China looks to combustible ice as a fuel source

first_img(Left) Methane hydrate consists of a cage of water molecules trapping a methane molecule within. Credit: Slim Films for Suess et al., Scientific American, Nov. 1999, pp. 76-83. (Right) When methane hydrate is brought to the surface, the methane can be burnt off. Credit: Gary Klinkhammer, OSU-COAS. Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Buried below the tundra of China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is a type of frozen natural gas containing methane and ice crystals that could supply energy to China for 90 years. China discovered the large reserve of methane hydrate last September, and last week the Qinghai Province announced that it plans to allow researchers and energy companies to tap the energy source. Although methane hydrate is plentiful throughout the world, the key challenge for China and other nations will be to develop technologies to excavate the fuel without damaging the environment. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Methane hydrate is an ice-like substance that is sometimes called “combustible ice” since it can literally be lit on fire and burned as fuel. But rather than dig up the substance, excavators would likely melt the ice underground first, and then extract the methane gas. However, researchers are still investigating the most appropriate way to extract the fuel for commercialization.Methane hydrate is an attractive energy source due to its high energy density: one cubic meter of combustible ice contains about 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas. This high energy density is due to the fact that methane is trapped within the hydrate crystal structure and greatly compressed. According to the DOE, the immense energy content of methane occurring in hydrate form may possibly exceed the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels. In addition, the frozen hydrate has few impurities, meaning it can burn cleaner with fewer pollutants than oil and possibly regular natural gas, as well.Combustible ice has already been discovered in more than 100 countries, buried in both the Arctic permafrost and beneath the ocean floor. Besides China, countries including the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have plans to tap the natural gas hydrate buried in their territories. Last summer, US scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico discovered pockets of highly concentrated methane hydrate estimated to contain 6,700 trillion cubic feet of gas. The DOE has estimated that the total amount of methane hydrate worldwide could be as high as 400 million trillion cubic feet, including 85.4 trillion cubic feet buried in Alaska.Because methane is a potent greenhouse gas, researchers are also concerned about the environmental effects of extracting methane hydrate. However, if handled carefully, using methane hydrate as a fuel could be safer than simply letting it melt on its own. As the earth continues to warm, methane released into the atmosphere could cause even more damage than if it were burned for fuel. On the other hand, if large amounts of methane were accidentally released during extraction, the results could further aggravate global warming. Another risk from mining the combustible ice is geological slumping. For these reasons, developing a safe technology to excavate the fuel is a priority. With these challenges in mind, China’s Ministry of Land and Resources estimated last week that the country could begin using its combustible ice within 10 to 15 years, joining other countries in methane hydrate exploration. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: via: Xinhuannet and the US Dept. of Energy Citation: China looks to ‘combustible ice’ as a fuel source (2010, March 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-03-china-combustible-ice-fuel-source.html Alaskan drilling will assess gas hydratelast_img read more

Plasmonic device converts light into electricity

center_img Copyright 2011 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This ability to maximize current from one electrode while minimizing it from the other is one of the biggest challenges for MIM devices. To do this, researchers can change the thicknesses of the electrodes. However, there is a tradeoff, since in a thicker electrode, more photons are absorbed but fewer electrons reach the interface due to increased scattering. Wang and Melosh’s solution is to use a prism to excite surface plamons (SPs) on the metal surface of the electrodes when under illumination. The SPs, which are small electron oscillations, can create a higher concentration of hot electrons in one electrode by efficiently coupling to light. The SP coupling efficiency depends on several factors, such as the thickness of the electrode, the type of metal used, and the wavelength of incoming light. More information: Fuming Wang and Nicholas A. Melosh. “Plasmonic Energy Collection through Hot Carrier Extraction.” Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl203196z The researchers, Fuming Wang and Nicholas A. Melosh of Stanford University, have published their study on the new device in a recent issue of Nano Letters.“The greatest significance thus far is to show an alternative method to rectennas and PV devices for IR and visible light conversion,” Melosh told PhysOrg.com. “The conversion efficiencies aren’t amazingly high compared to a PV in visible, so it’s not going to replace PVs, but it could be used for energy scavenging later on.”The new device’s MIM architecture is similar to that of a rectenna. However, whereas rectennas operate with long-wavelength light such as microwaves and radio waves, the new device operates with a broad spectrum of infrared to visible wavelengths. When the MIM device is illuminated, incoming photons are absorbed by the top and bottom metal electrodes. Upon absorption, each photon excites an electron in the metal into a higher energy state so that it becomes a “hot electron.” About half of the hot electrons travel toward the metal-insulator interface, where they may be collected by the other electrode. However, photon absorption in the upper and lower electrodes generates currents with opposite signs, so a net DC current is achieved only if the absorption is larger at one electrode than the other. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

IAIs military robot acts like barber in charity role

first_imgvia IEEE Fingertip positioning and grasp are especially impressive as shown inn the videos; the robot is capable of using a 29 degree of freedom system and the robot is shown deftly handling IEDs. It has three cameras, with pictures beamed back to a computer. The integrated video feeds from the cameras on the end of each arm are designed for better situational awareness, including depth perception.The MA-UGV was developed with support from the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).A focus by the U.S. Army on ground vehicle technology solutions to safeguard the lives of troops comes as no surprise and has kept robotics teams busy, considering the heavy toll of fatal explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year, the Harris Corp. in Melbourne Florida, made news with its robotic arm using haptic technology, to enable soldiers to disarm IEDS. Paul Bosscher, a robotics engineer at Harris, described the impressive features of its device to ABC News at the time.”The robot can cut wires, pull blasting caps, surgically defeat the explosive device and in the process save all of this forensic evidence that they use to ID who the bombmakers are what their bomb-making methods are,” Bosscher said. The device was shown last August at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International convention in Washington DC. All such devices are considered a step up from endangering a human in a bomb suit who is asked to cut wires off an explosive device. With all the novel techniques and designs in robotics for troop and mission support, however, IAI’s three-armed robot has been the most successful in generating entertainment and in turn recognition. The MA-UGV was given the role of barber in this year’s charity event to raise funds for cancer research. The MA-UGV video of the robot cutting the hair of a volunteer has drawn many compliments among viewers, not so much for the genius of the robot but rather for the courage of the man who agreed to sit in the chair. More information: Robotic technology lowers military risks IAI has produced a set of impressive videos that show how the robot, whether cutting wires or tying knots, or extending its mechanical joints for better reach and precision, has capabilities to perform tasks requiring complex manipulation under military-type scenarios. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Researchers find fishing tends to lessen population of best male bass

first_img(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the University of Illinois has found that recreational fishing that employs the use of lures to catch largemouth bass, results in a reduction in male bass that make the best fathers. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group writes that their research shows that male bass that tend to their young are more likely to be caught by hooks hidden in fish lures. Depiction of largemouth bass in its habitat. Micropterus salmoides. Credit: Timothy Knepp/Wikipedia. © 2012 Phys.org With largemouth bass, after the female lays her eggs, it’s up to the male to protect them. They do so by fanning the eggs and driving away threats. Those that do a better job of it, tend to have more offspring survive. But, this new researcher suggests, the same aggressive behavior that some bass exhibit when protecting their young, can cause them to be more vulnerable to being caught by sport fishermen.Because of the popularity of bass fishing, the fish are bred in reservoirs and are then released into the wild in places where fishermen go to catch them; otherwise all the fish would be caught and there would be none left to fish. Over time those that manage fish populations have come to realize that some bass are more likely to strike at a lure and thus be caught then others. Some fishermen prefer such fish, while others prefer those that are more difficult to catch. To serve the needs of both, both types of fish have been bred and are then released into different areas to account for the different tastes.Suspecting that the two groups of fish might have other differences as well, the research team set up underwater cameras to watch the males as they cared for the eggs of their young in hatcheries. In so doing, they discovered that those fish that took their job very seriously, appeared to consider a lure a threat, and thus were more likely to attack it, resulting in them being caught. Conversely, those fish that were more lackadaisical in their responsibilities tended to be less likely to be caught.The end result, the researchers say, is that the best fathers wind up being the ones that get caught, thus their young never hatch and grow up to pass on their good father genes, which means that recreational fishing actually impacts the evolution of bass populations. Explore further Citation: Researchers find fishing tends to lessen population of best male bass (2012, December 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-fishing-lessen-population-male-bass.htmlcenter_img Largemouth bass vulnerability to being caught by anglers a heritable trait Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: Recreational fishing selectively captures individuals with the highest fitness potential, PNAS, Published online before print December 3, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212536109AbstractFisheries-induced evolution and its impact on the productivity of exploited fish stocks remains a highly contested research topic in applied fish evolution and fisheries science. Although many quantitative models assume that larger, more fecund fish are preferentially removed by fishing, there is no empirical evidence describing the relationship between vulnerability to capture and individual reproductive fitness in the wild. Using males from two lines of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) selectively bred over three generations for either high (HV) or low (LV) vulnerability to angling as a model system, we show that the trait “vulnerability to angling” positively correlates with aggression, intensity of parental care, and reproductive fitness. The difference in reproductive fitness between HV and LV fish was particularly evident among larger males, which are also the preferred mating partners of females. Our study constitutes experimental evidence that recreational angling selectively captures individuals with the highest potential for reproductive fitness. Our study further suggests that selective removal of the fittest individuals likely occurs in many fisheries that target species engaged in parental care. As a result, depending on the ecological context, angling-induced selection may have negative consequences for recruitment within wild populations of largemouth bass and possibly other exploited species in which behavioral patterns that determine fitness, such as aggression or parental care, also affect their vulnerability to fishing gear. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Study finds sighted babies of blind mothers find other ways to bond

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B People staring into one another’s eyes is a well known form of communication, and has no doubt been observed between babies and mothers throughout human history. It’s a demonstrated means of bonding—babies that go without, such as those in an orphanage have been found to lack communication and social skills. But what happens when the mother is blind? Without eye-locking, do such babies develop any differently than babies with sighted mothers? That’s what the team members on this new effort sought to discover.To find out, they enlisted the assistance of five babies and their blind mothers. Each of the babies was tested for their communication skills at ages 6-10, 12-15 and 24-47 months. Babies were observed with their mothers and while watching videos of other women communicating—their eye movements were also tracked using face scanning technology. In all of the tests, the five babies were found to have communication skills comparable to babies born to sighted women, and even in some instances, appeared to have gained some advantages, such as better visual memory retention and quicker response times to changing images. It’s all due, the researchers speculate, to both the way the blind mother’s interact with their babies in non-visual ways, and the innate plasticity of the human brain.Interestingly, the babies tested appeared to also have developed separate communication skills for different people—when communicating with their blind mothers, for example, they used more verbal sounds than they did when trying to communicate with other people, such as their sighted father. The researchers compare this kind of adaption to babies that grow up in bilingual homes. Such babies gain a cognitive boost and as a result oftentimes become better communicators. (Phys.org) —A unique study carried out by researchers from the U.K., Australia and Canada has revealed that babies born to blind mothers don’t appear to suffer degraded communication skills compared to babies born to sighted mothers. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers found that not only did the babies of blind mothers perform as well as did babies born to sighted mother’s on standard communication tests, but appeared to develop some advantages as well. © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Study finds sighted babies of blind mothers find other ways to bond (2013, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-sighted-babies-mothers-ways-bond.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img More information: The importance of the eyes: communication skills in infants of blind parents, Published 10 April 2013 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0436AbstractThe effects of selectively different experience of eye contact and gaze behaviour on the early development of five sighted infants of blind parents were investigated. Infants were assessed longitudinally at 6–10, 12–15 and 24–47 months. Face scanning and gaze following were assessed using eye tracking. In addition, established measures of autistic-like behaviours and standardized tests of cognitive, motor and linguistic development, as well as observations of naturalistic parent–child interaction were collected. These data were compared with those obtained from a larger group of sighted infants of sighted parents. Infants with blind parents did not show an overall decrease in eye contact or gaze following when they observed sighted adults on video or in live interactions, nor did they show any autistic-like behaviours. However, they directed their own eye gaze somewhat less frequently towards their blind mothers and also showed improved performance in visual memory and attention at younger ages. Being reared with significantly reduced experience of eye contact and gaze behaviour does not preclude sighted infants from developing typical gaze processing and other social-communication skills. Indeed, the need to switch between different types of communication strategy may actually enhance other skills during development.Press release © The Babylab, Birkbeck, University of London Explore further It’s true – babies do direct their motherslast_img read more

Researchers suggest rate of evolution change can explain discrepancy between molecular clocks

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Gravitational data from Dawn suggests dome on Ceres is made of volcanic

center_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience More information: Ottaviano Ruesch et al. Slurry extrusion on Ceres from a convective mud-bearing mantle, Nature Geoscience (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0378-7 Colocation of volcanic dome and isostatic gravity anomaly. a, A false-colour mosaic (R, 0.97 µm; G, 0.75 µm; B, 0.44 µm) of the region of Ahuna Mons from Dawn Framing Camera observations. The dome of Ahuna Mons is close to the centre of the mosaic, and its high-reflectance areas are steep flanks rich in carbonates and phyllosilicates. b, The isostatic anomaly represented with spherical harmonic degrees l= 5–14 and showing about 50–60 mGal at approximately the same coordinates as Ahuna Mons for the same area as a. Credit: Nature Geoscience (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0378-7 An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the large dome found on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres is made of slurry—a mix of salty brine and solid particles. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the group describes their study of data from the Dawn spacecraft and what it revealed.last_img read more

Love can go a long way if it is true

first_imgMy daughter is in the 10th standard. She is always out with a group of girls who are much older than her. Her lifestyle is annoying me but she doesn’t listen to us! What can we do?Mrs. Sneha Singh, New DelhiTo begin with, I would want to know why you are feeling annoyed. Is it because of the fact that they are older and you fear that they may turn out to be a bad influence on her or is it just that you don’t know what kind of a friendship they have? These older friends could also be helping your daughter get through life more easily and things she feels she cannot discuss with you, she discusses with them. Talk to your daughter and have a heart-to-heart chat and both your problems can then be solved.   Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’I am a 24-year-old man. I was bullied mercilessly throughout my school years. I also failed my 12th standard exam. To add to all this misery I can’t even find a job… I need help to rebuild my faith in life. Please give me some advice.Name and address withheldI believe sometimes it is important to forgive in order to move on in life. I understand that you have been wronged but carrying the negative vibes with you in life is only serving as an impediment. Move on and believe in the best of you, love yourself the way you are and slowly you will be able to love and find peace which in turn will help you focus on the work at hand and soon success will follow. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixI am a 20 year old man. My girlfriend had a crush on a guy a long time ago. She hasn’t spoken to him in almost a year now. However, she still keeps talking about him all the time. She never fails to mention my shortcomings and point out his strengths. How do I make her stop talking about the other guy?Naresh, LucknowAre you sure your girlfriend is aware of the heartache she is causing you? Sometimes people do things unknowingly, please stop fuming over this communication gap only in your heart and try telling her how you feel. I am sure she will understand and you guys will be fine together. Just express yourself and don’t worry so much. Love is always meant to go a long way if it is true. I have been seeing a guy since last 3 years. He’s serious about the relationship but never mentions marriage. I’m 21 years old and he’s 24. Is this normal?Ayesha, New DelhiAre you listening to yourself? You both are probably too young to consider marriage. Enjoy each other and may be, just maybe, he is a little scared of commitment. Instead of nagging him about marriage try to have a mature conversation about your future. Sometimes people do take a lot of things for granted. Maybe that’s the case with him. He believes the theory of unspoken words being more powerful than said ones!I am not as good looking as my mother. Relatives always poke me on that and that is the reason why I avoid visiting them. I feel very hurt when anyone comments on my appearance. What can I do to get out of this?Divya, Madhya PradheshFirst and foremost convince yourself that you are an individual and beauty cannot be quantified or defined. As to the comments, whenever anyone says anything, just tell them you might be an ugly duckling but soon you will emerge a beautiful and serene swan.Have a love or life query you cannot find an answer to? Send your questions to – [email protected]last_img read more

Celebrating the legacy

first_imgAs part of its ongoing series of Sanchayan – screening of archival films and video recordings, Sangeet Natak Akademi presented the screening of the most celebrated Odissi dancer and guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s performance on Saturday, December 27 at Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Meghdoot Complex, Copernicus Marg in the Capital. This screening was of the performance from the Swarn Samaroh that was held in 1997 at New Delhi.Kelucharan Mohapatra was among the great makers of dance in our times, an outstanding representative of India’s classical dance heritage and the well-known pioneer associated with the recreation of its Orissan bani. He was born in 1926 in the village of Raghurajpur in Puri district of Orissa in a family of Patachitrakars. He was groomed as a dancer by Pankaj Charan Das and Dayal Saran. He also mastered various percussion instruments, especially Pakhawaj, learning from Agadhu Moharana, Khetra Mohan Kar, and Harihar Rao.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’He joined Kala Vikas Kendra, Cuttack, in 1956 and enriching Odissi dance as a guru and choreographer. A dedicated teacher and prolific creator, Kelucharan Mohapatra trained a large number of dancers over the last four decades. Kelucharan created a number of dance compositions extending the technique and repertoire of the Odissi style. Together with his contemporaries and his teacher Shri Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra was responsible for establishing Odissi as a vibrant language of Indian classical dance. He was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1966), the Padma Shri (1972), the Padma Bhushan (1988), Kalidas Samman (1989), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1991).last_img read more