Explanation why our skin doesn’t leak

Written by Imperial College London

Humans shed 200,000,000 epidermal skin cells every hour.
Credit: © volodymyrv / Fotolia
The discovery of the shape and binding capability of epidermal cells could explain how skin maintains a barrier even when it is shedding.

The authors of the study say their new understanding of how epidermal cells form a barrier may explain the paradox of how we can shed them without compromising our skin’s integrity. It could also help us to understand what happens when it forms incorrectly, which could lead to conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

Humans lose 200,000,000 skin cells every hour. During a 24-hour period, a person loses almost five thousand million skin cells. It has been a challenge for scientists to explain how this colossal shedding process can occur without there being a break in the skin barrier.

Scientists have previously known the epidermis consists of a thick outer barrier of dead epidermal cells, which are constantly shedding. What they’ve known less about is a secondary barrier deeper below the surface in the epidermis that is made up of only a single layer of cells, which forms a much thinner, though no less important, protective barrier.

Now, a team from Keio University in Japan, working with a researcher at Imperial College London, have discovered that the shape of the epidermal cells combined with their ability to temporarily glue together, may explain how they form this strong barrier.

The researchers suggest that a shape of an epidermal cell is actually a flattened version of a tetrakaidecahedron — a 14-sided 3D solid made out of six rectangular and eight hexagonal sides. The authors came to their conclusion after studying skin cells in mouse models using a confocal and two-photon microscopes, and developing mathematical models.

The tetrakaidecahedron shape was first proposed in 1887 by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), a Scotch-Irish mathematical physicist and engineer. He claimed that the tetrakaidecahedron was the best shape for packing equal-sized objects together to fill space with minimal surface area.

The team in today’s study say the epidermal cells’ unique tetrakaidecahedron-like geometry means that it can always form a very tight, cohesive bond with the epidermal cells surrounding it. This is because the mix of rectangular and hexagonal sides enables the cell to always be tightly connected to the cells surrounding it.

The team also discovered that these cells manufacture proteins, which act as a temporary glue that binds the cells together in what are called ‘tight junctions’. The combination of the cells’ geometry and tight junction formation means that the skin barrier can maintain its integrity even though it is very thin.

When new cells underneath form the new tight junctions, this pushes the older cells upwards towards the surface of the skin, and the older cells lose their tight junctions. In this way, the tight junction barrier in the cell sheet is always maintained.

The team suggest that ‘malfunctions’ in the production of the tight junctions may be a contributing factor that explains why some people have conditions such as eczema, where the skin barrier is weakened, which leads to bacterial infiltration, inflammation, scratching and further infection. In other cases, fails in the interlocking barrier between cells — the tight junctions — may partly explain why in psoriasis there is an overproduction of epidermal cells, causing thick patches of skin on the surface.

Dr Reiko Tanaka, one of the study’s authors from the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, said: “It is amazing to think that an abstract concept for a shape devised by the mathematician Lord Kelvin over a century ago may be an important shape in nature, helping our skin to maintain its effectiveness as barrier.

“Our study is also helping us to see how the cells that make up our skin can switch on a mechanism to make a kind of glue, which binds the cells together, ensuring that our skin maintains its integrity.

“Our skin is the largest organ in our body and it is vital that we completely understand how it works, so when it doesn’t work as it should, such as in eczema or psoriasis, we can understand the mechanisms that might be causing the problems.”

The study is published in the journal eLIFE.

The next steps will see the team analysing how skin thickness is determined and how the balance between cell growth and cell shedding is maintained. Faults in this process can lead to a thickening of the skin, leading to conditions like psoriasis. The team will also determine why skin thins as we get older, providing new insights into aging, or when it thins because special treatments like steroids are administered to treat eczema.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Imperial College London. Original written by Colin Smith. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Mariko Yokouchi, Toru Atsugi, Mark van Logtestijn, Reiko J Tanaka, Mayumi Kajimura, Makoto Suematsu, Mikio Furuse, Masayuki Amagai, Akiharu Kubo. Epidermal cell turnover across tight junctions based on Kelvin’s tetrakaidecahedron cell shape. eLife, 2016; 5 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.19593

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watershed moment in understanding how water conducts electricity

Written by C. T. Wolke, J. A. Fournier, L. C. Dzugan et al

Water (stock image). Credit: © feelphotoz / Fotolia
Scientists have taken spectroscopic snapshots of nature’s most mysterious relay race: the passage of extra protons from one water molecule to another during conductivity.

The finding represents a major benchmark in our knowledge of how water conducts a positive electrical charge, which is a fundamental mechanism found in biology and chemistry. The researchers, led by Yale chemistry professor Mark Johnson, report their discovery in the Dec. 1 edition of the journal Science.

For more than 200 years, scientists have speculated about the specific forces at work when electricity passes through water — a process known as the Grotthuss mechanism. It occurs in vision, for example, when light hits the eye’s retina. It also turns up in the way fuel cells operate.

But the details have remained murky. In particular, scientists have sought an experimental way to follow the structural changes in the web of interconnected water molecules when an extra proton is transferred from one oxygen atom to another.

“The oxygen atoms don’t need to move much at all,” Johnson said. “It is kind of like Newton’s cradle, the child’s toy with a line of steel balls, each one suspended by a string. If you lift one ball so that it strikes the line, only the end ball moves away, leaving the others unperturbed.”

Johnson’s lab has spent years exploring the chemistry of water at the molecular level. Often, this is done with specially designed instruments built at Yale. Among the lab’s many discoveries are innovative uses of electrospray ionization, which was developed by the late Yale Nobel laureate John Fenn.

Johnson and his team have developed ways to fast-freeze the chemical process so that transient structures can be isolated, revealing the contorted arrangements of atoms during a reaction. The practical uses for these methods range from the optimization of alternative energy technologies to the development of pharmaceuticals.

In the case of the proton relay race, previous attempts to capture the process hinged on using infrared color changes to see it. But the result always came out looking like a blurry photograph.

“In fact, it appeared that this blurring would be too severe to ever allow a compelling connection between color and structure,” Johnson said.

The answer, he found, was to work with only a few molecules of “heavy water” — water made of the deuterium isotope of hydrogen — and chill them to almost absolute zero. Suddenly, the images of the proton in motion were dramatically sharper.

“In essence, we uncovered a kind of Rosetta Stone that reveals the structural information encoded in color,” Johnson said. “We were able to reveal a sequence of concerted deformations, like the frames of a movie.” Johnson’s lab was assisted by the experimental group of Knut Asmis at the University of Leipzig and the theory groups of Ken Jordan of the University of Pittsburgh and Anne McCoy of the University of Washington.

One area where this information will be useful is in understanding chemical processes that occur at the surface of water, Johnson noted. There is active debate among scientists regarding whether the surface of water is more or less acidic than the bulk of water. At present, there is no way to measure the surface pH of water.

The paper’s first author is Conrad Wolke, a former Yale doctoral student in Johnson’s lab. Co-authors of the paper are from the University of Chicago, Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington, the University of Leipzig, and the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society.

Financial support for the research came from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Ohio Supercomputing Center, and the Collaborative Research Center of the German Research Foundation DFG.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Yale University. Original written by Jim Shelton. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Private plan to send Moon rover to Apollo 17 site

Written by www.bbc.co.uk

Apollo 17Image copyright: NASA
Image caption: Apollo 17 was Nasa’s last crewed mission to the Moon

A proposed private space mission is planning to visit Apollo 17’s landing site on the Moon.

A German team wants to land a pair of rovers on the lunar surface to inspect the buggy left behind in 1972 on the last crewed mission to the Moon.

The group, called PT Scientists, is one of 16 teams vying for the $30m Google Lunar X-Prize.

It has signed a deal with launch broker Spaceflight Inc. to secure a ride on a commercial launcher.

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Earth is Flat! Boom! Proof from Climate Change!

Written by Joseph E Postma

How does that old saying go?

“The bast place to hide something is right out in the open.”

[editor note: sarcasm throughout] Some of you may be aware that there is a major revolution happening in science right now, where the public is slowly being leaked information by whistle-blowers from NASA about the true shape of the Earth.  We have been being lied to by the intellectual elite and the Freemasons for centuries, all as a ploy by the Illuminati to hijack our reality and create a simulacrum in which the Catholic Church and the Pope gain almost full control over our minds.  If we believe that the Earth is a round ball in space then we will believe it to be possible that aliens can come visit us, and this is all in preparation for the false flag alien invasion that the Money Masters are planning for us with HAARP and Project Blue Beamin order to implement the New World Order with the Antichrist at its head with all humans enslaved to the new Satanic World Religion.

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New paper: No Global Warming at least till 2030

Written by Nic Lewis


“We estimate that the warming slowdown (< 0.1 K/decade trend beginning in 1998) could persist, due to internal variability cooling, through 2020, 2025 or 2030 with probabilities 16%, 11%, and 6%, respectively.” – Knutson et al.

A new paper by Tom Knutson, Rong Zhang and Larry Horowitz of NOAA GFDL has just been published in Nature Communications [link to full manuscript]. The authors take a well-balanced approach to seeking possible explanations for global mean surface temperature (GMST) increasing at a much lower rate from around the turn of the century than over the late 20th century, and consider the possibility that it may continue for some time.

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Economic Ideas: Adam Ferguson and Society as a Spontaneous Order

Written by Richard Ebeling


One of the most cherished misunderstandings, if not delusions, of the social engineer – the individual who would presume to attempt to remake society through conscious and planned design – is the confident belief that he (and those like him) can ever know enough to successfully remold mankind and human institutions.

An appreciation of how limited is our individual knowledge and abilities to intentionally try make a “better world” through government regulation, control and central planning has been slow in fully developing, and still eludes too many among what is sometimes referred to as the “intellectual class” who influence and often seem to direct the social policy discourse in the modern world.

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Who knew? Ammonia-rich bird waste cools the atmosphere

Written by B. Croft, G. R. Wentworth, R. V. Martin, W. R. et al


It turns out bird feces may help cool the Arctic. That’s according to new research by atmospheric scientists, who are working to better understand key components of Arctic climate systems.

That’s according to new research from Colorado State University atmospheric scientists, who are working to better understand key components of Arctic climate systems.

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6,000 years ago the Sahara Desert was tropical, so what happened?

Written by William R. Boos, Robert L. Korty

The Sahara desert was once a tropical jungle. Credit: © taka / Fotolia
As little as 6,000 years ago, the vast Sahara Desert was covered in grassland that received plenty of rainfall, but shifts in the world’s weather patterns abruptly transformed the vegetated region into some of the driest land on Earth. A Texas A&M university researcher is trying to uncover the clues responsible for this enormous climate transformation — and the findings could lead to better rainfall predictions worldwide.

Robert Korty, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, along with colleague William Boos of Yale University, have had their work published in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.

The two researchers have looked into precipitation patterns of the Holocene era nd compared them with present-day movements of the intertropical convergence zone, a large region of intense tropical rainfall. Using computer models and other data, the researchers found links to rainfall patterns thousands of years ago.

“The framework we developed helps us understand why the heaviest tropical rain belts set up where they do,” Korty explains.

“Tropical rain belts are tied to what happens elsewhere in the world through the Hadley circulation, but it won’t predict changes elsewhere directly, as the chain of events is very complex. But it is a step toward that goal.”

The Hadley circulation is a tropical atmospheric circulation that rises near the equator. It is linked to the subtropical trade winds, tropical rainbelts, and affects the position of severe storms, hurricanes, and the jet stream. Where it descends in the subtropics, it can create desert-like conditions. The majority of Earth’s arid regions are located in areas beneath the descending parts of the Hadley circulation.

“We know that 6,000 years ago, what is now the Sahara Desert was a rainy place,” Korty adds.

“It has been something of a mystery to understand how the tropical rain belt moved so far north of the equator. Our findings show that that large migrations in rainfall can occur in one part of the globe even while the belt doesn’t move much elsewhere.

“This framework may also be useful in predicting the details of how tropical rain bands tend to shift during modern-day El Niño and La Niña events (the cooling or warming of waters in the central Pacific Ocean which tend to influence weather patterns around the world).”

The findings could lead to better ways to predict future rainfall patterns in parts of the world, Korty believes.

“One of the implications of this is that we can deduce how the position of the rainfall will change in response to individual forces,” he says. “We were able to conclude that the variations in Earth’s orbit that shifted rainfall north in Africa 6,000 years ago were by themselves insufficient to sustain the amount of rain that geologic evidence shows fell over what is now the Sahara Desert. Feedbacks between the shifts in rain and the vegetation that could exist with it are needed to get heavy rains into the Sahara.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. William R. Boos, Robert L. Korty. Regional energy budget control of the intertropical convergence zone and application to mid-Holocene rainfall. Nature Geoscience, 2016; 9 (12): 892 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2833

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Earth’s ‘technosphere’ now weighs 30 trillion tons

Written by J. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, C. N. Waters, A. D. et al.

An international team led by University of Leicester geologists has made the first estimate of the sheer size of the physical structure of the planet’s technosphere — suggesting that its mass approximates to an enormous 30 trillion tons.

The technosphere is comprised of all of the structures that humans have constructed to keep them alive on the planet — from houses, factories and farms to computer systems, smartphones and CDs, to the waste in landfills and spoil heaps.

In a new paper published in the journal The Anthropocene Review, Professors Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams and Colin Waters from the University of Leicester Department of Geology led an international team suggesting that the bulk of the planet’s technosphere is staggering in scale, with some 30 trillion tons representing a mass of more than 50 kilos for every square meter of Earth’s surface. earth

Professor Zalasiewicz explained: “The technosphere is the brainchild of the USA scientist Peter Haff — also one of the co-authors of this paper. It is all of the structures that humans have constructed to keep them alive, in very large numbers now, on the planet: houses, factories, farms, mines, roads, airports and shipping ports, computer systems, together with its discarded waste.

“Humans and human organisations form part of it, too — although we are not always as much in control as we think we are, as the technosphere is a system, with its own dynamics and energy flows — and humans have to help keep it going to survive.”

The Anthropocene concept — a proposed epoch highlighting the impact humans have made to the planet — has provided an understanding that humans have greatly changed Earth.

Professor Williams said: “The technosphere can be said to have budded off the biosphere and arguably is now at least partly parasitic on it. At its current scale the technosphere is a major new phenomenon of this planet — and one that is evolving extraordinarily rapidly.

“Compared with the biosphere, though, it is remarkably poor at recycling its own materials, as our burgeoning landfill sites show. This might be a barrier to its further success — or halt it altogether.”

The researchers believe the technosphere is some measure of the extent to which we have reshaped our planet.

“There is more to the technosphere than just its mass,” observes Professor Waters. “It has enabled the production of an enormous array of material objects, from simple tools and coins, to ballpoint pens, books and CDs, to the most sophisticated computers and smartphones. Many of these, if entombed in strata, can be preserved into the distant geological future as ‘technofossils’ that will help characterize and date the Anthropocene.”

If technofossils were to be classified as palaeontologists classify normal fossils — based on their shape, form and texture — the study suggests that the number of individual types of ‘technofossil’ now on the planet likely reaches a billion or more — thus far outnumbering the numbers of biotic species now living.

The research suggests the technosphere is another measure of the extraordinary human-driven changes that are affecting Earth.

Professor Zalasiewicz added: “The technosphere may be geologically young, but it is evolving with furious speed, and it has already left a deep imprint on our planet.”

The research is associated with the major new project of Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt on the technosphere. More information about the project is available here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2016-archive/november/leicester-geologist-contributes-to-major-project-examining-the-2018technosphere2019

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Manipulating climate data right before our eyes

Written by Michael Sununu


The recent US presidential elections have caused the climate alarmists’ heads to spin. Regardless of policy preferences, what elected officials need to focus on is what is actually going on in our climate and what steps need to be taken to address them. It’s the data that count. The real data.

On this point, let’s all agree that the world is warming. It has been since the 1800s when the world started to emerge from the Little Ice Age. We have had periods of warming, periods of cooling and periods when global temperatures didn’t do much of anything.

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NOAA Adjustments Correlate Exactly To Their Confirmation Bias

Written by Tony Heller

Thermometers show the US cooling since about 1920, but NOAA massively cools the past to create the appearance of a warming trend.


These adjustments make a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering.


When plotted against atmospheric CO2, the correlation is almost perfect.  NOAA is tampering with the data exactly to match their theory.


Read more at realclimatescience.com

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Asteroids from space are not the only threat to life

Written by Phillip Ball


We think of outer space as distant and unreachable, but in fact events out in the cosmos may have helped and hindered the evolution of life on Earth.

We are here by the skin of our teeth. Evolution could well have turned out differently, and the fact that it did not may well be down to freak, chance events. Life on Earth has faced a string of accidents, weird situations and outright catastrophes, from sudden ice ages to collisions with asteroids – and it is how life responded to these contingencies that ultimately led to us.

If that is so, we can only understand the story of life by taking the broadest possible view. Organisms are shaped by their environments, and those environments are shaped in turn by huge geological forces like volcanoes and ice sheets, and by the shifting climate.

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Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists

Written by James Delingpole


Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record.

But the news has been greeted with an eerie silence by the world’s alarmist community. You’d almost imagine that when temperatures shoot up it’s catastrophic climate change which requires dramatic headlines across the mainstream media and demands for urgent action. But that when they fall even more precipitously it’s just a case of “nothing to see here”.

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New book: The Origin of Rocks and Mineral Deposits

Written by PSI staff

Pioneering Australian geological expert publishes ‘The Origin of Rocks and Mineral Deposits.’  New book is the culmination of a lot of research effort by many people and it contains significant new knowledge.

Author, John Elliston, has been involved in the conduct and supervision of mineral exploration and research for over 45 years. The evidence he presents in this new book is clear and the conclusions commonsense and logical. book

Because it is interdisciplinary a preview edition was printed for evaluation. For that reason it is probably one of the most thoroughly reviewed and verified scientific theses ever published.

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