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SCIENCE – Viral News http://viral71.com Online News Portal Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:50:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.2 Astronomers probe below Jupiter`s cloud tops http://viral71.com/archives/58 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:12:49 +0000 http://viral71.com/?p=58 US astronomers have managed to peer deep into the atmosphere of Jupiter using a radio telescope on Earth. The Very Large Array (VLA) traced the presence of ammonia in the gas giant to study the circulation systems below the visible cloud tops. For features such as the planet`s Great Red Spot – a huge storm …

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US astronomers have managed to peer deep into the atmosphere of Jupiter using a radio telescope on Earth.

The Very Large Array (VLA) traced the presence of ammonia in the gas giant to study the circulation systems below the visible cloud tops.

For features such as the planet`s Great Red Spot – a huge storm that has raged for at least 400 years – the scientists can see something of its roots.

The observations go many tens of kilometres into the atmosphere.

“What really excites me is just the level of detail we see,” said team-member Michael Wong from the University of California, Berkeley.

“In our maps you can see different zones, turbulent features, vortices – even the Great Red Spot.

“This has all been made possible by an upgrade to the VLA and a new technique developed by one of our co-workers,” he said.

The Karl G Jansky Very Large Array is based in the desert of New Mexico, close to the town of Socorro.

As its name suggests, it is multi-antenna telescope.

The upgrade Dr Wong is referring to has made the facility a far more sensitive tool for studying the radio emissions coming from objects in space.

And the new technique he mentions counters the smearing effect you would ordinarily expect to get if you took a long exposure of a rapidly rotating body (Jupiter`s “day” lasts just 10 hours).

The result is a wonderfully detailed impression of what is happening under the immediate surface of the many-banded weather systems that race across the top of planet`s atmosphere.

The team looks at the glow of ammonia because it is a tracer for the dynamical flow in the planet`s gases, which are dominated by hydrogen and helium. At Earth, you might do something similar by using water as the tracer.

“We see the actual glow of the ammonia itself, and the variation in depth is correlated with brightness,” explained Dr Wong.

“The deepest we can see in this dataset is about 12 Bar – 12 times the Earth`s atmospheric pressure.”

Plumes of ammonia are observed to rise up in waves. The team writes in the journal Science that the ammonia in these plumes will eventually condense out at higher altitudes, and could explain the ammonia ice clouds detected by the Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s.

“All told, there is a wealth of information about the structure of Jupiter`s atmosphere in these new VLA images,” said Imke de Pater, the lead author on the Science paper.

“We hope to resolve a number of outstanding questions with these and future studies using similar techniques.” Prof de Pater wants to try similar observations at the gas giants Saturn and Uranus.

The research is a nice prelude to the next probe set to visit Jupiter: the US space agency satellite Juno arrives at the enormous planet on 4 July.

Its remote sensing instruments aim to characterise the full internal structure of the planet, right down to its rocky core – if indeed it has one.

Source: BBC

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150m-year-old dino footprints found in Rajasthan http://viral71.com/archives/55 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:10:19 +0000 http://viral71.com/?p=55 A team from the geological department of Jainarayan Vyas University, Jodhpur has discovered 150 million-year-old footprints of Eubrontes Gleneronsensis Theropod dinosaurs in Lathi formation in Jaisalmer district. These carnivores were 1-3 metres in height and seem to belong to the coastal environment. Fossils of Eubrontes Theropod dinosaurs have been found worldwide in France, Poland, Slovakia, …

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A team from the geological department of Jainarayan Vyas University, Jodhpur has discovered 150 million-year-old footprints of Eubrontes Gleneronsensis Theropod dinosaurs in Lathi formation in Jaisalmer district.

These carnivores were 1-3 metres in height and seem to belong to the coastal environment.

Fossils of Eubrontes Theropod dinosaurs have been found worldwide in France, Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Australia and the US. The footprints of Eubrontes Gleneronsensis Theropod dinosaurs have been discovered for the first time by Dr Virendra Singh Parihar, Dr Suresh Chandra Mathur and Dr Shankar Lal Nama.

“Morphologically, footprints of Eubrontes Gleneronsesis Theropod dinosaurs are large about 30 cm long, tridactyle, strong with thick toes. Their body is estimated to be 1-3m tall and 5-7m in length,” Parihar said. “The Katrol formation of Kutch basin and Baisakhi formation of Jaisalmer basin are potential sites for remains of dinosaurs.”

This discovery might open new vistas in searching dinosaur fossils in equivalent rocks. The finding is important as professor Mathur along with his team discovered mass mortality horizon (bone bed) containing fossils of dinosaur, crocodile, gastropods and fishes from Fategarh formation with magnetic spherules. Mathur said this discovery shows the cause and effect relationship and can help solve the mystery of the extinction of dinosaurs.

Source: Times of India

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First complex organic molecule discovered in space http://viral71.com/archives/52 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:08:47 +0000 http://viral71.com/?p=52 A complex organic molecule essential for biology has been discovered for the first time in interstellar space, a finding that may help understand how life originated in the universe. Like a pair of human hands, certain organic molecules have mirror-image versions of themselves, a chemical property known as chirality. These molecules are essential for biology …

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A complex organic molecule essential for biology has been discovered for the first time in interstellar space, a finding that may help understand how life originated in the universe.

Like a pair of human hands, certain organic molecules have mirror-image versions of themselves, a chemical property known as chirality.

These molecules are essential for biology and have been found in meteorites on Earth and comets in our Solar System.
However, none has been detected in the vast reaches of interstellar space, until now.

Scientists using highly sensitive radio telescopes have discovered the first complex organic chiral molecule in interstellar space.

The molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHOCH2), was found near the centre of our Galaxy in an enormous star-forming cloud of dust and gas known as Sagittarius B2 (Sgr B2).

“This is the first molecule detected in interstellar space that has the property of chirality, making it a pioneering leap forward in our understanding of how prebiotic molecules are made in the Universe and the effects they may have on the origins of life,” said Brett McGuire, postdoctoral fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the US.

“Propylene oxide is among the most complex and structurally intricate molecules detected so far in space,” said Brandon Carroll, a chemistry graduate student at the California Institute of Technology in the US.

Complex organic molecules form in interstellar clouds like Sgr B2 in several ways. To form complex molecules like propylene oxide astronomers believe thin mantles of ice on dust grains help link small molecules into longer and larger structures.

These molecules can then evaporate from the surface of the grains and further react in the gas of the surrounding cloud.
More than 180 molecules have been detected in space till date. Each molecule gives off a distinctive signature, a series of telltale spikes that appear in the radio spectrum.

Larger and more complex molecules have a correspondingly more complex signature, making them harder to detect.
Every living thing on Earth uses one, and only one handedness of many types of chiral molecules.

This trait, called homochirality, is critical for life and has important implications for many biological structures, including DNA’s double helix.

Scientists do not yet understand how biology came to rely on one handedness and not the other.

“By discovering a chiral molecule in space, we finally have a way to study where and how these molecules form before they find their way into meteorites and comets, and to understand the role they play in the origins of homochirality and life,” McGuire said.

The research was published in the journal Science.

Source: Agencies

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Game can help improve child’s math skills http://viral71.com/archives/49 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:07:32 +0000 http://viral71.com/?p=49 Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that a simple `intuitive number` game can boost the math performance of kindergartners after just minutes of play. The game involves differentiating between sets of colourful dots on a computer screen to quickly determine which side contains more, and according to the study, this leads to much higher …

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Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that a simple `intuitive number` game can boost the math performance of kindergartners after just minutes of play.

The game involves differentiating between sets of colourful dots on a computer screen to quickly determine which side contains more, and according to the study, this leads to much higher scores on a subsequent quiz.

Humans and animals inherently have an intuitive sense of quantities, the researchers explain, and even demonstrate it as infants.

When presented with two plates of crackers, for example, a baby will gravitate toward the one that contains more.
This is based on an `approximate number system.`

In the new study, researchers from Johns Hopkins found that this early sense can be tailored to improve a child`s math skills.

The researchers recruited 40 five-year-olds for the study.

In a five-minute computer game, they quickly flashed blue and yellow dots on a laptop screen, and asked the children to choose the colour with more.

But, the flashes were too fast for the children to count how many dots they could see.

After each response, a pre-recorded voice would say either `That`s right,` or `Oh, that`s not right.`

The researchers varied the difficulty differently for the children; some started with easy options and then moved to harder ones, while others started with the harder version.

In a third group, the children were given a mix of hard and easy problems.

Following the game, the kids were then given either a math quiz or a vocabulary quiz.

While there were no changes in their vocabulary skills, the children who had gone through the easy-to-hard progression of the dots game scored much higher on the math test, with roughly 80 percent of the answers correct.

`Math ability is not static – it`s not the case that if you`re bad at math, you`re bad at it the rest of your life,` said Jinjing `Jenny` Wang, a graduate student in the Krieger School of Arts and Science`s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

`It`s not only changeable, it can be changeable in a very short period of time.

`We used a five-minute game to change kids` math performance.`

In the test, the children had been asked to count backwards, judge the magnitude of spoken numbers, calculate answers to word problems, and write down numbers.

For those who were given the hardest dot problem first, the scores were roughly 60 percent.

And, those who had a mixed batch of questions scored about 70 percent on the quiz.

By improving the child`s sense of numbers in the easy-to-hard progression, the researchers say they`ve temporarily improved their math skills.

Moving forward, they`re working to see if this can be used to produce lasting results.

`These findings emphasize the sense in which core cognition, seen across species and across development, serves as a foundation for more sophisticated thought,` said Lisa Feigenson, professor of psychological and brain sciences and a senior author of the study.

`Of course, this raises the question of whether this kind of rapid improvement lasts for any significant duration, and whether it enhances all types of math abilities. We`re excited to follow up on these questions.`

Source: Mail

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Killer robots are ‘quickly moving toward reality’ http://viral71.com/archives/46 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 06:05:47 +0000 http://viral71.com/?p=46 New technology could lead humans to relinquish control over decisions to use lethal force. As artificial intelligence advances, the possibility that machines could independently select and fire on targets is fast approaching. Fully autonomous weapons, also known as `killer robots,` are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction toward reality. These weapons, which could …

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New technology could lead humans to relinquish control over decisions to use lethal force.

As artificial intelligence advances, the possibility that machines could independently select and fire on targets is fast approaching.

Fully autonomous weapons, also known as `killer robots,` are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction toward reality.

These weapons, which could operate on land, in the air or at sea, threaten to revolutionize armed conflict and law enforcement in alarming ways.

Proponents say these killer robots are necessary because modern combat moves so quickly, and because having robots do the fighting would keep soldiers and police officers out of harm`s way.

But the threats to humanity would outweigh any military or law enforcement benefits.

Removing humans from the targeting decision would create a dangerous world.

Machines would make life-and-death determinations outside of human control.

The risk of disproportionate harm or erroneous targeting of civilians would increase.

No person could be held responsible.

Given the moral, legal and accountability risks of fully autonomous weapons, preempting their development, production and use cannot wait.

The best way to handle this threat is an international, legally binding ban on weapons that lack meaningful human control.

At least 20 countries have expressed in U.N. meetings the belief that humans should dictate the selection and engagement of targets.

Many of them have echoed arguments laid out in a new report, of which I was the lead author.

The report was released in April by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, two organizations that have been campaigning for a ban on fully autonomous weapons.

Retaining human control over weapons is a moral imperative.

Because they possess empathy, people can feel the emotional weight of harming another individual.

Their respect for human dignity can – and should – serve as a check on killing.

Robots, by contrast, lack real emotions, including compassion.

In addition, inanimate machines could not truly understand the value of any human life they chose to take.

Allowing them to determine when to use force would undermine human dignity.

Human control also promotes compliance with international law, which is designed to protect civilians and soldiers alike.

For example, the laws of war prohibit disproportionate attacks in which expected civilian harm outweighs anticipated military advantage.

Humans can apply their judgment, based on past experience and moral considerations, and make case-by-case determinations about proportionality.

It would be almost impossible, however, to replicate that judgment in fully autonomous weapons, and they could not be preprogrammed to handle all scenarios.

As a result, these weapons would be unable to act as `reasonable commanders,` the traditional legal standard for handling complex and unforeseeable situations.

In addition, the loss of human control would threaten a target`s right not to be arbitrarily deprived of life.

Source: Mail

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