Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sigh

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The cuddlebug is sitting in my lap and murmuring, however a bit less uproariously now that I'm writing and not petting him. The decrescendo of his murmur is his uninvolved forceful approach to let me know to stop blogging and backtrack to petting.

In any case I took a shot at the shawl today. Was feeling supersluggish when I got back from lab, so I used a decent two hours on it instead of chipped away at my paper. It doesn't look that changed. I'm dependent upon around 125 lines over, yet need to get it in excess of 200. Size 8 needles, basically worsted weight yarn... I think focused around my gage I'll wind up with around 42 inches. Is that wide enough? How wide ought to a shawl be?

In the wake of swatching for TD's sweater (from yarn young ladies manual for basic sews) and getting the right gage, I've chosen I dislike it. It's excessively open a weave. This was the same issue I had with their basic tank design. Got the right size and gage, however I think the example is messy. Stout yarn and huge needles makes enormous gaps. So I think I have to go down a size or thereabouts and re-swatch and reevaluate the example. Since I'll presumably change it with short columns at any rate its no major ordeal. I'm focused on the yarn, yet not the example. I think I simply need to make my essential rollneck.

In different news, I didn't get to shower today. The hotness and heated water were on the fritz. At last today the hotness is again on yet I haven't checked the water. So I washed my face and armpits and wore fragrance. Sad to any individual who saw me today. I think more about warmth than cleanliness.

Anyway tomorrow morning I would do well to have the capacity to scrub down after I work out or there will be a lot of damage brought on my administrator.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Science News

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Poco, a South California country rock band and founded in the year1968 by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Richie Furay and Jim Messina (both inducted 1997 with Buffalo Springfield), was one of the initial in the “country rock” genre that was soon after commercially popularized by bands such as the Eagles. 

The title of their first album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, is an indication to the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, Highly powerful and creative, they were pioneers of the country rock genre and precursors of the Americana genre. All through the years Poco has presented in various groupings, and is still lively today.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Radiation ring around Earth mysteriously appears, then dissipates

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High above Earth’s surface float two rings of energetic charged particles, and for about four weeks in September, they were joined by a third. The temporary ring may have formed in response to a solar shock wave that passed by Earth, researchers report online February 28 in Science. The discovery could force scientists to revisit decades of ideas about the structure of the Van Allen belts, donut-shaped rings of radiation trapped in orbit by the planet’s magnetic field.

Those revisions could improve predictions of space weather and scientists’ understanding of the space environment near Earth, resulting in better protection for manned and unmanned spacecraft that navigate those areas. “It's a very important discovery,” says Yuri Shprits of the University of California, Los Angeles, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Over half a century after the discovery of the radiation belts, this most important region of space where most of the satellites operate presents us with new puzzles.” Until the discovery, researchers thought the Van Allen belts always contained two zones of high-energy particles: an inner zone made mostly of protons and some electrons, and an outer zone dominated by electrons. A sparsely populated area separates the zones. The belts run from the top of the atmosphere, some 1,000 kilometers above Earth’s surface, to as far as five or six Earth radii from the planet’s surface.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Evil Eyebrows and Pointy Chin of a Cartoon Villain Make Our ‘threat’ Instinct Kick in

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Psychologists have found that a downward pointing triangle can be perceived to carry threat just like a negative face in a crowd.

In a paper published in Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association, Dr Derrick Watson and Dr Elisabeth Blagrove have carried out a series of experiments with volunteers to find out if simple geometric shapes can convey positive or negative emotions.

Previous research by these scientists showed that people could pick out a negative face in a crowd more quickly than a positive or neutral face and also that it was difficult to ignore faces in general. The researchers carried out a series of experiments asking volunteers to respond to computer-generated images. They were shown positive, negative and neutral faces, and triangles facing upwards, downwards, inward and outward. This latest study shows that downward triangles are detected just as quickly as a negative face.

Dr Watson said: "We know from previous studies that simple geometric shapes are effective at capturing or guiding attention, particularly if these shapes carry the features present within negative or positive faces."
"Our study shows that downward pointing triangles in particular convey negative emotions and we can pick up on them quickly and perceive them as a threat."

Dr Blagrove added: "If we look at cartoon characters, the classic baddie will often be drawn with the evil eyebrows that come to a downward point in the middle. This could go some way to explain why we associate the downward pointing triangle with negative faces. These shapes correspond with our own facial features and we are unconsciously making that link."

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Domestic Cats, and Wild Bobcats and Pumas, Living in Same Area Have Same Diseases

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February 3, 2012
Domestic cats, wild bobcats and pumas that live in the same area share the same diseases.

And domestic cats may bring them into human homes, according to results of a study of what happens when big and small cats cross paths.

Initial results of the multi-year study are published today in the scientific journal PLoS One by a group of 14 authors.

The joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Program funded the study. Scientists at Colorado State University and other institutions conducted the research.

It provides evidence that domestic cats and wild cats that share the same outdoor areas in urban environments also can share diseases such as Bartonellosis and Toxoplasmosis. Both can be spread from cats to people.

"Human-wildlife interactions will continue to increase as human populations expand," said Sam Scheiner, program director for EEID at NSF.

"This study demonstrates that such interactions can be indirect and extensive," said Scheiner. "Through our pets we are sharing their diseases, which can affect our health, our pets' health and wildlife health."

The study looked at urban areas in California and Colorado. Its results show that diseases can spread via contact with shared habitat.

All three diseases the scientists tracked--Toxoplasmosis, Bartonellosis and FIV, or feline immunodefiency virus--were present in each area.

The research also demonstrates that diseases can be clustered due to urban development and major freeways that restrict animal movement.

"The results are relevant to the big picture of domestic cats and their owners in urban areas frequented by wild cats such as bobcats and pumas," said Sue VandeWoude, a veterinarian at Colorado State and co-leader of the project.

"The moral of this story is that diseases can be transmitted between housecats and wildlife in areas they share, so it's important for pet owners to keep that in mind."

The researchers followed wild and domestic cats in several regions of Colorado and California to determine whether the cats had been exposed to certain diseases.

The effort includes data from 800 blood samples from felines of all sizes, including 260 bobcats and 200 pumas, which were captured and released, and 275 domestic cats.

"As human development encroaches on natural habitat, wildlife species that live there may be susceptible to diseases we or our domestic animals carry and spread," said Kevin Crooks, a biologist at Colorado State and co-leader of the project.

"At the same time, wildlife can harbor diseases that humans and our pets can in turn get. Diseases may be increasingly transmitted as former natural areas are developed."

The project also looked at whether bobcats in southern California were segregated into different populations by major highways.

By analyzing genetic and pathogen data, the scientists found that bobcats west or east of Highway 5 near Los Angeles rarely interbred, but that the bobcats did cross into each other's territory often enough to share diseases such as FIV.

"The evidence suggests that bobcats are moving across major highways, but are not able to easily set up new home territories," said VandeWoude.

"They can, however, spread diseases to one another when they cross into each other's territories. This could result in inbreeding of the bobcats trapped by urban development and end up in the spread of diseases."

VandeWoude and Crooks say that the results don't necessarily mean that all domestic cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are at a high level of risk. They plan further studies to better assess that risk.

It does mean that domestic cats and wild cats who share the same environment--even if they do not come into contact with each other--also can share diseases.

The findings show that pumas are more likely to be infected with FIV than bobcats or domestic cats. While FIV cannot be transmitted to people, it is highly contagious among felines.

The rate of Toxoplasmosis was high in pumas and bobcats across Colorado and California.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that, when carried by healthy people, has no effect but that can cause complications for infants and adults with compromised immune systems.

Cats only spread Toxoplasmosis in their feces for a few weeks following infection with the parasite. Like humans, cats rarely have symptoms when first infected.

Bartonellosis is a bacterial infection also called cat scratch disease. If someone is scratched by a cat with Bartonellosis, the scratch may become infected, but the infection is usually a mild one.

Other studies underway include a fine-scale analysis of urban landscape features that affect disease incidence; evaluation of pathogen exposure and transmission in bobcats; and a survey of domestic cat owners about their attitudes toward risks for pets from wildlife.

Large-scale projects looking at movement patterns of bobcats and pumas in Colorado, and a motion-activated camera analysis of human and wildlife interactions along urban areas, are also in progress.

The take-home message, the researchers say, is that life in the wild may not be so wild after all.

In addition to VandeWoude and Crooks, co-authors of the paper are: Sarah Bevins, Scott Carver, Mo Salman and Michael Lappin of Colorado State University; Erin Boydston, Lisa Lyren and Robert Fisher of the Western Ecological Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey; Mat Alldredge and Kenneth Logan of the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife; Seth Riley of the National Park Service in Thousands Oaks, Calif.; and T. Winston Vickers and Walter Boyce of the University of California at Davis.

NSF's Directorates for Biological Sciences and Geosciences, along with NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences, support the EEID Program.

For more information on the NSF-NIH EEID Program, please see NSF's special report: Ecology of Infectious Diseases.

-NSF-

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Breakthrough Study Confirms Cause of Short Gamma-Ray Bursts

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WASHINGTON -- A new supercomputer simulation shows the collision of two neutron stars can naturally produce the magnetic structures thought to power the high-speed particle jets associated with short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The study provides the most detailed glimpse of the forces driving some of the universe's most energetic explosions.

The state-of-the-art simulation ran for nearly seven weeks on the Damiana computer cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Potsdam, Germany. It traces events that unfold over 35 milliseconds -- about three times faster than the blink of an eye.

GRBs are among the brightest events known, emitting as much energy in a few seconds as our entire galaxy does in a year. Most of this emission comes in the form of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.

"For the first time, we've managed to run the simulation well past the merger and the formation of the black hole," said Chryssa Kouveliotou, a co-author of the study at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "This is by far the longest simulation of this process, and only on sufficiently long timescales does the magnetic field grow and reorganize itself from a chaotic structure into something resembling a jet."

GRBs longer than two seconds are the most common type and are widely thought to be triggered by the collapse of a massive star into a black hole. As matter falls toward the black hole, some of it forms jets in the opposite direction that move near the speed of light. These jets bore through the collapsing star along its rotational axis and produce a blast of gamma rays after they emerge. Understanding short GRBs, which fade quickly, proved more elusive. Astronomers had difficulty obtaining precise positions for follow-up studies.

That began to change in 2004, when NASA’s Swift satellite began rapidly locating bursts and alerting astronomers where to look.

"For more than two decades, the leading model of short GRBs was the merger of two neutron stars," said co-author Bruno Giacomazzo at the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Only now can we show that the merger of neutron stars actually produces an ultrastrong magnetic field structured like the jets needed for a GRB."

A neutron star is the compressed core left behind when a star weighing less than about 30 times the sun's mass explodes as a supernova. Its matter reaches densities that cannot be reproduced on Earth -- a single spoonful outweighs the Himalayan Mountains.

The simulation began with a pair of magnetized neutron stars orbiting just 11 miles apart. Each star packed 1.5 times the mass of the sun into a sphere just 17 miles across and generated a magnetic field about a trillion times stronger than the sun's.

In 15 milliseconds, the two neutron stars crashed, merged and transformed into a rapidly spinning black hole weighing 2.9 suns. The edge of the black hole, known as its event horizon, spanned less than six miles. A swirling chaos of superdense matter with temperatures exceeding 18 billion degrees Fahrenheit surrounded the newborn black hole. The merger amplified the strength of the combined magnetic field, but it also scrambled it into disarray.

Over the next 11 milliseconds, gas swirling close to the speed of light continued to amplify the magnetic field, which ultimately became a thousand times stronger than the neutron stars' original fields. At the same time, the field became more organized and gradually formed a pair of outwardly directed funnels along the black hole's rotational axis.

This is exactly the configuration needed to power the jets of ultrafast particles that produce a short gamma-ray burst. Neither of the magnetic funnels was filled with high-speed matter when the simulation ended, but earlier studies have shown that jet formation can occur under these conditions.

"By solving Einstein's relativity equations as never before and letting nature take its course, we've lifted the veil on short GRBs and revealed what could be their central engine," said Luciano Rezzolla, the study's lead author at AEI. "This is a long-awaited result. Now it appears that neutron star mergers inevitably produce aligned jet-like structures in an ultrastrong magnetic field."

The study is available online and will appear in the May 1 edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The authors note the ultimate proof of the merger model will have to await the detection of gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by relativity. Merging neutron stars are expected to be prominent sources, so the researchers also computed what the model's gravitational-wave signal would look like. Observatories around the world are searching for gravitational waves, so far without success because the signals are so faint.



Lynn Chandler
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/gamma-ray-engines.html

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