Retailers including John Lewis and Currys head for record online sales as frenzied shopping swamps websites.
The ruddy color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is likely a product of simple chemicals being broken apart by sunlight in the planet’s upper atmosphere, according to a new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission. The results contradict the other leading theory for the origin of the spot’s striking color — that the reddish chemicals come from beneath Jupiter’s clouds.
The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which reported that the vehicle is under development and is to arrive in 2017. Audi’s technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg told Auto Express, "I was able to reengineer the R8 e-tron project and technology with the team and we are on the way to a range of 450km (280 miles)." Auto Express reporter Jonathan Burn said the all-electric family car is expected to adopt a saloon style body to allow for better packaging. "The larger surface area of a saloon would allow for the bigger and more powerful batteries to be stowed beneath the floor of the car so to not encroach on boot or passenger space."
Fitting in some analog home time, and music, amid the digital flow of work seeking a better planet.
(Phys.org)—Researchers have set a new record for the quantum factorization of the largest number to date, 56,153, smashing the previous record of 143 that was set in 2012. They have shown that the exact same room-temperature nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiment used to factor 143 can actually factor an entire class of numbers, although this was not known until now. Because this computation, which is based on a minimization algorithm involving 4 qubits, does not require prior knowledge of the answer, it outperforms all implementations of Shor’s algorithm to date, which do require prior knowledge of the answer. Expanding on this method, the researchers also theoretically show how the same minimization algorithm can be used to factor even larger numbers, such as 291,311, with only 6 qubits.
Politically sidelined since a 2009 UN summit almost ended in a bust-up, climate change has resurfaced as a priority but faces a brutal test at talks opening in Lima on Monday.
Two donuts of seething radiation that surround Earth, called the Van Allen radiation belts, have been found to contain a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents the fastest, most energetic electrons from reaching Earth.
The list is not comprehensive, but it still provides a good idea of why the F.A.A. and others are increasingly concerned about the safe operation of drones.
(Phys.org)—A large team of researchers with members from around the world has conducted a global survey of soil fungi by collecting thousands of soil samples from sites all around the world. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their survey, how they performed DNA analysis on the specimens they found, and what they learned in doing so. David Wardle and Bjorn Lindahl of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences offer a Perspectives piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.
It’s been an interesting year for Venus Express. A few months ago, controllers deliberately dipped the spacecraft into the atmosphere of the planet—for science purposes, of course. The daring maneuver was approved because the spacecraft is near the end of its mission. It’s nearly out of fuel and will fall into Venus—sometime. Likely in 2015. No one knows exactly when, however.
Feeling lucky? Events such as the Comet Siding Spring approach by Mars in October only happen about once every eight million years, according to NASA.
(Phys.org) —In a quantum network, information is stored, processed, and transmitted from one device to another in the form of quantum states. The quantum nature of the network gives it certain advantages over classical networks, such as greater security.
Sales on computers are growing much faster than sales in offline stores, and sales on mobile phones are growing faster still.
Gigya, an American company that helps connect more than 700 businesses with customers through social media, says a Syrian group hacked its web address.
A team of geologists in the U.S. has finally found an analyzable sample of the most abundant mineral in the world allowing them to give it a name: bridgmanite. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they were able to analyze a sample of the mineral in a meteorite. Thomas Sharp of Arizona State University offers an analysis of the research in the same journal issue.
The largest collection of helminth genomic data ever assembled has been published in the new, open-access WormBase-ParaSite. Developed jointly by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, this new resource will be a major asset in the fight against parasitic worms, which infect more than one billion people worldwide.
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers working at Rice University in the U.S. has demonstrated that graphene is better able to withstand the impact of a bullet than either steel or Kevlar. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they set up a miniature firing range in their laboratory and used it to test the strength of graphene sheets.
University of Exeter researchers have played a crucial role in creating a comprehensive new report indicating that the global risk from extreme weather is set to intensify.
The musical rebels of the past are today’s museum pieces. Pop music is increasingly penetrating heritage institutions such as museums and archives. That is apparent from the PhD research of Arno van der Hoeven. On Thursday 27 November 2014 he defended his thesis entitled ‘Popular Music Memories. Places and practices of popular music heritage, memory and cultural identity’ at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In his research, Van der Hoeven also shows that pop music heritage contributes to the formation of people’s identity.
The unique shapes of male sex organs have helped describe thirty new millipede species from the Great Western Woodlands in the Goldfields, the largest area of relatively undisturbed Mediterranean climate woodlands in the world.
At T MINUS 1 Week on this Thanksgiving Holiday, all launch processing events remain on track for the first blast off of NASA’s new Orion crew vehicle on Dec. 4, 2014 which marks the first step on the long road towards sending Humans to Mars in the 2030s.
Factors that can hinder older employees from continuing to work include workload, a poor memory and the pensionable age-effect. The Job-Exposure Matrix is a newly developed instrument that provides an easy way to chart the workload of older employees. Kelly Rijs investigated how people experience their own health at the end of their career and the influence of the pensionable age on this. Rijs defended her doctoral thesis on 20 November 2014 at the VU Medical Center.
Electron states in solids are responsible for many material properties, such as color and electrical conductivity. However, because of their confinement within the crystal, it is very difficult to study the quantum physical properties of the electrons in detail. Konstantin Bliokh and Franco Nori from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, in collaboration with researchers in Austria, have now successfully measured free electron properties equivalent to those in solids for the first time using vortex electron beams formed by a transmission electron microscope.
The proteins associated with driving the cell shape changes that internalize the embryonic inner ear have been identified by Raj Ladher and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology. "Our hope," says Ladher, "is that by understanding the morphogenesis of the inner ear, clinicians will become more aware of what to look for in their diagnosis of otic developmental defects."
According to paper published online November 20 in the Journal of Human Evolution, the age of the Lantian Homo erectus cranium from Gongwangling, Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, China, is likely half a million years older than previously thought. Earlier estimates dated this important fossil, which was found in 1964, to 1.15 million years ago. A research team of Chinese and British scientists, have provided compelling evidence that the fossil should be dated to 1.63 million years ago, making it the oldest fossil hominin cranium known in northeast Asia, and the second oldest site with cranial remains outside Africa. Only the Dmanisi crania from Georgia that, like Lantian, are relatively small-brained, are older, at around 1.75 million years old.
Researchers at DESY have used high-speed photography to film one of the candidates for the magnetic data storage devices of the future in action. The film was taken using an X-ray microscope and shows magnetic vortices being formed in ultrafast memory cells. Their work, which has been reported by the scientists surrounding Dr. Philipp Wessels of the University of Hamburg in the journal Physical Review B, provides a better understanding of the dynamics of magnetic storage materials. Magnetic memory cells are found in every computer hard drive.
Australian councils are being urged to take up new guidelines in green urban planning to create cooler cites with greener landscapes to reduce the risk of heat stress.
The revelations that global and multinational businesses have been brokering "secret" tax deals with Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes in their home countries, may be the first time an entire country has been implicated in tax avoidance collusion.
A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented the pilot project, which recently went into operation, together with Microsoft and FuelCell Energy. The data center is not connected to the public power grid. Siemens developed and installed intelligent control and monitoring technology for the plant as well as energy management software so that the servers can be reliably supplied with electricity at all times. The partners intend to demonstrate that using intelligent hardware and software, even critical installations such as data centers can be reliably operated with alternative energy sources.
If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you’ve probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept, which appears to be frustrating members of the distance education community:
Consider a standard pizza box containing a standard circular pizza. How much more would you be willing to pay for a square pizza that filled the box?
(Phys.org)—Teenage boys are perhaps more known for playing computer games but girls are better at making them, a University of Sussex study has found.
Shoppers have launched into the holiday buying season and retailers are looking forward to year-end sales that make up almost 20% of their annual receipts. But as you check out at a store or click "purchase" on your online shopping cart, you might be setting yourself up as the victim of a crime.
"We have not seen an ice free period in the Arctic Ocean for 2,6 million years. However, we may see it in our lifetime," says marine geologist Jochen Knies. In an international collaborative project, Knies has studied the historic emergence of the ice in the Arctic Ocean. The results are published in Nature Communications.
(Phys.org)—A coin-sized detector might observe gravitational waves before the giant Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), according to two Australian physicists.
Most galaxies lie in clusters, groupings of a few to many thousands of galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy itself is a member of the "Local Group," a band of about fifty galaxies whose other large member is the Andromeda Galaxy about 2.3 million light-years away. The closest large cluster of galaxies to us is the Virgo Cluster, about 50 million light-years away, with about 2000 members.
A lush expanse of Amazon rainforest known as the "Mother of God" is steadily being destroyed in Peru, with the jungle giving way to mercury-filled tailing ponds used to extract the gold hidden underground.
Mate choice is often the most important decision in the lives of humans and animals. Scientists at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have found the first evidence that birds may choose their mate through odor. The researchers compared the preen gland chemicals of black-legged kittiwakes with genes that play a role in immunity. Kittiwakes that smell similarly to each other also have similar genes for immunity. Since the birds prefer to mate with unrelated mates, the scientists have now found the likely mechanism by which they recognize relatedness. The scientists published their findings in Nature’s Scientific Reports.
Car finish, to which no dirt particles adhere, house fronts, from which graffiti paints roll off, and shoes that remain clean on muddy paths – the material "fluoropore" might make all this possible. Both water and oil droplets roll off this new class of highly fluorinated super-repellent polymers. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now decided to fund its further development at the KIT with EUR 2.85 million. Fundamental research in this area is aimed among others at making use of this new type of material for universal protective coatings.
Fact: over 585 regional trade agreements have been signed. Almost 400 are already operating. Australia is a signatory to at least 12 of them.
The European Space Agency’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) mission has been given the green light to proceed to the next stage of development. This approval is a milestone for the mission, which aims to launch in 2022 to explore Jupiter and its potentially habitable icy moons.
The Accountability Round Table (ART), a non-partisan organisation, wrote to the three major political parties two months ago seeking their position on three important arms of Victoria’s integrity system: Freedom of Information, the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, and political donations.
Choosing novel bread for its nutritious value without losing the attractiveness of white bread, is now possible thanks to European research
Visitors from around the world are drawn to New York City’s High Line, an elevated park built on defunct railroad tracks transformed into an urban sanctuary of flowers, grasses and trees.
On this forthcoming weekend the Australian state election takes place, and in Victoria State they will be using a new e-voting system to improve secrecy, reliability and user-friendliness. But how secure are such systems? And do people trust such systems? These are key questions for Prof. Peter Y A Ryan, e-voting expert at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) from the University of Luxembourg. The technology that will be applied at this weekends state election is based on Ryan’s original voting concept called "Pret-a-Voter" that he developed in 2004.
Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they reduce algal cover and affect the survival of other marine species. To explore global dynamics and the factors that turn kelp beds into barren grounds is the main objective of a new study published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
A study of ancient marine algae, led by the University of Southampton, has found that climate change affected their growth and skeleton structure, which has potential significance for today’s equivalent microscopic organisms that play an important role in the world’s oceans.
Aiming to transform their concept into a real success, the Faradair team behind a six-seat Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA) have taken this hybrid aircraft project into a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. They want to make a BEHA prototype.The aircraft will take off and land under electric power. The ability to take off and land on purely electric power gives BEHA the potential for near-silent flight operation and the possibility for night flight capability into and around urban environments. The bio-diesel motor will be used as on-board generator for the electric motors and additional cruise power.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who rose to power in large part by opposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, is finding his country isolated like never before on climate change as the U.S., China and other nations signal new momentum for action.
Fitting in some analog home time, and music, amid the digital flow of work seeking a better planet.
A damning report published today by a UK parliamentary committee calls for sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to make their terms and conditions clearer
Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have developed new coatings to apply to soft cheese. These coatings are totally edible and have an antimicrobial capacity, which increases the lifespan of the cheese. These films incorporate oregano and rosemary essential oils as antimicrobial agents, and chitosan, a by-product that comes from crustacean shells.
Human societies are not resilient to extreme weather, according to a new report released by the Royal Society today.
The resolution of scanning tunnelling microscopes can be improved dramatically by attaching small molecules or atoms to their tip. The resulting images were the first to show the geometric structure of molecules and have generated a lot of interest among scientists over the last few years. Scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague have now used computer simulations to gain deeper insights into the physics of these new imaging techniques. One of these techniques was presented in the journal Science by American scientists this spring. The results have now been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Computer Scientists from The University of Manchester have boosted NASA space missions by pioneering a global project to develop programs that efficiently test and control NASA spacecraft.
(Phys.org) —A pair of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created the first surface texture that can repel all liquids, no matter what material the surface is made of.
A limestone statuette of a shapely woman some 23,000 years old has been discovered in northern France in what archaeologists Thursday described as an "exceptional" find.
While the vote poses no immediate threat to the company, it symbolizes the growing resentment in Europe toward the American technology titan.
Geologists may be close to cracking one of the biggest seismological mysteries in the Pacific Northwest: the origin of a powerful earthquake that rattled seven states and provinces when Ulysses S. Grant was president.
French farmers flocked to the Eiffel Tower on Thursday, sheep in tow, to express their frustration over increasing attacks by wolves which some say have been "overprotected" by the government.
The rise of social media has seemed like a bonanza for behavioral scientists, who have eagerly tapped the social nets to quickly and cheaply gather huge amounts of data about what people are thinking and doing. But computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and McGill University warn that those massive datasets may be misleading.
Nora Besansky, O’Hara Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the University’s Eck Institute for Global Health, has led an international team of scientists in sequencing the genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquito species from around the world.
New catalysts designed and investigated by Tufts University School of Engineering researchers and collaborators from other university and national laboratories have the potential to greatly reduce processing costs in future fuels, such as hydrogen. The catalysts are composed of a unique structure of single gold atoms bound by oxygen to several sodium or potassium atoms and supported on non-reactive silica materials. They demonstrate comparable activity and stability with catalysts comprising precious metal nanoparticles on rare- earth and other reducible oxide supports when used in producing highly purified hydrogen.
High-tech genomics and traditional Chinese medicine come together as researchers identify the genes responsible for the intense bitter taste of wild cucumbers. Taming this bitterness made cucumber, pumpkin and their relatives into popular foods, but the same compounds also have potential to treat cancer and diabetes.
Given that some climate change is already unavoidable—as just confirmed by the new IPCC report—investing in empowerment through universal education should be an essential element in climate change adaptation efforts, which so far focus mostly in engineering projects, according to a new study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) published in the journal Science.
The broader significance of the report is that societies collectively forget according to the same formula as, say, a student who has studied a list of words.
Sheets of single-atom thick carbon absorb the impact of bullets more efficiently than steel, paving the way for lightweight, super-strong bulletproof vests
Human-induced changes to Earth’s carbon cycle – for example, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification – have been observed for decades. However, a study published this week in Science showed human activities, in particular industrial and agricultural processes, have also had significant impacts on the upper ocean nitrogen cycle.