Tag: matter (page 21 of 61)

All About Colloidal Silver

by Gregg Prescott, M.S. Editor, In5D.comThere's a good reason why the FDA does not approve colloidal silver and even better reasons why you should look into the benefits of colloidal silver.I recently experienced a toothache on one of my molars and found that my gums were very sensitive, so I looked into holistic treatments to find a remedy for my pain.  One such remedy is colloidal silver.Upon researching colloidal silver, I found numerous testimonies to its effectiveness, yet co [...]

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Another reality bending discovery? Princeton researchers spot particle that behaves like matter and antimatter at the SAME TIME

Excerpt from  theregister.co.ukScientists at Princeton are reporting the first observation of Majorana fermion, a particle first predicted over 70 years ago that behaves like matter and antimatter at the same time.Finding the Majorana fermion on...

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Quantum: The Microscopic Universe ~ Quantum computers may one day transform our world

Within our immense universe lies a lesser-known world of tiny particles. From strange neutrinos that pass right through matter to mysterious objects with names like MACHOs and WIMPs. Find out how this miniature world might hold the key to understan...

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India’s Mars mission: A Picture that Spoke 1,000 words

When the crowded command control room of India's Mars mission exploded into applause after it successfully put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet, photographer Manjunath Kiran of the AFP news agency clicked this remarkable image of scienti...

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THERE ARE NO BLACK HOLES, ONLY GREY HOLES, CLAIMS STEPHEN HAWKING




dailymail.co.uk

Earlier this year Professor Stephen Hawking shocked physicists by saying 'there are no black holes'.
In a paper published online, Professor Hawking instead argues there are 'grey holes'
'The absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes - in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity,' he says in the paper, called Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting For Black Holes.
He says that the idea of an event horizon, from which light cannot escape, is flawed.
He suggests that instead light rays attempting to rush away from the black hole’s core will be held as though stuck on a treadmill and that they can slowly shrink by spewing out radiation.  
One of the reasons black holes are so bizarre is that they pit two fundamental theories of the universe against each other.
Namely, Einstein’s theory of gravity predicts the formation of black holes. But a fundamental law of quantum theory states that no information from the universe can ever disappear.
Efforts to combine these two theories proved problematic, and has become known as the black hole information paradox - how can matter permanently disappear in a black hole as predicted?
Professor Mersini-Houghton’s new theory does manage to mathematically combine the two fundamental theories, but with unwanted effects for people expecting black holes to exist.
‘Physicists have been trying to merge these two theories - Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum mechanics - for decades, but this scenario brings these two theories together, into harmony,’ said Professor Mersini-Houghton.
‘And that’s a big deal.’

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U.S. Creates Largest Protected Area in the World ~ 3X Larger than California


Photo of fish swimming in the Palmyra Atoll.
A school of fish swims under the water around Palmyra Atoll, in an area of the Pacific that is already part of a marine sanctuary.
Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic



By Brian Clark Howard




NEW YORK—The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will create the largest marine reserve in the world by expanding an existing monument around U.S.-controlled islands and atolls in the central Pacific.


The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will now be nearly 490,000 square miles, nearly three times the size of California and six times larger than its previous size. Commercial fishing, dumping, and mining will be prohibited in the reserve, but recreational fishing will be allowed with permits, and boaters may visit the area.


The protected area that Secretary of State John Kerry announced this morning is actually smaller than the 782,000 square miles that the president initially considered. But environmentalists, preservationists, and conservation groups that had pushed for the expansion called President Barack Obama's designation a historic victory in their efforts to limit the impact of fishing, drilling, and other activities that threaten some of the world's most species-rich waters.

Map of the pacific remote islands.
MAGGIE SMITH, NG STAFF. SOURCES: U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE; USGS; MARINE CONSERVATION INSTITUTE


"What has happened is extraordinary. It is history making. There is a lot of reason we should be celebrating right now," said Elliott Norse, founder and chief scientist of the Seattle-based Marine Conservation Institute.


Enric Sala, an ocean scientist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, called the newly expanded monument "a great example of marine protection."


During the past several years, Sala and National Geographic's Pristine Seas project—which aims to explore, survey, and protect several of the last wild places in the world's oceans—have been key players in expeditions to the region that helped to put a spotlight on its biodiversity. Sala also met with White House officials to make the scientific case for expanding the Pacific Remote Islands monument. 


Photo of a sea anemone providing cover for a transparent shrimp in Kingman Reef, Pacific Ocean.
Tentacles of a sea anemone provide cover for a transparent shrimp in Kingman Reef, which is part of the existing marine sanctuary. Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic Creative


In announcing the expansion of protected marine areas, Kerry said, “We’re committed to protecting more of the world's ocean. Today, one to three percent of the ocean is protected, that's it. That's why President Obama will sign a proclamation today that will create one of the largest maritime protected areas in the world. It will be protected in perpetuity.”

Michael Boots, chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, made clear that by expanding protected areas, the administration sought to balance the need to preserve a range of marine species with concerns from the fishing industry, which had warned about the economic impact of curtailing deep-sea fishing areas.

"We thought [the monument decision] was a good way to balance what the science was telling us was important to protect and the needs of those who use the area," Boots said.


The administration said in a statement late Wednesday that "expanding the monument will more fully protect the deep coral reefs, seamounts, and marine ecosystems unique to this part of the world, which are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification."


In June, when he first announced his intent to expand the monument, Obama said, "I'm using my authority as president to protect some of our nation's most pristine marine monuments, just like we do on land."


The June announcement was followed by a public comment period and further analysis by the White House, officials said. Thousands of people submitted comments, with many conservation groups and scientists offering their support. Some fishing and cannery groups, as well as a few members of the U.S. Congress opposed the expansion, citing the potential a loss of commercial fishing grounds. 


Norse said that the newly protected areas will safeguard endangered seabirds and other key species, including five endangered sea turtle species (such as loggerheads and leatherbacks), sooty terns and other terns, silky sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks, beaked whales, manta rays, red-tailed tropic birds, and deep-sea corals.

The expanded monument will help ensure that "there are some places that are as pristine as possible for as long as possible," Norse said. "I think a hundred years from now, people will be praising Barack Obama for having the vision to protect the Pacific remote islands."


"A Big Step"


Obama's Democratic administration is building on a national monument that was first created by his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, suggesting that "ocean protection may be one of the last bipartisan issues" in the politically divided United States, says David Helvarg, the author of several books on the ocean and the founder of the advocacy group Blue Frontier Campaign.

Democratic and Republican presidents going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican who served from 1901 to 1909, have used the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate national monuments. The law requires simply that an area be unique and considered worthy of protection for future generations. This is the 12th time Obama has used his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect environmental areas.

The area being protected by the administration will expand the protected areas from 50 miles offshore to 200 miles offshore around three areas—Wake Island, Johnston Atoll, and Jarvis Island—the maximum reach of the United States’ exclusive economic zone. The current 50-mile offshore protections around the Howland and Baker islands, and Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, will not change.


"Although 71 percent of our planet is covered with saltwater, we have protected much more of the land than the ocean," Helvarg said. But the newly expanded monument is a big step in the right direction, he added.

Enforcing fishing bans in the monument will be a big challenge, Kerry acknowledged. "Agreements won't matter if no one is enforcing them," he said. "It's going to take training and resources."
Kerry said one measure that could help deter illegal fishing in the region, as well as around the world, would be to implement the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty that requires member nations to prevent illegally caught fish from entering the market. Eleven nations or parties have ratified the agreement, but a total of 25 must sign before the treaty will take effect.

"Our goal is to get this done this year," Kerry said.


Meanwhile, efforts to preserve more biologically diverse waters continue.


This week, National Geographic Society announced that it is dramatically expanding its campaign to help protect marine areas, with a goal of persuading governments to officially safeguard more than 770,000 square miles.


The plan, announced by former President Bill Clinton, includes programs that target the Seychelles—an archipelago in the Indian Ocean—northern Greenland, and South America's Patagonia region. The program builds on National Geographic's Pristine Seas project, which has financed ten scientific expeditions to remote areas of ocean around the world, including in the South Pacific and off Africa, Russia, and South America.

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Mysteries of the Early Human Ancestors #1 ~ Why did we grow large brains?

Human brains are about three times as large as those of our early australopithecines ancestors that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, and for years, scientists have wondered how our brains got so big. A new study suggests social competition could be behind the increase in brain size. Credit NIH, NADA

livescience.com

There are many ways to try to explain why human brains today are so big compared to those of early humans, but the major cause may be social competition, new research suggests. 

But with several competing ideas, the issue remains a matter of debate. 

Compared to almost all other animals, human brains are larger as a percentage of body weight. And since the emergence of the first species in our Homo genus (Homo habilis) about 2 million years ago, the human brain has doubled in size. And when compared to earlier ancestors, such as australopithecines that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, our brains are three times as large. For years, scientists have wondered what could account for this increase.

The three major hypotheses have focused on climate change, the demands of ecology, and social competition. A new statistical analysis of data on 175 fossil skulls supports the latter hypothesis. 

Behind the hypotheses

The climate idea proposes that dealing with unpredictable weather and major climate shifts may have increased the ability of our ancestors to think ahead and prepare for these environmental changes, which in turn led to a larger, more cognitively adept brain.
The ecology hypothesis states that, as our ancestors migrated away from the equator, they encountered environmental changes, such as less food and other resources. "So you have to be a little bit more clever to figure it out," said David Geary, a professor from the University of Missouri. Also, less parasite exposure could have played a role in the makings of a bigger brain. When your body combats parasites, it cranks up its immune system, which uses up calories that could have gone to boost brain development. Since there are fewer parasites farther away from the equator, migrating north or south could have meant that our predecessors had more opportunity to grow a larger brain because their bodies were not fighting off as many pathogens.


Finally, other researchers think that social competition for scarce resources influenced brain size. As populations grow, more people are contesting for the same number of resources, the thinking goes. Those with a higher social status, who are "a little bit smarter than other folks" will have more access to food and other goods, and their offspring will have a higher chance of survival, Geary said.


Those who are not as socially adept will die off, pushing up the average social "fitness" of the group. "It's that type of process, that competition within a species, for status, for control of resources, that cycles over and over again through multiple generations, that is a process that could easily explain a very, very rapid increase in brain size," Geary said.

Weighing the options

To examine which hypothesis is more likely, Geary and graduate student Drew Bailey analyzed data from 175 skull fossils — from humans and our ancestors — that date back to sometime between 10,000 ago and 2 million years ago.


The team looked at multiple factors, including how old the fossils were, where they were found, what the temperature was and how much the temperature varied at the time the Homo species lived, and the level of parasites in the area. They also looked at the population density of the region in order to measure social competition, "assuming that the more fossils you find in a particular area at a particular time, the more likely the population was larger," Geary said.


They then used a statistical analysis to test all of the variables at once to see how well they predicted brain size. "By far the best predictor was population density," Geary said. "And in fact, it seemed that there was very little change in brain size across our sample of fossil skulls until we hit a certain population size. Once that population density was hit, there was a very quick increase in brain size," he said.


Looking at all the variables together allowed the researchers to "separate out which variables are really important and which variables may be correlated for other reasons," added Geary. While the climate variables were still significant, their importance was much lower than that of population density, he said. The results were published in the March 2009 issue of the journal Human Nature.


Questions linger

The social competition hypothesis "sounds good," said Ralph Holloway, an anthropologist at Columbia University, who studies human brain evolution. But, he adds: "How would you ever go about really testing that with hard data?" 

He points out that the sparse cranium data "doesn’t tell you anything about the differences in populations for Homo erectus, or the differences in populations of Neanderthals." For example, the number of Homo erectus crania that have been found in Africa, Asia, Indonesia and parts of Europe is fewer than 25, and represent the population over hundreds of thousands of years, he said. 

"You can't even know the variation within a group let alone be certain of differences between groups," Holloway said. Larger skulls would be considered successful, but "how would you be able to show that these were in competition?" 

However, Holloway is supportive of the research. "I think these are great ideas that really should be pursued a little bit more," he said. 

Alternative hypotheses

Holloway has another hypothesis for how our brains got so big. He thinks that perhaps increased gestation time in the womb or increased dependency time of children on adults could have a played role. The longer gestation or dependency time "would have required more social cooperation and cognitive sophistication on the part of the parents," he said. Males and females would have needed to differentiate their social roles in a complementary way to help nurture the child. The higher level of cognition needed to perform these tasks could have led to an increase in brain size.


Still other hypotheses look at diet as a factor. Some researchers think that diets high in fish and shellfish could have provided our ancestors with the proper nutrients they needed to grow a big brain.
And another idea is that a decreased rate of cell death may have allowed more brain neurons to be synthesized, leading to bigger noggins. 

Ultimately, no theory can be absolutely proven, and the scant fossil record makes it hard to test hypotheses. "If you calculate a generation as, let's say, 20 years, and you know that any group has to have a minimal breeding size, then the number of fossils that we have that demonstrates hominid evolution is something like 0.000001 percent," Holloway said. "So frankly, I mean, all hypotheses look good."

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7 Types of Non-Believers Who Don’t Need Religion

Valerie Tarico, AlterNetReligious labels help shore up identity. So what are some of the things non-believers can call themselves?Catholic, born-again, Reformed, Jew, Muslim, Shiite, Sunni, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist…religions give people labels. The downside can be tribalism, an assumption that insiders are better than outsiders, that they merit more compassion, integrity and generosity or even that violence toward “infidels” is acceptable. But the upside is that religious o [...]

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