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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by All_Luck, Feb 10, 2012.
Hot, crowded, and running out of fuel: Earth of 2050 a scary place
Pretty long article, so cliffs:
The message from the OECD is clear: the status quo is no longer acceptable. "Progress on an incremental, piecemeal, business-as-usual basis in the coming decades will not be enough," it states, quite categorically. And that's not coming from an environmental think tank, but an international body (albeit one with a Eurocentric outlook) with 34 members with the remit of stimulating economic growth and trade.
Hot, crowded, and running out of fuel: Earth of 2050 a scary place
By James Holloway | Published about 18 hours ago
A new report published by the EOCD describes the world of 2050 sustaining 9.2 billion people.
A new report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development paints a grim picture of the world in 2050 based on current global trends. It predicts a world population of 9.2 billion people, generating a global GDP four times the size of today's, requiring 80 percent more energy. And with a worldwide energy mix still 85 percent reliant on fossil fuels by that time, it will be coal, oil, and gas that make up most of the difference, the OECD predicts.
Should that prove the case, and without new policy, the report warns the result will be the "locking in" of global warming, with a rise of as much as 6° C (about 10.8° F) predicted by the end of the century. Combined with other knock-on effects of population growth on biodiversity, water and health; the report asserts that the ensuing environmental degradation will result in consequences "that could endanger two centuries of rising living standards."
Ars looked in detail at the 320-page report in order to summarize its key findings.
A brief word on methodology
The OECD report is founded upon both its own ENV-Linkages General Equilibrium model (which derives environmental impacts from economic data, using a database of national economies maintained at Purdue University) and the IMAGE suite of models of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Though the report makes projections for greenhouse gas emissions, it relies on prior research to link these to global temperature change.
According to the report, urban centers will bear the brunt of the population growth, with 70 percent of the world's people living in towns and cities by 2050, compared to just over 50 percent today. Unlike recent trends, it will be towns and cities with less than half a million inhabitants today, rather than the largest super-cities, that will grow most rapidly by 2050. The world's rural population is projected to decrease by 600 million people.
Though economic growth is predicted to be nearly universal, the developed world's proportionate slice of the global economic pie will shrink markedly, with OECD countries' share decreasing from 54 percent in 2010 to under 32 percent by 2050—significantly less than the BRIICS nations' (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, and South Africa) share of more than 40 percent. China's GDP is set to overtake that of the United States this year, and India is set to do the same by about 2038, according to the report.
Yet the script departs from the predictable narrative of relentless expansion for China and India. GDP growth rates in these countries will slow as drivers of growth such as education converge with those of the developed world.
It's thought that a quarter of the population of OECD countries will be over 65 by the middle of the century, and the populations of India and China will also age significantly. It's predicted that China's workforce will actually shrink. The populations of Japan and Korea, as well as parts of Europe, will decline; though the trend is not expected to be mirrored in the US and Canada, where immigration is projected to keep the populations growing. Russia's population is predicted to shrink, bucking the trend set by other BRIICS nations.
But the bigger picture is the population growth of non-OECD and non-BRIICS countries (or the Rest of the World, as the report puts it), where the population is expected to grow by an average of 1.3 percent per year. In the period between 2030 and 2050, Sub-Saharan African countries will see the highest economic growth rates in the world, at approximately 6 percent per year. The boom will be spurred in part by rapid growth in Africa's youthful populations, though the continent will remain the least-wealthy in the world. OECD economies, by contrast, are projected to grow by an average of 2 percent per year.
And population growth will spur energy consumption. The 80-percent increase predicted by 2050 translates to a total global energy consumption of 900 exajoules (EJ) per year (in other words 9 x 1020 joules)—65 times the annual energy consumption of the US in 2009. This figure factors in continual improvements in energy efficiency, and energy intensity (the ratio of energy consumption to GDP) is set to drop some 40 percent, the report predicts.
Fossil fuels are projected to remain cheaper than renewable sources of energy. The report predicts a 0.5-percent annual growth in oil consumption, and 1.8 percent for coal and natural gas, though oil and gas production are expected to peak by 2050 due to resource depletion. The same is not true of coal, where coal-rich regions happen to coincide with areas of strong economic growth. Use of nuclear energy, biofuels and renewable energy sources are all projected to increase steadily.
The environment in 2050
The report predicts that, as a direct result of increased energy consumption, there will be a 70-percent increase in energy-oriented carbon dioxide emissions, and an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions of 50 percent. This would correlate to a rise in global average temperature between 3° C and 6° C above preindustrial levels.
Air pollution will overtake contaminated water and lack of sanitation as the prime cause of premature mortality across the globe, potentially rising to 3.6 million deaths per year—mostly in China and India. Death rates caused by ground-level ozone among OECD countries are projected to be among the world's highest, thanks in part to the aging, urbanized populations.
But population growth has more direct effects upon the environment. The world's natural resources are set to undergo unprecedented strain. Water demand is projected to grow by 55 percent by 2050 (including a 400-percent rise in manufacturing water demand), when 40 percent of the global population will live in "water-stressed" areas. The report identifies groundwater depletion as the greatest threat to both agricultural and urban water supplies. Nutrient-pollution of water sources is projected to further deplete aquatic biodiversity. And though the number of people with access to an "improved" water source should increase, the report projects that by 2050, 1.4 billion people will be without basic sanitation. "Improved" does not necessarily equate to "good enough," alas.
With a need to fill more than nine billion bellies, farmland coverage is set to increase worldwide, placing extra pressure on land resources. Though deforestation rates will continue to decline; it's predicted that Earth's mature forests will shrink 13 percent, and global biodiversity will diminish by 10 percent. It isn't all bad news. Thanks in part to slowing global population growth and increasing produce yields, agricultural land coverage is actually predicted to peak before 2030, when deforestation rates should slow further.
Perhaps the least obvious of threats to human health identified in the report is the increasing danger posed by hazardous chemicals, as chemical-production increasingly relocates to developing countries where safety measures are "insufficient."
A closing window of opportunity
The report argues that immediate action not only makes environmental sense, but also economic sense. If global greenhouse emissions can be made to peak before 2020, a 2° C limit to the increase in world average temperature is possible. This would limit the costs of "adaptation and mitigation," but requires "ambitious decisions" to be taken more or less immediately.
The report sets a specific target of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at 450ppm. At this level, studies have put the odds of keeping a global temperature rise under 2° C at between 40 and 60 percent. For this level to be achieved, the report calls for putting a "price on carbon" immediately, while implementing a gradual transformation of the energy sector into a low-carbon industry. Finally, the report calls for a wide implementation of "low-cost advanced technologies" that would be stimulated by the higher cost of fossil fuels, giving the example of bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)—a technology which the Royal Society has suggested could decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by between 50 and 150ppm.
The OECD additionally proposes phasing out fossil fuel subsidies which it claims amounts to $45 billion-75 billion per year in OECD countries, and over $400 billion per year in developing and emerging economies.
Beyond climate change, the report also highlights a number of other actions to mitigate environmental impacts of population growth, with the need to protect natural habitats perhaps foremost among them. Though it acknowledges that 13 percent of the world's land is protected, it claims that grassland, savanna, and marine environments are underrepresented. The report also calls for an end to environmentally harmful subsidies, including those provided to projects or companies which intensify land (or sea) use for agriculture, bioenergy, fishing, forestry, and transport.
The message from the OECD is clear: the status quo is no longer acceptable. "Progress on an incremental, piecemeal, business-as-usual basis in the coming decades will not be enough," it states, quite categorically. And that's not coming from an environmental think tank, but an international body (albeit one with a Eurocentric outlook) with 34 members with the remit of stimulating economic growth and trade.
Entering the world's premier antimatter factory
Am I the only one who reads "Scientific Atlanta" whenever they see this thread in the list of threads?
shit like the DRACO situation drive me crazy. Letting economics get in the way of potentially life changing innovation for the entire human race. It's like saying "oh, penicillin might cure infections? But it costs money? Fuck it, let's keep dying instead." If it were a wartime situation, that shit would be fast tracked and in production very quickly.
Huge tornadoes discovered on the Sun
PhysOrg.com) -- Solar tornadoes several times as wide as the Earth can be generated in the solar atmosphere, say researchers in the UK. A solar tornado was discovered using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly telescope on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. A movie of the tornado will be presented at the National Astronomy Meeting 2012 in Manchester on Thursday 29th March.
This is perhaps the first time that such a huge solar tornado is filmed by an imager. Previously much smaller solar tornadoes were found my SOHO satellite. But they were not filmed," says Dr. Xing Li, of Aberystwyth University.
Dr. Huw Morgan, co-discover of the solar tornado, adds, "This unique and spectacular tornado must play a role in triggering global solar storms."
The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly saw superheated gases as hot as 50 000 – 2 000 000 Kelvin sucked from the root of a dense structure called prominence, and spiral up into the high atmosphere and travel about 200 000 kilometres along helical paths for a period of at least three hours. The tornadoes were observed on 25 September 2011.
The hot gases in the tornadoes have speeds as high as 300,000 km per hour. Gas speeds of terrestrial tornadoes can reach 150km per hour.
The tornadoes often occur at the root of huge coronal mass ejections. When heading toward the Earth, these coronal mass ejections can cause significant damage to the earth’s space environment, satellites, even knock out the electricity grid.
The solar tornadoes drag winding magnetic field and electric currents into the high atmosphere. It is possible that the magnetic field and currents play a key role in driving the coronal mass ejections.
SDO was launched in February 2010. The satellite is orbiting the Earth in a circular, geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometres. It monitors constantly solar variations so scientists can understand the cause of the change and eventuallyhave a capability to predict the space weather.
uh, the world is always ending, humans are stupid but yet always seem to survive
Enjoy opening up this thread each day like I enjoy reading my morning paper at my desk with a cup of coffee in the morning.
I call shenanigans. The majority of 1st world countries are having increasing lower birth rates and we will have more advance technologies. It's just a matter of time the populations of Africa and Asia will decline due to the lack of resources, disasters, and overpopulation in an area.
University of Toronto researchers have discovered a better way to make flat-panel displays that could one day lead to computer screens you roll up like a newspaper and wallpaper that lights your living room.
Michael Helander and Zhibin Wang, PhD candidates in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, are members of a research team that has developed the world’s most efficient organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) on flexible plastic. Good news for manufacturers and consumers alike, the discovery means a less costly, more efficient and environmentally friendly way to build brighter flat-panel displays on a thinner, more durable and flexible surface.
“It was a happy accident after years of work,” said Helander. He and Wang have collaborated for four years in U of T’s department of materials science and engineering under the supervision of Professor Zheng-Hong Lu.
The students had been cleaning sheets of indium tin oxide – a material used in all flat-panel displays – when they noticed that devices built using their cleaned sheets had become much more efficient than expected, using less energy to achieve much higher brightness. After some investigation, they determined that this greater efficiency was the result of molecules of chlorine picked up from their cleaning solvent. With this surprising discovery, the two students engineered a prototype for a new kind of OLED device, which is both simpler in construction and more efficient.
Invented about 25 years ago, OLED technology uses organic compounds – molecules made of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen – to create colours. The organic dyes are then electrically stimulated to emit light of different colours. OLED displays are simpler and less toxic to make and require less energy than other kinds of displays. Over time, though, OLED devices became more complex – the original two layers of molecules became many layers, which raised manufacturing costs and failure rates.
“Basically, we went back to the original idea – and started again,” said Wang. The team’s findings were published, and in December, Helander and Wang, together with Lu and another U of T grad student, launched OTI Lumionics, a startup that will take the next steps toward commercializing the technology.
“The industry recognizes that devices are much too complicated now,” said Helander, who added the only way to make the manufacturing process cost-effective on a mass scale is to keep the design “simple, simple, simple.”
While the roll-up screen and light-emitting wallpaper are still distant applications, Helander and Wang expect the discovery could soon lead to a sturdier smartphone that doesn’t need to be recharged so often. Now there’s something to light up your day.
Amazing how many inventions are total accidents.
This is crazy...
Most Extensive Full Face Transplant to Date
ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2012) — The University of Maryland released details today of the most extensive full face transplant completed to date, including both jaws, teeth, and tongue.
The face transplant, formally called a vascularized composite allograft (VCA), was part of a 72-hour marathon of transplant activity at one of the busiest transplant centers in the world. The family of one anonymous donor generously donated his face and also saved five other lives through the heroic gift of organ donation. Four of these transplants took place over the course of two days at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The face transplant team was led by Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., D.D.S., associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of plastic, reconstructive and maxillofacial surgery at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Rodriguez is board-certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This marks the first time in the world that a full face transplant was performed by a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons with specialized training and expertise in craniofacial surgery and reconstructive microsurgery."We utilized innovative surgical practices and computerized techniques to precisely transplant the mid-face, maxilla and mandible including teeth, and a portion of the tongue. In addition, the transplant included all facial soft tissue from the scalp to the neck, including the underlying muscles to enable facial expression, and sensory and motor nerves to restore feeling and function," explains Dr. Rodriquez. "Our goal is to restore function as well as have aesthetically pleasing results."The face transplant recipient, 37-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Virginia, was injured in 1997 in a gun accident. Since that time, he has undergone multiple life-saving and reconstructive surgeries. Due to the accident, Mr. Norris lost his lips and nose and had limited movement of his mouth. Mr. Norris first came to the University of Maryland Medical Center in 2005 to discuss reconstructive options with Dr. Rodriguez.Grant funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the Department of Defense to Dr. Stephen Bartlett has supported the University of Maryland basic and clinical research program in vascularized composite transplantation leading up to and supporting this groundbreaking face transplant. The ONR funds medical research to support military operational medicine and clinical care of returning veterans. In addition to conducting research, the University of Maryland supports military medicine in a variety of ways, including training military medical staff prior to deployment and performing organ transplant surgeries for patients at Walter Reed/Bethesda National Naval Medical Center."The future of medicine depends on rapid translation of research and creating high-performing teams. The face transplant is a perfect example of the life-changing options we can provide for our patients when we combine the expertise of our research and clinical teams to pursue procedures that would have seemed unfathomable not so long ago," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president of medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.The team of face transplant surgeons benefited greatly from their experience treating high-velocity ballistic facial injuries at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The team also includes research scientists and physician scientists from the University of Maryland's nationally recognized Division of Transplantation who have been researching ways to reduce rejection of donated organs and minimize the side effects of long-term immunosuppressive use after transplantation."A project like the face transplant requires multi-disciplinary collaboration between numerous clinical services and in many ways is very similar to trauma care," says Thomas M. Scalea, M.D., Francis X. Kelly Professor of Trauma Surgery, director, Program in Trauma, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and physician-in-chief, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. "Because we have an infrastructure built around multi-disciplinary care, it made sense for the facial transplant program to be housed at the Shock Trauma Center in the University of Maryland Medical Center."The scientific team that includes Drs. Stephen Bartlett, Rolf Barth, and Eduardo Rodriguez focused on the anatomic and immunologic challenges to craniofacial transplantation. This work has been the basis for Dr. Rodriguez and his surgical team's groundbreaking surgical achievement."This accomplishment is the culmination of more than 10 years researching the immune system's response to vascular composite allograft transplants," says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., Peter Angelos Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Our solid organ transplant immunosuppressive protocol has led to excellent outcomes for our patients and will be part of the long-term care plan for the face transplant patient."The face transplant team collaborated with the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, the organ and tissue donation program serving most of Maryland. The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is a non-profit organization that helps facilitate the donation and recovery of human organs and tissues for transplantation and research, and provides public and professional education on organ donation.
I saw that. It's amazing his face looked as good as it did considering a shotgun to the face.
looks a bit like Voldemort
no offense to the guy or the doctors, it's still incredible
Age of oldest rocks off by millions of years
19:00 29 March 2012 by Lisa Grossman
Two of the solar system's best natural timekeepers have been caught misbehaving, suggesting that the accepted ages for the oldest known rock samples are off by a million years or more.According to two new studies, a radioactive version of the element samarium decays much more quickly than previously thought, and different versions of uranium don't always appear in the same relative quantities in earthly rocks.Both elements are used by geologists to date rocks and chart the history of events on our planet and in the solar system."If you have a critical event in Earth's history, something like an extinction event or a climate change shift or a meteorite impact, you need to know the absolute age with the most confidence," says Joe Hiess of the British Geological Survey, who led one of the studies. "In Earth sciences there's a need to be able to define what happened first and what happened second."Chronometer shortage
Geochemists age rocks by measuring the ratio of radioactive isotopes – versions of the same element with different atomic masses – in them. Because the elements decay from one isotope, or element, to another at a constant rate, knowing the ratio in a particular rock gives its age.Different elements and isotopes decay at vastly different rates. Scientists pick one that suits the timescale of interest. One of the favourites for tracing events in the early solar system, such as when the Earth's crust differentiated from its mantle or when the lava oceans on the moon solidified, is samarium-146, a hard shiny metal found in many minerals in the Earth's crust."In this time window, there are not many other chronometers," says Michael Paul of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.Scientists have measured samarium-146's half-life – the time taken for exactly half of a sample of atoms to decay radioactively - four times over the past 60 years, and got different answers each time. The two most recent measurements seemed to converge on a half-life of 103 million years, plus or minus 5 million years. But Paul and colleagues suspected that that number wasn't quite right. So they used a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry, which Paul says is less likely to be skewed by experimental errors.Youthful meteorites
They found that the half-life is just 68 million years, 30 per cent shorter than thought. That means that every rock dated by samarium-146 decay – which include some of the oldest on Earth and the moon, and even some Martian meteorites – formed 20 million to 80 million years earlier than thought.In a solar system that's 4.5 billion years old, tens of millions of years "is a lot", Paul says. "It means everything was forming more quickly."There was a second, separate hiccup. Earth's oldest rocks are also aged using isotopes of uranium, which decay into isotopes of lead. Until a few years ago, geochemists assumed that the ratio of uranium-238 to uranium-235 was constant – 137.88 – in all rocks, and therefore the ratio of lead isotopes was the only measurement needed to date the rocks. But high-precision measurements of early materials found in meteorites or rocks formed in oceans showed differences.Hiess and colleagues made the most wide-ranging study of uranium isotope ratios yet, using 45 samples of zircon from all over the world (pictured, above right). Zircon was one of the first minerals to solidify on Earth, it resists weathering and melting, and it holds on to uranium well, so it's a good candidate for dating old rocks.Mass extinction
The team found that, while most of their samples had similar uranium ratios, some were wildly different."It's no longer safe to assume that it doesn't vary. It clearly does," saysGregory Brennecka of Arizona State University, who was not involved in either study. "Nobody thought that was the case five years ago."The team produced a new, average figure for the uranium ratios. It shifts the ages of Earth's oldest rocks slightly, by just under a million years, Hiess says. The oldest rocks will have the biggest corrections: sediments that are 4.4 billion years old are now younger by 700,000 years. "To put it into a human perspective, if the Earth was only 18 years old, we have taken 1 day off the life of its oldest materials," Hiess says.Now that scientists know they need to measure the ratio of uranium isotopes in all of their samples - as well as the ratio of lead isotopes - they'll be able to date rocks more accurately.That's important for putting events in order. If a mass extinction occurred just before a meteorite struck, say, that paints a different picture than if the meteorite hit first."These are two big steps in improving the way we do geochronology, both in the solar system and terrestrial rocks," Brennecka says.
Not an article
I definitely agree that if the DRACO situation was considered a national security threat, money would make that solution a reality very quickly.
Although, I am probably in the minority here, but when it comes to virus/disease research I think you are putting up money against a losing battle, and that most of the diseases are a part of natural selection. Also, I think the world/Mother Nature will resist overpopulation/human civilization imbalance by whatever means it chooses, and we will constantly be reacting to the next AIDS. Imagine the RIAA re-acting against the file sharing community; I think the file sharing community will always be a step ahead as will Mother Nature.
Nature has more imagination than man.
And if you want to take that theory even further, you could claim that people only being sexually attracted to their same sex has evolved/increased in last 2,500 years as a result to human civilization upsetting the natural balance. I am not saying that is the case, but that is a theory you could throw out there if you really want to stretch the initial claim.
Disagree with Duvel
Viruses is one of the two major bad guys involved with human death from biological means right now, and it is extremely less treatable than bacterial infections
Tons of viruses don't even have deadly consequences
Mother nature is a slut that has been trying to kill you since the day you were born
I agree what IV said and I strongly disagree with the last couple of statements about homosexuals.
I doubt you even realize how recent the idea of homosexuality is, kings used to have sex with men all the time, it was just called sex
I definitely realize how recent the idea of homosexuality is, hence the 2,500 years. The Greeks were having homosexual sex. I bet the 10 Commandments referred to gay sex as adultery when those were written. I am sure it was around way before that, think it has evolved over time, and has accelerated in the past 2,500 years.
If you were to study the closest animals to humans (chimps, monkeys, etc) I think you would find that their homosexual tendencies happen much less than humans (I would love to see a published study on that; it probably exists). Why would that be if our DNA was so close? Again, I bet I am in the minority, but that is my theory based on nature's reaction to humanity.
That is precisely my point. So why try and fund a losing battle?
Because the last 1000 years we have been winning
and rates of homosexuality remain fairly constant through most mammal species usually around 10 %
This is some of the craziest stuff I have seen in a while. Make those little flying robots they sell on infomercials look like child's play (which they are):
Watch it, I promise you won't be disappointed:
Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate
You have any published studies that show that? They have to be out there.
Yeah they have been posted in the atheist thread a couple times, im in the library at a study group right now, so I'm a little leary of just googling homosexual
Incognito mode engage.
Per this link, http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx (not the best source I admit):
"Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.
Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behaviour has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.
"To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue."
Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals."
I didn't see anything about percentages relative to humans over time though; however, it seems there is probably too small of a sample space to make claims either way. We can at least both agree is natural. We may disagree on its natural purpose though.
I'll see if I can find it
Billions of Planets With Life.
3/30/12 Billions of Planets With Life? - Yahoo! News
BillionV of PlaneWV WiWh Life?
By MICHAEL D. LEMONICK | Time.com ± 6 hrs ago
"The Creator must have an inordinate fondness for beetles," the early 20th-century biologist J.B.S. Haldane once said.
"He made so many of them." If Haldane had been an astronomer, he might have said the same about the nondescript red
stars known as M-dwarfs. As the name implies, they're small, no more than half the size of our Sun at most. They're so
dim that not a single one, not even the closest, is visible to the naked eye. And they vastly outnumber any other type of
star in the Milky Way: our galaxy has maybe ten or 20 billion Sun-like G stars, but is home to 150 billion M-dwarfs, and
maybe more, adding up to some 80% of the galaxy's stellar population.
That's what makes a new report by a group of European astronomers so exciting. Working at the European Southern
Observatory in Chile, the scientists have completed a survey of 102 M-dwarf stars and identified a total of nine "superEarths" -- planets up to 10 times larger than Earth -- circling them. Two of the nine lie in their stars' habitable zones, the
Goldilocks region where temperatures are not too hot, not too cold, but just right for liquid water and thus, conceivably,
for the existence of life. In the case of an M-dwarf, the star's cooler, dimmer fires mean that the Goldilocks zone is closer
than it is around our hotter, brighter sun, but the water principle remains the same. And if you do the math for the entire
galaxy, the recent survey means that tens of billions of Goldilocks planets are peppered throughout the Milky Way, with
a hundred or so just in our solar system's immediate neighborhood.
For planet-hunters, that's an especially tantalizing prospect. Ground- and space-based telescopes have discovered many
hundreds of worlds orbiting stars other than the Sun -- several thousand if you include likely but unconfirmed planets
found by the orbiting Kepler probe. But most of them are so far away that the prospects of actually being able to
determine whether they have life are exceedingly dim, even with a new generation of giant telescopes, because the
planets themselves are so dim. With so many M-dwarfs right around the cosmic corner, however, and with so many
relatively small planets orbiting in their habitable zones, the job will be orders of magnitude easier.
That's the good news, but there are a few caveats as well. For one thing, it's not guaranteed that a super Earth will
necessarily be all that much like the real Earth. In our Solar System, there's a big size gap between Earth and Neptune,
the next biggest planet, which is four times as big and 17 times as massive as our home world. Earth is rocky, while
Neptune is made mostly of water, ammonia and methane.
Nobody knows where the cutoff might be between smaller, rocky worlds and larger, Neptune-like planets, but it might
well be smack in the middle of the super-Earth range. A super Earth known as GJ 1214b, discovered in another M-dwarf
<AHOO! NEWS3/30/12 Billions of Planets With Life? - Yahoo! News
survey, is 2.7 times the size of our planet, and is almost certainly a mini-Neptune. It's not in its star's habitable zone, but
it wouldn't be a nice place to live there even if it were. Another super Earth, Kepler 10b, is 1.4 times Earth's size, and it's
unquestionably rocky -- although it's far too close to its star, and far too hot, to be habitable.
Even if a fair fraction of the nine nearby super Earths the Europeans have discovered turn out to be rocky, moreover,
there's another problem: M-dwarfs tend to be volatile beasts, with far more sunspot and flare activity than the Sun has,
along with greater fluctuations in brightness. It might be tough for life to arise and survive in such a hostile environment,
especially since the Goldilocks planets would be closer to all the flaring than the Earth is to the Sun.
All the same, given M-dwarfs' ridiculously high, almost beetlesque, numbers, you could cut out all the M-dwarf planets
that were too big, and those that were outside the stars' habitable zones, and those where changes in radiation and
brightness were outside acceptable ranges, and still end up with a huge number of potentially life-friendly planets. And
that makes them perhaps the most promising targets in the search for alien organisms that the planet-hunting
community is ever likely to find.
A lot of guys who work for me used to work with Ray. He is nuts and a crook. That said, I do believe in a lot of what he is doing right now.
Very good video, you should throw it in the Space thread:http://www.the-mainboard.com/index.php?threads/official-space-thread-now-with-new-op.85109/
He definitely comes off nutty in his writing. I would also throw in self-absorbed as well.
Electrons may be the glue in cuprate superconductors
Electrons may be the glue in cuprate superconductors
By Matthew Francis | Published a day ago
Artist's impression of a photon reflecting off the surface of a cuprate superconductor. The different possible mechanisms for superconductivity are exhibited in the different ways the material responds to the light.
Copper oxide-based superconductors were discovered in 1986. Known as cuprate or high-Tc (for "high critical temperature") superconductors, these materials have a much higher temperature for the transition to zero resistance. But they have proven challenging to explain, since they don't behave as conventional superconductors do. While cuprate superconductors seem to conduct current via paired electrons like conventional superconductors, 26 years later, we still don't know how those pairs are formed.
A new optical examination of a bismuth-based cuprate superconductor has demonstrated that electronic excitations may be the primary driver of the superconducting transition. As described by S. Dal Conte et al. in a new Science paper, the complex interactions between electrons give rise to special quasiparticles. These are states that act as a kind of "glue" between electrons, allowing them to form the pairs that carry the superconducting current. The quasiparticle excitations are sufficient to explain the relatively high temperature of transition between the insulating state and the superconducting state.
Superconductors are materials with exactly zero electrical resistance: once started, a current will be sustained indefinitely in a superconductor, with no decay. The standard theory for this feat is that it's accomplished by coupling two electrons together into a Cooper pair, which can flow freely through the material in a way individual electrons are unable to do. In conventional superconductors, Cooper pairs arise through vibrations of the underlying crystal lattice that are called phonons (this is also the mechanism that produces sound in solids).
Cuprate superconductors also appear to use Cooper pairs to make the current flow, but because the materials have a very complex electronic structure, the phonon explanation hasn't worked, at least not as the sole mechanism. Other ways of creating Cooper pairs have been proposed, including confined loops of current, fluctuations in relative spins of electrons, and strong coupling between phonons. Which explanation—or which set—is responsible hasn't been determined.
In their recent experiment, Dal Conte et al. used optical spectroscopy: shining ultra-short pulses of light with a wide range of energies onto a bismuth-based superconducting material. (The specific material is Bi2Sr2Ca0.92Y0.08Cu2O2+δ, where δ is an adjustable amount of oxygen that provides the charge carriers that make superconducting possible.) By measuring the amount of light reflected back as a function of time and determining the energy difference between the emitted and reflected light, they were able to separate the contributions from phonons and other sources.
Because phonons are lattice vibrations, they react to the incoming light more slowly than the electronic excitations do. In their spectroscopic analysis, Dal Conte et al. saw a fairly rapid response, indicating that it is the quasiparticles arising from electronic interactions, which implies current loops and/or spin fluctuations. While phonons and their interactions may still be part of the superconducting mechanism, their role appears to be comparatively minor.
The researchers were unable to determine precisely which electronic excitations are the glue binding Cooper pairs together. However, being able to state that it is electrons rather than phonons that mediate the superconducting transition, at least in the bismuth-based cuprate material they studied, is a significant find. Future experiments along these lines should further tease apart the contributions from the various possible mechanisms, as should applying the methods to iron-based superconductors. The mystery of high-temperature superconductivity hasn't been solved yet, but the clues are narrowing things down.
Was planning on it, just got sidetracked lol
Vaccine to stop heart attacks could be here in 5 years
A vaccine delivered in an injection or nasal spray to prevent heart attacks could be available within five years.
Scientists have discovered that the drug stimulates the body's immune system to produce antibodies which prevent heart disease by stopping fat building up in the arteries.
It is the first time that the underlying cause of heart disease has been targeted. Current treatments focus on using drugs to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
The vaccine can cut the build up of fat in arteries by up to 70 per cent, according to tests by researchers at Lund University in Sweden. The fatty deposits cause arteries to narrow, meaning the body has to work harder to pump blood, and can lead to a heart attack.
Prof Peter Weissberg, the British Heart Foundation medical director, said the vaccine was "very promising".
Different ways of administering the vaccine are being developed and could be licensed within five years, the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology conference at Imperial College London was told.
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in Britain, causing one in three deaths; 191,000 each year. There are 2.7?million people with heart disease and their treatment costs pounds 3.2?billion a year.
Prof Jan Nilsson, professor of experimental cardiovascular research at Lund University, acknowledged that treatments such as statins and blood pressure drugs reduced the risk of heart disease by 40 per cent, but added: "It should not be forgotten that 60 per cent of cardiovascular events continue to occur."
He said: "These treatments are far more like drugs: to be effective they'd need to be given long term. The antibody therapy in particularly is likely to be expensive, so you could probably only afford to give it to high-risk populations rather than everyone."
The team created a vaccine that reduced plaque build-up by 60 to 70 per cent in mice. The resulting injection is waiting regulatory clearance to start clinical trials. A second vaccine has been created as a nasal spray. A trial on 144 heart disease sufferers is under way in the U.S. and Canada.
TIFWIW. I don't trust Canadians.
I think it's safe to say popular cancers are going to be cured within the next decade
Stanford: Antibody offers hope against cancers
In a potential breakthrough for cancer research, Stanford immunologists discovered they can shrink or even get rid of a wide range of human cancers by treating them with a single antibody.The experiments were done on cancerous tumors transplanted into mice, but the researchers hope to move to human clinical trials within the next couple of years."We have made what we think is a big advancement ... and we're going to push as hard as we can and as fast we can," said Dr. Irving Weissman, pathology professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and director of Stanford's Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.The researchers focused on blocking a protein, which they refer to as the "don't eat me" molecule because it sits on tumor cells signaling the body's immune system not to attack it. By introducing the antibody, the scientists were able to block the protective signal, otherwise known as CD47, allowing the immune system to go after the cancer cells.Broad range of cancers
Researchers say CD47 is the only target found so far on the surface of all cancer cells. That means the antibody offers hope as a weapon against a broad range of cancers - breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate.The research involved taking cells from Stanford cancer patients, planting them into matching locations in the bodies of mice, and then administering the antibody. The antibody completely destroyed the tumor in some cases but also prevented the cancer from spreading."The most common result was the tumor growth was inhibited - not fully cured - but in a few weeks dramatically decreased," said Stephen Willingham, postdoctoral researcher and co-lead author of the study.The study, published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has drawn praise from other researchers."The data is indeed exciting, and the effects are significant," said Tyler Jacks, director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study.Research on mice
But Jacks noted that the research has been limited to mice, and disease in humans tends to be much more complex."That's a commonly used preclinical model, but there are other examples when therapeutic effectiveness in such models has not translated well in real disease," Jacks said. "We need to see what happens when the treatments are (used) in patients."The Stanford team said the "don't eat me" CD47 signal has long been identified and is associated, in particular, with the treatment of leukemia. CD47 is found in healthy cells but tends to be expressed in higher levels in cancerous cells.Limited side effects
The researchers were concerned that any treatment would single out normal cells as well as malignant ones. They discovered, however, that the antibody selected older, red blood cells, causing mild but temporary anemia and no other adverse side effects."That was the best moment. We found a way to utilize this antibody to treat (the cancer) without having major toxicity," said Dr. Jens-Peter Volkmer, the study's other lead author.The Stanford team's continuing research is being funded by a grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The organization was created by Proposition 71, passed by voters in 2004 to support stem cell research.
There are so many promising cancer fighting discoveries. I really think that cancer will be easily treatable in 10 years and an almost non-issue in 15.
It'd be interesting to hypothesize the global consequences of people not dying of cancer and heart disease anymore. Two leading causes of death now gone, the worlds population would soar, resources (fresh water, oil, etc) would be depleted much faster.
Which would likely lead to wars and people dying.
Obviously, a Malthusian prophecy coming true. But I wonder how it would all go down
Not sure if this has been posted or not, so sorry if it has:
TED Talk on liquid metal battery technology:
Cocaine Use Dramatically Speeds Up Brain Aging
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, reveal that age-related loss of gray matter in the brain is greater in people who are dependent on cocaine than in the healthy population.
The scientists scanned the brains of 120 people with similar age, gender and verbal IQ. Half of the individuals had a dependence on cocaine while the other 60 had no history of substance abuse disorders.
They found that the rate of age-related gray matter volume loss in cocaine-dependent individuals was significantly greater than in healthy volunteers. The cocaine users lost about 3.08 ml brain volume per year, which is almost twice the rate of healthy volunteers, who only lost about 1.69 ml per year. The accelerated age-related decline in brain volume was most prominent in the prefrontal and temporal cortex, important regions of the brain which are associated with attention, decision-making, and self-regulation as well as memory.
Previous studies have shown that psychological and physiological changes typically associated with old age such as cognitive decline, brain atrophy and immunodeficiency are also seen in middle-aged cocaine-dependent individuals. However, this is the first time that premature ageing of the brain has been associated with chronic cocaine abuse.
The scientists also highlight concerns that premature ageing in chronic cocaine users is an emerging public health concern. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that cocaine is used by up to 21 million individuals worldwide, with approximately 1% of these individuals becoming dependent.
“As we age, we all lose gray matter,” explained Dr. Karen Ersche, a lead author of the study. “However, what we have seen is that chronic cocaine users lose gray matter at a significantly faster rate, which could be a sign of premature ageing. Our findings therefore provide new insight into why the cognitive deficits typically seen in old age have frequently been observed in middle aged chronic users of cocaine.”
The concern of accelerated ageing is not limited to young people but also affects older adults who have been abusing drugs such as cocaine since early adulthood.
“Our findings clearly highlight the need for preventative strategies to address the risk of premature ageing associated with cocaine abuse,” Dr. Ersche said. “Young people taking cocaine today need to be educated about the long-term risk of ageing prematurely.”
Evidence shows that anti-depressants likely do more harm than good, researchers find
Commonly prescribed anti-depressants appear to be doing patients more harm than good, say researchers who have published a paper examining the impact of the medications on the entire body.
"We need to be much more cautious about the widespread use of these drugs," says Paul Andrews, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University and lead author of the article, published today in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology.
"It's important because millions of people are prescribed anti-depressants each year, and the conventional wisdom about these drugs is that they're safe and effective."
Andrews and his colleagues examined previous patient studies into the effects of anti-depressants and determined that the benefits of most anti-depressants, even taken at their best, compare poorly to the risks, which include premature death in elderly patients.
Anti-depressants are designed to relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, where it regulates mood. The vast majority of serotonin that the body produces, though, is used for other purposes, including digestion, forming blood clots at wound sites, reproduction and development.
What the researchers found is that anti-depressants have negative health effects on all processes normally regulated by serotonin.
The findings include these elevated risks:
developmental problems in infants
problems with sexual stimulation and function and sperm development in adults
digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and bloating
abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly
The authors reviewed three recent studies showing that elderly anti-depressant users are more likely to die than non-users, even after taking other important variables into account. The higher death rates indicate that the overall effect of these drugs on the body is more harmful than beneficial.
"Serotonin is an ancient chemical. It's intimately regulating many different processes, and when you interfere with these things you can expect, from an evolutionary perspective, that it's going to cause some harm," Andrews says.
Millions of people are prescribed anti-depressants every year, and while the conclusions may seem surprising, Andrews says much of the evidence has long been apparent and available.
"The thing that's been missing in the debates about anti-depressants is an overall assessment of all these negative effects relative to their potential beneficial effects," he says. "Most of this evidence has been out there for years and nobody has been looking at this basic issue."
In previous research, Andrews and his colleagues had questioned the effectiveness of anti-depressants even for their prescribed function, finding that patients were more likely to suffer relapse after going off their medications as their brains worked to re-establish equilibrium.
With even the intended function of anti-depressants in question, Andrews says it is important to look critically at their continuing use.
"It could change the way we think about such major pharmaceutical drugs," he says. "You've got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects – some small, some rare and some not so rare. The issue is: does the list of negative effects outweigh the minimal benefit?"
Aspirin's fat burning mechanism found
It may be great for curing a splitting headache, but scientists have now discovered that aspirin also activates an enzyme that burns fat, a finding that could unlock its cancer fighting properties, according to a new study.Previous research has shown that once ingested, aspirin breaks down into salicylate, a compound derived from plants such as willow bark, and used as a drug for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians recorded the medicinal use of willow bark in their manuscripts.In the 1890s, pharmaceutics developed a modified form of salicylate to make it less irritating to the stomach - creating the drug aspirin.More recently, research has known that salicylate triggers a molecular pathway that leads to pain relief.Now a team led by Professor Grahame Hardie, a cell biologist at the University of Dundee in Scotland, has discovered how salicylate affects metabolism. They report their findings today in the journal Science.Hardie and his team suspected that salicylate affected an enzyme known as AMPK, which is a key regulator of cell metabolism.To test this, researchers compared a control group of mice, with another group that lacked a sub-unit of the AMPK enzyme. They injected both groups of mice with salicylate and measured the rate at which they utilised fat.They found that the mice with AMPK were able to burn fat at a faster rate. This indicated that salicylate switches on AMPK, increasing the breakdown of fat."It's exciting that we've discovered salicylates are working in a new and different way to what we originally thought," says Hardie.Implications for cancer
Hardie says recent studies have shown that people who take aspirin over long time periods appear to have a lower incidence of cancer. But doctors warn against prolonged aspirin use, which can cause stomach bleeding."I'm particularly interested in these protective effects against cancer," says Hardie. "Further research may help us discover another way of taking salicylate, other than aspirin, which has fewer side-effects."He explains that anti-cancer effects may be due to the activity of AMPK, as diabetic drugs that target AMPK in cells are also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer.Dr Briony Forbes, a biochemist at the University of Adelaide, says findings in this study are likely to explain recently identified protective effects against cancer by aspirin."The surprising finding that salicylate promotes AMPK activity also opens up exciting avenues for diabetes prevention and treatment."The study was supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Dude chill we're colonizing Mars plus we all get to bang Lana
I'll prefer Cheryl.
Yeah but what about Herpes?
You worried about that eh?
I mean have you never been to vegas?