Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Robotics is a serious science, but like all of the most serious things in this world it does have a fun side too. Sometimes a robot, with all of its advanced equipment and the intense hours of programming involved, comes along and it does something that is so silly and so darn entertaining that you just have to sit back, watch the video and laugh. When a robot begins making you Micky Mouse shaped pancakes you can begin to suspect that you are experiencing one of those moments. When that robot is made of Lego’s then you can be sure that you are in one of those situations. A more stealthy robot may be hearing you soon 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. Of course, this bot can do more than just the icon of a children’s toy corporation, it can make any shape that you can programming it to, provided that it fits onto the griddle. The pancake cooking bot is in reality a 3-axis CNC-made robot, designed by Mexican Viking. The machine uses the Z coordinate to control where the batter is released. The robot was originally coded in Python NXT but had to be changed due to unnamed complications with the use of the language in this application. Mexican Viking changed it to the LEGO Mindstorms programming language. This programming language then creates the image using a text files with three coordinates that tell the machine where to move and when to dump the batter. The machine cannot be bought commercially and it is not going to be on sale in the near future. If you want to make one of your own you can use the directions on Mexican Viking’s website to create one for yourself. Citation: A Lego robot that can make you Micky Mouse shaped pancakes (w/ video) (2011, July 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-07-robot-micky-mouse-pancakes-video.html © 2010 PhysOrg.com
(PhysOrg.com) — For several years the government of the United Kingdom has been trying to build a low-carbon coal fired power plant by means of competitions between companies seeking the £1 billion reward that would go along with such a contract. The last go-round wound up with just one competitor, Scottish Power whose bid faltered in the end due to it being too expensive. This time an American conglomeration called the Summit Power Group has jumped into the fray by partnering with the National Grid, an electric and gas company that provides service to customers in the United Kingdom and parts of the United States and petroleum company Petrofac. Their idea is to build a Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) coal fired power plant to be located in Scotland’s Port of Grangemouth, that Summit says will release 90% less carbon emissions than conventional plants. Explore further More information: Press release European power plants boosting coal use © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: Summit Group announces bid to build carbon capture and storage plant in Scotland (2012, March 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-summit-group-carbon-capture-storage.html Summit’s boast is not just marketing hype, they’re already in the middle of building a similar plant in Texas paid for by a grant from the US government.The bid for the plant is due to the UK’s Carbon Capture & Storage Delivery Competition. If built, the plant would be called the Caledonia Clean Energy Project, situated west of Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth; a location chosen due to already existing oil and gas pipeline facilities. In addition to using coal to create electricity, the plant would also produce hydrogen gas for sale to commercial customers. Also, because the location is close to the North Sea, the CO2 that is removed during the process of making electricity could be easily moved and sequestered under the sea for storage, by Petrofac which just happens to have a subsidiary company called CO2DeepStore that does just that.The group says that unlike Scottish Power, who estimated the project would cost £1.5 billion, they can get the job done for the £1 billion that the competition dictates. One possible hiccup thus far though is Summit’s plan to use the CO2 extracted, rather than sequester it, at a later date, as part of an enhanced oil recovery process under the North Sea, which has environmentalists worried.Summit also says that it is able to capture carbon during the process more efficiently than other plants because it doesn’t actually burn the coal used in the plant. Instead, they say, a chemical process is used. 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.
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. (Phys.org) —The OpenWorm project has reached a significant milestone, team members report—muscular contraction that is able to drive the simulated worm forward in a stream of simulated water. The next step for project members is to connect simulated brain cells with muscle cells allowing the worm to control its own movements. The team also hopes to create a virtual version of the worm to allow for porting to an interactive web application for use by the general public. Citation: OpenWorm project reaches new milestone—muscle simulation (2013, December 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-openworm-milestonemuscle-simulation.html Building a digital life form: OpenWorm, Open Source The goal of the OpenWorm project is simple and straightforward—building the first (others have tried and met with limited success) digital life form—getting there of course, is anything but. The idea is to replicate how it is that living organisms do what they do. In the case of the nematode, that means, among other things, swimming through water in a way reminiscent of an eel.The project is an international open source collaboration and as such is open to anyone who wishes to participate. Of course those who choose to do so will find a certain degree of expertise in computer programming or biology will be needed. The team reports that the nematode was chosen as the first simulated life form because of its simplicity—the real worm has just 959 total cells—almost half of which are muscle cells or neurons.Building a simulated life form is challenging—it would be a simple matter to simply draw a nematode and then animate it—Hollywood has been doing that for over half a century. What’s difficult is to use computer code to create and simulate the underlying basic elements that make up a nematode and then have them perform the way they do with the real organism, resulting in virtually identical behavior. That means creating code that describes such things as how its cell muscle cells work and then how they work together in order to cause the entire organism to move in a way that suggests forward progress. In this instance, that’s a lot of code and number crunching—it took three full days of rendering to produce less than a fraction of a second of action. This is significant progress—the OpenWorm project only just started this past May. The first simulation involved causing muscle cells to do nothing more than twitch. Explore further © 2013 Phys.org
Journal information: Applied Physics Letters Citation: Superconducting refrigerator cools via tunneling cascade (2014, June 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-06-superconducting-refrigerator-cools-tunneling-cascade.html In a new paper published in Applied Physics Letters, a team of researchers, M. Camarasa-Gómez, et al., from Italy and France, has proposed a new design for a superconducting refrigerator in which cooling is performed in a cascade of steps. Due to this multistage operation, the refrigerator can cool down a normal metal from 0.5 K to 100 mK with improved performance compared to similar refrigerators.Superconducting refrigerators are typically composed of superconductors (S), normal metals (N), and tunnel barriers (I) that are often arranged in a symmetric configuration; for example, SINIS. When a voltage is applied to the superconductors, hot quasiparticles in the normal metal tunnel through the tunnel barriers to the superconductors, cooling the normal metal. The proposed design consists of the SINIS configuration with an additional superconducting tunnel contact on each end: S2IS1INIS1IS2. A voltage is applied to the S2 superconductors, causing hot quasiparticles to first tunnel from the normal metal to the S1 superconductors, and then to the S2 superconductors. Each tunneling event removes heat, resulting in a heat current that flows from the inside to the outside of the refrigerator. “A cascade geometry allows to cool a first superconducting stage, which is used as a local thermal bath in a second stage,” the researchers explain in their paper. This cascade cooling method requires that the components have certain properties, in particular resistances, in order to operate correctly. The researchers expect that these requirements can be easily implemented in a practical device using a combination of vanadium, aluminum, and copper.The superconducting cascade electron refrigerator could be used for cooling both microscopic and macroscopic objects, including ultracold sensors for astronomical instruments. Explore further The superconducting cascade electron refrigerator, with a S2IS1INIS1IS2 configuration, can cool a metal from 0.5 K to 100 mK in a cascading two-step process. Credit: M. Camarasa-Gómez, et al. ©2014 AIP Publishing LLC © 2014 Phys.org Quantum refrigerator offers extreme cooling and convenience 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. More information: M. Camarasa-Gómez, et al. “Superconducting cascade electron refrigerator.” Applied Physics Letters 104, 192601 (2014). DOI: 10.1063/1.4876478 (Phys.org) —Cooling microscopic objects to temperatures near absolute zero requires unconventional refrigeration technologies. One microscale cooling method is superconducting refrigeration, in which refrigerators extract hot quasiparticles (collective excitations) from non-superconducting metals and transport them to superconducting metals. Superconducting refrigerators can cool microscopic objects down to below 1 K.
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. A novel genetic typing approach reveals focal transmission of the bacteria that cause the flesh-eating disease Journal information: Science Advances Explore further People have been cutting down the rain forests for years to provide land for human activities. While some of the ecological impacts of deforestation is evident, such as the reduction in amounts of carbon dioxide the remaining rainforests can pull from the atmosphere, others are not so clear. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the possible impact on the spread of infectious diseases.Prior research has found links between human environmental impact and the spread of diseases such as malaria and Zika, but other less well-known diseases might be impacted as well. One such disease, known as Buruli ulcer, results in skin ulcers and bone damage. It is caused by infection of the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, generally in tropical areas. But what happens with these bacteria when tropical forests are cut down? To find out, the researchers ventured to French Guiana, where people are commonly infected with Buruli ulcer. They collected approximately 3,000 organisms from 17 places around the country and then tested each for M. ulcerans. In studying the numbers, they discovered that the bacteria are not particularly fond of any given host—they will infect a wide range of insects, fish and many other invertebrates. They also noted that infections were more prevalent the farther down the food chain they looked. The team also noted the locations of the organisms they collected and found that in places where deforestation had occurred, there were, quite naturally, fewer organisms that lived higher up on the food chain. This in turn led to increases in the numbers of those they normally preyed upon and that led to more infections in lower order animals by M. ulcerans.The researchers did not compare their findings against increased human infections, but the data suggests it as a likely possibility, which, in a broader sense, offers yet more evidence of the negative consequences of deforestation of the rain forests—a possible increase in the spread of bacterial infections—at least initially. Their research also showed that as deforested land was converted to human use, even lower-order organisms were eventually pushed out, along with the bacteria they were carrying. More information: A. L. Morris et al. Deforestation-driven food-web collapse linked to emerging tropical infectious disease, Mycobacterium ulcerans, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600387AbstractGeneralist microorganisms are the agents of many emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), but their natural life cycles are difficult to predict due to the multiplicity of potential hosts and environmental reservoirs. Among 250 known human EIDs, many have been traced to tropical rain forests and specifically freshwater aquatic systems, which act as an interface between microbe-rich sediments or substrates and terrestrial habitats. Along with the rapid urbanization of developing countries, population encroachment, deforestation, and land-use modifications are expected to increase the risk of EID outbreaks. We show that the freshwater food-web collapse driven by land-use change has a nonlinear effect on the abundance of preferential hosts of a generalist bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans. This leads to an increase of the pathogen within systems at certain levels of environmental disturbance. The complex link between aquatic, terrestrial, and EID processes highlights the potential importance of species community composition and structure and species life history traits in disease risk estimation and mapping. Mechanisms such as the one shown here are also central in predicting how human-induced environmental change, for example, deforestation and changes in land use, may drive emergence. Citation: Deforestation in French Guiana linked to increase in infectious tropical disease (2016, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-12-deforestation-french-guiana-linked-infectious.html Apatou, French Guiana, January 2004. Credit: public domain © 2016 Phys.org (Phys.org)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests human deforestation efforts in French Guiana has led to an increase in the number of animals and insects infected with the tropical disease Buruli ulcer. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the bacteria that causes the disease and what their findings imply for the study of the spread of diseases in such areas.
More information: Discovery of optical flickering from the symbiotic star EF Aquilae, arXiv:1702.08243 [astro-ph.SR] arxiv.org/abs/1702.08243AbstractWe report optical CCD photometry of the recently identified symbiotic star EF Aql. Our observations in Johnson V and B bands clearly show the presence of stochastic light variations with an amplitude of about 0.2 mag on a time scale of minutes. The observations point toward a white dwarf (WD) as the hot component in the system. It is the 11-th object among more than 200 symbiotic stars known with detected optical flickering. Estimates of the mass accretion rate onto the WD and the mass loss rate in the wind of the Mira secondary star lead to the conclusion that less than 1 per cent of the wind is captured by the WD. Eight further candidates for the detection of flickering in similar systems are suggested. (Phys.org)—European researchers have detected optical flickering from a distant symbiotic star known as EF Aquilae (EF Aql for short). The new findings, presented Feb. 27 on the arXiv pre-print server, offer important hints on the nature and composition of this binary star. Citation: Astronomers detect flickering from the star EF Aquilae (2017, March 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-03-astronomers-flickering-star-ef-aquilae.html Located about 11,000 light years away from the Earth, EF Aql is a symbiotic star, a member of the symbiotic Mira subgroup. Symbiotic stars are long-period interacting binaries consisting of an evolved giant transferring mass to a hot compact object – usually a late-sequence red giant providing material to a white dwarf. Although EF Aql was identified as a variable star in 1925, it was confirmed as a symbiotic star in 2016. However, this star has not been thoroughly studied yet, and its nature is still poorly understood.To gain more insights about EF Aql, a team of astronomers led by Radoslav Zamanov of the National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) Rozhen in Bulgaria has recently carried out a series of CCD photometric observations of this star. For this job, they employed five telescopes equipped with CCD cameras between August and November 2016—four located in Bulgaria and one in Spain.These photometric observations allowed the researchers to detect rapid aperiodic brightness variations, like the flickering seen from cataclysmic variables.”Our observations in Johnson V and B bands clearly show the presence of stochastic light variations with an amplitude of about 0.2 mag on a time scale of minutes,” the team wrote in the paper.Such flickering in the form of stochastic photometric variations on timescales of a few minutes with amplitude of a few 0.1 magnitudes is typical for accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables and recurrent novae. Therefore, it strongly indicates that the hot component in the studied symbiotic star is, indeed, a white dwarf.”The presence of flickering strongly suggests that the hot component is a white dwarf,” the paper reads.The researchers estimated that EF Aql’s mass loss rate is about 2 millionths of the mass of the sun year-1, which means that the white dwarf is capturing less than 1 percent of red giant’s stellar wind.”Estimates of the mass accretion rate onto the white dwarf and the mass loss rate in the wind of the Mira secondary star lead to the conclusion that less than 1 percent of the wind is captured by the white dwarf,” the scientists concluded.The research adds EF Aql to the currently very short list of symbiotic stars with detected optical flickering. Although there are more than 200 symbiotic stars known to date, only 10 of them show flickering activity, namely: RS Oph, T CrB, MWC 560, Z And, V2116 Oph, CH Cyg, RT Cru,o Cet, V407 Cyg, and V648 Car. The team also noted that the flickering source in EF Aql is similar to the flickering source in T CrB and RS Oph, which also contain a red giant mass donor. The mysterious cataclysmic variable star Mu Centauri (Update) 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. © 2017 Phys.org Explore further Detection of optical flickering of EF Aql. In each panel two check stars are also shown on the same scale. It is clearly seen that EF Aql varies with an amplitude larger than 0.15 mag. Credit: Zamanov et al., 2017.
Literature, clashing cultures and global performance genres merge quaintly on the Indian stage, riding on legendary 16th century playwright William Shakespeare’s works at the National School of Drama’s annual theatre fest in the Capital.The annual showcase of the country’s premier drama school turned its spotlight on ‘inter-cultural Shakespeare’ this time, with a cache of six productions from across the world.These are a Hindi version of Twelfth Night; an Indian-British interpretation of The Tempest; a Bengali Macbeth; a retelling of Othello in Malayalam; a non-verbal Indian-American Shakespeare collage, The Knocking Within; and Julius Ceaser in Assamese by Guwahati’s Seagull Theatre group. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Theatre critics said the festival reflected the globalization of a trend that began nearly 300 years ago in India when the British rulers brought Shakespeare’s plays to these shores to entertain the ‘white crew’ of the erstwhile East India Company.Today, Shakespeare has become part of the Indian heritage, a favourite across class and language divides. His works now spawn cross-cultural innovations.The flavour of Shakespeare on the Indian stage is now one of innovative conceptualism, where the bard’s stories are expressed as ideas. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYamadoothu – After the death of Othello – a bilingual adaptation of Othello in Malayalam and Hindi by B. Abhimanyu dramatises the 30 minutes between the death of the body and the death of mind in the case of Othello. The play runs for 73 minutes.The production Indianised the performance without digressing from its original elements. Kalaripayatu – the native martial dance of Kerala – was used to good effect.’Before making the performance text, we had a clear cut idea about death – and the difference between body death and mind death. It is a scientific thing, the time period when you can see people but you can’t respond. It gives us a certain language to perform. All things appear dreamy,’ said Thrissur-based Abhimanyu. Explaining one possible reason why Shakespeare may be easily adapted across the world, Paddy Haytor, founder of French repertory company Footsbarn Theatre, said: ‘It is believed that most of Shakespeare’s plays were collated into a compendium of texts after his death as a result of which the texts were improvised many times.’Haytor has adapted Shakespeare’s The Tempest in English, Malayalam, French and Sanskrit in the outdoor style using traditional, operatic, Western folk and contemporary theatre elements. Last year, London’s Globe Theatre had commissioned Mumbai-based The Company Theatre to produce Piya Bahuroopiya, an Indian adaptation of Twelfth Night for the ‘Globe to Globe Shakespeare’ festival to coincide with the London Olympics.‘It renders itself to any language. But we were meant to stay with the rules of Shakespeare when we staged the play. But it has changed after we moved out of the Globe Theatre. We have restructured on the floor, allowing it to grow organically,’ director Atul Kumar told.The National School of Drama has re-invented Shakespeare in the Indian context. Two of the most memorable productions were a 1965 rendition of King Lear starring Om Shiv Puri and a 1989 production directed by Amal Allana in a Rajasthani milieu.
Kolkata: In a significant stride towards overhaul of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across the state, the Technical Education department has decided to review the process of selection of the private companies with which the state has joined hands in running some of these institutes. There have been complaints of improper administration, particularly against those ITIs that are run under public-private mode.There are 76 ITIs in the state that are run under public-private mode. As per terms and conditions, the state allocates the building, designs the course curriculum, earmarks the fees and arranges Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeadmission for 80 percent of the students in these institutes. The equipment, faculties and other infrastructure are provided by the private body that is selected through tendering.”We have withheld tenders of as many as 19 ITIs after there were complaints regarding administration. We are conducting a probe and there will be re-tendering. Some private companies were having administrative control of a number of institutes and in the process, were unable to run them in proper manner. A single company will not be allowed to run four or five institutes,” Basu said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA senior official of the department indicated that heads will roll at the top level of some of these institutes.It may be mentioned that state Technical Education minister Purnendu Basu had himself conducted visits at a number of ITIs across the state, to devise means of overhauling the infrastructure of ITIs, wherever needed.Technical Education has seen a major infrastructural boost under the Mamata Banerjee government since 2011. “When we assumed office there were 80 ITIs. Now we have 248 ITIs – both government and private,” the minister added. The department has also decided to upgrade the course curriculum at the ITIs keeping in pace with market demand. “A number of machines are lying defunct at workshops of some of our old ITIs. We will repair some of those and will replace the outmoded ones,” Basu maintained.Upgradation of the hostels are also under the radar of the department with segregation of the students of first year. “Sometimes there are complaints of ragging by first year students against the seniors. So we have decided to have separate hostel facilities for first year students wherever possible,” the minister said.