Archive | Science

‘Aquatic Osteoporosis’ Jellifying Lakes

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A handful of Holopedium capsules which are replacing the water flea Daphnia due to declining calcium levels in many lakes. Credit: Image courtesy of Queen’s University

Via ScienceDaily:

A plague of “aquatic osteoporosis” is spreading throughout many North American soft-water lakes due to declining calcium levels in the water and hindering the survival of some organisms, says new research from Queen’s University.

Researchers from Queen’s, working with colleagues from York University and the University of Cambridge, as well as other collaborators, have identified a biological shift in many temperate, soft-water lakes in response to declining calcium levels after prolonged periods of acid rain and timber harvesting. The reduced calcium availability is hindering the survival of aquatic organisms with high calcium requirements and promoting the growth of nutrient-poor, jelly-clad animals.

In the study, researchers looked at the microscopic organisms (~1 mm) Daphnia and Holopedium — the latter whose size is greatly increased by its jelly capsule.

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The Transhuman World

eu20141116bvia The Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

Whatever a transhuman is, xe (a pronoun to encompass all conceivable states of personhood) will have to live in a world that enables xer to be transhuman. I’ll explore the impact of three likely-seeming aspects of that world: ubiquitous interconnected smart machines, continuous classification, and virtualism.

Ubiquitous Interconnected Smart Machines

[…] High Frequency Traders aggressively trade in the direction of price changes […and…] may compete for liquidity and amplify price volatility.
(Kirilenko, Kyle, Samadi, and Tuzun 2011)

Newton’s theory of gravity was initially ridiculed for its “action at a distance” mysticism, particularly by those who were beginning to see the universe as a mechanical analog, built from atoms that kept causes close to effects (Kearney 1971). It was the clockwork philosophy of Galileo and many others that led to much of the technology we now take for granted, ultimately co-opting Newton’s ideas.

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Let Me State the Obvious: Transhumanism is Really Influenced by the Drug War

pinklazer3You ever notice how supposedly smart people are often too dumb to realize that there are different kinds of intelligence. I mean, Jimi Hendrix probably wouldn’t be able to write code for shit, but he could play the hell out of a guitar. Last time I checked, Henry Miller isn’t a science legend and LeBron James isn’t a technological icon. I love that sermon that Jesus gave about organic chemistry. I’m pretty sure that’s the one that got him killed. Man, what’s at the movies this weekend? Yeah, a bunch of new films about how to make better computers, totally. I suppose the reason I mention this has to do with the fact that in the last week or so I’ve stumbled upon roughly 5 different articles by highly respected scientists informing me that computers are going be smarter than humans in the near future. Anytime anyone says something like this the appropriate response should be, what the fuck are you talking about?… Read the rest

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Organic molecules detected on Comet by Philae

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via BBC:

The Philae lander has detected organic molecules on the surface of its comet, scientists have confirmed.

Carbon-containing “organics” are the basis of life on Earth and may give clues to chemical ingredients delivered to our planet early in its history.

The compounds were picked up by a German-built instrument designed to “sniff” the comet’s thin atmosphere.

Other analyses suggest the comet’s surface is largely water-ice covered with a thin dust layer.

The European Space Agency (Esa) craft touched down on the Comet 67P on 12 November after a 10-year journey.

Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cosac instrument, which made the organics detection, confirmed the find to BBC News. But he added that the team was still trying to interpret the results.

Read More: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30097648

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Memories Transplanted With Organs

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I recently came across an interesting and novel phenomenon via a remarkable fact I read on Kickassfacts.com. It seems organ recipients sometimes have living memories or peculiar affinities which somehow carried over along from their donor. Can the ‘Ship of Theseus’ that arrives with new oars, planks, and sail be considered the same ship that left port?

Ethically, very few religions around the world actually have a problem with organ harvesting and transplantation. With reference to harvesting from the brain-dead, Pius XII said that knowledge of when death occurs is the domain of medical science. However some Judaic authorities take issue with harvesting the organs of a brain-dead individual because anything that will stop the heart beating causes death. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed their stance since the 1980s, excluding the acceptance of an organ from their definition of cannibalism (which includes accepting blood transfusions).

However, no religions to my knowledge presently acknowledge the idea that a person may somehow be incarnate after their death when another person has accepted that person’s organ.… Read the rest

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Young French Maker 3D Prints a Replica of His Fiancée

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via 3D print:

When French 3D design company Le FabShop set up its booth near the Shapify space at the Autodesk Pop-Up Gallery in Paris last October, one young designer with Le FabShop, Samuel N. Bernier, could not resist collaborating with the neighbors. Le FabShop is a major distributor of Makerbot 3D printers and scanners in France, organizes Maker Faires, and provides retailers such as the upscale gift shop at the Versailles Palace with high-quality 3D printed objects such as architectural models. Shapify, a branch of Artec, the 3D scanner manufacturer, has begun setting up 3D scanning photo booths in Europe, the UK, and the US. The booths allow users to create full-body 3D scans and then 3D prints of the scan subjects. In short, they are 3D photo booths.

Enter Le FabShop’s young maker, who saw an opportunity to combine the resources of Le FabShop and Shapify to pay homage to his unnamed fiancée.

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Hard Evidence: does GM cotton lead to farmer suicide in India?

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

In response to yesterday’s article, “Monsanto’s GMO Creations Caused 291,000 Suicides in India,” we had a Facebook commenter share this article with us.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Read the original article.

By Ian Plewis, University of Manchester

Arguments surrounding the use of genetically modified crops and whether they are the solution to the world’s problems of food supply and public health are no nearer to resolution than when GM was introduced.

In Europe, there is widespread opposition to GM crops, with import or cultivation of many GM foods prohibited by EU regulations. In the Americas, and to a lesser extent in Asia, regulations are less stringent and a substantial proportion of the area used to grow corn, soybean and cotton is planted with GM seeds.

The agri-business companies responsible for developing the seeds, notably Monsanto, are frequent targets of anti-GM campaigners.… Read the rest

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The Creative Gifts of ADHD

 Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

via Scientific American:

“Just because a diagnosis [of ADHD] can be made does not take away from the great traits we love about Calvin and his imaginary tiger friend, Hobbes. In fact, we actually love Calvin BECAUSE of his ADHD traits. Calvin’s imagination, creativity, energy, lack of attention, and view of the world are the gifts that Mr. Watterson gave to this character.” — The Dragonfly Forest

In his 2004 book “Creativity is Forever“, Gary Davis reviewed the creativity literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 reoccurring personality traits of creative people. This included 16 “positive” traits (e.g., independent, risk-taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, artistic, emotional) and 6 “negative” traits (e.g., impulsive, hyperactive, argumentative). In her own review of the creativity literature, Bonnie Cramond found that many of these same traits overlap to a substantial degree with behavioral descriptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)– including higher levels of spontaneous idea generation, mind wandering, daydreaming, sensation seeking, energy, and impulsivity.

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Crustaceans Win Battle Against Being Feminized

Michal Maňas (User:snek01) (CC BY 2.0)

Michal Maňas (User:snek01) (CC BY 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

Male crustaceans can ‘lock down’ their maleness to avoid being completely feminised by seawater contaminated by feminising pollutants, according to scientists.

New research by scientists at the University of Portsmouth has shown that crustaceans turned partially into females retain a core of masculinity, and they may have learned how to do it after evolutionary battles with parasites.

The researchers have also published the entire genetic code for the amphipod crustacean they studied, which they hope will lead to even better understanding of their biology.

The research is published in Environmental Science and Technology.

One of the researchers Dr Alex Ford said: “We’ve known for some time that fish change sex if they’re subjected to even small amounts of oestrogen in the water, but until now we didn’t know what was happening to crustaceans.

“What we found is that once a crustacean has decided to be male, it can lock down its maleness.

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