What We Know About Our Planets

Planets seem like a foreign idea to most but there is quite a bit of information and research we have about the planets in our solar system. It has been said that we know more about our neighboring planets than we do our own oceans. With a solar system that has been in place for billions of years, there is so much history so far away that has yet to be discovered.

 

What We Know

The planets closest to the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are all terrestrial planets. These planets have solid, rock-like surfaces which are quite different from earth. These planets are also, naturally, uninhabitable for humans. They have varying atmospheric differences that make them impossible for humans to naturally breathe. As well, the two outer planets beyond Mars’ orbit, Jupiter and Saturn, are known as “gas giants” while Uranus and Neptune are dubbed “ice giants”.

 

NASA is at the forefront of obtaining more information about our planets. Voyager 1 and 2, launched by NASA, are the first space crafts to explore the outer reaches of earth’s solar system.

 

Pluto has been downgraded from a planet to now considered a dwarf planet. With the redefinition of a planets and dwarf planets, new dwarf planets have been identified. These dwarf planets reside in the Kuiper Belt, which is past Neptune. This is information that has lead researchers to believe that there is an existence of a ninth planet. The California Institute of Technology believes that Planet Nine does in fact exist but it is also 10 times the size of Earth’s mass. Planet Nine is so far out of the norm circumference of this solar system that takes 20,000 Earth years to completely orbit the sun.

 

The Next Earth

The search for a planet similar to earth has not been that successful in the past few years. It was not until NASA’s Kepler telescope discovered over 3 thousand planets. With researchers making some great strides to an Earth 2.0, many have been a bit unsuccessful. There is a new European observatory that is expected to be completed by 2024 with the goal of finding that Earth 2.0. A planet similar to Earth would give society something to compare our world to. It would also further the discussion of life in space and a place where humans could travel to.

New Research on Super Bugs

The term “super bug” may be a scary idea but the more we research this global issue, the more we can prevent them from taking over. Superbugs refer to illnesses that normal vaccines or modern medications can not seem to manage because they have become resistant to modern medicine. Imagine the common cold that not even antibiotics can not take care of. There have been some more recent breakthroughs with the superbug situation but there are a few things that everyone must know.

 

In the U.S.

In 2015, it was reported that 2 billion people get infected with superbugs and that over 2,000 die from them. The government has also stepped in and begun releasing plans on how to combat this life threatening issue hitting the medical field and society itself. Superbugs can form from any type of bacteria. The worry is that doctors will run out of antibiotics to treat them.

 

Recent Discoveries

Combining Vaccines

Researchers from the University of Buffalo has found that a new trio of antibiotics will be able to stand up to these antibiotic-resistant microbes. The researchers turned to new antibiotic dosing strategies by creating antibiotic cocktails. They conducted studies of multiple different combinations of over 15 antibiotics paired with polymyxin B to find that after 24 hours, the bacteria were undetectable. On a more technical level, the microbes had the ability to regrow to normal after 96 hours. It was only the triple combination that allowed for the prevention of regrowth in bacteria.

 

Bats and Bees?

New research out of Halifax is also looking for alternative ways to fight medicine-resistant “bugs”. Rather than combining different vaccines to halt bacteria growth, this research is looking for a more natural solution. Bats and bees are now being researched to find new ways to fight bacteria. These two creatures are always in bacteria’s way and have biologically adapted to naturally fight off bacterial infections. There are millions of different bacteria thriving in the same places where bats and bees thrive. With a better understanding of how bats form white-nose syndrome or how colony collapse disorder occurs in bee groups.

A better understanding of how this influences other animals could lead to a better understanding of how we can handle the situation occurring in humans. Superbugs could become a much more prevalent issue in society if we do not find new ways to keep them at bay.

What You Should You Know About Coral Reef Bleaching!

Alexander-Lakhanpal-Coral

The Great Barrier Reef and other locations that are home to large amounts are coral are under attack by changes in their climate. Coral is becoming pearly white in the warming water temperatures of the Great Barrier Reef. These white coral are a symptom of a larger issue that is influencing our oceans. Here is all you need to know about the current issue of widespread coral bleaching.

 

What is Coral Bleaching?

In normal coral, the color of ranges from dark browns and greens paired with some splashes of vibrancy. The reason for these dark colors is because coral has algae that live inside their tissue. The coral polyps have an endosymbiotic relationship with the algae and are essential for any healthy coral. With coral bleaching, the polyps expel the algae, leaving the coral to look abnormally white. The coral polyps are still alive but the algae serve as 90 percent of the coral’s energy which leads to coral starvation

A recent estimation from this year stated the about 70 percent of shallow water corals had died near Port Douglas which is a town that is home to the Great Barrier Reef. The bleaching is not only hurting the visible part of the reef but it also has to harm non-visible parts as well.  It has been verified that 29 percent of shallow water corals died from bleaching during the year 2016.

Why many are so concerned with coral bleaching is because of how it creates environments for animals to dwell and how it could affect not only the ocean but also local economies. Reef tourism creates an annual income of $3.9 billion and also employs many Australians (70,000 people).

 

Why is it Happening?

There are quite a few factors as to why coral bleaching has become such a massive issue for most of the globe’s reefs. Above-average sea temperatures caused by a general increase of temperature is the leading cause of coral bleaching globally. Oxygen starvation increased solar irradiance, and changes in salinity are also factors that are influencing the death of coral reefs.

The years from 2014 to 2016 had some of the longest global bleaching events ever recorded.
El Niño, the major weather event, also played a major part in the change in temperature for an extended period of time. The weather event creates warmer than the average temperature in the Pacific Ocean. The impact of El Niño was seen directly in the Great Barrier massive bleaching event.

Current NASA News

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been announcing groundbreaking strides in understanding more of space, other planets, and how the earth functions so efficiently. NASA continues to push the field of science further and further to collect more data of the unexplored. Here are some of NASA’s upcoming plans that have recently been announced.

 

Touch the Sun?

The space agency has announced that it has plans of a mission to create and launch a probe to get closer to the sun than ever before. They anticipate the probe to come within 3.9 million miles of the sun, which has never been done before. The mission is set to depart in the summer of 2018. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is set to handle environments of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit paired with extreme solar radiation.

The purpose of this mission is to take away data regarding the trace of energy that sources the corona and solar winds. As well, NASA is looking to find more specific information about the magnetic fields and plasma structures from the solar winds. The goal of the probe’s mission is to circle the sun 24 times between the years of 2018 through 2024.

 

Artificial Clouds

NASA has recently released colored artificial clouds on the East Coast of the United States. They released faux blue, green, and red clouds in June of 2017 to test a new system that will aid scientists with studying the auroras of the ionosphere.

Essentially, NASA launched a small sub-orbital rocket off of the coast of Virginia that released fist-sized canisters filled with vapor tracers into the atmosphere. These canisters may appear as colorful clouds. The canisters, or tracers, are made of vapors of lithium, barium and tri-methyl aluminum that react with other elements in space, which create the glow. This glow is to visually trace the flow of the particles throughout space.

 

A Hole on Mars?

One of earth’s closest neighboring planets, Mars, has shown a new, giant hole on the surface of the planet. This abnormally deep crater is a bit larger than Mars’ normal swiss cheese surface. NASA has yet to find the source of this new pit formed on Mars but there are many reasons for holes to be formed on Mars’ terrain from meteorite impacts to collapsing lava tubes.

How to Send a Fax When You Don’t Have a Fax Machine

http://How to Send a Fax When You Don’t Have a Fax Machine

This is not a reprint of an article from 1992. (And no, next week I will not be reviewing floppy disks.)

It’s 2017 and faxing is still very much a thing. As crazy as it sounds, it’s easy to understand why. If you’ve got confidential documents in your email inbox, one wrong click could send them to the bad guys. It’s a key reason many financial, real estate, health-care and legal firms still require you to fax important forms.

When my financial adviser insisted I fax a document a few weeks ago, I asked if he could also recommend a good pager. Then I explored my best faxing options, none of which involved getting a fax line, making a toner-cartridge mess or listening to earsplitting digital noises.

Use a Fax App or Website

Rather than use old-school facsimile transmission over phone lines, fax apps and websites send your messages and documents via the internet. After you input your preferred ZIP Code, these services assign you a fax number so you can send and receive faxes via a website, mobile app or even email.

They all work similarly: Input your recipient’s fax number and name, write a cover sheet then upload your scanned document. Some even allow you to sign right in the app and fax a document straight back.

Among the four I checked out, I liked eFax and HelloFax the best. eFax has web, iOS and Android apps, though it charges a hefty monthly rate starting at $17.

HelloFax doesn’t have a mobile app, but it does offer a simpler web interface, five free trial faxes and, for sending faxes, a pay-as-needed option—99 cents for faxes up to 10 pages. (If you go over 10, each additional page will cost 20 cents.) If you want to receive faxes, you’d have to sign up for a plan starting at $10 a month.

Use Someone Else’s Machine

The next option is to track down an actual fax machine. See if your office has one and ask if you’re allowed to use it. If not, head to your local FedEx Office, Staples or another local shipping store.

Not all FedEx and Staples locations will charge the same amount. At a FedEx in New York City, it cost me $1.89 to send the first page and $1 for subsequent pages to a local number. It cost $2.95 a page to send to a long-distance number. At a FedEx in New Jersey, it cost $2.49 a page to send to a long-distance number. (At those rates, the fax machine itself was probably paid off in a week!)

Staples in NYC was a little better: $1.50 per page, no matter where in the U.S. you’re sending it.

In her weekly “You Got This” video series, Joanna offers quick mobile tips meant to be watched right on your phone. Watch more of her “You Got This” videos here.

Write to Joanna Stern at joanna.stern@wsj.com

 

Climate Change

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/03/science/earth/arctic-shipping.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

 

 

Cassini’s Finale

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/04/26/google-made-a-doodle-for-doomed-cassini-and-space-lovers-are-losing-their-minds/?utm_term=.7553a38b43ed

If Mars Is Colonized, We May Not Need to Ship In the Bricks – By Nicholas St. Fleur

We often wonder if somewhere hidden on Mars are the building blocks for life. But what about building blocks for a civilization?

A new study suggests that the material humanity needs to one day construct houses, buildings and even entire colonies on Mars may already exist within the red planet’s own desolate soil. The research is still early and the technology is unlikely to be ready in time to meet President Trump’s stated goal of putting people on Mars by the end of his first term, but it could lay the groundwork for settlement of the planet if further study and testing confirms its findings.

“If this can indeed be scaled up for mass production on Mars, then I would say we are lucky,” said Yu Qiao, a materials scientist and engineer at the University of California, San Diego, pointing out that soil on the moon does not share that ability. He and his colleagues published their work Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Photo

The researchers think that iron oxide, which gives the soil on Mars its red color, acts like a glue. Credit NASA

Dr. Qiao and his colleagues experimented with a substance that is chemically and physically similar to what you might find on the surface of Mars, but is made from particles on our planet. They call it Martian soil simulant. Quite by accident, the team members found that with enough pressure they could mash the mock Martian dirt into bricks — no extraterrestrial kiln needed.

The technique, if it works with real Martian soil, could make it possible to develop building material on Mars without needing extreme heat, water or a binding agent. Though the bricks they created were small, they were stronger than steel-reinforced concrete, Dr. Qiao said.

After that work, his team set their eyes on Mars. They realized they could produce the same kind of bricks for the red planet with smaller and smaller amounts of their space glue, until they found they could make Martian bricks by using pressure without a bonding agent.

I thought, ‘What is going on?!’” Dr. Qiao said.

The team members think that the iron oxide, which gives the soil its red color, acts like a glue to hold the particles together after it is subjected to enough pressure. Dr. Qiao said his next step was to investigate whether the technique could create larger bricks that could potentially build a house.

Henning Roedel, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University who studies technology for construction in outer space, said in an email that scaling the method could prove to be a challenge. Still, he called the technique an elegant solution to the problem of building on other planetary bodies.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/science/mars-soil-bricks.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

WSJ Article – Verizon Deal

https://www.wsj.com/articles/yahoos-marissa-mayer-to-make-186-million-from-verizon-deal-1493103650

Success

The key to success is often hard to define, but we often try to categorize it as something that we can put a label on, such as hard work, education, or an entrepreneurial spirit. The key to success is most likely different for each one, just like every human is different; the key to each person’s own success will most likely also differ from person to person. Therefore, we should not try to emulate others in hopes of copying their success since that may not lead one down the right path for as an individual. Rather, we should know ourselves better; understand where we come from and what events have shaped our personal brand, strengths and weaknesses. Using this information we can then best determine which incremental key ingredient is necessary for us to maximize our own personal success.

Clearly, there are many common factors that will elevate our performance, especially determination. Having a strong determination can go a long way in achieving tremendous success. In fact, most of the fictional characters that inspire us tend to have a strong sense of determination that keeps them going in overcoming hurdles and challenges. However, there is a point where determination may result in diminishing marginal utility and other factors will be necessary in reaching a higher level of success. One of the factors that we sometimes forget in our intense quest of continuously improving may be humility. Humility is commonly seen as the act or posture of lowering oneself in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective and respect for one’s place in context.

Humility is often underestimated as a key to success, but it is critical for long lasting success. By being humble, you will never underestimate the competition and the need to learn more and gain new experiences. If hubris is the downfall of greatness then humility should be the trajectory of success. Thus, as we attain incremental success we should always make sure to eat plenty of humble pie to ensure that we stay hungry for more success and never fall into the trap of underestimating our competition. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote: Every battle is won before it is ever fought. We should keep this in mind as we strategies for the next corporate battle and ensure that we remain humble so that we do not overestimate our strengths or overestimate the competition’s weaknesses.