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Science Technology

MesoSPIMs: Custom-built microscopes that can scan individual neurons in the brain

MesoSPIMs are open-source light-sheet microscopes for imaging cleared tissue.

The custom-built microscopes enable scientists to look at individual neurons using sheets of light rather than cutting a brain into slices.

A chicken embryo captured under the mesoSPIM microscope

The mesoSPIM Initiative paves the way for the future discovery and understanding of the brain’s complex organization. The studies may one day reveal vital information on the neuronal networks that drive mental illnesses and addictions.

Categories
Architecture & Design Nature Science

How the Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world

The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products despite being 237 times smaller in land area than the world’s export leader, the United States.

That’s according to a fascinating article on Netherlands agriculture density through “architecture“ (ie., extensive use of greenhouses) as examined by Arch Daily:

“Dutch agriculture is defined by vast landscapes of greenhouses, some covering 175 acres, which dominate the architectural landscape of South Holland. In total, the country contains 36 square miles of greenhouses, an area 56% larger than the island of Manhattan.”

Photographer Tom Hegen has captured these sprawling greenhouses from above in a mesmerizing series entitled “The Greenhouse Series.”

Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with using less land, by growing crops indoors. At inside temperatures above 20 degrees, constant humidity of around 80 percent and the use of LED lighting to permit precisely cultivation, in order to produce year-round. The indoor gardens provide growing conditions for plants like tomatoes, peppers or strawberries around the clock and in every kind of weather, which doubles the average yield of an outdoor farm.

How a country so small and very dense — 507 people per square kilometer — can also produce heaps of crop indoors to become a world-leading agricultural exporter is astonishing.

Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world
Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world
Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world
Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world
Netherlands use agricultural density through “architecture“ to feed the world
Categories
Space

Breathtaking views of the Earth from the International Space Station

Ever wanted to see Planet Earth from 248 miles away?

Now you can, thanks to these epic views of our planet from the International Space Station in the thermosphere.

Watch the crescent Earth rotate among the solar panels and the sun in various views as the International Space Station orbits Earth at 17,500mph.

Stunning. And be sure to follow the International Space Station on Twitter for more live shots.

views of the Earth from the International Space Station
views of the Earth from the International Space Station
views of the Earth from the International Space Station

Videos via Nasa/Images via Astro_Jessica

Categories
Science Technology

Google achieves “quantum supremacy” with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor

Image via Google

Google confirmed that it has officially achieved achieved quantum supremacy with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor.

Writes Engineering Director Hartmut Neven on Google’s blog:

Today, the scientific journal Nature has published the results of Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer that can perform a task no classical computer can; this is known in the field as “quantum supremacy.” In practical terms, our chip, which we call Sycamore, performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.

IBM has downplayed the innovation saying that the the classical computer can run the same simulation in 2.5 days.

Writes the IBM Research Blog, “We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.”

IBM also said that Google “failed to fully account for plentiful disk storage” in a traditional supercomputer to exaggerate the supremacy of its machine.

Both Google and IBM make valid points, with the objective takeaway being how quantum computing will make its way into everyday tasks and how much more potential there is in classical computing.

Either way, the 54-qubit Sycamore processor is a far cry from the 5MB hard drive that IBM released in 1956 that weighed over a ton.

Categories
Animals Nature

A backpack that allows you to take your kitty anywhere

Ever wanted to take your kitty for a long walk through nature?

This pet carrier breathable backpack made by Lollimeow allows owners to take their fellow felines wherever the human wants to go.

The bag contains a bubble window for hiking with 9 large ventilation holes on both sides and the front.

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag

There are obvious space and safety issues with the bag. Imagine using this on a hot day, not to mention potential bathroom mishaps.

Some folks might prefer to take their cats for a walk on a leash or in a stroller.

Of course, the ideal scenario for any curious cat is freedom from the tyranny of indoors.

All in all, the backpack may come most handy as a convenient go-to traveler for short trips to the vet. But it’s also airline approved!

Use wisely.