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Chrysopelea (Flying Snake)

Flying snakes flatten their bodies into a concave C shape to trap air as they fall. By undulating back and forth, they can actually make turns in the air. They can be found in Southeast Asia and Southernmost China. (Source)

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CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music

Cymatics is the science of making audio frequencies visible. Cymatics could be achieved through numerous experiments, which study the relationship between sound (vibrations) and liquid. New Zealand-based musician Nigel Standord and director Shahir Daud composed a music video performing a cymatics experiment using different instruments, such as Chladni Plate (Figure 1). When sand is poured on the metal plate, different patterns are form in relation to the pitch of the sound. To learn more about how each individual instrument was used in Stanford’s project, visit CYMATICS: Behind the Scenes. The single responsible for the audio frequency and stunning cinematography comes from Stanford’s album Solar Echoes

[img src: 1,2,3]

the-randomness-blogger asked:

Okay so my friend and i were arguing for fun about antimatter, dark matter, and antigravity, but couldnt prove if one of us was correct. Could you help us out with some facts about these, or the differences in these things

Sure So I’ll just run through some facts for you. I’ll start with definitions and I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. I’ll include as many sources as I can so everyone can fact check and let me know if I need to change anything.

You should also check out this NASA page on the subject: http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/transcoded/a/a8/Antimatter_Explosions_2.ogv/Antimatter_Explosions_2.ogv.480p.webm

Antimatter: is matter made from antiparticles (duh?) So the followup question would be: what are antiparticles? well, now we’re getting into Quantum Physics so buckle in! [side note, CERN has several definitions for these small scale phenomenon available at their ATLAS experiments glossary (link here).]

Antiparticle: has the same mass as its partner particle, but the opposite charge. This charge could be either the electric charge in electromagnetism or the color charge in quantum chromodynamics. When a particle meets its antiparticle it “evaporates“. A nice gif of particle - antiparticle annihilation (credit & source):

Quick Quantum Rundown: There are 2 classifications of particles in QM (Quantum Mechanics)

  • Fermions: any particle that follows the Fermi-Dirac statistic models. Fermions include all Quarks and Leptons. All of these have a property know as odd-half-integer spin (not important to the casual person).
    • Quark: 3 of these combine to form Hadrons - such as Protons and Neutrons. More info here:
    • Lepton: this is a particle that has only half-integer spin. The best known example of these are electrons.
  • Bosons: any particle that follows the Bose-Eisenstein statistics models. Bosons are either elementary or composite.
    • Elementary: An elementary particle such as a photon
    • Composite: Most Bosons are composite. Such as the four gauge bosons (γ · g · Z · ) and the Higgs boson (H0).

For those of you who like charts:

Dark Matter: is a hypothetical kind of matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic spectrum. Because dark matter does not emits or absorbs light we can only measure it indirectly. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest mysteries in modern Astrophysics.

It is mostly related to large scale structures within our cosmos. There seems to be more dark matter than actual matter within out universe.

This Video Shows how dark matter clubs form in large scale structures:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C_dnP2fvxk


[ credit: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_matter.html ]

About “Anti-gravity”: sorry to disappoint you but it doesn’t technically exist. However, anti-gravity is hypothetically the theorized graviton is discovered. For “false gravity“ applications in human space flight you can read this previous ask: Rotating Torus in human space flight. I think you may find that interesting if you’re trying to find a way to “cheat“ gravity. 

P.S. A serious shout out to all of my followers who ask me the best questions, I’m sorry I can’t answer them all but I will try my best to answer them when I can as best as I can. You are all seriously awesome curious people! Thanks for the great questions & support!

Study Sheds New Light on Brain’s Source of Power

New research published in the journal Nature Communications represents a potentially fundamental shift in our understanding of how nerve cells in the brain generate the energy needed to function. The study shows neurons are more independent than previously believed and this research has implications for a range of neurological disorders. 

“These findings suggest that we need to rethink the way we look at brain metabolism,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Center for Translational Neuromedicine and lead author of the study. “Neurons, and not the brain’s support cells, are the primary consumers of glucose and this consumption appears to correlate with brain activity.”

The brain requires a tremendous amount of energy to do its job. While it only represents 2 percent of the body mass of the average adult human, the brain consumes an estimated 20 percent of body’s energy supply. Consequently, unravelling precisely how the brain’s cells – specifically, neurons – generate energy has significant implications for not only the understanding of basic biology, but also for neurological diseases which may be linked to too little, or too much, metabolism in the brain.

Our digestive system converts carbohydrates found in food into glucose, a sugar molecule that is the body’s main source of energy, which is then transported throughout the body via the blood system. Once inside cells, the mitochondria, which serve as tiny cellular power plants, combine these sugars with oxygen to generate energy.

Unlike the rest of the body, the brain maintains its own unique ecosystem. Scientists have long believed that a support cell found in the brain, called the astrocyte, played an intermediary role in the supplying neurons with energy. This theory is called the lactate shuttle hypothesis.

Scientists have speculated that the astrocytes are the brain’s primary consumer of glucose and, like a mother bird that helps its chicks digest food, these cells convert the molecules to another derivative (lactate) before it is passed along to the neurons. Lactate is a form of sugar molecule that is used by mitochondria for fuel.

“The problem with the lactate shuttle hypothesis is that by outsourcing lactate production to astrocytes, it places the neuron in a dangerous position,” said Nedergaard. “Why would neurons, the cell type that is most critical for our survival, be dependent upon another cell for its energy supply?”

The new research, which was conducted in both mice and human brain cells, was possible due to new imaging technologies called 2-photon microscopy that enable scientists to observe activity in the brain in real time.

Using a glucose analogue, the researchers found that it was the neurons, and not the astrocytes, that directly take up more glucose in the brain. They also found that when stimulated and more active, the neurons increase consumption of glucose, and when the mice where anesthetized, there was less neuronal uptake of glucose. On the other hand, the uptake of glucose by astrocytes remained relatively constant regardless of brain activity.

On the cellular level, the researchers observed that the neurons were doing their own job of converting glucose to lactate and that an enzyme that plays a key role in the creation lactate, called hexokinase, was present in greater amounts in neurons compared to astrocytes.

These findings have significant implications for understanding a host of diseases. The overproduction of lactate can result in lactic acidosis, which can damage nerve cells and cause confusion, delirium, and seizures. In stroke, lactate accumulation contributes to the loss of brain tissue and can impact recovery. Neuronal metabolism also plays an important role in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  

Recent research has shown that inhibiting the transport of lactate between cells can reduce seizure activity in mice. However, much of this prior work has assumed that lactate was produced by astrocytes and that neurons were passive bystanders. The new study brings into question these assumptions by showing that neurons consume glucose directly and do not depend on astrocytic production and delivery of lactate.  

“Understanding the precise and complex biological mechanisms of the brain is a critical first step in disease-based research,” said Nedergaard. “Any misconception about biological functions – such as metabolism – will ultimately impact how scientists form hypothesize and analyze their findings. If we are looking in the wrong place, we won’t be able to find the right answers.”

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Andean moutain cat (Leopardus jacobita)

The Andean mountain cat is a small wildcat. Fewer than 2500 individuals are thought to exist. While it is about the size of a domestic cat, it appears larger because of its long tail and thick fur. Body length ranges from 57 to 64 centimetres, tail length is 41 to 48 cm and shoulder height is about 36 cm. It is one of the least-known and rarest of all felines; almost all that is known about it comes from a few observations in the wild and from skins. There are none in captivity. It is believed to live only in the Andes mountains and lower slope in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. In 2002 the status of the Andean cat was moved from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

photo credits: wiki, wiki, Dr. Jim Sanderson

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Salar de Uyuni in Potosi, Bolivia are the world’s largest salt flats at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles). The crust (made of salt) covers a pool of brine, which contains the world’s largest repository of lithium - 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium can be found here. The Salar de Uyuni salt flats are so flat that they are used for calibrating the altimeters of Earth’s satellites. Pictures by  Ezequiel Cabrera.

Developing Elephant

Halfway through its twenty-two month gestation period, this Asian elephant is a perfect miniature of its already-born brethren. Even the tiny trunk has formed, and small hoofs can also be seen. Unlike humans, infant elephants have physical proportions which remain the same into adulthood.