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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Jun 13, 2019

A Superconducting Magnet Just Smashed The Strongest Magnetic Field Record

Posted by in categories: habitats, materials

A new superconducting magnet has briefly sustained an astonishing 45.5 tesla magnetic field intensity. For comparison, your flimsy fridge magnets have about 1 percent of a single tesla.

The measurement, achieved by researchers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) at Florida State University resets the bar on what’s possible in direct current magnetic fields, exceeding the previous limit by half a tesla.

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Jun 12, 2019

Study shows recent plant extinctions much more extensive than thought

Posted by in categories: existential risks, habitats

A team of researchers with the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K. and Stockholm University has found that plant extinctions over the past two and a half centuries have been more extensive than previous estimates suggested. In their paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the group describes their exhaustive study of plants and which have gone extinct, and what it might mean for future plant life.

In recent years, botanists have estimated that fewer than 150 have gone extinct in modern times—most due to human activities. In this new effort, the researchers have found that the real number is closer to quadruple such estimates—they found 571 plants that have gone extinct since 1753. That was the year that famed botanist Carl Linnaeus published his Species Plantarum—a collection of all known plant at that time. The researchers also claimed that approximately three species of plants have gone extinct on average each year since 1900—a rate that they note is approximately 500 times the natural rate of plant . The group came to these conclusions using information from a database started back in 1988 by workers at the Royal Botanic Gardens who have had the goal of adding every known plant on the planet. Since that time, over 330,000 plant species have been added.

The researchers also created a map showing where the extinctions have occurred, noting that most are in the tropics and on islands. The map also highlights some interesting hotspots as well, such as South Africa, Australia, India and Hawaii. They add that the main culprit is habitat destruction, though some have also suffered from being too popular with humans—the Chile sandalwood tree, for example, was harvested for its exotic aroma.

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Jun 10, 2019

One Mystical Psychedelic Trip Can Trigger Lifelong Benefits

Posted by in categories: genetics, habitats

The subconscious is still uncharted territory the ecology of the human mind is just as vast as the real world maybe more so because it houses the genetics of thousands of generations of beings.


New research corroborates how taking psilocybin once forever changed my outlook.

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Jun 7, 2019

Star Wars-Themed Fitness Equipment Delivers the Power of the “Force” to Your Workout

Posted by in category: habitats

O.o.


Use the power of the force to lift pump some iron! Fitness brand Onnit has created a line of Star Wars products of home workout equipment.

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Jun 6, 2019

Organic House

Posted by in category: habitats

On a hilly site near Mexico City, architect Javier Senosiain has created a remarkable home inspired by the shape of a peanut.

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Jun 2, 2019

Automate the Freight: Amazon’s Robotic Packaging Lines

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, habitats, robotics/AI

In the “Automate the Freight” series, I’ve concentrated on stories that reflect my premise that the killer app for self-driving vehicles will not be private passenger cars, but will more likely be the mundane but necessary task of toting things from place to place. The economics of replacing thousands of salary-drawing and benefit-requiring humans in the logistics chain are greatly favored compared to the profits to be made by providing a convenient and safe commuting experience to individuals. Advances made in automating deliveries will eventually trickle down to the consumer market, but it’ll be the freight carriers that drive innovation.

While I’ve concentrated on self-driving freight vehicles, there are other aspects to automating the supply chain that I’ve touched on in this series, from UAV-delivered blood and medical supplies to the potential for automating the last hundred feet of home delivery with curb-to-door robots. But automation of the other end of the supply chain holds a lot of promise too, both for advancing technology and disrupting the entire logistics field. This time around: automated packaging lines, or how the stuff you buy online gets picked and wrapped for shipping without ever being touched by human hands.

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May 31, 2019

A home air purifier with a cool twist — cold plasma

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

The Squair portable air cleaner promises to use cold plasma to fill your space with pollution-gobbling, bacteria-zapping oxygen atoms.

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May 29, 2019

Defense against wireless attacks using a deep neural network and game theory

Posted by in categories: business, habitats, internet, mobile phones, robotics/AI, security

A growing number of devices are now connected to the internet and are capable of collecting, sending and receiving data. This interconnection between devices, referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), poses serious security threats, as cyberattackers can now target computers and smartphones, but also a vast array of other devices, such as tablets, smart watches, smart home systems, transportation systems and so on.

For the time being, examples of large-scale IoT implementations (e.g. connected infrastructure, cities, etc.) are somewhat limited, yet they could soon become widespread, posing significant risks for businesses and public services that heavily rely on the internet in their daily operations. To mitigate these risks, researchers have been trying to develop to protect devices connected to the internet from wireless attacks.

To this end, two researchers at Baoji University of Arts and Sciences, in China, have recently developed a new method to defend devices in an IOT environment from wireless network attacks. Their approach, presented in a paper published in Springer’s International Journal of Wireless Information Networks, combines a with a model based on , a branch of mathematics that proposes strategies for dealing with situations that entail competition between different parties.

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May 28, 2019

Ancient fungi may have laid the groundwork for complex life

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats

But previous examination of the fungal “molecular clock,” using DNA-based methods, suggested that fungi may have evolved much earlier, between 760 million and 1.06 billion years ago. Extracted from Arctic Canadian shales, the newly discovered billion-year-old fossilized fungal spores and hyphae (long thin tubes) plug the gap in the fossil record and suggest that fungi may have occupied land well before plants.

The fungal fossils were found in rocks that were probably once part a shallow-water estuary. Such environments are typically great for fungi thanks to nutrient-rich waters and the build up of washed-up organic matter to feed on. The high salinity, high mineral and low oxygen content of these ancient coastal habitats also provided great conditions to perfectly preserve the tough chitin molecules embedded within fungal cell walls that otherwise would have decomposed.

While it’s not certain whether the newly-discovered ancient fungi actually lived within the estuary or were washed into the sediments from the land, they show many of the distinctive features you’d expect in modern terrestrial fungi. The germinating spores are clearly defined, as are the branching, thread-like tubes that help fungi explore their environment, named hyphae. Even the cell walls are distinctively fungal, being made up of two clear layers. In fact, if you didn’t know they were so old, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish them from modern fungi.

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May 27, 2019

The Astounding Engineering Behind the Giant Magellan Telescope

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, habitats, space

It’s easy to miss the mirror forge at the University of Arizona. While sizable, the Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory sits in the shadow of the university’s much larger 56,000-seat football stadium. Even its most distinctive feature—an octagonal concrete prominence emblazoned with the school’s logo—looks like an architectural feature for the arena next door. But it’s that tower that houses some of the facility’s most critical equipment.

Inside the lab, a narrow, fluorescent-green staircase spirals up five floors to the tower’s entrance. I’m a few steps from the top when lab manager Stuart Weinberger asks, for the third time, whether I have removed everything from my pockets.

“Glasses, keys, pens. Anything that could fall and damage the mirror,” he says. Weinberger has agreed to escort me to the top of the tower and onto a catwalk some 80 feet above a mirror 27.5 feet in diameter. A mirror that has already taken nearly six years—and $20 million—to make. “Most people in the lab aren’t even allowed up here,” he says. That explains Weinberger’s nervousness about the contents of my pockets (which are really, truly empty), and why he has tethered my camera to my wrist with a short line of paracord.

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