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Hiltz S.R.,NJIT
ISCRAM 2013 Conference Proceedings - 10th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management | Year: 2013

Several recent studies point the way to enabling emergency response managers to be able to find relevant posts and incorporate them into their sensemaking and decision making processes. Among the approaches that have improved the ability to find the most relevant information are the social conventions of creating topic groups and tags and of "retweeting;" the use of trained volunteers to filter and summarize posts for responders; automated notifications of trending topics; natural language processing of posts; techniques for identifying posts from the disaster site; and the use of GIS and crisis maps to visually represent the distribution of incidents. Source


News Article | March 27, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Native to the waters of Thailand and Myanmar, the rare pink and eyeless cave angel fish (Cryptotora thamicola) possesses an evolutionary ability that scientists have found spectacular. This waterfall climbing cave fish, like its name suggests, can "climb" because of its wing-like fins, which in turn grapples onto terrain and allows the cave fish to stick to the cave rock. However, seeing fish move on land is not unusual. What scientists found unbelievable is that this blind cave fish has a special waddling "walk" -- similar to that of a salamander -- that helps it climb the dark cave's waterfall. In fact, the cave angel fish takes steps, moves one of its fins in sync with its opposite back fin, and alternates in a diagonal two-step. Lead researcher Brooke Flammang of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) said she has not seen anything quite like it before. "Functionally, it makes perfect sense, but to see it in a fish is incredibly wild," said Flammang. Because the cave fish is incredibly rare, Flammang and her colleagues won't be able to dissect it for study. About less than 2,000 cave angel fish adults exist in its own home, making the government fiercely protective of these marine animals, as Wired reported. So instead of further endangering the species, Flammang teamed up with Thai ichthyologist Apinun Suvarnaraksha who got permission into the caves and captured the fish on film before sending them back to the wild. Prior to this, Suvarnaraksha had no experience collecting kinematic data, so Flammang helped him out by sending explicit instructions. Suvarnaraksha would collect videos, upload them to Google Drive, and Flammang would receive them. She would give feedback, and their online exchange went on for a couple of months. Suvarnaraksha also got permission to CT scan a museum specimen of cave angel fish. This gave them data to create a detailed 3D model of the species' skeleton, without harming it. The question now is this: how does the cave angel fish manage this amazing feat? It's all thanks to the fish's gigantic pelvis which is fused to its vertebral column. The pelvis, which Flammang said looks nothing like any normal fish pelvis, lets the cave angel fish push forces from its limb directly to its core. Additionally, Flammang believes that this bizarre anatomy is a first for modern fish, even though it is common among terrestrial vertebrates. Flammang and Suvarnaraksha's discovery, which is published in the journal Scientific Reports, sheds light on the evolution of tetrapods.


News Article | April 20, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/science.xml

Two solar flares from the sun are being studied by astronomers to learn how this process takes place, just as a dramatic third event takes place. Together, these observations could assist astronomers studying the process by which these phenomenon form. Astronomers using the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed the newest flare, providing stunning new images. "This flare came from an area of complex magnetic activity on the sun - known as an active region, and in this case labeled Active Region 2529 - which has sported a large dark spot, called a sunspot, over the past several days. This sunspot has changed shape and size as it slowly made its way across the sun's face," Karen Fox wrote for NASA. Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy which radiate from the surface of the sun. When these intense beams of energy strike the Earth, they can interact with our planet's magnetic field and atmosphere to produce lights at the north and south poles. Astronomers are still uncertain exactly what causes these events. However, the most popular theory is that a process called magnetic reconnection takes place, converting magnetic energy into light. New high-resolution images recorded an eruption in 2015, showing details of a current sheet, providing evidence for the currently-accepted theory. These new observations are the most detailed images ever seen of the formation of solar flares, researchers report. Coronal rain was observed by astronomers as plasma fell from above the surface of the sun onto our parent star, where the phenomenon resulted in massive explosions. An eruption from 2013 is also supplying researchers with valuable information. "We can now observe in very fine detail how energy is transported in solar flares, in this case from the corona where it has been stored to the lower chromosphere tens of thousands of miles below it, where most of the energy is finally converted into heat and radiated away," said Ju Jing, a physics researcher from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). On April 17, a sunspot five times the size of Earth resulted in a massive solar flare. This mid-sized flare, classified as M6.7, was roughly 10 percent as powerful as the most energetic variety, X-class flares. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a "moderate radio blackout" warning when the event took place. This event is unlikely to have a major impact on our planet. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article
Site: http://www.treehugger.com/feeds/category/science/

The blind cavefish can actually walk and crawl up waterfalls like a four-footed animal; researchers are calling it a major discovery. It walks, it crawls, it's a blind cave-dwelling fish that lives in Thailand and scientists have never seen anything like it before. Welcome to the world, little Cryptotora thamicola. “Fishes have adapted a number of different behaviors to move out of the water, but none have been described as being able to walk on land with a tetrapod-like gait,” notes the study in which the new species is described. “Here we show that the blind cavefish C. thamicola walks and climbs waterfalls with a salamander-like diagonal-couplets lateral sequence gait and has evolved a robust pelvic girdle that shares morphological features associated with terrestrial vertebrates.” Wow! The researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), who observed C. thamicola walking on rough and smooth wet surfaces while out of water, say that the discovery has implications for understanding how land-walking anatomy evolved during the transition from fins to limbs, which began around 420 million years ago. Of the novel anatomy seen in C. thamicola, researcher on the study Brooke E. Flammang says, "It possesses morphological features that have previously only been attributed to tetrapods. The pelvis and vertebral column of this fish allow it to support its body weight against gravity and provide large sites for muscle attachment for walking." She adds, "This research gives us insight into the plasticity of the fish body plan and the convergent morphological features that were seen in the evolution of tetrapods." You can see the piscine pedestrians in action is this nifty video … and then take a few minutes to marvel at the incredible world we live in, one that includes blind walking fish crawling around a cave in Thailand. This research can be found in the Nature Scientific Reports article, "Tetrapod-like pelvic girdle in a walking cavefish," by Brooke E. Flammang, Daphne Soares, Julie Markiewicz and Apinun Suvarnaraksha.


News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology have reported the discovery of a bizarre fish in Thailand that features unique anatomical features not commonly seen in modern day fishes. The cavefish Cryptotora thamicola belongs to a species of walking fish with the unique ability to walk and climb waterfalls similar to that seen in four-footed animals such as salamanders. Although it isn't the only known "walking" fish, some other species merely evolved an ability to use their fins in a limb-like manner to squirm across mud or push off from coral. What makes Thailand's blind cavefish different is that it is more advanced compared with other species. It uses robust-pelvic girdle, just like tetrapods, four-limbed vertebrates that include reptiles, mammals, birds, amphibians and even extinct species of fish, to climb. Scientists said that Cryptotora thamicola is the only known living fish species that features such a developed gait. "It possesses morphological features that have previously only been attributed to tetrapods," said NJIT assistant professor of biology Brooke Flammang. "The pelvis and vertebral column of this fish allow it to support its body weight against gravity and provide large sites for muscle attachment for walking." The researchers said that the find may shed more light on how the anatomy for land-walking evolved since tetrapods are known to have transitioned from being finned to limbed creatures. Ancient intermediate fish species are believed to be the first tetrapods, which adapted four limbs and other anatomical features for walking as they move from sea to land. These early land vertebrates evolved adaptations so they can efficiently move in a terrestrial habitat when they move out of the water. Their vertebrae, for instance, grew flanges, which help the spine hold itself when being pulled by the gravity. A pelvis also joined the hind limbs to the spine. Just like the newly discovered cavefish, scientists think that the early tetrapods walked much like salamanders. "The blind cavefish Cryptotora thamicola walks and climbs waterfalls with a salamander-like diagonal-couplets lateral sequence gait and has evolved a robust pelvic girdle that shares morphological features associated with terrestrial vertebrates," Flammang and colleagues wrote in their research published in the journal Scientific Reports on March 24. "These findings are significant because they represent the first example of behavioural and morphological adaptation in an extant fish that converges on the tetrapodal walking behaviour and morphology."

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