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Topic: Latest Science News?
Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Subject: Latest Science News?
Date Posted: 08 June 2009 at 9:05am
Keeping up to date with all the scientific news and research for the non-specialized scientist is not easy these days
 
From Nanotechnology to Renewable Energy applications, the sheer volume of research being published is overwhelming
 
This thread offers a small contribution for posting the latest important science news read in the general or specialized scientific media on a regular basis
 
To start with, here is some good news for a future drinking water alternative in areas with water shortages and high humidity:
 
Drinking Water From Air Humidity

Not a plant to be seen, the desert ground is too dry. But the air contains water, and research scientists have found a way of obtaining drinking water from air humidity. The system is based completely on renewable energy and is therefore autonomous ....

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605091856.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090605091856.htm

What science news item have you found today to be of interest? 

 
 


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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage




Replies:
Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 08 June 2009 at 4:02pm
Thank You Brother Al Cardoby for this interesting thread and article...excellent idea
 
I read this today....was kind of interesting....it is not latest science news per se but had an interesting angle to modern physics...please let me know if I should just quote a paragraph of the article with the link or the whole article..is that ok per forum rules or sense of decorum....i kindly request everyone's input on this....do people tend to stop reading if too much text is there in the post?....i tend to quote entire text with the link...please do let me know what is better from the reader's perspective...since i personally like to read entire stuff ,i quote it that way but i would like to know what the majority preference is on this...
 
Quantum Mysticism: Gone but Not Forgotten
 
 
Does mysticism have a place in quantum mechanics today, or is the idea that the mind plays a role in creating reality best left to philosophical meditations? Harvard historian Juan Miguel Marin argues the former - not because physicists today should account for consciousness in their research, but because knowing the early history of the philosophical ideas in quantum mechanics is essential for understanding the theory on a fundamental level.
 

In a recent paper published in the European Journal of Physics, Marin has written a short history, based on a longer analysis, of the mysticism controversy in the early quantum physics community. As Marin emphasizes, the controversy began in Germany in the 1920s among physicists in reaction to the new theory of quantum mechanics, but was much different than debates on similar issues today. At the turn of the last century, science and religion were not divided as they are today, and some scientists of the time were particularly inspired by Eastern mysticism. In his analysis, Marin lays out each player’s role and perspective in the controversy, and argues that studying the original interpretations of quantum mechanics can help scientists better understand the theory, and could also be important for the public in general.

“Becoming aware of this subject would help general audiences realize that there are many other alternatives besides the ones offered by the disjunction between science and religion,” Marin told PhysOrg.com. “Science vs. religion is a very recent forced choice that the founders of quantum mechanics would have never recognized, much less accepted.”

Mind Matters

The controversy boils down to the age-old question of the nature of reality. As Einstein (a firm realist) once asked, does the moon exist only when looked at? Although such a viewpoint seems unlikely in our everyday lives, in quantum mechanics, physicists’ observations can sometimes affect what they’re observing on a quantum scale. As the famous Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics argues, we cannot speak about an objective reality other than that which is revealed through measurement and observation.

As Marin explains, the debate of consciousness in quantum theory began around 1927 when Einstein accused Neils Bohr of introducing a mysticism incompatible with science. Bohr denied the accusation and blamed it on Einstein misunderstanding him when he said that humans are both actors and observers in the world. Yet while Bohr believed that quantum processes occurred without the need for observers, he also sympathized with the idea that an extension of quantum theory might help in understanding consciousness.

Einstein, for his part, adamantly opposed any subjectivity in science. He disagreed with Bohr’s view that it is unscientific to inquire whether or not Schrödinger’s cat in a box is alive or dead before an observation is made. Einstein devoted much of his later life to searching for elements of reality to make quantum mechanics a theory based on realism. For instance, the EPR paradox (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox) thought experiment in 1935 attempted to restore realism and causality to the theory.

On the other hand, Wolfgang Pauli truly did harbor some of the views that Einstein accused Bohr of. Pauli favored a hypothesis of “lucid mysticism,” a synthesis between rationality and religion. He speculated that quantum theory could unify the psychological/scientific and philosophical/mystical approaches to consciousness. Pauli’s perspective was influenced by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, whose views on reality were in turn influenced by Eastern religions.

Still other physicists had different views. Marin argues that Max Planck, an adherent of Christianity, framed the controversy as the objectivity of science and Christianity against the mysticism of Schopenhauer and his popularization of Buddhism and Hinduism. Planck considered religion (Christianity) and science compatible based on his opinion that they are both based on objectivity but refer to distinct facets of reality. Meanwhile, Paul Dirac rejected any kind of religious vocabulary, arguing that “religion is a jumble of false assertions with no basis in reality.”

The mysticism controversy also expanded into the public realm, starting in 1929 with first astrophysicist Arthur Eddington’s popular book The Nature of the Physical World. Although the book distorted many concepts, his defense of mysticism caught the attention of the international media. (Eddington was most famous for confirming Einstein's theory of relativity by measuring an eclipse, which catapulted Einstein into fame.)

In the next few years Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger leaned toward the side of mysticism, irritating Einstein and Planck. For others, the choice was not clear cut. Marin argues that the mathematician John Von Neumann intentionally used ambiguous terms when discussing the philosophy of quantum equations, meaning he could fit on either side. “He was a genius at linguistic innovation and came up with German terms that could support many different interpretations,” Marin said.

In 1958, Schrödinger, inspired by Schopenhauer from youth, published his lectures Mind and Matter. Here he argued that there is a difference between measuring instruments and human observation: a thermometer’s registration cannot be considered an act of observation, as it contains no meaning in itself. Thus, consciousness is needed to make physical reality meaningful. As Schrödinger concluded, "Some of you, I am sure, will call this mysticism. So with all due acknowledgement to the fact that physical theory is at all times relative, in that it depends on certain basic assumptions, we may, or so I believe, assert that physical theory in its present stage strongly suggests the indestructibility of Mind by Time."

Cultural Reflections

As Marin notes, Schrödinger’s lectures mark the last of a generation that lived with the mysticism controversy. As Marin explains, quantum mechanics up to World War II existed in a predominantly German context, and this culture helped to form the mystical zeitgeist of the time. The controversy died in the second half of the century, when the physics culture switched to Anglo-American. Most contemporary physicists are, like Einstein, realists, and do not believe that consciousness has a role in quantum theory. The dominant modern view is that an observation does not cause an atom to exist in the observed position, but that the observer finds the location of that atom.

As Marin has shown, the mysticism controversy in quantum mechanics did not involve just a few physicists and mystics (as it seems to today), but at one time it attracted the physics community at large. Some of the ideas have since resurfaced, such as in Eugene Wigner’s 1961 paper on the subject, which inspired popular books such as The Tao of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which seek to connect http://www.physorg.com/tags/quantum+physics/ - quantum physics to Eastern mysticism for a new generation, along with the recent film What the Bleep Do We Know?

“But here it was scientists vs. non-scientists,” Marin explained. “Today it is seen as science vs. religion, but at the time of the foundation of quantum mechanics it was not. There were religious physicists on both sides of the controversy. Most of the important physicists held what we could call today religious beliefs, whether Western or Eastern. When we speak today of the ‘two cultures,’ sciences and humanities, we are referring to the famous early ‘50s lecture by C.P. Snow, in Britain, lamenting the division. German thinkers of the previous decades were barely into that phase of discipline specialization. At the turn of the century, mathematics and physics were still distinguishing themselves from the ‘natural philosophy’ that gave birth to them.”

Marin hopes that scientists today might gain a new perspective on their research by considering how the founders of quantum mechanics viewed the theory.

“Whenever I read scientific articles citing the classic equations conceived by German scientists, it seems to me they could have been improved by researching how the scientists themselves interpreted their own equations,” Marin said. “Among contemporary quantum field theories, the important gauge theories are indebted to the work of [Hermann] Weyl and Pauli. Yet many physicists today would be shocked if they learned how Weyl and Pauli understood the concept ‘field’ when they wrote their classic articles. They were both immersed in mysticism, searching for a way to unify mind and physics. Weyl published a lecture where he concluded by favoring the Christian-mathematical mysticism of Nicholas of Cusa. Moreover, Pauli's published article on Kepler presents him as part of the Western mystical tradition I study.

“For those who do not favor the Copenhagen interpretation and prefer the alternative proposed by David Bohm, I would suggest reading Bohm's many published dialogues on the topic of Eastern mysticism,” he added. “Eddington and Schrödinger, like many today, joined forces to find a quantum gravity theory. Did their shared mysticism have a role to play in whatever insights they gained or mistakes they made? I do not know, but I think it's important to find out.”

http://www.physorg.com/news163670588.html - http://www.physorg.com/news163670588.html
 
   


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 09 June 2009 at 11:48am
A summary or an abstract with the link is normally the best practice In-Shaa-Allah
 
Here is some news from the area of renewable energy and its applications:
 

Floating wind turbine launched

 

 

The world's first floating wind turbine is to be towed out to sea this weekend.

Statoil's Alexandra Beck Gjorv told the BBC the technology, the Hywind, to be put off Norway's coast - "should help move offshore wind farms out of sight".

And it could lead to offshore wind farms eventually being located many miles offshore, away from areas where they cause disruption, Ms Gjorv added.

This would benefit military radar operations, the shipping industry, fisheries, bird life and tourism.

"Taking wind turbines to sea presents new opportunities," said Ms Gjorv, of Statoil's new energy division.

"The wind is stronger and more consistent [and] areas are large."

Floating wind farms are set to be connected to mainland grids via cables across the seabed. The longer the cable, the more expensive it is, so the distance from land is not set to become unlimited, explained Ms Gjorv.

The Hywind, a 2.3 megawatt (MW) wind turbine built by Siemens, combines technologies from both the wind farming industry and the oil and gas sectors, and will be tested off the coast of Norway for two years.

In a similar way to how large parts of icebergs are hidden below the sea surface, the turbine has a 100 metre draft that is anchored to the seabed with cables, that can be up to 700 metres long

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8085551.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8085551.stm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 09 June 2009 at 4:35pm
Jazakh Allah Khair Brother Al Cardoby
 
It really helps to know....Thank you so much
 
Mystery Ingredient Cleaning Earth's Atmosphere
Christine Dell'Amore
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ - National Geographic News
June 4, 2009

Mother Nature has a previously unknown cleaning agent that scrubs away toxic http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/pollution-overview.html - air pollution , scientists have discovered.

What's more, the existence of the still mysterious substance has shaken up decades-long assumptions about our atmosphere's self-cleaning process.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/58740115.html">

Many studies have shown that trace gases and pollutants in the lowest level of our atmosphere break down naturally, thanks to molecules called hydroxyl (OH) radicals.

But the breakdown spews out ozone, itself a toxic pollutant and a greenhouse gas. (Get http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview.html - global warming facts. )

Not so in http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_china.html - China 's heavily polluted Pearl River Delta, where experts were stumped to find lots of OH radicals but relatively small amounts of resulting ozone.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090604-air-pollution-self-clean.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090604-air-pollution-self-clean.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 10 June 2009 at 3:32pm

Periodic table gets a new element

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

The ubiquitous periodic table will soon have a new addition - the "super-heavy" element 112.

More than a decade after experiments first produced a single atom of the element, a team of German scientists has been credited with its discovery.

The team, led by Sigurd Hofmann at the Centre for Heavy Ion Research, must propose a name for their find, before it can be formally added to the table.

Scientists continue the race to discover more super-heavy elements.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8093374.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8093374.stm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 11 June 2009 at 5:26pm

Bacteria cells taught to count

Eric Bland
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/news.html - Discovery News

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200906/r383312_1787621.jpg">

Bacteria may be regarded as simple organisms, but scientists have created a strain that can count to three.

The advance by scientists from http://www.bu.edu/ - Boston University and the http://www.mit.edu/ - Massachusetts Institute of Technology could lead to environmental or biological sensors that measure toxins and then self-destruct once their job is done.

"We didn't teach the bacteria to count, we programmed them to count," says James Collins, a professor at Boston University and a co-author on the study, which appeared in a recent issue of the journal http://www.sciencemag.org/ - Science .

"We can use this new ability as a read-out mechanism or control switch."

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/10/2594064.htm - http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/10/2594064.htm



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 12 June 2009 at 6:53pm

Food of the Future to Be More Diverse?

Maggie Koerth-Baker
for http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ - National Geographic News
June 11, 2009

From the perspective of the plate, the foods we'll eat in the future will likely look and taste a lot like what we eat today. But take a closer peek, and tomorrow's dinner becomes very different indeed.

Agricultural scientists shaping the future of food say that, as global waming alters patterns of temperature, rainfall, and carbon dioxide concentrations in the air, farms must evolve.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/58609774.html">

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-effects.html - Global warming will affect agriculture in a variety of ways: Some regions and farms will get a boost; others will suffer.

To cope with changing growing conditions, farmers will need to reverse decades of crop homogenization and diversify plant strains, agriculture scientists say.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090609-future-food-sustainable.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090609-future-food-sustainable.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 13 June 2009 at 1:05am

Staying Sharp: New Study Uncovers How People Maintain Cognitive Function In Old Age

ScienceDaily (June 12, 2009) — Not everyone declines in cognitive function with age. Elderly people who exercise at least once a week, have at least a high school education and a ninth grade literacy level, are not smokers and are more socially active are more likely to maintain their cognitive skills through their 70s and 80s, according to research published in the June 9, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology

The study followed 2,500 people age 70 to 79 for eight years, testing their cognitive skills several times over the years. Many of the participants showed decline in cognitive function. Fifty-three percent of the participants showed normal age-related decline and 16 percent showed major cognitive decline. However, 30 percent of the participants had no change or improved on the tests over the years.

The researchers then examined what factors made the people whose cognition stayed sharp different from those who lost some of their abilities over eight years.

"To this day, the majority of past research has focused on factors that put people at greater risk to lose their cognitive skills over time, but much less is known about what factors help people maintain their skills," said study author Alexandra Fiocco, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco.

The study reported a unique profile that differentiates people who maintain cognitive function from people who show age-related decline: people who exercise moderately to vigorously at least once a week are 30 percent more likely to maintain their cognitive function than those who do not exercise that often ....

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608162424.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608162424.htm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 13 June 2009 at 7:17pm
A good article...Thank You
 

Being Green: 11 Environmentally Friendly Habits

Sending kids outside, household chemicals explained, promiscuous boaters, and more

1.The Tissue Issue
“Ultra” brands of toilet paper such as Charmin, Cotton­­elle and Quilted Northern may feel soft but they’re hard on the environment because they’re made from virgin fiber and bleached with chlorine. Virgin fiber typically comes from trees grown for pulp production or from sawmill leftovers after trees are cut into lumber. The alternative: brands made from 100 percent recycled fiber, preferably with at least 80 percent postconsumer content.

2. Save energy by putting a lid on the pot whenever you boil water. If every U.S. household did this just once, we’d save up to $2,212,175
 
3. Really Local Food
Planting a vegetable garden is an inexpensive way to obtain fresh, pesticide-free food that hasn’t traveled hundreds of miles to reach your plate.
 

4.Get Out!
Sending a kid outside to play can improve his or her concentration and fight http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=climate - climate change. A study published in 2008 by researchers at the University of Illinois found that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder who took walks outdoors raised their attentiveness scores and that kids who walked in natural settings did better than those who walked city streets. A dose of nature was just as effective as a dose of Ritalin. Of course, the more time kids spend playing outdoors the less time they’ll spend at video-game consoles—which consume an estimated 16 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, about four times the output of Hoover Dam.

5.Not So Extreme Home Makeover
Building or remodeling a house? Consider buying used flooring, doors, indoor and outdoor fixtures, and other salvaged construction materials. You’ll keep these items out of the landfill and reduce your consumption of raw materials.

6.Handy Energy Savers
Cut down on electricity use by replacing these common kitchen appliances with hand-powered tools:

  • Can opener
  • Coffee grinder
  • Juicer
  • Stick blender
  • Electric knife

7.Chemical Decoder
Read the label on your shampoo or skin cream bottle and you’re very likely to find all sorts of mysterious chemicals lurking in the fine print. Is polyquater­nium-10 safe for you and everything that lives downstream from your shower drain? And why do toothpastes and toilet bowl cleaners share some ingredients?

8.Better Boating
Savvy skippers can help prevent the spread of the zebra mussel, an invasive species that wreaks havoc by clogging water pipes and outcompeting native freshwater mussels. The fingernail-size creature can infest new lakes and rivers by hitching a ride with “promiscuous” boaters who visit multiple lakes. The steps to keep zebra mussels and other invasive species in check are well known—and worth repeating, given that more than a few busy sailors “forget” to follow them:

  • Remove all vegetation from your boat and trailer before leaving the boat ramp.
  • Drain water from the motor, bilge and wells before leaving.
  • Dump leftover bait on land, away from the water’s edge.
  • Back home, rinse your boat, motor and trailer; let them dry in the sun for several days before visiting a different body of water.

9.Powering Down PCs
U.S. companies waste almost $4 billion annually on nighttime electricity for computers, according to New Boundary Technologies, a company that says its Green IT Solution software (for Windows computers) can slash computing energy costs by up to 60 percent. After employees go home, the software puts their PCs into hibernation by automatically adjusting power management settings—and overriding any changes the employees may have made during the day.

10.Washing clothes in “hot” water heated to 140 °F uses almost twice as much energy as washing them in “warm” water at 104 °F.
 
11.Pay by Electron
Paying bills online not only saves postage, it also makes a serious dent in your consumption of energy and natural resources. According to the “green calculator” devised by the PayItGreen Alliance, the average American household receives 19 bills and statements monthly and makes seven payments in paper form. Switching to electronic billing would save 6.6 pounds of paper, 63 gallons of wastewater discharge, 4.5 gallons of gasoline and 171 pounds of greenhouse gases a year. A study by the alliance, a nonprofit group supported by the banking industry, claims that if just 2 percent of American households switched from paper to electronic billing, more than 180,000 trees would be spared and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by the equivalent to taking 32,572 cars off the road.
 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=being-green-11-enviro-habits - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=being-green-11-enviro-habits


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 13 June 2009 at 8:49pm
Powering down PC's is something we can all do
 
A look at the future of renewable energy:
 
Slide Show: The World's 10 Largest Renewable Energy Projects

From wind and wave to sun and trash, a look at how existing power plants are providing electricity generated from renewable sources on a massive scale

Today, renewable energy sources generate 12 percent of electricity in the U.S. But wind, wave, sunshine and others represent more than 93 percent of the energy the country could be producing, according to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy.

If renewable energy is going to be a bigger player and have a significant impact in cutting the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that are driving http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=climate - climate change, it's going to have to grow quickly. According to Princeton University scientists Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow's "wedge" strategy of climate change mitigation—which quantifies as a wedge on a time series graph various sets of efforts to maintain flat global carbon emissions between now and 2055—at least two million megawatts of new renewable energy will have to be built in the next 40 years, effectively replacing completely all existing coal-fired power plants as well as accounting for increases in energy use between now and mid-century.

"It's a goal that's beyond anything probably the world's ever undertaken," says Keely Wachs, senior director of corporate http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=communications - communications at BrightSource Energy, a company that hopes to build 2,600 megawatts-worth of power plants that use the sun's heat to generate electricity.

Here are 10 massive projects already producing energy.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow.cfm?id=10-largest-renewable-energy-projects - Slide Show: The World's 10 Largest Renewable Energy Projects

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=10-largest-renewable-energy-projects - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=10-largest-renewable-energy-projects



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 14 June 2009 at 5:33pm
An interesting read...

Looking at Stress—and God—in the Human Brain

DISCOVER reporter David Ewing Duncan uses fMRI to try to track his thoughts on some big questions. http://200.17.137.109:8081/xiscanoe/courses-1/iwmmc-mc3/mri.jpg - http://discovermagazine.com/2009/apr/02-are-smart-drugs-the-answer-to-bad-moods-and-bad-economy -

James Brewer takes a seat beside me in a café at the San Diego Convention Center, where we are both attending the largest neuroscience meeting in the world: thirty thousand brains researching brains. With his balding head, bright eyes, and baby cheeks, http://neurograd.ucsd.edu/faculty/detail.php?id=224 - Brewer , a neurologist at the University of California at San Diego, looks like a large and curious toddler. An unlikely messenger, perhaps, in what for me is now a moment of truth. I had undergone a series of diagnostic procedures in his laboratory, and now, inside the laptop he has placed on the table, are the results of my brain tests.

“Your brain is shrinking,” he says.

This is the last thing I expected to hear. Not me, a man who considers himself healthy and ageless, at least in his own, er, mind.

“People’s brains begin to shrink when they are in their thirties,” Brewer explains with a smile, to suggest this isn’t really a big deal. “Yours is about average.”

http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/24-looking-at-stress-and-god-in-man.s-brain/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C - http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/24-looking-at-stress-and-god-in-man.s-brain/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C =

 



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 14 June 2009 at 8:58pm
Thanks for posting .....
 
Abrupt Global Warming Could Shift Monsoon Patterns, Hurt Agriculture

ScienceDaily (June 14, 2009) — At times in the distant past, an abrupt change in climate has been associated with a shift of seasonal monsoons to the south, a new study concludes, causing more rain to fall over the oceans than in the Earth's tropical regions, and leading to a dramatic drop in global vegetation growth

If similar changes were to happen to the Earth's climate today as a result of global warming – as scientists believe is possible - this might lead to drier tropics, more wildfires and declines in agricultural production in some of the world's most heavily populated regions.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611142354.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611142354.htm

Do you know that the Arabian Peninsula used to have green medows with flowing rivers only a few thousand years ago?
 


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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 15 June 2009 at 7:35pm
Originally posted by Al-Cordoby

Do you know that the Arabian Peninsula used to have green medows with flowing rivers only a few thousand years ago?
 
 
Interesting ...I did not know this exactly but many deserts which we now call as deserts were once lush and green and the landscape was changed by the forces of nature....
 
I have read this hadith in Sahih muslim ...
Allah's Messenger ( peace be upon him) as saying: The Last Hour will not come before wealth becomes abundant and overflowing, so much so that a man takes Zakat out of his property and cannot find anyone to accept it from him and till the land of Arabia becomes meadows and rivers.
Book 005, Number 2208
 
So it will return to become a land of meadows and rivers...masha Allah
 
 
Survey: Family time eroding as Internet use soars
June 15th, 2009 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Whether it's around the dinner table or just in front of the TV, U.S. families say they are spending less time together.

The decline in family time coincides with a rise in http://www.physorg.com/tags/internet+use/ - Internet use and the popularity of social networks, though a new study stopped just short of assigning blame.

The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California is reporting this week that 28 percent of Americans it interviewed last year said they have been spending less time with members of their http://www.physorg.com/tags/households/ - households . That's nearly triple the 11 percent who said that in 2006.

These people did not report spending less time with their friends, however.

Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the center, said people report spending less time with family members just as social networks like http://www.physorg.com/tags/facebook/ - Facebook , http://www.physorg.com/tags/twitter/ - Twitter and MySpace are booming, along with the importance people place on them.

Five-year-old Facebook's active user base, for example, has surged to more than 200 million active users, up from 100 million last August.

Meanwhile, more people say they are worried about how much time kids and teenagers spend online. In 2000, when the center began its annual surveys on Americans and the Internet, only 11 percent of respondents said that family members under 18 were spending too much time online. By 2008, that grew to 28 percent.

"Most people think of the Internet and (our) digital future as boundless, and I do too," Gilbert said.

But, he added, "it can't be a good thing that families are spending less face-to-face time together. Ultimately it leads to less cohesive and less communicative families."

In the first half of the decade, people reported spending an average of 26 hours per month with their families. By 2008, however, that shared time had dropped by more than 30 percent, to about 18 hours.

The advent of new technologies has, in some ways, always changed the way http://www.physorg.com/tags/family+members/ - family members interact.

Cell phones make it easier for parents to keep track of where their children are, while giving kids the kind of privacy they wouldn't have had in the days of landlines.

Television has cut into dinner time, and as TV sets became cheaper, they also multiplied, so that kids and parents no longer have to congregate in the living room to watch it.

But Gilbert said the Internet is so engrossing, and demands so much more attention than other technologies, that it can disrupt personal boundaries in ways other technologies wouldn't have.

"It's not like television, where you can sit around with your family and watch," he said. The Internet, he noted, is mostly one-on-one.

Likely because they can afford more Web-connected gadgets, higher-income families reported greater loss of family time than those who make less money. And more women than men said they felt ignored by a family member using the Internet.

The center's latest survey was a random poll of 2,030 people ages 12 and up was conducted April 9 to June 30, 2008, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

http://www.physorg.com/news164300420.html - http://www.physorg.com/news164300420.html
 
 
 
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 16 June 2009 at 6:07am

Is The Sky The Limit For Wind Power?

High-flying Kites Could Light Up New York

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2009) — In the future, will wind power tapped by high-flying kites light up New York? A new study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution and California State University identifies New York as a prime location for exploiting high-altitude winds, which globally contain enough energy to meet world demand 100 times over.

The researchers found that the regions best suited for harvesting this energy match with population centers in the eastern U.S. and East Asia, but fluctuating wind strength still presents a challenge for exploiting this energy source on a large scale

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615102038.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615102038.htm



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 16 June 2009 at 3:33pm

This news is a bit old but interesting...

Scientists Get Closer to Center of the Earth

Fiery journeys to the center of the Earth occur only in the sci-fi realm, but now scientists have laid out a way to pinpoint our planet’s center of mass, providing a more accurate map of that core destination.

The results will lead to critical information for studying earthquakes, volcanoes, global sea-level rise and warming, and a post-glacial rise in some surface areas related to the melting of ice sheets.

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070615_earth_center.html - http://www.livescience.com/environment/070615_earth_center.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 17 June 2009 at 2:40pm
Very interesting
 
I had read last year that the Japanese were actually investigating similar prjects
 
How faster can computers get?

New Exotic Material Could Revolutionize Electronics

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2009) — Move over, silicon—it may be time to give the Valley a new name. Physicists at the Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have confirmed the existence of a type of material that could one day provide dramatically faster, more efficient computer chips.

Recently-predicted and much-sought, the material allows electrons on its surface to travel with no loss of energy at room temperatures and can be fabricated using existing semiconductor technologies. Such material could provide a leap in microchip speeds, and even become the bedrock of an entirely new kind of computing industry based on spintronics, the next evolution of electronics.

Physicists Yulin Chen, Zhi-Xun Shen and their colleagues tested the behavior of electrons in the compound bismuth telluride. The results, published online June 11 in Science Express, show a clear signature of what is called a topological insulator, a material that enables the free flow of electrons across its surface with no loss of energy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615144431.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615144431.htm

 



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 18 June 2009 at 5:18am

Research parks feel the economic pinch

Once lauded as incubators of high-tech jobs, science parks find themselves struggling in the new financial environment.

Science parks, which have proliferated in recent years, face an uncertain future as the recession affects government budgets, university endowments and private investments — all of which science parks often depend on.

"A lot of big projects that were in the works are definitely feeling the crunch," says Anthony Townsend, a New York-based research director at the Institute for the Future think tank

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090617/full/459896a.html - http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090617/full/459896a.html



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 19 June 2009 at 1:36pm

Using Math To Take The Lag Out Of Jet Lag

ScienceDaily (June 19, 2009) — Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the University of Michigan have developed a software program that prescribes a regimen for avoiding jet lag using timed light exposure. 

Traveling across several times zones can cause an individual to experience jet lag, which includes trouble sleeping at night and difficulty remaining awake during the day. These effects largely reflect de-synchronization between the body's internal time clock and local environmental cues.

The program, which seeks to re-synchronize the body with its new environment, considers inputs like background light level and the number of time zones traveled. Then, based on a mathematical model, the program gives users exact times of the day when they should apply countermeasures such as bright light to intervene and reduce the effects of jet lag.

Timed light exposure is a well known synchronization method, and when used properly, this intervention can reset an individual's internal clock to align with local time. The result is more efficient sleep, a decrease in fatigue, and an increase in cognitive performance. Poorly timed light exposure can prolong the re-synchronization process.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200933.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200933.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 20 June 2009 at 1:29pm
Green tea 'slows prostate cancer'

A chemical found in green tea appears to slow the progression of prostate cancer, a study has suggested.

Green tea has been linked to a positive effect on a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

The research, in the US journal Cancer Prevention Research, found a significant fall in certain markers which indicate cancer development.

A UK charity said the tea might help men manage low-risk tumours

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8108831.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8108831.stm

 


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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 21 June 2009 at 1:22pm

Sunspots Revealed In Striking Detail By Supercomputers

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2009) — In a breakthrough that will help scientists unlock mysteries of the Sun and its impacts on Earth, an international team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientific detail and remarkable beauty.

The high-resolution simulations of sunspot pairs open the way for researchers to learn more about the vast mysterious dark patches on the Sun's surface. Sunspots are associated with massive ejections of charged plasma that can cause geomagnetic storms and disrupt communications and navigational systems. They also contribute to variations in overall solar output, which can affect weather on Earth and exert a subtle influence on climate patterns.

The research, by scientists at NCAR and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, is being published June 18 in Science Express.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618143958.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618143958.htm

 



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 23 June 2009 at 10:35am

Ice Sheets Can Retreat 'In A Geologic Instant,' Study Of Prehistoric Glacier Shows

ScienceDaily (June 22, 2009) — Modern glaciers, such as those making up the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are capable of undergoing periods of rapid shrinkage or retreat, according to new findings by paleoclimatologists at the University at Buffalo.

The paper, published on June 21 in Nature Geoscience, describes fieldwork demonstrating that a prehistoric glacier in the Canadian Arctic rapidly retreated in just a few hundred years.

The proof of such rapid retreat of ice sheets provides one of the few explicit confirmations that this phenomenon occurs.

Should the same conditions recur today, which the UB scientists say is very possible, they would result in sharply rising global sea levels, which would threaten coastal populations.

"A lot of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are characteristic of the one we studied in the Canadian Arctic," said Jason Briner, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and lead author on the paper. "Based on our findings, they, too, could retreat in a geologic instant."

The new findings will allow scientists to more accurately predict how global warming will affect ice sheets and the potential for rising sea levels in the future, by developing more robust climate and ice sheet models.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090621143315.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090621143315.htm



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 23 June 2009 at 1:09pm

Worldwide broadcast for July’s solar eclipse

Jun 22, 2009

22 July will feature the longest solar eclipse of the 21st Century. At 6 minutes and 39 seconds, it will be an impressive sight for those able to see it. Visible from mainland Asia, Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and through the Pacific Ocean, the experience for people in those regions will be incredible.

To allow astronomers and the public all around the world to witness this spectacle, the Chinese Astronomical Society, supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be hosting a live broadcast of the eclipse. Available online at http://eclipse.astronomy2009.org.cn/english - http://eclipse.astronomy2009.org.cn/english , it is an important contribution to IYA2009's goal of making astronomy accessible to all.

Called "Multi-site Federated Live Broadcast of Solar Eclipse on July 22, International Year of Astronomy 2009", it will take full advantage of the latest networking, multimedia, and emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Multiple observation sites will be organised inside the wide eclipse region, especially large cities within the total solar eclipse belt. Signals from different sites will be collected and sent to a central broadcast studio through high-speed network backbones. The public signal will be released to various portals, including websites, TV, and mobile phones.

Thanks to this broadcast, citizens of the world will all be able to share in the experience of witnessing a solar eclipse.

http://www.iya2009.org/news/updates/325/ - http://www.iya2009.org/news/updates/325/
 
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 24 June 2009 at 10:42am

Bird Migration: Toxic Molecule May Help Birds 'See' North And South

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2009) — Researchers at the University of Illinois report that a toxic molecule known to damage cells and cause disease may also play a pivotal role in bird migration. The molecule, superoxide, is proposed as a key player in the mysterious process that allows birds to "see" Earth's magnetic field.

The discovery, reported this month in Biophysical Journal, occurred as a result of a "mistake" made by a collaborator, said principal investigator Klaus Schulten, who holds the Swanlund Chair in Physics at Illinois.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/06/090622112758-large.jpg">
Changes in the electromagnetic field, such as those experienced by a bird changing direction in flight, appear to alter a biochemical compass in the eye, allowing the bird to see how its direction corresponds to north or south. (Credit: Creative Commons / Mila Zinkova)
 

Although known primarily as an agent of aging and cellular damage, superoxide recently has been recognized for its role in cellular signaling.

However, its toxicity may also explain why humans, who also have cryptochrome in their eyes, do not have the same ability to see Earth's electromagnetic field, Schulten said.

"Our bodies try to play it safe," he said. "It might be that human evolution chose longevity over orientational ability."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622112758.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622112758.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 25 June 2009 at 12:06pm

Space Shuttle Science Shows How 1908 Tunguska Explosion Was Caused By A Comet

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2009) — The mysterious 1908 Tunguska explosion that leveled 830 square miles of Siberian forest was almost certainly caused by a comet entering the Earth's atmosphere, says new Cornell University research. The conclusion is supported by an unlikely source: the exhaust plume from the NASA space shuttle launched a century later.

The research, accepted for publication (June 24, 2009) by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union, connects the two events by what followed each about a day later: brilliant, night-visible clouds, or noctilucent clouds, that are made up of ice particles and only form at very high altitudes and in extremely cold temperatures.

"It's almost like putting together a 100-year-old murder mystery," said Michael Kelley, the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Cornell who led the research team. "The evidence is pretty strong that the Earth was hit by a comet in 1908." Previous speculation had ranged from comets to meteors.

The researchers contend that the massive amount of water vapor spewed into the atmosphere by the comet's icy nucleus was caught up in swirling eddies with tremendous energy by a process called two-dimensional turbulence, which explains why the noctilucent clouds formed a day later many thousands of miles away.

Noctilucent clouds are the Earth's highest clouds, forming naturally in the mesosphere at about 55 miles over the polar regions during the summer months when the mesosphere is around minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 117 degrees Celsius).

The space shuttle exhaust plume, the researchers say, resembled the comet's action

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090624152941.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090624152941.htm

 



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 25 June 2009 at 12:15pm

Volcanic blasts kicked off modern ice ages

Monday, 22 June 2009 Michael Reilly
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/news.html - Discovery News


http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200906/r388361_1813884.jpg">

Volcanic ash rained into the oceans that fertilised a feeding frenzy of algae, say researchers (Source: iStockphoto)

A series of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions gave the planet its polar ice caps, and started a freeze-thaw cycle of ice ages that persists to this day, according to a new theory.

Though we have come to view polar ice as a permanent feature, ice on earth has a checkered past.

Until around 34 million years ago the planet was much warmer than it is today; the Arctic was a vast swamp, Antarctica's mountains were speckled with just a few tiny glaciers. There were no such things as ice caps.

Suddenly, mysteriously, earth's balmy climate cooled. Ice took up residence at the poles, and began marching toward the equator.

Seeding algae

They argue that a series of massive volcanic eruptions spanning nearly all of present-day Mexico, as well as parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho launched vast amounts of ash into the atmosphere.

"All that stuff in the atmosphere is going to block sunlight," says Cather. "But there's no evidence that it lasts more than a few years, maybe a few decades with a big flare-up. So we thought, what about iron fertilisation?"

As ash rained into the world's oceans, the team's theory goes, it brought in millions of tons of iron that fertilised a feeding frenzy of algae. The photosynthetic creatures harnessed sunlight, nutrients and carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, sucking billions of tonnes of it from the atmosphere and chilling the planet.

The team's work was published this week in the journal http://geosphere.geoscienceworld.org/ - Geosphere .

Enormous blast

But it didn't happen overnight. The Silicic Large Igneous Province erupted as hundreds of explosions between 50 and 15 million years ago.

Each eruption was gargantuan, dwarfing the 1991 Mount Pinatubo blast that briefly cooled global temperatures by 0.5°C.

In all, the team estimates the eruptions launched 400,000 cubic kilometres of ash into the atmosphere during that time, enough material to fill the Caspian Sea five times over, or 710,000 times the volume of Sydney Harbour.

The cumulative effect on climate was immense. Over millions of years, what had been a steamy planet turned into the icy place we know today.

And though the direct effects of the eruptions have faded from view, climate feedback from ice sheets, wind patterns, and changes in the earth orbit are enough to keep us in the glacial cycle deep-freeze ice ages that return every 20,000 to 100,000 years.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/22/2604534.htm - http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/22/2604534.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 26 June 2009 at 12:44pm

Your arteries on Wonder bread

June 25th, 2009

Doctors have known for decades that foods like white bread and corn flakes aren't good for cardiac health. In a landmark study, new research from Tel Aviv University now shows exactly how these high carb foods increase the risk for heart problems.

"Looking inside" the arteries of students eating a variety of foods, Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center -- with collaboration of the Endocrinology Institute -- visualized exactly what happens inside the body when the wrong foods for a healthy heart are eaten. He found that foods with a high glycemic index distended brachial arteries for several hours.

Elasticity of arteries anywhere in the body can be a measure of heart health. But when aggravated over time, a sudden expansion of the artery wall can cause a number of negative health effects, including reduced elasticity, which can cause heart disease or sudden death.

Using a clinical and research technique pioneered by his laboratory in Israel, Dr. Shechter was able to visualize what happens inside our arteries before, during and after eating high carb foods. It is a first in medical history. The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Time to skip the wedding cake?

"It's very hard to predict heart disease," says Dr. Shechter, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. "But doctors know that high glycemic foods rapidly increase blood sugar. Those who binge on these foods have a greater chance of sudden death from heart attack. Our research connects the dots, showing the link between diet and what's happening in real time in the arteries."

Like the uncomfortable medical warnings on packets of cigarettes, this new research could lead to a whole new way to show patients the effects of a poor diet on our body.

http://www.physorg.com/news165153583.html - http://www.physorg.com/news165153583.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 27 June 2009 at 9:24am
COSMIC BLOB PICTURES: Galactic "Coming of Age" Revealed
 
June 24, 2009--Mysterious "blobs" of glowing gas in far-flung regions of space are mysteries no more, according to astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The huge reservoirs of hydrogen gas were found about a decade ago during surveys of young, distant galaxies. The blobs glow brightly in visible light, but the sources of immense energy required to power the glow remained unclear.

Now, in new images from Chandra, scientists have found evidence that the gas blobs are being heated by the growth of nearby galaxies with supermassive black holes at their hearts. Above, a still from an animation shows how the black hole in a spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way, might send out pulses of heat that illuminate the surrounding gas.

Galaxies grow as interstellar gases drawn in by gravity cool and condense to form new stars. But eventually a buildup of heat in the surrounding gas triggers the galaxies to slow down their growth, scientists say.

"We're seeing signs that the galaxies and black holes inside these blobs are coming of age and are pushing back on the gas [being pulled in by gravity] to prevent further growth," study co-author Bret Lehmer, of Durham University in the U.K., said in a statement. "Massive galaxies must go through a stage like this or they would form too many stars and so end up ridiculously large by the present day."

Findings to appear in the July 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
— Image courtesy NASA/CXC/A.Hobart
 
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/cosmic-blobs-revealed/index.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/cosmic-blobs-revealed/index.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 27 June 2009 at 9:04pm

Solar wind blows at 50-year low

The solar wind - the stream of charged particles billowing away from the Sun - is at its weakest for 50 years.

Scientists made the assessment after studying 18 years of data from the Ulysses satellite which has sampled the space environment all around our star.

They expect the reduced output to have effects right across the Solar System.

Indeed, one impact is to diminish slightly the influence the Sun has over its local environment which extends billions of kilometres into space

Confirmation of that prediction should come from the far-distant Voyager spacecraft which were launched in the 1970s and are now bearing down on the edge of the heliosphere - the great "bubble" of wind material that surrounds the Sun.

Scientists now predict the Voyagers will hit the edge and cross over into interstellar space - that region considered to be "between the stars" - sooner than anticipated.

Space age

The solar wind, which originates in the Sun's hot outer atmosphere known as the corona, gusts and calms with the star's familiar 11-year cycle of activity (but also over its less well known longer cycles, too).

Calmer wind conditions would be expected to prevail right now, but the Ulysses data indicates circumstances unprecedented in recent times.

"This is a whole Sun phenomenon," said Dave McComas, Ulysses solar wind instrument principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, US.

"The entire Sun is blowing significantly less hard - about 20-25% less hard - than it was during the last solar minimum 10-15 years ago.

"That's a very significant change. In fact, the solar wind we're seeing now is blowing the least hard we've see it for a prolonged time, since the start of those observations in the 1960s at the start of the space age."

In addition to being calmer, the wind measured at Ulysses is 13% cooler.

However, judging from Sun activity data collected by non-satellite methods over the past 200 years, the current behaviour is thought to be well within the long-term norm.

Nonetheless, scientists expect the weakened wind to have a wide range of impacts.

Energetic rays

The charged wind particles also carry with them the Sun's magnetic field, and this has a protective role in limiting the number of high-energy cosmic rays that can enter the Solar System.

More of them will probably now make their way through .....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7632331.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7632331.stm



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 28 June 2009 at 11:34am

One In 25 Deaths Worldwide Attributable To Alcohol

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2009) — Research from Canada's own Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) featured in this week's edition of the Lancet shows that worldwide, 1 in 25 deaths are directly attributable to alcohol consumption. This rise since 2000 is mainly due to increases in the number of women drinking.

CAMH's Dr Jürgen Rehm and his colleagues found that alcohol-attributable disorders are among the most disabling disease categories within the global burden of disease, especially for men. And in contrast to other traditional risk factors for disease, the burden attributable to alcohol lies more with younger people than with the older population.

The study showed that Europe had a high proportion of deaths related to alcohol, with 1 in 10 deaths directly attributable (up to 15% in the former Soviet Union). Average alcohol consumption in Europe in the adult population is somewhat higher than in North America: 13 standard drinks per person per week (1 standard drink = 13.6 grams of pure ethanol and corresponds to a can of beer, one glass or wine and one shot of spirits) compared to North America's 10 to 11 standard drinks. The recent Canadian consumption rate is equivalent of almost 9 standard drinks per person per week age 15 plus, and has been going up, as has high risk drinking. Globally, the average is around 7 standard drinks per person per week (despite the fact that most of the adult population worldwide actually abstains from drinking alcohol).

Most of the deaths caused by alcohol were through injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver cirrhosis.

  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090626102332.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090626102332.htm



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 29 June 2009 at 9:54am

Massive European Solar Project Set for Launch

A German-led consortium wants to fund an international solar-energy plan to the tune of €400 billion. The idea is to gather solar heat in North Africa and send the electricity to Europe. If it works, it would be the largest green-energy project in the world.

An ambitious German-led project to supply Europe with solar energy from the deserts of North Africa will start with a meeting on July 13, an executive from the German insurance giant Munich Re told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday. The project involves a consortium of about 20 firms -- including Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and energy companies like RWE -- and will cost €400 billion ($555.3 billion

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,630699,00.html#ref=nlint - http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,630699,00.html#ref=nlint

Desertec Solar Project 'an Encouraging Economic Sign'

With the planned Desertec project, Europe wants to build a giant solar power plant to convert the endless sun in the Sahara Desert into CO2-free electricity. The mega project isn't without its critics, but most German commentators are welcoming Tuesday's announcement that the ambitious solar plans may soon move forward.

The vision is an attractive one. Imagine a gigantic solar thermal power plant stretching across the deserts of North Africa, sending huge quantities of energy across the Mediterranean to Europe -- and emitting no CO2 in the process

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,630948,00.html#ref=nlint - http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,630948,00.html#ref=nlint

Sounds like good news

 



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 29 June 2009 at 11:21am

Sure does...seems like a very interesting project...Thank you Brother Tarek  

Round-the-world solar plane debut

 

Bertrand Piccard unveils his solar plane

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard has unveiled a prototype of the solar-powered plane he hopes eventually to fly around the world.

The vehicle, spanning 61m but weighing just 1,500kg, will undergo trials to prove it can fly through the night.

Dr Piccard, who made history in 1999 by circling the globe non-stop in a balloon, says he wants to demonstrate the potential of renewable energies.

The final version of the plane will try first to cross the Atlantic in 2012.

It will be a risky endeavour. Only now is solar and battery technology becoming mature enough to sustain flight through the night - and then only in unmanned planes.

But Dr Piccard's Solar Impulse team has invested tremendous energy - and no little money - in trying to find what it believes is a breakthrough design.

"I love this type of vision where you set the goal and then you try to find a way to reach it, because this is challenging," he told BBC News.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8120026.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8120026.stm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 30 June 2009 at 1:17pm
 Hand Stencils Through Time
 
Clusters of hand stencils dating back 2,500 years cover the walls of Argentina's Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) in Patagonia.

Prehistoric handprints and stencils span all continents and began appearing on rock walls around the world at least 30,000 years ago.

"Our hands are one of the features that make humans unique, something that links us all,"
http://www.anthro.psu.edu/faculty_staff/snow.shtml - Pennsylvania State University archaeologist Dean Snow said.

With support from the National Geographic Society's
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/field/grants-programs/cre.html - Committee for Research and Exploration , he analyzed hand stencils at caves in http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_spain.html - Spain and http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_france.html - France and found most of them were female. Before, Snow says, most scientists had incorrectly "assumed that it was a guy thing." (See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/cave-handprints-actually-women-missions-pictures/ - pictures of cave handprints recently found to be female .)


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/cave-art-handprints-missions-pictures/ - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/cave-art-handprints-missions-pictures/
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 01 July 2009 at 12:19pm
FUTURE FARMS: High-Rise, Beach Pod, and Pyramids
 
 
The Pyramid Farm, designed by vertical farming guru Dickson Despommier at New York's Columbia University and Eric Ellingsen of the Illinois Institute of Technology, is one way to address the needs of a swelling population on a planet with finite farmland.

Design teams around the world have been rolling out concepts for futuristic skyscrapers that house farms instead of--or in addition to--people as a means of feeding city dwellers with locally-grown crops.

In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, the Pyramid Farm includes a heating and pressurization system that converts sewage into water and carbon to fuel machinery and lighting, according to Inhabitat.com.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/vertical-farm-towers/index.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/vertical-farm-towers/index.html




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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 02 July 2009 at 9:30am

A glimpse at Intel's futuristic gadgets

Wouldn't it be useful to have a gadget that immediately warned you when the information you just saw on the Internet or heard from a buddy might be baloney?

How about a gizmo that helps you remember the names of people you encounter whose faces you only vaguely recall? Or a personal robot with such a gentle touch it could fetch your reading glasses without leaving a scratch?

These are among more than three dozen futuristic concepts being explored by Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker http://www.physorg.com/tags/intel/ - Intel . Some might seem an odd fit for a company known for its sophisticated microprocessors, which serve as the brains of personal computers and other devices. But Intel's researchers, often working with universities, are constantly looking for innovative products or new uses for those it already sells.

"We want to be focused on breakthrough technologies," Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said during an unveiling of the research recently at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. "We believe our mission is to take risks and define the exceptional opportunities."

Here are a few of the ideas the company is working on:

• Dispute Finder: This experiment, recently being tried out at disputefinder.cs.berkeley.edu, is designed to enable Web surfers who install a browser extension to instantly know when a news article, blog or something else they are reading online is contradicted by other information.

Disputed snippets of text are automatically highlighted. When clicked on, these sections reveal contrary or supporting facts, which have been submitted by other Web users, similar to the way Wikipedia compiles its information. Users also can vote on the relative importance of the evidence, with the evidence receiving the most votes getting the most prominent display.

Robert Ennals, Intel's principal investigator for the idea, envisions people one day carrying mobile devices that can check the reliability of what others express verbally.

"The plan is to use voice-recognition software to automatically transcribe what is being heard into text" and then compare that with a copy of the dispute-finder database stored on the device, Ennals said. "We don't think that voice recognition is quite good enough to do this yet, but we hope that the technology will be good enough fairly soon."

He added that the mobile device might be designed to vibrate if it finds evidence contrary to what is said.

• Face recognition: If you often can't remember the names of people you've met and suddenly encounter again, Intel is working on something for you. It's a gadget you'd wear that would be equipped with a camera and a database full of images of your acquaintances.

That way, if you're at a party or other place and run into somebody whose name you can't recall, the http://www.physorg.com/tags/gizmo/ - gizmo would recognize their face and remind you who they are.

• Tour guide: Intel thinks mobile devices with visual-recognition capabilities also would prove useful to people who find themselves in unfamiliar places.

One version might contain information about the interior layout of buildings so it could direct a patient to a doctor's office in a large hospital, for example. Another might function like a vacation tour guide, said David Bormann, an Intel official exploring such ideas.

If you're visiting Paris and go to the Eiffel Tower, such a device would recognize the structure and provide interesting facts about it, he said. And if you point it at a bistro where you're considering having lunch, he added, the device might find reviews of the restaurant "so you can decide if you want to eat there."

• Gentle robots: To lessen the likelihood of robotic devices damaging objects they grab, Intel is experimenting with versions of the machines that are capable of electrolocation, an ability some fish have to detect things by bouncing electric fields off them.

The company, which has equipped a mechanical hand with that capability, says the technology gives robots the "nervous sense of reluctant touch" that human hands display when grasping something delicate.

Intel envisions robots one day fetching and doing all sorts of other tasks for people.

"The robotics industry today is at a point analogous to the personal computing industry of the early 1980s," the company says on its Web site. "In the next decade the number of personal robots deployed in unstructured environments like homes could grow dramatically."

Intel officials generally wouldn't speculate on how long it might take for these concepts to wind up on the market -- if ever. But a poster displayed at the event noted, "your kid's kid's kid won't think what we're doing is crazy at all."

http://www.physorg.com/news165689170.html - http://www.physorg.com/news165689170.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: ruby
Date Posted: 02 July 2009 at 2:15pm
Originally posted by a well wisher

FUTURE FARMS: High-Rise, Beach Pod, and Pyramids
 
 
The Pyramid Farm, designed by vertical farming guru Dickson Despommier at New York's Columbia University and Eric Ellingsen of the Illinois Institute of Technology, is one way to address the needs of a swelling population on a planet with finite farmland.

Design teams around the world have been rolling out concepts for futuristic skyscrapers that house farms instead of--or in addition to--people as a means of feeding city dwellers with locally-grown crops.

In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, the Pyramid Farm includes a heating and pressurization system that converts sewage into water and carbon to fuel machinery and lighting, according to Inhabitat.com.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/vertical-farm-towers/index.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/photogalleries/vertical-farm-towers/index.html


 
 
Jazakallah khair for posting this one!!!


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ALLAH IS ONE, LIKE HIM IS NONE


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 03 July 2009 at 12:33pm

Thank you Sister Ruby

Sun Dial Uses Mobile Phones To Alert Muslims To Prayer
 
Religious technology may seem like an oxymoron, but as more people obtain mobile phones, iPhones and other devices to help them manage their lives, it's only natural that many of them will be using their gadgets to help them enrich their spiritual life as well.
 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/04/090406072917-large.jpg">
Sun Dial is a mobile application that uses images to alert users to the five daily prayers of Islam. (Credit: Susan Wyche)

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a mobile application known as Sun Dial, which alerts Muslim users when it's time to perform the five daily prayers known as salat. The device is currently being discussed this week at the human-computer interaction conference, CHI, in Boston.

"We have to understand religion because it's such a central part of peoples lives," explained Susan Wyche, doctoral candidate in the College of Computing and GVU Center at Georgia Tech.

Designing technological devices for religious use may be very different from designing devices for traditional uses in office settings.

"Efficiency and productivity tend to be driving forces when designing technology for offices, but these are not as central when designing applications for the home or religious settings. Why would you design a device that makes someone pray faster?," said Wyche.

Wyche, along with her research team, chose to focus on Islam for this study, partially because of the religion's popularity worldwide and partially because Muslims have historically used technology such as compasses and telescopes to help them determine the direction to face during prayer.

Working with seven focus groups, they determined that the greatest interest from the participants lay in prompting them when it was time to pray — not by using text, which some commercial applications use, but through imagery combined with audible alerts.

Sun Dial tells users that the time to pray is approaching by using an image of the sun lining up with a green circle. When the sun lines up with the circle, it's time to pray.

"Unlike similar systems, ours relies on graphics rather than text and graphs to communicate prayer times. Users drove this choice by telling us that tracking the sun was the most religiously valued method to determine prayer times."

Wyche and colleagues tested their application with Muslims from Georgia Tech and the greater Atlanta area for two weeks with favorable reaction. They're currently working on implementing a few design changes such as a digital clock and a vibration alert. Eventually, they plan on making the application available for download.

"Sun Dial provided more than functionality or a prompt to the prayer times; it also contributed to users' religious experience by reminding them they were part of a larger community. More broadly, carefully considering imagery is important when developing mobile phone applications, particularly ones that support personal and emotional activities, which may be sacred or secular."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406072917.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406072917.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 04 July 2009 at 1:14pm
Why microbes are smarter than you thought
 
Escherichia coli bacteria genes mutate more rapidly when under stress - a last ditch attempt to evolve features that might help them survive
 

The http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19325952.100-welcome-to-life-on-the-tiniest-scales.html - vast majority of species on Earth are single-celled. Most of these languish in obscurity – many have never even been named – but some of the relatively few species that have been studied exhibit remarkable abilities.

Many of these are physical: some micro-organisms are http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19826525.300-mighty-microbe-pulls-100000-times-its-bodyweight.html - amazingly strong ; others can http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17305-resurrection-bug-revived-after-120000-years.html - hibernate for hundreds of thousands of years or thrive in http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14208-the-most-extreme-lifeforms-in-the-universe.html - environments so extreme that they would kill off most other life forms in a flash.

But many bacteria and protists also exhibit behaviour that looks remarkably intelligent. This behaviour isn't the result of conscious thought – the sort you find in humans and other complex animals – because single-celled organisms don't have nervous systems, let alone brains.

A better explanation is that they're "biological computers" with internal machinery that can process information ( http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227141.600-review-wetware-by-dennis-bray.html - see our review of Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell ). Here are some of the most striking examples of this "intelligent" behaviour from the New Scientist archive.

Communication

Bacteria talk to each other with chemicals. They do so for a host of reasons, some of them hard to understand unless you are another bacterium (or a dedicated bacteriologist), but one of the most straightforward is demonstrated by Bacillus subtilis.

If B. subtilis individuals are growing in a http://www.newscientist.com/topic/food-drink - food -poor area, they release chemicals into their surroundings. These essentially tell their neighbours: "There's not much food here, so clear off or we'll both starve."

In response to these chemical messages, the other bacteria set themselves up further away, completely changing the shape of the colony.

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14719953.500-the-secret-language-of-bacteria.html - The secret language of bacteria .

Decision-making

Many single-celled organisms can work out how many other bacteria of their own species, are in their vicinity – an ability known as "quorum sensing".

Each individual bacterium releases a small amount of a chemical into the surrounding area – a chemical that it can detect through receptors on its outer wall. If there are lots of other bacteria around, all releasing the same chemical, levels can reach a critical point and trigger a change in behaviour.

Pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria often use quorum sensing to decide when to launch an attack on their host. Once they have amassed in sufficient numbers to overwhelm the immune system, they collectively launch an assault on the body. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17723764.700-make-peace-not-war.html - Jamming their signals might provide us with a way to fight back.

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18424745.300-a-billion-bacteria-brains-are-better-than-one.html - A billion bacteria brains are better than one .

City living

Not only can bacteria be talkative and co-operative, but they also form communities. When they do, the result is a biofilm, most familiar as the thin layers of slime that coat the insides of water pipes, or kitchen surfaces in student residences. They're also found in biological refuges, like the inner linings of human digestive systems – anywhere, in fact, where there is plenty of water.

Many different species live side by side in these "bacterial cities", munching one another's wastes, cooperating to exploit food sources, and safeguarding one another from external threats – such as antibiotics.

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15120454.500-slime-city.html - Slime city .

Accelerated mutation

Many microbes can accelerate the rate at which their genes mutate. This allows them to obtain new abilities that may be helpful when conditions get tough. This is a risky strategy, since many of the new mutations will be harmful or even fatal and is, in effect, a last-ditch tactic when there's little left to lose.

Examples are legion: Escherichia coli mutates more rapidly when under stress ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1082240 - Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1082240 ), and yeast has also been shown to perform the same trick ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10409230701507773 - Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, DOI: 10.1080/10409230701507773 ).

During the early 1990s, researchers suggested that bacteria might have a way to "choose" mutations that would be particularly useful. This idea of http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12717342.900-science-can-bacteria-direct-their-own-evolution.html - directed mutation was extremely controversial, and by 2001 the evidence was stacked against it ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35080556 - Nature Reviews Genetics, DOI: 10.1038/35080556 ).

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15721215.400-day-of-the-mutators.html - Day of the mutators .

Navigation

It's common knowledge that many animals can navigate across vast distances, migrating birds and honeybees being among the best-known examples. But microbes are also pretty good at it.

The single-celled algae collectively called Chlamydomonas http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18424775.600-lightseeking-algae-sit-on-a-chip.html - swim towards light , but only if it is of a wavelength that they can use for photosynthesis.

Similarly, some bacteria move according to the presence of chemicals in their environment – a behaviour called chemotaxis. E. coli, for example, move http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15921475.200-get-the-message.html - like sharks on the trail of blood if a few molecules of food are dropped into their environment.

Another group of bacteria align themselves to the Earth's magnetic field, allowing them to head directly north or south ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.170679 - Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.170679 ). Known as magnetotactic bacteria, their special ability comes from specialised organelles loaded with magnetic crystals.

But perhaps the most striking feat of microbial navigation is performed by the slime mould Physarum polycephalum. This colony of amoeba-like organisms always finds the http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25-primitive-intelligence.html - shortest route through a maze .

See http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12517064.300-microbes-on-the-move.html - Microbes on the move .

Learning and memory

When the amoeba Dictyostelium searches the surface of a Petri dish for food, it makes frequent turns. But it does not do so entirely randomly.

If it has just turned right, it is twice as likely to turn left as right on its next turn, and vice versa. In some way, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19325954.900-tiny-organisms-remember-the-way-to-food.html - it "remembers" which direction it last turned . Human sperm http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2729-smart-human-sperm-have-memory.html - have the same ability .

E. coli goes one better. This bacterium spends part of its life cycle travelling through the human digestive system encountering different environments as it goes. In the course of its journey, it encounters the sugar lactose before it finds the related sugar, maltose. At its first taste of lactose, it switches on the biochemical machinery to digest it – but it also partially activates the machinery for maltose, so that it will be ready for a feast as soon as it is reached.

To show that this was not simply hard-wired, the researchers from Tel Aviv University grew E. coli for several months with lactose, but without maltose. They found that the bacteria gradually changed their behaviour, so that they no longer bothered to switch on the maltose-digesting system ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature08112 - Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature08112 ).

Remarkable though these behaviours are, we have probably only scratched the surface of what single-celled organisms can do. With so many still entirely unknown to science, there must be plenty more surprises in store.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17390-why-microbes-are-smarter-than-you-thought.html?page=1 - http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17390-why-microbes-are-smarter-than-you-thought.html?page=1



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 05 July 2009 at 2:40pm
Printable batteries
 
The small, thin battery comes out of the printer and can be applied to flexible substrates. Credit: Fraunhofer ENAS
 
 
 
For a long time, batteries were bulky and heavy. Now, a new cutting-edge battery is revolutionizing the field. It is thinner than a millimeter, lighter than a gram, and can be produced cost-effectively through a printing process.

In the past, it was necessary to race to the bank for every money transfer and every bank statement. Today, bank transactions can be easily carried out at home. Now where is that piece of paper again with the TAN numbers? In the future you can spare yourself the search for the number. Simply touch your EC card and a small integrated display shows the TAN number to be used. Just type in the number and off you go. This is made possible by a printable battery that can be produced cost-effectively on a large scale.

It was developed by a research team led by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz together with colleagues from TU Chemnitz and Menippos GmbH. "Our goal is to be able to mass produce the batteries at a price of single digit cent range each," states Dr. Andreas Willert, group manager at ENAS.

The characteristics of the battery differ significantly from those of conventional batteries. The printable version weighs less than one gram on the scales, is not even one millimeter thick and can therefore be integrated into bank cards, for example. The battery contains no mercury and is in this respect environmentally friendly. Its voltage is 1.5 V, which lies within the normal range.

By placing several batteries in a row, voltages of 3 V, 4.5 V and 6 V can also be achieved. The new type of battery is composed of different layers: a http://www.physorg.com/tags/zinc/ - zinc http://www.physorg.com/tags/anode/ - anode and a manganese http://www.physorg.com/tags/cathode/ - cathode , among others. Zinc and manganese react with one another and produce electricity. However, the anode and the cathode layer dissipate gradually during this chemical process. Therefore, the http://www.physorg.com/tags/battery/ - battery is suitable for applications which have a limited life span or a limited power requirement, for instance greeting cards.

The batteries are printed using a silk-screen printing method similar to that used for t-shirts and signs. A kind of rubber lip presses the printing paste through a screen onto the substrate. A template covers the areas that are not to be printed on. Through this process it is possible to apply comparatively large quantities of printing paste, and the individual layers are slightly thicker than a hair. The researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale. At the end of this year, the first products could possibly be finished.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

http://www.physorg.com/news165748959.html - http://www.physorg.com/news165748959.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 07 July 2009 at 11:46am

Earth appears as a pale, red dot

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200906/r391556_1831172.jpg">

The spectra of Earth during the eclipse showed 'biological' molecules to appear strongest in the red part of the spectrum (Source: Gabriel Perez Diaz)

Scientists looking for Earth-like planets in distant solar systems might find it more productive to focus on pale red dots, rather than blue ones.

This is the conclusion of a team of astronomers from Spain and and the United States, which appears in a recent issue of http://www.nature.com/ - Nature .

The astronomers observed the lunar eclipse of August 2008 from a simulated alien perspective. They discovered that several biologically relevant molecules, such as oxygen, water, carbon dioxide and methane, show up stronger than expected in longer, redder wavelengths of light.

"The Earth is often referred to as the pale blue dot, but in transmission, the pale blue dot becomes the pale red dot," says Enric Palle of Spain's http://www.iac.es/index.php?lang=en - Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and colleagues.

The team used optical and near-infrared spectrographs attached to telescopes at the El Roque de los Muchachos observatory in the Canary Islands to observe the light reflected from the moon during the eclipse.

Transiting planet

With the Sun positioned behind Earth and the planet's shadow falling on the Moon, the light reflecting off the lunar surface back to Earth first passed through the planet's atmosphere. The effect is similar to the geometry observed when an extrasolar planet passes in front of its parent star, says Palle.

When a planet transits a star, part of the starlight passes through the planet's atmosphere where it interacts with the various atoms and molecules. Breaking down the light into its component wavelengths then gives scientists insight into the planet's composition.

Scientists have discovered more than 350 planets orbiting stars beyond the solar system, including at least 58 that transit their parent stars, relative to the perspective of Earth.

"We have a much better idea about what to do to find planets similar to our own where life may be thriving," says Associate Professor Eduardo Martin of the http://www.ucf.edu/ - University of Central Florida in Orlando.

The spectra of Earth during the eclipse also revealed the presence of the planet's ionosphere, the layer of ionised gas that sits atop of the atmosphere. Scientists found a telltale sign of ionised calcium atoms, the sixth most abundant element on Earth.

Future investigations could reveal additional ionised elements, such as magnesium, which would appear in shorter wavelengths.

NASA is planning to attempt exoplanet spectroscopy with the James Webb Space Telescope and other future observatories.

"Our ... spectrum suggests that retrieving the major planetary signals might be easier than model calculations suggest," the authors conclude.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/29/2611298.htm - http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/06/29/2611298.htm



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 08 July 2009 at 11:56am
New Portrait Of Omega Nebula's Glistening Watercolors

http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/07/090707094909-large.jpg">

 
Three-colour composite image of the Omega Nebula (Messier 17), based on images obtained with the EMMI instrument on the ESO 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope at the La Silla Observatory. North is down and East is to the right in the image. It spans an angle equal to about one third the diameter of the Full Moon, corresponding to about 15 light-years at the distance of the Omega Nebula. (Credit: ESO)

ScienceDaily (July 8, 2009) — The Omega Nebula, sometimes called the Swan Nebula, is a dazzling stellar nursery located about 5500 light-years away towards the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer). An active star-forming region of gas and dust about 15 light-years across, the nebula has recently spawned a cluster of massive, hot stars. The intense light and strong winds from these hulking infants have carved remarkable filigree structures in the gas and dust.

When seen through a small telescope the nebula has a shape that reminds some observers of the final letter of the Greek alphabet, omega, while others see a swan with its distinctive long, curved neck. Yet other nicknames for this evocative cosmic landmark include the Horseshoe and the Lobster Nebula.

Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux discovered the nebula around 1745. The French comet hunter Charles Messier independently rediscovered it about twenty years later and included it as number 17 in his famous catalogue. In a small telescope, the Omega Nebula appears as an enigmatic ghostly bar of light set against the star fields of the Milky Way. Early observers were unsure whether this curiosity was really a cloud of gas or a remote cluster of stars too faint to be resolved. In 1866, William Huggins settled the debate when he confirmed the Omega Nebula to be a cloud of glowing gas, through the use of a new instrument, the astronomical spectrograph.

In recent years, astronomers have discovered that the Omega Nebula is one of the youngest and most massive star-forming regions in the Milky Way. Active star-birth started a few million years ago and continues through today. The brightly shining gas shown in this picture is just a blister erupting from the side of a much larger dark cloud of molecular gas. The dust that is so prominent in this picture comes from the remains of massive hot stars that have ended their brief lives and ejected material back into space, as well as the cosmic detritus from which future suns form.

The newly released image, obtained with the EMMI instrument attached to the ESO 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla, Chile, shows the central region of the Omega Nebula in exquisite detail. In 2000, another instrument on the NTT, called SOFI, captured another striking image of the nebula (ESO Press Photo 24a/00) in the near-infrared, giving astronomers a penetrating view through the obscuring dust, and clearly showing many previously hidden stars. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has also imaged small parts of this nebula (heic0305a and heic0206d) in fine detail.

At the left of the image a huge and strangely box-shaped cloud of dust covers the glowing gas. The fascinating palette of subtle colour shades across the image comes from the presence of different gases (mostly hydrogen, but also oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur) that are glowing under the fierce ultraviolet light radiated by the hot young stars.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707094909.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707094909.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 09 July 2009 at 11:46am

Ecological Model City Masdar: City Will Use Renewable Energy And Leave No Carbon Dioxide Or Waste

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2009) — The city of the future is currently being constructed on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Masdar City shall be supplied exclusively with renewable energy and produce neither carbon dioxide nor waste.

Masdar City is to be constructed on an area of approximately 6 square kilometres, located about 30 kilometres east of the capital Abu Dhabi. It is designed to support a population of about 50,000. The planned carbon-neutral city is to be supplied entirely by renewable energy, using systematic recycling techniques it is to be nearly waste-free and will have significantly reduced water consumption. Thanks to an underground transportation system, it is to have car-free streets.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629081849.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629081849.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 10 July 2009 at 12:32pm

Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound, Study Says

With just a click of the tongue, anyone can learn to "see" with their ears, according to a new study of human echolocation.

Several animals, such as bats, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bottlenose-dolphin.html - dolphins , whales, and some shrews, are known to use echolocation—sound waves bounced off nearby objects—to sense what's around them.

Inspired by a blind man who also navigates using sound, a team of Spanish scientists has found evidence that suggests most humans can learn to echolocate.

The team also confirmed that the so-called palate click—a sharp click made by depressing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth—is the most effective noise for people to use.

Sound Training

Daniel Kish, executive director of World Access for the Blind in Huntington Beach, California, was born blind. He taught himself to "see" using palate clicks when he was a small child.

Kish is able to mountain bike, hike in the wilderness, and play ball games without traditional aids.

(Related: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/1101_051101_blindsight.html - "Mystery of 'Blindsight' Lets Some Blind People 'See.'" )

To better understand Kish's skill, Juan Antonio Martínez and his colleagues at the University of Alcalá in Madrid trained ten sighted students to echolocate.

"It was very difficult to persuade some people to take part in the experiments, because most [of our] colleagues though that our idea was absurd," Martínez said.

The students were asked to close their eyes and make sounds until they could tell whether any objects were nearby.

After just a few days of training, the students had all acquired basic echolocation skills, the scientists report in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal Acta Acustica.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090706-humans-bats-echolocation.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090706-humans-bats-echolocation.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 11 July 2009 at 11:27am

"Space Internet" to Link Worlds by 2011?

For all its might, the World Wide Web is still limited to, well, our world.

But that's quickly changing with the advent of an "interplanetary internet" that planners say will revolutionize space communication.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/12279749.html">

The Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) system, which entered another phase of testing this week, will allow astronauts to Google from the http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/space-exploration/moon-exploration-article.html - moon or tweet their observations from space.

But DTN provides far more than a connection to check your email. It's also essential for simplifying space command and control functions—such as power production or life-support systems—crucial for future space initiatives.

(Related: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/071005-space-race.html - "'Rocket NASCAR,' Moon Base Part of 50-Year Space Vision." )

"You need an automated communications technology … to sustain planetary exploration on the scale that NASA and others want to perform over the next decade," said Kevin Gifford, a senior research associate at BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

"DTN enables the transition from a simple point-to-point network, like a walkie-talkie, to a true multimode network like the Internet."

After a decade of development DTN has advanced quickly over the past year, and NASA missions are planning to adopt the network by 2011. In November 2008 NASA test-drove the network by sending space images to and from the EPOXI spacecraft, some 20 million miles (32 million kilometers) from Earth.

DTN protocols were also installed on the International Space Station in May, and summer testing began the first week of July.

Houston, We're Fixing a Problem

Though tweeting astronauts have gotten a lot of press, "the reality is that they [don't really] tweet or have browsing capability on the International Space Station," explained Gifford, who is part of a large, cooperative DTN effort that has also included NASA and Internet veterans.

"Right now they actually voice down a simple blurb, and the tweet is operated manually from Houston," he said. In fact most current space communication involves humans manually scheduling each and every link, sometimes weeks or even months in advance for distant spacecraft, and dictating exactly which data are sent and when.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-space-internet.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-space-internet.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 12 July 2009 at 1:37pm

Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience

 People who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges, according to a new study by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist and colleagues.
 
This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go,” said Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and the principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory. “Those small moments let positive emotions blossom, and that helps us become more open. That openness then helps us build resources that can help us rebound better from adversity and stress, ward off depression and continue to grow.”

In the month long study, 86 participants were asked to submit daily “emotion reports,” rather than answering general questions like, “Over the last few months, how much joy did you feel?”

“Getting those daily reports helped us gather more accurate recollections of feelings and allowed us to capture emotional ups and downs,” said Fredrickson, a leading expert in the field of positive psychology.

Building up a daily diet of positive emotions does not require banishing negative emotions, she said. The study helps show that to be happy, people do not need to adopt a “Pollyanna-ish” approach and deny the upsetting aspects of life.

“The levels of positive emotions that produced good benefits weren’t extreme. Participants with average and stable levels of positive emotions still showed growth in resilience even when their days included negative emotions.”

Fredrickson suggested focusing on the “micro-moments” that can help unlock one positive emotion here or there.

“A lot of times we get so wrapped up in thinking about the future and the past that we are blind to the goodness we are steeped in already, whether it’s the beauty outside the window or the kind things that people are doing for you,” she said. “The better approach is to be open and flexible, to be appreciative of whatever good you do find in your daily circumstances, rather than focusing on bigger questions, such as ‘Will I be happy if I move to California?’ or ‘Will I be happy if I get married?’”

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708184544.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708184544.htm



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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 13 July 2009 at 1:24pm

Artificial Leaf Development: Structure Of Artificial Light Harvesting Antenna Determined

 An international team of researchers has modified chlorophyll from an alga so that it resembles the extremely efficient light antennae of bacteria. The team was then able to determine the structure of these light antennae. This is the first step to converting sunlight into energy using an artificial leaf.

The researchers will be publishing an article on their research findings in the online Early Edition of the PNAS journal in the week starting 29 June. Leiden researcher Swapna Ganapathy has obtained her PhD based on this subject, under the supervision of Professor Huub de Groot, one of the initiators of the research.

Forests at nano scale

They are the subject of dreams: artificial forests at nano scale. Or pavements and motorways where gaps in the surface are filled with pigment molecules that collect sunlight and convert it into fuel and other forms of – clean – energy. But before this can happen, artificial photosynthesis systems first have to be developed that work both quickly and efficiently.

Two things are needed to generate fuel from sunlight: an antenna that harvests light, and a light-driven catalyst. The article in PNAS is about the first of these: the antenna.

Imitating light antennae of bacteria

The fastest light harvesters are to be found in nature: in green leaves, algae and bacteria. The light antennae of bacteria – chlorosomes – are the fastest of all. They have to be capable of harvesting minimal quantities of light particles in highly unfavourable light conditions, such as deep in the sea. These chlorosomes are made up of chlorophyll molecules. The art is to imitate these systems very precisely.

German colleagues from the University of Würzburg in Huub de Groot's team modified chlorophylls from the alga Spirulina, such that they resembled the pigments of bacteria. De Groot's Leiden group then studied the structure of these semi-synthetic light antennae.

Nanotechnology

De Groot: ' Nanotechnology and supramolecular systems are becoming increasingly important, but it is very difficult to determine their structure. So-called cartoons are frequently made that give a schematic indication of what their structure could be.'

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629200756.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629200756.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 14 July 2009 at 12:33pm
Fog Catchers Harvest Air's Water in Arid Places
When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside near http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/cities/city_lima.html - Lima, Peru , catch the moisture and provide precious water to an area that gets very little rainfall--about half an inch (1.5 centimeters) a year.

The nets stand perpendicular to the prevailing wind, which blows fog into the coarse, woven plastic mesh. From there, drops of fog-water fall into gutters that carry the water to collection tanks.

 

When people from rural http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_peru.html - Peru move to http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/cities/city_lima.html - Lima , the capital, they're looking for a better life. But things can be tough.

It's hard to find a job in the city. The jobs they can get—bus driver, street vendor, construction worker—don't pay well

And the cheapest area to live is high on steep hills on the edge of the city, where landslides are common and water is scarce.

German conservationists and biologists Kai Tiedemann and Anne Lummerich, who run Alimón, a small nonprofit that supports Latin American development, are trying to help with the last of those problems. Since 2006 they've been working with new settlements on the outskirts of Lima to set up special nets that scoop water directly from the air.

Rain rarely falls on these dry hills. The annual precipitation in Lima is about half an inch (1.5 centimeters), and the city gets its water from far-off Andean lakes.

But every winter, from June to November, dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean.

With a few thousand dollars and some volunteer labor, a village can set up fog-collecting nets that gather hundreds of gallons of water a day—without a single drop of rain falling.

Ancient Technique, Modern Salvation?

As far back as 2,000 years ago, desert villages and other rain-starved communities around the world may have started harvesting fog that collected as water and dripped from trees, said Robert Schemenauer, executive director of FogQuest, a Canadian nonprofit organization that helps communities set up simple collection devices.

Serious work on collecting fog started about a hundred years ago. Since then, fog catchers have been used successfully—though on a small scale—all over the world.

Fog collection will never be practical on a large scale. "You aren't going to put up thousands of fog collectors and try to provide water to http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/places-of-a-lifetime/losangeles.html - Los Angeles ," Schemenauer said.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-fog-catchers-peru-water-missions.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090709-fog-catchers-peru-water-missions.html
 
 
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 15 July 2009 at 11:52am
Major Breakthrough With Water Desalination System
 
Science Daily (July 14, 2009)

"Our M3 water desalination system provides an all-in-one mobile testing plant that can be used to test almost any water source," said Alex Bartman, a graduate student on the M3 team who helped to design the sensor networks and data acquisition computer hardware in the system. "The advantages of this type of system are that it can cut costs, and because it is mobile, only one M3 system needs to be built to test multiple sources. Also, it will give an extensive amount of information that can be used to design the larger-scale desalination plant."

The M3 demonstrated its effectiveness in a recent field study in the San Joaquin Valley in which it desalted agricultural drainage water that was nearly saturated with calcium sulfate salts, accomplishing this with just one reverse osmosis (RO) stage.

"In this specific field study by our team, in the first part of the reverse osmosis process, 65 percent of the water that was fed in was recovered as drinking water, or potable water," said Yoram Cohen, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and lead investigator on the team. "We can potentially go up to 95 percent recovery using an accelerated chemical demineralization process that was also developed here at UCLA. This first field study with the M3 was a major achievement and the first phase of our high-recovery RO process demonstration program."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713144124.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713144124.htm  
 


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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 16 July 2009 at 1:29pm
 

Satellites Can Spot Tsunamis, US Study Finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellites can spot the leading edge of a tsunami, U.S. government researchers said on Wednesday in a study that might lead to better ways of detecting the giant waves and get people out of their way.

They went back and looked at satellite images in the Indian Ocean as the December 2004 tsunami raced across to destroy coastlines in Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. They found clear patterns in the water.

"We've found that roughness of the surface water provides a good measure of the true strength of the tsunami along its entire leading edge," Oleg Godin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, said in astatement.

"This is the first time that we can see tsunami propagation in this way across the open ocean." .....

Tsunamis can only usually be seen when they enter shallow water. In the depths of an ocean, the water they displace barely shows -- although this tiny movement can also be detected by satellites.

The satellites that can do this, however, do not cover all the world's seas.

Godin's team found that tsunamis crossing the open ocean stir up and darken the surface waters along the leading edge of the wave. Many ordinary satellites can detect the dark pattern, they reported in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences.

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1246346367590&pagename=Zone-English-HealthScience%2FHSELayout - http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1246346367590&pagename=Zone-English-HealthScience%2FHSELayout



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 17 July 2009 at 1:23pm

Hydrogen Technology Steams Ahead

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2009) — Could the cars and laptops of the future be fuelled by old chip fat? Engineers at the University of Leeds believe so, and are developing an energy efficient, environmentally-friendly hydrogen production system.

The system enables hydrogen to be extracted from waste materials, such as vegetable oil and the glycerol by-product of bio-diesel. The aim is to create the high purity hydrogen-based fuel necessary not only for large-scale power production, but also for smaller portable fuel cells. ..............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708073944.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708073944.htm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 17 July 2009 at 1:54pm

Quite interesting ....one less reason to feel guilty about having french fries:)

This Document Will Self-Erase in Five Minutes

from New Scientist

This article will self-erase in 10 seconds. At least it would if it had been written on a film that exploits the colour-changing ability of nanoparticles. The technology could make it possible to create documents that wipe themselves clean after they've been read.

A team at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, coated gold nanoparticles with a layer of hair-like molecules called 4-(11-mercaptoundecanoxy)azobenzene or MUA. When zapped with ultraviolet light, these filaments change their shape and charge distribution, causing the nanoparticles to congregate together and change colour.

"The colour of the nanoparticles depends on how close they are to one another," says lead researcher Bartosz Grzybowski. "For instance, gold nanoparticles are red when separated, but become violet, then blue, then colourless as they cluster together."

http://www.americanscientist.org/science/pub/this-document-will-self-erase-in-five-minutes - http://www.americanscientist.org/science/pub/this-document-will-self-erase-in-five-minutes


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 19 July 2009 at 9:37pm

Solar Cycle Linked To Global Climate

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2009) — Establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, research led by scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., shows that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth that resemble La Niٌna and El Ninٌo events in the tropical Pacific Ocean

The research may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

"These results are striking in that they point to a scientifically feasible series of events that link the 11-year solar cycle with ENSO, the tropical Pacific phenomenon that so strongly influences climate variability around the world," says Jay Fein, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric Sciences. "The next step is to confirm or dispute these intriguing model results with observational data analyses and targeted new observations."

The total energy reaching Earth from the sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the solar cycle. Scientists have sought for decades to link these ups and downs to natural weather and climate variations and distinguish their subtle effects from the larger pattern of human-caused global warming.

Building on previous work, the NCAR researchers used computer models of global climate and more than a century of ocean temperature to answer longstanding questions about the connection between solar activity and global climate.

The research, published in July in a paper in the Journal of Climate, was funded by NSF, NCAR's sponsor, and by the U.S. Department of Energy.

"We have fleshed out the effects of a new mechanism to understand what happens in the tropical Pacific when there is a maximum of solar activity," says NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, the paper's lead author. "When the sun's output peaks, it has far-ranging and often subtle impacts on tropical precipitation and on weather systems around much of the world."

The new paper, along with an earlier one by Meehl and colleagues, shows that as the Sun reaches maximum activity, it heats cloud-free parts of the Pacific Ocean enough to increase evaporation, intensify tropical rainfall and the trade winds, and cool the eastern tropical Pacific.

The result of this chain of events is similar to a La Ninٌa event, although the cooling of about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit is focused further east and is only about half as strong as for a typical La Niٌna.

Over the following year or two, the La Ninٌa-like pattern triggered by the solar maximum tends to evolve into an El Niٌo-like pattern, as slow-moving currents replace the cool water over the eastern tropical Pacific with warmer-than-usual water.

Again, the ocean response is only about half as strong as with El Niٌno.

True La Niٌna and El Ninٌo events are associated with changes in the temperatures of surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. They can affect weather patterns worldwide. .............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090716113358.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090716113358.htm

 

 


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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 21 July 2009 at 10:00am
 

Asia set for total solar eclipse

Millions of people in Asia will see the longest total solar eclipse this century on Wednesday as swaths of India and China are plunged into darkness.

Scores of amateur stargazers and scientists will travel long distances for the eclipse, which will last for about five minutes.

The eclipse will first appear in the Gulf of Khambhat just north of Mumbai.

It will move east across India, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China before hitting the Pacific.

The eclipse will cross some southern Japanese islands and will last be visible from land at Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific nation of Kiribati.

Elsewhere, a partial eclipse will be visible across much of Asia.

The previous total eclipse, in August 2008, lasted two minutes and 27 seconds. This one will last six minutes and 39 seconds at its maximum point.

Alphonse Sterling, a Nasa astrophysicist who will be following the eclipse from China, scientists are hoping data from the eclipse will help explain solar flares and other structures of the sun and why they erupt.

"We'll have to wait a few hundred years for another opportunity to observe a solar eclipse that lasts this long, so it's a very special opportunity," Shao Zhenyi, an astronomer at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China told the Associated Press news agency.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8161578.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8161578.stm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 21 July 2009 at 12:52pm
Thank You for posting Brother Tarek...
some more details
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_July_22,_2009 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_July_22,_2009
 
The timings for it are:
Times ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTC - UTC )
Partial eclipse 23:58:18 (Jul 21)
Total eclipse 00:51:16
Central eclipse 00:54:31
Greatest eclipse 02:35:21
 

Nature? Nurture? Scientists say neither

It's easy to explain why we act a certain way by saying "it's in the genes," but a group of University of Iowa scientists say the world has relied on that simple explanation far too long.

In research to be published today in Child Development Perspectives, the UI team calls for tossing out the nature-nurture debate, which they say has prevailed for centuries in part out of convenience and intellectual laziness.

They support evolution -- but not the idea that genes are a one-way path to specific traits and behaviors. Instead, they argue that development involves a complex system in which genes and environmental factors constantly interact.

"You can't break it down and say there's a gene for being jealous, there's a gene for being depressed, there's a gene for being gay. Those types of statements are simplistic and misleading," said UI psychologist Mark Blumberg, a co-author of the paper. "There is no gene for any of those things. At most, one can say there's a system of which that gene and many others are a part that will produce those outcomes."

The UI team believes http://www.physorg.com/tags/genes/ - genes are expressed at every point in development and are affected all along the way by a gamut of http://www.physorg.com/tags/environmental+factors/ - environmental factors -- everything from proteins and chemicals to the http://www.physorg.com/tags/socioeconomic+status/ - socioeconomic status of a family. These ideas are unified by a perspective called developmental systems theory.

"The nature-nurture debate has a pervasive influence on our lives, affecting the framework of research in child development, biology, neuroscience, personality and dozens of other fields," said lead author and UI psychologist John Spencer.

"People have tried for centuries to shift the debate one way or the other, and it's just been a pendulum swinging back and forth. We're taking the radical position that the smarter thing is to just say 'neither' -- to throw out the debate as it has been historically framed and embrace the alternative perspective provided by developmental systems theory."

The UI researchers illustrate the inadequacies of the debate by examining recent studies of imprinting, spatial cognition and language development that support the nature point of view.


http://www.physorg.com/news167319952.html - http://www.physorg.com/news167319952.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 22 July 2009 at 10:29am

How Many Dimensions In The Holographic Universe?

Viennese scientists are trying to understand the mysteries of the holographic principle: How http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/02/090203081609-large.jpg - many dimensions are there in our universe?
 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/02/090203081609-large.jpg">

Some of the world's brightest minds are carrying out research in this area -- and still have not succeeded so far in creating a unified theory of quantum gravitation is often considered to be the “Holy Grail” of modern science.

Daniel Grumiller from the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Vienna University of Technology, can now at least unravel some of the mysteries of quantum gravitation. His results on black holes and gravitational waves are pretty mind-boggling - to say the least. Only recently he won the START prize and will use these funds to engage even more young physicists at the TU Vienna.

We perceive the space around us as three-dimensional. According to Einstein, time and space are inseparabely linked. Adding the time axis to our three-dimensional space makes our space-time-continuum four-dimensional. For decades, scientists have been wondering about the existence of additional dimensions so far hidden to our senses. Grumiller and his colleagues are trying the opposite approach: Instead of postulating additional dimensions, they believe that our universe could in fact be described by less than four dimensions.

“A hologram, as you find it on bank notes or credit cards, appears to show a three-dimensional picture, even though in fact it is just two-dimensional,” Grumiller explains. In such a case, reality has fewer dimensions than we would think it appears to have. This “holographic principle” plays an important role in the physics of space time. Instead of creating a theory of gravity in all the time and space dimensions, one can formulate a new quantum theory with one fewer spatial dimension. That way, a 3D theory of gravitation turns into a 2D quantum theory, in which gravity does not appear any more. Still, this quantum theory correctly predicts phenomena like black holes or gravitational waves.

“The question, how many dimensions our world really has, does probably not even have a proper answer probably cannot be answered explicitly,” Grumiller thinks. “Depending on the particular question we are trying to answer, either one of the approaches may turn out to be more useful.”

Grumiller is currently working on gravitational theories which include two spatial dimensions and one time dimension. They can be mapped onto a two-dimensional gravitationless quantum theory. Such theories can be used to describe rapidly rotating black holes or “cosmic strings” – spacetime defects, which probably appeared shortly after the Big Bang.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203081609.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203081609.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 22 July 2009 at 9:19pm

Quake moves NZ towards Australia

 

A massive earthquake last week has brought New Zealand closer to Australia, scientists say

 

 

The 7.8 magnitude quake in the Tasman Sea has expanded New Zealand's South Island westwards by about 30cm (12in).

Seismologist Ken Gledhill, of GNS Science, said the shift demonstrated the huge force of the tremor.

But correspondents say that with more than 2,250km (1,400 miles) separating the countries, the narrowing will not exactly be visible.

Nor, as the New Zealand media have observed, is it likely to bring cheaper air fares.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8162628.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8162628.stm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 23 July 2009 at 12:49pm
Asia Solar Eclipse Video: Longest Eclipse Darkens China And India

http://www.postchronicle.com/news/science/article_212245935.shtml - http://www.postchronicle.com/news/science/article_212245935.shtml
 
 
A bright idea: Philips lets flat lights out of lab
 

In this June 17, 2009 photo, flat panel lights are displayed at a Philips plant in Aachen, Germany. In the future, our homes may be lighted not by bulbs, but by light emanating in natural colors from luminous walls, windows and ceilings. (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)

(AP) -- Someday, our ceilings and walls might radiate light, illuminating indoor spaces as brightly and evenly as natural daylight.

Though that possibility remains years off, the Dutch electronics company Philips is letting people tinker with the technology that would enable it.

The world's biggest lighting maker has begun selling do-it-yourself kits with little glowing wafers called "Lumiblades." They come in red, white, blue or green for anyone who wants to pay nearly $100 per square inch.

It's one of the first chances people outside research labs have had to get their hands on lights made from organic http://www.physorg.com/tags/light/ - light emitting diodes, or OLEDs.

http://www.physorg.com/news167489218.html - http://www.physorg.com/news167489218.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 24 July 2009 at 10:45am

Could u txt me ur blood sample?

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn17496/dn17496-3_500.jpg">
 
In the developed world, we take camera phones for granted as ways to record our lives – but in poorer countries they could be used to save lives, say bioengineers. The US team has designed a portable microscope that straps to a camera phone and can be used to diagnose potentially fatal diseases in blood and sputum samples.

Light microscopy is an essential healthcare tool that can help to diagnose dangerous diseases including malaria and tuberculosis. If necessary, digital images of cell samples provided by camera-equipped lab microscopes are shuttled through the internet to experts at other healthcare centres for further analysis.

But these technologies are often unavailable to those in remote regions or the developing world – although life-threatening diseases are often endemic in these places...

Cell counting is the main thing we have done," Fletcher says. "Additional things could include annotating an image to point out a problem or a question to be answered by a doctor at a central hospital."

If the image is coupled with the patient's details and location, the system could also help track the spread of a disease through the population, he says.

http://www.anat.ucl.ac.uk/research/becker/davidbecker.htm - David Becker at University College London in the UK thinks the new system is a "simple yet elegant solution". He says that different coloured LEDs could be added to expand the range of cells that can be imaged.

Frean thinks the efforts to make diagnostic tools cheaper and accessible are "commendable", as long as workers are trained to use the devices properly.

"Cheap digital photography tailored to microscope applications, and transmission of images via cellphone or the internet should indeed be pursued and made more accessible," he says. He adds, though, that the system would benefit from higher quality parts to improve the results.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17496-could-u-txt-me-ur-blood-sample.html - http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17496-could-u-txt-me-ur-blood-sample.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 25 July 2009 at 10:46am

The Good Life: Where Psychology Stands On Living Well

Unfortunately for us, there is no formula for fulfillment or guide to life satisfaction; however, humans have turned to philosophy, religion and science time and again for answers to our existential questions. We may have come a long way since Confucius and Plato, and science continues to piece together some of the answers, but what have we learned so far?

Psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson from the University of Michigan turned to their own field to ask, "What is a good life and how can we achieve and sustain it?" In their article recently published in Perspectives in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the authors explored the many ways psychology has contributed to, and continues to research, the science of living well.

So far we have learned from psychology that a good life includes experiencing more positive than negative feelings, feeling like your life has been lived well, continually using your talents and strengths, having close interpersonal relationships, being engaged at work and other activities, being a part of a social community, perceiving that life has a meaning, and feeling healthy and safe. And while these conclusions may seem like common sense, we as humans fall short on knowing just how to obtain and maintain these qualities.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722110905.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722110905.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 26 July 2009 at 11:06am
FUTURE SEA CITIES: Freedom's Final Frontier in Pictures
 
 
Community Choice: "Refusion" by Team 3DA

Intentionally or not, it's a fitting name--"Refusion"--for a winning example of a futuristic homesteading concept based on refusal: refusal to be constrained by established governments or social mores or even by the fundamental desire for solid ground underfoot.

People's-choice award winner in a design competition for "seasteads"--oil rig-like, sovereign settlements in international waters--this proposed research facility by a group of Las Vegas-based 3-D artists includes "a number of environmental systems, such as greenhouses and renewable energy sources, which would enable absolute independence," according to a Team 3DA statement. "The aesthetic that emerged from this realization became influenced by a mixture of organic and mechanical systems operating in a symbiotic relationship."

Championed by California-based competition sponsor the Seasteading Institute, the high-seas homesteading movement is all about creating tiny frontier lands "where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas," according to the institute's Web site.

Though none of the winning designs--announced May 18, 2009--are intended to be built, they are "to inspire us with their vision of how seasteaders can make a home on the next frontier," said Seasteading Institute Executive Director Patri Friedman in a statement.
--Ted Chamberlain
 
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/photogalleries/seasteading-sea-buildings-pictures/index.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/photogalleries/seasteading-sea-buildings-pictures/index.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 27 July 2009 at 12:09pm

Wireless power system shown off

Electric tech could make plugs obsolete

A system that can deliver power to devices without the need for wires has been shown off at a hi-tech conference.

The technique exploits simple physics and can be used to charge a range of electronic devices over many metres.

Eric Giler, chief executive of US firm Witricity, showed mobile phones and televisions charging wirelessly at the TED Global conference in Oxford.

He said the system could replace the miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries.

"There is something like 40 billion disposable batteries built every year for power that, generally speaking, is used within a few inches or feet of where there is very inexpensive power," he said.

Trillions of dollars, he said, had also been invested building an infrastructure of wires "to get power from where it is created to where it is used."

"We love this stuff [electricity] so much," he said....

HOW WIRELESS POWER WORKS
1. Magnetic coil (Antenna A) is housed in a box and can be set in wall or ceiling.
2. Antenna A, powered by mains, resonates at a specific frequency.
3. Electromagnetic waves transmitted through the air.
4. Second magnetic coil (Antenna B) fitted in laptop/TV etc resonates at same frequency as first coil and absorbs energy.
5. Energy charges the device.
 
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8165928.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8165928.stm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 29 July 2009 at 1:30pm

Weight Loss Improves Mood In Depressed People, New Research Shows

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2009) — Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) finds that after a 6-month behavioral weight loss program, depressed patients not only lost 8% of their initial weight but also reported significant improvements in their symptoms of depression, as well as reductions in triglycerides, which are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The results of this study highlight the need for further research into the effects of weight loss in individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders.

“This research is novel because clinically depressed individuals are not usually included in weight loss trials due to concerns that weight loss could worsen their depression,” said Dr. Lucy Faulconbridge, lead author of the study. “These concerns, however, are not based on empirical evidence, and the practice of excluding depressed individuals from clinical weight loss trials means that we are learning nothing about this high-risk population.” The latest findings suggest that depressed, obese individuals can indeed lose clinically significant amounts of weight, and that weight loss can actually reduce symptoms of depression

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727102028.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727102028.htm



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 30 July 2009 at 2:00pm
Too many ways to say 'it hurts'
 
 
There are at least 100 ways to say, "It hurts!" And that is the problem.
 

David Cella is on mission -- backed by nearly $10 million in National Institutes of Health funds -- to revolutionize the language of http://www.physorg.com/tags/pain/ - pain , as well as fatigue, depression and anxiety. These are some of the important symptoms researchers measure when they try to figure out if a medical treatment improves the quality of life for a patient with a chronic disease.

Are they in too much pain to unload groceries from the car? Are they too tired or depressed to go out to lunch with a friend? The answers are vital for researchers to know if new treatments are useful or useless.

But the glitch is every group of researchers asks patients different questions to measure their symptoms. Thus, one group's measurement of http://www.physorg.com/tags/severe+pain/ - severe pain or fatigue or depression may be different than another's. Because researchers aren't speaking a common language, doctors and other health care providers can't compare the results across studies to decide which is the best approach. Instead, study results remain separate puzzle pieces that never fit together into a whole picture.

"Can you imagine if a doctor wanted to check your hemoglobin and there weren't any numbers to measure whether it was normal?" asked Cella , professor and chair of the new department of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "When you say a patient's hemoglobin is 11, everybody knows what it means, but nobody knows what a pain of 36 means or a fatigue of 32 because we don't use common measures."

That's about to change. Cella is leading a far-reaching new national project that establishes a common scientific vocabulary. In August, he and colleagues from six other institutions and the NIH will release a set of free publicly available computerized tests for researchers to measure pain, fatigue, http://www.physorg.com/tags/depression/ - depression , http://www.physorg.com/tags/anxiety/ - anxiety and physical and social functioning. Now there will be a pain measurement of 75, for example, that will mean the same thing to every doctor and scientist.

The new project is called Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). More than 1,000 researchers have already registered to try the new tools.

Cella's project addresses President Obama's call for greater accountability in medical treatment. "In order to have a system that works that way you need a consistent measure of outcomes that people can understand and relate to," Cella said. "That's what we have developed."

The lack of a common vocabulary has hurt research, Cella noted. "It's a Tower of Babel, a hodge-podge of language. It's a big problem because you can't migrate the results of one study to a broader understanding," he said. "We keep having to learn the same things over and over. We are not building on a foundation of knowledge."

Not only have Cella and his team created a new language and tool for researchers, but the PROMIS project also represents a shift in the way researchers evaluate the benefits of treatments. The goal is not just to help people live longer but also live better.

X-rays, CT scans and lab tests may have minimal relevance to the day-to-day functioning of patients with http://www.physorg.com/tags/chronic+diseases/ - chronic diseases . "We help measure directly if people are living better by asking them," Cella said. "Sometimes it's as simple as asking, 'Do you think this treatment has made your life better?' That question is surprisingly absent from many studies."

http://www.physorg.com/news168093696.html - http://www.physorg.com/news168093696.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 01 August 2009 at 1:03pm

Scientists Announce Mass Participation Experiment To Cheer-up The UK

ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2009) — Today, British psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire) invites the public to take part in an ambitious five-day experiment that aims to boost the UK’s happiness. Participants will first rate their mood and then be randomly assigned to one of four groups. 

People in each group will watch a video describing one of four techniques commonly used to boost happiness, and use the technique during each day of the study.  At the end of the experiment everyone will reassess their mood, allowing the research team to identify the most effective way of making people happy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090731090009.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090731090009.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 02 August 2009 at 11:40am

Poor Sleep In Children May Have Prenatal Origins

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2009) — A new study found that alcohol consumption during pregnancy and small body size at birth predict poorer sleep and higher risk of sleep disturbances in 8-year-old children born at term. Findings are clinically significant, as poor sleep and sleep disturbances in children are associated with obesity, depressive symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and poor neurobehavioral functioning.

Results indicate that children exposed prenatally to alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to have a short sleep duration of 7.7 hours or less and 3.6 times more likely to have a low sleep efficiency of 77.2 percent or less across all nights, independent of body size at birth and current maternal alcohol use. ........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801092712.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801092712.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 03 August 2009 at 1:16pm

Why We Learn More From Our Successes Than Our Failures

ScienceDaily (Aug. 3, 2009) — If you've ever felt doomed to repeat your mistakes, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory may have explained why: Brain cells may only learn from experience when we do something right and not when we fail.

In the July 30 issue of the journal Neuron, Earl K. Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience, and MIT colleagues Mark Histed and Anitha Pasupathy have created for the first time a unique snapshot of the learning process that shows how single cells change their responses in real time as a result of information about what is the right action and what is the wrong one.

"We have shown that brain cells keep track of whether recent behaviors were successful or not," Miller said. Furthermore, when a behavior was successful, cells became more finely tuned to what the animal was learning. After a failure, there was little or no change in the brain — nor was there any improvement in behavior.

The study sheds light on the neural mechanisms linking environmental feedback to neural plasticity — the brain's ability to change in response to experience. It has implications for understanding how we learn, and understanding and treating learning disorders. .........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729121557.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729121557.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 04 August 2009 at 1:41pm

TV And Computer Screen Time May Be Associated With High Blood Pressure In Young Children

ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2009) — Sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing and "screen time" involving computer use, videos and video games appear to be associated with elevated blood pressure in children, independent of body composition, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The recent trend in obesity is a major public health concern and its effect on blood pressure is of particular concern, according to background information in the article. "The clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors in overweight youth suggests that risks may be immediate and not just indicative of potential future problems," the authors write. Although elevated blood pressure is associated with genetic factors, healthy physical, dietary and sleep habits seem to be relevant contributors to blood pressure levels in children. However, there have not been any clear links between sedentary behavior and elevated blood pressure in children younger than age 9. ........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803173127.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803173127.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 05 August 2009 at 1:36pm

Tumors Effectively Treated With Use Of Nanotubes

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2009) — By injecting man-made, microscopic tubes into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second zap of a laser, scientists have discovered a way to effectively kill kidney tumors in nearly 80 percent of mice. Researchers say that the finding suggests a potential future cancer treatment for humans

The study appears in the August issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). It is the result of a collaborative effort between Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Rice University and Virginia Tech.

"When dealing with cancer, survival is the endpoint that you are searching for," said Suzy Torti, Ph.D., lead investigator for the study and professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It's great if you can get the tumor to shrink, but the gold standard is to make the tumor shrink or disappear and not come back. It appears that we've found a way to do that."

Nanotubes are long, thin, sub-microscopic tubes made of carbon. For the study, researchers used multi-walled nanotubes (MWCNTs), which contain several nanotubes nested within each other, prepared for the study by the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. The tubes, when non-invasively exposed to laser-generated near-infrared radiation, respond by vibrating, creating heat. If enough heat is conducted, tumor cells near the tubes begin to shrink and die. ...........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803104809.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803104809.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 09 August 2009 at 1:36pm

Earth's Most Prominent Rainfall Feature Creeping Northward

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2009) — The rain band near the equator that determines the supply of freshwater to nearly a billion people throughout the tropics and subtropics has been creeping north for more than 300 years, probably because of a warmer world, according to research published in the July issue of Nature Geoscience.

If the band continues to migrate at just less than a mile (1.4 kilometers) a year, which is the average for all the years it has been moving north, then some Pacific islands near the equator – even those that currently enjoy abundant rainfall – may be drier within decades and starved of freshwater by midcentury or sooner. The prospect of additional warming because of greenhouse gases means that situation could happen even sooner.

The findings suggest "that increasing greenhouse gases could potentially shift the primary band of precipitation in the tropics with profound implications for the societies and economies that depend on it," the article says.

"We're talking about the most prominent rainfall feature on the planet, one that many people depend on as the source of their freshwater because there is no groundwater to speak of where they live," says Julian Sachs, associate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington and lead author of the paper. "In addition many other people who live in the tropics but farther afield from the Pacific could be affected because this band of rain shapes atmospheric circulation patterns throughout the world." ............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701135535.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701135535.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 10 August 2009 at 1:01pm

Longer Lives Can Still Lead To Happier Golden Years, Psychologists Say

ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2009) — As more people live well into their 80s and 90s, it's reassuring to know that most people get happier as they age and exert more emotional control than younger adults, according to researchers who spoke at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

"Life expectancy changed because people changed the way they lived," said Lauren Carstensen, PhD. "Now that we're here, we have to keep adapting. We are in the middle of a second revolution and it's up to us to make adulthood itself longer and healthier."

Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, said the percentage of people on the planet who are over 65 is expected to more than double by the year 2050, and the fastest-growing segment of the population is people over age 85.

Susan Turk Charles, PhD, of the University of California, Irvine, presented a review of several psychological studies on aging and mental health. She found that except for people with dementia-related diseases, mental health generally improves with age. One study she cited – a 23-year longitudinal study looking at three groups of people, each at different stages in their lives – found that emotional happiness improved with age.

Research has also shown that older adults exert greater emotional control than younger adults, meaning older adults are more likely to actively avoid or limit negative, stressful situations than do younger adults, Charles said. She presented results from one study in which younger and older adults reported their thoughts and emotions after hearing personal criticism by two other people. Younger adults focused more on the negative comments and demanded more information about the origin of the criticism. Older adults were less likely to dwell on the negative comments and their responses were less negative overall compared to those of the younger adults.

"Based on work by Carstensen and her colleagues, we know that older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter," said Charles. "They want to make the best of it so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy. They have also had more time to learn and understand the intentions of others which help them to avoid these stressful situations."

However, Charles also said that these age-related benefits for older adults may not appear when older adults are faced with prolonged, distressful situations with no way to escape. "Older adults may have more difficulty with these situations because distressing events require both psychological and physical resources," she said. "We know that older adults who are dealing with chronic stressors, such as caregiving, report high rates of physical symptoms and emotional distress."

In separate addresses, Carstensen and Charles both acknowledged the importance of social relationships on longevity. Scientists have been uncovering evidence that the quality of people's relationships can influence the way their brains process information and how they respond physiologically to stress. ..........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090807141850.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090807141850.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 10 August 2009 at 9:21pm
 

Drink blamed for oral cancer rise

Alcohol is largely to blame for an "alarming" rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.

Numbers of cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group has risen by a quarter in the past decade.

Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and is the most likely culprit alongside smoking says Cancer Research UK.

Each year in the UK around 1,800 people die from the disease.

There are 5,000 newly diagnosed cases per year.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8193639.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8193639.stm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 11 August 2009 at 11:59am

Optimism Appears To Lower Women's Risk Of Death, Heart Disease

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2009) — Optimistic women have a lower risk of developing heart disease or dying from any cause compared to pessimistic women, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

Researchers also reported that women with a high degree of cynical hostility — harboring hostile thoughts toward others or having a general mistrust of people — were at higher risk of dying; however, their risk of developing heart disease was not altered.

“As a physician, I’d like to see people try to reduce their negativity in general,” said Hilary A. Tindle, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “The majority of evidence suggests that sustained, high degrees of negativity are hazardous to health.”

In the largest study to date to prospectively study the health effects of optimism and cynical hostility in post-menopausal women, researchers found that white and black American women’s attitudes are associated with health outcomes.

Optimistic women, compared to pessimistic women, had a 9 percent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14 percent lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up. Furthermore, women with a high degree of cynical hostility, compared to those with a low degree, were 16 percent more likely to die during eight years of follow-up. ..........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810161900.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810161900.htm

 



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 12 August 2009 at 1:49pm

Chinese Acupuncture Affects Brain's Ability To Regulate Pain, UM Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2009) — Acupuncture has been used in East-Asian medicine for thousands of years to treat pain, possibly by activating the body's natural painkillers. But how it works at the cellular level is largely unknown.

Using brain imaging, a University of Michigan study provides novel evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain.

The results appear online ahead of print in the September Journal of NeuroImage.

In the study, researchers at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center showed acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors (MOR) in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals – specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala.

Opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work by binding to these opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord.

"The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain," says Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and a research assistant professor of anesthesiology at the U-M Medical School.

One implication of this research is that patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture might be more responsive to opioid medications since the receptors seem to have more binding availability, Harris says.

These findings could spur a new direction in the field of acupuncture research following recent controversy over large studies showing that sham acupuncture is as effective as real acupuncture in reducing chronic pain.

"Interestingly both acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups had similar reductions in clinical pain," Harris says. "But the mechanisms leading to pain relief are distinctly different." .........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810104935.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810104935.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 13 August 2009 at 12:48pm

Human Mind: Sound And Vision Wired Through Same 'Black Box'

ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2009) — Sounds and images share a similar neural code in the human brain, according to a new Canadian study. In the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists from the Université de Montréal and the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University explain how the same neural code in the brain allows people to distinguish between different types of sounds, such as speech and music, or different images.

Participants were recruited to undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), a non-invasive form of brain mapping used to determine how the brain recognizes different characteristics in musical instruments, words from conversations or environmental sounds. Subjects underwent an exhaustive three hours of FMRI exams to provide precise information about how the brain reacts when different sounds are played.

"It turns out that the brain uses the same strategy to encode sounds than it uses to encode different images," explains lead author Marc Schönwiesner, a Université de Montréal psychology professor. "This may make it easier for people to combine sounds and images that belong to the same object, such as the dribbling of a basketball." .............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812111445.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812111445.htm


 



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 14 August 2009 at 11:39am

White Tea Could Keep You Healthy And Looking Young

ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2009) — Next time you’re making a cuppa, new research shows it might be wise to opt for a white tea if you want to reduce your risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or even just age-associated wrinkles. Researchers from Kingston University teamed up with Neal’s Yard Remedies to test the health properties of 21 plant and herb extracts. They discovered all of the plants tested had some potential benefits, but were intrigued to find white tea considerably outperformed all of them

Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, said the research showed white tea had anti-ageing potential and high levels of anti-oxidants which could prevent cancer and heart disease. “We’ve carried out tests to identify plant extracts that protected the structural proteins of the skin, specifically elastin and collagen,” he explained. “Elastin supports the body’s natural elasticity which helps lungs, arteries, ligaments and skin to function. It also helps body tissue to repair when you suffer wounds and stops skin from sagging.” Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues in the body and is important for skin, strength and elasticity, he added.

Results showed white tea prevented the activities of the enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen which can lead to wrinkles that accompany ageing. These enzymes, along with oxidants, are associated with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Naughton said: “These enzymes and oxidants are key components of normal body processes. However, in inflammatory conditions, suppressing the activities of these excess components has been the subject of decades of research. We were surprised to find such high activity for the white tea extracts in all five tests that were conducted.”

The researchers were blown away by exactly how well the white tea had performed. “We were testing very small amounts far less than you would find in a drink,” Professor Naughton, one of the country’s leading specialists on inflammation, said. “The early indicators are that white tea reduces the risk of inflammation which is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers as well as wrinkles.” .................

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810085312.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810085312.htm

 



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 15 August 2009 at 11:51am

An Apple A Day Keeps Kidney Stones Away: More Fruits And Veggies, Less Salt Prevents Stones From Forming

ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2009) — Researchers have found another reason to eat well: a healthy diet helps prevent kidney stones. Loading up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains, while limiting salt, red and processed meats, and sweetened beverages is an effective way to ward off kidney stones, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

Because kidney stones are linked to higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, increased body weight, and other risk factors for heart disease, the findings have considerable health implications.

Eric Taylor, MD (Maine Medical Center) and his colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a large study to determine the effects of healthy eating habits on the formation of kidney stones. The investigators collected information from individuals enrolled in three clinical studies .............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090813170845.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090813170845.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 17 August 2009 at 1:40pm

Solar Power: New SunCatcher Power System Ready For Commercial Production In 2010

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2009) — Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories’ National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). Called SunCatchers™, the new dishes have a refined design that will be used in commercial-scale deployments of the units beginning in 2010.

“The four new dishes are the next-generation model of the original SunCatcher system. Six first-generation SunCatchers built over the past several years at the NSTTF have been producing up to 150KW [kilowatts] of grid-ready electrical power during the day,” says Chuck Andraka, the lead Sandia project engineer. “Every part of the new system has been upgraded to allow for a high rate of production and cost reduction.” ............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709205950.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709205950.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 18 August 2009 at 2:39pm

The Mind's Eye Scans Like A Spotlight: New Role Discovered For Brain Waves

ScienceDaily (Aug. 18, 2009) — You're meeting a friend in a crowded cafeteria. Do your eyes scan the room like a roving spotlight, moving from face to face, or do you take in the whole scene, hoping that your friend's face will pop out at you? And what, for that matter, determines how fast you can scan the room?

Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory say you are more likely to scan the room, jumping from face to face as you search for your friend. In addition, the timing of these jumps appears to be determined by waves of activity in the brain that act as a clock. The study, which appears in the Aug. 13 issue of the journal Neuron, sheds new light on a long-standing debate among neuroscientists over how the visual system picks out an object of interest in a complex scene. ............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812143928.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812143928.htm



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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 19 August 2009 at 2:08pm

Personality Traits Associated With Stress And Worry Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

ScienceDaily (Aug. 19, 2009) — Personality traits associated with chronic worrying can lead to earlier death, at least in part because these people are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, according to research from Purdue University.

"Research shows that higher levels of neuroticism can lead to earlier mortality, and we wanted to know why," said Daniel K. Mroczek, (pronounced Mro-ZAK) a professor of child development and family studies. "We found that having worrying tendencies or being the kind of person who stresses easily is likely to lead to bad behaviors like smoking and, therefore, raise the mortality rate.

"This work is a reminder that high levels of some personality traits can be hazardous to one's physical health."

Chronic worrying, anxiety and being prone to depression are key aspects of the personality trait of neuroticism. In this study, the researchers looked at how smoking and heavy drinking are associated with the trait. A person with high neuroticism is likely to experience anxiety or depression and may self-medicate with tobacco, alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism.

They found that smoking accounted for about 25 percent to 40 percent of the association between high neuroticism and mortality. The other 60 percent is unexplained, but possibly attributed to biological factors or other environmental issues that neurotic individuals experience, Mroczek said .........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818130552.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818130552.htm



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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 20 August 2009 at 4:04pm

Smokers' Tongues Fail Taste Test

ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2009)Smokers have fewer and flatter taste buds. A study of the tongues of 62 Greek soldiers, published in the open access journal BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders, has demonstrated how cigarettes deaden the ability to taste.

Pavlidis Pavlos led a team of researchers from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who used electrical stimulation to test the taste threshold of the soldiers and endoscopes to measure the number and shape of a kind of taste bud called fungiform papillae. He said: "Statistically important differences between the taste thresholds of smokers and non-smokers were detected. Differences concerning the shape and the vascularisation of fungiform papillae were also observed."

By applying electrical current to the tongue, a unique metallic taste can be generated. Measuring how much current is required before a person perceives this sensation allows determination of their taste sensitivity. The 28 smokers in the study group scored worse than the 34 non-smokers. Upon close examination with a contact endoscope, the smoker's tongues had flatter fungiform papillae, with a reduced blood supply.

Pavlos concludes: "Nicotine may cause functional and morphological alterations of papillae, at least in young adults."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819234654.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819234654.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 21 August 2009 at 2:45pm

With Nothing To Guide Their Way, People Really Do Walk In Circles

ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2009)With nothing to guide their way, people attempting to walk a straight course through unfamiliar territory really do end up walking in circles, according to a report published online on August 20th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Although that belief has pervaded popular culture, there has been no scientific evidence to back it up until now, according to the researchers.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/08/090820123927-large.jpg">
 
The stories about people who end up walking in circles when lost are actually true," said Jan Souman of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany. "People cannot walk in a straight line if they do not have absolute references, such as a tower or a mountain in the distance or the sun or moon, and often end up walking in circles."

Those circular paths are rarely systematic, the researchers show. The same person may sometimes veer to the left, then again to the right, before ending up back where they started from, Souman said. That rules out one potential explanation for the phenomenon: that circle-walking stems from some systematic bias to turn in one direction, such as differences in leg length or strength. It seems that the circles rather emerge naturally through "random drift" in where an individual thinks straight ahead to be, Souman said.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820123927.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820123927.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 22 August 2009 at 1:12pm

Future Angst? Brain Scans Show Uncertainty Fuels Anxiety

Anyone who has spent a sleepless night anguishing over a possible job loss has experienced the central finding of a new brain scan study: Uncertainty makes a bad event feel even worse.

Jack Nitschke, a UW-Madison professor of psychiatry, has found that uncertainty intensifies a person’s perception of a bad experience.

A new study by UW-Madison brain researcher Jack Nitschke shows that the emotional centers in the brain respond much more strongly to disturbing photos if the person didn't know what was coming.

"These results have obvious relevance to our current economic times," says Nitschke, a professor of psychiatry in the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. "Expectations have a dramatic impact on many aspects of our lives, including performance at work and school, interpersonal relationships and health. Expectations can alter perceptions of negative events as well as neural and emotional responses."...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817210207.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817210207.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 23 August 2009 at 11:42am

Energy-efficient Water Purification Made Possible

ScienceDaily (Jan. 18, 2009) — Water and energy are two resources on which modern society depends. As demands for these increase, researchers look to alternative technologies that promise both sustainability and reduced environmental impact. Engineered osmosis holds a key to addressing both the global need for affordable clean water and inexpensive sustainable energy according to Yale researchers.

Yale doctoral student Robert McGinnis and his advisor Menachem Elimelech, Chair of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, have designed systems that harness the power of osmosis to harvest freshwater from non-potable sources, including seawater and generate electricity from low-temperature heat sources, such as waste heat from conventional power plants.

Yale University is commercializing their desalination technology through a newly-established company, Oasys. Their approach, which requires only one-tenth the electric energy used with conventional desalination systems, was featured in the December issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

"The ideal solution," says Elimelech, "is a process that effectively utilizes waste heat."

According to the authors, desalination and reuse are the only options for increasing water supply beyond that which is available through the hydrologic cycle — the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. However, conventional desalination and reuse technologies use substantial energy.

Using a new twist on an old technology, the engineers are employing "forward osmosis," which exploits the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. Their process "draws" pure water from its contaminants to a solution of concentrated salts, which can easily be removed with low heat treatment — effectively desalinating or removing contaminants from water with little energy input .............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114172310.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114172310.htm

 



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 24 August 2009 at 2:06pm

Cocaine on Money: Drug Found on 90% of U.S. Bills

Christine Dell'Amore in Washington, D.C.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ - National Geographic News
August 16, 2009

If you live in the http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_unitedstates.html - United States or http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_canada.html - Canada , chances are you have cocaine in your wallet.

Nearly nine out of ten bills circulating in the U.S. and its northern neighbor are tainted with cocaine, according to what's being called the most definitive research to date on the subject.

What's more, researchers were surprised to find hints that more Americans are using the illegal drug, said study leader Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

In a similar study by the same team in 2007, 67 percent of U.S. bills were found to be tainted with cocaine. The new study puts the percentage at 85 to 95—a jump of roughly 20 percent, Zuo said.

The drug gets on paper money during drug transactions and when people roll bills to snort cocaine powder, Zuo said.

Stress spurred by the worldwide financial crisis may be driving people to abuse cocaine, one of the most common illegal drugs in the world, Zuo said in a phone interview.

The new findings could "help raise public awareness about cocaine use and lead to greater emphasis on curbing its abuse," Zuo said in a follow-up email.

Cocaine Country

Part of the reason the new study is so complete, Zuo said, is because the team used new equipment, a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, which doesn't ruin the money—allowing the scientists to test more bills without breaking the bank.

The team collected banknotes from the Brazil, Canada, the U.S., China, and Japan.

With 5.8 million people having used the drug at least once in 2007, the U.S. is the world's biggest cocaine market, according to the 2009 UN World Drug Report.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the U.S.—along with Canada—had the highest percentage of cocaine-permeated bills in the study.

Of the 234 U.S. bills collected in 17 large and small cities, nearly 90 percent had traces of cocaine, especially in larger cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit. ....

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090816-cocaine-money.html - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090816-cocaine-money.html
 
Just Shocking ....People are really underestimating the dangers of Cocaine...
 

What Adverse Effects Does Cocaine Have on Health?

Abusing cocaine has a variety of adverse effects on the body. For example, cocaine constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

Different methods of taking cocaine can produce different adverse effects. Regular intranasal use (snorting) of cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell; nosebleeds; problems with swallowing; hoarseness; and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases. Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia—a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis—in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.

Regardless of the route or frequency of use, cocaine abusers can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

 
 
 
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 26 August 2009 at 11:11am

Lower-cost Solar Cells To Be Printed Like Newspaper, Painted On Rooftops

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2009) — Solar cells could soon be produced more cheaply using nanoparticle “inks” that allow them to be printed like newspaper or painted onto the sides of buildings or rooftops to absorb electricity-producing sunlight

Brian Korgel, a University of Texas at Austin chemical engineer, is hoping to cut costs to one-tenth of their current price by replacing the standard manufacturing process for solar cells – gas-phase deposition in a vacuum chamber, which requires high temperatures and is relatively expensive.

“That’s essentially what’s needed to make solar-cell technology and photovoltaics widely adopted,” Korgel said. “The sun provides a nearly unlimited energy resource, but existing solar energy harvesting technologies are prohibitively expensive and cannot compete with fossil fuels.”

For the past two years, Korgel and his team have been working on this low-cost, nanomaterials solution to photovoltaics – or solar cell – manufacturing. Korgel is collaborating with professors Al Bard and Paul Barbara, both of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Professor Ananth Dodabalapur of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. They recently showed proof-of-concept in a recent issue of Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The inks could be printed on a roll-to-roll printing process on a plastic substrate or stainless steel. And the prospect of being able to paint the “inks” onto a rooftop or building is not far-fetched.

“You’d have to paint the light-absorbing material and a few other layers as well,” Korgel said. “This is one step in the direction towards paintable solar cells.”

Korgel uses the light-absorbing nanomaterials, which are 10,000 times thinner than a strand of hair, because their microscopic size allows for new physical properties that can help enable higher-efficiency devices ...........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824115907.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824115907.htm

 



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 26 August 2009 at 3:08pm

Trust in a teardrop: Researcher says tears can help build, strengthen personal relationships

Medically, crying is known to be a symptom of physical pain or stress. But now a Tel Aviv University evolutionary biologist looks to empirical evidence showing that tears have emotional benefits and can make interpersonal relationships stronger.

New analysis by Dr. Oren Hasson of TAU's Department of Zoology shows that tears still signal physiological distress, but they also function as an evolution-based mechanism to bring people closer together.

"Crying is a highly evolved behavior," explains Dr. Hasson. "Tears give clues and reliable information about submission, needs and social attachments between one another. My research is trying to answer what the evolutionary reasons are for having emotional tears.

"My analysis suggests that by blurring vision, tears lower defences and reliably function as signals of submission, a cry for help, and even in a mutual display of attachment and as a group display of cohesion," he reports.

His research, published recently in http://www.physorg.com/tags/evolutionary+psychology/ - Evolutionary Psychology , investigates the different kinds of tears we shed -- tears of joy, http://www.physorg.com/tags/sadness/ - sadness and grief -- as well as the authenticity or sincerity of the tears. Crying, Dr. Hasson says, has unique benefits among friends and others in our various communities.

For crying out loud (and behind closed doors)

Approaching the topic with the deductive tools of an http://www.physorg.com/tags/evolutionary+biologist/ - evolutionary biologist , Dr. Hasson investigated the use of tears in various emotional and social circumstances. Tears are used to elicit mercy from an antagonistic enemy, he claims. They are also useful in eliciting the sympathy ― and perhaps more importantly the strategic assistance ― of people who were not part of the enemy group.

"This is strictly human," reasons Dr. Hasson. "Emotional tears also signal appeasement, a need for attachment in times of grief, and a validation of emotions among family, friends and members of a group."

Crying enhances attachments and friendships, says Dr. Hasson, but taboos are still there in certain cases. In some cultures, societies or circumstances, the expression of emotions is received as a weakness and the production of tears is suppressed. For example, it is rarely acceptable to cry in front of your boss at work -- especially if you are a man, he says.

Streets awash with tears?

Multiple studies across cultures show that crying helps us bond with our families, loved ones and allies, Dr. Hasson says. By blurring vision, tears reliably signal your vulnerability and that you love someone, a good evolutionary strategy to emotionally bind people closer to you.

http://www.physorg.com/news170341646.html - http://www.physorg.com/news170341646.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 28 August 2009 at 11:41am

Sunspots linked to Pacific rain

A study has shown how sunspots could affect climate in the Pacific.

Writing in the journal Science, the international team detailed how the 11-year sunspot cycle might influence the amount of rain falling on the ocean.

It is hoped the findings will lead to better models for regional climate predictions.

The authors emphasised the findings "cannot be used to explain recent global warming because of the trend over the past 30 years".

Sunspots are cooler areas on the Sun's surface that are marked by intense magnetic activity.

Although dimmer than their surroundings, their presence is usually accompanied by bright spots, or faculae, which result in a slight general overall brightening of our star when it is most active.

Sunspots and rain

The new study suggests that relatively small variations in sunspot activity might result in changes in climate.

Two mechanisms are involved.

The first is "top-down" where changes in the upper layers of the atmosphere contribute to wetter conditions below.

The second is "bottom-up" where the ocean evaporates and more clouds are produced.

The study used models to show how these two mechanisms might act together to produce rainfall similar to that observed in the tropics.

In addition, the models predict a cooling effect of the surface of the ocean in equatorial regions ........

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8224543.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8224543.stm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 30 August 2009 at 2:44pm

Ultimate Long Distance Communication: Talking To Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Anyone who's vacationed in the mountains or lived on a farm knows that it's hard to get good internet access or a strong cell phone signal in a remote area. Communicating across great distances has always been a challenge. So when NASA engineers designed the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), they knew it would need an extraordinary communications system

Over the next year, the LRO, NASA's diligent robotic scout, will collect more information about the moon's surface and environment than any previous mission. It takes a powerful system to send all of this information more than 238,800 miles back to Earth.....

Simons, Peterson and other members of the Glenn team were on standby when LRO entered its final orbit and began transmitting data. They were thrilled to hear that it's working properly, not only because LRO is a vital step toward returning humans to the moon, but also because they believe the new amplifier can improve life on Earth in countless ways.

If used on communication satellites, it could allow for much better tracking, monitoring and control of transoceanic flights and ships traveling beyond the reach of radar.

It also could enable real-time data transfer from future Earth-orbiting satellites. Such satellites are used to track migratory animals, endangered species, icebergs, volcanic eruptions and forest fires, and to aid in search and rescue operations. They're used to study climate change and meteorology as well.

According to Simons, by collecting more timely data about the interaction of our atmosphere, ocean and land, we could save lives and property during severe weather.

"This technology has the potential to create a better world," he said.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819150521.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819150521.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 02 September 2009 at 9:04pm

Believing Is Seeing: Thoughts Color Perception -- Implications From Everyday Misunderstandings To Eyewitness Memory

Folk wisdom usually has it that "seeing is believing," but new research suggests that "believing is seeing," too – at least when it comes to perceiving other people's emotions.

An international team of psychologists from the United States, New Zealand and France has found that the way we initially think about the emotions of others biases our subsequent perception (and memory) of their facial expressions. So once we interpret an ambiguous or neutral look as angry or happy, we later remember and actually see it as such.

The study, published in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science, "addresses the age-old question: 'Do we see reality as it is, or is what we see influenced by our preconceptions?'" said coauthor Piotr Winkielman, professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego. "Our findings indicate that what we think has a noticeable effect on our perceptions."

"We imagine our emotional expressions as unambiguous ways of communicating how we're feeling," said coauthor Jamin Halberstadt, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, "but in real social interactions, facial expressions are blends of multiple emotions – they are open to interpretation. This means that two people can have different recollections about the same emotional episode, yet both be correct about what they 'saw.' So when my wife remembers my smirk as cynicism, she is right: her explanation of the expression at the time biased her perception of it. But it is also true that, had she explained my expression as empathy, I wouldn't be sleeping on the couch."

"It's a paradox," Halberstadt added. "The more we seek meaning in other emotions, the less accurate we are in remembering them.".....

Because it is largely automatic, the researchers write, such facial mimicry reflects how the ambiguous face is perceived, revealing that participants were literally seeing different expressions.

"The novel finding here," said Winkielman, of UC San Diego, "is that our body is the interface: The place where thoughts and perceptions meet. It supports a growing area of research on 'embodied cognition' and 'embodied emotion.' Our corporeal self is intimately intertwined with how – and what – we think and feel."....

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902161116.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090902161116.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 06 September 2009 at 2:02pm
 

Alzheimer's genes link uncovered

Two potentially key genes linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease have been uncovered by UK researchers.

It is the first gene clue to the condition in 16 years and has prompted scientists to rethink their theories on how the disease develops.

The genes were pinpointed in a study of 16,000 DNA samples and are known to be implicated in inflammation and cholesterol breakdown.

It is hoped the Nature Genetics study will open the way for new treatments.

The last and only gene to be linked to the common form of Alzheimer's disease is APOE4 gene, which has been the focus of much research

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8237686.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8237686.stm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 08 September 2009 at 5:54pm

Greening University Classrooms: Adding Plants Increases Student Satisfaction

 In today's frenetic world, many urban dwellers spend more than 80% of the day indoors. Bringing nature in to living spaces by enhancing homes and offices with ornamental plants has become another popular facet of the move to "green" our lives. In addition to their aesthetic beauty, indoor plants have been shown to offer psychological and restorative values, such as reduced tension, better coping mechanisms, and increased concentration and attention.

Researchers have found that the presence of houseplants in homes and workplaces can reduce eye irritation and stress, motivate employees, improve concentration, and even reduce air impurities. Plants appeared to have a positive effect on headaches and fatigue and hoarseness, and employees even reported having less dry skin when plants were introduced to offices. Interior plants have also been shown to increase work productivity; in one study, employees' reaction time on computer tasks improved by 12% when plants were present.
 
Now, scientists are testing the impact of plants on student performance and satisfaction in the classroom. Jennifer S. Doxey and Tina Marie Waliczek from the Department of Agriculture, Texas State University, and Jayne M. Zajicek of the Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, published a study of the impact of plants in university classrooms in a recent issue of HortScience..........
 

According to Waliczek, "Our results showed that interior plants appeared to have the greatest impact on students who were in the classroom that had no other natural elements. Results also showed that interior plants can be a suitable alternative in some cases to architectural elements such as windows. Our study supports other research showing that plants have value beyond aesthetics in interior environments, including promoting positive feelings in university students."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163947.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163947.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 09 September 2009 at 11:17pm

Public Policy Should Promote Family Mealtimes, Researchers Urge

ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2009) — In a new report, University of Illinois professor Barbara H. Fiese urges local, state, and federal governments, businesses, and community leaders to promote family mealtimes as a matter of public policy.

"There are few things parents can do that are as effective in protecting their families as taking 18 to 20 minutes to eat together and talk with each other three to five times a week," said Fiese, a U of I professor of human development and family studies and the director of the U of I's Family Resiliency Center.

Research indicates the following benefits of family mealtimes:

  • Teens who eat five or more meals a week with their families are less likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana and to abuse alcohol.
  • Children who take part in regular family mealtimes have greater vocabulary growth and higher academic achievement.
  • Frequently shared mealtimes protect against obesity in children and eating disorders in preteens and adolescents.
  • For young children, family mealtimes mean fewer behavior problems.
  • Teens who dine regularly with their families tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Meals prepared at home tend to be lower in calories and fat than restaurant fare.

"Most people don't think of family mealtimes as a policy issue, they think of them as private events. But sometimes policy makers work against the best interests of families," she noted....

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909122104.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909122104.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 15 September 2009 at 1:03am

Active Older Adults Live Longer, Have Better Functional Status

ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2009) — Older adults who continue or begin to do any amount of exercise appear to live longer and have a lower risk of disability, according to a report in the September 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Physical activity is a modifiable behavior associated with health, functional status and longevity, and encouraging a physically active lifestyle has become an accepted public health goal," the authors write as background information in the article. However, most research on the benefits of physical activity has focused on middle-aged populations....
 

The benefits associated with physical activity were observed not only in those who maintained an existing level of physical activity, but also in those who began exercising between ages 70 and 85.

"Although the mechanism of the survival benefit is most likely multifactorial, one important finding was the sustained protective effect of physical activity against functional decline," the authors write. Physical activity may delay the spiral of decline that begins with inability to perform daily activities and continues through illness and death by improving cardiovascular fitness, slowing loss of muscle mass, reducing fat, improving immunity and suppressing inflammation.

"Despite the increasing likelihood of comorbidity, frailty, dependence and ever-shortening life expectancy, remaining and even starting to be physically active increases the likelihood of living longer and staying functionally independent," the authors write. "The clinical ramifications are far reaching. As this rapidly growing sector of the population assumes a prominent position in preventive and public health measures, our findings clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914172524.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914172524.htm
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 21 September 2009 at 6:25pm
Researchers Explore What Contemporary Science Cannot Explain
 
A team of University of Hertfordshire philosophers lead by Professor Paul Coates and Dr Sam Coleman is conducting a three-year research project to explore conscious experiences that contemporary science still cannot explain.
 

Funded with £380,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and involving the collaboration of some of the world’s leading philosophers and cognitive scientists, the project will attempt to answer the mystery of consciousness.

Professor Coates explains: “When we see a sunset or hear a symphony our sense organs, brains and bodies are moved in ways that are well understood by the physical and biological sciences. But during such experiences we also enjoy distinctive forms of conscious awareness. Yet this undeniable fact about our conscious lives is stubbornly resistant to scientific understanding. How is it even possible for purely physical brain activity to produce conscious experience? How do the qualities that manifest themselves in experience relate to the very different properties that are referred to in scientific descriptions of the physical world?”

To find the answers to these questions Professor Coates and Dr Coleman and their team will re-examine our fundamental concepts relating to consciousness and physical reality. They will look at experimental results in psychology and brain science and at phenomenology and other forms of philosophical enquiry.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123075632.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123075632.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 24 September 2009 at 12:48am

Antarctica's hidden plumbing revealed

 

THE first complete map of the lakes beneath Antarctica's ice sheets reveals the continent's http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126983.500-race-is-on-to-reach-antarcticas-hidden-lakes.html - secret water network is far more dynamic than we thought. This could be acting as a powerful lubricant beneath glaciers, contributing to sea level rise.

Unlike http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19225801.700-hidden-antarctica-terra-incognita.html - previous lake maps , which are confined to small regions, http://www.ess.washington.edu/Surface/Glaciology/people.html - Ian Joughin at the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues mapped 124 subglacial lakes across Antarctica using lasers on NASA's http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/ - ICESat satellite (see map).

The team also observed the lakes draining and filling. While interior lakes tended to be static, many coastal lakes changed significantly. Some even appear to be connected by channels under the ice hundreds of kilometres long. For instance, when upstream lakes under the Recovery glacier drained 3 cubic kilometres of water, lakes downstream gained a similar amount ( http://www.igsoc.org/journal/55/192/j09J034.pdf - Journal of Glaciology, vol 55, p 573 ).

Water flowing under glaciers can act as a http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026834.800-hidden-floods-beneath-antarctica-send-glaciers-speeding.html - lubricant , causing land ice to accelerate into the sea and add to rising sea levels. "The implications for the flow of ice are potentially quite significant," says Andy Smith of the http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/ - British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. Those lakes with no clear drainage channels are of particular interest, he says, because they could be spreading a thin film of lubricating water under glaciers.

http://www.newsweek.com//frameset.aspx/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newscientist.com%2Farticle%2Fmg20327253.900-antarcticas-hidden-plumbing-revealed.html - http://www.newsweek.com//frameset.aspx/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newscientist.com%2Farticle%2Fmg20327253.900-antarcticas-hidden-plumbing-revealed.html
 


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 24 September 2009 at 7:24pm

Scientists Outline 'Safe Operating Space' For Humanity

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2009) — New approaches are needed to help humanity deal with climate change and other global environmental threats that lie ahead in the 21st century, according to a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists.

The scientists propose that global biophysical boundaries, identified on the basis of the scientific understanding of the earth system, can define a "safe planetary operating space" that will allow humanity to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. This new approach to sustainable development is conveyed in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature. The authors have made a first attempt to identify and quantify a set of nine planetary boundaries, including climate change, freshwater use, biological diversity, and aerosol loading.

The research was performed by a working group at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), in cooperation with the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

One important strand of the research behind this article is based in the global project known as IHOPE. The goal of the Integrated History and future Of People on Earth (IHOPE) project is to understand the interactions of the environmental and human process over the ten to hundred millennia to determine how human and biophysical changes have contributed to Earth system dynamics....

Planetary boundaries is a way of thinking that will not replace politics, economics, or ethics, explained environmental historian Sverker Sörlin of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. "But it will help tell all of us where the dangerous limits are and therefore when it is ethically unfair to allow more emissions of dangerous substances, further reduction of biodiversity, or to continue the erosion of the resource base. It provides the ultimate guardrails that can help societies to take action politically, economically. Planetary boundaries should be seen both as signals of the need for caution and as an encouragement to innovation and new thinking of how to operate safely within these boundaries while at same time securing human well being for all."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923143339.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090923143339.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 25 September 2009 at 3:43pm

Rough Day At Work? You Won't Feel Like Exercising

ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Have you ever sat down to work on a crossword puzzle only to find that afterwards you haven't the energy to exercise? Or have you come home from a rough day at the office with no energy to go for a run?

A new study, published in Psychology and Health, reveals that if you use your willpower to do one task, it depletes you of the willpower to do an entirely different task.

"Cognitive tasks, as well as emotional tasks such as regulating your emotions, can deplete your self-regulatory capacity to exercise," says Kathleen Martin Ginis, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, and lead author of the study .........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924141749.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090924141749.htm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
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Posted By: Al-Cordoby
Date Posted: 28 September 2009 at 6:04pm

Do Your Children Push The Boundaries? It May Be A Sign Of Future Leadership Abilities

ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2009) — Children whose parents use a firm parenting style that still allows them to test the rules and learn from it are more likely to assume leadership roles as adults according to a new study published in a recent edition of The Leadership Quarterly ......

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090928131216.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090928131216.htm



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Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

http://cortoby.blogspot.com/ - My Blog
http://www.muslimheritage.com/ - Muslim Heritage



Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 30 September 2009 at 4:52pm
Population: Overconsumption is the real problem

THERE is a pervading myth that efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will be to no avail unless we " http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article855953.ece - do something" about population growth . Even seasoned analysts talk about the threat of "exponential" population growth. But there is no exponential growth. In most of the world fertility rates are falling fast, and the countries where population growth continues are those that contribute least to our planetary predicament.

Back in the late 1960s, when Paul Ehrlich wrote his seminal book The Population Bomb, rapid population growth was arguably the number 1 threat to the planet's future. Many believed that only strict birth control could prevent doomsday. But after scandals about forced vasectomies in India and China's draconian one-child policy, such views fell into disrepute. What's more, Ehrlich's prediction of hundreds of millions of deaths from famine in the 1980s fortunately failed to be borne out.

Now http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7951838.stm - the demographic monster has become a hot topic again . Yet the arguments still don't fit the reality. The population "bomb" is fast being defused. Women across the poor world are having dramatically fewer babies than their mothers did - mostly out of choice, not compulsion....
 

Even if the world population does stabilise soon and starts to glide downwards, that won't solve the world's environmental problems. The real issue is not overpopulation but overconsumption - mostly in rich countries that have long since given up adding substantial numbers to their population.

http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2000/04/22/eowilson/ - The key problem facing humanity... is how to bring a better quality of life for 8 billion or more people without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt E. O. Wilson

Take one measure: carbon dioxide emissions. http://web.princeton.edu/sites/pei/pdf/facultybios/pacala.pdf - Stephen Pacala , director of the Princeton Environmental Institute, calculates that the world's richest half billion people - that's about 7 per cent of the global population - are responsible for 50 per cent of the world's emissions. Meanwhile, the poorest 50 per cent are responsible for just 7 per cent of emissions. One American or European is more often than not responsible for more emissions than an entire village of Africans.

Every time those of us in the rich world talk about too many babies in Africa or India, we are denying our own culpability. It is the world's consumption patterns we need to fix, not its reproductive habits.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327271.700-population-overconsumption-is-the-real-problem.html - http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327271.700-population-overconsumption-is-the-real-problem.html


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 03 October 2009 at 6:38pm
Consciousness Is The Brain's Wi-Fi, Resolving Competing Requests, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Oct. 2, 2009) — Your fingers start to burn after picking up a hot plate. Should you drop the plate or save your meal? New research suggests that it is your consciousness that resolves these dilemmas by serving as the brain's Wi-Fi network, mediating competing requests from different parts of the body. Published recently in the journal Emotion, the study also explains why we are consciously aware of some conflicting urges but not others.

"If the brain is like a set of computers that control different tasks, consciousness is the Wi-Fi network that allows different parts of the brain to talk to each other and decide which action 'wins' and is carried out," said San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Ezequiel Morsella, lead author of the study. The study finds that we are only aware of competing actions that involve skeletal muscles that voluntarily move parts of the body, the bicep for example, rather than the muscles in the digestive tract or the iris of the eye.

In lab experiments, participants were trained to identify and report changes in their awareness, or the feeling of being about to make a mistake, while in a state of readiness to perform simple exercises...

The findings support a new theory developed by Morsella which predicts that the primary role of consciousness is to bring together competing demands on skeletal muscle. Morsella's theory also proposes that consciousness allows individuals to adapt their actions in the future, for example wearing an oven mitt to hold a hot dish.

The results give credence to an interesting idea that 'thinking is for doing,' a framework psychologists are using to explore the link among consciousness, perception and action. "Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that when you prepare to perform two competing actions you prime the same areas of the brain associated with carrying out that same action," Morsella said.

"What's interesting is that the changes in awareness that participants felt when preparing to perform conflicting actions was uniquely associated with increased activation of areas of the brain associated with action and perception, as we would expect, and also with working memory, including the pre- and post-central sulcus," Morsella said. "This is consistent with our theory because these brain regions are responsible for consciousness and selecting the right action at the right time."

The authors suggest that both studies identify the common elements underlying all conflicting urges and that the findings shed light on managing addiction and failures of self control.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930141537.htm - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930141537.htm


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah


Posted By: a well wisher
Date Posted: 04 October 2009 at 6:10pm
Valuable Intellectual Traits 
 
Richard Paul and Linda Elder

Intellectual traits, or virtues, are interrelated intellectual habits that enable students to discipline and improve mental functioning. Teachers need to keep in mind that critical thinking can be used to serve two incompatible ends: self-centeredness or fair-mindedness. As students learn the basic intellectual skills that critical thinking entails, they can begin to use those skills in either a selfish or in a fair-minded way. For example, when students are taught how to recognize mistakes in reasoning (commonly called fallacies), most students readily see those mistakes in the reasoning of others but do not see them so readily in their own reasoning. Often they enjoy pointing out others' errors and develop some proficiency in making their opponents' thinking look bad, but they don't generally use their understanding of fallacies to analyze and assess their own reasoning.
It is thus possible for students to develop as thinkers and yet not to develop as fair-minded thinkers. The best thinkers strive to be fair-minded, even when it means they have to give something up. They recognize that the mind is not naturally fair-minded, but selfish. And they understand that to be fair-minded, they must also develop particular traits of mind, traits such as intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, faith in reason, and fair-mindedness. Teachers should model and discuss the following intellectual traits as they help their students become fair-minded, ethical thinkers.
  1. Intellectual Humility: Having a consciousness of the limits of one's knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one's native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice and limitations of one's viewpoint. Intellectual humility depends on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with insight into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one's beliefs.

  2. Intellectual Courage: Having a consciousness of the need to face and fairly address ideas, beliefs or viewpoints toward which we have strong negative emotions and to which we have not given a serious hearing. This courage is connected with the recognition that ideas considered dangerous or absurd are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions and beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading. To determine for ourselves which is which, we must not passively and uncritically "accept" what we have "learned." Intellectual courage comes into play here, because inevitably we will come to see some truth in some ideas considered dangerous and absurd, and distortion or falsity in some ideas strongly held in our social group. We need courage to be true to our own thinking in such circumstances. The penalties for non-conformity can be severe.

  3. Intellectual Empathy: Having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also correlates with the willingness to remember occasions when we were wrong in the past despite an intense conviction that we were right, and with the ability to imagine our being similarly deceived in a case-at-hand.

  4. Intellectual Integrity: Recognition of the need to be true to one's own thinking; to be consistent in the intellectual standards one applies; to hold one's self to the same rigorous standards of evidence and proof to which one holds one's antagonists; to practice what one advocates for others; and to honestly admit discrepancies and inconsistencies in one’s own thought and action.

  5. Intellectual Perseverance: Having a consciousness of the need to use intellectual insights and truths in spite of difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations; firm adherence to rational principles despite the irrational opposition of others; a sense of the need to struggle with confusion and unsettled questions over an extended period of time to achieve deeper understanding or insight.

  6. Faith In Reason: Confidence that, in the long run, one's own higher interests and those of humankind at large will be best served by giving the freest play to reason, by encouraging people to come to their own conclusions by developing their own rational faculties; faith that, with proper encouragement and cultivation, people can learn to think for themselves, to form rational viewpoints, draw reasonable conclusions, think coherently and logically, persuade each other by reason and become reasonable persons, despite the deep-seated obstacles in the native character of the human mind and in society as we know it.

  7. Fair-mindedness: Having a consciousness of the need to treat all viewpoints alike, without reference to one's own feelings or vested interests, or the feelings or vested interests of one's friends, community or nation; implies adherence to intellectual standards without reference to one's own advantage or the advantage of one's group.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/about/nationalCouncil.cfm - http://www.criticalthinking.org/about/nationalCouncil.cfm #


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La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah



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