Lighting can be rather fascinating and if you ever witness something got struck by lighting in real life you know that nature can also be really badass. And how awesome would it be if you could capture lightning not just on photo but also within a sculpture?
Lichtenberg Figures can capture a lighting bolt in a glass box forever.
Lichtenberg Figures can be created within solid insulating materials, such as acrylic or glass by injecting them with a beam of high speed electrons from a linear electron beam accelerator. Inside the accelerator, electrons are focused and accelerated to form a beam of high speed particles. Electrons emerging from the accelerator have energies up to 10MeV and are moving an appreciable fraction (95 – 99+ percent) of the speed of light (relativistic velocities).
If the electron beam is aimed towards an acrylic specimen, the electrons easily penetrate the surface of the acrylic, rapidly slowing down as they collide with molecules inside the plastic.
And as you can see it’s like you’re trapping a lightning bolt in a glass box forever. The awesome result is that you now have a force of nature on display.
This image shows that reprogrammed human neurons grown on 3-D scaffolds (within the white dash line) and then transplanted onto brain tissue (red) extended out (yellow lines) and integrated. Credit: Neal K. Bennett, Moghe Laboratory, Rutgers Biomedical Engineering.
Scientists at Rutgers and Stanford universities have created a new technology that could someday help treat Parkinson’s disease and other devastating brain-related conditions that affect millions of people.
The technology – a major innovation – involves converting adult tissue-derived stem cells into human neurons on 3-D “scaffolds,” or tiny islands, of fibers, said Prabhas V. Moghe, a distinguished professor in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University.
The scaffolds, loaded with healthy, beneficial neurons that can replace diseased cells, were injected into mouse brains.
“If you can transplant cells in a way that mimics how these cells are already configured in the brain, then you’re one step closer to getting the brain to communicate with the cells that you’re now transplanting,” said Moghe, research director for the School of Engineering/Health Sciences Partnerships at Rutgers. “In this work, we’ve done that by providing cues for neurons to rapidly network in 3-D.”
In their multidisciplinary study, published online today in Nature Communications, a dozen scientists from several Rutgers teams and Stanford discuss the 3-D scaffolds and their potentially widespread benefits.
Neurons, or nerve cells, are critical for human health and functioning. Human brains have about 100 billion neurons, which serve as messengers that transmit signals from the body to the brain and vice versa.
Moghe said a 3-D scaffold, developed by the scientists, consists of tiny polymer fibers. Hundreds of neurons attach to the fibers and branch out, sending their signals. Scaffolds are about 100 micrometers wide – roughly the width of a human hair.
“We take a whole bunch of these islands and then we inject them into the brain of the mouse,” he said. “These neurons that are transplanted into the brain actually survived quite miraculously well. In fact, they survived so much better than the gold standard in the field.”
Indeed, the scaffold technology results in a 100-fold increase in cell survival over other methods, Moghe said.
And that may eventually help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and concussions, he said.
These diseases and conditions often arise from the loss of brain cells. Parkinson’s disease, for example, is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a key neurotransmitter. Brain cell loss can lead to trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The next step would be to further improve the scaffold biomaterials, allowing scientists to increase the number of implanted neurons in the brain. “The more neurons we can transplant, the more therapeutic benefits you can bring to the disease,” Moghe said. “We want to try to stuff as many neurons as we can in as little space as we can.”
The idea is to “create a very dense circuitry of neurons that is not only highly functioning but also better controlled,” he said, adding that testing of mice with Parkinson’s disease is underway to see if they improve or recover from the illness.
Eventually, with continued progress, the researchers could perform studies in people. Moghe estimated that it would take 10 to 20 years to test the technology in humans.
Developing the scaffold technology and reprogramming the stem cells in the scaffolds was “very hard team work,” he said. “It took many years to get here, so there was a lot of sweat and toil.”
After nearly 20 years, scientists have finished their survey of an area of deep coral reefs in the Hawaiian Archipelago and what they have found is really amazing.
Down past the shallow reefs surrounding the islands, researchers discovered the largest known continuous coral reef system on Earth measuring more than three square miles with some areas showing 100 percent coral cover. The system contains more than twice the number of distinct species that can be found on shallow Hawaiian reefs, and in one spot, nearly every single species they found was unique to that region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Kure Atoll, the northernmost reef in the Hawaiian archipelago, hosts mesophotic reefs with the most species unique to a specific location found in any marine ecosystem on Earth. NOAA and Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory
In recent years, there has been a greater effort to document coral reef ecosystems at depths of 100 feet to more than 500 feet, now referred to as Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs), or “the twilight zone.” Those efforts from a team of geologists, biologists and botanists were revealed Tuesday in the journal, PeerJ.
“What is unique about this study is how vast and dense the coral cover is,” lead researcher Richard Pyle from Bishop Museum in Honolulu told the Associated Press. “Although there was a bit of a hint that corals could survive … down at those depths, these reefs off Maui were far and away much more dramatic both because they were deeper and they had a higher coral cover percentage.”
Mesophotic coral ecosystems, such as this one found at 230 feet in Maui’s ‘Au’au Channel, are populated with many of the same fish species found on shallow reefs. NOAA and Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory
Expeditions to discover and investigate MCEs were challenging in the past because they are too deep to reach using traditional scuba gear, and too shallow to justify the cost—between $30,000 to $40,000 a day—for most deep-diving remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and submersibles.
However, NOAA said advances in undersea technologies in the past decade now make it possible to investigate these ecosystems.
In this study, scientists used a rebreather, which recycles the helium that’s mixed in with a scuba tank’s oxygen. With this system, divers can manage to stay submerged for seven hours, which is necessary when you have to ascend slowly to avoid the bends, Wired reported. They also used NOAA-funded submersibles that carried extra tanks and helped illuminate the area.
Much of what researchers know about coral reef ecosystems comes from those in shallow water, and what they’ve seen up until this point is discouraging. Overfishing, pollution, coastal development and climate change have threatened coral reef ecosystems worldwide, which are being obliterated due to bleaching.
Scientists now hope that increased knowledge of MCEs will help characterise the health of coral reefs in general, particularly in the face of increasing stress.
“With coral reefs facing a myriad of threats, these findings are important for understanding, managing and protecting coral reef habitat and the organisms that live on them,” Kimberly Puglise, an oceanographer with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, said. “Some species studied can live in both shallow and mesophotic reefs, and the species could potentially replenish each other if one population is overexploited.”
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body (1).
Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D actually functions like a hormone and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
It’s also found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, although it’s very difficult to get enough from diet alone. The recommended daily intake is usually around 400-800 IU, but many experts say you should get even more than that.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood (2).
According to a 2011 study, 41.6 percent of adults in the U.S. are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2 percent in Hispanics and 82.1 percent in African-Americans (3).
These are common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
Having dark skin.
Being overweight or obese.
Not eating much fish or milk.
Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round.
Always using sunscreen when going out.
People who live near the equator and get frequent sun exposure are less likely to be deficient, because their skin produces enough vitamin D to satisfy the body’s needs.
Most people don’t realize that they are deficient, because the symptoms are generally subtle. You may not notice them easily, even if they are having a significant negative effect on your quality of life.
Here are eight signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
1. Getting Sick or Infected Often
One of vitamin D’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness.
It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection (4).
If you become sick often, especially with colds or the flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.
Several large observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia (5, 6).
A number of studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements at dosages of up to 4,000 IU daily may reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections (7, 8, 9).
In one study of people with the chronic lung disorder COPD, only those who were severely deficient in vitamin D experienced a significant benefit after taking a high-dose supplement for one year (10).
Bottom Line: Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. One of the most common symptoms of deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections.
2. Fatigue and Tiredness
Feeling tired can have many causes and vitamin D deficiency may be one of them.
Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked as a potential cause.
Case studies have shown that very low blood levels can cause fatigue that has a severe negative effect on quality of life (11, 12).
In one case, a woman who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches was found to have a blood level of only 5.9 ng/ml. This is extremely low, as anything under 20 ng/ml is considered to be deficient.
When the woman took a vitamin D supplement, her level increased to 39 ng/ml and her symptoms resolved (12).
However, even blood levels that aren’t extremely low may have a negative impact on energy levels.
A large observational study looked at the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women.
The study found that women with blood levels under 20 ng/ml or 21–29 ng/ml were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels over 30 ng/ml (13).
Another observational study of female nurses found a strong connection between low vitamin D levels and self-reported fatigue.
What’s more, the researchers found that 89 percent of the nurses were deficient (14).
Bottom Line: Excessive fatigue and tiredness may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Taking supplements may help improve energy levels.
3. Bone and Back Pain
Vitamin D is involved in maintaining bone health through a number of mechanisms.
For one, it improves your body’s absorption of calcium.
Bone pain and lower back pain may be signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood.
Large observational studies have found a relationship between a deficiency and chronic lower back pain (15, 16, 17).
One study examined the association between vitamin D levels and back pain in more than 9,000 older women.
The researchers found that those with a deficiency were more likely to have back pain, including severe back pain that limited their daily activities (17).
In one controlled study, people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range (18).
Bottom Line: Low blood levels of the vitamin may be a cause or contributing factor to bone pain and lower back pain.
A depressed mood may also be a sign of deficiency.
In review studies, researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, particularly in older adults (19, 20).
In one analysis, 65 percent of the observational studies found a relationship between low blood levels and depression.
On the other hand, most of the controlled trials, which carry more scientific weight than observational studies, didn’t show a link between the two (19).
However, the researchers who analyzed the studies noted that the dosages of vitamin D in controlled studies were often very low.
In addition, they noted that some of the studies may not have lasted long enough to see the effect of taking supplements on mood.
Some controlled studies have shown that giving vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve depression, including seasonal depression that occurs during the colder months (21, 22).
Bottom Line: Depression is associated with low vitamin D levels and some studies have found that supplementing improves mood.
5. Impaired Wound Healing
Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury may be a sign that vitamin D levels are too low.
Results from a test-tube study suggest that the vitamin increases production of compounds that are crucial for forming new skin as part of the wound-healing process (23).
One study on patients who had dental surgery found that certain aspects of healing were compromised by vitamin D deficiency (24).
It’s also been suggested that vitamin D’s role in controlling inflammation and fighting infection is important for proper healing.
One analysis looked at patients with diabetic foot infections.
It found that those with severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory markers that can jeopardize healing (25).
Unfortunately, at this point there is very little research about the effects of vitamin D supplements on wound healing in people with deficiency.
However, one study found that when vitamin D deficient patients with leg ulcers were treated with the vitamin, ulcer size reduced by 28 percent, on average (26).
Bottom Line: Inadequate vitamin D levels may lead to poor wound healing following surgery, injury or infection.
6. Bone Loss
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism.
Many older women who are diagnosed with bone loss believe they need to take more calcium. However, they may be deficient in vitamin D as well.
Low bone mineral density is an indication that calcium and other minerals have been lost from bone. This places older people, especially women, at an increased risk of fractures.
In a large observational study of more than 1,100 middle-aged women in menopause or postmenopause, researchers found a strong link between low vitamin D levels and low bone mineral density (27).
However, a controlled study found that women who were vitamin D deficient experienced no improvement in bone mineral density when they took high-dose supplements, even if their blood levels improved (28).
Regardless of these findings, adequate vitamin D intake and maintaining blood levels within the optimal range may be a good strategy for protecting bone mass and reducing fracture risk.
Bottom Line: A diagnosis of low bone mineral density may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Getting enough of this vitamin is important for preserving bone mass as you get older.
7. Hair Loss
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, which is certainly a common cause.
Hair loss in women has been linked to low vitamin D levels, although there is very little research on this so far (29).
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body. It’s associated with rickets, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency (30).
Low vitamin D levels are linked to alopecia areata and may be a risk factor for developing the disease (31, 32, 33).
One study in people with alopecia areata showed that lower blood levels tended to be associated with a more severe hair loss (33).
In a case study, topical application of a synthetic form of the vitamin was found to successfully treat hair loss in a young boy with a defect in the vitamin D receptor (34).
Bottom Line: Hair loss may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency in female-pattern hair loss or the autoimmune condition alopecia areata.
8. Muscle Pain
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to pinpoint.
There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults (35, 36, 37).
In one study, 71 percent of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient (37).
The vitamin D receptor is present in nerve cells called nociceptors, which sense pain.
One study in rats showed that a deficiency led to pain and sensitivity due to stimulation of nociceptors in muscles (38).
A few studies have found that taking high-dose vitamin D supplements may reduce various types of pain in people who are deficient (39, 40).
One study in 120 children with vitamin D deficiency who had growing pains found that a single dose of the vitamin reduced pain scores by an average of 57 percent (40).
Bottom Line: There is a link between chronic pain and low blood levels of the vitamin, which may be due to the interaction between the vitamin and pain-sensing nerve cells.
Correcting a Vitamin D Deficiency is Simple
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and most people are unaware of it.
That’s because the symptoms are often subtle and non-specific, meaning that it’s hard to know if they’re caused by low vitamin D levels or something else.
If you think you may have a deficiency, then it’s important that you speak to your doctor and get your blood levels measured.
Fortunately, a vitamin D deficiency is usually easy to fix. You can either increase your sun exposure, eat more vitamin D rich foods or simply take a supplement.
Fixing your deficiency is simple, easy and can have big benefits for your health.
Elon Musk’s grand vision of a Hyperloop system that can transport people and cargo through high-speed vacuum tubes is coming to life in the United Arab Emirates.
The near-supersonic railway would connect the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi with Dubai, the area’s most populous city, in only 12 short minutes. This journey normally requires about two hours of travel by car or train.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority announced their new partnership Tuesday atop Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
“We are here today to sign a historic agreement with our partners from (the Dubai) Road and Transport Authority … and we begin to evaluate the delivery of the world’s first hyperloop system across the country,” Hyperloop One CEO, Rob Lloyd, told reporters.
The Roads and Transport Authority and Hyperloop One have agreed to develop a prototype of the hyperloop and the feasibility of building a hyperloop system that can link the two cities.
Hyperloop One’s vision consists of combining autonomous vehicles with Hyperloop technology, according to a company press release:
“Individuals can commute for limited distances within the city in small self-driving vehicles. These vehicles can then board the Hyperloop train to travel for longer distances—including between cities—with speeds that can reach 1,200 kilometers per hour, exceeding aircraft speed. Hyperloop stations will be spread all around the city, providing easy and convenient access. This would effectively reduce travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to less than 12 minutes, and between Dubai and Riyadh to less than 48 minutes.
“The new technology is set to have positive implications on urban planning; it will economize parking spaces as it changes the way individuals commute within the city, as well as to and from logistical centers such as airports and ports—not to mention the impact it will have on shipping.”
The deal is also meant to help city-state move forward with the “Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy,” which aims to render 25 percent of all transportations in the emirate driverless by 2030.
How the Hyperloop One’s system compares to other transport options. Hyperloop One
Although Tesla CEO Musk came up with the futuristic transport idea back in 2013, he is not affiliated with any hyperloop companies. He has, however, encouraged other private companies to turn his vision into reality. Besides Hyperloop One, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is another firm trying to bring the technology to life.
When asked about the project’s cost, Hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel told the Associated Pressit would be “somewhere between the cost of putting a road in and a high-speed rail.”
The hyperloop features levitating pods powered by electricity and magnetism that can zip through low-friction pipes at speeds up to 750 mph. Hyperloop One
The Associated Press reported that at Tuesday’s event, Hyperloop officials showed several circular station models for Dubai, including one at Emirates Towers on Dubai’s main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road. Dubai’s Jebel Ali port is also exploring the possibility of using the technology.
Hyperloop One is currently testing the transport system in the Nevada desert.
Below are 10 reservoirs that have dwindled considerably since 2001. The “before” picture for each slide is from September or October 2001, while the “after” picture is from the same month in 2016. Move the slider over each image to see the changes.
1. Lake San Antonio
Lake San Antonio is located in Monterey County (used to cross the border to northern San Luis Obispo County) and covers an area of 8.9 square miles (23 square kilometers). The lake is formed by the San Antonio Dam on the San Antonio River. The dam was completed in 1965 and is 202 feet (62 m) tall.
2. Lake Cachuma
Lake Cachuma is located in central Santa Barbara County, on the Santa Ynez River. The reservoir was created by the construction of Bradbury Dam in 1953, which is 201 ft (61 m) high. At full capacity, Lake Cachuma has a surface area of 5 square miles (13 square kilometers), but it hasn’t reached that since July 2011.
3. San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir is the 5th largest reservoir in California, approximately 9 miles (14 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) wide. It is located in Merced County, west of Los Banos on State Route 152. The dam that created the reservoir is called San Luis Dam, was completed in 1967 and is the 4th largest embankment dam in the U.S.
The last time the reservoir came close to reaching full capacity was in April 2011, when San Luis Reservoir was 99.3 percent full.
4. New Melones Lake
New Melones Lake is located in the central Sierra Nevada Foothills on the Stanislaus River and has a surface area of 19.6 square miles (51 square kilometers). The reservoir is formed by the New Melones Dam, which is 625 ft (191 m) high.
The water level in the lake has been in an almost continuous decline since July 2011.
5. Lake Berryessa
Lake Berryessa is located in Napa County and was formed by the Monticello Dam, a 304-foot (93 m) concrete arch dam that was completed in 1957. Lake Berryessa hasn’t reached full capacity since April 2006.
6. Trinity Lake
Trinity Lake was formed by Trinity Dam, which was completed in the early 1960s and stands 538 ft (164 m) high. The lake, formed on the Trinity River, is one of the largest reservoirs in California. It came close to reaching full capacity in June 2011, but hasn’t reached average historical levels since June 2013.
7. Lake Casitas
Lake Casitas is located in the Los Padres National Forest of Ventura County. It was created by the construction of Casitas Dam on Coyote Creek, 2 miles (3 km) before it joins the Ventura River. The dam was was completed in 1959 and is 334 ft (102 m) high.
The water level in the lake has been in decline since April 2011, when the reservoir was 87.3 percent full.
8. Lake Piru
Like Lake Casitas, Lake Piru is also located in Los Padres National Forest of Ventura County. It was created in 1955 by the construction of the Santa Felicia Dam on Piru Creek. Water level in the lake has been in a steep decline since August 2012.
9. Lake Perris
Lake Perris was completed in 1973 and is located in a mountain-rimmed valley between Moreno Valley and Perris, in what is now the Lake Perris State Recreation Area. The dam that impounds the lake is 128 ft (39 m) high. The lake hasn’t reached its average historical level since September 2005.
10. Santa Margarita Lake
Santa Margarita Lake, also called Salinas Reservoir, is located several miles southeast of the town of Santa Margarita in San Luis Obispo County. The lake was created by the construction of Salinas Dam on the southern end of the Salinas River.
The dam was built in 1941, and the lake provides the city of San Luis Obispo with a portion of its drinking water. Water level in the lake has been declining since June 2011.