31 Aug

Inventor preps robot to cut through ice on Europa

first_imgCredit: Stone Aerospace This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2012 Phys.Org The plan is for it to leave its power plant on the surface of the moon, with a high-powered laser travelling down miles of fibre-optic cable. “Our modest goal over the next three years is to use a 5,000-watt laser to send a cryobot through up to 250 meters of ice,” Stone said at the Atlanta assembly. If successful, Stone’s concept would resolve obstacles in the way of studying what may lie beneath Europa’s ice. A report in Wired says those obstacles include (1) solar power being unable to work below the surface (2) batteries not lasting long enough (3) too large a footprint of a device and (4) international treaty restrictions that would forbid testing of a nuclear robot.Stone has a 2013-2014 dress rehearsal planned. He intends to test a working cryobot at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier in June next year, where it will attempt to cut through ten to fifty meters of ice. Afterward the cryobot will try to get through 200 meters in Greenland, in fall 2014.Last year, Stone announced that NASA awarded Stone Aerospace four-year, $4M funding to continue development of the Valkyrie project, to design and field-test an autonomous ice penetrating cryobot. Stone, who has a doctorate in structural engineering, is no stranger to such ambitious undertakings. Generally, Stone is known for his inventions designed to enable humans to explore remote environments. He formed Texas-based Stone Aerospace to commercialize his systems for exploration. He and a team of researchers from several universities built DepthX, a deep-diving robot that went down Mexico’s deepest watery sinkhole. He and his team also took on a mission to Antartica. He is often characterized, however, as looking toward his ultimate goal, a probe that can go through miles of ice on Europa and then explore through the sea. What intrigues scientists about Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, is that under its icy surface its expanse of water might harbor life. Robot plumbs Wisconsin lake on way to Antarctica, jovian mooncenter_img Explore further Citation: Inventor preps robot to cut through ice on Europa (2012, April 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-04-inventor-preps-robot-ice-europa.html (Phys.org) — Robots are being developed all the time to do what we wish and to go where we can’t. This week, inventor Bill Stone told attendees at NASA’s Astrobiology Science Conference in Atlanta that he intends to get an autonomous robot ready to visit the icebound sea of Jupiter’s moon Europa, cut through the icy crust, and explore the waters below. He told the participants that his goal is to send his robot Valkyrie to Europa, where it will use lasers to cut through the ice to explore the waters below, collecting samples, in search of life. His company, Stone Aerospace, has been working on the six-foot by ten inch robotic cylinder called Valkyrie. last_img read more

31 Aug

Genome sequencing shows baleen whales intermingled more than thought

first_img Journal information: Science Advances More information: Whole-genome sequencing of the blue whale and other rorquals finds signatures for introgressive gene flow, Science Advances  04 Apr 2018: Vol. 4, no. 4, eaap9873 , DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aap9873AbstractReconstructing the evolution of baleen whales (Mysticeti) has been problematic because morphological and genetic analyses have produced different scenarios. This might be caused by genomic admixture that may have taken place among some rorquals. We present the genomes of six whales, including the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), to reconstruct a species tree of baleen whales and to identify phylogenetic conflicts. Evolutionary multilocus analyses of 34,192 genome fragments reveal a fast radiation of rorquals at 10.5 to 7.5 million years ago coinciding with oceanic circulation shifts. The evolutionarily enigmatic gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is placed among rorquals, and the blue whale genome shows a high degree of heterozygosity. The nearly equal frequency of conflicting gene trees suggests that speciation of rorqual evolution occurred under gene flow, which is best depicted by evolutionary networks. Especially in marine environments, sympatric speciation might be common; our results raise questions about how genetic divergence can be established. Baleen whales do not have teeth—instead, they have a baleen, consisting of plates of whalebone in the mouth that strain plankton from seawater. Baleen whales include blue, gray, right humpback, rorquals and several others. Because they live in the vast ocean, it is difficult to study whales—scientists have to rely on dead carcasses and the occasional sample taken from a whale when it passes near a research vessel. This has resulted in limited knowledge regarding their biology and evolutionary history. In this new effort, the researchers focused on the history of baleen whales. They obtained six samples from baleens that had been darted and from dead animals, and subjected them to genomic sequencing to learn more about their past.The researchers soon realized that the history of baleens was far more complicated than thought—so complicated that they were averse to describing their evolution as depicting a family tree, instead preferring to call it a network. This is, they report, because of extensive interbreeding. This was surprising, they note, because of the huge differences in size between different baleens. Blue whales, the largest animal ever to exist on Earth, for example, mixed with the sei, the third largest of all whales, but which is nonetheless dwarfed by the enormous blue. The team reports that they were also able to see that the North Atlantic right whales and bowhead whales had become separate species approximately 28 million years ago. A team of researchers with members from Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, and Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and the University of Lund, in Sweden has found that genetic ties between baleen whales are far more complicated than previously thought. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes their study of the whales using genome sequencing and what they found by doing so. Ancient whales were predators not gentle giants Finwhale. Credit: Florian Schulz The researchers note that many of the species appeared to evolve to their current state due more to personal tastes, rather than location or geography, which is more often the case with land animals. A taste for tiny creatures obviously drove the evolution of the baleen in general, they add, but differences in which prey they fancied appeared to be the driving factor in the development of shape and size differences.center_img Explore further © 2018 Phys.org Citation: Genome sequencing shows baleen whales intermingled more than thought (2018, April 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-genome-sequencing-baleen-whales-intermingled.html Bluewhale. Credit: Florian Schulz This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

31 Aug

Al Haynes Pilot From Miraculous 1989 Crash La

first_img by NPR News Merrit Kennedy 8.26.19 5:40pm A pilot who is credited with saving dozens of lives has died. United Flight 232 went into total hydraulic failure while Al Haynes was at the controls in 1989. With the help of three other pilots, he maneuvered the DC-10 to a miraculous crash landing in Sioux City, Iowa, and 184 of the 296 people on board survived.Haynes is widely seen as a hero among aviation experts, akin to Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and his “miracle on the Hudson.” Haynes’ son Dan confirmed to NPR that his father had died. Haynes was in the middle of the flight from Denver to Chicago when an engine suddenly failed. Shortly after that, First Officer Bill Records said he was unable to control the aircraft, as Haynes later recounted to New York magazine.”I thought to myself, How are we going to keep this thing in the sky? You don’t train or drill for something like this, because it’s just not supposed to happen,” he said. The hydraulic system — the way that pilots steer — was down. Haynes and his colleagues were desperately trying to use the throttles and thrust as a crude way to control the aircraft. A pilot who happened to be flying as a passenger on the plane jumped in to manipulate the thrusters. The team was aiming to touch down in Sioux City. After about 45 minutes of tense maneuvering, Haynes got on the loudspeaker.”I’m not going to kid you,” he said to the passengers, as he told New York. “We’re going to make an emergency landing in Sioux City. … It’s going to be a very hard landing, harder than anything you’ve been through. Please pay close attention to the flight attendants’ briefing, and we’ll see you in Sioux City.”The plane touched down with no brakes or spoilers. The cockpit crew lowered the landing gear to try to absorb the shock of landing, Haynes told New York. When it did land, one of the plane’s wings caught the ground and sent the craft cartwheeling down the runway. “I was knocked out after we hit, and I came to in the crash site,” said Haynes. NPR’s Howard Berkes was at the scene of the crash in 1989 and described the wreckage. “There’s one particular pile of aluminum — at least, that’s what it looks like, an unruly stack of crumpled aluminum,” he said. “Well, that’s actually the cockpit of the plane. It doesn’t resemble a cockpit or anything else for that matter. And one of the amazing facts about this whole tragedy is … that three people — the cockpit crew — were found alive in that pile of junk.”Haynes told New York that he felt guilty about surviving the crash in which 112 people died. But the fact that anyone survived is viewed as miraculous. Other pilots have attempted the landing in simulations. As Berkes reported, United pilot Mike Hamilton told The Associated Press that he’s “not aware of any that replicated the success these guys had. … Most of the simulations never made it close to the ground.”In its official accident report, the NTSB said that on a fan disk, there was a “fatigue crack” stemming from a defect in a “critical area.” The disk disintegrated during the flight, which resulted in debris that impacted the plane’s flight controls. Haynes retired in 1991 after working for United Airlines for 35 years, according to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. In Seattle, the museum added, he was “a volunteer umpire for Little League Baseball for over 33 years and a stadium announcer for high school football for over 25 years.”Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR. John Gaps III Al Haynes, Pilot From Miraculous 1989 Crash Landing, Has… last_img read more

31 Aug

Mamata makes Safe Drive stickers mandatory for vehicles

first_imgKolkata: Stressing the need to strengthen road safety campaigns in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today asked the transport department to ensure that every vehicle has ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ stickers pasted on its front and back sides. The state government launched the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ drive in 2016 as part of its initiative to inculcate a “sense of safe driving and responsible road behaviour” among people. Banerjee, who inaugurated 20 state-run Volvo buses, 21 trauma-care ambulances and 13 wrecker vans here, said the transport department would involve children for the sticker campaign “as the motorists might be more receptive to their requests”. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life “Once the weather improves, we will rope in young boys and girls to paste the stickers on the front and the back sides of the vehicles at traffic intersections,” she said at the programme, in presence of Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and senior transport officials. The newly inaugurated Volvo buses would ply between district headquarters and Kolkata. The objective of the sticker drive is to drill the message of road safety in the minds of people, Banerjee said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “The ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ stickers, in big fonts, will have to be pasted on two ends of the vehicles to instill traffic discipline,” she asserted. Talking about the new Volvo buses- ‘Banglashree Express’ – Banerjee said these high-speed vehicles would provide “comfortable and economic travelling experience” to the public. “Twenty new buses, each worth around 1.5 crore, have joined the fleet and six more will hit the road in the near future,” she said. The high-speed buses, connecting district towns with Kolkata, are being introduced at a time when debates over high-speed trains are doing the rounds across the country, the chief minister said, in an obvious reference to the bullet train project of the NDA government. “During flood-like situations, when rail tracks are inundated, buses can be of help to stranded people. Last year, during north Bengal floods, bus services turned out to be the only means of transport,” she said. The CM also said 80 electric buses would be introduced in greater Kolkata area before Durga Puja. Referring to the wrecker vans, the CM said, “The vans can be of great help after a road mishap, especially at places like Maa flyover in central Kolkata,” she said. Adhikari, on his part, credited the chief minister for the improved transport facilities in the state. The non-stop Volvo buses were introduced today to provide “comfortable and affordable” services to middle-class people, the transport minister added.last_img read more

31 Aug

Bridging cultural differences

first_imgIn an attempt to sort out friction between the communities, Khoj International Artists’ Association is presenting Coriolis Effect: Currents across India and Africa’ at Khoj Studios, in the national Capital, Beginning on August 28, Coriolis Effect is an international exhibition featuring works of artists from India and Africa. The exhibition, resulting from a month-long residency, seeks to activate the social, economic and cultural relationship and historical exchange which exists between India and the continent of Africa.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Bernard Akoi-Jackson (Ghana), Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan (Africa/US), Juan Orrantio (Bogota,Colombia), Amshu Chukki (India) and Insurrections Ensemble (India/Africa) are the artists who are participating in this exhibition.Sitara Chowfla, the program manager at Khoj said, “Stream of immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent, as well as migrants from countries such as Cameroon, Somali, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan and Nepal, are residing in Khirki Extension. This hotpot of cultural difference has long been a source of friction between residents, often bubbling into acts of discrimination based violence.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThis project has grown out of a series of encounters and conversations which took place in and around Khoj through 2014.”The works for the show were created during a month long residency where the artists sought to unpack notions of geography, memory, cultural exchange as well as the tension and fear of the ‘other’, through history. The Coriolis Effect will not only use the present context of 21st century migrations, but equally refer to various moments of exchange through history; from the recent past of the Non-Aligned movements in the 20th century, to the cultural relationship shared by Indians and Africans from the 1st century AD onwards.When: August 28-31Where: Khoj Studios, S-17, Khirkee ExtensionTimings: 11 am-7pmlast_img read more

31 Aug

Good sleep exercise can cut stroke risk

first_imgGetting the right amount of sleep and exercising several times a week can significantly cut the risk of stroke, suggests a study.The researchers from the New York University found that an average sleep of seven to eight hours and vigorous leisurely activity or exercise of 30 to 60 minutes three to six times per week, are healthy behaviours that can significantly decreased adults’ stroke risk. But sleeping for a longer or shorter amount of time increased the risk people would suffer, they said. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The result showed that average sleepers — those who slept seven to eight hours a night — were 25 per cent less likely to have experienced a stroke. Meanwhile long sleepers —those who got more than eight hours a night — were 146 per cent more likely to have suffered a stroke.And short sleepers, who slept less than seven hours a night, were 22 per cent more likely to report having had a stroke. Average sleep and vigorous leisurely activity three to six times per week significantly decreased stroke risk, the researchers elucidated.last_img read more

31 Aug

Facebook a popular friend among the elderly too

first_imgNot just youngsters, senior citizens are turning out to be Facebook’s fastest growing community, say researchers including an Indian-origin team member, suggesting that the elderly are joining Facebook for the same reasons that prompted teenagers to join it over a decade ago.According to S Shyam Sundar, professor at Pennsylvania State University, older adults who are motivated by social bonding and curiosity tend to use Facebook as a form of social surveillance.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Surveillance is the idea that you’re checking out what people are up to. This is something that many older adults do. They want to see how their kids are doing and, especially, what their grandchildren are doing,” said Sundar.Earlier studies suggest a positive relationship between bonding and bridging social capital and Facebook use among college students. “Our study extends this finding to senior citizens,” added Eun Hwa Jung, mass communication researcher at Penn State. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe researchers found that the desire to stay connected to family and keep in touch with old friends or social bonding was the best predictor of Facebook adoption and use, followed closely by the desire to find and communicate with like-minded people or social bridging.Curiosity is another motivation for senior Facebook users, Jung added. The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, found that senior citizens were not motivated to actively participate on Facebook when family and friends prod them to use the website. “When senior citizens respond to requests to join Facebook, that tends to be a negative predictor of use,” Sundar said. “In other words, they are not intrinsically motivated to participate when someone else requests that they join,” he added.Older adults also tend to use Facebook features that their younger counterparts favour. According to the findings, seniors visited Facebook 2.46 times a day and stayed on it for a little over 35 minutes each day. “This isn’t just a fast-growing market, but also a lucrative one. Older adults have much more disposable income than teens and college students and would be more desirable for advertising,” Sundar noted. The team suggests that designers of social media sites should emphasise on simple and convenient interface tools to attract older adult users.last_img read more

31 Aug

Why casual sex is not so cool

first_imgDoes a one-night stand or romping without any commitment or emotional involvement sound interesting to you? If yes, please beware. Researchers have found that a liking for casual sex may land you in trouble.The researchers found that a person’s preference for casual sex may actually increase their risk of being harassed.Also, adolescents who have been sexually harassed are more strongly inclined to have casual sex than others, the findings showed. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe results might give the impression that it is the victim’s fault for being harassed, but the researchers said their findings were not intended to “blame the victim”.”Absolutely not! We’re trying to understand the psychological mechanisms that underlie harassment,” said Mons Bendixen, Associate Professor at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. It might be that a preference for casual sex results in more sexual solicitations in general, including undesirable ones. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, also showed that adolescents who sexually harass others have had casual sex more often than those who do not harass others. They also fantasise more about casual sex and find it more acceptable to have sex without any commitment or emotional closeness.The study included 1,326 heterosexual girls and boys with an average age of nearly 18 years. The psychologists only looked at non-physical forms of sexual harassment.Fully 60 per cent of the girls and boys in the survey reported that they had been sexually harassed in the last year. Around 30 per cent of the girls and 45 per cent of the boys admitted that they had sexually harassed someone one or more times.last_img read more

31 Aug

Sex worker attacked health condition critical

first_imgKolkata: A sex worker of Sonagachhi was injured after being attacked by a youth.The incident had taken place on Imam Box lane on Thursday. The 28-year-old woman was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. Police said the victim was in her room when the accused went inside her room on Thursday night. The accused later stabbed her with a sharp weapon and fled the spot. After being informed police reached the spot and started a probe. The victim’s husband rushed her to the hospital. Her health condition is stated to be serious. According to police, a surgery was performed on the patient at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt was learnt that some locals heard the victim screaming in pain. They rushed to her room and found her lying in a pool of blood. The victim’s husband, who was around, rushed to the spot following the incident and took her to the hospital. The investigating officers are waiting for the woman to recover following which she would be interrogated. Cops are yet to ascertain the exact motive behind the attack. Some locals mentioned that there are allegations against the victim. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThey told police there had been instances where the woman had snatched money from her clients. None has, however, lodged any police complaint against the woman. A detailed probe has been initiated to ascertain the exact cause of the attack. The accused has been at large since the incident took place. Police also came to know that the accused had visited the victim on earlier occasions as well. They are trying to know the whereabouts of the accused. Raids are being to nab the culprit.last_img read more

31 Aug

Big snub Only two Minister of State slots for Bengal BJP

first_imgNEW DELHI: With BJP’s sterling show in Bengal, it was widely speculated that it would get at least a cabinet berth in Modi’s new cabinet. However, it ended up with two ministers of state. Babul Supriyo, the singer- turned politician who fended off actress Moon Moon Sen in Asansol returns as a minister of state. Debasree Chaudhuri the BJP MP from Raiganj was also inducted as an MoS in the Modi cabinet. This is being viewed by political analysts as a royal snub to the BJP party cadre in Bengal. The BJP increased its tally in Bengal from two in 2014 to an impressive 18 seats this time around.last_img read more