Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deepwater Barreleye Fish Sports A Clear Canopy

The barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) has extremely light-sensitive eyes that can rotate within a transparent, fluid-filled shield on its head. In this image, although the barreleye is facing downward, its eyes are still looking straight up. This barreleye is about 6 inches (14 cm) long. The fish's tubular eyes, well inside the head, are capped by bright green lenses. The eyes point upward (as shown here) when the fish is looking for food overhead. They point forward when the fish is feeding. The two spots above the fish's mouth are not eyes: those are olfactory organs called nares, which are analogous to human nostrils. Image Credit: © 2004 MBARI

Deepwater Barreleye Fish Sports A Clear Canopy

Imagine, if you will, the ability to have a line of sight directly behind you as you walk down the street.

If a human were built like a Barreleye Fish, a strata of clear liquid and transparent skin at about ear level would replace hair, bone and flesh-tone skin and the eyes would be able to swivel 180 degrees. Bingo ... rear-view vision.

The Barreleye has a clear membrane skin cover for its forehead region and the upper front part of the fish's head is filled with a clear fluid. The eyes are set back inside and are positioned to be able to look forward, but more importantly, look up and see the light given off by deep water creatures as they ply the deep ocean trenches of our Oblate Spheroid.

Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute use videos from the institute's remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to study barreleyes off Central California. At depths of 2,000 to 2,600 feet (600 to 800 meters), the ROV cameras typically showed these fish hanging motionless in the water, their eyes glowing a vivid green in the ROV's bright lights. The video also revealed a previously undescribed feature of these fish — its eyes are surrounded by a transparent, fluid-filled shield that covers the top of the fish's head. [double-click image to launch video of the Barreleye fish in action] Image Credit: © 2004 MBARI

This excerpted and edited from LiveScience -

Strange Fish Has See-Through Head

By LiveScience Staff - posted: 23 February 2009 03:01 pm ET

A bizarre deep-water fish called the barreleye has a transparent head and tubular eyes. Since the fish's discovery in 1939, biologists have known the eyes were very good at collecting light. But their shape seemed to leave the fish with tunnel vision.

Now scientists say the eyes rotate, allowing the barreleye to see directly forward or look upward through its transparent head.

The barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) is adapted for life in a pitch-black environment of the deep sea, where sunlight does not reach. They use their ultra-sensitive tubular eyes to search for the faint silhouettes of prey overhead.

Scientists had thought the eyes were fixed in an upward gaze, however. This would make it impossible for the fish to see what was directly in front of them, and very difficult for them to capture prey with their small, pointed mouths.
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Most existing descriptions and illustrations of this fish do not show its fluid-filled shield, probably because this fragile structure was destroyed when the fish were brought up from the deep in nets.
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Barreleyes, just a few inches long, are thought to eat small fishes and jellyfish. The green pigments in their eyes may filter out sunlight coming directly from the sea surface, helping the barreleye spot the bioluminescent glow of jellies or other animals directly overhead. When it spots prey (such as a drifting jelly), a barreleye rotates its eyes forward and swims upward, in feeding mode.

Reference Here>>


Monday, February 9, 2009

Breakthroughs In Bird Flu Vaccine


Researchers in Japan said yesterday they had developed a flu vaccine that works against multiple viruses and could prevent a deadly pandemic of bird flu mutations. Image Credit: Hokkaido University, Saitama Medical University, and NOF Corp.

Breakthroughs In Bird Flu Vaccine

The process of producing a vaccine to counter the spread of influenza is a tricky business.

Global trends must be analyzed, three separate strains of the current, most prolific flu virus must be chosen, and enough vaccine prepared months in advance of that year’s flu season in order to have ample supplies in stock to be distributed nationwide.

Once this effort has been put forth, there are no guarantees that the strains used to produce the vaccine will be the actual strains that spread illness during any given year.

Basically, this process has been a crap shoot … until now. A group of researchers in Japan has figured out a way to come up with a vaccine that will address all strains of influenza virus regardless of which one becomes the actual virus for that year.

A universal vaccine will guard against an Oblate Spheroid (world) wide pandemic.

About 250 people have died of avian flu since 2003. While only a small number of those cases were traced to human-to-human transmission, public health officials fear it's only a matter of time before the virus mutates into a more easily transmitted form and sparks a global outbreak. Image Credit: xenoMED

This excerpted and edited from medHeadlines -

Universal Flu Vaccine Breakthrough
medHeadlines, February 6, 2009

Researchers in Japan have announced a breakthrough that may put them one step closer to developing a universal flu vaccine.

Today’s flu vaccines target proteins on the outer surface of the virus, where mutations in the protein’s shape occur often and quickly. These mutations are one reason the vaccine and the virus actually wreaking havoc are not always a match.

The Japanese researchers looked inside the virus instead of outside it to find proteins that aren’t likely to mutate the way those on the outside do. The research team targeted three strains of the influenza virus for their study - the H5N1 bird flu, Hong Kong A, and Soviet A strains.

A commercially available universal flu vaccine is still years away as the research continues.
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Thus far, the universal vaccine has been tested on animals only.
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The Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry directed the research on the universal flu vaccine, with teams from its National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Hokkaido University, Saitama Medical University, and the chemical company, NOF Corporation, participating.
Reference Here>>

A veterinarian vaccinates a duckling in Shangsi county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, February. 4th. Central and local authorities have stepped up preventive measures against a bird flu outbreak. Image Credit: China Daily

About 250 people have died of avian flu since 2003, WHO figures showed.

Indonesia is the country worst-hit by avian influenza, with 115 deaths officially recorded since 2003. Five people have fallen victim in China this year.

Human victims consist mostly of people in close contact with sick birds.

There is no evidence so far that the deadly strain of bird flu has mutated into a form that could set off a pandemic.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Secrets Of Human Fingerprint Patterns And Ridges


A fingerprint from contact with a flat surface. The contact occurs only along the summits of the epidermal ridges. This contact pattern results in a particular filtering of tactile information during active exploration of a surface. Image Credit: Science/AAAS)

Secrets Of Human Fingerprint Patterns And Ridges

Two articles about fingerprints and their patterns hold unique secrets and understanding about humans on this Oblate Spheroid.

One study released last week addresses why they are what they are, why and how ridges and receptors combine to give a person a more detailed understanding of feel and touch.

The other discusses how the print pattern of a group of fingers (laid out in patterns defined as whorls and waves) might say about a person and his/her destiny uncovered in an ancient Asian belief.

Do identical twins have identical fingerprints? - Identical twins have fingerprints that can be readily distinguished on close examination. However, the prints do have striking similarities. In fact, before the arrival of modern genetic testing, similarity of fingerprints was often used to determine whether twins were identical or fraternal. Image Credit: Nick McGlynn

This excerpted and edited from CBC News -

Fingerprints key to ability to process fine textures: study
Fingerprints don't exist simply to improve gripping ability or identify cat burglars - they may also act as a type of touch filter that improves perception, according to a new study.
CBC News - 30/01/2009 5:12:12 PM


The study, published in [last] Friday's edition of Nature, suggests that fingerprints may help perceive very fine textures more efficiently. Specifically, fingerprints can tune out vibrations outside a certain frequency so only very specialized touch receptors can pick them up.

These receptors, called Pacinian fibres, are involved in detecting fine features. But they also have the lowest spatial resolution of any of the receptors involved in touch. This means that, taken alone, they are the least able to distinguish between two closely spaced pressure points, a characteristic that appears to be a contradiction for a receptor involved with fine touch, the study says.

The researchers from the University of Paris think this is where fingerprints come into play. They said there is no way to experimentally measure stress under the skin on a finger, so they created a synthetic mechanical sensor instead. They then placed two types of rubber caps on top of the sensor - one smooth, and the other ridged like a fingerprint.

The sensor was then rubbed across a glass surface covered with patterned textures. They found that the sensor covered with the smooth cap picked up a large variety of vibrations. But in the case of the ridged sensor, it filtered out many of the vibrations picked up by the smooth cap and amplified them.

The researchers concluded that a typical set of fingerprints would produce vibrational frequencies in the range of 200 to 300 Hz. Pacinian fibres respond best to frequencies around 250 Hz, and would therefore be able to pick up these filtered vibrations.

"Fingerprints thus allow for a conditioning of the texture-induced mechanical signal which facilitates its processing by specific [touch receptors]," the study says.
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Amplification of the vibrations depends strongly on the orientation of ridges with respect to the movement of the finger. In the study, the ridges had to be oriented perpendicular to the direction of movement.

But the authors note that fingerprints are arranged in swirls, so that each region of the fingertip can achieve optimal orientation.

"Further studies are needed in order to elucidate how this may reflect on the exploratory procedures [such as fingertip trajectory and contacting zone] used by humans during texture evaluation tasks," the study says.
Reference Here>>

So, the study opines that the difference in a pattern and how it presents itself may effect the actual filtering sensation of touch.

On the actual way a group of patterns are laid out, the Chinese have devised a way to read personality & destiny traits by studying the waves and the circles that appear at the tips of everyone’s fingers.

Patterns for men are always analyzed from their left hands while women are analyzed from their right hands.

To make a reading, look at ones thumb print first, then the index finger, middle finger, ring finger and then the little finger, always in that order. This is the sequence that offers clues to ones destiny & fortunes of a life lived.

Chinese societies were so convinced that in earlier times the fingers of prospective daughters-in- law were carefully scrutinized by prominent families to ensure they did not unwittingly welcome women who had fingers that showed alternate whorls and waves on their fingers, as it was commonly believed that such women would bring trouble into the family, being particularly difficult to control and usually very aggressive. Image Credit: pcworx

This excerpted and edited from pcworx -

Finger Prints
By pcworx

Check yours…. It’s interesting

It is already an accepted fact that every single person in the world has a different set of fingerprints.
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For ease of reference we shall refer to whorls (aka, circles) as “O” and to waves as “W”.

Fingers: OOOOO (all whorls)
Means: This person is very confident, has a strong character and a hot temper. He/she is an independent person. The luck of this person changes dramatically in life from one period to the next. The undoing of this person will be his/her hot temper so it is vital that this person must learn to be patient and calm.

Shape: WWWWW (all waves)
Means: This person is a straightforward honest person who goes with the flow. The fingers indicate someone very sensitive, who is especially suited to design and creative work. People with these fingerprint patterns tend to be shy and uncomfortable in social situations, so are not suited to work in PR, politics or any kind of work requiring them to meet people.

Shape: OWWWO
Means: If you can choose a prestigious working career, you will be very successful. However, you should avoid the tendency to get big-headed and you must never take your career for granted. You should also watch your back, as you tend to attract jealousy into your life and could get betrayed. Always look for long-term benefits.

Shape: OWWOW
Means: You will need to work harder during the early days of your career. When you reach middle and older age, you will get recognition and wealth luck. So your life gets better the older you get.

Shape: OWOWW
Means: It is vital that you resist the tendency to be narrow-minded in your attitudes and in the way you think and work. Try to be humble and learn as much as possible. This is how you will get influential help that brings you to the peak of your business and career life.

Shape: WOOOO
Means: You are a very clear-minded person. As long as you work hard, you are guaranteed to be
successful. Even though you tend to be in a hurry, there will be those who help you along. You are also a person with a kind heart.

Shape: OOOOW
Means: Because you are kind and have an in-built polite attitude, you will easily get help from older persons and friends. You will enjoy great success in your working life and your only weakness is you don’t trust people too easily. This can make you too conservative.

Shape: OOOWW
Means: You have a tendency to be bad tempered, and rather quick to judge. This is a shallow attitude and could easily get you onto the wrong path. If you can correct this tendency of yours, you will have great success. The potential is in you, so try to be calm in your approach.

Shape: OWWWW
Means: You have good character but can only become really successful in older age. Be prepared to have to work really hard during your younger and middle age periods, but you will become a successful person in older years.

Shape: WOWWW
Means: You are very good in the social skills. No matter what industry you are in, you like to take risk and you will always face uncertainty. Be careful as the later years of your life could bring yet more challenges. Take less risk as you get older.

Shape: WWOWW
Means: You are a person who has high vision and heavy responsibility. Be careful. Your visions could get you into serious difficulty. Better to stay more grounded, then your life will have greater success.

Shape: WWWOW
Means: You are very intelligent and will enjoy a lot of scholastic honors. You will have a smooth life and benefit from wealth luck. If you can work hard, you will become a great and successful person.

Shape: WWWWO
Means: You will inherit a business or property from your parents or from an older person. Even though you are a capable person and can be successful in your own business, your tendency towards impatience could get you into a lot of difficulty.

Shape: OOWWW
Means: You have a tendency to be proud and snobbish, although deep inside you are a kind-hearted person. Your social skills however need improving. Your relatives tend to take advantage of you.

Shape: WOWWO
Means: You are a deep thinking person. At a young age, you are already thinking of your future. You will enjoy a smooth and peaceful life; you will be very happy in your old age.

Shape: WOWOO
Means: You are a very sociable person and you enjoy the carefree kind of life going out, partying and clubbing. When you reach middle and older age, you will rely on people to support you. Be warned, if you do not prepare yourself, you might have a hard time during your older years.

Shape: WOWOW
Means: You are not an easy person to control or to convince, as you are something of a rebel. If you can stay focused on what you want from life, you will be successful. The problem is that you can be fickle and vague in what you really want from life.

Shape: WWOWO
Means: Your whole life is full of ups and downs, successes and failures. However, if you can

move steadily step-by-step, you can enjoy a peaceful life as you grow into maturity.

Shape: WWWOO
Means: You are very kindhearted person and there will be good people in your life, as you will attract these kinds of people towards you. Work hard and you will easily reap your just rewards. You will definitely become successful.

Shape: OWWOO
Means: You will get recognition and become famous. Even though your life appears unstable during your earlier years of working life and you need to work hard in your thirties, when you reach maturity, your life gets better and better.

Shape: WWOOW
Means: You are a very capable person, but you tend to lack good judgment. You also tend to start something and then lose interest. Stay focused if you want to succeed.

Shape: OWOOW
Means: You are a noble person with a good character. You tend to be very helpful towards colleagues and friends so you are a popular person. Because you can think in-depth and have sensitivity towards others, you will enjoy success in the creative fields.

Shape: OWOWO
Means: You are blessed with a fast and formidable intellect. You work very quickly and with great effectiveness. However, your character is very aggressive and people tend to be intimidated by you. If you can correct this trait, you can rise to great heights.

Shape: WWOOO
Means: You are a very straightforward person. But your thinking tends to be rather na├»ve and shallow. Even though your suggestions are good, if you don’t think through what you say, you should not be surprised if people tend to ignore your views. Your speech tends to lack power.

Shape: OOWOW
Means: You are a high-minded person, able to see and grab opportunities. You are best suited to work in the financial and investment fields. Your luck gets better as you grow older.

Shape: OOWWO
Means: You are a very honest and reputable person. You have little urge to get rich or pursue material wealth. But watch it, if you don’t know how to take care of yourself, you can easily get conned and taken advantage of by people.

Shape: OOOWO
Means: Your social skills are good, so you attract guidance and help from influential people. Many people help you in your rise to prominence, and your luck turns fabulous in later years.

Shape: OOWOO
Means: You are a very brave and hardworking person. A lot of people trust you when you are young. However, unless you work at preserving your reputation, you could make enemies on your rise up and find that life becomes harder as you get older.

Shape: OWOOO
Means: You are a kindhearted character and easily get along with others. You are not good at doing business, but you are good as a teacher or even as a spiritual master. You can enjoy success in the academic world.

Shape: WOOWW
Means: You are reputable and have a peaceful character. So you are definitely someone who can become successful and recognized. However, because of your tendency towards pride, you could end up offending the wrong people.

Shape: WOOWO
Means: You are a simple but logical person. If you can focus on the fundamentals of life and adopt a step-by-step approach in your climb up the success ladder and not be too impatient, you will benefit from wealth luck and be honored by people.

Shape: WOOOW
Means: You are a straight talking person who is forthright in your approach. You are strong in character, playful but you also easily offend people. But you are also lucky because when you reach middle age, you will rise to a prominent position and your luck really changes for the better.
Reference Here>