Researchers cause evolution of number sense in fruit flies

first_img Researchers induce freezing tolerance in fruit fly Citation: Researchers cause evolution of number sense in fruit flies (2012, July 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from via Nature blog This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. fruit fly ( — For most of history, people have thought that human beings were the only organism capable of understanding numerical relationships or to use those relationships as a form of information, other than to discern the obvious; a pack of wolves is far more dangerous than one going it alone, for example. More recently however, researchers have discovered that many other animals have the ability to determine differing numbers of thing, and some with bigger brains have even demonstrated an ability to count. But thus far, no one has tried to cause numerical understanding to come about in an organism that doesn’t appear to have one naturally. Till now that is. A group of researchers from the US and Canada have been working with fruit flies and appear to have caused them, through repeated exposure to negative stimuli, to evolve a means for discerning the difference between the numbers of light flashes they are exposed to.center_img © 2012 Explore further The researchers recently presented their study and results to the First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology, and said in part that through their efforts they had caused an evolutionary change to come about in a species of fly that allowed them to associate the number of flashing lights with being shaken.To cause the evolutionary change to come about the researchers subjected a group of fruit flies to what they called twenty minute training sessions. Each was exposed to a certain number of flashes of light, some of which coincided with a vigorous shaking doled out by means of an electric toothbrush (something they don’t like apparently). The team discovered that no matter how many training sessions a fruit fly received it was never able to associate the number of light flashes with the shaking. But by breeding the fruit flies and training their offspring as well, they found that after forty generations, the fruit flies developed an ability to discern the difference and to react accordingly. In short, they’d evolved an ability to determine the difference in the number of occurrences of something in their environment and to respond to it in ways that made sense to them.The next step will be to study the insects to see what changes came about in their DNA as a result of their training, which might be of use in trying to figure out why some people with a condition known as dyscalculia aren’t able to understand counting or simple math. More information:last_img read more

StratoBus airship prototype targeted within next five years w video

first_img Citation: StratoBus airship prototype targeted within next five years (w/ video) (2014, March 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further The StratoBus project is led by Thales Alenia Space, which is focused on space telecommunications and navigation. “We design, integrate, test and operate high-performance satellite technologies in both civil and defense sectors,” according to the company notes. Airbus Defence & Space, Zodiac Marine and CEA-Liten are partners. The project is part of the creation of an airship company by the Pégase competitiveness cluster in southern France. The Pégase cluster is a network of major players in the aeronautics and space industry of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, pooling those involved with UAVs, balloons and stratospheric aircrafts for specific missions. (The Cote d’Azur is a crossroads in Europe for aerospace research, where there is a network of subcontractors and specialist companies working closely with research laboratories.)StratoBus will be operating at an altitude of about 20 kilometers, the lower reaches of the stratosphere but above air traffic and jet streams. The airship measures 70 to 100 meters long and 20 to 30 meters in diameter. The company said its design carries “technological innovations,” in particular to make sure it captures the sun’s rays in all seasons; a power generation system coupling solar panels to a solar power amplification system; and a light reversible fuel cell for energy storage. More information: … © 2014 Credit: Thalescenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Flawless launch of Alphasat, Europe’s largest and most sophisticated telecom satellite The company said the StratoBus platform will require continuous, significant energy input to offset the wind. Two electric motors will automatically adjust their output power depending on wind speed, up to 90 km/h. ( —A project that presents a concept of something between drone and satellite is under way. The vehicle is called StratoBus, developed in Europe. The StratoBus will be able to carry out missions such as border and maritime surveillance, telecommunications, broadcasting and navigation. Potential applications include boosting GSM network capacity for public events and GPS augmentation over dense traffic areas. The shell fabric is made of braided carbon fiber. The StratoBus will be able to carry payloads up to 200 kg. The first prototype is planned for rollout within the next five years. StratoBus is described as an autonomous stationary platform and the company emphasized its two notable features, the ability to carry out long endurance observation and complete autonomy from a fixed position.last_img read more

A homebrew observatory detects exoplanet

first_img More information: IEEE Spectrum, … y-exoplanet-detector Credit: David Schneider © 2014 So go the events leading up to Schneider’s recent DIY video, which shows him successfully star-tracking with a telephoto lens and barndoor tracker—otherwise known as two pieces of plywood hinged together. Without the aid of a high powered telescope, then, “You yourself can detect an extrasolar planet, and I’m gonna show you how,” he tells viewers, showing a little telephoto lens. He holds up two pumpkins, one smaller than the other. “If you’re very lucky, the planet, as it orbits its star, will come directly in front of the star, as viewed from earth—in which case, the amount of light coming from that star diminishes, very briefly as the planet passes in front of it. But that signal could be big enough for you to detect with a DSLR camera. The lens that comes with your camera probably isn’t going to do it.” Instead, he said, you can inexpensively purchase a 300-millimeter Nikon telephoto lens, along with a Nikon-to-Canon adapter. For next steps, cost-conscious Schneider looked for DIY alternatives to an expensive tracker and went for two pieces of plywood, which he referred to as his barndoor tracker. To drive the tracker, he pulled gears out of a defunct inkjet printer, added an Arduino microprocessor, wooden platform and ball head to orient the camera in any direction. He said he used software that came with his camera, allowing adjustments to camera settings, taking shots, recording images directly to a computer and programming a sequence of timed exposures.Schneider’s goal? “A gas giant that belongs to a binary star system variously named HD 189733, HIP 98505, or V452 Vulpeculae, depending on the star catalog.” (His article in IEEE Spectrum noted that, 63 light-years away, HD 189733 is too dim to be seen with the naked eye. Finding it required the use of such waypoints as the Dumbbell Nebula.) He used Iris software to perform corrections needed to calculate the brightness of HD 189733 as well as four reference stars. “So,” he concluded “it seems my home-brew observatory did detect an exoplanet—using little more than run-of-the-mill DSLR and a $92 eBay camera lens.” David Schneider, a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum, was interested in exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the sun, but figured this kind of exercise as a home-based project was going to need expensive telescopes; he stumbled across a project at Ohio State University, where resourceful astronomers had figured out a way to spot exoplanets using a device with a lens designed for high-end cameras. Schneider’s wheels turned, thinking he might also be able to pull this off if he got his hands on a charge-coupled-device detector not research-grade, and maybe he could forget about an expensive telescope as well? He also discovered an online posting by an amateur astronomer saying he had detected a known exoplanet using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a telephoto lens. Perth’s planet hunter helps discover unusual exoplanet Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: A home-brew observatory detects exoplanet (2014, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Tiny gears increase lighttowork conversion efficiency by five orders of magnitude w

first_imgIn the future, this efficient light-driven motion could be used in a variety of applications on different scales, from miniature solar vehicles to nanomachines.”Solar vehicles allow transport on land, water and in air using sunlight as a primary source of energy,” Maggi told “The conversion of light into movement generally requires some transformation stages between different forms of energy. Typically they are electric vehicles powered by photovoltaic cells that convert in a first stage sunlight into electrical energy. This indirect strategy, however, involves a high degree of complexity that puts big limitations on the miniaturization of solar engines on the micrometer scale.” “On the other hand, the generation of propulsion on small scales is of crucial importance for the operation of micro and nanomachines within the so-called lab-on-a chip,” said Roberto Di Leonardo at the Italian National Research Council, and the team coordinator. “Future research in this direction could lead to the development of micromachines that are capable of transporting tiny loads, such as individual cells, within miniaturized devices powered by the simple exposure to sunlight.” The researchers, Claudio Maggi and coauthors from the University of Rome, the Italian Institute of Technology in Genova, and the NANOTEC-CNR Institute of Nanotechnology in Rome, have published a paper on the new demonstration of light-to-work conversion in a recent issue of Nature Communications.In their study, the scientists fabricated the microgears using laser lithography, coated them with a layer of amorphous carbon to increase light absorption, and immersed them in a liquid. They then deposited a small drop of the gear-containing liquid onto a microscope glass slide and illuminated it with an LED. While previous light-driven motors generally require high-power laser beams to induce motion, here the wide-field LED could induce motion with just a few microwatts of power per gear, corresponding to a 100,000 times higher light-to-work conversion efficiency.The reason for the increase in efficiency is that the new system operates under an entirely different light-to-work conversion mechanism. Previously, similar systems have relied on either the radiation pressured exerted by highly focused laser beams, or on thermophoresis, which is the slow migration of solid particles induced by thermal gradients in the surrounding fluid. To achieve thermophoresis, half of the particle is covered in a heat-absorbing coating, so that when exposed to strong illumination, the particle will be propelled along a temperature gradient. More information: Claudio Maggi, et al. “Micromotors with asymmetric shape that efficiently convert light into work by thermocapillary effects.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8855Lab webpage: (—Scientists have demonstrated that pinwheel-shaped microgears floating on a liquid surface can rotate at speeds of up to 300 r.p.m. when illuminated by an ordinary LED. This light-driven motion, which arises because the light creates a tiny temperature difference and, subsequently, a surface tension difference in the surrounding fluid, is about five orders of magnitude more efficient than other mechanisms that convert light into work. As the effect is not size-dependent, the scientists expect that the system could be scaled to both the macroscale and the nanoscale. Images of the microgears and experimental setup. Credit: Maggi, et al. ©2015 Nature Communications Micromotors with asymmetric shape that efficiently convert light into work by thermocapillary effects. Credit: Maggi, et al. ©2015 Nature Communications In the new system, the motors are entirely covered in a heat-absorbing coating, so that they are mostly uniformly heated. However, the inner vertices of each motor’s pinwheel shape become hotter than the outer ones, which generates an asymmetric temperature gradient in the surrounding fluid. Since surface tension usually decreases with temperature, this temperature gradient—even when as small as a few millikelvin—causes a surface tension gradient, meaning that capillary forces in the fluid pull at the microgears unevenly. The uneven pulling results in a net torque, causing the microgears to spin rapidly. Citation: Tiny gears increase light-to-work conversion efficiency by five orders of magnitude (w/ video) (2015, August 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furthercenter_img Researchers manipulate gold-coated nanoparticles with lasers © 2015 Journal information: Nature Communications As the researchers explain, this effect is very similar to the Marangoni effect, which also involves a surface tension gradient. In the Marangoni effect, liquids and small objects placed on the surface of a fluid with a surface tension gradient will move from the region with the low surface tension toward the region with the higher surface tension. Although previous studies have used highly focused lasers to demonstrate Marangoni propulsion, this study marks the first time that it has been achieved with incoherent wide-field illumination, such as an ordinary LED. This microgear spins clockwise due to the temperature gradient between its inner and outer vertices, which causes capillary forces in the liquid to pull at the gear unevenly. Credit: Maggi, et al. ©2015 Nature Communications This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Seismic data suggests slow slip events may presage larger earthquakes

first_img © 2016 More information: N. Uchida et al. Periodic slow slip triggers megathrust zone earthquakes in northeastern Japan, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3108AbstractBoth aseismic and seismic slip accommodate relative motion across partially coupled plate-boundary faults. In northeastern Japan, aseismic slip occurs in the form of decelerating afterslip after large interplate earthquakes and as relatively steady slip on uncoupled areas of the subduction thrust. Here we report on a previously unrecognized quasi-periodic slow-slip behavior that is widespread in the megathrust zone. The repeat intervals of the slow slip range from 1 to 6 years and often coincide with or precede clusters of large [magnitude (M) ≥ 5] earthquakes, including the 2011 M 9 Tohoku-oki earthquake. These results suggest that inherently periodic slow-slip events result in periodic stress perturbations and modulate the occurrence time of larger earthquakes. The periodicity in the slow-slip rate has the potential to help refine time-dependent earthquake forecasts. Scientists the world over have for years been searching for a way to predict when an earthquake will strike, with enough certainty to warn people in the area. To date such efforts have come up empty, though much has been learned in the process. In this new effort, the researchers report that they believe they may have found a possible indicator of an impending quake, and it is based on what are known as slips, small underground movement similar to earthquakes, but which happen so slowly that they don’t cause damage or even register on seismic monitors—the only way to detect them is to use GPS equipment.To come to these conclusions, the researchers analyzed seismic data for Japan’s two largest islands, going back to 1984. Doing so led to the identification of 1,500 instances where there appeared to be a pattern of repetition—that allowed them to estimate the speed at which the tectonic plates below were moving. They then used statistics to correlate slippages with non-repeating measurable quakes with a magnitude of 5 or higher. Doing so revealed that there appeared to be a speedup in slippage just prior to major earthquakes. The team also looked at GPS data, which can actually be used to measure tectonic shifting, and report that it matched the rates they had calculated earlier.The team acknowledges that much more work needs to be done before it can be confirmed that GPS monitoring devices could one day offer an early warning system, but suggest their research shows that there is the potential for such an outcome. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Seismogram being recorded by a seismograph at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts, USA. Credit: Wikipedia (—A team of researchers, two from Tohoku University in Japan and two from the University of California in the U.S., has found evidence that suggests that a speedup in small underground deformations may occur prior to larger earthquakes, possibly providing a means for sounding a warning. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they pored over seismic data that spanned 28 years and which included approximately 6,000 seismic events, and what they found as a result—they also suggest that their findings might one day lead to a true earthquake early warning system.center_img Study results suggest slower seismic waves due to quakes may signal weak spots in crust Journal information: Science Explore further Citation: Seismic data suggests slow slip events may presage larger earthquakes (2016, January 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Top award winning authors to make their way to Jaipur litfest William

first_imgA Star-Studded lineup of international writers, including Commonwealth Prize winner Aminatta Forna from Sierra Leone, Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson and Orange Prize winners Linda Grant and Madeline Miller, will lend glamour to the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival scehduled for 24-28 February.Commenting on the international line-up, the festival co-director and historical novelist William Dalrymple said on Friday: ‘It is going to be an absolutely extraordinary five days and I only wish it were possible to clone oneself so that one could attend five sessions simultaneously.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Dalrymple said the ‘non-fiction list was especially strong this year’.‘We have no less than three winners of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction – Frank Dikkoter on Mao, Wade Davis on Everest and Orlando Figes on Stalin’s purges _ while Pulitzer winner Andrew Solomon will speak on his remarkable new book, Far From the Tree, he added.In a communique, the organisers said the festival will also introduce Indian audiences and readers to noted British historical novelist Lawrence Norfolk and three of Britain’s most popular literary writers – Sebastian Faulks, Deborah Moggach and Zoe Heller – whose award-winning books have been adapted into the highly acclaimed movies Birdsong, Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe Exotic Marigold Hotel and Notes on a Scandal.The festival will also host Abraham Verghese – one of the leading writers of Indian origin in the US and two of the ‘most respected novelists in the Arab world, Ahdaf Soueif and Tahar Ben Jalloun’.It will also bring back South Asian sensations Nadeem Aslam and Mohammad Hanif and will introduce Jamil Ahmad, along with Ariel Dorfman, a playwright and author from Chile.‘From Harvard, we have Diana Eck, whose book India: A Sacred Geography has been one of the hits of the past year, philosopher Michael Sandel, who will bring his popular BBC Radio 4 series The Public Philosopher, to Jaipur and leading cultural theorist Homi Bhabha’.Beside the international stars, the festival will host literature in 17 Indian languages as well.last_img read more

Lupita Nyongo to make theatre debut

first_imgNyong’o, 32, will make her New York stage debut in the production, which is also the play’s NYC premiere.Eclipsed is set during the Liberian Civil War and follows the captive wives of a rebel officer. “Danai Gurira has written a brilliant play, ripped from the headlines, that looks at the terrible conflicts in post-colonial Africa with an eye that is both incisive and deeply compassionate,” Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement.“A feminist reading of the Liberian Civil War, a war that was ended by women, Eclipsed is both heart-breaking and profoundly life-affirming.  We are delighted to welcome Lupita Nyong’o to The Public in this vitally important play,” the statement added.last_img read more

Soon North 24Pgs to involve schools in road safety campaign

first_imgKolkata: In a unique move the North 24-Parganas district administration has taken up an initiative to involve various schools in the road safety awareness campaign started by the state government.The state Transport department is all set to start classes on road safety issues in the schools, so that both state government-aided and private schools work together with the district administration towards effective monitoring and implementation of the ‘Safe Drive, Save life’ campaign, a brain child of the Chief Minister. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to a senior Transport department official in the district, classes would be introduced in the schools whereby the students would be imparted basic knowledge on road safety issues. As per the official, the work education teachers of these schools would be asked to conduct the classes for the benefit of school students. The school authorities would also be asked to follow certain guidelines regarding the road safety measures, failing which strict action will be taken against the school authorities, the official said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA high level committee has been formed comprising various senior officials of the districts, who will monitor all aspects related to the campaign from time to time. It will visit schools in all the five sub-divisions to take stock of the overall campaign.It will also submit reports to the district magistrate of North 24-Parganas, about the implementation of road safety awareness classes in these schools.According to the instructions, various schools that are situated on the state highways or national highways, should have a demarcated place exclusively for boarding and de-boarding the school students to and from the buses or pool cars. It may be mentioned here that the district administration has already been successfully implementing the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ campaign of the Chief Minister. Gigantic electronic displays have been installed in all the important places across the district, making people aware about road safety guidelines.Pictorial illustrations are being put on display so that issues draw the attention of people passing through the important intersections. The district administration claimed that due to rigorous campaign on road-safety related issues, the number of accidents has gone down in the state.According to the Transport department official, utmost importance is being laid on awareness classes which will be conducted in all the schools shortly, so that students are taught what to do or what not to do while travelling in pool cars or school buses.”We would take steps against the school authorities if they are found to have flouted any of the guidelines issued by the district administration,” a senior government official in the district said.last_img read more

Indulging in mango mania

first_imgPaatra, at Jaypee Siddharth Hotel is providing you the chance to savour this summer fruit at it’s best forms, every Wednesday afternoon throughout the month of June.Mango not only tastes good but is beneficial for your body as well. Mangoes keep your cholesterol in check, cleanses your skin and are good for your eyes. On contrary to the popular belief, mangoes help in weight loss and reduce the chances of diabetes. This juicy and yummy fruit may also help you to prevent a heat stroke during the summer. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Keeping the benefits of mangoes in view, Paatra, a well known eatery, is all set to please the taste buds by introducing Mango Kitty, a specially curated menu for all the fancy ladies out there to enjoy and relish the summer fruit. Now you can make your Wednesday exciting by spending it with your girls, treating yourselves with the tangy and tasty delicacies on the menu. Mouth watering dishes like Ambi Fish Tikka, Kache Aam Ki Laungi and Dal Arhar Kache Aam top the list.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixA perfect meal is incomplete without a dessert, and Paatra definitely has something special to offer to ladies with a sweet tooth. Mango based desserts, like the mango burfi is a hot favourite at the time. You can also indulge yourself in fun activities like dart games with a chance to win exclusively designed gifts and offers.Paatra is a speciality restaurant with a separate vegetarian kitchen, which showcases cuisine from Lahore to Amritsar to Indian. A fine selection of popular vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes from across the country is complemented by live music in the evenings. You may visit this mango festival in the afternoon every Wednesday and enjoy the delicacies at Rs 1500 per person.last_img read more

Pollution board teams to check cracker norm violation in city

first_imgKolkata: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has decided to deploy seven teams in the city and its surrounding areas on the occasion of Kali Puja and Diwali to check adherence to the 90-decibel limit and the recent Supreme Court order on bursting firecrackers. The Supreme Court last month stipulated a two-hour window, from 8pm to 10pm, for bursting low-emission crackers. The 90-decibel norm has been in force in the state since late 90s in accordance with Calcutta High Court. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life There will be seven teams of pollution board officials in Kolkata and its nearby areas, while personnel would also be deployed in the districts to check violation of rules, WBPCB Chairman Kalyan Rudra told PTI here. The teams will act in coordination with the police and the administration, and particularly keep vigil near high-rises and areas adjacent to Kali Puja pandals, he said. “The board has given 180 sound-monitoring devices to the police, which was in addition to 317 more devices given last year. These devices can be effectively put to use to check the decibel level on spot,” Rudra noted. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed The WBPCB control room will be working from 5 pm to 12 am on both the days, he said. “We had held a series of meetings with residents of high-rises in the past week, where we pointed out that the measures, as stipulated in the SC order, were for public benefit. If you burst a toxic cracker, you are endangering your health, as well as that of your family members,” the WBPCB chairman explained. Rudra also said that reports from 17 air quality monitoring stations in Kolkata were being separately tabulated to check any change of air quality in the run-up to the festival and afterwards. “The board has been assessing air quality in the city for the past seven days and the practice will continue till November 14 to detect any change in air quality in the run-up to the festival, during the peak festival hours and also afterwards,” he said, adding that the findings from the last few days would be analysed shortly.last_img read more