Wired Online runs a contest each year for the best micro-photography and they have just released the winners for 2012. See http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/nikon-small-world-winners/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=wiredsciencefacebookclickthru&pid=5126
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Updated: Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 11:18 AM EST
Researchers Avi Loeb from The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Edwin Turner of Princeton University have suggested just that. They proposed looking for aliens’ city lights could be a clue as to whether there’s life out there.
“Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn’t require extra resources,” Loeb said in a statement . “And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe.”
The theory does depend on assuming that aliens would have Earth-like technologies and that they would want to see in the dark, requiring them to have artificial illumination when it’s dark outside.
If it worked, science blog io9 stated, telescopes would pick up tiny fluctuations in light emitted from alien solar systems. There would be more light from the dark side than what’s seen from its day side.
The astrophysicists’ paper, submitted to Astrobiology , states that existing optical telescopes and surveys could detect artificially-illuminated objects equaling the brightness of a major terrestrial city in the outskirts of our solar system.
The center’s announcement suggested, for instance, that our best telescopes should be able to see light generated by a Tokyo-sized metropolis in the area occupied by Pluto, Eris and smaller icy bodies. If nothing else, it would be good practice for when astronomers have stronger telescopes in the future and can extend the search to other solar systems.
Space.com , in cooperation with Astrobiology Magazine, explained how Loeb and Turner came up with their theory. Loeb got the idea while at a conference in Abu Dhabi and hearing a tour guide to Dubai suggest the emirate was so bright at night that it could be seen by space.
“It’s not like I think there’s a baseball stadium on Pluto, but we need to drop all preconceptions about what alien civilizations do and search in every way we can,” he said.
Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Report, All Rights Reserved.Re-posted with permission to Photonic Portal 2037, 6.18.2011
Superman, resting and re-charging in his fabled icy northern cave of Kryptonite super crystals, to restore his super-powers, might actually envy this location for a top-secret home instead. You simply must see this to believe it. Anyone who knows just a bit about the electromagnetic and spiritual drawing and power of crystals would have to stand in stupefied awe of this discovery. Just take a look.
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Repost courtesy of www.wired.com:
If these honeybee blues are interpreted as they would be in dogs or horses or humans, then insects might have feelings.
Honeybee response “has more in common with that of vertebrates than previously thought,” wrote Newcastle University researchers Melissa Bateson and Jeri Wright in their bee study, published June 2 in Current Biology. The findings “suggest that honeybees could be regarded as exhibiting emotions.”
Bateson and Wright tested their bees with a type of experiment designed to show whether animals are, like humans, capable of experiencing cognitive states in which ambiguous information is interpreted in negative fashion.
Of course, unlike unhappy people, animals can’t say that the glass is half-empty. Researchers must first train them to associate one stimulus — a sound, a shape, or for honeybees, a smell — with a positive reward, and a second with a punishment.
Then, by prompting the animals with a third, in-between stimulus, it’s possible to assess their outlook. Like a depressed person seeing hostility in a neutral gaze, pessimistic animals tend to treat that uncertain stimulus like a punishment.
Such tests might seem simplistic compared to the richness of human emotion, but they’re the most objective available tool for comparing cognition across species. And pessimism is no mean feat: It’s a form of cognitive bias, considered in humans to be an aspect of emotion. You can’t be pessimistic if you don’t have an inner life.
Earlier research has found rats and dogs capable of pessimism. Bateson has also documented pessimism in starlings. But though honeybees have passed tests of pattern recognition and spatial modeling, the idea of feelings occurring in their sesame-seed-sized brains is generally considered unlikely, if not downright laughable.
“Invertebrates like bees aren’t typically thought of as having human-like emotions,” said Bateson, yet honeybees and vertebrates share many neurological traits. “Way, way back, we share a common ancestor. The basic physiology of the brain has been retained over evolutionary time. There are basic similarities.”
Until now, though, they hadn’t been tested. Bateson and Wright trained their honeybees to associate one scent with a sugary reward and another scent with bitterness. Then they shook half their beehives, mimicking a predator attack. Afterwards, shaken bees still responded to the sugary scent, but were more reluctant than their unshaken brethren to investigate the in-between smell.
Further analysis of the shaken bees’ brains found altered levels of dopamine, serotonin and octopamine, three neurotransmitters implicated in depression. In short, the bees acted like they felt pessimistic, and their brains looked like it, too.
“The methodology is sound,” said Lori Marino, an Emory University evolutionary neurobiologist who was not involved in the study. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they are tapping into bee emotions. After all, every animal has to have emotions in order to learn and to make decisions. And we already know from many other studies that bees are really cognitively sophisticated.”
But Bateson said the results could be interpreted another way. “Either bees have feelings, or cognitive bias isn’t as tightly correlated with feelings as we thought,” she said. “Maybe cognitive bias is not a good measure of emotion.”
In future studies, Bateson hopes to elicit from honeybees other forms of apparent emotion, such as happiness. She also wonders about the mental effects of chemicals and disease.
“It would be interesting to know if pesticides were altering their cognition, creating states similar to depression,” she said.
Image: Jack Wolf/Flickr
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Citation: “Agitated Honeybees Exhibit Pessimistic Cognitive Biases.” By Melissa Bateson, Suzanne Desire, Sarah E. Gartside, and Geraldine A. Wright. Current Biology, June 2, 2011.
- Honeybees Might Have Emotions (wired.com)
- For stressed bees, the glass is half empty (eurekalert.org)
- For stressed bees, the glass is half empty (sciencedaily.com)
- A World Without Bees (thistimethisspace.com)
- Some interesting facts about bees (interflora.co.uk)
- Swarms Of Honey Bees Popping Up In Parts Of New York City (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- How Marketing May Save London’s Bees (fastcompany.com)
- Rapture Proves False For Honeybees, Too–Not Harold Camping’s Fault (fastcompany.com)
- Fibonacci Numbers and the family history trees of honey bees! (cumpstonresearch.wordpress.com)
- Bee vs Mobile Phone: Electromagnetic Fields Confuse Honeybees (treehugger.com)
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