The coldest temperature in the world was recorded at the South Pole

A new study brings unprecedented information about the coldest temperature in the world. Researchers at Colorado-Boulder University have found that in some Valleys located in the eastern plateau in Antarctica, the minimum temperatures are even lower than it was originally estimated.

For this study, the specialists used only data provided by satellites in the period between 2004-2016. This is because the East Antarctic Plateau, located at an altitude of 3,500 meters, can not be researched with classic meteorological instruments, being extremely isolated and innocent.

The coldest temperature in the world

The coldest temperature in the world was observed in the small valleys formed in the ice on the plateau. Cold air is dense and thus it remains stuck in these small crevices for several days when it is clear and when the wind does not blow. This phenomenon also occurs in other parts of the world at night, when in the valleys it is much colder than in the rest of the region.

In addition, the dry air here adds its contribution to temperatures decrease. The absolute record reached here and observed with NASA’s Aqua (EOS PM-1) satellite was minus 144 degrees Fahrenheit (-98 degrees Celsius), close to the minimum limit of temperatures that may exist on Earth. Lowest temperatures are reached when the sky is clear for several days, and the air is very dry. Extreme temperatures are also recorded during the winter of the North Pole, ie in July and August.

“In this area, we see periods of incredibly dry air, and this allows the heat from the surface of the snow to radiate into space more easily,” said Ted Scambos, the lead author and senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Previous observations made in 2013 in South Pole showed the minimum temperature of minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-93 degrees Celsius). But in the meantime, the scientists revised the data and came to new conclusion regarding the coldest temperature in the world. This new conclusion was published in the American Geophysical Union science magazine.

image source: Ted Scambos

The fastest supercomputer in the world is a million times more powerful than a laptop

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) unveiled the fastest supercomputer in the world. The machine was named Summit and it has the size of two tennis courts, consisting of 4,608 servers.

Thus, the supercomputer can achieve a performance of 200 petaflops. In other words, it can achieve about 200 quadrillion calculations per second. Summit has officially surpassed the previous record, set by China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, which can only reach 93 petaflops.

In this way, the United States is again ranked first in the top 500 supercomputers in the world, a position it held back in 2013, just before Tianhe-2 was built.

Summit is powered by 6 GPU Nvidia Tesla V100 and two IBM 22-core POWER9™ chips. The 4,608 servers have a total memory of 10 petabytes. The supercomputer is a million times faster than a regular laptop. Summit will be used for various tasks related to artificial intelligence and neural networks.

Summit specs and features:

  • Processor: IBM POWER9™
  • GPUs: NVIDIA Volta™
  • Nodes: ~4600
  • Node Performance: >40TFMemory/node: 512GB DDR4 + HBM
  • NV Memory/node: 1600GB
  • Total System Memory: >10PB DDR4 + HBM + Non-volatile
  • Interconnect Topology: Non-blocking InfiniBand Fat Tree
  • Peak Power Consumption: 15MW

It can analyze vast amounts of information, such as photo databases or medical records, and can even identify unknown causes of illness in this way. Summit will be used for medical research, but also to design a nuclear fusion reactor.

Researchers hope that by 2021 a supercomputer will be even faster, making up to one billion billion calculations per second.

Days on Earth are getting longer

Researchers at Columbia University and Wisconsin-Madison University have conducted a study that shows how much the duration of a day has changed in time.

Thus, 1.4 billion years ago, one day on Earth was not 24 hours, but only 18 hours. At that time, the Moon was much closer to Earth, and its gravity was stronger, influencing the planet’s rotation and its axis.

Since the moon is steadily moving away from the Earth at about 3.82 cm per year, this phenomenon makes the Earth’s rotation speed around its axis to diminish. That’s why the days will become longer.

To better explain this phenomenon, the researchers compare our planet with a skater that slows down while spinning as he stretches his arms around him to maintain his balance.

Of course, given the fact that the Moon is moving away from us very slowly, it will take hundreds of millions of years until the duration of a day will be significantly different from the current one. But the planet will get there, eventually…

Experts have calculated that the duration of one day increases by only 0.0000001542857 seconds each year. In the study, scientists have researched rocks and sediments that are over 90 million years old. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A meteorite crashed in Botswana. It was observed just a few hours before the impact

A meteorite crashed in Botswana. The impact took place on Saturday night.

A small asteroid called 2018 LA (ZLAF9B2) crashed in Botswana on 06.02.2018, 16:53 UT local time. The object was about 2 meters in diameter and it was observed very late, just 7 hours before it entered the athmosphere.

Researchers at Catalina Sky Survey, Arizona, realized that the meteorite will crash on Earth and they’ve managed to calculate the possible impact areas. Before the impact, the meteorite turned into a fireball that lit the sky. Fortunately, the meteorite was small and did not cause serious damage.

This incident is proof that astronomers can see only larger asteroids. The smaller ones will be observed in the last minute, hours before hitting our planet.

The Black Shark: Do We Really Need a Gaming Phone?

While a smartphone designed for playing music called Marshall London is being introduced to audiophiles in the US and Europe, gaming phones are gaining ground in countries like China. Xiaomi’s new gaming phone the Black Shark, is the opening salvo in a line of high concept smartphones that could take this growing market by storm. It has some advanced bells and whistles that can provide mobile gamers an upgraded competitive edge over other players.

gaming phone
(Source: YouTube)

The Black Shark gets its street cred thanks to an analog stick controller that can be easily attached to the device. The component snaps into place on one side of the phone. It provides better in-game control compared to maneuvering directly through the touch screen.

The other nifty feature of the Black Shark is “liquid cooling.” This allows gamers to play for prolonged periods without the device heating to an intolerable temperature. The heat-styling pipe cooling solutions built into the device promises a reduction of 8 degrees Celsius.

You’re also provided a “gaming mode” option that allows for maximum performance. Black Shark then tops off the gaming experience with an X-style antenna that guarantees excellent Wifi reception and a snug grip while playing. You can go into full-on battle mode without having to worry if your phone has good reception on its end.

Of course, this is all for nothing if the phone can’t handle good graphics. Video game graphics, even mobile titles, now require high resolution and framerate. Games Radar reports that the mobile version of Fortnite Battle Royale has visuals that demand a handset that can handle VR-level graphics. In addition, even simple games now feature vibrant animated designs to make the gameplay more engaging. FoxyCasino’s wide array of thematic games including Beowulf, Battle Royale, and Booster all use intricately textured and polished visuals that transport the player to various gaming environments. In other words, the majority of games today rely on graphics to attract and retain players. And only a powerful combination of chipset, memory and GPU can deliver this extra ‘oomph’ for your gaming experience. The Black Shark certainly has that capability, as it is driven by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 with an Adreno 630 GPU. This mighty tandem is supported by either 6GB or 8GB RAM for the 32GB and 64GB variants, respectively. Regardless of your choice, the Black Shark is more than capable of displaying crisp imagery on its 6-inch FullHD+ display.

(Source: TechTablets)

With such specs, it’s easy to imagine the Black Shark as a pioneer of a new trend in the industry. As the mobile gaming market grows, the need for more powerful devices will increase, too. It may not be the case just yet, but the world may one day face a demand for gaming smartphones. Xiaomi may not be the first to create one, but the Black Shark is a strong contender in today’s handheld gaming device arena.

Studies conclude: Keep your brain in shape by learning music or a new language

A new study suggests that whether you learn to play a musical instrument or you learn to speak another language, you train your brain to be more effective. Researchers at Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, IL have concluded that musicians and bilingual people use less brain resources when finalizing a task involving memory usage.

People with musical or bilingual backgrounds have activated different brain networks and have less cortical activity in comparison to those who speak only one language and have not had formal musical training. This was observed when the people in question were performing tasks.

Dr. Claude Alain, a senior scientist at Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, has published a paper in this regard. His findings show that musicians and bilinguals need less effort to perform the same task, which could also protect them against cognitive decline and it could favor the delay of dementia. Based on the study, we can argue that a person’s experiences, whether learning how to play a musical instrument or another language, can shape the way the brain works and what neural networks are used.

Musicians and people that are bilingual have long proven to have a better working memory, the ability to keep things in mind, such as remembering a phone number, a list of instructions, or doing mental math. But so far, it remains a mystery why this happens…

Read our article that shows how you can keep your brain in shape with mind games.

Duck-Billed Platypus’ milk could help us fight antibiotic resistant bacteria

The Duck-Billed Platypus is an extremely bizarre animal. He is one of the very few survivors of the group of mammals that is laying eggs. It has venomous fins, and it looks like a hybrid of a duck and a rodent. Now, another interesting feature of this unusual looking animal has been discovered: its milk contains an unique protein that can help us fight bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Because bacteria have evolved to resist antibiotics, millions of people are exposed to infections. A team of researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia (CSIRO) and Dreakin University are looking for a solution for this problem for years now, and they’ve began to use their creativity in order to find ways to break the bacterial resistance barrier. They have discovered that a solution to the problem can be based on Duck-Billed Platypus’ milk. They wanted to pay a closer attention to a protein found in Duck-Billed Platypus’ milk in order to observe its mechanisms.

Once they observed the protein structure closely, they were surprised to see that it was unique. Using it, they could be able to develop new drugs that will overcome the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

MIT engineers built a device that generates electricity from the air

Temperature changes are taking place around us all the time, and scientists have created a device that can convert these fluctuations into electricity by feeding sensors and communication devices with the help of the surrounding air.

The energy is obtained by what is called a thermal resonator: a device that captures the heat on one side and emits it on the other. As both sides try and achieve balance, energy can be generated using the thermoelectric process.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology team, the new thermal resonator can charge mobile devices such as smartphones or smart watches for many years.

This device is something that can sit on a desk and can generate energy from what seems to be nothing. Constantly, we are surrounded by temperature fluctuations at different frequencies. Obviously, these are still untapped sources of energy, and this device will change this.

American researchers’ innovation consists of the combination of materials used for the thermal resonator: metal foam, graphene and a special wax called octadecane, which changes the state of solid and liquid according to temperature fluctuations. Thus, the combination created a device capable of absorbing but also retaining heat, which is extremely rare in materials engineering.

When tested at a 10 degree Celsius difference, the day-night difference, a small sample of material produced 350 millivolts of potential difference and 1.3 millions of power, which is sufficient to keep small sensors and communication systems powered – without batteries or other sources of energy.

Moreover, the thermal resonator can work in any weather conditions and even in the shade. It only needs a temperature fluctuation. They can even be placed under the solar panels to absorb excess heat.

The next step in developing this technology is to test the device under more temperature-shifting conditions on a larger scale. One of the stakes is to create a backup system that comes into operation in the event of a power cut.

Another use of this new technology may be on the rovers that will be sent to explore other worlds, by generating energy from temperature fluctuations on that celestial body – taking advantage of the fact that there may be any temperature, even the extremely low temperatures on Mars. The study was published in Nature magazine.

Source: ScienceAlert

Israeli ophthalmologists invented revolutionary eyedrops that can improve vision and even replace glasses

A team of researchers from Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) created eye drops that can repair corneas and improve myopia and hypermetropia.

“Nanoparticles” have been successfully tested on pig corneas, and clinical trials will begin later this year, writes Interesting Engineering.

The test results showed a significant improvement in error correction for both near-sightedness and far-sightedness.

It is said that this exciting invention can eliminate the need for glasses, which is great news for all glasses wearers out there. According to David Smadja, leader of the team of researchers, droplets can revolutionize treatments for patients suffering from myopia and hypermetropia. He stated that this represents a new concept to correct these problems. Anyhow, he did not mention how often these droplets should be used in order to completely remove glasses.

For this new droplets, prospective patients would have to use a smartphone app to scan the eyes, measure their refraction, create a laser pattern, and only afterwards apply a “laser corneal stamping” of an optical pattern onto the corneal surface of their eyes.

We must say that this is not the first time the use of nanotechnology for eye drops has been investigated by specialists. Up until now, many studies have been conducted to develop nanotechnology-based systems to treat eye diseases. As an example, we mention a team of researchers that has developed a method by which sperm-coated carbon quantum dots can be used to treat bacterial infections of the eyes, which can thus destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

A Japanese Artist Draws about Modern Life Drama

Sometimes, I find myself getting lost for hours into the Japanese art of drawing. That was the case with Avogado6, a mysterious artist that managed to capture and to draw the best and the worst of living modern life. There is not much info out there about Avogado, except that he is very fond of chemistry and that he gets the essence of human feelings in modern day society. The themes of his drawings include silence, ambition, past, depression, depletion, apathy, trauma, love, education, loss… I’ll let you enjoy the following images and see for yourself what’s the theme of each artwork. Let us know what you think of them in the comment section below.