Health Science blogs

Science Blogs

26 May 2022

Science Blogs Science Blogs
  • Nuclear Fusion Can Unleash Even More Power Than We Realized, Scientists Say
    26 May 2022

    The future looks twice as bright.

  • Cultural Sensitivity Getting in Way of Stopping Monkeypox
    26 May 2022
    Buzz Hollander, BuzMed

    Monkeypox. My patients are asking about it, so I decided to educate myself about it, and share what I learned. What I found is that it's probably not as mysterious as the media presents it. However, it's no mystery why what's likely going on is being soft-pedaled. It's insensitive.

  • New Zealand must get over its obsession with big cars and go smaller or electric to cut emissions
    26 May 2022

    Jen Purdie, University of Otago

    If your next car is not electric, then it must be much smaller than your last one.

    Scientists have warned that the world needs to halve emissions every decade to keep global warming less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

    The government of Aotearoa New Zealand aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

    Last year, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) laid out the path to net zero in its advice to the government. In recent weeks, the government has released its plan to achieve these climate targets.

    The goal is not insignificant, especially considering New Zealanders have been buying bigger vehicles for nearly two decades.

    To achieve net zero by 2050, New Zealand must reduce total CO2 emissions by a third before 2030, and another third by 2040.

    How to target a third of emissions

    How can we reduce New Zealand’s emissions by a third every decade?

    Around 20% of New Zealand’s emissions come from the transport sector.

    Both the government and commission see removing carbon from transport as the low-hanging fruit in the emissions reduction journey (in part because the government and farmers are still working on a plan to reduce the 50% of emissions that come from agriculture).

    As part of its plan, the government intends to help low-income households reduce their transport emissions and make 30% of the light vehicle fleet electric by 2035.

    But the government’s road map to achieve this seems light on details.

    The popularity of electric bicycles has increased, but cities need to be designed to allow people to better use non-car transport. Getty Images

    To reduce transport emissions, the commission proposed New Zealanders should walk, cycle, use electric bikes and scooters more, and drive less.

    The good news is electric bike and scooter sales are booming in New Zealand and are predicted to overtake new car sales in the next couple of years.

    Town planners are also starting to take these modes of transport into account when planning new ways for us to get around our cities.

    The commission recommends that public transport and motive transport (using our own energy to get around by walking and biking), which currently make up just 6% of all travel, should increase to 14% by 2035 to achieve the emission reduction goals.

    The government has promised to invest in public transport, and will introduce a zero-emissions public bus mandate by 2025. But it has resisted calls to permanently extend the three month half-fare initiative currently in place.

    New cars need to be smaller

    To reduce emissions by a third every decade, New Zealand needs fewer cars on the road. But we also need to decarbonise the cars and trucks we do have, and we need to do it fast.

    Barriers to achieve this include New Zealand’s ageing vehicle fleet, which is one of the oldest in the developed world. The average car is 14 years old, and the average age of cars when scrapped is 20 years old.

    Approximately 150,000 cars are scrapped each year, out of a vehicle fleet of 4.4 million. This means it will take 30 years to turn over the entire fleet. That’s too slow if we want to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

    People replace their vehicles on average every six to 11 years. In real terms, this means every time you replace your car it needs to produce 30% less emission than the one being replaced to meet reductions targets.

    The problem is, the average engine size of our cars grew steadily between 2000 and 2010, and stayed steady between 2010 and 2020. This decade has to be the one where engines get smaller.

    But our obsession with large cars continues to grow. The Ford Ranger has been the most popular new car in New Zealand for the past couple of years.

    Globally, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) grew from 16% of new car sales in 2010 to 45% of new car sales in 2021.

    SUVs were the second largest contributor to the increase in global carbon emissions from 2010 to 2018 – bigger than either heavy industry or aviation. If SUVs were a country, they would be the seventh biggest emitter in the world.

    There is no need for massive SUVs in an urban setting and they are too often used as a status symbol rather than a workhorse.

    Lucky for SUV owners, vehicle manufacturers will soon be mass producing large electric utes. Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is well on it’s way to being universal, and the energy industry is gearing up to supply the resulting large increase in electricity demand.

    Battery technology is coming on apace, finding ways around using rare earth metals such as cobalt, which have a high environmental and social cost.

    Initial cost is still a barrier

    EVs cost more upfront but have lower running costs, so the lifetime purchase and running costs of a new EV is already lower than an internal combustion engine (ICE). The up-front purchase price of a new EV is projected to be cheaper than ICEs by 2031.

    But for many who usually drive cheap used cars, the up-front cost will remain prohibitive for some time unless the government comes up with more incentives than the the existing discount scheme. Supply chains to source the number of second hand EVs we need are not guaranteed either.

    To achieve net zero, your next car will need to be electric or, at least, be two-thirds the size of your current car. Our obsession with driving cars, and with big vehicles in particular, must change.

    We need to walk and bike more, or commute to work on electric bikes or scooters, and our cities need to be designed around bike lanes and better subsidised public transport. We need to stop using our vehicles as status symbols and buy smaller cars.

    What will we get in return? Our children will get a planet they can actually live on.

     

    Jen Purdie, Senior Research Fellow, University of Otago

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping
    26 May 2022

    On March 26th, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest approach to the Sun so far. It ventured inside Mercury’s orbit and was about one-third the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot but worth it.

    The Solar Orbiter’s primary mission is to understand the connection between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the close approach are helping build that understanding.

    According to the ESA, the Solar Orbiter is the most complex scientific laboratory ever sent to the Sun. It carries a robust suite of instruments, including a Magnetometer, an Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, a Solar Wind Plasma Analyzer, and others. Its broad range of instruments allows it to observe solar events in multiple ways.

    The spacecraft benefits from getting as close to the Sun as it can. But close approaches make the Solar Orbiter hot. The spacecraft’s first line of defence is its heat shield. It’s a multi-layered titanium device mounted on a honeycomb aluminum support, with carbon fibre skins designed to shed heat. Between all that and the spacecraft’s body, there are another 28 layers of insulation. During this approach, its heat shield reached 500 Celsius (932 F.)

    Protected from the heat, the Solar Orbiter gathered a lot of data in its approach. Scientists need more time to work with it and understand it, but the images and videos are immediately engaging. One of the Sun’s features that caught everyone’s attention is the “space hedgehog.”

    The intriguing feature in the bottom third of the image, below the centre, has been nicknamed the solar hedgehog. No one knows exactly what it is or how it formed in the Sun’s atmosphere. The image was captured on 30 March 2022 by the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager. Image Credit: ESA.

    Thanks to a bit of luck, the Sun put on a show during the Solar Orbiter’s approach. There were solar flares, and even a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed toward Earth. The Solar Orbiter has several remote sensing instruments, and scientists used them to forecast when the CME would reach Earth. They released their forecast on social media, and 18 hours later, Earthly observers were prepped to witness the resulting aurora. ESA released a graphic to explain how that played out.

    This graphic shows the Solar Orbiter’s role in detecting a CME and forecasting aurora when the CME struck Earth. On 10 March, a solar flare produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed at Earth. The cameras on the ESA/NASA mission SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observer) recorded the event at around 22:06 UT. Solar Orbiter also observed it from its viewpoint about 67 million km from the Sun. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: Central Sun image: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI team; corona imagery: SOHO (ESA & NASA); Solar Orbiter data: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/MAG & SWA Teams; Wind data: NASA/GSFC/Wind Aurora: J Bant Sexson IV

    The following video features images of the flares and the CME from three of the Solar Orbiter’s instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, the Metis coronagraph, and SoloHI, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager.

    The awesome energy of the Sun can be readily appreciated in this sequence of images combining data from three instruments on the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft. It shows the way a solar flare on 25 March 2022, one day before the Solar Orbiter’s closest approach to the Sun, created a massive disturbance in the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona, leading to an enormous quantity of the gas being hurled into space in a coronal mass ejection.

    The ESA created an infographic that helps explain what the video shows.

    This graphic helps explain how the Solar Orbiter imaged the event with different instruments. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EPD, EUI, RPW & STIX Teams

    The Orbiter also gave us our highest-resolution image of the Sun’s south pole.

    Scientists are interested in the Sun’s poles because of how the Sun’s magnetic fields work. The magnetic fields create the powerful but temporary active regions on the Sun’s surface, and the fields get swept up and down to the poles before being swallowed by the Sun again. Scientists think that they somehow act as seeds for the next solar activity. The detailed images from the Sun’s south pole should help researchers understand how this all works.

    The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft saw the Sun’s south pole on 30 March 2022, just four days after the spacecraft passed its closest point yet to the Sun. These images were recorded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a wavelength of 17 nanometers. Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI, Metis and SoloHI Teams

    In the video of the Sun’s south pole, the lighter regions are mostly magnetic loops rising from the Sun’s interior. They’re called closed magnetic field lines because particles have difficulty crossing them. Instead, the particles become trapped and emit extreme ultraviolet radiation, which the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) is poised to capture.

    The darker regions in the video are where the Sun’s magnetic field lines are open. Instead of being closed to particles and trapping them, gasses can escape into space from these darker regions. That creates solar wind.

    The Orbiter also captured images and data of a March 2nd solar flare. The spacecraft’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) and the X-ray Spectrometer/Telescope (STIX) instruments captured the flare as solar atmospheric gases reached temperatures of about one million degrees C (1,8000,000 F) and emitted extreme ultraviolet energy and x-rays.

    In the gif below, lower-energy X-rays are displayed in red, and higher-energy X-rays are in blue.

    Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI & STIX Teams

    There’s a lot more to come from the Solar Orbiter. Over the next four years, the spacecraft will encounter Venus for a fourth and fifth time. Each time it does so, it’ll increase its inclination, giving it more direct views of the Sun’s poles. By December 2026, it’ll be orbitally inclined at 24 degrees, marking the start of the spacecraft’s “high-latitude” mission.

    Solar Orbiter’s journey around the Sun. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

    Those high-latitude observations will give scientists line-of-sight views of the poles. The ESA says those views are crucial to disentangling the Sun’s complex magnetic polar environment. That could help unravel the mystery of the Sun’s 11-year cycles.

    “We are so thrilled with the quality of the data from our first perihelion,” said Daniel Müller, ESA Project Scientist for Solar Orbiter. “It’s almost hard to believe that this is just the start of the mission. We are going to be very busy indeed.”

    More:

    The post Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping appeared first on Universe Today.

  • How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19
    26 May 2022

    As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate around the country, it has become clear that the coronavirus that causes the disease is unlikely to disappear. But navigating the risks can be difficult when conditions differ dramatically between cities, counties and states—from the rate of infection in each area, to local recommendations on masking and other policies. […]

    The post How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest
    26 May 2022

    Lisa Abbott scrolled through the online auction offerings of the American Alpine Club’s fundraiser. As a rock climber, ice climber, scuba diver and marathon runner, she enjoyed daydreaming about the various trips up for grabs. One offering stood out: a guided two-week trek through the Khumbu Valley in Nepal to the base camp of Mount […]

    The post Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns
    26 May 2022

    Mastercard’s “smile to pay” system, announced last week, is supposed to save time for customers at checkouts. It is being trialed in Brazil, with future pilots planned for the Middle East and Asia. The company argues touch-less technology will help speed up transaction times, shorten lines in shops, heighten security and improve hygiene in businesses. […]

    The post Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice
    26 May 2022

    You may have seen the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi and wondered what it’s all about. Tai chi is an ancient mind and body practice. While more research is needed, studies suggest that it may have many health benefits. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” There are many types […]

    The post Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn
    26 May 2022

    For decades, most physicians, parents, and teachers have believed that stimulant medications help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) learn. But scientists from Florida International University found medication has no effect on how much children with ADHD learn in the classroom. The research is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and was […]

    The post Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11%
    26 May 2022

    Scientists from the University of Cambridge found that watching too much TV is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease regardless of a person’s genetic makeup. They found that 11% of cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of TV each day. The research is […]

    The post Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11% appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

Science blogs

Science Blogs

26 May 2022

Science Blogs Science Blogs
  • Nuclear Fusion Can Unleash Even More Power Than We Realized, Scientists Say
    26 May 2022

    The future looks twice as bright.

  • Cultural Sensitivity Getting in Way of Stopping Monkeypox
    26 May 2022
    Buzz Hollander, BuzMed

    Monkeypox. My patients are asking about it, so I decided to educate myself about it, and share what I learned. What I found is that it's probably not as mysterious as the media presents it. However, it's no mystery why what's likely going on is being soft-pedaled. It's insensitive.

  • New Zealand must get over its obsession with big cars and go smaller or electric to cut emissions
    26 May 2022

    Jen Purdie, University of Otago

    If your next car is not electric, then it must be much smaller than your last one.

    Scientists have warned that the world needs to halve emissions every decade to keep global warming less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

    The government of Aotearoa New Zealand aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

    Last year, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) laid out the path to net zero in its advice to the government. In recent weeks, the government has released its plan to achieve these climate targets.

    The goal is not insignificant, especially considering New Zealanders have been buying bigger vehicles for nearly two decades.

    To achieve net zero by 2050, New Zealand must reduce total CO2 emissions by a third before 2030, and another third by 2040.

    How to target a third of emissions

    How can we reduce New Zealand’s emissions by a third every decade?

    Around 20% of New Zealand’s emissions come from the transport sector.

    Both the government and commission see removing carbon from transport as the low-hanging fruit in the emissions reduction journey (in part because the government and farmers are still working on a plan to reduce the 50% of emissions that come from agriculture).

    As part of its plan, the government intends to help low-income households reduce their transport emissions and make 30% of the light vehicle fleet electric by 2035.

    But the government’s road map to achieve this seems light on details.

    The popularity of electric bicycles has increased, but cities need to be designed to allow people to better use non-car transport. Getty Images

    To reduce transport emissions, the commission proposed New Zealanders should walk, cycle, use electric bikes and scooters more, and drive less.

    The good news is electric bike and scooter sales are booming in New Zealand and are predicted to overtake new car sales in the next couple of years.

    Town planners are also starting to take these modes of transport into account when planning new ways for us to get around our cities.

    The commission recommends that public transport and motive transport (using our own energy to get around by walking and biking), which currently make up just 6% of all travel, should increase to 14% by 2035 to achieve the emission reduction goals.

    The government has promised to invest in public transport, and will introduce a zero-emissions public bus mandate by 2025. But it has resisted calls to permanently extend the three month half-fare initiative currently in place.

    New cars need to be smaller

    To reduce emissions by a third every decade, New Zealand needs fewer cars on the road. But we also need to decarbonise the cars and trucks we do have, and we need to do it fast.

    Barriers to achieve this include New Zealand’s ageing vehicle fleet, which is one of the oldest in the developed world. The average car is 14 years old, and the average age of cars when scrapped is 20 years old.

    Approximately 150,000 cars are scrapped each year, out of a vehicle fleet of 4.4 million. This means it will take 30 years to turn over the entire fleet. That’s too slow if we want to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

    People replace their vehicles on average every six to 11 years. In real terms, this means every time you replace your car it needs to produce 30% less emission than the one being replaced to meet reductions targets.

    The problem is, the average engine size of our cars grew steadily between 2000 and 2010, and stayed steady between 2010 and 2020. This decade has to be the one where engines get smaller.

    But our obsession with large cars continues to grow. The Ford Ranger has been the most popular new car in New Zealand for the past couple of years.

    Globally, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) grew from 16% of new car sales in 2010 to 45% of new car sales in 2021.

    SUVs were the second largest contributor to the increase in global carbon emissions from 2010 to 2018 – bigger than either heavy industry or aviation. If SUVs were a country, they would be the seventh biggest emitter in the world.

    There is no need for massive SUVs in an urban setting and they are too often used as a status symbol rather than a workhorse.

    Lucky for SUV owners, vehicle manufacturers will soon be mass producing large electric utes. Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is well on it’s way to being universal, and the energy industry is gearing up to supply the resulting large increase in electricity demand.

    Battery technology is coming on apace, finding ways around using rare earth metals such as cobalt, which have a high environmental and social cost.

    Initial cost is still a barrier

    EVs cost more upfront but have lower running costs, so the lifetime purchase and running costs of a new EV is already lower than an internal combustion engine (ICE). The up-front purchase price of a new EV is projected to be cheaper than ICEs by 2031.

    But for many who usually drive cheap used cars, the up-front cost will remain prohibitive for some time unless the government comes up with more incentives than the the existing discount scheme. Supply chains to source the number of second hand EVs we need are not guaranteed either.

    To achieve net zero, your next car will need to be electric or, at least, be two-thirds the size of your current car. Our obsession with driving cars, and with big vehicles in particular, must change.

    We need to walk and bike more, or commute to work on electric bikes or scooters, and our cities need to be designed around bike lanes and better subsidised public transport. We need to stop using our vehicles as status symbols and buy smaller cars.

    What will we get in return? Our children will get a planet they can actually live on.

     

    Jen Purdie, Senior Research Fellow, University of Otago

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping
    26 May 2022

    On March 26th, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest approach to the Sun so far. It ventured inside Mercury’s orbit and was about one-third the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot but worth it.

    The Solar Orbiter’s primary mission is to understand the connection between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the close approach are helping build that understanding.

    According to the ESA, the Solar Orbiter is the most complex scientific laboratory ever sent to the Sun. It carries a robust suite of instruments, including a Magnetometer, an Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, a Solar Wind Plasma Analyzer, and others. Its broad range of instruments allows it to observe solar events in multiple ways.

    The spacecraft benefits from getting as close to the Sun as it can. But close approaches make the Solar Orbiter hot. The spacecraft’s first line of defence is its heat shield. It’s a multi-layered titanium device mounted on a honeycomb aluminum support, with carbon fibre skins designed to shed heat. Between all that and the spacecraft’s body, there are another 28 layers of insulation. During this approach, its heat shield reached 500 Celsius (932 F.)

    Protected from the heat, the Solar Orbiter gathered a lot of data in its approach. Scientists need more time to work with it and understand it, but the images and videos are immediately engaging. One of the Sun’s features that caught everyone’s attention is the “space hedgehog.”

    The intriguing feature in the bottom third of the image, below the centre, has been nicknamed the solar hedgehog. No one knows exactly what it is or how it formed in the Sun’s atmosphere. The image was captured on 30 March 2022 by the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager. Image Credit: ESA.

    Thanks to a bit of luck, the Sun put on a show during the Solar Orbiter’s approach. There were solar flares, and even a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed toward Earth. The Solar Orbiter has several remote sensing instruments, and scientists used them to forecast when the CME would reach Earth. They released their forecast on social media, and 18 hours later, Earthly observers were prepped to witness the resulting aurora. ESA released a graphic to explain how that played out.

    This graphic shows the Solar Orbiter’s role in detecting a CME and forecasting aurora when the CME struck Earth. On 10 March, a solar flare produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed at Earth. The cameras on the ESA/NASA mission SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observer) recorded the event at around 22:06 UT. Solar Orbiter also observed it from its viewpoint about 67 million km from the Sun. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: Central Sun image: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI team; corona imagery: SOHO (ESA & NASA); Solar Orbiter data: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/MAG & SWA Teams; Wind data: NASA/GSFC/Wind Aurora: J Bant Sexson IV

    The following video features images of the flares and the CME from three of the Solar Orbiter’s instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, the Metis coronagraph, and SoloHI, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager.

    The awesome energy of the Sun can be readily appreciated in this sequence of images combining data from three instruments on the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft. It shows the way a solar flare on 25 March 2022, one day before the Solar Orbiter’s closest approach to the Sun, created a massive disturbance in the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona, leading to an enormous quantity of the gas being hurled into space in a coronal mass ejection.

    The ESA created an infographic that helps explain what the video shows.

    This graphic helps explain how the Solar Orbiter imaged the event with different instruments. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EPD, EUI, RPW & STIX Teams

    The Orbiter also gave us our highest-resolution image of the Sun’s south pole.

    Scientists are interested in the Sun’s poles because of how the Sun’s magnetic fields work. The magnetic fields create the powerful but temporary active regions on the Sun’s surface, and the fields get swept up and down to the poles before being swallowed by the Sun again. Scientists think that they somehow act as seeds for the next solar activity. The detailed images from the Sun’s south pole should help researchers understand how this all works.

    The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft saw the Sun’s south pole on 30 March 2022, just four days after the spacecraft passed its closest point yet to the Sun. These images were recorded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a wavelength of 17 nanometers. Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI, Metis and SoloHI Teams

    In the video of the Sun’s south pole, the lighter regions are mostly magnetic loops rising from the Sun’s interior. They’re called closed magnetic field lines because particles have difficulty crossing them. Instead, the particles become trapped and emit extreme ultraviolet radiation, which the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) is poised to capture.

    The darker regions in the video are where the Sun’s magnetic field lines are open. Instead of being closed to particles and trapping them, gasses can escape into space from these darker regions. That creates solar wind.

    The Orbiter also captured images and data of a March 2nd solar flare. The spacecraft’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) and the X-ray Spectrometer/Telescope (STIX) instruments captured the flare as solar atmospheric gases reached temperatures of about one million degrees C (1,8000,000 F) and emitted extreme ultraviolet energy and x-rays.

    In the gif below, lower-energy X-rays are displayed in red, and higher-energy X-rays are in blue.

    Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI & STIX Teams

    There’s a lot more to come from the Solar Orbiter. Over the next four years, the spacecraft will encounter Venus for a fourth and fifth time. Each time it does so, it’ll increase its inclination, giving it more direct views of the Sun’s poles. By December 2026, it’ll be orbitally inclined at 24 degrees, marking the start of the spacecraft’s “high-latitude” mission.

    Solar Orbiter’s journey around the Sun. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

    Those high-latitude observations will give scientists line-of-sight views of the poles. The ESA says those views are crucial to disentangling the Sun’s complex magnetic polar environment. That could help unravel the mystery of the Sun’s 11-year cycles.

    “We are so thrilled with the quality of the data from our first perihelion,” said Daniel Müller, ESA Project Scientist for Solar Orbiter. “It’s almost hard to believe that this is just the start of the mission. We are going to be very busy indeed.”

    More:

    The post Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping appeared first on Universe Today.

  • How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19
    26 May 2022

    As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate around the country, it has become clear that the coronavirus that causes the disease is unlikely to disappear. But navigating the risks can be difficult when conditions differ dramatically between cities, counties and states—from the rate of infection in each area, to local recommendations on masking and other policies. […]

    The post How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest
    26 May 2022

    Lisa Abbott scrolled through the online auction offerings of the American Alpine Club’s fundraiser. As a rock climber, ice climber, scuba diver and marathon runner, she enjoyed daydreaming about the various trips up for grabs. One offering stood out: a guided two-week trek through the Khumbu Valley in Nepal to the base camp of Mount […]

    The post Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns
    26 May 2022

    Mastercard’s “smile to pay” system, announced last week, is supposed to save time for customers at checkouts. It is being trialed in Brazil, with future pilots planned for the Middle East and Asia. The company argues touch-less technology will help speed up transaction times, shorten lines in shops, heighten security and improve hygiene in businesses. […]

    The post Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice
    26 May 2022

    You may have seen the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi and wondered what it’s all about. Tai chi is an ancient mind and body practice. While more research is needed, studies suggest that it may have many health benefits. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” There are many types […]

    The post Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn
    26 May 2022

    For decades, most physicians, parents, and teachers have believed that stimulant medications help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) learn. But scientists from Florida International University found medication has no effect on how much children with ADHD learn in the classroom. The research is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and was […]

    The post Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11%
    26 May 2022

    Scientists from the University of Cambridge found that watching too much TV is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease regardless of a person’s genetic makeup. They found that 11% of cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of TV each day. The research is […]

    The post Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11% appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

Science News

Science News Websites

26 May 2022

Science News Websites Science News Websites
  • Decline of diatoms due to ocean acidification
    26 May 2022
    Diatoms are the most important producers of plant biomass in the ocean and help to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere into the deep ocean and thus regulate our climate. Because diatoms rely on silica rather than calcium carbonate to build their shells, they were previously thought to benefit from ocean acidification -- a chemical change in seawater triggered by the increasing uptake of CO2 that makes calcification more difficult. Scientists now show that diatoms, which are a type of plankton, are also affected. Analyses of data from field experiments and model simulations suggest that ocean acidification could drastically reduce diatom populations.
  • Researchers identify biomarker panel that could help predict gestational diabetes in early pregnancy
    26 May 2022
    Researchers have taken the initial step in identifying what may be an effective way to detect gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) earlier in pregnancy, potentially improving diagnosis and treatment for what is the most common disorder of pregnancy.
  • Seven healthy habits linked to lower risk of dementia in those with genetic risk
    26 May 2022
    Seven healthy habits and lifestyle factors may play a role in lowering the risk of dementia in people with the highest genetic risk, according to new research.
  • Researchers use CRISPR technology to modify starches in potatoes
    26 May 2022
    Humble potatoes are a rich source not only of dietary carbohydrates for humans, but also of starches for numerous industrial applications. Scientists are learning how to alter the ratio of potatoes' two starch molecules -- amylose and amylopectin -- to increase both culinary and industrial applications.
  • Missing link between Alzheimer's and vascular disease found?
    26 May 2022
    A gene called FMNL2 may explain why people with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or obesity have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Tiny robotic crab is smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot
    26 May 2022
    Engineers have developed the smallest-ever remote-controlled walking robot -- and it comes in the form of a tiny, adorable peekytoe crab. Just a half-millimeter wide, the tiny crabs can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump. Although the research is exploratory at this point, the researchers believe their technology might bring the field closer to realizing micro-sized robots that can perform practical tasks inside tightly confined spaces.
  • Scientists identify how the brain links memories
    26 May 2022
    Our brains lose the ability to link related memories as we age. Scientists genetically restored this brain function in middle-aged mice and identified an FDA-approved drug that achieves the same thing. The study suggests a new approach for combating middle-aged memory loss and a possible early intervention for dementia.
  • Climate change reveals unique artifacts in melting ice patches
    26 May 2022
    Norwegian mountains are full of time capsules. Thousands of years of human and ecological history are preserved in remnant patches of ice. Now this treasure trove of information threatens to melt away, unless we take action.
  • Chemists' HAT trick for greener chemical synthesis
    26 May 2022
    A technique used in chemical synthesis is called hydrogen atom transfer, or HAT. It's a potentially powerful and versatile chemical tool, but technical constraints have limited its use. Now chemists have borrowed a technique from the chemistry of energy storage to accomplish HAT with fewer chemicals and less cost.
  • NASA To Welcome Japanese Astronaut Aboard the Lunar Gateway Outpost
    26 May 2022

    President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo on Monday, May 23, 2022, where they announced progress on collaboration for human...

    The post NASA To Welcome Japanese Astronaut Aboard the Lunar Gateway Outpost appeared first on SciTechDaily.

Health Science blogs

Science Blogs

26 May 2022

Science Blogs Science Blogs
  • Nuclear Fusion Can Unleash Even More Power Than We Realized, Scientists Say
    26 May 2022

    The future looks twice as bright.

  • Cultural Sensitivity Getting in Way of Stopping Monkeypox
    26 May 2022
    Buzz Hollander, BuzMed

    Monkeypox. My patients are asking about it, so I decided to educate myself about it, and share what I learned. What I found is that it's probably not as mysterious as the media presents it. However, it's no mystery why what's likely going on is being soft-pedaled. It's insensitive.

  • New Zealand must get over its obsession with big cars and go smaller or electric to cut emissions
    26 May 2022

    Jen Purdie, University of Otago

    If your next car is not electric, then it must be much smaller than your last one.

    Scientists have warned that the world needs to halve emissions every decade to keep global warming less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

    The government of Aotearoa New Zealand aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

    Last year, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) laid out the path to net zero in its advice to the government. In recent weeks, the government has released its plan to achieve these climate targets.

    The goal is not insignificant, especially considering New Zealanders have been buying bigger vehicles for nearly two decades.

    To achieve net zero by 2050, New Zealand must reduce total CO2 emissions by a third before 2030, and another third by 2040.

    How to target a third of emissions

    How can we reduce New Zealand’s emissions by a third every decade?

    Around 20% of New Zealand’s emissions come from the transport sector.

    Both the government and commission see removing carbon from transport as the low-hanging fruit in the emissions reduction journey (in part because the government and farmers are still working on a plan to reduce the 50% of emissions that come from agriculture).

    As part of its plan, the government intends to help low-income households reduce their transport emissions and make 30% of the light vehicle fleet electric by 2035.

    But the government’s road map to achieve this seems light on details.

    The popularity of electric bicycles has increased, but cities need to be designed to allow people to better use non-car transport. Getty Images

    To reduce transport emissions, the commission proposed New Zealanders should walk, cycle, use electric bikes and scooters more, and drive less.

    The good news is electric bike and scooter sales are booming in New Zealand and are predicted to overtake new car sales in the next couple of years.

    Town planners are also starting to take these modes of transport into account when planning new ways for us to get around our cities.

    The commission recommends that public transport and motive transport (using our own energy to get around by walking and biking), which currently make up just 6% of all travel, should increase to 14% by 2035 to achieve the emission reduction goals.

    The government has promised to invest in public transport, and will introduce a zero-emissions public bus mandate by 2025. But it has resisted calls to permanently extend the three month half-fare initiative currently in place.

    New cars need to be smaller

    To reduce emissions by a third every decade, New Zealand needs fewer cars on the road. But we also need to decarbonise the cars and trucks we do have, and we need to do it fast.

    Barriers to achieve this include New Zealand’s ageing vehicle fleet, which is one of the oldest in the developed world. The average car is 14 years old, and the average age of cars when scrapped is 20 years old.

    Approximately 150,000 cars are scrapped each year, out of a vehicle fleet of 4.4 million. This means it will take 30 years to turn over the entire fleet. That’s too slow if we want to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

    People replace their vehicles on average every six to 11 years. In real terms, this means every time you replace your car it needs to produce 30% less emission than the one being replaced to meet reductions targets.

    The problem is, the average engine size of our cars grew steadily between 2000 and 2010, and stayed steady between 2010 and 2020. This decade has to be the one where engines get smaller.

    But our obsession with large cars continues to grow. The Ford Ranger has been the most popular new car in New Zealand for the past couple of years.

    Globally, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) grew from 16% of new car sales in 2010 to 45% of new car sales in 2021.

    SUVs were the second largest contributor to the increase in global carbon emissions from 2010 to 2018 – bigger than either heavy industry or aviation. If SUVs were a country, they would be the seventh biggest emitter in the world.

    There is no need for massive SUVs in an urban setting and they are too often used as a status symbol rather than a workhorse.

    Lucky for SUV owners, vehicle manufacturers will soon be mass producing large electric utes. Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is well on it’s way to being universal, and the energy industry is gearing up to supply the resulting large increase in electricity demand.

    Battery technology is coming on apace, finding ways around using rare earth metals such as cobalt, which have a high environmental and social cost.

    Initial cost is still a barrier

    EVs cost more upfront but have lower running costs, so the lifetime purchase and running costs of a new EV is already lower than an internal combustion engine (ICE). The up-front purchase price of a new EV is projected to be cheaper than ICEs by 2031.

    But for many who usually drive cheap used cars, the up-front cost will remain prohibitive for some time unless the government comes up with more incentives than the the existing discount scheme. Supply chains to source the number of second hand EVs we need are not guaranteed either.

    To achieve net zero, your next car will need to be electric or, at least, be two-thirds the size of your current car. Our obsession with driving cars, and with big vehicles in particular, must change.

    We need to walk and bike more, or commute to work on electric bikes or scooters, and our cities need to be designed around bike lanes and better subsidised public transport. We need to stop using our vehicles as status symbols and buy smaller cars.

    What will we get in return? Our children will get a planet they can actually live on.

     

    Jen Purdie, Senior Research Fellow, University of Otago

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

  • Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping
    26 May 2022

    On March 26th, the ESA’s Solar Orbiter made its closest approach to the Sun so far. It ventured inside Mercury’s orbit and was about one-third the distance from Earth to the Sun. It was hot but worth it.

    The Solar Orbiter’s primary mission is to understand the connection between the Sun and its heliosphere, and new images from the close approach are helping build that understanding.

    According to the ESA, the Solar Orbiter is the most complex scientific laboratory ever sent to the Sun. It carries a robust suite of instruments, including a Magnetometer, an Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, a Solar Wind Plasma Analyzer, and others. Its broad range of instruments allows it to observe solar events in multiple ways.

    The spacecraft benefits from getting as close to the Sun as it can. But close approaches make the Solar Orbiter hot. The spacecraft’s first line of defence is its heat shield. It’s a multi-layered titanium device mounted on a honeycomb aluminum support, with carbon fibre skins designed to shed heat. Between all that and the spacecraft’s body, there are another 28 layers of insulation. During this approach, its heat shield reached 500 Celsius (932 F.)

    Protected from the heat, the Solar Orbiter gathered a lot of data in its approach. Scientists need more time to work with it and understand it, but the images and videos are immediately engaging. One of the Sun’s features that caught everyone’s attention is the “space hedgehog.”

    The intriguing feature in the bottom third of the image, below the centre, has been nicknamed the solar hedgehog. No one knows exactly what it is or how it formed in the Sun’s atmosphere. The image was captured on 30 March 2022 by the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager. Image Credit: ESA.

    Thanks to a bit of luck, the Sun put on a show during the Solar Orbiter’s approach. There were solar flares, and even a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed toward Earth. The Solar Orbiter has several remote sensing instruments, and scientists used them to forecast when the CME would reach Earth. They released their forecast on social media, and 18 hours later, Earthly observers were prepped to witness the resulting aurora. ESA released a graphic to explain how that played out.

    This graphic shows the Solar Orbiter’s role in detecting a CME and forecasting aurora when the CME struck Earth. On 10 March, a solar flare produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed at Earth. The cameras on the ESA/NASA mission SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observer) recorded the event at around 22:06 UT. Solar Orbiter also observed it from its viewpoint about 67 million km from the Sun. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: Central Sun image: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI team; corona imagery: SOHO (ESA & NASA); Solar Orbiter data: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/MAG & SWA Teams; Wind data: NASA/GSFC/Wind Aurora: J Bant Sexson IV

    The following video features images of the flares and the CME from three of the Solar Orbiter’s instruments: the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, the Metis coronagraph, and SoloHI, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager.

    The awesome energy of the Sun can be readily appreciated in this sequence of images combining data from three instruments on the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft. It shows the way a solar flare on 25 March 2022, one day before the Solar Orbiter’s closest approach to the Sun, created a massive disturbance in the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the solar corona, leading to an enormous quantity of the gas being hurled into space in a coronal mass ejection.

    The ESA created an infographic that helps explain what the video shows.

    This graphic helps explain how the Solar Orbiter imaged the event with different instruments. <Click to enlarge.> Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EPD, EUI, RPW & STIX Teams

    The Orbiter also gave us our highest-resolution image of the Sun’s south pole.

    Scientists are interested in the Sun’s poles because of how the Sun’s magnetic fields work. The magnetic fields create the powerful but temporary active regions on the Sun’s surface, and the fields get swept up and down to the poles before being swallowed by the Sun again. Scientists think that they somehow act as seeds for the next solar activity. The detailed images from the Sun’s south pole should help researchers understand how this all works.

    The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft saw the Sun’s south pole on 30 March 2022, just four days after the spacecraft passed its closest point yet to the Sun. These images were recorded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) at a wavelength of 17 nanometers. Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI, Metis and SoloHI Teams

    In the video of the Sun’s south pole, the lighter regions are mostly magnetic loops rising from the Sun’s interior. They’re called closed magnetic field lines because particles have difficulty crossing them. Instead, the particles become trapped and emit extreme ultraviolet radiation, which the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) is poised to capture.

    The darker regions in the video are where the Sun’s magnetic field lines are open. Instead of being closed to particles and trapping them, gasses can escape into space from these darker regions. That creates solar wind.

    The Orbiter also captured images and data of a March 2nd solar flare. The spacecraft’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) and the X-ray Spectrometer/Telescope (STIX) instruments captured the flare as solar atmospheric gases reached temperatures of about one million degrees C (1,8000,000 F) and emitted extreme ultraviolet energy and x-rays.

    In the gif below, lower-energy X-rays are displayed in red, and higher-energy X-rays are in blue.

    Image Credit: ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/EUI & STIX Teams

    There’s a lot more to come from the Solar Orbiter. Over the next four years, the spacecraft will encounter Venus for a fourth and fifth time. Each time it does so, it’ll increase its inclination, giving it more direct views of the Sun’s poles. By December 2026, it’ll be orbitally inclined at 24 degrees, marking the start of the spacecraft’s “high-latitude” mission.

    Solar Orbiter’s journey around the Sun. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab.

    Those high-latitude observations will give scientists line-of-sight views of the poles. The ESA says those views are crucial to disentangling the Sun’s complex magnetic polar environment. That could help unravel the mystery of the Sun’s 11-year cycles.

    “We are so thrilled with the quality of the data from our first perihelion,” said Daniel Müller, ESA Project Scientist for Solar Orbiter. “It’s almost hard to believe that this is just the start of the mission. We are going to be very busy indeed.”

    More:

    The post Solar Orbiter’s Pictures of the Sun are Every Bit as Dramatic as You Were Hoping appeared first on Universe Today.

  • How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19
    26 May 2022

    As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate around the country, it has become clear that the coronavirus that causes the disease is unlikely to disappear. But navigating the risks can be difficult when conditions differ dramatically between cities, counties and states—from the rate of infection in each area, to local recommendations on masking and other policies. […]

    The post How to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest
    26 May 2022

    Lisa Abbott scrolled through the online auction offerings of the American Alpine Club’s fundraiser. As a rock climber, ice climber, scuba diver and marathon runner, she enjoyed daydreaming about the various trips up for grabs. One offering stood out: a guided two-week trek through the Khumbu Valley in Nepal to the base camp of Mount […]

    The post Family’s heart disease history inspired her fitness – and got her to the base of Mount Everest appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns
    26 May 2022

    Mastercard’s “smile to pay” system, announced last week, is supposed to save time for customers at checkouts. It is being trialed in Brazil, with future pilots planned for the Middle East and Asia. The company argues touch-less technology will help speed up transaction times, shorten lines in shops, heighten security and improve hygiene in businesses. […]

    The post Why Mastercard’s new face recognition payment system raises concerns appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice
    26 May 2022

    You may have seen the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi and wondered what it’s all about. Tai chi is an ancient mind and body practice. While more research is needed, studies suggest that it may have many health benefits. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” There are many types […]

    The post Tai chi and your health: a modern take on an ancient practice appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn
    26 May 2022

    For decades, most physicians, parents, and teachers have believed that stimulant medications help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) learn. But scientists from Florida International University found medication has no effect on how much children with ADHD learn in the classroom. The research is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and was […]

    The post Medication cannot help kids with ADHD learn appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

  • Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11%
    26 May 2022

    Scientists from the University of Cambridge found that watching too much TV is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease regardless of a person’s genetic makeup. They found that 11% of cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of TV each day. The research is […]

    The post Watching TV less than 1 hour a day may reduce heart disease risk by 11% appeared first on Knowridge Science Report.

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