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Words that should be put on the substitutes bench for a year - Coaxial - Nov 20, 2014 - 6:40pm
 
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When I need a Laugh I ... - Proclivities - Nov 20, 2014 - 9:52am
 
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city kitties/cat doctor... rescues - Red_Dragon - Nov 20, 2014 - 5:16am
 
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Index » Internet/Computer » The Web » Tech & Science Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 165, 166, 167  Next
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DaveInVA
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Posted: Nov 22, 2014 - 6:14pm

A Cargo Plane From 1950
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Posted: Oct 30, 2014 - 5:44am

Algal virus found slowing down the brains of humans

An algal virus called ATCV-1 was first discovered several years ago in brain tissue samples taken from deceased humans. Because the researchers couldn't confirm if the virus had made its way there before or after death, not much came from the discovery initially. But more recently, ATCV-1 was discovered again, and this time in the throats of patients affected by psychiatric disease who were very much alive. Was there a connection between the presence of this little-known virus and the patients' psychiatric conditions? Led by paediatric infectious disease expert Robert Yolken, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the US decided to find out.

ATCV-1 virus is a type of chlorovirus, which typically infects certain species of freshwater green algae. While viruses that infect what’s known as ‘higher plants’, such as ferns, conifers, and flowering plants, are among the smallest viruses known to science, the viruses that infect algae are some of the largest found to date. They have a whopping 600 protein-encoding genes, and act more like bacteria than a virus. They also have the ability to change the cognitive function of their human hosts, as Yolken and his team discovered. 

To do so, they first wanted to find out if the virus was present in healthy people, having already found it in psychiatric patients. Of the 92 healthy people they checked, all based in Balimore in the US, the virus was found in 43 percent of them, and it appeared to be doing weird things to their brains.

According to Elizabeth Pennisi at Science, the subjects who were infected with the virus performed 10 percent worse than their uninfected peers when asked to complete visual processing tasks. One such activity involved drawing a line that connected a sequence of numbers spread randomly across a page, and the infected patients completed it 10 percent slower. They were also shown to have shorter attention spans, and a higher probability of being distracted, the researchers reveal in their study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As Pennisi notes, "The effects (of ATCV-1) were modest, but significant." (...)


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Posted: Oct 28, 2014 - 12:00pm

Grumpy People Get the Details Right — Science of Us

The Study of Science Leads to Leftward Leanings
DaveInVA
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Posted: Oct 23, 2014 - 8:46am

Marty McFly’s hoverboard is finally real, and it’s on Kickstarter right now


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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 - 8:47am

 Prodigal_SOB wrote:
He did by the way decide that eating is nice too and later switched to architecture.   I picked up a double major in computer science for similar reasons. 

All play and no work... {#Mrgreen}
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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 - 8:42am

 RichardPrins wrote:

{#Cheesygrin} {#Cheers}

 
He did by the way decide that eating is nice too and later switched to architecture.   I picked up a double major in computer science for similar reasons.
 
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 6:43pm

 haresfur wrote:

I had a mathematics-major girl friend who hated anything applied because it sullied the pure beauty of maths.  She went to grad school and dropped out, I think because it turned out that there are people in the world as smart or smarter than she. 

 
I had a friend email me this when it came out (as if I would miss one) and I had to write him back to tell him that there is actually scale of purity within mathematics itself as well.  On one end there was modeling and analysis which border on physics then you move on through probability and statistics, algebra, number theory, geometry and topology, and finally ending up at set theory, logic, and foundations.   I think you can guess which end of the spectrum I tended to concentrate on.
  
 
Purity 
 



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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 6:16pm

 Prodigal_SOB wrote:
 
  It was an especially good response since I had also put on the address list my younger brother the Republican and original target of the email as well as a good friend from high school who is sort of a virtual brother and was majoring in philosophy back when I was majoring in mathematics.  I was always telling him at the time that I had a certain admiration for philosophy majors because I felt it was the one discipline in the entire university that was inherently more useless than mathematics.  I might have done it if it weren't for all the writing.
 
I had a mathematics-major girl friend who hated anything applied because it sullied the pure beauty of maths.  She went to grad school and dropped out, I think because it turned out that there are people in the world as smart or smarter than she. 
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 5:51pm

 Prodigal_SOB wrote:
   It was an especially good response since I had also put on the address list my younger brother the Republican and original target of the email as well as a good friend from high school who is sort of a virtual brother and was majoring in philosophy back when I was majoring in mathematics.  I was always telling him at the time that I had a certain admiration for philosophy majors because I felt it was the one discipline in the entire university that was inherently more useless than mathematics.  I might have done it if it weren't for all the writing.
 
{#Cheesygrin} {#Cheers}
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 5:18pm

 haresfur wrote:

{#Lol}

  
  It was an especially good response since I had also put on the address list my younger brother the Republican and original target of the email as well as a good friend from high school who is sort of a virtual brother and was majoring in philosophy back when I was majoring in mathematics.  I was always telling him at the time that I had a certain admiration for philosophy majors because I felt it was the one discipline in the entire university that was inherently more useless than mathematics.  I might have done it if it weren't for all the writing.

 


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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 4:54pm

 Prodigal_SOB wrote:
  
      I sent this link off to my brother and got the following response.       

Interesting, that Science is seen as the gateway drug to actual (hard) Mathematics.   Although the author didn't extrapolate, one sees how this unfortunate progression can often lead to Philosophy. 

     I think he may actually be on to something here.  I hate it when that happens.

 
{#Lol}
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 4:05pm

 RichardPrins wrote:   
      I sent this link off to my brother and got the following response.       

Interesting, that Science is seen as the gateway drug to actual (hard) Mathematics.   Although the author didn't extrapolate, one sees how this unfortunate progression can often lead to Philosophy. 

     I think he may actually be on to something here.  I hate it when that happens.
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 - 8:40am

Oh noes!
Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

Beautiful Chemistry: Amazing Chemical Reactions Filmed with a 4K UltraHD Camera | Colossal

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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 - 6:10pm

 haresfur wrote:
Probably the most earth-shaking advance in medicine ever.
 
After understanding evolution and genes... {#Mrgreen}
(although we're not quite done with either yet)
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 - 6:02pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
“We have the advantage over the virus,” she said. “We can see the genome in real time and respond to it.”

 
Probably the most earth-shaking advance in medicine ever.
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 - 5:52pm

Scientists Rein In Fears of Ebola, a Virus Whose Mysteries Tend to Invite Speculation- Carl Zimmer

The Ebola virus, which first came to light in 1976 but which could have split off from viruses from 20 million years ago. Centers for Disease Control, via Associated Press

News that a nurse in full protective gear had become infected with the Ebola virus raised some disturbing questions on Monday. Has the virus evolved into some kind of super-pathogen? Might it mutate into something even more terrifying in the months to come?

Evolutionary biologists who study viruses generally agree on the answers to those two questions: no, and probably not.

The Ebola viruses buffeting West Africa today are not fundamentally different from those in previous outbreaks, they say. And it is highly unlikely that natural selection will give the viruses the ability to spread more easily, particularly by becoming airborne.

“I’ve been dismayed by some of the nonsense speculation out there,” said Edward Holmes, a biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia. “I understand why people get nervous about this, but as scientists we need to be very careful we don’t scaremonger.”

Ebola is a mystery that invites speculation. The virus came to light only in 1976, the first known outbreak. Forty years later, scientists are just starting to answer some of the most important questions about it.

Just last month, for example, Derek J. Taylor, an evolutionary biologist at the University at Buffalo, and his colleagues published evidence that Ebola viruses are profoundly ancient, splitting off from other viral lineages at least 20 million years ago. Dr. Taylor’s research suggests that for most of that time, strains of Ebola infected rodents and other mammals.

In 1976, the virus spilled over into the human population from one of those animals, possibly bats. And every few years since then, a new outbreak has emerged in different parts of Central Africa.

Each has been caused by a descendant of the 1976 strain, according to new research by Andrew Rambaut, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh.

“It’s possible that there’s a diverse range of viruses, but just a few can make the jump,” Dr. Rambaut said.

Pardis C. Sabeti, a geneticist at Harvard, and her colleagues have analyzed the genomes of Ebola viruses isolated from patients in Sierra Leone to reconstruct the history of the current outbreak. Their research indicates it was the result of a single infection, probably last December.

Since then, the viruses have acquired new mutations as they have spread from person to person. Scary though that may sound, it does not surprise researchers.

All viruses are especially prone to making errors as they copy their genes, and many of these new mutations have no effect. Some are beneficial for the virus — but they don’t necessarily make it more deadly.

Evolutionary biologists see no evidence that new mutations in the Ebola virus are responsible for the huge size of the current outbreak.

“It’s far more plausible that the difference is that it’s gotten into a different human population,” Dr. Rambaut said.

Instead of being limited to remote villages, the virus ended up in cities like Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Conakry, Guinea. The combination of a big population of hosts and a medical system unable to control the infection has led to an epidemic.

“You’ve got a fairly standard Ebola virus,” Dr. Holmes said. “It’s just in the worst possible place.”

As the current outbreak spreads, the virus will continue to mutate. It is conceivable that those increased mutations will lead to evolutionary changes.

Many viruses alter their surface proteins, for example, enabling them to escape the immune system of their hosts. Dr. Sabeti and her colleagues have found some evidence of these shifts in Ebola.

She said it is vital to keep track of the evolution of these shifts. Otherwise, an experimental vaccine might target an out-of-date type of virus.

“We have the advantage over the virus,” she said. “We can see the genome in real time and respond to it.”

It is conceivable that Ebola might become more deadly during this outbreak, but it is by no means a certainty. Ebola outbreaks typically last only months, but other viruses have needed decades to make the change.

Like its close relatives, Ebola spreads through infected fluids, such as vomit and blood. There is no firm evidence that the strain that has caused human outbreaks can spread through the air.

Over the course of millions of years, viruses do sometimes switch their route of infection. “It does happen in an evolutionary context,” Dr. Holmes said.

But it would be a mistake, he warned, to imagine that with a single mutation Ebola might become an airborne pathogen. The change would require many mutations in many genes, and it might be nearly impossible for so many mutations to emerge during a single outbreak. The mutated viruses would survive only if they were superior to the ones spread by bodily fluids.

“The virus is doing pretty well right now,” Dr. Holmes said. “So it would need to be beneficial for the virus to make this quite big jump.”

Dr. Rambaut agreed that the odds were exceedingly low. “Viruses generally don’t change to that radical degree,” he said.

Dr. Sabeti said, “It is biologically plausible, but very unlikely.” Rather than give the virus the opportunity to evolve in any way, she argued, we should focus on stopping Ebola in its tracks.

“We do not know where it is going, but we do not want to wait to find out,” she said.

The ancient history of Ebola, just now coming to light, suggests we may expect to encounter more of its cousins in the future. This fearsome lineage of viruses may have been sprouting many evolutionary branches for tens of millions of years.

“There will be lots more things like Ebola out there,” Dr. Holmes said.


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Posted: Oct 13, 2014 - 1:45pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
Thousands of mountains have been discovered under the sea
Scientists have generated a new map of the ocean floor using radar satellites, and the results have uncovered some of the ocean’s deepest mysteries.


 

“We know less about the ocean's bottom than about the moon's back side.”  Roger Revelle

Now we know a little more. Really cool.


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Posted: Oct 13, 2014 - 1:35pm

Cosmic ray particle shower? There’s an app for that.
Run it, and your phone can be part of a vast cosmic ray detector.

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Posted: Oct 8, 2014 - 5:44am

US says it can hack into foreign-based servers without warrants | Ars Technica
Feds say it would have been "reasonable" for FBI to hack into Silk Road servers
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Posted: Oct 6, 2014 - 2:08pm


Microsoft Invented A Sheet Of Plastic (And It's Really Cool)

FlexSense is a thin-film, transparent sensing surface based on printed piezoelectric sensors, which can reconstruct complex deformations without the need for any external sensing, such as cameras.


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