What Does It Take To Make Humans Fly?

When you think about it, the leaps human beings have made in the science sector are truly incredible. We have all kinds of new technology under our belts, the kinds we only ever thought could be miracles sent from God a couple of hundred years ago, and they’re all thanks to a bit of modern science and its ability to experiment here and there!

And one of the biggest technological advances in the past hundred years or so has been the invention of the airplane. We can take to the skies now and fly as far as the fuel tank will take us, thousands of feet over the rest of the world. And yet, human beings were never made to fly!

Which is why it takes a lot for something like this to happen. So let’s explore the effort it takes to keep an entire plane in the sky, cruising on to different destinations all across the world.

It’s always a picturesque image, but how does it happen? (Image)

A Specialised Engine

The first thing that needs mentioning, when it comes to powering an airplane, is the engine. Jet engines are big affairs, are made by specialist (and often designer) manufacturers, and have a lot to answer for. After all, if you’re going to be flying through the air at a couple of hundred miles per hour, and you’re going to do so steadily with little turbulence, you need to have a warhorse of a core processor behind you!

Of course, a lot of things can fly without an engine, but they don’t tend to go very far, nor very high in the air around us. So by adding an engine into a winged vehicle, we have the capability to take to the skies, reaching speeds high enough to take off from the ground and keep going. The wings take it from there, and actually take us off into the sky above us,

The Right Tools

Next up we have the tools used to put an airplane together. It’s not something you’d immediately wonder at when thinking of flight, but they are a crucial part of the process.

Of course, you have your software tools first of all, to put together the entire design of the plane and make sure all the calculations for keeping you in the air are correct. But after that, when it comes to actually putting all the metal together, you’re going to need items such as Aerospace Cutting Tools. These include tools such as speed handles and magnets and mirrors, and a few standard wrenches and strong pliers here and there.

After that, it can just be a matter of using your local mechanic’s tool kit to get the job done. The inside of a car looks a lot like the inside of a plane, so there’s an idea of versatility here. Technological providers are all about accessibility!

Making humans fly is expensive and hard, but it’s a wonder of technology we should be thankful for.

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4 Great Things That Biotechnology Has Given Us

OK, science lovers. You may want to hold onto your hat for this one, because biotechnology is an extremely cool part of science, and it has given the world a lot to be thankful for. In fact, it has contributed to a lot more things than you may even realize, and it shapes the world around us – and how we live – every day.

But what is biotechnology?

In short, it’s when a biological process or system is used to create a different product. Whilst this sounds pretty horrible, it’s not as Frankenstein-esque as you may think, and it’s not about trying to create weird half-living, half-dead things. Here, we’ve noted down 4 of the best breakthroughs of biotechnology.

Image credit

  1. Bread

OK, we know what you’re thinking. Bread? However, this is actually one of the oldest biotechnology processes, alongside the acts of making wine and beer. Bakers take a live product – the yeast – and use it to make an end product: that tasty loaf of bread. Sure, this isn’t as complex as some other biotechnology developments, and you can put the PFA tubing away for this one, but it’s still something that we use every day, and it’s thanks to science. Sandwich anybody?

  1. 3D technology for surgery

When you have surgery, it’s something that can really knock you off your feet for some time. However, the more precise the surgery is – and the more efficiently it is carried out – the quicker you will recover. Biotechnology has given us 3D technology, so that doctors can see exactly where they need to make incisions in the body, and it also allows them to diagnose problems with a lot more efficiency than methods used in the past. Biotechnology is pushing surgery forward!

  1. Face transplants

Suffering from an injury or accident can have many devastating impacts, and one of them may be that it changes your appearance quite dramatically. However, skin grafts have been used thanks to biotechnology, and they have even been shown to work for full-face transplants. Not only does this give the patient back the ability to live a normal life, but it just goes to show how great science can be, especially those developments in biotechnology. Pretty amazing, right?

  1. Sequencing the human genome

One of the most important breakthroughs in biotechnology (and biology as a whole), many scientists worked on sequencing the entire human genome, so that they could put together every single base pair that makes up DNA. In 2003, they finished this massive task, and biotechnology has been pushed further forward, as scientists begin to understand the blueprint that builds up a human being. This will, in the future, help to get rid of certain diseases, too.

So, biotechnology has given us a whole host of things, that we rely upon for survival. This ranges from a loaf of bread, to the full-face transplants that save people’s lives. Sounds pretty good, huh? If you’re interested in how this amazing part of science is shaping our futures, then it’s certainly worth reading further into it!

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What’s Stopping Robots From Taking Over The World? (Hint: Not Much)

It’s been a dream of humanity to develop a legion of mechanical slaves to do their bidding for generations. And to a large extent, that’s what we’ve done. The reason only about 2 percent of people work on farms is that machines do the work of the other 98 percent, burning vast amounts of energy in the process.

But when we talk about robots, we have something different in mind to combine harvesters. We’re talking about things that look and move like use: general purpose devices that will do our bidding, whatever that happens to be. A combine harvester might be great at scooping up corn, but it’s probably not all that great at making you a salad.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the things that are stopping robots from being our personal assistants and when we can expect technological breakthroughs to make it possible.

Servos

Pixabay

You can think of servos as the equivalent of robot muscles. They’re little motors in robot joints that translate rotational energy into linear movement. The problem is that, compared to biology, they’re poor. Although they have a lot of strength, they use a lot of energy and don’t have the finesse or ability to spin up and down quickly enough to provide robots with real-world balance.

Improvements in software and panel design, however, is changing the status quo. Servos will likely never be as good as muscle tissue, but as companies like Boston Dynamics are making increasingly clear, they are improving. Servos have now advanced to the point where they can provide stabilization for bi-pedal robots, something that looked hopeless just a few years ago.

Brains

Wikipedia

Google has a room at an undisclosed facility where it is testing robot arms. All of the arms are lined up in a row, attempting to grab objects in boxes in front of them in slightly different ways. Most of the time they fail, but when they succeed, they update smart software which integrates how the arm did it into its software so that it knows what to do next time.

There are, naturally, a lot of failed attempts. But every so often, one of the arms succeeds in picking up one of the irregularly shaped objects and depositing it into a nearby container. When this happens, the instructions that led to that success are shared with all of the other robots, improving their picking ability.

Google will be the first to admit that the technology has a long way to go. But in under a decade, we’re like to see robots like this on production lines and in fulfillment centers picking things up and depositing them elsewhere, so human workers don’t have to.

Pliable Materials

The trick to life-like robots is to create artificial muscles that behave like their natural counterparts. Researchers have already built synthetic muscle in the lab which contracts when an electrical current is passed through it. Once this technology matures, it will help some robots more naturally mimic the movements of people – movements that we’ve evolved to inhabit planet Earth.

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How Is Science Helping To Improve Reproduction?

Science has helped humans come on leaps and bounds over the past hundred years. We are now able to use and create technology that is incredibly advanced. Not only does it make our lives a lot more convenient, but it can also make them a lot healthier and safer as well.

There have been so many tech developments in the world of healthcare and medicine over the past few decades that humans have never been able to lead such healthy lives. Not only that, though, but reproduction and having babies has also been made easier for some couples as well. For some couples who have certain fertility issues, it could have been extremely difficult for them to conceive a baby naturally. These days, though, many of these couples are now able to start a family thanks to new scientific methods.

That’s just one of the ways science has helped to improve reproduction – read on to find out about some others!

Pixabay

Improved Diagnosis Of Fertility Issues

Doctors can now diagnose fertility issues in people a lot quicker these days thanks to scientific improvements in the diagnostic process. Any men who are worried about their fertility can now go to a fertility clinic and take advantage of their computer aided sperm analysis service. As these computers aren’t that advanced just yet, some fertility clinics still get a laboratory andrologist to take a look at the sperm to see for themselves. However, the use of the computer analysis still speeds up the diagnosis process so that men can get the treatment they need much quicker. Scientific advancements have also shortened the diagnostic time for women as well, and any female fertility problems can be swiftly picked up.

Pixabay

Better Treatments To Help Reproduction Problems

When a fertility problem has been correctly diagnosed, it is them important that the couple get the necessary treatment that will allow them to conceive. After years of research, there are now a few different treatments that can help improve the rates of reproduction in couples who do have some issues. Even though IVF has been used by a lot of couples for some years now, many scientific developments over the past decade or so have slightly improved this whole process.

LGBT Couples Have The Chance To Be Parents

Thanks to the development of medical procedures like artificial insemination and IVF with a donor egg or sperm, LGBT couples are now able to become parents if they wish. All they need to do is find a willing donor who will donate the sperm or the egg that is needed. More often than not, it is usually a close friend who donates, but there are now agencies that match up couples and donors. The artificial insemination can then be done at home – this is known as the turkey basting method. However, for better success rates, this should be carried out in a hospital where science can be used to improve the chances of the process working.

Pixabay

The Risk Of Certain Diseases Can Be Reduced

Have you heard the term “designer baby”? This has been a bit of a buzzword for the past few years or so and it has become quite a controversial topic as it is thought that this new science could be misused by some couples. There is now scientific methods that give scientists and doctors the chance to alter the DNA and genetic makeup of a fetus at the point of contraception. Even though this can be used for a lot of good, such as removing any potentially dangerous genes that could result in the development of a life-threatening disease, it does mean that simple things like the sex and eye color of a baby can be altered. Many people disagree with using this technology for changing non-dangerous features of a baby, like hair and eye color, as it is just the same as playing God. Using this kind of science to create a technology isn’t legal in most countries just yet, but that might all change in the future.

Some Health Conditions Can Now Be Spotted Very Early

Of course, there are some health conditions that aren’t genetic and changing the genes of a baby might not be enough to prevent them. But recent developments have helped scientists come up with ways to spot these potential conditions while the baby is still in the womb. If these are spotted at an early stage of the pregnancy, then some treatments could be carried out during the pregnancy to try and help the baby, depending on what the health issue is. If there are no treatments that can be administered during the pregnancy, then at least doctors will have a head start on treatment as soon as the baby is born.

Endangered Species Are Being Helped To Reproduce

It isn’t just humans who are being helped by new and improved scientific process and technology in reproduction. A lot of animals have benefited from many recent developments as well. For instance, many endangered species that used to struggle to reproduce, such as pandas, now have an easier time conceiving. Some fertility treatments that are used on humans, such as IVF, have been trialled in certain species with positive results. Not only that, though, but other treatments and methods have also been used to try to encourage more sexual activity between animals as well.

Pixabay

Science Can Prevent Reproduction For Couples Who Don’t Want A Baby

It’s also possible to look at things from the other side of the coin. Thanks to science, couples who do not wish to conceive and have a baby can now have sex without worrying about the implications. There are now many different methods of contraception, including the pill and hormone injections, that will make it almost impossible for them to conceive. These are great for couples who aren’t yet ready to start a family or just don’t want to have kids at all.

As you can see, there are many cool ways in which science is helping reproduction!

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Feed the World: How Can We Make More of Our Crops?

Image Credit: ReSplashed

With a growing population of humans, the strain on the land is certainly showing. This means that we need to find new ways to feed ourselves without ruining the environment. In other words, we need to figure out the optimal way to sustain our population long term.

Enter agronomy.

This is the science of figuring out how to produce more food, keep the soil healthy and even develop healthier foods. While you might think that this depends on GM crops, it is actually much more diverse and takes in all kinds of methods such as crop rotation, the best fertilizers and pest control too.

Specialists such as MKC have been working on various agronomy techniques for years and can offer all sorts of valuable advice. You can contact us for more information, but in the meantime, here are a few things you can do yourself to make the most of your land.

Selective Breeding

One of the best ways to produce excellent crops is to select your breeding plants very carefully. Gardeners and farmers have been doing this for hundreds of years and it is quite a simple process. All you need to do is pick your best plants and breed them together, then do the same over and again until you notice the characteristics you are looking for.

If you aren’t comfortable with GM crops, you can use selective pollination to breed the healthiest plants in order to encourage those traits. Over a few generations, you should see some significant differences and be able to produce bigger crops, more resistant crops or even novel, unique crops.

Mixed Cropping

Sometimes when looking for ways to innovate and improve current methods, the past is a good place to look. Planting single crops is a relatively recent idea, but before the industrialization of agriculture, farmers would plant multiple crops in the same field. With the right crops planted together, this can still create the perfect situation for crops to grow. This is called mixed cropping.

Even on a large farm, mixing crops like maize, beans and pumpkins is a great way to improve the way that your crops grow, keeping the soil in good condition and optimizing the yield you get. With the different species of crops, you will also attract different beneficial insects, creating a fabulous biodiversity.

Technological Advances

Though we tend to think of technology as a cause of environmental problems, it is also the best chance we have of understanding the environment and optimizing conditions to improve the situation. In fact, whether you use technology to track changes, control climates or monitor results, you can certainly find a way to put it to good use.

As more and more food is required, it is important that farmers look to every possible way of improving crops and looking after the soil they grow in. Choosing the right crops through selective breeding, planting complementary crops together to create a biodiverse growing area and using technology to track results can all work together to build the future of agricultural practice.

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The Big Cosmic Show – Total Eclipse 2017

Hi everyone! On August 21st, the solar eclipse took place and what a show it was. The path of totality, where one would see a total eclipse, crossed the U.S.A. from Oregon to South Carolina. I had heard the reports that there would be tremendous traffic in the areas around the path of totality, but, being within 100 miles of a total eclipse for the first time in my life, I decided to go for it. I’d never seen a total solar eclipse and felt it would be almost criminal for me to miss this one because of fears of heavy traffic. And, to get an idea of what to look for during a total eclipse, and also ways of making pinhole viewers, I checked out YouTube, which can be very helpful in finding out about lot’s of things.

The Trip There

I was prepared. Totality in Salem, Oregon would take place around 10:17am local time, so, I got up around 4am and left about 5:15am. I mapped out a back road route in advance and armed with my maps, gps, and a packed lunch, eclipse glasses, a home-made pinhole viewer, and my camera, I set out. Traffic going to Salem was much better than I expected and I arrived there in about an hour and 15 minutes, which is near normal. I realized, people had been arriving over the previous 4 to 5 days, so the influx was more gradual, and I figured this might be the case, but, being a possible once-in-a-lifetime event, I wasn’t taking any chances.

My Viewing Site

I didn’t go to one of the advertised venues, but instead opted for a supermarket parking lot on the east side of Salem. I found easy, and free, parking. The beautiful thing about an event like this is, you can view it from anywhere, it’s not like a greatly anticipated movie, rock concert, or sports event where you have to go to a specific place, this is visible across a wide path from anywhere in town or between towns for that matter.

There were a few others there, including someone with a telescope, using it to project an image of the sun and eclipse on a large white sheet of paper, and this was actually more effective and safer than the glasses, and more detailed than the pinhole viewer, though the pinhole viewer was definitely effective in showing the advancing eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017. Man with telescope using it to project image of eclipse on large white paper. Looks great! – 8/21/2017

Remember! – Never look at the sun without certified eclipse glasses or filters! Best and safest is to look indirectly using a projection on a surface or a pinhole viewer! Otherwise your eyes can be damaged instantly! Only during totality in an eclipse is it safe to look with the naked eye!

What I Saw

At first, when the eclipse started, you didn’t notice much darkening or lessening of the amount of light. What you could notice, as I had learned from YouTube, is that, the light coming through the leaves of a tree will actually show the crescent sun as the eclipse advances! I saw this for myself! And, this effect is visible whether or not the eclipse itself is total, partial, or annular. (Where the moon doesn’t quite cover the sun but leaves a full circle of light instead of totality.)

Total Solar Eclipse 2017. Crescent suns on the ground after totality as seen through the tree leaves. – 8/21/2017

There is another effect which is sometimes happens just before and after totality, called “shadow snakes”, in which these shimmering shadowy lines appear, but this is somewhat rare and I didn’t see this, but, in retrospect, I could see where it may have been close to happening.

As the light dims, which you do start to notice at around 85-90 percent totality, it looks different from the dimming of light when the sun sets normally or when clouds move in. And, you can “See” the moon’s shadow coming, as a darkening of the sky. It also looked to be changing to a darker blue, again, different from a normal sunset. And, the street and parking lot lights come on as well! Then, totality hits and it gets almost as dark as night much quicker than it would in a normal sunset. At this point, you can look at the sun without protection, with the naked ye, safely. And what a sight!

Total Solar Eclipse 2017. Sun in totality. Light from corona makes sun look like it is shining but in actuality, it is dark as it is covered by the moon, which one would see in person or with a better camera. – 8/21/2017

You do see the sun’s corona from behind the moon, which is a pitch black circle in the sky. You can also see stars and planets. I saw Venus, which, where it was, would be completely obscured by the sun’s light before and after totality. In the photo I took, the light of the corona does overwhelm the dark circle of the moon, and no photo does it justice.

The temperature does drop, though I was too engrossed in the eclipse to really notice it myself. Also, all along the horizon, you see distant light as in a sunset, but overhead and nearly to the horizon, it’s a night sky! They refer to this as a “360 degree sunset or sunrise” And it is really different and worth seeing.

Where I was, totality lasted about a minute and 56 seconds roughly. When the sun starts reappearing, there’s a sort of flash at one end of the moon’s rim making it look like a diamond ring. At this time it is no longer safe to look at the sun with the naked eye!

And, the light again looks different from normal sunlight. It first looks like the light is coming from a very powerful electric spotlight from far away, like standing in a big football or athletic field at night with only one light on, shining down on the filed. Then, still slowly but seemingly faster than before totality, the light starts coming back, still with that strange dimness, but then returns to normal. And, on the projection of the sun or through a pinhole viewer, you see a now reappearing and growing crescent sun, the crescent appearing on the opposite side.

Though the totality only lasts a very short time, the partial eclipse usually lasts about two hours, so you can still use the pinhole viewer to view the remaining partial eclipse.

In Conclusion – My Thoughts

Total Solar Eclipse 2017. Me just after the totality phase of the eclipse, as shown on the projection in the background. – 8/21/2017

I had considered staying where I lived to view the eclipse, where it would be 99.2 percent totality, but everything I’d read from those who had seen a total eclipse said that there was a huge difference, like the difference between “going to the prom vs actually getting married”, or “hitting 5 numbers in the lottery vs hitting 5 plus the mega or power number for the top jackpot”, so I went and it was worth it! It did take me 2 1/2 hours to get home using back roads, but I’d do it again even if it took me twice as long to get home! I found that the comparisons that I read bout are true and I’m glad I went down to Salem to see my first total solar eclipse! It was quite a show and not one to be missed!

Here’s  the video I took during the eclipse. Enjoy!

Happy Observing!

 

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Leapin’ Lizards, It’s Leap Day!

So, its February 29th, that special day that comes every 4 years. A year with a February 29th is, as we all know, a “leap” year.

So, where did this come from? Well, there is a lot of history behind it, but, basically, in earlier times, they found that calendars, growing and planting seasons, and so on, were getting further and further off until it was realized that our planet’s year is not exactly 365 days. It really is closer to 365 ¼ days.

So, to insure that Christmas doesn’t eventually drift into what would now be July, an extra day was added to February every 4 years to catch up, or “leap” back to the correct time. Hence, the leap year, and leap day, February 29th.

Now, to be sure, the Earth doesn’t complete an orbit exactly in 365 ¼ days, and, the planet’s orbital speed and daily rotation changes imperceptibly over time, so, every so often the correct time is adjusted by a few seconds here and there. This so our days and years continue to match the seasons and our calendars.

So, Happy Leap Day, everyone!

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