Science – Tech2 https://tech2.org Trending News Wed, 19 Dec 2018 06:48:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 Apple Canada now sells the Catalyst AirPods waterproof case for $ 39.95 https://tech2.org/apple-canada-now-sells-the-catalyst-airpods-waterproof-case-for-39-95/ Wed, 19 Dec 2018 06:48:57 +0000 https://tech2.org/apple-canada-now-sells-the-catalyst-airpods-waterproof-case-for-39-95/

Are you looking to take your Apple AirPods to the elements? Apple has started selling exclusively the Catalyst waterproof case for AirPods in Canada and the United States.

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AirPod customers simply place their existing case in the Catalyst silicone case, which has an IP67 waterproofing rating, which means it can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water for half an hour. The case is also fall proof and comes with a stainless steel carabiner to attach it to your bag or belt loop.

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The Catalyst AirPods case is available in Canada for $ 39.95, in black, white or bright in the dark. Apple stores have stock available to pick up, while online delivery can arrive before Friday, December 21, 2018.

If you're looking for cheaper third-party waterproof AirPods, this one from Winique at Amazon.ca has a fraction of the price of $ 14.99, and claims to have a higher IP68 waterproof rating, to survive in deep waters of 1.5m to 30 minutes.


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NASA's New Horizons probe is underway for a historic overflight https://tech2.org/nasas-new-horizons-probe-is-underway-for-a-historic-overflight/ Wed, 19 Dec 2018 06:44:52 +0000 https://tech2.org/nasas-new-horizons-probe-is-underway-for-a-historic-overflight/

Artwork: Ultima Thule

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POT

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Work: at this stage, scientists can only speculate how Ultima Thule looks

The New Horizons probe from the US space agency is still underway for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule.

When the mission passes the 30 km wide object on New Year's Day, it will be the farthest visit to a body in the Solar System, some 6,500 million kilometers from Earth.

The mission planners decided on the weekend to give up on a possible change of trajectory.

This means that the probe will fly 3,500 km from the frozen surface of Ultima to take a series of photos and other data.

There was some concern that the object might be surrounded by large debris particles that could destroy the probe if it encountered them. But nothing of the kind has been detected, so a wider and safer pass will not be necessary.

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NASA / JH-APL / SWRI

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After taking hundreds of images of Ultima Thule (yellow dot), the mission planners are sure that there are few remains near the object and it is safe to stay on the internal path (3,500 km of flight distance) as opposed to the trajectory outside (10,000 km)

It's been three years since New Horizons made its remarkable flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto. That was a technical tour de force and the acquisition of observations in Ultima will be just as difficult.

The controllers will have to tell the spacecraft exactly where and when to point their instruments or risk detecting an empty space as it moves at a speed of 51,000 km / h.

"Can we fly 3,500 km from the object and center all those images on the target, and not miss anything? That's what excites me the most, that's the challenge," said Mission Operations Director Alice Bowman in the fall. from the American Geophysical Union last week. Meeting in Washington DC.

New Horizons will again send repeated images of Ultima in the coming days that will help refine the final navigation and the time models used during the flyby.

Other stories from the AGU meeting that you might like:

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POT

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Work: New Horizons passed to Pluto more than three years ago

What do we know about Ultima Thule?

Very little. The object was only discovered four years ago by the Hubble telescope in a search for possible targets that New Horizons could achieve after its encounter with Pluto.

Initially cataloged as (486958) 2014 MU69, it was given the most striking nickname of Ultima Thule (pronounced: Tool-ee) after a public consultation exercise.

Like many of the Kuiper belt objects of its kind, it is likely to be composed of dust and ice cream that came together at the dawn of the Solar System more than 4,500 million years ago.

The theory suggests that such bodies will take an elongated or lobular shape. Think potato or peanut

Its surface must be very dark, since it has been "burned" through the eons by high-energy radiation: cosmic rays and X-rays.

New Horizons will study the form, composition and environment of Ultima.

The scientists hope that Ultima can provide information on how these distant objects were formed. One idea is that they grew out of the massive accumulation of a large number of grains the size of a stone.

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POT

Image capture

Pluto is the size of a terrestrial continent; Ultima would be a mountain on Pluto

What can we expect from the overflight?

Do not blink, you may miss it. Unlike the encounter with Pluto in July 2015, there will be no more and more resolute images in the approach to admire. Ultima will remain as a spot in the viewfinder until the day of the overflight, which is set to 05:33 GMT as the closest time.

However, the much smaller separation between the probe and Ultima (3,500 km versus 12,500 km on the dwarf planet) means that finer details on the surface will eventually be observed.

The "watering" phase of the pass occurs over a period of approximately 48 hours, centered mainly on the day side of the object. Because New Horizons has to turn to point its instruments, it can not keep its antenna blocked on Earth while it also collects data.

Therefore, controllers must wait until later on New Year's Day for the probe to "call home" a status update and start linking some selected images.

And it will be on January 2 before we see the first of these images, and on January 3 before we get the best one.

At a distance of 6,500 million kilometers, radio signals take more than six hours to reach Earth.

"Our data rates are low: typical data rates exceed 1,000 bits per second and it will take 20 months to recover them," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern. "Which is pretty good because we'll receive new Kuiper belt gifts every week and every month until 2019 and most of 2020," he told BBC News.

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NASA / JPL

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The Voyager probes are now outside the heliosphere.

What does New Horizons do next?

The team working on the investigation is going to ask NASA to fund an extended mission.

The hope is that the ship's course can be altered to visit at least one more Kuiper belt object sometime in the next decade.

You have enough fuel reserves to be able to do this. Critically, it has enough electricity reserves to continue operating its instruments during this period.

The New Horizon plutonium battery may even allow you to continue talking to the Earth when it leaves the Solar System.

The two Voyager missions of the 1970s have left the heliosphere: the bubble of gas that blows from our Sun. Voyager 2 has only done so recently, in November.

This occurred at a distance of 119 astronomical units (or 119 times the Earth-Sun distance, 149 million kilometers). New Horizons is currently in 44 AU and registers approximately three additional AUs each year.

Your power system could probably run at about 100 AU, said Professor Stern.

"That's less than the distance of the Voyagers, but the interesting game is that the heliosphere breathes and exhales through dozens of astronomical units due to the solar cycle," he explained.

"Nobody is good enough to predict the solar cycle to tell you where the edge of the heliosphere will be in the middle of the late 2030s when we become critical for power."


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SpaceX shows the first Crew Dragon spacecraft with the new Falcon 9 completed https://tech2.org/spacex-shows-the-first-crew-dragon-spacecraft-with-the-new-falcon-9-completed/ Wed, 19 Dec 2018 05:18:55 +0000 https://tech2.org/spacex-shows-the-first-crew-dragon-spacecraft-with-the-new-falcon-9-completed/

The new published photos of an official tour of the launch facilities of the SpaceX Pad 39A reveal that SpaceX has effectively completed preparations prior to the integration of the company's first Crew Dragon spacecraft, as well as the new Falcon 9 rocket. Block 5 that will have the task of releasing it soon next year.

This current orientation release not before (NET) on January 17, this inaugural launch of Crew Dragon, known as Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1), will be carried out without an on-board team to ensure that performance and The characteristics of the spacecraft conform to the design parameters. giving NASA the data it needs to certify Crew Dragon to launch astronauts as of June 2019.

Aside from the wonderful fact that all (or almost all) of the hardware needed to launch the launch of Crew Dragon can be seen in the four photos released today, this is also the first time that SpaceX has provided a real photo of the spacecraft. next generation Solar array based on trunk. A dramatic departure from Cargo Dragon's more traditional duo of multi-paneled solar panels, which unfold from disposable decks and unfold like wings, SpaceX decided from the start that Crew Dragon would take a very different approach. In a move that presumably reduces the risk of solar array deployment, the Crew Dragon panels are conformed (ie, curved to fit) to the rear exterior of the disposable trunk.

Instead of deploying their matrixes as wings, Crew Dragon will always have its solar cells ready and waiting to generate energy, simply requiring the spacecraft to face half of its trunk towards the sun. According to some people involved with the trunk, ensuring the adaptation of the food between the cells and the individual subsections and avoiding the problems caused by the different coefficients of thermal expansion (shrinkage and expansion as the temperature changes) was not easy task and resulted in many, many headaches in the last weeks of integration and testing. From a less objective point of view, the new formed solar matrix of Crew Dragon is absolutely impressive, and it will be a shame to see each trunk similar to a sculpture relegated to a destructive atmospheric reentry after each launch.

Speaking pragmatically, it is extremely satisfying to see all the devices (both rockets and spacecraft) effectively under the same roof on the launch pad from which they will soon take off. Like Falcon Heavy, NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been affected by most of the two-year delays with respect to the original launch targets in 2017 for both Boeing as for SpaceX. Since then, a combination of NASA's bureaucracy and the technical / programmatic setbacks of both companies have conspired to delay the first trips to orbit without crew and crew almost indefinitely.

SpaceX suffered Falcon 9 catastrophic failures in 2015 and 2016 and has been working hard to improve the technical and organizational failures that allowed these anomalies to occur, while at the same time convincing NASA that they are ready to safeguard lives of the astronauts of the space agency. Since the last known total failure of SpaceX in September 2016, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy have achieved 37 extraordinary consecutive launches in just over 24 months.

SpaceX is targeting the first orbital launch of the Crew Dragon sometime in January 2019, with the launch date currently reserved on January 17, pending the availability of the International Space Station (ISE) and the approval of NASA . Given the presence of Falcon 9 B1051 in the integration hangar of 39A and the fact that the SpaceX technicians already seem to be integrating the first and second stages, the company could be ready to perform a complete general test, with Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon. Leaving vertically in Pad 39A, before 2018.


For fast updates, on-the-ground insights and unique glimpses of the SpaceX rocket recovery fleet, take a look at our new LaunchPad and LandingZone newsletters!


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NASA fears that the internal server will be hacked, personal information will be swept away by malefactors • The Registry https://tech2.org/nasa-fears-that-the-internal-server-will-be-hacked-personal-information-will-be-swept-away-by-malefactors-%e2%80%a2-the-registry/ Wed, 19 Dec 2018 05:15:07 +0000 https://tech2.org/nasa-fears-that-the-internal-server-will-be-hacked-personal-information-will-be-swept-away-by-malefactors-%e2%80%a2-the-registry/

Another escape, this time is personal. Plus: Trump launches Space Force, er, Command

Galileo probe from NASA (Courtesy of NASA / JPL-Caltech)

No ship was damaged in this incident.

A server containing personal information, including social security numbers, of current and former NASA workers may have been hacked, and their data stolen, emerged today.

According to an internal note circulated to the staff on Tuesday, in mid-October, the US space agency investigated whether two of its machines with employee records had been compromised or not, and discovered that one of them may have been infiltrated by criminals.

It was also feared that this confidential personal data had been diverted from the hijacked server. The agency's senior official stressed that space missions were not affected, and protection against identity theft would be offered to all affected workers, past and present. The IT staff at the Boffinry powerhouse has since secured the servers and is combing through other systems to make sure they are fully defended, they tell us.

According to the heads of NASA, anyone who joined, left or transferred within the agency from July 2006 to October 2018 may have been deleted from their personal records. At this time, the agency employs approximately 17,300 people.

"Upon discovering the incidents, NASA's cybersecurity staff took immediate steps to protect the servers and the data they contained," said the memo, issued by Assistant Administrator Bob Gibbs.

"NASA and its federal cybersecurity partners continue to examine the servers to determine the scope of possible data extraction and identify potentially affected individuals, which will take time." The ongoing investigation is a priority for the agency, with the participation of high level leaders NASA does not believe that any mission of the agency has been endangered by cyber incidents "

In a statement to Register Today, a spokesperson for NASA told us:

We asked NASA that it took almost two months to inform the staff, despite being a top priority, and what may have been exfiltrated. "We can not go into detail about the data," a spokesperson told us, adding: "However, 2 CFR 200.79 defines PII as" … information that can be used to distinguish or trace the identity of an individual, whether alone or when combined with other personal data. or identification information that is linked or binding to a specific person. "®

Additional reports by Richard Speed.

In other space news … President Donald Trump today instructed the Pentagon to form the US Space Command. UU. That will attract service personnel from all corners of Uncle Sam's armed forces. The Space Command is expected to assume national security responsibilities related to the space previously held by the United States Strategic Command.

All this is part of the President's desire to establish a new branch of military force nicknamed military, which will counteract any move by Russia or China to block or destroy US satellites or interrupt other US space operations. UU

Fundamentally, Trump may be unable to get the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats to sign his dream of the Space Force, so the Space Command may be an attempt to establish another route to establish a branch of the independent army centered in space. . The Space Command will be headed by a general or admiral approved by the four-star Senate, and more details will be revealed on exactly how it will develop in the coming weeks, according to Vice President Mike Pence.


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Suborbital launch of Blue Origin scrub – Spaceflight Now https://tech2.org/suborbital-launch-of-blue-origin-scrub-spaceflight-now/ Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:22:55 +0000 https://tech2.org/suborbital-launch-of-blue-origin-scrub-spaceflight-now/

EDITOR'S NOTE: updated at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Tuesday with the Blue Origin announcement of a canceled launch attempt.

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Blue Origin eliminated the planned launch on Tuesday of the company's New Shepard suborbital reinforcement from west Texas due to a "land infrastructure problem."

The takeoff was established on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. CST (9:30 a.m. EST; 1430 GMT) from the extensive Blue Origin test facility north of Van Horn, Texas, but Blue Origin tweeted shortly before 8 a.m. CST that the launch was delayed.

"We are scrubbing the #NewShepard launch today due to a ground infrastructure problem," Blue Origin wrote on Twitter. "The vehicle is in good condition. Wait for updates while we see what the weather looks like for tomorrow. "

When it takes off, the flight is expected to rise to an altitude of more than 60 miles, or 100 kilometers, powered by a BE-3 engine powered by hydrogen. NASA's research payload will fly into a crew capsule on the New Shepard propeller, but there will be no passengers aboard the launch.

The propeller and the capsule will separate after turning off the main engine of the rocket. Both vehicles will return to Earth, with the rocket aiming for a controlled vertical landing on a landing pad with the help of a braking burn, and the capsule parachuted to the desert floor a few miles away.

Founded and funded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin plans to take people on a New Shepard launch next year. The impeller that will fly again this week is the third New Shepard propulsion module produced by Blue Origin, and the company says that a fourth New Shepard rocket, the one destined to transport humans in suborbital space travel, arrived at the launch site of the West Texas from its factory near Seattle.

The next flight will be the tenth launch of a New Shepard vehicle, and the fourth flight with the third New Shepard propulsion module. It will also be the first Blue Origin flight since July 18, when engineers demonstrated the vehicle's high-altitude abortion capability.

The solid fuel cancellation engine of the capsule fired to rapidly accelerate the ship away from the rocket, simulating the escape maneuver that passengers would use to quickly move away from a high-altitude missile propeller. Blue Origin performed a low altitude cancellation demonstration in 2016.

Blue Origin is expected to use the same booster capsule and crew from the July mission at the next launch, scheduled less than a week after one of the company's main competitors in the suborbital space tourism market, Virgin Galactic, will fly in his SpaceShipTwo rocket. at the edge of space for the first time with two test pilots at the controls.

The SpaceShipTwo rocket plane reached a maximum altitude of 51.4 miles, or 82.7 kilometers, on Thursday's test flight, above the 50-mile mark used by the US Air Force. UU And the Federal Aviation Administration to determine who was awarded astronaut wings. New Blue Shepard flights from Blue Origin, none of which has carried passengers or employees to date, have reached heights over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Kármán line, the internationally recognized space limit.

A New Shepard test launch of April 29 flew at an altitude of 351,000 feet, or approximately 107 kilometers. Bezos said those are Blue Origin's goals for New Shepard's operational flights.

Blue Origin has not announced ticket prices for passengers seeking to travel on New Shepard, and the company is not yet taking deposits. Virgin Galactic has received deposits from hundreds of potential space tourists for the $ 250,000 price of a trip on SpaceShipTwo.

While Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle uses an aerial launch to shoot into space and lands on a runway under the pilot's manual control, Blue Origins' fully automated New Shepard rocket takes off vertically from a launch pad, followed by a propelling landing of the booster and an assisted parachute return of the passenger transport module, a flight profile that is expected to be demonstrated again with the mission of Tuesday.

"Jeff is running a type of company very similar to us, but a very different experience from passengers," said Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic and Virgin Group, in an interview with CNBC on Thursday. "His will be a terrestrial rocket, ours is a spaceship that flies and returns on its wheels, it goes down again in a parachute, both are, I think, very valid, I think both will be tremendous experiences for people, and I suppose that people will want to try both if they can afford it. "

The nine NASA-sponsored experiments scheduled to fly into space on the tenth mission of New Shepard include payloads from universities and NASA centers that examine the behavior of a non-toxic "green" fuel in microgravity, which demonstrates a way to measure fuel levels in microgravity using sound waves, testing technology to cool the electronics in space and measuring the electromagnetic fields that occur naturally inside and outside the spacecraft.

Other payloads from NASA include a pair of planetary scientific investigations from the University of Central Florida to help scientists better understand how dust particles on other planets could respond to human and robotic contact, and to evaluate the performance of a mechanism of recovery of asteroid samples at a low level. Gravity environment New Shepard will also carry an experimental image that could be used to support future biological research on suborbital rockets, a vibration isolation platform to protect the tremor experiments and the forces found on the flight, and a data logger to record the temperature, pressure and carbon dioxide levels. , acoustic conditions and acceleration inside the cabin.

Send an email to the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.


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Qualcomm says that Apple violates an order of the Chinese court, despite the new software https://tech2.org/qualcomm-says-that-apple-violates-an-order-of-the-chinese-court-despite-the-new-software/ Tue, 18 Dec 2018 04:06:55 +0000 https://tech2.org/qualcomm-says-that-apple-violates-an-order-of-the-chinese-court-despite-the-new-software/

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc said it believes Apple Inc continues to violate a Chinese court's orders to stop selling iPhones despite a software update Apple unveiled on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: An assistant uses a new iPhone X during a media presentation in Beijing, China, October 31, 2017. REUTERS / Thomas Peter / File Photo

On Dec. 10, Qualcomm said it had won a preliminary injunction in China that prohibited Apple from selling some older iPhone models that, according to the court, violated two Qualcomm software patents. On the same day, Apple said all of its phones were still on sale in China.

But on December 14, Apple said it would push a software update for its iPhones this week. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it believed it was complying with court orders, but would update its software "to address any possible concerns about our compliance with the order."

The update was released on Monday, Apple confirmed to Reuters.

"Despite Apple's efforts to minimize the meaning of the order and its claims in various ways that it will address the infringement, Apple apparently continues to circumvent the legal system by violating injunctions," said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel. , to Reuters in a statement on Monday.

Apple never publicly commented last week on why or how it believed that its current iPhones for sale in China complied with the court order, which referred to patents on software features to switch between applications on a smartphone and resize the photos before setting them up as wallpaper on a phone.

Several media outlets, including CNBC, reported that Apple believed that the court's orders applied only to iPhones that were running earlier versions of its iOS operating system. But the court's orders, a copy of which Qualcomm handed over to Reuters, did not mention the operating systems and focused only on the features of the software.

"Apple's statements after the issuance of the preliminary order have been deliberate attempts at obfuscation and false guidance," Rosenberg of Qualcomm said in a statement on Monday.

Qualcomm believes that Apple continues to violate court orders because Apple continues to sell phones and has not received an explicit order from the Chinese court that allows it to do so.

"They are legally bound to immediately cease sales, offers to sell and import the devices identified in the orders and demonstrate compliance in court," Rosenberg told Reuters in a December 14 statement.

When asked by Reuters about Qualcomm's statements, Apple reiterated its earlier statements that it believes it is complying with the injunction.

Stephen Nellis report; Edited by Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker

Our Rules:The principles of trust of Thomson Reuters.

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Pterosaurs simply remain rarer https://tech2.org/pterosaurs-simply-remain-rarer/ Mon, 17 Dec 2018 17:41:10 +0000 https://tech2.org/pterosaurs-simply-remain-rarer/

Even experts often turn to the word "strange" when describing pterosaurs, the winged dragons that dominated the sky for more than 160 million years. This is especially true in the case of the group of short-tailed pterosaurs called anurognatids, which used to dart and jump through the forests of the Mesozoic era, like bats, looking for insects.

Now it seems that anurognatids and other pterosaurs may also have used an oddly varied layer of structures similar to feathers and skins, according to a new study published on Monday. Ecology of nature and evolution. A team led by paleontologist Zixiao Yang of Nanjing University in China came to that conclusion based on two specimens of almost complete pestosaurian anurognatids, the size of a pigeon, found in northern China.

The idea that pterosaurs (which lived approximately 228 million years ago until the extinction of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago) may have had some type of coat similar to the skin is not new in itself. Researchers have proposed it since the discovery of the first known pterosaurs in the 19th century. But the exact nature of this cover has been difficult to determine from the short structures, similar to filaments, called picnofibras, conserved in fossils of pterosaurs. The new study set out to fill that gap with the help of a battery of advanced technological tools. As a result, the authors characterize what they say are four different types of pycnofibers, distributed around the body of the animal in ways that suggest different types of pycnofiber that perform different functions: thermal insulation in the neck and head, for example, or reduction of the drag on the wings. A type of pycnofiber is a simple monofilament, similar to a hair. But three others appear to be branched in a way that the authors describe as "remarkably similar" to the feathers of birds. The similarities go beyond the form, or morphology, they say, to the similarity in the chemical and cellular levels.

Based on this finding, the study also argues that "the integumentary structures of feathered ramifications" may have evolved not first in dinosaurs, as was generally thought, but in some primordial archosaur, a common ancestor of pterosaurs and dinosaurs , including modern birds. This would mean that the ancestor even of dinosaurs decidedly not avian like Stegosaurus It could have been covered in feathers, instead of scales. It would also push the origin of the feathers out of the Jurassic period and retreated 60 million or 70 million years until the dawn of the Triassic period.

That early date for the appearance of the feathers would fit, says Michael Benton, lead author of the new study and paleontologist at the University of Bristol in England, with the transition from an extended posture to an upright and warm-blooded posture in many animals. groups, along with other evidence indicating "the pace of life accelerated" while the Triassic species struggled to recover from the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, in which 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrates had disappeared some 252 million years ago. years. It would also fit with the evidence that most of the genes that control the production of feathers were present in vertebrates before the origin of dinosaurs.

The counterargument, says Benton, is that great dinosaurs like it Stegosaurus or Brontosaurus The feathers were missing. But that is no stranger, he says, than elephants or whales that have little or no hair, although both evolved long after the evolution of hair in mammals.

In a commentary published in the same issue, behavioral ecologist Liliana D'Alba of the University of Ghent, Belgium, who was not involved in the new study, is skeptical. The study shows that the chemical composition of picnofibers is similar to that of feathers, he wrote, and both scanning electron microscopy and X-ray energy dispersion spectroscopy show that the fibers contain melanosomes, the same packets of pigments that impart color to feathers and mammals. hairs But the claim that some picnofibers are branched as feathers is based, she says, on the subjective interpretation of the "thick filament morphology", or shape. She points out that a previous attempt by other researchers to characterize picnofibras as feathers failed to persuade most paleontologists. It may require developments in other advanced technologies, he suggests, to solve the question.

"Does this work show that archosaur skin was more complex than we knew? Yes, "says Yale ornithologist Richard Prum, whose extensive knowledge of feathers was the basis of his award-winning book of 2017 The evolution of beauty. (Prum was not involved in the new study either). "Does it show that the archosaurs grew all kinds of interesting things on their skin? You bet All you have to do is look at a turkey beard to see that really new things can evolve into the skin of an archosaur." But Prum says the authors' grand conclusion is "wrong" because they ignore this evolutionary ability of novelty; just because the pterosaurs produced some strange structures like feathers does not automatically imply that the feathers have arisen in some common ancestor of the pterosaurs and dinosaurs. "These pterosaur skin appendages are great," says Prum, "but their branched structure is not homologous to that of the feathers," that is, they do not have a shared evolutionary origin. "And they probably are not homologs with feathers at all," he says. "In short, they are not feathers."

Most of them are not even spicy, says pterosaurs specialist David Unwin of the University of Leicester in England, who was not involved in the study. "These are fantastic specimens, and they did a brilliant job of getting images," he adds. But he argues that researchers are wrong when they use the keratin content to identify certain structures such as external picnofibers. Those structures, he says, are almost certainly pterosaur wing tissues called actinofibers, which can also contain keratin. None of the nine authors of the new study has experience with the preservation of soft tissues in pterosaurs; perhaps as a result, says Unwin, they do not refer to other relevant studies, for example, about the melanosomes of pterosaurs. His interpretation of the evidence, he adds, "is problematic, to say the least."

Benton challenges critics to show that "structures in pterosaurs are morphologically or chemically different from feathers." Meanwhile, he says, "we are having a parsimonious view" that they are actually feathers. He compares the new study with putting a kite: "We are establishing a hypothesis that can be tested."

Attempts to tear down that comet, by means of rhetorical shots, have begun.


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Most known scientific findings of 2018 https://tech2.org/most-known-scientific-findings-of-2018-2/ Sat, 15 Dec 2018 17:41:06 +0000 https://tech2.org/most-known-scientific-findings-of-2018-2/

Drinking too much can have dangerous consequences.

The authors of a major study published in The Lancet found that all over the world, the more people drink, the more likely they are to develop cancer and the more likely they are to die.

The investigation caused a stir, as the authors suggested that there is no safe level of alcohol. Journalists from all over the world quickly picked up that headline and published it.

But there is some evidence that a moderate amount of alcohol (for example, one drink per day) can help protect against some health conditions, particularly heart disease and diabetes. Lead author of the Lancet study, Max Griswold of the University of Washington, said that does not matter because the "combined health risks" associated with alcohol increase "with any amount of alcohol."

Others are not so sure.

"The fact that the study is published," wrote Professor Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine in The New York Times after the study was published.

It is also important to remember that Griswold's finding was not based on a completely new investigation. Instead, his team reviewed nearly 600 previous studies on alcohol for a meta-analysis. Meta-analyzes can make it difficult to control accuracy, since different researchers conduct studies in dramatically different ways.

In addition, other factors not measured could also explain the increases in deaths and health problems in drinkers. People who consume alcohol may be stressed, smoke or have other underlying health problems or genetic differences that make them more likely to develop diseases.

"We could spend our lives discussing where the line is for many people," Carroll wrote. "The truth is we just do not know."


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Most known scientific findings of 2018 https://tech2.org/most-known-scientific-findings-of-2018/ Sat, 15 Dec 2018 17:41:05 +0000 https://tech2.org/most-known-scientific-findings-of-2018/

Drinking too much can have dangerous consequences.

The authors of a major study published in The Lancet found that all over the world, the more people drink, the more likely they are to develop cancer and the more likely they are to die.

The investigation caused a stir, as the authors suggested that there is no safe level of alcohol. Journalists from all over the world quickly picked up that headline and published it.

But there is some evidence that a moderate amount of alcohol (for example, one drink per day) can help protect against some health conditions, particularly heart disease and diabetes. Lead author of the Lancet study, Max Griswold of the University of Washington, said that does not matter because the "combined health risks" associated with alcohol increase "with any amount of alcohol."

Others are not so sure.

"The fact that the study is published," wrote Professor Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine in The New York Times after the study was published.

It is also important to remember that Griswold's finding was not based on a completely new investigation. Instead, his team reviewed nearly 600 previous studies on alcohol for a meta-analysis. Meta-analyzes can make it difficult to control accuracy, since different researchers conduct studies in dramatically different ways.

In addition, other factors not measured could also explain the increases in deaths and health problems in drinkers. People who consume alcohol may be stressed, smoke or have other underlying health problems or genetic differences that make them more likely to develop diseases.

"We could spend our lives discussing where the line is for many people," Carroll wrote. "The truth is we just do not know."


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The dracula ant that sucks blood sets the new fastest animal record https://tech2.org/the-dracula-ant-that-sucks-blood-sets-the-new-fastest-animal-record/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:41:06 +0000 https://tech2.org/the-dracula-ant-that-sucks-blood-sets-the-new-fastest-animal-record/

There is a new animal faster on Earth and it is … an ant.

I'm sorry if we disappoint you, but believe it or not, this small and somewhat terrifying man has released the new album. And it is in Australia.

Known as the Dracula ant, its jaws close with a click 5000 times faster than in the blink of an eye.

The quick creature uses a snapping mechanism to quickly slide its jaws together, similar to a snap of a finger.

It sucks the blood of its larvae as food, hence its name, and uses its jaw to eat other insects or to defend itself.

The Dracula ant is one of at least six ant lineages that have evolved with jaws with power amplification adapted for high-speed movements.

The scientists recorded images of the jaws ranging from zero to 320 km / h in 0.000015 seconds, which makes it the fastest known animal movement.

The speed can determine if it catches food or if it is eaten by a predator.

In a study published today, scientists said that the fastest movements of animals incorporate closures and springs in their appendages to overcome the limits of muscle power.

"We also discovered that the shape of the mandible of the jaw is specialized for bending, consistent with its use as a flexible spring," they said.

"These results extend our understanding of animal speed and demonstrate how small changes in shape can lead to dramatic differences in performance."

This particular species is restricted to Australia, tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

Because of their cryptic habits, they are rare to collect.

The researchers, led by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, said they wanted to better understand a gap in knowledge of animal performance, and that there is no detailed information on the mechanisms of the jaw.

This story originally appeared on news.com.au.


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