Alex

  • 19306
Added a post 

For now, life is flourishing on our oxygen-rich planet, but Earth wasn't always that way – and scientists have predicted that, in the future, the atmosphere will revert back to one that's rich in methane and low in oxygen.

This probably won't happen for another billion years or so. But when the change comes, it's going to happen fairly rapidly, the study from earlier this year suggests.

This shift will take the planet back to something like the state it was in before what's known as the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) around 2.4 billion years ago.

What's more, the researchers behind the new study say that atmospheric oxygen is unlikely to be a permanent feature of habitable worlds in general, which has implications for our efforts to detect signs of life further out in the Universe.

"The model projects that a deoxygenation of the atmosphere, with atmospheric O2 dropping sharply to levels reminiscent of the Archaean Earth, will most probably be triggered before the inception of moist greenhouse conditions in Earth's climate system and before the extensive loss of surface water from the atmosphere," wrote the researchers in their published paper.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

Chronic rhinosinusitis, which causes a persistent blocked nose and headaches among other symptoms, affects 11 percent of people in the US – and recent research has found a link between the condition and changes in brain activity.

The team behind the study is hoping that the link will help explain some of the other common effects of the persistent inflammation: finding it hard to focus, struggling with bouts of depression, having trouble sleeping, and dizziness.

Finding a connection between the underlying disease and the neural processing happening elsewhere could be vital in understanding the chronic condition, along with efforts to find better and more effective ways to treat it.

"This is the first study that links chronic sinus inflammation with a neurobiological change," said otolaryngologist Aria Jafari, from the University of Washington; the team's paper was published in April 2021.

"We know from previous studies that patients who have sinusitis often decide to seek medical care not because they have a runny nose and sinus pressure, but because the disease is affecting how they interact with the world. They can't be productive, thinking is difficult, sleep is lousy. It broadly impacts their quality of life. Now we have a prospective mechanism for what we observe clinically."

The researchers tapped into data from the Human Connectome Project to find 22 subjects living with chronic rhinosinusitis and 22 control subjects with no sinus inflammation. Data from fMRI scans were then used to compare blood flow and neuron activity in the brain.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

Rogue Planets Could be Habitable

The search for potentially habitable planets is focused on exoplanets—planets orbiting other stars—for good reason. The only planet we know of with life is Earth and sunlight fuels life here. But some estimates say there are many more rogue planets roaming through space, not bound to or warmed by any star.

Could some of them support life?

The term ‘Rogue Planet’ is a colourful term used to describe what are actually interstellar objects (ISOs). But in the case of rogue planets, the ISOs are planetary-mass objects, rather than less massive objects like ‘Oumuamua or 2I/Borisov, the only two confirmed ISOs to enter our Solar System.

Rogue Planets have been somehow ejected from their solar systems. Young solar systems are chaotic places, where bodies collide with each other and where migrating gas giants can perturb smaller terrestrial planets from their orbits, sending them on an interstellar journey. It’s also possible that rogue planets form in interstellar space similar to how stars form. A planet could coalesce out of a cloud of gas and dust, along with a system of moons orbiting it. Sub-brown dwarfs are also considered rogue planets, but since they’re just gas, life is unlikely. In any case, rogue planets aren’t gravitationally bound to any star or stars. They’re free-floating.

We don’t know how many of them there are. If you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson there are billions of them in the Milky Way, maybe even trillions. Could any of them host life? Possibly.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

Portugal’s health care system was on the verge of collapse. Hospitals in the capital, Lisbon, were overflowing and the authorities were asking people to treat themselves at home. In the last week of January, nearly 2,000 people died as the virus spread.

The country’s vaccine program was in a shambles, so the government turned to Vice Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo, a former submarine squadron commander, to right the ship.

Eight months later, Portugal is among the world’s leaders in vaccinations, with roughly 86 percent of its population of 10.3 million fully vaccinated. About 98 percent of all of those eligible for vaccines — meaning anyone over 12 — have been fully vaccinated, Admiral Gouveia e Melo said.

“We believe we have reached the point of group protection and nearly herd immunity,” he said. “Things look very good.”

Full Article >>

Added a post 

The stigma surrounding mental health continues to melt away, slowly but surely, with each new generation. This allows people to seek help and develop the tools needed to cope with feelings of stress, anxiousness, isolation, and other mental health needs. What people may not be as aware of is that this kind of support may also benefit the immune system.*

This isn’t the first (and certainly won’t be the last) time we discuss the inextricable link between mental and physical well-being. But in case you need a refresher, read on.
How mental well-being can impact immune functioning.

When the body faces a perceived danger (i.e. stress) it activates the sympathetic nervous system. “When that system is activated, you get ready for either fighting or running away,” says neuroscientist Wendy A. Suzuki, Ph.D. Though a natural (and helpful!) defense mechanism in times of real danger, if you turn into The Boy Who Cried Wolf...er, stress...the body listens.

Meaning, when you’re trying to wind down at night, your body will be gearing up to either run from danger or fight it—not exactly a peaceful, dream-like state, no? And poor sleep impacts more than just your mood the next morning.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

With ecosystems as varied as oceans, plains and frozen tundras, North America is home to some giant and ferocious predators. But these modern creatures — including alligators, great white sharks and polar bears — look minuscule next to the continent's slew of ancient predators. So, what are the largest predators that have ever lived in North America?

As for furry animals, North America's largest predatory mammal was probably the massive short-faced bear (Arctodus simus), said Ross MacPhee, senior curator of mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Sometimes affectionately called the "bulldog bear," this now-extinct creature had a signature short, broad muzzle. It stood around 5.5 feet (1.6 meters) tall at the shoulder and over 11 feet (3.4 m) on its lanky hind legs, according to the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

Undoubtedly, in the future, man will establish a colony on Mars. What will it look like and which technological solutions adapted to the conditions on Mars will work? Here is the list >>

Added a post 

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are tackling food waste by turning discarded durian husks into antibacterial gel bandages.

The process extracts cellulose powder from the fruit's husks after they are sliced and freeze-dried, then mixes it with glycerol. This mixture becomes soft hydrogel, which is then cut into bandage strips.

"In Singapore, we consume about 12 million durians a year, so besides the flesh, we can't do much about the husk and the seeds and this cause environmental pollution," said Professor William Chen, director of the food science and technology programme at NTU. The fruit's husks, which make up more than half of the composition of durians, are usually discarded and incinerated, contributing to environmental waste.

Chen added that the technology can also turn other food waste, such as soy beans and spent grains, into hydrogel, helping limit the country's food waste.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

Pfizer-BioNTech said on Monday that the companies' two-dose Covid-19 vaccine was safe and showed a "robust" antibody response in children ages 5 to 11.

Based on data collected in a trial that included more than 2,000 children, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, said in a press release that the vaccine was "safe, well tolerated, and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses" for this age group. No Covid vaccines have yet been authorized or approved for use in children under 12.

The children in the trial were given two smaller doses of the vaccine than those given to people 12 and older, according to the release. The companies said that it produced antibody responses, and side effects, in children that were comparable to those seen in a study of people 16 to 25 who received the full dose of the vaccine.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

The semiconductor industry has a problem. Demand is booming for silicon chips, which are embedded in everything from smartphones and televisions to wind turbines, but it comes at a big cost: a huge carbon footprint.

The industry presents a paradox. Meeting global climate goals will, in part, rely on semiconductors. They’re integral to electric vehicles, solar arrays and wind turbines. But chip manufacturing also contributes to the climate crisis. It requires huge amounts of energy and water – a chip fabrication plant, or fab, can use millions of gallons of water a day – and creates hazardous waste.

As the semiconductor industry finds itself increasingly under the spotlight, it is starting to grapple with its climate impacts. Last week Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chipmaker, which supplies chips to Apple, pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The company aims to “broaden our green influence and drive the industry towards low-carbon sustainability”, said the TSMC chairman, Mark Lui.

But decarbonizing the industry will be a big challenge.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

This Mastcam-Z image shows a sample of Mars rock inside the sample tube on Sept. 1, 2021 – the 190th sol, or Martian day, of the mission. The image was taken after coring concluded but prior to an operation that vibrates the drill bit and tube to clear the tube's lip of any residual material.

The bronze-colored outer-ring is the coring bit. The lighter-colored inner-ring is the open end of the sample tube, and inside is a rock core sample slightly thicker than a pencil. A portion of the tube's serial number – 266 – can be seen on the top side of tube's wall.

Additional images taken after the arm completed sample acquisition were inconclusive due to poor sunlight conditions. Another round of images with better lighting will be taken before the sample processing continues.

Obtaining additional imagery prior to proceeding with the sealing and storing of Mars rock sample is an extra step the team opted to include based on its experience with the rover’s sampling attempt on Aug. 5. Although the Perseverance mission team is confident that the sample is in the tube, images in optimal lighting conditions will confirm its presence.

Full Article >>

Added a post 

For the first time, astronomers have captured solid evidence of a rare double cosmic cannibalism — a star swallowing a compact object such as a black hole or neutron star. In turn, that object gobbled the star’s core, causing it to explode and leave behind only a black hole.

The first hints of the gruesome event, described in the Sept. 3 Science, came from the Very Large Array (VLA), a radio telescope consisting of 27 enormous dishes in the New Mexican desert near Socorro. During the observatory’s scans of the night sky in 2017, a burst of radio energy as bright as the brightest exploding star — or supernova — as seen from Earth appeared in a dwarf star–forming galaxy approximately 500 million light-years away.

“We thought, ‘Whoa, this is interesting,’” says Dillon Dong, an astronomer at Caltech.

He and his colleagues made follow-up observations of the galaxy using the VLA and one of the telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which sees in the same optical light as our eyes. The Keck telescope caught a luminous outflow of material spewing in all directions at 3.2 million kilometers per hour from a central location, suggesting that an energetic explosion had occurred there in the past.

Full Article >>