Of Molecules and Men

first_img(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Atoms and molecules are tiny but can have a big influence on the habitability of planets and astrobiologists’ theories about them.Hydroxyl ions (one oxygen and one hydrogen) are highly reactive ions formed by the breakdown of ozone by the sun.  Science Daily reported that others are formed at night by a different process.  This process was not observed till scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found a short-lived intermediate.  Hydroxyl ions act as the “atmosphere’s detergent,” the article says, taking the initial steps in the breakdown of hydrocarbons and other pollutants.Water is, of course, the ultimate prerequisite for life in the minds of most astrobiologists – so much so, that they think “life” whenever they find ice (see hydrobioscopy).  The latest story being told about stars and our early solar system is that water is older than the sun.  Scientists at the Carnegie Institute of Washington, reported Live Science, did not actually observe water before the sun.  They just figured with their models that it had to be, or else the ratios of heavy water (containing deuterium instead of hydrogen) wouldn’t work.“The implications of our study are that interstellar water-ice remarkably survived the incredibly violent process of stellar birth to then be incorporated into planetary bodies“study lead author Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, told Space.com….“A significant fraction of Earth’s water is likely incredibly old, so old that it predates the Earth itself,” Cleeves said. “For me, uncovering these kinds of direct links between our daily experience and the galaxy at large is fascinating and puts a wonderful perspective on our place in the universe.“Polonium-209 is an atomic isotope, not a molecule.  It made news recently by getting a new age.  The old half-life was 102 years.  That has been increased by 25%, PhysOrg says, to 125.6 years.  “The difficulty in measuring the particular Po-209 half-life arises from its scarcity in pure form, the long length of its half-life, and the specific types of radiation involved in its decay.”  Po-209 has long been used as a tracer for geophysical processes.  What effect might this change have?  “Because sediment cores are used for determining human impact on the environment over the past century, the new measurement could impact these studies as well as other environmental measurements and biological assays.”  The article did not discuss whether this revision would impact half-life measurements of longer-lived isotopes used in radiometric dating.Cellulose is a molecule that is stronger, ounce-for-ounce, than steel, Science Daily says.  It is also the most abundant organic compound on earth—a primary component of wood and plant stems that keeps plants upright.  It is also indigestible except by bacteria.  Purdue University scientists recently determined the structure of the enzyme, cellulose synthase, that makes cellulose.  This knowledge might help bioengineers “make new kinds of natural products to replace those we now make from oil.”Isopropyl cyanide has been found in space, Cornell University announced.  What does that imply?  It’s big news for astrobiologists, who feel that it shows that branched molecules can form naturally.  Many amino acids have branching parts.  “The branched carbon structure of isopropyl cyanide is a common feature in molecules that are needed for life — such as amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins,” the press release says.  “This new discovery lends weight to the idea that biologically crucial molecules, like amino acids that are commonly found in meteorites, are produced early in the process of star formation — even before planets such as Earth are formed.”  The BBC News really pushed the life angle in its coverage.Elementary, my star flotsam:  How do stars make the elements?  Arizona State wants to know.  It has its own version of Genesis:In the beginning, all was hydrogen – and helium, plus a bit of lithium. Three elements in all. Today’s universe, however, has nearly a hundred naturally occurring elements, with thousands of variants (isotopes), and more likely to come.ASU will be joining with other universities to figure out how elements are made by supernovae and “chemical evolution” after the big bang (for problems with getting lithium from the big bang, see the 9/15/14 entry) .  According to current theories of nucleosynthesis, stars “crank out carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all those good things that make you and me.”  This has been common thought for decades.  “While the broad outline is clear, details are a lot murkier,” ASU astrophysicist Frank Timmes admits.  We also don’t know how the first stars made of hydrogen and helium did it, because “all those stars are gone”.  Our sun is made of elements that didn’t exist in the big bang, he explains, so our sun must be the end product of “many, many previous generations of stars”.  How many?Timmes explains, “A typical massive star, in round numbers, lives about a million years. The Big Bang occurred about 7 billion years before the sun formed. I need a thousand generations of massive stars to get us to a billion years, so I need on the order of 10,000 generations of massive stars to get one with the sun’s composition.”The whole theory relies on models of supernovas.  Those are observable, but the underlying mechanisms and the processes of nucleosynthesis are not.  “In a loose, hand-waving sense, we know that stars explode, of course, but exactly how it happens isn’t well-known or understood.”If you can keep your head with observable science when all the experts about you run are losing theirs with hand-waving models based on evolutionary assumptions leading to just-so stories, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!last_img read more

South Africa works to stop load shedding

first_img19 May 2015The current load shedding incidents are receiving urgent attention with several steps being taken to address this, including the finalisation of the Integrated Energy Plan, says Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.“I want to reassure South Africans that the load shedding which prevails is receiving our highest priority for urgent resolution. Partnerships have been established between [the] government, labour, business and civil society to find solutions to our problems, in keeping with the great spirit of our country,” she said.Delivering the Department of Energy’s budget vote this morning, the minister said the government’s urgent response to load shedding had accelerated the finalisation of the much-awaited Integrated Energy Plan.“Once approved by [the] Cabinet, the Integrated Energy Plan will be published as a policy document. This plan will inform our future energy mix and prioritise policy interventions for future programmes within the energy sector,” she told Parliament.Last month, the department announced a package of energy supply and demand options.“This will increase the independent power producer [IPP] energy supply to the grid by means of renewable energy, coal, gas and co-generation by 17 000 megawatts [MW] towards the end of 2022. An annual increase of 2 400MW of additional energy capacity will be added to the grid. Our current circumstances compel us to add a significant amount of electricity generation to the grid in a very short time.”Renewable energyShe said the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) had added to the energy supply capacity and electricity diversity in South Africa over a period of only three-and-a-half years.“Competitive energy prices have been achieved, with a distinct and meaningful possibility to make a real socio-economic difference in the communities where they are located.”Since 2011, the department had procured 5 243MW of renewable electricity in bid windows 1 to 4 and connected 37 projects, with a capacity of 1 827MW, to the national grid.On average, 15% of this energy was delivered to the power system during system peak periods, alleviating pressure on the power system.“The energy contribution should grow to approximately 7 000 gigawatt hours per annum with the first 47 renewable energy independent power producers fully operational and producing at full capacity by mid-2016.”Tariff decreasesThrough the competitive procurement approach, the average per kilowatt hour tariff, in April 2014 terms, for onshore wind had declined by 55% to an average of 62c per unit and for solar photovoltaic by 76% to 79c per unit, Joemat-Pettersson said.“This programme has secured a commitment of about R170-billion in capital investment to the South African economy. South Africans own an average of 48% in all [independent power producers], with black South Africans owning 28% of these projects.”The department had already submitted for concurrence to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa new determinations for an additional 6 300MW for the REIPPPP, as well as 1 800MW for co-generation. Co-generation supply of about 720MW had been secured through Eskom.“In addition, we have revised the approach in relation to the procurement of co- generation in line with the Integrated Resource Plan to assist with the current electricity challenges. The Request for Proposal for the revised co-generation approach, totalling 1 800MW is on track for release to the market.“The announcement of the preferred bidders is expected in the third quarter of 2015. The new approach will ensure that the approval process is expedited and financial close accelerated.”Request for proposalsThe REIPPPP Request for Proposals for an additional 1 800MW from existing bid submissions was on course for release to the market by June 2015. This bidding process would be open to all unsuccessful bidders from all previous bid windows which were ready for re-submission.Her department would also announce the appointment of additional preferred bidders from bid window 4 in early June.Projects under this programme had started to spend on their socio-economic development and enterprise development commitments, said the department.A spending pattern was unfolding, with most spending being allocated for education and skills development, health care, infrastructure, and social housing improvements, among others.The department is engaged in the re-design of the IPP Request for Proposals, paying particular attention to early, efficient and equitable benefits to communities, as well as to a greater local content approach that will strengthen industrialisation in South Africa.Coal-fired powerAdditionally, the minister said that the Request for Proposals in relation to new coal-fired generation was released to the market in December 2014 with the bid submission initially scheduled for June 2015. Given ongoing engagement with the market and the need to ensure a successful procurement phase with firm results, this period would be extended by about two months to the end of August.Preferred bidders for this programme would be announced before the end of the calendar year.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

Editing With Custom Resolutions & Frame Rates in FCPX

first_imgLearn how to “trick” Final Cut Pro X into working with any resolution or frame rate.One ongoing frustration for many Final Cut Pro X editors is the inability to work with custom resolutions and frame rates.  With FCPX, Apple attempted to simplify many things, one of which being the ability to dial in unique frame sizes and rates.  You’re relegated to use the presets that come with Final Cut Pro X…or so it would seem.Several video pros have devised their own solution for overcoming this Final Cut Pro X limitation by forcing FCPX to adapt to the properties of a particular clip.  The trick then to editing with custom resolutions and frames rates in Final Cut Pro X is to create a clip with the custom attributes you desire.  Each of the solutions below address similar ways to tackle this FCPX workaround.  Find out which one is right for you:CUSTOM CLIPS with MPEG STREAMCLIPEditing plugin maker and post production guru Alex Gollner (we’ve posted about his great plug-ins previously) says the trick for getting custom frame rates and resolutions in FCX is to “create the timeline in a composite clip stored in an event.”  To do this you’ll need to have a clip with the desired settings.  He suggests you create it from a .JPG file in the free MPEG Streamclip video converting application.  More information on Alex’s approach here.Apple Motion: Create Compound ClipVideo editor T. Peyton posted a great video tutorial over at Creative Cow that showcases his approach to tackling this Final Cut Pro X issue.  He suggests that you can easily create a custom clip using Apple Motion, and then bring that clip into FCPX to create a timeline with custom resolution.  If you often work in unique resolutions and frame rates (say, vertical orientation video) then it’s a good idea to save these clips in a Presets Templates folder in FCPX so they’re easily accessible for future projects.  Get the rundown on how to modify the frame size and resolution in FCPX using Motion in this video tutorial (link to original Creative Cow post here):Larry Jordan: Compressor’s GeometryThe “godfather” of Final Cut Pro shares several tips for customizing your FCPX project resolution, including those mentioned above.  In addition, he personally contacted Apple to get their input on how to deal with this issue.  Apple suggests editing your projects using the presets in FCPX and then changing the frame rate and resolution in Compressor after export.  Modifying Compressor’s “Geometry” tab allows you to dial in custom frame sizes.  Personally, this seems like a bit of a backwards approach (Larry agrees that “it would really be helpful if FCP X could create custom image sizes”) but this workaround is worth sharing for anyone interested in tackling it this way.Perhaps Apple will add this feature to future updates, but in the meantime these handy workarounds make it possible to work with custom frame sizes and resolution in Final Cut Pro X!last_img read more

NLEX, Blackwater unveil new faces in clash

first_imgSmash hit? Tesla suffers broken glass mishap at launch of new truck PLAY LIST 01:08Smash hit? Tesla suffers broken glass mishap at launch of new truck00:50Trending Articles02:34Google unveils motion-sensing Pixel 401:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games NLEX, which bounced back from its first loss in style last week, tries to get another winning streak going and put its retooled roster to the test yet again when the Road Warriors clash with Blackwater in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next LATEST STORIES Change of heart on the SEAG SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses MOST READ Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Game time is 7 p.m. with the Road Warriors hoping to inch closer to the first quarterfinal slot even as Phoenix Petroleum tries to stop the bleeding when it battles Meralco in the 4:15 p.m. game.Cyrus Baguio plays his first game reunited with old mentor Yeng Guiao at NLEX.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBlackwater, meanwhile, will not be easy pickings as the Elite got a much needed shot in the arm the last time up when Henry Walker arrived and led them to their first win.The Bolts, meanwhile, try to regroup after being dealt a first loss by the Road Warriors. View comments Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years agolast_img read more

Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Bryan Wished Georgia Good Luck Via Twitter Videos

first_imgSamuel L. Jackson speaking on Twitter.Neither star actor Samuel L. Jackson nor country musician Luke Bryan actually attended the University of Georgia, but they’re both still huge Bulldogs fans. Usually, they both show their support when the football team has a big game on the gridiron. This week, obviously, they’re all in on a different Bulldogs team. Both have sent Twitter videos to basketball head coach Mark Fox ahead of the team’s game against Michigan State in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Check them out:The Dawgs are Dancing, and so is the DawgNation! @SamuelLJackson pic.twitter.com/oX3lpVs5kG— Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox) March 16, 2015The Dawgs are Dancing, and so is the DawgNation! @LukeBryanOnline pic.twitter.com/5EYj3mdd9t— Mark Fox (@coachmarkfox) March 16, 2015The Bulldogs and Spartans tip off Friday at 12:30 PM EST. It’s safe to assume that these guys will be watching.last_img read more

Utilities commission seeks more data on Site C before final recommendation

first_imgVANCOUVER – The BC Utilities Commission has released a preliminary report into the future of the controversial $8.8-billion Site C dam project in the province’s northeast.But the commission said in its report released late Wednesday night that it does not have enough information in several areas to recommend whether the project should proceed.BC Hydro has said it has already spent $1.8 billion on construction for the massive hydroelectric dam, but Premier John Horgan’s NDP government asked the commission to review the economic viability of the project after taking office.The panel did conclude in its preliminary report that as of June 30 when BC Hydro submitted its must recent quarter-end report, the project was on track for its planned completion in 2024, but did not have enough data to determine whether the project is currently on budget,It also said it also does not have sufficient information to predict possible budget overruns once the Site C project is complete, or the total costs for the project in the event it is suspended and restarted later.Hydro’s 866-page submission to the commission said completing the dam as planned would still be best for ratepayers and terminating the project would cost $7.3 billion on a present-value basis.The commission also warned Wednesday night that if a diversion of the Peace River is not achieved in September 2019, the project will not stay within its budget.The commission said it will now conduct an “extensive consultation process” on the preliminary findings and submit a final recommendation on Nov. 1.The BC Hydro submission said demand for electricity is growing and without the dam, the province will face an energy shortfall by 2031.A report submitted for the commission’s review by the auditing firm Deloitte LLP concluded that putting the project on hold until 2025 would cost about $1.4 billion, while cancelling it outright would cost $1.2 billion.The Deloitte report says that the dam’s construction faces major risks including contractor performance problems, unforeseen geotechnical conditions and cost issues related to major contracts that haven’t been awarded yet.last_img read more

Suncor CEO says hes encouraged new pipelines will be built after PMs

first_img“The simple measure will be we want to see shovels in ground and pipelines being built.”Suncor reported that the discount paid for oilsands blend Western Canadian Select compared with New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude widened to an average of US$24 per barrel in the first quarter, double the US$12 per barrel average in the fourth quarter of 2017.The higher difference is blamed on difficulty in getting heavy crude out of Western Canada because of a lack of pipeline space.Williams said he’s “greatly encouraged” by what Alberta and federal governments are saying recently and believes even the Trans Mountain expansion project will be built, despite proponent Kinder Morgan threatening to abandon it if it isn’t reassured about its construction by the end of May.He said he also believes Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project into the U.S. Midwest will proceed, despite an ongoing disagreement in Minnesota over its routing.Suncor reported lower production in the quarter ended March 31 because of cold weather-related outages at its Base Camp north of Fort McMurray, Alta., and the nearby Syncrude Canada oilsands mine. It said operations returned to normal at Base Camp in February after a water line leak caused a power outage in the upgrader. At Syncrude, a blockage in a bitumen transport line led to the company starting a planned eight-week maintenance shutdown a month early.Total upstream production came in at 689,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter, compared to 725,100 boe/d in the prior year quarter, as oilsands output fell to 404,800 barrels per day from 448,500 bpd.The operations “fell short” of Suncor standards, Williams said on the call, adding, “We need to do better and, be assured, we will.”Suncor reported net earnings fell to $789 million, compared to $1.35 billion in the same period of 2017. CALGARY, A.B. –  The CEO of oilsands giant Suncor Energy Inc. says he’s confident new oil pipelines will be built after hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at its newly opened Fort Hills oilsands mine in early April.The message he left with Trudeau was that pipeline access must be assured if the industry is to attract the capital it needs to grow, Steve Williams said on a conference call on Wednesday.“We don’t want these new projects to have to bear the burden of some of these (oil price) differentials,” he said, reiterating Suncor’s commitment to build no new major oilsands projects without new pipelines.center_img Williams said the differential had no impact on Suncor’s earnings, however, because what was lost in the pricing of oilsands was recovered through the company’s marketing and refining operations, which benefited from low-cost feedstock as well as high capacity utilization and profit margins.First-quarter earnings included a $329-million non-cash loss on foreign currency denominated debt.There was also a non-cash gain of $133 million from a deal to buy a 37 percent interest in Canbriam Energy Inc. in exchange for northeastern B.C. mineral land holdings and $52 million.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

The Paul George And Carmelo Anthony Trades Are Looking Less OneSided

By Geoff Foster, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (Dec. 13, 2017), FiveThirtyEight sports editor Geoff Foster joins Chris and Kyle to break down the latest NBA news. The Golden State Warriors won six straight road games and then continued their streak with a win at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. Have the Warriors overcome their early struggles? The group discusses. Next, when the Oklahoma City Thunder padded their team with stars earlier this year, they traded away Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. But about a third of the way — and two player of the week awards for Oladipo — into the season, the Thunder’s big moves are suddenly looking less one-sided. The group investigates why the exiles are playing so much better on their new teams. Plus, a small-sample-size segment on the Minnesota Timberwolves.Here are links to what was discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Despite the Warriors’ recent success, ESPN still ranks the Houston Rockets above Golden State.Victor Oladipo was named Eastern Conference player of the week for the second time this season.Doug McDermott has been proving his value to the New York Knicks. read more

Big win honors for Ohio State womens soccer

Ohio State women’s soccer’s season will continue after a big day on and off the pitch. On the field, the No. 21-ranked Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 1-0, in a Big Ten Tournament opening-round match Wednesday to advance to the next round of competition. Off the field, five OSU players received conference honors, the Big Ten announced. OSU, the Big Ten Tournament’s No. 2-seed, got the eventual game-winner from sophomore midfielder Ellyn Gruber just before halftime. Buckeyes freshman goalkeeper Jillian McVicker made one save in the game to help OSU advance. Prior to the game, the Big Ten Conference announced that five OSU players had received honors, including record-setting senior forward Tiffany Cameron. Cameron, along with junior midfielder Danica Wu, was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection to add to her recent success. On Monday, Cameron was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second consecutive week after scoring twice in a 5-0 win against Indiana to become OSU’s all-time leading goal scorer. After entering the match against the Hoosiers tied with former Buckeyes Lisa Collison and Lara Dickenmann for the all-time goals lead with 35, Cameron grabbed the record herself with two goals in the team’s regular season finale. Wu was a second team All-Big Ten selection last season and earned the first-team honor despite missing four games on international duty with Canada’s U-20 team. OSU senior midfielder/forward Kendyl Reed, McVicker and junior goalkeeper Rachel Middleman were also honored by the conference, according to a Wednesday OSU release. Reed was tabbed a second team All-Big Ten selection after posting one assist in 18 starts for the Buckeyes while McVicker was named to the Big Ten’s All-Freshman Team after allowing just four goals in almost 734 minutes in goal this season. Middleman was the Buckeyes’ sportsmanship honoree. Members of OSU women’s soccer were not immediately made available for The Lantern’s Wednesday request for comment. OSU (14-4-1) will continue Big Ten Conference play Friday against either No. 3-seeded Michigan or No. 6-seeded Wisconsin. Kickoff for the tournament’s semifinal-round game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind. read more

Gerrard hopes FC Ufa win redtape race

first_imgRangers Football Club manager Steven Gerrard hopes FC Ufa win their red-tape race ahead of both teams UEFA Europa League playoff clash on Thursday.Gerrard hopes the visa issues facing the Russian club are resolved ahead of their tie on Thursday night.FC Ufa play against Dinamo Moscow today and will plead with the UK Embassy in the Russian capital to speed up their application.“We are actively engaged in trying to obtain British visas,” said FC Ufa President Gazizov, according to Daily Mail.“But everyone must understand it is a very difficult situation. After the game against Dinamo, we will go with our prepared documents to the British Embassy.”“We hope they are able to accelerate the process, but we will know for certain what is happening on Monday. We have been told even the accelerated process takes a minimum of five days, so that would not be enough time for us.”Steven Gerrard, Michael OwenOwen reveals why Liverpool didn’t offer Gerrard a new contract Manuel R. Medina – September 6, 2019 According to Owen, the Reds wanted to sell Gerrard two years before he left the club and that’s why they didn’t offer him a contract renewal.Gerrard, though, doesn’t want any favours from red tape. He is eager for the chance to record another Europa League win and move to the brink of the group stage.“I heard about it just before the game and we will have to wait and see how that pans out,” said the Ibrox boss, speaking after Alfredo Morelos hit a hat-trick in yesterday’s 3-1 win over Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup.“I hope they get them (visas) and I hope they come. We are in a good place, we are looking forward to the game and the challenge and we want Ibrox to be rocking again for another great European night.”Rangers suffered a blow when Jamie Murphy suffered a potentially serious knee injury at Rugby Park, but Gerrard was otherwise delighted with the display less than 72 hours after a successful trip to Maribor.last_img read more