You are here

Science

New mathematical model gives courts valuable DNA tool

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 6:57am
A DNA profile is often important evidence in cases of rape or other sexual assault of women, but if investigators have only scant biological material, the results may be difficult to interpret and use in a court of law. A researcher is now putting  numbers on the evidential value of DNA from Y chromosomes, providing courts with a valuable tool.
Categories: Science

Forest of molecular signals in star forming galaxy

Space and time from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 6:00am
Astronomers have found a rich molecular reservoir in the heart of an active star-forming galaxy with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Among eight clouds identified at the center of the galaxy NGC 253, one exhibits very complex chemical composition, while in the other clouds many signals are missing. This chemical richness and diversity shed light on the nature of the baby boom galaxy.
Categories: Science

Antiferromagnetic dysprosium reveals magnetic switching with less energy

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 5:59am
Physicists compared how different forms of magnetic ordering in the rare-earth metal named dysprosium react to a short laser pulse. They discovered that the magnetic orientation can be altered much faster and with considerably less energy if the magnetic moments of the individual atoms do not all point in the same direction (ferromagnetism), but instead point are rotated against each other (anti-ferromagnetism).
Categories: Science

Milestone for ultra-fast communications and computing

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 5:59am
Researchers have discovered that a special kind of perovskite, a combination of an organic and inorganic compound that has the same structure as the original mineral, can be layered on a silicon wafer to create a vital component for the communications system of the future. That system would use the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that uses light instead of electricity to shuttle data.
Categories: Science

Milestone for ultra-fast communications and computing

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 5:59am
Researchers have discovered that a special kind of perovskite, a combination of an organic and inorganic compound that has the same structure as the original mineral, can be layered on a silicon wafer to create a vital component for the communications system of the future. That system would use the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that uses light instead of electricity to shuttle data.
Categories: Science

Let us begin our day with some tasteful art

Pharyngula Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 5:41am

Ancient History

This mosaic with an octopus is made of limestone and dates from the 2nd-3rd century CE. It is from Villaquejida (León), Spain. (Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid)

Categories: Science

The 2017 Pie Challenge

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 5:30am

When you finish reading this post, you’ll be sorry you didn’t have pie for breakfast, for pie is one of the world’s best breakfasts. This will replace today’s Reader’s Wildlife Photo post.

Yesterday, as I do every year when I’m in town, I went to the South Side Pie Challenge: a contest in which bakers young and old enter their best pies, with proceeds (and the pies!) going to feed the hungry on Chicago’s South Side. First there are a few hours in which judges sample all the pies (what a great job!), and then the public is admitted at 2 p.m. to buy slices. There are dozens and dozens of them: fruit pies, nut pies, cream pies, pumpkin and sweet potato pies, and so on. For $10 you can buy four pieces of pie (or $3 each, but who can limit themselves to a single slice?), so I laid down my sawbuck and went to town.

First I scouted the pies to determine which four I was going to purchase. It was tough! Here are some entries (please excuse the fuzziness; I was hand-holding my camera under ambient light for most of these, with a shutter speed of 1/8 second).

The scene, with pies arranged by type (fruit pies in foreground, nut pies to left, cream pies at rear, and so on):

Pecan caramel pumpkin pie:

“The Panda” (I don’t know what was in it):

“Sweetie pie” (looks like a mixture of nuts, caramel, and apples):

Chocolate-painted bottom coconut pie:

Chocolate ganache peanut butter pie (the removed slice was MINE):

“Key” Lime pie (made with Persian limes): I had a piece of this, too, and it was spectacular:

Mixed berry pie:

Pecan pie:

Backdoor sweet potato pie (don’t ask), with dragons:

And an American classic: apple pie, this one called “Ratchford apple pie”

And the grand prize winner as well as sectional prize winner in fruit pies: Senior Lecturer in Biology Chris Andrews, who used to help teach our Ecology & Evolution course. I’m so pleased she won the overall prize with her cranberry pie, and I’m sad I didn’t try it. But I’ve asked her to reserve an entire pie for me next year!

My four pieces: chocolate peanut butter pie, chocolate pecan pie, “Key” lime pie, and banana cream pie (I eschewed fruit pies this year):

 


Categories: Science

Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 4:30am

Good morning, and top of the week to you on this Monday, November 6, 2017. It’s National Nachos Day, and Foodimentary gives five fun facts about nachos, though I’m dubious about the first. Did someone take a survey? First, in case you reside in Ulan Bator and don’t know what nachos are, they are these (what I show are “fully loaded” nachos with avocado and meat):

Five Fun Nacho “Facts”:

  1. Nachos are considered the most craved food by pregnant women.
  2. The word “Nacho” is actually used as a surname in Argentina and other Latin American countries.
  3. Invented in 1943 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.
  4. Nachos as we know them aren’t ‘Mexican’ food, they’re Tex-Mex.
  5. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texa

If you are or have ever been pregnant, please weigh in here. I was curious, of course, about Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, but according to Wikipedia, this story seems kosher (though the nachos above aren’t):

Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. In 1943, the wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip, and arrived at the restaurant after it had already closed for the day. The maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, fried them, added shredded cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, added sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, and served them.

When asked what the dish was called, he answered, “Nacho’s especiales“. As word of the dish traveled, the apostrophe was lost, and Nacho’s “specials” became “special nachos”.

Lots of Presidential elections took place on this day, as it’s early November. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the U.S., in 1928 Herbert Hoover became the 31st President, in 1956 Dwight Eisenhower was reelected, as were Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Barack Obama in 2012. Oh,  and on this day in 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Confederate States of America, but we won’t go into that.  On this day in 1869, the first official intercollegiate football game was played in the U.S., with Rutgers defeating Princeton by a score of 6-4 in New Jersey (Princeton was then called “The College of New Jersey”).

Notables born on this day include the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494), Adolphe Sax, investor of the Saxophone (1814; can you imagine what the instrument would be called had his name been “Katzenellenbogen” [“cat elbows”; a real name in Europe]), John Philip Sousa (1854), Edsel Ford 91893), Sally Field (1946) and Glenn Frey (1948; died last year).

It was also a sparse day for deaths; those who fell asleep on November 6 include Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1893) and David Brower (2000).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is humblebragging. When I told Malgorzata, “Hili is very arrogant today!”, she replied “Oh no! She is her usual humble Queen of Everything.”

Hili: I’m boundlessly proud. A: What of? Hili: Of my immeasurable humility. In Polish: Hili: Jestem bezgranicznie dumna.
Ja: Z czego?
Hili: Z mojej niezmierzonej pokory.

Near Dobrzyn, Leon and his staff are delighted to announce that they’ve finally found a contractor who says that, next spring, he will pour the foundations for their wooden home, currently still reposing in Southern Poland. Then they can erect the house on the new site and move from their flat in Wloclawek to a lovely country spot close to Andrzej and Malgorzata:

Leon: And my home will be where the molehill is.

Matthew found this tw**t put up by the BBC archives: a farmer who sang to his pigs:

#OnThisDay 1970: Nationwide, being Nationwide, found a pig farmer who sang opera to his livestock. pic.twitter.com/vhjqV8v36Y

— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) November 5, 2017

And a few tweets stolen from Heather Hastie:

#HowToBePopularIn4Words
Publishing Robert Mueller’s Book pic.twitter.com/r7tBfDcnZv

— Sue #SistaResista (@SueinRockville) November 3, 2017

And a juvenile Rhinopithecus roxellana; the species occurs in the mountains of southwest China.

Golden Snub Nosed Monkey pic.twitter.com/HrwAyUVp6g

— Wild Nature (@wildnature8040) November 2, 2017


Categories: Science

I went on a data diet and all I got was ads and paranoia 

New Scientist Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 4:00am
Tired of your dirty data habits? Here's how to regain control over your privacy and stop leaking more than you need to the big tech companies
Categories: Science

Alzheimer’s protein can travel from blood to build up in the brain

Science News Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 3:00am
Experiments in mice show Alzheimer’s protein can travel from the blood of an affected mouse to the brain of a healthy animal.
Categories: Science

Bitcoin: what a waste of resources

New Scientist Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 2:00am
The cryptocurrency’s insistence on meaningless computer tasks is outdated, profligate and holds the technology back
Categories: Science

ORBITA: Another clinical trial demonstrating the need for sham controls in surgical trials

Science-based Medicine Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:58am
Last week, the results of ORBITA were published. This clinical trial tested coronary angioplasty and stenting versus optimal medical management in patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease. It was a resoundingly negative trial, meaning that adding stenting to drug management didn't result in detectable clinical improvement. What was distinctive about this trial is that it used a sham procedure (i.e., placebo) control, which few trials testing surgery or a procedure use. The results of ORBITA emphasize how important sham procedure controls are, whenever they can be ethically used, and how resistant physicians can be to change.
Categories: Science

ORBITA: Another clinical trial demonstrating the need for sham controls in surgical trials

Science-based Medicine Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:58am
Last week, the results of ORBITA were published. This clinical trial tested coronary angioplasty and stunting versus optimal medical management in patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease. It was a resoundingly negative trial, meaning that adding stunting to drug management t didn't result in detectable clinical improvement. What was distinctive about this trial is that it used a sham procedure (i.e., placebo) control, which few trials testing surgery or a procedure use. The results of ORBITA emphasize how important sham procedure controls are, whenever they can be ethically used, and how resistant physicians can be to change.
Categories: Science

Whole genome duplication in the house spider

Pharyngula Feed - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 11:28am

Let’s talk about the evolution, development, and genomics of the common house spider. Yeah, it’s another YouTube video from yours truly.

Schwager EE, Sharma PP, and others (2017) The house spider genome reveals an ancient whole-genome duplication during arachnid evolution. BMC Biol 15(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0399-x.

Hilbrant M, Damen WG, McGregor AP (2012) Evolutionary crossroads in developmental biology: the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Development 139(15):2655-62. doi: 10.1242/dev.078204.

Categories: Science

His lawyers must hate him

Pharyngula Feed - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 7:48am

All you have to do is wind him up and watch him go. Michael Shermer won’t shut up even when he’s threatening someone with lawsuits. Phil Torres received a nastygram from him, and paraphrased him in a public post.

facebook

What makes it especially amusing is that Shermer then joins in the comments, repeats his bluster at length, and goes on and on about how awful he finds Torres.

Anyone remember this ‘interview’ by Ian Murphy with Shermer? He is so predictable.

Categories: Science

He lost me at “electoral appeal”. I just don’t get it.

Pharyngula Feed - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 7:25am

Boris Johnson gets disemboweled on the pages of the New Statesman.

Boris Johnson is a singular and unorthodox politician whose electoral appeal transcends traditional party lines. He is charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite, yet blessed with the common touch. He is a wonderful wordsmith, even if he often uses words to deceive and dissemble.

Those talents served him admirably in his role as merrymaker-in-chief while he was mayor of London, but they do not remotely qualify him to govern the UK during a gathering national crisis that he did so much to engender. Nor do I accept the contention that “Boris is Boris” and should therefore be exempted from all the customary rules of personal and political conduct.

Strip away the bluster and bonhomie, and you are left with a chaotic, mendacious, philandering, egotistical, disloyal and thoroughly untrustworthy charlatan driven by ambition and self-interest. Or, as the BBC broadcaster Eddie Mair once put it, “a nasty piece of work”.

You could say the same thing about the American president, except that you don’t even have to strip away any “charismatic and funny, cultured and erudite” aspects of his character, since they aren’t there. But now I have to wonder…how do buffoons like this get elected to high office?

Categories: Science

There’s going to be an international incident, isn’t there?

Pharyngula Feed - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 6:52am

Our Prezdent is off on a grand tour of Asia, scoping out golf courses and meeting with his boss, Putin. We can get a taste of his diplomacy from comments he made last year after North Korea launched a few missiles.

Trump questioned Japan’s decision not to shoot down the missiles when he met or spoke by phone with leaders from Southeast Asian countries over recent months to discuss how to respond to the threats from North Korea, the sources said.

The U.S. president said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, the sources said.

He’s probably wondering right now why he wasn’t greeted by geisha girls and kabuki performers in Tokyo.

We’re all going to die, aren’t we?

Categories: Science

Pages

Subscribe to The Jefferson Center  aggregator - Science