This Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Is a Big Deal in the Search For Alien Life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GIZMODO)

 

Why This Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Is a Big Deal in the Search For Alien Life

How observers on Earth can detect molecules on entirely other planets. (Image: ESO education and Public Outreach)

By all accounts, the exoplanet known as WASP-19b is a pretty inhospitable place. As one of the closest known hot-Jupiters to its star—orbiting just two percent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun—it’s home to a scorchingly hot, violent atmosphere. The side of the planet which always faces the star churns with massive convection currents, dredging up heavier molecules from the planet’s lower layers.

Unsuitable for life as it may be, WASP-19b’s proximity to its star happened to make it a perfect candidate for atmospheric observation. A paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature has found the very first evidence of titanium oxide on any known exoplanet, in the upper atmosphere of WASP-19b. And that’s significant for a number of reasons.

“We will be able to constrain models and understand the structure of these atmospheres [and] where they were formed,” Elyar Sedaghati, European Southern Observatory astronomer and co-author of the study, told Gizmodo. “Because if we know what’s in the atmosphere, we can turn the clock back a little bit.”

WASP-19 is a pretty average star about 815 light years away from us, located in the Vela constellation. Its only known planet, WASP-19b, was detected by the Wide Angle Search for Planets in 2009, and it only takes three quarters of a day to orbit its star. That proximity made it a perfect target for a spunky little spectrograph called FORS2 (FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph), which was originally installed to the Very Large Telescope in Chile in 1999, almost 20 years ago. But there was work to do before observations could begin.

“[The instrument] had to be upgraded,” said Sedaghati. “All that meant was basically replacing these two prisms that correct for some atmospheric distortions as the star goes near the horizon. These were causing some issues in the exoplanet observations that we were doing with this. So, in November 2014 we made the exchange.” He also hopes with these initial promising results, they go back and do even more improvements on the venerable device.

If you wanted to check on WASP-19b yourself, start here in the Vela constellation (Image: ESO education and Public Outreach)

The researchers began peering at WASP-19b around that time, and they got some intriguing data in something called a light curve, which is the measure of how much the light dims when a planet transits a star. Spectrographs work by observing the light emitted by an object and breaking it into its spectra, much like when you shine white light through a prism and it turns into a rainbow. Using this data, you can determine what kind of chemicals are present in whatever the light is shining through. Because this particular planet is so close to its star, the researchers could see the spectra of its ferociously roiling atmosphere, which extends way further into space than, say, the atmosphere of a more distant gas giant like Jupiter does.

Getting better at decoding the atmospheres of exoplanets, even inhospitable ones like WASP-19b, will contribute to the holy grail of exoplanet research: hunting for signs of life. “Methane — that could be in combination with other molecules, a sign of life — will have very similar absorption features with titanium oxide. This basically gives us hope for future observations for example with the James Webb Telescope,” said Sedaghati.

There are still a lot of steps before that moment, as the JWST won’t launch until the latter half of 2018, and then will need to time scan the skies. But these WASP-19b results are nonetheless encouraging.

“It’s a very nice result,” said Sara Seager, a professor of planetary sciences and physics at MIT, in an email. “I can say this is an outstanding achievement from a ground-based telescope and nature delivered us a fantastic hot planet atmosphere. So far, too many planets are literally “clouded out” and we can’t observe any spectral features. [Titanium Oxide] seems obscure, but is actually a very strong absorber—kind of like a skunk smell, only a tiny amount can make a difference.”

Seager says planets like WASP-19b have a “treasure trove” of features which are really useful to observe.

“It’s an amazing relief to see that planet atmospheres are behaving as expected. Hot planet atmospheres can be nearly as hot as cool star atmospheres and the cool stars are dominated by TiO,” she said.

Jonathan Fortney, an expert in exoplanet atmospheres at UC Santa Cruz, actually predicted that metal oxides would be present in nearby hot-Jupiters. But he admits discoveries in the field will be slow for now because most “general use” instruments can’t pick up the level of detail required for terrestrial exoplanetary atmospheric analysis. Even though the FORS2 tool has been really successful in this project, it was installed before we had even discovered exoplanets using the transit method.

“To me this shows that understanding exoplanet atmospheres is an extremely challenging observational field,” he said. “We must be thoughtful in how we design instruments to detect and understand exoplanet atmospheres. And we must be patient. I really think that this long time lag will be repeated, likely on an even longer time scale, for the atmospheres of temperate terrestrial planets.”

As the study of exoplanet atmospheres continues, be prepared to see stories of successful characterization where the evidence is a little sketchy, Fortney warns.

“People will make claims about these atmospheres, some will end up being correct, some will end up not being correct, and it will take a lot of time for the field to settle out, to correct itself. It will be exciting, but not clear-cut in the first findings,” said Fortney.

Bryson is a freelance storyteller who wants to explore the universe with you.

A Woman Had Stomach Pains. Doctors Discovered It Was Something She Swallowed–A Decade Ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

A woman had stomach pains. Doctors discovered it was something she swallowed — a decade ago.

 August 8

(iStock)

Doctors at a hospital in Australia were bewildered when a 30-year-old woman showed up with intense stomach pains.

Her heart rate was faster than normal, and the membrane lining her abdominal wall was inflamed, one of her doctors wrote in a medical article published Monday by BMJ Case Reports. But her vital signs, laboratory tests, ultrasound and a scan of her liver, gallbladder and bile ducts were all normal.

The woman also had not had surgery recently, which eliminated the possibility that a surgeon accidentally left a foreign object inside  her, according to Popular Science. But a CT scan revealed that a thin, metallic wire was lodged in her intestines.

And it had been there for at least a decade.

That object, a little more than 2½ inches long, was a dental brace wire that the woman used to wear, according to her doctors. It caused her intestine “to twist around on itself — a condition known as volvulus,” according to a news release from BMJ Case Reports, an online collection of articles and case reports submitted by health-care professionals and researchers.

The woman told doctors that she wore braces 10 years ago and has had them removed since. She also said she does not remember ingesting the wire or losing part of her braces, wrote Talia Shepherd, one of the doctors who treated the woman at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands in Western Australia.

A thin metallic wire is lodged in a woman’s intestines. (BMJ Case Reports)

“The case is so unique is because normally if you swallow something like that, it presents earlier,” Shepherd told Popular Science.

More typically, people unknowingly ingest things like fish bones instead of metallic objects, Shepherd said. And they usually realize it shortly after. In the woman’s case, she didn’t experience any pain until recently.

“We were all a bit dumbfounded,” Shepherd told the magazine. “It wasn’t what I was expecting to find at all.”

Accidentally ingesting foreign objects is not unheard of.

Last May, Live Science published a list of “11 Weird Things People Have Swallowed.” It includes small and pointed objects like a bobby pin and a dental instrument, as well as larger ones like a cellphone, a pen, a lighter and a toothbrush.

In a 2015 medical case from Saudi Arabia, doctors examining an X-Ray of a 16-month-old boy’s esophagus came face-to-face with an image of a smiling SpongeBob SquarePants. Ghofran Ageely, a radiology resident at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, told Live Science that the toddler had swallowed his older sister’s SpongeBob pendant.

Ageely said she initially thought it was a pin or a hair accessory because an X-ray of the child’s body from the side showed a thin object in his esophagus. She was shocked after looking at the frontal view.

“‘ SpongeBob,’ I screamed!!!” Ageely told Live Science in an email. “I was amazed by the visible details. You can see the freckles, shoes and fingers … AMAZING.”

Last May, a Texas mother warned other parents after her daughter accidentally swallowed a fidget spinner. They were in a car when she noticed her daughter choking, Kelly Rose Joniec wrote on her Facebook page, according to USA Today.

recent report by a consumer watchdog group warned parents of the dangers of the popular toy, which it said has “the potential to lead to tragic or deadly consequences.”

As for the woman from Australia, Shepherd said she recovered well.

READ MORE:

Fidget spinners are hugely popular with kids. They’re also a choking hazard, consumer group warns.

Popular magnets pose risk if swallowed

She thought it was a chocolate candy bar. What she experienced was unexpected.

Newly unearthed ancient tomb with mummies unveiled in Egypt

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Newly unearthed ancient tomb with mummies unveiled in Egypt

Researchers examine the tomb on Saturday.

Luxor, Egypt (CNN)Egyptian authorities unveiled a previously undiscovered ancient tomb belonging to a goldsmith and his wife near Luxor in southern Egypt on Saturday.

The tomb, at the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis, contains “mummies, sarcophagi, statuettes, pots and other artifacts,” according to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
It belonged to Amenemhat — which means the god “Amen Is In the Forefront” — and his wife Amenhotep, said Mostafa Al-Waziri, who led the Egyptian team which unearthed the 3,500-year-old tomb.
While Amenhotep is usually a man’s name, Waziri said, the team found references inside the tomb that indicated she was the lady of the house.
CNN was the first media outlet to be given access to the tomb on the day of the announcement.

Researchers discovered a number of skulls inside the tomb.

An entrance, uncovered in the courtyard of another tomb, leads to a squared chamber where, in a niche, Amenemhat is pictured with his wife in a partly damaged duo sandstone statue, Waziri said.
Between their legs is seen a little figure of their son. “The daughter, or as they used to refer (to daughters) ‘the precious,’ is usually the one pictured in this place. If the family have no daughters, they would take their daughter-in-law. It is unusual to see the son,” said Waziri.
The owners belong to the 18th dynasty of Egypt. The tomb appears to have been reused, as sarcophagi from the 22nd and 21st dynasties were found as well, said Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany.

Statues discovered in the tomb, whose owners belong to the 18th dynasty.

It had two burial shafts, one of them probably dug for the mummies of Amenemhat and Amenhotep. Archaeologists found mummies, sarcophagi and funerary masks carved in wood, along with statuettes of the goldsmith and his wife.
Archaeologists also found the mummies of a woman and her two adult children in another burial shaft in the courtyard. Experts said initial analysis of the mummies shed light on the diseases from which the deceased were suffering, as well other aspects of how they lived.
The tomb also holds clues to new tombs, in the form of funerary masks belonging to four officials whose burial spots have not yet been found.
“This is not the end. This will lead to more discoveries in the future,” Waziri said.

Archaeologists also found funerary masks carved in wood and statuettes of the couple.

The clue that led to the tomb unveiled Saturday was in fact uncovered in another 3,500-year-old tomb unearthed in April in the same area, he said.
In that discovery, officials announced that they had found 10 colorful sarcophagi and numerous figurines.
The main T-shaped tomb in the April find belonged to a city judge named Userhat and is typical of New Kingdom noblemen’s tombs, the ministry said in a statement at the time.
Egyptian archeologists have also found several other tombs and statues in other areas of Egypt this year.
Parts of a 3,000-year-old colossal statue, believed to have stood about 30 feet tall, were found in Cairo in March. Archeologists unearthed the statue in a pit in an area of low-income housing in the eastern neighborhood of Matareya.
This story has been updated to clarify the translation of Amenemhat’s name made by Egyptian officials during Saturday’s news conference.

Researchers examine the tomb on Saturday.

Luxor, Egypt (CNN)Egyptian authorities unveiled a previously undiscovered ancient tomb belonging to a goldsmith and his wife near Luxor in southern Egypt on Saturday.

The tomb, at the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis, contains “mummies, sarcophagi, statuettes, pots and other artifacts,” according to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
It belonged to Amenemhat — which means the god “Amen Is In the Forefront” — and his wife Amenhotep, said Mostafa Al-Waziri, who led the Egyptian team which unearthed the 3,500-year-old tomb.
While Amenhotep is usually a man’s name, Waziri said, the team found references inside the tomb that indicated she was the lady of the house.
CNN was the first media outlet to be given access to the tomb on the day of the announcement.

Researchers discovered a number of skulls inside the tomb.

An entrance, uncovered in the courtyard of another tomb, leads to a squared chamber where, in a niche, Amenemhat is pictured with his wife in a partly damaged duo sandstone statue, Waziri said.
Between their legs is seen a little figure of their son. “The daughter, or as they used to refer (to daughters) ‘the precious,’ is usually the one pictured in this place. If the family have no daughters, they would take their daughter-in-law. It is unusual to see the son,” said Waziri.
The owners belong to the 18th dynasty of Egypt. The tomb appears to have been reused, as sarcophagi from the 22nd and 21st dynasties were found as well, said Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany.

Statues discovered in the tomb, whose owners belong to the 18th dynasty.

It had two burial shafts, one of them probably dug for the mummies of Amenemhat and Amenhotep. Archaeologists found mummies, sarcophagi and funerary masks carved in wood, along with statuettes of the goldsmith and his wife.
Archaeologists also found the mummies of a woman and her two adult children in another burial shaft in the courtyard. Experts said initial analysis of the mummies shed light on the diseases from which the deceased were suffering, as well other aspects of how they lived.
The tomb also holds clues to new tombs, in the form of funerary masks belonging to four officials whose burial spots have not yet been found.
“This is not the end. This will lead to more discoveries in the future,” Waziri said.

Archaeologists also found funerary masks carved in wood and statuettes of the couple.

The clue that led to the tomb unveiled Saturday was in fact uncovered in another 3,500-year-old tomb unearthed in April in the same area, he said.
In that discovery, officials announced that they had found 10 colorful sarcophagi and numerous figurines.
The main T-shaped tomb in the April find belonged to a city judge named Userhat and is typical of New Kingdom noblemen’s tombs, the ministry said in a statement at the time.
Egyptian archeologists have also found several other tombs and statues in other areas of Egypt this year.
Parts of a 3,000-year-old colossal statue, believed to have stood about 30 feet tall, were found in Cairo in March. Archeologists unearthed the statue in a pit in an area of low-income housing in the eastern neighborhood of Matareya.
This story has been updated to clarify the translation of Amenemhat’s name made by Egyptian officials during Saturday’s news conference.

Curiosity Has Discovered Something That Raises More Questions About Life on Mars

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GIZMODO)

 

Curiosity Has Discovered Something That Raises More Questions About Life on Mars

Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

Everyone from David Bowie to astrobiologists to tinfoil hat believers has pondered the question: is there life on Mars? While we’ve found direct evidence of liquid water on the Red Planet, we have yet to find any microbes there. But not all hope is lost—new discoveries from NASA’s Curiosity rover have brought forth more compelling evidence of habitability on Mars. I mean, in theory, all that life has been dead for billions of years, but still.

Researchers studying Curiosity’s data say the rover has detected boron in the 3.8 billion year-old Gale crater. Boron is an element that can catalyze the formation of RNA—or ribonucleic acid, the single-stranded carbon copy of DNA found in all living cells—when dissolved in water. The boron was discovered in calcium sulfate mineral veins suggestive of ancient groundwater, so the team believes this could mean at least some of the water once present in Gale Crater had conditions favorable to the emergence of life. The findings have been published in the Geophysical Research Letters.

“Because borates may play an important role in making RNA—one of the building blocks of life—finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet,” the study’s lead author, Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, said in a statement. “Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you have no life. The presence of boron tells us that, if organics were present on Mars, these chemical reactions could have occurred.”

Hopefully, NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover will be able to answer the many lingering questions we have about ancient Martian life. According to Los Alamos National Laboratory, this rover will be specially equipped with a “SuperCam” that can “search for signs of past life” on Mars. (More about that instrument’s capabilities here.) Fingers crossed we find something—humanity really needs a win right now.

[Geophysical Research Letters]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rae Paoletta

Space Writer, Gizmodo

Monster Black Hole 100,000 Times Larger Than The Sun Has Been Discovered In Milky Way

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS WEEK)

 

MONSTER BLACK HOLE 100,000 TIMES MORE MASSIVE THAN THE SUN DISCOVERED AT CENTER OF MILKY WAY

Could Artificial Intelligence Cause World War Three? Elon Musk fears it might

Scientists believe they have discovered a huge black hole near the center of the Milky Way hiding within a massive cloud of molecular gas. With an estimated mass of around 100,000 times that of our sun, they believe it could be a special type of black hole that has long been hypothesized but never officially identified.

Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are considered the missing link in the evolution of the cosmic objects and could help explain how supermassive black holes are formed. However, no direct evidence of an IMBH has ever been found.

In a study published in Nature Astronomy, scientists led by Tomoharu Oka from Keio University, Japan, announced a new candidate for an IMBH. They found a “peculiar” molecular cloud sitting near the center of the Milky Way which displayed some highly unusual properties not seen in similar structures—properties that could be explained by a “gravitational kick” caused by an “invisible compact object with a mass of about 105 solar masses.”

Using numerical simulations of the hidden object, they interpret it as being an IMBH that is not currently accreting matter—the accumulation of particles by gravitationally attracting more matter. If it is a black hole, it would be the second largest in the Milky Way after Sagittarius A. It is also the second IMBH candidate within the Milky Way.

Finding an IMBH would open up a new avenue of research in understanding supermassive black holes—black holes that can be billions of times the mass of the sun that sit at the center of most massive galaxies, including the Milky Way.

black holeArtist impression of a black hole.NASA/SOFIA/LYNETTE COOK

“It is widely accepted that black holes with masses greater than a million solar masses lurk at the centers of massive galaxies,” the team wrote. “[But] the origins of such supermassive black holes remain unknown.”

One of the prominent theories about how supermassive black holes form is through IMBHs merging at the center of galaxies, acting as seeds to create their larger counterparts. This would help explain how supermassive black holes managed to get so massive so quickly—they appeared when the universe was just a few hundred million years old.

The researchers also say identifying and studying an IMBH will expand our understanding of the universe more generally.

“Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations so far,” the authors continue.

“Further detection of such compact high-velocity features in various environments may increase the number of non-luminous black hole candidate and thereby increase targets to search for evidential proof of general relativity. This would make a considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics.”

Researchers will now continue to study the candidate IMBH in the hope of confirming its nature.

Stephen Hawking project detects possible signs of alien life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

 

Stephen Hawking project detects possible signs of alien life from distant galaxy

Not Released (NR)

A Stephen Hawking-led project has detected what could be signs of alien life from a galaxy 3 billion light years away from Earth.

(NASA/GETTY IMAGES)

Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen project has detected mysterious signals that could be coming from intelligent alien life.Astronomers working to identify alien civilizations picked up 15 repeated fast radio bursts (FRBs) from a dwarf galaxy 3 billion light years away from Earth.

It’s unclear if the signals, observed over a 30-minute period, emanate from black holes, rotating neutron stars, or if they represent signs of alien life.

Hawking founded the Breakthrough Listen project to investigate — and identify — signs of intelligent life in the universe. Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner is also behind the initiative.

The 15 signals came from FRB 121102. Astronomers had previously detected radio pulses coming from the same source.

But the recent signals were observed at a higher frequency than previous signals.

Breakthrough Listen postdoctoral researcher Vishal Gajjar discovered the activity, which was reported by the Astronomer’s Telegram.

“These are the highest frequency and widest bandwith detections of bursts from FRB 121102 obtained to-date,” the report said. “These observations may indicate FRB 121102 is currently in a heightened activity state, and follow-on observations are encouraged, particularly at higher radio frequencies.”

Tags:
STEPHEN HAWKING
SPACE
SCIENCE

Who Vladimir Putin thinks will rule the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Who Vladimir Putin thinks will rule the world

Story highlights

  • The Russian President gives an “open lesson” to more than a million schoolchildren
  • “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he says

(CNN)On the first day of the new school year in Russia, students learned an important lesson directly from their president — who he thinks will rule the world.

Speaking to students during a national “open lesson” from the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country that takes the lead in the sphere of computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) will rule.
“Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind,” said Putin. “There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today.”
“Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he said, adding that it would be better to prevent any particular “pair of hands” from achieving a monopoly in the field.
If Russia becomes the leader in the development of artificial intelligence, “we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology,” said Putin.
More than a million schoolchildren around Russia were expected to watch the televised open lesson online, titled “Russia Focused on the Future,” according to the Kremlin.

Putin visits new hockey school in Yaroslavl.

Participants in the lesson also watched videos about the large-scale innovative projects, including the development of a new generation of nuclear-powered icebreakers and a heavy-class space launch center.
The words of the Russian President echo what scientists in Russia and around the world have been mulling over for quite some time.
Work on developing drones and vehicles for military and civilian usage is well under way in Russia, according to state media.
The Russian military is also developing robots, anti-drone systems, and cruise missiles that would be able to analyze radars and make decisions on the altitude, speed and direction of their flight, according to state media.
While in Yaroslavl, Putin didn’t miss the opportunity to show off his hockey skills during a visit to a new school. Putin attended a training session of the children’s hockey team, talked to the young players and played some hockey himself.

Is Elon Musk A Genius An Idiot Or Maybe Both?

Is Elon Musk A Genius An Idiot Or Maybe Both?

by oldpoet56

 

I have never met the man Elon Musk but I have read quite a bit about him during this past year or two. So, I do not know him personally so the best I can do is to garner what I can from him through his quotes. Personally I have no doubt that the man is a genius as far as his IQ is concerned. I have learned during my time here on this Earth that a person can be brilliant yet still do and or believe things that are just plain stupid. I also have learned that a person with a very low IQ can sometimes come up with great ideas, sometimes things in life simply are defined by the angle or the light in which one looks at the issue in question. This article today is going to be my opinions that I have taken from an article that I read this morning in ” livescience.com “. This article is one that I reblogged earlier this morning if you wish to read it before or after you read this article. When I write articles it is always my wish and attempt to get folks to think, to stretch their minds beyond their everyday plain, this article will be no different. I am not really saying that you need to agree with me but I hope you will take a couple of moments to consider what I am laying out for you to think about. This article today is one that does concern every ones life and their Soul.

 

The Science article I mentioned to you a moment ago is concerning a company that Mr. Musk owns that is called ‘Neuralink’. Mr. Musk’s ambition with this company is to develop a “Ultrahigh-Bandwith Brain-Computer Interface.” Mr. Musk says one of the purposes is to ‘accelerate human evolution.’ He is not seeking to create pure machines like you see in the Terminator movies or even in the Will Smith movie simply called, AI. Mr. Musk says that “he sees a real danger in Artificial Intelligence” he has called AI a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” I believe that he is correct there as science, which is often pushed by military government funding seeks to have pilot-less aircraft, not just Drones, but also big Jets, folks the Navy has a sailor-less battle ship! Of course that will then lead to commercial airlines getting rid of all of their pilots. Think about it, driver-less cars, tractor-trailer units, driver-less trains. O yes, we already have this technologies don’t we? Think about factory jobs for a moment please. When I was in my teen years my Dad worked at a Chrysler Assembly plant in northern Illinois, back then the assembly line had far more employees putting together the units than what you see these days. Now machines directed by computer brains have replaced most of those ‘human’ jobs. Machines, computers don’t have Unions, don’t ask for pay raises, paid days off, overtime pay, medical benefits and that list goes on and on. Why let a human do what a computer can do much cheaper, and in most cases, better?

 

Evidently Mr. Musk is concerned that we humans, starting with the poorest, weakest, least educated will only be a burden on society (the wealthiest people), if you are not a positive to society, why should you be allowed to live off of someone else (the rich)? What was Arnold’s phrase, ‘you have been Terminated’? Mr. Musk believes (and he is trying to accomplish this through his Neuralink Company) “that the best way to keep pace with the machines intelligence is to up grade human intelligence.” In the good ole days wasn’t that called going to school and getting the best education that you were able to get?

 

From a pure science perspective Mr. Musk is correct on a couple of different plains. I believe that he is correct about his concerns regarding AI. Do you not believe that the servant can become the master? Could the humble public servant (politicians/bureaucrats/police) ever dare to become the master over the people? We already have, and we have had for many years now the integration of computer chips for people. It started out with chips for our pets so that they don’t get lost from us. Then we went into chips for new-born babies, just in case they ever got lost or stolen. Then came the chips for employees and their convenience. We have had little ‘brain’ chips for well over a decade now. Neuralink and Mr. Musk are now simply trying to stretch the human-computer ‘interface’ as he puts it. There will soon be a day where if you are an employee or if you are an office supervisor of importance that the company will require you to have mandated chip technology in your hand or you can’t get the job or the promotion. If you don’t think that what I am saying to you is logical or true, my friend it is you who are living in a fantasy world, not me.

 

This last paragraph is going to be from my Christian Biblical viewpoint. We are told several times in the book of Revelation about the ‘Mark of the Beast’ being put into our hand or into our head, we are told that if we humans allow this that when Christ and His Angels return that we will die twice. The first death is when this body dies, the second death is when God severs His relationship with us and cast’s us into Hell for all eternity. Many will say things along the lines of ‘what has the Mark of the Beast got to do with computer chips’? I know that most folks still do not realize what ‘Armageddon’ really is. Scripture is very plain that Armageddon is when the Nations of the Earth and their Armies fight against God and His Angels at the Second Advent of Christ. We are also told that the people who are found to have the mark of the Beast in their hand or in their head will be totally crushed as if in a wine-press. Friends think about it for a moment, it is the governments which at that time will be led by Demons and Satan Himself that are going to fight against God, so yes, the governments will be even more wicked than they are now. Friends the mark of the ‘Beast’ is not the number 666, no where does Scripture say that it is. Simply there will come a time when 10 governments will control almost all of the globe and these 10 governments will sit upon the 7 Continents. Then the power will be consolidated into 3 all-powerful governments, then into one. Six is the sign of man, three is the sign of God. The world will have 3 all-powerful governments that are ruled by 3 of Satan’s top Generals. 3 Men who will try to take the place of God, as if they are God’s. Then they will give up their power to the 1 true Anti-Christ, Satan Himself. 3 Men (6’s) who would be God (3’s) if they could. Friends, all I can say to you as I close this article today is please for no reason ever allow anyone to ever put any kind of chip into you, please.

Major drug study opens up vast new opportunities in combating heart disease

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Major drug study opens up vast new opportunities in combating heart disease

 August 27 at 5:00 AM

(Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press)

A landmark drug study has opened up a potent way to lower the risk of heart attacks — beyond the now standard advice of reducing cholesterol — promising new avenues of treatment of Americans’ number one killer.

The findings, more than two decades after the discovery of powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, taken by tens of millions, were announced Sunday at a medical conference in Barcelona and published in two leading medical journals.

Physicians not involved in the study described the results as a scientific triumph, calling the implications for drug treatment of heart disease “huge.”

The findings provide validation of an idea that has been tantalizing cardiologists for years: that reducing inflammation could be a way to treat artery-clogging heart disease.

“It’s a new paradigm: a new opportunity to further reduce death and disability,” said Mark Creager, a past president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study. “We’ve made such tremendous inroads in treating heart disease over the last couple of decades, and it’s hard to imagine we could confer additional benefits, but here you go.”

But the implications and timing of any benefit for patients remain to be seen. The drug company that sponsored the trial, Novartis, plans to meet with regulators this fall and file for approval by the end of the year. The drug, an injection given once every three months, would then be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

A key question is which patients will benefit; the study showed its effect — a 15 percent drop in a combined measure of heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular death — in a select, high-risk population of people who had suffered a previous heart attack and had high levels of a marker of inflammation in their blood. But a subset of patients appeared to get greater benefit from the drug, called canakinumab.

About 15 million people in the United States suffer from the general type of heart disease studied in the trial, according to David Goff, director of the division of cardiovascular sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. There are about 635,000 first-time heart attacks a year in the United States. Of those who survive a heart attack, about 40 percent have high inflammation that puts them at risk for another, despite current therapies.

“I would say the public health impact potential is really substantial,” Goff said, estimating a ballpark figure of about 3 million Americans who might benefit from the drug based on the study’s evidence.

Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s response to infections or injury, but it has been implicated in a growing number of diseases, including cancer.

When cells are injured, they release signaling chemicals and attract immune cells to the site of injury. This process is typically protective, but in heart disease, an inflammation response can contribute to the growth and rupture of fatty deposits that block blood vessels — the ingredients for a heart attack.

But successful heart disease drugs that lower inflammation have other effects, such as lowering cholesterol. That made it hard to distinguish how much of the benefit stems from changes to cholesterol vs. a reduction in inflammation.

By testing a Novartis drug that only affected inflammation — without budging cholesterol — researchers were able to show for the first time that the approach could reduce cardiovascular risk.

“To me, this is like rolling back the clock on statins all the way back to 1994. The first statin came out and we said, ‘Wow, here’s a new class of drugs that can really impact on heart attack and stroke,’ ” said Paul Ridker, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who has doggedly pursued the “inflammatory hypothesis” of heart disease for more than two decades. Ridker has served as a paid consultant to Novartis. “This is the first step, but a big one that is very exciting.”

The trial results don’t mean targeting inflammation is a magic bullet or that people should give up trying to manage cholesterol. Canakinumab, which is already approved for rare diseases under the brand name Ilaris, came with a serious side effect — an increase in the risk of rare fatal infections. Despite the cardiovascular benefit — and a reduction in lung cancer mortality — there was no overall survival benefit, although cardiologists noted that the trends were in the right direction.

The results provide a clue to better treating what Ridker calls the “missing half of heart disease”: the many people whose risk of heart attack remains high, despite well-controlled cholesterol.

It could offer another potential tool for cardiologists, but it does not replace existing therapies — and finding the patients who are likely to get the most benefit will be essential, several outside cardiologists said.

The 10,000 people in the six-year trial had all survived a prior heart attack and carried high levels of blood markers of inflammation. They were on medications, including statins, to reduce the risk of a second event.

“I once described this trial at a meeting as being ‘courageous.’ … This was just a real long shot in many people’s eyes,” said Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in the study but acts as an unpaid adviser to Novartis.

“It opens up an entirely new vista for the treatment of heart disease, because now everybody on the planet — in the pharmaceutical industry and in research institutions like ours and at the National Institutes of Health — are going to be looking to find anti-inflammatory therapies.”

The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology and published in the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Several physicians said more needs to be known about the infection risk before the drug is put into routine use. The greatest potential could be the development of even better medications with fewer drawbacks.

A second, federally funded trial of an old, cheap drug called methotrexate that works in a similar manner is already underway.

The findings could also thrust the debate over pharmaceutical prices back into the spotlight. Ilaris is already approved as a rare disease medicine.

Such drugs typically carry high price tags because of the tiny number of patients they treat. Novartis executives said it was premature to discuss pricing. But under its current list price, a year’s therapy would cost $64,000. The cardiovascular benefit of the drug was similar to a recent class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that have faced slow adoption in the real world, due in large part to their high list prices of more than $14,000 a year.

“What would be truly a shame to me is if we travel down this same pathway, where there is an exciting development clinically — where patients can benefit — and there’s kind of a breakdown in the system from the pricing decisions of manufacturers and payers that just lead to gridlock and friction and clinicians have a hard time” prescribing it, said Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit that measures the cost-effectiveness of medicines.

Ridker, who is a co-inventor on a patent for a blood test for markers of inflammation, fought skepticism about whether the drug would work, and its potential toxicity.

Novartis decided midway through to slash the number of patients from 17,000 to 10,000. Ridker’s hopes for the trial results were relatively modest — at least enough data to point to clear next steps for science — “that we could finally say, ‘Here’s the first evidence for lowering inflammation,’ ” he said.

When researchers finally learned which patients were on the drug and which were on a placebo this summer, the results exceeded his hopes on cardiovascular measures and carried an intriguing hint about a striking reduction in the incidence of fatal lung cancer.

Novartis executives said that they plan to ask regulators if there is a way to reflect the cancer benefits on the drug label as they seek approval for its use in heart disease.

The company also has a number of studies planned to examine an anti-inflammatory approach to cancer treatment. Cancer researchers said the result was intriguing, but cautioned against reading too much into the results.

Barnett Kramer, director of the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute, said it was unclear whether the effect was preventive or therapeutic — or even whether it was a chance finding — without a trial specifically designed to further test the idea.

“The cancer endpoints provide an interesting lead,” Kramer said. “One always has to be careful in interpreting unanticipated findings. Not to ignore them, but I think not accept them as a proof of a benefit.”

It rains solid diamonds on Uranus and Neptune

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

It rains solid diamonds on Uranus and Neptune

 August 25

An image of Neptune taken by Voyager 2. (NASA/JPL)

Consider this your daily reminder that the solar system is even more awesomely bonkers than you realized: On Uranus and Neptune, scientists forecast rain storms of solid diamonds.

The gems form in the hydrocarbon-rich oceans of slush that swath the gas giants’ solid cores. Scientists have long speculated that the extreme pressures in this region might split those molecules into atoms of hydrogen and carbon, the latter of which then crystallize to form diamonds. These diamonds were thought to sink like rain through the ocean until they hit the solid core.

But no one could prove that this would really work — until now. In a study published this week in the journal Nature Astrophysics, researchers say they were able to produce this “diamond rain” using fancy plastic and high-powered lasers.

“Previously, researchers could only assume that the diamonds had formed,” lead author Dominik Kraus, a physicist at the Helmholtz Dresden-Rossendorf research center in Germany, told the magazine Cosmos. “When I saw the results of this latest experiment, it was one of the best moments of my scientific career.”

Scientists have tried to do this before — who wouldn’t want to make it rain precious stones? — but they ran into problems mimicking the incredible pressures near the gas planet’s cores. Neptune and Uranus are 17 and 15 times the mass of Earth, respectively, and their oceans are crushed by pressures millions of times more intense than the air pressure at Earth’s sea level.

 Play Video 2:10
Dear Science: Where do old spacecraft go when they die?
Space agencies have two options for satellites, rovers and probes whose missions have come to the end. The Post’s Sarah Kaplan tells you more. (Monica Akhtar, Sarah Kaplan/The Washington Post)

To match this absurd intensity, Kraus and his colleagues used two types of laser — one optical, one X-ray — to produce shock waves. These waves were then driven through a block of polystyrene — a type of plastic composed of hydrogen and carbon, just like Uranus and Neptune’s oceans.

“The first smaller, slower wave is overtaken by another stronger second wave,” Kraus explained in a news release. The combination of the two waves squeezed the plastic to 150 gigapascals of pressure — more than exists at the bottom of Earth’s mantle — and heated it to more than 8,500 degrees. At that moment, the diamonds began to form.

The process lasted only a fraction of a second, and the diamonds were no bigger than a nanometer in length. But Kraus and his colleagues believe that the diamonds that develop on Uranus and Neptune are probably bigger and longer-lasting.

“In the planet you have years, millions of years, and a long range of conditions where this actually can happen,” co-author Dirk Gericke, of the University of Warwick, told the Guardian.

The results will be useful not just for understanding the outer gas giants but for improving the process of making diamonds. Most lab-grown stones are produced via a blasting process, but Kraus and Gericke suggest that using lasers may make production cleaner and easier to control. Those stones can then be used for semiconductors, drill bits and solar panels, not to mention instruments that mimic the conditions inside the very gas planets that inspired this research.

 Play Video 2:09
Satellite to test space garbage collection methods
A satellite designed to test various technologies that may help tackle the growing problem of space junk is undergoing final pre-flight testing. (Reuters)

Read more:

Science may have solved the 150-year-old mystery of a sunken Civil War submarine

Trump’s science envoy quits in scathing letter with an embedded message: I-M-P-E-A-C-H

The survival of a Mars mission could depend on astronaut urine

The eclipse capital of the U.S. is over the moon for Monday’s solar event

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