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Mesentery, a new Human organ discovered

Researchers have recently discovered a new organ that was hidden in plain sight inside our digestive system this whole time.
●    The existence of the human body’s 79th organ, known as the ‘mesentery’, has been known for hundreds of years. However, until recently, it was thought to be a fragmented structure comprising separate parts.
●    It was Dr. J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Survey at the University of Limerick in Ireland, who discovered that it was one continuous organ.
●    Although the structure of the organ is known, its functions are not very well understood.
●    Studying the organ more closely could be the key to better treatment of various abdominal and digestive diseases. 
●    The evidence of the organ’s new found status has been now published in the Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal. 
●    The organ has been listed in the journal as one that had not been acknowledged up until now.
●    The anatomic description of the organ that had been laid down in research books in the past 100 years has been completely incorrect. 

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Indian timekeepers add leap second to sync with Earth's spin

NASA missions, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which watches the Sun, will join timekeepers around the world to add a leap second to its clocks, just before midnight on New Year’s Eve.
●    Clocks will add the extra second to keep in sync with Earth’s rotation, which gradually slows down over time.
●    When the dinosaurs roamed Earth our globe took only 23 hours to make a complete rotation. In space, millisecond accuracy is crucial to understanding how satellites orbit.
●    The leap second is also key to making sure that SDO is in sync with the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) used to label each of its images.
●    SDO has a clock that counts the number of seconds since the beginning of the mission. 
●    To convert that count to UTC requires knowing just how many leap seconds have been added to Earth-bound clocks since the mission started.
●    When the spacecraft wants to provide a time in UTC, it calls a software module that takes into consideration both the mission’s second count and the number of leap seconds – and then returns a time in UTC.

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First Biological Pacemaker using Human Stem Cells developed

A group of scientists from the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine developed the first functional pacemaker cells from human stem cells.
●    The invention will help in paving the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.
●    The study was published in December 2016 the journal Nature Biotechnology.
●    The scientists used a developmental-biology approach to ascertain a specific protocol for generating the pacemaker cells.
●    The study stated that sinoatrial node cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent cells function as a biological pacemaker.
●    It goes on to explain that human pluripotent stem cells can be manoeuvred in 21 days to develop into pacemaker cells, which regulate heart beats with electrical impulses.
●    The human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts. 
●    Pluripotent stem cells hold the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.
●    Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the heart's chief pacemaker. It controls the heartbeat throughout life.
 

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Scientists find material that can withstand 4000 degrees Celsius

Scientists have identified materials that can withstand temperatures of nearly 4,000 degrees Celsius.
●    It may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles. 
●    Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK discovered that the melting point of hafnium carbide is the highest ever recorded for a material.
●    Tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC) are refractory ceramics, meaning they are extraordinarily resistant to heat. 
●    Their ability to withstand extremely harsh environments means that refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
●    However, there has not been the technology available to test the melting point of TaC and HfC in the lab to determine how truly extreme an environment they could function in.

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Australia, France to build world's largest diesel-electric submarine

Australia and France signed an agreement on Tuesday to build the world's largest diesel-electric submarines in the Australian industrial town of Adelaide.
●    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement in Adelaide, where they officially opened the Australian headquarters of DCNS, a French state majority-owned company that will design the Shortfin Barracuda subs.
●    Mr Turnbull described the 56 billion Australian dollar ($41 billion) contract to build 12 subs as the largest capital project in Australia's history. 
●    The contract is also DCNS's largest outside France.
●    France offered the Australians a diesel-electric version of the Barracuda-class nuclear submarine under construction for the French navy. 
●    Japan proposed a longer version of its Soryu-class diesel-powered propulsion system with advanced stealth capabilities.

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Scientists discover new material for gen-next data storage devices

Scientists have developed a new material - the first ever magnetic photoconductor - that may lead to next generation of memory-storage systems, featuring higher capacities with low energy demands.
●    Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland have now developed ferromagnetic photovoltaic material whose magnetic order can be rapidly changed without disrupting it due to heating.
●    Perovskite photovoltaics are gradually becoming a cheaper alternative to current silicon systems, drawing much interest from energy scientists.
●    Magnetism in material arises from the interactions of localised and moving electrons of the material; in a way, it is the result of competition between different movements of electrons.
●    This means that the resulting magnetic state is wired in the material and it cannot be reversed without changing the structure of electrons in the material's chemistry or crystal structure.
●    This new crystal structure combines the advantages of both ferromagnets, whose magnetic moments are aligned in a well-defined order, and photoconductors, where light illumination generates high density free conduction electrons.

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UK Scientists develop revolutionary technique to simplify trapped ions

Physicists from the University of Sussex have developed a groundbreaking new technique that makes it much simpler to build large-scale trapped ion quantum computers, bringing us one big step closer to making quantum computers a reality in the near future.
●    Quantum computers are merely a concept, numerous computer science researchers around the world and billions of dollars have been invested to create them.
●    And it is believed that these new super-powerful computers will be available within the next 50 years.
●    Currently researchers around the world are building quantum computer systems either using trapped ions and atoms; particles of light; or superconducting circuits that act as qubits (a technique being researched by IBM).
●    To develop a quantum computer that makes use of trapped ions, the current method involves using laser beams to build quantum gates.
●    The research, entitled "Trapped-Ion Quantum Logic with Global Radiation Fields" is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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India joins CERN as an Associate Member

India on 21 November 2016 became an Associate Member State of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) by signing an agreement with the organisation. 
●    The participation of Indian scientists in CERN dates back to early 1960s and it became stronger with the support of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST). 
●    In 1991, DAE signed a formal agreement with CERN which exists till today. 
●    In 2003, India was awarded the Observer status of CERN and was subsequently invited to join CERN as an Associate Member
●    India made significant contributions to the construction of Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in the areas of design, development and supply of hardware accelerator systems and its commissioning. 
●    India is also one of the leading partners in the ALICE experiment which is about to unearth the physics of quark-gluon plasma (QGP).
●    Indian scientists played a very important role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments, which is one of the two large experiments that have led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. 

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Scientists tweak photosynthesis to increase crop yield

Scientists have successfully tweaked the process of photosynthesis to make it more efficient and increase plant productivity by raising the level of three proteins involved in the process.
●    Many years of computational analysis and laboratory and field experiments led to the selection of the proteins targeted in the study. 
●    Researchers used tobacco plants as it can be easily modified.
●    The researchers targeted a process plants use to shield themselves from excessive solar energy.
●    Plants protect themselves by making changes within the leaf that dissipate the excess energy as heat. 
●    This process is called non-photochemical quenching (NPQ).
●    Researchers used a supercomputer to predict how much the slow recovery from NPQ reduces crop productivity over the course of a day.
●    Researchers suggested that boosting levels of three proteins might speed up the recovery process.
●    The researchers grew seedlings from multiple experiments, then tested how quickly the engineered plants responded to changes in available light.
 

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Pune researchers fabricate a flexible nanogenerator for wearable electronics

Producing wearable electronics that uses a portable nanogenerator which generates electric power when pressure or twist is applied got a shot in the arm, thanks to research carried out by Pune researchers. 
●    The nanogenerator, which was fabricated by them, produced 14 volts when thumb pressure was applied. 
●    The results were published recently in the journal Advanced Materials & Interfaces.
●    To demonstrate the potential of the nanogenerator to power small electronic devices, pressure equivalent to thumb pressure was continuously exerted on the nanogenerator for 20 minutes by using a vibration producing motor. 
●    14 volt that was generated was stored in a capacitor and used for charging a mobile phone.
●    Currently, there is considerable research emphasis to develop flexible or wearable devices. Such devices should be portable, lightweight, shock-resistant, and inexpensive. 
●    And the devices should ideally be powered by harvesting easily available mechanical or vibration energy, making battery or related wiring redundant. 


 

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