September 1, 2019

Shin Godzilla Reminds America That Japan Is Still Better At This

first_img Watch These Movies Before ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’Toy Tuesday: The Best Funko Pops Stay on target Shin Godzilla, which translates to a few things but for the purposes of the film is probably best Americanized as “True Godzilla” as this is the second time the Toho production company has rebooted their Godzilla franchise as a response to an American installment. The 1998 Roland Emmerich Godzilla lead to Toho’s Godzilla 2000 and a run of Godzilla films called the “Millennium Series” that culminated in 2014’s Godzilla: Final Wars, the last Toho Godzilla movie until this year’s new installment. The Millennium Series has no continuity between most of the installments but features a similar Godzilla in all the movies. Shin Godzilla is undeniably a new beginning for the monster, and even though this is the third movie where Godzilla terrorizes Japan without another monster cameo, Shin Godzilla is a film worthy of the “True Godzilla” title.Writer and co-director Hideaki Anno (creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion) delivers a tongue-in-cheek look at the Japanese political disaster response process while presenting Godzilla as a perfect biological specimen that must be reckoned with if it cannot be stopped. Gareth Edwards 2014 American Godzilla reintroduced the character as a monster that fought other monsters while Anno takes the opposite approach. Shin Godzilla is the kind of creature that stands immobile while dozens of tanks and helicopters light him up with everything they have, not the version of the monster that has anthropomorphized reaction shots to hint at what the beast is thinking.In the previous solo Godzilla films, 1954’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 1984’s Return of Godzilla (released here as Godzilla 1985), the humans bear the burden of keeping the plot interesting by thematically referencing political issues of the day. The first film uses Godzilla as a large lizard that replicates the devastation of an atomic bomb, irradiating all the land he walks on. Return of Godzilla tracks the international response to Japan’s crisis as America and Russia argue about nuking the monster despite the devastation it would cause the nation. Shin Godzilla smartly combines both of these approaches but substitutes World War II’s atom bomb for the Fukushima meltdown and the 2011 Tsunami and tidal wave. Much of Shin Godzilla’s runtime is devoted to peeking in on the supervisory committees and bureaucrats of the Japanese political system as they debate courses of action to submit for approval. Once Godzilla gets named and makes landfall a second time, the presence of the US as a world power that might not actually “care” about Japan turns into a motivation for our heroes to get the job done.There are precious few amongst our human characters who act more rationally than the others in a movie the audience knows is about Godzilla. Actor Hiroki Hasegawa plays an analyst for the Disaster Prevention Bureau, and Mikako Ichikawa plays a consulting biologist named Ogashira; both seem to know the ramifications of something like Godzilla existing before the Japanese Defense Forces throw everything they have at the monstrosity. Most of the politicians in the movie make blanket statements the audience knows to be false (like “the creature will not come on land”) only to have those thoughts immediately disproven. It’s a device that works well in smaller satires like HBO’s Veep and ends up equally as entertaining in a monster movie, maybe even more so in America where the disasters being referenced were things we only experienced on screen.Then, of course, there’s the other stuff: Godzilla wrecking Tokyo. This version of Godzilla is unique in that it/he is constantly evolving to survive whatever new environment it finds itself in. It feeds off nuclear fission and produces radiation, like previous versions of the monster, and has a recognizable silhouette from the side, but otherwise, expands upon what the monster can be and do. For example, the first version of Godzilla that comes ashore in Shin Godzilla has no arms; it has to evolve those arms after it evolves the ability to bear all of its weight on its hind legs. By the time the “fourth form” of Godzilla shows up (the one in the trailers and on the posters), his skin is hardened to prevent damage from bullets, and he’s learning to use his internal nuclear fission in the Godzilla-trademark mouth ray. Shin Godzilla goes beyond what you’d expect with his mouth fire after some pesky drones start attacking him, unveiling some new Godzilla powers that haven’t been previously part of a Godzilla movie.After firmly establishing that Godzilla probably can’t be stopped, the climax of the movie where our forward-thinking heroes concede they have to try to stop him anyway doesn’t disappoint. Even though most of the movie is spent in conference rooms and hallways, the final showdown plays out over most of the city as Japan gives the monster everything they’ve got to try and stop it from destroying everything and irradiating Tokyo. There’s no oxygen bomb like in the 1950s that can actually kill this thing; there’s just a slim chance they can stop it. It’s a great release after watching characters debate over if scrapping and rebuilding entire neighborhoods is good or bad for the nation of Japan.Shin Godzilla embraces the Godzilla mythos from the inception point of an unstoppable force meeting the determined Japanese people while laying the groundwork for what this franchise could be in this new iteration. In America, our Godzilla is building to a showdown with the rebooted King Kong from Skull Island, in Japan, the “True” Toho Godzilla is reminding us that we are puny humans who create and complicate our own problems until they’re unfixable and we’re all scrambling to deal with the aftermath. The 2014 American Godzilla made the human storyline feel extraneous by having a monster brawl at the periphery, Shin Godzilla puts the monster in the center and watches the ripples tear through human systems. They’re both undeniably Godzilla, but Shin Godzilla renews the argument that any American Godzilla can only be a pretender to the throne.last_img read more

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What to Expect From the Marvel Cinematic Universe at SDCC 2019

first_imgStay on target As an annual holy land for all things nerdy in pop culture, there are a bunch of different exciting things you can expect to see at the San Diego Comic-Con. And this year’s show happening in just a few weeks will be no different. However, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero action epic continues to grow over the years, learning more about its upcoming films has been the highlight of SDCC time and time again. They literally trotted out Tom Hiddleston dressed as Loki and made the crowd shout his name.While Marvel, as one of the two major comic book companies, always has some kind of presence at the Comic Convention, Marvel Studios holding a panel isn’t always a guarantee. For example, last year Feige and friends skipped the event following the release of Avengers: Infinity War, offering us no clues on the fate of our dusted heroes. That’s what makes it even more exciting whenever Marvel Studios does announce its return to the legendary Hall H.Now that Avengers: Endgame has ended the MCU as we know it (with Spider-Man: Far From Home serving as a little epilogue), there’s no better time for Marvel to show us what comes next. Fortunately, we now know that Marvel Studios is holding a 90-minute SDCC panel on Saturday, July 20 at 6:45 P.M. Pacific Time. The description doesn’t say much. “Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige and surprise panelists provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.” We expect some of those panelists to be dead Avengers offering us final farewells. But while tributes to the MCU’s impressive past may be cathartic, here’s what we’re hoping to learn about the future.Phase 4So what exactly are the next Marvel movies? We have only the slightest idea. And if Marvel doesn’t tell us the first concrete details of its Phase 4 slate at SDCC then what’s even the point.Right now Scarlett Johansson is filming (and producing) the standalone Black Widow movie. Considering the current status of her character, this pretty much has to be a prequel. But the exact year remains a mystery. Set photos also suggest the main villain might be skull-faced copy-cat Taskmaster. Cate Shortland is directing and other cast members include Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Ray Winstone, and Florence Pugh as the potential new Black Widow Yelena Belova. This is the first Phase 4 movie we expect to see.The Eternals from Chloe Zhao also seems to be moving along nicely. To be honest, I basically know nothing about these evolved ancient alien-influenced humans. It’s almost as if Marvel needed to find a secret race even more obscure than the Inhumans. But a cast headed by Angelina Jolie can’t help but raise our interest. Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, and Ma Dong-seok have also been cast and rumors suggest Keanu Reeves may appear in this one.Details on the rest of Phase 4 though are even more sparse, at least until we hopefully learn more at SDCC. Director Destin Daniel Cretton is working on the Shang-Chi movie which might reveal the martial artist’s connection to the real Mandarin. Ryan Coogler and Scott Derrickson are working on sequels to Black Panther and Doctor Strange, respectively. James Gunn still needs to make his Suicide Squad sequel before restarting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And these are all just solo films. The next Avengers-style team-up movie is still a complete question mark.Disney+The next big frontier for the MCU isn’t just in movie theaters but also on streaming TV services. After wrapping up sexy semi-canonical offshoots on Netflix, Marvel is preparing a slate of prestige streaming miniseries for the upcoming Disney+ firmly set in the cinematic universe. Although none of these shows seem far enough along to launch alongside the service this November, we do expect to see first looks at announced projects at SDCC. Those projects include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the animated What If…?, WandaVision, Loki, and Hawkeye.FoxDon’t forget, Marvel is also a part of the increasingly frightening entertainment empire that is Disney. And earlier this year Disney finally completed its dark mission of buying up most of Fox, tightening its depressing stranglehold over the industry. It sucks, a lot of people lost their jobs, and promising movies were cancelled. Frankly, it’s hard to get hyped about Fox’s Marvel characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the MCU if this is what it costs. But if you do care about that sort of thing, this SDCC might give us the first tease of the future of those characters.For more on SDCC 2019 check out what you can expect from Lego and Pokemon. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Director Explains Thanos’ Faceoff With Captain America‘Marvels’ Expands Marvel’s Podcast Universe last_img read more

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Resident Evil VII feels like the Condemned sequel we never got

first_imgOne of the biggest announcements at Sony’s press conference at E3 2016 was the reveal of Capcom’s Resident Evil VII (Evil? EVII? If you squint it totally makes the name-number transition work), and with that game out of the bag, Capcom had it in the spotlight on the show floor the day after. Capcom’s booth (with the exception of a mini-courtroom for Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice and an airship for Monster Hunter Generations) was a huge, dilapidated house built for showing off the new game.Capcom took me on a tour through its spooky booth to let me try Resident Evil VII in PlayStation VR. REVII will be entirely in first-person, and you’ll be able to play the whole game using PSVR. It takes place in the Resident Evil universe after Resident Evil 6. I have no idea who the main character is — you don’t play as Chris or Leon — or what the story is. With that out of the way, let’s jump into the VR experience.My silent character woke in a run-down room in an abandoned house. I had a flashlight affixed to my view, to point directly in front of me; I’d later conclude that this was the light of a video camera I was constantly holding. No one was around, and a single objective popped up in the center of my view: Leave the house.Besides a few traces of light coming from a fusebox and switch, and through boarded-up windows, the house was completely dark. I only had my front-facing flashlight, which not only was very effective in illuminating what was in front of me, but thoroughly vignetted my peripheral view, making me vulnerable to jump scares that were thankfully quite few. I wandered around the first floor of the house and found a dummy’s finger, a chained cabinet, and a set of bolt cutters. I also found the back door to the house, but it was closed, the entry room was filled with cow carcasses, and a spooky baby doll dropped out of the ceiling. So, I tried to open the cabinet, instead.Since this is a Resident Evil game, I assumed that the dummy’s finger would have opened the lock on the chains. The bolt cutters instead worked with remarkably un-Resident Evil directness. A video tape was inside the cabinet.I also crept upstairs to an apparent dead end, where three mannequins stared at the wall. I knew exactly where this was going because I’ve played horror games before. I looked at something else in the room, turned around, and the mannequins turned to face me, with a fourth mannequin at the top of the stairs. They didn’t seem to be enemies — only tools for a jump scare — so I went back downstairs. I returned to the room where I woke up. A television was there and turned on, and a VCR was on top of it. I put the tape in the VCR and my view shifted to the test pattern of the tape, which transitioned into what was on the game, which became a flashback I also played.I was a cameraman for a ghost-hunting reality show. The star and producer were arguing about how there was nothing in the house and how the star was jaded. I followed them in through the kitchen door. The producer disappeared moments later, and the star and I looked through the first floor for him.We ended up in the room I originally woke up in that had the television and the VCR. The star found a switch in the fireplace that opened a small door in the wall, which we crawled through. There was a hole in the floor with a long ladder going down into the darkness, which I climbed. The producer was standing, silently staring at the wall, and just like the mannequins, I knew where this was going. I nudged the producer, who ended up having a hook through his mouth and being incredibly dead. I then fell over and came out of the video flashback.Now that I knew about the secret door, I pulled the switch myself and went into the room with the hole in the floor. The ladder was gone, but the key to the back door was on the floor near the hole. I found the back door to the house, opened the door a crack, and was attacked by a Hills Have Eyes-style redneck not-zombie. The demo ended. If you didn’t tell me this was Resident Evil, I would have completely assumed it was a new Condemned game. First-person horror with emphasis on flashlights in total darkness, no zombies in sight, a crazed hobo killing coworkers, and mannequin jump scares? It screamed Condemned.Resident Evil VII looks to be as big a departure from the series as Resident Evil 4 was before it, which shifted the genre from survival horror to horror action. This looks like a return to survival horror, but with a first-person view to make the scares even scarier. And to be fair, the mannequin thing would have freaked me out if I hadn’t already seen it in three games before that.Mechanically, Resident Evil VII looks really interesting, and I’m curious how it will turn out. The Resident Evil world is completely stupid, and the idea of a reality show where some people explore spooky houses in a world where weaponized zombies have already killed tens of thousands of people is ridiculous. We have no idea where the story will actually go, or who you’ll play as in the full game, though, and the formula is there for a compelling return to actual horror.last_img read more

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The Battery in This Phone is Five Times Bigger Than Yours

first_img Rugged BlackBerry Clone With QWERTY Keyboard Hits KickstarterA Smart Speaker Could Save You From Cardiac Arrest Stay on target Most smartphone makers put a lot of effort into maximizing battery life on their devices. Others take a more direct route.It doesn’t get much more direct than what Avenir Telecom did with their latest Energizer-branded phone. They didn’t carefully select the most efficient components possible and carving out the biggest space they could inside the phone’s frame for a lithium-polymer pack.They basically did that last part but in reverse. Avenir took a massive portable battery and carved out just enough room to shove a phone on top.AdChoices广告Energizer’s 18,000mAh battery phone is as thick as 3 normal phones https://t.co/PGmJ3wRFaQ pic.twitter.com/4BJyv4OZfm— Mashable (@mashable) February 26, 2019Technically, the P18K Pop is a smartphone that runs Android. Behind its 6.2-inch, 2280 x 1920 screen the phone hides a MediaTek Helios P70 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage (which you can supplement via a micro SD slot). It has a pop-up selfie cam with dual 2MP and 16MP sensors and a trio of cameras (2MP, 5MP, and 16MP) on the back.What really makes the P18K pop is the battery that’s responsible for all the extra bulge. The reason this phone is a pocket-busting 18mm thick is that it has an 18400mAh battery.For comparison’s sake, the iPhone Xs Max has a 3120mAh battery. The one in Google’s Pixel 3 XL is just over 3520mAh. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has one of the biggest batteries you’ll find in a more standard-issue phone at 4000mAh.Energizer’s Power Max P18K Pop has an 18,000 mAh battery. That’s almost 7x the size of the iPhone XS battery!It’s the very definition of thicc https://t.co/z7wmVMaNbm @mashable @futureshift #mwc19 #mwc2019 pic.twitter.com/BU5kyKa90v— Raymond Wong (@raywongy) February 26, 2019And yet it’s nearly 80% smaller than the battery in the P18K Pop. Apart from the added thickness and weight, it does take 8 hours to fully recharge.Here are some examples of you can do with the P18K Pop’s 18,400mAh battery when it’s at 100 percent, according to Energizer. You can converse on the phone for nearly four days, nonstop. You can listen to music every minute of the work week that you’re awake.Want to binge on some videos? Go for it. Energizer says the P18K Pop can handle a 48-hour marathon.More on Geek.com:Samsung Reveals Galaxy Fold, Three Galaxy S10sMicron and SanDisk Unveil World’s First 1TB microSD CardsThe Whole Front of This Phone Is a Fingerprint Readerlast_img read more

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August 31, 2019

Physicists Store Images in Vapor

first_img“During the storage time, there are no light fields in the experimental system,” Shuker explained. “All the information carried by the light (in our case the 3D intensity and phase pattern) is converted to the quantum state of the atoms in the vapor (specifically, the coherence between the sub-levels of the ground state). If it was easy to detect the coherence level of the quantum state of the atoms, we would notice that an effective ‘image’ exists – but this is not easily performed (maybe the easiest way is to convert it back to light – as we do in the restoring stage of the experiment).”Due to the diffusion of the gas atoms, the recovered images looked somewhat blurry and had a decreased signal-to-noise ratio. To improve the image resolution, the researchers developed a technique to minimize image degradation caused by the movement of the atoms. The technique is similar to the phase-shift lithography technique used to reduce optical spreading, where the phases of neighboring image features are flipped so that light between them will interfere destructively. The researchers shifted the phases of image features by 180 degrees, so that atoms of opposite phases that diffused to the areas between lines in the image had amplitudes that cancelled, and no light was emitted that blurred the image lines.Storing images in vapor – or, as the researchers describe, “converting optical information to atomic coherence” – could be useful for various image processing and correlation applications, as well as quantum information processing and even quantum communication. The scientists also predict that it should be possible to store more elaborate images, including temporal images, or movies.“The storage-of-light technique (generally, not only images) might have important applications in future quantum information devices,” Shuker said. “The most ‘straight-forward’ application is a ‘memory device’ for the basic information unit of quantum information – the qubit. “Furthermore, the ability to convert quantum information from one representation (a light pulse) to another (atomic coherence) might prove very useful, since each of them has its unique benefits. Photons are excellent carriers of information, and atomic coherence is a good place to store the information – and maybe even process it, since atoms interact with the environment much better than photons.”More information: Shuker, M.; Firstenberg, O.; Pugatch, R.; Ron, A.; and Davidson, N. “Storing Images in Warm Atomic Vapor.” Physical Review Letters 100, 223601 (2008).Copyright 2008 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. Explore further The original image (left), the image slowed for 6 microseconds (middle), and the image stored for 2 microseconds (right). The technique to improve image resolution was not used for these images. Credit: M. Shuker, et al. ©2008 APS. NIST’s compact atomic gyroscope displays new twists Books are written on solid pieces of paper for an obvious reason: the atoms in a solid don’t move around much, keeping the words and pictures in place for centuries. Trying to store letters and images in a gas medium, on the other hand, seems a little far-fetched. Atoms in a gas are constantly moving around, which would move the images around with them. 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 Citation: Physicists Store Images in Vapor (2008, June 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-06-physicists-images-vapor.html But physicists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, have recently demonstrated how to store images in a warm atomic vapor. With their method, which is based on electromagnetically induced transparency, the researchers could store complex images for up to 30 microseconds in rubidium vapor. To improve the resolution of the retrieved images, the physicists also developed a method to minimize the effect of the diffusion of the gas atoms on the images’ visibility. Images stored for 30 microseconds. The left table shows actual and predicted images without the technique to improve image resolution. The right table shows actual and predicted images with the technique to improve image resolution, where a phase shift was applied to cancel light emission between the lines. Credit: M. Shuker, et al. ©2008 APS. “The basic concepts of the storage of light have been known for several years now, as well as possible applications,” Moshe Shuker of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology told PhysOrg.com. “What triggered our work was a paper by Howell’s group in Rochester in which they showed they can slow images and delay them for several nanoseconds. We wondered would it be possible to store images – and for how long? Since we used slowing delays and storage durations in the range of microseconds, we immediately noticed the effect of the diffusion of the atoms.”In their technique, the researchers first stored an image (for example, the number “2”) in a light pulse. When that light pulse hits a gas of atoms, it is strongly absorbed, and excites the atoms. But when a second light beam is aimed at the gas, it drives the atoms to a unique quantum state, and causes the first pulse to pass through the vapor. This phenomenon is called electromagnetically induced transparency.As previous experiments have shown, when the second light beam is shut off while the first pulse is inside the vapor, the first pulse can be completely stopped (and be temporarily stored inside the vapor). Then, by starting up the second beam again, the first pulse can be recovered. Here, the physicists used this method to capture, store, and restore complex 3D light fields. The scientists slowed images on a light pulse to a group velocity of 8,000 meters per second, a velocity that allowed the images to be stored in atomic vapor for several microseconds. They directed two light beams to a 5-cm-long vapor cell containing 52°C rubidium gas and a neon gas for buffering. Once half of the first light pulse (containing the image) had exited the vapor cell, the researchers turned off the second beam, so that the remaining half of the image was stored in the vapor. As the researchers explained, during storage, the image was encoded in the quantum state of the ensemble of atoms. After 30 microseconds, the researchers turned the second pulse back on, and the image was then recovered as it left the vapor cell.last_img read more

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Remove software for smartphone can zap photo items w video

first_img Explore further Citation: Remove software for smartphone can zap photo items (w/ video) (2012, February 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-02-software-smartphone-zap-photo-items.html Scalado, an imaging technology company, is taking advantage of a booming user trend of depending on a single smart device for communication and picture taking functions; “mobile imaging” is an industry slice of the mobile device pie. Scalado last year laid claim to control of a third of the total market for mobile imaging. The company’s various imaging technologies are embedded in millions of mobile devices, according to the company.Last year, Scalado released Rewind, where a “perfect” group shot can be achieved, perfect in the sense that it satisfies the user. Out of a photo burst, the picture-taker can choose which faces or items they like best and merge them into one optimal image. The application, which is processor intensive, was showcased and at the time GigaOM explained how it works: After the picture is taken, the software uses facial recognition to zero in on each member; tapping a face in the picture creates a circular control around the person’s image. A turn of the circle scrolls through images of the face; the best one can be selected and chosen and “stitched” into the final image. Company co-founder Fadi Abbas has said that the company is set to redefine the way memories are edited, searched, and shared at any time on any screen. According to the press release, Remove is the first of other innovations planned for this year. Removal is in prototype but according to reports a fuller version will be showcased at the 2012 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona later this month. The strategy won’t be to make Remove something you can download off an Internet-based app store. Rather, the company plans to go the route of licensing the technology to OEMs. Smartphone makers such as Samsung or HTC, for example, could make Remove a feature for their devices. (PhysOrg.com) — A Swedish company focused on mobile-device imaging technology, Scalado, plans to show object-removal software for the smartphone at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The software lets you remove anything in a photo that you’re taking, with just a screen tap. The only requirements are that the object has to be moving — unwanted pedestrians as you try to capture something on the city streets, for example — for the application to capture and delete. Also, the camera needs to stay still and focused on the subject while you touch each moving item chosen for removal. Remove goes to work by capturing several images in a row, analyzing them to identify which objects are moving and their position in each frame. The user gets to delete what is not wanted and to keep what is wanted for a “clean” final shot. More information: www.scalado.com/display/en/Home Augmented reality in an iPhone app 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. © 2011 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

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Nanosuits help small creatures survive a vacuum

first_img © 2013 Phys.org 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. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (A–D) A living Drosophila larva was exposed to high vacuum with electron-beam irradiation for 60 min. (F and G) Before SEM observation, a different larva (light micrograph in F) was placed in the observation chamber without electron-beam irradiation for 60 min. (H and I) The specimen collapsed completely when subsequently observed by SEM. Each small white square in C and H is shown magnified in D and I, respectively. (E and J) TEM images are shown of vertical sections through the surface of each animal. The layer between the arrowheads in E indicates the limits of the newly formed outer membrane, not present in J. An outer layer covering the animal represents ECSs in B and G. Credit: (c) 2013 PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221341110 More information: A thin polymer membrane, nano-suit, enhancing survival across the continuum between air and high vacuum, PNAS, Published online before print April 15, 2013. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221341110 AbstractMost multicellular organisms can only survive under atmospheric pressure. The reduced pressure of a high vacuum usually leads to rapid dehydration and death. Here we show that a simple surface modification can render multicellular organisms strongly tolerant to high vacuum. Animals that collapsed under high vacuum continued to move following exposure of their natural extracellular surface layer (or that of an artificial coat-like polysorbitan monolaurate) to an electron beam or plasma ionization (i.e., conditions known to enhance polymer formation). Transmission electron microscopic observations revealed the existence of a thin polymerized extra layer on the surface of the animal. The layer acts as a flexible “nano-suit” barrier to the passage of gases and liquids and thus protects the organism. Furthermore, the biocompatible molecule, the component of the nano-suit, was fabricated into a “biomimetic” free-standing membrane. This concept will allow biology-related fields especially to use these membranes for several applications. Exposure to a high vacuum causes living things to become dehydrated, collapse and die. This poses a problem for scientists who want to study fine structures on small organisms, because they must use SEMs to view these structures. They can only observe dead creatures, so do not get a true picture of how these structures appear on living ones.Hariyama and his team tested how long different kinds of organisms would live in an SEM. As expected, almost all of the living things they studied died quickly. However, to their surprise, fruit fly larvae moved around for a full hour while in the SEM.When the researchers placed fruit fly larvae in a high vacuum SEM observation chamber, but waited an hour before exposing the larvae to electron beams, the larvae all died, indicating that electrons somehow aided the other group’s survival.The researchers found that treatment with electron radiation causes a gooey extracellular substance (ECS), which normally covers fruit fly larvae, to polymerize, forming a 50-100 nanometer thick surface layer. They called this layer, between 1,000 and 2,000 times thinner than a human hair, a “nanosuit.” This nanosuit, while flexible enough to allow the larvae to move, acts as a protective barrier against the vacuum, preventing severe dehydration and enabling the larvae to survive.Hariyama and his team found that they could cause nanosuits to form on fruit fly larvae, as well as on other insects with ECS coatings, by exposing them to ionized plasma particles as well as electrons.They were able to create protective nanosuits for mosquitoes, which do not have natural coatings, by immersing them in Tween 20, a non-toxic chemical found in detergents, and then exposing them to plasma radiation. The researchers point out that plasma and energetic electrons, which exist throughout the universe, could help coated organisms form their own protective nanosuits and survive the vacuum of space.center_img Explore further Citation: Nanosuits help small creatures survive a vacuum (2013, April 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-nanosuits-small-creatures-survive-vacuum.html (Phys.org) —Scientists use scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) to study tiny structures in small organisms. SEMs can only work in a high vacuum, and exposure to such a vacuum normally causes living things to die very quickly. Therefore, until now, scientists have been unable to study living specimens using SEMs. Takahiko Hariyama of the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Japan and his colleagues report that they were able to create “nanosuits” for small organisms by bombarding these organisms with electron beams or plasma radiation. In their paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hariyama’s team reports that these nanosuits provide protection against a high vacuum, allowing the organisms to stay alive in SEMs while scientists analyze them. Ticks found able to survive being subjected to electron microscopylast_img read more

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Study shows rising ocean acidification likely to cause shrimp to taste bad

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. Researchers determine optimum cooking times for shrimp and salmon © 2014 Phys.org Explore further Shrimp, as most everyone knows, is wildly popular the world over—but that popularity may be in jeopardy in the future if findings by the team with this new research prove true. Prior research has suggested that the oceans are growing more acidic as they absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That increase, the team suggests, along with an increase in temperatures is likely to cause stress to shrimp, which it now appears, will likely cause them to be less pleasurable to the human palate.It is no secret that animals living under stressful conditions wind up suffering degradations in taste—slaughterhouses, for example, attempt to surprise cows, pigs, chickens, etc., with a sudden isolated swift death so that they (and the other livestock) will not stress about their fate beforehand. Now it appears that creatures living in the sea may surprise us in the future with how they taste if they are forced to live under increasingly stressful conditions.The researchers raised shrimp for three weeks in water with a pH level of 7.5 (the level predicted for the oceans by 2100) rather than the normal 8—the water temperature was slightly higher than normal as well to reflect a gradual warming of the oceans by the end of this century. Other shrimp were raised under current normal conditions. All of the shrimp were cooked by professional chefs and fed to volunteer shrimp lovers who rated the shrimp on how well they tasted.The researchers found that the shrimp raised under normal current conditions were 3.4 times as likely to be deemed the tastiest among all the shrimp, while those raised in acidic/warm water were found to be 2.6 times as likely to be described as the worst tasting. The researchers also found that the fish raised in the more acidic/warmer water were 1.6 times as likely to die during the three week test. Thus, unless shrimp learn to adapt to the new conditions so they will not feel stressed, they might just find their numbers increasing as people find them less tasty. Citation: Study shows rising ocean acidification likely to cause shrimp to taste bad (2014, December 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-ocean-acidification-shrimp-bad.html (Phys.org)—A study conducted by a small team of researchers with members from the U.K., Sweden and Canada has revealed that in the future as the oceans become more acidic, it appears likely that the taste of shrimp will become less appealing. In their paper published in the Journal of Shellfish Research, the team describes how they raised test shrimp in higher than normal acidic water and then held taste tests with volunteers. More information: First Evidence of Altered Sensory Quality in a Shellfish Exposed to Decreased pH Relevant to Ocean Acidification, Journal of Shellfish Research 33(3):857-861. 2014 dx.doi.org/10.2983/035.033.0320 ABSTRACTUnderstanding how seafood will be influenced by coming environmental changes such as ocean acidification is a research priority. One major gap in knowledge relates to the fact that many experiments are not considering relevant end points related directly to production (e.g., size, survival) and product quality (e.g., sensory quality) that can have important repercussions for consumers and the seafood market. The aim of this experiment was to compare the survival and sensory quality of the adult northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) exposed for 3 wk to a temperature at the extreme of its thermal tolerance (11°C) and 2 pH treatments: pH 8.0 (the current average pH at the sampling site) and pH 7.5 (which is out of the current natural variability and relevant to near-future ocean acidification). Results show that decreased pH increased mortality significantly, by 63%. Sensory quality was assessed through semiqualitative scoring by a panel of 30 local connoisseurs. They were asked to rate 4 shrimp (2 from each pH treatment) for 3 parameters: appearance, texture and taste. Decreased pH reduced the score significantly for appearance and taste, but not texture. As a consequence, shrimp maintained in pH8.0 had a 3.4 times increased probability to be scored as the best shrimp on the plate, whereas shrimp from the pH 7.5 treatment had a 2.6 times more chance to be scored as the least desirable shrimp on the plate. These results help to prove the concept that ocean acidification can modulate sensory quality of the northern shrimp P. borealis. More research is now needed to evaluate impacts on other seafood species, socioeconomic consequences, and potential options. A deep sea shrimp out in open water. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationlast_img read more

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Unusual polyketide metabolites found to give potato rotting bacteria ability to live

first_img(Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Germany has discovered the means by which the common bacteria Clostridium puniceum, which causes pink slime rot in potatoes, is able to survive in an oxygen-rich environment. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes the experiments they conducted that led to their discovery and what it might mean for fighting potato rotting in the future. Citation: Unusual polyketide metabolites found to give potato rotting bacteria ability to live in an oxygen-rich environment (2015, November 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-unusual-polyketide-metabolites-potato-bacteria.html Explore further Potatoes are one of the four main food types grown in the world today, which means they make up a substantial portion of the human diet. But growing them has proven to be challenging because they are prone to bacterial infections, which currently result in approximately 65 billion kilograms of lost potatoes every year. Unlike the famous potato blight that caused such misery in Ireland back in the 19th century, most modern infections are bacterial, rather than fungal. In this new effort, the researchers looked at one of the more problematic bacteria, C.puniceum, to see if they could learn how it is able to survive where potatoes are stored, because it is normally anaerobic.Their experiments started with injecting the bacteria into potatoes in their lab and then watching as things developed. Once the bacteria was fully engaged, they studied it under a microscope and discovered that it excreted two unusual polyketide metabolites— clostrubins, type A and type B. To determine if the molecules had something to do with giving the bacteria an ability to live in an oxygen rich environment, the team studied its genes and identified which were responsible for causing the clostrubins to be excreted and then genetically altered some of them so that they were no longer able to do so. Those bacteria, the researchers found, were no longer able to live where oxygen was present, suggesting that the expression of the clostrubins played an essential role in allowing them to live where potatoes are stored.But that wasn’t all—the researchers also found that the clostrubins also served as an anti-bacterial agent against competing bacteria, such as those that cause ring and soft rot and other potato diseases. Thus more study might lead to new types of antibacterial agents for use in warding off potato infections. © 2015 Phys.org More information: G. Shabuer et al. Plant pathogenic anaerobic bacteria use aromatic polyketides to access aerobic territory, Science (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac9990AbstractAround 25% of vegetable food is lost worldwide because of infectious plant diseases, including microbe-induced decay of harvested crops. In wet seasons and under humid storage conditions, potato tubers are readily infected and decomposed by anaerobic bacteria (Clostridium puniceum). We found that these anaerobic plant pathogens harbor a gene locus (type II polyketide synthase) to produce unusual polyketide metabolites (clostrubins) with dual functions. The clostrubins, which act as antibiotics against other microbial plant pathogens, enable the anaerobic bacteria to survive an oxygen-rich plant environment.center_img Journal information: Science Researchers find the genome of the cultivated sweet potato has bacterial DNA Source: Wikipedia 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

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Study shows foraging gene works nearly the same in humans and fruit

first_img Prior research has shown that forms of a gene called PRKG1, known to have an impact on foraging, are present in a wide variety of animals, including both humans and fruit flies (both of whom have a known history of foraging for food). In humans, the form of the gene is a nucleotide polymorphism genotype called rs13499. Prior research has also shown that one variant of the gene in fruit flies nudges them to be “sitters” and another “rovers.” When entering an area with fruit, sitters are likely to first tour the perimeter of the area, then move inward. Rovers, on the other hand, jump right in, going after the first fruit they see. The researchers in this new effort wondered if the same gene in humans might have a similar effect, so they developed experiments to find out.College volunteers used a touchscreen tablet to find as many berries as possible hidden among fruit plants in a virtual scene. They could navigate around the virtual environment and click on fruit to pick it. Each of the volunteers also gave a tissue sample for DNA testing.The researchers found that some volunteers took a perimeter-first approach, while others dove right in. In comparing their genes, the researchers found the same variant responsible for instigating sitter behavior in fruit flies also did so in human sitters and likewise for the rovers. The researchers also noted that the search paths taken by the human volunteers and the sitter and rover fruit flies were nearly identical.The researchers claim their experiments show that distinct search patterns connected to goal pursuit in humans can be associated with PRKG1 variants. Drosophila sp fly. Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim / Wikipedia. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 © 2019 Science X Network Citation: Study shows foraging gene works nearly the same in humans and fruit flies (2019, February 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-foraging-gene-humans-fruit-flies.html An epigenetic key to unlock behavior change Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencescenter_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. Explore further More information: Andriy A. Struk et al. Self-regulation and the foraging gene (PRKG1) in humans, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1809924116 A team of researchers from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. has found that a gene known to influence foraging in fruit flies has a similar effect on humans. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes experiments they carried out with college student volunteers and what they found.last_img read more

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