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October 30 2014

8201 1c50 500

The symmetry and simplicity of the laws of physics and the Higgs boson

by Juan Maldacena (Princeton)
24 Oct 2014

We describe the theoretical ideas, developed between the 1950s-1970s, which led to the prediction of the Higgs boson, the particle that was discovered in 2012. The forces of nature are based on symmetry principles. We explain the nature of these symmetries through an economic analogy. We also discuss the Higgs mechanism, which is necessary to avoid some of the naive consequences of these symmetries, and to explain various features of elementary particles.

Tags: science
Reposted byscience science
Chinesen hinter dem Mond.
(Chang'e-5 T1, Oct. 28, 2014)
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Reposted byastronomygrouptentacleguycliffordbesendhoopTheIllogicalVulcan

October 29 2014


Algal virus found in humans, slows brain activity

(AAAS, Oct. 2014) The virus, called ATCV-1, showed up in human brain tissue several years ago, but at the time researchers could not be sure whether it had entered the tissue before or after the people died. Then, it showed up again in a survey of microbes and viruses in the throats of people with psychiatric disease. Pediatric infectious disease expert Robert Yolken from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and his colleagues were trying to see if pathogens play a role in these conditions. At first, they didn't know what ATCV-1 was, but a database search revealed its identity as a virus that typically infects a species of green algae found in lakes and rivers.

The researchers wanted to find out if the virus was in healthy people as well as sick people. They checked for it in 92 healthy people participating in a study of cognitive function and found it in 43% of them. What’s more, those infected with the virus performed 10% worse than uninfected people on tests requiring visual processing. They were slower in drawing a line connecting a sequence of numbers randomly placed on a page, for example. And they seemed to have shorter attention spans, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

Tags: science
Reposted bysciencepsyentisthdiarenSpecies5618chowderKryptonitebrujavogelvoydgafnothingiseverythingfitobeethanabeemihaicontinuumbesenshallowblubberkuropervkingkrybusniklashotsana02mydafsoup-01p856aras1024brandstaetterevablisschoeke

October 27 2014

Malcolm Lowry at Eridanus Bay near Vancouver 1944.

Lost Malcolm Lowry novel published
by Ian Youngs, BBC.

A novel by British-born author Malcolm Lowry is being published 70 years after its manuscript was thought to have been destroyed in a fire. Lowry is best known for his 1947 modernist classic Under the Volcano.

He spent a decade working on In Ballast to the White Sea , but the draft was lost when his shack near Vancouver in Canada burned down in 1944. However, it has transpired that Lowry had given an early copy to his first wife's mother.

The book's belated publication will be marked on Saturday, Oct. 25th 2014, with a special event at the Bluecoat art gallery in Liverpool. The gallery hosts an annual celebration of the author, who was born in nearby Birkenhead.

He did not achieve widespread success in his lifetime, with Under the Volcano only gaining popularity after his death in 1957. In 1998, Under the Volcano was placed at number 11 on the New York Modern Library's list of the best novels of the 20th Century.

Lowry had written In Ballast to the White Sea - an autobiographical story of a Cambridge University student who travels to meet a Norwegian author - before Under the Volcano. Lowry himself went to Cambridge and worked as a coal-shoveller on a ship bound for Norway in the early 1930s. He had given a copy of the manuscript to the mother of his first wife, Jan Gabrial, in New York in 1936.

By the time of the fire eight years later, he had remarried, moved to Canada and had not kept in touch with Gabrial. The author later rued the loss of a potentially great novel, but the New York copy remained unknown until Gabrial's death in 2001.

Announcing the publication, Bluecoat artistic director Bryan Biggs said it had "probably been read by at most a dozen people" since Gabrial's estate was left to New York Public Library. Lowry expert Colin Dilnot, who has worked on the new publication, said the surviving novel was an early draft that Lowry would have continued to work on. "It might have become a masterpiece, like Under the Volcano, if it had been worked over," Mr Dilnot said. "What we can see is the skeleton of a masterpiece." It was the "missing link", he said, between Lowry's first novel, 1933's Ultramarine, and Under the Volcano. In it, the writer explores the conflicting political ideologies of the 1930s, Mr Dilnot says.

"Eventually, in Under the Volcano, he comes out as a writer who is well aware of the dangers of fascism. With In Ballast... it's a young writer looking at all the political creeds. "It's important in the sense of where British writing was in political terms in the 1930s. It's a much more complex novel than some of the other political novels written in the 1930s, so that's what make it extremely important."

Reposted byohmygodthebritish ohmygodthebritish
In Ballast to the White Sea
by Malcolm Lowry

University of Ottawa Press (October 2014)
516 pages, ISBN 978-0776622088

Lowry's longest and most ambitious project of the mid-1930s was the autobiographical novel, In Ballast to the White Sea, about a Cambridge undergraduate who wants to be a novelist but has come to believe that both his book and, in a sense, his life have already been "written" by a Norwegian novelist. Only decades after Lowry's death in 1957 did it become known that his first wife, Jan Gabrial, still had a typescript of the book. In Ballast to the White Sea - which Lowry once imagined would be the Paradiso of his trilogy, with Under the Volcano as the Inferno and Swinging the Maelstrom (or Lunar Caustic) as the Purgatorio - is one of Lowry's most intensely personal works. The introduction places the narrative in relation to Lowry's sense of himself in the mid-1930s and draws parallels with his post-Volcano writings such as Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid, La Mordida, and Through the Panama. The text of the novel, as well as Chris Ackerley's extensive annotations provide crucial evidence about Lowry's life and art during the 14 years between the publication of Ultramarine (1933) and Under the Volcano (1947), the only novels he completed and published during his lifetime.
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01ohmygodthebritish

October 26 2014

Team of Wilfred van der Donk (U of Illinois) discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

(CHAMPAIGN, Ill.PUBLIC RELEASE DATE: 26-Oct-2014) — Researchers report in the journal Nature that they have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.

The team focused on a class of compounds that includes dozens with antibiotic properties. The most famous of these is nisin, a natural product in milk that can be synthesized in the lab and is added to foods as a preservative. Nisin has been used to combat food-borne pathogens since the late 1960s.

Researchers have long known the sequence of the nisin gene, and they can assemble the chain of amino acids (called a peptide) that are encoded by this gene. But the peptide undergoes several modifications in the cell after it is made, changes that give it its final form and function. Researchers have tried for more than 25 years to understand how these changes occur.

"Peptides are a little bit like spaghetti; they're too flexible to do their jobs," said University of Illinois chemistry professor Wilfred van der Donk, who led the research with biochemistry professor Satish K. Nair. "So what nature does is it starts putting knobs in, or starts making the peptide cyclical."

Special enzymes do this work. For nisin, an enzyme called a dehydratase removes water to help give the antibiotic its final, three-dimensional shape. This is the first step in converting the spaghetti-like peptide into a five-ringed structure, van der Donk said.

The rings are essential to nisin's antibiotic function: Two of them disrupt the construction of bacterial cell walls, while the other three punch holes in bacterial membranes. This dual action is especially effective, making it much more difficult for microbes to evolve resistance to the antibiotic.

Previous studies showed that the dehydratase was involved in making these modifications, but researchers have been unable to determine how it did so. This lack of insight has prevented the discovery, production and study of dozens of similar compounds that also could be useful in fighting food-borne diseases or dangerous microbial infections, van der Donk said.

Through a painstaking process of elimination, Manuel Ortega, a graduate student in van der Donk's lab, established that the amino acid glutamate was essential to nisin's transformation.

"They discovered that the dehydratase did two things," Nair said. "One is that it added glutamate (to the nisin peptide), and the second thing it did was it eliminated glutamate. But how does one enzyme have two different activities?"

To help answer this question, Yue Hao, a graduate student in Nair's lab, used X-ray crystallography to visualize how the dehydratase bound to the nisin peptide. She found that the enzyme interacted with the peptide in two ways: It grasped one part of the peptide and held it fast, while a different part of the dehydratase helped install the ring structures.

"There's a part of the nisin precursor peptide that is held steady, and there's a part that is flexible. And the flexible part is actually where the chemistry is carried out," Nair said.

Ortega also made another a surprising discovery: transfer-RNA, a molecule best known for its role in protein production, supplies the glutamate that allows the dehydratase to help shape the nisin into its final, active form.

"In this study, we solve a lot of questions that people have had about how dehydration works on a chemical level," van der Donk said. "And it turns out that in nature a fairly large number of natural products – many of them with therapeutic potential – are made in a similar fashion. This really is like turning on a light where it was dark before, and now we and other labs can do all kinds of things that we couldn't do previously." (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/uoia-tdh102414.php)

AstraZeneca neither confirms nor denies that it will ditch antibiotics research

(blogs.nature.com, 22 Oct 2014) The fight against antibiotic-resistant microbes would suffer a major blow if widely circulated rumours were confirmed that pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca plans to disband its in-house antibiotic development. The company called the rumours “highly speculative” while not explicitly denying them.

On 21 October, drug-industry consultant David Shlaes wrote on his blog that AstraZeneca, a multinational behemoth headquartered in London, “has told its antibiotics researchers that they should make efforts to find other jobs in the near future”, and that in his opinion this heralds the end of in-house antibiotic development at the company. “As far as antibiotic discovery and development goes, this has to be the most disappointing news of the entire antibiotic era,” wrote Shlaes.
Tags: science
Reposted byscience science
"Access to the human mind opens new possibilities for a more productive life. Thync creates wearable consumer products that use neurosignaling to shift your state of mind. Our technology induces on-demand shifts in energy, calm, or focus. Be among the first to experience our product." Thync Inc.

Wearable tech to hack your brain

(CNN, October 23, 2014) -- The technology sounds simultaneously fake and dangerous: Strap on a headset and send targeted electrical currents into your brain for about 15 minutes to get more energy, improve your focus or calm down.

Brain stimulation is a very real but still unproven area of technology for tinkering with the human brain. For decades, scientists have experimented with sending electrical currents through subjects' skulls to their brains to do everything from treating serious mental disorders like depression to improving memory and learning.

Now Silicon Valley is hoping it can turn brain stimulation tech into sleek wearable devices for consumers. Is it really possible to make the jump from the lab to Best Buy shelves?

The latest company to attempt to create a consumer brain stimulation product is Thync, a start-up with a serious pedigree. Founded by entrepreneur Isy Goldwasser and neuroscientist Jamie Tyler, who has a PhD in psychology and behavioral neuroscience, Thync has been working on its device secretly for the past three years. It's a portable headset that will offer three settings to start: energy, relaxation and focus.

"For some people it would be their third cup of coffee, for some people it would be their afternoon nap," said Goldwasser.

One of the primary technologies Thync is based on is transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, which uses a weak electrical current to change the sensitivity of neurons in the brain. Neurons are cells in the brain that send electrical signals to each other, resulting in the release of chemicals that impact what a person is thinking or feeling. When targeted to the right area, the tDCS currents can create changes in how a person's brain is functioning.

With the potential to replace everything including a soda habit, yoga class or pharmaceuticals for mental disorders, the market for brain stimulation devices that are proven to work is potentially huge. The U.S. military has even experimented with it as a way to improve pilot training. Thync is focusing on small improvements for already healthy minds.

"The users are going to be people who really have busy lives and really need tools besides chemicals, drugs or alcohol," said Goldwasser. "They'd like another approach to change their mental state."

(Continue: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/22/tech/innovation/brain-stimulation-tech/index.html?hpt=te_r1)

TDCS V2 pre-orders start 12th NOV 2014
Tags: science
Reposted bysciencedrugswonkobesenmalschauen2
Schwer im Trend, der Latin-Lover.
Tags: untagged

October 24 2014

5640 e045
xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,
by Randall Munroe

Problem solved!

What the heck is PARK or BIRD?

You might be asking yourself, "hey, self, what the heck is this web page?" Which is funny, because why would you ask yourself that question if you don't know the answer? Let us help you out.

Park or Bird was inspired by this xkcd comic.

Some of us at Flickr saw that comic and thought, "... hey, we can do that!" Like the comic suggests, given a photo with geo data, it's pretty straightforward to lookup whether that photo was taken in a US national park, and we already have the technology to answer the bird question (which took us less than 5 years to build, though it's definitely a hard problem, and we've still got room for improvement (which we're working on)).

So, all we had to do was whip up this spiffy website and put those technologies behind it! We think it's a great way to show off some of the cool work we're doing here at Flickr. We hope you think it's fun!

If you want to learn a little more about what's behind PARK or BIRD, check out our Flickr Code Blog post on it.
Tags: science
Reposted byjaerkscienceshadowsprauscherathalisdingenscamaelsofiasrzekomyElbenfreund

October 23 2014

Master of Mankind
(Blackhawk No. 102, p.3, July 1956)
Tags: arts science

October 22 2014

What Happened To Women In Computer Science?
Reposted byvolboozeunique-entity-likes-wired-stuffsciencesofiascoloredgrayscaleprauschergrubyltelordminxylem235henrykworm23tomekwjalokim0psyentistrandomusernaxilosfpletzLogHiMacliffordsimplexbabazmiesnegofyiimpostervoydprosiaczekkgafMalagothautoobdukcjaniedoskonaloscyouamStefan51278MrCoffeSirenensanggruetzeGreteladmnTokyoMEWSSpecies5618gruftykuroinekochrislunadonaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftbbsmb5fupducknamelessdrink-megroeschtlbrujavolinzyniertelutoken0dingenssvvatoscarioderschlaeferfrittatensuppesicksinjagaswtfkiel
Fort Lauderdale commissioners pull all-nighter and approve homeless feeding restrictions

(October 22, 2014, Florida/USA) Fort Lauderdale commissioners ended a marathon meeting early Wednesday by giving final approval to new restrictions on where and how charitable groups can feed the homeless in the city. [...]

Homeless advocates put together a "mass solidarity food sharing" in front of City Hall prior to the meeting Tuesday evening, and several dozen held up signs facing the chambers in protest.

"Blood, blood, blood on your hands. Shame, shame, shame on [Mayor Jack] Seiler," they called in unison as the commission discussed an unrelated issue.

"Hey, Jack, what do you say? How many homeless did you starve today?" they continued.

By 9 p.m., with the outdoor protesters still going strong, Seiler asked police officers to move the group back 20 feet to make it easier to hear inside.

The feeding restrictions are the latest in a series of measures enacted by the city. Officials describe them as "public health and safety measures," but opponents have labeled them "homeless hate laws."

The new rules say that feeding sites cannot be within 500 feet of each other, that only one is allowed in any given city block and that any site would have to be at least 500 feet away from residential properties.

Commissioners agreed to permit most churches to have indoor feeding programs, even those close to residential neighborhoods.

But the exception did not apply to outdoor programs. Organizations distributing food outdoors would also need the permission of the property owner and would have to provide portable toilets for use by workers and those being fed.

The rules could force organizations such as Love Thy Neighbor, which has been providing weekly meals to the homeless on the beach and at Stranahan Park downtown, to cease those operations.

(Continue: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-lauderdale-homeless-feeding-sites-20141021-story.html)

Tags: politics
Reposted byatheism atheism
If you’re over 60, drink up: alcohol associated with better memory

(October 22, 2014) Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Kentucky, and University of Maryland found that for people 60 and older who do not have dementia, light alcohol consumption during late life is associated with higher episodic memory — the ability to recall memories of events.

Moderate alcohol consumption was also linked with a larger volume in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for episodic memory. The relationship between light alcohol consumption and episodic memory goes away if hippocampal volume is factored in, providing new evidence that hippocampal functioning is the critical factor in these improvements. These findings were detailed in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias:

Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Cognition and Regional Brain Volumes Among Older Adults
by Brian Downer, Yang Jiang, Faika Zanjani, David Fardo
American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, September 7, 2014, doi: 10.1177/1533317514549411,
Tags: science
Reposted bysciencedrugsgrubyzupacebulowa

October 21 2014

Monkey trained as a waitress wearing a mask.
from Pierre Huyghe: Human Mask, 2014, Film, colour, stereo, sound, Running time: 19 minutes.

(Pierre Huyghe: IN BORDER DEEP, 13 September – 1 November 2014, Hauser & Wirth Gallery, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET, http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/2232/pierre-huyghe-br-in-br-border-br-deep/view/)
Tags: untagged arts
Reposted bywonkofrittatensuppe
New Insights into Ancient Sundials

Larisa N. Vodolazhskaya of the Department of Space Physics at Southern Federal University (SFU), Rostov, has brought two ancient time keepers together with a new and startling result.  The story starts at the turn of the end of the 19th century with the discovery of an L-shaped bar found in the tomb of Thutmose III (1479-1425 BCE). that appeared to be a sundial. In the 1930's a "user manual" of sort was found carved on the tomb ceiling of Seti I (1290-1279 BCE) at Abydos. The ideal L-shaped bar had lines engraved with distances from a starting mark of  3, 6, 9, and 12 units. The Seti I text describes these spacings as "an established procedure".  But what is the procedure?

Then in March 2013 during the excavation of rubble associated with worker huts of Ramesses II (1279-1213) in the Valley of the Kings, Professor Dr. Susanne Bickel and her student archeological team from the University of Basel found one of the oldest sundials in the world.  It is a vertical dial of limestone with what appear to be crudely drawn hour lines. The Basel team found a poor fit using hour lines with 15° spacing expected of a traditional “unequal hour” sundial with horizontal gnomon.

Dr. Vodolazhskaya analyzes the use of these two sundial objects together, showing that the Valley of the King dial has accurately drawn hour lines that can be constructed by the L-shaped bar. The simple spacing distances of marks on the bar (ideally 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12) are measured for two L-shaped solar indicators held in the Berlin Museum.  The ratios are close to ideal, but not exact. Vodolazhskaya argues that these differences of L-shaped solar markings are intentional: one for marking (or interpreting) the morning hours of a vertical dial, and another for marking the afternoon hours where the lines are offset by half an hour. Vodolazhskaya speculates,"we associate the half-hour shift in the markup with the need for ...midday rest for workers - the traditional siesta ..."

Dr Vodolazhskaya shows that Egyptian time telling was far more advanced than previously credited, but done in such a way that only the cognoscenti, the priesthood who held the L-shaped bar, could draw the lines of a sundial to create sundials with astounding accuracy of time. Her analysis is significant, showing that the Valley of the King dial using "equal hours" implies a gnomon pointed to the north celestial pole. This Egyptian feat would not be replicated again for nearly 3000 years until the Arab Ibn al Shatir constructed the first "modern" sundial at the Great Mosque in Damascus in 1371 CE.

Read more: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1408/1408.0987.pdf
Reposted byscyphiastronomygroupLogHiMajalokim002mydafsoup-01saddam

October 19 2014

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LIES!, Damned Lies, and Salafist.
The edle Quran in denglisch.
Reposted byatheismoelsendonotmindmeniklash
Hoffman's Disruptors, 87.90€ (incl. lenses).
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October 18 2014

Big Quake Hits Bárðarbunga, Iceland.
(News updates: http://icelandreview.com/news/eruption)
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Reposted bybesenasparagusambassadorofdumbjabolmax
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