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A Hybrid Material That Leads To A Cheaper And More Effective Way To Store Methane

A Hybrid Material That Leads To A Cheaper And More Effective Way To Store Methane

A research team at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, with collaborators at the University of Crete, Greece has created a cheaper and more effective way to store methane. They achieved it by tweaking the structure of metal-organic frameworks eventually creating a Hybrid Material.

Natural gas, which is almost 95 percent methane, is a good candidate for replacing gasoline and coal. It can provide the same amount of energy as these fossil fuels while releasing much less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and the toxic pollutants carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. Methane is more environmentally friendly in several ways, but its widespread adoption for powering vehicles and other local and mobile applications is limited by shortcomings of existing storage and transport technologies.



Professor Mohamed Eddaoudi of KAUST's Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center leads a wide range of research projects involving metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. These hybrid materials contain single metal ions or metal clusters held together by carbon-based 'organic' chemical groups known as linkers. Rearranging different linker and inorganic molecular building blocks allows scientists to fine-tune the size and chemical properties of the pore system in MOFs to perform useful functions. These include highly selective gas adsorption and catalysis.

"MOFs are considered by far the best class of materials for storing gases, especially methane," says Eddaoudi. He explains that tinkering with different pore sizes can create exceptionally large internal surface areas that allow MOFs to hold greater amounts of gas than other porous substances. MOF-making can be likened to using toy building blocks to assemble a wide range of open geometric networks. Diagrams representing these structures actually look like colourful toys (see image) but built at the atomic and molecular scale. The key to the latest MOF is the choice of the appropriate organic 'pillars' (shown in grey in the image) used to create two types of cavities that can each contain many of the methane molecules taken up by the MOF.



Further tweaking is required. "We need to boost the methane storage capacity and cyclability of the MOFs, enhance their stability in water, and explore scaling up to commercially useful quantities," says Eddaoudi. He is confident that the properties of the MOFs can be optimized because of the unique flexibility allowed by the linker and metal structure. Eddaoudi predicts that commercially produced MOFs will be efficiently and effectively storing and transporting methane inside the next decade. Such a development could herald real progress in weaning society off its dependence on oil and coal.

Also Read:- A Network Of Smartphones Can Improve Short-Term Weather Forecasts



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Metal-Organic Framework Made It Easy To Clean Natural Gas

Metal-Organic Framework Made It Easy To Clean Natural Gas

Natural gas is largely composed of methane (CH4) and smaller quantities of other useful hydrocarbons, But it also contents some impurity like hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2). These impurities cause the emission of sooty particulates CO2 and polluting oxides of nitrogen and sulfur. Now removing these troublesome impurities of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas could become simpler and more effective using a metal-organic framework (MOF) developed at KAUST.

A research team at KAUST had developed a fluorine-containing MOF with pores that allow equally selective adsorption of H2S and CO2 from the natural gas stream. By using this MOF crystal natural gas producing industry could make greater and cleaner use of abundant natural gas supplies.


The technology could also promote increased use of natural gas and other industrial gases containing H2S and CO2 worldwide to reap potentially large environmental and economic benefits. As once these natural gases are stripped of-of impurity, It will burn much more cleanly. It means that it emits no sooty particulates as well as less CO2 and polluting oxides of nitrogen and sulfur.

MOFs contain metal ions or metal clusters held together by carbon-based organic chemical groups known as linkers. Rearranging different linker and inorganic molecular building blocks fine-tunes the size and chemical properties of the pore system in MOFs and enables them to perform many useful functions.



The research was performed by a group in the KAUST Advanced Membranes & Porous Materials Center, led by Professor Mohamed Eddaoudi. This centre has a long history of developing MOF adsorbents for many applications, including catalysis, gas storage, gas sensing and gas separation.



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A Device That Uses Quantum Effects And Machine Learning To Measure Magnetic Fields More Accurately

A Device That Uses Quantum Effects And Machine Learning To Measure Magnetic Fields More Accurately

Physicists demonstrate magnetometer that uses quantum effects and machine learning to measure magnetic fields more accurately than its classical analogues. Such magnetometer could be used to seek mineral deposits, discover distant astronomical objects, diagnose brain disorders and create better radars.

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), Aalto University in Finland and ETH Zurich combinedly worked on this and made it the reality. Andrey Lebedev said, When you study nature, whether you investigate the human brain or a supernova explosion, you always deal with some sort of electromagnetic signal. So measuring magnetic fields is necessary across diverse areas of science and technology and one would want to do this as accurately as possible.


This new magnetometer is a revolutionary one, but to understand this let’s first understand what a magnetometer is?
A magnetometer or magnetic sensor is an instrument that measures magnetism either the magnetization of a magnetic material like a ferromagnet or the direction, strength or relative change of a magnetic field at a particular location. It simply means an instrument that measures magnetic fields. A compass is an example of a primitive magnetometer. In an electronics store, one can find more advanced devices of this kind used by archaeologists. Military mine detectors and metal detectors at airports are also magnetometers.

There is a fundamental limitation on the accuracy of such instruments, known as the standard quantum limit. Basically, it says that to double the precision, a measurement has to last four times as long. This rule applies to any classical device, which is to say one that does not utilize the bizarre effects of quantum physics.


It may seem insignificant, but to gain 1,000 times in precision, you would have to run the experiment 1 million times longer. Considering that some measurements take weeks to begin with, chances are you will experience a power cut or run out of funds before the experiment is over

Achieving a higher accuracy, and therefore shorter measurement times is crucial when fragile samples or living tissue is examined. For example, when a patient undergoes positron emission tomography, also known as a PET scan, radioactive tracers are introduced into the bloodstream, and the more sensitive the detector is, the smaller the necessary dose.


In theory, quantum technology enables a measurement's accuracy to be increased twofold by repeating it twice instead of four times as in the case of a classical magnetometer. The paper reported in this story details the first successful attempt to put this principle into practice using a superconducting qubit as the measuring device.

A qubit is a particle that obeys the laws of quantum physics and can occupy two discrete basis states simultaneously in what is known as a superposition. This notion refers to a multitude of "intermediate" states, each of which collapses into one of the two basis states as soon as it is measured. An example of a qubit is a hydrogen atom whose two basis states are the ground and the excited state.


In the study by Lebedev and co-authors, the qubit was realized as a superconducting artificial atom, a microscopic structure made of thin aluminium films and deposited on a silicon chip held in a powerful refrigerator. At temperatures close to the absolute zero, this device behaves like an atom. In particular, by absorbing a specific portion of microwave radiation fed to the qubit via a cable, it can enter a balanced superposition of the two basis states. If the state of the device is then checked, the measurement will detect the ground and the excited state with an equal 50 percent probability.

Superconducting qubits are distinguished by their sensitivity to magnetic fields, which can be used for making measurements. Once a suitable microwave radiation pulse is used to drive the device into a balanced superposition of the ground and excited states, this new state begins to change predictably with time. To track this state change, which is a function of the external magnetic field, the researchers sent a second microwave pulse to the device after a brief delay and measured the probability of finding the qubit in the excited state. This probability, which was calculated over many identical experiments performed in quick succession, indicates the strength of the magnetic field. The precision of this quantum technology surpasses the standard quantum limit.


An actual physical qubit is imperfect. It is a manmade device, rather than a mathematical abstraction. So instead of using a theoretical formula, we train the qubit before making real measurements, This is the first time machine learning has been applied to a quantum magnetometer.

Qubit training consists of making many preliminary measurements under controlled conditions with predetermined delays between pulses and in a range of known magnetic fields. The authors thereby determined the probability of detecting the excited state following the sequence of two pulses for an arbitrary field and pulse delay. The researchers plotted their findings on a diagram, which serves as a fingerprint for the individual device used in the study, accounting for all its imperfections. The point of the sample fingerprint is that the delay times between pulses can be optimized during repeated measurements. 


So far, the prototype device and superconducting qubits work only at about 0.02 degrees above absolute zero, which is defined as −273.15 degrees Celsius. This is some 15,000 times colder than room temperature. Engineers are working on increasing the operating temperature of such devices to 4 kelvins [−269 C]. This would make cooling by liquid helium feasible, making the technology commercially viable.

The prototype has been tested on a static magnetic field, but time-varying or transient fields can be measured in the same way. The research team is already conducting experiments with variable fields, expanding the potential range of applications of their device. 


For example, a quantum magnetometer could be mounted on a satellite to observe astronomical phenomena too faint for classical instruments. Conveniently, the frigid space conditions make cooling somewhat less of an issue. Besides, a system of quantum magnetometers could work as an ultrasensitive radar. Further applications of such nonclassical instruments include MRI scans, mineral prospecting, and research into biomolecule structure and inorganic materials.

Once the first microwave pulse is absorbed by the magnetometer, it enters a superposition of the ground and excited states. This can be visualized by picturing the two basis states of the qubit as the two poles of a sphere, where each other point on the sphere represents some state of superposition. In this analogy, the first pulse drives the state of the qubit from the north pole the ground state to some point on the equator. A direct measurement of this state of balanced superposition would result in the ground or excited state being detected with even odds.


Following the first pulse, the qubit becomes sensitive to the external field. This is manifested as a predictable change of the device's quantum state. It can be pictured as a point rotating along the equator of a sphere. How fast this point rotates, depends on the strength of the external field. This means that by finding a way to measure the angle of rotation X over a known period of time, the field can be quantified.

The main challenge is to distinguish between the different states on the equator: Unless some trick is used, the measurement would return the excited state exactly 50 percent of the time. This is why the physicists sent a second microwave pulse to the qubit and only then checked its state. The idea behind the second pulse is that it predictably shifts the state of the device off the equator, into one of the hemispheres. Now, the odds of measuring an excited state depend on how much the state has rotated since the first pulse, that is, angle X. By repeating the sequence of two pulses and a measurement many times, the authors calculated the probability of an excited state, and thus the angle X and the strength of the magnetic field. This principle underlies the operation of their magnetometer.


Also Read:-How Birds Navigate Their Path? | Quantum Compass


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HIV Virus Can’t Hide Anymore | New Virus Detectives Test Shows Some Promises

HIV Virus Can’t Hide Anymore | New Virus Detectives Test Shows Some Promises

New virus detectives test scan whole-body in search of HIV’s hiding places, Because to prevent the virus from rebounding after drug therapy, researchers must first map where it lurks in the body.

Antiretroviral drugs have transformed HIV infection from a death sentence to a chronic condition for many people who carry the virus. But because HIV never truly leaves the body, the virus rebounds rapidly if patients stop taking the drugs for even a short time.


So, now scientists are trying to find where HIV hides in our body and how. During many blood test person’s viral loads are undetectable. The location of this reservoir has long been a mystery, but soon this Hide and Seek game is going to end. New techniques are giving researchers an unprecedented look at how HIV travels through the bodies of people and animals turning up clues to the virus’s hiding places and new targets for future therapies.

Problem with HIV is that it integrates into the DNA of its host cells. That’s why scientists argue that a true cure would require removing all traces of the virus’s DNA from the body. Getting rid of all the HIV DNA is not completely realistic.  So best we can do is either permanently silence or contain HIV after infection.


Antiretroviral drug cocktails aka ART suppress the virus in immune cells in the blood. But HIV can stash itself within immune cells in dozens of types of tissue. Sara Gianella, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of California, San Diego is currently working on finding how HIV does it.  The research team examine bodies donated by people with HIV who enrol when they are within six months of death from unrelated conditions. All participants are on ART when they sign up for the study, but some are asked to stop taking the drugs. Gianella’s team collects blood samples while donors are alive, and about 50 different types of tissue after death. The samples from people who stopped ART show where HIV has rebounded, while samples from people who continued the drugs can provide information about the virus’s reservoir.

The researchers did not detect HIV in the blood of their first donor, who continued taking antiretroviral drugs until his death. But they did find the viable virus in nearly all of the 26 tissues they examined after the man died.


Research has shown that HIV tends to linger in the brain and cause neurological problems because most antiretroviral drugs can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. Janice Clements, a pathobiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland presented the first evidence that simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is closely related to HIV, survives in the spinal cord of macaques taking antiretroviral drugs and spreads quickly after the animals stop the drugs.

Nicolas Chomont, a virologist at the University of Montreal in Canada, says that HIV’s behaviour in tissues known to be part of the reservoir is complex, with virus levels going up and down. “People will tell you the reservoir is everywhere, and that might be true,” he says. “Even if it’s true, we need to understand if the virus in the brain and the big toe are the same.”


Tracking these patterns over time might require researchers to detect traces of HIV in the reservoirs of living people. Thomas Hope (a cell biologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois) presented a new imaging technique in macaques infected with SIV. The researchers inject the animals with antibodies that bind to the virus, which makes it visible in positron-emission tomography (PET) scans of the monkeys’ bodies.

The approach has revealed that SIV spreads through mucosal cells in the animals’ guts and lymph nodes within hours of infection. Thomas Hope has begun to treat infected macaques with ART to determine where and how quickly the drugs lower their levels of SIV. After six months of treatment, the researchers plan to stop the treatment and scan the monkeys to see where the virus has rebounded.


Later this year, another team will begin one of the first PET imaging studies of people with and without HIV in their blood, using a different antibody. Timothy Henrich, an infectious disease researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who is directing the study, says that his group hopes to measure what happens when people on ART stop taking the drugs and the virus rebounds. 

For now, more research is indeed needed. We are nowhere near finding a cure for HIV, But we are one step closer to understanding HIV which will eventually lead us to the cure. So finger crossed for now.

Also Read:- A New Way To Know The Precise Time Of Your Body’s Internal Clock | Circadian Timing


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How Does The Universe Will End?

How Does The Universe Will End? The Science Thinkers

While it may seem as if the universe will go on forever it more than likely has an expiration date. Luckily you won't have to worry about it and neither will your grandkids.  Estimates on when the end of all things will actually occur range from 100 trillion to just 2.8 billion years away.

In either case, it's an unbelievably long time but when we consider that the universe is about 14 billion years old right now. We can see that if the closest estimates prove true it may currently be towards the tail end of its lifespan but when everything does grind to halt.


 We don't really know for sure but there are plenty of theories and the five most prominent ideas in ascending order of likelihood are cosmic uncertainty, The False Vacuum collapse, The Big crunch, The big Rip and The big freeze.

First of the supposedly least likely theory: cosmic uncertainty. Cosmic uncertainty hinges on our current understanding of the properties of dark energy. The mysterious and unseen form of energy responsible for the current expansion and acceleration of space. While scientists agree that the dark energy is making space bigger. There are little to no theories on its nature, composition or practical workings. Because it's so mysterious experts are unsure how or if it will play a role in the continued existence of the universe. Especially as it's believed that today's dark energy is different from what was around at the early stages of creation.


So, the cosmic uncertainty theory proposes that because we don't know the true nature of dark energy. We don't know how it will react in the future. Maybe it will dramatically change its nature once again inflicting untold catastrophes on the known universe. However, as the dark energy doesn't seem to show signs of change based on the little that we know about it this seems unlikely and regardless. There is no way predicting the damage that it could suddenly decide to deliver.

The second and slightly more accepted theory is The False Vacuum collapse theory also known as vacuum decay. this one certainly brings an efficient and if nothing else,  It rests on something called the Higgs field which stretches through space determining if we are in a true or false Vacuum.


Should these vacuums even infiltrate each other by the same sort of seemingly random high energy even high one stray particle could cause a small bubble of true vacuum within a false one. Which would expand at the speed of light to engulf and kill the entire Universe.

What's a little frightening is that this theory shows some promise as the Higgs boson particle seems to indicate that We’re currently living in a false vacuum universe. So technically it could all end at literally any second but it is very unlikely. Various other studies appear to simply disprove the theory and even if it could happen. The lifecycle for a false vacuum universe is far longer than the 14 billion years ours has so far afforded us. So, the potentially unimaginable disaster isn't due for a long long time.


Theory number three: The Big  Crunch sounds like a breakfast cereal. But it's quite a bit more complex. often explained as a reverse BigBang. It too builds on how dark energy has expanded the universe. However, advocates for this theory believe that the growth will one day slow and stop and when this happens gravity beats dark energy to become the dominant force in the universe and everything begins to collapse on itself. Retracting into the mother of all meeting points the singularity along the way that'd be huge Collisions of stars planets and all forms of matter as they merge into black holes. Which merge into themselves until everything has returned to a single immeasurably dense point as in before the BigBang. As if that was not immeasurably all cool enough already. Big bounce theorist has suggested that we should then see a new BigBang wherein all the forms of matter collapsed into the singularity or burped back out ready to begin a new cycle of creation.

All of that said however as it is not believed that the relationship between the dark energy and gravity will ever change. The big crunch and bounce hypothesis are still shrouded in server scepticism. It's just not that likely on the other hand the accelerating expansion could result in another form of universe extension.


Fourth Theory: The Big Rip. As it's title suggests this idea is the polar opposite of the Big crunch arguing the dark energy will ultimately rip apart the fabric of facetime itself. According to the theory, the dark energy will eventually cause everything to expand at such a dangerous rate that galaxies, stars, planets, Black Holes, atoms, subatomic particles and another comprehensible thing would be completely torn apart.

Think of it like breaking off a piece of sticky toffee or chewy candy. Your hands are dark energy and the candy is spacetime. Eventually, the force of your hands will overcome the gravity keeping the candy together So, it splits apart. Dark energy is strong stuff and may, in fact, be strong enough to first splinter and then disintegrate all we've ever known.


While this makes a sound like a solid if scary possibility the limitless expansion of the universe will most likely result in another more realistic outcome: Fifth The Big Freeze. According to this final theory, the universe will one day grow so large and all matter will be spread so thin. The temperature will reach absolute zero and the universe as we know it would cease to function. While the stars wouldn't disappear especially quickly. So, the 100 trillion year mark from earlier could theoretically be reached. The supply of gas necessary for star formation would be spread too far apart to properly coalesce into anything.

Eventually, even the existing stars would run out of energy. Resulting in their destruction too. So, with old stars stripped of energy and new stars failing to form. The universe will grow steadily darker and colder with even the black holes eventually disappearing and space transforming into a dark freezing empty and energy less void and without energy, nothing can exist.


> There is a general belief that this is the most likely outcome for our universe. But it still just a theory and we still don't know how when or why the universe will conclude. It could be the dark energy deviates and destroys all before it perhaps will all eventually be incinerated by a massive bubble of a true vacuum.

The universe cloud one day shrink back into itself and while it is added even reproduce another cosmos creation that lives for billions of years more. Failing that spacetime itself may be stretched to the point of tearing and total ruin or the universe's energy could supply could simply run out triggering endless darkness but, apart from all of the above the future is bright and the universe isn't going anywhere today, tomorrow or for a few million years yet.

Also Read:-Newly Found Ancient Cryovolcanoes


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Newly Found Ancient Cryovolcanoes

Newly Found Ancient Cryovolcanoes The Science Thinkers

The solar system is full of volcanoes, but not all of them spew or ooze liquid rock. Where it's cold enough, We also see evidence of cryovolcanoes that spit out slushy ices. So far, we have found them on several gas-giant’s moons and on Pluto. We have even found one in the asteroid belt, on the dwarf planet Ceres. Now scientists report in nature astronomy that they may have discovered up to 31 more cryovolcanoes remnants on Ceres.

 It is a volcano wonderland. In 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at Ceres and it's been mapping and studying the object's surface ever since. During its first year, Dawn found one cryovolcano that formed the mountain, Ahuna Mons. It's probably less than 240 million years old, which isn't that ancient when we are talking about space volcanoes.


To really understand Ceres's history, researchers need to study older volcanoes. But it's been harder to find any because the material they are made out of sags and flattens over time. At Least, that's what astronomers hypothesized. To confirm that, the team analyzed images of Ceres’s surface, looking for large structures that might be flattened out former cryovolcanoes, they call them viscously relaxed domes. And they found a ton of that Including Ahuna Mons, the team spotted a whopping 32 candidates.

Next, they used Dawn's camera to estimate the domes heights. For 10 of the 32 structures, they couldn't get clear enough data, so they were excluded from the analysis, but the rest were all over 1 kilometre tall. Based on a set of assumption, like how large the domes would have been when they started out and how much Ice they contain the team estimated the ages of these domes.


This time they were able to date all but one. They found that most of the structures were between 2 and 700 millions years old, but a couple were over 2 billion years old. This all suggests that, over the last billion years, Ceres got a new cryovolcano every 50 million years so on average.

Besides teaching us more about Ceres history, this study also supported the fact that cryovolcanoes are really different from the hot, lava-spewing mountains on earth. For one, the icy magma on Ceres may originate in the dwarf planet's crust, not in any sort of mantle like we see on terrestrial planets. Ceres is also a lot less active.


This new study found that the total amount of matter put out by its cryovolcanoes is between 1000 and 100000 times less than that of the inner planets and the moon. Even if you account for surface area, terrestrial volcanic activity is still an order of magnitude higher. This could mean that all cryovolcanic bodies, including places like Pluto and Europa, have similarly low activity, but we will need more data to know for sure.

Still, any day where you find a bunch of new Volcanoes in the asteroid belt is a pretty good day. Without a telescope or a good pair of binoculars, you probably won't be able to see Ceres from earth. But if you look up on a clear night, you might see a light zooming across the sky for just a few seconds.


It's not a meteor, and it's probably not a UFO. Instead, it's what's called a satellite flare: a satellite unintentionally catching the light of the sun and bouncing it down to you.  The brightest of these are called Iridium flares, but you will only be able to see them easily for a little longer. So consider this your need up.

These flares started around 1997 and they come from a group of low orbit communications satellites. They are controlled by Iridium communications inc., hence the name. They are not actually made up Iridium or anything.  The flares come from sunlight bouncing off the three silver coated antennae on each satellite. If the angle is just right, they are bright enough to outshine Venus, and even to be visible during the day. But Iridium's network of 66 satellites is being replaced right now, with a fleet of 75 smaller ones. These new ones aren't the same shape, so they won't produce any flares.


As of July 2018, there have been seven successful launches to install new, flare-less satellites and the eighth and final launch is scheduled for November. With new guard coming in some of the old satellites have already begun de-orbiting and they will be spiralling down until they are burned up by the earth's atmosphere.

But they won't fall out of the sky all at once. The different satellites all have their own paths to destruction, so while the number of Iridium flares will drop drastically in the next year or so, you might manage to catch one every once in a while. It will just be much harder.


The good news for sky-watchers is that, once the first Iridium satellites are gone other satellite flares will still be out there. They are not as spectacular and while you and I might be a little sad about that, at least one group of people will be happy: astronomers.

Since Iridium flares are so bright, they tend to turn up as annoying streaks in study images. So at least somebody's happy about these satellites getting destroyed by the friction of the atmosphere.

Also Read:- The World's Next Ocean


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The World's Next Ocean

The World's Next Ocean The Science Thinkers

On, September 14 2005, there was an earthquake in a remote part of Africa region on northern Ethiopia. It wasn't very strong, but it was the first of many. Over the 12  days, there were over a hundred more quakes, most of them also relatively small.

Then on September 26, a nearby volcano called Dabbahu erupted. This was its first eruption in recorded history and it came from a flat part of the volcano a few kilometres from the summit. The eruption didn't do too much harm no people were seriously hurt and at most, it killed a couple of hundred goats and camels. But it opened up a gigantic crack in the earth, which grew to 60 kilometres long and as much as eight meters wide in only ten days. As you can probably imagine, this caught the attention of geologists around the world.


It turns out that as dramatic as it was the crack was just one of the latest symptoms of an ongoing seismic shake-up in Africa that's eventually going to rip the continent in two, leading to the creation of a brand new ocean. Right now, Eastern Africa is going through a process called rifting, where the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust and upper mantle pull apart from each other.

A giant plume of magma rising from deep inside the mantle is forcing the African and Arabian plates away from one another, forming a rupture in the Earth ’s surface. The result is the  Great Rift Valley, which stretches more than 3000 kilometres through the eastern part of the continent.


Scientists have been studying the Great Rift Valley since around the turn of the 20th century when an English geologist named John Gregory encounters it for the first time. Even though the theory of plate tectonics wouldn't be fully accepted for another  59 years or so, he realized how important it might be.

The Valley is a system of several fractures that began forming at different times, and it's home to lots of seismic activity. The pressure from tons of magma bubbling up is what leads to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions like what happened in 2005.

For a study published in 2018, scientists installed two seismic networks in Ethiopia and Eritrea. These networks or seismographs recorded almost 5000 earthquakes of at least magnitude  2.0 in two years. All that activity has spawned other volcanoes too one called Nyamuragira, erupted fifteen times between 1894 and 1997.


What's happening in eastern Africa is actually more common at the bottom of the ocean, where magma bubbling up into tectonic rifts forms features called deadline ridges and helps drive the movement of continental plates. But the activity in Africa is giving geologists a chance to study the process up close, no submarines needed.

As it turns out, what happened in 2005 was that a huge length of the rift cracked open all at once, beginning with the volcanic eruption and spreading in both directions from there. This was a bit of a surprise to scientists, who previously thought that such cracks on the ocean floor as well as on land only broke open a little bit at a time.


Eventually, the Horn of Africa is eventually going to split off from the rest of the continental plate and will go on its own way. Large areas of the Great Rift Valley are below sea level will cut off from the ocean only by a small piece of higher land in Eritrea. So, when the split finally happens seawater is going to come floating into the rift, turning the Horn of Africa into an island and creating a new ocean. Odds are none of us will actually get to see the new ocean.

The process has been happening slowly for about 30 millions years, and the rift is only wiring at an average rate of a couple of centimetres a year. So, it will probably be tens or Millions of years before travelling from Sudan to Somalia requires a boat. But in the meantime, we get to watch our planet reshape itself, giving us a teaser for what the world will look like long after we are gone.


Also Read:- What Would Happen If The Earth Will Stop Spinning?


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What Would Happen If The Earth Will Stop Spinning?

What Would Happen If The Earth Will Stop Spinning?

It could be possible that one day, billions of year from now, the earth will stand still. But chances are good that other event will occur before that such as the sun swallowing up the planet. With that being said there isn't a chance that the earth will suddenly stop spinning anytime soon. But let's just assume for a moment that the earth did suddenly stop rotating and take a look at what will happen to us and the planet.

Our planet spins at its equator 1000 miles per hour as it orbits the sun, but as you get closer to the poles the rotation is slower. Without this rotation life as we know it wouldn't be possible. It is said that billions of years ago our planet used to spin much faster than it does now. At the beginning of our young solar system planet or large celestial body collided with the earth and in that collision, the Earth’s alignment and rotation were changed and the moon was formed.


Since then the Earth’s rotation has been slowing down. It is said that the moon used to also spin faster than it does now before it becomes tidally locked with the earth. Tidal locking is the name given to the situation when a moon or planetary objects orbital period matches its rotational period. coincidentally it is the same fate that affects every single large moon orbiting a planet.  A great example of this is our own moon.

In our early solar system, both the earth and the moon rotated independently of each other. But the Earth's gravity grabbed onto the tidal bulges and slowed down the rotation of the moon. To compensate for the loss of momentum in the system the moon drifted away from the earth to its current position about 230000 miles away. But the moon has the same impact on the earth and those same tidal forces that caused that caused the tides on earth are slowing down the earth's rotation bit by bit and the moon is continuing to drift away a few centimetres a year to compensate.


There are two different scenarios. Fast one if the earth just stopped spinning, but wasn't tidally locked to the sun. The planet would experience six months of sunlight and six months of darkness. But for the purpose of this mind experiment, let's take a look at the effects it would have on our planet to be tidally locked to our star the sun.

First of all, we have to consider the speed of which our planet rotates at the equator. Which is roughly 1000 miles per hour a sudden pause would cause everything on the surface of the earth to suddenly move at a speed of over 1000 miles per hour or 1600 kilometres per hour in a sideways direction.

Since the velocity needed to escape the earth gravity is over 24000800 miles per hour everything would stay tacked to the Earth's surface yet jolted forward. Imagine everything suddenly moving across the planet at 1000 miles per hour. It wouldn't matter what it was. Everything would experience a sideways declaration of three-quarters of the earth's gravity suddenly down would be at an angle of 38 degrees from vertical. The force of suddenly stopping would rip buildings right off their foundation and send them flying across the ground with anything else that isn't solid bedrock. Destroying everything in a giant and deadly debris path but that's not all. This would also include the oceans which would suddenly slosh sideways across the planet with waves being miles and miles high moving at the same velocity.


Imagine Tsunami so high you couldn't see the top. Just a wall of water racing towards you at 1000 miles per hour. Both of these two calamities would be the end of most life as we know it. Although the earth would stop spinning the atmosphere would continue to spin at the earth's same velocity as well. Which would create very high winds and very nasty storms. Because the earth's rotational centrifugal force will force the planet to bulge along the equator with no rotation. You have no bulge and without that bulge, all of the extra water held in place along the equator would go rushing back towards the poles.  If the earth stops spinning you have to take into consideration that the inner core of the earth is spinning at a faster rate. Just because the surface has slowed down doesn't mean the core of the earth has stopped too. Our highly volcanic planet might erupt in ways we never imagined as the tectonic forces above and below enter into a new conflict. Supervolcanoes would likely erupt across the entire planet.

Second Scenario if the earth just stopped spinning, but tidally locked to the sun. Our tidally locked earth would have half of the planet always facing the sun and the other half would be in permanent darkness. Currently, our planet is in what is called a Goldilocks zone or habitable zone. Where it is the perfect distance from our sun in order to support life.

There might still be placed on the earth where the climate would be habitable but on the two extreme sides, it might prove difficult for life to survive assuming that anything survived the previous catastrophes. If there were any appreciable amount of life left on the surface of the planet it would now have to survive in the twilight strip of land between the two halves. We are far enough away from our star that the part of the earth facing the sun wouldn't start to burn or turn to ashes overnight.


However, the atmosphere on the hot side of the planet would start to erode some portion of the earth always. The part of the earth facing toward direct sunlight would receive more direct sunlight resulting in more heat and these high temperatures would cause strong rain and an increase of weathering. Normal weathering regulates the climates on the earth but now that you have one side of the planet hotter and another side cooler. On the hot side, atmospheric gases would build up and create even more heat this is called “the runaway greenhouse effect”. Clouds of gas could significantly increase the temperature so that the oceans would boil much like what has happened to Venus. The middle of the planet facing the sun on its equator or the substellar point would end up so hot. That almost nothing could survive. The cold side of the planet would have a different situation. The loss of the sun's heat on the dark side of the earth would turn the atmosphere into a dense gas. Then the condense into a liquid, and then further condense into solid ice.

Of course, it is doubtful that the atmosphere on the dark side of the planet would turn into a solid form. Instead, it would keep condensing and creating a vacuum. Which would pull air from the hot side of the planet where the gases in the atmosphere would be expanding. With this happening it might be possible that the atmosphere would make the planet livable. But the storms that would come from this exchange of hot and cold air would be unimaginable. There would be superstorms on both sides of the planet with wind being strong enough to strip the very rock and he wrote it into the sand.

The next thing that would likely happen is that the magnetic field of the earth would stop regenerating and slowly decay over time. This is because the magnetic field of the earth is generated by a dynamo effect that involves its rotation. Our magnetic field plays a huge role in keeping our atmosphere intact and this magnetic field also protects the earth from cosmic rays.


Where would this leave humanity? 
We are very adaptable species that has seemed to survive other catastrophes. But even though we have powerful technology, being able to survive on a planet that has stopped spinning and is tidally locked to the sun would be a great challenge. We would be able to control our environment to a degree by moving underground but growing food in such conditions may be difficult.  However, you shouldn't worry about this happening anytime soon as physicists have predicted it would be a billion years from now at the current rate.


Also Read:- Why Hurricanes Are So Hard To Predict?


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Why Hurricanes Are So Hard To Predict?

Why Hurricanes Are So Hard To Predict

You've seen it on the news hurricane forecast with the weather maps and storm paths in alarming red but most of the time they're not exactly accurate here's why?

The trickiness to weather predictions comes from the fact that the math meteorologists use isn't exactly accurate. Hurricane predictions and weather patterns are based on equations. Scientists input data about the hurricane-like wind speed, water temperature but they make a lot of assumptions and that’s where the error started. For example in 2004 Hurricane Charley was supposed to directly hit Tampa instead in the last minute shift the category 4 storm barreled down on Charlotte Harbor Florida a two-hour drive south of Tampa. The end result was a downtown reduced to rubble and residents underprepared.

On the positive side, hurricane Sandy took an almost unprecedented turn west towards New Jersey in New York the computer models nailed. Sandy was one of the biggest natural disasters in US history without predicting that turn. Who knows how much worse it could have been so why can’t we always see these changes coming.


You have probably heard of the butterfly effect it’s the idea that a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world and that movement can have unforeseen effects across the planet. This illustrates why it's so hard to predict a  hurricane's path because there are too many independent variables and also too much data. Any tiny errors or omissions in the predictive model can corrupt the algorithm its called “Chaos theory”. It means that there is so much information that the precise movements are impossible to predict.

So, what do scientists do to make their predictions more reliable they turn to human intuition and history? Meteorologists utilize statistical models that use the storm's location and time of year to compare it to past hurricanes. It's the fastest and more reliable way to predict storm intensity.


According to hurricane specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They also simply sit down with the data and try to determine if the computer model is painting an accurate picture based on the conditions. Sometimes, humans do it better than computers.

So, what would scientists need in order to make more accurate predictions for one more data things like speed & direction of wind high in the atmosphere and more Ocean temperature data or all stats that affect intensity that scientists don't have yet?  For another they need more powerful Supercomputer there's already so much data that it takes days to reach a prediction it takes even longer with all that extra data and days could be the difference between a city being ready for a storm or not?



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A Network Of Smartphones Can Improve Short-Term Weather Forecasts

A Network Of Smartphones Can Improve Short-Term Weather Forecasts

Now your phone can help predict the weather. Soon weather station might be added to the many functions of your phone. Researchers have shown that air pressure data from thousands of smartphones can improve predictions of a storm's strength, and where and when it will strike. Such a smartphone network would augment the existing system of ground-based weather stations, which, while more accurate and powerful, are expensive to expand.

That mobile observation system is based on the air-pressure sensors built into most new and high-end smartphones to help determine elevation. In a recent study published in the journal Weather and Forecasting, Mass and Conor McNicholas, a graduate student at the University of Washington, show that these sensors can also fill in the gaps of an existing weather station network and improve forecasts.

To make forecasts, meteorologists feed weather data into a computer model, which calculates a prediction of future weather. As the models have improved, they've begun to outpace the data available to them, explained Luke Madaus, a meteorologist at Jupiter Intelligence, a company that determines risks from climate change.


Current weather station networks were designed for an era when models could only simulate storms and other weather phenomena that spanned 100 kilometres, said Madaus, who started the smartphone project while a graduate student at the University of Washington. But models can now simulate weather in much greater detail, resolving phenomena down to several kilometres or hundreds of meters. So to get the most out of models, meteorologists need a denser network of sensors.

The need for better forecasts and more sensors is especially true in regions where weather stations are sparser, such as in the developing world, Mass said. While stations are lacking in some of these areas, smartphones are becoming increasingly abundant.


To see how much smartphones could help, McNicholas wrote an app called uWx that collects air-pressure data from users' phones. Pressure is a fundamental measurement because it tells you what's happening through the atmosphere above, said Josh Hacker, an atmospheric scientist at Jupiter Intelligence, who wasn't involved in the research. Measurements of pressure from a smartphone can be more reliable than, say, temperature or humidity, since pressure doesn't change if the phone is indoors, or in a pocket or purse.

Still, smartphone data can be messy. Individual sensors may not all perform in the same way. The data may not be reliable, for example, if the phone is in a car driving up and down a hill, or if it's on an elevator. The pressure change in a tall building can be as large as a change in a weather system.


To address these issues, the researchers combined information about a phone's environment such as its precise location based on GPS data and machine-learning algorithms to gauge and correct errors in the data in real-time. The correction methods also used information from nearby weather stations to smooth out random fluctuations in the smartphone data.

The improvement was modest, though, and not better than a few percent increase in accuracy. But even a small improvement could make a big difference, a slight shift in a storm's path, taking it over different geography, can mean the difference between a calm evening and downed power lines and tree branches. Those modest changes can send you across thresholds in terms of impact on society.


But as the phones make smaller-scale measurements, the data probably won't be useful for forecasting larger-scale, longer-term weather days ahead of time. Nor would this approach be useful in rural areas where smartphones are scarce.  The researchers will need to do more systematic analyses to show that smartphones are helpful through different seasons and geography, and able to forecast a variety of weather systems. There's more work to be done before it can prove to be generally useful.

The study used only about 0.1 percent of all the potential smartphone measurements in the Pacific Northwest. Getting more data could lead to even better improvements. The researchers have been working with IBM's The Weather Company, using data collected through the company's weather app. To gather more data the researchers might partner up with companies with greater access to phones. More data would help produce a more detailed and probabilistic view of how storms evolve.

Also Read:- Soyuz's Rocket Triggered An Emergency Landing


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Soyuz's Rocket Triggered An Emergency Landing

Soyuz Rocket Triggered An Emergency Landing

On Oct. 11, 2018, two astronauts piled into a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for what should have been a routine trip to the International Space Station. But just a few minutes after liftoff, an issue with the Soyuz's rocket.triggered an emergency landing. But Astronauts are safe both crewmembers survived in good condition.

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a new U.S.-Russian crew to the International Space Station failed during its ascent Thursday (Oct. 11), sending its crew capsule falling back toward Earth in a ballistic re-entry, NASA officials said.

A search-and-rescue team has reached the landing site, both crewmembers are in good condition and have left the Soyuz capsule as of 6:10 a.m. EDT, NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said during live television commentary. Russian space agency Roscosmos has released photographs of both astronauts being checked over after their abrupt landing.



The Soyuz rocket and its Soyuz MS-10 space capsule lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at about 4:47 a.m. EDT  with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aboard. The pair were due to join the three-person Expedition 57 crew already aboard the International Space Station. But something went wrong minutes after liftoff, sending the Soyuz capsule into a ballistic re-entry, NASA officials said.

The three astronauts currently on board the space station have been informed of the failed launch and their schedule for the day is being reshuffled since they'll no longer be able to greet the incoming duo. Mission Control told astronauts aboard the space station that during the landing, "the boys" experienced forces of about 6.7 G in a call that NASA later broadcast on the live commentary.


The pair landed about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Search and rescue crews are pre-staged for this kind of events.  As soon as the crew made emergency landing helicopters were already been dispatched to look for the Soyuz space capsule.

NASA has not provided much detail about the failure but confirmed in a tweet that there was a problem with booster separation. But During the live broadcast of the launch, narration from Mission Control suggested that the booster failed to separate from the Soyuz capsule.

NASA has confirmed that Roscosmos has already created a commission to investigate the cause of the anomaly, although it doesn't expect its counterpart to hold a press conference today. Hague and Ovchinin are being taken from their emergency landing site to Moscow. In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed he had been informed the two crewmembers were safe.


The launch failure follows close on the heels of another Soyuz issue, in which a hole was discovered Aug. 29 on the MS-09 spacecraft that delivered the most recent crew to the space station. That 0.08-inch (2-millimetre) hole in the orbital module of the Soyuz vehicle created a small air leak on the space station that was detected by flight controllers on the ground and ultimately repaired by astronauts and cosmonauts on the space station. An investigation into that anomaly and how the hole was formed is also underway.

For Now, there will be an investigation for this and after that, they will decide to fly again.

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The Remote Colombian Town RICAURTE Is A Home Of Fragile X Syndrome Suffering People Not “Los bobos”

Fragile X Syndrome

In Colombia, this town, RICAURTE, has long been known as the home of Los bobos, "the foolish ones" Thanks to some misleading religious stuff. Some also say that a witch woman in the town prepared a love potion that sometimes went wrong, producing intellectual disability instead of undying devotion. But now doctors know that it is home to the world's largest known cluster of people with fragile X.

One researcher, medical geneticist Wilmar Saldarriaga-Gil of the University of Valle (Univalle) in Cali, Colombia, has made Ricaurte the focal point of his scientific inquiry. Saldarriaga-Gil, who vacationed nearby as a child, says he has visited about a hundred times since the mid-1990s to trace how fragile X affected the town and its inhabitants—and to try to understand details of the syndrome's biology. "This is a history of scientific research, a history of my community, a history of my life," he says.


Saldarriaga-Gil's obsession with this town began in 1980. As a boy, he spent summers at a family home in Huasano, 10 kilometres away. When he attended church here, he couldn't help noticing the lanky men and women with large, flat ears who spoke very little or not at all. "Everyone who knows Ricaurte had curiosity," Saldarriaga-Gil says. "Why is it happening here?"

Saldarriaga-Gil eventually set out to discover the truth as a medical student in the late 1990s. His adviser suggested the people here might have Down syndrome. But when Saldarriaga-Gil paged through a 1000-page medical textbook, he saw photographs of people who looked eerily similar to a boy he knew in Ricaurte—Patricia Triviño's nephew Ronald. The people in the textbook had fragile X syndrome.

To confirm that the resemblance was more than coincidence, in 1997 Saldarriaga-Gil took blood samples from 28 people in town who he suspected were affected. He analyzed each person's karyotype the number and appearance of their chromosomes by inspecting their blood cells under a microscope.


In most people, FMR1 contains anywhere from six to 54 repeats of a specific set of three DNA "letters," or bases: CGG. In people with fragile X syndrome, however, the gene has more than 200 repeats. The extra DNA disrupts the X chromosome; under the microscope, tiny islands appear to break away from the chromosome, making it look fragile. Of the 28 people whose karyotypes Saldarriaga-Gil analyzed, 19 showed those telltale islands.

The payoff from research in this town could have global impacts. Caused by mutations in a gene called FMR1 on the X chromosome, fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability worldwide; it affects as many as one in 2000 men and one in 4000 women. And as a single-gene cause of autism, a recalcitrant complex condition, fragile X has been the focus of efforts to develop drugs for autism. The proteins disrupted in people with the syndrome are also key players in brain development.

In March 2018, Saldarriaga-Gil and his colleagues reported that at least 5% of residents here carry either the full-blown fragile X mutation or less severe "permutations" that can trigger the condition in future generations. Premutation carriers usually escape cognitive problems, but some develop physical symptoms, including tremors and fertility problems. The research here might explain such variability, which could reflect how the protein FMR1 encodes, FMRP, interacts with other proteins and pathways.


In 2012, Saldarriaga-Gil decided to try to identify those carriers by building a pedigree chart to trace the condition's inheritance through Ricaurte's families. Premutation carriers often have affected children or grandchildren because in fragile X—as in other "triplet repeat" conditions such as Huntington disease—the number of repeats typically increases with successive generations. Working backwards from affected individuals, Saldarriaga-Gil tried to guess at who had passed the mutation on. That approach took him only so far, however, because he had no definitive test for premutations

The next year, his karyotype research caught the attention of experts in fragile X, including Randi Hagerman, medical director of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at the University of California, Davis. She and her colleagues offered to help spot the premutation carriers by using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test—which Saldarriaga-Gil wasn't equipped to do in his own lab. PCR would make it possible to amplify and sequence the residents' DNA.


Saldarriaga-Gil checks in on residents with fragile X every 2 months or so, offering routine checkups and monitoring them for complications. Over multiple visits between 2015 and 2016, he and his students also collected blood samples from 926 people, about 80% of the population. Genetic analysis of the samples led to his recent finding that about 5% of Ricaurte's residents have either the full mutation or a premutation. He supplemented the genetic work by recording oral histories and digging up centuries-old land, marriage, and birth records with help from a local historian. Ultimately, Saldarriaga-Gil reconstructed much of the town's history of the syndrome.

One name is circled, with sunlike rays extending out in every direction: Manuel Triviño, who may be Mercedes's great-grandfather. Saldarriaga-Gil says he suspects Manuel was one of the town's original settlers in the early 1880s and carried the premutation to Ricaurte. Everyone here with fragile X could be his direct descendant (although how the mutation spread to the Gorillas is still unclear). To confirm that "founder effect," Saldarriaga-Gil's team is conducting a haplotype analysis: The scientists are looking for other genetic variants shared by people with the condition, which would imply that they all share a common forebear.


Among women, "mosaicism", in which a person's cells aren't all genetically identical, explains part of it. Because women have two X chromosomes, each cell turns off one of them at random. If most of a woman's cells turn off the mutated copy, she might show few outward signs of the mutation; if the normal copy is shut down more often, she might be more severely affected. Mosaicism emerges differently in men, who have a single X chromosome: Some of their cells may have the full FMR1 mutation—200-plus CGG repeats—whereas others end up with the shorter premutation or with a complete deletion of FMR1.

The array of symptoms resulting from a mutation might also depend on how FMRP interacts with other proteins. FMRP is missing in people with the full mutation, which silences FMR1. Because FMRP controls the activity of nearly 1000 other proteins, many of which are crucial to the interactions between neurons, its loss can have far-reaching effects—particularly during brain development. But in people with the premutation, the impact of the reduced protein might be more or less severe depending on other genetic variations.

The ultimate goal for fragile X researchers is to develop treatments. Because of its connection to intellectual disability and autism, fragile X has been the focus of an extensive and so far, unsuccessful drug development program. Several candidates that showed promise in early clinical trials fizzled out in larger trials. Researchers are seeking new proteins or pathways to target and some of those may emerge from the work done here. No one here is waiting for radical new treatments. Even if the residents can help researchers develop drugs, they know they are likely to be among the last to receive them.


Given the harsh realities of life here with fragile X, some residents have made difficult decisions about the future of their families. Rosario Quintero's daughter, Sara, has the full mutation but shows no signs of the syndrome. Before Sara learned that she carried the mutation, she had a son, who also seems unaffected. But afterwards, she had her fallopian tubes cut so that she cannot have any more children. Another carrier, who chose to remain anonymous, also decided not to have children.

Over the past decade here, only three children with fragile X have been born, and many with the condition are older than 50. Trapped in this valley by economic hardship and unyielding geography, the population with fragile X could slowly die out, Saldarriaga-Gil says. He is racing to understand the syndrome's secrets before that happens.

Also Read:- Syphilis | Signs and Symptoms Of Syphilis | Treatment


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