Space Station Astronauts Take Russian Cargo Ship Failure in Stride - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:45am
Russia's unmanned Progress 59 freighter will plunge to its death in Earth's atmosphere in the coming days. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station say they can make do despite the failure.
Categories: Science

3D 'Pillars Of Creation' - A Multi-Telescope Beauty-Mash | Video - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:22am
Using the ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have created a new 3D visualization of the the famous Eagle Nebula, showing distance between each ‘pillar.’ stirs in Hubble images.
Categories: Science

Avengers: Age of Ultron Ain’t Perfect, But You’ll Love It

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:00am

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a jumble of cameos, fights, and enough fan service to keep pretty much everyone happy.

The post Avengers: Age of Ultron Ain’t Perfect, But You’ll Love It appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

The Era of Japan’s All-Powerful Videogame Designers Is Over

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:00am

Hideo Kojima's exit from Konami isn't just the end of Metal Gear as we know it. It's the end of the era of big-name directors running the show in Japan.

The post The Era of Japan’s All-Powerful Videogame Designers Is Over appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

The Gadgets and Gear We Couldn’t Get Enough of This Month

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:00am

See this month's collection of products we've been testing and love, or the stuff from our lives that we own and never want to let go.

The post The Gadgets and Gear We Couldn’t Get Enough of This Month appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Hail and Farewell: A Robot From Earth Dies on Mercury Today

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:00am

After more than a decade of faithful service, the Messenger space probe comes to its final resting place on the surface of Mercury today. Read it and weep.

The post Hail and Farewell: A Robot From Earth Dies on Mercury Today appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

The Ex-Refugee Aiming to Give Google-like Data Might to All

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:00am

Christopher Nguyen escaped from Vietnam in the summer of 1978 and went on to become an engineering director at Google. Now he's bringing his data know-how to the world.

The post The Ex-Refugee Aiming to Give Google-like Data Might to All appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Ultima VIII Is Now Free—And Worth Another Look

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 10:30am

Ultima VIII: Pagan is now available for free. Remember what a disaster it was? I don't. I actually liked it.

The post Ultima VIII Is Now Free—And Worth Another Look appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Windows XP Support Deal Not Renewed By UK Government, Leaves PCs Open To Attack

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 9:34am
girlmad writes: The government's one-year £5.5m Windows XP support deal with Microsoft has not been extended, sources have told V3, despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber attacks. It's still unclear when all government machines will be migrated to a newer OS.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Need a Quick Fix? First Express Starbucks Lands in NYC

Wired News - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 9:30am

This is the pilot store for the Starbucks express format, one designed to get you in and out faster than ever.

The post Need a Quick Fix? First Express Starbucks Lands in NYC appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Ancient Megadrought Entombed Dodos In Poisonous Fecal Cocktail

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 8:05am
sciencehabit writes: Nine hundred kilometers off the east coast of Madagascar lies the tiny island paradise of Mauritius. The waters are pristine, the beaches bright white, and the average temperature hovers between 22C and 28C (72F to 82F) year-round. But conditions there may not have always been so idyllic. A new study suggests that about 4000 years ago, a prolonged drought on the island left many of the native species, such as dodo birds and giant tortoises, dead in a soup of poisonous algae and their own feces.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Oculus Rift-Based System Brings True Immersion To Telepresence Robots

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 7:07am
An anonymous reader writes: University of Pennsylvania researchers have built an Oculus Rift-based telepresence system that attempts to bring true immersion to remotely operated robots. The system, called DORA (Dexterous Observational Roving Automaton), precisely tracks the motion of your head and then duplicates those motions on a mobile robot moving around at a remote location. Video from the robot's cameras is transmitted to the Oculus headset. One of the creators said that while using the system you "feel like you are transported somewhere else in the real world."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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What Is DARPA? - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 5:19am
DARPA is an agency of the U.S. military that tests and develops new technologies.
Categories: Science

The United States Just Might Be Iran's Favorite New Nuclear Supplier

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 4:36am
Lasrick writes: Nick Gillard from Project Alpha points out that for more than 3 decades, Iran has purchased goods for its nuclear program largely from the shadows. With the Framework Agreement, that will almost certainly change: "According to the US State Department, one of the agreement's provisions creates a dedicated procurement channel for Iran's nuclear program. This channel will monitor and approve, on a case-by-case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual-use materials and technology." That is terrific news for US companies, because Iran is known to covet US-made parts required for their program, most of which are "dual-use."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Study links quitting smoking with deterioration in diabetes control

Science Daily - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 3:48am
Sufferers of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who quit smoking are likely to see a temporary deterioration in their glycaemic control which could last up to three years, according to new research.
Categories: Science

People will live longer than official estimates predict, UK study shows

Science Daily - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 3:48am
A new study forecasting how life expectancy will change in England and Wales has predicted people will live longer than current estimates. They predict that life expectancy nationally will increase for men from 79.5 years in 2012 to 85.7 in 2030, and for women from 83.3 in 2012 to 87.6 in 2030.
Categories: Science

Scientists identify key receptors behind development of acute myeloid leukemia

Science Daily - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 3:46am
Scientists have discovered that a certain class of receptors that inhibit immune response are crucial for the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most common acute leukemia affecting adults.
Categories: Science

The most comprehensive 3-D map of the universe

Kurzweil AI - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 3:38am

A slice through the 3D map of the nearby universe. Our Milky Way galaxy is in the center, marked by a cross. The map spans nearly two billion light years from side to side. Regions with many galaxies are shown in white or red, whereas regions with fewer galaxies are dark blue. (credit: University of Waterloo)

Astrophysicists have created a 3D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light years and is the most complete picture of our cosmic neighborhood to date.

The spherical map of galaxy superclusters will lead to a greater understanding of how matter is distributed in the universe and provide key insights into dark matter, one of physics’ greatest mysteries, the astronomers say.

“The galaxy distribution isn’t uniform and has no definable pattern. It has peaks and valleys much like a mountain range. This is what we expect if the large-scale structure originates from quantum fluctuations in the early universe,” said Professor Mike Hudson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, who co-created the map. The map appears online in an article in the peer-review journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The lighter blue and white areas on the map represent greater concentrations of galaxies. The red area is the supercluster called the Shapley Concentration, the largest collection of galaxies in the nearby universe. Unexplored areas appear in medium blue.

Understanding dark matter

Knowing the location and motion of matter in the universe will help astrophysicists predict the universe’s expansion and identify where and how much dark matter exists.

Scientists have observed that galaxies move differently because the universe’s expansion is not even. These differences are called peculiar velocities. Our own Milky Way galaxy and its neighbor Andromeda are moving with a speed of 2 million kilometers per hour.

Previous models haven’t fully accounted for this observed motion. Hudson and his team are interested in discovering what structures are responsible for the peculiar velocities. These deviations in the motion of galaxies are a valuable tool to determine the distribution of matter and dark matter on the largest scales.

Dark matter accounts for a large majority of the mass content in the universe. It is a hypothesized form of matter particle that does not reflect or emit light and as a result it can’t be seen or measured directly. The existence and properties of dark matter can only be inferred indirectly through its gravitational effects on visible matter and light.

“A better understanding of dark matter is central to understanding the formation of galaxies and the structures they live in, such as galaxy clusters, superclusters and voids,” said Hudson.

The next step will involve getting more detailed samples of peculiar velocities to enhance the map, in collaboration with researchers in Australia.

Abstract of Cosmological parameters from the comparison of peculiar velocities with predictions from the 2M++ density field

Peculiar velocity measurements are the only tool available in the low-redshift Universe for mapping the large-scale distribution of matter and can thus be used to constrain cosmology. Using redshifts from the 2M++ redshift compilation, we reconstruct the density of galaxies within 200 h−1 Mpc, allowing for the first time good sampling of important superclusters such as the Shapley Concentration. We compare the predicted peculiar velocities from 2M++ to Tully–Fisher and SNe peculiar velocities. We find a value of β* ≡Ω0.55m/b∗= 0.431 ± 0.021, suggesting Ω0.55mσ8,lin = 0.401 ± 0.024, in good agreement with other probes. The predicted peculiar velocity of the Local Group arising from the 2M++ volume alone is 540 ± 40 km s−1, towards l = 268° ± 4°, b = 38° ± 6°, only 10° out of alignment with the cosmic microwave background dipole. To account for velocity contributions arising from sources outside the 2M++ volume, we fit simultaneously for β* and an external bulk flow in our analysis. We find that an external bulk flow is preferred at the 5.1σ level, and the best fit has a velocity of 159 ± 23  km s− 1 towardsl = 304° ± 11°, b = 6° ± 13°. Finally, the predicted bulk flow of a 50 h−1 Mpc Gaussian-weighted volume centred on the Local Group is 230 ± 30 km s−1, in the direction l = 293° ± 8°, b = 14° ± 10°, in agreement with predictions from Λ cold dark matter.

Categories: Science

A new material for creating artificial blood vessels

Kurzweil AI - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 2:36am

The artificial blood-vessel material (left) combines well with the natural biomaterial (right) in this photo montage (credit: TU Wien)

Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) and Vienna Medical University (MedUni Vienna) researchers have developed artificial blood vessels made from a special elastomer material (thermoplastic polyurethanes) with excellent mechanical properties.

The artificial blood vessels are designed to be broken down by the body and replaced with its own tissue. At the end of this restorative process, a natural, fully functional vessel will be once again in place.

Arteriosclerotic vascular disorder is one of the most common causes of death in industrialized countries. A bypass operation is often the only solution. Normally, blood vessels are taken from another part of the patient’s body and used to replace the damaged vessel.

The artificial materials used so far are not fully compatible with body tissue, and the blood vessel can easily become blocked.

Rat experiments successful

Cross-section of implanted artificial blood vessel graft (at 12 months) without signs of aneurysm or intimal hyperplasia (scale bar: 500 micrometers).

To produce the new vascular prostheses, polymer solutions were spun in an electrical field to form very fine threads and wound onto a spool. “The wall of these artificial blood vessels is very similar to that of natural ones,” says Heinz Schima of the Medical University of Vienna.

The polymer fabric is slightly porous, so it allows a small amount of blood to permeate the material. This enriches the wall with growth factors, encouraging migration of endogenous (body’s own) cells.

The new method has proved successful in experiments with rats. “The rats’ blood vessels were examined six months after insertion of the vascular prostheses,” says Helga Bergmeister of MedUni Vienna.

“We did not find any aneurysms, thromboses, or inflammation. Endogenous cells had colonized the vascular prostheses and turned the artificial constructs into natural body tissue.”

A few more preclinical trials are necessary before the artificial blood vessels can be used in humans, which the researchers expect in a few years.

Abstract of Biodegradable, thermoplastic polyurethane grafts for small diameter vascular replacements

Biodegradable vascular grafts with sufficient in vivo performance would be more advantageous than permanent non-degradable prostheses. These constructs would be continuously replaced by host tissue, leading to an endogenous functional implant which would adapt to the need of the patient and exhibit only limited risk of microbiological graft contamination. Adequate biomechanical strength and a wall structure which promotes rapid host remodeling are prerequisites for biodegradable approaches. Current approaches often reveal limited tensile strength and therefore require thicker or reinforced graft walls. In this study we investigated the in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility of thin host-vessel-matched grafts (n = 34) formed from hard-block biodegradable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) conduits (n = 34) served as control grafts. Grafts were analyzed by various techniques after retrieval at different time points (1 week; 1, 6, 12 months). TPU grafts showed significantly increased endothelial cell proliferation in vitro (P < 0.001). Population by host cells increased significantly in the TPU conduits within 1 month of implantation (P = 0.01). After long-term implantation, TPU implants showed 100% patency (ePTFE: 93%) with no signs of aneurysmal dilatation. Substantial remodeling of the degradable grafts was observed but varied between subjects. Intimal hyperplasia was limited to ePTFE conduits (29%). Thin-walled TPU grafts offer a new and desirable form of biodegradable vascular implant. Degradable grafts showed equivalent long-term performance characteristics compared to the clinically used, non-degradable material with improvements in intimal hyperplasia and ingrowth of host cells.

Categories: Science

Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 2:04am
Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science