International team detected radio bubbles with South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope.
A gigantic, balloon-like structure has been hiding in plain sight, right in the center of our own galaxy.
An international team of astronomers, including Northwestern’s Farhad Yusef-Zadeh, discovered the structure, which is one of the largest ever observed in the Milky Way’s center. The newly spotted pair of radio-emitting bubbles reach hundreds of light-years tall, dwarfing all other structures in the central region of the galaxy.
The team believes the enormous, hourglass-shaped structure likely is the result of a phenomenally energetic burst that erupted near the Milky Way’s super massive black hole several million years ago.
“The center of our galaxy is relatively calm when compared to other galaxies with very active central black holes,” said Ian Heywood of the University of Oxford, first author of study. “Even so, the Milky Way’s central black hole can — from time to time — become uncharacteristically active, flaring up as it periodically devours massive clumps of dust and gas. It’s possible that one such feeding frenzy triggered powerful outbursts that inflated this previously unseen feature.”
Why couldn’t we see such a massive figure before? We simply did not have the technology. Until now, the enormous bubbles were hidden by extremely bright radio emissions from the center of the galaxy. For this work, the team used the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) MeerKAT telescope, the largest science project in Africa. The radio light seen by MeerKAT can easily penetrate the dense clouds of dust that block visible light from the center of the galaxy.
This is the first paper detailing research completed with MeerKAT’s full 64-dish array since its launch in July 2018.
More turbulent and unusually active compared to rest of the Milky Way, the environment surrounding our galaxy’s central black hole holds many mysteries. Northwestern’s Yusef-Zadeh, a senior author of the paper, has dedicated his career to studying the physical processes that occur in the Milky Way’s mystifying center.
In the early 1980s, Yusef-Zadeh discovered large-scale, highly organized magnetic filaments in the center of the Milky Way, 25,000 light-years from Earth. While their origin has remained an unsolved mystery ever since, the filaments are radio structures stretching tens of light-years long and one light-year wide.
“The radio bubbles discovered with MeerKAT now shed light on the origin of the filaments,” Yusef-Zadeh said. “Almost all of the more than 100 filaments are confined by the radio bubbles.”
Researchers believe the close association of the filaments with the bubbles implies that the energetic event that created the radio bubbles also is responsible for accelerating the electrons required to produce the radio emission from the magnetized filaments.
The team of astronomers on this project represents 15 institutions, including Northwestern, Oxford, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cape Town and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia.
Reference: “Inflation of 430-parsec bipolar radio bubbles in the Galactic Centre by an energetic event” by I. Heywood, F. Camilo, W. D. Cotton, F. Yusef-Zadeh, T. D. Abbott, R. M. Adam, M. A. Aldera, E. F. Bauermeister, R. S. Booth, A. G. Botha, D. H. Botha, L. R. S. Brederode, Z. B. Brits, S. J. Buchner, J. P. Burger, J. M. Chalmers, T. Cheetham, D. de Villiers, M. A. Dikgale-Mahlakoana, L. J. du Toit, S. W. P. Esterhuyse, B. L. Fanaroff, A. R. Foley, D. J. Fourie, R. R. G. Gamatham, S. Goedhart, S. Gounden, M. J. Hlakola, C. J. Hoek, A. Hokwana, D. M. Horn, J. M. G. Horrell, B. Hugo, A. R. Isaacson, J. L. Jonas, J. D. B. L. Jordaan, A. F. Joubert, G. I. G. Józsa, R. P. M. Julie, F. B. Kapp, J. S. Kenyon, P. P. A. Kotzé, H. Kriel, T. W. Kusel, R. Lehmensiek, D. Liebenberg, A. Loots, R. T. Lord, B. M. Lunsky, P. S. Macfarlane, L. G. Magnus, C. M. Magozore, O. Mahgoub, J. P. L. Main, J. A. Malan, R. D. Malgas, J. R. Manley, M. D. J. Maree, B. Merry, R. Millenaar, N. Mnyandu, I. P. T. Moeng, T. E. Monama, M. C. Mphego, W. S. New, B. Ngcebetsha, N. Oozeer, A. J. Otto, S. S. Passmoor, A. A. Patel, A. Peens-Hough, S. J. Perkins, S. M. Ratcliffe, R. Renil, A. Rust, S. Salie, L. C. Schwardt, M. Serylak, R. Siebrits, S. K. Sirothia, O. M. Smirnov, L. Sofeya, P. S. Swart, C. Tasse, D. T. Taylor, I. P. Theron, K. Thorat, A. J. Tiplady, S. Tshongweni, T. J. van Balla, A. van der Byl, C. van der Merwe, C. L. van Dyk, R. Van Rooyen, V. Van Tonder, R. Van Wyk, B. H. Wallace, M. G. Welz and L. P. Williams, 11 September 2019, Nature.
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So there you are, about to leap into a black hole. What could possibly await should — against all odds — you somehow survive? Where would you end up and what tantalizing tales would you be able to regale if you managed to clamor your way back?
The simple answer to all of these questions is, as Professor Richard Massey explains, “Who knows?” As a Royal Society research fellow at the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University, Massey is fully aware that the mysteries of black holes run deep. “Falling through an event horizon is literally passing beyond the veil — once someone falls past it, nobody could ever send a message back,” he said. “They’d be ripped to pieces by the enormous gravity, so I doubt anyone falling through would get anywhere.”
If that sounds like a disappointing — and painful — answer, then it is to be expected. Ever since Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity was considered to have predicted black holes by linking space-time with the action of gravity, it has been known that black holes result from the death of a massive star leaving behind a small, dense remnant core. Assuming this core has more than roughly three-times the mass of the sun, gravity would overwhelm to such a degree that it would fall in on itself into a single point, or singularity, understood to be the black hole’s infinitely dense core.
The resulting uninhabitable black hole would have such a powerful gravitational pull that not even light could avoid it. So, should you then find yourself at the event horizon — the point at which light and matter can only pass inward, as proposed by the German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild — there is no escape. According to Massey, tidal forces would reduce your body into strands of atoms (or ‘spaghettification’, as it is also known) and the object would eventually end up crushed at the singularity. The idea that you could pop out somewhere — perhaps at the other side — seems utterly fantastical.
What about a wormhole?
Or is it? Over the years scientists have looked into the possibility that black holes could be wormholes to other galaxies. They may even be, as some have suggested, a path to another universe.
Such an idea has been floating around for some time: Einstein teamed up with Nathan Rosen to theorize bridges that connect two different points in space-time in 1935. But it gained some fresh ground in the 1980’s when physicist Kip Thorne — one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — raised a discussion about whether objects could physically travel through them.
“Reading Kip Thorne’s popular book about wormholes is what first got me excited about physics as a child,” Massey said. But it doesn’t seem likely that wormholes exist.
Indeed, Thorne, who lent his expert advice to the production team for the Hollywood movie Interstellar, wrote: “We see no objects in our universe that could become wormholes as they age,” in his book “The Science of Interstellar” (W.W. Norton and Company, 2014). Thorne told Space.com that journeys through these theoretical tunnels would most likely remain science fiction, and there is certainly no firm evidence that a black hole could allow for such a passage.
Artist’s concept of a wormhole. If wormholes exist, they might lead to another universe. But, there’s no evidence that wormholes are real or that a black hole would act like one.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
But, the problem is that we can’t get up close to see for ourselves. Why, we can’t even take photographs of anything that takes place inside a black hole — if light cannot escape their immense gravity, then nothing can be snapped by a camera. As it stands, theory suggests that anything which goes beyond the event horizon is simply added to the black hole and, what’s more, because time distorts close to this boundary, this will appear to take place incredibly slowly, so answers won’t be quickly forthcoming.
“I think the standard story is that they lead to the end of time,” said Douglas Finkbeiner, professor of astronomy and physics at Harvard University. “An observer far away will not see their astronaut friend fall into the black hole. They’ll just get redder and fainter as they approach the event horizon [as a result of gravitational red shift]. But the friend falls right in, to a place beyond ‘forever.’ Whatever that means.”
Maybe a black hole leads to a white hole
Certainly, if black holes do lead to another part of a galaxy or another universe, there would need to be something opposite to them on the other side. Could this be a white hole — a theory put forward by Russian cosmologist Igor Novikov in 1964? Novikov proposed that a black hole links to a white hole that exists in the past. Unlike a black hole, a white hole will allow light and matter to leave, but light and matter will not be able to enter.
Scientists have continued to explore the potential connection between black and white holes. In their 2014 study published in the journal Physical Review D, physicists Carlo Rovelli and Hal M. Haggard claimed that “there is a classic metric satisfying the Einstein equations outside a finite space-time region where matter collapses into a black hole and then emerges from a while hole.” In other words, all of the material black holes have swallowed could be spewed out, and black holes may become white holes when they die.
Far from destroying the information that it absorbs, the collapse of a black hole would be halted. It would instead experience a quantum bounce, allowing information to escape. Should this be the case, it would shed some light on a proposal by former Cambridge University cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who, in the 1970’s, explored the possibility that black holes emit particles and radiation — thermal heat — as a result of quantum fluctuations.
Red shifting Star Orbiting Super massive Black Hole Demonstrates Einstein Prediction
“Hawking said a black hole doesn’t last forever,” Finkbeiner said. Hawking calculated that the radiation would cause a black hole to lose energy, shrink and disappear, as described in his 1976 paper published in Physical Review D. Given his claims that the radiation emitted would be random and contain no information about what had fallen in, the black hole, upon its explosion, would erase loads of information.
This meant Hawking’s idea was at odds with quantum theory, which says information can’t be destroyed. Physics states information just becomes more difficult to find because, should it become lost, it becomes impossible to know the past or the future. Hawking’s idea led to the ‘black hole information paradox’ and it has long puzzled scientists. Some have said Hawking was simply wrong, and the man himself even declared he had made an error during a scientific conference in Dublin in 2004.
So, do we go back to the concept of black holes emitting preserved information and throwing it back out via a white hole? Maybe. In their 2013 study published in Physical Review Letters, Jorge Pullin at Louisiana State University and Rodolfo Gambini at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay, applied loop quantum gravity to a black hole and found that gravity increased towards the core but reduced and plonked whatever was entering into another region of the universe. The results gave extra credence to the idea of black holes serving as a portal. In this study, singularity does not exist, and so it doesn’t form an impenetrable barrier that ends up crushing whatever it encounters. It also means that information doesn’t disappear.
Maybe black holes go nowhere
Yet physicists Ahmed Almheiri, Donald Marolf, Joseph Polchinski and James Sully still believed Hawking could have been on to something. They worked on a theory that became known as the AMPS firewall, or the black hole firewall hypothesis. By their calculations, quantum mechanics could feasibly turn the event horizon into a giant wall of fire and anything coming into contact would burn in an instant. In that sense, black holes lead nowhere because nothing could ever get inside.
This, however, violates Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Someone crossing the event horizon shouldn’t actually feel any great hardship because an object would be in free fall and, based on the equivalence principle, that object — or person — would not feel the extreme effects of gravity. It could follow the laws of physics present elsewhere in the universe, but even if it didn’t go against Einstein’s principle it would undermine quantum field theory or suggest information can be lost.
Artist’s impression of a tidal disruption event which occurs when a star passes too close to a super massive black hole.
(Image credit: All About Space magazine)
A black hole of uncertainty
Step forward Hawking once more. In 2014, he published a study in which he eschewed the existence of an event horizon — meaning there is nothing there to burn — saying gravitational collapse would produce an ‘apparent horizon’ instead.
This horizon would suspend light rays trying to move away from the core of the black hole, and would persist for a “period of time.” In his rethinking, apparent horizons temporarily retain matter and energy before dissolving and releasing them later down the line. This explanation best fits with quantum theory — which says information can’t be destroyed — and, if it was ever proven, it suggests that anything could escape from a black hole.
Hawking went as far as saying black holes may not even exist. “Black holes should be redefined as metastable bound states of the gravitational field,” he wrote. There would be no singularity, and while the apparent field would move inwards due to gravity, it would never reach the center and be consolidated within a dense mass.
And yet anything which is emitted will not be in the form of the information swallowed. It would be impossible to figure out what went in by looking at what is coming out, which causes problems of its own — not least for, say, a human who found themselves in such an alarming position. They’d never feel the same again!
One thing’s for sure, this particular mystery is going to swallow up many more scientific hours for a long time to come. Rovelli and Francesca Vidotto recently suggested that a component of dark matter could be formed by remnants of evaporated black holes, and Hawking’s paper on black holes and ‘soft hair’ was released in 2018, and describes how zero-energy particles are left around the point of no return, the event horizon — an idea that suggests information is not lost but captured.
This flew in the face of the no-hair theorem which was expressed by physicist John Archibald Wheeler and worked on the basis that two black holes would be indistinguishable to an observer because none of the special particle physics pseudo-charges would be conserved. It’s an idea that has got scientists talking, but there is some way to go before it’s seen as the answer for where black holes lead. If only we could find a way to leap into one.
When you manage to live for more than a century, things are naturally going to progress a lot while you are around to witness it. That is certainly the case for Kane Tanaka of Japan, who is currently 116 years old. The supercentenarian took over the title of world’s oldest person in July 2018, upon the death of the former oldest person, 117-year-old Chiyo Miyako. During both their lifetimes, the world’s population growth, cultural shifts, and technological advances occurred at an accelerating, head-spinning rate.
Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Tanaka’s birthday is January 2, 1903 — the year Ford released his Model A, one of the very first automobiles. The oldest man ever was also Japanese. Jiroemon Kimura (1897–2013), who lived to be 116. Currently the oldest known living man is Gustav Gerneth of Germany, who is 113. Here’s a brisk timeline of what has changed, evolved and progressed on the planet since they were born.
A whirlwind of technological progress
During the past 100-plus years, technology, science, and medical advances in research and treatment have increased at a near-exponential pace compared to past generations. At the dawn of the twentieth century, for example, people such as Tanaka witnessed the infancy of airplanes, radio, and automobiles. Yet, they have also lived to see the rise of wireless devices and space travel by humans.
And of all the small, incremental leaps along the way, you might be surprised when some of these firsts came about. In the years just before Tanaka was born, for example, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in 1900 invented the first lighter-than-air flying dirigible, according to Toughtco.com’s timeline of Great 20th Century Inventions. The first year of the twentieth century also saw the modern escalator come into existence, while the safety razor, the first radio transmission, and the compact modern vacuum came along in 1901. Air conditioning, neon, the lie detector, and the Teddy Bear were close behind, all debuting in 1902.
Let there be light — and cars
One of the major technological advances for people around the turn of the last century was the introduction of the car. The year of Tanaka’s birth saw the release of the original Ford Model A, the first car produced by Ford Motor Company. She is now alive to witness the first electric cars coming onto the market for consumers. It was also 1903 when the Wright brothers invented the first motorized, gasoline-powered, human-piloted airplane.
In 1905 came Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, making forever famous the equation E = mc2. We can all thank Mary Anderson, who in 1905 received a patent for windshield wipers. Likewise for breakfast lovers in 1906, for William Kellogg’s invention of Cornflakes. Lewis Nixon invented the first sonar like device that year, as well, with naval and marine-research implications.
Another big leap in marine technology came with 1943’s invention by Emile Gagnan and famed diver and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau of the aqualung, enabling the first scuba divers to stay submerged with their own air supply– not connected to a hose to the surface above for oxygen.
Accelerating into the information age
All of the prerequisite technologies that made personal computing possible came about in the 1950s and 1960s, most importantly the microchip. In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs released the Apple I, one of the first personal home computers with the portability and price to make it practical for businesses and individuals to own. The first PC from IBM came along in 1981. On the medical front, laser eye surgery was just beginning to be worked on by Patricia Bath; also that year the Space Shuttle made its first flight.
Science, information, technology, and commerce all started to come together in 1989, the year in which Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
In Tanaka’s native Japan, she no doubt witnessed the rise of steam railroads as a child, and her country was at the forefront of developing high speed rail throughout the last century, and today the vast network of lines features bullet-shaped trains whizzing across the landscape at anywhere from 80 to 200 mph. Newer maglev train lines have recorded test speeds up to a hair-raising 374 mph.
Beyond transportation wonders, Tanaka has lived long enough to see television go from nonexistent, to black-and-white, to ultra high-definition, whether she is aware of such advances or not. Personal communication in her lifetime has gone from the telegraph to nearly everyone having a Star Trek like communicator from science fiction in their back pocket — not to mention talking to Siri and Alexa to adjust the thermostat.
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Monitors show facial recognition software in use at the headquarters of the artificial intelligence company Megvii, in Beijing, May 10, 2018. Beijing is putting billions of dollars behind facial recognition and other technologies to track and control its citizens.
Photo: Gilles Sabrie / New York Times
“In two years, China will be ahead of the United States in AI (artificial intelligence),” states Denis Barrier, CEO of global venture firm Cathay Innovation. Others say the same. If so, China will largely determine how this technology transforms the world. Today’s contest is more than a race for dominance in a new technology — it’s one between authoritarianism and democracy.
“AI is the world’s next big inflection point,” says Ajeet Singh, CEO of Thought Spot in Palo Alto. Artificial intelligence is machine learning, which self-learns programmed tasks, using data, and the more it gets, the more learned it becomes. It drives cars, recognizes individuals, diagnoses diseases and more. Like past informational technologies, artificial intelligence will convey advantages to the nation that leads its use — accelerating research, increasing productivity and enabling dominant military capabilities.
Hence, China’s race to dominate the technology.
In the United States, companies and agencies are pursuing artificial intelligence development in a decentralized manner. In China, the government has a focused national effort, following Google’s Deep Mind artificial intelligence defeating the world’s top Go players in 2016-17. That defeat was China’s “Sputnik moment,” (the moment that a technological achievement by a rival galvanized American political resolve to invest in space technology) — one the U.S. has yet to have with artificial intelligence. And, unlike the United States, China has a national strategy for artificial intelligence, setting milestones, accelerating China’s pursuit of the technology: 2020: Be equal to the United States 2025: Surpass the United States 2030: Lead the world as an artificial-intelligence innovation center
“Research institutes, universities, private companies and the government all working together … I haven’t seen anything like it,” said Steven White, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, China’s MIT. In the race for artificial intelligence dominance, “the U.S. will lose because they don’t have the resources,” said White.
But, needs are driving China, too. It’s artificial intelligence strategy addresses: Its shrinking labor force — A “national crisis,” says the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which predicts China’s working population will drop from 631 million in 2020, to 523 million in 2035, and 424 million in 2050. China must also care for a growing elderly population. The United Nations estimates China’s over-65-age group will increase from about 160 million in 2020, to 360 million in 2050. How to remain an economic power — China seeks to operate almost a million robots and produce 150,000 industrial ones in 2020.
Growing health care needs — China seeks a “rapid, accurate intelligent medical system,” including artificial intelligence-scanning imagery for cancer, robots providing medical references for doctors, and artificial intelligence-powered online consultations. Military dominance of the East and South China seas, which allows access for China’s export-driven economy. China’s government seeks a civil-military fusion of artificial intelligence, enabling faster military decision-making, robotic submarines and large drone swarms that could overwhelm opposing forces. Control by the Communist Party over China’s population. Internal unrest — coastal rich vs. interior poor; ethnically different regions like Tibet; an anxious middle class; and pro-democracy efforts — has long concerned authorities. China is using artificial intelligence to build an Orwellian state. Smart cities track peoples’ movements. China, netted with millions of cameras and facial and vehicle recognition systems, can rapidly identify individuals. Police wear facial recognition glasses that do the same. Bio-metric data provide even better identification. And people get social credit scores, which determine eligibility for loans, travel and more. This artificial-intelligence-enabled system enables political repression and strengthens autocratic rule.
Today, a divided America needs to “get [its] act together as a country” regarding artificial intelligence said former Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt. If it doesn’t, America’s greatness will pass, and so will hope for a free world order.
Thomas C. Linn is a U.S. Naval War College professor, a U.S. Army War College instructor, author of “Think and Write for Your Life — or Be Replaced by a Robot” and a retired U.S. Marine. The views expressed are his own.
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Google Bars Using Artificial Intelligence Tech in Weapons, Unreasonable Surveillance
Friday, 8 June, 2018 – 09:45
FILE PHOTO: Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
Google announced Thursday it would not allow its artificial intelligence software to be used in weapons or unreasonable surveillance efforts under new standards for its business decisions in the nascent field.
The Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit said the restriction could help Google management defuse months of protest by thousands of employees against the company’s work with the US military to identify objects in drone video.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in a blog post: “We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons, we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas,” such as cybersecurity, training, or search and rescue.
Pichai set out seven principles for Google’s application of artificial intelligence, or advanced computing that can simulate intelligent human behavior.
He said Google is using AI “to help people tackle urgent problems” such as prediction of wildfires, helping farmers, diagnosing disease or preventing blindness, AFP reported.
“We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use,” Pichai said in the blog.
“How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right.”
He added that the principles also called for AI applications to be “built and tested for safety,” to be “accountable to people” and to “incorporate privacy design principles.”
The move came after potential of AI systems to pinpoint drone strikes better than military specialists or identify dissidents from mass collection of online communications has sparked concerns among academic ethicists and Google employees, according to Reuters.
Several technology firms have already agreed to the general principles of using artificial intelligence for good, but Google appeared to offer a more precise set of standards.
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(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)
Technology boosts medical practice in Tibetan hospitals
Source: Xinhua | | PRINT EDITION
SEED germinators and western medical equipment are no longer novelties in Tibetan hospitals, as researchers and doctors become increasingly technologically adept.
Tashi Tsering with the Biological Research Institute of Tibetan Medicine at Lhasa’s Men-Tsee-Khang — a traditional Tibetan hospital founded in 1916 — has been growing meconopsis aculeata under controlled conditions for six years.
A rare member of the poppy family, the flowering plant grows only at high altitude and is used in 257 traditional remedies, principally for liver complaints.
As global warming pushes the snow line upward, the plant’s habitat has shifted from 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level to 5,000. This, coupled with a growing demand, has resulted in even greater scarcity, Tsering said.
He and his team surveyed 37 counties in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan before their first attempt to cultivate the plant.
“We scored zero on our first try,” he said. No seeds sprouted in 2011 at the test site in Lhasa, despite the light, temperature, moisture and soil having been meticulously controlled to simulate the natural habitat.
In the second year, the germination rate rose to 17 percent. In 2015, the team harvested their own seeds for the first time and this year almost 90 percent of them sprouted. Despite the achievement, it is too early to begin celebrations until technical assessment and lab tests confirm the reliability of the home-grown product.
Traditionally, Tibetan medical practitioners spent years learning to gather herbs, with instructions so sophisticated that they had to memorize which part of each herb to pick under which weather and seasonal conditions and at which time.
The institute has grown 27 endangered herbs in artificial conditions over the past decade and a new laboratory now houses a variety of equipment including germinators, climate incubators, soil testers and imaging systems.
“To meet the rising demand for Tibetan medicine, artificial cultivation of medicinal herbs is a must,” Tsering said.
Tibetan medicine’s influence is expanding beyond the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
For example, An’erning granules, a remedy for the common cold in children and approved by the State Food and Drug Administration, is a leading pediatric patent medicine nationwide.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, considered incurable in western medicine, is claimed to be 94 percent successful in the Arura Hospital in Xining where Tibetan doctors use a holistic approach including medicated bathing, special diets and psychology.
Konchok Gyaltsen, honorary president of the hospital, believes it is the combination of philosophy and herbalism that creates and maintains a healthy mind and body.
Dorje, director of the Qinghai Provincial Tibetan Medicine Research Institute, argues that Tibetan medicine was advanced even in ancient times, with Tibetan physicians performing brain and cataract surgery 1,000 years before their western counterparts. At the Qinghai Tibetan Culture Museum in Xining, dozens of surgical instruments used 1,300 years ago are on display.
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Shaul Elovitch has sold Spacecom, which operates the AMOS communications satellites, to Beijing Xinwei Technology.
Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd. (TASE:SCC) notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) that it is to be fully acquired by Luxembourg Space Telecommunications for $285 million. Luxembourg Space Telecommunications is owned by Chinese communications company Beijing Xinwei Technology.Spacecom, which operates the AMOS series of communications satellites, is owned by Eurocom Group, which is controlled by Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch.
Israeli gov’t signs $63m agreement with Spacecom
Spacecom sees $158m insurance payout for Amos 5
Foreign co in talks to buy Spacecom for $285m
The price being paid was a 30% premium on the share’s market price yesterday morning when Spacecom first reported it was in talks to be sold for $285 million.
After the acquisition is completed, Spacecom will be delisted from the TASE but its bonds will continue to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
A dirt bike is a tool for getting a person to a place they shouldn’t be. Lightweight, made for rough terrain, and fast, motorcycles allow special forces to slip through woods, navigate narrow canyons, sneak through alleyways, or hurtle down footpaths. There’s only one problem: dirt bikes are really, really loud, so any secrecy gained by using a bike is lost to the engine’s roar. Which is why DARPA, the Pentagon’s future projects wing, is funding the development of a versatile electric dirt bike, so that special forces can have as silent a ride as possible on two powered wheels. The bike is called “SilentHawk,” and after receiving the first prototype, DARPA liked to so much they asked for two more.
SilentHawk is a collaboration between Logos Technologies, which makes military tools like drones and sensors, and Alta Motors, which makes electric dirt bikes. Creating a silent motorcycle meant starting from an electric bike. As designed, one modification of the SilentHawk uses a hybrid engine, so it can run on gas most of the time, and on electricity when it needs to be quiet. And it’s not limited to gas: It’s can run on diesel, as well as JP5 and JP8 jet fuels, so that the special forces using it in the field can power it with whatever fuel they might encounter. When running on fuel, the SilentHawk recharges its own batteries and any electronic devices the troops might have, like radios, GPS receivers, or tablets.
The SilentHawk motorcycle has an expected top speed of 80 mph, on either electric or hybrid power.
“Because they’re motorcycles and they’re relatively small, you can put several of these in the back of a V-22 and they could be dropped off somewhere,” said Doug Rombough, VP of Business Development for Logos Technologies. “They could go 50 miles, and when they get within 10 miles of an objective, they could shut off that multi-fuel engine, and go all-electric—the only noise [they] will produce at that point will be the noise of the tires on the surface and or the chain of the motorcycle.”
Running on fuel with the generator activated, the bike is about 75 decibels, or the sound of a garbage disposal. Switched to all-electric, SilentHawk lead engineer Alex Dzwill says it produces less than 55 decibels, or about the sound of normal conversation. Is it possible to make it quieter?
“Literally the loudest thing is the chain, and it’s possible for us to outfit a belt, though there’s a whole host of reasons for why you wouldn’t want a belt on a dirt bike,” said Dzwill. “If you get a rock in there, it’s very likely that you’ll rip the belt up, but if you’re in a sandy location like the desert, it’s possible you could use a belt and be fine.”
So 55 decibels may be as quiet as a dirt bike gets. Competition dirt bikes are regulated to stay under 113 decibels, so compared to the roaring engines that normally come with such vehicles, the SilentHawk represents a world of improvement.
The bike is so quiet it even surprised its designer. Dzwill recalls a testing session in the woods where a rider was able to sneak up on him undetected. “He just popped up behind us, like the sound of us walking was enough to completely hide the sound of the motorcycle approaching behind us.” As a comparison, they were able to hear a traditional gas-powered dirtbike from almost a mile away.
There are no other stealth features for the SilentHawk other than its quiet engine, but that’s still probably enough for the silent professionals that may take it into battle. Traveling undetected is a tremendous advantage, provided the bike itself doesn’t end up a encumbrance. Which nods to one of DARPA’s goals in asking for new prototypes: reducing the weight, while retaining all the added functionality.
Off the shelf, an Alta Motors electric motorcycle weighs 270 pounds. With everything added to the first prototype, including two-wheel drive, the hybrid engine, and the control system, the total weight is 350 pounds. To get that heft back down, Logos is going to need to rework part of the hybrid engine. Originally built for the Parahawk unmanned aerial vehicle program, the engine is liquid-cooled. A new air-cooled engine could do-away with the radiator and shed pounds in the process.
And to provide flexibility as well as lightening the load of the bike, SilentHawk is somewhat modular. One kit will provide auxiliary power, a user interface, and equipment storage. Another one will extend the range of the bike. Both kits can work with the hybrid engine, and the seat with generator attached can be swapped out for a standard seat. (The generator can work even if the bike isn’t moving, too). The end goal is something flexible for lots of needs, which can be adapted in the field.
“You can transfer a hybrid power motorcycle back to an all-electric motorcycle, in about 30 minutes, maybe an hour if you’re not experienced at doing it,” said Rombough, “You could leave that in the environment, go back and forth if you want a slightly more nimble motorcycle for your upcoming mission.”
The soon-to-be-signed follow-on contract with DARPA will produce these new prototypes within a year. If DARPA likes what it sees, the next stage would be more of a production model, and then after that it’s possible special forces could get a brand-new bike for moving undetected wherever they may need to go. Just don’t expect them to make a big noise about it.
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Investing in Israel to reshape the way the world lives, works and moves
MARCH 20, 2018, 3:44 PM
The late President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres once said: “In Israel, a land lacking in natural resources, we learned to appreciate our greatest national advantage: our minds. Through creativity and innovation, we transformed barren deserts into flourishing fields and pioneered new frontiers in science and technology.” Even at an advanced age, President Peres was one of the great global supporters of finding new solutions to the way we live, work and move.
Every day, new innovations are sought and discovered which can drastically and dramatically alter the way we live, shape our lives and meet the changing needs of people around the world. As an international energy and services company, and the UK’s largest supplier of electricity and gas, Centrica already brings power and gas to millions of homes and businesses. But our offer is changing and we’re continually working to develop new products, offers and solutions that are firmly underpinned by investment in technology.
At Centrica Innovations we’re looking to invest £100m (US$140m) in the very best ideas and businesses, and believe that Israel offers access to both great tech and some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and innovators. We’re particularly interested in the distribution of energy, electrification of transport and increasing connectivity through data, blockchain and the Internet of Things.
Creativity and energy are the key building blocks of any hi-tech hub and it’s on an almost daily basis that we hear from our local Israel-based scouts about the new technologies emerging from the ‘Start-Up Nation’ at a dizzying speed.
But I believe it has become clear to investors around the world that Israel is not just at the cutting edge of invention and innovation but is a hub of activity in seeking to make a the world a better place, especially for the most vulnerable. At Centrica, we similarly look for solutions for those in need, so it should come as little surprise that we are already collaborating to this end.
Last week, we held our Active Ageing Challenge in London, inviting start-ups from all over the world to pitch to win £100,000 (US$140K) in funding, and we were delighted to award £25,000 (US$35K) to a brilliant Israeli business called EchoCare Technologies who are based in Beersheva.
They develop non-wearable, self-learning elder-care home monitoring devices which is a great solution to how we look after our elderly, and we’re looking forward to exploring opportunities to test their project out with some customers.
In Israel, the impossible frequently becomes the improbable and then the achievable, and we believe in harnessing this great and positive energy, not just for our customers but to ease and convenience people around the world. It is already strikingly true that almost every person with some type of daily interaction with technology frequently meets Israeli innovation as they go about their day.
Having acquired Panoramic Power, the leader in circuit level energy management solutions (in 2015), we see Israel as an excellent candidate for investment and are looking for new partners to work with us.
Our offer to potential Israeli partners is an opportunity to test their solutions and innovations with our global customer base. In turn, we welcome the opportunity for our partners to bring new ways of thinking to Centrica as we continue to serve millions of homes and businesses.
Centrica is committed to providing support to people and technology that can literally change the world, and we know that Israel, a nation whose innovators are always living on the edge of tomorrow can help us assist, develop and reshape the way the global community lives, works and moves.
The writer is the Director of Centrica Innovations and is in Israel for #GCVIsrael, Israel’s first corporate venturing conference, and to launch a £100 million Centrica Innovations fund.
In 2004 scientists in King’s College London set up a business called Odontis. They have been focusing on developing human teeth from originate cells. This biological replacement teeth has been trademarked as BioTooth.
The idea is to take adult originate cells, treat them in a cell lifestyle so they would be programmed to develop directly into teeth and then transplanted into the individuals jaw where the gap is. Then a replacement tooth grows just as occurs humans grow their original mature teeth. It is thought it might then take two to three months for your tooth to fully develop. The price should not be more than existing treatments which makes it an attractive alternative to other technologies for example implants and dentures.
By 2007 Dr. Paul Sharpe and his group had learned to control the type of teeth formed and control the basic styles, i. e. molar & incisor. Tooth development involves a system of thousands of genes. It’s not required to understand what all the genes performing to get the ball rolling, Sharpe states. Rather, by watching when a couple of key genes are turned on plus off, the researchers have learned that are most important in the control of size and shape. Some genes only work in the upper mouth, others only where molars develop. In one experiment, Sharpe’s group took early tooth buds through growing embryos and switched on the gene known to be active in increasing molars. They implanted the pals in the front of the jaws associated with mice, where incisors would usually grow. The rodents emerged along with molars in front and back.
The teeth are grown in rodents kidney capsules because they provide a hassle-free site for prolonged growth because of the bountiful blood supply to the building tooth. Dr. Sharpe’s aim had been never to grow teeth in kidneys. This is just his experimental check system. In the future its probably that the teeth will be grown in certain sort of artificial bio-reactor which by itself is still in development.
The teeth bud is then implanted within the jaw and the gum sewed or sealed with a clinical “glue”. They have not started human medical trials yet, however they expect the process to be less invasive than a teeth extraction and the requirements for post-procedure care would be similar. After implantation it takes the tooth about a few weeks to set in the jaw of the mouse. As long as the teeth is not under heavy load, this sets well.
The technology to develop replacement teeth could mean the finish of dentures. Living teeth will be much better than dentures because they can react to a persons bite. They move and doing so they maintain the health from the surrounding gums and teeth. Dr. Sharpe has patented the method and hopes to begin human tests in a few years once they perfect their strategies.
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