Planck shows almost perfect cosmos – plus axis of evil
The universe is almost perfect, 80 million years older than we thought, and maybe a little bit evil.
That’s the conclusion of a four-year mission conducted by the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft, which has created the highest-resolution map yet of the entire cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the first light to travel across a newly transparent universe about 380,000 years after the big bang.
“It might look like a dirty rugby ball or a piece of modern art, but I can assure you cosmologists would have hacked our computers or given up their children to get a copy of this map,” said George Efstathiou at a press conference at ESA headquarters in Paris, France, this morning.
Planck’s map greatly improves cosmologists’ understanding of the universe, but it does not solve lingering mysteries over unusual patterns in the CMB. These include a “preferred” direction in the way the temperature of the light varies, dubbed the cosmic “axis of evil”, as well as an inexplicably cold spot that could be evidence for universes beyond our own.
Planck has been looking for variations in the temperature of the CMB, which emerged at around 3000 kelvin, but by now has cooled to just a few degrees above absolute zero, on average.
Global Nitrogen Availability Consistent for Past 500 Years
“People have been really interested in nitrogen in current times because it’s a major pollutant,” said Kendra McLauchlan, assistant professor of geography and director of the university’s Paleoenvironmental Laboratory. “Humans are producing a lot more nitrogen than in the past for use as crop fertilizer, and there is concern because excess levels can cause damage. The mystery, though, is whether the biosphere is able to soak up this extra nitrogen and what that means for the future.”
Nitrogen is a key component of the ecosystem and the largest regulator of plant growth. It determines how much food, fuel and fiber the land can produce. It also determines how much carbon dioxide plants remove from the atmosphere, and it interacts with several components of the climate system. Excessive amounts of nitrogen in ecosystems contribute to global warming and impairment of downstream ecosystems. […]
McLauchlan said the most surprising finding, however, was that although humans have nearly doubled the amount of nitrogen to the ecosystems, globally nitrogen levels have remained stable at most sites for the past 500 years.
One reason may be that plants are using more nitrogen than they previously have, keeping nitrogen levels consistent with those thousands of years ago even though humans continue to add carbon dioxide and nitrogen to the atmosphere. […]
“Based on what we learned from the past, if the response of plants to elevated carbon dioxide slows, nitrogen availability is likely to increase and ecosystems will begin to change profoundly,”
From its cosmic perch, on the far-side of the Sun, the on-board space telescope STEREO-B snapped hundreds of images of the comet Pan-STARRS as it rounded the Sun from March 9th to March 16th. Now thanks to the hard work of analyst Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab, every one of those images have been stitched together to create an awesome video of the icy interloper’s travels.
Genetic Origami: DNA Bent Into Strange Shapes
Scientists have bent DNA into bizarre, basket-woven shapes, from spheres to corkscrews.
The new DNA origami, described today (March 21) in the journal Science, is one of the first steps in designing tiny nano-robots that could carry medicines or repair cells in the body. In the past, scientists have used DNA to write out words, made spaceships from tiny DNA bricks and even stored all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in the genetic code. Many of these methods are essentially proofs-of-concept to demonstrate that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) can be used to make microscopic machines for the body.
The new technique relies on DNA’s unique ability to self-assemble. The molecule is usually bound into a double helix made of two strands with complementary base pairs, or letters representing nucleotides: A’s bind to T’s, and G’s bind to C’s. By manipulating the DNA sequence, the team can create single strands of DNA that will bind to each other in specific ways, forming unique shapes. DNA’s base pairs “recognize each other automatically,” Han said. “If you design the things right, they will grow into the right things.”
From single strands of DNA, Han and his colleagues created a wireframe structure that could then fold into several other shapes, such as corkscrews, spheres and scissors. The DNA-folding methods could one day help engineers create self-assembling robots that work inside the body, tiny chemical factories or molecular electronics. But before that can become a reality, researchers need to develop standard ways of building any shape they can conceive of, Han said.
Stuart: A Life Backwards
Frankenstein (2011) - theater
↳ ”I don’t know what love is…” - “I will teach you!”
Guillam hair is always, always good hair (apart from when its a Benny DIY job)
A benedictcumberbatch (Latin: Benedictus Cumberbatchus) is a rare species, originally from the British Isles. It is known for having distinctive features: curly hair, colour-changing eyes, low voice, long limbs and advanced cognitive abilities. Lives in a monogamous relationship, though it takes time to find its suitable mate. Its personality is appealing, kind, treats children with care and affection.
… have you played this game with benedict yet? … he sounds almost as nasty and impatient with idiots as sherlock is here … but with just his voice, he can build you an entire universe! …
“… They also enabled Benedict Cumberbatch to board The Nightjar.
Now, we learned a huge amount about telling stories inside the Papa Platform in our first game. For this new game we wanted not just to knock that particular ball out of the mythical park, but smack the sucker into orbit (sorry). Being able to call on the talent of someone who is surely one of the UK’s best actors has brought something very rare to The Nightjar.
“Dead Space with the lights off” it is not.
It has the presence and intimacy of the very best audiobook or radio play, only the main guy is talking to you. Not to your avatar in a game. You. The pace, the depth, the relationship between story and gameplay — the performance itself — we were able to explore all these things because we knew we had a totally bad-ass actor on the team.”
… makes you even more keen to see what voodoo he brought to “the simpsons” in his cameo … we’ll know by september, hopefully …
Does the game play on any mobile other than the iPhone?