Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Like a pane of glass :)
Remember ... its just the beginning ...
Venus, no, Jupiter, yes ... potentially
Seems Venus is way too dry to sustain life if research by planetary scientists proves out to be true while Jupiter is a different story indeed.
The clouds of Venus have captivated Earthlings for decades. They form a dazzling mirror that obscures the planet's surface and, in the 1950s, one Israeli scholar even speculated that the clouds may hide a world teeming with insect life capable of enduring the extreme heat.
When Russia's Venera spacecraft took images of the surface in 1975, there were no insects to be found. Venus is a desolate hellscape, the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect that has sent temperatures on the ground soaring to well over 850 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to melt lead. But in the clouds, more temperate climes await any would-be alien lifeforms.
Up in the atmosphere, life might just find a way.
At least, that was one hypothesis. It can happen on Earth... so why not elsewhere? Last year, the idea that microbes might call the atmosphere of Venus home was bolstered by a study that claimed to have discovered elevated levels of phosphine -- an unstable gas associated with biological activity -- in the cloud deck of our sister planet. That spawned the theory that microbes in the clouds could be producing the gas.
As scientists untangled the phosphine signal, though, the possibility that it was a sign of life in Venus' clouds looked less and less likely.
On Monday, the likelihood of a drifting community of microbes in the clouds took another blow.
In a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, researchers rule out the possibility of life -- as we know it -- existing in the Venusian clouds. The clouds are uninhabitable.
Why? Because ...
Any potential microbe floating through the Venus clouds would find itself in an extremely hostile environment. About 30 to 44 miles above the surface, up in the clouds, it's more dry than the Earth's most expansive subtropical desert: the Sahara.
"The Venus clouds are a whole order of magnitude more dry than the Sahara," said Hallsworth, noting that the Sahara has around 0.25 water activity, while the clouds of Venus come in at just 0.004 water activity. That figure for Venus is simply far too extreme to support any life we know of.
"The most dry-tolerant microbe on Earth wouldn't stand a chance in Venus," Hallsworth said.
The water activity within Jupiter's roiling clouds are permissible for life. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Image processing by Kevin M. Gill
Monday, June 28, 2021
Have said this for years ...
In 18 of the incidents, "unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics" were observed, including the ability to "remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion."
Despite the intriguing sightings, U.S. intelligence analysts could only explain one of the sightings, which was a large balloon deflating.
Colonel John B. Alexander, who developed an interagency task force to explore UFOs while in the U.S. Army in the 1980s, said that if the phenomena are extraterrestrial, they are likely far beyond what humans are capable of understanding with our current faculties.
"Whatever this is, it is more complex than we can possibly imagine," Alexander told Fox News. "We're not at the point of even asking the right questions, much less expecting simple answers."
Questions, questions indeed.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Limits of knowledge rev XX
Seeing from afar
The scientists identified 1,715 star systems where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it ‘transit’ across the face of the sun. Photograph: c/o Cornell
Seeing from afar applies here when aliens are checking us out from their perspective and not ours.
For centuries, Earthlings have gazed at the heavens and wondered about life among the stars. But as humans hunted for little green men, the extraterrestrials might have been watching us back.
In new research, astronomers have drawn up a shortlist of nearby star systems where any inquisitive inhabitants on orbiting planets would be well placed to spot life on Earth.
The scientists identified 1,715 star systems in our cosmic neighborhood where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it “transit” across the face of the sun.
Contact applies here does it not?
Great book, terrific movie without question.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
No words needed ...
Land Surface Temperature in the Arctic, June 2021: Copernicus Sentinel
No words needed ...
If you have been thinking that this year’s summer is quite bad, spare a thought for the poor souls in the Arctic. Surface temperatures near Verkhojansk peaked at 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) on June 20. The Arctic circle is known for its snow caps and sub-zero temperatures.
The temperatures were recorded by the Copernicus Sentinel 3A and 3B satellites. The Copernicus program is run by the European Space Agency and monitoring land, ocean, and atmospheric conditions using radar and multi-spectral imaging. Each Sentinel mission consists of two constellation satellites to ensure coverage and robustness of data.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Thinking yellow & L'Étranger
Monitoring sea level rise goes prime time with the Copernicus Sentinel.
Following liftoff last November and more than six months spent carefully calibrating the most advanced mission dedicated to measuring sea-level rise, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is now operational – meaning that its data are available to climate researchers, ocean-weather forecasts and other data users.
Why it's important.
Sea-level rise is a key indicator of climate change so accurately monitoring the changing height of the sea surface over decades is essential for climate science, for policy-making and, ultimately, for protecting the lives of those in low-lying regions at risk.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Yet another random walk. :)
Says it all ...
Monday, June 14, 2021
Random Walk XX
A short clip ranging from water to flowers in yet another random walk taken by yours truly. :)
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Altogether now ...
Saturday, June 12, 2021
The Alien ... Earth style :)
Morays are Earth's version of the Alien as seen by the clip above. Awesome without question. :)
All bony fishes — those with skeletons made mostly of bone, rather than cartilage — have pharyngeal jaws in addition to their main jaws. Pharyngeal jaws lie behind the pharynx, or throat. They are smaller than the jaws in fishes' mouths and are used for gripping and piercing or crushing food, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
But unlike most fishes' pharyngeal jaws, those in moray eels "are highly mobile" and can spring past the throat and into the morays' mouths, said Rita Mehta, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).
Long muscles pull morays' pharyngeal jaws forward to grasp prey and then slide it down their throats. (Image credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation (after Rita Mehta, UC Davis))
- 107°F in Salt Lake City, tying the city’s all-time record for anytime of the year and beating its previous record for hottest temperature in June, which had stood at 106°F.
- Billings, Montana also tied its all-time hottest temperature on record for any month with a high of 108°F on Tuesday.
- Laramie, Wyo. tied its all-time high temperature record of 94°F on Tuesday.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Global warming, the 900lb gorilla, is alive and well but we already know that, right?
Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-shrinking glaciers in Antarctica, hastened its slide into the sea between 2017 and 2020, when one-fifth of its associated ice shelf broke off as massive icebergs, a new study reveals.
The glacier sped up another time in recent history, between the 1990s and 2009, when warm ocean currents ate away at the underside of the ice shelf, destabilizing its structure and causing the glacier to accelerate toward open water, according to a 2010 report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The last step in AI ascendency is the ability for said tech to design chips in just 6 hours versus the 6 month process done by us. Warms the cockles of one's heart does it not?
Google says it has developed a way of using deep reinforcement learning (RL) to create computer chip floorplanning in just six hours — a complicated feat that typically requires humans months to achieve.
The chips Google's AI develops are on par or superior than those humans can create, the team explained in its paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, June 9.
In a first for one of its commercial products, Google's research is being used for the company's upcoming tensor processing unit (TPU) chips, which are optimized for AI computation.
So Google's AI method to design chips can eventually be used to improve and quicken the future development of AI.
Perhaps our final invention? "No one knows, do one ..." - Fats Waller
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
The eyes have it
It has been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul,” but new research suggests that they may be a window to the brain as well.
Our pupils respond to more than just the light. They indicate arousal, interest or mental exhaustion. Pupil dilation is even used by the FBI to detect deception. Now work conducted in our laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that baseline pupil size is closely related to individual differences in intelligence. The larger the pupils, the higher the intelligence, as measured by tests of reasoning, attention and memory. In fact, across three studies, we found that the difference in baseline pupil size between people who scored the highest on the cognitive tests and those who scored the lowest was large enough to be detected by the unaided eye.
To be clear, pupil size refers to the diameter of the black circular aperture in the center of the eye. It can range from around two to eight millimeters. The pupil is surrounded by the colorful area known as the iris, which is responsible for controlling the size of the pupil. Pupils constrict in response to bright light, among other things, so we kept the laboratory dim for all participants.
As per Col. Nathan Jessup, Are we clear? :)
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
Something else altogether
Quantum computing - Something else altogether ...
Sunday, June 06, 2021
By a whisker :)
So many animals have whiskers. From cats to rats to seals, said mammals come equipped with a sensory aparatus us rubes don't have and ... researchers finally learned how whiskers actually work.
Rats, cats, and many other mammals have whiskers, which they typically use to sense their surrounding environment, akin to the sense of touch. But scientists have yet to precisely determine the means by which whiskers communicate that sense of touch to the brain. Now an interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has come up with a new model to help predict how a rat's whiskers activate different sensory cells to do just that, according to a new paper published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. Such work could one day enable scientists to build artificial whiskers as tactile sensors in robotics as well as shed further light on human touch.
Hartmann et al. found that rat whiskers are most likely to bend in an "S" shape within the follicle when they touch an object. This bending then pushes or pulls on the sensor cells, triggering them to send touch signals to the brain. The same bending profile results regardless of whether the whisker brushes against an object or is externally touched. And both intrinsic muscle contraction and an increase in blood pressure can improve the tactile sensitivity of the system.
"Our model demonstrates consistency in the whisker deformation profile between passive touch and active whisking," said co-author Yifu Luo, a graduate student in Hartmann's lab. "In other words, the same group of sensory cells will respond when the whisker is deflected in the same direction under both conditions. This result suggests that some types of experiments to study active whisking can be done in an anesthetized animal."
How cool is that? :)
Friday, June 04, 2021
Since 1820 ...
This exquisite gif showing fluids moving at different speeds is both hypnotic and beguiling at the same time. Seems the very complex but reliable Naiver-Stokes equations are also as described in the Quanta article titled Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations.
The Navier-Stokes equations capture in a few succinct terms one of the most ubiquitous features of the physical world: the flow of fluids. The equations, which date to the 1820s, are today used to model everything from ocean currents to turbulence in the wake of an airplane to the flow of blood in the heart.
While physicists consider the equations to be as reliable as a hammer, mathematicians eye them warily. To a mathematician, it means little that the equations appear to work. They want proof that the equations are unfailing: that no matter the fluid, and no matter how far into the future you forecast its flow, the mathematics of the equations will still hold. Such a guarantee has proved elusive. The first person (or team) to prove that the Navier-Stokes equations will always work — or to provide an example where they don’t — stands to win one of seven Millennium Prize Problems endowed by the Clay Mathematics Institute, along with the associated $1 million reward.
In lock step
In lock step happens if tipping points cascade to generate global changes in a given system, a scenario that may jump start a climate catastrophe for the ages if the Earth System Dynamics research rings true.
Ice sheets and ocean currents at risk of climate tipping points can destabilise each other as the world heats up, leading to a domino effect with severe consequences for humanity, according to a risk analysis.
Tipping points occur when global heating pushes temperatures beyond a critical threshold, leading to accelerated and irreversible impacts. Some large ice sheets in Antarctica are thought to already have passed their tipping points, meaning large sea-level rises in coming centuries.
The new research examined the interactions between ice sheets in West Antarctica, Greenland, the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream and the Amazon rainforest. The scientists carried out 3m computer simulations and found domino effects in a third of them, even when temperature rises were below 2C, the upper limit of the Paris agreement.
The study showed that the interactions between these climate systems can lower the critical temperature thresholds at which each tipping point is passed. It found that ice sheets are potential starting points for tipping cascades, with the Atlantic currents acting as a transmitter and eventually affecting the Amazon.
Thursday, June 03, 2021
Bach, Bernstien & Gould/Sublime without question
It doesn't get any better than this, an exquisite educational take on music, grace under performance pressure and, above all else, artistic virtuosity and heart felt respect given to Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 1 (I) in D minor performed at the highest level by two great artists and a wonderful orchestra.
1891, the first color photographs goes prime time, courtesy French physicist Gabriel Lippmann.
A physics professor at the Sorbonne, Lippmann became interested in developing a means of fixing the colors of the solar spectrum onto a photographic plate in 1886, "whereby the image remains fixed and can remain in daylight without deterioration." He achieved that goal in 1891, producing color images of a stained-glass window, a bowl of oranges, and a colorful parrot, as well as landscapes and portraits—including a self-portrait. (Fun fact: Lippmann's laboratory protégés included a promising Polish physics student named Marie Skłodowska, who went on to marry Pierre Curie and win two Nobel Prizes of her own.)
A visionary to the max.