Tag: new (page 63 of 168)

Alien Earths are out there: Our home world is not ‘unique’ ‘Recipe for habitable planets’ issued by Harvard


 


Excerpt from theregister.co.uk

New research suggests planets similar to Earth are much more common across the galaxy than previously thought.

And the boffins behind this revelation have also come up with a simple chemical recipe for creating habitable worlds suitable for use by advanced super-powered intelligences and/or deities etc.
"Our solar system is not as unique as we might have thought," says Courtney Dressing, graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Ms Dressing bases this assertion on data from the HARPS-North (High-Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, Northern) instrument on the 3.6-metre Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in the Canary Islands. This is designed to accurately measure the masses of small, Earthish-sized worlds. Once you have mass and volume, as any fule kno, you have density and thus a fair notion of what a given alien world is made of - and this tells you whether it can be much like Earth.


So chuffed are the Harvard boffins with this discovery that they've come up with a handy "recipe" for cooking up a world with Earth-esque life on it, thus:
1 cup magnesium
1 cup silicon
2 cups iron
2 cups oxygen
½ teaspoon aluminum
½ teaspoon nickel
½ teaspoon calcium
¼ teaspoon sulfur
dash of water delivered by asteroids
 Blend well in a large bowl, shape into a round ball with your hands and place it neatly in a habitable zone area around a young star. Do not over mix. Heat until mixture becomes a white hot glowing ball. Bake for a few million years. Cool until color changes from white to yellow to red and a golden-brown crust forms. It should not give off light anymore. Season with a dash of water and organic compounds. It will shrink a bit as steam escapes and clouds and oceans form. Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens.

If you are lucky, a thin frosting of life may appear on the surface of your new world.

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Hubble captures stunning new HD images of ‘Pillars of Creation’

NASA has released a new image of the gorgeous Eagle Nebula, known by many as the 'Pillars of Creation', taken by the Hubble Space telescope in celebration of the telescope's upcoming 25th anniversary in April. Hubble returned to the spectacular space ...

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California breaks ground on bullet train project despite opposition, as price tag soars





Excerpt from foxnews.com

Despite cost overruns, lawsuits, public opposition and a projected completion date 13 years behind schedule, California Gov. Jerry Brown broke ground Tuesday on what is to become the most expensive public works project in U.S. history: the California bullet train. 

Over the next 1,000 days, California is estimated to spend roughly $4 million a day on the project. 

The high-speed train, set to be finished in 2033, originally was supposed to deliver passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes. That was the promise when voters narrowly approved $10 billion in bonds for the project in 2008. Since then, however, the estimated trip time has grown considerably, and the train has encountered persistent problems -- as experts uncovered misrepresentations in the ballot proposition, and opponents sued to stop the project on environmental and fiscal grounds. 

"We're talking about real money here," said Kris Vosburgh, executive director of taxpayer watchdog group Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "This is money that's not available for health care or education, for public safety, or put back in taxpayers' pockets so they have something to spend. This is money being drawn out of the system for a program that is going to serve very few people." 

Much about the project has changed since it was sold to the public. 
Voters were told the project would cost just $33 billion. Once experts crunched the numbers, however, the price tag soared to $98 billion. It was supposed to whoosh riders from Southern California to the Bay Area in less than three hours, but now it’s more than four hours due to changing track configurations and route adjustments. The train was supposed to get people off the freeway and reduce carbon emissions, but a panel of experts now says any carbon savings will be nominal. (A drive by car takes just over 6 hours. Ed.) 

Further, ridership projections have been cut by two-thirds from a projected 90 million to 30 million a year. Fewer riders means higher prices. According to a panel of transportation experts hired by the Reason Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, tickets will exceed $80 -- not $50 -- and the system will require annual subsidies of more than $300 million annually. 

"The public has turned sour on this plan but the governor, to paraphrase Admiral Farragut, has taken a position of 'damn the people, full speed ahead'," Vosburgh said. 

Undaunted by critics, Brown broke ground in Fresno on Tuesday on the first 29-mile segment of the train's system. Under Brown's direction, the California High Speed Rail Authority has gone to court to seek an exemption from an environmental quality law the state imposes on other projects but not this one. Brown also convinced the state Legislature to dedicate an annual revenue stream from the state's carbon tax, to help pay for the bullet train. 
"It's a long project, a bold project and one that will transform the Central Valley," Brown said Monday as he began his fourth and final term as governor. 

Once construction begins, supporters say it will be harder to stop the project. Several lawsuits linger, but a bigger question concerns the money: Where will it come from? If every penny committed to the project is added up, the project is still more than $30 billion short. Republicans in Congress are vowing not to commit a dollar more than President Obama approved in 2012. 

"For years now, Governor Brown and the high-speed rail authority have turned the idea of high-speed rail into a public albatross far beyond what Californians envisioned or voted for," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement released Tuesday. "Sadly, today's groundbreaking is a political maneuver. Supporters of the railroad in Sacramento can't admit their project is deeply flawed, and they won't give up on it despite the cost. But these political tricks are exactly what the American people are tired of and what the new Republican Congress is committed to ending." 

Supporters don't see waste. They argue the project will reduce freeway gridlock, offer competition to air travel and provide an alternative to trucking freight. 

Environmentalists also have opposed the project, suing and claiming the construction project would harm 11 endangered species and worsen air quality in the already dirty Central Valley. They lost when a federal judge ruled the project did not have to adhere to the state Environmental Quality Act, unlike other projects. Additional legal challenges remain, but supporters believe once the train leaves the station and ground is broken, there's no going back. 

"The legacy of the Brown family is that they have been big thinkers, but also big builders," said Democratic state Assemblyman Henry Perea. "I think this is an opportunity for the legislature to step up, support Governor Brown. "

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Age of stars can now be pinned to their spin

Excerpt from bbc.comAstronomers have proved that they can accurately tell the age of a star from how fast it is spinning. We know that stars slow down over time, but until recently there was little data to support exact calculations. For ...

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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny House?




Excerpt from tinyhousetalk.com

If you’ve been wondering how much does it cost to build a tiny house you’re at the right place. Designing and building your own tiny house is a great way to create a mortgage-free lifestyle fast.
So it’s no wonder that you’d be interested… But the question is, “how much?”

Question: So How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny House?


Answer: Usually Around $25,000 to $30,000

This is for a relatively ‘high end’ tiny home on wheels with all of the amenities of home you’d be looking at around $25,000 to $30,000 in materials to build it yourself.

This figure normally includes buying a brand new trailer, professional construction plans, your appliances, and other materials brand new at the store.

Of course it’s always possible to do it for $13,173, $9,802, $21,204, or even $65,439 but this is just an estimation so you know what to expect and what I’ve believe to be most common but..


Here’s How You Can Do It For Less

  • Find and use recycled materials on places like Craigslist and Habitat Restores.
  • Use less expensive but reliable materials and appliances.
  • Do absolutely all of the labor yourself and with the help of friends and family.
  • Do your due diligence researching and designing to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Take time to find a good deal on the right used trailer instead of buying a brand new one.
  • Take the time to salvage another structure or recreational vehicle so you can use them to build your tiny home.
  • Find useful or reclaimable appliances on Craigslist or your nearest Habitat ReStore.

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Why We Didn’t Float Away: A Look at the Planetary Alignment Hoax

Excerpt from natureworldnews.comYou probably heard about it. After all, satirical content site Daily Buzz Live earned itself a whopping two million Facebook shares and 11,000 tweets with this latest trending fake news. An article claimed that on the...

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First Weekend of the New Year Brings Quadrantid Meteor Shower







Excerpt from savingadvice.com


For those who want to save money, one of the best free resources available to everyone are nature’s displays. The first weekend of the New Year will begin with a bang, although this bang will be of interstellar origins. This weekend (Jan. 3), the first meteor display of 2015 will reach its peak on Saturday night in a display of lights known as the Quadrantid meteor shower. According to science reporter Geoff Gaherty, “Meteor shows are usually named after the constellation in the sky where their radiant is located: the point in the sky from which they appear to radiate. Thus, the Perseids [showers] are named for Perseus and the Geminids [showers] are named for Gemini.”

Interestingly, Gaherty informs the reader that “there is no constellation named Quadrans” whence scientists derived the name Quadrantid. Instead, there was once the Quadrans Muralis constellation, which became a part of the constellation Bootes in 1922. The name of the meteor, however, was retained.

Quadrantids are also known to be a January meteor shower, as opposed to the more famous Perseids observed in August or the Geminids seen in December. Additionally, quadrantid meteors are less frequently observed than the other two meteor showers given that its peak intensity lasts only hours. Still, Gaherty writes that the Quadrantid shower “can produce as many bright meteors during its peak as the more famous Perseids.” Thus, in order to view this spectacular display, “timing is everything.”

Using past observations, researchers predict that the peak of 2015′s Quadrantid meteor shower will occur at 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 3. “During this time, the radiant will be close to the northern horizon and there is a good chance of seeing…meteors coming in close to the horizon to the east and west.”

The radiant, however, is expected to rise higher in the northeastern sky, until more meteors become visible in the east. According to Gaherty, the best time to then observe the Quadrantids will be between midnight and 2 a.m. (some reports say dawn) in the Northern Hemisphere.

Unfortunately, the shooting stars may be hard to view because of an almost-full moon on Saturday, which will radiate its own impressive brightness. Still, NASA predicts that at the peak of the Quadrantid shower, approximately 80 meteors an hour will be released, which should be remarkable in its own right.

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Surprising discovery finds proteins can be assembled without genetic instructions ~ Sends scientists back to drawing board





Excerpt from news.bioscholar.com


A study has shown for the first time that the building blocks of proteins can be assembled without instructions from DNA or messenger RNA (mRNA).

A protein, Rqc2, was found playing a role similar to that of mRNA and specifying which amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, to be added in cell mechanism.

“In this case, we have a protein playing a role normally filled by mRNA,” said Adam Frost, assistant professor at University of California, San Francisco.

“This surprising discovery reflects how incomplete our understanding of biology is,” said first author Peter Shen, a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Utah in the US.

The researchers added that the findings have implications for new therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Huntington’s.

The researchers described that ribosomes are machines on a protein assembly line, linking together amino acids in an order specified by the genetic code.

RCQ protein
A new finding goes against dogma, showing for the first time that the building blocks of a protein, called amino acids, can be assembled by another protein, and without genetic instructions). The Rqc2 protein (yellow) binds tRNAs (dark blue, teal) which add amino acids (bright spot in middle) to a partially made protein (green). The complex binds the ribosome (white). Image Credit: Janet Iwasa, Ph.D., University of Utah

When something goes wrong, the ribosome is generally disassembled, the blueprint is discarded and the partly made protein is recycled.

The new study, however, revealed that before the incomplete protein is recycled, Rqc2 can prompt the ribosomes to add just two amino acids (of a total of 20) – alanine and threonine – over and over, and in any order.

The nonsensical sequence likely serves specific purposes. The code could signal that the partial protein must be destroyed, or it could be part of a test to see whether the ribosome is working properly, the researchers noted.

For the study, they fine-tuned a technique called cryo-electron microscopy to flash freeze, and then visualse, the quality control machinery in cells in action.

The findings appeared in the journal Science.

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