first_img(PhysOrg.com) — The Ig Nobels are a highlight of the scientific calendar and award research that makes people laugh as well as think. The awards were presented last week at Harvard University in the U.S, and winning research included a bra that doubles as two face masks, a process for making diamonds from tequila, and Zimbabwe’s scheme to simplify the handling of money. Citation: The 2009 Ig Nobel prizewinners (2009, October 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-10-ig-nobel-prizewinners.html PeaceStephan Bolliger, a pathologist from the University of Bern in Switzerland accepted the Ig Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his team for finally solving the long-pondered question of whether being bashed on the head with a full bottle of beer is preferable to being bashed on the head with an empty one. If you happen to be in a bar brawl, the full bottle is the one to choose because empty ones are sturdier, but both are strong enough to break the human skull, Bolliger said. Full beer bottles are likely to quickly explode because of the pressure built up in the bottle. The study’s findings are relevant to court cases in which bottles have been used as weapons.PhysicsThree American scientists won the physics award for finding out why pregnant women don’t tip over. It seems the structure of the lumbar vertebrae in women helps to compensate when the center of gravity changes as the weight of their unborn child increases. One of the researchers, anthropologist, Professor Shapiro of the University of Texas, explained that women have spines that are more curved than men’s, and in pregnancy that curve is accentuated and protects the back muscles and bones from the extra stress.Public HealthElena Bodnar, Sandra Marijan, and Raphael Lee of Illinois won the public health prize for their patent for a bra that can be converted quickly to two emergency face masks. Elena Bodnar attended the ceremony, but it is not known if she wore the invention herself – just in case. Bodnar, originally from Ukraine began her career studying the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster. If the convertible bra had been available in the early hours of that disaster they might have protected wearers from Iodine-131 and the subsequent radiation sickness. The bra could also have protected people from asbestos and other dust in New York on September 11, 2001.Veterinary MedicineWinners in the Veterinary Medicine category were researchers from Newcastle University, Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson, who showed that cows give more milk if they are given names and affection. The findings arose from research aimed at improving the welfare of dairy cows.Rowlinson attended the ceremony, but Douglas, a new mother, sent a picture of herself, a cow, and her baby wearing a cow suit. She dedicated her award to three cows: Purslane, Wendy and Tina.Many of the researchers stressed that while their studies may sound funny, they are serious. Professor Shapiro said that while she understood why her research would qualify, it was actually “100 percent serious.”More information: Official website: improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2009© 2009 PhysOrg.com The Ig Nobels began in 1991 and are awarded each October from Oslo and Stockholm. The awards are presented at a ceremony at Harvard, run by the university magazine Annals of Improbable Research.The Ig Nobels are awarded in categories such as Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Mathematics, Medicine, Peace, Physics, Public Health, and Veterinary Medicine. They are presented by Nobel laureates. This year’s winners are…BiologyA group of scientists from Sagamihara in Japan won the Biology accolades for showing the world that bacteria from panda poo helps to reduce the mass of kitchen waste by over 90%. ChemistryThe Ig Nobel for Chemistry was awarded to a team of Mexican scientists for their work on creating diamonds from tequila.EconomicsThe Economics prize went to executives and auditors of four Icelandic banks, the Landsbanki, Glitnir, Kaupthing and Central bank. They showed that tiny banks can rapidly become big banks, and big banks can rapidly become tiny banks again. The same thing can happen to a nation’s economy. Such as Iceland’s economy.LiteratureIreland’s police service took out the literature prize for writing over fifty traffic tickets and presenting them to Prawo Jazdy, Ireland’s most notorious traffic offender. Prawo Jazdy is Polish for “Driving License”.MathematicsThe Governor of the Reserve Bank in Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, won the Mathematics prize for simplifying the currency for the people and helping them cope with rampant inflation. He simply had the bank print money in denominations that covered all the bases, with note values ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.MedicineWinner of the Medicine prize was 83-year old Donald L. Unger from Thousand Oaks in California who cracked the knuckles of his left hand every day for over sixty years. He never once cracked the knuckles of his right hand. The aim of this experiment was to see if his mother was right and that cracking the knuckles causes arthritis. It doesn’t. Ig Nobel: Researchers named the cream of the crop 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.last_img read more

first_img In a recent study, Franceschet, a computer scientist at the University of Udine in Italy, has presented a brief history of iterative ranking methods that predate PageRank. He also explains how the circular PageRank concept of determining the importance of a webpage based on the number of links it receives from important webpages, rather than by subjective expert evaluation, has provided an alternative way to define the quality of an item. The 1941 predecessor of PageRank is a paper by the economist Wassily W. Leontief, who developed a method for ranking the values of a nation’s various industrial sectors. Each industrial sector relies on the others, both for building materials (inputs) to manufacture its own products, and by selling its finished products (outputs) to other industries so they can manufacture their own products. Leontief developed an iterative method of valuing each industry based on the importance of the industries with which it is connected through input and outputs (similar to web links in PageRank). In 1973, Leontief earned the Nobel Prize in economics for his work in this area.Other more recent PageRank-like algorithms have been used for ranking items in areas such as sociology and bibliometrics. In 1965, 33 years before Page and Brin developed PageRank, the sociologist Charles Hubbell published a method for ranking individuals. His premise was that “a person is important if it is endorsed by important people.” Like PageRank and Leontief’s algorithm, Hubbell’s method is also iterative, with its outputs influencing its inputs, ad infinitum. Later, in 1976, Gabriel Pinski and Francis Narin developed a journal ranking method in the field of bibliometrics. Here, the premise is that the importance of a journal is determined by the importance of the journals that cite it, which again uses the same circular reasoning as PageRank.Most recently, the computer scientist Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University developed a ranking approach very similar to PageRank, which was published around the same time of Brin and Page’s publication (Brin and Page reference Kleinberg’s work in their own paper). Kleinberg’s method was also aimed at optimizing Web information retrieval. The algorithm, called Hypertext Induced Topic Search (HITS), referred to webpages as “hubs” and “authorities.” These definitions are purely functional; hub pages point to authority pages, and authority pages are pointed to by hub pages. Mathematically, HITS is strikingly similar to PageRank, even though both were developed independently. Since they’ve been published, both papers have received widespread recognition and thousands of citations.While PageRank has made Google a very powerful search engine, it had to radically reformulate the concept of quality to do so. The algorithm must constantly reevaluate each page as the importance of other pages varies – making quality seem fleeting, and no longer permanent.“Expert evaluation, the judgment given by peer experts, is intrinsic, subjective, deep, slow and expensive,” Franceschet writes. “By contrast, network evaluation, the assessment gauged [by] exploiting network topology, is extrinsic, democratic, superficial, fast and low-cost.”As Franceschet has shown, the new concept of value goes beyond webpages. Today, this “popularity contest” style of determining quality is stirring debate in academic circles in the area of research quality evaluation. Traditionally, evaluation of academic papers is done through expert peer review; the alternative is to use the PageRank-inspired Eigenfactor metric, which uses bibliometric indicators to evaluate research quality. Most likely, there will be other areas that see the use of PageRank-inspired methods redefining the concept of value. (PhysOrg.com) — When Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed their PageRank algorithm for ranking webpages in 1998, they certainly knew that the seeds of the algorithm had been sown long before that time, as is evident from their paper’s references. But the Google founders may not have known just how far back PageRank’s predecessors reach – nearly 70 years, according to Massimo Franceschet, who dug up a 1941 paper with a similar ranking method, as well as several other pre-Google papers with algorithms that show remarkable similarities to PageRank. Yet Brin and Page may have expected as much; after all, as Franceschet notes, the motto of Google Scholar is “Stand on the shoulders of giants.” Since the 1940s, PageRank-like iterative algorithms have been used to rank industries, journals, and people. 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. Web page ranking algorithm detects critical species in ecosystems Explore further Citation: Google PageRank-like algorithm dates back to 1941 (2010, February 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-02-google-pagerank-like-algorithm-dates.html © 2010 PhysOrg.com More information: Massimo Franceschet. “PageRank: Stand on the shoulders of giants.” arxiv.orgvia: Technology Reviewlast_img read more

first_img Spacecraft Could Save Earth from Asteroids Citation: Scientist says nuclear weapons may be best bet for saving Earth from asteroids (2010, June 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-scientist-nuclear-weapons-earth-asteroids.html According to Dearborn, the sheer power of a nuclear explosion may make it the most practical and cost-effective option for deflecting or fragmenting asteroids, compared with alternatives such as chemical fuel or laser beams. For one thing, a nuclear explosive would be cheaper to launch into space due to its large amount of energy per unit mass. In contrast, a non-nuclear blast might require several launches for an equivalent amount of power.Also, the nuclear option could be implemented in a short amount of time; a detonation just 15 days before impact could fragment or divert the course of a 270-meter asteroid (the size of Apophis, which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of striking Earth in 2036) to avoid a collision. On the other hand, a laser such as one at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore would take 6,000 years to sufficiently divert the course of the same size asteroid. As far as the radiation released from a nuclear explosion in space, Dearborn said that you wouldn’t even be able to measure the difference on Earth. The explosion would occur millions of miles out in space, where there is already an intense radiation environment.Dearborn has developed models and run simulations to determine the effects of a nuclear detonation occurring both near and on the surface of an asteroid. His simulations show that the best strategy depends on both the size of the asteroid as well as how much time we have before impact. If a collision with a smaller asteroid is a few decades away, detonating a nuclear explosive near the asteroid could nudge it off course while still keeping it intact. But if a collision with a large asteroid is just weeks away, a direct detonation on the asteroid would be required, although some smaller fragments could still strike Earth. While the size of the asteroid and its distance from Earth can be estimated quite well, the biggest unknown variable in any defense strategy is the asteroid composition. Asteroids are a diverse class of objects, and some materials fragment more easily than others. Dearborn advised that, if we had 30 years to avoid a collision, the best thing to do would be to launch a characterization mission to the asteroid. Even if Dearborn and other scientists would like to test a nuclear explosive in space, test ban treaties as well as political and public opposition make a test unlikely.Fortunately, scientists aren’t expecting an asteroid impact any time soon. NASA has identified and categorized about 90% of near-Earth objects that are large enough (more than 10 km [6.2 miles] in size) to cause mass extinction on Earth, and none of these pose a significant risk of collision in the near future – even Apophis is considered to have very low risk. Smaller objects, on the other hand, are more difficult to track down. The smallest known asteroid, 1991 BA, measures 6 meters (20 feet) across.”In a few more years, we’ll be able to say that there’s nothing out there to cause a global catastrophe,” said David Morrison, director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and senior scientist for Astrobiology at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “But, there’ll be a million that will be big enough to wipe out an entire city. It’ll take a long time, if ever, to find them and figure out their orbits. The bottom line is, we could be hit by one of those small ones at any time, with no warning at all. Right now, I can say almost nothing about the probability of one of those small objects hitting us, because we simply haven’t found all of them.” (PhysOrg.com) — If scientists detect an asteroid headed directly for Earth – one that was large enough to pose a serious threat to life on our planet – would it be wise to bring out nuclear weapons to prevent an impact? Over the past several years, scientists have expressed conflicting opinions on the use of nuclear weapons as a defense against asteroids. Part of the problem is that it’s very difficult to know what asteroids are made of, and how they will respond to different types of nuclear explosives. But at the semiannual meeting of the American Astronomical Society held last month, physicist David Dearborn of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory argued that nuclear weapons could be the best strategy for avoiding an asteroid impact – especially for large asteroids and little warning time. 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. More information: via: Space.com and Scientific American © 2010 PhysOrg.com Illustration of an asteroid impact. Credit: NASA. Explore furtherlast_img read more

first_img The study, led by Alessandro Acquisti from Carnegie Mellon University, combined the use of three different technologies – cloud computing, facial recognition and public information that can be found on various social networking sites.They used these technologies in three different experiments. In the first experiment, Acquisti and his team were able to identify members of an online dating site where members do not use their real names for identification. The second experiment allowed the research team to identify college students in real life walking on campus based solely on their face and information gathered online.In the third experiment, the researchers used the technology to predict personal interests and identify students, including some social security numbers, with only a photo of their face to start. Social security numbers, Acquisti pointed out in 2009, are a security flaw as they can be predicted if you know the person’s hometown and date of birth. This new technology uses that information and in many cases can determine a person’s social security number. In this experiment, the researchers looked at Carnegie Mellon University students and those who had a date of birth and hometown displayed on their social media account page. They developed a smartphone application which gathers both online and offline information and displays it over the person’s facial image on the phone.Acquisti says that while all attention has been turned to providing security in cyberspace, this new technology allows one to step outside of cyberspace and into the real world. Using cyberspace as a means to identify someone living down the street or who you pass by every day on your way to work is a possibility. The idea of protecting your privacy has been changed and caution should be used before you share the next picture of yourself.Facebook has recently limited the facial recognition photo-tagging on its site to people in your friends list and Google has not yet allowed facial recognition technology into its searches. Social security numbers can be predicted with public information, researchers find Explore further Citation: Facial recognition software could reveal your social security number (2011, August 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-facial-recognition-software-reveal-social.html 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.center_img More information: “Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in human-managed landscapes,” Proc. R. Soc. B July 27, 2011. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1228 © 2010 PhysOrg.com According to a new study which will be presented August 4 at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, technology has made it possible to identify and gain the personal information of strangers by using facial recognition and social media profiles like Facebook.last_img read more

first_img(Phys.org)—Belgium is to build an artificial island made of sand three km off the Belgian coast. This will be a doughnut-shaped structure designed to store wind energy once the plan gets a final go-ahead. This North Sea island would work as an offshore substation; it would take five years or more to build. The plan was announced earlier this week in a presentation at the port of Zeebrugge by Johan Vande Lanotte, Belgium’s North Sea minister. 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. Experts okay restart of worrisome Belgian nuclear plants More information: www.reuters.com/article/2013/0 … dUSL6N0AM7GU20130117phys.org/news/2013-01-experts- … belgian-nuclear.html Explore furthercenter_img © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Belgium reveals artificial island plan for wind energy (2013, January 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-belgium-reveals-artificial-island-energy.html The initiative is best understood in the light of Belgium’s experience with nuclear power and energy needs. In 2011, around 57 percent of Belgium’s energy came from nuclear power but, as with other countries with a heightened awareness of risks post-Fukushima, envisions an exit from nuclear power as soon as enough energy from alternative sources becomes available, according to Reuters. Also, Belgium’s nuclear power operator shut down reactors last year in order to investigate cracks found. The potential cracks were found in inspections last year at the base of the reactor vessel at Doel 3, near Antwerp, and at Tihange 2, near Liege. Earlier this month, there were reports of a restart of the two Belgian nuclear power plants , but the nuclear regulator this month said that it wanted more information before it could make a final decision on whether to restart the two reactors, Meanwhile, a study, commissioned by the Green Party group in the European Parliament said that: “A possible failure of the reactor due to sudden crack growth in case of local thermal stresses cannot be excluded and would have catastrophic consequences.” The study said that restarting the two nuclear power plants shut since the discovery of micro-cracks in their reactor vessels could be a hazardous move.If the artificial island goes to plan, Belgium could generate 2,300 MW from its network of North Sea wind farms, replacing a significant part of either of its two nuclear sites, Doel and Tihange.Belgium has lots of energy from the wind mills, said a government spokesperson, but it can get lost during periods of low demand; insufficient ways to store the wind power have been a problem, and wind power in turn has been an inferior alternative to nuclear and fossil fuel. A donut-shaped artificial island could efficiently store energy when demand would exceed supply. The water would be let back into the reservoir through turbines, regenerating the electricity to be sent back to the mainland.Belgium only produces about four percent of its energy from wind power, but the European Wind Energy Association predicted that Belgium could expand capacity to over 4,000 megawatts by 2020.last_img read more

first_img Journal information: Biology Letters More information: Spontaneous male death and monogyny in the dark fishing spider, Biology Letters, Published 19 June 2013 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0113AbstractMonogyny (male monogamy) is found in a diverse assemblage of taxa, and recent theoretical work reveals that a male-biased sex ratio can favour the evolution of this relatively rare mating system. We integrate this theoretical framework with field observations and laboratory experiments involving the sexually size dimorphic fishing spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus, to test the prediction that this species exhibits monogyny. Field surveys revealed a male-biased sex ratio, likely resulting from different life-history strategies (early male maturation). Results from mating trials supported our prediction of monogyny as we discovered that males mate with a single female. Unexpectedly, however, we observed that mating results in obligate male death and genital mutilation. Additional field observations of released individuals suggest that males are not limited by their ability to encounter additional females. Controlled laboratory assays demonstrated that males discriminate among virgin and non-virgin female silk cues, consistent with predictions of first-male sperm precedence. In summary, we report a novel case of male self-sacrifice in a species that exhibits female-biased sexual size dimorphism, male-biased sex ratio, genital mutilation and a suggestion of first-male sperm precedence; all of which are consistent with theoretical predictions of the evolution of monogyny. 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. Explore further Reversal of the black widow myth (Phys.org) —Behavioral biologists at the University of Nebraska have found that male dark fishing spiders become immobile immediately after mating and die a short time later. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes the mating behavior of the spiders and notes that the male dies spontaneously without assistance from the female.center_img © 2013 Phys.org Postcopulation the male hangs from the female’s genital opening by the single pedipalp (circled) that he inserted during copulation. (Online version in colour.) Credit: Biology Letters, Published 19 June 2013 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0113 As with many other spiders, the male dark fishing spider is much smaller than the female counterpart. Unlike other species however, the death of the male after mating isn’t due to the female killing him. Instead it appears his death is due to a form of genital mutilation.Field observations near the University by the research team revealed that when the male approaches the female (with a preference for virgins) he mounts her, rocks her body and ejaculates sperm onto a sperm-web. That sperm is then pulled into dual pedipalps (appendages on the front end of its body) which fill with fluid causing them to inflate. The male spider then inserts one of the engorged pedipalps into the female genital opening and deposits the sperm. Once that’s done, the male’s legs curl under him and he becomes immobile and if not eaten by the female dies within a couple of hours. For the male, because he only ever gets a chance to mate once, this is a form of monogamy called monogyny (because it’s strictly one sided).Closer observation of male spiders after copulation showed that the pedipalps remained inflated after mating, an unusual occurrence for spiders. The researchers speculate it’s likely the reason the spider dies after mating. In the lab they found that accidently causing the pedipalps to inflate in a few specimens led to the same result—the spiders curled up, became immobile and died after a couple of hours. In testing the males after copulation they found them to be completely unresponsive to touching poking or prodding. They also note that because the females generally eat the male afterwards, becoming sated in the process, there is a strong chance that the sperm from the male will result in offspring. Thus, the males’ mating ritual appears to convey a reproductive advantage. Citation: Male dark fishing spiders found to die spontaneously after mating (2013, June 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-male-dark-fishing-spiders-die.htmllast_img read more

first_img Explore further © 2014 Phys.org Citation: Researchers highlight negative impact of antidepressants on aquatic life (2014, April 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-04-highlight-negative-impact-antidepressants-aquatic.html (Phys.org) —Two teams of researchers have published separate papers in the journal Aquatic Toxicology regarding the negative impact of antidepressants on aquatic life. In the first paper, Peter Fong and Alex Ford offer a review of the findings of other research teams which have shown that even very small amounts of such pharmaceuticals can cause dramatic problems with animals that live in the sea. In the second paper, another team describes problems created by the antidepressants fluoxetine and sertraline on sea creatures. Gammarus roeseli. Credit: Michal Maňas More information: The biological effects of antidepressants on the molluscs and crustaceans: A review, Aquatic Toxicology, Available online 11 December 2013. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.12.003Behavioural and transcriptional changes in the amphipod Echinogammarus marinus exposed to two antidepressants, fluoxetine and sertraline, Aquatic Toxicology, Available online 12 December 2013. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2013.11.025 Over the past half-century scientists have developed all manner of drugs to help combat depression in patients the world over. But such medications are now being found to have an unintended consequence—they’re causing problems with sea life. Antidepressants show up in the urine of people who take them (and the pills themselves are sometimes flushed) and subsequently make their way to sewage treatment plants where they are sent into rivers and streams, and eventually to the ocean. Antidepressants are a specific problem for marine life because they contain serotonin—a chemical that is known to help relieve depression, but which also causes color changes in prawns and mussels and can also make them grow larger and reproduce more rapidly.In their paper, Fong and Ford assert that evidence is mounting that proves that smaller concentrations in water can cause problems for sea life than had been previously thought—in many cases as little as “one nanogramme per litre.” That means, they note, that aquatic life in virtually every river, stream, lake and ocean is being impacted.In the second study, the team found that tiny amounts of antidepressants in seawater can cause both behavioral and transcriptional changes in amphipods. Shrimp become more active, freshwater snails can lose their ability to anchor themselves to a stable object—zebra mussels have been shown to spontaneously spawn. The variety of impact seems limitless.There are a myriad of chemicals being flushed down toilets across the globe, of course, some of which pose far more of a threat to marine life than others. Antidepressants, because of their nature, and though they make up just 4 percent of the total, appear to pose one of the more serious problems, and sadly, there is no plan in the works to curb the release of such chemicals into the world’s waterways. Researchers with both teams suggest that the matter be taken more seriously before serious consequences result Antidepressants make shrimps see the light 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

first_img Explore further Citation: Mathematical model tackles ‘Game of Thrones’ predictions (2014, September 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-mathematical-tackles-game-thrones.html Take events from the past, build a statistical model, and tell the future. Why not apply the formula to novels? Can contents in future books be predicted based only on data from existing ones? Richard Vale at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, said The Physics arXiv Blog, has taken on the challenge in predicting content of as yet unpublished novels in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R R Martin. The novels are the basis of the television series, “Game of Thrones.” The series has five books and two more are awaited. Before proceeding, it should be emphasized that the paper comes with a spoiler alert, so avoid linking to Vale’s study if you have not read the first five books. As The Physics arXiv Blog explained, “Each chapter in the existing books is told from the point of view of one of the characters. So far, 24 characters have starred in this way. The approach that Vale has taken is to use the distribution of characters in chapters in the first five books to predict the distribution in the forthcoming novels.”After creating a model, Vale runs a computer program to find the parameters in the model that best fit the data. He uses the model to find the probability distributions of the number of chapters that each character will star in, in book 6 and book 7. What kinds of predictions result? They include predictions about certain characters unlikely to star in any chapters and if one particular character is likely to be dead. Vale’s paper submitted to arXiv is “Bayesian Prediction for The Winds of Winter.” As Vale described it, “Predictions are made for the number of chapters told from the point of view of each character in the next two novels in George R. R. Martin’s emph{A Song of Ice and Fire} series by fitting a random effects model to a matrix of point-of-view chapters in the earlier novels using Bayesian methods.” There is also a “Spoiler Warning” that readers who have not read all five existing novels in the series should not read further “as major plot points will be spoiled.”The blog commented on how this is a “fascinating exercise in statistical modeling that will do more to introduce the process to a wider range of people than any number of textbooks or Wikipedia entries.”Vale is a Lecturer in the Statistics Department at the University of Canterbury. He has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Glasgow and was an HC Wang Assistant Professor at Cornell University. Vale acknowledged several shortcomings in his model— such as not dealing with the possibility of new characters being introduced and a model resting on a relatively small amount of data. Robin Kawakami of The Wall Street Journal, writing in the Speakeasy blog, quoted Vale saying “Game of Thrones” cannot be predicted using statistics alone. He said his project can be viewed as “fun data analysis.” He said in an e-mail to Speakeasy, just as many people make fan art by drawing favorite characters from books, “As a mathematician/statistician, this mathematical model is my version of fan art.” Posterior predictive distributions for the number of POV chapters for nine characters in The Winds of Winter. Credit: arXiv:1409.5830 [stat.AP] © 2014 Phys.org More information: Bayesian Prediction for The Winds of Winter, arXiv:1409.5830 [stat.AP] http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.5830 (PDF) Brazil’s Vale to halve stake in Belo Monte dam consortium 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

first_imgThe found abundance pattern in 68 Tauri: circles (Adelman and al.), dots (this work). Credit: Martinet et al., 2017. Located some 150 light years from the Earth, 68 Tauri is a binary star in the Hyades open cluster. With an effective temperature of 9,025 K and a mass of nearly 2.3 solar masses, it is the hottest and most massive member of this cluster.68 Tauri was initially classified as main-sequence star of spectral type A. However, subsequent observations have shown that it is a chemically peculiar metallic-line star (Am star) due to its distinct underabundance of scandium and overabundances of the iron-peak and heavy elements.Given that the last abundance analysis of 68 Tauri was performed in 2003, Sebastien Martinet of the Grenoble Alps University and Richard Monier of the Paris Observatory decided to conduct a new study with the aim of learning more about the composition of this star. The researchers used updated atomic data hoping to redetermine and expand the star’s chemical composition.”We have modeled the high resolution SOPHIE (R=75000) spectrum of 68 Tauri using updated model atmosphere and spectrum synthesis to derive chemical abundances in its atmosphere. In particular, we have studied the effect of the inclusion of the hyperfine structure of various barium isotopes on the determination of the baryum abundance in 68 Tauri. We have also derived new abundances using updated accurate atomic parameters retrieved from the NIST database,” the paper reads.The new analysis allowed the scientists to determine abundances of 68 Tauri more accurately, improving our understanding of chemical composition of this star.For instance, the team found that 68 Tauri exhibits underabundance of scandium and slight underabundances in carbon, oxygen, magnesium, silicon and calcium, mild overabundances of the iron-peak elements and large overabundances of the rare-earth elements.Furthermore, as a result of including hyperfine structure of various isotopes of Barium, they found that the abundance of this element is significantly lower when compared to the study published in 2003. According to the study, this highlights the importance of hyperfine structure in such analyses.”We find a large difference on the barium abundance when including the full hyperfine structure. (…) We stress the importance of taking into account the hyperfine structure for all isotopes when available in order to derive accurate abundances,” the researchers wrote in the paper.When it comes to abundances of other elements, the new study shows that they are consistent with the values presented in the previous study, except for scandium. The authors noted that the newly determined values generally differ from 0.01 dex up to 0.4 dex as a result of adopting new atomic data, confirming that 68 Tauri is a chemically peculiar Am star. Citation: Researchers conduct more accurate chemical analysis of the star 68 Tauri (2017, October 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-10-accurate-chemical-analysis-star-tauri.html Researchers analyze chemical composition of the newly discovered star cluster Gaia 1 More information: Hyperfine Structure and Abundances of Heavy Elements in 68 Tauri (HD 27962), arXiv:1709.10068 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/1709.10068AbstractHD 27962, also known as 68 Tauri, is a Chemically Peculiar Am star member of the Hyades Open Cluster in the local arm of the Galaxy. We have modeled the high resolution SOPHIE (R=75000) spectrum of 68 Tauri using updated model atmosphere and spectrum synthesis to derive chemical abundances in its atmosphere. In particular, we have studied the effect of the inclusion of Hyperfine Structure of various Baryum isotopes on the determination of the Baryum abundance in 68 Tauri. We have also derived new abundances using updated accurate atomic parameters retrieved from the NIST database. 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. (Phys.org)—French astronomers have recently presented a new abundance analysis of the star 68 Tauri (also known as HD 27962), which determines its chemical composition more precisely than previous studies. The results of the research are available in a paper published Sept. 28 on the arXiv pre-print repository. © 2017 Phys.org Explore furtherlast_img read more

first_imgReligious traditions offer a rich store of ideas about what human beings are like and how they can satisfy their deepest moral and social needs. For thousands of years, people have turned to spiritual leaders and religious communities for guidance about how to conduct themselves, how to coexist with other people, how to live meaningful and fulfilled lives — and how to accomplish this in the face of the many obstacles to doing so. The biologist Richard Dawkins, a vocal critic of religion, has said that in listening to and debating theologians, he has “never heard them say anything of the smallest use.” Yet it is hubristic to assume that religious thinkers who have grappled for centuries with the workings of the human mind have never discovered anything of interest to scientists studying human behavior. Science and religion seem to be getting ever more tribal in their mutual recriminations, at least among hard-line advocates. While fundamentalist faiths cast science as a misguided or even malicious source of information, polemicizing scientists argue that religion isn’t just wrong or meaningless but also dangerous. I am no apologist for religion. As a psychologist, I believe that the scientific method provides the best tools with which to unlock the secrets of human nature. But after decades spent trying to understand how our minds work, I’ve begun to worry that the divide between religious and scientific communities might not only be stoking needless hostility; it might also be slowing the process of scientific discovery itself.center_img Just as ancient doesn’t always mean wise, it doesn’t always mean foolish. The only way to determine which is the case is to put an idea — a hypothesis — to an empirical test. In my own work, I have repeatedly done so. I have found that religious ideas about human behavior and how to influence it, though never worthy of blind embrace, are sometimes vindicated by scientific examination. Read the whole story: The New York Timeslast_img read more