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Gold could be used to treat cancer, scientists say

Tiny flecks of gold could be used in the fight against cancer, new research has suggested. Scientists at Edinburgh University have just completed a study which shows the precious metal increased the effectiveness of drugs used to treat lung cancer cells. Minute fragments, known as gold nanoparticles, were encased in a chemical device by the research team.

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A naked singularity: Can we spot the most extreme object in the universe?

A team of scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, India, have found new ways to detect a bare or naked singularity, the most extreme object in the universe.When the fuel of a very massive star is spent, it collapses due to its own gravitational pull and eventually becomes a very small region of arbitrarily high matter density, that is a ‘Singularity’, where the usual laws of physics may breakdown. If this singularity is hidden within an event horizon, which is an invisible closed surface from which nothing, not even light, can escape, then we call this object a black hole. In such a case, we cannot see the singularity and we do not need to bother about its effects. But what if the event horizon does not form? In fact, Einstein’s theory of general relativity does predict such a possibility when massive stars collapse at the end of their life-cycles. In this case, we are left with the tantalizing option of observing a naked singularity.$$!ad_code_content_spilt_video_ad!$$An important question then is, how to observationally distinguish a naked singularity from a black hole. Einstein’s theory predicts an interesting effect: the fabric of spacetime in the vicinity of any rotating object gets ‘twisted’ due to this rotation. This effect causes a gyroscope spin and makes orbits of particles around these astrophysical objects precess. The TIFR team has recently argued that the rate at which a gyroscope precesses (the precession frequency), when placed around a rotating black hole or a naked singularity, could be used to identify this rotating object. Here is a simple way to describe their results. If an astronaut records a gyroscope’s precession frequency at two fixed points close to the rotating object, then two possibilities can be seen: (1) the precession frequency of the gyroscope changes by an arbitrarily large amount, that is, there is a wild change in the behaviour of the gyroscope; and (2) the precession frequency changes by a small amount, in a regular well-behaved manner. For the case (1), the rotating object is a black hole, while for the case (2), it is a naked singularity.

The TIFR team, namely, Dr. Chandrachur Chakraborty, Mr. Prashant Kocherlakota, Prof. Sudip Bhattacharyya and Prof. Pankaj Joshi, in collaboration with a Polish team comprising Dr. Mandar Patil and Prof. Andrzej Krolak, has in fact shown that the precession frequency of a gyroscope orbiting a black hole or a naked singularity is sensitive to the presence of an event horizon. A gyroscope circling and approaching the event horizon of a black hole from any direction behaves increasingly ‘wildly,’ that is, it precesses increasingly faster, without a bound. But, in the case of a naked singularity, the precession frequency becomes arbitrarily large only in the equatorial plane, but being regular in all other planes.$$!ad_code_content_spilt_video_ad2!$$The TIFR team has also found that the precession of orbits of matter falling into a rotating black hole or a naked singularity can be used to distinguish these exotic objects. This is because the orbital plane precession frequency increases as the matter approaches a rotating black hole, but this frequency can decrease and even become zero for a rotating naked singularity. This finding could be used to distinguish a naked singularity from a black hole in reality, because the precession frequencies could be measured in X-ray wavelengths, as the infalling matter radiates X-rays.Provided by: Tata Institute of Fundamental ResearchJournal reference: Physical Review D – Chandrachur Chakraborty et al, Spin precession in a black hole and naked singularity spacetimes

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People who love chocolate are more likely to be clever

Good news for chocolate lovers: eating the sweet treat has been found to have a positive association with cognitive performance, according to a new study. Published in the journal Appetite, researchers used data collected from a Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS), in which 968 people aged between 23 and 98 were measured for dietary intake and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as cognitive function.  

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Why Middle-Class Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Liberal Cities

Blue America has a problem: Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing.

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Why Middle-Class Americans Can't Afford to Live in Liberal Cities

Blue America has a problem: Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing.

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Two quantum properties teleported together for first time – physicsworld.com

Spin and orbital angular momentum transferred between photons

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The Near Future Of Implantable Technology

Jennifer French is the 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, a silver medalist in sailing, and a quadriplegic. She is the first woman to receive the implanted Stand and Transfer system, an experimental device that uses implanted electrodes and an external control device.

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Fungus Turns Ants Into Zombie Antpocalypse

The zombie ant fungus takes control of carpenter ant brains and forces them to die at the entrance of nests, then infect other ants and repeat the process.

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Cellular Surgeons: The New Era of Nanomedicine

Pills the size of molecules to seek and destroy tumors. Miniscule robots performing surgery inside patients with a precision never before achieved. Nanobots, a billionth of a meter across, fixing mutations in DNA, or repairing neurons in your brain. Such are the possibilities as medicine enters the nano-era.

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Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world

Scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets.

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New suspect identified in supernova explosion

New results have revealed a rare example of a type Ia supernova in which a dead star “fed” off an aging star like a cosmic zombie, triggering a blast.

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Was That Just a Gamma Ray Burst in Andromeda?! (Updated: No, but still cool.)

The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission just saw something bright in the Andromeda Galaxy. It was either a Gamma-Ray Burst or an Ultraluminous X-Ray Object, but either way it will be the closest event we've ever observed. …unless it's just a known X-ray object, a programming bug, and a thunderstorm..