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* "New state of matter detected in a two-dimensional material; An international team of researchers has found evidence of a mysterious new state of matter, first predicted 40 years ago, in a real material. This state, known as a quantum spin liquid, causes electrons -- thought to be indivisible building blocks of nature -- to break into pieces" (2016-04-04, University of Cambridge) [archive.is/oyudY], photo caption: The excitation of a spin liquid on a honeycomb lattice with neutrons.
* "On/off button for passing along epigenetic ‘memories’ to our children discovered" (2016-03-29, kurzweilai.net) [archive.is/vuRih] [begin excerpt]: According to epigenetics — the study of inheritable changes in gene expression not directly coded in our DNA — our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children’s children. Studies on survivors of traumatic events have suggested that exposure to stress may indeed have lasting effects on subsequent generations.
But exactly how are these genetic “memories” passed on?
A new Tel Aviv University (TAU ) study published last week in Cell now pinpoints the precise mechanism that turns the inheritance of these environmental influences “on” and “off.”
“Until now, it has been assumed that a passive dilution or decay governs the inheritance of epigenetic responses,” said Oded Rechavi, PhD, from TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience. “But we showed that there is an active process that regulates epigenetic inheritance down through generations.”
The scientists discovered that specific genes, which they named “MOTEK” (Modified Transgenerational Epigenetic Kinetics), were involved in turning epigenetic transmissions on and off.
“We discovered how to manipulate the transgenerational duration of epigenetic inheritance in worms by switching ‘on’ and ‘off’ the small RNAs that worms use to regulate [these] genes,” said Rechavi.*
These switches are controlled by a feedback interaction between gene-regulating small RNAs, which are inheritable, and the MOTEK genes that are required to produce and transmit these small RNAs across generations.
The feedback determines whether epigenetic memory will continue to the progeny or not, and how long each epigenetic response will last.[end excerpt]
* "Brain scans of LSD users reveal trippy visuals in groundbreaking study" (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/88fKT]
* "UGA researchers use single molecule of DNA to create world’s smallest diode" (2016-04-04, UGA researchers use molecule of DNA to create world's smallest diode; Study advances search for silicon chip replacement" (2016-04-04, news.uga.edu) [archive.is/Xbkyr]
* "Artificial molecules; A new method allows scientists at ETH Zurich and IBM to fabricate artificial molecules out of different types of microspheres. The researchers would like to one day use such tiny objects in micro-robots, for photonics and basic biochemical research" (2016-04-01, ethz.ch) [archive.is/5PlIl]
* "Scientists program microbots to clean polluted water" (2016-04-11, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/Ypm4K]
* "Hawking & Milner to send interstellar craft to Alpha Centauri 'within a generation' " (2016-04-12, rt.com) [archive.is/9qYPf]
* "The 'R' in RNA is likely abundant in space, scientists say" (2016-04-08, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/k7865]
* "Eerie image of Martian ‘dust devil’ captured by NASA’s Opportunity rover" (2016-04-05, rt.com) [is.gd/tE6h5x]:
An impressive, albeit somewhat eerie, picture of a dust devil whirling through a valley on the surface of Mars has been captured by a NASA rover from its perch high on a ridge.
The photo shows the six-wheeled robot’s tracks in the foreground, leading up the north-facing slope of "Knudsen Ridge", which forms part of the southern edge of "Marathon Valley".
Meanwhile, the dust devil can be seen twisting in the background. While dust devils are common on Mars and have been caught on camera by NASA’s other rover, Spirit, the Opportunity (MER-B) rover had not been so lucky in spotting the red planet’s twisters.
This sighting was recorded on March 31 during the 4,332nd day of the rover’s mission on Mars.
During the uphill drive to reach the top of Knudsen Ridge, Opportunity's tilt reached 32 degrees, the steepest ever for any rover on Mars.
Opportunity landed in Meridiani Planum, located 2 degrees south of Mars' equator in 2004, three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet. Spirit ceased communications in 2010.
Dust devils are also common on Earth and are formed when a rising, rotating column of hot air whirls at speed, picking up tiny grains of dust from the ground in the process, making the vortex visible.
On Mars, however, stronger updrafts are needed to create the dust devils, which tend to grow bigger than their counterparts on Earth.
* "NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter catches whirling Martian Dust Devil" [youtu.be/WnfaY-DCTYI]
* "An ancient site spotted from space could rewrite the history of Vikings in North America" (2016-04-01, washingtonpost.com) [archive.is/UbVvz]
* "Ancient DNA shows European wipe-out of early Americans" (2016-04-02, adelaide.edu.au) [archive.is/Up1eo]
* "Egyptian hieroglyphics digitally restored to former psychedelic glory" (2016-03-31, rt.com):
Attached videos [https://youtu.be/-8oxSG8mUtw] [https://youtu.be/xg8pVmBwmcI].
Archaeologists at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have digitally restored artwork from an ancient Egyptian temple, showing the time of the pharaohs in an incredibly detailed and colorful light.
Due to 2,000 years of flooding and the harsh desert sandstorms, many of the original signs that ancient Egyptian architecture was once vibrant and brightly colored have been wiped away.
However, by studying first hand accounts of Egyptian explorers - such as early diagrams by Britain’s Aylward M. Blackman - and even the ancient civilisation’s fashion sense, experts have reimagined the mesmerizing colors which would have adorned the Temple of Dendur.
The 10 BC temple once sat on the banks of the River Nile, before a UNESCO salvage project rescued it from yearly flood damage in the 1960s. It was later given to the United States in 1965 by the Egyptian government and then donated to the Met museum two years later by US president Lyndon B. Johnson.
In an initiative aptly named ‘Color The Temple’, the Met MediaLab team have now used mapping technology and projected beams of light to brighten a scene of hieroglyphics that until recently had been nullified by beige Aeolian sandstone.
The markings depict Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, in full pharaoh dress, presenting wine to the god of the sky, Horus, and love goddess Hathor. As ruler of Egypt at the time, Augustus would have wanted his subjects to think of him as their pharaoh.
After consulting 19th and 20th century surveys of the building, the team of creatives at New York’s Met settled on a series of likely color patterns to overlay the symbols with pinpoint accuracy.
The result is about as trippy as watching a blue god take booze off a Roman emperor can get, with kaleidoscopic colors enhancing the previously faded symbols.
“Using relatively recent advances in software, we were able to experiment with restoration using nondestructive means (projected light rather than a material like paint) to temporarily display content with presenting any challenges for conservation,” a Met Museum blog post explains [archive.is/IPYAI].