Old Age?

We are a society ate up with old age….we blame them for the mess of the “entitlement” programs and we seem to not care about the process of aging……that is because we believe we will live forever….HA….HA….

Dogs live an average 10 years or more…..land turtles live to be 80 years maybe longer….but what is the oldest of the animals?

(Newser) – The oldest animal ever known lived from 1499 until the day researchers cracked its shell open, killing it in the process. Ming, an ocean quahog from the species Arctica islandica, was initially thought to be a record-setting 402 years old. But the scientists who found it on a seabed near Iceland in 2006 now say further analysis has revealed that it was an incredible 507 years old, reports CBS. The researchers, who didn’t realize how old Ming was when they first found it, opened the ancient clam up to judge its age by counting growth rings inside its hinge ligaments. That’s because the rings are “better protected” there, scientist Paul Butler tells ScienceNordic, which notes that Ming was named for the Chinese dynasty that ruled when it was born.

But the rings were so close together that scientists ended up having to count the rings on the outside to be accurate, leading CBS to point out that Ming could have lived on, had scientists just started there. “We got it wrong the first time and maybe we were a bit [hasty] publishing our findings back then. But we are absolutely certain that we’ve got the right age now,” says Butler. The old, dead, mollusk still has a huge amount to offer science, reports the Herald-Sun. Scientists believe it will provide valuable data on changing sea temperatures over the last half-millennium—and maybe even some clues to longevity.

Now there is a nut……they killed the clam to determine its age…..where is the logic there?

You Gotta Read This!

The techno world is going bat shit crazy…….there is a new discovery almost daily……and some of it sounds like scifi….but NOPE…it be real!

I told my daughter years ago that if she wanted to ever invest to look at the nano-tech companies….I do believe that it is the future and best get on the ground floor……..this is a great story….

(Newser) – A team of Stanford scientists has built a working computer out of carbon nanotubes, a nigh-impossible feat that could herald silicon’s eventual replacement. Granted, the device (which is named “Cedric,” the BBC notes) isn’t terribly useful, containing as many transistors as the earliest 1950s computers. But it can run a basic OS, perform calculations, and switch between processes. “It really is a computer in every sense of the word,” the project’s lead electrical engineer tells the Wall Street Journal .

Carbon nanotubes are rolled out of sheets of pure carbon that are one atom thick. A bundle of 10,000 would be about the width of a human hair. They’re extremely promising conductors, but must be grown like crystals, and tend to develop impurities. “People said you would never be able to manufacture this stuff,” one Stanford engineer says. The results could extend the theoretical limits of Moore’s Law (up to a point anyway), because the nanotubes have the potential to be vastly superior to silicon, CNET observes.

Technology is getting smaller and smaller and this will be a boon to that downsizing…….


Water, Water Everywhere

Keeping with my Mars theme for this weekend……..the US has sent numerous vehicles to the red planet, Mars and most are going for one reason only……….search for life……..so far not much has panned out…..until lately………

If you hear a dull roar, it’s probably just the collective scream of science buffs the world over. NASA’s Curiosity rover has found water in Mars’ soil, and the BBC describes it as a “surprising amount.” The find occurred at the hands of Curiosity, which scooped up a bit of dirt, heated it to 1535 degrees Fahrenheit, and found about 2% of that soil, by weight, was H2O, bound to other minerals. The news came from a series of five papers published in Science yesterday, and it’s knowledge future astronauts can make real use of. “If you think about a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit—a few hundred degrees—you’ll actually get off about two pints of water—like two water bottles you’d take to the gym,” explains Curiosity researcher Laurie Leshin. And it’s not just the amount, but the extent, that’s interesting: “This dirt on Mars … seems to be about the same everywhere you go,” says Leshin, meaning those astronauts could “quite easily extract water from almost anywhere.” But Gizmodo shares a bit of a buzzkill. “We didn’t find evidence of organic molecules in the soil. So, this doesn’t have a very big bearing on the life on Mars discussion,” Leshin explains. And the Guardian has a warning for those future visitors: The soil they’d be exposed to also contains perchlorate, which hinders thyroid function.

This is monumental news!  Now we can look closer for those little green guys with the bulbous heads……or we could just wait for them to show in their giant walkers……either way……life on Mars is getting closer……

Only A Matter Of Time

We all know of the Matrix…….or HAL of 2001…..and about 1000 other movies that the subject matter is when machines take over……and I am sure there will be a least a 1000 more in the future…..but real science is catching up to the imaginary world of film…..and it is all too scary, at least in my mind….as an old fart I am suspicious of machines…….and stories like this one are becoming more and more frequent……

Source: Business Insider

Computers that meddle with our thoughts, memories and brains might not be far off, The New York Times’ Nick Bilton reports.

There are already thought-controlled gadgets and smart phone apps. But recently, a group of scientists at MIT took brain-computer interactions to a whole new level.

While they weren’t able to create memories from scratch, they were able to associate different feelings to neutral memories in mice. In other words, they were able to turn frightening memories into indifference. When successful, the memory-altered mice didn’t recognize the location where they had earlier received an electrical shock. They thought the negative memory had been created elsewhere.

Read full article

Exploding Poop?

For the next couple of days I will give my mind a much deserved rest…..I run across a lot of amazing stuff….most of it is mundane crap (the pun is intended)……but from time to time I come across some reports that are too weird or cool or humorous to pass up……this is one of those stories……..does this fall into the category of……Shit Happens?

(Newser) – The latest thing out of industrial agriculture isn’t too appetizing: Burbling up from the manure pits beneath factory hog farms is an oozing substance that’s charmingly being dubbed “poop foam”—and it’s un-charmingly explosive, reports Mother Jones. The ooze is wreaking havoc on large hog farms, trapping the toxic gases in manure and causing explosions in the upper Midwest—including one that killed 1,500 pigs. The worst part? Scientists are stumped to its cause. Perhaps more than 25% of operations in Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa are now grappling with the issue, a University of Minnesota engineer says.

The problem arose in 2009 when a gray, bubbly substance was found at the surface of “fecal soup” in some farms, growing to a thickness of up to four feet. Though distillers’ grains entered hog food rations around the time the issue began, the dosing of hogs with daily antibiotics may also have led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The foam can be eradicated by dumping in low levels of another antibiotic, the bovine growth drug monensin, but some farmers don’t know the foam is present. Click for the full article.

Okay, now you give me your best punchline……

Yes! Earth 2!

More sdiencey stuff…..the stuff that makes it worthwhile to be on the ‘net….

Back in January of this year when I made my predictions for the year I said then that scientist would discover Earth 2……..and it looks like Nostradamus has a rival….ME!

Newser) – The Kepler telescope is certainly earning its keep. It has found even more Earth-like planets, NASA announced today, and one is being described as the most Earth-like yet. The news of Kepler-62f comes as part of the discovery of three exoplanets that could possibly support life, explains Space.com. Kepler-62f is just 40% bigger than our own planet, and orbits a star that’s only 20% as bright as our sun; the neighboring Kepler-62e circles the same star, which is 1,200 light years away. And as the AP explains, they’re just the right size (past ones have been too big, and are likely gas balls like Neptune) and in just the right place (ie, the habitable zone, where it’s not too hot or cold) near their star. “This is the first one where I’m thinking ‘Huh, Kepler-62f really might have life on it’,” says a co-author of the study on the two, published today.

Space.com explains that a separate modeling study indicates the planets might be completely covered in oceans. As for temperature, chief Kepler scientist William Borucki says Kepler-62e is a bit warm, like a Hawaiian world, and Kepler-62f is a bit chilly, more Alaskan. The third exoplanet spotted is Kepler-69c; it’s 70% bigger than Earth but revolves around a star much like our own; it’s being described as the smallest world located in the habitable zone of a star akin to our sun. These are just the most promising of Kepler’s latest lot; an additional four planets were found in the two new solar systems identified, but none of them could support life.

And I did it without the necessity of a de-coder ring……huh?

A Tasty Little Morsel

Have you ever read something and immediately felt like you must share with as many people as possible?

The internet is full of misinformation, especially in the political realm…..and then there is the information that serves absolutely no redeeming value……and this is one such……..

(Newser) – Bats in India have a good thing going on: Scientists analyzing a colony of about 420 fruit-eating bats there observed males performing cunnilingus on females, LiveScience reports. Over more than 13 months, researchers saw 57 cases of sex, both intercourse and oral. Males gave oral sex for an average of about 50 seconds, intercourse for another 10 to 20, and more oral for another 94 to 188. Scientists noted that longer pre-sex cunnilingus led to longer copulation, which may enhance conception. Or the males may give oral sex to clean off the sperm of other bats, but that “would be maladaptive after mating, as there is a risk of removing the male’s own sperm.”

Okay, let me have it!  I got to hear some thoughts on this one!

How Close Is A Jurassic Park?

It is the weekend and I do love me some sciencey stuff.  I know you have seen Jurassic Park 1-33 or ever how many spinoffs there have been but just how possible is the premise of the movie?

I found this and thought I was just too cool to ignore…….

In 1983, a genuine freak of nature was lost to science. The gastric-brooding frog – Rheobatrachus silus – was native to the rainforests of Queensland, Australia and best known for giving birth through its mouth, having incubated its offspring in its stomach. But habitat loss and disease saw the species officially declared extinct.

Until now. Scientists in Australia have announced that they have brought the frog’s genome “back to life”. Employing a cloning technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer, they used tissue obtained from samples of a frog kept in a freezer since the 1970s to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from a similar species.

None of the embryos created survived for more than a few days, but the “Lazarus Project” team believe their work is a landmark moment for the new science of “de-extinction” – the artificial recreation of lost species that featured fictionally in the Jurassic Park films. “Now we have fresh cryo-preserved cells of the extinct frog to use in future cloning experiments,” says team leader Professor Mike Archer of the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. “We’re increasingly confident that the hurdles ahead are technological and not biological, and that we will succeed. Importantly, we’ve demonstrated already the great promise this technology has as a conservation tool when hundreds of the world’s amphibian species are in catastrophic decline.”

Last week, scientists and conservationists met in Washington DC to thrash out the ethical, moral and technical questions of, as they admit, “playing God”. A central question is whether such cloning techniques “bring back” an extinct species, or just create a new one that looks exactly like the old one.

“That remains to be seen,” said the conference organisers. “It is one reason to do the research: is the genome the species? The answer will vary from species to species. De-extincted plants should flourish as if they’d never left, if suitable pollinators are still around. But if California condors had gone extinct, it’s unclear if they could be brought back fully, because the young rely on parental training.”

Archer says his focus is now on cloning the extinct Australian thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. However, at the conference talk was already moving on to targeting other extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth and dodo.

Okay, I know someone has got to have something to say about this……thoughts?

GOD Is Found!

First, I did not know he was missing…….Well at least the particle has been found…..

It is the weekend (again) and time to indulge my relief valve and post on something besides the politics du jour……this weekend it will be good sciencey stuff…..

Found while reading “talking Points Memo or TPM………

GENEVA (AP) — The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe.

Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.

The elusive particle, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the “God particle.”

Last July, scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but they stopped short of saying conclusively that it was the same particle or some version of it.

Scientists have now finished going through the entire set of data year and announced the results in a statement and at a physics conference in the Italian Alps.

“To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve about 3,000 scientists.

But, it remains an “open question,” CERN said in a statement, whether this is the Higgs boson that was expected in the original formulation, or possibly the lightest of several predicted in some theories that go beyond that model.

But for now, it said, there can be little doubt that a Higgs boson does exist, in some form.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. The data “strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson,” it said.

The discovery would be a strong contender for the Nobel Prize, though it remains unclear whether that might go to Higgs and the others who first proposed the theory or to the thousands of scientists who found it, or to all of them.

The hunt for the Higgs entailed the use of CERN’s atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, which cost some $10 billion to build and run in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border.

It has been creating high-energy collisions to smash protons and then study the collisions and determine how subatomic particles acquire mass — without which the particles would fail to stick together.

If so I smell a Nobel for some lucky person…….but what will this mean to humanity?  Thoughts?