How Private Space Taxis for Astronauts Could Help NASA Reach Mars

Space.com - 1 hour 42 min ago
Tapping SpaceX and Boeing to fly American astronauts to and from the International Space Station should free NASA up to work on sending people to Mars, agency officials say.
Categories: Science

Galaxies Merge to Form Disc Galaxy | Animation

Space.com - 1 hour 48 min ago
Gravitational forces interact during the the merger to form a disc. Red = Gas moving away from Earth, Blue = Gas approaching Earth.
Categories: Science

Two Comedians (And Totally Unqualified Critics) Preview the New TV Season

Wired News - 3 hours 46 sec ago

Hoping to get a bead on this season's prospects, we asked Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani, cohosts of the Comedy Central stand-up series The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail, to review a few.

The post Two Comedians (And Totally Unqualified Critics) Preview the New TV Season appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

This Mortician Thinks You Should Spend More Time With Corpses

Wired News - 3 hours 49 sec ago

Caitlin Doughty has been cutting pacemakers out of corpses, grinding human bones by hand, and loading bodies into cremation chambers for seven years. But the 30-year-old mortician doesn't want to keep all the fun to herself: She thinks the rest of us should get to have a little more face time with the deceased.

The post This Mortician Thinks You Should Spend More Time With Corpses appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

The Culture We Obsessed Over This Month, From Tintin to Tabletop Games

Wired News - 3 hours 54 sec ago

We asked our co-workers about that one thing they can’t get enough of this month. Maybe it’s a new album, maybe it’s an old show. Maybe it’s a book we just re-read for the first time since high school, maybe it’s a new game we got a chance to playtest. Whatever it is, it’s on this list because we love it.

The post The Culture We Obsessed Over This Month, From Tintin to Tabletop Games appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

New Hybrid Mercedes Guilt-Trips Drivers Into Using Less Gas

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the S550 Plug-In Hybrid this week. Like the gas-powered S-Class on which it’s based, the company’s first plug-in hybrid looks fantastic and is loaded with high-tech features. We’ve come to expect this kind of excess from the flagship sedan, but what’s most impressive about the new car is that when it comes to […]

The post New Hybrid Mercedes Guilt-Trips Drivers Into Using Less Gas appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Going Thermal

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

The FLIR One thermal camera case can be fun to use. Unfortunately, a long list of limitations keep it from being anything more than an expensive toy.

The post Going Thermal appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Fantastically Wrong: Magellan’s Strange Encounter With the 10-Foot Giants of Patagonia

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan took time out of his busy schedule of sailing around the world to stop in what is now Patagonia, where he found a naked giant dancing and singing on the shore. Magellan ordered one of his men to make contact (the unwitting emissary’s no doubt hilarious reaction to this sadly has been lost to history), and to be sure to reciprocate the dancing and singing to demonstrate friendship.

The post Fantastically Wrong: Magellan’s Strange Encounter With the 10-Foot Giants of Patagonia appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Sailor Zombie Lets You Shoot Undead Japanese Pop Stars

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

How much do you love the members of Japan's pop idol group AKB48? Enough to shoot them?

The post Sailor Zombie Lets You Shoot Undead Japanese Pop Stars appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Perfect for the Post-Snowden Era: A Shirt That Shields Your Cellphone

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

If you suffer from sporadic and non-committal bouts of severe paranoia about the NSA, you can stop putting your phone in the freezer.

The post Perfect for the Post-Snowden Era: A Shirt That Shields Your Cellphone appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Middle-School Dropout Codes Clever Chat Program That Foils NSA Spying

Wired News - 3 hours 1 min ago

The best hope of shielding your metadata from the NSA was invented by a middle-school dropout in his spare time.

The post Middle-School Dropout Codes Clever Chat Program That Foils NSA Spying appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

News Briefs 17-09-2014

Underground Stream - 3 hours 2 min ago

A vortex of news flying right at you...

Quote of the Day:

At the end of a day, life should ask us, ‘do you want to save the changes?’

~ Bill Murray

Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

Slashdot - 4 hours 15 min ago
nerdyalien writes: A few years back, I worked for a large-scale web development project in southeast Asia. Despite formally adopting Agile/Scrum, development was driven based on fear imposed by managers. Scott Hanselman defines Fear-Driven-Development as having three parts. 1) Organizational fear has "worried about making mistakes, breaking the build, or causing bugs that the organization increases focus on making paper, creating excessive process, and effectively standing in the way of writing code." 2) There's also fear of changing code, which comes from a complex, poorly-understood, or unmaintainable codebase. 3) The most common one is fear of losing your job, which can lead to developers checking in barely-functioning code and managers committing to a death march rather than admit failure. My project ran four times its initial estimation, and included horrendous 18-hour/day, 6 day/week crunches with pizza dinners. Is FDD here to stay?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Visualizing how TMS affects groups of neurons in real time

Kurzweil AI - 4 hours 49 min ago

Spatiotemporal activity patterns induced by a single TMS pulse (left) and 10 Hz TMS (right) over 50 milliseconds (credit: Vladislav Kozyre et al./PNAS)

German neuroscientists have developed a method for recording the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on animals in real time, using voltage-sensitive dyes, which emit fluorescent light signals that indicate which groups of neurons are activated or inhibited.

Using fMRI is too slow to show real-time effects, and with rapid measurement methods like EEG and MEG, the TMS magnetic field generates artifacts.

So RUB researchers headed by Dirk Jancke, PhD, of the Institut für Neuroinformatik (Ruhr-University Bochum), used voltage-sensitive dyes, which emit fluorescent light showing changes in the cells’ membrane potential across several square millimeters of cortical tissue when neurons are activated or inhibited, and can respond in microseconds.

“We can now demonstrate in real time how a single TMS pulse suppresses brain activity across a considerable region, most likely through mass activation of inhibiting brain cells,” said Jancke.

The German Research Foundation funded the study.

Abstract of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is widely used in clinical interventions and basic neuroscience. Additionally, it has become a powerful tool to drive plastic changes in neuronal networks. However, highly resolved recordings of the immediate TMS effects have remained scarce, because existing recording techniques are limited in spatial or temporal resolution or are interfered with by the strong TMS-induced electric field. To circumvent these constraints, we performed optical imaging with voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) in an animal experimental setting using anaesthetized cats. The dye signals reflect gradual changes in the cells’ membrane potential across several square millimeters of cortical tissue, thus enabling direct visualization of TMS-induced neuronal population dynamics. After application of a single TMS pulse across visual cortex, brief focal activation was immediately followed by synchronous suppression of a large pool of neurons. With consecutive magnetic pulses (10 Hz), widespread activity within this “basin of suppression” increased stepwise to suprathreshold levels and spontaneous activity was enhanced. Visual stimulation after repetitive TMS revealed long-term potentiation of evoked activity. Furthermore, loss of the “deceleration–acceleration” notch during the rising phase of the response, as a signature of fast intracortical inhibition detectable with VSD imaging, indicated weakened inhibition as an important driving force of increasing cortical excitability. In summary, our data show that high-frequency TMS changes the balance between excitation and inhibition in favor of an excitatory cortical state. VSD imaging may thus be a promising technique to trace TMS-induced changes in excitability and resulting plastic processes across cortical maps with high spatial and temporal resolutions.

Categories: Science

Teddy Roosevelt: Sasquatch Hunter Free Kindle Download

Cryptomundo - 6 hours 34 min ago
Today, September 17, 2014 only.
Categories: Fortean

College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

Slashdot - 7 hours 18 min ago
jfruh writes: With a lot of debate over the value of a college education, here's a data point students can use: at one Texas college, students who took an elective COBOL class earned on average $10,000 more a year upon graduation than classmates who hadn't. COBOL, dropped from many curricula years ago as an outdated language, is tenaciously holding on in the industry, as many universities are belatedly starting to realize.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

Slashdot - 7 hours 18 min ago
jfruh writes: With a lot of debate over the value of a college education, here's a data point students can use: at one Texas college, students who took an elective COBOL class earned on average $10,000 more a year upon graduation than classmates who hadn't. COBOL, dropped from many curricula years ago as an outdated language, is tenaciously holding on in the industry, as many universities are belatedly starting to realize.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

How to quickly convert human skin cells into immune-fighting white blood cells

Kurzweil AI - 7 hours 27 min ago

Skin cells converted to white blood cells present functional immunological properties. In the picture, a representative example of a converted cell in which phagocytosis, the process by which certain white blood cells “eat” pathogens, has taken place. Green indicates internalized “beads” used as an in vitro surrogate for bacteria. Red indicates lysosomes, the “digestive” organelle of macrophages. Yellow (highlighted with arrow) indicates targeting of the internalized beads to the lysosomes. (Credit: J. Pulicio et al./Stem Cells)

Salk Institute scientists have turned human skin cells into transplantable white blood cells capable of attacking diseased or cancerous cells or augmenting immune responses against other disorders.

The process, described in the journal Stem Cells, is “quick and safe in mice,” says senior author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, holder of Salk’s Roger Guillemin Chair.

The existing process, using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to grow new types of cells, requires a long time — at least two months — and tedious laboratory work. Blood cells derived from iPS cells also have other obstacles: an inability to engraft into organs or bone marrow and a likelihood of developing tumors.

The new technique, using indirect lineage conversion, takes just two weeks, engrafts (becomes grafted and functions normally) well, and does not produce tumors.

Inducing cellular memory loss for reprogramming

“We tell skin cells to forget what they are and become what we tell them to be — in this case, white blood cells,” says one of the first authors and Salk researcher Ignacio Sancho-Martinez. “Only two biological molecules are needed to induce such cellular memory loss and to direct a new cell fate.”

Belmonte’s team developed the faster technique and previously demonstrated that these approaches could be used to produce human vascular cells, the ones that line blood vessels. Rather than reversing cells all the way back to a stem cell state before prompting them to turn into something else, such as in the case of iPS cells, the researchers “rewind” skin cells just enough to instruct them to form the more than 200 cell types that constitute the human body.

The technique demonstrated in this study uses a molecule called SOX2 to become somewhat plastic — the stage of losing their “memory” of being a specific cell type. Then, researchers use a genetic factor called miRNA125b that tells the cells that they are actually white blood cells.

The researchers are now conducting toxicology studies and cell transplantation proof-of-concept studies in advance of potential preclinical and clinical studies.

Study co-authors include investigators from the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain, and the Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red de Enfermedades Raras in Madrid, Spain.

Abstract of Stem Cells paper

Reprogramming technologies have emerged as a promising approach for future regenerative medicine. Here we report on the establishment of a novel methodology allowing for the conversion of human fibroblasts into Hematopoietic Progenitor-like Cells (HPC) with macrophage differentiation potential. SOX2 overexpression in human fibroblasts, a gene found to be upregulated during hematopoietic reconstitution in mice, induced the rapid appearance of CD34+ cells with a concomitant upregulation of mesoderm-related markers. Profiling of Cord Blood hematopoietic progenitor cell populations identified miR-125b as a factor facilitating commitment of SOX2-generated CD34+ cells to immature hematopoietic-like progenitor cells with grafting potential. Further differentiation towards the monocytic lineage resulted in the appearance of CD14+ cells with functional phagocytic capacity. In vivo transplantation of SOX2/miR-125b-generated CD34+ cells facilitated the maturation of the engrafted cells towards CD45+ cells and ultimately the monocytic/macrophage lineage. Altogether, our results indicate that strategies combining lineage conversion and further lineage specification by in vivo or in vitro approaches could help to circumvent long-standing obstacles for the reprogramming of human cells into hematopoietic cells with clinical potential.

Categories: Science

Blotting Out the Stars | Space Wallpaper

Space.com - 9 hours 21 min ago
The Wide Field Imager (WFI) on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile captured this space wallpaper of dark cloud Lupus 4 blotting out background stars.
Categories: Science

Farmers Carry Multidrug-Resistant Staph For Weeks Into Local Communities

Slashdot - 9 hours 21 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Fresh research out of the UNC Gillings and JHU Bloomberg schools of public health shows industrial farm workers are carrying livestock-associated, multidrug-resistant staph into local communities for weeks at a time. "Among the [22 people tested], 10 workers carried antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria in their noses for up to four days. Another six workers were intermittent carriers of the bacteria. The 10 workers found to carry the bacteria persistently had strains associated with livestock that were resistant to multiple drugs, and one also carried MRSA. Three more of the workers tested positive for strains of S. aureus that were not resistant to antibiotics. So in total, 86 percent of the workers in the study carried the S. aureus bacteria, compared with about one-third of the population at large, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." This problem has grown since its last mention on Slashdot. Unfortunately, massive industrial lobbying continues to neuter government action.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science