07 março 2015

Updated Science: The Science of Body Language

The Science of Body Language

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NGC 602 in the Flying Lizard Nebula



Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602. Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is just below center in this telescopic field of view with the angular size of the Full Moon on the sky. The cluster itself is about 200 light-years in diameter. Glowing interior ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center. Of course, the more extended wings of emission in the region suggest a popular name for the complex cosmic environment, The Flying Lizard Nebula.



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stars, photographed by rosetta, 23rd february 2014.prelanding...









stars, photographed by rosetta, 23rd february 2014.


prelanding commissioning sequences of 4 (above) and 8 (below) images.


see also.


image credit: esa/mps. animation: ageofdestruction.


age
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Are Your Daily Habits Toxic To Your Brain Health? Brain health...





















Are Your Daily Habits Toxic To Your Brain Health?


Brain health is an extremely important issue, one that touches each and every one of us.


Infographic by - Center for Brain Health at University of Texas at Dallas


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todayinhistory:March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in SelmaOn this day...



Civil rights activists march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma





Police brutality during the demonstration





King leads the third and final march from Selma



todayinhistory:



March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in Selma


On this day in 1965, a civil rights march took place from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama; it became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. At this stage, the Civil Rights Movement had been in motion for over a decade and already achieved legislative success with the Civil Rights Act. However the focus of the movement now became making the promise of equal franchise guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment a reality. While African-Americans exercised the right to vote in the years after the amendment’s passage in 1870, discriminatory measures like literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were soon implemented across the country to deprive them of the vote. Thus in 1965 civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. made voter registration the core of their efforts, centering the campaign on the particularly discriminatory Selma, AL. On March 7th - ‘Bloody Sunday’ - as the six hundred unarmed marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were descended upon by state troopers who viciously beat the protestors. The violence encountered by these peaceful marchers, which was captured on television and broadcast around the world, led to national outcry and caused President Johnson to publicly call for the passage of his administration’s proposed voting rights bill. After securing the support of federal troops, another march was held on March 21st, and with the protection of soldiers the marchers managed to arrive in Montgomery after three days. The marchers were met in Montgomery - the epicentre of the movement and the site of the 1954 bus boycott - by 50,000 supporters, who were addressed by King. Their efforts were rewarded when, in August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that ensured all Americans could vote. This was one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery march is commemorated as one of the most important moments of the struggle.



"We are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. The burning of our churches will not deter us. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We are on the move now…not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom

- King’s ‘Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March’ - 25th March, 1965



50 years ago today



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The inimitable Ronlit, talking about the 1700s and its...





The inimitable Ronlit, talking about the 1700s and its importance for the development of what we today call literature


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a-mini-a-day:300-year-old Chinese abacus ring was used during...





a-mini-a-day:



300-year-old Chinese abacus ring was used during the Qing Dynasty to help traders.

Source
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‘Switches’ that shaped the evolution of the human...





‘Switches’ that shaped the evolution of the human brain


Thousands of genetic “dimmer” switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.


Unlike in rhesus monkeys and mice, these switches show increased activity in humans, where they may drive the expression of genes in the cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that is involved in conscious thought and language. This difference may explain why the structure and function of that part of the brain is so unique in humans compared to other mammals.


The research, led by James P. Noonan, Steven K. Reilly, and Jun Yin, is published in the journal Science.


In addition to creating a rich and detailed catalogue of human-specific changes in gene regulation, Noonan and his colleagues pinpointed several biological processes potentially guided by these regulatory elements that are crucial to human brain development.


“Building a more complex cortex likely involves several things: making more cells, modifying the functions of cortical areas, and changing the connections neurons make with each other. And the regulatory changes we found in humans are associated with those processes,” said Noonan, associate professor of genetics, an investigator with the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, and senior author of the study. “This likely involves evolutionary modifications to cellular proliferation, cortical patterning, and other developmental processes that are generally well conserved across many species.”


Scientists have become adept at comparing the genomes of different species to identify the DNA sequence changes that underlie those differences. But many human genes are very similar to those of other primates, which suggests that changes in the way genes are regulated — in addition to changes in the genes themselves — is what sets human biology apart.


Up to this point, however, it has been very challenging to measure those changes and figure out their impact, especially in the developing brain. The Yale researchers took advantage of new experimental and computational tools to identify active regulatory elements — those DNA sequences that switch genes on or off at specific times and in specific cell types — directly in the human cortex and to study their biological effects.


First, Noonan and his colleagues mapped active regulatory elements in the human genome during the first 12 weeks of cortical development by searching for specific biochemical, or “epigenetic” modifications. They did the same in the developing brains of rhesus monkeys and mice, then compared the three maps to identify those elements that showed greater activity in the developing human brain. They found several thousand regulatory elements that showed increased activity in human.


Next, they wanted to know the biological impact of those regulatory changes. The team turned to BrainSpan, a freely available digital atlas of gene expression in the brain throughout the human lifespan. (BrainSpan was led by Kavli Institute member Nenad Sestan at Yale, with contributions from Noonan and Pasko Rakic, a co-author on this study.) They used those data to identify groups of genes that showed coordinated expression in the cerebral cortex. They then overlaid the regulatory changes they had found with these groups of genes and identified several biological processes associated with a surprisingly high number of regulatory changes in humans.


“While we often think of the human brain as a highly innovative structure, it’s been surprising that so many of these regulatory elements seem to play a role in ancient processes important for building the cortex in all mammals, said first author Steven Reilly. “However, this is often a hallmark of evolution, tinkering with the tools available to produce new features and functions.”


Next, Noonan and colleagues plan to investigate the function of some of the regulatory changes they identified by introducing them into the mouse genome and studying their effects on mouse brain development.


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The relatively obscure Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England,...





The relatively obscure Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, holds the record for longest time spent as the worlds tallest building (post 1000 CE). It was the tallest building in the world for 249 years. Sadly, had the central spire not collapsed in 1549, Lincoln Cathedral would have remained the tallest building for a further 341 years!


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March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in SelmaOn this day in 1965, a...



Civil rights activists march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma





Police brutality during the demonstration





King leads the third and final march from Selma



March 7th 1965: Bloody Sunday in Selma


On this day in 1965, a civil rights march took place from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama; it became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. At this stage, the Civil Rights Movement had been in motion for over a decade and already achieved legislative success with the Civil Rights Act. However the focus of the movement now became making the promise of equal franchise guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment a reality. While African-Americans exercised the right to vote in the years after the amendment’s passage in 1870, discriminatory measures like literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were soon implemented across the country to deprive them of the vote. Thus in 1965 civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. made voter registration the core of their efforts, centering the campaign on the particularly discriminatory Selma, AL. On March 7th - ‘Bloody Sunday’ - as the six hundred unarmed marchers were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were descended upon by state troopers who viciously beat the protestors. The violence encountered by these peaceful marchers, which was captured on television and broadcast around the world, led to national outcry and caused President Johnson to publicly call for the passage of his administration’s proposed voting rights bill. After securing the support of federal troops, another march was held on March 21st, and with the protection of soldiers the marchers managed to arrive in Montgomery after three days. The marchers were met in Montgomery - the epicentre of the movement and the site of the 1954 bus boycott - by 50,000 supporters, who were addressed by King. Their efforts were rewarded when, in August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that ensured all Americans could vote. This was one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery march is commemorated as one of the most important moments of the struggle.



"We are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. The burning of our churches will not deter us. The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. We are on the move now…not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom

- King’s ‘Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March’ - 25th March, 1965



50 years ago today


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