Massive Arecibo Telescope Collapses in Puerto Rico | Smart News

On Tuesday, the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed, ending its nearly 60 years of operation, reports Dánica Coto for the Associated Press (AP).

The collapse saw a 900-ton equipment platform fall from more than 400 feet up and crash into the northern part of the telescope’s 1,000-foot-wide dish, per the AP. The National Science Foundation (NSF), which manages the facility, announced that no injuries have been reported.

This final death knell for Arecibo’s telescope, which tracked asteroids approaching Earth and searched the heavens for habitable planets, followed other serious damages to the massive observatory and weeks of discussion about its future.

In August, an auxiliary cable slipped from its socket and slashed a 100-foot fissure in the observatory’s reflector dish. Then, in early November, one of the main support cables responsible for holding the equipment platform above the reflector dish snapped, placing the entire structure at significant risk of an “uncontrolled collapse,” reports Bill Chappell for NPR.

These damages prior to the total collapse led to NSF determining that the telescope could not be safely repaired, and an announcement that Arecibo’s telescope would be withdrawn from service and dismantled.

When the observatory first closed after August’s damages, about 250 scientists around the world were still using it, according to the AP. For these scientists and for those who spent many years of their lives working with the astronomical instrument in the lush mountains of Puerto Rico, its sudden destruction exacts an emotional toll.

Jonathan Friedman, a researcher who worked at the observatory for 26 years and still lives nearby, tells the AP what he heard at the moment of the collapse: “It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was. I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control… I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”

“It’s such an undignified end,” Catherine Neish, an astrobiologist at Western University in London, Ontario, tells Maria Cramer and Dennis Overbye of the New York Times. “That’s what’s so sad about it.”

The telescope even achieved some level of renown among laypeople following its inclusion in popular movies such as “Contact” and the James Bond film “Goldeneye.”

Constructed in the early 1960s, the Arecibo telescope used radio waves to probe the farthest reaches of the universe. Among its most notable accomplishments is the first detection of a binary pulsar in 1974, per NPR. The discovery supported Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and eventually garnered the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics for a pair of researchers.


Read more

Affordable Housing Units Prone to Floods Could Triple by 2050 | Smart News

The amount of affordable housing in the United States that is susceptible to damage and destruction caused by coastal flooding will triple by 2050, reports Daniel Cusick for E&E News.

A new study, published yesterday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that around 7,668 affordable housing units in the U.S. flood annually. Without swift action to reduce carbon emissions, that number could reach nearly 25,000 units by 2050, reports Oliver Milman for the Guardian. This is the first study of its kind to assess how vulnerable affordable housing units are to flooding and rising sea levels, according to a press release.

According to Reuters, previous studies have forecasted how houses along the coasts will be affected by climate change, but “there’s been much less attention put on these lower-income communities,” says computational scientist Scott Kulp of Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and communicators researching climate change.

The team of researchers used maps of low-cost and federally subsidized housing units and coupled them with flood projections to forecast how communities will be affected in the future, reports the Guardian. They found that states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York are expected to have the highest number of units at risk of flooding at least once a year by 2050, according to the press release.

The U.S. is already facing an affordable housing shortage—there are only “35 units available for every 100 extremely low-income renters,” reports Patrick Sisson for Bloomberg. That amounts to a shortage of 7 million units, so losing any more units will add to the deficit. For example, almost half of the available affordable housing units in New Jersey are projected to flood at least four times per year by 2050.

Within the next 30 years, coastal flooding will affect 4,774 affordable housing units in New York City, 3,167 in Atlantic City and 3,042 in Boston. Other cities will see a huge jump in the number of at-risk units: Miami Beach will see a 1,074 percent increase in at-risk units and Charleston, South Carolina, will see a 526 percent hike by 2050, according to the press release.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on coastal communities all over the world, but people with low incomes are being disproportionately affected by the ensuing hurricanes, floods and rising sea levels.

“The point here is that two neighbors can suffer from the same flood, one living in affordable housing and one in a home they own, and experience a very different outcome,” study co-author Benjamin Strauss, the CEO and chief scientist at Climate Central, tells Bloomberg. “Many more people in the general population will be affected by sea level rise than the affordable housing population. But the affordable population group is the one likely to hurt the most, who can’t afford to find a remedy on their own and tend to not have the voice needed to change the allocation of public resources.”

In the U.S., affordable housing units along the coast tend to be

Read more

Breakthrough A.I. Makes Huge Leap Toward Solving 50-Year-Old Problem in Biology | Smart News

Life on Earth relies on microscopic machines called proteins that are vital to everything from holding up the structure of each cell, to reading genetic code, to carrying oxygen through the bloodstream. With meticulous lab work, scientists have figured out the precise, 3-D shapes of about 170,000 proteins—but there are at least 200 million more to go, Robert F. Service reports for Science magazine.

Now, the artificial intelligence company DeepMind, which is owned by the same company that owns Google, has developed a tool that can predict the 3-D shapes of most proteins with similar results to experiments in the lab, Cade Metz reports for the New York Times. While lab experiments can take years to tease out a protein structure, DeepMind’s tool, called AlphaFold, can come up with a structure in just a few days, per Nature’s Ewen Callaway. The tool could help speed up studies in medicine development and bioengineering.

Molecular biologists want to know the structures of proteins because the shape of a molecule determines what it’s able to do. For instance, if a protein is causing damage in the body, then scientists could study its structure and then find another protein that fits it like a puzzle piece to neutralize it. AlphaFold could accelerate that process.

“This is going to empower a new generation of molecular biologists to ask more advanced questions,” says Max Planck Institute evolutionary biologist Andrei Lupas to Nature. “It’s going to require more thinking and less pipetting.”

DeepMind tested out AlphaFold by entering it in a biennial challenge called Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction, or CASP, for which Lupas was a judge. CASP provides a framework for developers to test their protein-prediction software. It’s been running since 1994, but the recent rise of machine learning in protein structure prediction has pushed participants to new levels. AlphaFold first participated last year and scored about 15% better than the other entries, per Science magazine. This year, a new computational strategy helped AlphaFold leave the competition in the dust.

Proteins are made of chains of chemicals called amino acids that are folded up into shapes, like wire sculptures. There are 20 kinds of amino acids, each with their own chemical characteristics that affect how they interact with others along the strand. Those interactions determine how the strand folds up into a 3-D shape. And because these chains can have dozens or hundreds of amino acids, predicting how a strand will fold based just on a list of amino acids is a challenge.

But that’s exactly what CASP asks participants to do. CASP assessors like Lupas have access to the answer key—the 3-D structure of a protein that was determined in a lab, but not yet published publicly. AlphaFold’s entries were anonymized as “group 427,” but after they solved structure after structure, Lupas was able to guess that it was theirs, he tells Nature.

“Most atoms are within an atom diameter of where they are in the experimental structure,” says CASP co-founder

Read more

In the Ancient American Southwest, Turkeys Were Friends, Not Food | Smart News

A blanket made by early 13th-century Indigenous peoples in what is now the southwestern United States featured more than 11,000 turkey feathers woven into almost 200 yards of yucca fiber, new research shows. The findings—published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports—shed light on farming practices among the ancestral Puebloans, forebears of modern Hopi, Zuni and Rio Grande Pueblo nations, reports Jennifer Ouellette for Ars Technica.

The researchers say the region’s people began to switch from blankets made of rabbit skin strips to turkey-feather designs during the first two centuries A.D.

“As ancestral Pueblo farming populations flourished, many thousands of feather blankets would likely have been in circulation at any one time,” says co-author Shannon Tushingham, an anthropologist at Washington State University (WSU), in a statement. “It is likely that every member of an ancestral Pueblo community, from infants to adults, possessed one.”

Though the region’s early inhabitants had farmed turkeys prior to the 12th century, they only started using the birds as a food source around 1100 or 1200, when wild game became scarce due to overhunting. Previously, the study’s authors say, people painlessly plucked mature feathers from molting birds. This technique allowed them to harvest feathers several times per year over a bird’s lifetime of 10 years or more. Researchers have found that turkeys were often buried whole, pointing toward their significance to the people who raised them.

“The birds that supplied the feathers were likely being treated as individuals important to the household and would have been buried complete,” says the paper’s lead author, Bill Lipe, also an anthropologist at WSU. “This reverence for turkeys and their feathers is still evident today in Pueblo dances and rituals. They are right up there with eagle feathers as being symbolically and culturally important.”

Per the statement, the researchers conducted their analysis on a blanket from southeastern Utah. On display at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, the textile measures 39 by 42.5 inches. Insects had destroyed the cloth’s feather vanes and barbs, but feather shafts wrapped in the woven yucca fiber remained visible, according to Ars Technica. The scientists also examined a smaller intact blanket that appeared to be from the same time period. They found that the craftspeople who made the two blankets used body feathers from the birds’ backs and breasts.

turkey feather blankets
The researchers studied an intact blanket, as well as the cords remaining after insects destroyed feather material on a larger blanket.

(Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Blanding, Utah / Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports)

The Puebloans’ blanket-making process survives to this day: In 2018, Mary Weahkee, an archaeologist at the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, taught herself to weave turkey-feather blankets using the 1,000-year old technique, reports Alexa Henry for New Mexico Wildlife magazine. Producing a 2- by 3-foot blanket took her 18 months and required 17,000 feathers from 68 turkeys.

“I looked at how the ancestors were creative and patient,” Weahkee, who is of

Read more

In Australia, Just One Wasp Can Ground an Airplane With a Strategically Placed Nest | Smart News

New research conducted at Brisbane airport shows how the invasive keyhole wasp builds their nests over important sensors, causing havoc for aircraft, George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo.

Keyhole wasps like to lay their eggs in small, pre-made cavities like window crevices, electrical sockets and, as their name implies, keyholes. Airplanes, meanwhile, rely on external sensors that are shaped like thin tubes. If the pilot realizes after takeoff that a sensor is blocked, the plane just has to turn around so it can be cleaned. But in a worst-case scenario, malfunctioning sensors are catastrophic. The new study, published on November 30 in the journal PLOS One, confirmed keyhole wasps are the sensor-blocking culprit, figured out their favorite size sensors for nest-building, and found that they built most of their nests near a grassy field at the airport.

The researchers hope that airports will be use the data to better combat the six-legged saboteurs.

“When we did some background research we realized that this wasn’t just an inconvenience, that you just had to clean these things out and swat the wasps away; this could actually lead to major accidents,” says Eco Logical Australia ecologist Alan House, lead author on the new study, to CNN’s Hilary Whiteman.

A plane crash off the coast of the Dominican Republic in 1996 that killed all 189 passengers and crew was linked to blockage of the pitot tube, which measures the speed that air is flowing through it as a proxy for how fast the plane is flying. The pitot tube’s measurements can show if the plane is flying fast enough to be stable, or if the plane is flying too slow, putting it at risk of stalling. Inaccurate airspeed readings can cause dangerous reactions by the pilots—or software.

“It’s not a Mayday emergency but it’s the next level down, and it closes the runways,” says House to New Scientist’s Donna Lu.

The wasps are native to the Americas, but have been flying around Brisbane for over a decade. The insects have figured out a speedy strategy for establishing their nests.

“We have anecdotal reports from ground crew at Brisbane that a plane can have arrived at the gate and within a matter of two or three minutes, a wasp will be flying around the nose of the plane having a look at the probe,” House tells CNN. House adds to Belinda Smith at ABC News Australia, “When the plane first comes in, those probes are too hot for the wasp, so I think what she’s doing is waiting for it to cool down.”

Once the tube is cool, the wasp fills the cavity with mud, an egg and a bit of prey, like a caterpillar. A thin wall of mud at the front seals the nest, and solidly blocks the pitot tube. This process can happen in under 30 minutes, as was the case when a wasp nest blocked the temperature probe on a flight from Brisbane to Newcastle in 2015, per ABC

Read more

Megalodons, the Ocean’s Most Ferocious Prehistoric Predators, Raised Their Young in Nurseries | Smart News

Millions of years ago, monstrously sized sharks named megalodons dominated the ocean. These giants grew larger than modern day humpback whales, casually snacked on animals like dolphins and seals, had the strongest bite force of any creature to ever exist—yes, including T. rex. But despite being fierce predators, a new study published last week in the journal Biology Letters suggests that megalodons were pretty good parents and raised their young in nurseries, reports Mindy Weisberger for Live Science.

Nurseries provide a safe haven for baby sharks to grow before they depart to take on the great blue sea. They are typically found in warm, shallow waters, such as coral reefs and mangroves, that offer an abundance of food. Nurseries also shield baby sharks from predators and protect them as they learn to hunt, reports Melissa Cristina Márquez for Forbes. And this behavior didn’t die out with the megalodons—some modern-day shark species, like great whites and catsharks, also raise their young in nurseries.

“I just find it fascinating that even what many call the ‘biggest and baddest shark of all time’ had to spend the first few years of its life growing up in a special location before it could dominate the oceans itself,” Phillip Sternes, a shark researcher at University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the study, tells Forbes.

In this new study, a team of scientists analyzed a set of 25 megalodon teeth collected around northeastern Spain. The teeth were much too small to belong to the fully grown giants, so the scientists figured that the teeth must have belonged to juveniles, reports Lucy Hicks for Science. Fossil evidence also suggests that millions of years ago, the same region had shallow shorelines, warm water and flourishing marine life, which would have made it a perfect place for baby sharks to thrive. Given the collection of baby teeth and the geography of the area, the scientists determined that a megalodon nursery must have existed there, reports Eleonore Hughes for Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Armed with new information about megalodon shark nurseries, the scientists analyzed nearly 500 more megalodon teeth collected from eight different spots around the world to figure out where other nurseries could have existed. They identified four more potential nursery sites—two in the United States and two in Panama—ranging in age from 3.6 million years old to 16 million years old.

In 2010, a different team, including Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute scientists, discovered a megalodon nursery in Panama from 10 million years ago. At the time, the team wasn’t sure if megalodon nurseries were widespread or a random occurrence. This new study adds substantial evidence that baby megalodons were raised in nurseries, Science reports.

This discovery also offers a new theory to how the world’s most ferocious predator went extinct more than 3 million years ago, which remains a pervasive mystery. They know that megalodons thrived during a period of warm temperatures that lasted for millions of years. But as

Read more

Norway Preserves ‘The Scream’ for Future Generations by Burying Digital Copy in Arctic Coal Mine | Smart News

Regardless of what disasters afflict the world over the next 1,000 years, Edvard Munch’s iconic depiction of human suffering, The Scream, should be around to greet whoever’s left. As the Local reports, Norway’s National Museum has placed a digital version of Munch’s masterpiece, along with copies of around 400,000 other objects, in an Arctic coal mine for (very) long-term safekeeping.

Technology company Piql created the Arctic World Archive (AWA) in 2017 as “a safe repository for world memory” designed to last more than a millennium, according to the project’s website. The digital trove features the entirety of the museum’s collections, as well as offerings from other cultural organizations around the world.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today,” says director Karin Hindsbo in a statement translated by the Local. “We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us. By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries.”

Per the Art Newspaper’s Christian House, staff took photographs of the museum’s paintings, works of architecture and other artifacts, then transferred these images to specialized analog film. The medium is designed to keep works readable even as technologies change.

“The only thing you need to read the film is light,” Rolf Yngve Uggen, the museum’s director of collections management, tells the Art Newspaper.

In addition to The Scream, other works preserved in the archive include The Baldishol, a medieval Norwegian tapestry representing part of a calendar, and Harald Sohlberg’s 1914 painting Winter Night in the Mountains. Also featured is a ball dress that belonged to Queen Maud, who ascended to the throne with her husband, Haakon VII, in 1905.

AWA vault
The AWA vault is buried deep in an old mine.

(Arctic World Archive)

The dry, cold and low-oxygen air in the archive helps preserve the plastic film rolls on which the digital images are stored. Storing the images offline, in a remote location, also protects them against cyber attacks.

“It’s like being on another planet,” Uggen tells the Art Newspaper. “It’s like the final frontier.”

Located on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, east of Greenland, the archive now contains digital replicas of treasures from more than 15 countries. Among the organizations storing copies of artifacts in the AWA are the National Archives of Mexico, the Vatican Library, the European Space Agency and Brazilian multimedia archive the Museum of the Person. A number of corporations have also stored records in the digital repository.

The archive’s designers took into account potential threats from wars and natural disasters, as well as technological and societal changes. According to the AWA’s website, the “futureproof and technology independent” archiving technique is designed to withstand strong electromagnetic energy.

A similar safekeeping venture—the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened in 2008 to store samples of the world’s

Read more

What will be the next move of the competitors in ASEAN Smart Education and Learning Market

Pune, New York, USA, November 27 2020 (Wiredrelease) Research Dive :The world is facing an unpredicted change and many of the industries are facing tough situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak has a positive impact on the ASEAN smart education and learning market. ASEAN smart education and learning refers to the utilization of technology for training and educating people in the South East Asian Nations. This region has adopted a unique platform or technology and advanced methods to enhance their education industry. In addition, ASEAN region is constantly investing more money for development of advanced technology that aids the education and learning system. Moreover, smart education and learning technology has opened new opportunities and job for residents. Recent developments such as AI, VR, gamification, and learning analytics have improved smart education and learning by improving various aspects such as speech recognition, planning, and problem-solving capability. During this coronavirus crisis situation, we are helping our clients in understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the ASEAN smart education and learning market.

Our report includes:

Technological Impact Social Impact Investment Opportunity Analysis Pre- Post-COVID Market Scenario Infrastructure Analysis Supply Side Demand Side Impact

According to a new report published by Research Dive, the ASEAN smart education and learning market is projected to garner a revenue of $363.0 billion by the end of the forecast period.

Download Sample Report and know How Growing smartphone consumers, developing ICT sector and government initiatives are the major factors driving the market growth @

The ASEAN smart education and learning market is divided on the basis of delivery mode, end-user, and region. The report provides detailed information about drivers, opportunities, restraints, segmental analysis, and competitive players of the market. As per our analysts, rise in the number of smart phone consumers and developing ICT sectorhas increased the demand of the ASEAN smart education and learning market.

The Simulation-Based Delivery Model Segment is anticipated to rise with a Healthy CAGR till 2027

Based on the delivery mode, the ASEAN smart education and learning market is segmented into classroom-based, desktop or mobile based, and simulation based. Among these, the simulation based delivery model is anticipated to rise with a healthy CAGR and account for highest revenue in the forecast period. Technological advancements of simulation based delivery model and mounting adoption of this delivery model for teaching has enhanced the demand of his segment.

Check out How COVID-19 impact on the ASEAN Smart Education and Learning Market. Click here to Connect with Analyst @

The Language Training End-User is anticipated to observe Lucrative Growth in the Forecast Period

Based on the end-user, the ASEAN smart education and learning market is segmented into higher education, transnational education, TVET, language training, early childcare preschool, continual professional development, qualifications, and assessment standards. Among these, language training accounted for the maximum share in terms of revenue generation. Formation of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to promote the development of official language has enhanced the demand of the language training end-user.

Read more

Marcus Smart Praised The Incredible Story Of Ohio Star Jason Preston

The best story in college basketball comes by way of the Ohio Bobcats. Jason Preston, a junior guard for the team who stuffed the stat sheet last season, put forth quite the effort in the team’s narrow loss to eighth-ranked Illinois on Friday night. What drew him plenty of praise, though, was when the path he traveled to get to Athens was laid out on the broadcast.

As the story goes, Preston went through unfathomable personal hardship as a teenager, was so lightly-recruited of a high school basketball player that he was going to college as a student, showed out at an AAU tournament, and picked up a pair of scholarship offers after posting his highlight video to Twitter. You really need to hear the whole story to believe it, and even then, the whole thing is unbelievable.

It’s hard not to find this whole story amazing, and in the eyes of one NBA player, Preston’s path is quite admirable. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart praised Preston for having the kind of attitude that “will get you all you ever need.”

During the 2019-20 campaign, Preston did everything for the Bobcats, averaging 16.8 points, 7.4 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Against Illinois, he went for 31 with eight dimes and six boards as Ohio barely fell, 77-75.

Source Article

Read more

Georgia’s Smart, SC’s Bobo share roots, college, friendship | Sports

The Bulldogs used a strong passing attack to get by Mississippi State a week ago. JT Daniels’ 401 yards passing were the team’s first 400-plus yard game since Aaron Murray in 2013. It’s a good thing, too, for Georgia since the team’s typically relentless ground game was held to 8 yards on 23 carries last week.

South Carolina interim coach Mike Bobo sounded a little like a Bulldogs alumnus (he is) when discussing his team’s game with Georgia this week. “There’s more excitement in the air,” Bobo said. “Lot of history, there’s a lot of people I’ve known on the other side of the ball.”

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said that injured defensive tackle Jordan Davis is hopeful about returning to play South Carolina. The word is not as good on defensive back Richard LeCounte, out since a motorcycle accident after the team’s win over Kentucky on Oct. 31. Davis hurt his elbow that game, too. Smart said “Jordan has a chance and that is promising.”

One of South Carolina’s top playmakers in receiver Shi Smith is unlikely to play against the Bulldogs. Smith is third in the Southeastern Conference with 54 catches and 605 yards. He was hit hard in the first quarter and needed help getting up and to the sidelines. Interim coach Mike Bobo said Smith was in the concussion protocol and doubtful for Saturday.

Source Article

Read more