be All Right

A rigorous new paper uses a new scientific approach that shows the panic over teen screen time is likely overstated

Social media is linked to depression—or not. First-person shooter video games are good for cognition—or they encourage violence. Young people are either more connected—or more isolated than ever.

Such are the conflicting messages about the effects of technology on children’s well-being. Negative findings receive far more attention and have fueled panic among parents and educators. This state of affairs reflects a heated debate among scientists. Studies showing statistically significant negative effects are followed by others revealing positive effects or none at all—sometimes using the same data set.

A new paper by scientists at the University of Oxford, published in January in Nature Human Behaviour, should help clear up the confusion. It reveals the pitfalls of the statistical methods scientists have employed and offers a more rigorous alternative. And, importantly, it uses data on more than 350,000 adolescents to show persuasively that, at a population level, technology use has a nearly negligible effect on adolescent psychological well-being, measured in a range of questions addressing depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, pro-social behavior, peer-relationship problems and the like. Technology use tilts the needle less than half a percent away from feeling emotionally sound. For context, eating potatoes is associated with nearly the same degree of effect and wearing glasses has a more negative impact on adolescent mental health.

“This is an incredibly important paper,” says Candice Odgers, a psychologist studying adolescent health and technology at the University of California, Irvine, who wasn’t involved in the research. “It provides a sophisticated set of analyses and is one of the most comprehensive and careful accountings of the associations between digital technologies and well-being to date. And the message from the paper is painstakingly clear: The size of the association documented across these studies is not sufficient or measurable enough to warrant the current levels of panic and fear around this issue.”

To date, most of the evidence suggesting digital technologies negatively impact young people’s psychological well-being comes from analysis of large, publicly available data sets. Those are valuable resources but susceptible to researcher bias, say Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist at Oxford and his graduate student Amy Orben, co-authors of the new paper. To prove their point, they found over 600 million possible ways to analyze the data contained in the three data sets in their study. “Unfortunately, the large number of participants in these designs means that small effects are easily publishable and, if positive, garner outsized press and policy attention,” they wrote.

This type of research intends to modify the status quo. “We’re trying to move from this mind-set of cherry-picking one result to a more holistic picture of the data set,” Przybylski says. “A key part of that is being able to put these extremely miniscule effects of screens on young people in real-world context.”

That context is illuminating. Whereas their study found digital technology use was associated with 0.4 percent of the variation that disrupts adolescent well-being, the effects of smoking marijuana and bullying had much larger negative associations for mental health (at 2.7 and 4.3 respectively in one of the data sets). And some positive behaviors such as getting enough sleep and regularly eating breakfast were much more strongly associated with well-being than the average impact of technology use.

Strikingly, one of the data sets Przybylski and Orben used was “Monitoring the Future,” an ongoing study run by researchers at the University of Michigan that tracks drug use among young people. The alarming 2017 book and article by psychologist Jean Twenge claiming that smartphones have destroyed a generation of teenagers also relied on the data from “Monitoring the Future.” When the same statistics Twenge used are put into the larger context Przybylski and Orben employ, the effect of phone use on teen mental health turns out to be tiny.

The method the Oxford researchers used in their analysis is called Specification Curve Analysis, a tool that examines the full range of possible correlations and maps “the sum of analytical decisions that could be made when analyzing quantitative data.” Rather than reporting a handful of results, researchers using SCA report all of them. It is the statistical equivalent of seeing the forest for the trees. “It’s about setting a standard,” Przybylski says. “This kind of data exploration needs to be systematic.”

All of this is not to say there is no danger whatsoever in digital technology use. In a previous paper, Przybylski and colleague Netta Weinstein demonstrated a “Goldilocks” effect showing moderate use of technology—about one to two hours per day on weekdays and slightly more on weekends—was “not intrinsically harmful,” but higher levels of indulgence could be. And in a 2015 paper Odgers and a colleague reviewed the science addressing parents’ top fears about technology and found two important things: First, most of what happens online is mirrored offline. Second, effects really do depend on the user; benefits are conferred on some whereas risks are exacerbated for others, such as children who already suffer from mental health problems.

“We’re all looking in the wrong direction,” Odgers says. “The real threat isn’t smartphones. It’s this campaign of misinformation and the generation of fear among parents and educators.”
[Reply]
eDave 05:07 PM 09-24-2019
Kinda terrifying actually:

via Gfycat


[Reply]
Sorry 06:34 PM 09-24-2019
Humans are mystical creatures.
[Reply]
DaFace 09:18 PM 09-24-2019
Originally Posted by eDave:
Kinda terrifying actually:

via Gfycat

I wonder how far they are from a commercially available product.
[Reply]
jjjayb 09:27 PM 09-24-2019
Originally Posted by eDave:
Kinda terrifying actually:

via Gfycat

On the last jump I thought he was going to do a roundhouse kick. Scary to think what it would be like if it did. It would jack you up for life.
[Reply]
Fish 09:29 PM 09-24-2019
A lesson in cloning....

His Cat’s Death Left Him Heartbroken. So He Cloned It.

China’s first duplicate cat marks the country’s emergence in gene research and its entry in a potentially lucrative and unregulated market for cloning pets.

BEIJING — Garlic was dead, and there was nothing Huang Yu could do. So on a cold winter day, he buried his cat’s body in a park close to his home.

Hours later, still heartbroken, the 22-year-old businessman recalled an article he had read on dog cloning in China. What if someday he could bring Garlic back to life?

“In my heart, Garlic is irreplaceable,” said Mr. Huang, who dug up his British shorthair and put the cat in his refrigerator in preparation for cloning him. “Garlic didn’t leave anything for future generations, so I could only choose to clone.”

That thought led him to Sinogene, a commercial pet-cloning company based in Beijing. Roughly $35,000 and seven months later, Sinogene produced what China’s official news media declared to be the country’s first cloned cat — and another sign of the country’s emergence as a power in cloning and genetics.

It also suggests that China could turn pet cloning into a viable business. Duplicating dogs and cats has not really taken off in the United States and elsewhere, experts say. Pet-obsessed China might be different. The size of China’s domestic pet market is expected to reach $28.2 billion this year, up nearly one-fifth from 2018, according to Gouminwang, a pet consultancy in Beijing. The country already has 55 million pet dogs and 44 million pet cats, and demand for cats is accelerating.

Pet cloning is not confined to China — Barbra Streisand famously declared last year that two of her dogs are clones — and people have been cloning cats for years. But Garlic is the first cat cloned by China, solidifying its position among major cloning nations, which include the United States, Britain and South Korea.

Mi Jidong, Sinogene’s chief executive, said the company decided to start cloning pets in 2015 after conducting a survey of roughly 1,000 people that showed there was demand. The company has cloned more than 40 dogs, including schnauzers, Pomeranians and Malteses, at a cost of about $53,000 each, some as pets and others for medical research.

It charges more for dogs than cats because the window for harvesting a dog’s eggs is very small, according to Mr. Mi. He said more than 100 people had stored the DNA samples of their pets in anticipation of creating clones.

Garlic:



Garlic 2.0:


[Reply]
Fish 09:37 PM 09-24-2019
Oh boy.....

Researchers Develop New Method for Sexing Sperm
Scientists found they could sort mouse sperm prior to IVF by treating semen with a drug that selectively slows down X-bearing cells.

The mammalian X chromosome has many genes that the Y does not—a feature that has special implications for sperm, and also for scientists.

The mouse X chromosome carries two protein receptors that when activated by a chemical make X-bearing sperm slower and easy to separate from Y-bearing sperm, a team of Japanese researchers has found. By sorting the gametes using this method and allowing them to fertilize oocytes in vitro, the scientists could selectively generate mouse litters with majority-female or majority-male pups, they report today (August 13) in PLOS Biology.

“It’s definitely an excellent piece of work,” remarks James Knight, a reproductive biologist at Virginia Tech who wasn’t involved in the study. “The whole methodology that they’re describing, given the accuracy of separating X- and Y-bearing sperm, has tremendous applicability to several species.”

Reproductive biologist Masayuki Shimada of Hiroshima University and his colleagues initially began the research to better understand the genetic differences between X- and Y-bearing sperm and whether they could explain differences in the mobility of X- and Y-bearing sperm, which previous researchers have observed under specific in vitro conditions.

According to the team’s RNA sequencing data, mouse sperm carry 492 genes on the X chromosome, but only 15 genes on the Y. Among those expressed on the X, the team became interested in two that code for cell receptors, the Toll-like receptors (TLR) 7 and 8. The TLR family of proteins plays important roles in recognizing pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. In addition, Shimada’s group has previously found that when stimulated, certain TLR receptors—TLR2 and TLR4, encoded on chromosomes unrelated to sex—interfere with sperm movement.

By staining mouse testes with antibodies that target TLR7 and TLR8, the researchers confirmed that they were expressed on X- but not Y-bearing sperm. This characteristic was interesting to Shimada, because the products of most X-linked genes that are expressed in sperm are shared with Y-bearing sperm because the gametes are connected through an intracellular bridge as they develop. TLR7 and TLR8 appear to be expressed after the bridge is lost, so they might reveal functional differences between X and Y sperm, Shimada explains.

To investigate this possibility, the team incubated the sperm with resiquimod, an anti-viral drug that activates both receptors. Normally, all sperm normally swim upward when in a tube. But with the treatment, there were significantly fewer X-bearing sperm in the upper portion of the tube, suggesting that these were simply slower. “The linear motility speed [of X-bearing sperm] was decreased to less than half,” Shimada writes to The Scientist.

The team then investigated why resiquimod had this effect. They found that ATP levels drastically fell in treated X-bearing sperm. Further experiments revealed that the drug’s activation of TLR8 suppresses mitochondrial activity in the midpiece of the sperm and its stimulation of TLR7 suppresses enzymes that regulate the energy-producing process of glycolysis in the tail. This leaves X-bearing sperm with less energy, the researchers note.

“This is the first time that the Toll-like receptors 7 and 8 have been identified for this function,” Knight says. “They’re usually just thought of like most of the Toll-like receptors, that is in mediating various immune responses. So this is certainly a novel finding,” he says.

To see if the resiquimod could be used to separate sperm by sex, the team collected the upper and lower layers of sperm from the test tube after treatment, allowed the gametes to fertilize mouse oocytes in vitro, and implanted the resulting embryos into mice. Using sperm from the upper layer, they obtained 77 blastocyst embryos, 83 percent of which resulted in male pups. Sperm from the lower layer produced 83 embryos, 81 percent of which were female.

Sex-sorting in livestock and in the clinic
Shimada says he thinks his method of sperm sexing could be cheaper and faster than methods currently used to sex mammalian sperm. One dominant technique is the Beltsville Sperm Sexing Technology, developed in the 1980s, in which semen is treated with a fluorescent, DNA-binding dye. As the X chromosome is larger than the Y, it absorbs more dye and fluoresces more strongly under UV light than Y-bearing sperm, allowing X-bearing sperm to be isolated through flow cytometry.

Flow cytometry–based technology requires “a pretty expensive piece of equipment, and takes some expertise for operation,” says Knight. He sees several cost and efficiency advantages to Shimada’s method, noting that it has comparable accuracies in sorting sperm as conventional technologies.

Sperm sorting has several applications in the livestock sector, particularly for the dairy cattle industry where it is used to reduce the number of male calves produced. “The males that might be born are going to basically end up as veal calves,” Knight says, which is problematic because they are less valuable for dairy production, and their slaughtering at a young age raises ethical questions.

Shimada and Knight suggest that the research could be relevant for choosing sex prior to IVF in humans. However, Louise King, an OB-GYN and medical bioethicist at Harvard Medical School, cautions that sperm-sorting technology has already been tried in human IVF, for parents at risk of having children with sex-linked disorders as well as for those who wish to choose the sex of their children. “It wasn’t particularly commercially successful because the success rate wasn’t good enough,” she says. One 2014 study, for instance, that tested the efficacy of flow cytometric sorting in influencing a child’s sex found that after sperm sorting, 94 percent were female when selected for that sex, and 85 percent were male when that sex was chosen.

That success rate often isn’t appealing to families who go to the trouble of choosing the sex of their child, given that they have another option that is 100 percent effective, King says. The IVF clinics in the US that do offer sex selection do so by creating a number of embryos and picking the embryo that has the desired sex. “I don’t think sperm sorting’s going to take over for embryo selection as the way to do it,” she says.

Whether it’s ethical to make that choice to begin with is another question, King says. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine considers sex selection for non-medical purposes “ethically controversial,” and encourages clinics to develop their own policies, while the practice is not permitted in most European countries.
[Reply]
Neuromancer 09:07 PM 09-25-2019
Great thread
[Reply]
Otter 07:49 AM 09-26-2019
Detailed Tour of the Space Shuttle


[Reply]
Fish 09:09 AM 09-26-2019
Some guy in China paid $35K to clone his dead cat....

His Cat’s Death Left Him Heartbroken. So He Cloned It.

Garlic was dead, and there was nothing Huang Yu could do. So on a cold winter day, he buried his cat’s body in a park close to his home.

Hours later, still heartbroken, the 22-year-old businessman recalled an article he had read on dog cloning in China. What if someday he could bring Garlic back to life?

“In my heart, Garlic is irreplaceable,” said Mr. Huang, who dug up his British shorthair and put the cat in his refrigerator in preparation for cloning him. “Garlic didn’t leave anything for future generations, so I could only choose to clone.”

That thought led him to Sinogene, a commercial pet-cloning company based in Beijing. Roughly $35,000 and seven months later, Sinogene produced what China’s official news media declared to be the country’s first cloned cat — and another sign of the country’s emergence as a power in cloning and genetics.

[...]

To clone Garlic, scientists implanted skin cells from Mr. Huang’s original cat into eggs harvested from other cats. After an electric or chemical shock, 40 cloned embryos were implanted into four surrogate mother cats. That produced three pregnancies, two of which were miscarriages, said Chen Benchi, head of Sinogene’s medical experiments team.

[...]

In his first meeting with the new Garlic in August, Mr. Huang found that cloning had not produced an exact copy of his former pet. The clone is missing a patch of black fur that graced Garlic’s chin. Sinogene said that clones might show slight differences in fur or eye color and that an outside firm had proved the DNA matched.

“If I tell you I wasn’t disappointed, then I would be lying to you,” Mr. Huang said. “But I’m also willing to accept that there are certain situations in which there are limitations to the technology.”

Garlic v1:



Garlic v2:


[Reply]
Fish 09:12 AM 09-26-2019
Stunning New Black Hole Visualization From NASA Illustrates How Its Gravity Distorts Our View



This new visualization of a black hole illustrates how its gravity distorts our view, warping its surroundings as if seen in a carnival mirror. The visualization simulates the appearance of a black hole where infalling matter has collected into a thin, hot structure called an accretion disk. The black hole’s extreme gravity skews light emitted by different regions of the disk, producing the misshapen appearance.

Bright knots constantly form and dissipate in the disk as magnetic fields wind and twist through the churning gas. Nearest the black hole, the gas orbits at close to the speed of light, while the outer portions spin a bit more slowly. This difference stretches and shears the bright knots, producing light and dark lanes in the disk.

Viewed from the side, the disk looks brighter on the left than it does on the right. Glowing gas on the left side of the disk moves toward us so fast that the effects of Einstein’s relativity give it a boost in brightness; the opposite happens on the right side, where gas moving away us becomes slightly dimmer. This asymmetry disappears when we see the disk exactly face on because, from that perspective, none of the material is moving along our line of sight.



Closest to the black hole, the gravitational light-bending becomes so excessive that we can see the underside of the disk as a bright ring of light seemingly outlining the black hole. This so-called “photon ring” is composed of multiple rings, which grow progressively fainter and thinner, from light that has circled the black hole two, three, or even more times before escaping to reach our eyes. Because the black hole modeled in this visualization is spherical, the photon ring looks nearly circular and identical from any viewing angle. Inside the photon ring is the black hole’s shadow, an area roughly twice the size of the event horizon — its point of no return.

“Simulations and movies like these really help us visualize what Einstein meant when he said that gravity warps the fabric of space and time,” explains Jeremy Schnittman, who generated these gorgeous images using custom software at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Until very recently, these visualizations were limited to our imagination and computer programs. I never thought that it would be possible to see a real black hole.” Yet on April 10, the Event Horizon Telescope team released the first-ever image of a black hole’s shadow using radio observations of the heart of the galaxy M87.
[Reply]
O.city 09:23 AM 09-26-2019
That's awesome.

Theres so much shit out there that we have no idea about. Black holes are really interesting to me. Where does the shit go that's sucked in?
[Reply]
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