Amber Alert: New Discoveries in Old Sap

first_img(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Even old pieces of amber in a museum drawer can reveal unexpected surprises.Several news pieces recently have focused on the dried tree sap known as amber.  Fossils in amber are among the very most exquisite of all, because they preserve the 3-D animals themselves with all their parts intact.Roving through amber:  The Entomological Society of America announced the oldest “rove beetle” ever found, preserved beautifully in a piece of amber from France.  Rove beetles are members of the Omaliini tribe, the largest group of beetles with 60,000 members.  This one increases the fossil record of rove beetles by 100 million years from the Cenozoic into the Cretaceous, the abstract of the paper notes.  The press release includes a very detailed reconstruction made by imaging the inside of the opaque resin with X-rays.Big old collection:  Roving through a decades-old collection of Dominican amber are producing new secrets.  Young scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign started combing through 160 pounds of amber collected back in the 1950s.  This amber, thought to be 20 million years old, provided some new evidence for evolution, the press release claims:Perhaps the most striking discovery thus far is that of a pygmy locust, a tiny grasshopper the size of a rose thorn that lived 18- to 20-million years ago and fed on moss, algae and fungi. The specimen is remarkable because it represents an intermediate stage of evolution in the life of its subfamily of locusts (known as the Cladonotinae). The most ancient representatives of this group had wings, while modern counterparts do not. The newly discovered locust has what appear to be vestigial wings — remnant structures that had already lost their primary function.If this is an example of evolution, then, it represents degradation: loss of a pre-existing complex trait, not like evolving new wings.Live Science presented a photo gallery of the beautifully-preserved insects found in this collection.  Among the photos is an unidentified mammal hair, and two flies trapped in the act of mating.Baltic Chinese immigrant:  Another big collection, this time from the Baltic Sea region, is being analyzed by scientists from the University of Bonn.  Science Daily shows a beautifully-preserved mosquito found in one of the 3,000 pieces being examined.  What’s weird about it is that this is a “Chinese mosquito” found across the world near Poland, some 10,000 km away from similar ones found in Fushun, China.  Thought to be 40-50 million years old, the Chinese immigrant presents a mystery:The pieces from the Baltic region are slightly younger than the ones from Fushun-according to estimates, about 40 to 50 million years. At that time, Europe and Asia were divided by the Strait of Turgay, a wide arm of the ocean. Many researchers had assumed until now that this body of saltwater prevented species migrations between the continents—or at least, made it much harder. “Consequently, the great similarity of the included insects has been a great surprise to us,” said Rust. “We don’t know yet how that fits together.”Outside of India, Fushun is one of the two rare amber sites in Asia.  Scientists studying samples from an open-pit mine there have so far found “arachnids and insects from more than 80 families” said to be 53 million years old.The millions-of-years talk and the evolution-talk are worthless bits of noise in the news.  Exquisite fossils like these entombed in gem-like stones can be appreciated for their own sake without force-fitting them into a world view that is ridiculous, calling loss of wings “an intermediate stage in the evolution in the life” of something, and finding no evolution at all in millions of years.  Addicts must have their Darwine, the more aged the better.last_img read more

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Jadeja hearing: Team confident of a pro-India verdict

first_imgBCCI general manager MV Sridhar is being flown in on Thursday to represent India during the hearing of the Jadeja-Anderson controversy on Friday. Sridhar was the team manager during Monkeygate controversy, involving Harbhajan Singh and Mathew Hayden, in Australia in 2008. Sridhar also attended the hearing in Southampton last Thursday evening after which match referee David Boon fined Jadeja 50 per cent of his match fee.The lawyers for the case have been hired locally.The Indian team management is convinced that with ICC agreeing to let India appeal, Jadeja’s fine will either be dropped or be reduced drastically. Some within the management feel that the Indian all-rounder will just be fined a token 10 per cent.If the fine of 50 per cent of the match fee imposed on Jadeja is reduced or dropped, it will be clear who is the guilty party, according to the team management. The Indian team anticipates that the Jadeja appeal will go in their favour, meaning Anderson will certainly be found guilty and get at least a one Test ban.The hearing is to take place in Southampton at 9am on Friday. Accordingly, the Indians have planned to split in two – the bulk of the team with the players and administrative personnel including manager Sunil Dev will proceed to Manchester by bus at 10.30-11am.Key witnesses skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir, along with the team physiotherapist, will stay back with Jadeja and Sridhar in Southampton for the hearing. They will go to Manchester by car after the proceedings.advertisementThe Indians are very confident of the verdict will go in favour of Jadeja.last_img read more

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HAITI First Ladies Mrs Moise and Mrs Minnis Have Meeting and Exchange

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Haiti, February 27, 2018 – Port-au-Prince – Wife of the President of the Republic of Haiti, Mrs. Martine Moise (right), and wife of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Mrs. Patricia Minnis held a formal meeting on Monday at the Marriott in Port-au-Prince.  Following the meeting, the First Ladies exchanged gifts.Mrs. Minnis traveled to Haiti to accompany Prime Minister Hubert Minnis to the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which began at the Marriott on Monday morning, February 26, 2018.(Photos/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

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Study finds rudimentary empathy in macaques

center_img More information: Sebastien Ballesta et al. Rudimentary empathy in macaques’ social decision-making, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1504454112AbstractPrimates live in highly social environments, where prosocial behaviors promote social bonds and cohesion and contribute to group members’ fitness. Despite a growing interest in the biological basis of nonhuman primates’ social interactions, their underlying motivations remain a matter of debate. We report that macaque monkeys take into account the welfare of their peers when making behavioral choices bringing about pleasant or unpleasant outcomes to a monkey partner. Two macaques took turns in making decisions that could impact their own welfare or their partner’s. Most monkeys were inclined to refrain from delivering a mildly aversive airpuff and to grant juice rewards to their partner. Choice consistency between these two types of outcome suggests that monkeys display coherent motivations in different social interactions. Furthermore, spontaneous affilitative group interactions in the home environment were mostly consistent with the measured social decisions, thus emphasizing the impact of preexisting social bonds on decision-making. Interestingly, unique behavioral markers predicted these decisions: benevolence was associated with enhanced mutual gaze and empathic eye blinking, whereas indifference or malevolence was associated with lower or suppressed such responses. Together our results suggest that prosocial decision-making is sustained by an intrinsic motivation for social affiliation and controlled through positive and negative vicarious reinforcements. © 2015 Phys.org Citation: Study finds ‘rudimentary’ empathy in macaques (2015, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-rudimentary-empathy-macaques.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.last_img read more

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Researchers study the opaque accretion disk of Beta Lyrae A

first_imgPhase coverage of spectro-interferometric observations of β Lyr acquired by different instruments. δ denotes the relative declination (positive toward the north), and α the relative right ascension (positive toward the east). The black line shows the size and orientation of the β Lyr orbit in the sky, the blue dots show orbital phases corresponding to NPOI observations, the magenta dots to CHARA/VEGA observations, the green dots to CHARA/MIRC observations acquired in 2013, and the red dots to CHARA/MIRC observations acquired in 2006/2007. An arbitrary vertical shift of 0.2 mas is added to separate the various orbits. Credit: Mourard et al., 2018. Located some 1,000 light years away from the Earth, Beta Lyrae is a multiple star system consisting of at least one star in close orbit to another star or two or more stars orbiting a central point. One of its components, Beta Lyrae A, is a bright binary of spectral type B. It has an effective temperature of 13,300 K and a steadily increasing orbital period of 12.94 days. The binary is currently in a phase of rapid mass exchange with the mass-losing component (donor) being the less massive (about 2.9 solar masses) than its companion (about 13.3 solar masses).Given that the donor has transferred most of its mass over to its companion, the secondary star is now more massive and exhibits an accretion disk created from this mass transfer. However, the disk blocks the view of the companion, making it difficult for observers to unveil the detailed properties of this star.Studying Beta Lyrae A, including its disk, could therefore be essential for astronomers to better understand mass exchange in close binaries. Thus, a group of astronomers led by Denis Mourard of the University of Côte d’Azur in France, has performed an analysis of the available data obtained during visible and infrared spectro-interferometric observations of Beta Lyrae A.”A series of continuum visible and NIR spectro-interferometric observations by the NPOI, CHARA/MIRC and VEGA instruments covering the whole orbit of β Lyr A acquired during a two-week campaign in 2013 were complemented with UBVR photometric observations acquired during a three-year monitoring of the system. We included NUV and FUV observations from OAO A-2, IUE, and Voyager satellites,” the researchers wrote in the paper.Based on the observational data, Mourard’s team tested various models of the disk. They found that the opaque parts of the accretion disk have the outer radius of about 30 solar radii, the semithickness of approximately 6.5 solar radii (for “slab” and “wedge” shape models), or equivalently the scale-height multiplication factor of 4.3 (for “nebula” model). Moreover, the researchers estimate that the minimum mass of the disk should be between 0.0001 and 0.001 solar masses. When it comes to the parameters of the Beta Lyrae A system, they found that its orbital inclination is 93.5 degrees. They also measured the probable distance to the binary – about 1,042 light years.In concluding remarks, the researchers revealed that they plan to publish further analyses of the Beta Lyrae A binary, focused mainly on the optically thin circumstellar medium in the system. “Using a series of spectroscopic and spectro-interferometric observations of strong emission lines we intend to resolve and describe the structure and kinematics of the optically thin medium within this remarkable system. Consequently, it should be possible to better determine the radial profiles of the disk atmosphere,” the authors of the paper noted. An international team of astronomers has conducted a study of the opaque accretion disk of the multiple star system known as Beta Lyrae A (β Lyr A for short). The research reveals important insights into nature of this disk and also discloses some parameters of the system. The study was presented in a paper published July 12 on arXiv.org. © 2018 Phys.org Journal information: Astronomy & Astrophysics Astronomers detect a doubly eclipsing quadruple star systemlast_img read more

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Kids Under 13 Could Soon Get Their Own Gmail YouTube Accounts As

first_imgAugust 19, 2014 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. I set my daughter up with her first-ever email account yesterday. She’s nine. Google age restrictions be damned, the girl gets what the girl wants. After all, email requires reading and writing, right?Spoiled by texting and IM, my impatient digital native checked her new Gmail account about a dozen times in the first five minutes for inbox action. “I texted my BFF to email me back twice already. Why isn’t it here yet?!”Give the post-millennial time. She doesn’t “get” email yet. I’m surprised she asked for it in the first place. Isn’t emailing as lame as actually calling people?Related: The Hidden Opportunity: Toys That Bridge the Gender Gap“Make me born in the ’90s so I look old enough,” she giggled during the half-a-minute Gmail signup drill, fully aware that we were outright lying to Google about her age. “And let’s give me a fake name because of strangers and stuff, k?” “Marketers, too,” I clucked.Compared to most of her soon-to-be-fifth-grader friends — and to her brothers, who both scored Gmail accounts when they were only seven in order to sign up for National Geographic Kids’ cursed Animal Jam online world — my daughter is years late to the email game. But for Google, she’s right on time. Kids like her, the 13 and younger set, are Google’s next big target market, reports The Information.Rumor has it that the tech giant might soon open its personal data-gobbling gates to pre-teens and kids even younger. That is, officially, because countless young children aren’t already all over Gmail and they’re not hooked on YouTube or anything.Related: 4 Tools to Help Protect Your Online PrivacyWe reached out to Google for confirmation, but the it remains tight-lipped, with a spokesperson saying the company “does not comment on rumor or speculation.”Google reportedly wants to make its relationship with users 13 and under legit, as in legal, and market new ones. If it does officially court kids that young, it will have to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).Per the FTC, the law’s main goal “is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online.” While COPPA requires parental consent, it lets companies off the hook if customers fudge their ages.Related: Google, Barnes & Noble Just Made a Big Play in the ‘Instant Gratification’ RaceCompanies that collect information from and interact with kids 13 and younger that violate COPPA — by hawking their information to third-parties, like advertisers, for example — can be slapped with fines of up to $16,000 per infraction.Google’s potential new, family-friendly leaf could include allowing parents to snoop their kids Google services-related activities, as well as mandating that people who sign up for Google services accounts divulge their age on Android devices, also according to The Information. People already have to fess up their “age” when signing up for Google services on their computers, fake or not. Google is also reportedly working on a kid-friendly version of YouTube.As it is now, without a single parental control in place, YouTube is the opposite of child-appropriate. It’s a parenting nightmare.Related: A Netflix for Legos — Building a Startup Brick by BrickMaybe we hang out with the wrong people, but I don’t know any kids who don’t zone out on YouTube daily, often unchecked by their parents. At my house, watching painful fails and lolcat vids (and, yep, how to light farts on fire) on YouTube has replaced hours of Lego building, BMX riding and even swimming on the hottest of days. Who knows what my kids watch on YouTube via their smartphones when they’re out and about with their friends? Fire tricks with lighters much?And it’s not enough just to watch YouTube videos. Millions of kids make their own, too. My friend’s 11-year-old posts his own Minecraft mods and Call of Duty cheats vids every day on the 1 billion-member video Pandora’s Box, the second most visited website on all of the Internet.But, remember, Google accounts are not for kids. Not yet. You have to be 13 or older to have one, YouTube, Google+ and Gmail included. Riiiight.Related: Why Google’s Privacy Changes Are Good for AdvertisersMy young, wannabe viral YouTuber friend doesn’t know this. Neither does his mom. Do most parents? And, even if they did, would they care? Probably not. Google does nothing to stop parents from signing their kids up for accounts, nor their kids from signing themselves up. I doubt it will when it openly markets to kids either.At the moment, age restrictions don’t warrant a single word in Google’s Gmail Terms & Privacy details. Google does, however, spell them out on YouTube, buried down in item 12 of its Terms of Service. “If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great web sites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you.”Related: 6 Things You Should Know About ‘Anti-Google’ Search Engine DuckDuckGoHmmm. I’m confused. If YouTube is exclusively for teens and up, why does Google offer so many branded kids’ channels, like BabyTV, Sesame Street and Sprout? Sesame Street’s channel hit 1 million subscribers just last week. Don’t watch if you’re under 13, but, hey, check out our popular children’s shows.Google obviously knows it has underage users and lots of them. When and how it will expand its services to officially include them remains to be seen, but you can bet it will fall within the letter of the law.Related: Which Age Group Is Most Likely to Get Hacked 6 min readcenter_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more

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Introducing Android 9 Pie filled with machine learning and bakedin UI features

first_imgGoogle has launched Android 9, the next in line Android Operating system. Named Android Pie, after Android’s convention of naming their OS on sweet treats, Android 9 comes with machine learning based interactive UI, security and privacy features, updates to connectivity and location, and more. With the filling of Machine Learning With Machine learning as its core, Android 9 helps a phone learn, by picking up on user preferences and adjusting automatically. Source: Android Developers Blog Google has partnered with DeepMind for Adaptive Battery that uses machine learning to prioritize system resources for the apps the user frequents the most. Android 9 Pie uses Slices, which are basically UI templates to display interactive content from an app from within other sources such as Google Search app or Google Assistant. It helps users perform tasks faster by engaging users outside of the fullscreen app experience. App Actions takes advantage of machine learning to bring an app to the user at just the right time. It is based on the app’s semantic intents and the user’s context. Another feature, the Smart Linkify lets users take advantage of the TextClassifier models through the Linkify API, providing options for quick follow-on user actions. Android 9 adds an updated version of the Neural networks API, to extend Android’s support for accelerated on-device machine learning. Neural Networks 1.1 adds support for nine new ops. You can take advantage of the APIs through TensorFlow Lite. Baked in UI features Android 9 uses simpler and more approachable UI to help users find, use, and manage their apps. Source: Android Developers Blog There is a brand new system navigation for easily discoverable apps and to make Android’s multitasking more approachable. Android 9 also has a display cutout support to take full advantage of the latest edge-to-edge screens. For immersive content, users can use the display cutout APIs to check the position and shape of the cutout and request full-screen layout around it. Messaging apps can take advantage of the new MessagingStyle APIs to show conversations, attach photos and stickers, and suggest smart replies. Android 9 will soon get the support of ML Kit to generate smart reply suggestions. Android 9 uses a Magnifier widget to improve the user experience of selecting text. The Magnifier widget can also provide a zoomed-in version of any view or surface. With the sprinkling of Security and privacy Major updates of Android 9 have been based on preserving the privacy and security of users’ data. Source: Android Developers Blog Android 9 uses the BiometricPrompt API to show the standard system dialog instead of building their own dialog. In addition to Fingerprint (including in-display sensors), the API supports Face and Iris authentication. The Android Protected Confirmation uses the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to guarantee that a given prompt string is shown and confirmed by the user. Only after successful user confirmation will the TEE then sign the prompt string, which the app can verify. StrongBox is added as a new KeyStore type, providing API support for devices that provide key storage in tamper-resistant hardware with isolated CPU, RAM, and secure flash. Android 9 adds built-in support for DNS over TLS, automatically upgrading DNS queries to TLS if a network’s DNS server supports it. Android 9 restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle. These are just a select few updates for the Android 9 operating system. The full list of features is available on the Android Developer Blog. Starting today, Android 9 Pie is rolling out to all Pixel users worldwide, and then to many other devices in the coming months. Read Next Android P Beta 4 is here, stable Android P expected in the coming weeks!Google updates biometric authentication for Android P, introduces BiometricPrompt APIAndroid P new features: artificial intelligence, digital wellbeing, and simplicitylast_img read more

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