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Aug 17, 2018

Another way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

A trio of researchers with The University of Hong Kong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Northwestern University in the U.S., has come up with an alternative theory to explain how some stellar-mass black holes can grow bigger than others. In their paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Shu-Xu Yi, K.S. Cheng and Ronald Taam describe their theory and how it might work.

Since the initial detection of gravitational waves three years ago, five more detections have been observed—and five of the total have been traced back to emissions created by two stellar-mass black holes merging. The sixth was attributed to neutron stars merging. As part of their studies of such detections, space researchers have been surprised by the size of the stellar-mass black holes producing the gravity waves—they were bigger than other stellar-mass black holes. Their larger size has thus far been explained by the that they grew larger because they began their lives as stars that contained very small amounts of metal—stars with traces of metals would retain most of their mass because they produce weaker solar winds. In this new effort, the researchers suggest another possible way for stellar-mass black holes to grow larger than normal.

The new theory starts out by noting that some at the hearts of galaxies are surrounded by a disk of gas and dust. In such galaxies, there are often stars lying just outside the disk—stars that could evolve to become stellar-mass black holes. The researchers suggest that it is possible that sometimes, pairs of these stars wind up in the disk as they evolve into black holes. Such stellar-mass black holes would pull in material from the disk, causing them to grow larger. The researchers note that if such a scenario were to play out, it is also possible that the two merging could wind up with a synchronized spin resulting in a stellar-mass black hole that produces more gravity waves than if the spins had not been synchronized, making them easier for researchers to spot.

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Aug 17, 2018

Bioengineers borrow from electronics industry to get stem cells to shape up

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension, robotics/AI

To understand how cells in the body behave, bioengineers create miniature models of the cells’ environment in their lab. But recreating this niche environment is incredibly complex in a controlled setting, because researchers are still learning all the factors that influence cell behavior and growth. By observing and then modifying their engineered mini-models, scientists are better able to identify those factors.

This form of cellular research is essential to the study of regenerative medicine, which focuses on replacing or repairing damaged tissue, often through the use of , a special population of that can give rise to all tissues in the body. Bioengineers face the central question of regenerative medicine: what causes stem cells to grow, organize, and mature from a small population of cells to complex organs?

To find an answer, a research team from the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology borrowed a process commonly used in the electronics industry called micropatterning, in which the miniaturization of shapes increases the number of transistors on a circuit. The team created micropatterned shapes, coupled with machine learning, to see how confinement influences stem cell maturation and organization.

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Aug 17, 2018

First science with ALMA’s highest-frequency capabilities

Posted by in categories: science, space

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos. This array of incredibly precise antennas studies a comparatively high-frequency sliver of radio light: waves that range from a few tenths of a millimeter to several millimeters in length. Recently, scientists pushed ALMA to its limits, harnessing the array’s highest-frequency (shortest wavelength) capabilities, which peer into a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that straddles the line between infrared light and radio waves.

“High-frequency radio observations like these are normally not possible from the ground,” said Brett McGuire, a chemist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, and lead author on a paper appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “They require the extreme precision and sensitivity of ALMA, along with some of the driest and most stable that can be found on Earth.”

Under ideal atmospheric conditions, which occurred on the evening of 5 April 2018, astronomers trained ALMA’s highest-frequency, submillimeter vision on a curious region of the Cat’s Paw Nebula (also known as NGC 6334I), a star-forming complex located about 4,300 light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern constellation Scorpius.

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Aug 17, 2018

4 Exoplanets With Interesting, Rare Features

Posted by in category: space

Here are 4 crazy exoplanets you’ve never heard of.

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Aug 17, 2018

A Chance Encounter in a Graveyard – Part 2

Posted by in category: life extension

This is the second part of a short fictional story about a man realizing for the first time that he has a deep desire to avoid aging and death. We published the first part of the story last Friday, and you can read it here.

I feel ashamed admitting to this, but I proceeded with wariness all the way to my door. That late at night, I didn’t meet anyone in the hallways or in the elevator. At first, I didn’t even want to take the elevator, as I was afraid that the girl might suddenly appear before me when the doors opened as I got in or out; however, for some reason, the idea of taking the stairs felt even worse, nearly terrifying. After hesitating some, I chose to take the elevator. Once I reached my door, I inserted the key in the lock, and after a moment of hesitation, I began turning it. At each turn, which echoed sinisterly in the hallway, I stopped as if to check that the sound didn’t attract the attention of God knows what supernatural creatures lurking in the dark. Absolutely nothing looked different than usual, yet I felt like a character in a horror movie.

I opened a crack between the door and the frame, stuck a hand in, and frantically searched for the light switch on the wall. “Finally home,” I said in an annoyed and embarrassingly loud and shaky voice to no one in particular, while still searching for the switch with no success. Once I found it, I flicked it, and as soon as the light went on, I pulled the door wide open, ran in, and finally slammed the door shut behind me.

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Aug 17, 2018

Why Haven’t We Found Aliens Yet?

Posted by in category: alien life

Many people believe we aren’t the only intelligent forms of life in the Universe. So why haven’t we found any yet?

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Aug 17, 2018

From pine cones to an adaptive shading system

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI

An adjustable shading system that adapts itself independently over the course of the day, without sensors or motors and largely maintenance-free? It really is possible: an ETH doctoral student at the Institute for Building Materials has developed an alternative to motor-driven sunshades.

It gets hot in the city in summer, and buildings in direct sunlight get particularly warm. At night, it can then be difficult to get rid of that accumulated heat. These days, many people dream of efficient air conditioning. Chiara Vailati had a different dream: after completing her studies in Italy, the pursued the idea of creating an adjustable and autonomous sunshade for houses, to reduce the amount of heat that enters a building and therefore the need for cooling. She had high requirements: “I wanted the system to be made of environmentally friendly materials, use very little energy and have low installation and maintenance costs,” remembers Vailati.

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Aug 17, 2018

Kelsey Moody — Antibody Mimetic for Parkinson’s Disease | LEAF

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Kelsey Moody, CEO of Ichor Therapeutics, discusses the creation of a gut-stable antibody mimetic for Parkinson’s disease and announces 10 million dollars in investment from Juvenescence into Ichor portfolio company Antoxerene Inc. at the Ending Age-Related Diseases conference in NYC.

More at: https://www.leafscience.org/ending-age-related-diseases-2018/

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Aug 17, 2018

Bioquark Inc. — DNA Today Podcast — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, business, DNA, finance, health, innovation, life extension, science, transhumanism

Aug 17, 2018

Global study shows environmentally friendly farming can increase productivity

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

A major new study involving researchers from the University of York has measured a global shift towards more sustainable agricultural systems that provide environmental improvements at the same time as increases in food production.

The study shows that the sustainable intensification of agriculture, a term that was once considered paradoxical, delivers considerable benefits to both farmers and the environment.

The study, published in the leading journal Nature Sustainability, involved researchers from 17 universities and research institutes in the UK, USA, Sweden, Ethiopia and New Zealand.

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