Month: August 2019

How Did Evolution BeginHow Did Evolution Begin

first_imgThe tree of prelife has two roots, 0 and 1, and infinitely many lineages. The perfect prelife catalyst is a string that enhances the rates of all chemical reactions in its own lineage (as shown in red for the string 0100). Partial catalysis occurs if a string catalyses some reactions in its own lineage (as shown in blue for the string 1000). Image copyright: Ohtsuki and Nowak. 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 In their study, Hisashi Ohtsuki of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, along with Martin Nowak of Harvard University, have investigated how evolution might have first begun. As the researchers explain, the origin of life is a transition from chemistry to biology, and has been widely studied. Here, Ohtsuki and Nowak have presented a model where a purely chemical system (prelife) becomes more efficient (catalytic prelife) and then builds the sequences needed for replication, finally resulting in life. Their work is published in a recent issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B.“As you know, the ability of replication is critical for life,” Ohtsuki told PhysOrg.com. “We can conceive several forms of life, such as prelife catalysts and replicators, as in our paper. We are interested in which form of life is most efficient and thus is selected in prelife (a soup of chemicals). The significance of our study is that we have mathematically shown for the first time that replicators, which have the ability to remain attached with a growing sequence, have a great advantage over the other forms of life. Replication is usually taken for granted in the study of evolution. We think that our result gives a justification of why replicators are so dominant.”In the scientists’ model, prelife is made of two types of monomers (0 and 1) that randomly link together to form a polymer chain. By adding a 0 or a 1, longer chains are produced from shorter ones. The researchers created a simple tree of life based on this growth process, where either a 0 or a 1 is added to the end of the preceding chain to make a longer one. Though starting with just a single monomer, this tree of prelife has infinitely many lineages. As the researchers explain, some of these prelife sequences are catalysts, and can enhance certain reactions in prelife. Specifically, they increase the rate at which monomers are added to sequences in the specific prelife reactions that created them. The faster the rate of reactions to create a certain prelife catalyst, the more of them there will be. As the researchers found, the sequences that are most highly selected among prelife catalysts are perfectly catalyzed prelife sequences (those that enhance the rates of all their upstream reactions). (PhysOrg.com) — Life’s ability to replicate itself is essential for evolution, yet even the simplest kind of replication requires a relatively complex system. So what kind of non-replicating system might have served as the predecessor of evolution, paving the way for life as we know it? The answer, according to a recent study, is a kind of “prelife” — a chemical system that can lead to information and diversity, and that is capable of selection and mutation, but does not yet have the ability to self-replicate.center_img “Prelife refers to chemical reactions in a soup of chemicals that consists of amino acids, phosphoric acids, nucleobases, and so on,” Ohtsuki explained. “Simply speaking, prelife supplies ‘materials’ for life. But prelife does not have an ability of replication, because it cannot catalyze any reactions. Catalytic prelife is a big step forward for life, because it can enhance certain reactions. A most promising candidate for life among prelife catalysts are those which can catalyze their own upstream reactions. We believe that catalytic ability is a big step, yet not enough for the emergence of life, as we have shown in our paper: we need another step, that is, replicators.”Replicators – for example, a simple sequence of all 0 monomers – are among the sequences that prelife dynamics can create. The difference between a replicator and a perfect prelife catalyst, as the researchers explain, is that a prelife catalyst attaches to a sequence to increase the rate at which an activated monomer is added, and then detaches itself. In contrast, a replicator remains attached to the growing sequence. “The fundamental difference lies in that replicators can remain attached to a growing sequence so that it can ‘go along’ with it,” Ohtsuki explained. “By doing so, replicators need to attach to a template only once to complete the replication. On the other hand, prelife catalysts have to attach to and detach from the target sequence many times, because in each reaction the target extends in length by one. Therefore, a longer prelife catalyst must catalyze its upstream reactions a number of times, resulting in an inefficient replication.”Overall, replicators have certain advantages over catalytic prelife that cause the replicators to be selected over prelife. As the researchers explain, ongoing competition between prelife and catalytic prelife creates certain selection thresholds that limit the lengths of the sequences. Most importantly, the researchers found that catalytic activity must increase exponentially with sequence length to keep its abundance high; otherwise a longer sequence becomes less abundant. In contrast, the threshold of replicator activity converges to a fixed value, suggesting that even long replicators can sustain its high abundance. For replicators, the critical replication rate is almost independent of the rate of the replicator. As prelife catalysts and replicators compete for the same resources (monomers), this ability to grow longer is what gives replicators their edge, ultimately leading to the origin of evolution.More information: Hisashi Ohtsuki and Martin A. Nowak. “Prelife catalysts and replicators.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.20091136Copyright 2009 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. Scientists develop first examples of RNA that replicates itself indefinitely Citation: How Did Evolution Begin? (2009, September 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-09-evolution.htmllast_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Microsoft to patch 17yearold bugMicrosoft to patch 17yearold bug

first_img A security researcher for Google, Tavis Ormandy, found several flaws in the Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) utility that enables more recent releases of Windows to run old DOS and 16-bit software. The bug has the potential to enable an unprivileged 16-bit program to gain system privileged access level to the PC, which would allow attackers to get their own code to run. Ormandy found the bug and reported it to Microsoft over seven months ago and published a workaround, but a patch has not been ready until now. The 17-year-old bug affects only Windows 32-bit versions and does not affect 64-bit machines, which does not have support for 16-bit applications. Microsoft has released a security advisory, which says the company is not aware of any attacks involving the vulnerability, and most users are at low risk, apparently because local access to the computer is required.Among the 25 other patches included in this month’s security update are five “critical” vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to hijack a PC running Windows and force it to run their own programs. The update also fixes bugs in Microsoft Office 2003 and XP, and Office 2004 for Apple Macintosh. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Microsoft’s monthly security fixes spare Windows 7 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. Citation: Microsoft to patch 17-year-old bug (2010, February 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-02-microsoft-patch-year-old-bug.html (PhysOrg.com) — Microsoft’s February security update will include a patch for a bug that dates back to Windows NT 3.1, which was released in July 1993. The vulnerability has been present but undetected in every 32-bit version of Windows since 1993, including Windows XP, Vista, Windows 2000, Server 2003 and 2008, and the newest version: Windows 7. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Japanese scientists explore electric roads for EVsJapanese scientists explore electric roads for EVs

first_imgA schematic of the proposed power transfer system. This system transmits electric power thorough a capacitor composed of a steel belt and a metal plate attached to the road, and the power feed in differential mode. More information: www.tut.ac.jp/english/newslett … overtures/index.html (PhysOrg.com) — Masahiro Hanazawa of Toyota Central R&D Labs and Takashi Ohira from Toyohashi University are working on a solution for avoiding battery recharge headaches in powering electric cars. They are working on a prototype of electric cars that are powered by the road itself–electric roads for electric cars. While the idea of cars powered from the ground is not new, the system that they propose is an interesting way to power electric cars as the cars travel along the road through steel belts placed inside tires and a metal plate in the road. Improving Plug-In Electric Cars © 2011 PhysOrg.com This is how the Toyohashi University newsletter report describes their system: “The source of energy from power lines is up-converted into radio frequency (RF) by high-speed inverters implanted along tracks in the road. The RF voltage is applied to a balanced metal track embedded under the surface of the road. The EV picks up the RF voltage via electrical capacitance between the metal and a steel belt installed inside of the tires of the EV.”In their experiments, the researchers put small metal plates on the floor and inside a tire, and positioned another metal plate above the tire. They measured the electrical impedance between the two plates. The team presented their work in May at the International Microwave Workshop Series on Innovative Wireless Power Transmission in Kyoto, Japan. While their tests involved low voltages, the researchers believe energy transfer from the road to a running automobile is feasible. With enough power the system could run typical passenger cars, says Ohira.Their system would require smaller battery packs, rather than heavier packs, to get back and forth from electrified highways, which is viewed as a benefit as well. Citation: Japanese scientists explore electric roads for EVs (2011, September 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-09-japanese-scientists-explore-electric-roads.html Explore further Still, outsider reactions to their news have been peppered with concerns. One concern is how much danger to the public might their system impose, for example, in someone stepping on an electrified metal strip. Another question being voiced is cost and infrastructure, considering the expanses of roads that would be dug up to accommodate the system.An effort to explore the powering of EVs from the ground up was also reported earlier this year in Business Spectator Researchers at the Energy Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University, said the report, were working on a solution where EVs could pick up small amounts of electricity as they drive over charging pads buried under the asphalt that are connected to the electrical grid. The proposed model and measurement model. As a the measurement model a metallic board were arranged above and below the tire, and the complex impedance was measured. Pieces of styrene foam of different thickness were placed between the upper surface of the tire and metallic plate. The measurement frequency was from 10 kHz to 10 MHz. 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

Read FullRead Full

Microsoft creates mood sensing software for smartphonesMicrosoft creates mood sensing software for smartphones

first_img Most people realize that their smartphone has a lot of embedded technology in it that interacts with the world at large—GPS hardware, accelerometers, etc. all monitor activity and use that data to provide useful functions, such as automatically switching from landscape to portrait mode when a phone is rotated. In this new effort, the researchers sought to discover whether software that monitors phone activities could reveal the users’ moods.To find out, the team wrote code that monitored email, texting, app usage, phone calls, location information, and browsing history, then added algorithms to guess mood based on that data. Next, they enlisted the assistance of 32 volunteers to help them test the accuracy of their code. The volunteers were asked to use the system for two months while also completing mood assessments to provide data for comparison. With no training or tweaking, the software was found to provide answers of happy, tense, calm, upset, excited, stressed, or bored that matched the actual mood reported by the volunteers, on average 66 percent of the time. After optimizing the system for the individual habits of each of the volunteers, the rate increased to 93 percent.The researchers suggest third party hooks could be added to the software to allow for automatically transmitting user moods to applications like Facebook. They also acknowledge that privacy concerns could arise if the software were to be delivered to the public, but suggest the benefits of such software would likely outweigh such concerns. They note that sites like Netflix or Spotify could use data from MoodScope to offer movies or other content based on specific users’ moods. MoodScope: Smartphone Mood Sensing The team presented their findings at MobiSys 2013 held in Taiwan last month. Citation: Microsoft creates mood sensing software for smartphones (2013, July 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-microsoft-mood-software-smartphones.html Explore further Feature stops apps from stealing phone users’ passwords More information: MoodScope Building a Mood Sensor from Smartphone Usage Patterns: research.microsoft.com/apps/pu … fault.aspx?id=194498Research paper: www.ruf.rice.edu/~mobile/publi … amwa2013mobisys2.pdfcenter_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. © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Microsoft Research Asia has been working on creating software called MoodScope that notes how a user uses his or her phone, and then uses that information to guess that user’s mood. Initial testing of the device has shown it to be 66 percent accurate; when tailored to an individual user, the team reports that the accuracy rate jumped to 93 percent. The research team includes Nicholas Lane and Robert LiKamWa of Rice University, and Lin Zhong and Yunxin Liu from Microsoft Research Asia. They built a prototype and posted their test study results on Microsoft’s website. The circumplex mood model. Credit: Robert LiKamWa et al.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Easily synthesized compound found to be useful for removing fluoride and metalEasily synthesized compound found to be useful for removing fluoride and metal

first_imgCredit: ACS (Phys.org)—A pair of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata has found that an easily synthesized compound can be used to remove fluoride and metal ions from drinking water. In their paper published in the journal ACS Omega, Tanmay Das and Debasish Haldar describe how the compound was synthesized and how well it performed under various testing regimens. Called Zwitterionic spirocyclic Meisenheimer complex 1, the compound was synthesized from picric acid and N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide. The result, the researchers claim, is a compound that can be used to remove a host of pollutants from drinking water.As the researchers note, drinking water is a key resource as the world’s population increases. In addition to the water needed to quench the thirst of billions of people, water is used in agriculture to feed all those people and to create products for them to use. As they further note, pulling water from underground reservoirs to water crops leads to an increase in fluoride and arsenic in the water that is pulled up for drinking. In addition, a host of modern manufacturing processes release a wide variety of metals into streams and other water supplies.Dad and Haldar note that many methods have been developed to remove toxins in water, but they are single-purpose remedies. The researchers seek a universal compound that can remove most of the materials in one fell swoop—compound 1, they claim, appears to be that solution.After synthesizing the compound, which repels water, the researchers tested its ability to clean drinking water. They added a host of metal ions to a glass of water and then poured it through a gel containing their compound. They report that the absorption capacity was approximately 99 percent. Testing revealed that the compound was successful at removing large amounts of lead, mercury, copper, iron and fluoride—reducing most to levels below World Health Organization standards. Furthermore, they found a sponge containing the compound could be used to remove oils from water, suggesting it could also be used to clean oil spills. Explore further Journal information: ACS Omega More information: Tanmay Das et al. Mopping up the Oil, Metal, and Fluoride Ions from Water, ACS Omega (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01379AbstractThe recycle, cleaning, and reuse of water are highly important for environmental remediation. This issue is addressed by creating a fluorescent zwitterionic spirocyclic Meisenheimer complex with high chelating propensity for toxic metals using low-cost starting materials and a one-pot synthesis technique. The resulting material is able to detect fluoride up to 12.8 ppb level and remove 82% aqueous fluoride from 1000 mL of 100 ppm fluoride solution in a single contact. The material demonstrates rapid kinetics and is capable of dropping the toxic metal ion (Pb/Hg/Cd) concentration below 0.2 ppb within 10 min. A resin-free, precipitation-free, and reusable technique has been developed for the removal of toxic metal ions and fluoride from extremely polluted water. Moreover, utilizing its extreme hydrophobicity, polystyrene sponges have been coated with the Meisenheimer complex to mop up oil spill and organic solvents from a biphasic mixture.center_img Study discounts fluoride as a danger for tea drinkers © 2017 Phys.org Citation: Easily synthesized compound found to be useful for removing fluoride and metal ions from drinking water (2017, November 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-easily-compound-fluoride-metal-ions.html 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

Read FullRead Full

ED issues summons for appearance to Rahat Fateh AliED issues summons for appearance to Rahat Fateh Ali

first_imgEnforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons for personal appearance to Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in connection with an alleged forex violations case of 2011.The agency has initiated a probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) sometime back against the singer and his associates, and has now issued summons against him to appear before investigators at the agency’s Delhi zonal office here. ‘The summons have been sent through the Indian Embassy in Pakistan. He has been summoned for presenting his case and answering agency’s questions under Section 37 of the FEMA in connection with a foreign exchange violation case,’ official sources said.The case dates back to 2011 when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) intercepted Khan and his manager, Marrouf Ali Khan, at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here for allegedly carrying an undeclared $1.24 lakh and some other instruments in foreign currency. The ED which is the central agency to probe such forex contraventions under the FEMA took over the case after this episode.Emails and phone calls made by PTI to Khan’s associate and manager in Pakistan to elicit a response over the latest episode remained unanswered. Officials said ED had initiated the step after nearly finalising its over-an-year probe and after obtaining records of the said cash from RBI.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Crackdown on hoarders ensure food supplies Centre to statesCrackdown on hoarders ensure food supplies Centre to states

first_imgScrambling for efforts to check seasonal rise in prices of fruits and vegetables during the July-November period, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan held day long consultations with state food and consumer affair ministers while Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh sought to reassure of contingency plans being in place to tackle any situation arising out of rain deficiency.At the meeting chaired by Paswan, a six-month action plan was chalked out to maintain supplies and check prices of pulses, edible oil, rice, onion, tomato and potato. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIStates were asked to monitor wholesale and retail prices of essential commodities and make market interventions on a real-time basis. They were also asked to amend Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to remove inter-state trade barriers on staple fooditems like onions.“We will not allow unreasonable increase in prices. The state governments should take stringent action to prevent hoarding and black marketing,” Paswan said. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindAction against hoarding and black-marketing should be taken by states, and they have also been directed to identify vulnerable areas where supply shortages occur and ensure that ‘stock-out’ situations do no occur especially of items of common consumption, he said. The Union government on its part said it is considering import of 5,000 tons of urad dal, on top of a similar quantity of tur/arhar dal currently being imported. Paswan said export price of onions has already been hiked to ensure domestic availability and price check. “We do not want to create unnecessary panic. We do not want to impose inspector raj. We have given powers to states to act against hoarders,” he said, adding that 24 states and UTs have been asked to roll out food security law by September.Radha Mohan Singh assured of a contingency plan being in place in case of deficient rains, which irrigate 55 per cent of the crop in India. “So far, monsoon rains were better than expected although there is a forecast of deficit rains this year too. Farmers need not panic. We are ready with contingency plans to tackle any possible impact of poor rains on kharif crops,” he said. As per the action plan, Paswan said, states will mobilise Food and Civil Supplies Corporations, Cooperative Societies and Fair Price Shops for augmenting distribution avenues for essential food items.The Price Monitoring Cells in states will be strengthened to monitor wholesale as well as retail prices of specific commodities. The price information should enable states to make market interventions on a real time basis.However, Paswan assured that “there is no need to worry.There is adequate foodgrain stock to meet domestic demand”. He also said that prices have increased only in case of pulses and onion. Singling out hoarding as a major factor for the price rise, he suggested that states should be proactive in taking steps to prevent further spike, especially during the lean period – July to November.Hoarders and black marketeers normally get active in this period taking advantage of a demand-supply mismatch, he said.Paswan said state governments should come out with state-level action plans to combat the issue. Consumer Affairs Secretary C Viswanath said, “From June onwards, generally, we see rise in prices of some essential commodities. We have already seen increase in prices of pulses. To boost supply, we are considering import of 5,000 tonnes of urad.”He said good monsoon and relatively high support prices of pulses compared to other crops is encouraging farmers to sow pulses in more area in this kharif season, which could also help check prices of lentils.Bring law to check price hike: haryana tells centreHaryana government has urged the Central government to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to check price hike of essential commodities. A stringent law should also be enacted to check hoarding and formulation of a long-term scheme to increase production.  This was stated by Haryana Food and Supplies Minister Ram Bilas Sharma during a meeting with Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday. Making an announcement, Ram Bilas Sharma who is also Haryana tourism minister, said the state government is going to implement a new scheme to provide subsidised food to the pilgrims coming to the sacred Braham Sarovera.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Tourism department gears up to project Kolkata as MICE hotspotTourism department gears up to project Kolkata as MICE hotspot

first_imgKolkata: The state Tourism department will leave no stones unturned to project Kolkata as a destination for MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Events) tourism, with the 11th edition of the flagship event Conventions India Conclave (CIC) to be held at the Biswa Bangla Tourism Centre at New Town from August 29 to 31.The CIC is hosted by the India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), a body sponsored by the Union Ministry of Tourism.”We need to provide a boost to the tremendous MICE tourism potential in the city. There will be participation from various states and industry organisations from around the world. We need to take these opinion makers to explore the various places in Bengal, so that they can witness the unique tourism opportunities in the state. We will urge the organisers to urge them to visit various tourist spots in the state and we will be making the best of arrangements for them,” said Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary of the state Tourism department. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be mentioned that this is the first time when Bengal will be hosting the CIC, whose objective is to showcase Kolkata as an upcoming MICE destination. The CIC has been held at various other venues like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad, but never in Bengal.”With the state-of-the-art Biswa Bangla Convention Centre (BBCC) in New Town and around 1,500 hotel rooms of five star category in close proximity to the centre, there is no reason why Kolkata cannot emerge as a favourite MICE destination,” said Debashis Sen, chairman of Housing & Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO), which has constructed the BBCC.Participation of around 250 delegates from a number of countries in the world will include domestic and international buyers and exhibitors.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Housewife beaten to death in Bengal over dowry disputeHousewife beaten to death in Bengal over dowry dispute

first_imgKolkata: A married woman was allegedly beaten to death following a dispute over dowry in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday, police said. “Tanaya Mondal, a resident of North 24 Parganas district’s Bagdah, was declared dead in the hospital on Sunday morning. There were external injury marks in the deceased’s body,” an officer of Bagdah police station said. Tanaya was married for eight years to Bagdah resident Sujoy Mondal and had a six-year- old kid. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Family members of the deceased claimed their daughter was beaten to death by her husband and in-laws as she failed to bring the demanded money from her father, police said. “According to Mondal’s family members, she was often harassed and beaten by her in-laws as they could not provide the amount of dowry demanded during her marriage,” he said. “We have arrested the mother-in-law of the deceased based on the complaint. However, the husband and other three family members are on the run,” he added.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full

Govt appoints Rina Mitra as Principal Advisor Internal SecurityGovt appoints Rina Mitra as Principal Advisor Internal Security

first_imgKolkata: The state government is appointing Rina Mitra as the state’s Principal Advisor, Internal Security. Mitra, a retired IPS officer of the 1983 batch of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, was shortlisted for the post of CBI director. She served as a special secretary (internal security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs before her retirement on January 31. The post of Principal Advisor, Internal Security has been newly created. In May 2018, the state government had created the post of State Security Advisor (SSA), similar to Centre’s NSA and appointed former DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha as the SSA in May 2018. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseBesides reporting directly to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the SSA had been given the power of ‘strategic intervention’ when it comes to the security of Bengal by providing a ‘grid of state intelligence’ (on the line of National Intelligence Grid). He was also given the task of close coordination with the security agencies in Nepal and Bangladesh.A notification in this regard issued by the state Home and Hill Affairs department stated that the terms and conditions of Mitra’s service will be notified in a separate order. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe state on Tuesday also reshuffled a dozen IPS and WBPS officers in the state. Apart from them, IAS officer Onkar Singh Meena, presently posted as Secretary, Housing department was appointed as Additional Chief Electoral Officer and ex-officio of the Home and Hill Affairs department. Khalil Ahmed was given the additional charge of Secretary, Housing department. Ahmed holds the charge of Municipal Commissioner of KMC and the secretary of the Fire & Emergency Services department.last_img read more

Read FullRead Full