воскресенье, 16 сентября 2018 г.

Feel the Force Latching on, pulling, stretching and squeezing…


Feel the Force


Latching on, pulling, stretching and squeezing inside us, cells need to feel the strain in order to survive. Springy ‘load-bearing’ proteins poke out from their membranes, helping to adjust to hard or soft surroundings. In these mouse cells, fluorescent sensors snoop on this tiny mechanobiology – examining the forces at play on vinculin, a protein involved in anchoring a cell to its environment. As the cells attach to a platform underneath, sensors with different sensitivities (left to right) detect how much the vinculin is pulled about (top row), compared to how much it extends (bottom row) – coloured light acts as a measure, with white light showing the greatest forces. Analysis shows that cellular forces change and adapt to pull vinculin to a specific length – the next job is to see how this works in stiff cancer microenvironments or soft developing tissues.


Written by John Ankers



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Celtic vs Germanic Europe

I have a feeling that ancient DNA from post-Bronze Age Northwestern Europe will be coming thick and fast from now on. To get the most out of such samples I’ve designed a new Principal Component Analysis (PCA) that does a better job of separating the Celtic- and Germanic-speaking populations of Europe than my previous efforts of this sort (see here and here). Below are two different versions of the same PCA. The relevant datasheet is available here.




The difference between the Germanic Anglo-Saxons and the Celtic and Roman Britons of what is now eastern England is obvious. The Anglo-Saxons could pass for Scandinavians, while the Celts and Romans both cluster between the Irish and French. This makes good sense, and is exactly what I was looking for. It’s also interesting to see the Hallstatt Celts from Bylany, Czechia, clustering with the Belgians. I’ll add this PCA to the Eurogenes store if there’s enough interest from the community.

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2018 September 16 A Solar Filament Erupts Image Credit:…


2018 September 16


A Solar Filament Erupts
Image Credit: NASA’s GSFC, SDO AIA Team


Explanation: What’s happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual – it just threw a filament. Toward the middle of 2012, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun’s ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active region can be seen above the erupting filament in the featured ultraviolet image. Although the Sun is now in a relatively inactive state of its 11-year cycle, unexpected holes have opened in the Sun’s corona allowing an excess of charged particles to stream into space. As before, these charged particles are creating auroras.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180916.html


Just got a copy; love this book!


Just got a copy; love this book!


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NASA, ULA Launch Mission to Track Earth’s Changing Ice


ULA – Delta II / ICESat-2 Mission poster.


Sept. 15, 2018



Image above: The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket with the NASA Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) onboard is seen shortly after the mobile service tower at SLC-2 was rolled back, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s ice. Image Credits: NASA/ Bill Ingalls.


NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) successfully launched from California at 9:02 a.m. EDT Saturday, embarking on its mission to measure the ice of Earth’s frozen reaches with unprecedented accuracy.


ICESat-2 lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base on United Launch Alliance’s final Delta II rocket. Ground stations in Svalbard, Norway, acquired signals from the spacecraft about 75 minutes after launch. It’s performing as expected and orbiting the globe, from pole to pole, at 17,069 mph from an average altitude of 290 miles.



Delta II ICESat-2 Launch Highlights

“With this mission we continue humankind’s exploration of the remote polar regions of our planet and advance our understanding of how ongoing changes of Earth’s ice cover at the poles and elsewhere will affect lives around the world, now and in the future,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.


ICESat-2 carries a single instrument, the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS). ATLAS will be activated approximately two weeks after the mission operations team completes initial testing of the spacecraft. Then ICESat-2 will begin work on its science objective, gathering enough data to estimate the annual height change of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to within four millimeters – the width of a pencil.


“While the launch today was incredibly exciting, for us scientists the most anticipated part of the mission starts when we switch on the laser and get our first data,” said Thorsten Markus, ICESat-2 project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We are really looking forward to making those data available to the science community as quickly as possible so we can begin to explore what ICESat-2 can tell us about our complex home planet.”



Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). Image Credit: NASA

The high-resolution data will document changes in the Earth’s polar ice caps, improve forecasts of sea level rise bolstered by ice sheet melt in Greenland and Antarctica, and help scientists understand the mechanisms that are decreasing floating ice and assess how that sea ice loss affects the ocean and atmosphere.


ICESat-2 continues the record of ice height measurements started by NASA’s original ICESat mission, which operated from 2003 to 2009, that were continued by the agency’s annual Operation IceBridge airborne flights over the Arctic and Antarctic, which began in 2009. Data from ICESat-2 will be available to the public through the National Snow and Ice Data Center.


Goddard built and tested the ATLAS instrument, and manages the ICESat-2 mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Northrop Grumman designed and built the spacecraft bus, installed the instrument and tested the completed satellite. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch service acquisition, integration, analysis and launch management.


For more information about other NASA Earth science activities, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/earth


Related links:


National Snow and Ice Data Center: https://nsidc.org/


Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2): https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/icesat-2


Images (mentioned), Video (ULA), Text, Credits: NASA/Steve Cole/Katherine Brown/Goddard Space Flight Center/Patrick Lynch.


Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link


Japan Postpones Rocket Launch to Station


JAXA – H-II Transfer Vehicle 7 (HTV-7) patch.


September 15, 2018



Image above: JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) H-IIB rocket with the HTV-7 resupply ship atop sits at its launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. Image Credit: JAXA.


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has postponed the scheduled launch of a Japanese cargo spacecraft from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) is loaded with more than five tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiments for the crew aboard the International Space Station.


A new launch date has not yet been determined.


Related links:


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA): http://global.jaxa.jp/


H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/htv.html


International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


NASA/Mark Garcia.Archive link


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