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NASA citizen scientist discovers first ancient dead star with peculiar rings

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first_img Comment Share your voice Sci-Tech Today’s NASA Mars weather report: It’s freakin’ cold Trump’s Space Force is coming, but not as originally planned Yes, this is a real view of the ISS transiting the moon 17 Photos Tags Intriguingly, the fate of this planetary system may foreshadow what’s to come for the Earth. Eventually, our sun will expand into a “red giant,” swallowing Mercury and Venus (maybe even Earth) whole like The Blob rolling across small-town America. That event would tidy up the inner solar system like a cosmic Marie Kondo, and then see the star collapse into a white dwarf, its gravity dissipate and the planets at the edge of the system drift away.NASA and collaborating science and educational institutions launched Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 in February 2017 as a citizen scientist project that uses data from WISE to search for the supposed planet hiding at the edge of our solar system. Over 150,000 participants eyeball thousands of images generated by WISE to look for any anomalies that might pop up. The project has already reaped many rewards, with a brown dwarf, a type of “failed star,” discovered only six days after the project began and over a thousand similar objects discovered since. center_img More from space NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott Wiessinger A citizen scientist working with NASA has detected an old, cold dying star that may provide a window into the fate of our own solar system billions of years from now.Melina Thévenot, a citizen scientist from Germany, detected an anomaly while searching through data collected by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft. At first, she believed it was bad data, but when she looked at the source in the images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, she decided the data might be valuable and handed it over to the team working on the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen scientist project.The leads on that project decided to follow up on the finding, re-positioning the Keck II telescope in Hawaii to take a deeper look. With their new set of eyes focused on the tiny spot in the sky, Keck II confirmed the blip wasn’t bad data — it was the oldest, coldest white dwarf we’ve ever spotted — and it is circled by a peculiar set of dusty rings. The discovery appears Tuesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.  “This white dwarf is so old that whatever process is feeding material into its rings must operate on billion-year timescales,” said John Debes, an astronomer and lead author on the study. “This star is really challenging our assumptions of how planetary systems evolve.” Dubbed J0207 (or LSPM J0207+3331 for the purists), the newly discovered dead star is about the size of the Earth and located around 145 light-years from our home planet. The team believes the dead star has two disks of dusty material, the first known white dwarf to host such a weird phenomenon. Generally, dusty disks form around these bodies when asteroids or comets are flung into the gravitational pull of a the star. As they approach, the dead star’s gravity begins to tear them apart, breaking them up into pieces that constantly orbit the body. Weirdly, white dwarfs this old generally don’t maintain their dusty disks — all the material slowly falls into the star. That’s puzzled researchers, but follow-up missions may resolve the conundrum.”What makes this new white dwarf so interesting is that it’s much older than the typical dusty white dwarf,” said Debes. “That is hard to explain with our current models of how asteroids get kicked into inner white dwarf systems, but somehow Nature knows how to do it.”    1 NASA NASA Opportunity rover witnessed the wild side of Marslast_img read more

One Codex in open beta for genomic data search

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first_img Journal information: Nature Biotechnology Data, data everywhere and now as ever researchers need the best tools to make the data useful. In medicine, searching through genomic data can take some time. A startup called One Codex hopes to make difference with their genetic search platform that can process data sets quickly. A report on their work on Friday in TechCrunch noted the advantage of One Codex speed. “Currently,” wrote Julian Chokkattu, “the most commonly used tool for genome searching is by using an algorithm called BLAST, Basic Local Alignment Search Tool, which compares primary biological sequence information.” For Nick Greenfield, cofounder of One Codex, uploading a file to BLAST took two minutes and 30 seconds to process, compared with the One Codex system where the number was less than 1/20th of a second. The company defines One Codex as a search engine for genomic data. The TechCrunch piece describes what they offer as a service platform for genomics. Apart from using search technology,” said Chokkattu, the platform also acts as an indexed, curated reference. © 2014 Phys.org Searching genomic data faster with new algorithm More information: One Codex: onecodex.com/ Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: One Codex in open beta for genomic data search (2014, August 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-08-codex-beta-genomic.html The company said that it can search the world’s largest index of bacterial, viral, and fungal genomes. A key advantage is speed. The product can, said the company, “process next-generation datasets in minutes, not days (millions of DNA base pairs per second).”The two founders are Nick Greenfield, former data scientist, and Nik Krumm, who has a PhD in genome sciences from the University of Washington.Sample applications would be in clinical diagnostics, food safety and biosecurity. Right now, said TechCrunch, the company is focusing on testing their platform with hospitals and agencies. One Codex is in open beta.Scientific interest in being able to search genomic data faster has been in evidence for some years. In 2012, MIT’s news office reported on a study in Nature Biotechnology, where MIT and Harvard researchers described an algorithm “that drastically reduces the time it takes to find a particular gene sequence in a database of genomes. Moreover, the more genomes it’s searching, the greater the speedup it affords, so its advantages will only compound as more data is generated.” The authors of that paper, titled “Compressive genomics,” said, “In the past two decades, genomic sequencing capabilities have increased exponentially, outstripping advances in computing power. Extracting new insights from the data sets currently being generated will require not only faster computers, but also smarter algorithms.” They stated that although compression schemes for BLAST and BLAT that they presented yield an increase in computational speed and in scaling, “they are only a first step.”last_img read more

This Bionic Hand Allows Amputee to Feel Again

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first_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 3 min read February 6, 2014 One thing’s for sure: no “bionic man” has ever been able to do this before.In 2004, Dennis Aabo Sørensen lost his left hand after a firework exploded during a New Year’s Eve celebration.Little did he know that, in order to ‘feel’ again, all he had to do was wait for prosthetic technology to advance to the stage where electrodes could be surgically implanted in his nerves and connected to a bionic hand.Nine years later, that day has arrived.With the help of a high profile team of international robotic experts, Sørensen received said bionic hand, which allowed him to tell the shape and stiffness of objects while blindfolded.Scientists have been working on the project of touch sensitive prosthetics for years now, but this is said to be the first time that an amputee has experienced real-time touch sensations through a bionic hand. Silvestro Micera — a researcher who has worked on the project for the past 15 years — and his team added sensors to the artificial hand, which could detect and measure information about touch, the BBC reported. Using computer algorithms, the researchers converted the electrical signals they emitted into an impulse that sensory nerves could read.Sørensen, for his part, was in complete awe: “Suddenly you could see my left hand was talking to my brain again and it was magic,” he told USA Today, when asked to describe the first moment he could ‘feel’ again after nine years. “It was surreal. I grabbed the object in my hand and knew it was round. It was a baseball.”Unfortunately, due to safety restrictions (the bionic hand is still a prototype) the sensors were removed from Sørensen’s hand after the experiment was completed. But the project’s success points to amazing capabilities for prosthetics devices of the future: one day, scientists predict, bionic hands will not only be able to feel, but also detect texture and temperature.Imagine the ability to feel a previously missing hand closing around an object. And sensory capable bionic arms could also allow amputees to grab things in the dark, as well as perform more nuanced tasks like cracking an egg.While it could be up to 10 years before sensory-enabled bionic hands like Sørensen’s are commercially available, the bionic future looks bright: “These results show the possibilities for amputees,” Micera told USA Today, before predicting that the same technology could also be used for prosthetic legs.What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below. Enroll Now for Free Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

No electronics Jordanian airline suggests analyzing the meaning of life

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first_imgNo electronics? Jordanian airline suggests analyzing the meaning of life Tags: LOL, social media Posted by Travelweek Group Sharecenter_img AMMAN — Royal Jordanian Airlines is using the electronics ban brought in earlier this week from the United States and United Kingdom to get some LOLs on Facebook.Just a few days after the ban the airline posted ’12 things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet’, a tongue-in-cheek list with suggestions like ‘analyze the meaning of life’ .They also suggested starring at each other.They also broke out some poetry. Friday, March 24, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more