Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
A Sixth Sense? Magneto Receptive Humans???
Quote: “It’s part of our evolutionary history. Magnetoreception may be the primal sense.”

Maverick scientist thinks he has discovered a magnetic sixth sense in humans
By Eric HandJun. 23, 2016 , 9:00 AM
Birds do it. Bees do it. But the human subject, standing here in a hoodie—can he do it? Joe Kirschvink is determined to find out. For decades, he has shown how critters across the animal kingdom navigate using magnetoreception, or a sense of Earth’s magnetic field. Now, the geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena is testing humans to see if they too have this subconscious sixth sense. Kirschvink is pretty sure they do. But he has to prove it.
He takes out his iPhone and waves it over Keisuke Matsuda, a neuroengineering graduate student from the University of Tokyo. On this day in October, he is Kirschvink’s guinea pig. A magnetometer app on the phone would detect magnetic dust on Matsuda—or any hidden magnets that might foil the experiment. “I want to make sure we don’t have a cheater,” Kirschvink jokes.

Quote:It's part of our evolutionary history. Magnetoreception may be the primal sense.

Joe Kirschvink, geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena

They are two floors underground at Caltech, in a clean room with magnetically shielded walls. In a corner, a liquid helium pump throbs and hisses, cooling a superconducting instrument that Kirschvink has used to measure tiny magnetic fields in everything from bird beaks to martian meteorites. On a lab bench lie knives—made of ceramic and soaked in acid to eliminate magnetic contamination—with which he has sliced up human brains in search of magnetic particles. Matsuda looks a little nervous, but he will not be going under the knife. With a syringe, a technician injects electrolyte gel onto Matsuda’s scalp through a skullcap studded with electrodes. He is about to be exposed to custom magnetic fields generated by an array of electrical coils, while an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine records his brain waves.
For much of the 20th century, magnetoreception research seemed as unsavory as the study of dowsing or telepathy. Yet it is now an accepted fact that many animals sense the always-on, barely there magnetic field of Earth. Birds, fish, and other migratory animals dominate the list; it makes sense for them to have a built-in compass for their globetrotting journeys. In recent years, researchers have found that less speedy creatures—lobsters, worms, snails, frogs, newts—possess the sense. Mammals, too, seem to respond to Earth’s field: In experiments, wood mice and mole rats use magnetic field lines in siting their nests; cattle and deer orient their bodies along them when grazing; and dogs point themselves north or south when they urinate or defecate.
Playing the field
Earth's magnetic field, generated by its liquid outer core, is similar to that of a giant off-axis bar magnet. Its strength ranges from 25 microtesla (μT) near the equator to 60 μT at the poles. That is weak: An MRI's field is more than 100,000 times stronger.

G. Gruillon/Science

The mounting scientific evidence for magnetoreception has largely been behavioral, based on patterns of movement, for example, or on tests showing that disrupting or changing magnetic fields can alter animals’ habits. Scientists know that animals can sense the fields, but they do not know how at the cellular and neural level. “The frontier is in the biology—how the brain actually uses this information,” says David Dickman, a neurobiologist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who in a 2012 Science paper showed that specific neurons in the inner ears of pigeons are somehow involved, firing in response to the direction, polarity, and intensity of magnetic fields.
Finding the magnetoreceptors responsible for triggering these neurons has been like looking for a magnetic needle in a haystack. There’s no obvious sense organ to dissect; magnetic fields sweep invisibly through the entire body, all the time. “The receptors could be in your left toe,” Kirschvink says.
Scientists have come up with two rival ideas about what they might be. One is that magnetic fields trigger quantum chemical reactions in proteins called cryptochromes. Cryptochromes have been found in the retina, but no one has determined how they might control neural pathways. The other theory, which Kirschvink favors, proposes that miniature compass needles sit within receptor cells, either near the trigeminal nerve behind animals’ noses or in the inner ear. The needles, presumed to be made up of a strongly magnetic iron mineral called magnetite, would somehow open or close neural pathways.
The same candidate magnetoreceptors are found in humans. So do we have a magnetic sense as well? “Perhaps we lost it with our civilization,” says Michael Winklhofer, a biophysicist at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. Or, as Kirschvink thinks, perhaps we retain a vestige of it, like the wings of an ostrich.
Kirschvink specializes in measuring remanent magnetic fields in rock, which can indicate the latitude at which the rock formed, millions or billions of years ago, and can trace its tectonic wanderings. The technique has led him to powerful, influential ideas. In 1992, he marshaled evidence that glaciers nearly covered the globe more than 650 million years ago, and suggested that their subsequent retreat from “Snowball Earth” (a term he coined) triggered an evolutionary sweepstakes that would become the Cambrian explosion 540 million years ago. In 1997, he worked out a provocative explanation for the abnormally speedy drift of continental plates about the same time as the Cambrian explosion: Earth’s rotational axis had tipped over by as much as 90°, Kirschvink proposed. The climatic havoc from this geologically sudden event also would have spurred the biological innovations seen in the Cambrian. And he was prominent among a group of scientists who in the 1990s and 2000s argued that magnetic crystals in a famous martian meteorite, Allan Hills 84001, were fossilized signs of life on the Red Planet. Although the significance of Allan Hills 84001 remains controversial, the idea that life leaves behind magnetofossils is an active area of research on Earth.
“He’s not afraid to go out on a limb,” says Kenneth Lohmann, a neurobiologist who studies magnetoreception in lobsters and sea turtles at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “He’s been right about some things and not right about other things.”
In support of his hypotheses, Kirschvink has gathered rocks from all over the world: South Africa, China, Morocco, and Australia. But looking for magnets in animals—and humans—in his windowless subbasement lab has remained an abiding obsession. Just ask his first-born son, who arrived in 1984, as Kirschvink and his wife—Atsuko Kobayashi, a Japanese structural biologist—published the discovery of magnetite in the sinus tissue of yellowfin tuna. At Kirschvink’s suggestion, they named him Jiseki: magnet stone, or magnetite.
Kirschvink, 62, could never decide between geology and biology. He remembers the day in 1972 when, as an undergraduate at Caltech, he realized that the two were intertwined. A professor held the tongue plate of a chiton, a type of mollusk, and dragged it around with a bar magnet. Its teeth were capped with magnetite. “That blew me away,” recalls Kirschvink, who still keeps the tongue plate on his desk. “Magnetite is typically something that geologists expect in igneous rocks. To find it in an animal is a biochemical anomaly.”
For many years, scientists thought chitons had evolved a way to synthesize magnetite simply because the hard mineral makes for a good, strong tooth. But in 1975, Richard Blakemore at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts suggested that in certain bacteria, magnetite is a magnetic sensor. Studying bacteria from Cape Cod marsh muds, Blakemore found that when he moved a small magnet around his glass slides, the bacteria would rush toward the magnet. Looking closer, he found that the microbes harbored chains of magnetite crystals that forced the cells to align with the lines of Earth’s own magnetic field, which in Massachusetts dip down into the ground at 70°, toward the North Pole. Many bacteria search randomly for the right balance of oxygen and nutrients, utilizing a motion called “tumble and run.” But as swimming compass needles, Blakemore’s bacteria knew up-mud from down-mud. They could surf this gradient more efficiently and would swim downward along it whenever the mud was disturbed. These bacterial magnetoreceptors are still the only ones scientists have definitively located and studied. To Kirschvink, their presence indicates that magnetoreception is ancient, perhaps predating Earth’s first eukaryotic cells, which are thought to have evolved nearly 2 billion years ago after a host cell captured free-living bacteria that became the cell’s energy-producing mitochondria. “I’m suggesting that the original mitochondria were magnetic bacteria,” Kirschvink says, which could mean that all eukaryotes have a potential magnetic sense.
Reading about Blakemore’s work, Kirschvink wondered which way magnetic bacteria swim in the Southern Hemisphere: northward like the Massachusetts microbes, or southward toward their own pole, or in some other direction? He flew to Australia to search stream beds for Blakemore’s antipodal counterparts. They were most abundant in a sewage treatment pond near Canberra. “I just went with a magnet and hand lens,” he says. “They’re all over the place.” Sure enough, they swam down toward the South Pole. They had evolved south-seeking magnetite chains.
By then, Kirschvink was a postdoc at Princeton University, working with biologist James Gould. He had also graduated up the food chain of animals. In 1978, he and Gould found magnetite in the abdomen of honey bees. Then, in 1979, in the heads of pigeons. Unbeknownst to Kirschvink, across the Atlantic Ocean a young, charismatic University of Manchester, U.K., biologist named Robin Baker was setting his sights on the magnetic capabilities of larger, more sophisticated animals: British students. In a series of experiments, he gathered blindfolded students from a “home” point onto a Sherpa minibus, took them on a tortuous route into the countryside, and asked them the compass direction of home. In Science in 1980, Baker reported something uncanny: The students could almost always point in the quadrant of home. When they wore a bar magnet in the elastic of their blindfolds, that pointing skill was thwarted, whereas controls who wore a brass bar still had what appeared to be a magnetic sense.
In later variations, Baker claimed to find a human compass sense in “walkabout” experiments, in which subjects pointed home after being led on a twisty route; and “chair” experiments, in which they were asked for cardinal directions after being spun around. Baker performed some of his experiments for live television, and he announced some of his results prior to peer review in books and popular science magazines—a flair for the dramatic that rubbed other academics the wrong way.
In an email, Baker says there was a “base hostility” among his U.S. counterparts. Kirschvink and Gould were among the skeptics. In 1981, they invited Baker to Princeton for a chance to perform the experiments, one whistle stop on a reproducibility tour of several U.S. campuses in the Northeast. At Princeton and elsewhere, the replication efforts failed. After Baker claimed in a 1983 Nature paper that human sinus bones were magnetic, Kirschvink showed that the results were due to contamination. In 1985, Kirschvink failed to replicate a version of the chair experiment.
Although the Manchester experiments cast a pall over human magnetoreception, Kirschvink quietly took up Baker’s mantle, pursuing human experiments on the side for 30 years. He never gave up running students through a gauntlet of magnetic coils and experimental protocols. “The irritating thing was, [our] experiments were not negative,” he says. “But from day to day, we couldn’t reproduce them.”
Now, with a $900,000 grant from the Human Frontier Science Program, Kirschvink; Shinsuke Shimojo, a Caltech psychophysicist and EEG expert; and Ayumu Matani, a neuroengineer at the University of Tokyo, are making their best effort ever to test Baker’s claims.
Baker finds it ironic that his onetime antagonist is now leading the charge for human magnetoreception. “Joe is probably in a better position to do this than most,” he writes. As for whether he thinks his results still indicate something real, Baker says there is “not a shadow of doubt in my mind: Humans can detect and use the Earth’s magnetic field.”
Center of attraction
Researchers are testing humans for a subconscious magnetic sense by putting them in a dark metal box and applying magnetic fields.

C. Bickel/Science

Next door to Kirschvink’s magnetics lab is the room where he tests his human subjects. In it is a box of thin aluminum siding, known as a Faraday cage, just big enough to hold the test subject. Its role is to screen out electromagnetic noise—from computers, elevators, even radio broadcasts—that might confound the experiment. “The Faraday cage is key,” Kirschvink says. “It wasn’t until the last few years, after we put the damned Faraday shield in, that we went, ‘Wait a minute.’”
Kirschvink added it after an experiment led by one of Winklhofer’s Oldenburg colleagues, Henrik Mouritsen, showed that electromagnetic noise prevents European robins from orienting magnetically. The stray fields would probably affect any human compass, Kirschvink says, and the noise is most disruptive in a band that overlaps with AM radio broadcasts. That could explain why Baker’s experiments succeeded in Manchester, which at the time did not have strong AM radio stations. The U.S. Northeast, however, did, which could explain why scientists there couldn’t replicate the findings.
In the current setup, the Faraday cage is lined with squares of wire coils, called Merritt coils. Electricity pulsed through the coils induces a uniform magnetic field running through the center of the box. Because the coils are arranged in three perpendicular directions, the experimenters can control the orientation of the field. A fluxgate magnetometer to check field strength dangles above a wooden chair that has had all of its iron-containing parts replaced with nonmagnetic brass screws and aluminum brackets.
Kirschvink, Shimojo, and Matani’s idea is to apply a rotating magnetic field, similar in strength to Earth’s, and to check EEG recordings for a response in the brain. Finding one would not reveal the magneto-receptors themselves, but it would prove that such a sense exists, with no need to interpret often-ambiguous human behavior.

 “It’s a really fantastic idea,” Winklhofer says. “I’m wondering why nobody has tried it before.”

The experiments began at the end of 2014. Kirschvink was human subject No. 1. No. 19 is Matsuda, on loan from Matani’s lab, which is replicating the experiment in Tokyo with a similar setup. Matsuda signs a consent form and is led into the box by the technician, who carries the EEG wires like the train of a wedding veil. “Are we ready to start?” the technician asks, after plugging in the electrodes. Matsuda nods grimly. “All right, I’ll shut the box.” He lowers the flap of aluminum, turns off the lights, and shuts the door.

 Piped into the box is Kirschvink’s nasal, raspy voice. “Don’t fall asleep,” he says.

Matsuda will sit in the box for an hour in total blackness while an automated program runs through eight different tests. In half of them, a magnetic field roughly as strong as Earth’s rotates slowly around the subject’s head. In the others, the Merritt coils are set to cancel out the induced field so that only Earth’s natural magnetism is at work. These tests are randomized so that neither experimenter nor subject knows which is which.
Every few years, the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) in the United Kingdom holds a conference that draws just about every researcher in the field of animal navigation. Conferences from years past have dwelt on navigation by the sun, moon, or stars—or by sound and smell. But at this year’s meeting, in April at Royal Holloway, University of London, magnetoreception dominated the agenda. Evidence was presented for magnetoreception in cockroaches and poison frogs. Peter Hore, a physical chemist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, presented work showing how the quantum behavior of the cryptochrome system could make it more precise than laboratory experiments had suggested. Can Xie, a biophysicist from Peking University, pressed his controversial claim that, in the retina of fruit flies, he had found a complex of magnetic iron structures, surrounded by cryptochrome proteins, that was the long-sought magnetoreceptor.
Then, in the last talk of the first day, Kirschvink took the podium to deliver his potentially groundbreaking news. It was a small sample—just two dozen human subjects—but his basement apparatus had yielded a consistent, repeatable effect. When the magnetic field was rotated counterclockwise—the equivalent of the subject looking to the right—there was sharp drop in α waves. The suppression of α waves, in the EEG world, is associated with brain processing: A set of neurons were firing in response to the magnetic field, the only changing variable. The neural response was delayed by a few hundred milliseconds, and Kirschvink says the lag suggests an active brain response. A magnetic field can induce electric currents in the brain that could mimic an EEG signal—but they would show up immediately.
Kirschvink also found a signal when the applied field yawed into the floor, as if the subject had looked up. He does not understand why the α wave signal occurred with up-down and counterclockwise changes, but not the opposite, although he takes it as a sign of the polarity of the human magnetic compass. “My talk went *really* well,” he wrote jubilantly in an email afterwards.

“Nailed it.   Humans have functioning magnetoreceptors.”

Others at the talk had a guarded response: amazing, if true. “It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to evaluate from a 12-minute talk,” Lohmann says. “The devil’s always in the details.” Hore says: “Joe’s a very smart man and a very careful experimenter. He wouldn’t have talked about this at the RIN if he wasn’t pretty convinced he was right. And you can’t say that about every scientist in this area.”

Two months later, in June, Kirschvink is in Japan, crunching data and hammering out experimental differences with Matani’s group. 

“Alice in Wonderland, down the rabbit hole, that’s what it feels like,” he says. Matani is using a similarly shielded setup, except his cage and coils are smaller—just big enough to encompass the heads of subjects, who must lie on their backs. Yet this team, too, is starting to see repeatable EEG effects.
“It’s absolutely reproducible, even in Tokyo,” Kirschvink says. “The doors are opening.”
Kirschvink’s lifelong quest seems to be on the cusp of resolution, but it also feels like a beginning. A colleague in New Zealand says he is ready to replicate the experiment in the Southern Hemisphere, and Kirschvink wants money for a traveling Faraday cage that he could take to the magnetic equator. There are papers to write, and new subjects to recruit. Just as Baker’s results ricocheted through the research community for years, Kirschvink knows that the path toward getting his idea accepted is long, and uphill.
But he relishes the thought of showing, once and for all, that there is something that connects the iPhone in his pocket—the electromagnetic laws that drive devices and define modernity—to something deep inside him, and the tree of life. “It’s part of our evolutionary history. Magnetoreception may be the primal sense.”

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5803

Nov. 30, 2011

2012: Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The (Geologic) Time

Schematic illustration of Earth's magnetic field.
Credits: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to 'south.' This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth's poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth's destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be 'no.'

Reversals are the rule, not the exception. Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal. A reversal happens over hundreds or thousands of years, and it is not exactly a clean back flip. Magnetic fields morph and push and pull at one another, with multiple poles emerging at odd latitudes throughout the process. Scientists estimate reversals have happened at least hundreds of times over the past three billion years. And while reversals have happened more frequently in "recent" years, when dinosaurs walked Earth a reversal was more likely to happen only about every one million years.

Sediment cores taken from deep ocean floors can tell scientists about magnetic polarity shifts, providing a direct link between magnetic field activity and the fossil record. The Earth's magnetic field determines the magnetization of lava as it is laid down on the ocean floor on either side of the Mid-Atlantic Rift where the North American and European continental plates are spreading apart. As the lava solidifies, it creates a record of the orientation of past magnetic fields much like a tape recorder records sound. The last time that Earth's poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. The fossil record shows no drastic changes in plant or animal life. Deep ocean sediment cores from this period also indicate no changes in glacial activity, based on the amount of oxygen isotopes in the cores. This is also proof that a polarity reversal would not affect the rotation axis of Earth, as the planet's rotation axis tilt has a significant effect on climate and glaciation and any change would be evident in the glacial record.

Earth's polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, or the decorative magnets on your refrigerator, the matter governing Earth's magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. This process can also be modeled with supercomputers. Ours is, without hyperbole, a dynamic planet. The flow of liquid iron in Earth's core creates electric currents, which in turn create the magnetic field. So while parts of Earth's outer core are too deep for scientists to measure directly, we can infer movement in the core by observing changes in the magnetic field. The magnetic north pole has been creeping northward – by more than 600 miles (1,100 km) – since the early 19th century, when explorers first located it precisely. It is moving faster now, actually, as scientists estimate the pole is migrating northward about 40 miles per year, as opposed to about 10 miles per year in the early 20th century.

Another doomsday hypothesis about a geomagnetic flip plays up fears about incoming solar activity. This suggestion mistakenly assumes that a pole reversal would momentarily leave Earth without the magnetic field that protects us from solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. But, while Earth's magnetic field can indeed weaken and strengthen over time, there is no indication that it has ever disappeared completely. A weaker field would certainly lead to a small increase in solar radiation on Earth – as well as a beautiful display of aurora at lower latitudes - but nothing deadly. Moreover, even with a weakened magnetic field, Earth's thick atmosphere also offers protection against the sun's incoming particles.

The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously. A reversal might, however, be good business for magnetic compass manufacturers.

Related Link:

Quote:› Earth's Inconstant Magnetic Field

Last Updated: July 30, 2015
Editor: NASA Administrator
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Magneto Receptive Arrow  needless to say, Improv is always fresh like today's headlines.

Quote:"There are still a lot of unknown mysteries in magnetism," Chesnel said. "Scientists are still trying to understand the nature of magnetism, the origin of magnetism and what's causing it."
Chesnel is one of those scientists. Her specific area of study includes magnetic behaviors occurring on a microscopic scale, also known as nanomagnetism.

Read more at:

What did Earth's ancient magnetic field look like?
June 24, 2016

[Image: whatdidearth.jpg]
Illustration of ancient Earth's magnetic field compared to the modern magnetic field. Credit: Peter Driscoll
New work from Carnegie's Peter Driscoll suggests Earth's ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two. It is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Earth generates a strong magnetic field extending from the core out into space that shields the atmosphere and deflects harmful high-energy particles from the Sun and the cosmos. Without it, our planet would be bombarded by cosmic radiation, and life on Earth's surface might not exist. The motion of liquid iron in Earth's outer core drives a phenomenon called the geodynamo, which creates Earth's magnetic field. This motion is driven by the loss of heat from the core and the solidification of the inner core.
But the planet's inner core was not always solid. What effect did the initial solidification of the inner core have on the magnetic field? Figuring out when it happened and how the field responded has created a particularly vexing and elusive problem for those trying to understand our planet's geologic evolution, a problem that Driscoll set out to resolve.
Here's the issue: Scientists are able to reconstruct the planet's magnetic record through analysis of ancient rocks that still bear a signature of the magnetic polarity of the era in which they were formed. This record suggests that the field has been active and dipolar—having two poles—through much of our planet's history. The geological record also doesn't show much evidence for major changes in the intensity of the ancient magnetic field over the past 4 billion years. A critical exception is in the Neoproterozoic Era, 0.5 to 1 billion years ago, where gaps in the intensity record and anomalous directions exist. Could this exception be explained by a major event like the solidification of the planet's inner core?
In order to address this question, Driscoll modeled the planet's thermal history going back 4.5 billion years. His models indicate that the inner core should have begun to solidify around 650 million years ago. Using further 3-D dynamo simulations, which model the generation of magnetic field by turbulent fluid motions, Driscoll looked more carefully at the expected changes in the magnetic field over this period.
"What I found was a surprising amount of variability," Driscoll said. "These new models do not support the assumption of a stable dipole field at all times, contrary to what we'd previously believed."
His results showed that around 1 billion years ago, Earth could have transitioned from a modern-looking field, having a "strong" magnetic field with two opposite poles in the north and south of the planet, to having a "weak" magnetic field that fluctuated wildly in terms of intensity and direction and originated from several poles. Then, shortly after the predicted timing of the core solidification event, Driscoll's dynamo simulations predict that Earth's magnetic field transitioned back to a "strong," two-pole one.
"These findings could offer an explanation for the bizarre fluctuations in magnetic field direction seen in the geologic record around 600 to 700 million years ago," Driscoll added. "And there are widespread implications for such dramatic field changes."
Overall, the findings have major implications for Earth's thermal and magnetic history, particularly when it comes to how magnetic measurements are used to reconstruct continental motions and ancient climates. Driscoll's modeling and simulations will have to be compared with future data gleaned from high quality magnetized rocks to assess the viability of the new hypothesis.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New study indicates Earth's inner core was formed 1 - 1.5 billion years ago
Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Carnegie Institution for Science

Read more at:[/url]

Physics professor makes nanomagnetism discovery

June 24, 2016

[Image: 4-physicsprofe.jpg]
Savanna Sorensen. Credit: BYU
Dr. Karine Chesnel has always been fascinated with understanding how things work, particularly the secrets of magnetism.

"There are still a lot of unknown mysteries in magnetism," Chesnel said. "Scientists are still trying to understand the nature of magnetism, the origin of magnetism and what's causing it."

Chesnel is one of those scientists. Her specific area of study includes magnetic behaviors occurring on a microscopic scale, also known as nanomagnetism.

To study nanomagnetism, Chesnel uses synchrotron radiation facilities, which are a special kind of particle accelerators. In these machines, magnetic fields and electric fields are synchronized with the particle beam so to produce x-rays of very high brilliance. This unique x-ray beam is very useful to probe nanomagnetism.

After years of work at synchrotron facilities, Chesnel has discovered how to control a phenomenon called "magnetic domain memory," which may have applications in magnetic data storage.

Information and data is saved to a computer hard drive using small, thin metallic films that possess magnetic properties. Chesnel found that as she cooled such film under different strengths of magnetic fields, the film's capacity to keep memory of its magnetic state was greatly affected.

If the film is cooled in a weak or moderate magnetic field, the memory is strong. But if the film is cooled down in a strong magnetic field, the memory capacity of the film is lost.

"It's a result of years of work, literally," Chesnel said. "The results are exciting in terms of discovering how we can control this phenomenon."

The research was published in that latest issue of top science journal Nature Communications.

Chesnel earned her doctoral degrees in her native country of France before completing a post-doctorate at UC Berkley and accepting her first teaching position at BYU in 2008. She admits teaching physics at a university in a second language can be daunting, but hopes her different background can help broaden students' perspectives.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Controlling magnetism with an electric field

More information: Karine Chesnel et al. Shaping nanoscale magnetic domain memory in exchange-coupled ferromagnets by field cooling, Nature Communications (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11648 

Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Brigham Young University

Read more at:[url=]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
more at the link
Scientists discover new family of quasicrystals
Quote:Their research resulted in finding the only known:
magnetic rare earth icosahedral binary quasicrystals,
now providing a "matched set" of magnetic quasicrystals and their closely related periodic cousins.

Goldman and Canfield, like many researchers around the world 
began to wonder what magnetic properties would do, 
extended to the unique design of quasicrystals.

"You can have antiferromagnets or ferromagnets in the crystalline or periodic example. 
You have a disordered magnet or spin glass with the amorphous system. This is known. 
But with quasicrystals, you have an aperiodic arrangement. 
Will it affect the magnetism in some weird or novel way? 
It's a strange environment for magnetism."

And sure enough, there was. Canfield had grown the approximant,
but he also found the presence of faceted pentagonal dodecahedra Dance2 

one of the signatures of quasicrystals. 

Goldman's x-ray scattering work confirmed the material as a quasicrystal.
In the rare earth cadmium approximants, there is magnetic order. 
In the quasicrystalline materials, however, 
the scientists found spin glass behavior, 
similar to the magnetic behavior in amorphous materials.

[Image: 1-ameslaborato.jpg]
High-energy x-ray diffraction patterns from a single grain of i-Gd-Cd 

were taken at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory 
with the beam parallel to the five-fold axis. 
Credit: Ames Laboratory, USDOE
Interesting thread!   Smile
Possible evidence of human ability to detect Earth's magnetic field found
June 28, 2016 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: magneticfield.jpg]
Schematic illustration of the invisible magnetic field lines generated by the Earth, represented as a dipole magnet field. In actuality, our magnetic shield is squeezed in closer to Earth on the Sun-facing side and extremely elongated on the night-side due to the solar wind. Credit: NASA
(—A scientist who has dedicated a significant portion of his life to proving or disproving the notion that humans have an ability to detect and respond to Earth's magnetic field has given a talk at this year's meeting of the Royal Institute of Navigation at the University of London, suggesting that he has found evidence that it is true. Joe Kirschvink with the California Institute for Technology reported that experiments he and colleagues have been conducting have shown reproducible changes in brainwaves of volunteers who sat in a magnetically controllable chamber.

Over the past century scientists have found that other animals do indeed have magnetic sensors and that they respond to them—birds in flight use the Earth's magnetic field at least in part, as a compass, dogs orient themselves north/south to urinate. The list of examples has grown quite extensive, but one problem still remains—no one has been able to figure out how it happens. Scientists have narrowed down the possibilities Eric Hand writes in two extensive News articles on the subject in the latest issue of the journal Science, one is called the Magnetite Model, and is based on the idea that magnetite existing in the bodies of living organisms may be tugged by the Earth's magnetic field, controlling neural circuitry. The other is called the Cryptochrome Model and is based on the idea that chryptochromes in the retina are turned into radical pair molecules by sunlight and are flipped between states when impacted by Earth's magnetic field. Kirschvink, Hand, notes, believes the former is the most likely possibility, though his mission has not been to find out how it might work, but to show that it does in humans.
To achieve that goal, Kirschvink and his team built a Faraday cage—an enclosure just big enough for one person to sit in, which has coils placed around its walls that prevent influence by Earth's magnetic field and any other magnetic field, whether natural or man-made. The cage also allows for the generation of a magnetic field and the allowance of the Earth's magnetic field on command. The volunteers sitting in the chair in the cage were attached to an EEG machine that measured alpha brain waves.
The cage allows for eliminating all sources of stimuli for impacting human brain wave activity. The person sits alone in the dark while the researchers manipulate the magnetic field around him or her. Kirschvink reported in his talk that he was able to record a measurable, and more importantly, reproducible change in alphas brain wave activity in humans based on changes made to the magnetic field around them. And he did so using the cage in two different locations, one in California, and another in a lab in Japan. He acknowledged that the sample size was small, and that more work needs to be done, which will someday lead to a paper—but he is optimistic that he has at long last proven that humans do indeed have magnetic sensors.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: The magnetic compass of birds is affected by polarised light
More information: Eric Hand. The body's hidden compass—what is it, and how does it work?, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5804
Eric Hand. Maverick scientist thinks he has discovered a magnetic sixth sense in humans, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5803 
Journal reference: Science

Read more at:[/url]

Allan Hills 84001

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Allan Hills 84001 (commonly abbreviated ALH84001[url=][1]
) is a meteorite that was found in Allan HillsAntarctica on December 27, 1984 by a team of U.S. meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project. Like other members of the group of SNCs (shergottitenakhlitechassignite), ALH84001 is thought to be from Mars. However, it does not fit into any of the previously discovered SNC groups. On discovery, its mass was 1.93 kilograms (4.3 lb). It made its way into headlines worldwide in 1996 when scientists announced that it might contain evidence for microscopic fossils of Martian bacteria based on carbonate globules observed.

[Image: slif_s24.jpg]

24. Magnetite Grains in ALH 84001 Carbonate

The first kind of evidence for fossil life in ALH 84001 is some very small mineral grains inside the carbonate globules, as in this image, which is an extreme close-up of one of the dark bands in a carbonate globule (slide #22), made with a transmission electron microscope. The scale bar in the image is 20 nanometers long, or 20 millionths of a millimeter. The dark spots are grains of the iron oxide mineral magnetite (Fe3O4). Light does not go through magnetite, so the areas with these grains appear dark (slide #22) through a light microscope.

McKay and his co-workers showed that these magnetite grains (and similar iron sulfide grains) in ALH 84001 are similar to some produced by bacteria on Earth, so they suggest that these mineral grains in ALH 84001 may have been produced by martian bacteria. To show that the mineral grains might be products of martian bacteria, McKay and co- workers present evidence that the mineral grains did form on Mars, and that they have chemical compositions, crystal structures, sizes, and shapes like biologically produced grains on Earth. There is little doubt that the little magnetite and iron sulfide grains did not form on Earth, and so are martian. And there is also little doubt that grains of these minerals have been (and are being) made by bacteria on Earth. For instance, some bacteria make little magnetite grains, which are magnetic, as compasses to align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field. They use the magnetic field to aim themselves up or down.

However, similar mineral grains can grow without any action from living organisms. No one knows yet whether these iron oxide and sulfide minerals can grow in carbonate minerals without assistance from life.
Allan Treiman (Lunar and Planetary Institute)

Quote:Before the new work, opal had only once been found in a meteorite, as a handful of tiny crystals in a meteorite from Mars.

Opal discovered in Antarctic meteorite
June 28, 2016

[Image: opaldiscover.jpg]
A backscattered electron image of the narrow opal rim surrounding a bright metallic mineral inclusion in meteorite found in Antarctica. The circular holes in this image are spots where laser analyses have been performed. Credit: H. Downes
Planetary scientists have discovered pieces of opal in a meteorite found in Antarctica, a result that demonstrates that meteorites delivered water ice to asteroids early in the history of the solar system. Led by Professor Hilary Downes of Birkbeck College London, the team announce their results at the National Astronomy Meeting in Nottingham on Monday 27 June.

Opal, familiar on Earth as a precious stone used in jewellery, is made up of silica (the major component of sand) with up to 30% water in its structure, and has not yet been identified on the surface of any asteroid. Before the new work, opal had only once been found in a meteorite, as a handful of tiny crystals in a meteorite from Mars.

Downes and her team studied the meteorite, named EET 83309, an object made up of thousands and broken pieces of rock and minerals, meaning that it originally came from the broken up surface, or regolith, of an asteroid. Results from other teams show that while the meteorite was still part of the asteroid, it was exposed to radiation from the Sun, the so-called solar wind, and from other cosmic sources. Asteroids lack the protection of an atmosphere, so radiation hits their surfaces all the time.

EET 83309 has fragments of many other kinds of meteorite embedded in it, showing that there were many impacts on the surface of the parent asteroid, bringing pieces of rock from elsewhere in the solar system. Downes believes one of these impacts brought water ice to the surface of the asteroid, allowing the opal to form.

She comments: "The pieces of opal we have found are either broken fragments or they are replacing other minerals. Our evidence shows that the opal formed before the meteorite was blasted off from the surface of the parent asteroid and sent into space, eventually to land on Earth in Antarctica."

"This is more evidence that meteorites and asteroids can carry large amounts of water ice. Although we rightly worry about the consequences of the impact of large asteroid, billions of years ago they may have brought the water to the Earth and helped it become the world teeming with life that we live in today."

The team used different techniques to analyse the opal and check its composition. They see convincing evidence that it is extra-terrestrial in origin, and did not form while the meteorite was sitting in the Antarctic ice. For example, using the NanoSims instrument at the Open University, they can see that although the opal has interacted to some extent with water in the Antarctic, the isotopes (different forms of the same element) match the other minerals in the original meteorite.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: First opal-like crystals discovered in meteorite

Provided by: Royal Astronomical Society

Read more at:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Social priming experiment suggests physical magnets can cause people to feel closer to a partner
July 1, 2016 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: 57767181e7786.png]
Instructions for block task. Please pick up the blocks in front of you and bring them together as shown in the pictorial instructions below. Plese do this repeatedly until the program advances automatically (in 1 minute). Credit: PLOS ONE (2016). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155943
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at Texas A&M University has found that people playing with physical magnets can come to feel closer to their romantic partner. In their paper posted on the open access sitePLOS ONE, the team describes two nearly identical experiments they conducted with volunteers, their results and why they believe they have found an incidence of social priming.

Social priming is a form experimentation where volunteers are "primed' with certain information, then tested to see if the priming has had any effect on their feelings or behavior regarding something else. Such experiments have, the researchers note, been subjected to criticism in the psychology community of late due to the high number of studies that released results that proved to be unrepeatable by others. In this new effort, the researchers sought to address that problem by conducting essentially the same experiment twice.

The first experiment consisted of asking 120 male and female students who were currently in a romantic relationship with someone, to sit and play with some blocks on a table—unbeknownst to the volunteers they had been divided into three groups—one group played with blocks that were magnetically attractive, another with blocks that were magnetically repellant and the third with blocks with no magnetic traits. All three groups were then asked to take a survey regarding their perception of the degree of romance in their relationships. After studying the data, the researchers found that those volunteers who had played with the magnetically attractive blocks reported having stronger feelings of love and attachment to their romantic partners, than people in the other two groups.
The second experiment was identical to the first except that there were 150 volunteers and only two groups; those playing with attractive blocks and those with repellant blocks. The researchers found that those that had played with the attractive blocks once again reported feeling more connected to their romantic partner than the other group. They noted that the second group reported less feelings of commitment, however, which the researchers suggested could be chalked up to the experiment being conducted later in the school year.
This study, the team reports, suggests that people take the metaphor of attraction between lovers as somewhat literal and because of that, when they take part in a demonstration of magnetic attraction, they are reminded of their attraction to their romantic partner. They do acknowledge that their experiment does not provide evidence of how or why the effect came about, though they do discuss several theoretical possibilities.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: The many unexpected sides of romantic love
More information: Andrew G. Christy et al. Animal Magnetism: Metaphoric Cues Alter Perceptions of Romantic Partners and Relationships, PLOS ONE (2016). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155943
The psychological state of love is difficult to define, and we often rely on metaphors to communicate about this state and its constituent experiences. Commonly, these metaphors liken love to a physical force—it sweeps us off our feet, causes sparks to fly, and ignites flames of passion. Even the use of "attraction" to refer to romantic interest, commonplace in both popular and scholarly discourse, implies a force propelling two objects together. The present research examined the effects of exposing participants to a physical force (magnetism) on subsequent judgments of romantic outcomes. Across two studies, participants exposed to magnets reported greater levels of satisfaction, attraction, intimacy, and commitment. 

Journal reference: PLoS ONE

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Superconductor’s strange behavior results in new laboratory tool
June 28, 2016

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)

Researchers have discovered an exceptional new quantum state within a superconducting material. This exceptional quantum state is characterized by a broken rotational symmetry 

[Image: 700x714_Final_explainer_Drupal_0.jpg?tim...1466692110]

-- in other words, if you turn the material in a magnetic field, the superconductivity isn't the same everywhere in the material.
[Image: 160628110032_1_540x360.jpg]
Electrical resistance R, measured for different temperatures. The applied magnetic field rotates in the plane of the layered superconductor. The plot shows that the rotational symmetry is broken.
[i]Credit: Image courtesy of Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)[/i]

Researchers from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba (Japan) have discovered an exceptional new quantum state within a superconducting material. This exceptional quantum state is characterised by a broken rotational symmetry -- in other words, if you turn the material in a magnetic field, the superconductivity isn't the same everywhere in the material.
The material in which the new quantum state was discovered is bismuth selenide, or Bi2Se3. This material is a topological isolator. This group of materials exhibits a strange quality: they don't conduct electricity on the inside, but only on their surface. What's more, the researchers are able to make the material even more exceptional -- by adding a small amount of strontium to the bismuth-selenide, the material transforms into a superconductor. This means the material can conduct electricity extremely well at low temperatures because the electrical resistance has completely disappeared.
Superconductivity can be explained by the behaviour of electrons within the material. In a superconductor, certain electrons seek a mate and combine into pairs. These pairs, so-called Cooper pairs, can move through the material without resistance or a loss of energy.
The research team placed the material in a magnetic field that suppresses the superconducting properties of the material. Bismuth selenide has a layered crystalline structure, and the magnetic field the researchers used was directed parallel to the plane of these layers. Usually, it makes no difference in which direction the magnetic field points because the suppression is the same in all directions. However, the researchers discovered that this isn't the case with their exceptional material. When they turned the magnetic field in the plane of the layers, they discovered that the superconductivity was suppressed to a greater and to a lesser extent, depending on the direction in which the field pointed. In other words, the material's rotational symmetry was broken.
The phenomenon of broken symmetry can only be explained if the electrons in this material form special Cooper pairs, namely spin-triplet pairs, instead of the usual spin-singlet pairs. Such Cooper pairs can adopt a preferred direction within the crystal.
The UvA researchers in the team are Dr Anne Visser and Dr Yingkai Huang, both of whom are affiliated to the Quantum Electron Matter group of the UvA's Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute. The FOM is represented by PhD researchers Yu Pan and Artem Nikitin. The team points out that the discovery of this exceptional material forms a unique laboratory tool. The superconductor will allow physicists to study the exceptional quantum effects of topological superconductivity.

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). "Superconductor’s strange behavior results in new laboratory tool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2016. <>.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Sounds like the makings of a perpetual motion machine,
combining a tin foil hat and...WTF !...magnetic pogo stick ?
Quote:Posted by Kalter Rauch - Today, 03:45 am

Sounds like the makings of a perpetual motion machine,

combining a tin foil hat and...WTF !...magnetic pogo stick ?

[Image: 160628110032_1_540x360.jpg]

We have balance sensors in our inner ear that  describe up or down.
We have innate hard-wired Visual Horizon indicators.
Aural sound systems that provide sonic doppler @~ 333.333 meters per second
I doubt you can taste or smell a direction and Unless there really is something to 'dowsing' i doubt you can touch the feild.
Why not have an inner-GPS? Doh

Yesterday, 06:11 am (This post was last modified: Yesterday, 06:12 am by Vianova.)
Not necessarily certain of grasping the quantum bounds scenario,
but noticed this

Quote: Wrote:The maximum violation of a quantum inequality is the quantum bound. 
The quantum bounds arise from probability distributions in the experiments and are specific numbers—
for instance, 
the Bell inequality has a quantum bound of 2√2 <-----

2√2 = square root 8
so interestingly, 
square root 8 as a tetrahedral angle tangent was the most important angle,
in the Mars pentad and hexad mound configurations in Cydonia.
This is the highest energy  "electron spin" angle {H. Crater UTSI}
and had to with the "microscopic origin of macroscopic magnetism".
scroll to number 5, and the conclusion

quantum bounds scenario Arrow
Quantum fragility may help birds navigate

Influence of Earth’s magnetic field on retinal chemistry could aid avian sense of direction
6:00AM, JUNE 27, 2016

[Image: 062415_ec_quantum-bird_free.jpg]
Migrating birds may find their way using sensitive quantum mechanical compasses.

Harnessing the weirdness of the quantum world is difficult — fragile quantum properties quickly degrade under typical conditions. But such fragility could help migrating birds find their way, scientists report in the June New Journal of Physics. Some scientists believe birds navigate with sensitive quantum-mechanical compasses, and the new study suggests that quantum fragility enhances birds’ sense of direction.
Molecules known as cryptochromes, found within avian retinas, may be behind birds’ uncanny navigational skills (SN Online: 1/7/11). When light hits cryptochromes, they undergo chemical reactions that may be influenced by the direction of Earth’s magnetic field, providing a signal of the bird’s orientation.

[Image: qd-badge.jpg]
QUANTUM COMPASS  Migrating birds may find their way using sensitive quantum mechanical compasses. A new study suggests that such compasses benefit from the delicate nature of quantum weirdness.

“At first sight, you wouldn’t expect any chemical reaction to be affected by a magnetic field as weak as the Earth’s,” says study coauthor Peter Hore, a chemist at the University of Oxford. Quantum properties can strengthen a cryptochrome’s magnetic sensitivity, but their effect sticks around only for tiny fractions of a second. Any chemical reactions that could signal the bird would have to happen fast enough to skirt this breakdown.
But Hore and colleagues’ new simulations of the inner workings of cryptochromes show that a little bit of quantum deterioration can actually enhance the strength of the magnetic field’s effect on the chemical reactions.
According to scientists’ theories, light striking a cryptochrome produces a pair of radicals — molecules with a lonely singleton electron. These unpartnered electrons feel the tug of magnetic fields, thanks to a quantum property known as spin, which makes them behave a bit like tiny bar magnets. But those minuscule magnets are not enough to serve as a compass on their own — instead, the electrons’ magnetic sensitivity is the result of a strange quantum dance.
The two radicals’ electrons can spin either in the same direction or opposite directions. But rather than choosing one of these two options, the electrons pick both at once — a condition known as a quantum superposition. Quantum mechanics can describe only the odds that the electrons would be found in each configuration if forced to choose. As time passes, these probabilities oscillate up and down in a pattern that is swayed by Earth’s magnetic field. These oscillations in turn affect the rate of further chemical reactions — the details of which are not well understood — which signal to the bird which direction it’s facing.

These chemical reactions must happen quickly. As the electrons interact with their environment, their coordinated oscillations dissipate, weakening their magnetic sensitivity. But Hore and colleagues show that this isn’t the complete picture — some loss of quantumness can help birds navigate. “Not only does it not hurt the compass signal, it can make it stronger,” says physicist Erik Gauger of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who was not involved with the research.
That’s because the direction of the magnetic field also determines how quickly electrons lose their coordination, further enhancing the difference in the chemical reaction rates based on the bird’s direction in the magnetic field. So the magnetic field does double duty: It affects chemical reaction rates by altering the oscillating states of the electrons and by determining when they break off their oscillation.
Although similar types of sensitivity-boosting effects have been suggested before, they weren’t based on a cryptochrome model, says Gauger.
It’s still not certain that birds navigate with cryptochromes at all, says Klaus Schulten, a computational biophysicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More research is needed to understand the details of how the cryptochromes might function. “There, this paper is very valuable,” he says. “It’s an interesting idea that’s worth pursuing.”

D.R. Kattnig et al. Electron spin relaxation can enhance the performance of a cryptochrome-based magnetic compass sensorNew Journal of Physics. Vol. 18, June 2016, p. 063007. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/6/063007.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
EA...have you read about a SQUID...Superconducting QUantum Interference Device?
It's supposed to be sensitive to ultra-subtle magnetic fields.
I read about it in Sci. American a long time ago.

This is simple slow for 2 min...

I did not hear about squids KR

Nor do I think I've learned of an:   anapole

Magnetoreception may require North Sheep South poles so I am unsure if there is a causal relation, anyways...

This is magneto-news to me... read on.

Quote:A fascinating example of such a non-radiating source is known as an anapole—a distribution of charges and currents that does not Naughty radiate or interact with external electromagnetic fields.
[Image: 700x714_Final_explainer_Drupal_0.jpg?tim...1466692110]
Read more at:

Invisible particles 'seen' for the first time
July 13, 2016

[Image: invisiblepar.jpg]
Electromagnetic simulations show that light waves stream almost unperturbed past a silicon nanodisk that has anapole modes. The particle is thus effectively invisible at distances far from the particle. Credit: A*STAR Data Storage Institute
A new optical effect in nanoscale disks of silicon, namely patterns of radiation that do not emit or scatter light, has been observed by A*STAR researchers and international collaborators. These modes, which have never before been observed at visible wavelengths, could be used in tiny lasers that are not much bigger than viruses.

Read more at:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
I was thinking there may now be SQUIDs or equivalent that run at room temperature...
maybe even on ebay, etc!
Quote:“At first sight, you wouldn’t expect any chemical reaction to be affected by a magnetic field as weak as the Earth’s,”

D.R. Kattnig et al. Electron spin relaxation can enhance the performance of a cryptochrome-based magnetic compass sensorNew Journal of Physics. Vol. 18, June 2016, p. 063007. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/6/063007.

The human eye can detect a single photon
Jul. 20, 2016

[Image: 229652753_88691bc349_o.jpg?itok=90dLrfmO...1469041243]

People can detect a flash of light as minute as a single photon, Scientific American reports. In the experiment—published in Nature Communications—participants would hear two sounds after pushing a button, some of the sounds accompanied by a photon, others not. When asked when they thought they saw a photon, the participants were able to answer correctly more frequently than if they were guessing at random. Some researchers are unsure how conclusive the experiment is, however, because all of the participants were male, and men and women have different physiologies.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:Some researchers are unsure how conclusive the experiment is, however, because all of the participants were male, and men and women have different physiologies.

KNOWING this, why no women were included should be scientific fraud.  Not to mention sexist, or even more disturbing; then did on purpose to get more $$ for funding a new study with just women pubilish that reselt with same caveat , then request more $$ funding for a mixed group.

Common Sense $$ wise would to have done it with MIXED group in first place,

Why so many studies show crossing results, and science funding if getting /$.

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Biologist disputes conclusions of recent papers on biological magnetism
December 23, 2016 by Robert Perkins

[Image: biologistdis.jpg]
Credit: Caltech
Caltech biologist Markus Meister is disputing recent research claiming to have solved what he describes as "the last true mystery of sensory biology"—the ability of animals to detect magnetic fields. This "magnetic sense" provides a navigational aid to a variety of organisms, including flies, homing pigeons, moles, and bats. 

In three separate papers appearing in journals published by the Nature Publishing Group, teams of researchers from Peking University in Beijing, the University of Virginia, and Rockefeller University in New York build a scientific case, based on the existence of particular iron-laden protein molecules, for how living cells might be affected by magnetic fields. If correct, these findings would help explain how animals sense magnetism and how cellular functions might one day be controlled using magnetic fields.
An important property of iron is that it can be magnetized like the needle on a compass. Because the described proteins contain so much iron, the argument goes, they would be affected by Earth's magnetic field, providing a mechanism through which organisms could sense that field.
The problem, says Meister, Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences, is that each of the proteins described in the trio of Nature papers do not contain enough iron to be affected by magnetic fields.
"We're talking a disparity of between five and 10 orders of magnitude. The amount of iron in the molecules isn't even close to being enough," says Meister, who discusses his analysis of the three studies in a paper published by the journal eLife. That difference is enormous. Meister likens it to claiming to have built an electric car that could run for a year—on a single AA battery.
After noting the issue, Meister checked in with colleagues in the field, including Joseph Kirschvink (BS, MS '75), Nico and Marilyn Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology at Caltech, who is known for work on magnetoreception based on magnetite (Fe3O4), a ferromagnetic iron ore. In 2001, Kirschvink published evidence that crystals of magnetite in animals may play a role in animal magnetic sensitivity. Kirschvink agreed with Meister's analysis. "Markus is spot-on," says Kirschvink.
In one of the papers, published in Nature Materials in November 2015, a group led by Siying Qin of Peking University report the discovery of an iron-rich rod-like protein complex in the eyes of the fruit fly Drosophila that, the authors say, could be the source of the fly's magnetoreception. They named the complex MagR, for magnetoreceptor protein.

MagR includes 40 iron atoms. These iron atoms, the Peking University researchers say, provide enough of a magnetic moment (movement in response to a magnetic field) that roughly 45 percent of isolated proteins orient with their long axis along the geomagnetic field. In other words, the paper suggests that the proteins align in response to Earth's magnetic field so that they point to magnetic north like the needle on a compass.
However, Meister says that the proteins actually do not have enough iron content to be sensitive to magnetic fields.
The smallest iron particles that are known to have a permanent magnetic moment at room temperature are crystals of Fe3O4, which are about 30 nanometers in size. Each crystal contains about 1 million tightly packed iron atoms. That means that even if all 40 iron atoms in a MagR protein manage to link up somehow and operate as a single unit, the protein's resulting magnetic moment would still be too small to align with Earth's geomagnetic field at room temperature. Magnetism is locked in a battle against the chaos-inducing energy of heat, which works to randomize the orientation of the protein complex. This thermal effect is about five orders of magnitude stronger than any magnetic pull on the 40 iron atoms.
"This is back-of-the-envelope physics," Meister says.
The other two papers—one in Nature Neuroscience by Michael Wheeler of the University of Virginia and one in Nature Medicine by Sarah Stanley of Rockefeller University—explore the possibility of engineering mechanisms that would use iron atoms in cells to control ion channels.
Ion channels are gateways in cellular membranes that allow for the passage of ions across the membrane, thus transmitting signals into and out of the cell. These signals control cellular functions. For example, ion channels in nerve cells can transmit pain signals. Being able to selectively open and close ion channels with magnetic fields, rather than with medications, would offer clinicians a minimally invasive technique to control cells—for example, managing pain without the use of pharmaceuticals.
Both Wheeler's and Stanley's findings hinge on the use of ferritin, a hollow protein shell that, previous research has shown, can be packed with iron. (Most organisms naturally produce ferritin to store iron, which is toxic when floating freely throughout cells.) Both groups attached a ferritin ball to an ion channel that resides in the cell membrane, with the goal of creating a mechanism for opening or closing the channel by manipulating the ball with magnetic fields. Wheeler proposed physically tugging on the ferritin ball with a magnetic field, while Stanley used a magnetic field to heat the ferritin and trigger the attached ion channel's opening and closing.
Neither scheme can possibly work, Meister says.
Indeed, Meister's calculations show that ferritin is too small by many orders of magnitude to be affected by magnetic fields. "In both cases, one can blame the choice of ferritin," Meister says. Since ferritin has no permanent magnetic moment, magnetic fields interact with it only weakly. "If the reported effects really occurred as described, they probably have nothing to do with ferritin."
However, he suggests, there may be a viable route to controlling ion channel function in cells using much larger magnetic particles, like those found in certain magnetic bacteria.
While missteps in science are common and indeed part of the scientific process—hence the need for peer-review for articles—Meister worries that these announcements could discourage other scientists from trying to understand the causes of magnetism in biological contexts.
"It's like the brass ring has already been snatched," Meister says. "It's all too easy for someone to look at that and think, 'All right, I guess that's been answered. I'll try to tackle some other problem, then.'"
Meister's paper is titled "Physical Limits to Magnetogenetics".
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Protein complex may help explain magnetic sensing in insects and animals
More information: Markus Meister. Physical limits to magnetogenetics, eLife (2016). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.17210
Siying Qin et al. A magnetic protein biocompass, Nature Materials (2015). DOI: 10.1038/nmat4484 

Read more at:[/url][url=]

The Global Consciousness Project 
Meaningful Correlations in Random Data

[Image: banksy_aristorat.jpg]

The behavior of our network of random sources is correlated with interconnected human consciousness on a global scale

Coherent consciousness creates order in the world  Subtle interactions link us with each other and the Earth

EA  Tuesday, January 6th, 2009, 02:16 am 
Allah peanut butter sandwiches...and never tow the line.

Toeing the line: Study finds brain cells that signal path of travel

December 21, 2016

[Image: toeingthelin.jpg]
Schematic of route-running and open-field foraging tasks. Credit: Nitz/Nature Neuroscience
Imagine you're navigating a city like New York, or any other that's laid out on a grid. Suppose you run into a roadblock as you're heading north. How do you know that you can turn to your left, say, and then take a right at the next intersection to continue in your original direction? According to research from the University of California San Diego, it may be thanks to some newly identified neurons in an area of your brain called the subiculum.

In a paper published by Nature Neuroscience, the researchers say they have found neurons that help an animal align itself within a cognitive map of its environment. Working with rats, the researchers observe that cells in the subiculum seem to encode an animal's current axis of travel. The neurons signal "I'm on this line, in this orientation."
[Image: 2522018934_bddcbdc358_z.jpg?zz=1]

"We're describing an entirely new and unexpected form of neural activity," said senior author Douglas Nitz, a professor of cognitive science in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences.

"The cells fire when the animal travels in either direction along a single axis."

The rats ran on six interconnected routes much like a city grid, and the researchers took recordings from single neurons in the subiculum. Neurons that the researchers have dubbed "axis-tuned" fired when the animal traveled in either direction on a particular line - one of these firing, for example, when the animal moved north to south or south to north, but staying quiet for east-west. Others were activated for other lines of travel.

"The novel representation here is that the rat is mentally grouping these different locations," said first author and UC San Diego Department of Cognitive Science Ph.D. student Jacob Olson. "Functionally, the routes are all the same, and what the axis-tuned neuron appears to do is encode the functional similarity among different paths. It encodes how multiple pathways are oriented to each other and connected."

[Image: 1-toeingthelin.jpg]

Three examples of axis-tuned subiculum neurons. Each panel depicts firing rate color-mapped as a function of track position. White arrows mark directions and positions with highest firing. Each panel also depicts firing rate maps for the …more

Like humans, Nitz said, rats tend to create and travel on pathways. But the researchers also checked if these neurons worked during open-field foraging. They did not. They fired only when the rats were traveling on paths.

The neurons appear to be distinct from head direction cells discovered earlier, the researchers write, for two reasons: Head direction neurons fire when an animal's head is pointed a certain way but not in the opposite direction. They also fire in an open field.

The axis-tuned cells account for about 10 percent of the subiculum neurons, the researchers estimate.

The subiculum is one of the primary outputs of the hippocampus, they note, a region of the brain known to be involved in orientation, location and episodic memory. But what kind of signal the subiculum produces has been a bit of mystery.

"This neural activity is a brand new kid on the block in a rich field of literature," said Nitz. The axis-tuned cell adds to what we already know about orientation encoding in the brain, he said, and takes its place among other cells important to navigation and orientation: place cells, grid cells and head direction cells.

Next steps for the research include studies on how much experience a rat needs with a path before the axis-tunedcells begin functioning, and on whether the representations show up in humans as well.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers find the missing part of brain's 'internal compass'

More information: Jacob M Olson et al, Subiculum neurons map the current axis of travel, Nature Neuroscience(2016). DOI: 10.1038/nn.4464 
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Bob...since women are much more variable
in terms of factors affecting vision...
(eg. bad driving, hysterical blindness, etc.)
they might be unusable in such an experiment.
(12-24-2016, 02:03 AM)Kalter Rauch Wrote: Bob...since women are much more variable
in terms of factors affecting vision...
(eg. bad driving, hysterical blindness, etc.)
they might be unusable in such an experiment.

Actually I've been emailing with this woman part of the Jefferson Starship family and going to Jan 14 2017 concert on Long Island New York.  Trying to get permission to use 3 songs for "Theme" for the My & Official sites.   Here is her and friend's Xmas Video:

Can't wait to meet them in Riverdale NY Sunday Jan 14, Grace Slick is coming back in charge Banana_hump Wub

btw...without women...there'd be no men.  God and Santa are female not male...imho

Men destroy life only women can create it.

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Back to questions that are actually about magnets

A question that I have considered for several years, tho finding the answer would be quite simple and easy to do, it's practical application is no longer something I could do in the field. And I'm lazy.

Here is the question as best I can explain it.
If a magnet is slowly lowered above a magnetic object it is strong enough to pick up, will the magnet lower the recordable weight of that object 'before' it entirely overcomes it's weight and lifts/grabs the object?
Will it instead exert no change in the magnetic object's stability before actually lifting it at once?
So, the words Autumn and Fall are not to be capitalized?
They are in my world!

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new?"It has been already, in the ages before us. Ecc 1: 9-10
I would think there is a singular moment where the weight is coupled to the magnet above and doesn't lose itz weight but just transfers it to the larger system making it heavier as a whole.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Ya know, I did a search and couldn't find anything that really answered that question.

Now the question seems strictly academic, but it may have profound implications for fine gold recovery in sluice boxes.
As material is fed into a sluice box, that box must be at a certain angle, the flow of water moving the material must be at a certain volume and speed to move all of the material across the riffles in the sluice box.
The material is of three main types. The heaviest being gold or platinum. The next would be 'Black Sands' and then the Blond sands.
What tends to happen in a sluice box is the magnetic 'Black Sands' will soon clog the gold trapping riffles, so the riffles are designed at a steeper angle of drop, coupled with a fast/heavier flow of water to clear the riffles in the sluice box, so as to leave room for them to trap the heavier, larger pieces of gold.

Now, if the riffles could be kept clean of the 'Black Sands' by reducing their actual weight magnetically, so reduced flows of water could push it down the length of short riffles without grabbing the sands (and thereby coating the magnets with that material) while at the same time reducing the angle of the box, those reduced flows of water over the riffles would not only push the 'Black' sands, but also the 'Blond' sands out so even the Super Micro fine gold particles could fall out of the water flow behind the riffles, rather than riding over the top of the Black Sand clogged riffles, massive amounts of this micro gold could at last be recovered that all previous attempts failed to recover in times past. Some rivers are known to have very much 'Unrecoverable fine gold' throughout their materials.
So, the words Autumn and Fall are not to be capitalized?
They are in my world!

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new?"It has been already, in the ages before us. Ecc 1: 9-10
(12-31-2016, 02:22 AM)Fsbirdhouse Wrote: Back to questions that are actually about magnets  Sheep   gold
Magnetic Supersense Could Inspire Ultrasensitive Prosthetic Limbs
By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | December 30, 2016 11:01am ET[img=300x0]|300:200&crop=300:200;*,*[/img][Image: electronic-skin.jpg]

Researchers recently developed an electronic skin with tiny, cobalt microwires embedded in it. The tiny hairs allow the skin to sense the slightest sensations, which could pave the way for prosthetic limbs that allow the wearer to "feel" their way around.
Credit: YouTube screen shot/American Chemical Society
Robots that are capable of "feeling" their way around the world, thanks to hairy electronic skin, could be one step closer to reality, according to a new study.
Teensy electronic hairs, which sense minute vibrations through changes in their magnetic field, not only give robots a supersense of touch, but could also give people withprosthetic limbs a better feel for their surroundings, the researchers said.
"We are interested in integrating the sensor into robotic arms for people with disabilities to give them the capability to feel a complex environment and handle things more easily," said study co-author Lifeng Hao, a researcher at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China. [Bionic Humans: Top 10 Technologies]

Hairy skin
In recent years, many research groups around the globe have made great strides in developing bionic arms and legs that could help patients replace lost limbs.  Sscientists are also developing "electronic skin" — thin, stretchy material that is packed with electronics that aim toreplicate the sensory capabilities of real skin.
The tactile sensation that electronic skins have imparted has been limited however, so Hao was looking for ways to improve the technology.
Hao was inspired to make electronic skin "hairy" when he was playing with his daughter, "who tried to gently touch my arm," he saild Live Science. "I realized that hairy skin was just what I was looking for."
That’s because human skin relies on hair for its exquisite sense of touch. For instance, fine hair, which covers 95 percent of the human body, helps people feel the slightest breeze, Hao said.
Magnetic microwires
To mimic the human sense of touch, the team built artificial hairs using magnetic cobalt-based microwires — commonly used, durable filaments that are as flexible as human hairs — the researchers wrote in the study, which was published online Nov. 25 in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
The researchers found that minute pressure changes altered the orientation of magnetic particles in the microwires, influencing the electrical fields in nearby sensors. AS such, the sensors could detect tiny physical disturbances.
The researchers used commercially available magnetic cobalt-based microwires, which were each about 50 micrometers in diameter. To protect them from their surroundings, the researchers coated the microwires in glass layers that were about 5 micrometers thick. (In comparison, the average human hair is about 100 micrometers across.)
The scientists embedded their artificial hairs in silicone rubber. In experiments, this synthetic, hairy skin could detect pressures that were induced by a 5.6-lb. (2.55 kilogram) weight and a fly that only weighed about 0.0005 ounces (0.015 grams). The hairs also detected light breezes that had a wind speed of just 6.7 mph (10.8 km/h).
The researchers noted that the ability of robotic or prosthetic hands to detect slip and friction is key to ensuring that these artificial limbs can hold items without dropping them. They noted that a two-finger robotic gripper that's equipped with the synthetic hairy skin could feel when something tugged away objects it was clamped onto. [Body Beautiful: The 5 Strangest Prosthetic Limbs]
In addition, the magnetic microwires could reveal whether materials touching the electronic skin were magnetic or were electrically insulating or conducting. The electronic skin also proved to be durable, showing no signs of wear even after 10,000 cycles of having a 2.2-lb. (1 kg) weight applied on it.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Posted by EA - Friday, December 23rd, 2016, 02:10 pm
Biologist disputes conclusions of recent papers on biological magnetism
December 23, 2016 by Robert Perkins

[Image: biologistdis.jpg]

On the question of magneto-reception in avians I post this because it jibes with what eye have seen.

I always wondered why the canadian geese would be flying 'north' when they should be migrating south...

I had put it down to ...errr ummm - the magnetic poles were gonna flip???  

Now I know why they seem to fly non-south around here:
[Image: skpic-big-dig-regina-wascana-lake.jpeg]
We have an huge artificial lake in the middle of our city!  WASCANA LAKE
[Image: 1147709.jpg?size=640x420]
Migrating birds pile up along Great Lakes' shores
December 7, 2016

[Image: august-sunset-wascana-lake.jpg?w=638]
Birds prefer to migrate at night—so much so that if day breaks while they're over water, they'll turn back toward the nearest shore rather than pressing on. That's the key finding of a new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, which used weather radar to examine the behavior of birds crossing the Great Lakes.  Wascana Lake
[Image: IMG_5335regina.jpg]
 [i]Wascana Lake[/i]

[i]I guess that makes common sense.[/i]

Migrating birds pile up along Great Lakes' shores

December 7, 2016

[Image: 1-migratingbir.jpg]
A series of radar images was taken around sunrise show changes in migrating birds' activity. Credit: K. Archibald, with data from NOAA

Kevin Archibald and Jeff Buler of the University of Delaware and their colleagues turned the U.S.'s powerful network of weather surveillance radar stations on birds heading north across the Great Lakes during their spring migration. As dawn approaches, their data show, birds caught over water increase their elevation and often turn back. This leads to a pileup of birds in near-shore stopover habitat—the density of birds taking off from the southern shores of the Great Lakes on subsequent spring evenings was 48% higher than on the northern shores.

Birds presumably increase their altitude at dawn to try to see how much farther they have to go; if they decide it's too far, they go back to try again the next night, leading to higher concentrations of migrants on near shores. When birds are migrating south in the fall, these pile-ups would happen on the north side of the lakes rather than the south. "Our study justifies the high value of shoreline habitats for conservation of migratory bird populations in the Great Lakes region," says Buler. "It also emphasizes that the extent of stopover use in shoreline habitats is context-dependent. We hope professionals charged with managing stopover habitats recognize that shoreline areas can receive high migrant use by virtue of the proximity to a lake and how many migrants are aloft at dawn from day to day, rather than [just] by the presence of abundant food sources in these habitats."

The data used in the study came from radar stations in Cleveland, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Green Bay, Wisconsin, collected in spring 2010-2013. Cleveland was the only station that did not observe birds increasing their elevation at dawn, possibly because Lake Erie is narrow enough for them to see across without an increase in altitude.

"Nearshore areas of the Great Lakes are important to migrating landbirds. Archibald, Buler, and their colleagues further investigate this distributional pattern by analyzing the interaction between spring migratory flight behavior and the migrant exodus at nearshore stopover sites using NEXRAD radar," according to The Nature Conservancy's Dave Ewert. "Their research supports earlier work that migrants concentrate near Great Lakes shorelines, but with new perspectives."

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Migrating birds speed up in spring

More information: "Migrating birds reorient toward land at dawn over the Great Lakes, USA" December 7, 2016,

Read more at:

Here is ANOTHER reason why birds seem to not be following a 'compass' exactly?

Routes of migratory birds follow today's peaks in resources

January 4, 2017

[Image: routesofmigr.jpg]
Cuculus canorus is in the air with the transmitter on its back. Credit: Palle Sørensen
Movement of migratory birds is closely linked to seasonal availability of resources. The birds locate the areas with the most resources across continents. Researchers from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, have tracked three long-distance migratory birds. By comparing their migration routes to climate projections, the scientists show that finding food may become a challenge to the birds by the end of this century.

Migratory birds need to schedule their annual trips properly in order to reach areas with sufficient food resources during wintering.
A new paper published today in Science Advances shows that common cuckoos, red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingale closely follow the complex seasonal vegetation changes occurring within their non-breeding grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. Bird migration researcher and first author Professor Kasper Thorup from the University of Copenhagen says, "We show that all three birds cross continents to match highest levels of resource supply. The bird's migration program guides them to areas where food availability has been high in the past. So what is interesting now is the bird's ability to adjust their migration patterns to match future changes in food availability."
In total, 38 individual birds were tracked to establish the migration routes. The common cuckoo was tracked using satellite tracking, while the smaller red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingale were tracked using light loggers. Thorup explains, "All three species have complex migration routes covering large parts of Europe and Africa with many stops along their way. Mapping their routes has only been possible using the newest available technology from satellite telemetry in cuckoos to small tags that log light-levels in red-backed shrikes and thrush nightingales."

Results of bird tracking in Europe and Africa. Credit: Science Advances
The study shows that the migration pattern in cuckoos matched high levels of green vegetation, whereas migration matched local vegetation peaks for red-backed shrikes and nightingales. Both green vegetation and vegetation peaks are presumably related to abundant food availability.
[Image: 1-routesofmigr.jpg]
Red-backed shrikes (Lanius collurio) on a branch. Credit: Per Ekberg
The scientist compared the observed migration route to projections of food availability for 2080. This showed a mismatch between seasonal resources and the birds' expected presence. Co-author Professor Carsten Rahbek from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate says, "We believe that birds' innate programmes to guide them over long distances must be adapted to the long-term average of food availability. Our results suggest that by the end of this century, climate change and other impacts on the food source like land use changes could negatively influence the birds' chances to find sufficient food."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: The cuckoo sheds new light on the scientific mystery of bird migration
More information: Resource tracking within and across continents in long-distance bird migrants, Science AdvancesDOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601360 

Read more at:

lastly I post this. What if birds are not exactly magneto-receptive but visually acute and spatio-temporally savants?
I mean,they don't have to waste their brainpower on keeping up with the kardashians etc...

Maybe they know where they are going because via epigenetic and tribal bird lore they just follow the leaders who are a year or more older and memorize the way...

Thanx wook!!!

Biologist disputes conclusions of recent papers on biological magnetism
December 23, 2016 by Robert Perkins

[Image: biologistdis.jpg]

Toss this in there too>>> Diamonds and Ducks are both "Carbon based units" youareaduck
gap in the atomic lattice of the diamond, known as a nitrogen vacancy defect.”

Diamonds That ‘Know Where They Are’ Could Make GPS Satellites Redundant
Engineered synthetic diamonds could replace global positioning systems and make driverless cars a reality due to their sensitivity to magnetic waves, scientists have claimed.

Experts at Oxfordshire-based tech company Element Six are researching the properties of crystals which contain a gap in the atomic lattice of the diamond, known as a “nitrogen vacancy defect.”
The team claim these lab-grown red diamonds demonstrate a remarkable sensitivity to magnetic waves and hope they could one day be tuned to pinpoint their location on the earth by reading magnetic waves from the sun.
Such an innovation would make GPS satellite navigation redundant and could make driverless cars a reality, as the diamonds are currently able to detect passing vehicles 300 meters away.
If you have a device that is capable of sensing the surrounding magnetic fields, it also knows where it is,” lead research scientist Richard Bodkin said.
So once you can harness all of those technologies into a single device, there is no reason why driverless cars can’t be realized.”
The research could also be used to replace MRI sensors, a medical scan which produces detailed images of inside the human body using nuclear magnetic resonance technology.
However such developments could be decades away, warned the team at Element Six, which is majority owned by diamond mining giant De Beers.
The firm currently focuses on developing diamond-edged cutting tools for heavy industry, such as drill bits for oil companies.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
(07-04-2016, 05:53 PM)EA Wrote: Quantum fragility may help birds navigate

Influence of Earth’s magnetic field on retinal chemistry could aid avian sense of direction
6:00AM, JUNE 27, 2016

[Image: 062415_ec_quantum-bird_free.jpg]
Migrating birds may find their way using sensitive quantum mechanical compasses.
“At first sight, you wouldn’t expect any chemical reaction to be affected by a magnetic field as weak as the Earth’s,” says study coauthor Peter Hore, a chemist at the University of Oxford. Quantum properties can strengthen a cryptochrome’s magnetic sensitivity, but their effect sticks around only for tiny fractions of a second. Any chemical reactions that could signal the bird would have to happen fast enough to skirt this breakdown.
D.R. Kattnig et al. Electron spin relaxation can enhance the performance of a cryptochrome-based magnetic compass sensorNew Journal of Physics. Vol. 18, June 2016, p. 063007. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/6/063007.

" Arrow ...reactions that could signal the bird would have to happen fast enough to skirt this breakdown

Introducing the lentiformis mesencephalic, or LM for short.

Hummingbirds see motion in an unexpected way

January 5, 2017

[Image: hummingbirds.jpg]
Male Anna's hummingbird near the UBC campus. Credit: Benny Goller
Have you ever imagined what the world must look like to hummingbirds as they zoom about at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour? According to new evidence on the way the hummingbird brain processes visual signals reported in Current Biology on January 5, you can't. That's because a key area of the hummingbird's brain processes motion in a unique and unexpected way.

"In all four-limbed vertebrates studied to date, most of the neurons in this [motion-detecting] brain area are tuned to detect motion coming from behind, such as would occur for an impending collision or when being attacked from behind by a predator," says Douglas Altshuler of the University of British Columbia. "We found that this brain area responds very differently in hummingbirds. Instead of most neurons being tuned to back-to-front motion, almost every neuron we found was tuned to a different direction. We also found that these neurons were most responsive to very fast motion."

The brain area in question is known in birds as the lentiformis mesencephalic, or LM for short. (In mammals, it's called the nucleus of the optic tract.) The LM is responsible for processing visual signals sent to the brain as images move across the retina.
The primary interest of the Altshuler lab is in understanding flight. To understand how birds fly, the researchers needed to understand how they see the world. Hummingbirds were of special interest because of their remarkable ability to zoom quickly and then stop to hover in place while sipping nectar in midair.
Earlier studies showed that the LM in hummingbirds is enlarged in comparison to that of other birds. Scientists also knew that hummingbirds monitor and correct for any minor drift in their position as they hover. Those findings had led researchers to suggest that the hummingbird brain might be specially attuned to pick up on slow movements.
To test that hypothesis in the new study, post-doc and first author of the new study Andrea Gaede recorded neural activity in the LMs of six Anna's hummingbirds and ten zebra finches as the birds watched computer-generated dots move in various directions. Contrary to expectations, the recordings showed that hummingbirds are most sensitive to fast visual motion. What's more, unlike other birds, the hummingbirds responded to movement in any direction about equally. That is, their LM neurons aren't specially attuned to movements in the forward direction as in other animals. The researchers suggest that their visual abilities may play a role in dynamic behaviors, including competitive interactions, high-speed courtship displays, and insect foraging.
"This study provides compelling support for the hypothesis that the avian brain is specialized for flight and that hummingbirds are a powerful model for studying stabilization doink-head," Gaede says.
Gaede says her next step is to investigate the response properties of other nuclei involved in this visual motion-processing pathway, with the ultimate goal of understanding how neural activity in the hummingbird brain is translated into specific flight behaviors.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Hummingbird's hover surprisingly easy to hack
More information: Current Biology, Gaede et al.: "Neurons Responsive to Global Visual Motion Have Unique Tuning Properties in Hummingbirds" 10.1016/j.cub.2016.11.041 
Journal reference: Current Biology [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Cell Press

almost every neuron we found was tuned to a different direction.
[Image: biologistdis.jpg]
Read more at:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
(01-04-2017, 04:52 PM)EA Wrote: Posted by EA - Friday, December 23rd, 2016, 02:10 pm
Biologist disputes conclusions of recent papers on biological magnetism
December 23, 2016 by Robert Perkins

[Image: biologistdis.jpg]

On the question of magneto-reception in insects...???

Walking backwards looking forward...When I Am @ work eye do it everyday,no hocus pocus

Ants find their way even when going backwards
[Image: 170119125404_1_540x360.jpg]
An international team including researchers at the university of Edinburgh and Antoine Wystrach of the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (CNRS/Université Toulouse III -- Paul Sabatier) has shown that ants can get their bearings whatever the orientation of their body. Their brains may be smaller than the head of a pin, but ants are excellent navigators that use celestial and terrestrial cues to memorize their paths. To do so, they use several regions of the brain simultaneously, proving once again that the brain of insects is more complex than thought. The researchers' findings were published in Current Biology on January 19, 2017.

Until now, ethological research suggested that ants memorized the scenery perceived along their route as it is projected on their multifaceted retinas -- thus using a body-centered, or egocentric, frame of reference. By this hypothesis, to recognize memorized surroundings and follow a path formerly traveled, ants would need to orient their bodies in the same way each time. 

But they sometimes need to walk backwards as well, and this doesn't prevent them from finding their way back to their nest. Could it be that ants can recognize a route when facing the opposite direction? Are they able to create a visual model of their environment that is independent of their body orientation?

To answer these questions, the researchers studied Cataglyphis velox, an Andalusian desert ant known for its solo navigation ability. First they let the insects familiarize themselves with a route that included a 90° turn. After a day of training, ants that received a cookie crumb light enough to carry while walking forward handled the turn without the slightest difficulty. However, those given large cookie crumbs had to move backward, and unlike the others, they maintained their bearing instead of turning.
They also exhibited unexpected behavior: After walking backward a bit, they would occasionally drop their crumb, turn around, observe the scenery while pointing their bodies in the right direction, return to the crumb, and resume towing it backward -- but this time in the correct direction. For these ants, body alignment thus seems necessary for recognition of scenery perceived by their retinas, but they are then able to memorize the new bearing and follow it backward. This behavior also shows that they can recall the existence of the dropped cookie crumb, and its location, in order to return to it after updating their bearing. These observations imply that at least 3 kinds of memory are working in unison: the visual memory of the route, the memory of the new direction to follow, and the memory of the crumb to retrieve.
Through another experiment using a mirror to reflect the sun1, the team demonstrated that the ants used celestial cues to maintain their bearing while walking backwards. Furthermore, ants were able to move in straight paths, whether walking forward, backward, or sideways. Once a bearing is memorized, they stay on it no matter how their bodies are oriented. Together these observations suggest that ants register direction using an external -- or allocentric -- frame of reference.
These new findings show that the ants' spatial orientation relies on multiple mental representations and memories woven together through a flow of information between several areas of their brain. This offers a whole new perspective on the world of insects, which is much more complex than previously believed.
This is a variation of an experiment performed over 100 years ago by Félix Santschi, who used mirrors to change ants' perception of the sun's location.

Journal Reference:

  1. Schwarz S, Mangan M, Zeil J, Webb B, Wystrach A. How ants use vision when homing backwardCurrent Biology, January 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.019

CNRS. "Ants find their way even when going backwards." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2017. <>.

I don't know about Magneto Receptive Humans???
I can Vouch for the mental mapping of the environment and where I Am in relation to it.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
great posts about birds and ants, thanks

This summer I had to remove a carpenter ant infestation in roof rafters of the storage shed.
The damage they did and the water damage took weeks to repair.

Once I had the triple roof rafter interior exposed and I cut into the central board,
where they had the huge nest,
I could take the vacuum cleaner and hose hundreds of them away into ant oblivion.
They were all scurrying away with carpenter ant eggs as fast as possible.
I saw many times the ants moving backwards into holes with ant eggs.

Then I noticed one ant turn towards me ... Damned
he broke away from the overall escape pattern,
came up closer to a higher vista on the exposed roof rafter,
and then looked straight up at my face in an odd pose, in a very unusual behavior.

The ant wanted to see or perceive what was causing the ant genocide that it was witnessing.

I thought to myself ...
good thing this ant is a tiny monster that I can squash at will,
because if it was big enough it would rip my limbs from my body, 
and carry them away backwards down that dark ant hole Scream

(01-22-2017, 02:52 AM)Vianova Wrote: Then I noticed one ant turn towards me ... Damned
he broke away from the overall escape pattern,
came up closer to a higher vista on the exposed roof rafter,
and then looked straight up at my face in an odd pose, in a very unusual behavior.

The ant wanted to see or perceive what was causing the ant genocide that it was witnessing.

I thought to myself ...
good thing this ant is a tiny monster that I can squash at will,
because if it was big enough it would rip my limbs from my body, 
and carry them away backwards down that dark ant hole Scream

Instead of a nice piece of black Jadite, please send me some of those very NICE mushrooms you find on your juants...would certainly pay some $ for some Mind-Ant 'experiences'. Hi

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Modifying the composition of magnetite to enable it to convert sunlight into electrical current
January 23, 2017

[Image: modifyingthe.png]
Structural diagram showing electron hopping from an Fe2+ ion at an octahedral (B) site to an Fe3+ ion at a tetrahedral (A) site in Fe2CrO4. Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Mined to make the first compass needles, the mineral magnetite is also made by migratory birds and other animals to allow them to sense north and south and thus navigate in cloudy or dark atmospheric conditions or under water. A team of scientists has compositionally modified magnetite to capture visible sunlight and convert this light energy into electrical current. This current may be useful to drive the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The team generated this material by replacing one third of the iron atoms with chromium atoms. 

The team is from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and includes researchers from EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science user facility, and Argonne National Laboratory.
Generating materials that can harness the power of the sun to make a combustible fuel such as hydrogen, which would have no carbon footprint, represents an extremely attractive pathway to new clean energy sources. Without alternatives to fossil fuel, we are committed to steadily increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the oceans, with the attendant deleterious effects on greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere and ocean acidification.
By taking advantage of the compositional precision, purity, and low defect densities found in oxide films prepared by molecular beam epitaxy, the team showed that an unusual semiconducting phase, which is ferrimagnetic well above room temperature and absorbs light in the visible portion of the solar electromagnetic spectrum, can be stabilized on magnesium oxide (MgO(001)) substrates. 
This phase results when precisely one third of the iron (Fe) in magnetite (Fe3O4) is replaced with chromium (Cr). The investigation revealed that chromium ions, Cr3+, substitute for iron exclusively at octahedral sites in the spinel lattice, occupying half of these sites. As a result, the charge transport mechanism involves electron hopping between iron cations at octahedral and tetrahedral sites in the lattice.
Having shown that chemically modified magnetite (Fe2CrO4) meets the basic criteria required for an air stable, visible light photocatalyst, the investigators plan to carry out experiments in which they will transfer freshly grown Fe2CrO4 surfaces to a photoelectrochemical cell under a dry nitrogen atmosphere to avoid picking up surface carbon contamination. There they will measure the photocatalytic activity for the oxygen evolution and hydrogen evolution reactions, as occur when light energy is successfully used to break water down into useable fuel.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New method to reduce the optical band gap of strontium titantate thin films
Provided by: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Read more at:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Why the Earth's magnetic poles could be about to swap places – and how it would affect us
January 27, 2017 by Phil Livermore And Jon Mound, The Conversation

[Image: whytheearths.jpg]
The Earth’s magnetic field is hugely important to our survival. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre/Flickr, CC BY-SA
The Earth's magnetic field surrounds our planet like an invisible force field – protecting life from harmful solar radiation by deflecting charged particles away. Far from being constant, this field is continuously changing. Indeed, our planet's history includes at least several hundred global magnetic reversals, where north and south magnetic poles swap places. So when's the next one happening and how will it affect life on Earth?

During a reversal the magnetic field won't be zero, but will assume a weaker and more complex form. It may fall to 10% of the present-day strength and have magnetic poles at the equator or even the simultaneous existence of multiple "north" and "south" magnetic poles.
Geomagnetic reversals occur a few times every million years on average. However, the interval between reversals is very irregular and can range up to tens of millions of years.
There can also be temporary and incomplete reversals, known as events and excursions, in which the magnetic poles move away from the geographic poles – perhaps even crossing the equator – before returning back to their original locations. The last full reversal, the Brunhes-Matuyama, occurred around 780,000 years ago. A temporary reversal, the Laschamp event, occurred around 41,000 years ago. It lasted less than 1,000 years with the actual change of polarity lasting around 250 years.
Power cut or mass extinction?
The alteration in the magnetic field during a reversal will weaken its shielding effect, allowing heightened levels of radiation on and above the Earth's surface. Were this to happen today, the increase in charged particles reaching the Earth would result in increased risks for satellites, aviation, and ground-based electrical infrastructure. Geomagnetic storms, driven by the interaction of anomalously large eruptions of solar energy with our magnetic field, give us a foretaste of what we can expect with a weakened magnetic shield.
[Image: 1-whytheearths.jpg]
Aurora borealis. Credit: Soerfm/wikipedia, CC BY-SA
In 2003, the so-called Halloween storm caused local electricity-grid blackouts in Sweden, required the rerouting of flights to avoid communication blackout and radiation risk, and disrupted satellites and communication systems. But this storm was minor in comparison with other storms of the recent past, such as the 1859 Carrington event, which caused aurorae as far south as the Caribbean.

The impact of a major storm on today's electronic infrastructure is not fully known. Of course any time spent without electricity, heating, air conditioning, GPS or internet would have a major impact; widespread blackouts could result in economic disruption measuring in tens of billions of dollars a day.
In terms of life on Earth and the direct impact of a reversal on our species we cannot definitively predict what will happen as modern humans did not exist at the time of the last full reversal. Several studies have tried to link past reversals with mass extinctions – suggesting some reversals and episodes of extended volcanism could be driven by a common cause. However, there is no evidence of any impending cataclysmic volcanism and so we would only likely have to contend with the electromagnetic impact if the field does reverse relatively soon.
We do know that many animal species have some form of magnetoreception that enables them to sense the Earth's magnetic field. They may use this to assist in long-distance navigation during migration. But it is unclear what impact a reversal might have on such species. What is clear is that early humans did manage to live through the Laschamp event and life itself has survived the hundreds of full reversals evidenced in the geologic record.
[Image: 588b31a7dfebc.gif]
Magnetic reversal. Credit: NASA
Can we predict geomagnetic reversals?
The simple fact that we are "overdue" for a full reversal and the fact that the Earth's field is currently decreasing at a rate of 5% per century, has led to suggestions that the field may reverse within the next 2,000 years. But pinning down an exact date – at least for now – will be difficult.
The Earth's magnetic field is generated within the liquid core of our planet, by the slow churning of molten iron. Like the atmosphere and oceans, the way in which it moves is governed by the laws of physics. We should therefore be able to predict the "weather of the core" by tracking this movement, just like we can predict real weather by looking at the atmosphere and ocean. A reversal can then be likened to a particular type of storm in the core, where the dynamics – and magnetic field – go haywire (at least for a short while), before settling down again.
The difficulties of predicting the weather beyond a few days are widely known, despite us living within and directly observing the atmosphere. Yet predicting the Earth's core is a far more difficult prospect, principally because it is buried beneath 3,000km of rock such that our observations are scant and indirect. However, we are not completely blind: we know the major composition of the material inside the core and that it is liquid. A global network of ground-based observatories and orbiting satellites also measure how the magnetic field is changing, which gives us insight into how the liquid core is moving.
The recent discovery of a jet-stream within the core highlights our evolving ingenuity and increasing ability to measure and infer the dynamics of the core. Coupled with numerical simulations and laboratory experiments to study the fluid dynamics of the planet's interior, our understanding is developing at a rapid rate. The prospect of being able to forecast the Earth's core is perhaps not too far out of reach.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Marine sediments record variations in the Earth's magnetic field
Provided by: The Conversation

Read more at:[/url][url=]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Our Supermassive Black Hole Could Be 'Supercharging' Stars' Magnetism
[Image: 26459820962_9db0403650_b.jpg]

Our Supermassive Black Hole Could Be 'Supercharging' Stars' Magnetism
By Elizabeth Howell, Seeker | February 3, 2017 01:02am ET
[Image: supermassive-black-hole-magnetism.jpg?in...side|660:*]
Credit: Guillochon & McCourt

For a supermassive black hole that's so close to us, we still have a lot to learn about Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the singularity in the center of the Milky Way.

As astronomers work to learn more about the environment it, a new paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters makes predictions about what would happen to young, highly magnetized stars in Sgr A*'s vicinity. It's the first time a star's magnetic field has been included in simulations where a black hole tidally disrupted a star, meaning the star is pulled apart and stretched.
"Magnetic fields are a bit tricky numerically to simulate," James Guillochon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Seeker. In the past, it's been hard to put magnetic fields in context with other influences on a star, such as gas pressure and gravity. This is especially true towards the boundary or atmosphere of the star.

The simulations show that if a star gets a "glancing blow" from a black hole, it can survive the encounter and its magnetic field amplifies strongly, by a factor of about 30. But if the star gets very close to the black hole, the star is tidally destroyed and the magnetic field maintains its strength.

[Image: hubble-milky-way.jpg?1486102075?interpol...ize=*:1400]A Hubble Space Telescope infrared view of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The inset shows X-rays in the region around Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's heart.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al., IR: NASA/STScI

"One of the immediate impacts is that we might see highly magnetized stars in the centers of galaxies, and that includes our own galactic center," Guillochon added. "We also would expect this to affect the resulting flare that arises from the disruption of the star by the supermassive black hole. Half the matter of the star falls on to the black hole and feeds it, and that generates a luminous flare of a billion or 10 billion solar luminosities."

A star disruption should theoretically be visible in our own galactic center, but Guillochon says that only happens about once every 10,000 years or so. Luckily, the stream of the disrupted star can persist for centuries, feeding the black hole.

Guillochon co-wrote a paper a couple of years ago about G2, a gas cloud falling into the galactic center in 2014 that produced far less activity than expected. It suggests that G2 could have been produced by the disruption of a red giant star, and its gas envelope is still feeding the black hole today.

He suggested that G2-like clouds would form by "clumping up" due to cooling instabilities, which would put regular deliveries of a G2-type cloud once every decade. When the material is highly magnetized, co-author Michael McCourt has previously suggested that the fields can help stabilize the clouds and prevent them from breaking apart. If the pattern holds true, highly magnetized clouds would continue to pass near the black hole over the next several decades.
That said, the challenge of learning about stars that survive disruption in the galactic center is they tend to be lower mass and hard to see. How many of them are magnetized, and how strongly, remains an open question, Guillochon said. Below is a short animation simulating a star's magnetic field being torn apart by a black hole.

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
How desert ants find their way in a featureless environment
February 16, 2017
[Image: 170216103915_1_540x360.jpg]
[i]Credit: Matthias Wittlinger[/i]

These desert ants live in salt pans and are ideal models for navigation research. When they set out in search of food in their flat, bare, hostile environment, they are nevertheless always able to find their way back to their nest on the shortest route possible. They have an internal navigation system. The ants measure the distance they have gone by recording how many steps they have taken -- and they use the sun for directional orientation, taking into account its movement over time via their own internal clock. A team of researchers led by Dr. Matthias Wittlinger of the University of Freiburg developed a tiny treadmill, on which the ants behave just as they do in the wild. "This gives us almost unlimited possibilities to test the mechanisms and neural basis of our model animal's spatial orientation and navigation -- in the laboratory," says Wittlinger. "We can place the ants in a virtual world and incorporate certain changes into it to see how they react." The the experiments are expected to yield information which will be useful in the development of autonomous robots as well as in other areas. The team of biologists published their results in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Journal Reference:

  1. Hansjürgen Dahmen, Verena L. Wahl, Sarah E. Pfeffer, Hanspeter A. Mallot, Matthias Wittlinger. Naturalistic path integration of Cataglyphis desert ants on an air-cushioned lightweight spherical treadmillThe Journal of Experimental Biology, 2017; 220 (4): 634 DOI:10.1242/jeb.148213

University of Freiburg. "How desert ants find their way in a featureless environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2017. <>
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:The findings add eels to a growing list of animals, including salmon and sea turtles, with the ability to navigate based on a magnetic "sixth sense." 

Read more at:

With magnetic map, young eels catch a 'free ride' to Europe
April 13, 2017

Each year, young European eels make their way from breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea to coastal and freshwater habitats from North Africa to Scandinavia, where they live for several years before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and then die, beginning the cycle again. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 13 have new insight into how the young eels make such a remarkable journey.

They do it thanks to a built-in ability to detect slight differences in the earth's magnetic field. This "map sense" helps them swim in the direction of the Gulf Stream, the ocean current that transports them to Europe.
"We were not surprised to find that eels have a magnetic map, but we were surprised to discover how well they can detect subtle differences in magnetic fields," says Lewis Naisbett-Jones at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "We were even more surprised when our ocean simulation models revealed that the little eels use their map not so much to locate Europe, but to target a big conveyor belt—the Gulf Stream—that will take them there. Presumably, a little bit of work (i.e., swimming) helps increase their chances of catching a mostly free ride to their destination."
To show that juvenile eels detect magnetic fields and modify their behaviour accordingly, Naisbett-Jones along with Nathan Putman of the University of Miami and their colleagues used a "magnetic displacement" experiment. They built an experimental apparatus that allowed them to create magnetic fields that exist at different locations along the eel's oceanic migratory route. They then placed young eels inside the apparatus and recorded which direction they moved in each magnetic field.
Eels exposed to magnetic fields that exist at two locations along the migratory pathway oriented in different directions, the researchers report. To investigate how this movement might affect their migration, the researchers relied on computer simulations of ocean currents. Those simulations showed that if young eels swim even weakly in the directions the researchers observed under their experimental conditions, many more of them would successfully enter the Gulf Stream, and therefore reach Europe.
The findings add eels to a growing list of animals, including salmon and sea turtles, with the ability to navigate based on a magnetic "sixth sense." The findings might be used to better predict shifts in the eels' migratory routes and thus variability in recruitment and catch of European eels, which represent one of Europe's most important fisheries.
Putman and Naisbett-Jones say the next challenge is to test whether adults use a magnetic map, as well, to help them relocate the Sargasso Sea.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Study shows European eel migration not as uniform and simple as thought
More information: Current Biology, Naisbett-Jones and Putnam et. al.: "A Magnetic Map Leads Juvenile European Eels to the Gulf Stream." 10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.015 
Journal reference: Current Biology [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Cell Press

Read more at:

Quote:The findings add eels to a growing list of animals, including salmon and sea turtles, with the ability to navigate based on a magnetic "sixth sense." 

Read more at:

Compare: Arrow RE: A Sixth Sense? Magneto Receptive Humans??
Quote:Whereas humans can look at a complex landscape like a mountain vista and almost immediately orient themselves to navigate its multiple regions over long distances, other mammals such as rodents orient relative to physical cues—like approaching and sniffing a wall—that build up over time.

Read more at:

[/url]Human cognitive map scales according to surroundings

April 13, 2017

[Image: humancogniti.png]
A depiction of an individual engaged in navigating a virtual reality using the entorhinal cortex of the brain.  Credit: UT Austin Human Brain Stimulation and Electrophysiology Lab
A new study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences refines our understanding of a human skill—the ability to instantaneously assess a new environment and get oriented thanks to visual cues.

Whereas humans can look at a complex landscape like a mountain vista and almost immediately orient themselves to navigate its multiple regions over long distances, other mammals such as rodents orient relative to physical cues—like approaching and sniffing a wall—that build up over time.
The way humans navigate their surroundings and understand their relative position includes an environment-dependent scaling mechanism, an adaptive coordinate system with differences from other mammals, according to the study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
"Our research, based on human data, redefines the fundamental properties of the internal coordinate system," said Zoltan Nadasdy, lead author of the study and an adjunct assistant professor in the university's Department of Psychology. Nadasdy is also a researcher at Eötvös Loránd University and the Sarah Cannon Research Institute at St. David's Medical Center.
"Dysfunction in this system causes memory problems and disorientation, such as we see in Alzheimer's disease and age-related decline. So, it's vital that we continue to further our understanding of this part of the brain," he said.
Through a partnership with Seton Healthcare Family, the researchers in the UT Austin Human Brain Stimulation and Electrophysiology Lab were able to measure relevant brain activity of epileptic patients whose diagnostic procedure requires that they have electrodes planted in the entorhinal cortex of the brain. Neurons there serve as the internal coordinate system for humans. (The brains of individuals with epilepsy function normally when not undergoing a seizure.)
Patients performed a virtual navigation task on a tablet computer in four environments daily for seven to eight consecutive days. By measuring their brain activity, the researchers identified three previously unknown traits of the system:
  • Humans rescale their internal coordinate system according to the size of each new environment. This flexibility differs from rodents' rigid map that has a constant grid scale and empowers humans to navigate diverse places.

  • When seeking navigational cues in any given location, humans automatically align their internal compass with the corners and shape of the space. In contrast, rodents do so relative to the walls of the environment through physical exploration.

  • The nature of the coordinate system differs between humans and rodents—Cartesian and hexagonal respectively.
The findings illuminate the fabric of the human memory and spatial navigation, which are vulnerable to disease and deterioration. Deeper knowledge of these neuronal mechanisms can inform the development of techniques to prolong the health of this part of the brain and combat diseases such as Alzheimer's.

The study builds on earlier Nobel Prize-winning research exploring the entorhinal cortex of rodents. Due to the differences discovered between the human and rodent systems of navigation, the researchers emphasize that generalizing results from studies on animal subjects may provide inaccurate conjectures.
This study is one of the few on human subjects that report on the activity of individual neuron behavior, said György Buzsáki, an expert from New York University Medical Center who was not involved in the research.
"They not only confirm a previous report but extend the findings by showing that the size of the neuronal representation by entorhinal grid cells scales with the environment," Buzsáki said.
"Our hypothesis is challenging the definition of a universal spatial scale of environment predominant in lower mammals, which may open up important avenues of discovery," said Robert Buchanan, another lead author on the study and an associate professor at Dell Medical School. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the university's Department of Psychology and a chief of neurosurgery at Seton Brain and Spine Institute.
"Now, we can continue to explore this key component of what it means to be human—how we think about our past and future, how we imagine and plan," Buchanan said.
By using virtual reality, the researchers also refined a new experimental technology for facilitating spatial experiences that can't be reproduced in a laboratory. The data implies that humans can seamlessly switch between reality and virtual reality—a finding that can be applied in other studies of the brain.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Speed data for the brain's navigation system
More information: Zoltan Nadasdy et al. Context-dependent spatially periodic activity in the human entorhinal cortex, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1701352114 
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Texas at Austin

Read more at:[url=]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
You're gonna hate me, EA but I'd love to introduce this maverick to some mavericks who thought the same maverick thing 25 maverick years ago.

[Image: quote-goldfish-have-no-memory-i-guess-th...-45-86.jpg]
Remember, kids - Uncle Sam is depending on your short-term memory loss!

[Image: palin-mavrick2.gif]
You betcha!

One day I was just out there in the potting shed just minding my own damn business potting up some Compass Plants and I get to thinking, "What kind of damn fool weed have we got here that's always trying to point north and south?" and next you know another maverick was born.
"Work and pray, live on hay, you'll get Pie In The Sky when you die." - Joe Hill, "The Preacher and the Slave" 1911

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)