super-science breakthrough compendium thread

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Searcher08 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:27 pm

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:47 pm

here's a longer presentation. He gets into the 'meat' around ~25:00 in. interesting stuff.

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Sounder » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:26 am

CO2 is an amazing symbiotic element of this world. What other element gets breathed out by humans and breathed in by plants?

Perhaps this sort of thing can allay the fears that so many seem to have toward CO2.

http://www.gizmag.com/co2-water-hydroca ... uta/41976/

Liquid hydrocarbon fuel created from CO2 and water in breakthrough one-step process
• Colin Jeffrey
• February 23, 2016


UTA researchers (L to R), Mohammad Fakrul Islam, Frederick MacDonnell, Wilaiwan Chanmanee and Brian Dennis, whose research is a first in producing usable liquid hydrocarbon fuel from sunlight, water and CO2 (Credit: UTA)

As scientists look for ways to help remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a number of experiments have focused on employing this gas to create usable fuels. Both hydrogen and methanol have resulted from such experiments, but the processes often involve a range of intricate steps and a variety of methods. Now researchers have demonstrated a one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and water directly into a simple and inexpensive liquid hydrocarbon fuel using a combination of high-intensity light, concentrated heat, and high pressure.

According to the researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), this breakthrough sustainable fuels technology uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with the added benefit of also producing oxygen as a byproduct, which should create a clear positive environmental impact.
"We are the first to use both light and heat to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons in a single stage reactor from carbon dioxide and water," said Brian Dennis, UTA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and co-principal investigator of the project. "Concentrated light drives the photochemical reaction, which generates high-energy intermediates and heat to drive thermochemical carbon-chain-forming reactions, thus producing hydrocarbons in a single-step process."

Known as solar photothermochemical alkane reverse combustion, the one-step conversion process turns carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and liquid hydrocarbons using a photothermochemical flow reactor operating at around 180° C to 200° C (356 to 392° F) and at pressures up to six atmospheres.

"Our process also has an important advantage over battery or gaseous-hydrogen powered vehicle technologies as many of the hydrocarbon products from our reaction are exactly what we use in cars, trucks and planes, so there would be no need to change the current fuel distribution system," said Frederick MacDonnell, UTA interim chair of chemistry and biochemistry and co-principal investigator of the project.

To initiate the hybrid photochemical and thermochemical reaction, a titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalyst was used. Titanium dioxide is very effective in the realm of hydrolysis – the breaking down of water into hydrogen and oxygen – and is a very effective catalyst under UV light, but it is not so efficient in ordinary visible light.

"Our next step is to develop a photo-catalyst better matched to the solar spectrum," MacDonnell said. "Then we could more effectively use the entire spectrum of incident light to work towards the overall goal of a sustainable solar liquid fuel."

According to the research, the team suggests that cobalt, ruthenium, or even iron may be considered as good candidates for a new catalyst, particularly as the TiO2 in the experiment was observed to drop in photoluminescent intensity at higher pressures.

In the future, the researchers imagine parabolic mirrors could also be used to concentrate sunlight onto the catalyst in the reactor, thereby providing both the required heating and photo-excitation for the reaction to occur without the need for other external power sources. The team also believes that any excess heat created in this way may be used to help power other aspects of a solar fuels facility, such as material separation and the purification of water.

The results of this research were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PDF).
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Grizzly » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:29 am

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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Grizzly » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:31 am




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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:36 pm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 090545.htm

A natural process that researchers describe as reverse photosynthesis has been discovered. In the process, the energy in solar rays breaks down, rather than builds plant material, as is the case with photosynthesis. The sunlight is collected by chlorophyll, the same molecule as used in photosynthesis. Combined with a specific enzyme the energy of sunlight now breaks down plant biomass, with possible uses as chemicals, biofuels or other products, that might otherwise take a long time to produce.


Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a natural process they describe as reverse photosynthesis. In the process, the energy in solar rays breaks down, rather than builds plant material, as is the case with photosynthesis. The sunlight is collected by chlorophyll, the same molecule as used in photosynthesis. Combined with a specific enzyme the energy of sunlight now breaks down plant biomass, with possible uses as chemicals, biofuels or other products, that might otherwise take a long time to produce. By increasing production speed while reducing pollution, the discovery has the potential to revolutionize industrial production. The research results have now been published in Nature Communications.

The petrochemical industry is indispensible for the functioning of society. However, it remains problematic for both environment and climate. Danish researchers based at the University of Copenhagen have now made a breakthrough with the potential to transform the way we use our Earth's natural resources:

"This is a game changer, one that could transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals, thus serving to reduce pollution significantly," says University of Copenhagen Professor Claus Felby, who heads the research.

Faster production, decreased energy consumption and less pollution

"It has always been right beneath our noses, and yet no one has ever taken note: photosynthesis by way of the sun doesn't just allow things to grow, the same principles can be applied to break plant matter down, allowing the release of chemical substances. In other words, direct sunlight drives chemical processes. The immense energy in solar light can be used so that processes can take place without additional energy inputs," says Professor Claus Felby.

Postdoc David Cannella, a fellow researcher and discoverer, explains that, "the discovery means that by using the Sun, we can produce biofuels and biochemicals for things like plastics -- faster, at lower temperatures and with enhanced energy-efficiency. Some of the reactions, which currently take 24 hours, can be achieved in just 10 minutes by using the Sun."

What reverse photosynthesis is all about

Researchers have discovered that monooxygenases, a natural enzymes also used in industrial biofuel production, multiply their effectiveness when exposed to sunlight:

"We use the term "reverse photosynthesis" because the enzymes use atmospheric oxygen and the Sun's rays to break down and transform carbon bonds, in plants among other things, instead of building plants and producing oxygen as is typically understood with photosynthesis," says Postdoc Klaus Benedikt Møllers

Researchers do not yet know how widespread "reverse photosynthesis," using light, chlorophyll and monooxygenases, is in nature, but there are many indications that fungi and bacteria use reverse photosynthesis as a "Thor's hammer" to access sugars and nutrients in plants.

The breakthrough is the result of collaborative, multidisciplinary research at the Copenhagen Plant Science Centre that spans the disciplines of plant science, biotechnology and chemistry.

The future

"Reverse photosynthesis" has the potential to break down chemical bonds between carbon and hydrogen, a quality that may be developed to convert biogas-plant sourced methane into methanol, a liquid fuel, under ambient conditions. As a raw material, methanol is very attractive, because it can be used by the petrochemicals industry and processed into fuels, materials and chemicals.

Additional research and development is required before the discovery can directly benefit society, but its potential is, "one of the greatest we have seen in years," according to Professor Claus Felby.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Tue May 03, 2016 1:39 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016 ... g-project/

A groundbreaking trial to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of dead people, has won approval from health watchdogs.

A biotech company in the US has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury, to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life.

Scientists will use a combination of therapies, which include injecting the brain with stem cells and a cocktail of peptides, as well as deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques which have been shown to bring patients out of comas.

The trial participants will have been certified dead and only kept alive through life support. They will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment to look for signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord - the lowest region of the brain stem which controls independent breathing and heartbeat.

The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.

Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. said: “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.

“We just received approval for our first 20 subjects and we hope to start recruiting patients immediately from this first site – we are working with the hospital now to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation.

"To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness.

“We hope to see results within the first two to three months."

The ReAnima Project has just received approach from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in the US and in India, and the team plans to start recruiting patients immediately.

The first stage, named 'First In Human Neuro-Regeneration & Neuro-Reanimation' will be a non-randomised, single group 'proof of concept' and will take place at Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand India.

The peptides will be administered into the spinal cord daily via a pump, with the stem cells given bi-weekly, over the course of a 6 week period.

Dr Pastor added: "It is a long term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study – but it is a bridge to that eventuality."

Brain stem death is when a person no longer has any brain stem functions, and has permanently lost the potential for consciousness and the capacity to breathe.

A person is confirmed as being dead when their brain stem function is permanently lost.

However, although brain dead humans are technically no longer alive, their bodies can often still circulate blood, digest food, excrete waste, balance hormones, grow, sexually mature, heal wounds, spike a fever, and gestate and deliver a baby.

Recent studies have also suggested that some electrical activity and blood flow continues after brain cell death, just not enough to allow for the whole body to function.

And while human beings lack substantial regenerative capabilities in the central nervous system, many non-human species, such as amphibians and certain fish, can repair, regenerate and remodel substantial portions of their brain and brain stem even after critical life-threatening trauma.

“Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease,” added Dr Sergei Paylian, Founder, President, and Chief Science Officer of Bioquark Inc.

Commenting on the trial, Dr Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist at the Cardiff University’s Centre for Medical Education said: “While there have been numerous demonstrations in recent years that the human brain and nervous system may not be as fixed and irreparable as is typically assumed, the idea that brain death could be easily reversed seems very far-fetched, given our current abilities and understanding of neuroscience.

“Saving individual parts might be helpful but it's a long way from resurrecting a whole working brain, in a functional, undamaged state.”
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby brekin » Tue May 03, 2016 2:20 pm

Pele'sDaughter » Tue May 03, 2016 12:39 pm wrote:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/05/03/dead-could-be-brought-back-to-life-in-groundbreaking-project/

A groundbreaking trial to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of dead people, has won approval from health watchdogs.
A biotech company in the US has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury, to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life.
Scientists will use a combination of therapies, which include injecting the brain with stem cells and a cocktail of peptides, as well as deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques which have been shown to bring patients out of comas.

The trial participants will have been certified dead and only kept alive through life support. They will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment to look for signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord - the lowest region of the brain stem which controls independent breathing and heartbeat.

The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.
Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. said: “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.
“We just received approval for our first 20 subjects and we hope to start recruiting patients immediately from this first site – we are working with the hospital now to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation.

"To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness.
“We hope to see results within the first two to three months."
The ReAnima Project has just received approach from an Institutional Review Board at the National Institutes of Health in the US and in India, and the team plans to start recruiting patients immediately.

The first stage, named 'First In Human Neuro-Regeneration & Neuro-Reanimation' will be a non-randomised, single group 'proof of concept' and will take place at Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand India.

The peptides will be administered into the spinal cord daily via a pump, with the stem cells given bi-weekly, over the course of a 6 week period.
Dr Pastor added: "It is a long term vision of ours that a full recovery in such patients is a possibility, although that is not the focus of this first study – but it is a bridge to that eventuality."
Brain stem death is when a person no longer has any brain stem functions, and has permanently lost the potential for consciousness and the capacity to breathe.

A person is confirmed as being dead when their brain stem function is permanently lost.
However, although brain dead humans are technically no longer alive, their bodies can often still circulate blood, digest food, excrete waste, balance hormones, grow, sexually mature, heal wounds, spike a fever, and gestate and deliver a baby.
Recent studies have also suggested that some electrical activity and blood flow continues after brain cell death, just not enough to allow for the whole body to function.

And while human beings lack substantial regenerative capabilities in the central nervous system, many non-human species, such as amphibians and certain fish, can repair, regenerate and remodel substantial portions of their brain and brain stem even after critical life-threatening trauma.
“Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease,” added Dr Sergei Paylian, Founder, President, and Chief Science Officer of Bioquark Inc.

Commenting on the trial, Dr Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist at the Cardiff University’s Centre for Medical Education said: “While there have been numerous demonstrations in recent years that the human brain and nervous system may not be as fixed and irreparable as is typically assumed, the idea that brain death could be easily reversed seems very far-fetched, given our current abilities and understanding of neuroscience.
“Saving individual parts might be helpful but it's a long way from resurrecting a whole working brain, in a functional, undamaged state.”


Wow. It will be interesting to see what happens with this. I know from personal experience that hospitals can be all too eager to pull someone off life support if they are "brain dead". In fact, I suspect they may be aggressively trained to do so. If I read correctly though it seems like the person coming back would may not have their memories or personality retrieved because the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again? I wonder how much rehabilitation and adjustment will be required? All of this seems like sci-fi but I imagine in 10 years it will probably just be another documentary on Netflix. Crazy times.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:33 pm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to- ... ient-walk/
Stanford researchers studying the effect of stem cells injected directly into the brains of stroke patients said Thursday that they were "stunned" by the extent to which the experimental treatment restored motor function in some of the patients. While the research involved only 18 patients and was designed primarily to look at the safety of such a procedure and not its effectiveness, it is creating significant buzz in the neuroscience community because the results appear to contradict a core belief about brain damage — that it is permanent and irreversible.

The results, published in the journal Stroke, could have implications for our understanding of an array of disorders including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and Alzheimer's if confirmed in larger-scale testing.

The work involved patients who had passed the critical six-month mark when recoveries generally plateau and there are rarely further improvements. This is the point at which therapies are typically stopped as brain circuits are thought to be dead and unable to be repaired. Each participant in the study had suffered a stroke beneath the brain’s outermost layer and had significant impairments in moving their arms and-or legs. Some participants in the study had had a stroke as long as three to five years before the experimental treatment.

The one-time therapy involved surgeons drilling a hole into the study participants' skulls and injecting stem cells in several locations around the area damaged by the stroke. These stem cells were harvested from the bone marrow of adult donors. While the procedure sounds dramatic, it is considered relatively simple as far as brain surgery goes. The patients were conscious the whole time and went home the same day.

They suffered minimal adverse effects such as temporary headaches, nausea and vomiting. One patient experienced some fluid buildup from the procedure that had to be drained but recovered fully from the issue. The volunteers were then tested at one month, six and 12 months after surgery using brain imaging and several standard scales that look at speech, vision, motor ability and other aspects of daily functioning.

Gary Steinberg, the study's lead author and chair of neurosurgery at Stanford, said in an interview that while he is cautious about "overselling" the results of such a small study, his team has been "stunned" that seven of the 18 patients experienced significant improvement in their abilities following treatment.

"Their recovery was not just a minimal recovery like someone who couldn't move a thumb now being able to wiggle it. It was much more meaningful. One 71-year-old wheelchair-bound patient was walking again," said Steinberg, who personally performed most of the surgeries.

He also recounted the progress of a much younger patient, age 39, who was two years post-stroke and had had such problems walking and speaking that she "did not want to get married to her boyfriend." "She was embarrassed about walking down the aisle," he explained. But after treatment, Steinberg said, "She's now walking much better and talking much better and she's married and pregnant."

Steinberg said that the study does not support the idea that the injected stem cells become neurons, as has been previously thought. Instead, it suggests that they seem to trigger some kind of biochemical process that enhances the brain's ability to repair itself.

"A theory is that they turn the adult brain into the neonatal brain that recovers well," he explained.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Pele'sDaughter » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:03 pm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spe ... ?tid=sm_tw

Three weeks ago, 130 scientists, entrepreneurs and policy leaders held an invitation-only, closed-door meeting at Harvard University to discuss an ambitious plan to create synthetic human genomes. Now, after a flurry of criticism over the secrecy of the effort, the participants have published their idea, declaring that they're launching a project to radically reduce the cost of synthesizing genomes -- a potentially revolutionary development in biotechnology that could enable technicians to grow human organs for transplantation.

The announcement, published Thursday in the journal Science, is the latest sign that biotechnology is going through a rapidly advancing but ethically fraught period. Scientists have been honing their techniques for manipulating the complex molecules that serve as the code for all life on the planet, and this same issue of the journal Science reports a breakthrough in editing RNA, a molecule that is the close cousin of DNA.

The promoters of synthetic genomes envision a project that would eventually be on the same scale as the Human Genome Project of the 1990s, which led to the sequencing of the first human genomes. The difference this time would be that, instead of “reading” genetic codes, which is what sequencing does, the scientists would be “writing” them. They have dubbed this the “Genome Project-write.”

"[T]he goal of HGP-write is to reduce the costs of engineering and testing large genomes, including a human genome, in cell lines, more than 1,000-fold within ten years, while developing new technologies and an ethical framework for genome-scale engineering as well as transformative medical applications," the group wrote in a draft of a news release obtained by The Post. The project will be administered by a non-profit organization called the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology, the news release said.

The plan drew a negative response from the head of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, who had led the earlier Human Genome Project. In a statement released by NIH, Collins said it was premature to launch such an initiative.

“NIH has not considered the time to be right for funding a large-scale production-oriented ‘HGP-write’ effort, as is framed in the Science article,” Collins said. He added, "There are only limited ethical concerns about synthesizing segments of DNA for laboratory experiments. But whole-genome, whole-organism synthesis projects extend far beyond current scientific capabilities, and immediately raise numerous ethical and philosophical red flags.”

No one is talking about creating human beings from scratch. One application of cheaper genome synthesis, according to geneticist George Church, one of the authors of the Science article, would be to create cells that are resistant to viruses. These would not be cells used directly in human therapies, but rather in cell lines grown by the pharmaceutical industry for developing drugs. Such processes are vulnerable now to viral contamination.

“If you’re manufacturing human therapeutics in mammalian cells, and you get contamination, it can blow you away for two years, which has actually happened," Church said.

The Science paper gives a number of examples of what could emerge from cheaper synthesized genomes: "growing transplantable human organs; engineering immunity to viruses in cell lines via genome-wide recoding; engineering cancer resistance into new therapeutic cell lines; and accelerating high-productivity, cost-efficient vaccine and pharmaceutical development using human cells and organoids."

The synthetic genome plan emerged from two closed-door meetings, one in New York City last year, and the second on May 10 at Harvard.

[Secret Harvard meeting on synthetic human genomes incites ethics debate]

The latter drew criticism from researchers who objected to the closed-door nature of the event; organizers said they didn't want to publicize their idea in advance of the publication of the article in Science. They said they plan to put a video of the proceedings online.

Drew Endy, an associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford, wrote on Twitter, "If you need secrecy to discuss your proposed research (synthesizing a human genome), you are doing something wrong."

Endy and Laurie Zoloth, a professor of medical ethics and humanities at Northwestern University, published an essay in which they said that, although this technology has promising applications, "it is easy to make up far stranger uses of human genome synthesis capacities."

Endy on Thursday renewed his criticism. He said the group is proceeding without approval of the broader scientific community or any independent ethical review, he said.

“Do we wish to be operating in a world where people are capable of organizing themselves to make human genomes? Should we pause and reflect on that question before we launch into doing it?” Endy told The Post. "They’re talking about making real the capacity to make the thing that defines humanity – the human genome.”

He said the article published in Science does not address any ethical questions. The promoters of the project say they will handle the ethical questions that come up, but Endy said in an email that this appears to be "a brazen attempt to preempt independent ethical review."

The project has four lead organizers: Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School; Jef Boeke, director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at the NYU Langone Medical Center; Andrew Hessel, a researcher with the publicly traded company Autodesk; and Nancy J. Kelley, formerly executive director of the New York Genome Center.

The news release stated that Kelley will be the top executive for the project, and that Autodesk has committed $250,000 in funding for the planning efforts.

The organizers hope to raise $100 million by the end of this year, with an eventual goal of devoting $3 billion to the effort. The authors of the Science article wrote that some portion of the money that would be raised for the project should be directed toward addressing the ethical, legal and social issues surrounding how new genetic engineering technologies will be used.

Church, informed of Endy's latest comments, said nine of the participants in the Harvard meeting were experts on the ethical, legal and social implications of technology, and he said he expects many more will respond to the article in Science.

"Even when we identify something that we do not want, we need to think deeply about how to prevent it -- effective surveillance, deterrents and consequences," Church told The Post.

Church, whose laboratory at Harvard Medical School is renowned for breakthroughs in genetic engineering, said that in a span of three to 10 years it should be possible to bring down the cost of synthesizing long stretches of DNA by a thousand-fold. That would mirror the huge declines in the cost of sequencing – that is, reading – human genomes. He said researchers are already synthesizing stretches of genetic code, but only in small pieces. The obstacle to widespread application and testing of synthetic genomes is the cost, he said.

The field of genetic engineering has been dealing with ethical quandaries since the 1970s. In December, for example, scientists from the U.S., Europe and China met in Washington and agreed to put limits on the breakthrough gene-editing technique known as CRISPR, which has the potential to make heritable changes in a person's genome.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby 82_28 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:53 pm

About a month to go peeps!

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno ... index.html

The Juno spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas V-551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, and will reach Jupiter in July 2016. The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 32 times, skimming to within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops, for approximately one year.

Juno uses a spinning solar-powered spacecraft in a highly elliptical polar orbit that avoids most of Jupiter's high radiation regions. The designs of the individual instruments are straightforward and the mission does not require the development of any new technologies.


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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:31 pm

Image

A K5 complete graph with five vertices

Maths mystery solved after 40 years

Georgia Tech mathematicians have offered a proof for graph theory's Kelmans-Seymour conjecture. Bill Condie reports.

30 May 2016



Mathematicians at Georgia Tech believe they have come up with a proof for a 40-year-old maths problem – the Kelmans-Seymour conjecture in graph theory.

Graph theory has nothing to do with what usually comes to mind from the word "graph".

It deals with points or vertices, connected by lines, called edges, which sometimes form apparently impossible tangles. It can be used to describe many practical problems involving relations between things in social and information systems.

It is the branch of mathematics that helps plan the most efficient use of connecting flights, or your GPS make decisions on how to avoid the worst of the traffic, or even how to manage your friends on Facebook.

The structure of a website, for example, can be represented by a directed graph and Google uses graph theory as part of its search engine algorithms to check links between websites.

Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture’s name comes from Paul Seymour from Princeton University and Alexander Kelmans, who described the conjecture, independently – Seymour in 1977 and Kelmans in 1979.

The conjecture is: “If a graph G is 5-connected and non-planar, then G has a TK5.”

In a planar graph, there is always some way to draw it so that the lines from point to point do not cross. This has importance in the real world, too.

As Ben Brumfield of Georgia Tech explains: “In the real world, a microprocessor is sending electrons from point to point down myriad conductive paths. Get them crossed, and the processor shorts out.”

In other words, you need a planar graph – or as close as possible to one – to do the job and graphs and graph algorithms can help model a suitable system.

And that’s where the TK5 comes in.

“You could call a TK5 the devil in the details,” writes Brumfield. “TK5s are larger relatives of K5, a very simple formation that looks like a five-point star fenced in by a pentagon.

“It resembles an occult or Anarchy symbol, and that's fitting. A TK5 in a ‘graph’ is guaranteed to thwart any nice, neat ‘planar’ status.”

Georgia Tech mathematician Xingxing Yu, who helped push the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture's proof to completion, says that this makes the conjecture so important, as it helps identify a TK5 in more complex graphs.

“It's helpful in detailed networks to get quick solutions that are reasonable and require low computational complexity,” he told Brumfield.

Yu took up the work of completing the proof from Robin Thomas, a former collaborator of Seymour and now a professor at Georgia Tech.

“I tried moderately hard to prove the Kelmans-Seymour conjecture in the 1990s, but failed,” he said. “Yu is a rare mathematician, and this shows it. I'm delighted that he pushed the proof to completion.”

Yu picked up on the conjecture around eight years ago.

“I became convinced that I was ready to work on that conjecture,” Yu said. He brought in graduate students Jie Ma in 2008, and Yan Wang and Dawei in 2010 into the project.

The team has now submitted two papers on the proof, with two more on the way. They now face seeing their proof tested to destruction by other mathematicians. Only if they fail to break it will it stand as a proof.

But Wang is sure of his team’s work.

“We spent lots and lots of our time trying to wreck it ourselves and couldn't, so I hope things will be fine," he said.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathematics/maths-mystery-solved-after-40-years
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby justdrew » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:48 am

Boffins at ORNL (Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory) have discovered a simple and cheap catalyst that can take CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) dissolved in solution with water and at room temperature convert it to ethanol with 60%+ yields. They envision it as a way to store surplus power from green energy plants and then burning it to fill in lulls in supply.From the report:The team used a catalyst made of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied voltage to trigger a complicated chemical reaction that essentially reverses the combustion process. With the help of the nanotechnology-based catalyst which contains multiple reaction sites, the solution of carbon dioxide dissolved in water turned into ethanol with a yield of 63 percent. Typically, this type of electrochemical reaction results in a mix of several different products in small amounts. "We're taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we're pushing that combustion reaction backwards with very high selectivity to a useful fuel," Rondinone said. "Ethanol was a surprise -- it's extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst."


Also this would obviously be one good way to do large scale carbon sequestration
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby Iamwhomiam » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:48 am

Unfortunately, it is an Ouroboros. A complete waste of resources to capture carbon partially convert it to ethanol as a fuel to burn, which releases carbon dioxide.

Another ploy to keep burning fossil fuels, imo, and not an alternative form of energy production.

Put the monies now being used to develop this technology to better use by investing instead in alternative sources of energy production not dependent upon burning any fuel. No more burning, no more climate warming emissions from technologies dependent upon combustion.
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Re: super-science breakthrough compendium thread

Postby smoking since 1879 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:09 pm

"Ouroboros" ... what a great word - thank you Iamwhomiam :)

I totally agree with your assessment too.
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