News Nuggets

first_imgHere’s a collection of news items that deserve quick notice:Mars Rumbles:  Mars still has minor earthquakes, says Space.com, That’s without plate tectonics, “But scientists don’t know exactly how Mars is constructed.”  The Mars Exploration Rovers, meanwhile, awaking from a winter’s nap, are still gathering science data long past their expected lifetime.  Evidence for past water is being claimed, even though it would have been loaded with epsom salt.  Mars Express has photographed the southern highlands, an area of thick volcanic ash deposits, wind-blown dust, and dust devils.A-Maize-ing Genes:  The genome of maize (corn) shows some surprises, according to EurekAlert.  It has 59,000 genes, and 22% of them are unique compared to closely related species.  That’s more difference than between apes and humans.  “It looks like significant evolutionary change happened in a relatively short time,” and maybe there was a merger in corn’s past.  Or so the story goes.  “Plants are continually faced with a variety of seasonal challenges and assaults by a series of different pests which may well lead to evolution on a fast track.”  Makes sense when you don’t think about it.Molecular Clock Fixed?  Nature Science Update reports on a French team that developed a new computer model for getting the so-called “molecular clock” – the rate genes mutate – to correlate with the fossil record (see 04/20/2004 headline).  They calibrated assumed evolutionary changes in the genes to six fossil species, and then built an evolutionary tree based on it.  Not all are convinced, though.  In one case, the tree says that a red alga appeared after its fossil.Cave Dating:  In Earth and Planetary Science Letters Oct. 15, pp. 265-273, an international team dated aragonite formations in a South African cave.  They extracted thin cores from two speleothems.  They claimed the cores correlate with climate, but there were anomalies.  The trace minerals don’t correlate with rainfall, the cores don’t correlate with temperature, and the two stalactites don’t correlate with each other; one outgrew the other six-fold in an inferred 11-year period.  This led them to conclude that “the constant speleothem growth rate we assume is simplistic.  The growth rate of the speleothem undoubtedly varies within an annual cycle (growing faster in the rainy season and slower over the dry season) and between different years (growing more in wet years and less in drier ones).”DNA Repair Team Can Dance:  An article in Cell last month (118:6, 17 Sep 2004, 666-668, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2004.09.006) described what your DNA repair team (see 01/04/2002 headline) does as a sophisticated kind of ballet, with both orchestra and dancers:  “Repair of damaged DNA is a dynamic process that requires careful orchestration of a multitude of enzymes, adaptor proteins, and chromatin constituents…. ”  Double-stranded DNA breaks are particularly deadly, but the repairmen, like NYFD heroes, know just what to do, and they can dance:But how is the multifaceted DSB response “choreographed” so that each molecular “dancer” involved knows when to arrive on the stage, how long and with whom to perform, and when to give way to those that are scheduled to follow?  Amazingly, nature has provided cells with a score for a fascinating play called “DNA repair.”  Although we have known some of the “dancers” for quite awhile, only now are we actually beginning to see the performance unfold in front of our eyes.The authors refer to a paper in the same issue by Columbia University scientists, Michael Lisby et al., entitled “Choreography of the DNA Damage Response.”  A related story using the choreography metaphor was posted on EurekAlert.Junk DNA Promoted:  Another story strengthens the case that there is no such thing as “junk DNA” (see 05/27/2004 and 05/23/2003 headlines).  A story posted on EurekAlert says that mobile elements called retrotransposons, long thought to be junk from retroviruses that propagate at random in the genome, actually provide “ a large repository of start sites for initiating gene expression” that is apparently very important for developing embryos.  “Therefore, more than one third of the mouse and human genomes, previously thought to be non-functional, may play some role in the regulation of gene expression and promotion of genetic diversity.”  See also the writeup in Science News 166:16, week of Oct. 16, 2004, p. 243.Fossil Fool’s Gold:  A paper in Geology this month examines the fine preservation of China’s Chengjiang fossils (see 07/22/2004 headline) and suggests that pyrite was involved.  “The apparent explosive diversification of animal life in the Cambrian is one of the most significant events in the history of life and continues to be controversial,” the paper begins.  Another paper in the same issue that describes a discovery of Early Cambrian bilaterian embryos and larvae from China states, “In contrast to the Precambrian, evidence for the structural diversity of embryos and larvae in Cambrian strata is mounting.”Flip & Flap over ID Paper:  The journal that published Stephen Meyer’s intelligent design paper (see 09/24/2004 headline) has now issued a statement that the article should not have been published.  To Mark Hartwig writing in Access Research Network’s Weekly Wedge Update, though, this can hardly help their reputation.  Meanwhile, the Discovery Institute continues to publish line-by-line refutations of criticisms coming from pro-Darwin forces.Fall Colors Delight Tourists, Confuse Scientists:  When leaves turn red and yellow, there’s a “reason for the season,” says National Geographic News, but then fails to find it.  Yellow is explained by the plant shutting down chlorophyll (green) production, which otherwise swamps the yellow color that is always present.  But production of xanthophylls (red) is costly; is it for sunscreen?  Antioxidants?  Fungal protection?  No one knows for sure why deciduous forests turn a riot of color in the fall (see 10/19/2001 headline).  One thing is for sure: humans like it.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Smoother rides for Delta passengers

first_imgSome Delta Air Lines passengers are enjoying smoother rides these days thanks to a new app for pilots.Developed in conjunction with US defense contractor Basic Commerce and Industries, the app should help take a bite out of turbulence encounters shown by long-term data from the US National Transportation Safety Board to be the leading cause of serious passenger injuries.To underscore the often out-of-the–blue viciousness of some turbulence, the NTSB says the phenomenon accounted for just 3 percent of all weather-related accidents between 2000 and 2011 but still seriously hurt more passengers than any other type of accident.One case-in-point is the August 12, 2016, encounter with rough air by JetBlue Flight 429. The A320 was headed from Boston to Sacramento when turbulence hit hard. The aircraft diverted to land at Rapid City, South Dakota, where 24 passengers were hospitalized. One compared the experience to a “bad dream” while another told CNN people were “flying out of their seat belts and hitting their heads on the ceiling; it was very scary”.Not only does turbulence exact a human toll, but it costs the airlines plenty: $100 million for US airlines every year, much of it in maintenance bills.The Delta/BCI application isn’t for passenger consumption, tt’s purely for pilots. A blog post on the Delta News Hub says it “allows pilots to plug in their flight plan and view where turbulence is and how it’s being encountered.” The display is depicted on a 3-D, color-coded map.Enabling the application are algorithms developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research derived from data from sensors on more than 300 aircraft.The process entailed combining vertical accelerometer readings with things like pitch, roll and wind speed. Taken together, they paint a picture that’s sometimes a must to avoid. That picture is fed back into forecast modelsDelta says the app “customizes” the data by aircraft type. Different aircraft respond in different ways to turbulence. The ride you get in a 737 may be decidedly different than one in a larger A330—the flagship of Delta’s intercontinental fleet.And how are the people at the front of the plane adapting to app?   First Officer (co-pilot) Jason Rice labels it “the most incredible enhancement to en-route situational awareness since the glass cockpit (electronic, digital displays in lieu of older analog ‘round-gauge’ dials).“The forecasts are accurate, the reports objective and indicative of actual conditions,’ he says.Delta has already installed the turbulence-reporting algorithm on its Boeing 737s and wide body 767s, and has plans to cover international flights soon when it adds the app to its Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s.last_img read more

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Torontos Ryerson University says bedbugs found in one of its classrooms

first_imgTORONTO – Bedbugs have been found in a classroom at Toronto’s Ryerson University, the school said Wednesday, noting that it was working to exterminate the insects.A spokeswoman for the downtown university said staff used a canine unit to search two classrooms in its Victoria Building on Tuesday, and found bedbugs in one of the rooms.“Bedbugs were found in a single desk in VIC 205,” Johanna VanderMaas said in a statement. “VIC 205 was treated with steam immediately.”VanderMaas said a canine unit will be brought back into the room on Thursday to ensure it is clear of the bedbugs.“Only once the room is deemed to be clear will students and faculty will be allowed back in,” she said.The school’s efforts came after a student newspaper, The Eyeopener, published a report of insects found inside tables in a classroom. The paper said it took photos of the bugs and sent them to five exterminators, who all said they were bedbugs.Jacob Dube, a student who worked on the piece, said Tuesday that Ryerson students reported seeing insects they believed to be bedbugs in a classroom in the school’s Victoria Building as far back as December.Several students who spotted the insects, including Eyeopener reporter Stefanie Phillips, later said they found what appeared to be bug bites on their skin.Dube said the university had been receptive to the student newspaper’s reporting, with officials asking the students to show them exactly where the bugs were spotted in order to independently verify their information.On Tuesday, Ryerson said it was looking into the matter and noted that students had been helpful in bringing their concerns forward.The university’s campus is located in the downtown core, close to the city’s bustling Yonge and Dundas square.last_img read more

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Single Girl Problems Any Single Black Men in Toronto

first_imgFinding love in the GTA is hard but didn’t stop me from finding the funny in it… Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: BIO:  Comedian Sarah St-Fleur, better known by her stage name Double XL, is unquestionably the long-awaited breath of fresh air Quebec’s comedy needed. Born in Montreal to Haitian parents, DoubleXL began her artistic career very early through multiple dance performances and hosting at numerous variety shows on local and international stages. Undeniably passionate, dynamic and social DoubleXL exudes an electrifying stage presence that leaves no one indifferent. With this contagious energy, she was able to quickly got noticed in the comedy scene. Since her beginnings in comedy in 2014, she has performed in several major events such as the Couscous Comedy Show, the Pikilz Comedy Show and at Comedy Works for the first part of the well known comedian Eddy King. DoubleXL does not believe in limiting herself. In addition to performing  as much as she can, she writes and produces weekly humorous scketchs in French, English and Creole. These capsules available online have already won the heart of the public, allowing her to share her passion for laughter with a virtual audience. With such an explosive career start, only time will tell how far DoubleXL will go to entertain the world..FOLLOW SARAH ON SOCIAL MEDIA:FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DoubleXlBiggerNBetter/INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/doublexl_comic/YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw8ziN88TKO5DAQYdHENuEg Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

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