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Amity, as you know, means friendship

Posts tagged science!

Sep 28 '14
mindblowingscience:

Next Generation Spacesuit like Second Skin

Scientists from MIT have designed a next-generation spacesuit that acts practically as a second skin, and could revolutionize the way future astronauts travel into space. (Photo : Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
Astronauts are used to climbing into conventional bulky, gas-pressurized spacesuits, but this new design could allow them to travel in style. Soon they may don a lightweight, skintight and stretchy garment lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. Essentially the new suit acts like a giant piece of shrink-wrap, in which the coils contract and tighten when plugged into a power supply, thereby creating a “second skin.”
"With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," lead researcher Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, said in astatement.
"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure - applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."
Newman, who has worked for the past decade on a design for the next-generation spacesuit, describes the new garment in detail in the journal IEEE/ASME: Transactions on Mechatronics.
The MIT BioSuit’s coils, which are a main feature of the outfit, are made from a shape-memory alloy (SMA). At a certain temperature, the material can “remember” and spring back to its engineered shape after being bent or misshapen.
Skintight suits are not a novel idea, but in the past scientists have always struggled with the question: how do you get in and out of a suit that is so tight? That’s where the SMAs come in, allowing the suit to contract only when heated, and subsequently stretched back to a looser shape when cooled.
Though the lightweight suit may not seem at first like it can withstand the harsh environment that is outer space, Newman and his colleagues are sure that the BioSuit would not only give astronauts much more freedom during planetary exploration, but it would also fully support these space explorers.
Newman and his team are not only working on how to keep the suit tight for long periods of time, but also believe their design could be applied to other attires, such as athletic wear or military uniforms.
"An integrated suit is exciting to think about to enhance human performance," Newman added. "We’re trying to keep our astronauts alive, safe, and mobile, but these designs are not just for use in space."

mindblowingscience:

Next Generation Spacesuit like Second Skin

Scientists from MIT have designed a next-generation spacesuit that acts practically as a second skin, and could revolutionize the way future astronauts travel into space. (Photo : Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)

Astronauts are used to climbing into conventional bulky, gas-pressurized spacesuits, but this new design could allow them to travel in style. Soon they may don a lightweight, skintight and stretchy garment lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. Essentially the new suit acts like a giant piece of shrink-wrap, in which the coils contract and tighten when plugged into a power supply, thereby creating a “second skin.”

"With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," lead researcher Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, said in astatement.

"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure - applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."

Newman, who has worked for the past decade on a design for the next-generation spacesuit, describes the new garment in detail in the journal IEEE/ASME: Transactions on Mechatronics.

The MIT BioSuit’s coils, which are a main feature of the outfit, are made from a shape-memory alloy (SMA). At a certain temperature, the material can “remember” and spring back to its engineered shape after being bent or misshapen.

Skintight suits are not a novel idea, but in the past scientists have always struggled with the question: how do you get in and out of a suit that is so tight? That’s where the SMAs come in, allowing the suit to contract only when heated, and subsequently stretched back to a looser shape when cooled.

Though the lightweight suit may not seem at first like it can withstand the harsh environment that is outer space, Newman and his colleagues are sure that the BioSuit would not only give astronauts much more freedom during planetary exploration, but it would also fully support these space explorers.

Newman and his team are not only working on how to keep the suit tight for long periods of time, but also believe their design could be applied to other attires, such as athletic wear or military uniforms.

"An integrated suit is exciting to think about to enhance human performance," Newman added. "We’re trying to keep our astronauts alive, safe, and mobile, but these designs are not just for use in space."

May 10 '14
"The possibility of using a blood test to detect depression has been demonstrated by researchers. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, a recent study clearly indicates that, in principle, depression can in fact be diagnosed in this way and this could become reality in the not too distant future."
Mar 5 '14

astrogasmic:

A Hitch logic bomb for any climate change skeptics.

Feb 26 '14
pennyfornasa:


NASA has always been on the frontier of technology and space exploration, but a fact that some may not realize is that a result of that leads to more economic growth. NASA isn’t so much as expenditure as it is an investment, as Neil deGrasse Tyson points out. Not only do innovations arise from solving the challenges of space exploration, but they also reveal a culture and society that join together because they were participants in that frontier.
 

There’s actually a journal NASA puts out each year called Spinoff, which discusses all the patents, innovations, and discoveries that became commercial products with the help of NASA. You can download or order one here http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spin_order_form.html
 
It’s amazing to meet and see all the passionate NASA fans, enthusiasts, and employees. They all mean a lot to us and we need to let them know that we can help them by encouraging Congress to increase NASA’s budget. Let’s be bold and try and make 2014 the year Congress hears Penny4NASA.
 
http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

pennyfornasa:

NASA has always been on the frontier of technology and space exploration, but a fact that some may not realize is that a result of that leads to more economic growth. NASA isn’t so much as expenditure as it is an investment, as Neil deGrasse Tyson points out. Not only do innovations arise from solving the challenges of space exploration, but they also reveal a culture and society that join together because they were participants in that frontier.

 

There’s actually a journal NASA puts out each year called Spinoff, which discusses all the patents, innovations, and discoveries that became commercial products with the help of NASA. You can download or order one here http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spin_order_form.html

 

It’s amazing to meet and see all the passionate NASA fans, enthusiasts, and employees. They all mean a lot to us and we need to let them know that we can help them by encouraging Congress to increase NASA’s budget. Let’s be bold and try and make 2014 the year Congress hears Penny4NASA.

 

http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

Feb 23 '14
"The press still thinks [global warming] is controversial. So they find the 1% of the scientists and put them up as if they’re 50% of the research results. You in the public would have no idea that this is basically a done deal and that we’re on to other problems, because the journalists are trying to give it a 50/50 story. It’s not a 50/50 story. It’s not. Period."
Neil deGrasse Tysonpodcast interview (via we-are-star-stuff)

(Source: )

Feb 11 '14

wornoldhat:

robots-and-electric-sheep:

kabukigurl:

BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY

ba ba BOOM

BIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLL NYYYYYYYYYYYYYYE

(Source: commie-pinko-liberal)

Feb 2 '14

molecularlifesciences:

Top 5 misconceptions about evolution: A guide to demystify the foundation of modern biology.

Version 1.0

Here is an infographic to help inform citizens.  From my experience most people who misunderstand evolution are actually misinformed about what science is and how it operates.  That said, here are five of the biggest barriers faced when one explains evolution - I have faced these and they are documented in the literature.

I hope you can build on my work and improve the communication between the scientists and the public.

Want to do more?  If you want to donate to the cause of science education I suggest the National Center for Science Education http://ncse.com, your local university, or an equivalent organization.  Volunteering at schools and inviting scientists into classrooms are two ways to encourage an informed society.  Attend hearings if school boards start questioning evolution’s role in public curriculum.  Raise a storm if anyone tries to ban science.  Plus, it never hurts to reblog a well made evolution post.

Thank you followers for all your support!
Love, 
molecularlifesciences.tumblr.com

Jan 29 '14
liberalsarecool:

Be the cure.

liberalsarecool:

Be the cure.

Jan 26 '14
Jan 24 '14
Jan 23 '14
Jan 22 '14
Jan 14 '14

neuromorphogenesis:

Coffee may boost brain’s ability to store long-term memories

A cup or two of coffee could boost the brain’s ability to store long-term memories, researchers in the US claim. People who had a shot of caffeine after looking at a series of pictures were better at distinguishing them from similar images in tests the next day, the scientists found.

The task gives a measure of how precisely information is stored in the brain, which helps with a process called pattern separation which can be crucial in everyday situations.

If the effect is real, and some scientists are doubtful, then it would add memory enhancement to the growing list of benefits that moderate caffeine consumption seems to provide.

Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist who led the study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the ability to separate patterns was vital for discriminating between similar scenarios and experiences in life.

"If you park in the same parking lot every day, the spot you choose can look the same as many others. But when you go and look for your car, you need to look for where you parked it today, not where you parked it yesterday," he said.

Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Yassa described how 44 volunteers who were not heavy caffeine consumers and had abstained for at least a day were shown a rapid sequence of pictures on a computer screen. The pictures included a huge range of items, such as a hammer, a chair, an apple, a seahorse, a rubber duck and a car.

When each image flashed up on the screen, the person watching had to say whether the object was normally found indoors or outside, but they were not asked to memorise the pictures. At the end of the task, each volunteer was randomly assigned either a 200mg caffeine pill or a placebo. A typical cup of coffee contains around 150mg of caffeine.

The next day, the scientists brought the volunteers back and sat them down at the computer again. This time, the sequence of images included many they had seen the day before, but some were new and others were similar. The similar images varied in how close to the originals they were. Some showed the same object from a different angle, while others were a similar type of object, such as a different design of hammer from the one they had seen before.

For this part of the study, the volunteers had to say whether each image was either new, old or similar to one they had seen the day before. According to Yassa, the caffeine and placebo groups scored the same except when it came to spotting the similar images. In this task, the caffeine group scored around 10% higher, he said.

"What I’ve taken from this is that I should keep drinking my coffee," Yassa told the Guardian. "Our study suggests there’s a real learning and memory benefit, but other studies suggest caffeine is associated with increased longevity, and a resistance to Alzheimer’s disease. In moderate amounts, it could have beneficial effects for health."

Yassa said it was unclear how caffeine might help the storage of memories, but one theory is that it leads to higher levels of a stress hormone called norepinephrine in the brain, which helps memories to be laid down.

Some scientists, however, say they need more evidence to believe the effect. George Kemenes, a neuroscientist who studies memory at Sussex University, said the statistical techniques used in the paper were not good enough to prove the effect was real. “I have reservations. If the statistics aren’t right the whole story, beautiful as it is, unravels,” he said.

"Even if this was solidly true, which in my view it isn’t, it wouldn’t prove that caffeine has a memory-enhancing property. It wouldn’t call this an improvement in long-term memory."

Jon Simons, who works on memory at Cambridge University, said the study was interesting and carefully designed, but the effect needed to be shown in a larger number of people. “The claim that caffeine affects the consolidation of memories is based on quite a small effect that would really benefit from replication in a larger sample to be convincing,” he said.

Coffee gives me superpowers.

Jan 10 '14
we-are-star-stuff:

The Alternate Realities of the Multiverse
We tend to focus on major decisions as having momentous effects, but what if something as simple as a missed train could change the course of your life? And what if you follow two different paths to see which turned out better? That’s the premise of the 1998 film Sliding Doors, in which Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a young woman named Helen who has just been fired from her job with a prestigious public relations firm in London. Dashing down the stairs of the Tube station, she gets to the platform just as the car doors slide shut, missing her train.
Or does she? The next scene features a replay, in which a split-second change in timing results in Helen just barely catching her train. One Helen stands despondently on the platform as the train pulls away, while the other Helen takes a seat next to a friendly young man named James (John Hannah.). And events unfold quite differently for our two Helens over the remainder of the film, with profound implications for her future.

The notion of parallel worlds, or alternate timelines, in which we get to explore all the roads not taken, is a time-honored trope in science fiction - at least since 1923, when H.G. Wells published Men Like Gods, in which travelers cross into a parallel world that split from our own some 3000 years ago. Quantum mechanics was still in its infancy then, but 30 years later, a young physicist named Hugh Everett III proposed a controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics in which every possible forking of every possible path is realized in its own separate universe. Today it’s known as the many worlds interpretation. 
It started out as a brainstorming session over sherry with colleagues, but by 1957, Everett had developed his idea into a full-length dissertation. A philosophical sticking point in quantum mechanics is the idea of superposition of states. In any quantum system (e.g., a subatomic particle like a photon or an electron), every possible outcome for an experiment is present simultaneously in a sort of super-imposed limbo state. The sum, or superposition, of all those uncertain outcomes is described by an equation known as the wave function. It’s only when we check to see what happened by making a measurement that the wave function collapses and all those possibilities reduce to a single “real” event.
But what happens to those other possibilities once the wave function has collapsed? The strictest interpretation of quantum theory dodges the question and simply assumes they vanish by necessity. Everett suggested that perhaps the wave function continues to evolve instead. Every potential outcome contained in the wave function - a photon appearing as a particle or wave, or Helen catching or not catching her train, with all the subsequent repercussions thereafter - is realized in its own separate universe.
Worlds split when irreversible events occur, such as a choice, or in Helen’s case, a missed or not-missed train. (According to Everett, any measurement constitutes a kind of “choice”). If we go back in time and change one of those choices, the result would be a separate universe where everything is identical up until that crucial decision is made. It’s the act of choosing that makes one of those options “our” reality, but Everett insisted that all other options still exist somewhere, in a parallel universe beyond our ken.
That’s the key: All these universes never, ever interact in any way; we can only observe “our” reality. It’s a buzzkill for science fiction writers, who cheerfully ignore the dictum all the time with characters confronting their own doppelgangers in parallel worlds.
It all sounds just a wee bit crazy, right? Certainly most of Everett’s contemporary colleagues thought so. His dissertation quickly faded into obscurity and he left theoretical physics entirely. Indeed, in 1973, when Everett met his future business partner Donald Reisler, the latter exclaimed, “Oh my god, you’re that Everett, the crazy one who wrote that insane paper.” He was understandably bitter at the poor reception his ideas received. When he died in 1982, at the age of 51, he requested that his ashes be thrown out with the trash.
Many worlds has its current champions, and Everett’s son filmed a documentary, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, about his father’s revolutionary work. The broader notion of a multiverse, while still controversial, is very much an active field of inquiry in 21st century theoretical physics. In fact, in 2009, Andre Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin calculated just how many parallel universe there might be, concluding it should be around 10^10^16.
So maybe Everett had the last laugh after all.
[source]

we-are-star-stuff:

The Alternate Realities of the Multiverse

We tend to focus on major decisions as having momentous effects, but what if something as simple as a missed train could change the course of your life? And what if you follow two different paths to see which turned out better? That’s the premise of the 1998 film Sliding Doors, in which Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a young woman named Helen who has just been fired from her job with a prestigious public relations firm in London. Dashing down the stairs of the Tube station, she gets to the platform just as the car doors slide shut, missing her train.

Or does she? The next scene features a replay, in which a split-second change in timing results in Helen just barely catching her train. One Helen stands despondently on the platform as the train pulls away, while the other Helen takes a seat next to a friendly young man named James (John Hannah.). And events unfold quite differently for our two Helens over the remainder of the film, with profound implications for her future.

The notion of parallel worlds, or alternate timelines, in which we get to explore all the roads not taken, is a time-honored trope in science fiction - at least since 1923, when H.G. Wells published Men Like Gods, in which travelers cross into a parallel world that split from our own some 3000 years ago. Quantum mechanics was still in its infancy then, but 30 years later, a young physicist named Hugh Everett III proposed a controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics in which every possible forking of every possible path is realized in its own separate universe. Today it’s known as the many worlds interpretation

It started out as a brainstorming session over sherry with colleagues, but by 1957, Everett had developed his idea into a full-length dissertation. A philosophical sticking point in quantum mechanics is the idea of superposition of states. In any quantum system (e.g., a subatomic particle like a photon or an electron), every possible outcome for an experiment is present simultaneously in a sort of super-imposed limbo state. The sum, or superposition, of all those uncertain outcomes is described by an equation known as the wave function. It’s only when we check to see what happened by making a measurement that the wave function collapses and all those possibilities reduce to a single “real” event.

But what happens to those other possibilities once the wave function has collapsed? The strictest interpretation of quantum theory dodges the question and simply assumes they vanish by necessity. Everett suggested that perhaps the wave function continues to evolve instead. Every potential outcome contained in the wave function - a photon appearing as a particle or wave, or Helen catching or not catching her train, with all the subsequent repercussions thereafter - is realized in its own separate universe.

Worlds split when irreversible events occur, such as a choice, or in Helen’s case, a missed or not-missed train. (According to Everett, any measurement constitutes a kind of “choice”). If we go back in time and change one of those choices, the result would be a separate universe where everything is identical up until that crucial decision is made. It’s the act of choosing that makes one of those options “our” reality, but Everett insisted that all other options still exist somewhere, in a parallel universe beyond our ken.

That’s the key: All these universes never, ever interact in any way; we can only observe “our” reality. It’s a buzzkill for science fiction writers, who cheerfully ignore the dictum all the time with characters confronting their own doppelgangers in parallel worlds.

It all sounds just a wee bit crazy, right? Certainly most of Everett’s contemporary colleagues thought so. His dissertation quickly faded into obscurity and he left theoretical physics entirely. Indeed, in 1973, when Everett met his future business partner Donald Reisler, the latter exclaimed, “Oh my god, you’re that Everett, the crazy one who wrote that insane paper.” He was understandably bitter at the poor reception his ideas received. When he died in 1982, at the age of 51, he requested that his ashes be thrown out with the trash.

Many worlds has its current champions, and Everett’s son filmed a documentary, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, about his father’s revolutionary work. The broader notion of a multiverse, while still controversial, is very much an active field of inquiry in 21st century theoretical physics. In fact, in 2009, Andre Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin calculated just how many parallel universe there might be, concluding it should be around 10^10^16.

So maybe Everett had the last laugh after all.

[source]

Jan 2 '14
"[Science] is distrusted not because of what it can do, but because people don’t understand how it does what it can do — and that absence of understanding, or misunderstanding, of the power of science is what makes people afraid. […] Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it’s bad for you — go figure out how it works! That’s why we need a scientifically literate electorate — so that when you go to the polls, you can make an informed judgment and you can draw your own conclusions rather than tune into a particular TV station to have your conclusions handed to you."
Neil Degrasse Tyson (via we-are-star-stuff)

(Source: liberatingreality)