I cannot resist learning, seeking. Sic tam exigua temporis discere. Astronomy, Physics, Science, History, Art, Tech, Humor, Skepticism, Women, Lesbians. NSFW.
How I wish a night sky like this wouldn’t be so rare to see in the cities.
Gifs from Ocean Sky by Alex Cherney.
from-dust-of-stars: Fucking wow! The sky screams its silent scream of beautiful, mysterious majesty. How often do we allow ourselves to simply bask in nature’s beauty?! Never enough.
from-dust-of-stars: Freaking trippy and oh so pretty!
from-dust-of-stars: So damned beautiful!
from-dust-of-stars: Freaking awesome athleticism and grace. Wow!
Some Punchy Black and White Landscape Photos to Oooo and Aaah Over
A Post By: Darlene Hildebrandt
Recently we released our newest dPS ebook The Essential Guide to Black and White Photography.
So I thought it would be fitting if we had a look as some great black and white images. I don’t know what it is but I’m really attracted to a great black and white image. It’s something about the contrast and the style and makes you really focus on the light and composition in the image – there’s no tricks it’s just an image is the simplest form.
So in this set I’ve found some amazing black and white landscape photos for you to enjoy – please let the oooing and aaaahing commence!
Pic 1: — In Motion — by Marek Kijevsky
Pic 2: Dignity by Martin Mattocks
Pic 3: Silver Reflections 2 by Joe V
Pic 4: named by lennon baksh
from-dust-of-stars: Damn, these black and white pics are vividly stunning. Wow - Check out Source link for many more great photos!
20 Vivid Hummingbird Close-ups Reveal Their Incredible Beauty. 8.29.14
When it comes to birds, the terms “strong” or “beautiful” might inspire images of fierce eagles or decadent tropical parrots. But both of these birds will certainly find strong contender in hummingbirds, which possess a unique sort of delicate beauty and a mastery of avian maneuvers like no other. We created this list of 20 stunning hummingbird photos to show you just how beautiful they can be.
Capturing a photo of a hummingbird in flight with clearly focused wings can be very difficult, as some varieties are capable of beating their wings up to 52 times a second. This gives them the ability to hover and fly backwards – something that few other birds can do and that none have mastered the way the hummingbird has.
If you or someone you know has taken a beautiful photo of a hummingbird, share it with us below this post!
Pic 1: Green-Crowned Brilliant. Image credits: Chris Morgan
Pic 2: Violet Sabrewing. Image credits: Larry
Pic 3: Anna’s Hummingbird. Image credits: Good-e-Nuf
Pic4: Rufous Hummingbird. Image credits: Scott Bechtel
from-dust-of-stars: Majestic little birds. Wow. Check out source link above for more pics that are simply gorgeous!
New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions
Contact: Peter Iglinski, University of Rochester
PUBLIC RELEASE DATE: 28-Aug-2014
The result of every possible measurement on a quantum system is coded in its wave function, which until recently could be found only by taking many different measurements of a system and estimating a wave function that best fit all those measurements. Just two years ago, with the advent of a technique called direct measurement, scientists discovered they could reliably determine a system’s wave function by “weakly” measuring one of its variables (e.g. position) and “strongly” measuring a complementary variable (momentum). Researchers at the University of Rochester have now taken this method one step forward by combining direct measurement with an efficient computational technique.
The new method, called compressive direct measurement, allowed the team to reconstruct a quantum state at 90 percent fidelity (a measure of accuracy) using only a quarter of the measurements required by previous methods.
"We have, for the first time, combined weak measurement and compressive sensing to demonstrate a revolutionary, fast method for measuring a high-dimensional quantum state," said Mohammad Mirhosseini, a graduate student in the Quantum Photonics research group at the University of Rochester and lead author of a paper appearing today in Physical Review Letters.
The research team, which also included graduate students Omar Magaña-Loaiza and Seyed Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Professor Robert Boyd, initially tested their method on a 192-dimensional state. Finding success with that large state, they then took on a massive, 19,200-dimensional state. Their efficient technique sped up the process 350-fold and took just 20 percent of the total measurements required by traditional direct measurement to reconstruct the state.
"To reproduce our result using a direct measurement alone would require more than one year of exposure time," said Rafsanjani. "We did the experiment in less than 48 hours."
While recent compressive sensing techniques have been used to measure sets of complementary variables like position and momentum, Mirhosseini explains that their method allows them to measure the full wave function.
Compression is widely used in the classical world of digital media, including recorded music, video, and pictures. The MP3s on your phone, for example, are audio files that have had bits of information squeezed out to make the file smaller at the cost of losing a small amount of audio quality along the way.
In digital cameras, the more pixels you can gather from a scene, the higher the image quality and the larger the file will be. But it turns out that most of those pixels don’t convey essential information that needs to be captured from the scene. Most of them can be reconstructed later. Compressive sensing works by randomly sampling portions from all over the scene, and using those patterns to fill in the missing information.
Similarly for quantum states, it is not necessary to measure every single dimension of a multidimensional state. It takes only a handful of measurements to get a high-quality image of a quantum system.
The method introduced by Mirhosseini et al. has important potential applications in the field of quantum information science. This research field strives to make use of fundamental quantum effects for diverse applications, including secure communication, teleportation of quantum states, and ideally to perform quantum computation. This latter process holds great promise as a method that can, in principle, lead to a drastic speed-up of certain types of computation. All of these applications require the use of complicated quantum states, and the new method described here offers an efficient means to characterize these states.
Research funding was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Information in a Photon (InPho) program, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), National Science Foundation (NSF), El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) and Canadian Excellence Research Chair (CERC).
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.
universal-abyss: Excellent - a revolutionary way to measure high-dimensional quantum states. The applications that this may ultimately assist are numerous, for example: quantum computing, secure communication, and much faster computational speed. This is an awesome leap.
Red Planet’s climate history uncovered in unique Martian meteorite
Date: August 27, 2014
Source: Florida State University
Summary: Was Mars — now a cold, dry place — once a warm, wet planet that sustained life? Research underway may one day answer those questions — and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet. By analyzing the chemical clues locked inside an ancient Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty, scientists are revealing the story of Mars’ ancient, and sometimes startling, climate history.
Pic: find a pic
Was Mars — now a cold, dry place — once a warm, wet planet that sustained life? And if so, how long has it been cold and dry?
Research underway at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory may one day answer those questions — and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet. By analyzing the chemical clues locked inside an ancient Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty, Florida State University Professor Munir Humayun and an international research team are revealing the story of Mars’ ancient, and sometimes startling, climate history.
The team’s most recent finding of a dramatic climate change appeared in Nature Geoscience, in the paper “Record of the ancient Martian hydrosphere and atmosphere preserved in zircon from a Martian meteorite.”
The scientists found evidence for the climate shift in minerals called zircons embedded inside the dark, glossy meteorite. Zircons, which are also abundant in the Earth’s crust, form when lava cools. Among their intriguing properties, Humayun says, is that “they stick around forever.”
"When you find a zircon, it’s like finding a watch," Humayun said. "A zircon begins keeping track of time from the moment it’s born."
Last year, Humayun’s team correctly determined that the zircons in its Black Beauty sample were an astonishing 4.4 billion years old. That means, Humayun says, it formed during the Red Planet’s infancy and during a time when the planet might have been able to sustain life.
"First we learned that, about 4.5 billion years ago, water was more abundant on Mars, and now we’ve learned that something dramatically changed that," said Humayun, a professor of geochemistry. "Now we can conclude that the conditions that we see today on Mars, this dry Martian desert, must have persisted for at least the past 1.7 billion years. We know now that Mars has been dry for a very long time."
The secret to Mars’ climate lies in the fact that zircons (ZrSiO4) contain oxygen, an element with three isotopes. Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons — sort of like members of a family who share the same last name but have different first names.
On Mars, oxygen is distributed in the atmosphere (as carbon dioxide, molecular oxygen and ozone), in the hydrosphere (as water) and in rocks. In the thin, dry Martian atmosphere, the sun’s ultraviolet light causes unique shifts in the proportions in which the three isotopes of oxygen occur in the different atmospheric gases.
So when water vapor that has cycled through the Martian atmosphere condenses into the Martian soil, it can interact with and exchange oxygen isotopes with zircons in the soil, effectively writing a climate record into the rocks. A warm, wet Mars requires a dense atmosphere that filters out the ultraviolet light making the unique isotope shifts disappear.
In order to measure the proportions of the oxygen isotopes in the zircons, the team, led by scientist Alexander Nemchin, used a device called an ion microprobe. The instrument is in the NordSIMS facility at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, directed by team member Martin Whitehouse.
Because of these precise measurements, said Humayun, “we now have an isotopic record of how the atmosphere changed, with dates on it.”
The Black Beauty meteorite Humayun’s team is studying was discovered in the Sahara Desert in 2011. It’s also known as NWA 7533, which stands for Northwest Africa, the location where it was found.
In all, more than five pieces of Black Beauty were found by Bedouin tribesmen, who make a living scouring the Sahara for meteorites and fossils that they can sell. The zircons analyzed by Humayun’s team were from Black Beauty samples kept in Paris.
Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Journal Reference: A. A. Nemchin, M. Humayun, M. J. Whitehouse, R. H. Hewins, J-P. Lorand, A. Kennedy, M. Grange, B. Zanda, C. Fieni, D. Deldicque. Record of the ancient martian hydrosphere and atmosphere preserved in zircon from a martian meteorite. Nature Geoscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2231
Cite This Page: MLA APA Chicago: Florida State University. “Red Planet’s climate history uncovered in unique Martian meteorite.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2014.
universal-abyss: Wondrous and startling findings suggest that, about 4.5 billion years back, “water was more abundant on Mars” and then “something dramatically changed that.” It has been a desert planet for a mere 1.7 billion years or so. The Red planet never ceases to surprise, and only slowly reveals her mysteries.
So, the question is: what caused such a dramatic change in our beautiful Red neighbor? That answer might prove incredibly important to us on Earth, as it may help us avoid a similar fate on our tiny blue planet, that we like to call home.
Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method
Date: August 28, 2014
Source: University of Vienna
Summary: Researchers have developed a fundamentally new quantum imaging technique with strikingly counter-intuitive features. For the first time, an image has been obtained without ever detecting the light that was used to illuminate the imaged object, while the light revealing the image never touches the imaged object.
Pic: A new quantum imaging technique generates images with photons that have never touched to object — in this case a sketch of a cat. This alludes to the famous Schrödinger cat paradox, in which a cat inside a closed box is said to be simultaneously dead and alive as long there is no information outside the box to rule out one option over the other. Similarly, the new imaging technique relies on a lack of information regarding where the photons are created and which path they take. Credit: Copyright: Patricia Enigl, IQOQI
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI), the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ), and the University of Vienna have developed a fundamentally new quantum imaging technique with strikingly counterintuitive features. For the first time, an image has been obtained without ever detecting the light that was used to illuminate the imaged object, while the light revealing the image never touches the imaged object.
In general, to obtain an image of an object one has to illuminate it with a light beam and use a camera to sense the light that is either scattered or transmitted through that object. The type of light used to shine onto the object depends on the properties that one would like to image. Unfortunately, in many practical situations the ideal type of light for the illumination of the object is one for which cameras do not exist.
The experiment published in Nature this week for the first time breaks this seemingly self-evident limitation. The object (e.g. the contour of a cat) is illuminated with light that remains undetected. Moreover, the light that forms an image of the cat on the camera never interacts with it. In order to realise their experiment, the scientists use so-called “entangled” pairs of photons. These pairs of photons — which are like interlinked twins — are created when a laser interacts with a non-linear crystal. In the experiment, the laser illuminates two separate crystals, creating one pair of twin photons (consisting of one infrared photon and a “sister” red photon) in either crystal. The object is placed in between the two crystals. The arrangement is such that if a photon pair is created in the first crystal, only the infrared photon passes through the imaged object. Its path then goes through the second crystal where it fully combines with any infrared photons that would be created there.
With this crucial step, there is now, in principle, no possibility to find out which crystal actually created the photon pair. Moreover, there is now no information in the infrared photon about the object. However, due to the quantum correlations of the entangled pairs the information about the object is now contained in the red photons — although they never touched the object. Bringing together both paths of the red photons (from the first and the second crystal) creates bright and dark patterns, which form the exact image of the object.
Stunningly, all of the infrared photons (the only light that illuminated the object) are discarded; the picture is obtained by only detecting the red photons that never interacted with the object. The camera used in the experiment is even blind to the infrared photons that have interacted with the object. In fact, very low light infrared cameras are essentially unavailable on the commercial market. The researchers are confident that their new imaging concept is very versatile and could even enable imaging in the important mid-infrared region. It could find applications where low light imaging is crucial, in fields such as biological or medical imaging.
Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vienna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Journal Reference: Gabriela Barreto Lemos, Victoria Borish, Garrett D. Cole, Sven Ramelow, Radek Lapkiewicz, Anton Zeilinger. Quantum imaging with undetected photons. Nature, 2014; 512 (7515): 409 DOI: 10.1038/nature13586
Cite This Page: MLA APA Chicago: University of Vienna. “Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2014.
universal-abyss: Crikey, so the light never actually touches the object being imaged, yet can create an exact image - this is utterly extraordinary! This takes quantum imaging to a whole new level - and, wow is it cool! This should truly twist and bend your mind at the awesomeness of quantum physics. The potentials it may bring to medical and biological imaging are simply astounding to consider. Just, wow!
New solutions needed to recycle fracking water
Rice University scientists seek long-term answers to stem increase of water use at wells
Editors: David Ruth and Mike Williams
HOUSTON – (Aug. 27, 2014)
Rice University scientists have performed a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to treat and reuse it.
Chart notes: Rice University researchers performed a detailed analysis of “produced” water from three underground shale gas formations subject to hydraulic fracturing. The chart shows the amounts of total carbon (TC), nonpurgeable organic carbon (NPOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC) in the samples. Courtesy of the Barron Research Group
More advanced recycling rather than disposal of “produced” water pumped back out of wells could calm fears of accidental spillage and save millions of gallons of fresh water a year, said Rice chemist Andrew Barron. He led the study that appeared this week in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.
The amount of water used by Texas drillers for fracking may only be 1.5 percent of that used by farming and municipalities, but it still amounts to as much as 5.6 million gallons a year for the Texas portion of the Haynesville formation and 2.8 million gallons for Eagle Ford. That, Barron said, can place a considerable burden on nearby communities.
Barron noted that shale gas wells, the focus of the new study, make most of their water within the first few weeks of production. After that, a few barrels a day are commonly produced.
The project began with chemical analysis of fracking fluids pumped through gas-producing shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Barron and the study’s lead author, Rice alumnus Samuel Maguire-Boyle, found that shale oil and gas-produced water does not contain significant amounts of the polyaromatic hydrocarbons that could pose health hazards; but minute amounts of other chemical compounds led them to believe the industry would be wise to focus its efforts on developing nonchemical treatments for fracking and produced water.
Currently, fracturing fluid pumped into a well bore to loosen gas and oil from shale is either directed toward closed fluid-capture systems when it comes out or is sent back into the ground for storage. But neither strategy is an effective long-term solution, Barron said.
“Ultimately, it will be necessary to clean produced water for reuse in fracking,” he said. “In addition, there is the potential to recover the fraction of hydrocarbon in the produced water.”
Fracking fluid is 90 percent water, Barron said. Eight to nine percent of the fluid contains sand or ceramic proppant particles that wedge themselves into tiny fractures in the rock, holding open paths for gas and oil to escape to the production well.
The remaining 1 or 2 percent, however, may contain salts, friction reducers, scale inhibitors, biocides, gelling agents, gel breakers and organic and inorganic acids. The organic molecules either occur naturally or are a residue from the added components.
The researchers found most of the salt, organic and other minerals that appear in produced water from shale gas reservoirs originate in the connate waters trapped in the dense rock over geologic time scales. These should be of little concern, they wrote
But they also found that produced water contained potentially toxic chlorocarbons and organobromides, probably formed from interactions between high levels of bacteria in the water and salts or chemical treatments used in fracking fluids.
Barron said industry sometimes uses chlorine dioxide or hypochlorite treatments to recycle produced water for reuse, but these treatments can actually enhance bacteria’s ability to convert naturally occurring hydrocarbons to chlorocarbons and organobromides. The researchers suggested this transition could happen either downhole or in storage ponds where produced water is treated.
“We believe the industry needs to investigate alternative, nonchemical treatments to avoid the formation of compounds that don’t occur in nature,” Barron said.
Primarily, he said, the researchers want their analysis to anticipate future problems as industry develops processes to remove organic compounds from water bound for reuse.
Barron said the new paper should be of particular interest to international producers who are preparing to ramp up gas-recovery efforts in the United Kingdom, which recently announced plans to expand drilling, and other European countries.
“As the U.K. and other European countries are looking to start hydraulic fracturing, it is important that they adopt best practices at the start, as opposed to evolving over time, as it has occurred here in the United States,” he said.
The Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Welsh Government Sêr Cymru Program funded the research. Barron is Rice’s Charles W. Duncan Jr.–Welch Professor of Chemistry and a professor of materials science and nanoengineering.
Read the abstract at http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/em/c4em00376d#!divAbstract
Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews
Related Materials: Barron Research Group: http://barron.rice.edu/Barron.html
Rice University researchers performed a detailed analysis of “produced” water from three underground shale gas formations subject to hydraulic fracturing. The chart shows the amounts of total carbon (TC), nonpurgeable organic carbon (NPOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC) in the samples. (Credit: Barron Research Group/Rice University)
Rice University chemist Andrew Barron led an analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing of three gas reservoirs and suggested environmentally friendly remedies are needed to treat and reuse it. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.
from-dust-of-stars: More on Fracking and potential to reuse the water from the Fracking process. This is a huge deal for the environment.