Science news of the day thread.

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Brian Peacock » Tue Oct 03, 2023 5:17 am

In 17C Britain it was called the French disease, while in France it was called the English disease. It's always the other guy's disease.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Gord » Wed Oct 04, 2023 5:32 am

I forget what I was going to say. Probably something about the Giant Space Question Mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vZcuhWlTNc

I feel like walking up to it and asking it for a quest.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Oct 04, 2023 5:51 am

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Oct 04, 2023 11:15 am

In Bundi. Cool looking fort and old town. Image
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"The Western world is fucking awesome because of mostly white men" - DaveDodo007.
"Socialized medicine is just exactly as morally defensible as gassing and cooking Jews" - Seth. Yes, he really did say that..
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Oct 04, 2023 11:15 am

Oh and it's been a while. Image
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"The Western world is fucking awesome because of mostly white men" - DaveDodo007.
"Socialized medicine is just exactly as morally defensible as gassing and cooking Jews" - Seth. Yes, he really did say that..
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Oct 04, 2023 11:16 am

Fuckn wrong thread.
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"Socialized medicine is just exactly as morally defensible as gassing and cooking Jews" - Seth. Yes, he really did say that..
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by macdoc » Tue Oct 10, 2023 9:35 pm

The 1st Americans were not who we thought they were
News
By Laura Geggel published 1 day ago
For decades, we thought the first humans to arrive in the Americas came across the Bering Land Bridge 13,000 years ago. New evidence is changing that picture.
more
https://www.livescience.com/archaeology ... ource=digg
Epic 11-foot-tall sea level rise drove Vikings out of Greenland
News
By Mindy Weisberger published April 19, 2023
Not even the mighty Vikings could stand against climate change.
)
https://www.livescience.com/agu-floods- ... -greenland
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Oct 11, 2023 8:18 am

Interesting. Put me in mind of...
Collapse of an ecological network in Ancient Egypt
Yeakel et al, 2014

The dynamics of ecosystem collapse are fundamental to determining how and why biological communities change through time, as well as the potential effects of extinctions on ecosystems. Here, we integrate depictions of mammals from Egyptian antiquity with direct lines of paleontological and archeological evidence to infer local extinctions and community dynamics over a 6,000-y span. The unprecedented temporal resolution of this dataset enables examination of how the tandem effects of human population growth and climate change can disrupt mammalian communities. We show that the extinctions of mammals in Egypt were nonrandom and that destabilizing changes in community composition coincided with abrupt aridification events and the attendant collapses of some complex societies. We also show that the roles of species in a community can change over time and that persistence is predicted by measures of species sensitivity, a function of local dynamic stability. To our knowledge, our study is the first high-resolution analysis of the ecological impacts of environmental change on predator–prey networks over millennial timescales and sheds light on the historical events that have shaped modern animal communities...

... Theoretical work suggests that climate warming may have a large impact on trophic chain length and top-down vs. bottom-up dynamics, where higher trophic species are predicted to be at greatest risk (52). However, to what extent the dynamical consequences of perturbed ecological communities impact species persistence is largely unknown, and this is partly due to a lack of knowledge regarding how animal assemblages and species interactions change over time...

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1408471111
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Thu Oct 12, 2023 3:04 pm

Preliminary analysis of the OSIRIS-REx mission asteroid sample--

'NASA’s Bennu Asteroid Sample Contains Carbon, Water'
Initial studies of the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu sample collected in space and brought to Earth by NASA show evidence of high-carbon content and water, which together could indicate the building blocks of life on Earth may be found in the rock. NASA made the news Wednesday from its Johnson Space Center in Houston where leadership and scientists showed off the asteroid material for the first time since it landed in September.

This finding was part of a preliminary assessment of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security – Regolith Explorer) science team.

...

The goal of the OSIRIS-REx sample collection was 60 grams of asteroid material. Curation experts at NASA Johnson, working in new clean rooms built especially for the mission, have spent 10 days so far carefully disassembling the sample return hardware to obtain a glimpse at the bulk sample within. When the science canister lid was first opened, scientists discovered bonus asteroid material covering the outside of the collector head, canister lid, and base. There was so much extra material it slowed down the careful process of collecting and containing the primary sample.

“Our labs were ready for whatever Bennu had in store for us,” said Vanessa Wyche, director, NASA Johnson. “We’ve had scientists and engineers working side-by-side for years to develop specialized gloveboxes and tools to keep the asteroid material pristine and to curate the samples so researchers now and decades from now can study this precious gift from the cosmos.”

Within the first two weeks, scientists performed “quick-look” analyses of that initial material, collecting images from a scanning electron microscope, infrared measurements, X-ray diffraction, and chemical element analysis. X-ray computed tomography was also used to produce a 3D computer model of one of the particles, highlighting its diverse interior. This early glimpse provided the evidence of abundant carbon and water in the sample.

“As we peer into the ancient secrets preserved within the dust and rocks of asteroid Bennu, we are unlocking a time capsule that offers us profound insights into the origins of our solar system,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator, University of Arizona, Tucson. “The bounty of carbon-rich material and the abundant presence of water-bearing clay minerals are just the tip of the cosmic iceberg. These discoveries, made possible through years of dedicated collaboration and cutting-edge science, propel us on a journey to understand not only our celestial neighborhood but also the potential for life’s beginnings. With each revelation from Bennu, we draw closer to unraveling the mysteries of our cosmic heritage.”

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Mon Oct 16, 2023 9:16 pm

An ambitious drafting of a 'law of evolution.' Again, the headline editor gets points for missing the boat.

'Missing "Law of Nature" Found That Describes The Way All Things Evolve'
Complex, evolving systems abound in our Universe, even beyond the realms of biology. From the growth of stars to prebiotic chemistry, diverse mixes of materials can often be shaped into far more complex forms.

Yet unlike other so many other physical phenomena, their changing nature is yet to be represented by a discrete law.

That's according to a US team of astrobiologists, philosophers, a mineralogist, a theoretical physicist, and a data scientist who describe the "missing law" of nature in an intriguing new peer-reviewed paper.

"Given the ubiquity of evolving systems in the natural world, it seems odd that one or more laws describing their behaviors have not been more quickly forthcoming," the authors write.

The team's own "law of increasing functional information" says evolution in all its forms inevitably leads to more patterning, diversity, and complexity in natural complex systems.

Evolution is certainly not unique to Earth's biosphere; it takes place in other extremely complex systems, such as our Solar System, stars, atoms, and minerals.

"The Universe generates novel combinations of atoms, molecules, cells, etc," says first author of the study, astrobiologist Michael Wong from Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC.

"Those combinations that are stable and can go on to engender even more novelty will continue to evolve. This is what makes life the most striking example of evolution, but evolution is everywhere."

...

Biological and mineral systems continually interact to influence each other's diversity, and life as we know it is the result of this interaction.

"These evolving systems appear to be conceptually equivalent in that they display three notable attributes," the authors write.

"1) They form from numerous components that have the potential to adopt combinatorially vast numbers of different configurations; 2) processes exist that generate numerous different configurations; and 3) configurations are preferentially selected based on function."

So, is there something in the way information can be transferred that accounts for the shared characteristics of seemingly diverse evolving systems? Could there be a universal basis for selection? The team thinks both answers are yes.

"An important component of this proposed natural law is the idea of 'selection for function,'" says Wong.

According to Darwin, an organism's primary function in the context of biology is to ensure its own survival long enough to reproduce successfully. The team says this new proposal broadens our understanding by pointing out the existence of three distinct types of function in the natural world.

The most fundamental function we could call 'static persistence' – maintenance of stable atomic or molecular arrangements.

'Dynamic persistence' describes how systems that are dynamic and have access to constant sources of energy are also more likely to endure.

And lastly, 'novelty generation' refers to the propensity of evolving systems to generate novel configurations, which can result in surprising novel behaviors or characteristics.

[Continues ...]
The paper is open access.

'On the roles of function and selection in evolving systems'
Abstract:

Physical laws—such as the laws of motion, gravity, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics—codify the general behavior of varied macroscopic natural systems across space and time. We propose that an additional, hitherto-unarticulated law is required to characterize familiar macroscopic phenomena of our complex, evolving universe.

An important feature of the classical laws of physics is the conceptual equivalence of specific characteristics shared by an extensive, seemingly diverse body of natural phenomena. Identifying potential equivalencies among disparate phenomena—for example, falling apples and orbiting moons or hot objects and compressed springs—has been instrumental in advancing the scientific understanding of our world through the articulation of laws of nature.

A pervasive wonder of the natural world is the evolution of varied systems, including stars, minerals, atmospheres, and life. These evolving systems appear to be conceptually equivalent in that they display three notable attributes: 1) They form from numerous components that have the potential to adopt combinatorially vast numbers of different configurations; 2) processes exist that generate numerous different configurations; and 3) configurations are preferentially selected based on function.

We identify universal concepts of selection—static persistence, dynamic persistence, and novelty generation—that underpin function and drive systems to evolve through the exchange of information between the environment and the system. Accordingly, we propose a “law of increasing functional information”: The functional information of a system will increase (i.e., the system will evolve) if many different configurations of the system undergo selection for one or more functions.

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Oct 16, 2023 10:17 pm

Hmm. There's nothing that impells a life-form to develop from simplicity to complexity and onwards. Evolution can and does work in the other direction too - specialisation could also mean simplification. The diversity in a system can transform towards simplicity too depending on the state/rate of change among the system's environmental features.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by macdoc » Tue Oct 17, 2023 1:35 am

Has a species ever devolved?
In common parlance, "devolution" is the notion a species may evolve into more "primitive" forms. From a scientific perspective, devolution does not exist.
Could there ever be a species that stops evolving?
The only way to truly stop any biological organism from evolving is extinction. Evolution can be slowed by reducing and keeping population size to a small number of individuals.
more
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution_(biology)
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Brian Peacock » Thu Oct 19, 2023 8:29 am

Climate denial discussion merged to here.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Tero » Wed Nov 01, 2023 12:46 am

https://esapolitics.blogspot.com
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Our case for survival before it's too late

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Re: Science news of the day thread.

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Nov 01, 2023 9:14 am

What about them?
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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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