Imagine seeing the lights of cities spreading around the Nile Delta and then in less than an hour gazing down on Mount Everest. Astronauts on the International Space Station are among the lucky few who will have this humbling, once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the beauty of Earth from space. ISS doesn’t just offer spectacular and countless views of the natural and man-made landscapes of our planet...
How can cells that contain the same DNA end up so different from each other? That is not only a difficult question for science to answer, but also a challenging one to represent visually. It is also the question I posed at the start of my latest biomedical animation, called Tagging DNA, which visualizes the molecular mechanisms behind epigenetics.
Three weeks and three days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 10 years ago, a paper of mine appeared in Nature showing that North Atlantic hurricane power was strongly correlated with temperature of the tropical Atlantic during hurricane season, and that both had been increasing rapidly. Had Katrina not occurred, this paper would merely have contributed to the slowly accumulating literature on climate and hurricanes.
Sport at the elite level has always adopted new technologies to capture data from players during play to better understand their performance and team’s result. Closely aligned with this is the practice of data analytics, and developments here tend to fall into two areas. One is refinement of existing technologies that measure activities. The other is data analysis tools that allow some meaning to be drawn from data collection.
Upon receipt of the book Alan Turing: The Enigma, an amusing anecdote jumped to mind. In high school, one of the more formal teachers advised us not to go on a book hunt with a ruler! He was, of course, referring to choosing the one with the least number of pages. This rather large volume on Alan Turing, the cryptanalysis and mathematical genius who did much to define the modern computer, is certainly the most complete work done to date.
Given that advanced mathematical training is critical for helping to solve some of the most challenging questions about the brain works, why are there so few mathematical neuroscientists? I hated biology when I was a kid. It was too messy, too shallow, too unprincipled for my taste, and I gave up studying it at school almost as fast as I could. Instead, I wanted to be a theoretical physicist...
Scientists are not always as scientific as many suppose. Recent well-publicized cases of scientific fraud prove that scientists can be as susceptible to the allures of wealth, power and fame as politicians, the group that enjoys the lowest public trust. Glaring recent cases have included falsified results in the development of an HIV vaccine and new techniques for producing stem cells.
That’s what Brett Goldstein, a former policeman for the Chicago Police Department and current Urban Science Fellow at the University of Chicago’s School for Public Policy, said about a predictive policing algorithm he deployed at the CPD in 2010. His algorithm tells police where to look for criminals based on where people have been arrested previously. It’s a “heat map” of Chicago, and the CPD claims it helps them allocate resources...
Popularly referred to as “Big Data,” mammoth sets of information about almost every aspect of our lives have triggered great excitement about what we can glean from analyzing these diverse data sets. Benefits range from better investment of resources, whether for government services or for sales promotions, to more effective medical treatments. However, real insights can be obtained only from data that are accurate and complete.
While maps can certainly enlighten and educate, they can just as easily be used to support certain political narratives. With this in mind, Durham University’s Centre for Borders Research (IBRU) has updated its map showing territorial claims to the Arctic seabed following a revised bid submitted by Russia to the United Nations on August 4, 2015. The decision to release the map was not made lightly.
Andy Weir is used to living on different worlds. For years, he pictured Martian landscapes in his mind, complete with all of the deadly threats presented by a planet bathed in radiation and the prospect that a human walking about would die in a very, very short time. Weir imagined just what would happen when an astronaut was accidentally left behind on a mission to the Red Planet. What would this astronaut have to do to survive?
The American Midwest has recently seen significant precipitation and two major floods — in 1998 and 2008 — from extraordinary rain falls across the Great Plains. What is causing this dramatic change in weather patterns? Is it the warming planet? Are the crops themselves influencing dramatic weather changes taking place over the last couple decades? HPC clusters at ISU are being used to help discover answers to these questions.
DOE was used to demonstrate that temperature and pH function synergistically in the process of peptide bond formation. The optimized reaction was used to achieve sequence-specific and nonracemized synthesis of a tetrapeptide and pentapeptide at high yields. This is believed to be the first published report of constructing sequence-specific peptides in a noncatalyzed reaction.
Researchers have discovered one of nature’s strongest mechanical bonds on a protein network called cellulosomes. The cellulosome network includes bacteria that contain enzymes that can effectively dismantle cellulose and chemically catalyze it. The discovery was aided by use of supercomputers to simulate interactions at the atomic level.
It’s been 50 years since Gordon Moore, one of the founders of the microprocessor company Intel, gave us Moore’s Law. This says that the complexity of computer chips ought to double roughly every two years. Now the current CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, is saying the days of Moore’s Law may be coming to an end as the time between new innovation appears to be widening.