Month: August 2019

New arm discovered in outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy

first_img More information: A Molecular Spiral Arm in the Far Outer Galaxy, T. M. Dame, P. Thaddeus, Astrophysical Journal Letters, in press.Available on ArXiv at arXiv:1105.2523v1 [astro-ph.GA]AbstractWe have identified a spiral arm lying beyond the Outer Arm in the first Galactic quadrant ~15 kpc from the Galactic center. After tracing the arm in existing 21 cm surveys, we searched for molecular gas using the CfA 1.2 meter telescope and detected CO at 10 of 220 positions. The detections are distributed along the arm from l = 13 deg, v = -21 km/s to l = 55 deg, v = -84 km/s and coincide with most of the main H I concentrations. One of the detections was fully mapped to reveal a large molecular cloud with a radius of 47 pc and a molecular mass of ~50,000 Mo. At a mean distance of 21 kpc, the molecular gas in this arm is the most distant yet detected in the Milky Way. The new arm appears to be the continuation of the Scutum-Centaurus Arm in the outer Galaxy, as a symmetric counterpart of the nearby Perseus Arm. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Barred Spiral Milky Way. Illustration Credit: R. Hurt (SSC), JPL-Caltech, NASA This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Astrophysicists map the Milky Way’s 4 spiral arms Citation: New arm discovered in outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy (2011, May 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-05-arm-outer-edge-milky-galaxy.html (PhysOrg.com) — In a surprising twist, if you will, Thomas Dame and Patrick Thaddeus, both of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have put forth in a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, the notion that a cluster of gas clouds they’ve discovered, that lies far from what is currently believed to be the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, is likely the extension of one of the great arms that form our galaxy. The researchers made their discovery by thinking outside of the box, so to speak; most research on our galaxy starts with the assumption that the spiral that swirls out from the center, amounts to what most see as an almost a two dimensional plane. Dame and Thaddeus, looked beyond that plane, though not by much, and came upon a mass of giant molecular gas clouds that they believe is an extension of what is known as the Scutum-Centaurus arm; and thus have dubbed the new cluster the Outer Scutum-Centaurus arm.Ever since Stephen Alexander first came up with the idea that our galaxy existed in the shape of a spiral way back in 1852, stargazers have been studying the vast gas clusters that fill the night sky around us, and since that time, have thus far concluded that there are six “arms” that make up the Milky Way galaxy, with a central core chock full of stars. The new arm extension would fill in a bit of a gap on one side that would make the entire spiral look more even around the edges.Further research will have to be conducted, of course, before a true consensus is reached, but if what these two researchers have found is accepted by the astrophysics community, it will mean that our galaxy is actually two mirror images of itself, and that it’s a bit warped as well, seeing as how it’s not as flat as once thought; an interesting parallel, for those that recall how in the early days of science, the world as we knew it was thought to be flat as well, and we all know how that turned out. Thus, it does seem conceivable, what with our inability to see a lot of the Milky Way galaxy due to trying to look at it from an embedded position, that one day we’ll find the whole thing is actually not what we think it is at all, but something much more complex. Explore furtherlast_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

DARPA sets aside 7 million for Avatar robot pals in battle

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Details, however, were not available at the time of this writing on how the soldiers and advanced surrogate robots will interact. As the report says, the Avatar program “will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.” DARPA has described the project with phrases noting “key advancements in telepresence and remote operation of a ground system.”The words telepresence and remote operation promptly triggered numerous conjectures in blog posts that the advanced robots may get to interact with soldiers at a distance. As expressed in ExtremeTech, a battle scenario using an Avatar robot would amount to a “bipedal robot drone where the controlling soldier is hundreds or thousands of miles away from war front.”The Daily Mail would find it no surprise if these are robots operating under mind control. “The agency has reportedly already funded successful attempts to control robots with thought. The initiative seems like the next logical step in the U.S. military’s robotics and remote warfare research.” DARPA says its origins go back to 1958, the agency mission being ”to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S. national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military.” DARPA’s research in robotics, however, in a global perspective, is among research efforts by other nations toward discovering what is possible in robotics for battle. Other nations also seek ways to place less human risk on their troops through robotics. Israel’s Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has said that “We are moving into the robotic era.” Reports say over 40 countries have military-robotics programs.Those who fear technology’s limitations rather than strengths, though, see a grim side to an initiative such as Avatar. Reacting to the DARPA news, a comment on Slashdot said, “Power and bandwidth constraints aside, what could go wrong? Chinese hackers swooping in and commandeering one’s army? Gives new meaning to the question ‘Where’s Waldo?’” Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced this week that it will be setting aside $7 million out of its $2 billion budget to work on a next-step robotics program called Avatar. Beyond battlefield robots built like big dogs, and beyond a headless robot called Petman, the Avatar result will be a “semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine” that can smartly and effectively behave as a soldier surrogate. DARPA’s Avatar robots will be able to perform human-like military operations such as room clearing, sentry control and recovering combat casualties, tasks that may help minimize injuries and deaths. Darpa’s Legged Squad Support System (LS3) to lighten troops’ load Citation: DARPA sets aside $7 million for ‘Avatar’ robot pals in battle (2012, February 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-02-darpa-million-avatar-robot-pals.htmllast_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Study shows dogs may have been domesticated far earlier than thought

first_img More information: The genomics of selection in dogs and the parallel evolution between dogs and humans, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1860 doi:10.1038/ncomms2814AbstractThe genetic bases of demographic changes and artificial selection underlying domestication are of great interest in evolutionary biology. Here we perform whole-genome sequencing of multiple grey wolves, Chinese indigenous dogs and dogs of diverse breeds. Demographic analysis show that the split between wolves and Chinese indigenous dogs occurred 32,000 years ago and that the subsequent bottlenecks were mild. Therefore, dogs may have been under human selection over a much longer time than previously concluded, based on molecular data, perhaps by initially scavenging with humans. Population genetic analysis identifies a list of genes under positive selection during domestication, which overlaps extensively with the corresponding list of positively selected genes in humans. Parallel evolution is most apparent in genes for digestion and metabolism, neurological process and cancer. Our study, for the first time, draws together humans and dogs in their recent genomic evolution. Siberian fossil revealed to be one of the oldest known domestic dogs © 2013 Phys.org Scientists have long studied the close relationship between humans and dogs, and various theories have been proposed to explain just how far back in time the relationship goes. Most agree that dogs and humans have coexisted for at least 16,000 years. In this new effort, the research team suggests it might be twice that long.To better understand when dogs first became domesticated, researchers look to when they diverged from wolves—experts estimate it occurred sometime between 16,000 and 32,000 years ago. To come up with a more accurate estimate, the researchers took DNA samples from indigenous Chinese street dogs, several modern breeds and four grey wolves.An analysis of the samples indicated that the grey wolves split from the Chinese dogs approximately 32,000 years ago. But then the researchers went further—they also looked at the genes responsible for such things as digestion and metabolism and even neurological processes. They then compared the dog genes to the same types of genes in humans. In so doing, they found some similarities that suggest humans and dogs have evolved some of the same traits over the same time period—hinting at a possible communal relationship. And that, the researchers say, suggests that dogs might have been domesticated as far back as 32,000 years ago.The researchers note that scientists have long held the notion that domestication of dogs and other animals has been associated with people and animals living in close quarters in relatively tight communities. Such conditions, they contend would almost certainly have a similar impact on people as well as the animals living in the same environment. They note that dogs, for example, in addition to exhibiting similar genes, also suffer from many of the same kinds of diseases, e.g. breast cancer, obesity, epilepsy and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.The evidence found by the researchers offers only circumstantial evidence of course, which means more research will have to be done before the time of dog domestication can be officially pushed back. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —An international team of researchers has found genetic evidence that suggests dogs may have been domesticated as far back as 32,000 years ago. In their paper published in Nature Communications outlining their study and results, the team theorizes that dogs indigenous to China might represent the missing link in the domestication of dogs. Journal information: Nature Communications Explore further Citation: Study shows dogs may have been domesticated far earlier than thought (2013, May 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-05-dogs-domesticated-earlier-thought.htmllast_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Paper highlights the dismal state of dry forests in tropical regions in

first_img When most people think of forests in the tropics it is generally the rainy kind that come to mind—the might Amazon, for example, is known to people both in and outside of the scientific community. But, mostly ignored or forgotten, the researchers contend, are dry forests that exist in some of the same areas—dry forests that are disappearing at an alarming rate.The researchers note that neotropical dry forests harbor plant species that exist nowhere else on Earth—recent work by members of the team has found large variations in plant species between dry forests which suggests each has a unique intrinsic value. They also conducted an analysis with a database the holds information on 4,660 species of woody plants in the dry forests and identified 12 major plant communities within the region. And alarmingly, they point out that only 10 percent of the forests present prior to humans arriving on the scene still remain today.Humans going back to the Incas have been razing dry forests to gain access to the lush soil that offers prime agricultural opportunities. The researches point out that remaining forests exist in small pockets in many locations in North, South and Middle America and also on many Caribbean Islands. But their presence continues to shrink as very little of the land is protected. The researchers note that unlike the rain forests, very few people are aware of the damage that is being wrought and the loss that will occur if something is not done to prevent the disappearance of such forests altogether.The team is hoping their paper will raise awareness of the plight of the dry forest in the Americas in the scientific community perhaps nudging more researchers to get involved in studying the forests and ways to protect them. They have also commissioned a short animated film that can be shown to non-scientists across the region to heighten awareness of the problem and to garner support for more conservation efforts. (Phys.org)—A very large team of researchers from South America, Europe and the U.S. has published a paper in the journal Science highlighting plant diversity in neotropical dry forests in the Americas and arguing for more protection of such natural areas. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2016 Phys.org Journal information: Science Logged rainforests can be an ‘ark’ for mammals, extensive study showscenter_img Explore further More information: K. Banda-R et al. Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5080AbstractSeasonally dry tropical forests are distributed across Latin America and the Caribbean and are highly threatened, with less than 10% of their original extent remaining in many countries. Using 835 inventories covering 4660 species of woody plants, we show marked floristic turnover among inventories and regions, which may be higher than in other neotropical biomes, such as savanna. Such high floristic turnover indicates that numerous conservation areas across many countries will be needed to protect the full diversity of tropical dry forests. Our results provide a scientific framework within which national decision-makers can contextualize the floristic significance of their dry forest at a regional and continental scale. Citation: Paper highlights the dismal state of dry forests in tropical regions in the Americas (2016, September 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-09-paper-highlights-dismal-state-forests.html Tropical forest in Martinique near the city of Fond St-Denis. Credit: Wikipedialast_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics

first_imgResearchers have demonstrated that tiny micrometer-sized crystals—just barely visible to the human eye—can “walk” inchworm-style across the slide of a microscope. Other crystals are capable of different modes of locomotion such as rolling, flipping, bending, twisting, and jumping. In the future, these moving crystals may open the doors to the development of crystal-based robots. Play Credit: Taniguchi et al. Crystals with other dimensions exhibit bending and flipping under temperature changes. In experiments, repeated heating and cooling cycles caused these crystals to quickly roll across a surface, attaining speeds of 16 mm/second. This was approximately 20,000 times faster than the walking crystals, which crawled along at just 3 mm/hour.As the researchers explain, the asymmetrical shapes of the crystals is the driving force of both types of locomotion. In particular, the walking crystals have a thickness gradient while the rolling crystals have a width gradient. Both varieties of crystal experience a phase transition at a critical temperature, and due to the asymmetry, this results in a shape change that is more pronounced at one end of the crystal than at the other. Journal information: Nature Communications PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Along with previous research that has demonstrated crystal motion in other types of crystals, the new results suggest that crystals appear to be promising candidates for robotics. In general, materials that respond to external stimuli, such as temperature changes, have potential applications as sensors, switches, and in a wide variety of other areas. The researchers, led by Hideko Koshima at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, have published a paper on walking and rolling crystals in a recent issue of Nature Communications.”We believe that this finding opens the doors to a new field of crystal robotics,” Koshima told Phys.org. “Currently, robots made from metals are rigid and heavy, making them unsuitable for daily interaction with humans. Our goal is to make symbiotic soft robots using mechanical crystals.”In their work, the researchers investigated asymmetric crystals derived from chiral azobenzene. In experiments, they showed that exposing the crystals to alternating hot and cold temperatures (changing between 120° and 160° C over the course of approximately 2 minutes) causes changes in the crystals’ shapes.Depending on their dimensions, some of the crystals repeatedly bend and straighten. Over repeated heating and cooling cycles, these shape changes translate into the mechanical motion of inchworm-like walking. Citation: Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics (2018, February 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-crystals-field-crystal-robotics.html Image and illustration of crystals that roll under alternating temperatures. Credit: Taniguchi et al.center_img More information: Takuya Taniguchi et al. “Walking and rolling of crystals induced thermally by phase transition.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02549-2 Images of crystals that “walk” like an inchworm by bending and straightening under alternating temperatures. Credit: Taniguchi et al. © 2018 Phys.org Explore further Robotic crystals that walk n’ roll This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

On the road to change

first_imgTraversing the length and breadth of India since 2011, Max Chandra is spreading awareness on the issues that are crippling the country. Chandra, who walks about 40 km a day, on an average, came to the capital as a part of his northern sojourn on 20 July.A British citizen of part-Indian origin, he is a man with a mission–a mission to go across the country and sensitize Indians in order to make a change, futuristically. He braved rain and sun, jungles, mountains, deserts and plains to raise funds and create awareness for the people in India. Chandra has taken roughly over 5,798,080 steps, covered a distance of over  4,415 km, and crossed ten states on his epic walk so far. He is extending support to causes that are close to his heart, through his charity foundation, One Step at a Time, just by Walking for a Cause! His story is one of heroism and grit that inspires passion for a social change.last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Did not let emotions dominate me against Pakistan Sreejesh

first_img‘When I entered the ground the only thought came in my mind was that we have to win this and we can win this. I had the intuition that it will be our day and we will create history,’ Sreejesh told PTI Bhasha from Incheon, South Korea.A spirited India edged past defending champions Pakistan 4-2 in a nerve-wracking shoot-out to regain the Asiad men’s hockey gold after a gap of 16 years and also sealed a direct entry into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.Hero of the match Sreejesh, who excelled in regulation time and shoot out as well, said that handling pressure is always key.‘There was pressure as it was a match against Pakistan but I took it as any other normal match. Everyone including me did not let emotions dominate us and we played with passion. That was our key to success,’ he said.It was not an easy task to cope up with additional pressure while playing the final against a side which had also beaten them in the league phase, but Sreejesh opined that the first loss was an eye opener.‘The loss against Pakistan in pool phase was an eye opener . After that we worked harder and were more focused that resulted in semifinal win against strong team like Korea,’ he said.Asked about the heart-breaking 1-7 Asiad final loss against Pakistan in 1982, Sreejesh said that the present win will wipe out all the bad memories.‘Ofcourse, people like to remember good things, good memories. I am sure that they will now remember this win and forget past losses. It is the beginning of a new era,’ he said.Sreejesh also admitted that the expectations will be higher now and said that the team is ready to deliver.‘We know that people will expect us to win more. They want us to do well in Rio Olympic and we are ready to deliver. We have defeated Pakistan, won Asiad gold and qualified for Olympics so this is a 3-in-1 victory for us. We have enough time to prepare for Olympic and won’t let our countrymen down,’ he said.When asked about how they celebrated the win, he said that actual celebration will happen in India.‘We went out for dinner on Thursday but actual celebration will happen in India . May be in our next camp,’ he said.last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

New CRZ draft by Ministry of Environment to adversely affect fishermen

first_imgKOLKATA: The draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018, released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) will have an adverse impact on the fisherfolk community in the state, feel the environmentalists. According to the environment experts, the draft has potential to change the way coastal stretches in India are governed. It also advocates the further opening of the coastal natural resources to corporate and business houses as it proposed to develop tourism in the ecologically sensitive areas. India’s coastline runs over a stretch of 7,500 km. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsVarious organisations of fishermen in the state have already opposed the move by the Centre. The National Fish Workers’ Forum and Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum have decided to write a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests urging them not to implement the draft as it would affect the small scale fishermen. The organisations also claimed that the draft has opened up fragile inter-tidal areas to real estate agents and it will also favour large-scale industry at the cost of fishing communities. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedA major change in the new draft pertains to the CRZ limits on land along “tidal influenced water bodies”. The proposed limit has been reduced from 100 m to 50 m or the width of the creek, whichever is less.The Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum (DMF) organised a two-day seminar in the state on 6 and 7 May in collaboration with DISHA, which was attended by fishing community representatives from Bengal and Andhra Pradesh along with social activists and representatives from organisations like Dakshin Foundation, LIFE and PSA. The workshop considered the history of preparation, publication, contents and implementation of successive CRZs like CRZ 1991 and CRZ 2011 as well as the preparation, publication and contents of Draft CRZ 2018.The workshop also considered the scientific, environmental and social needs for conservation of the coast and coastal resources and the rights of small and traditional fishing communities. The small and traditional fishing communities are by far the largest primary stakeholders and natural custodians of our coastal resources.”The draft notification has misused the power conferred on the ministry. The Environment Protection Act of 1986, under its section 3, provides the Center with the provision to take measures ‘for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution ‘. But the Centre has used it to further open up the coast for exploitation and plunder by business and corporate houses,” Debasis Shyamal, secretary of the National Fish Workers’ Forum said.He added that the small and traditional coastal fishing communities, who are by far the largest stakeholders and natural custodians of our coastal resources, were not consulted by the ministry before rolling out the new draft. Fishermen organisations demanded that a law must be promulgated that will ensure the livelihood of the fishermen and also maintain the ecological balance of the coastal areas.DMF general-secretary Milan Das said: “The scale of the dilutions in the draft notification makes it more of an instructional manual for coastal development than a tool to protect the environment and the fishing communities.”last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Man mowed down by car in political rivalry

first_imgAs the Panchayat elections in UP are scheduled next month, a 30-year-old son of a former village head (Gram Pradhan) of a Greater Noida village was crushed to death due to political rivalry on Sunday night. Police said the youth, who was expected to contest the election, was mowed down by a SUV and was dragged 100 metres under it, in Dankaur area. The incident also sparked tension in the area and huge deployment of police was made to avert any untoward incident. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportAccording to the police, the deceased has been identified as Riyaz of Accheja-Bujurag village whose father Rahat Ali was the former village headman. Police said the incident took place at around 11 pm when Ali’s family informed police that four persons including a neighbour, Aashif, fired bullets at Riyaz and crushed him under a car. The assailants also allegedly fired bullets at the other members of Riyaz’s family.Police said the villagers rushed him to a private hospital in Greater Noida where the doctors declared him brought death. However, the accused, Aashif, who had been surrounded by the villagers, managed to flee after opening fire. Police have sent the body for post-mortem.last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0

Till Dec 21 Metro Rly to operate 16 fewer trains on week

first_imgKolkata: Metro Railway will be operating 16 trains lesser than usual on weekdays from Monday till December 21, due to the non-interlocking work at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro Station. According to a communiqué of the Metro authorities, “On account of non-interlocking work at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro Station, it has been decided to run 284 trains instead of 300 on weekdays, with effect from November 19 till December 21.” The task will be carried out in connection with remodelling work at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Metro Station yard. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt has been stated that the Noapara Metro Station bound last train from Kavi Subhash Metro Station will start two minutes ahead of the regular timing, that is at 8.48 pm instead of 8.50 pm. The last train from Noapara Metro Station to Kavi Subhash Metro Station will start at 9.48 pm instead of 9.49 pm. The last train from Kavi Subhash Metro Station to Dum Dum Metro Station and from Dum Dum Metro Station to Kavi Subhash Metro Station will start at 9.54 pm instead of 9.55 pm. However, the service on Saturdays and Sundays will remain unchanged. With the information provided by the Metro authorities, the regular commuters of Metro will be able to plan their journey accordingly.last_img read more


August 31, 2019 0