At this particular moment in Earth’s history – although the sun’s diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon – the sun is also about 400 times farther away. So the sun and moon appear nearly the same size as seen from Earth. And that’s why we on Earth can sometimes witness that most amazing of spectacles, a total eclipse of the sun.

 

No one knows the odds, because we didn’t have sufficient star-exoplanet-exomoon triplets to do reliable statistics on. Astronomers have discovered 893 planets in distant solar systems so far (as of June 21, 2013), but we don’t know much about their moons.

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Earth seems drenched with water from mountaintop to ocean bottom. But our home planet is a desert compared to some places the solar system, both in terms of its total water volume and the amount of liquid on Earth relative to its size.

 

Consider Jupiter’s ice-encrusted moon Europa, which is smaller than Earth’s moon. Scientists recently used 20-year-old Voyager data to find even more evidence that Europa has twice as much water as our planet. Even tiny Pluto may have an ocean nearly as large as Earth’s.

 

Steve Vance, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has kept a close eye on research about ocean worlds over the years. He has rounded up estimates of ice thickness and ocean depth throughout the solar system to calculate roughly how much water may exist.

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Scientists were delighted when a team of researchers recently found the world’s largest bee (Megachile pluto) in Indonesia.
Scientists feared it might be extinct — until now.

One of the first images of a living Wallace’s giant bee. Megachile pluto is the world’s largest bee, which is approximately 4 times longer than a European honey bee. A group of researchers made a stunning "rediscovery" of the elusive critter and took the first photos and video of a living Wallace’s giant bee on January 25, 2019.

 

The team — composed of natural history photographer Clay Bolt, entomologist Eli Wyman, behavioral ecologist Simon Robson and ornithologist Glenn Chilton — spent years studying the bee and slogged around in humid Indonesia forests for days before stumbling upon one.

The rediscovery has renewed hope that more of the region’s forests are home to the rare species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies this species as "vulnerable" due to mining and quarrying.

 

Only two other lucky fellows are documented to have seen it in person before. The first was British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered the giant bee in 1858 while exploring the tropical Indonesian island of Bacan. Entomologist Adam Messer became the second in 1981.

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While AI and big data are more and more used to tackle cancer, experts caution: there cannot be exceptionalism for AI in medicine. It requires rigorous studies, publication of the results in peer-reviewed journals, and clinical validation in a real-world environment, before implementation in patient care.

 

2019 has begun with news regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in cancer. In the UK, the NHS has started a collaboration with Kheiron Medical to AI algorithms to try to diagnose breast cancer as competently or more than human radiologists, launching a trial on historic scans, Financial Times reports. In the US, Recursion Pharmaceuticals has announced the in-licensing of a clinical-stage drug candidate (REC-2282) for Neurofibromatosis type 2 or NF2, a rare hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome. The drug was identified using their artificial intelligence and big data platform. Many companies – including Google – are developing their own AI and data systems for a better assessment of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: cancerworld.net

Dubai Police now have a revamped model of the hoverbike — and they’ve taken it for a test flight.

 

The flying motorbike is back in Dubai — and you could see the police riding one in the not-too-distant future. A year after California-based startup Hoversurf showcased its hoverbike at tech expo GITEX in the white and green livery of the Dubai Police, the company has returned with a new model and evidence its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle might be, well, taking off. Making good on a deal signed in 2017, Hoversurf has now gifted Dubai Police its first serial production unit of the S3 2019 Hoverbike and has begun training officers to fly it.

 
Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, general director of Dubai Police’s artificial intelligence department, described the eVTOL vehicle as a first responder unit used to access hard to reach areas. He said he aims to have hoverbikes in action by 2020.
 
Hoversurf S3 2019 Hoverbike:
  • Weight: 253 lbs
  • Total thrust: 802 lbs
  • Max speed: 60 mph
  • Safe flying altitude: 16 ft
  • Flight time with pilot: 10-25 minutes
  • Flight time in drone mode: up to 40 minutes
  • Charge time: 2.5 hours
  • Price: $150,000
 
"Currently we have two crews already training (to pilot the hoverbike) and we’re increasing the number," he told CNN. Hoversurf chief operating officer Joseph Segura-Conn explained that ideal candidates will be able to ride a motorcycle and have drone operating experiences. Video of one officer learning to pilot the hoverbike appeared online last month.
 
Segura-Conn said Dubai Police have exclusive rights to order as many units as they want: "They’re going to let us know in the next month or two if they’d like any more … If they would like 30 or 40, we’ll make it happen for them."

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Since, in 1995 the first extrasolar planet was discovered almost 4,000 planets have been found around the nearest stars. This allows us to study a large variety of configurations for these planetary systems. The evolution of the planets orbiting other stars can be affected, mainly, by two phenomena: the evaporation of the upper layers of the planet due to the effect of the X-rays and ultraviolet emitted by the central star, and by the impacts of other celestial bodies of the size of a planet.

 

The former effect has been observed a number of times in extrasolar systems, but until now there have been no proof of the existence of major impacts, as has apparently occurred in the Kepler 107 system.

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A recent study used machine learning technology to analyze eight leading models of human origins and evolution, and the program identified evidence in the human genome of a “ghost population” of human ancestors. The analysis suggests that a previously unknown and long-extinct group of hominins interbred with Homo sapiens in Asia and Oceania somewhere along the long, winding road of human evolutionary history, leaving behind only fragmented traces in modern human DNA.

 

The study, published in Nature Communications, is one of the first examples of how machine learning can help reveal clues to our own origins. By poring through vast amounts of genomic data left behind in fossilized bones and comparing it with DNA in modern humans, scientists can begin to fill in some of the gaps of our species’ evolutionary history.

 

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Casual stargazers may look at the black area among stars and think that there’s nothing there except empty space. But the night sky hides many secrets invisible to the naked eye.

 

Less than a year into its mission, a sky-survey camera in Southern California shows just how full the sky is. The Zwicky Transient Facility, based at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, has identified over a thousand new objects and phenomena in the night sky, including more than 1,100 new supernovae and 50 near-Earth asteroids, as well as binary star systems and black holes.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.washington.edu

Since higher education is, by definition, an environment where new knowledge is produced and consumed, it follows that the freedom to engage in intellectual inquiry is essential to the purpose of higher education, to the mission of higher education institutions and to the professional duties of those individuals involved in teaching, learning and research processes.

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Computational method helps scientists examine microbes at a larger, more comprehensive scale than previously possible.

 

During the Zika virus outbreak of 2015–16, public health officials scrambled to contain the epidemic and curb the pathogen’s devastating effects on pregnant women. At the same time, scientists around the globe tried to understand the genetics of this mysterious virus. The problem was, there just aren’t many Zika virus particles in the blood of a sick patient. Looking for it in clinical samples can be like fishing for a minnow in an ocean.

 

A new computational method developed by Broad Institute scientists helps overcome this hurdle. Built in the lab of Broad Institute researcher Pardis Sabeti, the “CATCH” method can be used to design molecular “baits” for any virus known to infect humans and all their known strains, including those that are present in low abundance in clinical samples, such as Zika. The approach can help small sequencing centers around the globe conduct disease surveillance more efficiently and cost-effectively, which can provide crucial information for controlling outbreaks.

The new study was led by MIT graduate student Hayden Metsky and postdoctoral researcher Katie Siddle, and it appears online in Nature Biotechnology.

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