Category Archives: Science

China Creates Forest City To Fight Polution 

By: Lucy Wang of Inhabitat 

A pollution-fighting green city unlike any before is springing to life in China. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, the first “Forest City” is now under construction Liuzhou, Guangxi Province. The futuristic city will use renewable energy for self sufficiency and be blanketed in almost 1 million plants and 40,000 trees—a sea of greenery capable of absorbing nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants annually.

Commissioned by Liuzhou Municipality Urban Planning for the north of Liuzhou along the Liujiang river, the 175-hectare Liuzhou Forest City will be the first of its kind that, if successful, may raise the bar for urban design worldwide. This first Chinese Forest City will host 30,000 people in a community where all buildings are entirely covered in nearly a million plants of over 100 species, as well as 40,000 trees, that produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen. The use of greenery-covered facades builds on Stefano Boeri’s previous works, including the Vertical Forest residential building in Milan.

The new green city will be entirely wired and connected to Liuzhou with a fast rail line used by electric cars. Powered by geothermal and solar energy, Liuzhou Forest City will include residential areas, commercial and recreational spaces, two schools, and a hospital. The project is slated for completion in 2020.

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Separate Experts Conclude Ocean Temperatures Continue Rising 

By: John Abraham of The Guardian

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.
The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, “global warming” is really “ocean warming.” If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. 
These difficulties are tackled by oceanographers, and a significant advancement was presented in a paper just published in the journal Climate Dynamics. That paper, which I was fortunate to be involved with, looked at three different ocean temperature measurements made by three different groups. We found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming.

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Stephen Hawkings: Space Colonization Will Unite and Elevate Humanity 

By: Pallab Gosh 

They should also aim to build a lunar base in 30 years’ time and send people to Mars by 2025.

Prof Hawking said that the goal would re-ignite the space programme, forge new alliances and give humanity a sense of purpose.

He was speaking at the Starmus Festival celebrating science and the arts, which is being held in Trondheim, Norway.

“Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity,” he said.

“I hope it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all.

“A new and ambitious space programme would excite (young people), and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology”.

He addressed the concerns of those arguing that it would be better to spend our money on solving the problems of this planet along with a pointed criticism of US President Donald Trump.

“I am not denying the importance of fighting climate change and global warming, unlike Donald Trump, who may just have taken the most serious, and wrong, decision on climate change this world has seen,” he said.

Prof Hawking explained that human space travel is essential for the future of humanity precisely because the Earth was under threat from climate change as well as diminishing natural resources.

“We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” the Cambridge University theoretical physicist explained.

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Tube Transportation Reaching Speeds of 4K MPH Closer Than You Think 

By: Brendonm of Gadget Dx 

It’s no doubt the future we’ve imagined for years is arriving. In 2007 the iPhone was invented before that most people had flip phones and keyboard phones. Nowadays if you have a flip phone you’re probably a 65-year-old man who can’t quite make the change. It may be because I’m still young but I cannot picture the world without smartphones.

When you think of the future you think of stuff like you’d see on shows like Futurama and The Jetsons, every day we are getting closer and closer to that reality. Today marks a new step in the evolution of transportation because we are finally building the Tube Transport System like seen in Futurama.
The Hyper Chariot

The people behind hyper chariot plan on one day building a door to door tube transportation system capable of traveling 4000MPH. First, they need your help to fund a 3 mile long, 300MPH version of this tube transportation system to help show people that it works and is safe.

Once the project is complete they plan on turning it into a ride called “The Velocitator”. The team behind this has already begun working on this project with their partners at Super 78.

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Study Shows Yoga Can Substitute For Physical Therapy And Painkillers 

By: Allison Aubrey 

If you’re tired of popping pain medicine for your lower back pain, yoga may be a good alternative.
New research finds that a yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain.
The yoga protocol was developed by researchers at Boston Medical Center with input from yoga teachers, doctors and physical therapists.
During the class, trained instructors guide participants through gentle poses, including cat-cow, triangle pose and child’s pose. Simple relaxation techniques are part of the class as well. More difficult poses, such as inversions, are avoided.
A guidebook that details the poses taught during the class is freely available, as is a teacher training manual.
The findings, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are in line with new guidelines for treating back pain from the American College of Physicians. The group recommends that people with back pain should avoid pain medicines if possible, and instead opt for alternatives such as tai chi, yoga and massage. As we’ve reported, those guidelines are aimed at people with run-of-the-mill back pain, rather than pain due to an injury or other diagnosed problem.
Who was in the study? Researchers recruited 320 racially diverse, predominantly low-income participants in the Boston area, all of whom had chronic low back pain. The study lasted one year.
What did participants in the study do? Participants were divided into three groups. One group was assigned to a weekly yoga class for 12 weeks. Another group was assigned 15 physical therapy (PT) visits. The third group received an educational book and newsletters. For the remainder of the year — roughly 40 weeks — participants in the yoga group were assigned to either drop-in classes or home practice. The PT group was assigned to either “PT booster sessions” or home practice.

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5 Officials To Be Charged With Manslaughter For Flint Water Crisis 

By: Oona Goodin-Smith of Mlive 

 Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has charged five water officials — including a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s cabinet and a former emergency manager — with manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in during the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and former district supervisor Stephen Busch will all face involuntary manslaughter charges related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis, Schuette announced in a release on Wednesday, June 14.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.

The manslaughter charges are connected to the death of Robert Skidmore, who died Dec. 13, 2015, due to the area’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Charges against Lyon were authorized early on Wednesday, June 14, by Genesee District Judge David Guinn.Earley, Croft, Busch and Shekter-Smith have all previously been charged in connection to the water crisis.

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Scientist Invest Cream That Bronzes Better Than A Sun Tan 

By: Aimee Cunningham of Science 

A method that gives mice a tan without using ultraviolet radiation now works in human skin samples. It’s an early step in developing a lotion or cream that might provide fair-skinned folk with protection against skin cancer.
As reported June 13 in Cell Reports, a topical drug penetrated and tanned laboratory samples of live human skin, absent the sun. Unlike self-tanning lotions that essentially stain skin brown and provide minimal sun protection, the drug activates the production of the dark form of the skin pigment melanin, which absorbs UV radiation and diminishes damage to skin cells.
The team behind this study had worked with a different drug, the plant extract forskolin, in a 2006 study. The researchers used mice with skin like that of red-haired, fair-skinned people, who don’t tan because of a nonfunctioning protein on the surface of the skin cells that make melanin. Applying forskolin to these mice stimulated production of the dark form of melanin. When exposed to UV rays, the mice with dark pigment had less DNA damage and sunburn, as well as fewer skin tumors, compared with untreated mice (SN: 9/23/06, p. 196).
“There was an obvious interest in asking, could this be applied to human skin?” says David Fisher, a cancer biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. But the human epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, is about five times thicker in humans than in mice, he says, which means that many drugs “simply can’t get in.” Sure enough, this was true for forskolin.
So Fisher and colleagues looked at another way to activate pigmentation, focusing on a different enzyme than the one forskolin had targeted. Another research group had shown that an enzyme called salt-inducible kinase inhibits melanin production in mice and that animals lacking the gene for this enzyme developed darkened fur. This provided the opportunity to “try to target that inhibitor, block it and thereby stimulate pigmentation” with a drug, Fisher says.

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Canada Helps Their Transient Communites By Teaching Them BeeKeeping 

By: Marilla Steuter of CBC

Helping homeless people in Montreal reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees may seem like an unusual approach, but organizers of the Accueil Bonneau honey program say it’s been a real success story.

“When they get to be hands on, they see that it’s all about being confident and being at peace with the bees,” said Geneviève Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects.

Accueil Bonneau, a local group that offers a drop-in day centre and variety of services for homeless men, partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago.

Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city. 

“The most important thing is that it’s not just a job. It’s learning to do something you love and getting rewarded for it. That is something we want to teach,” she said.

‘Like therapy

John Levasseur, an apprentice in the program, sees beekeeping as “meaningful” work.

He says bees are “so important, not only economically, but as a barometer” for the environmental state of the world. 

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People Accept New Information when It Alligns With Their Political Desires 

By: Eric W. Dolan

People are less likely to accept new information when it conflicts with the political outcomes they want, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology:General.

The study provides some clues as to why the political climate in the United States appears to be increasingly polarized. It suggests this polarization could be related to a desirability bias rather than a confirmation bias.

“Given the well-known polarization and disagreement that exist over certain issues in the realm of politics, we were interested in what factors cause people to revise their beliefs in the political domain,” explained the study’s corresponding author, Ben Tappin of Royal Holloway, University of London. “On the one hand, classic findings from the late 1970’s suggest that we update our beliefs to incorporate new information that confirms (vs. disconfirms) our prior beliefs — even if we receive a balanced stream of both confirming and disconfirming information. This bias towards confirming information in belief revision has been suggested to underpin belief polarization.”
“On the other hand, more recent findings from the literature on self-belief revision (that is, research looking at how people revise their beliefs about themselves) suggest a similar but slightly different mechanism,” he told PsyPost. “Specifically, that we revise our beliefs to incorporate new information that is desirable (vs. undesirable). In past research, these two biases (“confirmation bias” and “desirability bias”) have been conflated. The aim of our study was try and tease these two biases apart to get a clearer picture of what may be driving belief revision in the political domain.”

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VR and AR With Military Application 

By : Lukemary Slade of Mondi Virtuali 

The repetition of bloody attacks such as those in London of these last months, is bringing some companies operating in the field of virtual reality and increased to develop counterterrorism applications.

An example is given by the US multinational Eon Reality, founded in 1999 by Dan Lejerskar, Mikael Jacobsson and Mats Johansson in Irvine, California, which has grown throughout the world over the years (with offices, among others, in Paris, Manchester, Moscow, Doha, Singapore, Seul and Melbourne).

Eon Reality develops counterterrorism apps

Precisely thanks to a new counterterrorism application Eon Reality won, for the second year, the InnovPlus Award promoted by Singapore’s Ial (Institute for adult learning). The project used virtual reality platform AVR to create an improvised explosive device recognition and defusal application for anti-terrorism training and VIP protection.
The goal of the project is to create a realistic simulation for security personnel to give them a realistic training experience without the danger. This is just an example how virtual reality and aumented reality could help security forces to raise the alert level against further terroristic attacks quickly and with relatively small investments.

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