Space:

Sunspot Photo is Most Detailed Ever

A new image taken by NJIT Distinguished Professor Philip R. Goode and the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) team is the most detailed sunspot photo yet. In September, the popular astronomy publication, Ciel et l’Espace will publish more photos of the Sun taken using BBSO’s new adaptive optics system.

Goode said that the images were achieved with the 1.6 m clear aperture, off-axis New Solar Telescope (NST) at BBSO. The telescope has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun’s surface.

In the center is a dark sunspot, that is to say a colder zone, less brilliant than the rest of the solar surface. The temperature is around 3600 ° C. All around, the mosaic of small cells is called granulation (temperature: about 5800 ° C). On an average size of 1000 km, these cells are made of hot gas rising from inside the Sun.

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General:

What The Locals Ate 10,000 Years Ago

If you had a dinner invitation in Utah’s Escalante Valley almost 10,000 years ago, you would have come just in time to try a new menu item: mush cooked from the flour of milled sage brush seeds.

After five summers of meticulous excavation, Brigham Young University archaeologists are beginning to publish what they’ve learned from the “North Creek Shelter.” It’s the oldest known site occupied by humans in the southern half of Utah and one of only three such archaeological sites state-wide that date so far back in time.

BYU anthropologist Joel Janetski led a group of students that earned a National Science Foundation grant to “get to the bottom” of a site occupied on and off for the past 11,000 years, according to multiple radiocarbon estimates.

“The student excavators worked morning till night in their bare feet,” Janetski said. “They knew it was really important and took their shoes off to avoid contaminating the old dirt with the new.”

In the upcoming issue of the journal Kiva, Janetski and his former students describe the stone tools used to grind sage, salt bush and grass seeds into flour. Because those seeds are so tiny, a single serving would have required quite a bit of seed gathering. But that doesn’t mean whoever inhabited North Creek Shelter had no other choice.

Prior to the appearance of grinding stones, the menu contained duck, beaver and turkey. Sheep became more common later on. And deer was a staple at all levels of the dig.

“Ten thousand years ago, there was a change in the technology with grinding stones appearing for the first time,” Janetski said. “People started to use these tools to process small seeds into flour.”

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last update: January 30, 2015

Health:

Injection Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

If recently injured patients with serious bleeding were to receive a cheap, widely available and easily administered drug to help their blood to clot, tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year, according to a paper published on-line today by The Lancet.

Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, revealed that results from a trial show that early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients with recent, severe bleeding injuries saves lives, with no evidence of adverse effects from unwanted clotting.

The trial, named CRASH-2, was a large, randomised trial involving over 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, and was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme. This is the first trial of TXA in injured patients, although smaller trials have shown that it reduces bleeding in patients undergoing major surgery.

TXA is an off-patent drug, manufactured by a number of different companies. The cost per gram is about £3 ($4.50).

The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown. Although this would be advantageous in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were worried that TXA might increase the risk of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs. The results of this large trial show that TXA reduces death from bleeding without any increase in these complications.

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General:

Scientists Watch Atom’s Electrons Moving in Real Time

For the first time ever, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. have been able to watch an atom’s electrons move around in the atom’s outer shell. This marks a breakthrough that has the potential to shape and direct our current understanding of chemical processes towards a much better understanding.

The team of scientists were able to time the slight oscillations between the quantum states of valence electrons by using very short flashes of laser light in a process called attosecond absorption spectroscopy. By watching how electrons move, scientists can begin to understand the mechanics of these tiny particles in order to learn how they bond and laws that govern how they bond to make up everything around us. Until now, this has been impossible due to the tremendous speed of electrons.

“With a simple system of krypton atoms, we demonstrated, for the first time, that we can measure transient absorption dynamics with attosecond pulses,” says Stephen Leone of Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, who is also a professor of chemistry and physics at UC Berkeley. “This revealed details of a type of electronic motion – coherent superposition – that can control properties in many systems.”

Bottom line is that this is a huge breakthrough in the study of the properties of the particles that make up everything we see around us. By understanding the mechanics of atoms, we may be able to learn more about the four major forces, and possibly, in time, learn how to bend them.

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General:

Study Shows Women Attracted to Men in Red

What could be as alluring as a lady in red? A gentleman in red, finds a multicultural study published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Simply wearing the color red or being bordered by the rosy hue makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, according to a series of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester and other institutions. And women are unaware of this arousing effect.

For another way to attract women, or at least grab some attention, you’ll need a  Game Pad.

The cherry color’s charm ultimately lies in its ability to make men appear more powerful, says lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Elliot says.

Why does red signal rank? The authors see both culture and biology at work. In human societies across the globe, red traditionally has been part of the regalia of the rich and powerful. Ancient China, Japan and sub-Saharan Africa all used the vibrant tint to convey prosperity and elevated status, and Ancient Rome’s most powerful citizens were literally called “the ones who wear red.” Even today, the authors note, businessmen wear a red tie to indicate confidence, and celebrities and dignitaries are feted by “rolling out the red carpet.”

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Space:

Brown Dwarf Found Orbiting Young Sun-like Star

A new discovery sheds light on the early stages of solar system formation as astronomers image a young brown dwarf in a close orbit with a nearby sun-like star. A team of astronomers and graduate students made the rare discovery using the NICI (Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager) and the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile.

The distance between the sun-like star and its brown dwarf companion is what makes this discovery exciting. The 36 Jupiter-mass brown dwarf (PZ Tel B) and the sun-like star (PZ Tel A) are only 18 AUs (Astronomical Units) apart, similar to the distance between our sun and the planet Uranus.

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General:

Researchers Have Created Room-Temperature Ice

Earth’s climate is strongly influenced by the presence of particles of different shapes and origins — in the form of dust, ice and pollutants — that find their way into the lowest portion of the atmosphere, the troposphere. There, water adsorbed on the surface of these particles can freeze at higher temperatures than pure water droplets, triggering rain and snow.

Researchers at Spain’s Centre d’Investigació en Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (CIN2) have studied the underlying mechanisms of water condensation in the troposphere and found a way to make artificial materials to control water condensation and trigger ice formation at room temperature. Described in the Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, their work may lead to new additives for snowmaking, improved freezer systems, or new coatings that help grow ice for skating rinks.

“Several decades ago, scientists predicted that materials with crystal faces exhibiting a structure similar to that of hexagonal ice, the form of all natural snow and ice on Earth, would be an ideal agent to induce freezing and trigger rain,” explains Dr. Albert Verdaguer. “This explanation has since proven to be insufficient.”

The research team chose to study barium fluoride (BaF2), a naturally occurring mineral, also known as “Frankdicksonite,” as an option. They examined water adsorption on BaF2 (111) surfaces under ambient conditions using different scanning force microscopy modes and optical microscopy to zoom in on the role atomic steps play in the structure of water films, which can affect the stabilization of water bilayers and, ultimately, condensation.

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Space:

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid to Collide With Earth in 2182

Scientists have been monitoring and calculating the likelihood of a potentially disastrous asteroid collision with the Earth in the year 2182. The asteroid, (101955) 1999 RQ36, is only estimated to be a one-in-a-thousand chance that it will collide with the Earth, but as scientists have calculated the potential impacts through the year 2200, over half of the calculations point to the year 2182 for a collision.

The mathematics behind the calculations come by using two different models, the Monte Carlo Method and line of variations sampling. Using these models, VIs (Virtual Impactors) have been searched. VIs are sets of uncertainties that would lead to collisions with the Earth, two of which appear in 2182 with over half the chance of an impact.

The asteroid is part of a group of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA), which all have the possibility of colliding with the Earth and causing damage because of the proximity of their orbits. The asteroid in question was discovered in 1999 and has roughly 560 meters in diameter.

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