BTW, don’t ignore the weather


Click to enlarge

Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are running more than three degrees above average, increasing the prospects for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this spring and potentially stronger hurricane activity in the summer and fall.

The last time Gulf of Mexico waters were similarly warm in 2017, it coincided with an above-average tornado season through the spring, and then Category 4 Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of summer…

The annual barrage of tempestuous fury stems from the volatile clash of shifting seasons. As springtime warmth begins to build in the Gulf of Mexico, surges of mild air meander north — only to collide with stubbornly persistent cold shots of winter exiting the Rockies. It’s that collision that brews severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

No matter how you slice it, this is going to be a tough year. Between nature and numbnuts politicians running our federal government, every disaster is likely to be exaggerated by incompetence and unprepared ideologues who believe that not spending money on the needs of citizens is heavenly ordained. Just like kissing corporate butt.

‘Liquid biopsy’ blood test predicts cancer

A new blood test that can detect methylation of DNA can accurately predict whether a person has any one of 50 cancers and where the tumour is growing…

…In all, more than 15,000 volunteers from over 140 clinics in North America took part, and their samples revealed that this ‘liquid biopsy’ had a 0.7% false positive rate for cancer detection. The test was also able to predict the tissue that the cancer originated in with more than 90% accuracy. It performed best on 12 of the most common cancers, including ones that are most lethal and have no established screening paradigms such as pancreatic and ovarian cancers…

The test works because when a tumour cell dies its DNA enters the bloodstream. This genetic material still carries methylation patterns that differ from healthy cells, and this is what the liquid biopsy measures. ‘The test exploits the fact that cancers are abnormally methylated, and … that different cancers have different methylation patterns,’ explains study co-author Eric Klein from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Fortunately, solid scientific research finds a way to keep to task, direction mostly unaffected by the politics of ignorance.

Greenland, Antarctica, melting away, accelerating

Observations from 11 satellite missions monitoring the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have revealed that the regions are losing ice six times faster than they were in the 1990s. If the current melting trend continues, the regions will be on track to match the “worst-case” scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of an extra 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) of sea level rise by 2100.

The findings…are the most comprehensive assessment to date of the changing ice sheets. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise team combined 26 surveys to calculate changes in the mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets between 1992 and 2018…

The team calculated that the two ice sheets together lost 81 billion tons per year in the 1990s, compared with 475 billion tons of ice per year in the 2010s — a sixfold increase. All total, Greenland and Antarctica have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice since the 1990s…

“Every centimeter of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet,” said Andrew Shepherd [University of Leeds – led the study].

RTFA for more quantitative data. Not likely that many of our politicians will. Maybe if sufficient voters do – and act upon their understanding – we might acquire some useful politicians.

Scientists Linked Artificial and Biological Neurons in a Network…And It Worked

Scientists have linked up two silicon-based artificial neurons with a biological one across multiple countries into a fully-functional network. Using standard internet protocols, they established a chain of communication whereby an artificial neuron controls a living, biological one, and passes on the info to another artificial one…

…Neuromorphic computing is one path towards the future of extremely powerful, low energy consumption artificial neural network-based computing—in hardware—that could in theory better link up with the brain. Because the chips “speak” the brain’s language, in theory they could become neuroprosthesis hubs far more advanced and “natural” than anything currently possible.

This month, an international team put all of those ingredients together, turning theory into reality.

The three labs, scattered across Padova, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, and Southampton, England, collaborated to create a fully self-controlled, hybrid artificial-biological neural network that communicated using biological principles, but over the internet.

Nutters will be crapping their drawers. Various and sundry members of every mystic order, quasi-or-otherwise-religious denomination that requires an invisible super-being to create stuff…will get out the iron suit of biblical certainty. Defenders of the True Faith, wherever in power, will demand this research be shutdown, closed, sent to Purgatory or prison or both.

Kimbal Musk is a Brooklyn farmer…

HIS NEW FARM WILL BE INSIDE 25 SHIPPING CONTAINERS


Atsalottabasil!

Vertical farming is an indoor farming method in which crops are grown in stacked layers, often without soil. The practice is becoming more popular and important as urban populations grow dramatically and available farmland decreases….While vertical farming isn’t a new concept, these eco-friendly indoor farms are now rapidly expanding.

Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, who was named “Global Social Entrepreneur” of the year by the World Economic Forum in 2017, started Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company based in Brooklyn, in 2016. Square Roots’ mission is to bring fresh, local food to cities around the world by empowering younger generations to participate in urban farming.

Musk said the company plans to open a Square Roots “Super Farm” — with 25 climate-controlled shipping containers, cold storage, biosecurity infrastructure and everything else needed to run a vertical farm at scale — in less than three months…

“Environmentalists, urban farmers, architects, agronomists, and public health experts, among others, have been joining this mini revolution as they partner to work out a way to salvage a food-scarce, ultra-urbanized future,” Kheir Al-Kodmany, a professor of sustainable urban design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a report.

It involves various techniques, such as hydroponics, which uses mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent; aquaponics, which uses aquatic creatures — such as fish and snails — and cultivates plants in water; and aeroponics, which grows plants in the air.

It works. A fair number of knowledgeable folks believe this can be economically self-sufficient and beneficial.

Katherine Johnson, mathematician, dies at 101


NASA space scientist, mathematician, Katherine Johnson, circa 1966

NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped pave the way for the first American astronaut to successfully orbit the Earth, died Monday morning at the age of 101, according to NASA.

The pivotal roles of Johnson and other African-American women at NASA were highlighted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”…

When John Glenn was preparing for his mission on which he’d become the first American to orbit the Earth, he requested that Johnson personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers.

According to Johnson, Glenn said, “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

Remember when. Always remember.

“Pale Blue Dot” revisited


Click to enlargeNASA/JPL-Caltech

For the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic views from the Voyager mission, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is publishing a new version of the image known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

The updated image uses modern image-processing software and techniques while respecting the intent of those who planned the image. Like the original, the new color view shows Planet Earth as a single, bright blue pixel in the vastness of space. Rays of sunlight scattered within the camera optics stretch across the scene, one of which happens to have intersected dramatically with Earth.

The view was obtained on Feb. 14, 1990, just minutes before Voyager 1’s cameras were intentionally powered off to conserve power and because the probe – along with its sibling, Voyager 2 – would not make close flybys of any other objects during their lifetimes. Shutting down instruments and other systems on the two Voyager spacecraft has been a gradual and ongoing process that has helped enable their longevity.

RTFA. Offer your memory an opportunity to deepen your sense of proportion.