суббота, 25 мая 2019 г.

Outside the Box Beautiful and deadly, the box jelly fish…

Outside the Box

Beautiful and deadly, the box jelly fish Chironex fleckeri carries venom that can kill in minutes. Yet despite causing widespread death of living cells, known as tissue necrosis, exactly how the venom works is a little mysterious. Recently scientists probed deeper into the genomes of human cells treated with the venom, finding genes involved in how we react to the toxins. Switching these genes ‘off’ – using a gene editing technique called CRISPR – granted long-lasting protection from the venom. Targeting the same molecular mechanisms with drugs, or potentially an antidote in the form of spray, may protect swimmers from C. fleckeri, common to waters around Australia and the Philippines. Similar lab techniques could now be used to investigate ‘molecular antidotes’ for other poisons.

Written by John Ankers

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2019 May 25 Planet of the Tajinastes Image Credit &…

2019 May 25

Planet of the Tajinastes
Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel Lopez (El Cielo de Canarias)

Explanation: What bizarre planet are these alien creatures from? It’s only planet Earth, of course. The planet’s home galaxy the Milky Way stretches across a dark sky in the panoramic, fisheye all-sky projection composed with a wide lens. But the imposing forms gazing skyward probably look strange to many denizens of Earth. Found on the Canary Island of Tenerife in the Teide National Park, they are red tajinastes, flowering plants that grow to a height of up to 3 meters. Among the rocks of the volcanic terrain, tajinastes bloom in spring and early summer and then die after a week or so as their seeds mature. A species known as Echium wildpretii, the terrestrial life forms were individually lit by flashlight during the wide-angle exposures.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190525.html

Ballochmyle Prehistoric Rock Art, Catrine, Mauchline, Ayrshire, 25.5.19.Extensive Cup and...

Ballochmyle Prehistoric Rock Art, Catrine, Mauchline, Ayrshire, 25.5.19.

Extensive Cup and Ring panels, unusually on vertical rock slabs.

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More on the association between Uralic expansions and Y-haplogroup N

Genes don’t speak languages, people do. So associations between genetic markers and languages may often not be easy to discern, especially with time. This is the case when it comes to Y-chromosome haplogroup N and the Hungarian language.
I briefly discussed this problem not long ago in the context of new ancient DNA samples from medieval Hungary (see here). Today, a detailed paper on the topic by Post et al. was published at Scientific Reports (open access here). It brings together evidence from modern and ancient DNA, linguistics and archeology to argue that Hungarian was introduced into the Carpathian Basin during the Middle Ages by migrants from near the Ural Mountains rich in Y-haplogroup N3a4-B539. Below is the paper abstract, emphasis is mine:

Hungarians who live in Central Europe today are one of the westernmost Uralic speakers. Despite of the proposed Volga-Ural/West Siberian roots of the Hungarian language, the present-day Hungarian gene pool is highly similar to that of the surrounding Indo-European speaking populations. However, a limited portion of specific Y-chromosomal lineages from haplogroup N, sometimes associated with the spread of Uralic languages, link modern Hungarians with populations living close to the Ural Mountain range on the border of Europe and Asia. Here we investigate the paternal genetic connection between these spatially separated populations. We reconstruct the phylogeny of N3a4-Z1936 clade by using 33 high-coverage Y-chromosomal sequences and estimate the coalescent times of its sub-clades. We genotype close to 5000 samples from 46 Eurasian populations to show the presence of N3a4-B539 lineages among Hungarians and in the populations from Ural Mountain region, including Ob-Ugric-speakers from West Siberia who are geographically distant but linguistically closest to Hungarians. This sub-clade splits from its sister-branch N3a4-B535, frequent today among Northeast European Uralic speakers, 4000–5000 ya, which is in the time-frame of the proposed divergence of Ugric languages.

Post et al., Y-chromosomal connection between Hungarians and geographically distant populations of the Ural Mountain region and West Siberia, Scientific Reports 9, Article number: 7786 (2019), DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44272-6
See also…
Fresh off the sledge
Uralic-specific genome-wide ancestry did make a signifcant impact in the East Baltic
It was always going to be this way
On the trail of the Proto-Uralic speakers (work in progress)
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…


Tourmaline Var Rubellite & Lepidolite | #Geology…

Tourmaline Var Rubellite & Lepidolite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Jonas Mine, Conselhiero Pena, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Size: 3.3 × 1.1 × 1.1 cm

Largest Crystal: 3.30cm

Photo Copyright © Wittig-Minerals /e-rocks. com

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Blue Aragonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Location:Cooper…

Blue Aragonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Location:Cooper Mine, Lubin, Poland, 1998

Measurements: 79 x 81 x 65 mm

Video Copyright: Geological George

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Fluorite, Garnet | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…

Fluorite, Garnet | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Zhangpu Co., Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China

Size: 5.3 x 4.8 x 3.3 cm

Photo Copyright © Saphira Minerals

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Space Biology, Physics and Suit Checks Start Memorial Weekend

ISS — Expedition 59 Mission patch.

May 24, 2019

The Expedition 59 crew is starting the Memorial Day weekend studying biology, physics and orbital manufacturing techniques. The space residents will also be busy on the U.S. holiday conducting more research and getting ready for the year’s fourth spacewalk at the International Space Station on Wednesday.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) analyzed his own blood sample today testing the new Bio-Analyzer. The biomedical device from the CSA tests a variety of biomarkers to measure molecular signs of health on the station. He also worked on another biology platform that can produce gravity levels up to 2g for research on an array of materials and small organisms.

Image above: The aurora australis, also known as the “southern lights,” is pictured as the International Space Station orbited 264 miles above the Indian Ocean south of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Image Credit: NASA.

Japan’s Kibo laboratory module enables astronauts to place and retrieve space exposure experiments outside of the orbiting lab. Flight Engineer Nick Hague swapped some of those exposed samples today from a platform inside Kibo. The long-running materials exposure studies at the station help scientists understand how microgravity and radiation affect a variety of materials.

Christina Koch of NASA continued exploring the production of superior quality optical fibers inside the U.S. Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. The variety of elements used in the manufacturing process are difficult to control on Earth with gravity bearing down on them. The space-created samples will be analyzed on the ground for their potential to improve a variety of applications such as medicine, navigation, communication and atmospheric monitoring.

 Flying over aurora aboard ISS. Animation Credits: NASA/JSC/Hirai Mamoru

At the end of the day, Flight Engineer Anne McClain checked out emergency space navigation techniques using a sextant. She peered at constellations from the cupola during an orbital night period while inspecting and calibrating the hand-held device.

Meanwhile, Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin continued setting up their spacesuits and tools today. Next week they will review procedures and timelines for their approximately six-hour spacewalk for external maintenance scheduled for around 11:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

NASA Television to Air Russian Spacewalk at International Space Station

Two veteran Russian cosmonauts will venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk Wednesday, May 29, to retrieve science experiments and conduct maintenance on the orbiting laboratory. Live coverage of the activity will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Expedition 59 Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin are scheduled to open the hatch to the Pirs docking compartment airlock at 11:44 a.m. EDT on May 29 for a spacewalk expected to last 6.5 hours. Live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 11:15 a.m.

Image above: Russian spacewalkers Oleg Kononenko (suit with red stripes) and Sergey Prokopyev (suit with blue stripes) work outside the International Space Station, more than 250 miles above Earth to inspect the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, on Dec. 11, 2018. Image Credit: NASA.

Kononenko, who will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), in the suit with blue stripes, and Ovchinin, who will be EV2, in the suit with red stripes, will install handrails on the Russian segment of the complex, retrieve science experiments from the Poisk module’s hull, and conduct maintenance work. The spacewalk will be the 217th in support of station assembly, maintenance and upgrades and the fourth outside the station this year.

This will be the fifth spacewalk in Kononenko’s career and the first for Ovchinin, who will become station commander next month. Kononenko is scheduled to return to Earth June 24, with crewmates Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, wrapping up a six-and-a-half-month mission living and working in space.

Related links:

Expedition 59: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition59/index.html

Bio-Analyzer: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/bioanalyzer-biomedical-analysis

Kibo laboratory module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/japan-kibo-laboratory

Optical fibers: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7630

Microgravity Science Glovebox: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=341

Sextant: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7646

NASA TV: http://www.nasa.gov/live

Spacewalk: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/spacewalks/

Moon in 2024: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/moon2mars/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

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

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

Micro-Cameras and Space Exploration to join Pioneer-IODA project

ESA — European Space Agency patch.

24 May 2019

Space cameras to monitor the deployment of satellites and check the health of spacecraft will be developed under the Pioneer-IODA project by Micro-Cameras and Space Exploration based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

The contract falls under ESA’s Pioneer-IODA Partnership Project, which helps companies to develop new technologies and demonstrate them in space—often a pre-requisite to their market acceptance. The initiative forms part of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES).

Micro-Cameras and Space Exploration has 20 years’ experience of developing lightweight, low cost, low power consumption cameras, making them ideal for use on satellites.

 Cameras will be developed to track the condition of satellites

The company will now develop an imaging platform composed of several cameras and control electronics with advanced processing capabilities that can be configured for different applications, including the mapping and characterisation of space debris.

Stephane Beauvivre, chief executive of Micro-Cameras and Space Exploration, said: “We are delighted to join the ESA ARTES Pioneer Partnership Project and to promote innovation in New Space in partnership and collaboration with Airbus as the prime of Pioneer-IODA. This opportunity allows us to demonstrate in orbit a complete payload and to characterise its behaviour in real space conditions, as well as its performance with several use cases. We are grateful to the institutional partners to support this initiative, allowing us to bring our innovations to the market.”

The Pioneer-IODA project comprises a ground segment and a space segment based on a customized OneWeb platform (also called the ArrOW platform) with multi-mission payload hosting capabilities.

Claude Lorda, Airbus space project manager, said: “Following the success of the first six OneWeb satellites, we now see a much clearer path to further develop the potential of the ArrOW platform and its capabilities for hosting and demonstrating innovative technologies in orbit.”

Khalil Kably, ESA Pioneer Programme manager said: “The Pioneer Partnership Project is all about innovation validation in orbit, in the most cost-effective environment. We are delighted to support space champion partners who take up the challenge to achieve this, such as Micro-Cameras and Space Exploration.”

Related links:

Pioneer for in-orbit demonstration: https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Telecommunications_Integrated_Applications/Pioneer_for_in-orbit_demonstration

Telecommunications & Integrated Applications: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Telecommunications_Integrated_Applications

About ARTES: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Telecommunications_Integrated_Applications/ARTES/About_ARTES

Image, Text, Credit: European Space Agency (ESA).

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Steering Life Life starts from one single cell, which…

Steering Life

Life starts from one single cell, which ultimately multiplies into millions, taking countless different forms. But before anything else can take shape, the first few cells must become either part of the placenta – a temporary organ that nourishes and protects the embryo – or the body. This fate is typically decided by a sequence of molecular interactions called a signal pathway. Researchers investigating a particular pathway that guides cells towards placenta or body, called ‘Notch’, examined mouse embryos (one pictured, with levels of Notch activity reflected in the colours of cells). They found Notch signalling active after just the second cell division, when the soon-to-be animal is nothing more than four little cells. Details like this are crucial to researchers, who are are keen to learn precisely how and when signals prompt cells to follow particular paths so they can repeat the trick when producing restorative new material from starter cells in promising new stem-cell therapies.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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On Mars, sands shift to a different drum…

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/on-mars-sands-shift-to-a-different-drum.html

Aftershocks of 1959 earthquake rocked Yellowstone in 2017-18…

Aftershocks of 1959 earthquake rocked Yellowstone in 2017-18 http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/aftershocks-of-1959-earthquake-rocked-yellowstone-in-2017-18.html

Solving geothermal energy’s earthquake problem…

Solving geothermal energy’s earthquake problem http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/solving-geothermal-energys-earthquake-problem.html

Rare volcanic rocks lift lid on dangers of little-studied…

Rare volcanic rocks lift lid on dangers of little-studied eruptions http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/rare-volcanic-rocks-lift-lid-on-dangers-of-little-studied-eruptions.html

Study identifies lherzolite as a source rock for diamond…

Study identifies lherzolite as a source rock for diamond deposits http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/study-identifies-lherzolite-as-a-source-rock-for-diamond-deposits.html

Oldest meteorite collection on Earth found in one of the driest…

Oldest meteorite collection on Earth found in one of the driest places http://www.geologypage.com/2019/05/oldest-meteorite-collection-on-earth-found-in-one-of-the-driest-places.html

Meteor Activity Outlook for May 25-31, 2019

      This bright eta Aquariid meteor was captured by Richard Bassom from England on May 7, 2019, at 02:48 Universal Time © Richard Bassom

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Sunday May 26th. At this time the half-illuminated moon rises between 0200 and 0300 local daylight saving time (LDST) and remains in the sky the remainder of the night. As the week progresses the moon will become less of a factor as it wanes and rises later with each passing night. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for those viewing from the northern hemisphere and 4 for those located south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 5 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 10 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Morning rates are reduced by moonlight during this period. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning May 25/26. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.

Radiant Positions at 10:00pm LDST

Radiant Positions at 22:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 1:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 04:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 4:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.


The tau Herculids (TAH) are an irregular shower not active every year. They are best known for being associated with comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 and the strong display seen in 1930. Due to recent activity from the comet, this shower could produce more activity in the upcoming decade. The Earth should pass closest to the particles from Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 around June 3rd. The current position of the radiant would be near 14:56 (224) +39. This area of the sky is located in northern Bootes, 2 degrees southwest of the 3rd magnitude star known as Nekkar (beta Bootis). This is not that close to the star tau Herculis, for which this shower is named. Apparently the discoverers of this display placed the radiant further east toward Corona Borealis and Hercules. It’s also possible that past displays had different radiant locations. This area of the sky is best placed near midnight LDST, when it lies high overhead for observers located in mid-northern latitudes. With an entry velocity of 15 km/sec., the average tau Herculid meteor would be of very slow velocity.

The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 17:08 (257) -23. This position lies in southern Ophuichus, just west of the brilliant planet Jupiter. This position also lies 4 degrees northwest of the 3rd magnitude star known as theta Ophiuchi. Due to the large size of this radiant, anthelion activity may also appear from eastern Sagittarius, northwestern Scorpius, as well as southern Ophiuchus. This radiant is best placed near 0200 local LDST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45 N) and 3 per hour as seen from the southern tropics (S 25) . With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The June mu Cassiopeiids (JMC) were discovered by Dr, Peter Brown and associates using data from the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) installation. These meteors are active from May 18-June 15, with maximum activity occurring on June 8th. The radiant position currently lies at 00:12 (003) +51. This area of the sky lies in southeastern Cassiopeia, 7 degrees southwest of the 2nd magnitude star known as Shedar (alpha Cassiopeiae). These meteors are best seen near during the last dark hour of the night when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. These meteors are better seen from the northern hemisphere where the radiant rises higher into the sky before the start of morning twilight. Hourly rates are expected to be less than 1. With an entry velocity of 42 kilometers per second, a majority of these meteors will appear to move with medium velocities. Since these meteors were discovered by radar, they may be on the faint side and difficult to see unless one observes under optimal conditions.

The Daytime Arietids (ARI) are active from May 22-June 24 with maximum activity occurring on the June 8th. These meteors are difficult to catch as the radiant only lies 30 degrees west of the sun. Therefore the only time these meteors are visible is during the last dark hour before dawn. The radiant is currently located at 02:14 (034) +22. This area of the sky is located in western Aries, 2 degrees southeast of the 2nd magnitude star known as Hamal (alpha Arietis). Current rates are expected to be less than 1 no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 41 km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of medium velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 4 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 8 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 3 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Morning rates are reduced due to moonlight.

The list below offers the information from above in tabular form. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning except where noted in the shower descriptions.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Saving Time North-South
tau Herculids (TAH) Jun 03 14:56 (224) +39 15 00:00 <1 – <1 III
Anthelion (ANT) 17:08 (257) -23 30 02:00 2 – 3 II
June mu Cassiopeiids (JMC) Jun 08 00:12 (003) +51 42 09:00 <1 – <1 IV
Daytime Arietids (ARI) Jun 08 02:14 (034) +22 41 11:00 <1 – <1 IV

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https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...