STATS | Materials Management a Challenge for Shale Operators

Materials management has consistently been a challenge for the oil and gas industry, where the main focus has always been on ensuring material availability, regardless of costs.
Materials management has consistently been a challenge for the oil and gas industry, where the main focus has always been on ensuring material availability, regardless of costs.
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How "digitalization" helps utilities bridge silos, build value

Data from smart meters and the smart grid offer vast opportunities to utilities and their customers. These potential benefits extend beyond meter-to-cash, and can even reshape how utilities operate as organizations. According to recent research by eMeter and Zprime, [...]
Data from smart meters and the smart grid offer vast opportunities to utilities and their customers. These potential benefits extend beyond meter-to-cash, and can even reshape how utilities operate as organizations. According to recent research by eMeter and Zprime, many utility executives believe that the greatest long-term business value of smart grid data lies in bridging the traditional silos that have divided information and operation technologies (IT/OT). In fact, data can be the "glue" that makes IT/OT convergence possible.
Siemens refers to this blending process as digitalization. Beyond IT/OT convergence, this concept more broadly means connecting people with the internet of things.

Whenever utility professionals seek to improve a business or operational process, a good place to start is to use good middleware tools to analyze and explore metered data.
For instance, the IT strategy of tagging smart meter data with grid asset data can yield both operational and business benefits -- such as enhanced reliability, or more accurate estimates of the useful life of grid assets. Similarly, trending and analyzing customer energy consumption patterns and integrating that with billing system data can help reduce losses from theft or unbilled accounts. The next big push in utility digitalization is learning to to apply role-driven analytical applications to specific utility-industry use cases.
Some utilities -- such as Duke Energy and Centrepoint -- are progressing into exploring ways to use smart meter data in conjunction with other utility system data to prevent outages, provide customer insights, enhance grid management, and more.

Creating value for customers is a key benefit of digitalization. Data filtered and presented via web portals and mobile interfaces (such as Energy Engage) not only increases customer awareness of energy use (and control over energy costs), but also creates opportunities for utilities to offer new services that customers will value.
Demand response poses an especially interesting and challenging opportunity for utility digitalization and IT/OT convergence. This isn't simply a matter of technology, but of shifting organizational culture. According to Larsh Johnson (Founder, Director and Chief Technology Officer of eMeter, a Siemens Business), demand response can be viewed either as an IT or OT effort.
However, it helps for the impetus for demand response to come from the OT side of the utility organization. "In a system peak scenario, operations will say, 'you don't have enough power, shut something down. ' Then if IT can reliably reduce demand, everyone's happy," Johnson observed.
Once an effective, fast and flexible demand response system is in place, a utility can deploy this capacity in a variety of ways to benefit network operations, customers, and the utility's bottom line. This can include managing distributed energy resources as well as co-management of energy use via building automation technology, enhancing forecasting and reducing wholesale power costs.

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Tarantula venom probe shows neurons in action

Illinois_SLIM_1
University of Illinois

Optics used to track single cell's growth

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  • "Our work shows that even in relatively well-studied areas of the world's oceans, new species can be discovered as can unknown traits in well-documented species." Kevin Conway says. Above: Padded clingfish (Arcos nudus), a Caribbean clingfish with a subopercular venom gland described in the 1750s by Carolus Linnaeus. (Credit: Louis Bahama)
  • "What it has shown me, especially as an educator, is how difficult it is to achieve optimal learning for our students. You don't want the material to be too easy to learn and yet still have it too difficult where the student doesn't learn and gives up," Tracey Shors says. (Cubmundo/Flickr)
    A cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound can help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. The probe binds to a voltage-activated potassium ion channel subtype, lighting up when the channel is turned [...]
    A cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound can help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. The probe binds to a voltage-activated potassium ion channel subtype, lighting up when the channel is turned off and dimming when it is activated. This is the first time researchers have been able to visually observe these electrical signaling proteins turn on without genetic modification. These visualization tools are prototypes of probes that could some day help researchers better understand the ion channel dysfunctions that lead to epilepsy, cardiac arrhythmias, and other conditions.
    “Ion channels have been called life’s transistors because they act like switches, generating electrical feedback,” says senior author Jon Sack, assistant professor of physiology and membrane biology at University of California, Davis. “To understand how neural systems or the heart works, we need to know which switches are activated.

    These probes tell us when certain switches turn on.
    ” Voltage-gated channels are proteins that allow specific ions, such as potassium or calcium, to flow in and out of cells. They perform a critical function, generating an electrical current in neurons, muscles, and other cells. There are many different types, including more than 40 potassium channels.
    Though other methods can very precisely measure electrical activity in a cell, it has been difficult to differentiate which specific channels are turning on.

    “There are about 40 voltage-gated potassium channel genes that are basically doing the same thing, and it’s been shockingly hard to figure out which ones are doing something that’s physiologically relevant,” Sack says. Why the tarantula? The tarantula toxin, guangxitoxin-1E, was an ideal choice because it naturally binds to the Kv2 channels.
    These channels are expressed in most, if not all, neurons, yet their regulation and activity are complex and actively debated. Sack and his laboratory worked closely with Bruce Cohen, a scientist in the Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, who has been studying how fluorescent molecules and nanoparticles can be used to image live cells. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of IllinoisOptics used to track single cell's growthCarnegie Mellon UniversityNeurons show why learning's tougher as we ageWashington University in St.
    LouisCould E. coli protein lead to new antibiotics?Emory UniversityFear makes scary stuff appear to loomTexas A&M UniversityThese clingfish are venomous and nobody knew itRutgersLearning keeps cells alive in young brains To study the channels, the team engineered variants of tarantula toxin that could be fluorescently labeled and retain function. These probes were designed to bind to the potassium channels when they were at rest and let go when they became active.
    The researchers then tested them on living cells. To their surprise, the probes worked right away.

    “A lot of times you see ambiguous results, but when we added the probes to living cells there was a very clear signal,” Sack says.
    “When we added potassium to stimulate the cells, the probes fell right off. ” While this is just a first step towards imaging the activity of potassium and possibly other ion channels, this approach holds vast potential to help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms behind cardiac arrhythmias, muscle defects, and other channelopathies. “There are dozens of known channelopathies, and more being uncovered at an increasing pace,” Sack says.
    “If you have electrical signaling, you have to have a potassium channel, and when that channel goes bad, the cell doesn’t work the same anymore.

    For example, the Kv2. 1 channel that this probe binds to leads to epilepsy when it’s not functioning properly.
    ” In addition, the ability to better observe electrical signaling could help researchers map the brain at its most basic levels. “Understanding the molecular mechanisms of neuronal firing is a fundamental problem in unraveling the complexities of brain function,” Cohen says. Lots of spider toxins to try While creating a probe that can read whether the Kv2.
    1 channel is firing or at rest is an important proof-of-concept, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Sack and Cohen will continue to collaborate, testing other types of spider venoms that bind to different potassium channels. “The beauty of this is the potential,” Sack says.
    “This is a toehold into a new way of visualizing electrical activity, and there’s a huge family of spider toxins that target different ion channels. We’ve tagged a Ford; we should be able to tag a Chevy.

    ” The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    The researchers who conducted this study come from UC Davis, Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, and the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The NIH and the Milton L. Shifman Endowed Scholarship for the Neurobiology Course at Woods Hole supported the project.
    Work at the Molecular Foundry received support from the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the US Department of Energy.

    Source: UC Davis The post Tarantula venom probe shows neurons in action appeared first on Futurity.
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  • Blue light sets off ‘battle’ in your eyeball

    glaucoma_525
    Washington University in St. Louis

    To beat glaucoma, train eyes with stress

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    Researchers have teased apart the separate biological responses of the human eye to blue light, revealing an unexpected contest for control. Their work addresses the properties of melanopsin, a light-sensitive protein in the eye that establishes the rhythm of our [...]
    Researchers have teased apart the separate biological responses of the human eye to blue light, revealing an unexpected contest for control. Their work addresses the properties of melanopsin, a light-sensitive protein in the eye that establishes the rhythm of our day-night cycle and the familiar constriction of the pupil to bright light. Related Articles On FuturityWashington University in St. LouisTo beat glaucoma, train eyes with stressNorthwestern UniversityThis laser is as small as a virusUniversity of ChicagoQuantum thermometer inside a living cell?Washington University in St.
    LouisWhen eyes don't recycle, vision suffersJohns Hopkins UniversityDrug could mean fewer needle sticks in eyeDuke UniversityMollusks keep a look out with rock eyes They measured the pupil response to stimulation of melanopsin and of short-wave-sensitive (S) cones, the other blue light-sensing cells that operate in daylight. Surprisingly, they found that melanopsin and S-cones have opposite effects and compete for control of the pupil in blue light.

    “The challenge of studying melanopsin is that it is very sensitive to blue light, a short-wave light emitted by digital devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers, as are S-cones,” says lead author, Manuel Spitschan, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
    “Previous studies in the human eye have not separately studied the S-cones and melanopsin because flashing a blue light stimulates both of these cells, so we didn’t know if what a person saw or the response of the pupil was from one or both. ” To overcome this problem, the team developed a special class of visual stimuli: they produced flickering light that stimulates melanopsin but is invisible to S-cones, and a second flickering light that stimulates S-cones but is invisible to melanopsin. The lights were created using a machine that can sculpt and switch between computer-designed rainbows of light.
    Pupils enlarge The researchers had 16 people watch this flickering light while recording the response of their pupil.

    The light that stimulates melanopsin made the pupil slowly contract. To their surprise, they also discovered that stimulation of S-cones made the pupil get larger.
    That is, when the S-cones of the eye captured more light, the pupil enlarged, the opposite of what is generally thought of as the natural pupil response. This means that blue light sets off a tug-of-war between melanopsin and S-cones to make your pupil smaller or bigger. The melanopsin effect is stronger, resulting in the familiar shrinking of the pupil to bright light of any color.
    “For the first time in people we are able to probe the relationship between melanopsin signals and the cones and how they work together or in opposition,” says David Brainard, professor of psychology, and director of the Vision Research Center and director of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. And what do these special flickering lights look like? “The flicker that stimulates S-cones looks like it is switching between a bluish and yellowish color. The flicker that stimulates melanopsin, however, is hard to see, and looks like a soft glow that rises and falls in brightness.
    ” Melanopsin and clinical conditions Light enters the human eye and is imaged on the retina. It has long been know that the retinal image is sensed by neurons known as the rods and cones.

    The rods operate in dim light levels and allow us to see at night.
    It is the signals from rods and cones that the brain converts into the images we see. Recently, though, another class of retinal cells has been identified that also senses light. These cells are known as intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells, and they contain the protein melanopsin.
    Melanopsin is sensitive to light at wavelengths intermediate to those sensed by the S and M cones.

    It appears that it primarily mediates light-driven functions other than conscious vision, such as setting our circadian clock and contributing to control of the pupil. This new work makes it possible to isolate and study the properties of melanopsin in people, separate from the cone cells.
    We can now ask what we “see” with melanopsin. “This is important because we think melanopsin could be involved in clinical conditions,” says Geoffrey K. Aguirre, a behavioral neurologist and associate professor in the department of neurology.
    “For example, it seems that too much stimulation of melanopsin produces the feeling of pain from light that is too bright, and not having enough melanopsin stimulation may be part of seasonal affective disorder, in which people become depressed when they don’t have enough light exposure. “Having now teased apart the melanopsin and cone responses to blue light, we can study how the eye is involved in these disorders. ” A patent on this alternative photoreceptor isolation method and its applications has been filed by the University of Pennsylvania with Spitschan, Aguirre, and Brainard as inventors.
    In addition, they have founded a company with the Penn UpStart incubator with the goal to commercialize a device based upon these techniques. The NIH supported the work, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Source: University of Pennsylvania The post Blue light sets off ‘battle’ in your eyeball appeared first on Futurity.
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  • Faces of Public Health: Daniel Barnett, MD

    FacesofPublicHealt_Barnett
    News today that a fourth case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States underscores the urgent need to have health workers not just ready, but also willing to treat patients with the [...]
    News today that a fourth case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States underscores the urgent need to have health workers not just ready, but also willing to treat patients with the illness. Next Wednesday, the National Coordinating Center on Public Health Systems and Services Research (PHSSR) will be hosting a webinar on legal protections to help facilitate health worker willingness. Daniel Barnett, MD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will be the main presenter. Barnett and three Bloomberg colleagues, Leonie Ratko, JD, PhD, MPH, Jon S.
    Enrick, JD, MPH Carol B. Thompson, MS, MBA received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and PHSSR to study the issue.

    PHSSR's Center is funded by RWJF and based at the University of Kentucky.
    NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Barnett.

    NewPublicHealth: What are the concerns with respect to health workers being prepared to take some risks in order to protect the public? Daniel Barnett: There’s been a longstanding tacit dysfunction about preparedness trainings: That if you train someone in knowledge and skills in terms of how to respond, that will necessarily translate into a willingness to do so. But our work has shown that “training to knowledge equals training to willingness” is a false assumption. In other words, I can teach someone how to recognize anthrax or some other infectious disease agent under a microscope, but that in no way ensures that that individual will be willing to come to work to look at anthrax or another infectious disease agent under a microscope, and by analogy, any other type of frontline public health or health care response. That’s been, frankly, a missing piece in public health preparedness training nationally and internationally, and I think that we need to really rethink paradigms of preparedness training and education to take a more holistic approach.
    In other words, an approach that recognizes that frontline healthcare workers and public health workers have fears and concerns attached to a whole variety of aspects of the events at hand. Even before our grant began, my colleagues and I had looked at, since 2005, issues surrounding willingness of public health hospital providers and EMS providers and even medical reserve corps volunteers’ willingness to come to work in a variety of public health emergency scenarios.

    These have included, for example, pandemic influenza and radiological/dirty bomb terrorism events.
    We found that there are really two factors that are particularly important when understanding health care workers’ willingness to respond. One is this concept called self-efficacy — that individuals who feel confident that they can perform a given task, even in an uncertain or risky environment, are more apt to actually do so in real life. For example for a study we did among workers at a large urban hospital, individuals who had high self-efficacy were over 12 times more likely than individuals who didn’t to be willing to respond.
    The other part is what we call response efficacy, and by us I mean there’s a whole body of communication research that describes this concept of response efficacy, which basically translates loosely into “I perceive that I matter if I show up.

    ” In other words, trainings not only need to build a sense of confidence in performing one’s role-specific expectations, but they also need to instill a sense that in each responder, that he or she makes a meaningful difference in participating in response to an infectious disease outbreak.

    NPH: What are other key findings of your work that shed light on helping responders to report for duty? Barnett: Concerns about safety at work. One of the consistent barriers to willingness to respond that we found in all of our prior research is if healthcare workers and public health workers do not feel safe in their work environment in the course of response, they would be much less likely to be willing to respond. Now, that may seem obvious and seem intuitive. But public health emergency laws can, and in many cases do, speak to these issues of safety at work, of mental health resources and other protections such as liability protections that are relevant to response willingness.
    Work by researchers at the University of Michigan has found that there’s a disconnect that seems to exist between laws that are on the books and public health and health care employees’ awareness that those laws exist. So a law can be very protective in its scope and impact, but if employees aren’t aware of its existence or don’t understand how it applies to them, it’s like a tree falling in the forest in terms of their own behaviors and their own willingness.

    This speaks to the importance of not just having laws that protect health care and public health workers, but teaching them about what those laws are in the course of preparedness trainings and explaining how those laws pertain to them.
    And, in turn, giving them a sense of confidence that they’re going to be optimally protected in their work environment in the course of a public health emergency response.

    NPH: Who should participate in the webinar, and what do you hope they will get out of it? Barnett: I’m hoping that attendees will include policymakers; senior public health administrators at all levels; and health care workers and public health workers in particular. It’s important for these individuals and cohorts to understand how laws are or are not in many cases understood by those who are the boots on the ground in the response and who represent the boots on the ground in response. I hope that by having a broad range of participants in this webinar, that we’ll be able to bridge or partly eliminate the current disconnect that appears to exist between protected laws and responders’ awareness of them.

    NPH: What else do you think needs to happen that would give greater confidence to public health workers when it comes to the current Ebola crisis in particular? Barnett: What I’d like to see happen is frankly at the senior policy level, and even legislative level, for lawmakers and policymakers to really revisit current public health emergency preparedness laws and perhaps consider adapting or revising them to reflect the research that is clearly indicating the fears and concerns of frontline health care workers. I think that research can and needs to inform policy in general. This is a teachable moment in the context of Ebola where we can modify or add laws if they don’t currently exist in certain jurisdictions to address employees’ fears about personal safety in performing their duties during the Ebola outbreak, or during other infectious disease responses down the line. And I also believe that it’s important that trainings in preparedness explicitly include employee awareness of legal protections that do exist so that we can avoid this tree falling in the forest phenomenon of laws that may be on the books and may be very well written and may indeed by very protective, but employees’ lack of awareness of their existence rendering them less impactful because employees are afraid to come to work.
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    Insect Pollinators Initiative Dissemination Event

    The end of the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI)* was marked by an event at the Wellcome Trust on 21 October 2014. Attendees included Government Chief Scientist Sir Mark Walport and Ian Boyd, Defra Chief Scientist, as well as scientists [...]
    The end of the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI)
    - was marked by an event at the Wellcome Trust on 21 October 2014. Attendees included Government Chief Scientist Sir Mark Walport and Ian Boyd, Defra Chief Scientist, as well as scientists from the various projects funded under the initiative. >Claire Carvell, Matt Heard and John Redhead of CEH put together a stand to highlighttheir research activities for the Insect Pollinators InitiativeThe IPI, which ran from late 2010, funded a number of research projects investigating the causes and consequences of insect pollinator decline. To date, the IPI projects have produced more than 40 new research papers.
    Wow! 47 research papers on #bees and #pollinators thanks to Insect Pollinators Initiative @BBSRC @wellcometrust pic. twitter.

    com/coQrVlLtNe— Rob Dawson (@UKBioNews) October 21, 2014Dr Adam Vanbergen of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) was scientific coordinator of the IPI and spoke at the dissemination event.
    Dr Adam Vanbergen sums up the decline of #bees and other #pollinators at Insect Pollinators Initiative launch event pic. twitter. com/38UG42HTai— Paul De Zylva (@pauldezylva) October 21, 2014RT @WaspWoman: Adam Vanbergen.
    Bee diversity has decreased in 52% of UK landscapes since 1980.

    UK #redlist has 71 spp. #bees @wellcometrust— Scoutbee (@scout_bee) October 21, 2014"Bee diversity has declined in over half of UK landscapes since 1980" Dr Vanbergen, Insect Pollinators Initiative pic.
    twitter. com/vAARgnwNky— Paul De Zylva (@pauldezylva) October 21, 2014CEH's Dr Claire Carvell led an IPI-funded project to investigate how habitat structure affected queen and worker bumblebees in the field, collaborating with CEH colleagues and researchers from UEA, the Zoological Society of London and Bristol University. Scientists from CEH also collaborated on a project led by the University of Leeds, “Linking agriculture and land use change to pollinator populations”.
    The following tweets give a flavour of some of the results produced from the research. Getting ready for our #bumblespace session at #pollinators mtg @wellcometrust @BristolUni @CEHScienceNews @ZSLScience pic. twitter.
    com/naq7woO2Lw— Seirian Sumner (@WaspWoman) October 21, 2014Claire Carvell from @CEHScienceNews explains hie habitat affects how far #bumblebees fly. #bumblespace @wellcometrust pic.

    twitter.
    com/9HoeU5oGmF— Seirian Sumner (@WaspWoman) October 21, 2014@RedheadGIS: Which areas are 'hot spots' for summer bumblebee food? #bumblespace @CEHScienceNews @wellcometrust pic. twitter. com/EfEZD3KmyA— John Redhead (@RedheadGIS) October 21, 2014Claire Carvell: 1-3% of landscape needs to be 'good quality' forage to ensure colonies can forage effectively.

    #bumblespace @CEHScienceNews— Seirian Sumner (@WaspWoman) October 21, 2014Claire Carvell: How far do #bumblebees fly? Up to 2km, but lots of variation among species. #bumblespace #pollinators @CEHScienceNews— Seirian Sumner (@WaspWoman) October 21, 2014Defra Chief Scientist Ian Boyd was among those at the event. Yesterday I spoke at the Insect Pollinators Initiative. IPI outputs are being used to inform the development of National Pollinator Strategy— DefraChiefScientist (@DefraChiefScien) October 22, 2014The National Pollinator Strategy will be launched this Autumn.

    - The Insect Pollinators Initiative was launched in 2010 and funded nine research projects worth up to £10million. It was a joint initiative from BBSRC, Defra, NERC, the Scottish Government and the Wellcome Trust, and was funded under the auspices of the Living With Environmental Change partnership. Related CEH news storiesQueen bumblebees disperse far from their birthplace before setting up home, DNA analysis reveals Ecologists get first bumblebees' eye view of the landscapeCocktail of multiple pressures combine to threaten the world’s pollinating insects.
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    Where the wind goes sweeping ’round the ring?

    I travel a lot for my work in particle physics, but it’s usually the same places over and over again — Fermilab, CERN, sometimes Washington to meet with our gracious supporters from the funding agencies.  It’s much more interesting to [...]
    I travel a lot for my work in particle physics, but it’s usually the same places over and over again — Fermilab, CERN, sometimes Washington to meet with our gracious supporters from the funding agencies.  It’s much more interesting to go someplace new, and especially somewhere that has some science going on that isn’t particle physics.  I always find myself trying to make connections between other people’s work and mine. This week I went to a meeting of the Council of the Open Science Grid that was hosted by the Oklahoma University Supercomputing Center for Education and Research in Norman, OK.
     It was already interesting that I got to visit Oklahoma, where I had never been before.  (I think I’m up to 37 states now.

    )  But we held our meeting in the building that hosts the National Weather Center, which gave me an opportunity to take a tour of the center and learn a bit more about how research in meteorology and weather forecasting is done.
    OU is the home of the largest meteorology department in the country, and the center hosts a forecast office of the National Weather Service (which produces forecasts for central and western Oklahoma and northern Texas, at the granularity of one hour and one kilometer) and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (which generates storm watches and warnings for the entire country — I saw the actual desk where the decisions get made!).  So how is the science of the weather like and not like the science that we do at the LHC? (In what follows, I offer my sincere apologies to meteorologists in case I misinterpreted what I learned on my tour!) Both are fields that can generate significant amounts of data that need to be interpreted to obtain a scientific result.  As has been discussed many times on the blog, each LHC experiment records petabytes of data each year.
     Meteorology research is performed by much smaller teams of observers, which makes it hard to estimate their total data volume, but the graduate student who led our tour told us that he is studying a mere three weather events, but he has more than a terabyte of data to contend with — small compared to what a student on the LHC might have to handle, but still significant.

    But where the two fields differ is what limits the rate at which the data can be understood.  At the LHC, it’s all about the processing power needed to reconstruct the raw data by performing the algorithms that turn the voltages read out from millions of amplifiers into the energies and momenta of individual elementary particles.
     We know what the algorithms for this are, we know how to code them; we just have to run them a lot.  In meteorology, the challenge is getting to the point where you can even make the data interpretable in a scientific sense.  Things like radar readings still need to be massaged by humans to become sensible.
     It is a very labor-intensive process, akin to the work done by the “scanner girls” of the particle physics days of yore, who carefully studied film emulsions by eye to identify particle tracks.  I do wonder what the prospects are in meteorology for automating this process so that it can be handed off to humans instead.  (Clearly this has to apply more towards forefront research in the field about how tornadoes form and the like, rather than to the daily weather predictions that just tell you the likelihood of tornado-forming conditions.
    ) Weather forecasting data is generally public information, accessible by anyone.  The National Weather Service publishes it in a form that has already had some processing done on it so that it can be straightforwardly ingested by others.

     Indeed, there is a significant private weather-forecasting industry that makes use of this, and sells products with value added to the NWS data.
     (For instance, you could buy a forecast much more granular than that provided by the NWS, e. g. for the weather at your house in ten-minute intervals.
    )  Many of these companies rent space in buildings within a block of the National Weather Center.

     The field of particle physics is still struggling with how to make our data publicly available (which puts us well behind many astronomy projects which make all of their data public within a few years of the original observations).  There are concerns about how to provide the data in a form that will allow people who are not experts to learn something from the data without making mistakes.
     But there has been quite a lot of progress in this in recent years, especially as it has been recognized that each particle physics experiment creates a unique dataset that will probably never be replicated in the future.  We can expect an increasing number of public data releases in the next few years.  (On that note, let me point out the NSF-funded Data and Software Preservation for Open Science (DASPOS) project that I am associated with on its very outer edges, which is working on some aspects of the problem.
    )  However, I’d be surprised if anyone starts up a company that will sell new interpretations of LHC data! Finally, here’s one thing that the weather and the LHC has in common — they’re both always on!  Or, at least we try to run the LHC for every minute possible when the accelerator is operational.  (Remember, we are currently down for upgrades and will start up again this coming spring. )  The LHC experiments have physicists on on duty 24 hours a day, monitoring data quality and ready to make repairs to the detectors should they be needed.
     Weather forecasters are also on shift at the forecasting center and the severe-storm center around the clock.  They are busy looking at data being gathered by their own instruments, but also from other sources.

     For instance, when there are reports of tornadoes near Oklahoma City, the local TV news stations often send helicopters out to go take a look.
     The forecasters watch the TV news to get additional perspectives on the storm. Now, if only the weather forecasters on shift could make repairs to the weather just like our shifters can fix the detector!.
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    Butterfly tennis balls!

    Butterfly tennis balls: ShxA expression in 10 hour old embryos.
    Photo by Jean-Michel Carter
    “One of the first things that happens when insects begin to develop inside a freshly laid egg is that cells differentiate into those that will become the embryo, and those that will form extraembryonic tissue. The extraembryonic tissue covers the embryo and consists of a number of membranes, most notably the amnion and the serosa.Hox genes are normally involved in patterning the embryo from head to tail, but one Hox gene called zerknüllt (zen) took on a new role and became involved in extraembryonic tissue formation in insects.A collaborative project led by researchers at University of Oxford working with scientists at Oxford Brookes University and CEH has recently found that during the evolution of butterflies and moths, zen duplicated a number of times resulting in four novel genes, called the Special homeobox genes (shx). Although zen has been shown to duplicate in other insect orders, such a large number of zen-derived genes has never been witnessed before. This begs the question; what do they do?During his PhD, Jean-Michel Carter (co-supervised by Dr. Casper Breuker, Oxford Brookes University and myself at CEH) found that in the Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) mothers put RNA transcripts of two of these genes, ShxC and ShxD, into the eggs they produce in their ovaries. These transcripts are put in the eggs in the location where the extraembryonic tissue will form. Such localisation actually represents one of the most complex examples of RNA localisation within a cell ever reported in any species, with the mother outlining the region that will become the future extraembryonic tissue before fertilisation and egg laying has even occurred!
    ShxC expression in the egg developing inside the mother’s ovary.
    Photo by Jean-Michel Carter

    It is possible to visualise the location of specific RNA transcripts by using custom-made probes, called riboprobes, which colour purple when the RNA of interest is detected and bound. When you use such probes for Shx gene transcripts in both the ovaries and developing embryos (at around 10 hours old) and look under the microscope, you see an amazing pattern which closely resembles the pattern on a tennis ball. These patterns become even clearer when the embryo itself also starts expressing the ShxA and ShxB genes in the extraembryonic region which will become the serosa. So we started wondering what is a serosa exactly, and is it important? We are also intrigued as to why Speckled Wood mothers go to such lengths to make sure that this tissue is specified even before fertilisation occurs.The insect serosa is considered to be an evolutionary novelty, which has been linked with the successful colonisation of the land by a large number of insect orders. For example, their predominantly aquatic sister group, the crustaceans, do not have a serosa. Apart from protecting the embryo from drying out, the serosa may also play a role in the innate immune system and the processing of environmental toxins. Thus by ensuring that the serosa develops correctly, butterfly mothers can therefore greatly improve their offspring’s chances of developing successfully and surviving to hatch from the egg, in often hostile and changeable terrestrial environments.”Melanie Gibbs
    A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics (23 October 2014, PLOS Genet 10(10): e1004698) shows some very striking images of developing butterfly embryos; they look like little tennis balls! Dr Melanie Gibbs of the Centre for Ecology & [...]
    A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics (23 October 2014, PLOS Genet 10(10): e1004698) shows some very striking images of developing butterfly embryos; they look like little tennis balls! Dr Melanie Gibbs of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), one of the authors on the paper, explains where this unusual pattern comes from and how it may be linked to offspring survival. >Butterfly tennis balls: ShxA expression in 10 hour old embryos. Photo by Jean-Michel Carter“One of the first things that happens when insects begin to develop inside a freshly laid egg is that cells differentiate into those that will become the embryo, and those that will form extraembryonic tissue. The extraembryonic tissue covers the embryo and consists of a number of membranes, most notably the amnion and the serosa.
    Hox genes are normally involved in patterning the embryo from head to tail, but one Hox gene called zerknüllt (zen) took on a new role and became involved in extraembryonic tissue formation in insects. A collaborative project led by researchers at University of Oxford working with scientists at Oxford Brookes University and CEH has recently found that during the evolution of butterflies and moths, zen duplicated a number of times resulting in four novel genes, called the Special homeobox genes (shx).

    Although zen has been shown to duplicate in other insect orders, such a large number of zen-derived genes has never been witnessed before.
    This begs the question; what do they do?During his PhD, Jean-Michel Carter (co-supervised by Dr. Casper Breuker, Oxford Brookes University and myself at CEH) found that in the Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) mothers put RNA transcripts of two of these genes, ShxC and ShxD, into the eggs they produce in their ovaries. These transcripts are put in the eggs in the location where the extraembryonic tissue will form.
    Such localisation actually represents one of the most complex examples of RNA localisation within a cell ever reported in any species, with the mother outlining the region that will become the future extraembryonic tissue before fertilisation and egg laying has even occurred!>ShxC expression in the egg developing inside the mother’s ovary.

    Photo by Jean-Michel CarterIt is possible to visualise the location of specific RNA transcripts by using custom-made probes, called riboprobes, which colour purple when the RNA of interest is detected and bound. When you use such probes for Shx gene transcripts in both the ovaries and developing embryos (at around 10 hours old) and look under the microscope, you see an amazing pattern which closely resembles the pattern on a tennis ball.
    These patterns become even clearer when the embryo itself also starts expressing the ShxA and ShxB genes in the extraembryonic region which will become the serosa. So we started wondering what is a serosa exactly, and is it important? We are also intrigued as to why Speckled Wood mothers go to such lengths to make sure that this tissue is specified even before fertilisation occurs. The insect serosa is considered to be an evolutionary novelty, which has been linked with the successful colonisation of the land by a large number of insect orders.
    For example, their predominantly aquatic sister group, the crustaceans, do not have a serosa. Apart from protecting the embryo from drying out, the serosa may also play a role in the innate immune system and the processing of environmental toxins. Thus by ensuring that the serosa develops correctly, butterfly mothers can therefore greatly improve their offspring’s chances of developing successfully and surviving to hatch from the egg, in often hostile and changeable terrestrial environments.
    ”Melanie Gibbs >A Speckled Wood female laying an egg.

    Photo by Casper BreukerAdditional informationFull paper reference: Ferguson L, Marletaz F, Carter J-M, Taylor WR, Gibbs M, Breuker CJ & Holland PWH. 2014.

    Ancient expansion of the Hox cluster in Lepidoptera generated four homeobox genes implicated in extra-embryonic tissue formation, PLOS Genetics 10 (10): e1004698; doi: 10. 1371/journal. pgen. 1004698.
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    Carnegie Mellon I-Corps Site Chooses Teams for Inaugural Cohort

    By Mark Burd / 412-268-3486, Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 PITTSBURGH—Fifteen teams have been chosen to work at the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, designed to create an effective and replicable process to commercialize innovations based on customer discovery [...]
    By Mark Burd / 412-268-3486, Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 PITTSBURGH—Fifteen teams have been chosen to work at the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, designed to create an effective and replicable process to commercialize innovations based on customer discovery and product adaptation. The objective of the I-Corps Site is to help students and faculty members hone their skills, collaborate with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, and transition their research out of the lab and into commercial sectors. As a vehicle for promoting university innovation, entrepreneurship and growth, the program leverages CMU's acknowledged strength in encouraging and fueling entrepreneurship as well as building relationships with internal and external partners in the business community. The 15 teams are comprised of faculty members, alumni and students at the undergraduate, graduate and Ph.
    D. levels.

    The companies cover enterprises ranging from adaptive traffic signals, to on-the-go food options, to lightweight, durable air freight containers.

    The 2014 CMU I-Corps Site teams include: AbiliLife: designs products that provide spinal comfort and support; Accessivist: an informational resource for the access-challenged community - a nationwide ratings and reviews system for those utilizing wheelchairs and assistive walking devices;         Ancure, LLC: a medical device coating company that aims to treat brain aneurysms using controlled release of biologics; BreatheWise: a device that measures the level of oxygen remaining in individual oxygen tanks; Carbon Freight: produces airline freight containers made of carbon-fiber composites that are lighter weight, more durable and easily repaired than current ultralight containers; Digest-O-Mat: creates integrated waste processing units that convert compostable materials into fertilizer and usable methane gas;     Expii: a one-stop destination for truly exciting and interactive expositions, empowering users to create rich and adaptive content on an open platform; Gastronome Foods: a proprietary technological approach to make on-the-go foods, such as pancakes and desirable on-the-go baked foods with nutritional value for the pediatric and geriatric markets;     Innovesca: a food technology company that produces high-quality, all-natural ingredients with optimized nutrition from underutilized plants in developing regions; LumiShield: produces environmentally responsible, cost-effective coating solutions; PillowCastle: a game that teaches how to understand and use perspective to solve problems; Salix Lignopolymers: produces additives for concrete to increase viscosity, reduce water usage and improve strength; Surtrac: creates technology that implements an adaptive traffic signal control to move traffic more efficiently and reduce wasteful car idling;         Teratonix: makes an energy harvesting diode that can convert ambient heat into electricity for powering sensors, cellphones, laptops and room AC; and Visantica: creates revolutionary machine-learning based solutions providing architects, engineers and designers with unparalleled object recognition and 3D modeling capabilities. In June 2014, the National Science Foundation awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) to create the I-Corps Site on campus. CIE was created in 2012 to support the culture of innovation at Carnegie Mellon and to accelerate the commercialization of university research and innovative ideas. The creation of the CMU I-Corps Site has been a collaboration among several members of the CMU community.
    I-Corps was started by CMU President Subra Suresh when he was the director of the National Science Foundation. The principal investigator (PI) on the project is Lenore Blum, co-director of the CIE.

    Co-PIs are Randal E.
    Bryant, former dean of the School of Computer Science, currently on sabbatical leave; Robert Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business; David Mawhinney, co-director of the CIE; and Robert Wooldridge, director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation. The program will combine CMU's curricula with curricula from other I-Corps programs. ###.
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    Public Health News Roundup: October 24

    NPH_Public_Health_News_Roundup_Header
    EBOLA UPDATE: Medical Aid Worker Tests Positive in New York City ( New PublicHealth is monitoring the public health crisis in West Africa.) A hospitalized medical worker has tested positive for Ebola in [...]
    EBOLA UPDATE: Medical Aid Worker Tests Positive in New York City(NewPublicHealth is monitoring the public health crisis in West Africa. )A hospitalized medical worker has tested positive for Ebola in New York City, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    The medical aid worker had volunteered in Guinea. The patient is currently in isolation in Bellevue Hospital—one of eight New York State hospitals that Governor Cuomo designated to treat Ebola patients—as the CDC’s laboratory performs confirmation testing.

    Read more on Ebola.

    HHS: $840M to Improve Patient Care While Reducing CostsThe U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced an $840 million initiative to improve patient care while also reducing costs, which will encourage patients to seek early preventive care more often. The initiative “will fund successful applicants who work directly with medical providers to rethink and redesign their practices, moving from systems driven by quantity of care to ones focused on patients’ health outcomes, and coordinated health care systems,” according to a release.

    Potential strategies include: Giving doctors better access to patient information, such as information on prescription drug use to help patients take their medications properly Expanding the number of ways patients are able communicate with the team of clinicians taking care of them Improving the coordination of patient care by primary care providers, specialists, and the broader medical community Using electronic health records on a daily basis to examine data on quality and efficiency Read more on prevention. EPA Announces $3M to Reduce Diesel Emissions from School BusesThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced approximately $3 million in funding to reduce diesel emissions from school buses. Through the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Rebate program, eligible public and private school bus fleet owners can apply for funding to replace school buses that have “older, dirtier” diesel engines, which will in turn improve air quality. "School buses are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport children to and from school," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a release.
    “The rebates to retrofit older bus engines will provide healthier rides for the 25 million children across the country who ride them on a daily basis. ” Read more on air and water quality.

    .
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    How to quickly calculate energy savings

    Energy consumption has become the no. 1 cost factor in numerous sectors. Pumps and fans with their motors and drive systems represent a significant percentage of the overall industrial energy consumption. If you can identify energy saving potential, then [...]
    Energy consumption has become the no. 1 cost factor in numerous sectors. Pumps and fans with their motors and drive systems represent a significant percentage of the overall industrial energy consumption. If you can identify energy saving potential, then you have clear business advantages – which are ultimately manifested in a higher degree of competitiveness.
    This is the main reason that SinaSave is popular with experts. Based on individual plant and system parameters, it calculates the energy saving potential in specific applications.

    The new version 6.
    0 has many new features.

    SinaSave goes Integrated Drive Systems Already on the start page users can see one of the decisive new features: Using SinaSave, they can simply and easily calculate the energy saving potential and payback times for individual products – as well as for complete drive systems – according to the Siemens Integrated Drive Systems (IDS) concept. The IDS concept is based on the fact that users obtain a special value-added as a result of the seamless integration of the various components of a drive train at the product level, in the automation environment and in the lifecycle of a plant. As a consequence, the focus shifts from individual products to the complete drive train. With the latest version of SinaSave it is now possible to analyze complete drive systems for pumps and fans, clearly reflecting that SinaSave takes now the Siemens IDS concept into account.
    SinaSave can be used for converter-based variable-speed systems – as well as motors connected directly to the line supply with motor starters. New design and simpler operation The SinaSave look & feel has been completely revamped.

    The new version sets itself apart as a result of its state-of-the-art visual appearance and many new functions.
    It can be intuitively used as a result of the graphically oriented operating concept. After users enter the operating profile and parameters of their applications, essential results are immediately graphically visualized, for instance, the power drawn by the compared drive systems. The impact of individual parameters becomes instantly clear.
    The new SinaSave version is available in German and English; additional languages are planned for the future.

    With its extensive range of functions, it offers an excellent decision-making basis when investing in a drive concept. Determine your energy saving potential and amortization based on your particular application conditions with SinaSave.
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    Two Important Ebola Conferences Coming Up

    Just about every think tank, school of public health and infectious disease association has held a conference on Ebola in the last few weeks, but two coming up are still absolutely worth tracking. Now that New York City has [...]
    Just about every think tank, school of public health and infectious disease association has held a conference on Ebola in the last few weeks, but two coming up are still absolutely worth tracking. Now that New York City has seen is first diagnosis of Ebola, an already scheduled conference next week at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has taken on added importance. Presenters include ABC News Chief Health and Medical editor and former acting U. S.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser, MD, as well as Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Earth Institute. While the conversation surrounding the Ebola cases in Dallas focused on the need for health care workers to receive better guidance and training, hours into the first case in New York City the focus is on the challenge of containing the disease in a huge urban setting—a topic the presenters will discuss at length.

    And on November 7, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will host a simulcast workshop together with Texas A&M, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley to discuss proposals to dispatch robots to aid in the care of Ebola patients and people who have succumbed to the disease.
    The idea is to augment — and not replace — health workers. Robots could spray disinfectant, respond to commands given by health workers in a remote location and even help bury the dead. The conference will include not just engineers, but also public health officials and health care personnel who can speak to the human needs that need to be considered when design the robots.
    For example, Texas A&M engineering students are working on a robotic attachment that would pick up a dead body in movements that mimic compassion, rather than in another way that may be efficient but does not show sensitivity for the dead and their families.

    >>Bonus Link: Read an interview with the conference conveners. .
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    HP Labs at HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona

    DiscBarc2014_LinkedIn_loc_Image_Wht_RGB_646X220.jpg
    Less than six weeks separate us from the beginning of HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona, Dec 2-4. Here is a list of the sessions that will be presented by HP Labs researchers. In the coming weeks we will preview each [...]
    Less than six weeks separate us from the beginning of HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona, Dec 2-4. Here is a list of the sessions that will be presented by HP Labs researchers. In the coming weeks we will preview each session so be sure to check back for more information about these thought-provoking and forward-looking presentations on the HP Labs technologies you’ll be able to both hear about and see in action in the Discover Zone.  Sign up now to be sure you have a spot!HP Discover Session CatalogInnovation Theater Session:Session ID IT6551 - Inventing the future, HP LabsBernardo Huberman - Senior Fellow and Director, Mechanisms and Design Lab, HP LabsRich Friedrich - Director, Systems Software for The Machine, HP LabsSujata Banerjee - Distinguished Technologist, HP LabsAnuneha Mewawalla - HP Labs CommunicationsHP Discover is all about the future.
    And HP Labs – HP’s central research arm – is all about the far future. At HP Labs we’re not just looking toward the future, we’re creating it.

    Join three of HP’s leading Senior Technologists to learn how the IT landscape is evolving and how it will transform your world as you know it.
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    Has the agile caused a reduction in critical thinking?

    thinking.png
    Lately, I’ve been talk to some folks about problems they are having in their production environments. As I talk with them about the issues they encounter it seems clear they don’t even know their environment well enough to ask [...]
    Lately, I’ve been talk to some folks about problems they are having in their production environments. As I talk with them about the issues they encounter it seems clear they don’t even know their environment well enough to ask the right questions, let alone answer them. Critical thinking skills were something where a great deal of work was focused on when computing resources were scarce and thinking time was relatively abundant (because you were sitting around waiting for code to compile). Now those forced breaks are rare, so people spend their time iterating through the coding process without having a chance to take a step back.
    I don’t think agile techniques should cause a reduction in critical thinking, but I just see the potential is there to not really understand the architecture, the business rational… - since most developers are now so enamored with having working code. If you’re properly doing code reviews/walkthroughs you can outsource some of that big picture work to someone else and you’re forced to think it through.

    Lately I’ve been looking at Lean Six-sigma techniques and applying them to operations management.
    This view is not anything new, but the abundance of computing capabilities should allow us to drive the costs out of its application. This technique usually involves asking these same kind of big picture questions although operations is a bit late in the process for that. Do you see these issues too? What do you do about them?.
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    Image of the Week: Science Makes You Happy

    science makes you happy (Pharrell Williams) from KEMRI WELLCOME TRUST RES. PRO on Vimeo. This week we’re taking a departure from our usual static image of the week to bring you a moving image of happiness! As part of [...]
    science makes you happy (Pharrell Williams) from KEMRI WELLCOME TRUST RES. PRO on Vimeo. This week we’re taking a departure from our usual static image of the week to bring you a moving image of happiness! As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme in Kenya, the team wanted to express their happiness. What better way to do that than by joining in the craze of creating videos to accompany Pharrell’s upbeat track “Happy”? “It was quite a task getting guys to loosen up” says KEMRI-Wellcome’s Cynthia Mauncho, “but because it included all the programme staff we approached it in a fun easy-going way and the results are fantastic”.
    (We agree!) The 25th anniversary celebrations are in full flow today and Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, will be joining in the festivities and touring the labs at the centre. There is an exhibition telling the story KEMRI-Wellcome’s history and the new Mbuyuni Training Complex will be officially opened.

    We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on 25 years of excellent research that has led to 75 PhDs, changed policy and helped improve health in Africa.

    Here’s to a very happy future!Filed under: External News, Funding, International, Wellcome Featured Image Tagged: Happy, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, KEMRI-WT
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    Cosmic inflation

    Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. [...]
    Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Our universe has likely never grown as quickly as it did during that period. Faster than the blink of an eye, the whole universe expanded so that an area the size of an atom was suddenly the size of a grapefruit.
    Scientists think this expansion was driven by the potential energy of the inflaton field, a new field that turned on just after the big bang. Support for the theory of cosmic inflation comes from the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, a pattern of light released when the early universe first cooled enough for particles to travel freely through it.

    Although nearly uniform, the CMB contains ripples.
    Scientists think these were caused by tiny quantum fluctuations that were amplified to huge scales by cosmic inflation. Scientists study cosmic inflation through experiments at telescopes, such as the Planck satellite and BICEP2 at the South Pole. These experiments measure elements of the CMB, looking for the footprints of inflation.
    When inflation ended, the expansion of our universe began to slow down.

    But then another influence took over, pushing it back to an accelerating rate. This influence is thought to be dark energy.
    Like what you see? Sign up for a free subscription to symmetry! .
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    Hinode Captures Images of Partial Solar Eclipse

    A partial solar eclipse was visible from much of North America before sundown on Thursday, Oct.23. A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks a portion of the sun from view. The Hinode spacecraft captured images of yesterday’s eclipse as [...]
    A partial solar eclipse was visible from much of North America before sundown on Thursday, Oct. 23. A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks a portion of the sun from view. The Hinode spacecraft captured images of yesterday’s eclipse as it passed over North America using its X-ray Telescope.
      During the eclipse, the new moon eased across the sun from right to left with the Sun shining brilliantly in the background.   And as a stroke of good luck, this solar cycle’s largest active region, which has been the source of several large flares over the past week, was centered on the sun’s disk as the moon transited! Hinode is in the eighth year of its mission to observe the sun.

    Previously, Hinode has observed numerous eclipses due to its high-altitude, sun-synchronous orbit.
      As viewed from Hinode’s vantage point in space, this eclipse was annular instead of partial, which means that the entire moon moved in front of the sun but did not cover it completely.   In this situation, a ring of the sun encircles the dark disk of the moon. Led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Hinode mission is a collaboration between the space agencies of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
    NASA helped in the development, funding and assembly of the spacecraft's three science instruments.

    Hinode is part of the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program within the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
    , manages the Hinode science operations. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is the lead U. S.
    investigator for the X-ray telescope.

    Image Credit: NASA/JAXA/SAO
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