Moth tails divert bat attack: Evolution of acoustic deflection
Bats and moths have been engaged in acoustic warfare for more than 60 million y. Yet almost half of moth species lack bat-detecting ears and still face intense bat predation. We hypothesized that the long tails of one group of seemingly defenseless moths, saturniids, are an anti-bat strategy designed to divert bat attacks. Using high-speed infrared videography, we show that the spinning hindwing tails of luna moths lure echolocating bat attacks to these nonessential appendages in over half of bat–moth interactions. Further we show that long hindwing tails have independently evolved multiple times in saturniid moths. This finding expands our knowledge of antipredator deflection strategies, the limitations of bat sonar, and the extent of a long-standing evolutionary arms race.
From The Scientist
Erasing Mitochondrial Mutations
Researchers develop a method to selectively remove mutated mitochondrial DNA from the murine germline and single-celled mouse embryos.
By Jenny Rood | April 23, 2015
Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be specifically targeted and removed by transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) in murine oocytes, single-celled mouse embryos, and fused human-mouse hybrid cells, providing proof of principle for a method that could one day be used to treat certain hereditary mitochondrial disorders in people, according to a study published today (April 23) in Cell.
“It’s an extremely important step,” said Valerio Carelli of the University of Bologna, Italy. “The results are very relevant and very convincing.”
Between 1,000 and 100,000 mitochondria power each human cell. Often, mitochondria in the same cell have different genomes, or haplotypes, a condition known as heteroplasmy. Certain haplotypes include mutations that impact mitochondrial function and cause disease, particularly in energy-hungry organs such as the brain and heart. Because mitochondria segregate randomly as cells divide, it is impossible to determine early in embryonic development how a mix of wild-type and mutated mitochondria inherited from the mother will affect an organism.
To rid mitochondria of these harmful mutations, researchers have used restriction enzymes as well as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and TALENs, which can be designed to recognize any DNA sequence, to cut and eliminate mutated mitochondrial genomes from heteroplasmic cells.
( Kinda long... )
From Sky and Telescope
Watching Starbirth in Real Time
By: Monica Young
April 7, 2015
A team of astronomers took the long view (18 years long, in fact) and caught a star in the act of forming.
Astronomers must often piece together patchwork quilts of observations to learn the history of the universe. Stars and galaxies usually evolve over time scales much longer than human lives, so rather than watch individual stars or galaxies develop, observers sew together images of many objects at different stages to tell their life story.
But every now and then, a star tells its own story.
In a star-forming region dubbed W75N(B), Carlos Carrasco-González (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and his colleagues watched what will one day be a massive and luminous B star evolve over a period of 18 years.
As the protostar grew, drawing in gas from its surroundings, it threw off a small fraction of those particles in a protostellar wind. Back in 1996, observations showed this wind streaming outward in all directions. But 18 years later, the team reported in the April 3rd Science, the wind had transformed, flowing faster and farther along the star’s poles. Seen in real-time, the wind’s changing shape reveals how the forming star responds to its surroundings.
World’s first compact rotary 3-D printer-scanner
Date: February 14, 2015
Source: Nanyang Technological University
Summary:The the world's first compact 3-D printer that can also scan items into digitized models. will be delivered to the United States in March. This user-friendly device allows users without much knowledge of 3-D software to scan any item, then edit the digitized model on the computer and print it out in 3-D.
Nanyang Technological University's (NTU Singapore) start-up Blacksmith Group today launched the world's first compact 3D printer that can also scan items into digitised models.
Named the Blacksmith Genesis, this user-friendly device allows users without much knowledge of 3D software to scan any item, then edit the digitised model on the computer and print it out in 3D.
The all-in-one 3D printer and scanner whose production was financed through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. com, was unveiled today at the American Association Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.
The first batch is now ready to be shipped out in March to early adopters who supported Blacksmith Group9's crowdfunding campaign.
DNA 'cage' could improve nanopore technology
Date:February 10, 2015
Researchers have designed a tiny cage that can trap a single strand of DNA after it has been pulled through a nanopore. While caged, biochemical experiments can be performed on the strand, which can then be zipped back through the nanopore. The device could enable researchers to probe DNA before and after a reaction takes place.
Despite having a diameter tens of thousands of times smaller than a human hair, nanopores could be the next big thing in DNA sequencing. By zipping DNA molecules through these tiny holes, scientists hope to one day read off genetic sequences in the blink of an eye.
Now, researchers from Brown University have taken the potential of nanopore technology one step further. They have combined a nanopore with a tiny cage capable of trapping and holding a single DNA strand after it has been pulled through the pore. While caged, biochemical experiments can be performed on the strand, which can then be zipped back through the nanopore to look at how the strand has changed.
Hmm... People have been talking about DNA as a data storage medium (I mean other than the things it stores now), this certainly could help.
From Science Daily
Date:February 3, 2015
Source:NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A Dec. 13, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera orbiting Mars shows NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on the rover's walkabout examination of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop. The outcrop forms part of the basal layer of Mount Sharp inside Mars' Gale Crater.
The rover is inside the blue square.
Taken from an article in Tech Times: NASA Dawn Gets Up Close And Personal in Dwarf Planet Ceres Photo Shoot. Oh well, there go my hopes of it being an alien homeship.. though I suppose if it sat there collecting dust and ice long enough... :) Meanwhile, sure looks pretty from a distance (this IS about 8.5 miles/pixel.)
And for some reason this idiot program won't let me capitalize Ceres in the tags. Frump...
The Huffington Post | By Macrina Cooper-White
Posted: 01/28/2015 8:38 am EST Updated: 01/28/2015 9:59 am EST
Call it Saturn on steroids! Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet with an enormous ring system that far surpasses Saturn's.
“This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” Dr. Eric Mamajek, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester and the leader of the team of astronomers, said in a written statement. “You could think of it as kind of a super Saturn.”
Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system around exoplanet J1407b. The rings are shown
eclipsing the young sun-like star J1407, as they would have appeared in early 2007.
NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected both methane in Mars’s atmosphere and carbon-bearing organic compounds in its rocks.
On December 16th, team members with NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory reported that the Curiosity rover has confirmed the presence of methane and other organic compounds on Mars. But it’s unclear where these molecules come from — or whether there’s any biological connection.
There are several ways to add methane to Mars's atmosphere (and take it away again). Although microbes are the most exciting possibility, other likely sources include reactions between water and the minerals olivine or pyroxene, or solar ultraviolet radiation breaking up meteoritic dust on the planet's surface.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / SAM-GSFC / Univ. of Michigan
NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Wakes Up for Pluto Encounter in 2015
by Calla Cofield, Space.com Staff Writer | December 07, 2014 09:12am ET
LAUREL, Md. — Pluto, get ready for your close-up: A NASA spacecraft has roused itself from the final slumber of its nine-year trek to the edge of the solar system, setting the stage for the first close encounter with Pluto next year.
The New Horizons spacecraft, currently located 2.9 billion miles (4.6 billion kilometers) from Earth, had been in hibernation since August — with most of its systems turned off to reduce wear. But late Saturday (Dec. 6), mission scientists received a confirmation signal from New Horizons at the probe's Mission Operations Center here at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The probe is now wide awake for its 2015 flyby of Pluto.At the time of its wakeup call, New Horizons was just over 162 million miles (261 million km) from Pluto. About 20 people gathered in a conference room here at APL to await the signal from New Horizons. (more)
See also the Space.com article: Skydiver goes Supersonic in Record Breaking "Near-Space Dive"
The Daily Kos has an annoying habit of hanging in the middle of each page access for me for some reason (possibly related to something I'm blocking with NoScript so this may not happen to you), but this article is worth waiting through it. One doesn't tend to think in terms of the Federal Reserve at first mention of the 9/11 crises, but apparently whilst downstairs in their Manhattan building, the staff was taking in refugees and healing the injured, sealing the building to keep out the ash, etc, and getting the cafeteria up to full time feeding of refugees, firefighters and other responders; upstairs they were busily keeping the economy from collapsing due to scared banks and other such things. And that's only the Fed and the Manhattan location; there is plenty more story from plenty other places. Anyway, here's the story:
Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 07:30 PM PDT
The Astonishing Story of the Federal Reserve on 9-11
It is impossible for me to begin to write anything about the events of 9-11 without first bowing my head and taking a moment of silence in remembrance of all those who died and the grief which still lives on in the soul of our nation. Since I will be writing here about the genuinely heroic acts it took to save the economy on that day, I should mention that 74% of all civilian casualties were from the financial community. This represented not only wonderful people (I elect to think the best of them all) but of significant expertise in some of the most esoteric areas of our monetary system. In particular the staggering loss of six hundred fifty-eight employees by the largest securities interdealer broker, Cantor Fitzgerald, sent shockwaves through the industry that were and are still being felt.
I didn’t intend to write a piece about 9-11 or to devote my Thursday spot on the Netroots Radio program The After Show to this subject. In fact, I had planned to spend this week on the thrilling topic of the discount window. It was plain old curiosity that took me to the internet to find out what the Federal Reserve did on 9-11. As it turns out, it was not an easy story to unravel and between late Sunday night when I first started reading and Tuesday night when I started writing I read several hundred pages of reports as well as the tiny amount of media reporting available. Here’s the thing I didn’t know and I’ll bet you a wheelbarrow of carrots you didn’t either, on 9-11 and the days which immediately followed, a relatively small number of people did some genuinely, physically heroic things in order to keep the economy from going off the rails and none of them were named Alan Greenspan.
Jupiter's Moon Europa May Have Plate Tectonics Just Like Earth
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer | September 08, 2014 11:30am ET
Scientists have found evidence of an active plate tectonics system within the ice shell of Jupiter's moon Europa. Earth has long been thought to be the only solar system body with plate tectonics.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk
Jupiter's icy moon Europa, regarded as perhaps the solar system's best bet to host alien life, keeps getting more and more interesting.
Big slabs of ice are sliding over and under each other within Europa's ice shell, a new study suggests. The Jovian satellite may thus be the only solar system body besides Earth to possess a system of plate tectonics.
From the Washington Post
The Volokh Conspiracy
Volokh Conspiracy Marketing Genius Award goes to the Union Street Guest House hotel (Hudson, New York)
By Eugene Volokh August 4
Thanks to the archived page on archive.org (page saved today), we see the following policy:
Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer – therefore we expect you to explain that to them. USGH & Hudson are historic. The buildings here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic “vintage” way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines. (although comfortable and functional – obviously all beds are brand new) If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here.
Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review. (Please NOTE we will not charge this fee &/or will refund this fee once the review is taken down). Also, please note that we only request this of wedding parties and for the reasons explained above.
Yeah, that’s the way to avoid negative reviews, and to get publicity from outlets such as NYPost.com (though not exactly good publicity).