filamentous

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Technicolor Threaded Filament Installation

Mexican artist Gabriel Dawe constructs site-specific installations, which study the link between fabric, fashion and architecture. In Plexus, Dawe composes a large installation composed of technicolor threaded filament reaching many points in a space. The prismatic sculpture creates a rainbow like effect indoors, which accentuate the shape and form of the building. 

Researchers unravel a link between a genetic mutation and autistic behaviors - and then find a way to undo it

Scientists at the University at Buffalo have identified the mechanisms behind a genetic mutation that produces certain autistic behaviors in mice, as well as therapeutic strategies to restore normal behaviors.

The research describes the cellular and molecular basis behind some autistic behaviors; it also suggests potential biomarkers and pharmaceutical targets.

Published May 28 in Cell Reports, the research was led by Zhen Yan, PhD, professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The paper focuses on the loss of a gene called Shank3, an important risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The researchers trace how this risk factor disrupts communication between neurons, leading to social deficits in mice. And, in their most important finding, they are able to reverse these neuronal disruptions, restoring normal behavior in mice.

Previous studies have shown that approximately 84 percent of people with a Shank3 deletion or loss-of-function mutation had an ASD. But just how this occurs has remained unknown.

The paper states that mice with a Shank3 deficiency exhibited “drastically reduced” interest in social stimuli, i.e., other mice, versus inanimate objects, suggesting “severe social deficits.” They also spent significantly more time in repetitive self-grooming than normal mice.

The UB researchers found that the Shank3 deficiency plays a key role in how neurons communicate. It has a significant effect on the activation of the NMDA (n-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor, which is critical to learning and memory.

Yan explained that the Shank3 deficiency disrupts the trafficking of this receptor and its function at critical transmission sites in the brain. That disruption, they found, results from  the dysregulation of actin filaments, which act as a kind of cellular “highway” in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the command center for “high-level” executive functions and a key region implicated in ASD.

“This research is the first to show that, in animals, abnormal actin regulation causes autism-like behaviors,” said Yan.

“Actin filaments are very dynamic structures that are constantly being assembled and disassembled, processes controlled by numerous regulators,” Yan explained.

When something upsets the equilibrium of actin filament assembly, key cellular functions fall apart.

“With Shank3 deficiency, we have found that the expression or activity of some actin regulators, such as cofilin, is altered,” explained Yan. “This upsets the equilibrium of actin filament assembly, which, in turn, disrupts the normal delivery and maintenance of NMDA and other critical receptors.”

The result is a very significant effect on the functional plasticity of the synapse, which, in turn, leads to the manifestation of some autistic behaviors.

In its most dramatic finding, the researchers found they were able to reverse this process, restoring normal behaviors in the Shank3-deficient mice, once the activity of cofilin or other regulators was returned to normal. This, in turn, restored actin dynamics at cortical synapses, allowing for the normal trafficking and functioning of NMDA receptors.

“Once actin filaments and NMDA receptors returned to normal, we observed a robust and long-lasting rescue of the social interaction deficits and repetitive behavior in the Shank3-deficient mice,” said Yan. “Our results suggest a promising therapeutic strategy for treating autism.”

The researchers are seeking funding to continue their work developing potential biomarkers and treatments for autism.

M1: The Crab Nebula: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messiers famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. This sharp, ground-based telescopic view uses narrowband data to track emission from ionized oxygen and hydrogen atoms and explore the tangled filaments within the still expanding cloud. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is visible as a bright spot near the nebulas center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crabs emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is a mere 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. via NASA

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Shipibo Tribe. Textiles. Peruvian Amazon.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health, both physical and psychological, is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs - such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger - this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros, which are the geometric patterns of harmony made manifest in sound, into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code. A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy which permeates Creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs, is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. 

In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where they metamorphose into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of Creation, which then permeate the body of the shaman’s patient, bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns which re-balance the patient’s body.

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Two Ribbon Flare

On September 29. 2013, a large magnetic filament erupted on the Sun’s northern hemisphere and produced a C1.2 solar flare. Observation in the EUV showed two elongated ribbon-like structures (hence, the term two-ribbon flare) symmetrically developing on either side of the active region, along the polarity inversion line (neutral line). Two-ribbon flares are extremely powerful eruptions; during magnetic reconnection the magnetic energy is converted into radiation across the electromagnetic spectrumenergetic particles are accelerated up to several hundred MeV or even to GeV range. These high-energy particles are called solar cosmic rays.

Credit & source: LMSAL/Scott Green

A nitrogen-rich nebula

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a planetary nebula named NGC 6153, located about 4000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Scorpius.

NGC 6153 is a planetary nebula that is elliptical in shape, with an extremely rich network of loops and filaments, shown clearly in this Hubble image. However, this is not what makes this planetary nebula so interesting for astronomers.

Measurements show that NGC 6153 contains large amounts of neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chlorine — up to three times more than can be found in the Solar System. The nebula contains a whopping five times more nitrogen than the Sun! Although it may be that the star developed higher levels of these elements as it grew and evolved, it is more likely that the star originally formed from a cloud of material that already contained lots more of these elements.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Matej Novak
Source: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1525a/

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The Plasma Ball:  Inert Gas Discharge Tube

A plasma globe or plasma lamp (also called plasma ball, dome, sphere, tube or orb, depending on shape) is generally a clear glass sphere filled with a mixture of various noble gases with a high-voltage electrode in the center of the sphere. Plasma filaments extend from the inner electrode to the outer glass insulator, giving the appearance of multiple constant beams of colored light (see corona discharge and electric glow discharge). Plasma globes were most popular as novelty items in the 1980s.

The plasma lamp was invented by Nikola Tesla after his experimentation with high-frequency currents in an evacuated glass tube for the purpose of studyinghigh voltage phenomena, but the modern versions were known to be first designed by Bill Parker. Tesla called this invention an inert gas discharge tube.

More science and gifs on: rudescience  Giffed from: this video

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The Future of Displays: Glowing Graphene

Did you see the news last week about an international group of scientists who made the world’s thinnest lightbulb out of the supermaterial graphene? Here’s what it actually looks like when you send a current through the atom-thick sheet of linked carbon atoms. 

The light created from electrically excited graphene is actually quite bright, stable and tunable, and the researchers think the material could be used to make atomically thin, flexible and transparent displays.

Keep reading

A nitrogen-rich nebula by Hubble Space Telescope / ESA on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a planetary nebula named NGC 6153, located about 4000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). The faint blue haze across the frame shows what remains of a star like the Sun after it has depleted most of its fuel. When this happens, the outer layers of the star are ejected, and get excited and ionised by the energetic ultraviolet light emitted by the bright hot core of the star, forming the nebula.

NGC 6153 is a planetary nebula that is elliptical in shape, with an extremely rich network of loops and filaments, shown clearly in this Hubble image. However, this is not what makes this planetary nebula so interesting for astronomers.

Measurements show that NGC 6153 contains large amounts of neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chlorine — up to three times more than can be found in the Solar System. The nebula contains a whopping five times more nitrogen than the Sun! Although it may be that the star developed higher levels of these elements as it grew and evolved, it is more likely that the star originally formed from a cloud of material that already contained lots more of these elements.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Matej Novak.

More information: www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1525a/

Credit:
ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Matej Novak

Basic Skincare Cont.

Actives/Exfoliation

Ok, actives are what you’re going to want to use to combat things like acne, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture, roughness, acne scars, etc! Most of these work in similar ways, by increasing cell turnover, so it’s just a matter of what works best for you/what you prefer. This is also a good time to address the myth that if you’re breaking out from something, it’s just “purging”. Purging only occurs from actives or certain clay masks, so if you’re breaking out from a cleanser or moisturizer, or your Clarisonic, stop using it! With actives, however, you can definitely go through an initial purging phase when your closed comedones come to the surface. 

Acne/Clogged Pores/Sebaceous Filaments
Ok, so clogged pores, acne, and sebaceous filaments respond best to BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide. All of these can be drying, so they need to be introduced slowly and used with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Salicylic acid is the most readily available BHA and it helps your skin shed, so it’ll bring clogged pores to a head and prevent more from forming. A good drugstore option is the Stridex Maximum Strength Pads. You have to use the ones in the red box because those are the only ones at the correct pH for exfoliation. They do have menthol so they can be a little irritating, but if you can’t use them on your face, these are a good option for body acne because they’re pretty inexpensive and easy to use. I’ve also had great success with Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, which is pricier but lasts a long time. Benzoyl peroxide is another option for acne that works by killing bacteria. 5% is pretty much the cap when it comes to effectiveness, so anything higher is just going to be more expensive and needlessly drying. I’ve never used benzoyl peroxide because it can be kind of harsh and will bleach your clothes and towels. Retinoids (Retin-A, Tazorac, Differin, etc) need to be prescribed by a doctor and work similarly to BHAs but are stronger. They need to be used very consistently and you need to build up the strength, but are very effective, so if that interests you, speak to your dermatologist or primary care doctor! Just be sure to apply retinoids to a completely dry face, since contact with water can make it irritating. 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is basically your skin increasing melanin production in an area in an attempt to heal, accounting for the dark brown, purple, or red spots we get after acne, an ingrown hair, etc, has healed. Like BHAs, AHAs also increase cell turnover and result in a more even appearance in the skin. The most common AHAs are glycolic and lactic acid, and as with other treatments, you should start at a lower percentage to build up you skin’s tolerance. I use Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel, but some other brands that make AHAs are Garden of Wisdom, Makeup Artist’s Choice, Nip + Fab, and Alpha Hydrox. You can also treat PIH with retinoids, Vitamin C serum, and niacinamide. Vitamin C and niacinamide both inhibit the production of melanin, and the latter can be found in the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser I mentioned in my previous post. I also mentioned that sunscreen is very effective in reducing and preventing PIH, but it becomes doubly important when using an AHA or retinoid, because both thin the skin and increase sensitivity to the sun. 

Physical Exfoliation
I used to be a big fan of physical exfoliation, but if you introduce chemical exfoliants into your routine, you’ll find you don’t need to do it at all. If you’re going to exfoliate physically, be really gentle. Stay away from any scrubs that use beads without a uniform texture, like crushed walnut shells, salt shards, sugar, etc. Those jagged pieces will cause microtears in your skin and let bacteria in, and the overexfoliation and drying will compromise your skin barrier, letting even more bacteria in. If you absolutely need to exfoliate, look for a scrub with jojoba beads, which are spherical and dissolve in water (unlike plastic microbeads, which don’t dissolve and pollute bodies of water), or something like a konjac sponge, which is really gentle and hard to exfoliate too much with (and fun to use). If you introduce a retinoid, you might get tiny flakes while your skin adjusts to it, and a konjac sponge is a great option to get rid of those. Otherwise, I definitely recommend chemical over physical exfoliation. 

The Sun blew out a coronal mass ejection along with part of a solar filament over a three-hour period (Feb. 24, 2015). While some of the strands fell back into the Sun, a substantial part raced into space in a bright cloud of particles (as observed by the SOHO spacecraft). The activity was captured in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. 

Credit & source: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory