Monthly Archives: March 2012

Computer outperforms humans at detecting lies in the eyes

If the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey taught us anything, it’s that computers know when we’re telling a lie. While that may not actually be the case for most computers in real life, it could be if they’re running a program created by scientists from the University at Buffalo. Building on a previous psychological study, the team produced software that allowed a computer to assess a speaker’s eye movements, to determine whether or not they were telling the truth in … Continue reading

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Mysteries of The Redshift Desert

redshift desert

Some of the faintest spectra in the universe raise a glaring question: Why do Galaxies in the early universe appear old? Until recently, astronomers have been nearly blind when looking back in time to survey an era when most stars in the Universe were expected to have formed. This critical cosmological blind-spot was removed in 2011 by a team using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, showing that many galaxies in the young Universe are … Continue reading

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Is there anything inside Quarks?


Quarks  were discovered  inside protons and neutrons in the early 1970s, and it is suggested by some theorists that they might themselves contain particles known as ‘preons’. The idea wasn’t entirely unrealistic, but raised further questions, as-yet-unanswered; it is our understanding and that of most physicists that quarks, electrons and all other particles are best described as being vibrations of ‘superstrings’. The best way to describe superstrings is as multi-dimensional entities far smaller than the smallest sub-atomic particle.

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Progress in fingerprint analysis


It has long been well established that fingerprints can be used to identify people or help convict them of crimes. Things have gone a lot further now: fingerprints can be used to show that a suspect is a smoker, takes drugs, or has handled explosives, among other things. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Pompi Hazarika and David Russell describe the noteworthy progress that has recently been made. When a finger touches a surface, sweat and oil-containing substances like sebum leave … Continue reading

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London Underground’s Real Map


London’s underground transit system, locally known as ‘The Tube’ is the oldest underground railway in the world. As such you are probably aware of the iconic Tube Map below, based on Harry Beck’s original. But what you might be not be so familiar with is the actual geographic map above. It was Beck’s idea that the actual position of the stations and lines were irrelevant to the passengers as looking out of the window underground gave no geographical feedback. It was much … Continue reading

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Age of oldest rocks off by millions of years

Two of the solar system’s best natural timekeepers have been caught misbehaving, suggesting that the accepted ages for the oldest known rock samples are off by a million years or more. According to two new studies, a radioactive version of the element samarium decays much more quickly than previously thought, and different versions of uranium don’t always appear in the same relative quantities in earthly rocks. Both elements are used by geologists to date rocks and chart the history of … Continue reading

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Will Robots Ever Replace Humans?


Last week Amazon announced it was buying a robot maker called Kiva Systems for $775 million in cash. Before you get excited that Amazon may start offering a robot that can tuck you into bed at night and read Kindle books to you, this is not that kind of robot. Instead, Kiva Systems’ orange robots move around warehouses and stock shelves. Or, as the company says on its website, using “hundreds of autonomous mobile robots”, Kiva Systems “enables extremely fast … Continue reading

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Bendable e-books almost here

LG Display has set the production clock ticking for a plastic EPD (electronic paper display) product which in turn is expected to set e-book marketability fast-forward. In an announcement Thursday, Korea-based LG Display, which manufactures thin film transistor liquid crystal display, said it has already started up mass production of EPD for e-books. That leaves little guesswork as to the form factor and no suspicions that LG Display might instead be sending out vapor about a futuristic project that is … Continue reading

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Why is gold called a ‘heavy’ metal although it is comparatively soft?


Gold is classified as a heavy metal because of its high density, this comes from the fact that each of its atoms are individually very heavy. As a comparison, the density of tungsten is almost identical, but tungsten is hard and brittle, this is because its atoms are tightly linked making it difficult to force them past each other. In contrast, gold atoms slide past each other relatively easily, making the metal soft and malleable. Gold is so soft, that … Continue reading

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Key mechanism involved in Type 2 diabetes identified


Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered a key protein that regulates insulin resistance — the diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin and which sets the stage for the development of the most common form of diabetes. This breakthrough points to a new way to potentially treat or forestall type 2 diabetes, a rapidly growing global health problem. In a paper being published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, … Continue reading

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The Brain’s Blood Vessels

The Brain's Blood Vessels

A corrosion cast of blood vessels in the brain made from resin is displayed at the Wellcome trusts new ‘Brains’ exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on March 27, 2012 in London, England. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images. via  i09

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Louvre unlocks last da Vinci work

Saint Anne - Da Vinci

An intense and controversial restoration of the last great work by Leonardo da Vinci goes before the public Thursday at the Louvre Museum, revealing “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” in the full panoply of hues and detail painted by the Renaissance master 500 years ago. The 18-month-long restoration of the painting that Leonardo labored on for 20 years until his death in 1519 will go a long way to raising “Saint Anne” to its place as one of … Continue reading

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Water world is new type of planet

red dwarf - waterworld

An artist’s conception of the new water world orbiting its red dwarf star. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA) The Hubble space telescope has found one of the steamier spots in the Universe – a planet that is a big ball of vapour. Scientists say this new water world, dubbed GJ 1214b, is an entirely new type of planet. It is quite unlike the planets in our own solar system which are either rocky, ice giants or vast balls of gas. Astronomer … Continue reading

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Google Earth Alphabet

deskarati google earth

The Google Earth alphabet has Upper and Lower Cases plus Numbers and more see here

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Let’s Travel Through the Virtual Cell

We invite you to explore our virtual cell and the processes contained within it by taking a guided virtual tour. Inside you will be introduced to many of the basic functions going on within the cell as well as the intracellular locations where these events occur–many of which can be seen in more detail by exploring our animation collection. NDSU Virtual Cell Animations project animation “Through the Virtual Cell”. For more information, see

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‘New’ Rembrandt portrait to be unveiled

An oil painting of an old man that has been newly authenticated as a work by Rembrandt is to go on public display at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, England this week. The painting – known as The Old Rabbi – was last exhibited in 1950 and has hung ever since in a private room. Last year Ernst van de Wetering, a leading expert on the 17th Century artist, was invited to study the work. He said it was “an outstanding specimen of … Continue reading

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Don’t give your Dad an ipad!

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New Hammerhead Shark Confuses Conservationists

hammerhead shark

There’s good and bad shark news. The good news is that a new, as of yet unnamed, species has been discovered. The bad news is that it looks just like the scalloped hammerhead shark, curtailing efforts to save that endangered species. The new look-alike hammerhead is identical to its near twin save for a few important differences: distinctive DNA 20 fewer vertebrae (about 170 versus 190) a genetic profile suggesting it separated from the scalloped hammerhead 4.5 million years ago That’s … Continue reading

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‘Ordinary’ black hole discovered 12 million light years away

An international team of scientists have discovered an ‘ordinary’ black hole in the 12 million light year-distant galaxy Centaurus A. This is the first time that a normal-size black hole has been detected away from the immediate vicinity of our own Galaxy. PhD student Mark Burke will present the discovery at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester. Although exotic by everyday standards, black holes are everywhere. The lowest-mass black holes are formed when very massive stars reach the end of … Continue reading

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Ferreira Gullar

Ferreira Gullar

Ferreira Gullar is the pen name for José Ribamar Ferreira (born in São Luís, Maranhão, Northeast Brazil on September 10, 1930), Brazilian poet, playwright, essayist, art critic, and television writer. In 1959 he formed the “Neo-Concretes” group of poets. The Neo-Concrete Manifesto of that year by him begins: “We use the term “neo-concrete” to differentiate ourselves from those committed to non-figurative “geometric” art (neo-plasticism, constructivism, suprematism, the school of Ulm) and particularly the kind of concrete art that is influenced … Continue reading

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