Month: August 2019 Page 1 of 15

Extinct Mammal Used its Sweet Spot to Club Rivals

first_img Glyptodonts lived in the late Eocene to the early Holocene, spreading northwards from South America, and becoming extinct some 8-11,000 years ago. They were heavily armored giants resembling armadillos, and they were equipped with a lethal tail with a spiked club at the end.The new research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, studied several species of glyptodonts. Leader of the team, Dr R. Ernesto Blanco, said the research was inspired by earlier studies of sports equipment such as golf clubs and baseball bats, which calculated the position of the center of percussion (CP) or sweet spot on the sports tool. As any baseball hitter will tell you, you get the best results if you hit the ball at the bat’s sweet spot since this delivers maximum power, but produces the least amount of force in the athlete’s wrist and arm, reducing the chance of injury.Blanco and his colleagues Washington W. Jones, and Andres Rinderknecht, decided to use the same methods as the sports studies to determine the location of the sweet spot on the tails of the glyptodonts. They studied fossilized remains of glyptodonts in the collections of three South American museums, and found that in many species of glyptodonts, such as Doedicurus clavicaudatus, the ball of bony plates at the end of the tail was located at the center of percussion. The plates were fused, turning the tail into a rigid weapon that concentrated the force onto the sweet spot in the tail’s club, which is believed to have been covered in large horny spikes. The scientists likened the flexible part of the glyptodont’s tail to a tennis player’s arm, and the rigid club at the end of the tail to the tennis racket, with the sweet spot under the largest spikes.Having the sweet spot in the position of the largest spikes meant the glyptodont tail clubs must have been extremely effective weapons capable of inflicting damaging blows, but with minimal risk of injuring the vertebrae in the tail. Despite their huge size glyptodonts were pretty nimble creatures able to turn 180 degrees while standing on their hind legs and swinging their tails laterally at speeds of up to 49 feet per second.The scientists believe the glyptodonts used their tails primarily against other glyptodonts in ritualized combats over territory and sexual mates. Possessing a spiked tail club was also undoubtedly useful for fighting off predators, such as South America’s 650 pound terror birds, saber-toothed cats, and other giants, but the scientists’ results suggest the tails were better suited to more stationary situations than fighting off fast predators.More information: The sweet spot of a biological hammer: the centre of percussion of glyptodont (Mammalia: Xenarthra) tail clubs; Proc. R. Soc. B published online before print August 26, 2009, doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1144© 2009 PhysOrg.com Primitive early relative of armadillos helps rewrite evolutionary family tree 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. Explore further Citation: Extinct Mammal Used its ‘Sweet Spot’ to Club Rivals (2009, August 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-08-extinct-mammal-sweet-club-rivals.html Artistic reconstruction of Doedicurus clavicaudatus, with a human for scale. The distal rigid caudal sheath and the mobile free rings are shown. Adapted from Ubilla et al. (2008) (fig. 13.3, with permission of Perea, D. ed. 2008). (PhysOrg.com) — Scientists in Uruguay studying extinct mammals called glyptodonts have discovered they used a “sweet spot” in their tails, just like baseball players use the center of percussion (CP), or sweet spot, in their bats to hit the ball with maximum power and minimum chance of injury. last_img read more

Best of Last Week – New explanation for dark matter a simulation

first_img Explore further © 2015 Phys.org This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Dawn spacecraft heading toward the dwarf planet Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (Phys.org)—Despite the celebrations leading up to the New Year last week, progress in science marched on—a paper by molecular geneticist Edward Kipreos, with the University of Georgia, for example, describing a study that found a possible alternative explanation for dark energy made news. He suggested that changing the way people think about time dilation might offer an alternative explanation of the mysterious force that drives the expansion of the universe. Also, a team of physicists at City College of New York published a paper describing their work which involved unveiling new half-light, half-matter quantum particles in very thin semiconductors—which could help pave the way to computing technology based on quantum properties of light. And in an interview with Phys.org, Professor David Pines of the University of California and the Santa Fe Institute described a paper he had published with Dr. Yi-feng Yang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, regarding how a novel experiment-based expression can explain the behavior of unconventional superconductors. Citation: Best of Last Week – New explanation for dark matter, a simulation of the universe and the randomness of cancer (2015, January 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-week-explanation-dark-simulation-universe.html In other news, NASA announced that the Dawn spacecraft began its approach to the dwarf planet Ceres—which is situated between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt and holds many secrets which will very soon be revealed. An international team of researchers published a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, describing a simulation of the universe with realistic galaxies they have created—it is called the EAGLE project and they have also released an iPhone app based on one of the simulations.In an interesting development, a team of researchers at the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa, announced that they believe they have found the cause of death of the enigmatic Mrs. Oscar Wilde—complications from surgery meant to cure her of multiple sclerosis. Also interesting were the findings by a pair of researchers who found that those who take part in violent conflict have more wives and children—at least those in an East African herding tribe who engage in violent raids on neighboring groups.And finally, if you are one of the millions of people who wonder why they or a loved one have been afflicted, a new study suggests that the “bad luck” of random mutations plays a predominant role in cancer. A team at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center found that roughly two thirds of cancers come about due to mutations that occur in genes that drive cancer that are not due to inherited genes or the environment—it is just the luck of the draw.Special Note: You may also be interested in checking out ten of the biggest science and technology stories of 2014 on Phys.org or ten of the top medical research discoveries of 2014 on Medical Xpress. Study finds possible alternative explanation for dark energy Journal information: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 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

Second successful humananimal hybrid sheep embryo with human cells

first_imgThis photograph shows injection of human iPS cells into a pig blastocyst. A laser beam (green circle with a red cross inside) was used to perforate an opening to the outer membrane (Zona Pellucida) of the pig blastocyst to allow easy access of an injection needle delivering human iPS cells. Credit: of Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte Carrying forward the results of a team that created a pig/human hybrid last year, a team led by researchers at Stanford University has created a sheep/human hybrid. The team has not published a paper on their efforts as yet, but recently gave a presentation outlining their work at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Texas. 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. Using CRISPR to grow a human pancreas in a pig Citation: Second successful human-animal hybrid: sheep embryo with human cells (2018, February 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-successful-human-animal-hybrid-sheep-embryo.html © 2018 Phys.org More information: Towards Xenogeneic Generation of Human Organs, AAAS 2018 meeting, aaas.confex.com/aaas/2018/meet … gapp.cgi/Paper/20877AbstractInterspecies blastocyst complementation offers the possibility of generating human organs in animals. The approach requires a host embryo for which development of a specific organ is genetically disabled and human cells with interspecific chimera formation potential. I will present results on the use of CRISPR-Cas9-mediated zygote genome editing for creating pig and sheep organogenesis-disabled host embryos. Also, to address whether human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can contribute to chimera formation in livestock species we systematically evaluated the chimeric competency of several types of hPSCs. The procedures and observations that will be presented regarding the capability of human pluripotent stem cells to integrate and differentiate in an ungulate embryo may constitute a first step towards realizing the potential of interspecies blastocyst complementation for xeno-generating transplantable human tissues and organs towards addressing the worldwide shortage of organ donors. Explore further As with the team last year, the current researchers say the purpose of creating the human-animal hybrid was to find out if it might be possible to grow human organs in animals to replace defective ones in humans. Such patients would not reject the organs, because the cells used to create them would be their own. The researchers used a sheep in their experiments because its organs are roughly the same size as humans and because in vitro fertilization of sheep is easier than pigs.The process of creating a hybrid starts with collecting human stem cells, which can grow into any kind of organ. Next, an embryo is harvested from an animal such as a pig or sheep, and its DNA is modified to deactivate the part that would normally be in charge of developing the desired organ, for instance, a liver. Then the human stem cells are inserted into the embryo, which is implanted back into the uterus of the animal that donated it. In this manner a human organ, such as a liver, could be caused to grow inside of a volunteer animal—the embryo would grow into an adult pig or sheep with a human organ inside of it, instead of its own.The researchers noted that in their work, just 0.01 percent of the cells in the sheep embryo were human, the rest were native sheep cells. Much more than that would be required to actually grow an organ, perhaps as much as 1 percent. The embryos were also not allowed to mature into adults—they were killed after growing for 28 days.Such research tends to be contentious—some are firmly for it, while others believe it is unethical. NIH, for example, currently does not allow such research using money from the government. Many believe that as researchers move closer to allowing hybrid embryos to grow into adults, more voices will be raised against it.last_img read more

Visions and revisions

first_imgDoordarshan has a great new series on offer for its audience. The television series Nazarya Nazariya will feature real-life stories of visually impaired and blind achievers in India across various fields. Renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah to be a part of the weekly television series, which will air every Saturday at 9:30 to10:00 am.  Each episode of the television series will feature real-life stories of blind and visually impaired achievers whilst addressing diverse themes throughout the course of the 13 part series. The themes will range from education, employment, business, art and culture including marriage and relationships.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Commenting on his association to the cause and television series, Shah said, ‘When I did Sparsh in the early 1980s, I had the opportunity of interacting with several visually impaired individuals. I realized that the problem is not with the Nazar it is with the Nazariya.’India houses over 63 million visually impaired people. Most of these people are often marginalised, not given equal opportunities for education, career and employment; they are also ill informed, and not stimulated to explore their potential.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe blind and visually impaired community is often viewed as liabilities as opposed to potential human resource for a developing country, says Shah. ‘What is important here is that people like you and me need to break away from the societal stereotypes and commonly held perceptions about disability and success or happiness. This is the main message that we are trying to drive through this television series and we hope that we are able to achieve this goal by reaching out to more and more people of this country.’last_img read more

Revisiting the Nawabi traditions

first_imgThe Capital will relive the remembrances of a courtesan in love in a special choreography recreating the Awadhi darbar, the poetic words of love explored through darbari kathak dance by dancer Manjari Chaturvedi.The exploration of syllable and voice create remembrances in classical music compositions sung by dhrupad exponent Uday Bhawalkar. The rhythmic sound of Persian percussions, the daf and the tumbak by artiste Reza Karfar will lead audience to nothingness where only the beauty of sound exists and create an essence of void and of desires unfulfilled. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The darbari kathak also known as kathak of Lucknow gharana is characterised by  lovely costumes, and is famous for its delicate nuances of expressiveness, alluring grace in movements,  eloquent gat bhav and its unique  abhinaya to the accompaniment of lilting thumri’s,  ghazals and holis, which was patronised in the opulant darbars of Nawabs of Awadh. Manjari Chaturvedi is a  exponent of the Indian classical dance form and is acclaimed for being the creator and only performing artist of Sufi kathak. She has combined the mysticism of  Sufi traditions with classical Indian dance . Uday Bhawalkar whose music alings with Chaturvedi’s sufi kathak,  is a standard bearer for Dhrupad.last_img read more

Waves of Fantasy

first_imgGhazali an art teacher rarely travels to hill stations. As the artist puts it,  ‘It has been ages since I have been to a hill station. All the 45 paintings have come through my imagination. Even when I am confined to a room surrounded by books and magazines, my mind transports me to a serene hill station where the beauty of Himalayas leaves me in a trans.’His work does not only serve solely as a means of expressing the painter’s admiration of nature but he also feels strongly that painting has a task of its own to accomplish in the service of imaginative life. The artist has developed a style which is in keeping with the thirst of mankind’s inner needs. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Here there is a greater and starker simplicity, which is expressive, natural seeming, and free from ornamental impediments of any kind. Instead of relying on the fortuitous, painting is given content by artistic values belonging to all time, and of a significance at the best of times.The traditional realistic manner, based on observation of the changing appearances of nature, is felt to be inadequate. Means are thus sought to enhance the interpretation of the inspirational idea. Distracting and superfluous accretions are mostly eliminated. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe main themes, having thus been isolated and set free from all the accidental circumstances, are given a new environment in which ideal spatial dimensions replace those of the nature. It is how a fresh pictorial convention develops whose chief characteristics are a twin-dimensional scheme of composition, a firm yet spontaneous seeming stylisation of the forms of nature in depth, and a symbolic content.Already in Ghazali’s early experiments, there have been meaningful uses of line and colour. Here the drawing turned objects into visual images which took over the artist’s argument and sustained it. The close-knit compositions and the rhythmical groupings of forms are the pictorial elements of importance in his present works. In some of his showings the painter applies new possibilities directly, without any justification or a literary content. In these paintings he breaks with the descriptive, the anecdotal, and the atmospheric. Pure forms in their elementary capacity, completely visible in their stiff, vertical or horizontal seams and layers are the materials with which the compositions are their rhythmically constructed.When: 18 January, 11 amWhere: M.F Hussain Art Gallerylast_img read more

Not your regular cup of coffee

first_imgBarista Meets Artista was the title of a jugalbandi session organised by Le Méridien at the ongoing India Art Fair 2015, South Asia’s largest contemporary Art Fair. It was a unique and interactive coffee and art performance by LM 100 member Esther Maasdam – The global latte artiste along with visual artist -Sohan Jakhar.This unusual art performance reinforces the brands commitment to coffee culture. The event was India’s introduction to the new year-long ‘Inspiration Brewed Here’ campaign and that saw the appointment of Esther Maasdam as the first ever global latte artist for the brand.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The campaign was launched on November 11, at Le Méridien Vienna. Destination-inspired latte art is the first phase of the Inspiration Brewed Here campaign.Esther Maasdam, the global latte artist, said on the occasion, “As a brand that targets the creative minded traveler, Le Meridien has given me this amazing platform through the Indian Art Fair’s seventh edition to showcase the splendour of latte art. Merging my work in latte art with the inspiration that travel naturally brings is an exciting and unique challenge.”last_img read more

Queen of Hills returns to former glory within months of peace

first_imgKolkata: Within a few months of peace restoring in Darjeeling, it has once again turned out to be the favourite hill destination for people from different parts of the country and abroad alike.It may be mentioned that the tourism industry in Darjeeling had received a major hit, with trouble engulfing the Hills. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken necessary steps with requests from the people of the Hills and had held an all party meeting for restoration of peace. Subsequent steps were also taken for development in the Hills. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAccording to Suvasree Ganguly, who looks after the operation part in the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, said: “Booking for the Darjeeling Tourist Lodge starts six months in advance and it remains booked most of the time.”There were also a good number of enquiries related to different tourist spots in Bengal, in the Parjatan Utsav 2018, that kicked off on Friday. It has been organised by the state’s Tourism Department and Travel Agents Association of Bengal, at Khudiram Anusilan Kendra. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe fair, that started on Friday, will continue till Sunday. It will remain open from 11 am to 8 pm. A total of 65 tour operators have participated in the fair.In the past few months, the transportation facilities have improved and people can now reach Darjeeling from the plains more easily.Besides Darjeeling, the people have also enquired about different places in the state, including places in North Bengal like Dooars and Lataguri.It may be mentioned that for the first time, a business summit was also organised exclusively for the Hills, which was held in Darjeeling. So, the number of people visiting Darjeeling for business purposes would also increase. It may be mentioned that the travel loving people of the state have also shared their interest of visiting other places in the country, during their visit in the fair. After listening to people, the operators felt that many of them are also showing interest in visiting places like Leh, Ladakh and some parts of the North East. People are favouring Leh and Ladakh, as at present Kashmir is not a favourable place for them to visit, owing to the situation prevailing there.It may be mentioned that now, people are also preferring to visit hamlets close to Darjeeling, where home stays are coming up in a big way. One of the main reasons for visiting such hamlets is to enjoy the scenic and natural beauty of the place. There are many such hamlets, where home stays are now available, from where clear view of Kanchenjungha is possible.It may be mentioned that with the development of infrastructure in the Hills, more tourists are getting attracted to Darjeeling and it is one of the reasons behind the increase in passenger load at Bagdogra Airport.last_img read more

NTPC powers India ahead despite coal input crisis

first_imgCountry’s largest power producer NTPC’s net profit dipped by 5 per cent to Rs 2,944.03 crore in the fourth quarter ended March, 2014-15 on stringent CERC tariff norms and higher depreciation under new accounting rules.Its net profit in the January-March quarter of the previous fiscal, 2013-14, was Rs 3,093.54 crore. The company’s turnover also declined to Rs 19,314.58 crore in January-March quarter of 2014-15, from Rs 20,939,08 crore in the year-ago period. NTPC said in a statement that as per power sector regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) tariff regulation effective from 2014-15 to 2018-19, the financial incentives are to be based on actual generation of power than on the basis of available generation capacity. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashIt has linked the financial incentives to power producers with the purchase of electricity by power distribution companies. In present scenario, as discoms (power distribution firms) always have funds crunch to buy electricity, power producer’s generation capacity remains below the installed capacity. NPTC has filed a petition in the Delhi High court, contesting Regulation 2014 of CERC, said the statement. Also, NPTC said it has revised its accounting policy for depreciation of certain assets in alignment with Schedule-II of the Companies Act 2013 effective from April 1, 2014. “Consequently profit for the year ended March 31, 2015, lower by Rs 14.97 crore and fixed assets as at March 31, 2015 are lower by Rs 20.44 crore,” the statement said. Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian touristsFor the entire fiscal 2014-15, the state-run firm’s net profit fell by 6.3 per cent to Rs 10,290.86 crore. The net profit was at Rs 10,974.74 crore in 2013-14. Company’s consolidated net profit also dropped to Rs 9,986.34 crore in 2014-15, from Rs 11,403.61 crore in 2013-14. However, consolidated total income has increased to Rs 82,700.95 crore in 2014-15 from Rs 81,710.75 crore 2013-14. The company’s plant load factor (PLF) during January-March quarter was 82.88 per cent for coal based plants and 26.68 per cent for gas-based plants. The PLF was at 88.70 per cent and 35.64 per cent respectively in same period a year ago. Similarly, PLF in 2014-15 was 80.23 per cent for coal based plants and 32.93 per cent for gas based plants compared with 81.50 per cent and 35.72 per cent in 2013-14. PLF is a measure of average capacity utilisation. The power company has total installed power generation capacity of 44,398 MW. During 2014-15, its average tariff was Rs 3.28 per unit. NPTC shares closed 1.26 per cent higher at Rs 136.70 a piece on BSE on Friday. Meanwhile, as CIL decision to offer coal to NTPC comes under high court’s radar, the PSU on Friday said the proposed pact with the power producer is a long-term arrangement and will depend upon the availability of coal. It may be noted that the Delhi High Court on May 25 asked CIL how it was offering coal from two Chhattisgarh mines to NTPC when it had cited production issues to cancel an e-auction of 49,000 metric tonnes (MT) of the mineral, mined from the same Gare Palma IV/2&3 blocks.In the coal auction earlier this year, Jindal Steel & Power (JPL) had emerged as the highest bidder for Gare Palma IV/2&3 blocks. However, the mines were not allotted to the company. The proposed MoU between South Eastern Coalfields (SECL), a CIL arm, and NTPC is yet to be finalised for Barh-II power plant from Gare Palma mines, CIL said in a BSE filing. Coal India (CIL) further clarified that delivery order for e-auction from Gare Palma IV/2&3 mine was cancelled as the “consent to operate” for the mines was awaited from Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board.last_img read more

Shah blows NDA poll bugle in Bihar takes dig at Nitish Lalu

first_img“Nitish Kumar dashed the dreams of mentor Jayprakash Narayan as well socialist leader Karpoori Thakur by joining hands with the Congress for the sake of power,” Shah said at an NDA rally at the historic Gandhi Maidan before flagging off ‘Parivartan Rath’ in several parts of the state.Taking a dig at Kumar, Shah said: “What did you do with George Fernandes and Jitan Ram Manjhi?” Charging Kumar with “backstabbing” the mandate of people given to NDA in 2010 elections, Shah took potshots at him for joining hands with arch rival Lalu Prasad Yadav for the sake of power. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIThe NDA rally showed a picture of unity with top leaders of the constituents present on stage. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president and Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan, former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) supremo Jitan Ram Manjhi, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader and Union Minister of State Upendra Kushwaha, Union Minister Ananth Kumar and several BJP leaders of the state as well of national level were present.Shah flagged off 160 rath (chariot), which he addressed as ‘Dhoot’ (representative of PM Narendra Modi), which would roll across Bihar spreading message of development under the NDA at the Centre and also “expose” the “unholy” alliance between Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindWhile painting a dim picture of secular alliance of Kumar, Yadav and Congress, Shah highlighted the performance of the Modi government in the past one year, which he said would be repeated in Bihar too by the future NDA government.Shah made a blistering attack at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad  Yadav, claiming that Kumar avoids his photograph in state hoardings, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi shuns him. “Still he (Lalu) considers himself a leader of the alliance,” he sarcastically commented on the RJD chief. Shah wondered if Kumar wanted to bring back days of “jungle raj” in Bihar, by joining hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav, whose 15-year rule was “remembered for bad law and order situation”. Indicating that PM Modi and the performance of his government in past one year would be the poll plank of the NDA in Bihar elections, Shah talked about Modi’s background as a tea seller and hailing from extremely backward caste. “While some leaders would try to whip up caste and communal tension, remedy of all ills of Bihar is in ‘vikas’ (development) for which NDA government is needed in the state,” he said.He appealed to the people to give an opportunity to NDA in Bihar as they did for the Centre to “make Bihar number one state in the country.” Shah repeated MP’s slogan of “Congress mukt Bharat” and claimed that Bihar would be another destination after Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and J&K in the process.Attacking the Bihar CM, Shah said “…how much efforts you (Kumar) make to put as many posters you want and remove ones of PM and BJP, but when ballot would be counted NDA would be in position to form government.” He said Narendra Modi would unveil the future roadmap of Bihar development “when he would address a rally at Muzaffarpur on July 25”. Shah stressed that Bihar polls are very important as its effect would not be limited to the state, but spread across the country “as a message to uproot all forces opposed to dalits, poor and downtrodden.”Shah appealed to people to ensure NDA wins more than 185 seats in September-October Assembly elections and forms a strong government. Flagging off 160 raths (chariots) christened ‘Parivartan rath’, Shah said these would be increased to 260 soon to reach out to every village in the state.In the 243-member Assembly, 122 is the magic figure for forming the government.Shah referred to NDA winning 13 out of 24 seats in recent Legislative Council polls and asserted that “people have made it clear which way the wind is blowing.” Earlier, Union Minister and LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan described the pact between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad as “Lathbandhan” (alliance of warring forces). “Both are hugging each other by holding daggers in their hands to stab each other,” he said. To buttress his charge, he said that JD(U) has lost Legislative Council seats in Patna, Saran and Madhubani “because of rebel Yadav candidates having background in RJD”.last_img read more

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