Science Online

Science Online

A room dedicated to online scientific communication. Previously: Science Blogging 2008.
BlogBlog
Halil
Converting packing peanuts to battery components - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Converting packing peanuts to battery components
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Nice! - Jenny H. from Android
Halil
A German biologist and anti-vaxxer who offered €100,000 ($106,300) to anyone who could prove that the disease was a virus has been ordered to pay a doctor who took him up on the offer. - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
A German biologist and anti-vaxxer who offered €100,000 ($106,300) to anyone who could prove that the disease was a virus has been ordered to pay a doctor who took him up on the offer.
Stefan Lanka, who believed that the ailment is actually psychosomatic, promised the reward on his website four years ago, according to BBC News. The bounty was later claimed by a German doctor named David Barden, who presented evidence from six different scientific studies. - Halil from Bookmarklet
NewtonJournal
#‎Astronomia‬, Cerere e il mistero dei due punti luminosi svelati dalla sonda Dawn della ‪#‎NASA‬ - http://www.newtonjournal.it/2015...
Cerere NASA.jpg
NewtonJournal
Halil
Nobel winners urge European Commission not to cut funds for science - Experts angry as EC boss plans to slash the research and innovation budget by £2bn - http://www.independent.co.uk/news...
Nobel winners urge European Commission not to cut funds for science - Experts angry as EC boss plans to slash the research and innovation budget by £2bn
Dozens of Nobel prize-winners have written to the President of the European Commission urging him to reverse his plan to slash EU spending on research and innovation by €2.7bn (£2bn). - Halil from Bookmarklet
But in a letter seen by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 27 Nobel laureates express their “dismay” at the plan and warn that Europe’s reputation in high-profile research fields would be severely damaged. - Halil
Amira
"There is no time for anything inessential". Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer http://www.nytimes.com/2015...
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"I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. (...) My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death. I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. (...) Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure." - Amira
Such a heartbreaking yet inspirational article. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
Halil
Scientists announce anti-HIV agent so powerful it can work in a vaccine -- ScienceDaily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Halil
Researchers from the US and Israel have identified the first-ever example of a creature capable of editing its own genetic makeup in order to blend into its surroundings – the squid. - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Researchers from the US and Israel have identified the first-ever example of a creature capable of editing its own genetic makeup in order to blend into its surroundings – the squid.
Reporting in a recent edition of the journal eLife, Dr. Eli Eisenberg of the Tel Aviv University Department of Physics and Sagol School of Neuroscience and his colleagues explained that the Doryteuthis pealieii squid can alter most of its own proteins on an as-needed basis. - Halil from Bookmarklet
:o - Halil
I wonder if this will help understand and potentially help create treatment for prion based diseases? - Halil
Huh. That would be pretty amazing - I admit, I find prion diseases to be some of the most frightening. - Jennifer Dittrich
Prions are the stuff of nightmares, they are scary and rightly so! - Halil
ah ha: "This species (ie the squid in this study) is a model organism in neuroscience and was used by Andrew Huxley and Alan Hodgkin in their studies on axons." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... I've met Andrew Huxley, he was an interesting guy, very nice bloke. - Halil
Halil
Interstellar technology throws light on spinning black holes -- ScienceDaily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Interstellar technology throws light on spinning black holes -- ScienceDaily
The team responsible for the Oscar-nominated visual effects at the centre of Christopher Nolan's epic Interstellar have turned science fiction into science fact by providing new insights into the powerful effects of black holes. - Halil from Bookmarklet
In a paper published today, 13 February, in IOP Publishing's journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, the team describe the innovative computer code that was used to generate the movie's iconic images of the wormhole, black hole and various celestial objects, and explain how the code has led them to new science discoveries. - Halil
as my friend said, "people say watching TV/films rots the brain" lol - Halil
I was just telling David about this yesterday. Have forwarded the link to him. Thanks! - Heleninstitches #teamff
Amira
Social networks in primates: smart and tolerant species have more efficient networks | Nature http://www.nature.com/srep...
Networks.jpg
"Network optimality has been described in genes, proteins and human communicative networks. In the latter, optimality leads to the efficient transmission of information with a minimum number of connections. Whilst studies show that differences in centrality exist in animal networks with central individuals having higher fitness, network efficiency has never been studied in animal groups. Here we studied 78 groups of primates (24 species). We found that group size and neocortex ratio were correlated with network efficiency. Centralisation (whether several individuals are central in the group) and modularity (how a group is clustered) had opposing effects on network efficiency, showing that tolerant species have more efficient networks. Such network properties affecting individual fitness could be shaped by natural selection. Our results are in accordance with the social brain and cultural intelligence hypotheses, which suggest that the importance of network efficiency and information flow through social learning relates to cognitive abilities." (...) - Amira
"Species with frequent opportunities for information transmission and social learning should more readily respond to selection for managing social relationships. As for cultural complexity, species with more efficient networks should show higher cognitive abilities55, 60. Future work that manipulates social network efficiency (by modifying individual centralities, information or disease... more... - Amira
Amira
What neuroscience is learning from code-breakers and thieves | NAUTILUS http://nautil.us/issue...
2015-02-10_002235.jpg
"It’s hard to imagine an encryption machine more sophisticated than the human brain. This three-pound blob of tissue holds an estimated 86 billion neurons, cells that rapidly fire electrical pulses in split-second response to whatever stimuli our bodies encounter in the external environment. Each neuron, in turn, has thousands of spindly branches that reach out to nodes, called synapses, which transmit those electrical messages to other cells. Somehow the brain interprets this impossibly noisy code, allowing us to effectively respond to an ever-changing world. (...) The Penn scientists have taken their cues from a 73-year-old algorithm that British code-breaker Alan Turing used to read secret German messages during World War II, and a mathematical sequence more famously used to break into digital keypad locks on cars. “Neurons extract information from the world and put it in code,” says Joshua Gold, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. “There’s got... more... - Amira
"It turns out to be a great insight for how the brain assembles evidence to make decisions,” Shadlen says. Many neurons in the outer layers of the brain are selective, meaning that they fire in response to specific stimuli. Some neurons in the visual cortex, for example, fire when objects in our visual field are moving toward the left, whereas others fire when objects are moving toward... more... - Amira
Amira
Bacterial Stigmergy: An Organising Principle of Multicellular Collective Behaviours of Bacteria by Erin S. Gloag, Lynne Turnbull, and Cynthia B. Whitchurch | The ithree Institute, University of Technology Sydney http://www.hindawi.com/journal...
2015-02-10_002319.jpg
Abstract: "The self-organisation of collective behaviours often manifests as dramatic patterns of emergent large-scale order. This is true for relatively “simple” entities such as microbial communities and robot “swarms,” through to more complex self-organised systems such as those displayed by social insects, migrating herds, and many human activities. The principle of stigmergy describes those self-organised phenomena that emerge as a consequence of indirect communication between individuals of the group through the generation of persistent cues in the environment. Interestingly, despite numerous examples of multicellular behaviours of bacteria, the principle of stigmergy has yet to become an accepted theoretical framework that describes how bacterial collectives self-organise. Here we review some examples of multicellular bacterial behaviours in the context of stigmergy with the aim of bringing this powerful and elegant self-organisation principle to the attention of the microbial research community." - Amira
Halil
Giant rodent the size of a buffalo roamed earth three million years ago - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news...
Giant rodent the size of a buffalo roamed earth three million years ago
Josephoartigasia monesi, which is closely related to modern guinea pigs, is thought to have weighed a metric tonne. Scientists used computer simulation methods to estimate how powerful a bite it had. They came up with a force of around 1,400 Newtons - about the same as that of a tiger's clamping jaws. - Halil from Bookmarklet
I'm glad it is not around anymore! Even the idea gives me shivers down my spine. - grizabella from Android
yeah. Imagine those humongous incisors gnawing your face off. - imabonehead
Didn't orcs used to ride them? - Todd Hoff
Wow, it's 300m long according to one of the illustrations. Makes those 70s beavers seem tiny :) - Eivind
Eivind. - Jenny H. from Android
Yeah, the other image didn't display showing the size comparison, it's huge! - Halil
Yes, boo? :D - Eivind
Halil
Scientists, general public disagree on many key issues - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Scientists, general public disagree on many key issues
I think this is a result of poor dissemination of scientific facts by the scientists involved, sensationalist reporting by the media and lastly a lack of understanding about the science by the general public! Either way, public distrust of scientists and science is never a good thing! Again I bring up this report about governments undermining scientists which doesn't help! > Paul Nurse accuses politicians of 'cowardice' over scientific evidence http://ff.im/1kPDQ0 - Halil from Bookmarklet
"Only 37 percent of the public believes that it is safe to eat GMO products, which 88 percent of the AAAS scientists polled during the study believe that consuming such products is not harmful to a person’s health." - Kevin Johnson
Halil
Paul Nurse accuses politicians of 'cowardice' over scientific evidence - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news...
Paul Nurse accuses politicians of 'cowardice' over scientific evidence
Politicians are "cowardly" in their repeated ignorance of scientific evidence that may be unpopular with the public, Sir Paul Nurse has said. The Royal Society president and Nobel Prize-winning geneticist said politicians "must be honest" when disregarding scientists' findings. He also warned "anti-immigration rhetoric" from certain political parties was damaging UK science. He said top scientists from abroad were being put off working in Britain. - Halil from Bookmarklet
This is probably true of most politicians around the world! - Halil
Halil
UK scientists develop AUV imaging technology to assess seabed ecology - http://www.oilandgastechnology.net/health-...
UK scientists develop AUV imaging technology to assess seabed ecology
By using a camera on the Autosub6000 AUV to take a continuous stream of high resolution photographs of life on the sea floor, this new method revealed a tenfold increase in the precision of deepsea ecosystem diversity estimates relative to the use of scientific trawling. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Dr Kirsty Morris, the lead author of this research, published in Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, said: “This is an important step towards the automated imaging of the deep sea, which is essential for understanding the complexity of seafloor biodiversity and its future management” - Halil
This research showed that anemones were the most abundant animal on the sea floor, information that has been previously missed from trawling because they became damaged in the nets and rendered unrecognisable. - Halil
Halil
Brushing your teeth with the remains of dead stars - Space News - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Brushing your teeth with the remains of dead stars - Space News
the element fluorine (which, through gaining an electron, becomes fluoride) is found in products such as toothpaste and chewing gum, but its origins have long been somewhat of a mystery. There have been three preeminent theories about how the chemical element was created, and the findings of the new study support the one which claims that it was formed in giant red stars at the end of their life cycles. Our sun and planets were made from materials from these dead stars, and likewise, the fluorine in our toothpaste might have been created from the sun’s ancestors. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Well, we are created from dead stars too. - Joe
Annie Lappi
Is this still an active group?
About a post a week. I'd say no. - Joe
Joe
Joe
Not sure how many people are left here, but ScienceOnline the organization has decided to dissolve. http://scienceonline.com/2014... "ScienceOnline to cease operations, cancels 2015 conference"
Halil
Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause a Measurable Shift in Gravity - http://www.wired.com/2014...
Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause a Measurable Shift in Gravity
“The loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region,” writes the ESA, whose GOCE satellite measured the change. Apparently, melting billions of tons of ice year after year has implications that would make even Isaac Newton blanch. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
Enzyme-Blocking Molecule Could Be Used To Fight Cancer And Many Other Diseases - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Exciting stuff and looks promising. However, enzymes don't just affect one protein/pathway, a single enzymes activity often plays an important role in a myriad of cellular pathways, so simply blocking this one enzyme sounds simple enough until you discover that doing so may result in undesirable side effects because you're also blocking some other vital cellular activity. Therefore any future research must also consider all cellular activity affected by blocking this one protein. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
Irish teens' idea of using bacteria to improve crop yields wins Google Science Fair prize - http://phys.org/news...
Irish teens' idea of using bacteria to improve crop yields wins Google Science Fair prize
After discovering nodules growing on pea plants in a family garden, which turned out to be the result of a reaction by the plant to bacteria in the soil, the teens began an investigation. They learned that the presence of certain bacteria can instill a sort of fear in a plant, causing it to speed up germination, so as to avoid being overtaken. They wondered what would happen if seeds were treated with a bacteria laden liquid before planting. To find out, they planted a garden with several different types of plants, some with treated seeds, others without, then tended the garden to see what impact the treatment would have. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Awesome find! - Halil
Halil
Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown - http://news.brown.edu/article...
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It’s hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse. - Halil from Bookmarklet
The new study next examined evidence from the evolutionary family trees — phylogenies — of numerous plant and animal species. Phylogenies, constructed by studying DNA, trace how groups of species have changed over time, adding new genetic lineages and losing unsuccessful ones. They provide rich details of how species have diversified over time. - Halil
Halil
Superabsorbing rings could lead to better cameras and solar cells - http://physicsworld.com/cws...
Superabsorbing rings could lead to better cameras and solar cells
Rings of excited atoms that harness a quantum effect to absorb light at an enhanced rate could be used in future technologies such as highly sensitive cameras, solar cells and systems for optical power transmission. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
Asteroid Smashup Observed By Spitzer Could Result In Planet Formation - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Asteroid Smashup Observed By Spitzer Could Result In Planet Formation
Meng and experts from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Tokyo and several other institutions explained that this type of behavior was “consistent with the occurrence of a violent impact that produced vapor out of which a thick cloud of silicate spherules condensed that were then ground into dust by collisions,” and suggest that their observations offer a sneak-peak into the process of forming rocky planets such as Earth. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
China pursues 52 km collider project - http://physicsworld.com/cws...
China pursues 52 km collider project
Particle physicists in China have unveiled plans to build a huge 52 km particle collider that would smash electrons and positrons together to study the Higgs boson in unprecedented detail. The so-called “Higgs factory”, if given government approval, would be built by 2028 and put the country at the forefront of international particle physics. - Halil from Bookmarklet
“They maintain that this will be a Chinese project, although they also admit they don’t have the people to build it themselves, so assistance from the international community would be required,” says Foster. - Halil
It'll be huge... - Halil
Halil
After almost 80 years, a woman has won the Fields Medal. - http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment...
After almost 80 years, a woman has won the Fields Medal.
At a ceremony in Seoul last week, Maryam Mirzakhani, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, became the first woman in history to be awarded mathematics’ highest honour, the Fields Medal. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
Raising extinct species may bring balance to wildlife - http://www.natureasia.com/en...
I've said this before, lets save what we have instead of pumping untold millions in trying to resurrect what's been lost. If it's a recent extinction that has huge ecological benefit, then by all means bring it back, but we must save/preserve what we have or we're doomed to repeat the same mistakes, especially if governments think that all we need to do is mix a few test-tubes to bring back lost wildlife as a result of negligent conservation polices. We must never let governments become complacent and think science can save the day when all we need is to be more caring/protective about the environment. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
A new assessment from Europe's CryoSat spacecraft shows Greenland to be losing about 375 cu km of ice each year. Added to the discharges coming from Antarctica, it means Earth's two big ice sheets are now dumping roughly 500 cu km of ice in the oceans annually. "The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009," said Angelika Humbert from Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute. "To us, that's an incredible number," she told BBC News. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Watch Schrödinger's cat die (or live): Physicists capture the quantum particles' bizarre wanderings for the first time | Mail Online - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/science...
Watch Schrödinger's cat die (or live): Physicists capture the quantum particles' bizarre wanderings for the first time | Mail Online
‘Real-time tracking of a quantum system shows that it's a continuous process, and that we can constantly extract information from the system as it goes from quantum to classical,’ said Irfan Siddiqi, UC Berkeley associate professor of physics. ‘This level of detail was never considered accessible by the original founders of quantum theory.’ - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
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