first_img 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. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Other animals (besides humans) such as chimpanzees and dolphins have demonstrated in various ways that they are capable of dreaming up solutions to problems in their head and then carrying them out. Called “aha” moments by researchers, such thinking, a form of insight, is one of the hallmarks of higher intelligence. Most people who have ever worked with elephants will attest to the fact that they are indeed intelligent creatures; though no one (at least in the research community) had ever witnessed an elephant using insight to solve a problem. This has perplexed scientists for several years, and has caused them to study the seeming paradox. It appears now that the team working with Kandula has seen it in action, that previous research had been attacking the problem from the wrong angle.In the new study, the team did what countless others before had done. They set some fruit up out of reach of the test subject elephants then lay some bamboo sticks about hoping one of them would get it in his or her head to use the stick to knock the fruit down so they could eat it. Every attempt at this failed. The next go round fared much better. Explore further Citation: Study shows elephants capable of insight (2011, August 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-elephants-capable-insight.html Elephants in Experimental Conditions. Image: PLoS ONE 6(8): e23251. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023251 More information: Foerder P, Galloway M, Barthel T, Moore DE III, Reiss D (2011) Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23251. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023251AbstractThe “aha” moment or the sudden arrival of the solution to a problem is a common human experience. Spontaneous problem solving without evident trial and error behavior in humans and other animals has been referred to as insight. Surprisingly, elephants, thought to be highly intelligent, have failed to exhibit insightful problem solving in previous cognitive studies. We tested whether three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) would use sticks or other objects to obtain food items placed out-of-reach and overhead. Without prior trial and error behavior, a 7-year-old male Asian elephant showed spontaneous problem solving by moving a large plastic cube, on which he then stood, to acquire the food. In further testing he showed behavioral flexibility, using this technique to reach other items and retrieving the cube from various locations to use as a tool to acquire food. In the cube’s absence, he generalized this tool utilization technique to other objects and, when given smaller objects, stacked them in an attempt to reach the food. The elephant’s overall behavior was consistent with the definition of insightful problem solving. Previous failures to demonstrate this ability in elephants may have resulted not from a lack of cognitive ability but from the presentation of tasks requiring trunk-held sticks as potential tools, thereby interfering with the trunk’s use as a sensory organ to locate the targeted food. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Study: Elephants might seek revenge (PhysOrg.com) — Kandula, a seven year old Asian elephant living in Washington D.C.’s National Zoo, has proven that elephants are as smart as those that spend a lot of time around them have believed. In an experiment carried out by researchers at the zoo, the little elephant figured out all on his own, without resorting to trial and error, how to go get a cube to use as a footstool to help him reach some food that was just out of reach. The research team, led by Preston Foerder of the City University of New York, has published the results of their study on PLoS ONE. Play This video shows the elephant’s first use of the cube as a tool to acquire food. In the second experiment, the team set the fruit up out of reach as before, but this time, tossed a heavy duty cube into the enclosure. At first nothing happened; in fact, it took eight 20 minute sessions before Kandula, suddenly appeared to get an idea after studying the fruit for a few moments. He immediately ambled on over to where the cube lay, then rolled it over to a position just below the fruit, stepped up with his front feet so as to prop himself up, then very easily grabbed the fruit. It may be that Kandual is exceptionally bright however as the neither of the other two elephants came up with the solution to the problem.The authors note in their posting that now that they have seen an elephant using insight, they themselves have had an “aha” moment of their own. Expecting elephants to use a stick to help get food, they say, is akin to asking a person with eyeballs in his hands to look at something after handing them something to hold. Elephants use the tip of their trunk to both touch and smell while searching for food; filling it with a prop would essentially blind them in their search. Duh.last_img read more

first_imgIn the conventional production of lime from limestone, fossil fuels are burned during the decarbonation process, resulting in a carbon dioxide byproduct. In the STEP process, solar thermal energy is used to heat the limestone as well as assist in electrolysis, producing a different chemical reaction with no carbon dioxide byproduct. Image credit: Licht, et al. ©2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry Explore further Researcher develops carbon dioxide-free method of producing iron Jumping on this opportunity for improvement, a team of researchers from George Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia, has developed a method for cement production that releases zero CO2 emissions. In addition, the scientists estimate that the new production process will be cheaper than the existing process used in the cement industry.In their study published in a recent issue of Chemical Communications, the scientists describe the process as the Solar Thermal Electrochemical Production of cement, or STEP cement. (The team previously used a similar STEP process for carbon capture, with the potential for decreasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels.) As the scientists explain, 60-70% of CO2 emissions during cement production occurs during the conversion of limestone into lime. This conversion involves decarbonation, or removing the carbon atom and two oxygen atoms in limestone (CaCO3) to obtain lime (CaO) with CO2 as the byproduct. The remainder of the emissions comes from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, to heat the kiln reactors that produce the heat required for this decarbonation process.The STEP process addresses both issues, starting by replacing the fossil fuel heat source with solar thermal energy. The solar heat is not only applied directly to melt the limestone, it also provides heat to assist in the electrolysis of the limestone. In electrolysis, a current applied to the limestone changes the chemical reaction so that instead of separating into lime and CO2, the limestone separates into lime and some other combination of carbon and oxygen atoms, depending on the temperature of the reaction. When electrolyzed below 800°C, the molten limestone forms lime, C, and O2. When electrolyzed above 800°C, the product is lime, CO, and ½O2. Citation: Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions (2012, April 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-04-solar-thermal-cement-carbon-dioxide.html “Electrolysis changes the product of the reaction of the limestone as it is converted to lime,” coauthor Stuart Licht, a chemistry professor at George Washington University, told Phys.org. “Rather than producing carbon dioxide, it reduces the carbon dioxide (adds electrons) and produces only oxygen and graphite (which can be readily stored as solid carbon) or CO for fuels, plastics or pharmaceuticals. This is accomplished at low energy and high throughput.”When separated, the carbon and oxygen atoms no longer pose the threat to the atmosphere that they do as CO2. As Licht explained, the carbon monoxide byproduct in the higher temperature reaction can be used in other industries, such as to produce fuels, purify nickel, and form plastics and other hydrocarbons. Plus, the carbon monoxide is produced significantly below market value by this solar thermal electrolytic process. The main product, lime, doesn’t react with the other byproducts, but instead forms a slurry at the bottom of the vessel where it can easily be removed.“This study presents a low-energy, entirely new synthetic route to form CaO without any carbon dioxide emission, and is based on unexpected solubility behavior in molten salts,” Licht said. “This synthesis can be accomplished without solar energy, and without our new STEP process, but is particularly attractive when combined with this new solar process. Alternatively, the new synthesis could be used by industry to produce cement using any non-solar renewable or nuclear energy without any CO2 release, or greatly decrease CO2 if fossil fuels were used to drive the new cement production (in the latter, worst-case scenario, the products are lime, graphite and oxygen; there is still no CO2 product, but CO2 would be used in the energy to drive the process).”According to the researchers, the STEP process can be performed at a lower projected cost than the existing cement industry process. In fact, when accounting for the value of the carbon monoxide byproduct, the cost of the lime production is actually negative. The researchers’ rough analysis shows that the total cost of the limestone material, solar heat, and electricity is $173 per ton of lime and 0.786 tons of carbon monoxide (0.786 tons of carbon monoxide are produced for every ton of lime). The market value of carbon monoxide is $600 per ton, or $471 per 0.786 tons. So after selling the carbon monoxide, the cost of the lime production is $173 – $471 = -$298 per ton. For comparison, the cost to produce lime in the conventional way is about $70 per ton. The researchers emphasize that this analysis is not comprehensive, but it indicates the cost benefit of STEP cement, not even considering the value of eliminating CO2 emissions.The scientists add that the STEP process could be extended beyond cement production to other applications that convert limestone to lime, such as purifying iron and aluminum; producing glass, paper, sugar, and agriculture; cleaning smoke stacks; softening water; and removing phosphates from sewage.The next challenge for the researchers lies in scaling up the process for commercialization. They note that Gemasolar, a large-scale solar thermal plant, is already in operation. Other solar thermal plants are following, with electricity costs expected to decrease. To maintain constant operation, molten salt storage of the thermal energy can allow production to continue even during fluctuations in sunlight and at night. Another issue may be finding enough lithium carbonate for the electrolyte, although the metal is not consumed in the STEP process and so is not a recurring cost.“We plan to scale up the outdoor STEP cement prototype, and in general want to increase the portfolio of useful chemicals made by our new solar process,” Licht said. “The goals are to replace today’s fossil fuel economy with a renewable chemical economy. Scale-up is the challenge. Although the process is entirely new, the individual components (solar towers, 24/7 operation storing solar energy with molten salts) are already in place. Solar energy can be used to efficiently make products without carbon dioxide, and at solar energy efficiencies higher than in photovoltaics.”center_img 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. © 2012 Phys.Org More information: Stuart Licht, et al. “STEP Cement: Solar Thermal Electrochemical Production of CaO without CO2 emission.” Chem. Commun., DOI: 10.1039/C2CC31341C (Phys.org) — While the largest contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is the power industry, the second largest is the more often overlooked cement industry, which accounts for 5-6% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. For every 10 kg of cement produced, the cement industry releases a full 9 kg of CO2. Since the world consumes about 3 trillion kg of cement annually, this sector has one of the highest potentials for CO2 emission reductions. But while processes are being explored to sequester the CO2 from cement production, so far no process can completely eliminate it.last_img read more

first_img More information: Role of the Bering Strait on the hysteresis of the ocean conveyor belt circulation and glacial climate stability, PNAS, Published online before print April 9, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116014109AbstractAbrupt climate transitions, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events, occurred frequently during the last glacial period, specifically from 80–11 thousand years before present, but were nearly absent during interglacial periods and the early stages of glacial periods, when major ice-sheets were still forming. Here we show, with a fully coupled state-of-the-art climate model, that closing the Bering Strait and preventing its throughflow between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans during the glacial period can lead to the emergence of stronger hysteresis behavior of the ocean conveyor belt circulation to create conditions that are conducive to triggering abrupt climate transitions. Hence, it is argued that even for greenhouse warming, abrupt climate transitions similar to those in the last glacial time are unlikely to occur as the Bering Strait remains open. 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. The team began with evidence of wildly fluctuating temperature extremes in the northern hemisphere that occurred during a portion of the last big Ice Age. During that time, temperatures rose and fell in Greenland as much as 10°C over just a period of a few years. This, the team theorized, happened because glaciers in the northern hemisphere grew to such a size that ocean levels dropped sufficiently to cause a land bridge to appear between Siberia and Alaska, cutting off flow between the Arctic and Pacific oceans.To find out if their theory was correct, they turned to a heavy-duty global computer simulation where they first ran data to show conditions with a land bridge in place cutting off the Pacific Ocean from the Arctic, and then with the Strait open as it is today. Their simulation backed up their theory which goes like this: When a land bridge appears, cold fresh water from melting glaciers is unable to flow into the Pacific, so instead, it overflows into the Atlantic Ocean. And that creates a problem because normally the AMOC causes cycling of warm water from the south to flow north, and cold water from the north to flow south. The engine for this system is cold salt laden water in the north sinking beneath incoming warm water. If the cold water in the north is fresh, as it would be if it were coming from the melted glaciers, then it wouldn’t sink and the whole AMOC system would stop. And if it stopped, air temperatures could change quickly. The computer simulation actually showed the same temperature fluctuations over Greenland as researchers have found, via core ice samples, occurred the last time the Strait closed during the last Ice Age.In contrast, the computer simulation showed much more stable temperatures in the absence of a land bridge allowing glacial melt to flow into the Pacific Ocean. This the team concludes, means we don’t have to worry about wildly fluctuating temperatures any time soon, so long as the Strait remains open, which virtually everyone agrees will be the case for the foreseeable future as global warming is expected to lead to warmer water and rising ocean levels. (Phys.org) — A diverse group of climate researchers has found after running computer simulations that the strait that separates North America and Russia might be serving as a global temperature stabilizer. This, they write in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is because when the strait is blocked, melting glacial freshwater in the Arctic Ocean can’t make its way to the Pacific, causing it to back up and eventually flow into the Atlantic, disturbing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and eventually air temperatures. Bering Strait influenced ice age climate patterns worldwide Satellite photo of the Bering Strait. Image: NASA.center_img Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2012 Phys.Org Citation: Bering Strait may be global temperature stabilizer (2012, April 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-04-bering-strait-global-temperature-stabilizer.htmllast_img read more

first_img More information: Extended disease resistance emerging from the fecal nest of a subterranean termite, To be published here: rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2013.1885 Citation: Study shows use of feces as building material by termites serves as antibiotic (2013, September 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-09-feces-material-termites-antibiotic.html (Phys.org) —A team of researchers at the University of Florida has found that some termites use their own feces as an ingredient in building materials. Doing so, the group reports in their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, offers the insects a natural antibacterial agent that helps them fend off infections that could harm them. Termites, as most are aware, cause damage to buildings that have a wood component—the insects eat the wood ruining its ability to maintain its stability. The tiny insects are also notoriously difficult to eradicate once they build a nest in an area and begin munching on building parts. Prior research has found that termites have two natural ways to fend off antibiotic agents. The first is that they have an immune system that is particularly good at fighting off fungal and bacterial infections. They second is they have evolved skills that help them keep bacteria at bay, such as nest cleaning, grooming nest mates, getting rid of those that die and at times eating their remains. In this new effort, the researchers have found that termites have a third type of defense against bacteria—they use their own feces as an ingredient when making a material they use to line the walls of their nests, resulting in nest foundations that are able to ward off bacteria.The researchers discovered the antibacterial properties of the building material in termite nests by digging up five Formosan subterranean termite colonies near the university. In studying the material the termites used to create the walls, the researchers discovered they had been made using feces and chewed wood. In exposing a large variety of bacteria to the material, the researchers found it capable of warding off a host of fungus and other bacteria. Next, the researchers put a colony of the termites into an artificial nest which had been exposed to a type of fungus that can kill termites. Adding bacteria from their natural building material, they found, helped the insects ward off fungal infections.The researchers say microbes in the feces are responsible for the antibacterial nature of the building material, which suggests that further study may yield a new source of antibacterial agent that humans might use to do the same. Stick insect found to harbor antibacterial microbes in its gut © 2013 Phys.orgcenter_img Formosan subterranean termite queen. Credit: Wikipedia. Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B 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

first_imgMitra was arrested in a case relating to Saradha Realty on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, misappropriation of funds as well as deriving undue financial benefits from the Saradha Group, a CBI spokesman here said.”Mitra was arrested on prima facie evidence of criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation as well as deriving undue financial benefits from the Saradha group,” CBI official said.He was taken into custody after five hours of intense questioning at the Salt Lake CGO complex housing the CBI office.Balodia had drafted the letter which Sudipto Sen had sent to the CBI, he said.The CBI had earlier arrested two TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjay Bose in connection with the Saradha scam.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Four persons were killed and seven others have been injured in three separate road accidents in the district on Sunday.The first incident took place at Andal in West Burdwan at around 6.30 am when a youth was returning home on his motorcycle after doing a night shift. The victim, a private employee, was hit by a speeding truck.He sustained critical injuries in the accident. Some of the locals rushed the victim to a nearby hospital where the doctors pronounced him brought dead. The truck driver fled the spot immediately. According to the local sources, the truck was at a high speed as a result of which the driver could not control the vehicle when the youth came in front of the truck. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe driver applied a sudden brake but failed to avoid the accident. The incident triggered tension in the area and it caused traffic congestion in Jadudanga area of Jamuria.Police are conducting raids to nab the truck driver.Another accident took place on National Highway 34 near Udaypur area of Shantipur when a truck collided head on with a bus.One passenger and the helper of the bus succumbed to their injuries in a hospital.According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that the bus driver might have fallen asleep while driving on Sunday morning. Seven other passengers were also injured in the accident. Three of them are stated to be serious. They were taken to a hospital for treatment. The third incident occurred in Mejia area of Bankura when a speeding truck knocked down a cyclist from behind. The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police are conducting raids to nab the truck driver who has been at large.last_img read more

first_imgGender stereotyping in baby boys and girls may start as young as three months and men recognise gender of the new-born babies based on the pitch of their cries, researchers reveal. Adults often wrongly assume babies with higher-pitched cries as females and lower-pitched cries as males.The findings revealed that inspite of no actual difference in pitch between the voices of girls and boys before puberty, the study found that adults make assumptions about the gender of babies based on their cries. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“It is intriguing that gender stereotyping can start as young as three months, with adults attributing degrees of femininity and masculinity to babies solely based on the pitch of their cries,” said David Reby from the University of Sussex in Britain. The team recorded the spontaneous cries of 15 boys and 13 girls who were on average four months old and the participating adults were a mixture of parents and non-parents.They synthetically altered the pitch of the cries while leaving all other features of the cries unchanged to ensure they could isolate the impact of the pitch alone.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe results also indicate that men assume that boy babies are in more discomfort than girl babies with the same pitched cry which may indicate that this sort of gender stereotyping is more ingrained in men. “The research shows that we tend to wrongly attribute what we know about adults —that men have lower pitched voices than women — to babies, when, in fact, the pitch of children’s voices does not differ between sexes until puberty,” added Nicolas Mathevon from Hunter College in the US in the paper published in the journal BMC Psychology.last_img read more

first_imgOlder employees tend to feel more stressed than younger employees when their employers don’t provide them with the support and resources they need to do their jobs well, according to a new study. The study, published in the “Journal of Vocational Behavior”, found that both younger and older workers had lower levels of overall stress when they were given more autonomy on the job, had good relationships with their bosses and felt they were respected and treated fairly at work. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBut when such resources were lacking, older workers reported significantly higher stress levels a year later than their younger colleagues, the researcher said.”With the workforce becoming more age-diverse and older at the same time, it is important to understand the differences between younger and older workers to help them cope with the demands of their work lives more effectively,” said co-author Lale Yaldiz from the Portland State University in the US. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFor the study, the researchers surveyed 243 municipal public works employees between the ages of 24 and 64 over the course of a year.The findings suggest that older workers place a greater value on having autonomy and a supportive work environment because those resources allow them to adapt to the psychological and physical changes that come with aging. For example, older workers tend to prioritise emotional needs and care more about having socially meaningful interactions and mentoring their colleagues than younger workers whose focus tends to be on gaining the skills they need to advance in their careers, the researcher said.Since older workers appear to be more susceptible to stress, organisations can help workers by being transparent about how decisions are made and implemented, not discriminating, valuing employee input when making key decisions and providing channels for employees to voice concerns, the researchers added.last_img read more

first_imgUS researchers have discovered a mechanism for how androgens – male sex steroids – sculpt brain development, which could ultimately help understand development of social behavioural differences between males and females. The team, from the University of Maryland in the US, discovered a mechanism for how androgens sculpt the brains of male rats to produce behavioural differences, such as more aggression and rougher play behaviour. “We already knew that the brains of males and females are different and that testosterone produced during the second trimester in humans and late gestation in rodents contributes to the differences but we did not know how testosterone has these effects,” said Margaret M McCarthy from the varsity. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfStudy revealed that number of newborn cells in the part of brain called the amygdala, which controls emotions and social behaviours acts as a key contributor to the differences in behaviour. Males have fewer of these newborn cells. Female rats were, however, found to be unaffected. “These discoveries into brain development are critical as we work to tackle brain disorders as early in life as possible,” said E Albert Reece, Professor at the varsity’s School of Medicine.last_img read more

first_imgJhargram (WB): A person was critically injured after he was shot at from point blank range in West Bengal’s Jhargram district, police said on Sunday. The BJP blamed the TMC for the incident, a charge denied by the ruling party. The police has initiated an investigation and detained a villager in connection with the incident. The incident happened at Bagua village under the jurisdiction of Jamboni police station on Saturday night, the police said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata Two persons approached Khagapati Mahato, while he was attending a Kirtan (devotional song) programme, and one of them shot at him from point blank range, a police officer said. The miscreants fled the scene immediately, he said, adding, the injured person and the miscreants are residents of Bagua village. Khagapati Mahato was rushed to Jhargram hospital and from there he was taken to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, the police officer said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state Later, he was referred to a hospital in Kolkata, he added. BJP’s Jhargram district president Sukhomoy Satpati alleged that the TMC supporters were involved in the incident. “We have informed the district administration. The miscreants should be arrested immediately,” he said. Denying the allegation, TMC’s district core committee member Prasun Sarangi claimed that the incident happened as a result of personal problems.last_img read more