Explorers discover huge ‘lost’ cave with 3 floors & giant hall in Antarctica (PHOTOS)

Polar explorers have discovered a monumental “lost” ice cave with three floors, a giant hall, 200 meters of walkways, several lakes and a river hidden in Antarctica.

The mysterious cave was found on Galindez Island, where explorers from the Ukranian Antarctic Expedition (UAE) are based. There was a known entrance to the cave opposite the island’s shore station, however several years ago the opening was blocked when a glacier shifted into the ocean.

The team searched tirelessly to find another entrance into the cave. After several unsuccessful attempts, they found an opening at an old British base – only to discover that the cave is actually three times larger than the team previously thought.

READ MORE: 118yo painting discovered in mint condition in Antarctica (PHOTO)

On the bottom floor of the magnificent cavern the team found a frozen lake and a giant hall that is almost as high as a four-storey building (12 meters), eight meters wide and a whopping 30 meters long. Over the cave’s three floors and about 200 meters of walkways, the team also discovered an ice river and a bird’s feather in an ice block some 20 meters (65ft) below the surface.

‘Pluto is a planet’: NASA official risks sparking science civil war with controversial declaration

One brave NASA administrator is refusing to bow to the prevailing scientific consensus, and is risking potential ostracization or, worse still, online ridicule, for proudly declaring that “Pluto is a planet.”

Saturday, August 24, 2019 marked 13 years to the day since Pluto was demoted from having the status of a planet to being assigned that of a dwarf planet, by the International Astronomical Union (our solar system’s resident’s association of scientific fuddy-duddies). 

But now, in what history may record as either a brave call to arms, beseeching the scientific community to band together against the tyranny of the IAU or, more likely, an off-the-cuff, likely tongue-in-cheek remark, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had declared his unwavering belief that Pluto is indeed a planet. “I’m sticking by that, it’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it,” Bridenstine boldly declared.

@CReppWx My favorite soundbyte of the day that probably won't make it to TV. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a Pluto Supporter, I really appreciated this. #9wx#PlutoLoversRejoice @JimBridenstine

Regardless of how his comments were intended, there are still members of the scientific community fighting the good fight to restore Pluto to full planetary status and renew its membership in the Solar System Planet Club.

Pluto was originally demoted as it had not cleared its planetary neighborhood (the Kuiper belt) of cosmic debris, angering the uptight Galactic Residents’ Association back on Earth.

Also on rt.com NASA celebrates anniversary of Pluto mission with stunning flyover movie (VIDEO)...

There was also a certain degree of NIMBY-ism behind the decision: astronomers had discovered multiple objects in our solar system that were indeed larger than Pluto (including Eris). Does this mean that these should all be declared planets? This could set up a slippery slope for chain migration by unscrupulous dwarf planets trying to force their way into the solar system’s exclusive planetary club, making a mockery of the IAU’s byzantine rules and regulations. 

Proponents of the restoration of Pluto’s planetary status point to its multilayered atmosphere, the presence of organic compounds on its surface, the fact that it has weather, avalanches, plutoquakes and possibly even liquid oceans, in addition to its own moons, as more than sufficient evidence of its rightful place among the stars.

Also on rt.com Pluto may boast massive life-supporting hidden ocean and water-spewing icy volcanoes...

Bridenstine’s comments sparked an outpouring of support for Pluto on Twitter, with many weighing in to offer their backing for reinstating Pluto’s planetary status. “It’s round, has weather, has several moons, orbits the Sun. It’s a god-damned planet,” one commenter wrote. “The first crime in space was kicking Pluto out of the planet club,” another added, riffing on a news story from last week. However, many others were just immensely fatigued by the entire row.

Interestingly, Bridenstine’s position is also supported by planetary scientist Alan Stern, leader of NASA’s New Horizons mission. 

“The New Horizons project, like a growing number of the public, and many hundreds if not thousands of professional research astronomers and planetary scientists, will not recognise the IAU’s planet definition resolution of Aug. 24, 2006,” Ster wrote previously. 

The ongoing controversy famously featured in an episode of the wildly popular Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, where one character is widely mocked and ridiculed for sharing his belief that Pluto is indeed a planet declaring that, “If it can be a planet, it can be a planet again!”

World's First Battery-Powered Cruise Ship To Sail For The Arctic

Oslo: The world's first cruise ship propelled partially by battery power is set to head out from northern Norway on its maiden voyage, cruise operator Hurtigruten said on Monday.

The hybrid expedition cruise ship, the Roald Amundsen, can take 500 passengers and is designed to sail in harsh climate waters.

Named after the Norwegian explorer who navigated the Northwest Passage in 1903-1906 and was first to reach the South Pole in 1911, the ship heads for the Arctic from Tromsoe this week and will sail the Northwest Passage to Alaska before heading south, reaching Antarctica in October.

While the engines run mainly on marine gasoil, the ship's battery pack enables it to run solely on batteries for around 45 to 60 minutes under ideal conditions, Hurtigruten Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam told Reuters.

The company estimates that the battery pack will reduce fuel consumption and save about 20% in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to if the ship was operating on marine gasoil alone.

fl1mht58The ship heads for the Arctic this week and will sail the Northwest Passage to Alaska before heading south, reaching Antarctica in October.

"It's designed to take excessive energy from the engines and put into the battery when the ship doesn't need it, and put it back into the engine when the ship needs it -- it is a way of reducing emissions significantly without having charging stations available," Skjeldam said.

The company, which operates scenic cruise lines along the country's fjords and into the Arctic, was inspired by Norway's fleet of hybrid ferries and also its growing fleet of electric cars, he said.

Battery technology for propelling ships is in its infancy, even on shorter routes, as few ports provide charging stations.

"We expect batteries to be an important part of shipping in the years to come, but of course we don't expect our ships to be able to operate only on batteries, because the ship can sail up to 18-20 days in areas where there are no charging points," Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten expects infrastructure will improve on its traditional routes along the Norwegian coast, while currently charging services are only provided in Bergen, Norway's second-largest city.

The future for batteries on larger ships also hinges on suppliers' capacity to develop lighter, more powerful systems.

"We expect a revolution on battery technology for ships, we expect batteries to be lighter, more effective, and we've set aside extra room for more batteries to be installed when battery packs become more effective," Skjeldam said.

He added that the second hybrid cruise ship the company has on order, to be delivered later this year, will have battery pack with twice the capacity of the Roald Amundsen.

 

'Hi-tech robot' at Russia forum turns out to be man in suit

A “hi-tech robot” shown on Russian state television has turned out to be a man in a suit.

Russia-24 praised the ersatz android during coverage of a youth forum dedicated to robotics, boasting that “Robot Boris has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad”.

But sharp-eyed bloggers were dubious. The Russian website TJournal listed questions about the robot’s performance: Where were Boris’s external sensors? Why did the robot make so many “unnecessary movements” while dancing?

And why did the robot look like a person would fit perfectly inside of it?

Later, photographs of the “robot” posted on social media showed the very visible neckline of the person in the suit.

Boris turned out to be an “Alyosha the Robot” costume made by a company called Show Robots.

An actor in the robot suit.Photo purporting to show an actor in the robot suit. Photograph: MBKh Media

The £3,000 costume, equipped with microphone and tablet display, creates the “near total illusion that before you stands a real robot”.

A photograph published by MBKh Media, the news agency founded by the Vladimir Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, appeared to show the actor in the robot suit ahead of the forum on Tuesday in Yaroslavl, a city about 150 miles north-east of Moscow.

The organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum, held each year for the “future intellectual leaders of Russia”, did not try to pass off the robot as real, the website reported.

But whether by mistake or design, the state television footage did just that. “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics,” an anchor reported. “Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots.”

Then, a very robotic voice rang out. “I know mathematics well but I also want to learn to draw,” Boris said, before dancing to the Little Big song Skibidi.

On Wednesday morning, the television report briefly disappeared from Russia-24’s YouTube channel but by early afternoon it was accessible again.

The state-run Channel One was forced to apologise last week for a fake report showing a young Ukrainian man complaining about progress since the country’s revolution five years ago. The man turned out to be Belarusian, and told RFE/RL he was “totally ashamed” for taking part in the report.

'Rogue Waves': Scientist Claims He's Solved the Bermuda Triangle Mystery

The Bermuda Triangle is infamous for the large number of ships and planes that have vanished while sailing or flying across it.

Simon Boxall, a researcher at the National Oceanography Center at the University of Southampton, has pointed to massive cyclones as one possible reason for the mysterious disappearance of ships in the vast area of the North Atlantic Ocean between Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico.

According to him, such cyclones emerge when two or three separate weather formations merger, creating a “perfect storm.”

“It can happen pretty much anywhere, but the sort of places we see them include places like the tip of South America, Cape Horn, and the tip of South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, Dr. Boxhall said in an interview with Daily Star Online.

He added that a storm can develop in the Indian Ocean, another one in the South Atlantic and still another in the Southern Ocean and the convergence of the wave systems from those storms will create a monster storm.

“These waves – rogue waves – can occur anywhere. And what happens is the crest of the two sets of waves adds up and you get a super wave. Suddenly out of the blue, you get a wave that is 30 meters (100 ft) high,” he noted.

He added that these waves suddenly appear and disappear but only during one such storm, which explains why the chance of a ship finding itself “in the wrong place at the right time” is pretty slim.

Hitting a cargo ship, such a wave can break it in two and sink it very quickly.

“If a cargo ship is unlucky enough to be hit by one of these super waves then it has probably only got a couple of minutes before it sinks. It will happen so quickly there won’t be time to send out a mayday,” the scientist said.

More than 50 ships and 20 planes are said to have mysteriously disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the “Devil’s Triangle.”

Some ships were discovered completely abandoned for no apparent reason; others transmitted no distress signals and were never seen or heard from again.

READ MORE: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Mystery New Island Found in the Bermuda Triangle

Aircraft have been reported and then vanished, and rescue missions are said to have likewise vanished when flying in the area.

As CO2 levels climb, millions at risk of nutritional deficiencies

Rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) from human activity are making staple crops such as rice and wheat less nutritious and could result in 175 million people becoming zinc deficient and 122 million people becoming protein deficient by 2050, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also found that more than 1 billion women and children could lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake, putting them at increased risk of anemia and other diseases.

"Our research makes it clear that decisions we are making every day -- how we heat our homes, what we eat, how we move around, what we choose to purchase -- are making our food less nutritious and imperiling the health of other populations and future generations," said Sam Myers, lead author of the study and principal research scientist at Harvard Chan School.

The study will be published online August 27, 2018 in Nature Climate Change.

Presently, more than 2 billion people worldwide are estimated to be deficient in one or more nutrients. In general, humans tend to get a majority of key nutrients from plants: 63% of dietary protein comes from vegetal sources, as well as 81% of iron and 68% of zinc. It has been shown that higher atmospheric levels of CO2 result in less nutritious crop yields, with concentrations of protein, iron, and zinc being 3%-17% lower when crops are grown in environments where CO2concentrations are 550 parts per million (ppm) compared with crops grown under current atmospheric conditions, in which CO2 levels are just above 400 ppm.

For this new study, researchers sought to develop the most robust and accurate analysis of the global health burden of CO2-related nutrient shifts in crops in 151 countries. To do so, they created a unified set of assumptions across all nutrients and used more detailed age- and sex-specific food supply datasets to improve estimates of the impacts across 225 different foods. The study built on previous analyses by the researchers on CO2-related nutritional deficiencies, which looked at fewer foods and fewer countries.

The study showed that by the middle of this century, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to reach around 550 ppm, 1.9% of the global population -- or roughly 175 million people, based on 2050 population estimates -- could become deficient in zinc and that 1.3% of the global population, or 122 million people, could become protein deficient. Additionally, 1.4 billion women of childbearing age and children under 5 who are currently at high risk of iron deficiency could have their dietary iron intakes reduced by 4% or more.

The researchers also emphasized that billions of people currently living with nutritional deficiencies would likely see their conditions worsen as a result of less nutritious crops.

According to the study, India would bear the greatest burden, with an estimated 50 million people becoming zinc deficient, 38 million becoming protein deficient, and 502 million women and children becoming vulnerable to diseases associated with iron deficiency. Other countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East would also be significantly impacted.

"One thing this research illustrates is a core principle of the emerging field of planetary health," said Myers, who directs the Planetary Health Alliance, co-housed at Harvard Chan School and Harvard University Center for the Environment. "We cannot disrupt most of the biophysical conditions to which we have adapted over millions of years without unanticipated impacts on our own health and wellbeing."

Cuba's Biopharmaceutical Industry Develops over 400 Projects

Havana, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Several research projects are developed by the Cuban biopharmaceutical industry, including those aimed at preventing and treating neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, according to officials from the sector.

Characterized by its closed cycle line, from invention and development to production and marketing, the entity works on 422 projects, 393 of them are product-oriented and 29 technological, all under the aegis of the Group of Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Industries of Cuba (BioCubafarma).

In a meeting with the press, its director Eduardo Martinez explained that one of the entity´s megaprojects is the program of therapeutic molecules for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ataxia and multiple sclerosis.

NeuroEpo is the name of this product developed by the Molecular Immunology Center, one of the 34 companies affiliated to BioCubafarma.

Another of its leading entities, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, develops a clinical trial with a cardioprotector that reduces the size of the infarcted area by 78.9 percent.

After five years of existence, BioCubafarma has among its missions the production of high technology medicines, equipment and services.

Considered an industry with broad impact for the economy, referring to the export, the official explained that the products reach 34 nations from all latitudes, from the implementation of a business model that includes technology transfer agreements with countries like Brazil, South Africa, Iran China and Viet Nam.

  • Published in Cuba

Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally

New research links outdoor air pollution -- even at levels deemed safe -- to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.

The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main drivers of diabetes include eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, but the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role.

"Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally," said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study's senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. "We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened."

The findings are published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

While growing evidence has suggested a link between air pollution and diabetes, researchers have not attempted to quantify that burden until now. "Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution," Al-Aly said. "We wanted to thread together the pieces for a broader, more solid understanding."

To evaluate outdoor air pollution, the researchers looked at particulate matter, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets. Previous studies have found that such particles can enter the lungs and invade the bloodstream, contributing to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and kidney disease. In diabetes, pollution is thought to reduce insulin production and trigger inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health.

Overall, the researchers estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016, which represents about 14 percent of all new diabetes cases globally that year. They also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 percent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause. (The measure of how many years of healthy life are lost is often referred to as "disability-adjusted life years.")

In the United States, the study attributed 150,000 new cases of diabetes per year to air pollution and 350,000 years of healthy life lost annually.

The Washington University team, in collaboration with scientists at the Veterans Affairs' Clinical Epidemiology Center, examined the relationship between particulate matter and the risk of diabetes by first analyzing data from 1.7 million U.S. veterans who were followed for a median of 8.5 years. The veterans did not have histories of diabetes. The researchers linked that patient data with the EPA's land-based air monitoring systems as well as space-borne satellites operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They used several statistical models and tested the validity against controls such as ambient air sodium concentrations, which have no link to diabetes, and lower limb fractures, which have no link to outdoor air pollution, as well as the risk of developing diabetes, which exhibited a strong link to air pollution. This exercise helped the researchers weed out spurious associations.

Then, they sifted through all research related to diabetes and outdoor air pollution and devised a model to evaluate diabetes risk across various pollution levels.

Finally, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which is conducted annually with contributions from researchers worldwide. The data helped to estimate annual cases of diabetes and healthy years of life lost due to pollution.

The researchers also found that the overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is tilted more toward lower-income countries such as India that lack the resources for environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies. For instance, poverty-stricken countries facing a higher diabetes-pollution risk include Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana, while richer countries such as France, Finland and Iceland experience a lower risk. The U.S. experiences a moderate risk of pollution-related diabetes.

In the U.S., the EPA's pollution threshold is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the highest level of air pollution considered safe for the public, as set by the Clean Air Act of 1990 and updated in 2012. However, using mathematical models, Al-Aly's team established an increased diabetes risk at 2.4 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Based on VA data, among a sample of veterans exposed to pollution at a level of between 5 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 21 percent developed diabetes. When that exposure increases to 11.9 to 13.6 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 24 percent of the group developed diabetes. A 3 percent difference appears small, but it represents an increase of 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people in a given year.

In October 2017, The Lancet Commission on pollution and health published a report outlining knowledge gaps on pollution's harmful health effects. One of its recommendations was to define and quantify the relationship between pollution and diabetes.

"The team in St. Louis is doing important research to firm up links between pollution and health conditions such as diabetes," said commission member Philip J. Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who is the dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and chair of its Department of Preventive Medicine. "I believe their research will have a significant global impact."

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