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Tree Of 40 Fruit: ‘Frankenstein’ Hybrid Plant !

23 July 2015

If you think this tree looks amazing, you should know it is also a scientific marvel. Using a “chip grafting” technique, art professor Sam Van Aken has created a series of ‘Frankenstein’ trees which are capable of producing 40 different types of stone fruit at once including peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds – and this month they’ll be ripe and ready to eat. Van Aken explained his method during a TEDx Manhattan talk.

He said: “I take a sliver off one of the trees that includes the bud, I insert it into a like-size incision in the working tree, tape it, let it sit and heal in all winter, then I prune it back and hope that it grows.” Van Aken’s experiments began in 2008 when he came across a neglected orchard on the verge of bankruptcy. He promptly bought the property and began splicing. The Tree of 40 Fruit project sees each tree take around five years to create, and has yielded 16 trees so far. They are planted in these locations around the United States. Speaking in a new video for National Geographic, Van Aken said: “Part of the idea behind the Tree of 40 Fruit was to plant them in locations that people would stumble upon them.

“And once they happened upon one of these trees, they would start to question ‘Why are the leaves shaped differently?’ ‘Why are they different colours?’”Explaining his inspiration to Huffington Post, he added: “I was able to see the grafting process while growing up on a farm and have always been fascinated by how one living thing cut could be cut inserted into another living thing and continue to grow.

“As this fascination evolved I came to see grafting used as a metaphor for sexuality such as in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the modern man such as Frankenstein. Like the forms in these books I wanted the tree to be the beginning of a narrative. A form that when seen causes one to create narrative.”And guess what? The 16 trees involved in the project are currently entering harvest season and should soon be heavy with 40 different varieties of fruit…

Microscopic Beating Human Hearts, In The Laboratory !

23 july 2015

In laboratories, across the world, scientists are actively trying to apply the principles of biomedical engineering to develop artificial tissue and miniature organs, mainly for the purpose of drug testing and organ transplantation. So far, researchers have managed to grow fully-functioning trachea, ear, nose, urinary bladder and even contracting muscle tissue, from human stem cells. And now, as part of a recent project, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, scientists have successfully developed microscopic beating “hearts”, complete with tiny cardiac chambers, in the lab.

In the research, published this week in the Nature Communications journal, the scientists have adopted an innovative approach for growing beating heart tissues, from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The lab-grown cardiac tissue could, one day, serve as a model for studying early heart development and also as a drug-testing tool to ensure safer pregnancies. Unlike similar research, in the past, the newly-devised method uses specific biophysical and biochemical cues that in turn help regulate cell differentiation and organization.

To build the miniature hearts, the scientists reproduced the intricate process of human tissue formation, using undifferentiated stem cells derived from adult skin tissue. For the research, the iPS cells were carefully placed onto a tissue culture dish, featuring a circular-patterned surface. These specially-designed circular patterns actually serve as physical guides that regulate the process of cell differentiation and development. At the end of two weeks, the cells had transformed from two-dimensional layers into complex 3D structures, complete with pulsating microchambers. Furthermore, with the help of physical and chemical cues, the cells managed to reorganize themselves, according to the ring-like patterns. The cells, at the center, developed into fully-functional cardiac tissue, while those, towards the edge of the colony, evolved into fibroblasts, a special type of cell that forms the connective tissue.

To test the efficacy of the system as a drug-testing tool, the team exposed the lab-grown cardiac muscle tissue to thalidomide, a drug that famously caused severe congenital defects in over 5,000 infants, back in the 1950s. According to the researchers, exposure to normal doses of the sedative actually led to the development of smaller microchambers, with abnormal muscle contraction and reduced beat rates, especially in comparison to the controls.

The Futuristic TF-X Flying Car, Is Sure To Blow Your Mind !

22 jULY 2015

Could cars fly? Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia has proved, time and again, they can. The Terrafugia Transition, a roadable aircraft and the firm’s original flying car model, completed its first public flight back in 2013. While the vehicle is still under development, the company is already in the process of building an improved version of the Transition. A stunning piece of innovation, the TF-X is an incredibly futuristic, vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) electric car. Recently, the developers have unveiled photos of the vehicle’s new, and more advanced, design.

An upgraded version of the Transition, the TF-X boasts a number of improvements, including the ability to take off as well as land vertically. Unlike the former, which requires an actual runway to get airborne, the new model can lift-off from a field, no more than 30.5 meters (around 100 feet) in diameter. Additionally, the four-seat car features two retractable wings, each of which contains a powerful 600-hp electric motor pod affixed to its end. During take off, the wings fold out from the sides, and specially-designed propellers extend from the twin motor pods. When sufficiently airborne, the propellers withdraw to their original position, while a ducted fan provides the necessary thrust to keep the vehicle at a cruising speed of around 200 mph (nearly 322 km/h).

Powered by a 300-hp engine, it can fly up to 500 miles (about 805 km), before it has to be refueled. While on the ground, however, the TF-X drives like a normal car, with the wings folded back into their former position. According to the developers, it is far easier to operate than a helicopter, so much so that the user can learn to fly the vehicle in less than five hours. This is mainly because it offers an automatic flight option, needing only the destination information from the user. In this mode, the TF-X can automatically predict air traffic and restricted airspace, as well as bad weather conditions. What is more, if the technology malfunctions mid-air, the pilot can actuate an emergency parachute system.

The recently-unveiled photos show off a sleeker and more futuristic design. According to Terrafugia’s press release, a prototype, one-tenth the size of the actual TF-X flying car, has already been developed and it currently on display at Wisconsin’s EAA AirVenture. It will soon undergo testing at MIT’s Wright Brothers wind tunnel. The technology, however, is still 8 to 12 years away from being commercial viable.

Japanese Hotel Replaces Human Workers with Robots !

21 July 2015

A hotel in Japan almost entirely run by robots has opened its doors to the public. The 72-room Henn na Hotel — whose name means “weird” — will offer a different experience to visitors at Huis Ten Bosch, an amusement park in Sasebo.

Guests are received at the reception manned by a mechanical dinosaur, a female android and an automated receptionist. After checking in, using a touch screen and facial recognition system, guests are directed to their rooms, priced at $72 per night, by two concierge robots. A robot porter helps them with their luggage.

Guests are unlikely to come across even 10 human beings during their stay at the hotel, operated by Huis Ten Bosch Co., which claim to have reduced salary costs by 25 percent. The company said it will be adding robots capable of cleaning rooms in a few weeks. An annexe with another 72 rooms is expected to be completed by spring next year

Drugs Under The Microscope Are Wildly Colored And Starkly Beautiful !

20 July 2015

When you drink your morning coffee or afternoon soda, you don’t think twice. But these photos will have you seeing caffeine–along with other birth-control pills, LSD, and other legal and illicit drugs –in a whole new light. Its post crushing the drugs and dissolving them in water and then heating each solution to evaporate away the water.Left behind are crystalline versions of each substance that are starkly beautiful when magnified–just scroll down for a look.

MDMA

2C-B

Potassium Bitartrate

Ciprofloxacin Antibiotic

Diltiazem

Birth-Control Pill

Persan_ret

Vitamin C

Acetaminophen (paracetamol)

Diclofenac

Aspirin

Caffeine

Amphetamine

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid

DMT

Greece reopens banks, starts repaying some debts finally but Cashless Deposits & Withdrawals without ATM !

20 July 2015

Greece reopened its banks and ordered billions of euros owed to international creditors to be repaid on Monday in the first signs of a return to normal after last week’s deal to agree a tough new package of bailout reforms.

Customers queued up as bank branches opened for the first time in three weeks on Monday after they were closed to save the system from collapsing under a flood of withdrawals. Increases in value added tax agreed under the bailout terms also took effect, with VAT on processed food and public transport jumping to 23 percent from 13 percent. The stock market remained closed until further notice. The bank closures were the most visible sign of the crisis that took Greece to the brink of leaving the euro earlier this month, potentially undermining the foundations of the single European currency.Their reopening followed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ reluctant acceptance of a tough package of bailout demands from European partners, but a revolt in the ruling Syriza party now threatens the stability of his government and officials say new elections may be held as early as September or October.

“It is positive that the banks are open, though the effect is psychological for people more than anything else,” said 65-year-old pensioner Nikos Koulopoulos. “Because to be honest nothing much changes given the capital controls are still in place,” he said.Limits on withdrawals will remain, however — at 420 euros ($455)per week instead of 60 euros per day previously — and payments and wire transfers abroad will still not be possible, a situation German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday was “not a normal life” and warranted swift negotiations on a new bailout, expected to be worth up to 86 billion euros.

“Capital controls and restrictions on withdrawals will remain in place but we are entering a new stage which we all hope will be one of normality,” said Louka Katseli, head of the Greek bank association.Greeks will be able to deposit cheques but not cash, pay bills as well as have access to safety deposit boxes and withdraw money without an ATM card.Bankers said there may be minor disruptions after the extended interruption to services but said they expected services to resume largely as normal.

Laser Weapon System or LaWS !

20 July 2015

Christened simply as the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), this $40 million prototype system is claimed to have the robust capacity to punch holes through enemy UAVs, by virtue of its boisterous 30kW photon beam. This energetic beam is generated with the aid of a collective powertrain of six solid-state welding laser. Their apertures are combined and focused onto a single point – which results in a dazzling photon burst that can cripple enemy UAVs and even confound the navigational systems of oncoming ships.

The LaWS prototype is already installed abroad the amphibious transport ship of USS Ponce, which does its patrolling duties in the disputed region of the Persian Gulf. According to the military, the advanced weapon system is proving to be pretty cost effective, with one laser shot just costing around a dollar.

Russia selects Anil Ambani’s Pipavav to make frigates for Indian Navy !

18 July 2015

he Russian government has chosen Anil Ambani’s Pipavav shipyard for a ‘Make in India’ naval frigate order that is likely to exceed $3 billion, making it the private sector’s biggest-ever warship-building project.With public sector shipyards tied up in executing current orders and the Indian Navy battling to increase fleet strength, the government has been in advanced talks for the past several months with Russia for three to four upgraded Talwar class frigates, classified as Project 11356 vessels. Moscow, which has been keen to build the frigates at a Russian shipyard, was firmly told last year that the order would only be placed through the Make in India route but it would have the flexibility to choose an Indian partner for the project.

After an evaluation of several Indian shipyards, including that of Larsen & Toubro, Russia has formally informed the defence ministry that Pipavav has been chosen as its Indian partner for the project. Officials said a formal letter was sent by Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) director Alexander Fomin last week confirming the partnership. The record deal is the first one landed by Pipavav after it was taken over by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group recently. The contract for the new frigates is likely to be in the form of a government-togovernment order with Russia and could be signed this financial year with delivery expected over the next six to eight years. Vice-chief of naval staff, Vice-Admiral P Murugesan, has confirmed that exploratory talks have been on and, when decided, the frigate order will be under the Make in India initiative.Biggest warship project: Russia selects Anil Ambani’s Pipavav to make frigates for Indian Navy The project brings together two of the government’s key themes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Make in India initiative on August 15 last year as part of a manufacturing push to create jobs, raise incomes and help boost the economy. The government is also keen on greater private sector participation in defence, having eased overseas investment rules in this regard.

The new stealth frigates will be a vital addition to the navy’s surface fleet that is fast being upgraded to meet security challenges in the region. India has already bought six Russian-built Talwar class frigates, the last of which was delivered in 2013.A team led by Russian deputy industry and trade minister Alexei Rakhmanov has been evaluating Indian shipyards for the project over the past few months. Among the yards visited were Mazgaon Dockyard Ltd, Cochin Shipyard Ltd and the L&T unit, with the final selection being based on the availability of infrastructure and capacity. Pipavav, which is currently executing a naval offshore patrol vessel order, has India’s largest shipbuilding facility.

When contacted, a Reliance Group spokesperson said, “We are fully committed to the Make in India vision of our Prime Minister. Our mission is to build higher capabilities at the world-class facility that we have, to be able to serve the complete requirement of the Indian Navy.”While Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) did not respond to a detailed questionnaire, one of its top executives told ET earlier this month that it was open to working with a private shipyard on the order.

7 smartphones that got price cuts recently !

15 July 2015

Planning to buy a smartphone? It couldn’t have been a better time, with many top smartphones having recently got official price cuts. Here’s over to 9 smartphones that just got cheaper…

Xiaomi Redmi 2

Xiaomi cut the price of its Redmi 2 budget smartphone in India by Rs 1,000, bringing the price tag down to Rs 5,999. At this price, it is better positioned to rival the likes of Lenovo A6000 Plus and Moto G 3G (Gen 2). Redmi smartphone features 4.7-inch HD display and runs Android 4.4 KitKat skinned with MIUI 6.0 software. Powered by a 64-bit 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB RAM, Redmi 2 has 8GB of internal storage and can house microSD cards of up to 32GB. The Xiaomi phone also sports an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera and packs a 2,200mAh battery. It supports dual-sim, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity options.

Moto G (Gen 2)

The second-generation Moto G smartphone has also received a Rs 2,000 price cut and now costs Rs 9,999 on Flipkart. It is expected that Motorola will soon launch the successor of this smartphone, thus the price cut to the year-old model. Moto G (Gen 2) has a 5-inch HD screen, front-facing speakers, microSD card support and 8MP rear camera. It shares features like Android 5.0 (Lollipop), 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 2,070mAh battery and connectivity suite with its predecessor.

Google Nexus 6

Google’s mammoth flagship smartphone Nexus 6 got cheaper in earlier this month when Flipkart slashed the price of both its variants. Launched at Rs 44,999, the 32GB variant of Nexus 6 can be purchased for Rs 34,999 on Flipkart. Similarly, the 64GB version, which was released at Rs 49,999, can now be purchased for Rs 39,999. Additionally, Flipkart is running a discount offer, wherein the 32GB and 64GB Google Nexus 6 variants can be purchased for as low as Rs 24,999 and Rs 29,999 upon exchange of an older smartphone. The Nexus 6 phablet has a 6-inch display with QHD (1440x2560p) resolution, 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB RAM, Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and 3,220mAh battery.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G

In the face of increasing competition, Xiaomi has reduced the price of its Redmi Note 4G smartphone by Rs 2,000 in India. Thus, the smartphone can be purchased for Rs 7,999 on Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Xiaomi India’s websites. Redmi Note 4G features a 5.5-inch 720p IPS display, a 13MP primary camera and 5MP secondary camera. The phablet runs 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad core processor, and has 2GB RAM. It also offers its users 8GB of internal storage and can hold microSD cards of upto 32GB. Powered by Xiaomi’s MIUI OS based on Android 4.4 KitKat, the Redmi Note has 3,100mAh battery. Unlike the Redmi Note 3G, the 4G version is a single-sim phone.

Oppo Find 5 mini, Mirror 3

Oppo Find 5 mini, which was priced at Rs 14,990, is now available for Rs 9,990. Similarly, Oppo Mirror 3 has also got a price cut and is now available at Rs 12,990, compared to the launch price of 16,990. The Find 5 Mini smartphone sports a 4.7-inch IPS qHD (540x960p) display and is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, with 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD cards. It has an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP rear camera. It supports 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options. Oppo Mirror 3 features a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 720x1280p. Powered by a 1.2GHz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, and 1GB RAM, the Mirror 3 runs Color OS 2.0 based on Android 4.4 KitKat. The phone has a 2,000mAh battery and comes with 8GB storage along with a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 128GB. Oppo Mirror 3 sports an 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera.

Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6 received a Rs 2,000 price cut earlier this month, bringing down the price of the mid-range smartphone to Rs 17,999. Honor 6 sports a 5-inch full-HD display (1920x1080p,440ppi) and is powered by a Huawei Kirin 920 octa-core processor and 3GB RAM. The smartphone comes with 16GB internal storage and a microSD card slot (supports cards up to 64GB). Huawei’s flagship smartphone of last year, Honor 6 sports a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. The smartphone comes with a 3,100mAh battery. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Emotion 2.3 UI. In terms of connectivity options, the Huawei Honor 6 supports 3G, 4G (only Band 3 FDD LTE), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Oppo Neo 3, Yoyo

Oppo Neo 3 budget phone, launched at Rs 8,990, is now available at Rs 7,990. Likewise, Oppo has reduced the price of its Yoyo smartphone, which was released at Rs 10,990, to Rs 8,990. Neo 3 has a 4.5-inch display with resolution of 854x480p and runs on the company’s proprietary ColorOS user interface. It is powered by a dual-core 1.3GHz processor has 1GB RAM and comes with 4GB internal storage and supports microSD cards with capacities up to 32GB. On the back of Neo 3 is a 5MP camera with LED flash on the back, while a 2MP camera is in front and is powered by a 1,900mAh battery. Oppo’s Yoyo has a 4.70inch (540x960p) screen and runs on the company’s proprietary ColorOS user interface based on Android 4.4 KitKat. It is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz processor has 1GB RAM and comes with 4GB internal storage and supports microSD cards with capacities up to 32GB. On the back of Yoyo is a 5MP camera with LED flash on the back, while a 2MP camera is in front. This dual-sim smartphone is compatible with GSM as well as CDMA sim cards; it is powered by a 1,900mAh battery.

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