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Apr 10, 2019

Bacteria that oxidizes methane found in common soil

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

A team of researchers with members from Norway, Austria, Russia and Germany has found a kind of bacteria that oxidizes methane. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their findings and suggest their work could lead to progress in combating global warming.

Scientists have reached consensus that is happening, and that it is because humans continue to pump into the atmosphere. The main culprit is , but there are other greenhouse gases making their way into the atmosphere, as well—one of them is methane. Humans produce methane naturally, via flatulence, as do animals. It also results from production of rice and other crops, and released it during oil extraction. To combat global warming, we stop emitting methane, or find a way to remove it. In this new effort, the researchers report a natural way to remove methane from the air by supporting a type of bacteria that oxidizes it.

Scientists have suspected for many years that one or more types of bacteria oxidize methane because testing has shown that methane levels drop in places where there is soil present.

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Apr 10, 2019

Potential for Earth-friendly plastic replacement

Posted by in categories: economics, food

A biodegradable replacement for petroleum-based products has to meet all sorts of standards and, so far, attempts at viable replacements from renewable sources have faced limited success due to processing and economic constraints. Among the obstacles, products to date have been too brittle for food packaging.

But new research from The Ohio State University has shown that combining natural rubber with bioplastic in a novel way results in a much stronger replacement for plastic, one that is already capturing the interest of companies looking to shrink their environmental footprints.

Almost all plastics — about 90 percent — are petroleum-based and are not biodegradable, a major environmental concern.

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Apr 10, 2019

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission

Posted by in category: space

This image from Flyby 1 of Detailed Survey: Baseball Diamond phase shows the rocky surface of Bennu just south of the asteroid’s equator. The PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft took the image on March 7 from a distance of 3 miles. For scale, the cracked rock at the top is 69 ft long, about the length of 4 parallel parking spots.

More details on the image: bit.ly/2IpIKSG

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Apr 10, 2019

Science fact: Astronomers reveal first image of a black hole

Posted by in categories: cosmology, science

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists on Wednesday revealed the first image ever made of a black hole, depicting a fiery ring of gravity-twisted light swirling around the edge of the abyss.

The picture, assembled from data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, shows the hot, shadowy lip of a supermassive black hole, one of the light-sucking monsters of the universe theorized by Einstein more than a century ago and confirmed by observations for decades. It is along this edge that light bends around itself in a cosmic funhouse effect.

“We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole,” Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard, leader of a team of about 200 scientists from 20 countries, announced as the colorized orange-and-black picture was unveiled.

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Apr 10, 2019

An Interview with Dr. Aubrey de Grey

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

At Undoing Aging 2019, we interviewed some of the best researchers who are involved in discovering therapies for the root causes of aging. Their research aims to ameliorate the damages of aging and may one day lead to a future without age-related diseases.

We even had the chance to interview the well-known Dr. Aubrey de Grey, whose organization, the SENS Research Foundation, partnered with Forever Healthy Foundation to make Undoing Aging 2019 a reality. We asked him questions about how far SENS has come as an organization and what we can expect from future conferences.

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Apr 10, 2019

Ocean plastic pollution costs the planet $2.5 trillion per year

Posted by in categories: food, health, security

It’s the first-ever quantification of the damage caused by plastic pollution on a global scale.

Global plastic pollution and the damage it causes to marine ecosystems now has a price tag attached to it. A team of researchers from the UK and Norway analyzed the many ways in which plastic pollution damages or destroys natural resources, and came up with a staggering figure – $2.5 billion – as the annual cost to society.

Much of our current understanding about plastic pollution is on a local level that cannot be interpreted easily on a global scale; and yet, this is a global threat. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans annually, and because of its material persistence and ability to disperse widely, must be viewed from a broader perspective if we hope to tackle it effectively. The researchers, whose study was just published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, looked at the many ways in which marine ecosystems benefit the planet, including food provision for billions of people, carbon storage, waste detoxification, and cultural benefits (recreational and spiritual). When these benefits are threatened by the presence of plastic, it “has the potential to significantly impact the wellbeing of humans across the globe, owing to the loss of food security, livelihoods, income and good health.”

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Apr 10, 2019

NASA is trying to build a supersonic aircraft without the boom

Posted by in category: transportation

NASA awarded a $247.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin to design and build an aeroplane that breaks the sound barrier without shattering the peace and quiet.

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Apr 10, 2019

Chinese Scientists Gene-Hacked Super Smart Human-Monkey Hybrids

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, evolution, genetics, neuroscience

But not everyone is on board.

“The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes linked to brain evolution is a very risky road to take,” University of Colorado geneticist James Sikela told the MIT Technology Review. “It is a classic slippery slope issue and one that we can expect to recur as this type of research is pursued.”

Pinpointing the gene’s role in intelligence could help scientists understand how humans evolved to be so smart, MIT Tech reports.

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Apr 10, 2019

This is the first photo of a black hole

Posted by in category: cosmology

In April 2017, scientists used a global network of telescopes to see and capture the first-ever picture of a black hole, according to an announcement by researchers at the National Science Foundation Wednesday morning. They captured an image of the supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87.

This is the first direct visual evidence that black holes exist, the researchers said. In the image, a central dark region is encapsulated by a ring of light that looks brighter on one side.

The massive galaxy, called Messier 87 or M87, is near the Virgo galaxy cluster 55 million light-years from Earth. The supermassive black hole has a mass that is 6.5 billion times that of our sun.

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Apr 10, 2019

Tesla’s Wireless Energy Technology Being Revived in Texas

Posted by in category: energy

A century after Nikola Tesla’s famous Wardenclyffe tower was dismantled, the legacy of the world’s greatest inventor lives on in the form of a new project which aims to develop wireless power transmission and a host of other communications and energy functions.

Strikingly similar to the Wardenclyffe tower, a new facility has gone up along a major transit route in the town of Milford, Texas. Built and operated by a company called Visiv Technologies, the tower is designed for precisely the same functions as the original Tesla tower, that is, for wireless communications and the transmission of electricity through air via low-frequency radio waves known as ‘surface waves.’

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