Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies

April 12, 2017 by  
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For the first time ever, scientists have captured an image of a dark matter bridge, confirming the theory that galaxies are held together by a cosmic web. Until now, the massive dark matter web was hidden to us, but using a series of individual images to create a composite, researchers have identified the elusive cosmic connector. Dark matter makes up about a quarter of the universe, but it is difficult for us to detect it because it doesn’t reflect or shine light. But using a technique called weak gravitational lensing, researchers were able to identify distortions of distant galaxies as they are influenced by a large, unseen mass, such as dark matter. Related: Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way The scientists looked at more than 23,000 galaxy pairs to create a composite image that shows the dark matter web for the first time. Researchers published their findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . “By using this technique, we’re not only able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,” said Seth D. Epps, one of the scientists, along with Michael J. Hudson, who completed the research. via Phys.org images via Epps and Hudson, The weak-lensing masses of filaments between luminous red galaxies

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Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies

New graphene sieve can remove even small salts from seawater

April 4, 2017 by  
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Graphene is the world’s strongest material, but that’s not all it can do. The wonder material can also be used as a filter that removes salts from seawater so it’s safe to drink. While scientists have eyed graphene-oxide membranes for better filtration – and even showed graphene could filter out large salts – now 13 University of Manchester scientists developed graphene membranes that can sieve common, smaller salts out of water. It takes small sieves to remove common salts from substances like seawater, and in the past when placed in water graphene-oxide membranes swelled, and weren’t able to catch those smaller salts. The University of Manchester scientists found a way to control the pore size of the graphene to sieve those common small salts out of water. Professor Rahul Nair, one of the scientists part of the research, said the realization of “membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale” is a significant step. Related: Affordable new biofoam could revolutionize how developing countries clean water The discovery could open doors to efficient, less expensive desalination technology – which the university points out is crucial as climate change depletes water supply in modern cities. In just around eight years, 14 percent of the world’s population could face water scarcity, according to United Nations estimates, and not all countries can afford large, expensive desalination plants to provide relief to their citizens. The university says the graphene technology pursued by the scientists could revolutionize water filtration around the world, offering an affordable option for developing countries . The researchers think their discovery could be scaled up for wider use. Nair said in a statement, “This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.” The journal Nature Nanotechnology published the research online yesterday. Via The University of Manchester Images via The University of Manchester and Pixabay

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New graphene sieve can remove even small salts from seawater

Scientists create a new kind of matter called time crystals

January 30, 2017 by  
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Proving that there is still so much for science to discover, two groups of scientists have created a new phase of matter called time crystals. Based on a blueprint from University of California, Berkeley assistant professor of physics Norman Yao, the scientists created crystals whose structure repeats in time rather than space. If time crystals sound like a far-fetched science fiction daydream, Yao explained they move somewhat like jiggling Jell-O, but through time. Regular crystals, like diamonds , are comprised of an atomic lattice, an arrangement of atoms, that repeats in space. Time crystals’ structure can continue through time, in perpetual movement. Yao said, “Wouldn’t it be super weird if you jiggled the Jell-O and found that somehow it responded at a different period? But that is the essence of the time crystal.” Related: Scientists blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to improve solar cells The creation of time crystals in itself is crazy, but Yao said that’s not the only thrilling aspect of this advance. In a statement, he said, “This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter.” In contrast, other crystals like rubies or diamonds are in motionless equilibrium, but as non-equilibrium matter time crystals continually move. Groups at Harvard University and the University of Maryland followed Yao’s blueprint and were able to create time crystals, turning futuristic fantasy into reality. They used “two totally different setups,” according to the UC Berkeley statement, and have both submitted articles for publication, with Yao as co-author on both. Physical Review Letters published a paper online earlier this month in which Yao detailed the process to create time crystals. There may be few uses for time crystals – Yao couldn’t immediately think of any – but their discovery is important as scientists begin exploring non-equilibrium matter, other phases of which could be useful, for example, in quantum computers. Via Phys.org and Popular Mechanics Images via Pixabay and Chris Monroe

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Scientists create a new kind of matter called time crystals

Upcycled urban cafe in India modeled after communal "chawls"

January 30, 2017 by  
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Call it what you will, but the creators of Cyber Hub Studio in New Delhi have applied their “anti-design” style of minimal intervention and maximum up-cycling to create one very unique urban cafe. To create the Cyber Hub Studio, a 5,000-square-foot warehouse inspired by traditional communal-living chawls found throughout India, the firm filled the space with vast array of quirky odds and ends. The designers focused on adapting a low-cost housing model from the beginning of the project, but the principal theme of chawls led the design scheme. Chawls are large buildings divided into separate tenements, which were used to provide very basic accommodation to mill laborers in Indian cities. Related: Tokyo factory is transformed into an industrial-chic Blue Bottle Coffee cafe According to the architects’ description, this theme was meant to emit a message of unified coexistence to visitors of the cafe,” Chawls were first created to house as many mill workers in one building – a space that was efficient and functional. In the same way, the hub has evolved into a space that symbolizes community living – a place that stands for unity, togetherness, security, camaraderie, cultural essence and ethos – minus all of the pretences of modern day life.” The design team went the distance to incorporate colors and themes typically found in the makeshift housing units, recreating the appearance of a thriving social living situation with a festive, creative twist that makes it an intriguing hangout for socializing. On the interior, a dark narrow hallway is flanked by rooms on either side, each one with a distinct decor. Upcycled materials and furniture are found throughout the rooms, which lead to a central courtyard that houses a bar and dance floor. Once outdoors, revelers can enjoy seating made out of large concrete pipes that have been “artistically vandalised” with graffiti. Via Archdaily + Chromed Design Studio Photography by Suryan / Dang

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Upcycled urban cafe in India modeled after communal "chawls"

Harvard scientists claim they’ve made Earth’s first metallic hydrogen

January 27, 2017 by  
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For 80 long years, scientists have attempted in vain to produce a metal from hydrogen . A super substance thought to be present on other planets , metallic hydrogen could generate a rocket propellant around four times more powerful than what we possess now, allowing us to make advanced technologies like super-fast computers. Now two scientists at Harvard University say they have achieved the near miraculous. But other scientists are skeptical – the sensational discovery may just be too good to be true. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qitm5fteL0 Ranga Dias and Isaac Silvera of Harvard University say they’ve been able to create metallic hydrogen in the laboratory by squeezing hydrogen between diamonds inside a cryostat, at a pressure even greater than that at the Earth’s center. The journal Science published their astonishing findings this week. In a Harvard press release, Silvera said, “This is the Holy Grail of high-pressure physics . It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.” Related: MIT’s new carbon-free supercapacitor could revolutionize the way we store power But other scientists aren’t so sure. A string of failed tries, from scientists around the world, precede the Harvard news. One physicist from France’s Atomic Energy Commission even said, “I don’t think the paper is convincing at all.” The Harvard scientists maintain they were able to polish the diamonds better, to remove any potentially damaging irregularities, and were able to crush the hydrogen gas at pressures greater than others have. Silvera said they produced a “lustry, reflective sample, which you can only believe is a metal .” But that shiny substance could be nothing more than alumina (aluminium oxide), according to geophysicist Alexander Goncharov from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. That material coats the diamonds’ tips, and could act differently under the pressure. Silvera said they wanted to break the news before starting confirmation tests, which could ruin their sample. Now that their paper is out, they plan to perform more experiments. Stay tuned. Via Scientific American and The Independent Images via screenshot and Isaac Silvera/Harvard University

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Harvard scientists claim they’ve made Earth’s first metallic hydrogen

Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia

January 27, 2017 by  
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If money were no object, what would the ideal city of the future look like? Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) answered that question with a spectacular design for the Forest City, a proposed masterplan for a new city in Malaysia. This 20-square-kilometer green smart city would be built around a central rainforest and mimic the forest’s ecosystem by adopting a closed loop system that reuses all its resources and controls out-flow. Winner of the second place prize in an international design competition , the Forest City was created for a 24-hectare site and judged on its efficiency of land use, sensitivity to the environment, and inclusion of a landmark building that embodied the notion of a forest city. “Skylines across the world look the same—usually a couple of iconic towers in the center surrounded by lots of lesser quality buildings, which all resemble each other,” said Chris Bosse, director of LAVA. “Here we have designed an inverse city skyline where the icon of the city is a public space, not an object/building. Our central space is a Rainforest Valley and demonstrates the equation: PEOPLE = CITY. From an object to a place.” The proposed city for 700,000 people would be located on reclaimed land between Malaysia and Singapore and include office towers, residential areas, parks, hotels, shopping malls, and an international school. The city is organized around a central public space, the Rainforest Valley, which is surrounded by a waterfall and serves as a visual reminder of the city as a three-dimensional ecosystem. The valley extends like fingers in five directions to represent the five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—as well as the five pillars of sustainability. Related: LAVA’s Addis Ababa Football Stadium Celebrates Ethiopia’s Ancient Heritage A group of buildings step down towards the green park and are heavily landscaped with roof gardens . A Landmark Tower will house the serviced apartments, hotels, retail and commercial space. As a pedestrian-friendly development, the design separates the circulation types by directing vehicular traffic underground and placing trains on a level above pedestrian walkways. Like a rainforest, the city will be designed as a mostly closed loop system with recycling processes hidden underground and outflow minimized. Local materials would be used in construction and energy generated from renewable sources. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

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Scientists are preparing to march on Washington

January 25, 2017 by  
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With the Women’s March on Washington an unmitigated success, scientists are preparing their own demonstration at the nation’s capital. It began, as many of these things do, with a stray comment. “There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington,” someone wrote on Reddit , where several scientists discussed their concerns over what they perceived to be the Trump administration’s antipathy, if not outright hostility, to climate science and other environmental issues. Dozens chimed in with their approval. ”Please arrange this. it won’t change trump-mans [sic] [mind, but by all that is sacred, it needs to be done,” one participant said. “100%!” another declared enthusiastically.

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Scientists are preparing to march on Washington

Scientists turn eggshells into eco-friendly data-storage devices

January 23, 2017 by  
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Walk on eggshells? Not these scientists. A team from Guizhou Institute of Technology is working on a way to turn ground-up bits of the breakfast byproduct into a data-storage device that could pave the way for eco-friendlier computers. The device itself uses something called resistive random-access memory , ReRAM for short, a type of non-volatile, high-density yet energy-sipping memory system that could soon supplant your flash drive as a data silo. Instead of storing a charge, like conventional memory does, ReRAM works by creating electrical resistance across a dielectric solid-state material that transmits voltage without conducting it, essentially serving as an insulator. As it turns out, eggshells have a “large resistive-switching memory,” as the scientists noted in the February 2017 issue of Current Applied Physics , where they published their findings. But don’t start sticking eggs in your USB port just yet. To create the device, they first pulverized the shells for hours into an ultra-fine, nanoscale powder, which they then dissolved in solution. Related: Scientists invent the world’s first microchip powered by biological systems The resulting paste, coated onto a substrate, became the electrolyte portion of a memory chip, that is, the part that carries the electrical charge. Whatever they did worked. The eggshell-based device was able to write 100 bits of binary code into its memory before it broke down. It’ll take some tinkering before the device can stack up against materials that can manage billions of cycles, but the promise is there. “This discovery provides for the possibility of an environmentally friendly, low-cost and sustainable material application in the next-generation nonvolatile date storage device,” the scientists said. Egg -citing. Via New Scientist Photos by Kullez and Bruce Guenter

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Scientists turn eggshells into eco-friendly data-storage devices

Al Gore fights climate change with "An Inconvenient Sequel"

January 23, 2017 by  
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When Al Gore ‘s landmark climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, the administration in Washington was averse to climate change action. Eleven years later Gore has debuted his follow up film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” at Sundance — just as Donald Trump takes office as the nation’s 45th president. Despite the dire prospects for the climate under Trump after eight years of modest gains under former President Barack Obama, Gore was upbeat in comments to the crowd after two standing ovations followed the Sundance screening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2unzHvFPtY0 “Now we are undergoing a time of challenge, but we are going to prevail,” the former vice president said at the post-screening Q&A, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not going to give all the evidence of why I’m so confident. Always remember that the will to act is a renewable resource. We will win. No one person can stop this movement. We want this movie to recruit others.” Related: Al Gore reaches out to work with Donald Trump on climate change Gore met with the president at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 5 to talk about climate change solutions. In an interview with THR , Gore said that Trump was “receptive” to some of what he had to say. Gore revealed that he has maintained private communications with Trump since the public meeting in December, joking that he couldn’t go into details about how they communicated because the Russians could hack it. “An Inconvenient Truth” was a great success, winning two Academy Awards, including Best Documentary Feature. The film grossed $49.8 million in worldwide box office proceeds, becoming the tenth highest grossing documentary film to date in the United States. The challenges of global warming have only increased in the past decade, with 2016 setting a heat record for the third straight year. Fortunately, renewables are rapidly ramping up as countries aim to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set forth in the Paris climate agreement . “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” opens in Germany on June 15 before hitting US theaters on July 28. Via Slate Image and video via IMDB

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Al Gore fights climate change with "An Inconvenient Sequel"

22 Nobel Prize winners tell Trump that science must play a "critical role" in US policy

December 2, 2016 by  
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In an open letter addressed to President-elect Trump and the incoming 155th Congress , 87 scientists urge the new government to respect the critical importance of science in setting national policy. The group of prominent scientists, which includes 22 Nobel Prize winners, seeks to convince the soon-to-be Republican-controlled federal government that climate change is a real, existential threat to the nation and the world. “From disease outbreaks to climate change to national security to technology innovation, people benefit when our nation’s policies are informed by science unfettered by inappropriate political or corporate influence,” read the letter. “To build on this legacy and extend the benefits of science to all people, including Americans who have been left behind, the federal government must support and rely on science as a key input for crafting public policy.” So far Trump has largely disregarded the consensus of the scientific community during his campaign and transition. The President-elect once referred to climate change as a hoax and has appointed climate skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team. “Creating a strong and open culture of science begins at the top,” read the letter. “Federal agencies should be led by officials with demonstrated track records of respecting science as a critical component of decision making.” Related: A catastrophic climate feedback loop long feared by scientists is happening The letter also addresses the President-elect’s consistently disrespectful comments and policies directed towards historically marginalized groups. “Recognizing that diversity makes science stronger, administration officials should welcome and encourage all scientists regardless of religious background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.” Finally, the letter addresses the concern that the Trump Administration will suppress ideas and views that are contrary to its own. “Federally funded scientists must be able to develop and share their findings free from censorship or manipulation based on politics or ideology,” reads the letter. Time will tell whether this letter wins hearts and minds in Washington. Via Christian Science Monitor Photo by Gage Skidmore

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22 Nobel Prize winners tell Trump that science must play a "critical role" in US policy

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