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Posts Tagged ‘Berkeley’

Odds Favor Discovery of Earth-Like Exoplanet in 2013

December 30th, 2012 12:20 admin View Comments

Earth

Earth-like exoplanets have gotten a lot of attention in the last few years; it’s exciting to think that there’s life — or even just life-sustaining conditions — on planets other than Earth, whether near by (on Mars) or much farther away (orbiting Vega). Projects like NASA’s Kepler, and the ground-based HARPS, attempt to spot planets outside our solar system of all kinds. These exoplanet discoveries have been ramping up lately, and so has sorting of the discovered planets by size and other characteristics; the odds are looking good, say astronomers quoted by Space.com, that an Earth-like planet will be found this year. Abel Mendez runs the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, and UC Berkeley astromer Geoff Marcy looks for planets as part of the Kepler team; they explain in the article why they think 2013 is an auspicious one for planet hunters.

Source: Odds Favor Discovery of Earth-Like Exoplanet in 2013

How the Brain Organizes Everything We See

December 25th, 2012 12:30 admin View Comments

Science

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a UC Berkeley news release: “Our eyes may be our window to the world, but how do we make sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the brain is wired to put in order all the categories of objects and actions that we see. They have created the first interactive map of how the brain organizes these groupings.”

Source: How the Brain Organizes Everything We See

A Brief History of the Berkeley Software Distributions

December 18th, 2012 12:14 admin View Comments

It seems that there’s some confusion around the Berkeley Software Distributions and where they came from. It’s a bit difficult to keep track amidst all of the infighting and forking caused by various personal, political, and legal issues. I’ve covered the BSD family quite a bit, but never its history. I’ll do so now so that we can all get on the same page.The history of the Berkeley Software Distributions all starts with 386BSD…Read more ยป

Source: A Brief History of the Berkeley Software Distributions

An Interactive Graph of the Certificate Authority Ecosystem

December 14th, 2012 12:00 admin View Comments

Encryption

An anonymous reader writes “Researchers of the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley have created an interactive diagram that shows root-CAs, their intermediates, the relationships between them and how many certificates have been signed by them. The graph was generated by passively monitoring the Internet uplinks of a number of (mostly) edu sites for SSL connections and their certificate Information. Among other things the graph shows that one GoDaddy intermediate signed more than 74,000 certificates and that a German CA uses more than 200 sub-CAs for administrative reasons.”

Source: An Interactive Graph of the Certificate Authority Ecosystem

Cloaking Technology Could Protect Offshore Rigs From Destructive Waves

November 22nd, 2012 11:06 admin View Comments

Technology

cylonlover writes “Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can’t be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That’s the aim of Reza Alam’s underwater ‘invisibility cloak.’ The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves.”

Source: Cloaking Technology Could Protect Offshore Rigs From Destructive Waves

The Science of Thanks Giving

November 22nd, 2012 11:10 admin View Comments

Medicine

Hugh Pickens writes writes “This is Americans’ big week to give thanks. Now Russell McLendon writes that giving thanks can do wonders for the human brain according to researchers at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center where scientists have developed an easy way for people to do just that and, at the same time, contribute to a national research project and maybe also improve their lives. The project is part of a $5.6 million, three-year national effort called ‘Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude,’ funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The center has gone live with Thnx4.org, an interactive, shareable gratitude journal and has invited people in the campus community to take part in the Cal Gratitude Challenge by keeping a two-week online ‘gratitude journal’ and, if they choose, sharing their posts with others. Early research into the power of gratitude journals ended up proving that students who wrote down everything they were grateful for strengthened their overall resilience and became less vulnerable to everyday stresses and complaints like rashes and headaches, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas. ‘Thnx4.org wanted to make this spiral notebook very accessible, and to make the research a little more specific than it has been historically,’ says Simon-Thomas. Online, anyone can take part — and potentially reap the benefits. The Cal Gratitude Challenge opened November 1 and will remain open throughout November but the project has a three-year grant and participants will be able to maintain their journals for the duration and first results from the data are expected in January. ‘We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received,’ writes Robert Emmons as part of the project. ‘This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.’”

Source: The Science of Thanks Giving

Vanderbilt University Steps Into the Exoskeleton Market

November 2nd, 2012 11:05 admin View Comments

Robotics

Zothecula writes “For people who are unable to walk under their own power, exoskeletons offer what is perhaps the next-best thing. The devices not only let their users stand, but they also move their legs for them, allowing them to walk. While groups such as Berkeley Bionics, NASA, Rex Bionics, and ReWalk are all working on systems, Nashville’s Vanderbilt University has just announced the development of its own exoskeleton. It is claimed to offer some important advantages over its competitors.”

Source: Vanderbilt University Steps Into the Exoskeleton Market

Terrestrial Hermit Crabs Learning Social Tricks

October 28th, 2012 10:06 admin View Comments

Science

An anonymous reader writes “When it comes to abandoned snail shells that hermit crabs expropriate as mobile homes, size matters, for room to grow, room for eggs, and protection from predators. UC Berkeley evolutionary biologist Mark Laidre found that terrestrial hermit crabs on the Pacific shore of Costa Rica congregate in aggressive swap meets where one crab is forced from a relatively large shell, whereupon the rest trade up (one loser and multiple winners, pretty good odds). The loser gets the smallest shell, which means likely doom. Laidre and his colleagues note that most hermit crabs live in the ocean, where there are usually enough abandoned shells to go around so most can live, well, hermit-like lives without much interaction with fellow crabs. Not so on land, at least in Costa Rica.”

Source: Terrestrial Hermit Crabs Learning Social Tricks

Promiscuity Alters DNA and Boosts Immunity In Mice

September 1st, 2012 09:48 admin View Comments

Science

An anonymous reader writes “Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley found that promiscuous mice have significantly stronger immune systems than monogamous mice, suggesting that promiscuous mice may have developed more robust immunity to protect them against the disease-causing bacteria they are exposed to from mating with multiple partners.”

Source: Promiscuity Alters DNA and Boosts Immunity In Mice

Earth’s Corner of the Galaxy Just Got a Little Lonelier

August 22nd, 2012 08:13 admin View Comments

Space

Hugh Pickens writes “Only four stars, including Barnard’s Star, are within six light-years of the Sun, and only 11 are within 10 light-years. That’s why Barnard’s star, popularized in Robert Forward’s hard-SF novel Flight of the Dragonfly, is often short-listed as a target for humanity’s first interstellar probe. Astronomers have long hoped to find a habitable planet around it, an alien Earth that might someday bear the boot prints of a future Neil Armstrong, or the tire tracks of a souped-up 25th-century Curiosity rover. But now Ross Anderson reports that a group of researchers led by UC Berkeley’s Jieun Choi have delivered the fatal blow to those hopes when they revealed the results of 248 precise Doppler measurements that were designed to examine the star for wobbles indicative of planets around it. The measurements, taken over a period of 25 years, led to a depressing conclusion: ‘the habitable zone around Barnard’s star appears to be devoid of roughly Earth-mass planets or larger … [p]revious claims of planets around the star by van de Kamp are strongly refuted.’ NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which studies a group of distant Milky Way stars, has found more than 2,000 exoplanet candidates in just the past two years, leading many to suspect that our galaxy is home to billions of planets, a sizable portion of which could be habitable. ‘This non-detection of nearly Earth-mass planets around Barnard’s Star is surely unfortunate, as its distance of only 1.8 parsecs would render any Earth-size planets valuable targets for imaging and spectroscopy, as well as compelling destinations for robotic probes by the end of the century.’”

Source: Earth’s Corner of the Galaxy Just Got a Little Lonelier