The MoVI is Set to Revolutionize Camera Stabilization

first_imgThe MōVI camera system is set to completely change camera stabilization in the professional video production industry.  Here’s why…Firefly Systems, maker of high-end camera platforms, has announced the MōVI, a new camera stabilization system unlike anything we’ve seen before.  Unlike the bulky camera stabilization systems that have become the industry standard (Glidecam and Steadicam), the MōVI doesn’t require cumbersome vests and weights.  Instead, it’s lightweight (at only 3.5 pounds) and is built around “gyro stabilization and accelerometers”.  Camera operators can get a wider range of motion, while being more agile.  In addition, the camera motion can be manipulated remotely by a second operator via joystick.Firefly got world-class cinematographer Vincent Laforet behind the project.  See Vincent’s MōVI short film below, with every shot using the MōVI camera stabilization system:Vincent says that “the beauty of this is how quickly you can also make more simple shots.   A push or slide is done in seconds and near perfectly.   You can add a tilt or pan to that too to make it even fancier if you’d like with little effort.”  Smooth, sweeping shots have always been a trademark of quality production – they don’t come easy.  Good Steadicam operators spend years honing their skills.  With a short learning curve, the MoVI aims to make it easier to get smooth, beautiful shots.The MōVI will retail for $15,000, a price point not out of reach for most professional production companies.Take a look below to see a behind-the-scenes of Laforet using the MōVI camera stabilization system.  It’s sure to be one of the “superstar” products of NAB 2013.last_img read more

Quick Tip: How to Export in After Effects

first_imgTrying to render your video in After Effects? Just follow these quick tips.After Effects is by no means an easy program to master, but learning how to export from the program is a cinch. Simply follow the tips outlined in this video on exporting in After Effects, or follow along with our animated examples below.Exporting Video Step 1: Add Composition to Render QueueWith your finished composition selected, simply add your video to the Render Queue. The Render Queue is essentially a to-do list for After Effects. You can also add compositions to the Render Queue by using the keyboard shortcut shift+command+/ on a Mac or shift+ctrl+/ on a PC.Exporting Video Step 2: Adjust Quality SettingsThe next step is to adjust the quality of the video you want to export in After Effects. The Render Settings menu will allow you to change the quality of the exported video. You can either select the small arrow beside Render Settings to access a few quality presets or click the text to access a deeper render settings menu. In most circumstances you will want to keep it at Best Settings.The Output Module is where you will select the codec options for your video. In other words, the Output Module will allow you to select what type of video your finished file will be saved as. In our example, we want perfect quality so we will select Lossless.Exporting Video Step 3: Adjust Name and LocationYou can change the name and location of the finished exported video by simply clicking the colored text next to the Output To link. After you’ve selected the save location and name, simply hit the Save button.Exporting Video Step 4: Hit RenderAfter you’ve selected your save location and named your clip, it’s time to render or export your video out of After Effects. You can do this by simply hitting the Render button. Depending on your composition, it could take just a few seconds or a few hours. It all depends on how many moving parts and effects are in your video.Have any tips for exporting video in After Effects? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

1080p vs. 4K with The GH5

first_imgThe Panasonic Lumix GH5 can film in 4K at 60 frames per second, but is it worth it?Cover image via Panasonic.The GH5 came out earlier this year, and once again Panasonic increased their standing in the mirrorless/DSLR world by introducing 60 frames per second in 4K. With the GH4, the fastest frame rate you could get was 30fps. As such, the camera has garnered a lot of interest from amateur filmmakers.If you’re new to the Gh5, or the DMC-GH series in general, you may have questions about filming in 4K.Is my memory card fast enough to write the data? Do I have enough storage? Should I record in 4K if I don’t have a 4K monitor?When new technology makes its way to the consumer level, it can be confusing at first. Let’s answer some of these questions.Realistically, if you’re using the GH5 as your primary camera, we can assume that you’re not producing a feature film or TV commercial — and you’re more than likely only going to have a 1080p viewing option. The question is, with the GH5, is it worth filming in 4K then downscaling to 1080p, or is it an unnecessary step?Image via Shutterstock.4K Quality vs. Full HDIf you’re exporting for full HD, you may think that filming in 4K is just going to be a waste of data — and it may complicate your post-production workflow. Why film in 4K when you’re just going lose the extra resolution with a 1080p export?Well, you don’t quite lose everything. When you downscale from 4K to full HD, you’re essentially oversampling the image to have 4x the data for every pixel.  Therefore, when you have 4K footage and downscale it to 1080p (Full HD), the image is going to look better than it would at native 1080p. You’ll find the picture is a lot sharper, the colors more vivid, and (depending on the properties of the image) you’ll also see less noise.DPreveiw has put together an excellent video that briefly explains why shooting in 4K is beneficial even when exporting to full HD.Further, you’re also future-proofing your footage when you record at 4K. As long as you are not recording footage to crop later or stabilize, you can always return to the project at a later date and export in 4K if you need to.RecordingWe’re going run our tests using the MOV recording format, 59.94 (NTCS) frequency, at 4K/8bit/100m/24fps, and at 1920/8bit/100/24fps. Let’s first discuss the obvious. The GH5 allows you to record at 4K and Cinema 4K at 10bit 4:2:2 at 150mbps. The higher the bit rate value, the higher the picture quality you will get (and also the larger the file). Therefore, it would be somewhat imbalanced to compare the two recording resolutions if one is already ahead in data size.With the 10bit/150mbps put aside, filming in 4K, which is literally 4x the resolution of 1080, will likely require larger media for both recording and storage, or will it?With four common memory card sizes, here’s a breakdown of the estimated record length for 4K.16gb 19m00s32gb 40m00s64gb 1h20m128gb 2h45mAnd for 1080p.16gb 19m00s32gb 40m00s64gb 1h20m128gb 2h45mYes, you read that correctly. The estimated recording length is the same for both resolutions. This is because we haven’t moved away from recording at 100 mbps. Therefore the strain will be no more severe on your memory card — as it would be on your hard drive. However, the GH5 does employ the use of VBR, and as a result, the bit rate will automatically change depending on what you are recording. For example, if you are filming a car traveling at high speed, the estimated recording length will decrease.It’s only when we jump up to 10bit 150 mbps recording that we see a drop in record length and an increase in file size.16gb 12m00s32gb 27m00s64gb 56m00s128gb 1h50mEven then, it’s not necessarily a huge drop. It’s a decrease of around 30-36.5%, depending on the size of your memory card.There are also a handful of added benefits to shooting at 4K for a 1080p output, such as being able to crop out unwanted objects in your composition or add a pan and tilt to an otherwise static shot. For a full list of benefits, check out this PremiumBeat article.From this information, there’s not really a reason to not film in at least in 4K 8bit to later downscale. You’re getting better picture quality, and you won’t need to upgrade your media. However, if you’re a new filmmaker and your computer system is struggling with your 4K video files, you can edit using proxy files. Cinecom.net has a great tutorial on how to set this workflow up.Note: after you’ve played around with this little camera for a few months, you’ll want to be filming at 10-bit 4:2:2 for that extra color space.What are your thoughts on filming in 4K? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

6 Under-Appreciated Variables That Win Deals

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now There are more variables to competing and winning in sales than your company, your products, or your pricing. Many of the variables are under-appreciated. They are also within your control. Here is a list of variables that may cause you to lose to your competition. Reversing them will move you towards greater success.Outworked: If there is a single variable to success that is within your control, it is your willingness to work. Really work, not just show up at work. There will always be people with more talent than you, as our gifts are not distributed equally. Some people have received gifts as the circumstances of their birth, gifts that you were not given. No one, however, can deprive you of your willingness to work harder. This is perhaps the easiest way to produce better results than your competitors, only requiring giving your work your full focus and attention. Only you can prevent yourself from being outworked.Out-studied: You have to improve your ability to improve. One of the very best ways you can boost your performance is by studying. You can read more than your competitor, and the statistics suggest that if you read one sales book, you will have done more than most in your field (and if you are going to read a sales book, let me recommend this one). You can read business books to improve your business acumen, and you can read a newspaper (I suggest the Wall St. Journal). You can listen to CNBC while you are on the treadmill. Not many of your competitors will read their prospective client’s financial reports. Nor will they go to the trouble to become an expert. If you want to be a trusted advisor, start by doing your homework.Outlasted: I called a prospective client for years without ever obtaining a meeting. My competitor had them locked down, or so I thought. I gave up and decided to seek an easier target. A year or so later, I called the prospective to schedule an appointment only to be told that they had just reviewed new companies and selected a new provider. I missed the window because I did not persist. Your willingness to persist over time is another variable within your control. It requires that you are disciplined about your approach and your pursuit plan. It also requires that you be resourceful enough to vary your strategy and stay top of mind. If someone is going to outlast another, be the one with greater determination and persistence.Out-communicated: Mistakenly, people believe that an email is an effective form of communication. As efficient as email is, it is inferior to other, more powerful mediums, like face-to-face meetings, video conferences, or the telephone. Every day, the poor hapless (and helpless, and hopeless) salespeople send emails to their dream client’s inboxes, only to have them deleted without so much as a glance. Sadly, they believe what they are doing is prospecting. You control the medium you use, the frequency, and the value of those communications. One of the first things I ever wrote on this blog was the need to have a presence, to show up. The more frequent and valuable the communication, the more you prevent yourself from being out-communicated.Out-flanked: In The New Rules for Building Consensus, there is an idea about there no longer being a decision-maker, even though someone is going to say yes. The main idea here is that many people cannot say yes by themselves, but can say no and stop a group of people from taking action on your initiative. The second section of Eat Their Lunch is titled: Wiring the Building. The idea is to locate the stakeholders who are going to influence a decision and make sure you gain their support. If you aren’t doing this work and your competitor is, you can be out-flanked, your competitor developing support deep and wide while you cling to your power sponsor. Get there first, establish the relationships throughout the organization and out-flank your competition.Out-skilled: A salesperson once told me that he had been in sales for thirty-four years. His manager added that the salesperson had the same year no less than thirty-four times. The gist was that he wasn’t getting any better. Are your skills improving? Are your results improving? One of the most detrimental beliefs to success is the idea that you know enough, you are good enough, and that no growth is available to you. You are better off believing the exact opposite, that you know too little, your results aren’t what they should be, and that you have much runway in front of you. It isn’t difficult to out-skill your competitors, most of whom aren’t proactive about their growth and development.With so much outside of your control, your best strategy is to work on what is within your control.last_img read more

Two teachers accused of harassing schoolgirls in Odisha

first_imgParents of some girl students of an upper primary school at MV-71 (Malkangiri Village) in Malkangiri district of Odisha have accused two teachers of sexually harassing their wards.A video clip showing wife of an accused slapping him is going viral in the district. The video clip is said to have been shot around a month back during a parents-teachers meeting at the school to discuss the allegations. The Cluster Resource Coordinator (CRC) of schools was present during this meeting.Speaking to The Hindu, Malkangiri District Education Officer (DEO) Prashant Kumar Mohapatra said that the Kalimela Block Education Officer (BEO) has been instructed to make a detailed enquiry into the allegations and file a report. Subsequently, the BEO visited the village on Saturday. “Basing on this enquiry report, we will initiate action against the erring teachers,” said the DEO. If allegations are proved to be true, then stern action would be taken against the teachers, he added. However, till now no police complaint has been lodged in the case.It is alleged that the two teachers had been sexually harassing the girl students for the past several months. Around one month back two girls of Class VIII stopped coming to the school. Several other girl students have also complained to their family members about the teachers. According to the victims, the accused even threatened to fail them in the examination if they revealed anything before anyone.The parents had also approached local Education Department officials regarding it. Around one month back, a meeting was held at the school where one of the teachers was beaten up by his wife.last_img read more

Congress’s Vishwajeet Kadam files nomination for Assembly bypoll

first_imgCongress leader Vishwajeet Kadam on Monday filed his nomination for the bypoll to Palus-Kadegaon Assembly seat in Maharashtra’s Sangli district.The bypoll, scheduled on May 28, has been necessitated because of the death of sitting Congress MLA and former Minister Patangrao Kadam. The Congress has now fielded his son Vishwajeet Kadam from the seat in the by-election. He had unsuccessfully contested from the Pune Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not yet announced its candidate for the bypoll. The counting of votes will be held on May 31. Vishwajeet Kadam inherits a strong legacy from his father in the form of control over a Sangli-based cooperative sugar mill, several dairies, educational institutes and cooperative societies in the western Maharashtra district. The winner of the bypoll will hold the office for just over a year, as the term of the current Assembly ends in October 2019.last_img read more

Six arrested for selling arms

first_imgSix persons, including two officers of the Rifle Factory at Ishapore in North 24 Paraganas, were arrested by the Kolkata police for allegedly supplying arms, smuggled out of the factory, to Maoists in Bihar. The factory comes under the Ministry of Defence. While four of the accused were arrested at Babughat in the city on Sunday, the two employees were arrested at Ishapore. The police have seized 60 revolvers, a carbine and 10 cartridges from them. “At 4 p.m. on Sunday, we arrested four persons at Babughat: Ajay Kumar Pandey, 40, Jayshankar Pandey, 36, Umesh Rey, 21, and Kartik Shaw 40. During interrogation, Umesh and Kartik disclosed that they got the arms with the help of Sukhda Murmu, 48, and Susanta Basu, 48, of the Rifle Factory,” Murlidhar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Task Force), told journalists on Monday. He said Murmu and Basu told the police that they were working as junior works managers. While Ajay Kumar and Jayshankar are residents of Nawada district in Bihar, Umesh and Kartik hail from Ishapore. Uddipan Mukherjee, Public Relations Officer of the Ordinance Factory Board, confirmed that Murmu and Basu were employees of the Rifle Factory. “At this point we can only say that Murmu and Basu are employees of the Rifle Factory, Ishapore, and hold the post of junior works manager. They are Group B Gazetted Officers. We need inputs from the STF to make further comments,” he told The Hindu. Mr. Sharma said the accused would smuggle out defective and rejected arms from the factory and repair them before selling them to Maoists and other miscreants in Bihar. “Ajay Kumar and Jayshankar admitted that they had earlier smuggled 16 INSAS rifles and four self-loading rifles from the Rifle Factory and sold them to Maoists in Bihar. We are also probing whether they sold the arms in Nepal too,” he said. The arms were also sold to the underworld and a group called Tritia Prastuti Committee (a Naxalite group) in Bihar, he said. The accused were produced before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and remanded in police custody till May 19. However, the lawyers of the Rifle Factory employees argued that the police arrested them only on the basis of the claims made by the other accused. “We argued before the court that… the police have not been able to produce any direct evidence against them,” Sandip Mondal, one of their lawyers, said.last_img read more

PM Modi to unveil several development projects in MP

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive here on Saturday on a one-day visit during which he will launch several development projects.Mr. Modi will dedicate the Mohanpura Irrigation Project in Rajgarh district to the people of the State and also inaugurate several other projects, including an urban transport scheme named ‘Sutra Seva” in Indore, a government public relations officer (PRO) said. The prime minister will land at Bhopal’s Raja Bhoj Airport around 12 pm and then leave for Mohanpura. He will then visit Indore to take part in various programmes, the official said.“The prime minister will dedicate the Mohanpura irrigation project worth ₹3,866 crore to the people of the state. This project, which includes a dam and a canal system, will benefit 727 villages in Madhya Pradesh,” he said. Thereafter, Mr. Modi will head to Indore to dedicate the development works worth ₹4,713.75 crore at a programme. He will also felicitate the winners of cleanliness survey — Swachh Survekshan 2018. He will give away awards to the representatives of Indore, Bhopal and Chandigarh, the cities that secured top three positions in the survey, the official said.Mr. Modi will also inaugurate the state government’s urban transport scheme named ‘Sutra Seva’ at Indore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. This economical bus service — ‘Sutra Seva: MP Ki Apni Bus’ — is being introduced in 20 selected cities of the State. The Urban Development and Housing Department will make the bus service available inside and outside the cities under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme through private partnership. In the first phase of ‘Sutra Seva’, 127 buses will start plying in four municipal corporation cities — Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Chhindwara — and in two municipal council towns, Guna and Bhind, the official said. The ‘griha pravesh’ (house warming ceremony) of all 1,00,219 beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana will be performed simultaneously across the state. The prime minister will also dedicate 23 development projects undertaken at a cost of ₹278.26 crore in Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Ujjain under the Smart City Mission, the official said. During the programme, Mr. Modi will also inaugurate drinking water schemes for 14 urban areas. These places are: Dharampuri Municipal Council (Dhar distric), Raisen Municipal Council, Begumganj, Obaidullaganj, Berasia (Bhopal), Athner (Betul), Badhvad (Ratlam), Dindori, Lakhnadon (Seoni), Narsinghpur, Sabalgarh, Bamor, Poursa (Morena) and Bamouri (Shahdol), he said. Parks developed under the AMRUT Yojana in 10 urban areas, including Khandwa, Burhanpur, Khargone, Sehore, Hoshangabad, Bhopal, Pithampur, Guna, Gwalior and Rewa, will also be dedicated to the people during the programme. Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled to be held by the end of this year.last_img read more

Nitish Kumar skips International Yoga Day event yet again

first_imgBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did not participate in the event to mark the International Yoga Day, which was attended by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.Both the Janata Dal (United) and the BJP tried to play down the issue. The JD(U) said Mr. Kumar practises yoga daily. Mr. Prasad and Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi insisted that Mr. Kumar’s absence should not be politicised.last_img

Rajasthan govt. to push women’s quota

first_imgRajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Friday that the State Cabinet has in principle decided to pass a resolution seeking 33% reservation for women in legislative Assembly. “In principle, it was decided yesterday to pass a resolution in legislative Assembly for 33% reservation for women. Congress president wants that resolution is passed in five Congress-ruled States,” Mr. Gehlot told reporters outside the Assembly.Resolution timing However, he did not say whether the resolution will be passed in this Assembly session. Mr. Gehlot said former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had been fighting for reservation for women in Parliament and legislative Assemblies. After a long struggle, the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but it was pending in Rajya Sabha.‘Cong. committed’ Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said the Bill granting reservation to women was introduced in Parliament and Congress has been committed to the matter. He said it is the party’s intention to pass a resolution in State Assemblies where Congress has formed government. Though the matter is pending at the Centre, it was discussed on Thursday in the Cabinet to form a consensus on it as it was one of the promises in the Congress election manifesto, he added.last_img read more

Hostel warden, husband held for sexual abuse of minor girls

first_imgThe warden of a government-run girls’ boarding school hostel and her husband were arrested at Kishangarh Bas in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on charges of molestation of minor girls. Two residents of the hostel had made a written complaint against them to the school’s principal.Warden Neel Kamal Yadav of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya’s hostel allegedly used to call the girls, students of Class XII, to her home, where her husband Naresh Yadav and his friend would molest them and ask them to “befriend” other men as well. Naresh is a teacher at the Government Model School in Alwar’s Tijara town.The sexual abuse came to light on Saturday when the school principal, Sukhi Ram, went to the hostel to distribute sweets to celebrate the return of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. “Two girls came to me crying and told me about their ordeal. I asked them to give a written complaint and informed the police,” Mr. Ram said.A first information report under Sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered at Kishangarh Bas police station and the statements of the two hostel residents were recorded. One of the girls belongs to a Scheduled Caste.Neemrana Additional Superintendent of Police Mahesh Tripathi said the girls had alleged in their complaint that several hostellers had “quietly suffered” the molestation and were hesitant to speak up. Third accusedActing on the complaint, the police obtained statements of about eight girls and sent a team to Haryana to look for the third accused, Ramkesh Sharma.Sharma’s name appears in the list of donors who have made monetary contributions to the hostel. The State government’s Education Department has placed both the warden and her husband under suspension and initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.last_img read more

Fate of Cong. bigwigs sealed in U.P.

first_imgUttar Pradesh saw 57.93% polling on 14 seats in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha election on Monday. The turnout improved a little from 55.69% recorded in the 2014 general election.This phase of polls, covering the region of Awadh, holds significance not only for the BJP, which had won 12 of the 14 seats in 2014, but also for the Congress. The arithmetic of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance would also be tested here.The constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi, held by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi respectively, are among the seats that the Congress hopes to win. In Amethi, where Mr. Gandhi defeated Smriti Irani of the BJP last time by a much-reduced margin of around 1 lakh votes, he is facing another fierce challenge from the BJP candidate.In Rae Bareli, Ms. Gandhi is fighting an ally-turned-foe, Dinesh Pratap Singh. Both the constituencies witnessed a jump in the voting percentage — Amethi climbed from 52.38 to 53.20 while Rae Bareli polled 53.68 as against 51.74 in 2014.Ms. Irani alleged “booth capturing” in Amethi and shared a video of a woman who claimed that she was forced to vote for the Congress though she wanted to vote for the BJP. “Rahul Gandhi must answer. He used to steal earlier as well but now he has come to steal votes. Rahul Gandhi’s politics is that if he does not get the mandate he will steal it,” Ms. Irani told reporters. She said the people of the country should decide “whether this kind of politics should be punished or not”.Triangular contest In Lucknow, BJP’S Rajnath Singh is locked in a triangular battle against the SP’s Poonam Sinha and the Congress’ Pramod Krishnam. In Faizabad, where Ayodhya is located, the BJP fought on the issue of development and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal, and not on the Ram Mandir promise. Incumbent BJP MP Lallu Singh also faces a triangular contest from SP’s Anand Sen Yadav and the Congress’ Nirmal Khatri, a former MP. The fifth phase in U.P. included several seats that the Congress had won in the past and hopes to do well this time too on the back of strong candidates. In Bahraich, the Congress has fielded rebel BJP MP Savitribai Phule, and in Barabanki, former MP P.L. Punia’s son Tanuj Punia is in the fray. The Congress has fielded reasonably strong candidates in Banda and Fatehpur too. In Dhauraha, Jitin Prasada of the Congress hopes to replicate his 2009 win, while Mohanlalganj, the rural seat of Lucknow, is locked in a triangular contest among three Pasi (Dalit) candidates — R.K. Chaudhary of the Congress, incumbent BJP MP Kaushal Kishor and C.L. Verma of the BSP.last_img read more

Science gets a cameo in U.S. shutdown vote

first_imgAs lawmakers in Congress debated a way out of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown, some cited its impact on science to make their point.Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chair of the Senate commerce and science committee, argued that the shutdown needed to end because it was giving foreign competitors a boost. “Just because House Republicans have shuttered the research arm of our government does not mean that overseas competitors such as China are pausing their research as well,” he said.On the other side of the Capitol, Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the top Democrat on a House spending panel that oversees several science agencies, also raised international concerns. This past Monday, he noted, “I was in the State of Israel. I met with the President and with a whole group of brain researchers from around the world. They had difficulty understanding, given our Nation’s leadership on so many critical issues, that we could be in a paralyzed situation.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who unsuccessfully opposed the bipartisan deal to end the shutdown, had a different take. “This is Washington at its worst,” he said. “The Washington establishment can’t bring itself to believe this is why Congress’s approval rating is so low—because Washington doesn’t listen to the American people. It ignores them. And when the American people can no longer be ignored, the administration shuts down national parks … and holds hostage critical funding for cancer research. … It is shameful how Washington treats the American people, and the people are right to be upset about it.”“The media keeps asking, was it worth it?” Lee continued. “My answer is it is always worth it to do the right thing. Fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting the individual rights and freedoms of the American people is always the right thing.”Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) highlighted the shutdown’s economic impacts in his state, home to the Department of Energy’s Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. The two labs employ “18,000 New Mexicans as contractors. … That is out of 2 million people,” he noted. “So it is an understatement to say that shutting down the Federal Government strikes at the heart of my State’s economy.”Heinrich also worried about New Mexico’s “first-rate research institutions,” which “rely heavily on Federal grants to fund staff, training, and projects, including clinical trials for cancer treatment. I am told those trials—and years of hard work—will have to pause or even stop if the government stays closed. Scientists will see their salaries reduced, and research students who want to dedicate their lives to finding the next cure will have to wait even longer just to earn their degree.”The day before the decisive vote, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), threw a rhetorical double-punch, linking concerns about home-state and international impacts in a plea to end the shutdown.  Some “97 percent of NASA employees in Cleveland and Sandusky in northern Ohio have been furloughed,” he noted, while Ohio’s academic scientists were worried about their grants. “If you are a research scientist … [and] see these interruptions, if you are furloughed for 3 weeks in October 2013 and then again some time next year … the most talented researchers are going to walk away, and we are going to lose so much of the edge we have in this country.”The same day, Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) launched a highly partisan attack, accusing Republicans of spurring a “3-week bout with insanity,” and offering some sardonic advice. “I have a suggestion,” he said. “Admit that this scorched-Earth politics of obstruction—this war against the very government that you were sent here to govern—is a bad idea. Let us vote on solutions to end this crisis. We don’t even need an apology for all of the damage you’ve caused. … We don’t need you to apologize for halting lifesaving research, for any of that. … Just let us vote to end this crisis.”Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee, tried a more moderate yesterday appeal as her colleagues prepared to vote. “America is a middle-of-the-road nation,” she said. “We need an environment where the middle speaks, where the middle class now speaks and says: Please represent me, meet our national security needs. … Please make public investments in research and development that will create new ideas for the new jobs in the new economy of the 21st century. This is what they want us to be able to do.”Hours later, both bodies voted to end the shutdown, and put off—at least for a little while—the next battle over the nation’s spending policies.last_img read more

Cleaning Up Ancient Human DNA

first_imgBOSTON—With the genomes of Ötzi, the 5300-year-old iceman, and even Neandertals pouring out of DNA sequencing labs lately, you might think that it’s now a piece of cake to glean the entire genetic code of an ancient human. But it turns out that those studies used exceptionally pure samples of DNA taken from human bone, tooth, hair, or other tissue typically preserved in frozen soil, ice, or a chilly cave. More often, human remains found by scientists have been sitting in soil warm enough to harbor bacteria, which swamp out the human DNA with their genes and make it too costly to analyze. A clever new method for purifying ancient human DNA samples—reported here last week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics—could change that, however.The average ancient DNA sample taken from, say, a human tooth or bone is often less than 1% short, degraded pieces of human DNA; the rest is bacterial DNA. Although scientists could sequence this gemisch, they would have to run the samples through their sequencing machines many times to zoom in on the human DNA portion, and it’s not worth the cost. Instead, researchers often prepare stretches of modern human DNA that roughly match the genes or sequences they’re interested in and use these so-called probes to filter the sample. (Modern and ancient human DNA are similar enough that the probes will stick to the ancient DNA.) But this is still expensive, and it reveals the sequence of only a subset of the genome.A team at Stanford University has now come up with a better idea. Postdoctoral researcher Meredith Carpenter and others in the lab of Carlos Bustamante made their probes from RNA instead of DNA, which is “super cheap,” Bustamante says. They found a way to make enough RNA probes to cover the entire genome of an average modern human. The probe has a chemical group that sticks to special beads, so when the researchers mix the probes with an ancient DNA sample, they can wash away the nonhuman DNA. The final step is to use an RNA-chewing enzyme to get rid of the probes, leaving only pure ancient human DNA that can then be fed into a genome sequencing machine.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)When the researchers tested this filtering method on a dozen ancient bone, teeth, and hair DNA samples from 500 to 3500 years old, they gleaned twofold to 13-fold more human genetic sequence from the samples than they could have by simply sequencing the mixture the same number of times. This higher resolution yielded new information about the samples. For instance, while previously they could only say that a more than 2500-year-old Bronze Age tooth from Bulgaria was European, they could now narrow its ethnic origin down to central or southern European. The team was also able to determine that a more than 500-year-old Peruvian mummy did not have European ancestry, as Spanish explorers claimed.This new method will “substantially increase the number of samples amenable to whole genome sequencing,” said Bustamante in a talk at the conference. (The study also appeared online that day in The American Journal of Human Genetics.) He and his colleagues are now trying it on ancient dog DNA to elucidate the domestication of dogs. They also think the approach might come in handy for modern-day forensic scientists dealing with bacteria-tainted human DNA samples, as well as for microbial genomics researchers who need to remove contaminant human DNA from a sample.The method is “super exciting and very interesting,” said geneticist David Reich of Harvard University, who studies the Neandertal genome, at the meeting. He tells Science in an e-mail that there are Neandertal samples that have enough DNA to sequence, but it’s not worth it because they’re too contaminated by bacteria. “I think it remains to be seen whether the approach will become a practical method for whole genome sequencing of these difficult but important ancient DNA samples, but I think it is exciting that this is even conceivable.”last_img read more

Swampy Terrain May Explain Titan’s Smooth Complexion

first_imgPlanetary scientists have long wondered why some regions of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, exhibit few impact craters. Now, a new study suggests that the areas where craters are sparse or missing were once sediment-saturated wetlands or shallow seas that swallowed up evidence that impacts occurred.The relatively smooth face of Titan is nothing like the pockmarked surface of our moon. The scars of impact craters are noticeably absent from Titan’s polar regions, for example. And the craters that are present on Titan appear to be much shallower than expected, based on their diameter. Titan has a thick atmosphere, which protects the orb against the impacts of small objects (they’re pulverized as they blaze through the atmosphere) and supports weather and erosion that can help hide or erase craters that do form. To date, researchers have tallied 61 definite or potential craters on the entire surface of Titan, most of them 20 kilometers across or wider, says Catherine Neish, a planetary scientist at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. Of that number, 11 have been dubbed “certain” craters, and the remainder are considered either “near certain” or “probable.”To explain the clear patches, previous studies have suggested various crater-erasing scenarios. For instance, some scientists have proposed that large amounts of sediment carried by streams of liquid methane and ethane from highland areas could have masked lowland craters. But that scenario doesn’t explain the presence of several craters in Xanadu, a broad area near Titan’s equator that is far from any hills.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Similarly, some researchers have proposed that windblown sand may have smothered craters. But that explanation doesn’t wash, Neish says, because most of Titan’s sand dunes are found in highland areas, and there’s no evidence of sand in the crater-free polar regions. Widespread cryovolcanism—the eruption of water, liquid methane, or other volatile substances rather than molten rock—doesn’t explain why craters appear in some lowland areas but not others. Neither does the languid rain of hydrocarbon particles produced by photochemical reactions in Titan’s hazy skies. Those particles pile up at an estimated rate of 6 meters every 1 billion years, not nearly fast enough to obscure a 1-kilometer-or-more-deep crater in the 4.56 billion years since our solar system formed.But previous studies haven’t considered a scenario in which objects slamming into Titan land in a surface layer of liquid, such as a shallow sea, or in porous, soggy sediments—such as those in the region where the Huygens probe landed in 2005. In such areas, layers of mushy material could be hundreds of meters thick or more, Neish says. Both shallow seas and soggy wetlands—areas where flowing fluids would naturally collect—would be found more often in lowland areas, she notes. Impacts in an ocean, as on Earth, wouldn’t leave a noticeable scar. And an impact that occurred in a wetland would quickly be erased. Almost immediately, the soggy material around the crater walls would slump in to fill the hole. Impacts at wet or soggy sites also typically don’t create a crater with rim that stands high above the surrounding terrain—another reason the cosmic pockmark could be more quickly erased.Titan’s topographical data bolster this notion, Neish and her colleague Ralph Lorenz of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, contend in the 15 January 2014 issue of Icarus. On average, Titan’s craters are located at higher-than-average elevations. Specifically, half of Titan’s craters lie on terrain 100 meters or more higher than Titan’s average elevation.The presence of lowland craters in Titan’s Xanadu lowlands—some of the oldest terrain on the satellite—can likely be explained by the age of the impacts, Neish and Lorenz contend. If the craters were blasted before Titan’s atmosphere formed, they appeared when the surface was dry and craters would have remained relatively intact. The weather and other processes that tend to erase large craters wouldn’t have had enough time to hide these pockmarks.The team’s scenario “is an interesting model,” says Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist at Cornell University. “It’s certainly possible that the preference of craters for higher elevations suggests that liquid methane/ethane was present in significant amounts in lowlands, but it doesn’t prove that such liquids were present,” he notes.Buried craters would be difficult to discern from an orbiting craft, the researchers say. So discovering any scars from past impacts that are now filled in might not be possible until rovers with sediment-penetrating radar meander the terrain beneath Titan’s hazy skies.*Correction, 2 December, 12:35 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the as-of date for Titan’s crater census.last_img read more

ScienceShot: First-Time Comet Perishes

first_imgComet ISON’s disintegration into a cloud of debris as it neared its closest approach to the sun on 28 November came as no surprise to astronomers. They knew the kilometer-size “dirty snowball” or nucleus at the heart of the comet had never been tested by the rigors of a passage through the inner solar system. And no icy comet nucleus was all that sturdily built eons ago during the formation of the planets. So its frustratingly unpredictable lulls and flare-ups as it spewed gas and dust under the sun’s glare fit astronomers’ expectations. But when it emerged from its brush with the sun, ISON was obviously transformed. Astronomers now believe that the sun’s searing heat and its wrenching tidal pull—stretching the nucleus like so much putty—did in the nucleus hours before its closest approach to the sun. In this time-lapse image from the orbiting SOHO spacecraft, the debris cloud continues past the sun in ISON’s orbit, yielding an ever-diminishing amount of gas and dust. Today, it is far too faint for the naked eye to perceive and fading fast. Let the data analysis begin.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Facebook Spreads—and May Die Out—Like a Disease

first_imgThe thought has probably run through your head on some fruitless afternoon when you find yourself clicking on Facebook for the ninth time in 15 minutes: Facebook is a disease. That characterization might be particularly apt, according to two graduate students at Princeton University. Using a simple epidemiological model, they argue that use of the hegemonic social networking site has spread like a contagion. Moreover, their model suggests that, just like the Myspace site before it, Facebook will suffer a colossal fall within the next few years. Other researchers caution that’s not a sure bet.It’s no surprise that an epidemiological model can be applied to a social phenomenon like use of a website. After all, infectious diseases often spread through person-to-person contact, making them social phenomena. At the same time, for an individual, interest in an idea or service can come and go like a disease, dissipating after he or she grows bored.A very simple mathematical model of epidemics appears to account for the evolution of Myspace and Facebook, argue John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler, graduate students in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University in a paper posted to the arXiv preprint server. In the model, they assume that there are three types of people: “susceptible” people, S, who have not yet started using a social networking site; “infected” people, I, who are using it; and “recovered” people, R, who have either stopped using the site or refused to do so in the first place. The sizes of the groups change as the “disease” spreads. For example, because each new infection depends on a susceptible person encountering an infected person, at any moment the number of susceptible people decreases at a rate proportional to the number of infected people times the number of susceptible people. The number of infected people gets a boost by that same rate, but simultaneously suffers a loss as people recover.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The researchers’ model would be identical to the so-called SIR model, which is perhaps the simplest in epidemiology, except that they add a twist. In the SIR model, people recover on their own, as if recovering from a cold, so that at any moment the number of recovered people increases at a rate proportional to the number of infected people alone. In their model, Cannarella and Spechler assume that to recover, an infected person has to encounter a recovered person—in terms of a social networking site, you won’t stop using it until one of your friends does, an assumption that emphasizes the social nature of the network. In that case, the number of recovered increases at a rate proportional to the number of infected people times the number of recovered people.The researchers then applied their model to real data. To estimate Myspace and Facebook participation, Cannarella and Spechler relied on the frequency of searches for either name with the Google search engine. Those data were much easier to obtain than actual user numbers, which are proprietary information. They also should more accurately track actual usage of each site and not just the number of members, which could remain high even after people have lost interest. The model neatly fits the rise and fall in usage of Myspace, which peaked in 2008 with 75.9 million unique monthly visits in the United States and decayed to next to nothing by 2011. Similarly, the duo found their model could replicate Facebook’s trajectory, which according to the Google search data appears to have plateaued in recent years and has fallen slightly since 2012.Most striking, the researchers’ model predicts that Facebook’s use will soon fall much farther and much faster as “recovered” users induce others to give up their Facebook habit. According to the model, Facebook will have lost 80% of its users by sometime between 2015 and 2017.Time to sell your Facebook stock? Not necessarily, says Marisa Eisenberg, a mathematical epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The researchers’ particular take on the SIR model is so simple that it has only one potential outcome: Fast or slow, the epidemic (or social networking site) eventually dies out. It might be more revealing, Eisenberg says, to compare this model to a version in which it is possible for the epidemic or site to persist or grow indefinitely, for example because recovered people can become susceptible again. Still, Eisenberg applauds the effort. “I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in saying what’s going to happen with Facebook one way or the other,” she says, “but the idea of using a SIR framework to study social network usage is cool.”last_img read more

Explainer: Strong Quakes Rock Yellowstone

first_imgOn Sunday morning, 30 March, a magnitude-4.8 quake struck Yellowstone National Park, centered about 6.4 kilometers northeast of the park’s iconic Norris Geyser Basin. That temblor, the largest to strike the park since 1980, is part of a series of at least 25 quakes that began in the area on Thursday, 27 March. Besides the main shock, the largest quake in this group measured magnitude 3.3. Is such seismic activity normal?Yes. There have been three clusters, or swarms, of earthquakes beneath Yellowstone in the past 6 months, says Robert Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Sunday’s quake is notable only because it’s somewhat larger than recent temblors. On average, the park experiences about 3000 quakes per year, he notes: “Yellowstone never stops shaking.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)What caused the quakes?In general, the presence and movement of molten material at shallow and intermediate depths beneath Yellowstone is what triggers much of the seismic activity there. (The heat from that molten rock, of course, is the driving force for the park’s iconic geysers.) Sunday’s magnitude-4.8 quake was centered in a region where instruments have measured the landscape rising and falling for the past several months. That connection, too, is normal: A previous period of uplift in the same area between 1996 and 2003 was also accompanied by increased seismic activity. Nevertheless, Smith says, the causes of specific quakes and swarms are difficult to pin down. There have been spates of quakes without uplift, and there have been extended periods of uplift without abnormally high seismic activity.Are these quakes related to those in southern California?Probably not. Although it’s possible for a quake in one area to trigger others along faults in a distant region, the Yellowstone quakes are much more likely to be related to geological changes taking place locally within Earth’s crust.Do the Yellowstone quakes pose a future threat?Unlikely. There’s no sign that the current swarm of quakes is any different from those experienced there in recent months or years, and it doesn’t seem to be linked to any volcanic processes, he notes.What’s next?A field team from the U.S. Geological Survey arrived in Yellowstone on Sunday. They’re assessing the area near the quake’s epicenter to see if the event altered the terrain, and they’ll also check to see if the seismic activity has changed the size or eruption frequency of geysers in the area.last_img read more

Comet fireworks on Mars?

first_imgIn mid-October, a comet sweeping through our inner solar system for the first time will pass near Mars—so close, in fact, that if it were buzzing Earth at the same distance it would fly by well inside our moon’s orbit. And while material spewing from the icy visitor probably won’t trigger the colossal meteor showers on the Red Planet that some scientists predicted, dust and water vapor may still slam into Mars, briefly heating up its atmosphere and threatening orbiting spacecraft. However it affects the planet, the comet should give scientists their closest view yet of a near-pristine visitor from the outer edges of our solar system.Astronomers first spotted comet C/2013 A1—dubbed Comet Siding Spring, after the Australian observatory where it was discovered—early in 2013. Researchers quickly realized the object would pass near Mars. At first, when observations of the comet were sparse and its orbit wasn’t well defined, they suggested that the cosmic iceball even had a small chance of striking Mars. Now, researchers estimate the comet will pass about 131,000 kilometers from the Red Planet on 19 October, says John Moores, a planetary scientist at York University in Toronto, Canada. (In comparison, the average distance between Earth and moon is a little more than 384,000 km.)Initially, scientists thought this comet’s close pass might be a little too close, and that the comet’s coma—the hazy cloud of dust and water vapor spewed from the iceball’s surface as it warmed—would slam into Mars with spectacular effect. In March, one team predicted a “meteor hurricane” on Mars, with billions of bits of dust streaking through the Red Planet’s atmosphere each hour for about 5 hours. “Now, we realize the comet is much smaller than expected,” says Jeremie Vaubaillon, an astronomer at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation of Ephemerides in Paris, who led that team. Although early data hinted that Comet Siding Spring might be as much as 50 kilometers in diameter, he notes, estimates now range between 500 meters and 2 km. As a result, Vaubaillon says, C/2013 A1 “is not likely to be the comet of the century.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“Comets can be unpredictable,” says Mark Lemmon, a planetary scientist at Texas A&M University, College Station, who wasn’t involved with either team’s research. “They can range from really spectacular to kind of a dud.” Comet Siding Spring “is running a little brighter” than comets normally do, Lemmon adds, but that’s a far cry from the supercomet that some astronomers had hoped for.The comet’s dust tail might or might not wash across Mars, but some of the coma’s water vapor is sure to strike the planet, says Roger Yelle, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Considering the relative velocities of Mars and the comet, that material will slam into the Red Planet’s atmosphere at more than 57 km/sec—a process that will heat the air and cause it to expand, fluffing upward to increase atmospheric drag on craft orbiting the planet (thereby slowing down the orbiters slightly but not substantially threatening them). Such physical changes to the atmosphere might last only hours or days, he notes, but any subtle chemical changes—including those resulting from the extra hydrogen added to the air when ultraviolet light breaks down the water vapor—would persist much longer.Any dust from Comet Siding Spring that does strike the planet would be a small addition to the overall amount of dust in Mars’s atmosphere, but in some regions—especially outside the martian tropics—it could have noticeable effects, Moores and his colleagues report in Geophysical Research Letters. The most visible effects might include seeding clouds at very high altitudes, a process that could boost the frequency and thickness of such clouds for some as-yet-unknown interval, Moores says.Studying the extent and duration of any atmospheric changes caused by the comet will help scientists better understand how the martian atmosphere works, Yelle says.And although Mars’s atmosphere will protect landers and rovers from speeding dust particles, probes orbiting the Red Planet might be at risk. The greatest danger will occur when Mars passes through the debris trail following the comet, says Richard Zurek, chief scientist in the Mars Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The window of danger will start about 90 minutes after the comet’s closest approach to Mars and will last between 20 and 30 minutes. Long before that time, Zurek says, NASA and other space agencies can adjust their satellites’ orbits such that the craft swing behind Mars for protection during the brief interval of highest threat.  Planning for such adjustments is already under way, he notes.When the orbiters aren’t safely tucked away behind the planet, Zurek says, orbiters will have an unprecedented look at the comet. For example, the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter should be able to see features on the comet about 140 meters across, he notes: “This will be the first time we’ve ever imaged the nucleus of a long-period comet with that resolution.” Even down on the Red Planet’s surface, the Curiosity rover might be able to get in on the act: Because Mars’s atmosphere has no ozone to block ultraviolet light, sensors on the rover will be able to detect those wavelengths and thereby monitor certain trace gases spewing from the comet—unless a dust storm blocks the view to space, Lemmon says.Besides the craft now orbiting Mars, in October there will be two more: a probe launched by India early last November, and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, launched 2 weeks later. Yelle, who works with the MAVEN team, is excited. Because there typically isn’t enough time to design and launch a scientific mission to intercept a first-pass-through-the-solar-system comet before it swoops back into the depths of space, “[i]t’s almost impossible to send a spacecraft to one of these comets,” he notes. “In this case, we have a comet coming to us.” He adds: “This is a remarkable event, and we’re going to make the most of it.”last_img read more

Storing greenhouse gas underground—for a million years

first_imgWhen Canada switched on its Boundary Dam power plant earlier this month, it signaled a new front in the war against climate change. The commercial turbine burns coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, but it traps nearly all the resulting carbon dioxide underground before it reaches the atmosphere. Part of this greenhouse gas is pumped into porous, water-bearing underground rock layers. Now, a new study provides the first field evidence that CO2 can be stored safely for a million years in these saline aquifers, assuaging worries that the gas might escape back into the atmosphere.“It’s a very comprehensive piece of work,” says geochemist Stuart Gilfillan of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. “The approach is very novel.”There have been several attempts to capture the carbon dioxide released by the world’s 7000-plus coal-fired plants. Pilot projects in Algeria, Japan, and Norway indicate that CO2 can be stored in underground geologic formations such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep coal seams, and saline aquifers. In the United States, saline aquifers are believed to have the largest capacity for CO2 storage, with potential sites spread out across the country, and several in western states such as Colorado also host large coal power plants. CO2 pumped into these formations are sealed under impermeable cap rocks, where it gradually dissolves into the salty water and mineralizes. Some researchers suggest the aquifers have enough capacity to store a century’s worth of emissions from America’s coal-fired plants, but others worry the gas can leak back into the air through fractures too small to detect.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To resolve the dilemma, geoscientists need to know how long it takes for the trapped CO2 to dissolve. The faster the CO2 dissolves and mineralizes, the less risk that it would leak back into the atmosphere. But determining the rate of dissolution is no easy feat. Lab simulations suggest that the sealed gas could completely dissolve over 10,000 years, a process too slow to be tested empirically.So computational geoscientist Marc Hesse of the University of Texas, Austin, and colleagues turned to a natural lab: the Bravo Dome gas field in New Mexico, one of the world’s largest natural CO2 reservoirs. Ancient volcanic activities there have pumped the gas into a saline aquifer 700 meters underground. Since the 1980s, oil companies have drilled hundreds of wells there to extract the gas for enhanced oil recovery, leaving a wealth of data on the site’s geology and CO2 storage.To find out how fast CO2 dissolves in the aquifers, the researchers needed to know two things: the total amount of gas dissolved at the reservoir and how long it has been there. Because the gas is volcanic in origin, the researchers reasoned that it must have arrived at Bravo Dome steaming hot—enough to warm up the surrounding rocks. So they examined the buildup of radiogenic elements in the mineral apatite. These elements accumulate at low temperatures, but are released if the mineral is heated above 75°C, allowing the researchers to determine when the mineral was last heated above such a high temperature. The team estimated that the CO2 was pumped into the reservoir about 1.2 million years ago.Then the scientists calculated the amount of gas dissolved over the millennia, using the helium-3 isotope as a tracer. Like CO2, helium-3 is released during volcanic eruptions, and it is rather insoluble in saline water. By studying how the ratio of helium-3 to CO2 changes across the reservoir, the researchers found that out of the 1.6 gigatons of gas trapped underground at the reservoir, only a fifth has dissolved over 1.2 million years. That’s the equivalent of 75 years of emissions from a single 500-megawatt coal power plant, they report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.More intriguingly, the analysis also provided the first field evidence of how CO2 dissolves after it is pumped into the aquifers. In theory, the CO2 dissolves through diffusion, which takes place when the gas comes into contact with the water surface. But the process could move faster if convection—in which water saturated with CO2 sinks and fresh water flows into its place to absorb more gas—were also at work. Analysis revealed that at Bravo Dome, 10% of the total gas at the reservoir dissolved after the initial emplacement. Diffusion alone cannot account for that amount, the researchers argue, as the gas accumulating at the top of the reservoir would have quickly saturated still water. Instead, convection most likely occurred.Hesse says constraints on convection might explain why CO2 dissolves much more slowly in saline aquifers at Bravo Dome than previously estimated, at a rate of 0.1 gram per square meter per year. The culprit would be the relatively impermeable Brava Dome rocks, which limit water flow and thus the rate of convective CO2 dissolution. At storage sites with more porous rocks, the gas could dissolve much faster and mineralize earlier, he says.Even so, the fact that CO2 stayed locked up underground for so long at Bravo Dome despite ongoing industrial drilling should allay concerns about potential leakage, Hesse says. Carbon capture and storage “can work, if you do it in the right place,” he says. “[This is] an enormous amount of CO2 that has sat there, for all we can tell, very peacefully for more than a million years.”last_img read more