Centuries ago, scientists began reducing the physics of the universe into a few, key laws described by a handful of parameters. Such simple descriptions have remained elusive for complex biological systems – until now.
Emory biophysicist Ilya Nemenman has identified parameters for several biochemical networks that distill the entire behavior of these systems into simple equivalent dynamics. The discovery may hold the potential to streamline the development of drugs and diagnostic tools, by simplifying the research models.
The resulting paper, now available online, will be published in the March issue of Physical Biology.“It appears that the details of the complexity of these biological systems don’t matter, as long as some aggregate property, which we’ve calculated, remains the same,” says Nemenman, associate professor of physics and biology. He conducted the analysis with Golan Bel and Brian Munsky of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
… “Our calculations confirmed that there is, in fact, a key aggregate rate,” he says. “The whole behavior of the system boils down to just one parameter.”
That means that, instead of painstakingly testing or measuring every rate in the process, you can predict the error and completion rate of a system by looking at a single aggregate parameter.
Nemenman is now collaborating with Emory theoretical biologist Rustom Antia, to see if the discovery can shed light on the processes of immune cells. In particular, they are interested in the malfunction of certain immune receptors involved in most allergic reactions.
“We may be able to simplify the model for these immune receptors from about 3,000 steps to three steps,” Nemenman says. “You wouldn’t need a supercomputer to test different chemical compounds on the receptors, because you don’t need to simulate every single step – just the aggregate.”
Just as the discovery of an ideal gas law led to the creation of engines and automobiles, Nemenman believes that such simple biochemical aggregates could drive advancements in health.
Archive for March 1st, 2010
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
I’ve had a 13 billion year old image of galaxies taken by the Hubble Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) as my desktop image for some time now. It seems to me that what I am seeing is not as many galaxies as it seems, but the same galaxies seen duplicated and at different times by gravitational lensing by black holes, dark matter, or something else.
Are there any astrophysicists out there that can tell me why my theory may be true or false?
This is the deepest image of the universe ever taken in near-infrared light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The faintest and reddest objects (left inset) in the image are galaxies that correspond to “look-back times” of approximately 12.9 billion years to 13.1 billion years ago. No galaxies have been seen before at such early epochs. These galaxies are much smaller than the Milky Way galaxy and have populations of stars that are intrinsically very blue. This may indicate the galaxies are so primordial that they are deficient in heavier elements, and as a result, are quite free of the dust that reddens light through scattering.
The image was taken with Hubble’s newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), which collects light from near-infrared wavelengths and therefore looks even deeper into the universe. The light from very distant galaxies is stretched out of the ultraviolet and visible regions of the spectrum into near-infrared wavelengths by the expansion of the universe.
Hubble’s WFC3 took this image in late August 2009 during a total of four days of pointing for 173,000 seconds of exposure time. Infrared light is invisible and therefore does not have colors that can be perceived by the human eye. The colors in the image are assigned comparatively short, medium, and long near-infrared wavelengths (blue, 1.05 microns; green, 1.25 microns; and red, 1.6 microns). The representation is “natural” in that blue objects appear blue and red objects look red. The faintest objects are about one-billionth as bright as can be seen with the naked eye. The galaxy distances are estimated from the infrared colors of their light.
These Hubble observations are trailblazing a path for Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which will look even farther into the universe than Hubble, at infrared wavelengths. The JWST is planned to be launched in 2014.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
Astronomers from the United States and Europe have used a gravitational lens — a distant, light-bending clump of dark matter — to make a new estimate of the Hubble constant, which determines the size and age of the universe.
A paper describing the work appears in the March issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
The Hubble constant has previously been calculated by using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to look at distant supernovae, and by measurements of the cosmic microwave background — radiation leftover from the Big Bang, said Chris Fassnacht, associate professor of physics at UC Davis. The new method provides an independent check on the other two, he said.
A gravitational lens is a distant object, such as a galaxy surrounded by dark matter, that exerts a gravitational pull on light passing through it. Other galaxies behind the lens, from our point of view, appear distorted. In the case of the object B1608+656, astronomers on Earth see four distorted images of the same background object.
Fassnacht began studying B1608+656 as a graduate student a decade ago. Because the mass distribution of the lens is now well understood as a result of recent Hubble Space Telescope observations, it is possible to use it to calculate the Hubble constant, he said.
It works something like this. Two photons of light leave the background galaxy at the same time and travel around the lens, their paths distorted in different ways by the gravitational field so that they arrive on Earth at slightly different times. Based on that time delay, it is possible to calculate the distance of the entire route, and then infer the Hubble constant.
The timing is set by waiting for a change in the background object — for example, for it to become more luminous. If the travel times are slightly different, the different images of the background object will seem to brighten at slightly different times.
Imagine two drivers leaving Stanford to drive to Davis, one by the East Bay and one through San Francisco, Fassnacht said. Assuming both drivers maintain the exact same speed, they will arrive at Davis at different times. That difference can be used to work out the overall distance.
Gravitational lensing has never before been used in such a precise way, said co-author Philip Marshall of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University. Several groups are now working on extending the technique with other gravitational lenses.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
Anthony Bragalia, one of my favorite UFO researchers, has some new revelations:
Summary: The testimonies of a world-famous physicist, a former congressman, a radar operator and a government atmospheric scientist detail how flying saucers were filmed by White Sands V-2 rockets- and a possible Roswell crash connection.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
OF ROSWELL & ROCKETS: THE SECRET V-2 FLYING SAUCER FILM by Anthony Bragalia
The White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico played a significant role in the testing of German-captured V-2 rockets in the mid and late 1940s. From this massive range the fierce rockets were regularly launched. These complex devices of destruction were propelled through the air to test the hurl of explosives at an enemy.
But new research reveals that the V-2′s also somehow “attracted” UFOs- and that our military even purposely cast up V-2′s that were mounted with cameras to take motion pictures of the discs! A world-famous physicist, a former state congressman, an expert radar operator and a government atmospheric scientist all confirm: flying saucers were drawn to the V-2′s and were filmed by the pernicious projectiles- and there may well have been a Roswell crash connection!
First-Ever Photo of the Horizon of Earth (From V-2 Rocket, 1946)
Developed at the end of the Second World War by Nazi Germany, the V-2 was the world’s very first long-range combat-ballistic missile. As the single most expensive development project of the Third Reich, it was also the first human-made device to achieve suborbital flight. The progenitor of space flight and of all modern rockets, these tubes of terror were horrifying weapons that killed many thousands of people in Antwerp and London and destroyed critical Allied infrastructure. The V-2s were captured by our nation’s military upon Hitler’s defeat and taken to the U.S. and reassembled.
Tested for killer power at White Sands, the V-2 also provided something that is little-known to most, even today: never before seen aerial views and perspectives of the skies and earth. This was achieved by skillfully placing still-photography and motion picture equipment onto the rockets…
(Extremely Rare Video Clip of a view from a V-2 Rocket Camera:)
Video here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=322_1243161136
The film above shows a captured V-2 rocket being used as a test platform for the US space program. The date of this incredible footage is November 22, 1946.
SARBACHER’ STORY ON SAUCERS & MISSILES
DR. ROBERT SARBACHER
Dr. Robert Sarchacher was a preeminent scientist. A Harvard graduate, he was Dean of the Graduate School of Georgia Institute of Technology; Director of Research at Wedd Laboratories; an accomplished inventor; a Scientific Consultant to the U.S. Marines and government agencies; and connected to the Joint Research and Development Board (JRDB) of the US DOD. One of his research specialities was remote controlled rockets.
In the 1980s Sarbacher confirmed to researchers William Steinman, Stan Freidman, Jerry Clark and William Moore several truths about UFOs and ET. He indicated that in the early 1950s he was officially made aware of a crash of a non-terrestrial craft in the Southwest- a crash that occured at that time or likely some time prior, and may well have been the Roswell UFO crash. He had confirmed to them (as well as to scientist Wilbert Smith of Canada three decades prior) that the subject was classified higher that the development of the Atom Bomb. He said that the debris was very light and very tough. He understood that the aliens were lightweight and constructed somewhat like insects. He said that a small group of people were likely involved in the crash debris analysis and included Von Braun, Vannevar Bush, Oppenheimer, and Eric Walker, among others.
Recently, respected researcher D.M. Duncan located Sarbacher’s son, Robert Sarbacher, Jr., living in Texas. Duncan had a revealing dialog with Sarbacher. It was learned that the younger Sarbacher had once questioned his father about the UFO phenomena. His Dad spoke sparingly about the saucer subject.
Sarbacher Jr. said of his father: “He knew that they were real for the obvious reason that they would be going 600 mph and then make a direct 90 degree turn in mid-air without slowing down…separated from all inertia and gravity. Dad said that the reason he was called in was to build the right kind of missile to track these things since they were way too fast for any of our planes to catch. They wanted the missile to not destroy any of the UFOs, but to be able to track them. So Dad had cameras installed (like on the V-2 rockets) so when the UFO comes into our air space we would shoot missiles at them with cameras on them, since only a missile could keep up with the speed turns.”
Stunned at the revelation, Duncan wanted to clarify this, and Sarbacher’s son replied, “Yes, exactly to track UFOs, or rather to photograph and watch them…When he first told me about the missiles…the first thing I thought was, what? You were trying to destroy them? He (Sarbacher Sr.) said very normally and matter of factly, “No, we put cameras on the end of them.”
A CONGRESSMAN COMMENTS
J. Andrew Kissner was a former New Mexico State Representative from Las Cruces, N.M. During the 1990s, Kissner provided assistance to Congressman Steven Schiff of N.M. in ascertaining the truth about the UFO crash at Roswell. Schiff was instrumental in facilitating studies conducted by the the U.S. GAO and USAF on the crash.
Kissner maintains that while he worked in Las Cruces, near White Sands Missile Range, he received information from a trusted high-ranking officer who worked there. Kissner wrote that at White Sands, he was told that in 1947: “A radar target instantaneously appeared next to the ascending V-2 missile, and immediately the V-2 rocket changed course.” Kissner says his White Sands military officer source “saw a photograph of a flying disc taken from a camera aimed through a V-2 rocket window. The object changed course, taking a northeasterly track, one that brought the rocket crashing to earth two minutes later only six miles east and slightly north of the community of Alamogordo, New Mexico, 40 degrees off the V-2′s project flight path.”
Kissner continues: “Whatever had mysteriously appeared and vanished after observing a V-2 in flight in close proxity to the rocket, it apparently affected the rocket’s trajectory. That event became an immediate priority with a very small, closed circle of highly ranked general staff officers and civilian scientists assigned to the Joint Research and Development Board (JRDB.)”
Kissner wonders if the saucer at Roswell was somehow brought down purposely or inadvertently by such V-2 or other rocket exercises.
THE WHITE SANDS RADAR REPORT
Lloyd Eugene Camp was a Sergeant Major who spent many years at White Sands, including as a Radar Operator. Camp died at age 75 in 1993. Recently his daughter, Sherry Malin, revealed intriguing information that supports and corroborates the Sarbacher and Kissner White Sands revelations.
Camp’s daughter explains: “Back in the 1940s, my father worked at the White Sands Proving Grounds in Alamogordo, N.M. He helped carry out top-level research on the only captured German V-2 rockets in existence. He spent several years there, retiring after 37 years in the Navy. One time, while one of the rockets was being launched, two UFOs appeared along side the rocket. My father saw both on radar, and visually from where he was. He saw what appeared to be two silvery discs circling the rocket. He observed them for several minutes, before they suddenly turned on their sides and zoomed off. Meanwhile, the radar equipment went haywire and locked in on the flying saucers as they quickly vanished from the radar screen causing the men to loose track of the rocket. He said that he had seen these flying saucers several times circling the V-2 rockets when they were launched at White Sands.”
Camp told his daughter, in the last year of his life, something else of even greater significance: “My father told me that he remembered a group of men being sent out from White Sands to help pack up the crashed ship at Roswell, New Mexico. I believe my father was telling the truth.”
Sherry adds: “He didn’t say UFO. He said Flying Saucer. Dad said they were aliens. They weren’t from here.” For documentation of Camp’s Certificate of Clearance with US Naval Intelligence, click here for link:
THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENTIST
Yet another substantiation of the V-2 viewed saucers comes from the US Government itself. By carefully re-examining the official government UFO study “Project Twinkle” (which considered in detail the observations of strange aerial phenomena -including the mysterious “Green Fireballs”) information was found that further confirms the V-2 Rocket/UFO connection. This bonafide study appears to provide direct confirmation of the testimonies of Sarbacher, Kissner and Camp.
Buried within a document dated November 27, 1951, Dr. Louis Elterman, a Sr. Project Scientist with the government’s Atmospherics Physics Laboratory, Geophysics Division, is found a brief and cryptic comment:
“On August 31, 1950, the phenomena was again observed after a V-2 launching. Although much film was expended, proper triangulation was not affected, so that no information was acquired. On September 11, arrangements were made for Major Gover to be on call so that aerial objects might be pursued. This would make possible more intimate visual observation and photography at close range.”
THE V-2 UFOS: WHERE IS THE FILM?
These four independent stories on V-2′s and UFOs -all from disparate but credible sources- demonstrate that the phenomena of aerial unknowns at White Sands was real and was likely filmed by rockets. Did a rocket intentionally or accidentally bring down the Roswell craft? Where are the films and photographs of the mysterious sky vehicles taken by these camera-outfitted V-2′s?
As with most things related to the phenomena, there are more questions than answers. Further research and requests through the Freedom of Information Act by this author will seek to obtain the answers- and the no doubt incredible film of these V-2 viewed fantastic flying saucers.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
The murky world of alleged alien activity has become even more secretive because defence officials have been instructed to destroy all UFO reports they receive, it was revealed today.
The bid to prevent publication of the sightings is contained in a previously secret memo.
Britain’s official UFO investigation unit and hotline were closed down at the start of December.
Since then reports of strange sights in the skies sent to the MoD have been kept for 30 days before being thrown out, the newly released policy document shows.
This stance was adopted so defence officials would not have to publish the information in response to freedom of information (FoI) requests or pass it to the National Archives.
The memo, dated November 11, 2009, sets out the MoD’s reasons for shutting its UFO unit and ceasing to invite the public to send in details of sightings.
It notes that the number of reports the department received soared last year, taking up extra resources and diverting staff from ‘more valuable’ defence-related activities.
The MoD recorded 634 UFO sightings in 2009, the second-highest annual total after 1978, when there were 750, according to UFO expert Dr David Clarke.
This compares with an average of about 150 reports a year over the past decade.
The memo states: ‘The dedicated UFO hotline answer phone service and e-mail address serve no defence purpose, and merely encourage the generation of correspondence of no defence value.
‘Accordingly these facilities should be withdrawn as soon as possible.’
The official document covers what defence officials should do when they receive reports of UFOs in the future.
It says: ‘Reported sightings received from other sources should be answered by a standard letter and… should be retained for 30 days and then destroyed, largely removing any future FoI liability and negating the need to release future files post-November 30 2009.’
The memo reveals that MoD chiefs made a point of not discussing their plans to close the UFO unit with other countries because of fears this could be perceived as part of a global cover-up.
It states: ‘We have deliberately avoided formal approaches to other Governments on this issue.
‘Such approaches would become public when the relevant UFO files are released, and would be viewed by ‘ufologists’ as evidence of international collaboration and conspiracy.’
But the document includes as an annex a printout from the US Department of Defence website explaining that the American government stopped collecting reports of UFO sightings in December 1969.
Dr Clarke, a lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, obtained the memo through an FoI request. …
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
Like to think of yourself as a spontaneous sort? You are so predictable.
We are such creatures of habit that scientists can accurately predict where we’ll go and when we’ll go there more than 90 per cent of the time.
Most of us can usually be found within one to three miles of our home.
Even those with a long commute generally do the same things at around the same time each day, the journal Science reports.
In other words, most of us are stuck in a rut.
Researcher Albert-Laszlo Barbasi said: ‘If you drive for one and a half hours to work and back, three hours of your day are taken away so you have little freedom to be spontaneous.
‘You are working, and travelling home and pretty much crashing and preparing for the next day.’
Globetrotters also follow a well-trodden path, tending to follow familiar routes, rather than visiting new places.
Professor Barbasi, of the respected Harvard Medical School in the U.S., analysed three months of mobile phone data from 50,000 people.
Logged by billing companies when they made or received calls and text, it allowed the researchers to pinpoint their location to within two miles.
The researchers used this information to build up a pattern of each person’s movements during the week and at weekends.
They found they could predict where a person would be at given time and get it right up to 93 per cent of the time.
Even the most spontaneous sorts were 80 per cent predictable.
Professor Barbasi said: ‘We are far more predictable than we actually think.
‘You have a regular schedule but think there are people out there who are less regular and are very spontaneous.
‘What we are finding is there aren’t those spontaneous people out there. Each of us are very regular and that regularity makes us very predictable.
‘It seems to be something innate to how we are and how we like to behave.
I wonder what my predictability score would be. This weekend I went for the first time to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. I try to go somewhere I’ve never been as often as possible. Life is short.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
A colossal red granite head of one of Egypt’s most famous pharaohs has been unearthed in the southern city of Luxor, officials said.
The 3,000-year-old head of Amenhotep III – grandfather of Tutankhamun – was dug out of the ruins of the pharaoh’s mortuary temple.
Experts say it is the best preserved example of the king’s face ever found.
The 2.5m (8ft) head is part of a larger statue, most of which was found several years ago.
Antiquities officials say the statue is to be reconstructed.
“Other statues have always had something broken – the tip of the nose, or the face is eroded,” said Dr Hourig Sourouzian, who has led the Egyptian-European expedition at the site.
“But here, from the top of the crown to the chin, it is so beautifully carved and polished, nothing is broken.”
Egypt’s antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, described it as “a masterpiece of highly artistic quality”.
Amenhotep III ruled Egypt from about 1387 to 1348 BC and presided over a vast empire stretching from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north.
Scientists using DNA tests and CT scans on several mummies have identified him as the grandfather of Tutankhamun – the boy-king born of an incestuous marriage between Akhenaten and his sister, both the offspring of Amenhotep III.
The massive mortuary temple in Luxor was largely destroyed, possibly by floods, and little remains of its walls.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
Acting as a microscope for sound, a new device called a micro-ear could make objects on the micro-scale audible. The device could enable scientists to listen to the sounds that cells and bacteria make as they move about, as well as listen to micro-scale events such as how drugs interact with microorganisms.
The micro-ear is being developed by scientists from the University of Glasgow, the University of Oxford, and the National Institute of Medical Research at Mill Hill in the UK. It’s based on the same laser technique that is used to create optical tweezers, which measure tiny forces on small scales.
“We are now using the sensitivity afforded by the optical tweezer as a very sensitive microphone,” said Jon Cooper from the University of Glasgow, who is heading the micro-ear project.
While optical tweezers work by suspending tiny electrically-charged beads in a single beam of laser light, the micro-ear concept consists of several of these light beams arranged in a ring in order to surround and eavesdrop on a tiny object. Sound emitted from the object causes the beads suspended in the light to vibrate, and these vibrations can be measured by a high-speed camera.
The scientists have already used the micro-ear to listen to Brownian motion – the random movement of particles in a fluid. They also plan to use the device to listen to bacterial flagella, the tail-like motors that propel bacteria through their environments. Currently, in order to study the movement of flagella, scientists have to genetically engineer bacteria to enable beads to be stuck to their flagella, and observe the beads with a camera. The micro-ear will hopefully make it possible to observe natural bacteria in a non-invasive way.
Posted by Xeno on March 1, 2010
A journey from Earth to Mars could in the future take just 39 days — cutting current travel time nearly six times — according to a rocket scientist who has the ear of the US space agency.
Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says reaching the Red Planet could be dramatically quicker using his high-tech VASIMR rocket, now on track for liftoff after decades of development.
The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket — to give its full name — is quick becoming a centerpiece of NASA’s future strategy as it looks to private firms to help meet the astronomical costs of space exploration.
NASA, still reeling from a political decision to cancel its Constellation program that would have returned a human to the moon by the end of the decade, has called on firms to provide new technology to power rovers or even future manned missions.
Hopes are now pinned on firms like Chang-Diaz’s Texas-based Ad Astra Rocket Company.
“In the early days… NASA support for the project was rather minimal because the agency did not emphasize advanced technologies as much as it’s doing now,” Chang-Diaz told AFP.
NASA was focused instead on the series of Apollo missions that delivered men to the moon for the first, and so far last, times.
“They were mesmerized by the Apollo days and lived in the Apollo era for 40 years, and they just forgot developing something new,” he said.
Chang-Diaz, 60, hopes that “something” is a non-chemical rocket that eventually allow for a manned trip to Mars — long the Holy Grail for Apollonians.
His rocket would use electricity to transform a fuel — likely hydrogen, helium or deuterium — into plasma gas that is heated to 51.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (11 million degrees Celsius). The plasma gas is then channeled into tailpipes using magnetic fields to propel the spacecraft.
That would send a shuttle hurtling toward the moon or Mars at ever faster speeds up to an estimated 35 miles (55 kilometers) per second until the engines are reversed.
Chang-Diaz, a veteran of seven space missions, said this rapid acceleration could allow for trips of just 39 days instead of the current anticipated round trip voyage to Mars that would last three years, including a forced stay of 18 months on the Red Planet, as astronauts await an opening to return to Earth.
The distance between the Earth and Mars varies between 35 and 250 million miles (55 million and 400 million kilometers) depending on their points of orbit.
And the use of ionized fuel could have the extra benefit of helping create a magnetic field around the spacecraft to protect against radiation.
Scaled-down models of the VASIMR craft have been built and tested in a vacuum, under a deal with NASA. …