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Educating Earth

[EDUCATING EARTH] is a Tumblr blog and Facebook group dedicated to amassing free university-level courses, lecture and debate archives, research materials, homework help, public domain materials, while promoting the open exchange of intellectual, academic, public domain, and other thought-provoking material.

Meet other students, teachers, researchers, self-learners, geeks, thinkers, seekers, scholars, edupunks, dropouts, autodidacts, and other chronically curious folk.
 Links:»>LIST OF SOURCES FOR FREE BOOKS, TEXTBOOKS, ETC
http://tinyurl.com/7alxtp5 «<

• iTunes U
http://www.apple.com/apps/itunes-u/

• Open Culture
http://www.openculture.com/

• Coursea
https://www.coursera.org/

• CosmoLearning
http://www.cosmolearning.com/

The Thiel Foundation has made a six-figure grant to a series of biotechnology startups, including a company that wants to 3-D-print meat.

Modern Meadow is a Missouri-based startup that believes 3-D printing could help to take some of the environmental cost out of producing a hamburger. He said: “If you look at the resource intensity of everything that goes into a hamburger, it is an environmental train wreck.”

The company claims that by carefully layering mixtures of cells of different types in a specific structure, in-vitro meat production becomes feasible. It’s set a short-term goal of printing a sliver of meat around two centimeters by one centimeter, and less than half a millimeter thick, which is edible.

The company explains in a submission to the United States Department of Agriculture: “The technology has several advantages in comparison to earlier attempts to engineer meat in vitro. The bio-ink particles can be reproducibly prepared with mixtures of cells of different type. Printing ensures consistent shape, while post-printing structure formation and maturation in the bioreactor facilitates conditioning.”

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Because black holes are impossible to see, one of scientists’ best hopes to study them is to look for the ripples in space-time, called gravitational waves, that they are thought to create.

Gravitational waves would be distortions propagating through space and time caused by violent events such as the collision of two black holes. They were first predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity; however, scientists have yet to find one.

That could change when the latest version of a gravitational wave-hunting facility gets up and running. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) is actually a pair of observatories, in Louisiana and Washington state, that began operating in 2002. Newly sensitized detectors are being added to both.

“The advanced LIGO detectors that are now being installed will see out through a substantial part of the universe,” said California Institute of Technology emeritus professor of physics Kip Thorne, a leading proponent of LIGO. “We expect to see black holes colliding at a rate of perhaps somewhere between once an hour and once a year.”

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We all need to clear our heads, sometimes literally — and now scientists have learned how our neurological plumbing system works.

Every organ produces waste, and the brain is no exception. But unlike the rest of our body, it doesn’t have a lymphatic system, a network of vessels that filter out junk. Now, a new study of mouse brains suggests how ours handle waste: by rapidly pumping fluid along the outside of blood vessels, literally flushing waste away. The finding, reported Aug. 15 in Science Translational Medicine, could hint at how diseases like Alzheimer’s develop and might be treated.

“If you look at a body-wide map of the lymphatic system, you see a great big void in the brain,” said neuroscientist Jeffrey Iliff of the University of Rochester Medical Center. He and his colleagues found that puzzling, given how active the brain is and how sensitive it is to waste buildup.

Scientists long suspected that the brain’s refuse ended up in the cerebrospinal fluid, which cushions the brain inside the skull. In the 1980s, some researchers proposed that the fluid might be pumped into the brain to wash it, then pumped out again. Other researchers weren’t convinced.

Thanks to new imaging techniques that made it possible to peer inside the brain of a living mouse, Iliff’s team saw the process in action. Cerebrospinal fluid flowed along the outside of blood vessels, carried through a network of pipe-like protein structures. The fluid picked up waste that accumulated between cells, then drained out through major veins.

“These experiments validate a powerful ‘prevailing current’ of cerebrospinal fluid in brain extracellular space that effectively clears metabolic garbage,” said neurologist Bruce Ransom of the University of Washington, who was not affiliated with the study.

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genetically engineered cabbage

Scientists have recently taken the gene that programs poison in scorpion tails and looked for ways to combine it with cabbage. Why would they want to create venomous cabbage? To limit pesticide use while still preventing caterpillars from damaging cabbage crops. These genetically modified cabbages would produce scorpion poison that kills caterpillars when they bite leaves — but the toxin is modified so it isn’t harmful to humans.

In too deep

Light Painting Mosaics Made from Hundreds of Individual Exposures by Brian Matthew Hart light anatomy

Light Painting Mosaics Made from Hundreds of Individual Exposures by Brian Matthew Hart light anatomy

Light Painting Mosaics Made from Hundreds of Individual Exposures by Brian Matthew Hart light anatomy

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London to New York in Less than an hour: The X-51A Waverider is designed to ride on its own shockwave, accelerating to about Mach 6

Perhaps Han Solo said it best in Star Wars when, describing his hyper-fast smuggling spaceship the Millennium Falcon, he said, “It may not look like much, but it’s got it where it counts.”

While the Air Force might take exception to being likened to the Falcon, in reality the platypus-nosed X-51A Waverider hypersonic flight test vehicle really doesn’t look like much. But it definitely has it where it counts.

On Tuesday, the unmanned 25-foot-long vehicle will be dropped off of the wing of a converted B-52 bomber off the California coast and try to fly for 300 seconds at science fiction-like speeds of Mach 6, over 4,500 mph – fast enough to fly from New York to London in less than an hour.

It is the Pentagon’s latest test as it studies the possibilities of hypersonic flight, defined as moving at speeds of Mach 5 (about 3,400 mph) and above without leaving the atmosphere. The technology could eventually bring missiles or airplanes to the other side of the planet in minutes instead of hours.

The Air Force and the Pentagon are not saying much about Tuesday’s test, but the military could use such technology for reconnaissance aircraft, cruise missile-like weapons or vehicles that could carry people or cargo so fast adversaries would not have time to react, according to military analysts.

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Indeed

Photographer Janne Parviainen has been experimenting with a fun form of photographic light painting that resembles 3D topographical maps. Exposure times can take over 30 minutes as he carefully moves through the room with a light “tracing” every surface and object.

Topographical Light Paintings long exposure light

Topographical Light Paintings long exposure light

Topographical Light Paintings long exposure light

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The intricate patterns of 2,500-year-old tattoos – some from the body of a Siberian ‘princess’ preserved in the permafrost – have been revealed in Russia.

The remarkable body art includes mythological creatures and experts say the elaborate drawings were a sign of age and status for the ancient nomadic Pazyryk people, described in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus.

But scientist Natalia Polosmak – who discovered the remains of ice-clad ‘Princess Ukok’ high in the Altai Mountains – is also struck about how little has changed in more than two millennia.

Researchers have revealed the stunning tattoo of a Russian princess, which have been preserved for 2,500 years

All present and correct (<i>Image: Achim Sass/WestEnd61/Rex Features</i>)

A woman born missing a finger and a thumb has grown them back – albeit as part of a phantom limb. This extraordinary occurrence shows that our brain contains a fully functional map of our body image, regardless of what our limbs actually look like. The woman, RN, was born with just three fingers on her right hand. Aged 18, RN had the hand amputated after a car accident. She later began to feel that her missing limb was still present, and developed a “phantom” hand.

“But here’s the interesting thing,” says Paul McGeoch at the University of California, San Diego. “Her phantom hand didn’t have three digits, it had five.”

RN was aware of a full complement of fingers, but her phantom thumb and index finger were less than half the usual length. With training using a mirror box trick – a tool that creates the visual illusion of two hands – McGeoch and V.S Ramachandran, also at San Diego, managed to extend her short phantom finger and thumb to normal length. McGeoch says this study indicates that there is a hardwired representation in the brain of what the body should look like, regardless of how it actually appears in real life. It shows us more about the balance between the external and innate representations of a limb, he says.

“The presence of the deformed hand was suppressing the brain’s innate representation of her fingers which is why they appeared shorter, but after the hand was removed and the inhibition taken away, the innate representation kicks in again.” Matthew Longo at Birkbeck, University of London, says it is a fascinating case study. “It contributes to a growing literature suggesting that our conscious experience of our body is, at least in part, dependent on the intrinsic organisation of the brain, rather than a result of experience.”

Source: Neurocase

Paper Bag Trees by Yuken Teruya trees paper

Paper Bag Trees by Yuken Teruya trees paper

Paper Bag Trees by Yuken Teruya trees paper

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Sending signals through fiber optic cable is reliable and fast, but because of internal absorption and other effects, they will lose photons—which is a problem when the number of photons being sent is small. This is of particular concern in quantum networks, which typically involve a small number of entangled photons. Direct transmission through free space (vacuum or air) experiences less photon loss, but it’s very difficult to align a distant receiver perfectly with the transmitter so that photons arrive at their destination.

A group in China has made significant progress toward solving that problem, via a high accuracy pointing and tracking system. Using this method, Juan Yin and colleagues performed quantum teleportation (copying of a quantum state) using multiple entangled photons through open air between two stations 97 kilometers apart across a lake. Additionally, they demonstrated entanglement between two receivers separated by 101.8km, transmitted by a station on an island roughly halfway between them.

Though the authors do not make this clear in the paper, their method is currently limited to nighttime communication. Nevertheless, their results achieved larger distances for multi-photon teleportation and three-point entanglement than before, and the tracking system used may even enable ground-to-satellite quantum communication—at least if it happens at night.

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Researchers studying fossils from northern Kenya have identified a new species of human that lived two million years ago.

The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa.

Skull of new species of human

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from early primates to modern humans.

Anthropologists have discovered three human fossils that are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old. The specimens are of a face and two jawbones with teeth.

The finds back the view that a skull found in 1972 is of a separate species of human, known as Homo rudolfensis. The skull was markedly different to any others from that time. It had a relatively large brain and long flat face.

But for 40 years the skull was the only example of the creature and so it was impossible to say for sure whether the individual was an unusual specimen or a member of a new species.

With the discovery of the three new fossils researchers can say with more certainty that H.rudolfensis really was a separate type of human that existed around two million years ago alongside other species of humans.

For a long time the oldest known human ancestor was thought to be a primitive species, dating back 1.8 million years ago called Homo erectus. They had small heads, prominent brows and stood upright.

But 50 years ago, researchers discovered an even older and more primitive species of human called Homo habilis that may have coexisted with H. erectus. Now it seems H. rudolfensis was around too and raises the distinct possibility that many other species of human also existed at the time.

This find is the latest in a growing body of evidence that challenges the view that our species evolved in a smooth linear progression from our primate ancestors.

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Gotta look deeper!

Pinned Image

Art by: by Life Made Lovely

Scientists Invent Particles That Will Let You Live Without Breathing

This may seem like something out of a science fiction movie: researchers have designed microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate your body, even if you can’t breathe anymore. It’s one of the best medical breakthroughs in recent years, and one that could save millions of lives every year.

The invention, developed by a team at Boston Children’s Hospital, will allow medical teams to keep patients alive and well for 15 to 30 minutes despite major respiratory failure. This is enough time for doctors and emergency personnel to act without risking a heart attack or permanent brain injuries in the patient.

The solution has already been successfully tested on animals under critical lung failure. When the doctors injected this liquid into the patient’s veins, it restored oxygen in their blood to near-normal levels, granting them those precious additional minutes of life.

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