Teslas 2018 in pictures

first_imgTesla had a booming year with the production ramp-up of Model 3 and since things are slow between Christmas and the New Year, I thought I’d do a quick post about Tesla’s 2018 year in pictures. more…The post Tesla’s 2018 in pictures appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forwardlast_img

Porsche Taycan GT3 Rendered To Life In Super Sporty Form

first_imgA Taycan that could challenge the Tesla Roadster?This rendering showcases what could happen if Porsche turned a race car-focus to the brand’s Tesla fighter, the Taycan.More Taycan Renders Source: Electric Vehicle News This wouldn’t be just any Tesla fighter. But rather, a contender with the upcoming Tesla Roadster hypercar.The standard Porsche Taycan electric is no slouch, but it’s not quite on par with the Tesla Model S P100D. So, in steps a renderer to take the Taycan to new heights. Meet the Taycan GT3.TaycanEVForum.com just commissioned this rendered showing a possible Taycan GT3. And we must admit, it sure does look sporty and sleek. Since Porsche is sticking with conventional naming for its Taycan (yes, there’s a Taycan Turbo), then GT3 would be a future possibility too.Could the Taycan GT3 be a real thing? Would Porsche build a racecar-for-the-street version of its upcoming electric super-sedan?What is the Taycan GT3?The folks over at TaycanEVForum.com state:Well, no. This isn’t the Porsche Taycan GT3, but maybe it could be.Porsche has given no indication that a GT3 model could ever exist, but it makes sense considering the brand’s long-term commitment and heritage in motorsports. Plus, with news that Porsche is going to adapt it’s current badging system to the Taycan, if there’s going to be a Taycan Turbo (without a turbo of course) then there very well could be a Taycan GT3.Drawing inspiration from the current 911 GT3, a Taycan GT3 would likely get active aerodynamics, including a massive race-inspired rear spoiler. Also look for center lock wheels and a wider stance with custom aero enhancements.Inside we’d expect some stripped-down components and light-weight carbon fiber bucket seats.What’s under the hood?Powering this electric race car for the street would be an up-rated version of the standard motor with north of 650-hp, allowing for a 0-60 time of well under 3 seconds. That would put it into Model S P100D territory. But the Tesla Roadster is more like a 2-second car, so the Taycan may still be out of its league there.TaycanEVForum concludes:Stats aside, the goal, as with all GT3 models, would be true driving enjoyment and an unparalleled connection to the road – helping set the Taycan apart further from its rivals.Source: Taycan EV Forum Fan Rendered Porsche 918 Successor Is A Taycan On Steroids Porsche Taycan Rendered As 600-HP Electric Super Sedan Porsche Taycan Grand Turismo & Targa Rendered In Stunning Form Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 28, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Monumental Tesla Road Trip 48 States 107 Stores Unparalleled Discoveries

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 13, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Mountain Road Trip Experience: 500 Miles Driven Check Out This Epic Tesla Event With A Model 3 Expert I VISITED 107 TESLA STORES AND HERE’S WHAT I DISCOVEREDMost people are not crazy enough to attempt a 48 State Road Trip.However, this would not be my first, but second epic adventure around the lower 48 in a Tesla.It all started with my ongoing quest to help prove how great Tesla cars are — especially at road tripping.Check Out These Stories: Source: Electric Vehicle News Above: A few photos from my 107 Tesla store visits (Photos: Steve Sasman*)On August 1, 2018, I set out to be the first human to drive a Tesla to every single USA Tesla Store in the lower 48 States. I drove my 2012 Model S P85 for the first 12,100 miles and 42 States east of Arizona. After that, I took my brand-new Model 3 Performance for the last 6 States. The Model 3 started with 25 miles on the odometer and ended the trip with 4,370 miles just two flawless weeks later.Hold on… I know what you’re thinking.“Why on earth would you spend your summer driving around the USA just to visit Tesla Stores? They are not all that different once you’ve been to 2 or 3?”Call me insane, but I wanted to help get the word out about all the positive Tesla was doing, despite all the negative fake news.center_img Above: My Model S in Montauk Point Lighthouse, Long Island NY (Photos: Steve Sasman*)The backdrop was this: Tesla and Elon Musk had a pretty rough year. Yes, some of Elon’s issues were self-inflicted, no doubt. But the vast majority of the bad press was made-up nonsense from short sellers, the backlash from the threatened oil industry and news outlets that know anything Elon or Tesla-related gets lots of clicks. Especially negative stories.Well, after visiting with over 500 Tesla employees at each of the 107 Tesla stores, I can unequivocally assure you that if a company’s value is tied to the quality and passion of its employees, then Tesla isn’t anywhere near bankruptcy [despite what Wall Street’s short sellers are promoting]. What I was seeing on the ground was this: Tesla Stores constantly humming with activity, with test drives and sales happening at an incredible pace.Not that I’m the first to say this, but I’m confident they will become a trillion dollar company in the next decade.The difference with Tesla is the vast majority of its employees are fully committed to Tesla’s mission: To advance the world’s transition to sustainable transportation and energy. It was especially encouraging to talk to so many that were excited to come to work every day, knowing they are doing so much more than just collecting a paycheck. I met new employees that were on their second day of work all the way up to those with over six years at Tesla… and both groups were just as excited to be there.But it wasn’t just the passion of the employees, it was also their confidence.They felt like I did. That Tesla, despite the negativity in the news, was absolutely going to succeed [massively] — like we knew something the general public and the financial pundits did not.So let’s celebrate what Elon Musk and thousands of Tesla employees are accomplishing against all odds. They are trying to reach absurdly challenging goals. And, by the way, all done at American factories with American workers on a car that uses 100% local energy, not Middle Eastern oil.To each and every Tesla employee I met: Thank You! *This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by guest conmtributor Steve Sasman*. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs. How Tesla Cracked The Code On EV Road Trips: Model 3 Performance Above: Store Visit #100! Buena Park CA (Photos: Steve Sasman*)You work so hard and put so much energy into your work…and it shows. Just know that every interaction with current and future owners matters and is deeply appreciated even though I’m sure there are times it may not seem worth the effort. IT IS.===*Steve Sasman is a Tesla experimenter and 48 state road tripper at TeslaRenter.com; he’s also a sharing economy enabler at FlagstaffRentalCabin.com. Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for upcoming posts from Steve relaying some of his craziest stories, road trip hacks, and a comparison of traveling such long distances in his Model S vs. his Model 3.*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.last_img read more

Check Out Crystal Clear View Of Tesla Autopilot Line Detection Video

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 4, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News As Tesla moves toward full self-driving, we see its Autopilot tech can discern stop lines.Tesla constantly updates its technologies via over-the-air software updates. The company has said on numerous occasions that it will incrementally update Autopilot until it eventually becomes ready for Full Self-Driving.Just recently, during a podcast with ARK invest, CEO Elon Musk shared that by the end of 2019 full-self-driving optioned Tesla vehicles will be feature complete. However, he also said he thinks the vehicles will be able to self-drive without human intervention by the end of 2020.Check Out These Related Tesla Autopilot Stories: Watch This 360-Degree Video Of What Tesla Autopilot Sees Source: Electric Vehicle News We’ve shared videos before via Tesla hacker and YouTuber greentheonly. Essentially, he’s able to get inside Tesla’s computer system and show us what Autopilot actually “sees.” Now, in his latest video, he reveals that Tesla added stop line detection. He notes that the front camera seems to “see” the stop line, as the process does not appear to be related to any GPS mapping information. In addition, he points out that it doesn’t seem to calculate distance at this point.The hacker also shares that Tesla Autopilot cameras and software are now capable of identifying which type of vehicles are in the area, as well as each vehicle’s class.The fact that a recent update to Autopilot makes the technology this much more aware is a testament to the automaker’s eventual move to full self-driving technology.Check out the additional video below and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.Video Description via greentheonly on YouTube (above):Tesla autopilot detecting stoplines during dayOnly main camera since this is where all the action is anywayThe video below shows the same type of footage in a night-time setting:.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Video Description via greentheonly on YouTube:Tesla autopilot detecting stoplines during nightOnly main camera since this is where all the action is anyway Musk: Tesla Full Self-Driving Capable By End Of 2020 See What Tesla Autopilot Sees In Downtown Paris Drivelast_img read more

EGEB Selfhealing for perovskite solar cells clean energy corporate structure bill and

first_imgSource: Charge Forward In today’s EGEB:A “self-healing” polymer prevents pollutant leakage from perovskite solar cells.South Korea looks to make a move away from coal — even if it’s a small move.Clean energy companies may get to use the same corporate structure as oil and gas companies.The world’s first twin-rotor floating wind turbine is ready for testing. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1zk7Eb8r-s&list=PL_Qf0A10763mA7Byw9ncZqxjke6Gjz0MtThe post EGEB: Self-healing for perovskite solar cells, clean energy corporate structure bill, and more appeared first on Electrek.last_img read more

In the Words Of Roderick Hills

first_imgRecently, the SEC noted the passing of Roderick Hills (Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1975 to 1977).  It was during this time period in which Congress was engaged in its multi-year investigation and deliberation of the so-called foreign corporate payments problem.As told in “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Hills was a prominent voice during this process and he testified at several Congressional hearings.While the SEC (compared to the DOJ and other government departments) played the most prominent and trusted role during Congress’s consideration of the foreign corporate payments problem, the SEC’s role was also the most curious as the Commission was a reluctant actor in Congress’s quest for a new and direct legislative remedy to the problem.It is clear from the legislative record that the SEC wanted no part in policing the morality of American business or in determining what was an improper foreign corporate payment. Rather, the SEC – true to its then mission – was focused on ensuring disclosure of material foreign corporate payments to investors by companies subject to its jurisdiction. In other words, the SEC wanted no part in enforcing the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.Fast forward to the present when the SEC has a specific FCPA Unit and views enforcement of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions as central to its mission of investor protection.Below are excerpts from Congressional testimony given by Hills relevant to the above issue.“We don’t have the skill to say should we, can we, enforce the laws of the rest of the world? I’m sure the West Digest that reports these decisions would be full of cases trying to decide whether a given payment is or is not legal. The legal profession has enough business without going to all the countries of the world to try to establish whether a given transaction is right or wrong. We are concerned with the materiality of these practices.”Prohibiting Bribes to Foreign Officials: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Banking, Hous., and Urban Affairs, 94th Cong. 19 (1976)“[Congress] has asked for our views as to the adequacy and effectiveness of the present laws and regulations and any recommendations we may have for improving them. As [Congress] knows, a primary purpose of the Federal securities law and the Commission’s regulations is to protect investors by requiring issuers of securities to make full and fair disclosure of material facts. In my opinion, these statutes provide the Commission adequate authority to require appropriate disclosure about the matters I have been discussing in order to protect stockholders.”Abuses of Corporate Power: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Priorities and Econ. in Gov’t of the Joint Econ. Comm., 94th Cong. 13 (1976)“The Commission does not oppose direct prohibitions against these payments, but we have previously stated that, as a matter of principle, we would prefer not to be involved even in the civil enforcement of such prohibitions. As a matter of long experience, it is our collective judgment that disclosure is a sufficient deterrent to the improper activities with which we are concerned.”“[A]s a matter of longstanding tradition and practice, the [SEC] has been a disclosure agency. Causing questionable conduct to be revealed to the public has a deterrent effect. Consistent with our past tradition, we would rather not get into the business, however, we think get involved in prohibiting particular payments. It is a different thing entirely to try to prohibit something, to try to make a decision as to whether it is legal or illegal, or proper or improper. Under present law, if it is material, we cause its disclosure, and we need not get into the finer points of whether it is or is not legal.”Foreign Payments Disclosure: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Consumer Prot. and Fin. of the H. Comm. on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 94th Cong. 2 (1976)“[The SEC] would prefer not to be involved in civil enforcement of such [anti-bribery] prohibitions since they embody separate and distinct policies from those underlying the federal securities laws. The securities laws are designed primarily to insure disclosure to investors of all of the relevant facts concerning corporations which seek to raise their capital from the public at large. The [anti-bribery provisions], on the other hand, would impose substantive regulation on a particular aspect of corporate behavior. The Commission recognizes the congressional interest in enacting these prohibitions, but the enforcement of such provisions does not easily fit within the Commission’s mandate.”Foreign Corrupt Practices and Domestic and Foreign Investment Disclosure: Hearing Before the S. Comm on Banking, Hous., and Urban Affairs, 95th Cong. 98–99 (1977)The following statement by Senator Proxmire to Hills best captures the SEC’s reluctant role in seeking a new and direct legislative remedy to the foreign corporate payments problem:“[Y]ou were responsible for about the only action we have taken with respect to foreign bribery and your agreements, your work, with various corporations to persuade them to cleanse their operation have been a fine example of how an agency can work to get this job done even without legislation. Because of that, you see, we would like to have you involved at least on the investigative disclosure basis. And perhaps we can work something out that would protect you from not pushing you into something you think you wouldn’t want to do.”Foreign Corrupt Practices and Domestic and Foreign Investment Disclosure: Hearing Before the S. Comm on Banking, Hous., and Urban Affairs, 95th Cong. 98–99 (1977)last_img read more

Texas Shuts Down SourceRock Energy Securities Offering

first_img Lost your password? The Texas Securities Commission issued a cease and desist order Friday to stop Dallas-based SourceRock Energy and its two executives from further efforts to raise $4.4 million from investors for an oil and gas project. The Texas Lawbook has the details . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Passwordcenter_img Username Remember melast_img

Poor diet may reduce the chance of getting pregnant

first_imgResearch into  the effects of the maternal diet prior to conception has been hitherto lacking, as past studies have been more concerned with the impact that diet can have on women undergoing treatment for or classed as infertile.Related StoriesDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaHigh-fat, low-carbohydrate diet may improve brain function and memory in older adultsMediterranean diet may improve memory in type 2 diabeticsThe study presented here was conducted at the between 2004 and 2011 at the multi-centre Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE). 340 of the 5598 participants had received fertility treatments prior to conception, though the bulk of the women (5258) had received none.Midwives obtained information regarding the participants diet and how long it took them to get pregnant as part of their initial antenatal visit at approximately 14-16 weeks’ gestation.They wanted to establish details such as how often they ate fish, fruit, junk food and so on. Junk food consumed that originated from supermarkets was omitted from the analysis, which is considered an oversight in the study.If couples were being treated on account of the male partner’s infertility, they were removed from the study. Importantly, most of the women in the study did not suffer from a history of infertility and the risk relationships were adjusted for BMI, maternal age, smoking and alcohol intake.There were restrictions to this study, such as the researchers having to depend on women’s recollections of diets past, as opposed to using information that was fresh in the mind of participants.Other factors, such as the fathers’ food intake, were not taken into consideration, so these cannot be dismissed nor confirmed as having an effect. Furthermore, the food range was not comprehensive. The most notable feature of this study was the size.The team continue to pursue this area of interest, and intend to establish specific patterns in diets that can be linked to conception times, as opposed to separate food groups. May 4 2018New findings reported in Human Reproduction, suggest that getting pregnant takes longer for women who consume too much junk food and not enough fruit, as well as having a decreased chance of conceiving within a year.Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.comResearchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute interviewed 5590 women in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia about their eating habits. Midwives asked these questions during their initial antenatal visit for those who had not given birth before.Professor Claire Roberts, Lloyd Cox Professorial Research Fellow, from the University’s Robinson Research Institute, who led the study, said: “The findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant.”Women who consumed fruit no more than one to three times in a month took 2 weeks longer to get pregnant than those who consumed fruit upwards of three times a day during the month prior to conception.It was also found that those who ate fast food four or more times a week took almost a month longer to conceive. 2204 of the couples that took part in the study became pregnant within a month, while 2204 were deemed infertile, due to taking in excess of a year to conceive.The likeliness of becoming infertile rose from 8% to 16% for women who consumed junk food four or more times a week, and 8%-12% for those who neglected their fruit intake. We recommend that women who want to become pregnant should align their dietary intakes towards national dietary recommendations for pregnancy. Our data shows that frequent consumption of fast foods delays time to pregnancy.”Dr Jessica Grieger, The University of Adelaide For any dietary intake assessment, one needs to use some caution regarding whether participant recall is an accurate reflection of dietary intake. However, given that many women do not change their diet from pre-pregnancy to during pregnancy, we believe that the women’s recall of their diet one month prior to pregnancy is likely to be reasonably accurate.”Dr Jessica Grieger, The University of Adelaide Source:https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uoa-wwe050118.phplast_img read more

3D simulation reveals beneficial impact of medically induced brain cooling

first_imgMay 18 2018Fresh insight into how the brain responds to medically induced cooling could inform treatments for head injuries and conditions such as stroke.The study, carried out in 3D simulations, could also help babies at risk of birthing complications.A newly developed model of cooling’s impact on the scalp has shown that the process – routinely used to limit head injury – can prompt a beneficial drop in temperature deep in the brain.The research shows that lowering the brain temperature after head injury or stroke helps relieve pressure inside the head to avert swelling and further injury, especially in critical cases.Researchers examined in greater detail than ever before how lowering scalp temperature impacts on blood vessels and tissue throughout the brain.Related StoriesChemotherapy drugs delivered using biodegradable paste can prolong survival in brain cancerDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpThe model, developed by engineers in collaboration with medical experts at the University of Edinburgh, is the first to take into account simultaneous flow, heat transfer and metabolism between arteries, veins and brain tissue in three dimensions throughout the organ.The results, obtained as 3D temperature and blood volume maps, could help develop and test therapeutic cooling techniques and inform sophisticated clinical trials.Using computer simulations, researchers from found that cooling the heads of newborn babies to 10C would enable their core brain temperature to fall from a normal level of 37C to below 36C – which is recognized as low enough to aid recovery.This could dramatically help babies at risk of long-term damage from birth complications, without having to cool their entire body, researchers say. When applied to adult brains, the model predicted cooling was able to precipitate a potentially beneficial 0.5C drop, in line with clinical observations.Researchers who developed the latest model say it could be modified to mimic the effects of stroke in the brain, or the impact of administering drugs.The study, published in Scientific Reports, was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.Dr Prashant Valluri, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, who led the study, said: “Our sophisticated model should enable speedy progress in developing optimum treatments involving brain cooling, and support the development of studies on brain health.”Professor Ian Marshall, of the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine, who co-led the research, said: “Getting vital patient information such as core brain temperature is a challenge and is only currently possible through expensive MRI scans. A robust model which can predict temperature and blood flow is therefore the need of the hour.” Source:https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2018/3d-simulation-shows-benefits-of-brain-coolinglast_img read more

Reconciliation of diabetes medications associated with fewer subsequent hospitalizations

first_img Source:http://www.brighamandwomens.org/ Jun 11 2018Clinicians may take upwards of 15 minutes to double-check a patient’s medication list in an electronic health record system, but according to a new study, this reconciliation process may be well worth the time for diabetes patients. In a paper to be published in the Diabetes Care journal, Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician Alexander Turchin, MD, MS, and his colleagues assessed medication reconciliation programs at BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital, and found that they seem to be working.”Lists of medications often don’t match what the patient is actually taking,” said Turchin. “Data entry errors, as well as medications prescribed by other practitioners that we’re unaware of, can cause those discrepancies.” These discrepancies can lead to medication errors like omissions, duplications, improper doses and drug interactions that can sometimes have serious health consequences.Related StoriesObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesAADE’s comprehensive guidance on care of children, young adults with diabetes releasedIt’s not fully understood how common these discrepancies are. But two studies cited in the paper put the chance at 53.6 percent in 2005 – the same year that the Joint Commission first emphasized medication reconciliation as a national goal – and 41.3 percent in 2008. In one 2014 study cited, four out of five referral letters for 300 patients at a certain diabetes center each contained at least one medication discrepancy.Diabetes patients are especially at risk for adverse reactions caused by improper dosages and pairings of medications. Incorrect dosing of medications like insulins and sulfonylureas can easily lead to low blood sugar – a dangerous complication that can result in seizures, loss of consciousness or even death.To study whether medication reconciliation affected health outcomes for diabetes patients, Turchin and his team pulled patient records from January 2000 through June 2014. They examined the instances of medical reconciliation – when a clinician confirmed that a patient’s medications were correct – and the patient’s subsequent hospital visits in six-month periods. Patients typically took between one and two diabetes medications and visited primary care four times per assessment period. Turchin and his team found that clinicians reconciled diabetes medications in 67 percent of assessment periods, and that reconciliation of outpatient diabetes medications was associated with fewer subsequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits. They did not find the same correlation with reconciliation of non-diabetes medications the patients were on.Extrapolating these findings, reconciling diabetes medications could save up to $6.7 billion annually – 8 percent of the total annual cost of hospitalizations of diabetes patients in the U.S. – and prevent rare but serious adverse reactions for patients.”Our results suggest that reconciling diabetes medications could improve patient outcomes and decrease health care costs,” Turchin said.last_img read more

Giving buildings a cosmic CT scan

first_imgIn the study, researchers placed muon detectors on each side of the object they wished to image. Then they tracked the paths of muons as they passed through one set of detectors, then the object, and finally the second set of detectors. By mapping the “before” and “after” trajectories of a muon, researchers can determine how much its path was deflected. And by analyzing the deflections of many muons passing through different parts of the object, researchers can mathematically deduce the 3D distribution of mass in the space between the detector arrays, Durham says. The technique is something of a hybrid between traditional medical x-ray, which uses a material’s ability to block x-rays to directly make a 2D image of the mass distribution, and x-ray diffraction, which uses angles alone to probe the 3D structures of crystals. Durham and his colleagues describe their imaging technique, called muon tomography, online today in AIP Advances.“This is a slick technique,” says Cas Milner, a physicist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, who was not involved in the research. Besides using background radiation, which doesn’t expose workers to additional sources of radiation, the technique is noninvasive: Researchers don’t even have to shut down equipment, strip insulation off of a pipe, or enter a possibly hazardous environment, he notes.One possible downside to the technique, however, is that it takes a long time to create an image. The team’s tests show that ghostly, low-resolution images of a stainless steel pipe can be built in just 15 minutes, but to create a high-quality model of the object in question can take hours, if not days, Durham says. Thus, muon tomography is probably best suited for routine inspections or monitoring equipment on an ongoing basis rather than conducting quick assessments of a catastrophic failure, he notes.The technique is a smaller-scale version of technology previously developed at Los Alamos in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 to search for nuclear materials or other contraband in shipping containers or vehicles. That technology has been commercialized and is now in use at some ports, says Konstantin Borozdin, a physicist at Decision Sciences International Corporation in Poway, California.Borozdin’s company is now working to scale up the muon tomography technology to look for nuclear material in a much larger arena—the nuclear reactors destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami one-two punch that slammed Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011. For that effort, each array of muon detectors will measure 7 meters by 7 meters, and they’ll be placed about 50 meters apart on opposite sides of the devastated reactor building, Borozdin says. Milner says “the technology definitely has promise, when you look at the problem of trying to determine the internal configuration of a well-shielded object like a nuclear reactor.” Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Subatomic particles that naturally bombard Earth could be used to make 3D images of industrial equipment akin to medical CT scans made with x-rays, a new study suggests. The technique could reveal the corrosion of pipes or the degradation within thick layers of concrete. It could also enable routine inspections of pipes and valves that are buried, wrapped in insulation, or otherwise inaccessible, even while the equipment is in use—and even if it lies deep within a heavily shielded nuclear reactor, scientists say.The particles that make such probes possible are muons, heavier short-lived cousins of electrons. On Earth, most muons are formed when cosmic rays—high-energy subatomic particles that typically originate outside our solar system—crash into the atmosphere, triggering a cascade of lower energy particles. A muon carries the same negative charge as an electron but is 207 times as massive and lasts only a few microseconds before decaying into an electron and particles called neutrinos. On average, about one muon passes through each square centimeter of Earth’s surface each minute.Because muons are massive but don’t interact too strongly with other materials, they can penetrate hundreds of meters of rock and soil, says Matt Durham, a nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and lead author of the study. In comparison, lighter electrons stop in material almost immediately, where heavier protons and atomic nuclei interact with them so strongly that they disintegrate into showers of particles. Muons’ ability to penetrate makes them ideal for peering into objects. The denser the material the muons pass through, the more they are scattered and deflected from their original path. Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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How the moon got its tilt—and Earth got its gold

first_imgMiniplanets zooming through our early solar system passed close to our moon and tugged it into the strange, tilted orbit it has today, according to a new study. The findings solve a longstanding mystery and may also explain why Earth’s crust is unexpectedly rich in gold and platinum: When some of these small planets slammed into Earth, they delivered a payload of precious metals.Scientists have long debated the origin of the moon. The prevailing idea, first proposed decades ago, is that a Mars-sized planet collided with Earth, flinging material into space that then coalesced into our only natural satellite. According to current models of that collision, the ring of debris that eventually became the moon should have ended up in a plane tilted no more than 1° from the ecliptic, the plane in which Earth orbits the sun, says Kaveh Pahlevan, a planetary scientist at Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. But in fact, the moon’s orbital inclination today is 5°. And the tilt would have been more pronounced, 10° or so, immediately after the moon formed 4.5 billion years ago, before Earth started to smooth the moon’s orbit out a bit. This significant discrepancy between prediction and reality has been dubbed “the lunar inclination problem.”Scientists have proposed a few solutions to this conundrum. Other large objects may have slammed into the moon and jostled its orbit, they say, or perhaps the strange orbit was caused by repeated tugging from the sun. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) But Pahlevan and university colleague Alessandro Morbidelli, also a planetary scientist, realized that for every cosmic collision, there would likely have been dozens of close calls—and the closer the encounter, the more the moon’s orbit would have been influenced. In their new study, the pair used thousands of computer simulations to estimate the cumulative effects of such close encounters on the lunar orbit.In their models, the researchers began with a common view of the early solar system: one populated with lots of mini-planets that had coalesced from dust, ranging in size from 1 lunar mass down to 0.1 lunar mass. Each simulation started just after the moon formed and ended when all of the mini-planets orbiting near Earth either fell into the sun, crashed into another planet or was ejected from the solar system entirely—an interval that typically lasted about 100 million years in simulated time.In a substantial fraction of the team’s simulations, the moon’s orbital tilt ended up being 10° or more, the amount that planetary scientists estimate the nascent moon would have had based on today’s orbital tilt. What’s more, says Pahlevan, some of the mini-planets crashed into Earth at some point in those simulations—impacts that would have delivered iridium, gold and platinum, among other elements. The proportions of those metals are unusually high in Earth’s crust, which many scientists have tried to explain with models of an impact-delivered “late veneer” that came after Earth’s formation. According to some models of planetary formation, the metals would have sunk to Earth’s core when much of the planet’s iron did, which means that new supplies had to come later in order for them to be found in the crust in such relatively high abundances.Those impacts were small individually, but together the objects would have totaled between 60% and 120% the mass of the moon, the researchers report online today in Nature. Based on the known average cosmic abundance of various elements, that’s plenty enough material to explain the anomalous concentrations of the metals now present in Earth’s crust, they say.  The findings are compelling, says Robin Canup, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado: “They provide a simple and elegant solution to the lunar inclination problem.”If all of the mini-planets whizzing through the early solar system hadn’t existed—or if the moon-generating impact had occurred much later than it did, after those objects had been cleared from the inner solar system—the moon’s orbital plane would be very close to Earth’s, Canup says. That would cause our satellite to block the sun each time it orbited Earth, thus providing a total solar eclipse every month, Canup notes in an accompanying News & Views perspective in Nature. The trade-off might be unappealing jewelry, however: Rather than platinum and gold, we’d be adorning ourselves with tin and copper. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Health workers scramble to contain deadly ratborne fever in Nigeria

first_img Email By early January, it was clear something “really, really extraordinary” was going on in Nigeria, says Lorenzo Pomarico of the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). Cases of Lassa fever, a rare viral hemorrhagic disease, were skyrocketing across the country—more were recorded in the first 2 months of this year than in all of 2017. Unprepared for a disease that has no vaccines or drugs for treatment and kills 20% to 30% of those it sickens, eight health care workers were infected early on and three died. “Something was going very wrong with the outbreak,” Pomarico says.Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. The rodent-borne disease is endemic in Nigeria and several other West African countries, fluctuating with the seasons and usually causing “a trickle” of cases a year, says Chikwe Ihekweazu, who heads the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in Abuja. But as of 4 March, 353 cases had been confirmed across 18 states, with about 700 suspected cases, and 110 deaths. Ihekweazu says the record-setting figures are sure to be underestimates, because the disease is maddeningly hard to diagnose, and many cases go unreported.Already, Nigeria’s fragile health care system is overwhelmed. The one dedicated Lassa fever ward in the country at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital has just 24 beds. Without access to proper training, health care workers continue to become infected—by now 16 cases have been reported, with one additional death. Health workers scramble to contain deadly rat-borne fever in Nigeria Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country This year, the rats that carry Lassa fever may be more numerous, or more likely to harbor the virus. By Leslie RobertsMar. 12, 2018 , 4:20 PMcenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe As the government and its international partners scramble to set up isolation wards to stem the outbreak and deliver protective gear to health workers, researchers on three continents are racing to figure out what is driving the unprecedented outbreak. Is it simply better disease surveillance in the wake of Ebola, the similar but more deadly disease that began its rampage across West Africa in 2014? Has the virus changed in some way, are there more of the rats that carry it, or is a higher proportion of them infected? Or is another rodent capable of spreading the virus as well?“There are lots of possible explanations,” says Stephan Günther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, whose team has worked in Nigeria for years. Considering how lethal Lassa fever is, shockingly little is known about it, he says. “We don’t know why people die. We don’t know about the pathophysiology of the disease. We don’t know the point of no return.”That could be beginning to change. In 2016, the World Health Organization added Lassa fever to its list of priority pathogens of epidemic potential, calling for more research. And last week, the recently created Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations awarded its first grant for development of a Lassa fever vaccine to Themis Bioscience, a biotech in Vienna.Lassa fever was discovered in 1969, when two missionary nurses died of a mysterious disease in the remote town of Lassa in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria. When a third nurse fell ill, she was evacuated to a hospital in New York City—along with a thermos full of blood and other samples from all three nurses bound for Yale University’s then-new Arbovirus Research Unit. There, a team led by Jordi Casals-Ariet isolated a novel virus from the samples. (He, too, almost died in the process, saved only by an infusion of antibody-rich plasma from the third nurse, who recovered.)The cause is now known to be an arenavirus, one of a class of rodent-borne pathogens, and its natural reservoir is a multimammate rat, so-called for its rows of mammary glands, that is ubiquitous across West Africa. Cases peak in the dry season, when farmers burn the bushes in preparation for spring planting and rats scurry into houses in search of food. The rodents shed the virus in their urine and droppings, and people contract it by touching contaminated surfaces, inhaling viral particles, or eating contaminated food (including the rats themselves). Like Ebola, the virus can also be spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. Such human-to-human transmission is thought to be rare for Lassa, unlike Ebola, except in hospital settings without proper infection control. But “the real rate of human-to-human transmission is unknown,” says Augustin Augier, secretary general of ALIMA in Paris, which has just launched a Lassa fever research program with the French medical institution INSERM.No one knows the true incidence of the disease. “Most cases we have found are in places where there are hospitals and labs,” Günther says. “There is good reason to assume there are cases that are being overlooked.” And because the rat vector lives across a broad swath of the continent, the disease might also be endemic, but unrecognized, outside of West Africa, where it could be responsible for undiagnosed fevers.Initial symptoms are easily mistaken for malaria or typhoid fever—body aches, sore throat, fever, nausea, diarrhea—before the disease progresses to organ failure, shock, and sometimes internal hemorrhaging. By the time doctors suspect Lassa fever, it’s often too late to save the patient. There is no rapid test; accurately diagnosing the disease requires a real-time polymerase chain reaction technique, but only three labs in Nigeria have that capability.For now, the only treatment is a nonspecific antiviral drug, ribavirin. If it’s administered during the first 6 days of the illness, it seems to improve a patient’s prognosis, but “no one arrives before day 7,” Augier says. Nor is everyone convinced that ribavirin works in Lassa fever, as the only data come from the 1980s, Augier says.Several potential drugs are on the horizon, in addition to the vaccine. Christian Happi at Redeemer’s University in Ede, Nigeria, and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is developing a rapid diagnostic test with colleagues at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Zalgen, a company in Germantown, Maryland. Happi’s group and its international partners are also sequencing the virus “around the clock,” he says, and trying to figure out whether the genetic changes they have seen in the virus could have made it more transmissible or virulent.For Happi, who diagnosed the first case of Ebola in Sierra Leone, the new attention to Lassa hasn’t come a moment too soon. “I used to scream and scream that Lassa is important, but no one listened,” he says. “I wrote so many grants” that were turned down. “Lassa fever is a disease of the poor … it is confined to a part of West Africa, and it is not viewed as a global threat.”Meanwhile, the government and its partners are focusing on training health care workers and providing the basics needed for infection control, as well as educating a frightened public.ALIMA’s Pomarico, who is leading ALIMA’s emergency response to the outbreak in the two hardest hit states of Edo and Ondo, hopes cases will subside with the rains and cooler weather, as they usually do. “But this year is different. “We are bracing for worst and preparing for the worst.” Click to view the privacy policy. 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Galaxy simulations are at last matching reality—and producing surprising insights into cosmic

first_imgA view of the present-day cosmic web 300 million light-years across, as modeled by IllustrisTNG. Galaxies (gold) have blown off shocked gas (white). Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) TNG COLLABORATION In general, modelers attack the problem by breaking it into billions of bits, either by dividing space into a 3D grid of subvolumes or by parceling the mass of dark and ordinary matter into swarms of particles. The simulation then tracks the interactions among those elements while ticking through cosmic time in, say, million-year steps. The computations strain even the most powerful supercomputers. BlueTides, for example, runs on Blue Waters—a supercomputer at the University of Illinois in Urbana that can perform 13 quadrillion calculations per second. Merely loading the model consumes 90% of the computer’s available memory, Feng says.For years such simulations produced galaxies that were too gassy, massive, and blobby. But computer power has increased, and, more important, models of the radiation-matter feedback have improved. Now, hydrodynamic simulations have begun to produce the right number of galaxies of the right masses and shapes—spiral disks, squat ellipticals, spherical dwarfs, and oddball irregulars—says Volker Springel, a cosmologist at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies in Germany who worked on Millennium and leads the Illustris simulation. “Until recently, the simulation field struggled to make spiral galaxies,” he says. “It’s only in the last 5 years that we’ve shown that you can make them.”The models now show that, like people, galaxies tend to go through distinct life stages, Hopkins says. When young, a galaxy roils with activity, as one merger after another stretches and contorts it, inducing spurts of star formation. After a few billion years, the galaxy tends to settle into a relatively placid and stable middle age. Later, it can even slip into senescence as it loses its gas and the ability make stars—a transition our Milky Way appears to be making now, Hopkins says. But the wild and violent turns of adolescence make the particular path of any galaxy hard to predict, he says.The simulations are far from perfect. They cannot come close to modeling individual stars—even though the simulations point to the importance of feedback effects on that scale, such as the winds and radiation from supernovae and from galaxies’ central black holes. Instead, each grid element or particle stands for hundreds to millions of solar masses of stars and gas, depending on the resolution of the simulation. Researchers then employ ad hoc “subgrid” rules to describe how all that material behaves on average. “It’s like you’re looking through foggy glasses and trying to describe this shape that you cannot see perfectly,” says Avishai Dekel, a cosmologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leader of the VELA simulation. Galaxies evolved hand in hand with the large-scale structure of the universe. After the big bang, dark matter (blue) and ordinary matter (gold) filled space unevenly. The dark matter then began to coalesce under its own gravity into a scaffoldingof clumps and filaments known as the cosmic web. Computer models show how ordinary matter poured into the clumps to form the first small, irregularly shaped galaxies, which grew over time in mergers. For example, the models suggest that the earliest galaxies were oddly pickle-shaped, that wafer-thin spiral galaxies are surprisingly rugged in the face of collisions, and that to explain the evolution of the universe, galaxies must form stars far more slowly than astrophysicists expected.The simulations also sound a cautionary note. Some cosmologists hope galaxy formation will ultimately turn out to be a relatively simple process, governed by a few basic rules. However, modelers say their faux universes suggest that, like maturing teenagers, galaxies are unpredictable. It’s hard, for example, to tell why one turns into a graceful spiral but another evolves into a blob. “It’s clear from everything that we’ve done that the physics of galaxy formation is incredibly messy,” Wilkins says. As stars turn on, the first small proto-galaxies emerge, lumpy and pickle-shaped. Streams of cold gas, flowing along threads of dark matter, feed the galaxies and their central black holes. 2 Childhood A. WETZEL, P. HOPKINS, AND THE FIRE COLLABORATION By Adrian ChoMay. 30, 2018 , 12:15 PM Some simulations, such as FIRE, focus on individual galaxies. Philip Hopkins, a theoretical astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, likes to prank his colleagues. An expert in simulating the formation of galaxies, Hopkins sometimes begins his talks by projecting images of his creations next to photos of real galaxies and defying his audience to tell them apart. “We can even trick astronomers,” says Hopkins, a leader of FIRE, the Feedback in Realistic Environments simulation. “Of course, it’s not a guarantee that the models are accurate, but it’s sort of a gut check that you’re on the right track.”For decades, scientists have tried to simulate how the trillions of galaxies in the observable universe arose from clouds of gas after the big bang. But in the past few years, thanks to faster computers and better algorithms, the simulations have begun to produce results that accurately capture both the details of individual galaxies and their overall distribution of masses and shapes. “The whole thing has reached this little golden age where progress is coming faster and faster,” says Tiziana Di Matteo, a numerical cosmologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a leader of the BlueTides simulation.As the fake universes improve, their role also is changing. For decades, information flowed one way: from the astronomers studying real galaxies to the modelers trying to simulate them. Now, insight is flowing the other way, too, with the models helping guide astronomers, says Stephen Wilkins, an extragalactic astronomer at the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., who works on BlueTides. “In the past the simulations were always trying to keep up with the observations,” says Wilkins, who is using BlueTides to predict what NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will see when it launches in 2020 and peers deep into space and far back in time. “Now we can predict things that we haven’t observed.” Before you can cook up a universe, you need to know the ingredients. From various measurements, cosmologists have deduced that just 5% of the mass and energy of the cosmos is ordinary matter like that in stars and planets. Another 26% consists of mysterious dark matter that, so far, appears to interact only through gravity—and presumably consists of some undiscovered particle. The remaining 69% is a form of energy that stretches space and is speeding up the expansion of the universe. That “dark energy” may be a property of the vacuum of space itself, so physicists call it the cosmological constant, denoted lambda (Λ).Cosmologists also know the recipe’s basic steps. The universe sprang into existence in the big bang as a hot, dense soup of subatomic particles. Within a sliver of a second, it underwent an exponential growth spurt called inflation, which stretched infinitesimal quantum fluctuations in the particle soup into gargantuan ripples. Slowly, dense regions of dark matter coalesced under their own gravity into a vast tangle of clumps and filaments known as the cosmic web. Attracted by the dark matter’s gravity, gas settled into the clumps, also called haloes, and condensed into the fusing balls of hydrogen called stars. By 500 million years after the big bang, the first galaxies had formed. Over the next 13 billion years, they would drift on cosmic gravitational tides and grow by merging with one another.Computer simulations helped develop that theory. In the 1980s they showed that to form clumps large enough to bind the observed clusters of galaxies, dark matter particles had to be slow moving and cold. The basic theory, which assumes a cosmological constant, became known as Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM). As the theory grew more refined, so did the simulations. By 2005 the Millennium simulation, led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, produced a rendering of the cosmic web whose structure closely matched how the galaxies are strewn through space in clusters, threads, and sheets.Millennium and similar simulations suffered from a fundamental shortcoming, however. They modeled the gravitational interactions of dark matter alone, which are easy to simulate because, as far as scientists know, dark matter flows through itself without friction or resistance. Only once the haloes formed did the programs insert galaxies of various sizes and shapes, following certain ad hoc rules. In such simulations, “The fundamental assumption is that the galaxies occupy the haloes and don’t do anything to them,” says Yu Feng, a cosmologist at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. “The interaction is all one way.”Now, modelers include the interactions of ordinary matter with itself and with dark matter—processes that are far harder to capture. Unlike dark matter, ordinary matter heats up when squeezed, generating light and other electromagnetic radiation that then pushes the matter around. That complex feedback reaches an extreme when gas clouds collapse into glowing stars, stars blow up in supernova explosions, and black holes swallow gas and spew radiation. Critical to the behavior of galaxies, such physics must be modeled by using the equations of hydrodynamics, which are notoriously difficult to solve, even with supercomputers. It’s clear from everything that we’ve done that the physics of galaxy formation is incredibly messy. Centralblack holes The simulations also aim to test the basic theory of ΛCDM. By comparing real and simulated galaxies, researchers can test the assumption that dark matter interacts only through gravity. Any discrepancy might point to new interactions and help particle theorists figure out what dark matter is.None has been seen so far, but the newer simulations have patched up mismatches between observations and earlier dark matter–only simulations. For example, 20 years ago, those simulations spawned swarms of small dark matter haloes around the bigger ones, which suggested that a galaxy like our Milky Way should be surrounded by hundreds of dwarf satellite galaxies. But only a few had been spotted. That deficit was dubbed the missing-satellites problem.But mix in the ordinary matter, and the predictions change. The gravitational push and pull between dark and ordinary matter smooths things out, reducing the number of small haloes. In those that do emerge, winds kicked up by supernovae tend to overwhelm the halo’s relatively weak gravitational pull and blow out the gas, starving the halo of the raw material to make more stars and snuffing out the nascent galaxy. Couple that process with the fact that observers have now found 59 dwarf galaxies surrounding the Milky Way, and the disconnect between observations and simulations largely disappears, Springel says. “I don’t see the missing-satellites problem as a problem anymore,” he says.Similarly, the older simulations suggested the concentration of dark matter should peak sharply at the very center of a halo. Yet the speeds of stars in nearby dwarf galaxies indicate that in their cores dark matter is spread out smoothly over a larger volume. The new simulations get that detail right because they capture how the gravitational effects of stars stir up the dark matter and spread it out. “Even if the stars are a small fraction of the mass, they really shake up the halo,” Hopkins says.Perhaps the simulations’ single biggest lesson so far is not that scientists need to revise their overarching theory of cosmology, but rather that problems lurk in their understanding of astrophysics at smaller scales. In particular, their theory of star formation comes up wanting, Springel says. To produce realistic galaxies, modelers must drastically reduce the rate at which clouds of gas form stars from what astrophysicists expect, he says. “Basically, the molecular clouds form stars 100 times slower than you’d think,” he says.Most likely, star formation flags because feedbacks from supernovae and supermassive black holes drive gas out of a galaxy. Unfortunately, those processes are far too small to resolve in the simulations. When modelers deposit the energy of a supernova in a larger grid element, not much happens: Instead of generating wind, the energy just radiates away. Similarly, researchers cannot simulate the fitful way that black holes feed on gas and radiate x-rays. To capture these key bits of astrophysics, modelers must rely on the ad hoc subgrid prescriptions that they tune by hand.Simulators hope to replace such crude assumptions with models based more solidly on physics. To do that, they’re hoping to enlist the help of astrophysicists working on much more finely resolved models that simulate the birth of stars from molecular clouds just a few light-years wide and even the evolution of individual stars. Those smaller-scale models are themselves works in progress. For example, astrophysicists modeling supernova explosions still struggle to make their virtual stellar time bombs go off.Nevertheless, Eve Ostriker, an astrophysicist at Princeton University who models interstellar gas, says she’s eager to help put galaxy simulations on a sounder footing. “My interest in this is to replace the tuning with some physics and say, ‘OK, this is what it is, no tuning allowed,’” she says. The hope is to string together results from different size scales in a way that minimizes the need for fudge factors, researchers say. “What you want is a picture that’s coherently stitching together across the entire range of scales,” Hopkins says.Ultimately, through observations and simulations, some researchers still hope to develop a unified narrative that can explain how any galaxy gets its shape and properties. Taking an extreme position, Faber predicts all galaxies will ultimately be sorted and explained by just two parameters: mass and radius. “There’s a galaxy law that we’re only now discovering that makes it simple.”But many galaxy modelers believe the recipes will always be complicated and uncertain. Galaxy formation may be like the weather, which keeps precise predictions forever out of reach because of its chaotic nature, Springel says. “I’m a little bit concerned that we’ll understand the big picture but never understand the details,” he says. In that case, the increasing realism of galaxy simulations may serve only to underscore a fundamental complexity in the universe. Email 1 Birth Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 4 Middle age Simulations great and small Some models operate at cosmic scales, whereas others generate individual, realistic-looking galaxies. They divide space into volume elements or model matter as swarms of particles, then trace their interactions. NameSimulation size (light-years)Number of volume elements/particles Minimum element mass (solar masses)FocusFirst papers NameMillenniumSimulation size (light-years)2.2 billionNumber of volume elements/particles10 billion Minimum element mass (solar masses)1 billionFocusDark matter onlyFirst papers2005 NameVELASimulation size (light-years)45 millionNumber of volume elements/particles500 million Minimum element mass (solar masses)1000FocusIndividual galaxiesFirst papers2009 NameFIRESimulation size (light-years)3 million–10 millionNumber of volume elements/particlesFew hundred million–1 billion Minimum element mass (solar masses)200–2000FocusIndividual galaxiesFirst papers2014 NameEAGLESimulation size (light-years)80 million–325 millionNumber of volume elements/particles100 million–7 billion Minimum element mass (solar masses)1.8 millionFocusCosmic evolutionFirst papers2014 NameBlueTidesSimulation size (light-years)1.9 billionNumber of volume elements/particles700 billion Minimum element mass (solar masses)2 millionFocusFirst galaxiesFirst papers2015 NameIllustrisTNGSimulation size (light-years)110 million–1 billionNumber of volume elements/particles270 million–30 billion Minimum element mass (solar masses)1 million–10 millionFocusCosmic evolutionFirst papers2018 The galaxy settles down. As it ages further, radiation from the central black hole will eventually drive out gas, bringing star formation to a halt. Supernova 3 Adolescence The seeds of galaxieslie in dense clumpsof dark matter calledhaloes, which draw inthe hydrogen gas thatcollapses into stars. Those ad hoc rules include dozens of parameters that researchers tune to reproduce known features of the universe, such as the tallies of galaxies of different masses. That tuning raises the question of whether the models explain reality or merely mimic it, like a painting. But researchers say the models should be reliable as long as they avoid predictions that depend strongly on the tuning. “We’re not going to get away from subgrid prescriptions, there’s no way,” Di Matteo says. “But this is not some kind of magic. It’s still physics.”The models have already overturned some long-held assumptions. For example, astrophysicists believed that when two delicate disk galaxies like our Milky Way collide and merge, the process would wad them up into a single blobby elliptical galaxy. However, the models show that spiral galaxies are tougher than expected, if they hold enough gas. “You have disks partially surviving and recovering so quickly,” Springel says. That finding was a big surprise, Hopkins says.The usual explanation of what determines galactic size has also been knocked down, says Sandra Faber, an astronomer at UC Santa Cruz who works with VELA. Astrophysicists had assumed that a galaxy’s size is determined by the spin of the dark matter halo enveloping it, with faster-spinning haloes producing larger, more diffuse galaxies, she says. But simulations show no such connection, she adds. “We’re now at a loss,” Faber says. “What makes a big galaxy big and a small galaxy small?”The shapes of newborn galaxies yield another surprise. Most galaxies today are spherical or oblate, like flattened spheres. Ellipticals are thick, like round cakes of soap; disks are much flatter. But the models predict that early in the universe, emerging galaxies were prolate—longer than they were wide, Faber says. “They’re pickles,” she says. “You try to make a pickle out of gas. It’s not easy.” NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has begun to spot examples of these pickle-shaped galaxies, she says.The models predict other subtle phenomena that observers can try to spot. For example, astrophysicists had assumed that gas flows into a growing galaxy equally from all directions. However, the simulations show that gas pours into a galaxy in cold streams that flow along the dark matter filaments connecting its halo to the cosmic web, Dekel says. Observers with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, a battery of 66 radio dishes in Chile, have begun to peer into space for evidence of the streams. C. BICKEL/SCIENCE The life stages of a galaxy Cosmic web Satellitegalaxy Supermassiveblack hole 10 millionyears after thebig bang 500 millionyears 6 billionyears Present(13.8 billionyears) 1 2 3 4 Dark matter halo Gas Streamof gas Protogalaxies Present distribution ofdark and ordinary matter Original distribution ofdark and ordinary matter Stephen Wilkins, University of Sussex Galaxy simulations are at last matching reality—and producing surprising insights into cosmic evolution Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The young galaxy grows through violent mergers, which trigger bursts of star formation, even as supernovae blow out gas and limit the process. Supernovalast_img read more

How humans—and other mammals—might have gotten their night vision

first_img Email On a moonless night, the light that reaches Earth is a trillion–fold less than on a sunny day. Yet most mammals still see well enough to get around just fine—even without the special light-boosting membranes in the eyes of cats and other nocturnal animals. A new study in mice hints at how this natural night vision works: Motion-sensing nerve cells in the retina temporarily change how they wire to each other in dark conditions. The findings might one day help visually impaired humans, researchers say.Scientists already knew a bit about how night vision works in rabbits, mice, humans, and other mammals. Mammalian retinas can respond to “ridiculously small” numbers of photons, says Joshua Singer, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland in College Park who was not involved in the new study. A single photon can activate a light-sensitive cell known as a rod cell in the retina, which sends a minute electrical signal to the brain through a ganglion cell.  One kind of ganglion cell specializes in motion detection—a vital function if you’re a mouse being hunted by an owl, or a person darting to avoid oncoming traffic. Some of these direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) get excited only when an object is moving upward. Others fire only when objects are moving down, or to the left or right. Together, the cells decide where an object is headed and relay that information to the brain, which decides how to act. How humans—and other mammals—might have gotten their night vision Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Yao et al., Neuron 10.1016 (2018) DSGCs “stand out as one of the few places in the brain” where neuroscientists feel pretty confident they know what neurons are doing, Singer says. But the cells behave in surprising ways when the lights go down.To find out how DSGCs adapt to the dark, neuroscientist Greg Field and colleagues at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, examined slices of mouse retinas by laying them on tiny glass plates embedded with an electrode array. Each array includes about 500 electrodes, but is so small that it spans just a half-millimeter, Field says. Bathed in an oxygenated solution, the mouse retinas can still function and “see” while the array records electrical activity from hundreds of neurons.The team showed the dissected retinas a simple movie—bands moving across a contrasting background—then turned the light down by a factor of 10,000, going from typical office-level lighting to a more moonlit scene. Three of the four directional DSGCs remained “rock solid” in their response to the motion when the lights went down, Field says. But the fourth type, which usually responds to upward motion, now responded to a much broader range of motion, including down and sideways, they report today in Neuron.Field and his colleagues then analyzed why the “up” cells were acting oddly. Using a computer model of all four directional cells’ activity, they concluded that when the “up” cells sacrificed some of their preference for one direction, they improved the performance of the group as a whole, boosting DSGCs’ ability to detect motion in low light.To find out how the “up cells” had switched their function, scientists genetically engineered mice that lacked intracellular connections called gap junctions in their upsensing neurons. Such protein channels allow chemical signals to pass from one neuron to another and have previously been linked to night vision. Field’s team found that in retinal tissue from mice without the gap junctions, upsensing cells didn’t adapt to the dark. That means that at least some of the “up” cells’ ability to boost motion detection in low light depends on gap junctions, the authors say.Whether this holds true in people as well is unclear, but the rodent insight might still be applied to artificial vision efforts. Even though DSGCs make up just 4% of ganglion cells in humans, compared with about 20% in mice, many new retinal prosthetics for visually impaired people rely in large part on electrically stimulating ganglion cells. Studies like this could help fine-tune those technologies, Field says. “If you’re going to stimulate ganglion cells, you need to get them to send the right signals to the brain.”center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe This upward motion–detecting ganglion cell (red with yellow center) from the mouse retina helps rodents see movement in the dark. By Emily UnderwoodSep. 13, 2018 , 2:10 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

Something is rapidly killing young apple trees in North American orchards Scientists

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Kari Peter Six years ago, an unpleasant surprise greeted plant pathologist Kari Peter as she inspected a research orchard in Pennsylvania. Young apple trees were dying—and rapidly. At first, she suspected a common pathogen, but chemical treatments didn’t help. The next year, she began to hear reports of sudden deaths from across the United States and Canada. In North Carolina, up to 80% of orchards have shown suspicious symptoms. “Rows of trees collapse for what seems like no reason,” says Peter, who works at the Pennsylvania State University Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville.Now, as their trees prepare to blossom, North America’s apple producers are bracing for new losses, and scientists are probing possible causes. Apples are one of the continent’s most valuable fruit crops, worth some $4 billion last year in the United States alone. Growers are eager to understand whether rapid or sudden apple decline, as it is known, poses a serious new threat to the industry.Weather-related stress—drought and severe cold—could be an underlying cause, researchers reported this month in PLOS ONE. Early freezes are becoming more common across the eastern United States, for example. But that doesn’t appear to be the whole story, and scientists are examining an array of other factors, including pests, pathogens, and the growing use of high-density orchards. “There are a number of things going on that are going to be really difficult to sort out,” says David Rosenberger, a retired plant pathologist who worked at Cornell University. Early freezes or severe cold can damage apple trees, a possible cause of later, rapid deaths. The decline is more common among densely planted trellised orchards (above right). Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Erik StokstadMar. 21, 2019 , 2:45 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe MELISSA DOBERNIGG/The BX Press Cidery Email Something is rapidly killing young apple trees in North American orchards. Scientists are stumped One common symptom in trees struck by rapid decline is dead tissue at the graft union, the part of the trunk where the fruit-bearing budwood of an apple variety is joined to hardy rootstock to create new trees. The union is vulnerable to late-season freezes because the tissue is the last to go dormant.A team led by plant pathologist Awais Khan of Cornell found dead tissue just below the graft union in trees from an affected orchard in New York. They suspect the cause was the extremely cold winter of 2014–15, which was followed by a drought. The dying tissue could have weakened the trees, allowing pests or pathogens to invade. But Khan and colleagues could not locate any known culprits in the affected trees or nearby soil, they reported in PLOS ONE.Observations from other apple-growing regions suggest extreme weather isn’t entirely to blame. In Canada, rapid decline “exploded” in British Columbia in the summer of 2018, after a string of unusually mild winters, says Tom Forge, a soil ecologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Summerland. These orchards are irrigated, suggesting drought was not a factor.Some scientists wonder whether certain rootstocks or exposure to herbicides might make trees more susceptible. Decline seems to be more common in trees with a popular rootstock, called M9, which can be slower to go dormant in fall, Peter says. Rosenberger has noticed that decline appears to be more common in orchards with fewer weeds, leading him to suspect herbicides play a role. Young apple trees died rapidly in this high-density orchard in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the search for new pathogens is accelerating. Last year, a team that included Peter and plant pathologist Ruhui Li of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, reported in Virology Journal that they had found a previously undescribed luteovirus infecting dead trees. Scott Harper, a plant pathologist at Washington State University in Prosser, has also found undescribed viruses in dead trees. Li’s group has already infected young trees to see whether its virus is harmful, and Harper is planning similar greenhouse experiments. But getting an answer could take up to 5 years. “In the meantime, people are biting their nails,” Rosenberger says.In hard-hit North Carolina, researchers have found ambrosia beetles infesting the graft union of dying trees. These stubby insects burrow into weakened trees and cultivate fungus for their larvae to eat. Those fungi or stowaway fungi might harm the trees, an idea that Sara Villani, a plant pathologist at North Carolina State University in Mills River, and colleagues, will start to test in June. Researchers there will also test way of boosting the trees’ immune systems.Modern apple farming methods could also be a factor. Rapid decline is most common in dense orchards, which are increasingly planted because they are efficient to manage. Instead of about 250 trees per hectare, high-density orchards can have 1200 or more. Tightly packed trees must compete for nutrition and moisture. They also have shallow roots, which make them easier to trellis but more vulnerable to drought. “I’m not criticizing the system,” Khan says, “but it’s not robust for these kinds of fluctuations.”As studies proceed, researchers remain vigilant. “It wouldn’t surprise me,” Villani says, “if we get more reports of apple decline.”last_img read more

Towns Called Boring Bland And Dull All Joined Forces To Make A

first_imgNot all cities are created equal, and they aren’t all equally blessed in the naming department either. We’ve seen dozens of examples of towns and cities having rather embarrassing or even downright vulgar names all over the world. The people in these locations constantly have to put up with the same old jokes and jibes, but three rather oddly-named towns recently decided to join forces and embrace their unusual identities.As reported by Good.is, the towns in question are Boring in Oregon, Dull in Scotland, and Bland in Australia. These three towns, linked by the ridiculousness of their dreary names, decided to form a very special group that they’ve called “The League of Extraordinary Communities”, but what many people, including The Scotsman newspaper, have referred to as the “Trinity of Tedium”.Boring and Oregon City sign. Photo by Chris Phan CC BY 2.0Boring, Oregon is the biggest of the three towns. Located in Clackamas County in the northern part of the state, Boring is home to around 13,000 residents, according to Good, and is actually quite a pretty little town.It was named in honor of William Harrison Boring, a Union soldier who settled in the area in the mid-19th century. Citizens and businesses in Boring have made plenty of puns about their hometown over the years.William H. BoringBland Shire is a large local government area in New South Wales, Australia that covers an area of over 3,300 square miles but is home to less than 6,000 people. Just like Boring, Bland was named after an individual.In this case, it was William Bland, a man who was anything but bland in reality. Bland was a trained surgeon who killed a man in a duel in Bombay, India. Convicted of manslaughter, he was shipped off, along with many other convicts, to Australia, where he began a new life.Sign marking the border between Lachlan Shire and Bland Shire. Photo by Mattinbgn CC BY 2.0Finally, the smallest of the trio is Dull. Located in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, Dull is a very small village basically made up of just one street of homes in the River Tay Valley.The village’s name may actually have been taken from an old Gaelic word meaning “meadow”. The village is home to less than 100 people and lacks any real features of note, aside from an old church.Sign in Dull, Scotland. Photo by Peter Mercator CC BY-SA 3.0Before the league was formed, Boring and Dull had already become sister cities. As reported by Time, it was officially decided that August 9th would be known as “Boring & Dull Day”.Celebrated in both Boring and Dull, the special celebration involved singing and dancing, and even a bagpipe player in Boring, with various merchandise being produced to try and drum up support and raise awareness of the two towns. There’s even a Dull & Boring Facebook page in which residents of both cities can connect.This all happened in 2012, and just one year later, the mayor of Bland, Neil Pokoney, was revealed in The Scotsman to have heard all about the story and thought that Bland might have a banal bond to share with its boring brethren overseas.Talks between the towns started up and The League of Extraordinary Communities was formed in 2014, cementing the strange union between these funnily named locations.Dull church, Dull, Perth and Kinross. Photo by Iain Macaulay CC By SA 2.0For most outsiders, the whole thing seems rather silly and amusing, but the towns do have genuine reasons for forming these kinds of international relationships. They’re hoping that the media exposure and attention will help to boost tourism and bring in new businesses.Read another story from us: The Small Town Which Claims to be the Most Haunted Place in AmericaIt’s certainly a unique idea, and we’ll have to wait and see if any other members of the “League” are added in the future, with some internet commenters suggesting that Tedious Creek in Maryland and Monotony Valley in Nevada would be perfect candidates.last_img read more

I am packing my bagsto move into government – Wesley MP in

first_imgShareTweetSharePinEzekiel Bazil is the current parliamentary representative for the Wesley constituencyParliamentary representative for the Wesley Constituency and UWP Candidate Ezekiel Bazil says that the people of his constituency, are smart and understand what proper representation is.Bazil was reacting to Fidel Grant’s acceptance speech on Sunday in Wesley, when Grant told supporters that UWP has done nothing for that constituency.“A man’s history preceeds him”, Bazil responded. He explained that the work that the United Workers Party did during their four and a half year term, can be still boasted about.Fidel Grant was launched on Sunday 16th June 2019 at Wesley to be the Dominica Labour Party’s candidate for the Wesley, Woodford Hill and Palm Tree Constituency.  In his acceptance speech, he told the Dominica Labour Party supporters that he searched for evidence of UWP leadership development in his constituency but found none.“I spent the last 4.5 years searching for something to associate with the UWP in this constituency – a tree, a flower pot, a scholarship but there is nothing to mark leadership or representation for the UWP in this constituency. Nothing!” Grant said. He said that the people of the Wesley Constituency are tired of emptiness and don’t want Ezekiel Bazil anymore.“The people are satisfied with my performance,” Basil insisted and described the plans and promises of Grant and the Dominica Labour Party of working together for agriculture as “total madness!”.  He said that he has been informing government of the needs of farmers and their plight, “but they will not listen to me”.Bazil said that after 19 years in office, the DLP is “running away from their history of non-performance and empty promises”.In response to Grant’s assertion that the people of the Wesley Constituency do not want Ezekiel Bazil anymore and that he (Bazil) should pack up, Bazil contends that any packing of bags that he will be doing, is in preparation to govern the affairs of Dominica.“I heard that there is a request for me to pack my bags, but guess what- I am packing my bags to move into government. I am packing bags to move into governance of this country for a better life for our people. That is where the packing of bags is taking place. So any packing of bags is in preparation for governance of this country,” a confident Bazil stated.The sitting Wesley MP said he sees Fidel Grant’s candidacy and the Dominica Labour Party as “one and the same – total waste!”last_img read more