Science RSS Feeds
Whistleblower claims the social media giant failed to protect the personal data of up to 50 million users which was later used by an outside firm to target voters in the 2016 election; William La Jeunesse reports from Los Angeles.
Scientists detect more bizarre radio bursts from deep space, still can’t explain where they come from
Thanks to the ceaseless march of technology, agencies like NASA and other scientific bodies from around the world have been able to teach us a lot about space. We now get regular news about new plants from other star systems, we know what makes many of our nearest planetary neighbors tick, and we're learning more than ever about how Earth formed long before life existed here. But space still holds many secrets, and fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one of the most tantalizing mysteries of the cosmos.
FRBs are high-energy signals blasted into space that can be detected here on Earth with the help of technology, but their origins remain unclear. When scientists detect them, they are numbered and named based on when they were first heard, but other than that there's not much we know about them. Now, a new batch of bursts has been detected by astronomers in Australia, and one of them was the brightest ever recorded.
FRBs last only fractions of a second before disappearing. They are unpredictable and follow no obvious pattern. This most recent FRB sighting comes from Australia's Parkes Observatory where three distinct radio bursts were detected in rapid succession. The first burst, detected on March 1st, was followed by subsequent radio bursts on March 9th and 11th.
It was the March 9th signal that is most interesting to astronomers, due to its size. It boasted a signal-to-noise ratio of 411, making it the strongest FRB ever recorded by a large margin. As New Atlas explains, the second brightest burst had a signal-to-noise ratio of around 90, with most FRBs falling between 10 and 40 on the same scale.
The mystery of where fast radio bursts come from has fascinated scientists for a long time, but a few theories are currently leading the pack. Some researchers believe that supernovas are responsible for the bright signal bursts, with the radio waves of a distant star's supernova arriving long after the light of the event would have been visible to us. By the time we hear the signal, the actual supernova event has long since fizzled out, making it appear as though the bursts are originating from nothing at all. Or, maybe it's aliens? Yeah, it's probably aliens.
Whether it is arguing until ‘blue in the face’ or feeling ‘green with envy’ the English language is well-stocked with idioms linking colour to emotion. Now for the first time, scientists have shown that people actually do change hue depending on their feelings. Although it is a subtle alteration to skin tone and complexion around the nose, eyebrows, cheeks or chin, the effects are picked up subconsciously by observers, making it very hard to hide emotions. It means that a sad person, attempting to put on a brave face will still flush the colour of his or her unhappiness, inadvertently showing the turmoil behind their smile. The scientists believe the changes of colour are triggered by blood flow channelled from the central nervous system to depending on our state of mind. "We identified patterns of facial coloring that are unique to every emotion we studied," said Dr Aleix Martinez, cognitive scientist and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio State University. "We believe these color patterns are due to subtle changes in blood flow or blood composition triggered by the central nervous system. “Not only do we perceive these changes in facial color, but we use them to correctly identify how other people are feeling, whether we do it consciously or not." Angryface An original and enhanced 'angry' face For the study, the researchers first took hundreds of pictures of facial expressions and separated the images into different color channels that correspond to how human eyes see colour - either in a red/green channel or blue/yellow. They then ran the images through computer analysis and found that emotions such as ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘anger’ or ‘disgust’ all formed unique color patterns. ‘Disgust’, for instance, creates a blue-yellow cast around the lips, but with a red-green cast around the nose and forehead. Happiness is seen in red at the checks and temples and a little blue around the chin, but the same face with a slightly redder forehead and slightly less blue chin registers as ‘surprised.’ Although the team did not look at 'envy' they suggest that the green colour linked to feelings of jealousy could stem from the nausea which often accompanies the emotion. Happyface An original and enhanced 'happy' face To test whether colors alone could convey emotions - without smiles or frowns to go along with them - the researchers then superimposed the different emotional color patterns on pictures of faces with neutral expressions. They found that volunteers were able to spot an emotion up to 75 per cent of the time. The effect remained regardless of gender, ethnicity or overall skin tone. Next, researchers showed participants facial expressions of happiness, sadness and other emotions but mixed up the colors of the the images, for example putting ah angry hue on a happy face. Participants reported that something was ‘off’ but could not put their finger on what was wrong. "Participants could clearly identify which images had the congruent versus the incongruent colors," added Prof Martinez. "People have always said that we use makeup to look beautiful or younger, but I think that it is possible that we actually do it to appear happier or create a positive perception of emotion--or a negative perception, if you wanted to do that.” It also enabled researchers to construct computer algorithms that correctly recognize human emotion via face color up to 90 percent of the time. Happiness was the easiest emotion for the computer to recognize by color alone, and it detected the emotion with 90 percent accuracy. Anger was detectable by color alone 80 percent of the time, and sadness 75 percent of the time. Fear was recognizable 70 percent of the time. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly explains how seeing planet Earth from space changed his perspective on life
NASA revealed in March that after his year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly's DNA changed by a full 7%. But when we recently interviewed him for Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It," he said the experience changed him personally, as well.
Crispr Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) is one of the hottest biotech names in the market today. Obviously, CRSP has momentum on its side, but can this ridiculous rally continue forward? At this juncture, CRSP stock is a pure, speculative play on its potential.
Notice of Change to Expiration Date on BRAIN Initiative: Theories, Models and Methods for Analysis of Complex Data from the Brain (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Bioequivalence of Topical Products: Elucidating the Thermodynamic and Functional Characteristics of Compositionally Different Topical Formulations (U01)
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element modeling (DEM) approach for predictions of dry powder inhaler (DPI) drug delivery
- Fogarty HIV Research Training Program for Low-and Middle-Income Country Institutions (D43 Clinical Trial Optional)
- International Bioethics Research Training Program (D43 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Three-Dimensional Approach for Modeling Nasal Mucociliary Clearance via Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
- Formulation drug product quality attributes in dermal physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models for topical dermatological drug products and transdermal delivery systems