Takaaki Kajita

Takaaki Kajita (梶田 隆章 Kajita Takaaki?, born 9 March 1959) is a Japanese physicist, known for neutrino experiments at the Kamiokande and its successor, Super-Kamiokande. In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Canadian physicist Arthur B. McDonald.

Career

Kajita studied at the Saitama University and graduated in 1981. He received his doctorate in 1986 at the University of Tokyo. Since 1988 he has been at the Institute for Cosmic Radiation Research, University of Tokyo, where he became an assistant professor in 1992 and professor in 1999.

He became director of the Center for Cosmic Neutrinos at the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR) in 1999. As of 2015, he is at the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Tokyo and Director of ICRR.

In 1998, Kajita’s team at the Super-Kamiokande found that when cosmic rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere, the resulting neutrinos switched between two flavours before they reached the detector under Mt. Kamioka.This discovery helped prove the existence of neutrino oscillation and that neutrinos have mass. In 2015, Kajita’s shared the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Canadian physicist Arthur McDonald, whose Sudbury Neutrino Observatory discovered similar results. Kajita and McDonald’s work solved the longstanding Solar neutrino problem, which was a major discrepancy between the predicted and measured Solar neutrino fluxes, and indicated that the Standard Model, which required neutrinos to be massless, had weaknesses. In a news conference at the University of Tokyo, shortly after the Nobel announcement, Kajita said, “I want to thank the neutrinos, of course. And since neutrinos are created by cosmic rays, I want to thank them, too.”

One of the first people Kajita called after receiving the Nobel Prize was 2002 Nobel physics winner Masatoshi Koshiba, his former mentor and a fellow neutrino researcher.

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Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Jesús Sánchez García

Dulce Sáez Martínez

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Apple “owns the force”

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What do Apple and Star Wars have in common? A company called Faceshift. Apple has now confirmed that it acquired a company that worked on the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

Apple bought the Swiss real-time motion capture startup for an undisclosed amount of money, according to TechCrunch.

Unconfirmed reports earlier this year said that Apple planned to buy Faceshift, but Apple did not confirm the purchase and there was no evidence that money changed hands. But the tech site says it was able to confirm the deal from further sources, discovering “conclusive links between the companies.”

When asked to comment on the matter, Apple confirmed it did purchase the startup, which developed technology to create animated avatars and other figures that capture a person’s facial expressions in real time. But Apple did not explain why it did so. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple said, offering the same generic response it usually hands out for similar acquisitions.

Faceshift will be working for Apple out of Europe, TechCrunch said, though it’s not clear what Apple wants to do with the firm’s technology.

The Swiss company’s facial motion capture technology was used to animate non-human characters in Star Wars Episode VII, which is set to premiere on December 18th. In other words, big names in entertainment have already found ways to put this particular tech to good use, and Apple might also use it for movies and gaming products.

Apple has patents and assets that cover motion capture, facial recognition and augmented reality, TechCrunch adds, partly obtained via similar purchases – Apple acquired three similar European companies in the past, including PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio.

Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Jesús Sánchez García

Dulce María Saéz Martínez

Lizards will change their sexes

Arthur Georges

When some lizards can’t take the heat, they change sexes. In a recent study published in Nature, researchers in Australia revealed that rising temperatures are causing male Australian Bearded Dragons to change into females when developing in the egg. Not only that, but they make better mothers, laying more eggs than naturally born females.

Prior to this discovery, it was believed that some reptiles, such as crocodiles and certain types of lizards and turtles have temperature-dependant sex determination (TSD), while others, like some lizards and turtles, and all snakes, have genotypic sex determination (GSD).

“TSD species were thought to be particularly vulnerable to climate change and GSD species secure,” study co-author Arthur Georges of the University of Canberra told Foxnews.com. “I suppose what our work means is that, firstly, TSD and GSD are not that far apart mechanistically or in evolutionary terms, which is contrary to mainstream thinking. Secondly, it means that even GSD species can be vulnerable to climate change because higher temperatures can make them switch to TSD.”

Bearded dragons typically inherit two sex chromosomes — ZZ for the males and ZW for the females. After bringing in 131 specimens from the wild, George and Dr. Clare Holleley conducted controlled breeding experiments using a variety of cutting edge techniques, including comparative genome hybridization to demonstrate sex reversal. They also used a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library.

“We used a bacterial artificial chromosome library to generate and verify sex specific sequence and probes that were important to determine the underlying sex of individuals,” Georges said. “A BAC library is constructed by cutting up the dragon DNA, the whole genome, and inserting the fragments into bacterial colonies, one fragment per colony, so you can pull particular dragon sequence out at will.”

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Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Dulce María Sáez Martínez

Jesús Sánchez García

Earth surrounded by “hairs”.

Clearly, facial hair really is extremely popular at the moment. New research suggests that even the solar system may be ‘hairier’ than originally thought.

A new study by Gary Prézeau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. proposes the existence of long filaments of dark matter, or “hairs.” Prézeau’s study is publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal.

“Dark matter is an invisible, mysterious substance that makes up about 27 percent of all matter and energy in the universe,” explained NASA, in a statement. “The regular matter, which makes up everything we can see around us, is only 5 percent of the universe. The rest is dark energy, a strange phenomenon associated with the acceleration of our expanding universe.”

NASA added that neither dark matter nor dark energy has ever been directly detected, although a number of experiments are trying to unlock the mysteries of dark matter, whether from deep underground or in space.

“Based on many observations of its gravitational pull in action, scientists are certain that dark matter exists, and have measured how much of it there is in the universe to an accuracy of better than one percent,” explained NASA. “The leading theory is that dark matter is ‘cold,’ meaning it doesn’t move around much, and it is ‘dark’ insofar as it doesn’t produce or interact with light.”

The space agency added that galaxies, which contain stars made of ordinary matter, form because of fluctuations in the density of dark matter. Gravity, it noted, acts as the glue that holds both the ordinary and dark matter together in galaxies.

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Jesús Sánchez García

Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Dulce María Sáez Martínez

The future ring of Mars

With Mars’ largest moon Phobos expected to eventually breakup, scientists have wondered whether it would crash into the Red Planet or do something else.

Now, a team from UC Berkeley is predicting that Phobos would be shredded into pieces before it reaches Mars, a process that would result in a ring of debris encircling the planet as is the case with Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

“If the moon broke apart at 1.2 Mars radii, about 680 kilometers above the surface, it would form a really narrow ring comparable in density to that of one of Saturn’s most massive rings,” Tushar Mittal, who co-authored a paper in Nature Geoscience on the moon with Benjamin Black, said. “Over time it would spread out and get wider, reaching the top of the Martian atmosphere in a few million years, when it would start losing material because stuff would keep raining down on Mars.”

Mittal said it’s not clear whether the dust and debris rings would be visible from Earth, since dust does not reflect much sunlight, whereas ice in the rings of the outer planets makes them easily visible. But Mars’ ring may reflect enough light to make Mars slightly brighter as seen from Earth and the rings might look like shadows when viewed through a telescope from Earth.

“Standing on the surface of Mars a few tens of millions of years from now, it would be pretty spectacular to watch,” Black said.

Related: Solar winds blamed for turning Mars into cold, barren place

The process – which won’t happen for some 20 to 40 million years – is driven by tidal forces that will eventually pull Phobos apart as it approaches Mars.

Just as Earth’s moon pulls on our planet in different directions, rising tides in the oceans, for example, so too Mars tugs differently on different parts of Phobos. As Phobos gets closer to the planet, the tugs are enough to actually pull the moon apart, the scientists say. This is because Phobos is highly fractured, with lots of pores and rubble.https://i0.wp.com/a57.foxnews.com/images.foxnews.com/content/fox-news/science/2015/11/25/mars-may-one-day-get-ring-its-own/_jcr_content/par/featured-media/media-0.img.jpg/876/493/1448478706020.jpg

Jesús Sánchez García

Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Dulce María Saéz Martinez

Satellite image reveals extent of thick smoke

Photo: Smoke from slash and burn fires set by Indonesian farmers blanketing the island of Borneo. (NASA/Aqua/MODIS)
Map: Indonesia

Heavy smoke from peat fires are continuing to blanket Borneo and many surrounding regions across Indonesia, as shown in the image taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite.

The red dots indicate hot spots where the satellite’s sensors have detected unusually warm surface temperatures caused by existing fires.

Small cumulus clouds are also visible along Borneo’s southern coast.

The fires were started by farmers engaged in slash and burn agriculture, a technique that involves burning of virgin rainforest to clear the way for commercial crops such as oil palm and acacia pulp plantations.

The 2015 burning season which began in September, is one of the most severe in the last two decades, with thick gray smoke triggering air quality alerts and health warnings across Indonesia and neighbouring countries.

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Many of the fires burn through areas containing soils underlain with peat, a mixture of partly decayed plant material formed in wetlands.

Peat fires are difficult to extinguish, often smouldering under the surface for months, releasing unusually large amounts of pollutants including three times as much carbon monoxide and ten times as much methane as savannah fires.

The fires in Indonesia have already emitted an estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, which is around four times the total average annual emissions of Australia.

This image was captured on October 19 from an altitude of about 700 kilometres by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

Jesús Sánchez García

Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Dulce Mª Sáez Martínez

Drinking coffee at night

Drinking a double espresso at night may not only keep you awake longer, but could also push you into a whole new time zone, new research suggests.

Night-time caffeine intake delays our body clock by about 40 minutes, suggests a study published in today’s issue of Science Translational Medicine. “Everyone knows caffeine promotes wakefulness and disturbed sleep,” lead author Professor Kenneth P Wright Jr of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at University of Colorado Boulder said. “But there’s another way that caffeine is affecting our physiology that we really hadn’t considered before.” It is well known that caffeine stimulates brain chemicals that keep us awake and blocks those that promote sleep. But previous research in animals has suggested caffeine may also interact with our circadian clock — which affects not just our brain, but the rest of our body, including liver, fat and muscle cells. When we are not in sync with our body clock, we feel sleepy and our body is not primed for eating or being physically active.

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Our personal opinion its that if this new will be confirmed, we could drink coffe may push back our body clock and give to us jetlag.

Pablo Dorador Ontiveros

Jesus Sánchez García

Dulce Nombre De María Sáez Martínez