Observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way. This long-sought result represents the climax of a 26-year-long observation campaign using ESO’s telescopes in Chile.

 

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.eso.org

The “Onassis Cultural Centre” is Athens’ (Greece), new cultural space hosting events of all spectrum of arts with an emphasis on contemporary cultural expression. Theatre, dance, music, visual arts, written word, to support Greek artists, to cultivate international collaborations and to educate children and people of all ages through life-long learning…. 

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The expression of a gene involved in female birds’ color vision is linked to the evolution of colorful plumage in males, reports a new study from the University of Chicago. The findings, published Nov. 26 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, confirm the essential role of female color perception in mate selection and sexual dimorphism.

 

"This is the first time an aspect of the visual system in birds has been directly associated with plumage evolution," said Natasha Bloch, PhD, who authored the study while a graduate student in ecology & evolution at the University of Chicago. "It tells us color perception plays an important role in the evolution of the spectacular diversity of colors we see in nature."

 

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: phys.org

Professor Ishikawa Komuro’s Tokyo lab is better known for robot hands that can dribble and catch balls and spin pencils between their fingers. Now, two researchers have taken this speedy sensing tech and applied it to the ripping of paper books.

 

Books are different from other kinds of media, like music and movies – it’s very hard to get them into a computer. There is no equivalent of CD or DVD rippers like iTunes or Handbrake. This not only makes piracy laborious, it also stops you from turning your own books into e-books.

 

This high-speed scanner changes that, at least if you have the room and tech skills to build one. By using a high-speed camera that shoots at 500 frames per second, lab workers Takashi Nakashima and Yoshihiro Watanabe can scan a 200-page book in under a minute. You just hold the book under the camera and flip through the pages as if shuffling a deck of cards. The camera records the images and uses processing power to turn the odd-shaped pictures into flat, rectangular pages on which regular OCR (optical character recognition) can be performed.

 

The technique is unlikely to be coming to the home anytime soon (although ripping a book by flipping it in front of your notebook’s webcam would be pretty awesome), but it could certainly speed up large scanning efforts like Google’s book project.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.wired.com

30,000 years ago, a ground squirrel burrowed out a spot for itself, about 10 inches in diameter at its widest, where it brought back seeds and other grassy and fruited plants to nibble on. The place where the squirrel chose to make its burrow is now known as Siberia, and the burrow is close to 100 feet below the surface and in a layer of permafrost.

 

The squirrel, of course, is long gone. But tiny roundworms, a type of nematode, that also made their home there have lasted those tens of thousands of years, frozen and immobile. Now, though, scientists in Russia have revived them, making these worms—all of them female worms—the first multicellular organisms to have survived being frozen in Arctic permafrost.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.atlasobscura.com

The limits of human existence might not be as limited as we have long thought.

 

 

A person’s risk of death slows and even plateaus above age 105, a new study reports, challenging previous research saying there’s a cutoff point past which the human life span cannot extend.

Longevity pioneers lucky enough to make it past the perilous 70s, 80s and 90s could potentially live well into their 110s, if fortune remains on their side, said senior author Kenneth Wachter, a professor of demography and statistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: medicalxpress.com