Month: December, 2017

Navy Pilot Was ‘Pretty Weirded Out’ by Encounter With Unidentified Object in 2004

The U.S. Department of Defense had a secret program to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects, and former Navy pilots in the program say they had a stunning encounter with a UFO in 2004.

The New York Times tells of the mission of Cmdr. David Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight, who were in training over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego at the time.

They got a strange call from a radio operator. The military had been tracking strange aircraft in the region for about two weeks, the operator said.

Sometimes, these flying objects made sudden maneuvers, dove tens of thousands of feet or even hovered, according to the reports.

Asked to investigate, Fravor and Slaight eventually spotted one. About 40 feet (12 meters) long, it was hovering 50 feet (15 m) above the ocean, the Times report says.

Fraser descended, the object ascended to meet him and then it veered suddenly.

It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen, he said an interview with the Times, adding that he was “pretty weirded out.” A few minutes later, the object disappeared, he said.

Fravor returned to his carrier ship, where people mocked him for what he saw, he told the Times.

His superiors didn’t look into the matter, and Fravor moved on to other things in his career, such as serving in the Persian Gulf as air support during the Iraq war.

Fravor’s account includes a video — one of several recorded as a part of the program. The video shows a small object skirting from side to side and circling in view of the camera.

The Times added that observers also underwent tests after their “encounters,” to see how the experience had affected them.

I can tell you, I think it was not from this world,” Fravor added in a separate interview with ABC News.

I’m not crazy, haven’t been drinking. It was — after 18 years of flying, I’ve seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close.”

The news comes amid news that the U.S. government has been searching for UFOs, in secret, since at least 2007.

While the Department of Defense says the program was shut down in 2012 due to a lack of funding, the Times further reported that this program is still active.

The program was called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program and had an annual budget of $22 million between 2008 and 2011.

This isn’t the first time that the government has looked into accounts of mysterious objects.

In 2016, the Central Intelligence Agency released many previously classified documents that talked about unusual incidents, most of which occurred in the 1950s.

While the scientific evidence for UFOs is inconclusive, many people still want to believe.

A 2012 survey said an estimated 80 million people in the U.S. believe in UFOs. Further, 1 in 10 respondents said they had seen UFOs for themselves.

In the Times interview, Fravor added that shortly after his encounter, he spoke with another pilot about what he saw.

He told the pilot he had no idea what it was. “It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s,” he told the Times, adding, “I want to fly one.”

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Scientists Find ‘Black Holes’ At Sea

They are impossible to see, but astronomers are convinced they exist.

Black holes are tears in the fabric of space-time that pull in everything that comes too close to them.

Nothing that gets sucked in can escape, not even light.

Now, scientists believe they have found features of these black holes here on Earth, in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Some of the largest ocean eddies in this region are mathematically equivalent to the mysterious black holes of space, according to researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Miami.

This means that they do the same thing with water that black holes do with light.

Scientists believe these ocean eddies could moderate the negative impact of melting sea ice in a warming climate.

But up until now they’ve been unable to quantify this impact because the exact boundaries of these swirling water bodies have remained a mystery.

George Haller, professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at ETH Zurich, and Francisco Beron-Vera, research Professor of Oceanography at the University of Miami, believe they have now solved this puzzle.

Using mathematical models, they isolated water-transporting eddies from a sequence of satellite observations.

They did this by detecting their rotating edges, which the scientists found were indicators of the whirlpool within.

To their surprise, these eddies turned out to be mathematically equivalent to black holes.

At a critical distance, a light beam no longer spirals into the black hole.

Instead, it dramatically bends and comes back to its original position, forming a circular orbit.

A barrier surface formed by closed light orbits is called a ‘photon sphere’ in Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The researchers discovered similar closed barriers around select ocean eddies.

In these barriers, fluid particles move around in closed loops – similar to the path of light in a photon sphere.

And as in a black hole, nothing can escape from the inside of these loops, not even water.

The researchers identified seven Agulhas Rings of the black-hole type, which transported the same body of water without leaking for almost a year.

Mathematicians have been trying to understand such peculiarly coherent vortices in turbulent flows for a very long time”, explained Haller.

Their results are expected to help in resolving a number of oceanic puzzles, ranging from climate-related questions to the spread of environmental pollution patterns.

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Could This Man Hold the Secret To Human Regeneration?

Modern medicine clutches at a number of dreams. Some, like developing an AIDS vaccine, can seem tantalizingly close.

Others, like curing cancer, have frustrated so many minds for so many years that we’ve learned to temper our expectations.

Then there’s regeneration.

A future in which humans regrow lost or diseased body parts feels like a mirage. But why? After all, many species can accomplish the task with ease.

A decapitated flatworm, for example, will grow a new head, replete with a new brain. For the first week of their lives, tadpoles can replace lost tails.

And the axolotl, or Mexican salamander, has the ability to regenerate everything from its limbs and tail to its spinal cord and skin, all without any evidence of scarring.

Even some mammals have limited regenerative abilities: every year, reindeer regrow their shredded antlers. And, in some circumstances, young rats that lose a leg can grow it back.

Humans have a sliver of regenerative capacity, too. If a child experiences a neat slice through the end of his fingertip, that tip will grow back — although the ability disappears sometime around the age of 12.

The Greek legend of Prometheus, the god who was cursed to have an eagle peck out his liver each day, only to grow it back overnight, actually contains a grain of physiological truth.

If you were to lose part of your liver, it would, in fact, repair itself. With the exception of our skin, it’s the only human organ that can do this.

Regenerating a small body part under special circumstances is one thing, but what if we could regrow entire lost limbs?

What if we could signal to our bodies to regrow damaged retinal tissue — or even to regrow an entire eye? Michael Levin doesn’t think this is an outlandish fantasy.

In fact, he thinks he may be on the path to figuring out how to do precisely that.

Levin is director of Tufts University’s Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Medford, near Boston.

He’s a 43-year-old Russian émigré who looks like a geeked-out Gen Xer: His smooth hair is parted far to the side; a neat geometric beard frames his face; and he’s most comfortable in a college uniform of T-shirts over long sleeves.

Levin thinks that the key to regeneration — the key to pattern, to shape — may be found in the electrical signals that are transmitted among all our cells, much like the ones and zeros that zip around in a computer’s hard drive.

Manipulating these signals has already allowed Levin to produce results more suited to an X-Men comic than a scientific journal, including the creation of four-headed flatworms.

Over the course of the next year, he will begin experiments that could make human regeneration a reality.

Levin’s work is little known, perhaps because so many scientists believe that the key to human regeneration — if such a thing exists — lies in studies of genetics and stem cells.

Such studies have produced incredible results: a patient’s windpipe, repaired in a lab; a segment of functional bladder, fashioned on an artificial lattice.

These achievements offer the hope that a patient will one day be able to grow a new organ from her own cells, instead of waiting for someone else misfortune to be her good luck.

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Exercise For Preventing Falls In Older People Living In The Community

Falls can happen to anyone, but, unfortunately, as you grow older falls can become more common and you are more likely to injure yourself.

Most elderly people fall in and around the home. Falls are also common in aged care homes. If you have a serious injury it can lead to a change in where you live.

The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to help prevent falls and minimize your injuries if you do fall. Knowing your risk factors and taking a few precautions is a good start.

Exercise is a physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive and aims to improve or maintain physical fitness.

There is a wide range of possible types of exercise such as strengthening exercise, balance and co-ordination exercise and aerobic exercise.

Exercise programs often include one or more types of exercise. The Prevention of Falls Network Europe, balance, and functional strength/resistance, three-dimensional exercise and general physical activity.

Formal exercise programs are delivered by a wide range of individuals ranging from health professionals and exercise professionals to trained volunteers.

Exercise programs may be supervised, unsupervised or involve a mixture of both.

This review will consider all types of exercise and all delivery methods.

Exercise can also be delivered as part of a multiple component intervention, where people also receive one or more other fall or fracture prevention intervention, such as home-hazard modification and vitamin D supplementation.

If you’ve had a fall, or you often feel like you’re at risk of falling, don’t just dismiss it as part of getting older, lack of concentration or clumsiness. Talk to a health professional and ask about different options that may help you.

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Water On Mars: Exploration & Evidence

Liquid water may still flow on Mars, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to spot. The search for water on the Red Planet has taken more than 15 years to turn up definitive signs that liquid flows on the surface today.

In the past, however, rivers and oceans may have covered the land. Where did all of the liquid water go?

Why? How much of it still remains?

Liquid water appears to flow from some steep, relatively warm slopes on the Martian surface.

Features known as recurring slope lineae (RSL) were first identified in 2011in images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The dark streaks, which appear seasonally, were confirmed to be signs of salty water running on the surface of the planet.

If this is correct, then RSL on Mars may represent the surface expression of a far more significant ongoing drainage system on steep slopes in the mid-latitudes,” a research team member said.

In 2015, spectral analysis of RSL led scientists to conclude they are caused by salty liquid water.

When Mariner 9 became the first craft to orbit another planet in 1971, the photographs it returned of dry river beds and canyons seemed to indicate that water had once existed on the Martian surface.

Images from the Viking orbiters only strengthened the idea that many of the landforms may have been created by running water.

Data from the Viking landers pointed to the presence of water beneath the surface, but the experiments were deemed inconclusive.

The early ’90s kicked off a slew of Mars missions. Scientists were flooded with a wealth of information about Mars.

Three NASA orbiters and one sent by the European Space Agency studied the planet from above, mapping the surface and analyzing the minerals below.

Some detected the presence of minerals, indicating the presence of water. Other data measured enough subsurface ice to fill Lake Michigan twice.

They found evidence for the presence of hot springs on the surface and sustained precipitation at some areas. And they found patches of ice within some of the deeper craters.

Impact craters offer a view of the interior of the red planet.

Using the ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists were able to study rocks ejected from the planet’s interior, finding minerals that suggested the presence of water.

Curiosity has found yet more evidence of water flowing on ancient Mars.

The 1-ton rover rolled through an ancient stream bed shortly after touching down in August 2012, and it has examined a number of rocks that were exposed to liquid water billions of years ago.

Mars missions aren’t the only way to search for water on Mars. Scientists studying rocks ejected from the Red Planet found signs that water lay beneath the surface in the past.

While robotic missions to Mars continue to shed light on the planet’s history, the only samples from Mars available for study on Earth are Martian meteorites,” lead author Lauren White, of the JPL, said in a statement.

On Earth, we can utilize multiple analytical techniques to take a more in-depth look at meteorites and shed light on the history of Mars.

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NASA To Send Probe To Titan Or A Comet By 2025

NASA has picked two concepts for a solar system mission planned to launch in the mid-2020s — a comet sample return mission and a drone-like rotor-craft that would explore potential landing sites on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Which of these two mission will finally make it will be known only in 2019.

Both missions will receive funding through the end of 2018 to further develop and mature their concepts.

NASA plans to select one of these investigations in the spring of 2019 to continue on to subsequent mission phases,” the US space agency said on Wednesday.

These are tantalising investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) mission seeks to return a sample from 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a comet that was successfully explored by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, to determine its origin and history.

The other selected mission, Dragonfly, is a drone-like rotorcraft that would explore the prebiotic chemistry and habitability of dozens of sites on Saturn’s moon Titan, an ocean world in our solar system.

NASA announced the concepts following an extensive and competitive peer review process.

The concepts were chosen from 12 proposals submitted in April under a New Frontiers programme announcement of opportunity.

The selected mission will be the fourth in NASA’s New Frontiers portfolio, a series of principal investigator-led planetary science investigations that fall under a development cost cap of approximately $850 million, NASA said.

Its predecessors are the New Horizons mission to Pluto and a Kuiper Belt object known as 2014 MU69, the Juno mission to Jupiter, and OSIRIS-REx, which will rendezvous with and return a sample of the asteroid Bennu.

NASA also announced the selection of two mission concepts that will receive technology development funds to prepare them for future mission competitions.

The concepts selected for technology development are – Enceladus Life Signatures and Habitability (ELSAH) and Venus In situ Composition Investigations (VICI)

The ELSAH mission concept will receive funds to develop cost-effective techniques that limit spacecraft contamination and thereby enable life detection measurements on cost-capped missions.

The VICI mission concept will further develop the Venus Element and Mineralogy Camera to operate under the harsh conditions on Venus.

The instrument uses lasers on a lander to measure the mineralogy and elemental composition of rocks on the surface of Venus.

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How SpaceX’s 2018 Moon Flight Will Work

Nearly 45 years after NASA astronauts last embarked on a lunar mission, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced his company’s plans to send two private citizens on a flight around the moon in 2018.

The weeklong trip will look a lot like NASA’s historic Apollo 8 mission, the first and only purely circumlunar, crewed mission in history.

Sut SpaceX’s mission will fly with two crewmembers instead of three, and will use a fresh new spacecraft and launch vehicle.

SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft to the moon. The rocket and crew capsule have not flown on any missions yet.

But the Falcon Heavy is slated to blast off for its first test launch this summer, and the Dragon 2 will make its first test flight in November.

The Falcon Heavy is a variation of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which was made to carry the uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to and from the International Space Station.

With two extra boosters strapped to its sides, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to blast off since NASA’s Saturn rockets, which were retired in the early 1970s.

Musk said the crewed Dragon spacecraft “would skim the surface of the moon” before heading “further out into deep space.” The spacecraft won’t literally touch the lunar surface, though.

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Into The Minds Of Those Who Can Literally See Time

Synaesthesia can be broadly understood as a jumbling-up of the senses.

Seeing a certain color when you hear a certain sound or feeling a sensation on your own body after seeing it happen to somebody else but sometimes, it gets a little more nitty-gritty than that.

Take, for example, grapheme-color synaesthesia, one of the most common types, in which letters and numerals are imagined in their own consistent hues (for instance, “A” is always red, or “4” is always yellow).

Or tactile-emotional synaesthesia, in which running your fingers over a given texture, like denim, can be enough to trigger a strong feeling of joy or disgust.

Or the case of two “calendar synaesthetes,” recently published in the journal Neurocase.

When asked to visualize a calendar, the patients, a pair of women identified as ML and EA, literally saw it laid out in front of them, as if in physical form.

ML’s was arranged in a V-shape, with the months written out in a specific font along the two lines.

EA’s was like a hula-hoop in front of her chest, with December passing through her body no matter what the actual time of year.

To ensure that what the patients were seeing was different than ordinary mind’s-eye visualization, the paper’s authors ran a series of visual tests.

In one, for instance, they asked ML to recite the months in reverse order, skipping over two out of every three.

The task took her less than two seconds per month, compared with roughly four and a half seconds per month for the control group, suggesting that she really was “reading” them off some invisible chart rather than counting backward in her head.

The study authors, who called their paper the first “clear unambiguous proof for the veracity and true perceptual nature” of calendar synaesthesia, estimated that the phenomenon affects roughly 1 percent of the population.

But its existence, they argued, has implications for the more universal question of how our brains make sense of time.

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No Metal Plates Needed: A New 3D-Printed Ceramic Implant Mends Broken Legs

Most people in the 3D printing community will have heard about the many and exciting new medical applications of 3D printing technology that have been implemented recently.

Heard about the curious case of the Chinese man who had part of his skull repaired with a 3D printed mesh?

But now a team of Australian scientists from the University of Sydney are taking 3D printing to a whole new level of medical usefulness.

For the past few years this team, led by professor Hala Zreiqat, have been working on a 3D printed substitute for bones, whose exact characteristics have so far been impossible to reproduce synthetically.

Bone is hard to replicate. As she explained at a recent TEDx in Sydney.

This has been a dilemma faced every synthetic material in the market.

While metal implants and small quantities of synthetic material have been used to mimic bone structure, none of these are capable of replacing large sections of bone.

As professor Zreiqat said, “if you have a defect in your leg, and you put a material in there, it will actually crush because it’s so brittle.”

“So we decided to look at the bone and ask ‘what can we learn from our skeleton?

By studying from the properties of the skeleton, such as collagen and calcium, Professor Zreiqat and her research team have developed a new ceramic material that copies all the structural and functional aspects of human bones.

Its strength and porosity are very similar to natural bone. This means it is strong enough to withstand the pressure of use, but porous enough to allow blood and cells to pass through it.

In addition, it will even be capable of encouraging the regeneration of new bone cells in the correct position.

Because the ceramic is bioactive and contains seed cells, the ceramic resembling natural bone can eventually be replaced by natural bone in the body.

This synthetic material, with all its unique properties, is produced using 3D printing technology.

It enables researchers to develop a 3D scaffold with the correct shape and size needed for implanting.

Professor Zreiqat and her team is currently working on experiments for maxillofacial regeneration, which is very difficult to regenerate compared to the repairing of smaller defects.

This bone-like material will really have the potential to positively affect the quality of life of millions of people.

At a recent Tissue Engineering Symposium, professor Zreiqat expressed the hope of seeing “it in use clinically within the next 10 years.

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People With Egg Allergies Shouldn’t Worry About The Flu Shot

If you’re allergic to eggs, you’re all clear to get a flu shot this year, according to new guidelines published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Most live influenza vaccines contain trace amounts of egg protein, because of the way they’re manufactured.

In the past, most of the relatively few people who suffer from egg allergies—roughly 1% of children and 0.2% of adults, according to the CDC—could get a shot, but were encouraged to take a few extra precautions.

That’s no longer necessary, the guidelines say.

The updated practice parameters are based on dozens of studies that suggest the tiny amounts of egg protein found in a flu shot are not enough to trigger a dangerous reaction, even in people with a severe allergy.

People do not need to see an allergist before getting a flu shot, seek out egg-free formulas or submit to longer-than-normal observation periods after vaccination, the guidelines say.

Doctors don’t even need to ask about an egg allergy before giving the injection, the paper adds.

Last year, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both relaxed their flu shot guidelines for patients with egg allergies.

The CDC now recommends that nearly all Americans older than six months get a flu shot, with an emphasis on young children, elderly adults and those with chronic illnesses.

Vaccines are ideally administered before flu season begins in October, but you can get one at any point during the virus’ circulation to reduce your risk of transmission.

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