Four X-class Flares
Image Credit: NASA, Solar Dynamics Observatory, GSFC
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Theoretical sciences, astrophysics, and original content from logical conclusions about life, the universe, and everything.
Four X-class Flares
Image Credit: NASA, Solar Dynamics Observatory, GSFC
The Magical World of Living Light
This is the mysterious spectacle of bioluminescence. Its hard not to revel in the beauty of this remarkable natural phenomenon. These glowing creatures are primarily a product of the ocean. They are the primary source of light in the largest and darkest area of habitable land on Earth, the deep sea. On land, they are most commonly seen as glowing fungus on wood (foxfire) or in the few families of luminous insects (fireflies).
It seems to me that, if you care about science, you need to care about our ecosystem and planet. Without a sustainable future, our lives and our works are all meaningless.
Data from more than 180 research papers suggests fish oils could minimise the effects that junk food can have on the brain, a review by researchers at the University of Liverpool has shown.
The team at the University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease reviewed research from around the world to see whether there was sufficient data available to suggest that omega-3s had a role to play in aiding weight loss.
Stimulating the brain
Research over the past 10 years has indicated that high-fat diets could disrupt neurogenesis, a process that generates new nerve cells, but diets rich in omega-3s could prevent these negative effects by stimulating the area of the brain that control feeding, learning and memory.
Data from 185 research papers revealed, however, that fish oils do not have a direct impact on this process in these areas of the brain, but are likely to play a significant role in stalling refined sugars and saturated fats’ ability to inhibit the brain’s control on the body’s intake of food.
Dr Lucy Pickavance, from the University’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, explains: “Body weight is influenced by many factors, and some of the most important of these are the nutrients we consume. Excessive intake of certain macronutrients, the refined sugars and saturated fats found in junk food, can lead to weight gain, disrupt metabolism and even affect mental processing.
“These changes can be seen in the brain’s structure, including its ability to generate new nerve cells, potentially linking obesity to neurodegenerative diseases. Research, however, has suggested that omega-3 fish oils can reverse or even prevent these effects. We wanted to investigate the literature on this topic to determine whether there is evidence to suggest that omega-3s might aid weight loss by stimulating particular brain processes.”
Research papers showed that on high-fat diets hormones that are secreted from body tissues into the circulation after eating, and which normally protect neurons and stimulate their growth, are prevented from passing into the brain by increased circulation of inflammatory molecules and a type of fat called triglycerides.
Molecules that stimulate nerve growth are also reduced, but it appears, in studies with animal models, that omega-3s restore normal function by interfering with the production of these inflammatory molecules, suppressing triglycerides, and returning these nerve growth factors to normal.
Dr Pickavance added: “Fish oils don’t appear to have a direct impact on weight loss, but they may take the brakes off the detrimental effects of some of the processes triggered in the brain by high-fat diets. They seem to mimic the effects of calorie restrictive diets and including more oily fish or fish oil supplements in our diets could certainly be a positive step forward for those wanting to improve their general health.”
The research is published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Dr Pickavance will also be discussing the effects of high-fat diets on meal patterns and the impacts of high-saturated fats on muscle composition at the 20th European Congress on Obesity at the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre later this month.
What the study ACTUALLY SAID (Hint: It’s not what was said above)
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in higher concentrations in seeds and nuts, “have been shown to counteract, attenuate or prevent dysfunction in energy metabolism, cardiovascular health and cognition, through their anti-inﬂammatory properties.”
As soon as you see someone say that today’s fish are a “healthy” option, you know that they probably have never even heard of a Google, let alone know how to use Google (or yahoo, or bing, or duckduckgo).
“Fish is high in fat often 60% of its calories comes from fat, which is effortlessly incorporated into a person’s body fat […]. In fact there is considerable evidence that fish fat will increase a person’s risk of cancer and also will increase the risk of metastasis (spread of cancer to other body parts). Fish fat is also known to paralyse the actions of insulin and increase the tendency for high blood sugars and eventually diabetes, it is known to suppress the immune system and is also known to increase the tendency for serious bleeding”
Not to mention that, per calorie, “fish is higher in cholesterol than beef or chicken.”
“An article in the New England Journal of Medicine[…] warned that many fish contain such high levels of mercury that they may increase the risk of heart attack. Indeed, people in the study who had high mercury levels were thought to have more than double the risk of a heart attack compared with those who had lower mercury levels. Mercury is also known to be toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys with long-term exposure being linked to atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries).”
“Unless these have been specially processed to remove cholesterol, fish oils contain large amounts of cholesterol (as well as pesticides and other toxic chemicals) and they will raise the blood cholesterol in those people consuming them. Even when the fish oil is purified of cholesterol, the Omega-3 fat itself will cause the LDL (the bad cholesterol) to rise. Fish oil treatment for 2 years does not promote favourable changes in the diameter of atherosclerotic coronary arteries.”
““Our findings provide no evidence that short-term omega-3-[polyunsaturated fatty acids] supplementation provides clinically relevant antiarrhythmic effects in the acute setting of cardiac surgery,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his co-authors concluded in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
Not to mention the profoundly HORRIBLE things that fishing does to our environment.
Still think Omega 3 and 6 are the only way to healthy diet? Just go ahead and look at (http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000140000000000000000.html) to see foods higher in concentrations of omega 3 than fish. Or go ahead and go to this site (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84) and see, very clearly, that fish, per calorie, is not actually that good of a source of omega 3.
But don’t take my word (or the word of all the sources I’ve provided) and do your own research.
It also took me on a curiosity journey: Lightning strikes Earth’s surface about 45 times every second. But not every spot on Earth is struck by lightning at the same frequency. Some places, like Antarctica, almost never see lightning. And some places, like a certain area of Democratic Republic of Congo, get almost 160 strikes per square kilometer every year. This area of Arizona gets about 10 strikes per square kilometer every year.
Let’s use a conservative guess for the age of the Grand Canyon at about 6 million years (although some controversial estimates have put its age at up to 17 million years. Or even 70 million). The ridge area that the lightning is striking is about 1 square kilometer in area (I checked on Google Earth, below)
If we assume that the Grand Canyon region’s climate has been fairly consistent over that time (which is a big assumption, and most likely not true), then this same sight has happened somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 million times.
Lightning does strike twice. And that’s a beautiful thought.
Blink and you’ve missed it. Researchers in the US have captured the world’s first X-ray images of lightning, by creating a special camera that can capture radiation at 10 million frames per second. They presented their new findings at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco and they say that this new view of lightning could help to solve some of the mysteries of this spectacular natural phenomenon.
The research was carried out at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, located in Florida. It is one of the few sites in world where lightning is initiated and studied under controlled conditions. By firing rockets with trailing wires into thunder clouds, scientists are able to generate electric fields that are large enough to trigger bolts of lightning, which then propagate back down towards the rocket launch tower.
Joseph Dwyer and colleagues at the Florida Institute of Technology became interested in the fact that lightning emits X-rays as it propagates through the air, a phenomenon that was only noted in the past decade. But given that X-ray sources in lightning travel through the Earth’s atmosphere at velocities approaching the speed of light, it is difficult to catch them on camera before they disappear. In addition, they cannot be imaged with standard mirrors and lenses because huge amounts of material are required to prevent X-rays and gamma rays from entering through the sides of a camera.
Dwyer’s team has created a customized camera that has 30 detectors made from a combination of sodium iodide and photomultiplier tubes, each measuring 3 × 3 inch. The device, which is approximately the size of a standard refrigerator, is also equipped with a 3 inch pinhole aperture, and can record X-rays at 10 million frames per second. “This is actually a very old technique for making images, like that seen in a camera obscura,” Dwyer says.
During July and August this year, Dwyer’s team studied four rocket-triggered lightning flashes at the Florida test site. Each flash lasted for approximately two seconds and the resulting sequences of images revealed that X-rays emerged primarily from the vicinity of the lightning tip as it propagated towards the Earth. As the lightning crashed into the control tower it also triggered large bursts of gamma radiation, which were also captured by the camera.
“For the first time we’re catching a glimpse of lightning in the X-ray emission,” says Dwyer. “We’re seeing lightning as Superman would see it with his X-ray vision”.
Credit: James Dacey/physicsworld.com
More than three decades after it aired, Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking, brilliant 13-part TV series Cosmos:A Personal Voyage will finally get a sequel.
Cosmos, which originally ran in 1980 and was rerun many times over the following decade, is widely regarded as one of the first, and best, TV shows to make science accessible to everyone. You can watch the show now on Hulu, but despite its brilliance it is still a show from more than 30 years ago, and you can tell — the special effects are primitive by today’s standards, but more importantly some of the content has been superseded by discoveries in the intervening years.
So, it’s high time someone made a sequel to it, and now someone is! In partnership with Sagan’s colleagues Ann Druyan (who is also his widow) and Steven Soter, Seth MacFarlane — yes, that Seth MacFarlane — is going to produce a new 13-part series to serve as a sequel and modern update to Sagan’s masterpiece.
Taking over the hosting duties will be none other than well-known astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has served as host of NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS for the past five years, so he has plenty of experience making science accessible to the general public. It would be difficult to think of anyone who would be better able to succeed the late, great Carl Sagan.
The folks working on it will take their time and do it right — it’s not scheduled to air until sometime in 2013.
The producers of the show say the new series will tell “the story of how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find our place in space and time.” They go on to boast: “It will take viewers to other worlds and travel across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. The most profound scientific concepts will be presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience.”
That’s the good news. The bad — or at least, potentially bad — news is that, because of MacFarlane’s involvement, the series will air in prime time, and on Fox.
Now, in one way I’m all for showing it in prime time on a major network, because it’ll be that much more likely that people who routinely ignore the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel and, yes, PBS will actually see it.
I’m less thrilled, though, that it will have to compete with other, more mainstream prime-time shows — and it’ll be on Fox, which doesn’t have the greatest track record for giving shows a chance to pull their ratings up once they go down.
Now, maybe the fact that MacFarlane is involved — and Joss Whedon isn’t — will help. I certainly hope so.
You can find out more about the plans for the series.
I’m really looking forward to this I think it’s going to be great. And although I love Dr Tyson, Carl Sagan’s personality and what he brought to the show… it is going to be impossible to recreate that.
Mitotic division in a animal lung cell under a contrast microscope.
It consists of two main stages.
Karyokinesis : This is the main part of cell division, which is the division of the nucleus. It is further divided into four stages.
- Prophase : The nucleus of the cell breaks apart. The individual chromsomes are visible as the chromatids condense.
- Metaphase : The centromeres of the chromosomes align along what is called as the metaphase plate.
- Anaphase : The chromatids separate and get pulled apart by the mitotic spindles forming two arrangements.
- Telophase : The chromatids condense and form the two daughter nuclei of the cell.
Cytokinesis : This stage happens simultaneously with Telophase. It is the final stage where a cleavage is created in the cytoplasm and the cell separates into two daughter cells. The two daughter nuclei pass into the daughter cells.
3rd order soliton up in here. This was a question in my assignment, show the propagation of a 3rd order soliton down a length of standard fiber.
I think it looks pretty cool. Physics!
ONE MILLION PAGE VIEWS on FLICKR
As of a moment ago, itchydogimages on Flickr had accumulated a million page views (photos, photostream, sets, collections and galleries). Of these, 890000 are individual image views (the next milestone is 1000000 individual image views).
My insect photography is an obsessive passion of mine and I am fortunate to live in a location with plenty of arthropod biodiversity and ample opportunity to immerse myself in it. It’s not a resource we all have the capacity to see first-hand, either due to our various lifestyles, commitments and locations, or because it is disappearing at a phenomenal rate. In the 18 months I have lived in Yunnan now, every location, without exception, I visited when I first began exploring, has been absorbed, if not obliterated by urban expansion and development. If I achieve nothing else other than the immense self-satisfaction and buzz I receive from my hobby, it is to have shared what I have seen with anyone and everyone who cared to look.
Many of the visits to my Flickr are fueled by my tumblr blog, SINOBUG, which has also just surpassed the milestone of 50000 followers.
However, the cornerstones of my image sharing are my contacts and the groups I subscribe to on Flickr. I know many of you follow me avidly as evidenced by your comments and favouriting. I am often not as outgoing in reciprocating to your attention, but that doesn’t mean I am not a silent observer. I truly appreciate your interest, input, criticism and praise.
With almost 6000 images in the stream now, you can fast-track to my up-to-the-minute most interesting list HERE on Flickriver!!!
John Horstman (itchydogimages, SINOBUG)
A photon is not actually a wave or particle, but is instead the measured transference of energy from other particles. Which would help reason wave-duality and interference patterns. My hand is broken, or I would have made a longer post about it.