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How Do Optical Illusions Work?
 
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For more information, please visit http://www.insidescience.org/content/how-do-optical-illusions-work/3066
Views: 50097 Inside Science
What Would Happen If There Were No Moon?
 
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More on this story at https://www.insidescience.org/content/what-would-happen-if-there-were-no-moon/3446 and for more from Inside Science, please visit our homepage at https://www.insidescience.org/. The moon — it can appear full, shining like a beacon in the night or just a sliver of a nightlight. Still, it’s always there. But what if we didn't have a moon? Here’s the top five things we would miss without it. 1. Nights would be much, much darker. The next brightest object in the night sky is Venus – but it still wouldn’t be enough to light up the sky – a full moon is nearly two thousand times brighter than Venus is at its brightest. 2. Without the moon, a day on earth would only last six to twelve hours. There could be more than a thousand days in one year! That’s because the earth’s rotation slows down over time thanks to the gravitational force – or pull of the moon – and without it, days would go by in a blink. 3. A moonless earth would also change the size of ocean tides – making them about one-third as high as they are now. 4. Forget about seeing any lunar eclipses – or any solar eclipses – without the moon, there would be nothing to block the sun. 5. Without a moon the tilt of our earth's axis would vary over time. This could create some very wild weather. Right now, thanks to our moon, our axis stays tilted at twenty-three point five degrees. But without the moon the earth might tilt too far over or hardly tilt at all leading to no seasons or even extreme seasons. Without the moon helping to keep the earth on a steady tilt, scientists have even imagined that life on earth may not have evolved the way we know it. So the next time you look up at the night sky, realize that the moon is making life here on earth shine bright.
Views: 326448 Inside Science
How do doctors test you for depression?
 
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Diagnosing Depression With A Drop Of Blood First blood test to diagnose depression in adults. Analyzing a single drop of blood can reveal almost any virus, many cancers, your cholesterol level and information for diabetics. Now, for the first time, your blood can help diagnose your mental health. "What we found is a panel of markers that have different levels in patients with depression," said Eva Redei, a neuroscientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Redei and her team have found signs in the blood that could change how depression is diagnosed. "Depression is truly one of those illnesses that have been diagnosed very subjectively," she said. Today, more than 1 in 10 people in the United States are living with depression. It's estimated at least half of the people who are depressed are not diagnosed at all, explained Reidei. "We also know that primary care doctors only diagnose about 50 percent of them correctly, said Redei." "It's basically a conversation." That's because right now, diagnosis is based on a battery of questions asked in the doctor's office. But this blood test could take the guesswork out of diagnosing depression and give further evidence that depression is a physiological illness. The test looks at levels of nine RNA blood markers. RNA is the molecule that carries out instructions from DNA genetic code. It acts as a messenger to create proteins that perform important functions in our body's cells. The RNA markers look different in patients with depression versus those who don't have depression. A study of 32 adults found that levels of these markers changed after 18 weeks of cognitive behavior or talk therapy. The change in blood markers showed the test could detect physical evidence that the therapy was working among patients who said they felt less depressed after therapy. "It's really the first time to see objective biological blood-based markers for cognitive behavioral therapy. I didn't believe it. I mean I was so surprised that it occurred, but it did," said Redei. The test could be useful for diagnosing and determining the best course of treatment for patients with depression. "The patient will know with the security that they do or do not have depression," said Redei.
Views: 247771 Inside Science
What’s White, Shaggy And Could Help Reduce Carbon Dioxide By 80%?
 
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(Inside Science) -- We're already seeing the effects of climate change in the form of rising seas, monster storms, wildfires, and extreme weather. If we stay on our current path of not reducing carbon emissions enough, things could spiral out of control -- leading to irreversible, long-lasting effects on our planet. But now, scientist Klaus Lackner and his material may be one answer to the global warming problem. According to Klaus Lackner, PhD at physicist at Arizona State University, “For the last 20 years, I've been working on how to balance the world's carbon budget. Our problem is we burn a lot of fossil fuels, and ultimately if we burn fossil fuels, you make carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide ends up in the atmosphere, and the problem is, it sticks.” Many years ago, the world was relatively stable at 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – that means carbon dioxide consisted of about .02 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. Sadly, we’ve ramped up levels quite rapidly since then. “Today we are at 400 parts per million, and we are going up by more than two a year. So 450 is, by now, about 20 years away,” said Lackner. That means we’re up to about .04 percent of C02 in the air. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it to reasonable levels. Lackner thinks this material – that looks like a white shag carpet-- could help lower C02 emissions. “We are working on the problem of pulling CO2 back out of the atmosphere. And one critical ingredient in that, is that we have a material that can absorb CO2 out of the air. We thought of this like a synthetic tree, artificial tree. A material which has leaves, and as the air sort of blows over these leaves, it binds to it. Our big surprise was how much it binds depends on how dry it is. The dryer it is, the more it likes CO2, the better it binds,” stated Lackner. The plastic material is naturally good at absorbing CO2 from the air and the neat thing is, it can be reused – so, the whole cycle could look like this: absorb CO2, rinse it, collect it, and repeat. “So we are reasonably confident that this particular material can be produced in quantities we need to make a difference, and can be made in an affordable manner,” said Lackner. And what happens to the carbon dioxide after it’s absorbed by the material? Lackner says, “You either find another use it or you have to dispose of it.” Some of those possible uses could include things like biofuel production. According to Lackner, “We collect the CO2 from the air and feed it to the algae. And then you can make biofuels out of the algae.” Why do we need this material? Don’t trees absorb CO2 from the air? Why not just plant more trees? “Because if you just grow as much as we have, nothing much changes. You end up needing more agricultural land than we have right now in use, in order to make this happen. We collect CO2 roughly a thousand times as fast as a real tree,” said Lackner. Lackner is committed to using the material to help achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2050. And even that might not be enough to balance the carbon budget. “But it's much better rather late, than never. Because the alternative is, that we discuss this for another 50 years and then the problem is twice as big as it is today. Learning by doing doesn't happen unless you do,” concluded Lackner.
Views: 22655 Inside Science
Shocking New Therapy For Stroke Recovery
 
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Stimulating nerve therapy can reverse symptoms from a stroke. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/shocking-new-therapy-stroke-recovery/1636. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 30532 Inside Science
How Do Energy Drinks Give You Energy?
 
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Most of the ingredients supply the flavor and little else. For more on this video visit More from Inside Science visit us at https://www.insidescience.org/. Energy drinks are a $50 billion global industry, overflowing with different brands and exotic ingredients. But how do energy drinks actually give you energy? The answer is familiar: caffeine and sugar. Caffeine makes you feel more energized by affecting your brain, while sugar refuels your body's cells and helps keep you physically active longer. As for any other ingredients, well... we'll get to them later. First, how do caffeine and sugar actually work? When caffeine reaches your brain, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and stimulates your brain cells - neurons - indirectly. It stops them from detecting the sleep-inducing chemical adenosine. This chemical builds up in your brain throughout the day and slows down the activity of your nerve cells. Block the effects of adenosine with caffeine and you feel less sleepy. Your neurons are more active and you feel more energized. But it's only made you feel more energized; it hasn't actually given you any new energy to burn. That's where sugar comes in. You absorb sugar through your intestines into your blood where it can travel to all the cells of your body. Simple sugars, like glucose, are the fuel for all cells. The cells absorb sugar, and feed it into their powerhouses, known as mitochondria. The mitochondria create a merry-go-round of chemical reactions. This chemical cascade produces all-purpose energy chemicals that can then be spread throughout the rest of the cell and used like an energy currency. Absorbing sugar doesn't actually make you feel any more energized - and no evidence has been found for 'sugar highs' - but sugar does provide cells, like in your muscles and brain, with energy to keep them going. Which brings us to all the other ingredients in energy drinks. There is no good evidence that any of these have any effect at all on either your mental or physical energy levels. That includes overhyped ingredients like Taurine, which your body makes loads of anyway - and is one of your body's fundamental building blocks necessary for normal heart, brain and muscle function; glucuronolactone, which is immediately broken down and then peed away in your urine, and the various B vitamins which are also peed out as waste, because you probably get enough of them already in your normal diet. Like many things, energy drinks give you energy through good old-fashioned caffeine and sugar. The only difference is the flavor. Cheers!
Views: 11803 Inside Science
Heavy Metal Singers are Just Big Babies
 
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(Inside Science) -- Music, for some, is most fully expressed in the form of jazz: distinctive, bent, syncopated improvisation; for others, it is country: patriotic steel twangy ballads; for some it is hip hop: lyrical, sampled, turntable beats; for others still, it is classical: refined, symphonic, orchestral homophony. And yet there is a whole other subclass of music lovers among us for whom its proper expression is a different beast entirely -- arrogant, angry, aggressive abuse. They call it heavy metal. A longstanding mystery has persisted around heavy metal singers for years: How do they do it -- all that screaming, for hours at a time -- and then get off the stage and talk normally? How come they never damage their vocal cords? Now, using high-speed imaging, one San Francisco doctor thinks he found the secret... https://www.insidescience.org/video/heavy-metal-singers-are-just-big-babies Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 101311 Inside Science
Coffee Grounds for Greener Gardens
 
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Another perk to your morning pick-me-up. Find out how using your leftover coffee grounds to fertilize your garden may make it healthier. More information on this story at Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 8375 Inside Science
Bird’s Secret To Soaring Super High
 
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(Inside Science) -- Hitting turbulence on a flight at 30,000 feet can cause quite the bumpy ride. But birds who soar high in the sky don’t just handle bumpy air -- they seek it out for a free, energy-saving lift. But how -- and why -- do they do that? Ever watch a bird glide through the air effortlessly, rising higher and higher without ever flapping their wings? They do it by using a technique called thermal soaring. Birds can find hot, rising pockets of air and use the currents to stay aloft, and fly higher. For birds who migrate thousands of miles, flapping their wings for long distances would require huge amounts of energy they don’t have. So they use thermal soaring to save energy and fly for many miles. But the air currents are bumpy and turbulent, and exactly how birds use these wobbly gusts of air to stay airborne hasn’t always been known. “This is one of the interesting parts with the birds, is that although the environment is extremely turbulent, so there are a lot of fluctuations in the speed of the air, they are able to navigate within this,” said Jerome Wong at the University of California, San Diego. Taking cues from birds that learn to navigate these chaotic air environments, scientists at UC San Diego used math algorithms to train gliders to travel through complex, choppy air currents. The graph below shows how an untrained glider that takes random turns will gradually fall, while a trained glider learns to use spiraling patterns in areas of strong rising currents, like in the thermal soaring of birds, and continues to gain altitude. Scientists can train gliders to sense environmental cues, such as an increase in the twisting force of the wind, that indicate rising air. A trained glider uses the cues to stay within the thermal air current, and get better lift, leading to better soaring -- even when there are strong, unstable air changes. As changing air levels rise, the glider can gain height by using flight strategies it learned. One way to do this is to “go with the flow” of the turbulent rising air, rather than turning out of it. “We have done some experiments where we have implemented it in a real glider where we have put the algorithm, the policy [and] the strategy in the glider. We put it up and we have clearly seen that the glider was able to gain height. We went from maybe 200 meters to more than 600 quite easily in a few minutes,” said Wong. Learning how our avian friends use air currents could help autonomous gliders and other flying vehicles be more efficient long-distance travelers. Which means the art of riding thermals isn't just “for the birds” anymore. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 29637 Inside Science
Superconductors -- Powering Our Future
 
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(Inside Science) -- A maglev train hovers above its track. A doctor uses an MRI scanner to detect disease. Fast digital circuits send superfast, clear signals from one source to another. These technologies are possible thanks to superconductors. Superconductors are materials where electrons can move without any resistance. But today's superconductors don’t work unless they are cooled to well below room temperature. Now researchers are using quantum physics on a quest to find superconductors that will work at room temperature to make them easier to use. There’s been a problem in physics that researchers are trying to solve for years: Can we find something that can superconduct at room temperature? If we find it, it will revolutionize how we transport and use energy. “If you had a room temperature superconductor in your pocket, you then hope there would be some very interesting applications that would come out of this,” said Richard Greene, physics professor at the University of Maryland. When lead, mercury and certain compounds are cooled to extremely cold temperatures, they become superconductors. They stop showing any electrical resistance and they expel their magnetic fields, which makes them ideal for conducting electricity. But you need to use liquid helium if you’re trying to get down to absolute zero (-459 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s why physicists want to find a high temperature superconductor that will work at room temperature -- it’s just down right easier to work with. Researchers discovered superconductivity in 1911. By the ’60s, they thought they had solved all of its mysteries. But in 1986 two scientists in Zurich discovered superconductors that work at higher temperatures than researchers thought were ever possible. “So this set off a gold rush of activity, because we were really surprised that this could happen. It occurred also in oxide materials, which was totally unexpected, and these were materials that were not very conducting at all,” said Greene. These materials work as high temperature superconductors up to -225 degrees Fahrenheit. Now that we have materials that can superconduct above the boiling point of nitrogen, we can finally use them in certain applications. Neither MRI machines or the particle accelerator at CERN would have been possible without the use of liquid helium-cooled superconducting electromagnets. “Superconductivity is what I would call an emergent property of materials. It’s not something you can predict by knowing how a few atoms work or a few electrons work. You really need to understand how many atoms and electrons together produce properties, and this of course requires knowing quantum mechanics, which was only invented in the 1920s,” said Greene. Researchers still do not understand how to predict which material will be a high temperature superconductors or what causes their superconductivity. “These new superconductors have many strange properties that are not understood even today. They do not go, they just don’t follow the normal paradigm that we are used to for conventional metals,” said Greene. Greene is studying copper oxide and iron-based superconductors for clues on why the electrons inside them act in such an unconventional way. Solving the problems that come with higher temperature superconductors -- Greene believes researchers will discover a room temperature super conductor in the next 30 years. If that happens, it could solve one of the greatest mysteries of physics -- at the tiniest level. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 9313 Inside Science
Bowling Robot Shows How to Throw More Strikes
 
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Built by mechanical engineers, EARL tests different lane surfaces, bowling styles. View more Inside Science content at http://www.InsideScience.org
Views: 79698 Inside Science
Dissolving Cataracts with a Drop
 
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For more on this story visit https://www.insidescience.org/content/dissolving-cataracts-drop/3541. More from Inside Science visit our site at https://www.insidescience.org/. Most of us can see clearly…but for tens of millions of people around the globe who have cataracts, their vision can be pretty blurry. “Unfortunately, anyone who gets old will have cataracts,” said Kang Zhang, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego. Cataracts are broken protein fragments that build up inside the lens of the eye. The only way to remove the cloudiness is surgery to remove the cloudy lens – that is –until now. A new eye drop may be all patients need to clear up their vision. Zhang and his team of molecular biologists and ophthalmologists at UC San Diego have created a steroid-based eye drop that breaks up the protein fragments and dissolves cataracts. Up until now, the drops have only been tested on dogs such as: Black Labs, Queensland Heelers and Miniature Pinschers with promising results. “Dogs, just like human beings, will get cataracts when they get old. In fact, cataracts are very, very prevalent in the dog populations,” said Zhang. “What we have actually done is put it in a dog's eye and in six weeks, we have seen reversal of cataracts, or increased clarity in the lens,” Zhang said. The dog's eye lens has changed from a cloudy yellow color to a clearer white color. Researchers believe that the drops will do the same thing for the lens of the human eye. “I think this …can really change, or transform how we practice this medicine,” said Zhang. In the future, it could help not only cataracts, but other conditions that involve proteins such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. A happy outcome for dogs—and hopefully their best friends.
Views: 48492 Inside Science
Ultrastiff Material Is Light As A Feather
 
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Light man-made material can hold more than 100,000 times its own weight. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/ultrastiff-material-light-feather/2526. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 12147 Inside Science
Inside A Bat House
 
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Watch bats prepare for their nightly flight. More on this story https://www.insidescience.org/content/inside-bat-house/3351. For more from Inside Science visit us at www.insidescience.org. The Bat House and UF Bat Barn located on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville have become home for an estimated 300,000 bats. In these houses, every evening is like Halloween. As the sun sets the crowds gather to see the current residents because they don't come out during the day. "I'm here to see a big cloud of bats," said Kristine Bickery, an observer. The excitement is building… "I heard hawks come down too to try and eat the bats," said Clarisse Rebancos, another on-looker of the nightly event. The cameras are aimed and ready…and all for the nightly exodus of 300-thousand bats. "This is home of the world's largest occupied bat house and bat barn," said Paul Ramey, assistant director of marketing and publicity at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The video below is an up-close look inside the two bat buildings -- built on the University of Florida campus. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/bats/streaming-bat-cam-videos/bat-barn-interior/ "Just before they start to emerge, the amount of activity increases," said Ramey. Just after sunset…their flight for food begins. "In the evening it's estimated they consume 2.5 billion, or 25-hundred pounds of insects every night," Ramey said. "Insect-eating bats can eat over half their body weight in insects a night," said Kelly Speer, a biology graduate of the University of Florida. But what you don't know about these creatures of the night might surprise you. "I'm a huge fan of Batman but don't know too much about bats themselves," said Justin Abraham, an on-looker. "The bats that fly out of the bat house, which is the Mexican free-tailed bats. ""They're not at all related to birds. They're mammals. And some people think they're most closely related to rodents, but actually they're more like deer," said Speer." How small or large are bats? "The smallest bat is the bumble bee bat which is about 2 grams. And the largest bat is an old world fruit bat, it weighs 2.5 lbs and it has a wing span of five and half feet," said Speer. How old is the species? "They're one of the longest lived mammals for their size. So mammals of similar size normally only live 3-5 years in the wild…but the oldest bat ever caught in the wild was 44 years old," she said. So a bat living thirty years is like a human living to a hundred. Now, what about all the scary things you hear about bats? Bat Myths – Fact or Fiction? "I think people associate bats with blood feeding and vampires, but they're only three species of blood feeding bats. The rest feed on fruit, nectar, pollen, insects and some even eat fish, frogs and rodents," said Speer. In fact, bats are actually pollinators and a natural way to control insects. "Insect-eating bats are saving farmers in southern Texas over a half a million dollars a year and that is by reducing the insect population and reducing the number of insect sprays that farmers have to pay for." And what about the saying blind as a bat? "It's actually not true. There are no species of blind bats. They all have eyes. The ones that don't have great eyesight use a special type of sonar called echolocation to visualize their surroundings using sound," said Speer. Echolocation works when the bats emit high-pitched "ultrasound" that humans cannot hear. They monitor the sound waves that reflect back with their super-sensitive ears to locate and eat flying insects – but just remember…they won't use it to track you. Bats are just as afraid of you as you are of them. They're never going to purposely try and hurt you. You can track the bats and see inside the bat house and barn by logging into flmnh.ufl.edu/bats Depending on where you live, the best time to see bats is spring through early summer – the days are longer and bats come out sooner after sunset during a longer twilight.
Views: 91520 Inside Science
Why love is addictive.
 
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For more on this story and for more from Inside Science, please visit us @ https://www.insidescience.org/. Love makes us joyful, obsessive and sometimes sick. And addictive drugs do the same. But why is love such a powerful addiction? Love and addictive drugs have the same progression: The initial, euphoric, honeymoon period; a drawn-out stage of constant usage, gradually building up a tolerance; and finally a break-up and going cold-turkey. But why would your brain treat your lover like a line of cocaine? Your brain has a system for rewarding you for the good things that you do. It’s a network of areas of your simpler midbrain and your more complicated frontal lobes. The reward system communicates via the chemical dopamine – dopamine is released to signal to the rest of the brain that something good has happened. Drugs hijack dopamine – they turbocharge the feeling of reward, but when they wear off, you’re left craving another dopamine hit. That’s the basis of addiction. And each drug drives the reward system in a different way, either directly, or via release of chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin or opioids. But love hits all those pathways… at the same time. Social contact, physical intimacy and the promise of sex all directly stimulate increased dopamine. Looking into each other’s eyes, hugging and orgasm release oxytocin from the hypothalamus, which indirectly stimulates the reward system – and it makes those rewarding feelings specific to the one, special person. Love also releases serotonin and on top of that: opioids! The active ingredient in heroin! It’s a perfect storm. So no wonder that when you finally fall out of love, and all those chemicals stop coursing round your body, the comedown can be hard. And to make matters worse, now is when your brain starts releasing stress hormone that can make you sick, and make you crave what you’ve lost. But there is a silver lining. Oxytocin – the same chemical that supersized the love storm – is around to help. Oxytocin is also released during social contact with friends and people you care for – and it lessens the strength of the come-down. And that’s why support from your friends, and other groups has been shown to help recovering addicts - and maybe broken-hearted exes.
Views: 4862 Inside Science
Smart Drug Delivery System
 
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New "smart" material could automatically deliver your medication inside your body without a reminder. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/smart-drug-delivery-system/1618. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 7127 Inside Science
Nano-Wire Packs Portable Power
 
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Find out how your shirt or jeans pocket could charge your smartphone. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/nanowire-packs-portable-power/1926. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 6157 Inside Science
Saving Endangered Sea Turtles
 
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A hospital for rehab, research and release of one of Earth’s oldest living animals. More information on this story at . Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/. (Inside Science TV) – Buckwheat, Mikey, Beaker, Barney, Alfalfa, Newman, Goober and Barnacle Bill are just a few of the sea turtles currently being treated at The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, a landmark animal hospital dedicated to ensuring that sea turtles – some of the oldest animal species on Earth – survive and thrive in the face of extinction. Armed with three ambulances and a dedicated team of biologists, zoologists, veterinarians and staff, The Turtle Hospital treats up to 200 turtles a year, and since 1986, it has released 1500 back into the wild. The need for facilities like the Turtle Hospital is huge. Sea turtles have been around a long, long time: By some estimates, their ancestors date back over 100 million years. Unfortunately, modern species of sea turtles haven’t had it easy. All six sea turtle species in US waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act, and worldwide, sea turtle populations have fallen since last generation. The dangers facing the turtles are numerous, according to Bette Zirkelbach, a biologist at the hospital. “The biggest threat is human impact,” she said, “and that varies from pollution, to trash in our water, fishing line entanglement, [and] boat strikes.” And tackling sea turtles’ complex healthcare needs requires a surprisingly sophisticated battery of tools. "We do blood transfusions, we give the turtles IV nutrition, we do physical therapy—things you might not think of with a sea turtle,” said Zirkelbach. Commonly, Turtle Hospital veterinarians have to address a disturbing trend: sea turtles’ eating of plastic debris, which has increased worldwide since 1985. Turtles mistake the bits of plastic for food – and in the case of “Barnacle Bill,” a 170-pound loggerhead sea turtle treated by the Turtle Hospital, the plastic builds up in their intestines, starving them unless it’s removed. When Barnacle Bill, was found floating, veterinarians used a bronchoscope to look inside his lungs and were able to clear plastic from his intestine. During the turtle's exam, the researchers also discovered that one of Barnacle Bill's lungs is smaller than the other one. Barnacle Bill will remain at the hospital until a permanent home at an aquarium or zoo can be found. Until then, veterinarians will add weights to Barnacle Bill's back to help him stay underwater. The Hospital also treats turtles suffering from fibropapillomatosis, a viral disease ravaging sea turtle populations worldwide. It’s thought that small leeches stuck to the turtles pass along a virus similar to the human herpes virus. If an infection takes hold, the virus causes tumors to grow all over the turtles’ bodies – large enough to affect their sight, swimming, and snacking. The problem hits close to home: “This is a virus that affects over 50 percent of the green sea turtle population,” said Zirkelbach, including ones in Florida. To treat cases of fibropapillomatosis in turtles like “Osborne,” a recently captured green sea turtle, veterinarians with the Turtle Hospital use tools like laser scalpels to remove fibropapilloma tumors. This is especially important for Osborne, who suffered from tumors around his eyes. Doctors are hopeful that the procedure will save Osborne’s eyesight. “We’re doing a lot of critical care," said Zirkelbach."A lot of state of the art medical care, we do blood transfusions, we give the turtles IV nutrition, we do physical therapy … things you might not think of with a sea turtle.” Despite the challenges, the successes of Turtle Hospital keep staff members like Zirkelbach motivated. “To take an animal that would not have otherwise survived, to help mitigate for the human impact that’s out there, fix a turtle up and put him back out into the wild—there’s nothing like it,” she said.
Views: 12319 Inside Science
See How Thoughts Can Move Paralyzed Muscles
 
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Technology that links brain activity directly to movement. More information on this story at Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/. Ian Burkhart was 19 years old and enjoying a day at the beach when an accident occurred. Ian describes that fateful day: “I was playing in the waves in the ocean. I dove into a wave which pushed me down into a sandbar where I snapped my neck. I injured my spinal cord at the C-5 level which means I have pretty good function of my biceps but no function from about my elbows down. So, I can move my arm around but I can’t move my hands or anything below that." Now, Burkhart is a quadriplegic and is confined to a wheelchair most of the day. “The hardest thing for me being a quadriplegic is my loss of independence," he said. "There are a lot of things I need to ask someone for help with now.” But now Burkhart is helping researchers develop technology that could get him moving again. “Neurobridge is a technology we’ve developed to link brain activity directly to movement," said Chad Bouton, a research leader at Battelle, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization. The technology reads a person's thoughts to help move paralyzed muscles, all thanks to a computer chip surgically embedded in the motor cortex, the brain region responsible for movement. This chip has electrodes that detect the electrical signals produced when neurons fire in the motor cortex. In Burkhart’s case, these neurons are still sending the same signals they always did, but his spinal injury prevents the signals from getting where they ought to go. The chip in Burkhart’s brain acts like a detour, detecting these signals and sending them out to a computer. “We’re actually decoding or deciphering those signals,” Bouton said, “so we can tell what kind of movement a person is thinking about and would actually like to achieve.” That signal is then transmitted to a sleeve fitted around Burkhart's arm, which stimulates his muscles to move, activating the ones he is thinking of in a split second. “Once we are able to recognize those signals in the brain,” Bouton said, “we’re able to actually route them around the spinal cord injury, and then translate the signals into a language the muscles can understand.” In its current state, Neurobridge requires patients like Burkhart to focus deeply. “In order for me to pick up [an object],” he said, “I really have to concentrate on going into a rest state initially, so I can kind of calm down my brain activity.” He then has to focus on opening his hand and then closing it as tight as he can. Using this technology, Ian is the first quadriplegic person to move his fingers and his hand just by thinking about it. “It was a surreal experience to see my hand moving, but I can’t really feel my hand moving," said Burkhart. "Since I lack the sensation on my hands, I had to really rely on my sight,” he said, “but knowing I could control my hand to open and close it to pick something up was a great feeling." “I’ll remember that first moment when we turned on the system and Ian…was just trying to open and close his hand, but he was able to do it," said Bouton "And it was absolutely an amazing moment.” This is a major move forward for Burkhart and for Neurobridge, but neurosurgeon Darlene Lobel of the Cleveland Clinic believes there's still more work to be done. “There are other similar technologies that involve brain implants of electrodes such as this,” Lobel said, making Neurobridge effective but not necessarily unique. Researchers like Lobel also wonder how the embedded chip’s electrodes will hold up through the years. “Some of these electrodes over a period of time will either stop working or they will not work as well,” she said, so “it will be important to see the long-term studies with Neurobridge to know whether these electrodes continue to work and have stability over time.” But for Burkhart, Neurobridge is already having a huge impact, letting him perform simple tasks like picking up a mug on his own for the first time in four years. “The biggest thought for me is the sense of hope for the future,” Burkhart said, “to see if they can take some technology like this and push it along forward."
Views: 118833 Inside Science
120 Sided Die - Just Roll With It
 
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(Inside Science) -- What rolls, has 120 sides and has no real practical use? It’s a 120 sided die – it has the most sides of any die in the world. There are lots of unique dice sets around – think dungeons and dragons. And there are even 60 sided dice. But this is a one-of-a-kind die that challenged even the best mathematicians to figure out how to squeeze all those sides and numbers onto one die.  Robert Fathauer, PhD, a mathematician at The Dice Lab, and part of the team that invented the die, “It’s an expensive die, but compared to a lot of other things, it’s not a lot of money.” According to Fathauer, “I thought, is anyone going to pay $12 for a die there’s no use for? It turns out the answer is yes, but I think it’s just because it is an interesting object.” It’s not just interesting, it’s mind boggling that someone could design a die with 120 sides. But Robert and Henry Segerman, PhD, mathematician and cofounder of The Dice Lab, have accomplished the seemingly impossible, but not without its challenges. “Making a large die is more difficult than making dice with less number of faces for a few reasons. For one thing if you have a lot of faces, the faces are small, and so there is less area to land on and sit flat. Also there is less area to put a number in,” said Fathauer. At 120 sides, it’s also a great number for math related combinations. It’s five factorial, which means: one times two times three times four times five equals 120. So, if you have five objects, there are five factorial -- or 120 different ways to arrange them. Making a die as fair as possible means mapping out the numbers equally over the die. To take on the task, another mathematician, Bob Bosch, PhD of Oberlin College in Ohio, was enlisted to find a perfect numbering system for their D-120. “You’ll notice the numbers are arranged in rings, there’s 10 numbers per ring and there are 12 rings, gives you 120 numbers. It turns out there’s almost 10 to the 98th possibilities for arranging the numbers, and that’s something like a billion, billion times the number of atoms in the known universe,” remarked Fathauer. For the geometry fanatics out there, do you know the proper Greek name for a 120 sided die -- also known as the D-120? “Our D-120 is a disdyakis triacontahedron,” exclaimed Fathauer. It’s a quirky die to say the least, it actually wobbles when it’s rolled. According to Fathauer, “It’s got some type of pointy features that tend to cause it to lose momentum faster.” It’s not the easiest die to read, but with a little practice it gets easier says Fathauer, “It’s a little harder with 120 sides to know which number that is. You can actually rotate it a little bit and see that the one face that is straight up will stay in place, it will just turn about the center.” But despite its oddness and uselessness, it’s neat to toss and twirl around, it has 120 possibilities at your fingertips, and it’s a math lover’s dream. “There’s no real use for a D-120 at this point in time, you can make something obscure. One thing you can do with any number of sided dice is play math games,” said Fathauer.
Views: 13277 Inside Science
Artificial Retina Could Help Clear Your Vision
 
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Scientists explore technology that could help restore sight. More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/content/artificial-retina-could-help-clear-your-vision/914. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 8660 Inside Science
"Superpower" Chip Enables Smartphones To See Through Walls
 
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Terahertz technology penetrates walls, wood, plastics, paper and other objects. More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/content/%E2%80%9Csuperpower%E2%80%9D-chip-enables-smartphones-see-through-walls/998. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 12005 Inside Science
Soccer 'Bots
 
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Taking the World Cup to another level. They may not look like your kind of world cup soccer match players, but robots are taking the field by storm in a battle of the soccer ‘bots. They’re about six inches tall, pretty speedy on the field, completely autonomous – meaning no remote control is used by humans. They kick, pass, catch the ball and occasionally, score a goal! The robots, developed by grad students at Carnegie Mellon University located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania – were created to compete in a robotics competition called RoboCup. But how do these robots work as a team? On top of each robot is a color-coded dot. Cameras mounted above the field use the dots to determine the position of each robot. Computers on the sidelines develop player strategies and send commands to the robots wirelessly. The teamwork happens within a loop of commands from robots, to cameras, to computers and back to the robots -- in less than one-fifth of a second and it all happens fifteen times per second! The future of robot soccer has even bigger, better plans and players. Organizers of the competition hope that by the year 2050 – a team of completely autonomous human-sized robot soccer players will play against the real human winners of the official world cup that year. The c-m-u team came in fifth place in the 2015 RoboCup games held in china, and they’re already practicing and gearing up for the 2016 world RoboCup in Germany.
Views: 10525 Inside Science
Artificial Intelligence - Broken Down and Explained
 
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There are two types of artificial intelligence, but not all artificial intelligence is created equal. There is narrow AI, which is painstakingly designed to compute just one thing, but it does it very well. And there is general AI that can adapt to solve different tasks by learning and changing. But who do general AIs learn from? The answer: you. Every day. And here’s how they do that.
Views: 6058 Inside Science
How Does Your Brain Recognize Faces?
 
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Neurologists find clusters of nerves that are responsible for how we identify the differences between faces. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/how-does-your-brain-recognize-faces/1489. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 4330 Inside Science
Smarter Traffic Signals Can Save Time And Money
 
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Interconnected system could give drivers relief and reduce pollution. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/smarter-traffic-signals-can-save-time-and-money/1420. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 9186 Inside Science
The Secret Of The Four-Leaf Clover
 
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Researchers unlock the genetics to lucky four-leaf plant. More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/content/secret-four-leaf-clover/960. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 3860 Inside Science
How Big Does An Asteroid Have To Be To Destroy All Life?
 
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More on this story at https://www.insidescience.org/content/how-big-does-asteroid-have-be-destroy-all-life/3301. For more from Inside Science visit www.insidescience.org. Ever wonder how big an asteroid would have to be to wipe out life on the planet? Turns out about 60 miles wide. Scientists have been looking at potential asteroid impacts for years. University of Colorado Boulder, geoscientist Brian Toon figures one rock about a half a mile wide can do a lot of damage and cause widespread Earthquakes, releasing the energy equal to 100 billion tons of TNT. But even that wouldn't be completely catastrophic. Scientists think the object that may have hastened the death of the dinosaurs was about seven to eight miles wide, sending a dust plume so big it engulfed the planet, igniting fires and basically broiling the dinosaurs. A similar collision today would likely kill billions of people … most of the animals and all the vegetation. It's possible a few people could survive but they would have a hard time finding food. Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary sciences at MIT says even though it's possible this could happen someday, there are no asteroids big enough in any orbit that can completely destroy Earth. What would happen if a smaller asteroid, one the size of a house, crashed into Earth at 30,000 miles per hour? Experts say it would flatten concrete buildings up to a half mile from where it hit. What if the asteroid was the size of a 20-story building? It would flatten all the buildings within five miles. The next near Earth asteroid will make its closest approach on October 26th, 2028. The asteroid's path is predicted to pass beyond the Moon's distance from the Earth. In fact, it will still be about two and half times farther away from the Earth than the Moon. It measures a mile-wide and is traveling at a speed of 30-thousand miles per hour. If it did strike New York City, the force would flatten everything from D.C. to Boston. But not to worry – NASA says it will have zero impact on Earth. To help keep us all safe from any possible future asteroids – NASA is developing an asteroid re-direct mission. It's a first-of-its-kind mission for a spacecraft to land on a large asteroid, grab a huge boulder from its surface for further study and then re-direct the asteroid into a stable orbit around the Moon. This mission is set to launch by 2020.
Views: 28255 Inside Science
Ping Pong Balls Break The Sound Barrier
 
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Air-powered cannon demonstrates physics concepts. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/ping-pong-balls-break-sound-barrier/1189. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 240059 Inside Science
Making The Perfect Wine
 
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See how researchers at UC Davis delve into the fermentation process and find out what it takes for a better wine. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/making-perfect-wine/3001. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/. (Inside Science TV) – – Each year, about 32 billion bottles of wine are bought and sold around the world. Each bottle contains about two and a half pounds of grapes, and to transform those grapes into a beverage with the perfect aroma, color, and taste, winemakers carefully monitor the complex chemistry bubbling away in wineries’ fermentation tanks. “I would say the trickiest part of making wine is getting the flavors right,” said Linda Bisson, a yeast geneticist at the University of California, Davis. The single most important step to making a good wine is fermentation, which is what gives wine its particular taste and alcohol content. Winemakers add yeast—a single-celled fungus—to grape juice, and the yeast digests the sugar glucose, making alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeasts are so good at gobbling up the glucose, in fact, that they usually crowd out other microbes in the juice. What’s more, by adding alcohol to the mix, yeasts make the juice less hospitable for its microbial neighbors. “Yeasts are these incredible microbial juggernauts," said Gordon Walker, a biochemistry graduate student at the University of California, Davis. "They suck all the nutrients, they suck up all the oxygen, they incredibly dominate in fermentations and on top of that, they make alcohol, so they’re knocking back the growth of everybody.” If all goes well, the yeasts rapidly multiply, crowding out other microbes and allowing fermentation to complete in two to three weeks. But sometimes, the yeasts get stuck and don’t fully ferment—a problem that has plagued the wine industry for centuries. When the yeasts stop working, the wine stays too sweet, giving undesirable bacteria plenty of food. As a result, the yeast gives off an acrid sulfur smell like rotten eggs, clams and bad vegetables. But now for the first time, Bisson and her team have discovered what triggers "stuck" fermentation. They’ve learned that bacteria in the wine can trick neighboring yeast into making abnormally formed proteins called prions. These prions, which reproduce inside of the cell, tell the yeast to to slow down or stop converting glucose into alcohol—giving the bacteria space to flourish. “We think what the yeast are doing is that they’re taking the signal from the bacteria, and slowing their metabolism down slightly...and slowing their fermentation processes a little bit," said Walker. Now that they know what’s causing it, researchers are working to create yeast strains that will ignore the bacteria, not create the protein, and keep on working. “The industry just wants the problem solved. They don’t want to have bad sectors of their vineyards that give them lower quality wines,” said Bisson. Now we can all drink to that!
Views: 6799 Inside Science
Environmentally Friendly Leather Substitute
 
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More info on this story at: http://www.insidescience.org/content/environmentally-friendly-leather-substitute/1587 Additional content at www.insidescience.org
Views: 1629 Inside Science
Is Algae Our Last Chance To Fuel The World?
 
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(Inside Science) -- The world will eventually run out of cheap fossil fuels. But before we run out, we’ll probably try to siphon every last drop out of the earth. This means we’ll dig so deep that it will become costly and inefficient to extract the fuel. What happens then? The answer may be found in one of the simplest forms of life on earth. To some people algae is a green mucky mess, but to Steve Mayfield, PhD, a molecular biologist at the University of California, San Diego, this genetically modified super algae may be our ticket to the production of cost effective biofuels – fueling everything from cars to jets to diesel trucks. According to Mayfield, “Biofuels are any fuel that is made from a recently living organism. Why do we say recently living organism? Because petroleum is simply fossil algae, and coal is fossil plants. So all fossil fuels are biofuels, but they're just not recent biofuels, they’re ancient fossil biofuels.” Plants and algae use photosynthesis to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons make excellent fuels for cars and planes. “Algae, because they're a living organism, they make proteins, they make carbohydrates, and then they make lots and lots of fats, fats are really good fuels,” said Mayfield. A well-known biofuel is corn based ethanol, but algae based biofuels are much more efficient. Mayfield agrees, “much more efficient at taking sunlight and CO2 and turning it into a fuel.” Are there any engines that actually run on algae based biofuel? The answer to that is yes. In fact, every single engine is already running on biofuel! “Anything that runs on gasoline or diesel, or jet fuel, those are algae fuels,” confirms Mayfield. What about global warming? The problem with fossil fuels are that they release CO2 into our atmosphere. That CO2 was captured by algae millions of years ago, and has been trapped underground ever since. When we make fuels from algae we're releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, the process is the same. The difference is we captured that CO2 the week before by photosynthesis,” stated Mayfield. Mayfield is working to solve the technical issues that come with producing biofuels on a much larger scale. “That's what we spend our time doing here. Thinking about how we domesticate algae so that it is suitable for biofuel production,” revealed Mayfield. He says that making algae biofuels in bigger quantities will get cheaper over time. “What are we doing now, we're taking algae, growing it in real-time, extracting the exact same oils, the exact same lipids that we would find in petroleum, were extracting those from living algae and then we convert those to gasoline, and jet, and diesel. We think we can hit a target number of 80, 85 dollars a barrel.” continued Mayfield. Algae based biofuel is one solution that addresses three of the most critical issues in our world today. With great hope for the future, researchers push forward, preparing for the day when economic forces will drive the wide scale adoption of biofuels. Mayfield concludes, “We cannot keep seven and a half billion people alive and thriving on this planet if we do not have an energy and food source for them. So this is something that we absolutely have to do.”
Views: 2703 Inside Science
Michael Phelps' Secret Catch
 
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In swimming, does the deep catch or sculling stroke propel swimmers faster? More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/?q=content/michael-phelps-secret-catch/753. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 146274 Inside Science
Taming Aggressive Bees
 
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(Inside Science) -- James Nieh, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, has been studying bees for decades. He’s often a go-to expert on bees. “I often get people who ask me, ‘what about those killer bees, those Africanized bees?’ And it turns out that these guys are beneficial in the environment for a variety of reasons, beneficial in the sense that they do better than the European honeybee,” said Nieh. They do better than European bees in tropical climates. And they are resistant to certain mites that attack other honey bees. But they can still be problematic. “The problem with Africanized bees, although they will also pollinate our crops, is they're highly aggressive. And people have probably seen these stories about bees killing people, unfortunately, or at least getting very hurt by being stung. So, the question is, why are they so aggressive? What is it in their genetics that actually causes them to want to sting you by the hundreds or the thousands?” said Nieh. “Typically, people study aggression at a colony level, which makes sense. You go near a colony. The colony gets activated, and the next thing you know, if it's Africanized, you could have thousands of bees chasing you, trying to sting. We need to come up with an individual assay where we have one bee, and we can see how aggressive that bee is. Then we can look at its genetic makeup to try to see what genes are correlated with that aggression,” remarked Nieh. “We take an individual bee, and we look at its stinging response and its biting response, typical aggressive behaviors,” said Nieh. Scientists say that finding genetic markers of aggression could help beekeepers identify and remove aggressive colonies before they show hostile behavior. “So what Felipe [graduate student at UC San Diego] is doing, is he's using the natural alarm pheromone of a honeybee in this individual assay to see whether or not it triggers aggression, and if there's a difference in aggression between European and Africanized bees,” said Nieh. Researchers are looking at bees to find which genes are involved in the different aggressive behaviors displayed by bees. Knowing more about a bee’s genetic makeup could help breed the perfect bee -- one that has the ruggedness of Africanized honey bees, but the gentle personalities of European honey bees. According to Nieh, there’s a strain of Puerto Rican Africanized bees that appear to have both these ideal characteristics. But persuading others to import Africanized bees -- even gentler ones, and ones that are still good pollinators -- isn’t easy. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 6247 Inside Science
Drone Delivery At Your Front Door
 
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Want same day package delivery service? Keep a look out for a drone to drop it at your front door. Drone delivery is about to get real! Just a few years ago drone delivery seemed like a thing of the distant future. Not anymore. A company in Ohio, called Workhorse Group is testing package deliveries using drones...but there’s a small twist. The drone comes out of the top of an electric delivery truck. After each delivery the drone returns to the truck for its next package. Martin Rucidlo, President of the Workhorse Group said, “The least expensive way to deliver a package would be utilizing a drone, it’s pennies in terms of cost per mile.” A driver programs the drone with an address. Using GPS, it flies to a safe altitude, drops the package within eighteen inches of the ground, usually near the front door. Then takes itself back to the delivery truck. “The driver of the truck has moved on to the next location and now the drone re-docks with the truck at a distant location that is where they are making the next delivery,” Rucidlo said. The drone delivers packages in rural areas, usually traveling distances of about one to two miles. “We envision working for maybe for 10% of the packages, you’re typically delivering 100 packages a day, ten of them will be utilizing the UAS truck delivery system,” he said. The UAS – or unmanned aerial system – can carry packages up to ten pounds, and it’s durable enough to fly in rain or snow. “There’s limitations, you can’t fly them in severe wind,” said Rucidlo. Afraid someone or something – a dog or curious child -- will get in the way of your delivery? The driver is still in charge. “Someone can see that your son is out and will stop the drone from descending at that point via a camera,” he said. The drones are still being tested, and the FAA needs to finalize rules for flying commercial drones – but the future of drone delivery could be just outside your door. “It also allows you to get to what I will call next hour, or one-hour delivery. We have standard delivery, then we have two-day, and then we have next day and then we would have same day, and then we believe one hour. And the only way you’re going to get there, we believe, is with a drone,” said Rucidlo.
Views: 3029 Inside Science
How Athletes Dope at the Olympics... And Get Away With It.
 
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(Inside Science TV) -- Most athletes who dope get away with it. It's estimated that up to a third of the athletes that we'll watch at the Olympics, will be dopers. And yet less than two percent of athletes were caught last year. So how do you dope and get away with it? If you're searching for strength, anabolic steroids will increase it, by up to forty percent. So they're popular, so popular that they account for two-thirds of doping violations. These molecules boost testosterone in your system, but then they show up in your blood and your urine. So that's what the anti-doping agency's test for. But they can only recognize chemical structures that they've seen before, not designer drugs with the same function, but unknown structures. When it comes to endurance, muscles need oxygen; oxygen carried by the blood. EPO and drugs like it, increase maximum blood oxygen by around seven percent. They up the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow. Now EPO can be detected in your urine, unless you microdose! This is a doping technique that works even mid-competition and it's simple. Take a speck of EPO, one ten-thousandth of a gram before you go to bed, and then drink a liter of water. By the time they can test you in the morning, the drug has broken down in your blood, and the water dilutes your urine, leaving no trace of the EPO. Nowadays, we've linked genes to almost all aspects of sport, to strength, to endurance, and even sporting mentality. Today's technology lets us modify genes, but it can't tell us if genes have been modified. Dopers are always ahead of the curve. These days we can test for almost all chemical doping, but not for gene doping. Now this is sports Wild West, it's dangerous, it's unknown, but the potential rewards are massive.
Views: 15748 Inside Science
Natural Bedbug Killer
 
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Microbiologists are using a fungus to wipe out bedbugs. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/natural-bedbug-killer/1497. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 2858 Inside Science
Could A 30 Minute Tornado Warning System Really Be In The Works?
 
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(Inside Science TV) -- The national weather service estimates the average warning time before a tornado hits is anywhere from five to thirteen minutes -- but this undergraduate college student may have found a way to warn people up to 30 minutes in advance that a tornado is on the way! Angela Lamb, an undergraduate student at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas is no stranger to tornadoes, “I grew up in Arkansas so tornadoes, they are close to home…literally.” “The spring semester of my freshman year, a tornado hit 10 miles away from my college and it completely destroyed two entire towns,” said Lamb. That devastation got Angela thinking about what she could do to help better protect people in towns threatened by deadly tornadoes. So she hit the books. “I spent the last two summers really just like going back anytime we found a tornado, or anything like that, I would just go back through our data, just looking at anything that we can find, any kind of like patterns that we found within our data,” said Lamb. Angela looked at data from an instrument called a ring laser. Lamb described the instrument “a ring laser detects any kind of disruption within Earth’s normal frequencies.” She also said, “the ring laser is able to detect infrasound, which is just any kind of wave that is below 20 hertz which is below anything that we can hear. But can be caused by tornadoes coming through, that’s actually what we’ve been finding.” The hours she spent combing through data paid off because the ring laser data revealed something new. “Something that we found last summer, is that we were getting these frequency peaks not only while a tornado was on the ground, but 30 minutes before,” replied Lamb. It’s a simple tool, that in the future, could save lives. Lamb replied, “this could actually be a 30-minute warning. Which is incredible because right now we have only five to ten minutes to seek shelter.” Although the tool isn’t in place right now, in the future a 30 minute tornado warning would give people more time to seek shelter and save lives. The technology is something Angela hopes will some day be put to good use. “I find it so amazing and cool because it is such an inexpensive way to detect these things,” concluded Lamb.
Views: 6116 Inside Science
Ultrasound Can Heal Chronic Wounds
 
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Sound waves could speed up the healing of open wounds.. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/ultrasound-can-heal-chronic-wounds/1528. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 2563 Inside Science
Smart Pill Capsule Could Represent Future Of Drug Delivery
 
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For more on this video visit https://www.insidescience.org/content/smart-pill-capsule-could-represent-future-drug-delivery/3481 and for more from Inside Science, please visit us at https://www.insidescience.org/. A tiny medication capsule could be life-changing for some people. Most medications are absorbed into the body through the stomach and small intestine before making it to the large intestine. This is just fine for most people, but becomes a problem for people suffering from inflammatory bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease -- they need drugs that target the large intestine directly. Scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana may have found a solution: A tiny smart pill that delivers drugs right where patients need it most. The smart capsule is a device that will open at a specific location in the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, according to Babak Ziaie, an electrical engineer at Purdue. The capsule is about an inch long with two compartments. One side holds the drugs. The other side contains a magnetic switch and an electrical component known as a capacitor that releases an electric charge to power the device. A patient wears a small magnet, or has one implanted near where their large and small intestine meet. When the capsule comes within range of the magnet, it triggers the capsule to open and releases the drug. A simulated digestive tract has been used to test the capsule, and researchers hope to see it move on to human clinical trials soon. Once the device is perfected, it could help a host of GI-tract problems.
Views: 4026 Inside Science
Self-Healing Plastic Skin -- Is It Better Than The Real Thing?
 
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Engineers create the first synthetic material that is both sensitive to touch and capable of healing itself. More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/content/self-healing-plastic-skin-%E2%80%93-it-better-real-thing/944. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 4958 Inside Science
Printable Prosthetic Hand
 
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Engineers design a low-cost, simple invention that may help amputees regain mobility. More information can be found at http://www.insidescience.org/content/printable-prosthetic-hand/917. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 11446 Inside Science
Glaucoma Test: Anywhere, Anytime
 
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Interview with Karam Alawa at the University of Miami: “When you consider vision, it’s something that we often take for granted. People are born seeing, or see, we never think that we might not be seeing, and there are people out there who don’t have vision. They have either blurry vision, bad vision or no vision at all, and I don’t think we can really understand what that’s like, until it happens. “Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy that is associated with an elevated intraocular pressure, that results in a progressive loss of visual field over time. So what that means for a patient, is they’ll slowly lose peripheral vision until they realize there’s no vision left and they go blind. And this vision loss is irreversible. “Because it has such an insidious onset, patients don’t usually realize that they have it until it’s too late. For people who see an ophthalmologist regularly, an ophthalmologist might be able to catch glaucoma coming on by [using] different measurements, and they can be treated early. But for those who maybe don’t have access to healthcare, or who don’t see an ophthalmologist regularly, they might not know they have glaucoma until it’s too late. “What we can do is screen for it in the community. So, the technology I’m targeting is actually the visual field test. The machine is called the Humphrey [Visual Field Test] and it tests visual field. Patients put their head into this big machine and they look specifically at this little black dot, and [are] asked not to look around, so this machine shows these little flickers, little stimuli, in their peripheral vision, and they’re asked to press a button when they see these stimuli. If you are affected by glaucoma, and you have that peripheral vision loss, you won’t see these stimuli and that will come up on the report. “The problem with these machines is they’re very large, they’re very expensive. My whole project is centered around making these machines smaller, cheaper and more accessible. So the way we did that is we used a smartphone and a virtual reality headset. So, we take the smartphone, we program the test onto it, and then we place it into a virtual reality headset, [which has] a small little Bluetooth remote. It’s a small, portable machine that patients can wear anywhere and take the test. “As far as what we need to do from now looking forward, we have to validate the device, you know, see, does it actually work? Is it actually comparable to the existing standard? And from there we can talk about, you know, different options, as far as getting it out there. “Glaucoma is actually the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. If we’re able to prevent that or improve that, the quality of life aspect here -- you can improve someone’s quality of life drastically by preserving their vision, or doing anything you can to improve that vision, and that’s what motivates me to pursue this project and get this out there.” Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 2861 Inside Science
Fat Is The 6th Taste Sensation
 
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More on this story https://www.insidescience.org/content/fat-6th-taste-sensation/3586. For more from Inside Science please visit us at https//www.insidescience.org. There’s no mistaking the mouthwatering enjoyment after biting into a juicy cheeseburger or the sweet taste of buttercream frosting on a slice of cake. There’s a lot going on inside our mouths when we eat from smells, textures, and of course, taste. These taste sensations help us enjoy, or dislike food. And you don’t have to be a total foodie to know the five basic taste sensations: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami. Now, scientists have discovered a sixth taste and are proposing that we add a new taste to the list. What is the newest taste? They call it oleogustus. It’s a mouthful to say, but really it’s just a Latin word for the taste of fat. “The evidence for fat is that also it can be tasted in all places, but probably it is most pronounced in the back of the tongue, or the back of the throat,” said Richard Mattes, a nutrition scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In a new study, the researchers have learned that fat interacts with our taste buds -- similar to how the other five basic tastes do -- but, they also learned that fat tastes different from everything else. “Fats contribute strong odor, they contribute mouth feel or texture, and we are proposing that they also contribute a taste dimension,” said Mattes. But don’t let the idea of tasty fatty fries or a buttery melted grilled cheese fool you, the fat taste researchers are talking about isn’t a good taste. On its own, it’s actually quite unpleasant. “In fact, I’ve never met anybody who found it pleasant,” he said. In studies, participants were given samples of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami and fatty taste compounds, and asked to sort them by taste. The fat taste was always in a league of its own. “We in fact learned that the fatty acids the oleogustus sensation was separate from the other sensations that we call basic, they weren’t just sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami, they were unique,” he explained. Researchers say there could be other tastes out there that still need to be identified. “There are suggestions that a calcium taste may exist; that carbon dioxide is unique or that water is a unique taste sensation, so there are a number of other possible primaries that people are exploring,” Mattes concluded. The idea of adding fat as the sixth taste sensation may take some getting used to, but scientists believe it’s on its way to being accepted.
Views: 1542 Inside Science
The Physics of Butterfly Flight
 
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Ever wonder how butterflies use their wings? See here to find out. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/physics-butterfly-flight/2911. More on butterfly's from Inside Science: 1. Butterfly Wings May Improve Airplane Wings http://www.insidescience.org/content/butterfly-wings-may-improve-airplane-wings/1483 2. Butterfly-Inspired Flying Robots http://www.insidescience.org/content/butterfly-inspired-flying-robots/518 Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/. Video script: If you have ever heard someone mention The Butterfly Effect – the analogy that the wind from a butterfly's wings or any other tiny variations can cause huge weather effects somewhere else in the world-- It may make you wonder, how do butterflies make all that wind in the first place? Jayde Lovell, a science educator and writer, explains. First off, butterflies are totally the dancing queens of the animal world! They have amazing and unnecessarily huge wings for their tiny bodies. Their wings are way bigger than many other insects of the same weight. And new research shows butterflies don’t even need all of that wingspan - their wings are so massive they can fly even with half their wing cut off. So how does an insect that is huge, brightly colored, and extremely visible, avoid getting eaten by predators? Well, those massive wings are the answer! Because the size of the wings are so big, they make it easier for the whole insect to maneuver. A butterfly’s huge wings are like having a massive rudder on the back a ship - the bigger the rudder, the faster the ship can turn. If you have a little rudder, you can’t turn as fast. If you’ve ever tried to catch a butterfly, you’ll know exactly what I mean, those suckers are tricky! Butterflies also use their wings to make an erratic fluttering pattern – which is unique to butterflies – and very hard for predators to predict. Rather than flapping their wings up and down like birds (who fall victim to hungry predators all the time!), butterflies contract their bodies making a figure 8 pattern with their wings. As the butterfly’s body contracts, the motion pushes air under their wings, effectively helping it ‘swim’ through the air.
Views: 16677 Inside Science
Superconducting Super Collider
 
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(Inside Science) – “In October 1993 the U.S. Congress terminated the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) with an estimated price tag that went above 10 billion dollars. The SSC was designed to do a pretty wide range of physics goals, but at the very core of it was to find the Higgs boson. Ever since, this project has been referred to as ‘water shed’ in the history of science, in the history of physics especially, and that the funding for high energy physics [has been] either flat or declining ever since,” said Michael Riordan, adjunct professor of physics, University of California, Santa Cruz. Riordan also stated, “One day director emeritus of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Wolfgang Panofsky, best known as "Pief", came into my office and said, ‘You know I think this was a bridge too far.’ I always often puzzled with what that meant, and finally resolved it years later when I realized that this was the title of a book about a disastrous allied campaign during World War II. But that really keyed my thinking about this project.” According to Riordan, “the SSC was designed to understand, why do particles have mass? The theories generally had mass-less particles in them and they had a high degree of symmetry. You had to break that symmetry down by giving particles mass, and there was a mechanism called the Higgs mechanism that did this in a very natural way, but it required the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson, and nobody could really specify the mass it had to have.” “There was a large range of masses, ranging from about the mass of a proton, up to about a thousand times the mass of a proton, in which it might occur. So successive particle colliders and accelerators went looking for this. The SSC was built to be sure that they could either find the Higgs boson or find some other phenomena responsible for why particles have mass,” stated Riordan. “The SSC was understood that it would have to be a multibillion dollar project. Everything the community had done before that had been hundreds of millions of dollars -- that had been evaluated in 1990 dollars -- this one was clearly going to be over 10 billion dollars. When you get to those kinds of numbers you have to bring in partners. In this case it was the Texas politico's members of the military industrial complex. To them it was a high-tech jobs project, and that was the image that they projected in Congress. And that is like the kiss of death, especially when you have a multibillion dollar project that is growing seemingly out of control -- pressing on many other projects, not just science projects, but also water projects, in various districts throughout the nation. Was this project too big for the U.S. high energy physics community to embrace?” said Riordan. “In general, I think it was. The SSC was indeed a bridge too far,” concluded Riordan. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 1679 Inside Science
Tying Fishing Line For Powerful Artificial Muscles
 
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Making powerful artificial muscles with fishing line and sewing thread. More information on this story at http://www.insidescience.org/content/tying-fishing-line-powerful-artificial-muscles/1638. Additional content at http://www.insidescience.org/.
Views: 5200 Inside Science
Forecasting Deadly Storm Surges
 
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A new warning system gives the public more advance notice of storm surge threats. For more on this video, and a couple of corrected numbers related to Hurricane Katrina, visit http://www.insidescience.org/content/forecasting-deadly-storm-surges/3056. For more science news click here http://www.insidescience.org/. (Inside Science TV) – When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, more than 1800 people in New Orleans, Louisiana, lost their lives. Many of these deaths, though, didn’t come from the 200 mile-per-hour winds or the heavy rains: They resulted from a devastating storm surge, a phenomenon that scientists are trying to predict with more accuracy than ever before. Storm surges are unusual rises in water levels caused by a storm. They can be enormously destructive; the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina measured almost 27 feet above the normally dry ground, wreaking havoc when it made landfall. Some of the most destructive hurricanes are “not necessarily big wind events, but big storm surge events,” said Jamie Rhome, a storm surge specialist and meteorologist at the NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. “Katrina was certainly from a magnitude perspective, from a loss of life perspective, from a societal impact perspective, one of the worst storm surge events in modern history," he said. Katrina is hardly alone. In 2008, the storm surge formed by Hurricane Ike caused the waters to rise almost 20 feet above ground along parts of Texas, killing 94 people and leaving behind almost 20 billion dollars in property damage. The storm surge that followed Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012 produced waves of water over 9 feet above normal tides, which slammed into the Northeastern United States, contributing to damage that claimed a total of 145 lives. “If you look more broadly, historically, at the lives lost in hurricanes, roughly 50 percent occur from storm surge,” said Rhome. Why are storm surges so lethal? Troublingly, it often comes down to the fact that their destruction is literally unimaginable. “If the wind blows hard, a tree falls down, the roof comes off,” said Rhome, “it’s easier for people to envision this.” However, “it’s very difficult for people to envision water 5,10, [or] 15 feet inundating entire communities -- that's just beyond what the average person can understand or envision," said Rhome. But the threat is real, he continued, underscoring the need for “a simple and straightforward communications strategy that really says what we know is going to happen in a storm,” he said. In response to such a pressing need, Rhome and his colleagues at the National Hurricane Center have developed a new warning system that informs the public 36 to 48 hours in advance of a storm surge event. To Rhome, storm surges shouldn’t be treated any differently from other weather events. “For all other hazards we have a warning," said Rhome. "We have tornado warnings for tornadoes; we have flash flood warnings for heavy rain; we have hurricane warnings for heavy wind; [and] now, we need a storm surge warning to cover the threat from ocean water flooding land," he said. To build their storm surge forecasts, Rhome and his colleagues use networks of tide stations stationed along coastlines. These stations measure changes in the water level along the coast, taking into account wind speeds and tides, in addition to the location, size, and speed of an incoming storm or hurricane. The warning system then combines this data into a color warning system. An orange warning indicates a storm surge watch, which means that storm surges are possible – a “heads-up that something might be coming,” said Rhome. A red warning, however, indicates that there is “a sufficient enough risk for life-threatening conditions that you need to take action," said Rhome. Before this warning system, communicating the dangers of storm surges to the public was difficult to do. “You had to be sort of a storm surge expert to even understand our forecast," said Rhome. "Now we’re shifting to much simpler ways to not only talk about the phenomenon but to show it in these maps,” he said. Starting June 1 – the beginning of the 2015 hurricane season – forecasters have been given a preview of the storm surge warning system, which will be the first of its kind in the United States when fully implemented. They need time, though, to get the system working. “The idea is to begin a slow evolution towards a fully operational storm surge watch/warning by the 2017 hurricane season,” said Rhome. When the warning system comes fully online, we will finally have a way to give people living in high-risk areas advance warning of a storm surge – undoubtedly saving lives in the next big storm.
Views: 20827 Inside Science
This Camera Sees What Your Eyes Don’t
 
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There's nothing better to a fresh food lover than picking out a perfectly ripe avocado or tomato -- until one slice reveals a brown bruise or mealy mess. Have you ever wanted to check if an avocado's gone bad before buying it? A new camera technology might be just what you need to “see” beneath surfaces and reveal hidden details in things like fruit and even under human skin. It may look like a typical camera with a big flash, but there’s nothing ordinary about it at all. It’s called a hyper-spectral camera and it can see much more than a traditional camera. It can even “see” images that your eyes can’t. “If you point a hyper-spectral camera, on a human body, you’re able to see the person’s veins,” said Mayank Goel, a PhD student at the University of Washington in Seattle. The human eye and a normal camera see just three "bands" or colors of light -- red, green and blue. A hyper-spectral camera can see many more bands of light -- 17 in this case. That’s way more colors than a normal camera can capture. “Twelve of these wavelengths are in the color spectrum, so like red, green, blue, orange, yellow, violet, colors like that. And the rest of the five wavelengths are from the infrared region. And the infrared is the other wavelengths that the human eye cannot see at all,” said Goel. The camera flashes in a sequence of 17 different wavelengths of light, capturing a different image for each wavelength – then computer software combines the images to make one overall image – one that can reveal invisible details like the veins inside a hand. “The infrared light would penetrate into one or two layers of the skin and that’s why you can see the veins through a multispectral camera,” said Goel. The camera caught a time-lapse of the inside of an avocado ripening over the course of a week. It’s super cool technology, but it’s not the first hyperspectral camera of its kind – it’s just much cheaper, by thousands of dollars. “What we can do here is that you can have a much lower cost version that could be just part of your smart phone. And you could use that to just see the produce you’re buying, is it ripe, is it not ripe, or is there any defect on the inside,” said Goel. Researchers think the technology has other applications too. “I’ve been talking to dentists who just want to build like a really small version of this hyperspectral camera into the toothbrush itself, so that when a person is brushing their teeth, it just keeps track of their teeth health,” said Goel. Researchers are working to improve the technology to work better in bright light, but say they hope to have a smart phone version for just 50 bucks in the next few years.
Views: 5743 Inside Science
What Do Self-Driving Cars Really Need To Work Safely?
 
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(Inside Science) -- The race to develop self-driving cars is on. We’ve already seen test-drive prototypes. And soon, some researchers argue, we could have robot cars acting as chauffeurs during our daily commutes -- letting us sit back and read, text, email or watch TV, while our car does all the driving. But there are still challenges carmakers need to overcome before we see highways packed with autonomous vehicles. You know -- little things, like mistaking harmless puddles of water for potholes. Or big stuff, like misjudging the movements of a pedestrian and causing serious injury. Now researchers are working to get self-driving cars to act as if there’s a real person behind the wheel. To do that they need to be equipped with “eyes” and “brains” that work more like humans’. To many people, the idea of self-driving cars is something of futuristic sci-fi movies. But the future is here. And autonomous cars have the potential to transform the way we get around. But before we see rows of self-driving cars at the dealer, the technology behind the cars still has obstacles to overcome. Paul Banks, president and founder of Tetravue said, “The car needs to be able to understand its environment, be able to recognize at a distance whether it’s a piece of paper or whether it’s a rock, whether it’s a pothole. And the thing that makes it easiest for the car to be able to tell that is depth -- distance.” To recognize depth and distance, most self-driving cars use similar technologies, with one vital piece of equipment being a LIDAR sensor. It maps objects in 3-D by bouncing laser beams off its surroundings, providing detailed maps the car needs to get around, and identifying objects like pedestrians and other vehicles. But LIDAR isn’t perfect in conditions like poor lighting at night or bad weather. This is why 3-D cameras that can process details from the world around them, at high speeds and long distances, are key if the autonomous car industry is to properly take off. “Depth is critical, and being able to see something smaller than a car requires millions of pixels. From an optics perspective, it’s great because we’re able to use optics in a new way that allows us to measure what has been a really difficult problem. And we’ve been successful in building prototypes and showing that we can really measure 2 million pixels at a time, out to 50 yards from the camera in snowstorms even -- and that’s never been done before,” said Banks. “We create the distance measurement by using a short strobe that illuminates the whole area. The light comes back and then that’s where we’re able to measure the time and distance, and we do it all at once. So, it happens in a fraction of a microsecond. And you get 2 million points, and then 30 times a second, just like video rates, you get the video plus the distance information at the same time. Our objective is within 12 to 24 months [to] have engineering samples or product prototypes available for sale,” concluded Banks. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InsideScience/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/insidescience Website: https://www.insidescience.org/
Views: 3114 Inside Science