University of Auckland researchers have proposed a new method for finding Earth-like planets in our galaxy and they anticipate that the number will be on the order of 100 billion.
Milky Way Galaxy (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The research supports an earlier estimate based on extrapolations of Kepler data.
The new research uses a technique called gravitational microlensing, currently used by a Japan-New Zealand collaboration called MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) at New Zealand’s Mt. John Observatory.
“Kepler finds Earth-sized planets that are quite close to parent stars, and it estimates that there are 17 billion such planets in the Milky Way,” says Dr. Phil Yock from the University of Auckland’s Department of Physics. These planets are generally hotter than Earth, although some could be of a similar temperature (and therefore habitable) if they’re orbiting a cool star called a red dwarf.”
Kepler measures the loss of light from a star when a planet orbits between us and the star; microlensing measures the deflection of light from a distant star that passes through a planetary system en route to Earth — an effect predicted by Einstein in 1936.
From GigaOM Research:
I will be presenting one of the keynotes at the upcoming Social Now conference, 18-19 April 2013, in Lisbon. I am eager to go, not just because Lisbon is a wonderful city where I have old friends, but also because the event is very tool-focused. In fact, I am one of the few presenters not directly talking about tools.
So I thought I would share an abstract of the talk, and after the conference I will publish something longer, once I have heard what I have to say.
The Future Of Work In A Social World
The social revolution is still in its early days, but we have enough experience to have learned a bit, and to be able to conjecture even more. The arrival of social tools is one part of a larger, swirling mess of large-scale change smashing into our lives like a tornado, and tearing the roof off the world of business. The elements of that mess all influence each other — tech factors like digital, mobile, and the cloud, societal shifts like urbanization, new media, and the always-on lifestyle, and correspondingly massive stressors like climate change, globalism, the shifting social contract, and the boom/bust cycle of the world economy — these seem to be the new normal in the 21st century. The new normal is that there is no normal anymore. Welcome to the Postnormal.
We can be certain of little, but it’s safe to say that the future of work will be social (and other adjectives), and businesses that are becoming social are confronted by the need for deep cultural change, which is hard. The degree of difficulty depends on where you are starting from. I will present a new model of corporate culture, based on values and organization style, called the 3C model. [This will be the debut!] I think this will help us understand the nature of the change called for, what sorts of resistance is likely, and an end state: the form factor of a social business.
In brief, we are seeing a transition from process-defined work, where tightly defined rules and narrowly constrained roles shape people working lives, and organize the company culture into a collective mindset, toward relationship-framed work, where people use creativity, innovation, and connection to determine how to accomplish increasingly nonroutine work, and where we see a shift to fast-and-loose cooperation from tight-and-slow collaboration.
I will talk about the tools and practices that are most relevant — and those that are missing — for this transition to move forward. And finally, some thoughts about what that future social world might feel like for its inhabitants.
We estimate 3.74 million (3.7%) US TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions 2008-12 to rely solely on Netflix, Over the Air, Online, etc, 1.08 million (1.1%) in 2012 alone. We forecast US TV cord cutter households will reach 4.7 million (4.7%) by year-end 2013.
Still unsure of “phoneography” having a place in the professional sphere? On March 31, 2013, The New York Times used an Instagram shot for the front page cover story.
Granted, it was a professional photographer who took the photo, but it’s quite a statement nonetheless. Perhaps you really should sign up for those Photojojo University Phoneography 101 classes…
By investigating an African patient’s HIV infection, researchers have traced the development of an antibody that is effective at neutralizing many strains of HIV, according to a study published today (April 3) in Nature. The researchers—who identified the original HIV variant as well as the broadly neutralizing antibody, and pieced together their evolution over the course of infection—hope that a vaccine mimicking this process could encourage the development of such effective HIV-fighting antibodies.
The new research provides “really in-depth information on how a particular type of broadly neutralizing antibody emerges over the course of a natural HIV infection,” said Leonidas Stamatatos, an immunologist at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute who did not participate in the study.
Broadly neutralizing antibodies—able to block many strains of HIV from binding target cells—are notoriously rare: only about 20 percent of HIV-positive people ever generate such antibodies. One of the most attractive neutralizing targets is the HIV envelope protein (Env) that binds T cells, which is present on every variant of HIV. But Env is covered in sugar molecules that often mimic host structures, making it hard for the immune system to distinguish virus from self. In order to avoid an adverse autoimmune reaction, the body produces few B cells whose antibodies can recognize these common structures. One approach to developing an effective HIV vaccine is to stimulate these rare B cells, but because Env’s sequence can vary widely between HIV strains, researchers didn’t know much about the right Env variant for the job.
In order to find an Env that could stimulate an antibody with broadly neutralizing potential, Barton Haynes at Duke University and researchers at the Center for HIV-AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) set up eight acute infection clinics in Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and one in North Carolina, where they could watch antibody and virus develop within weeks of infection.
read more here
picture from here
2009’s fastest supercomputer to be dismantled.
The IBM Roadrunner was at the number 1 slot on the Top 500 supercomputer list three times during 2008/2009, but the cost to run it compared to that of other systems has meant it no longer makes sense to keep it running. It will be dismantled next month.
Roadrunner was the first supercomputer to reach one petaflop, or one million billion floating point operations per second. The machine at the top of the most recent list has been benchmarked at 17.6 petaflops, with researchers now looking at how to achieve exascale speeds - 1000 times faster than a petaflop.
Petaflop machines aren’t automatically obsolete—a petaflop is still speedy enough to crack the top 25 fastest supercomputers. Roadrunner is thus still capable of performing scientific work at mind-boggling speeds, but has been surpassed by competitors in terms of energy efficiency. For example, in the November 2012 ratings Roadrunner required 2,345 kilowatts to hit 1.042 petaflops and a world ranking of #22. The supercomputer at #21 required only 1,177 kilowatts, and #23 (clocked at 1.035 petaflops) required just 493 kilowatts.
(Source: Ars Technica)
David Lunt, an early resident of Deadwood, South Dakota, was accidentally shot in the forehead during a Saloon fight between a man named Tom Smith and Town Marshal Con Stapleton, who was trying to disarm him. Even though the bullet passed through Lunt’s brain and left entry and exit wounds…
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
— George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life
There are lots of disruptive strategies but most include three elements: you focus on the exact thing that sets you apart in the marketplace; you create value more by leveraging off other’s products or via low-cost strategic partnerships than through expensive acquisitions; and you don’t go to market until you’ve got those things right.
To control your cow, put it in a large pasture.
— Zen saying (via stoweboyd)
Learn to gracefully say no. Consensus is harder to find as a community grows, saying no is a normal and healthy thing. But find a way to not turn your fans against you in the process. This is a really hard thing, but people can understand that all their inputs can not be taken into account if you explain respectfully and carefully.