Old mathematics… Broken cosmos… Blurry image…

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By combining cutting-edge machine learning with 19th-century mathematics, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) mathematician worked to make NASA spacecraft lighter and more damage tolerant by developing methods to detect imperfections in carbon nanomaterials used to make composite rocket fuel tanks and other spacecraft structures.

Using machine learning, neural networks, and an old mathematical equation, Randy Paffenroth has developed an algorithm that will significantly enhance the resolution of density scanning systems that are used to detect flaws in carbon nanotube materials.

The algorithm was “trained” on thousands of sets of nanomaterial images and to make it more effective at making a high-resolution image out of a low-resolution image, he combined it with the Fourier Transform, a mathematical tool devised in the early 1800s that can be used to break down an image into its individual components.

“The Fourier Transform makes creating a high-resolution image a much easier problem by breaking down the data that makes up the image. Think of the Fourier Transform as a set of eyeglasses for the neural network. It makes blurry things clear to the algorithm. We’re taking computer vision and virtually putting glasses on it”, said Paffenroth. (1)

We like breaking the world into pieces.

We can see better that way.

But even the sharpest image of a tree.

Conveys nothing about the forest…

A forest that is there because of the trees.

Trees we know are there.

We remember those trees.

We once saw those trees.

Casting their shadows during the evening hours.

At a time when we used to stand within a forest.

But never really saw one…

Cause in the midst of the evening.

There was nothing else casting a shadow.

Nothing but our self!

The evolution of… evolution.

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New research identifies a previously overlooked global event which changed the course of the evolution of life in the oceans. It coincided with a rise in calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research.

Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate. However, from the middle of the Jurassic period onwards (some 170 million years ago), biological factors such as predator-prey relationships became increasingly important.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, scientists say this change coincided with the proliferation of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

They believe the rise of this plankton stabilised the chemical composition of the ocean and provided the conditions for one of the most prominent diversifications of marine life in Earth’s history. (1)

Evolution evolves.

And through the ages of existence.

Even Being redefines itself.

Eternal change.

Towards a goal which keeps shifting.

Everlasting life.

Walking a road that keeps going.

Poor man.

How much do you really need to walk into the clearing?

Before you realize you shouldn’t have left the clearing?

Look up.

You haven’t walked a single step.

When? Where? (Why?)

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In a UCI study, participants sat with their heads inside a high-resolution fMRI scanner while watching a TV show and then viewing still frames from the episode, one at a time.

The researchers found that when subjects had more precise answers to questions about what time certain events occurred, they activated a brain network involving the lateral entorhinal cortex and the perirhinal cortex. The team had previously shown that these regions, which surround the hippocampus, are associated with memories of objects or items but not their spatial location.

“Space and time have always been intricately linked, and the common wisdom in our field was that the mechanisms involved in one probably supported the other as well,” added Maria Montchal, a graduate student in Yassa’s lab who led the research. “But our results suggest otherwise.” (1)

Trying to remember then when.

Without caring about the where.

But nothing of these matters.

Because no matter how precisely we recall where or when something happened in the vast dark forest of existence, we will still not be able to answer a much more fundamental question: How did we get in that forest in the first place?

In a cosmos with time, there is no forest.

Nothing but a constantly changing set of beings.

Changing to show that there is nothing to change.

What a weird cosmos…

In a world of change, time has meaning.

But in a world of change nothing is real.

Feel the breeze…

Without any trees to linger in the air…

Time cannot flow.

And without a breeze blowing between the trees…

There are no trees.

Feel the breeze…

Don’t try to explain.

Just…

Feel the breeze…

Plants interacting… Cosmos crying silent…

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For people, and many other animals, family matters. Consider how many jobs go to relatives. Or how an ant will ruthlessly attack intruder ants but rescue injured, closely related nestmates. There are good evolutionary reasons to aid relatives, after all. Now, it seems, family feelings may stir in plants as well.

A Canadian biologist planted the seed of the idea more than a decade ago, but many plant biologists regarded it as heretical—plants lack the nervous systems that enable animals to recognize kin, so how can they know their relatives? But with a series of recent findings, the notion that plants really do care for their most genetically close peers—in a quiet, plant-y way—is taking root.

Some species constrain how far their roots spread, others change how many flowers they produce, and a few tilt or shift their leaves to minimize shading of neighboring plants, favoring related individuals. The new work may have a practical side. In September 2018, a team in China reported that rice planted with kin grows better, a finding that suggested family ties can be exploited to improve crop yields. “It seems anytime anyone looks for it, they find a kin effect,” says André Kessler, a chemical ecologist at Cornell University. (1)

Inside the dark forest of existence, a tree grows.

Up to the sky, away from earth. To reach the stars.

Not upwards. But next to each other.

A new tree. Another one. And another…

A forest made of individuals. All living together.

Existing only because the tree next to them does.

Humans breathing silently. Inside the woods.

They are here now. Only because the trees are.

In a vast empty forest full of life.

Only the emptiness of existence can make us laugh.

Dream of a world with no forests.

And all the butterflies will go away…

Inside the sunny forest of life.

A tall tree falls with a loud bang.

Silently…

Smelling the forest… A tree born…

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Animals are much better at smelling a complex “soup” of odorants rather than a single pure ingredient, a study by the University of Sussex has revealed.

Prof Nowotny, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the University of Sussex’s School of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Our study was looking at how olfactory receptors and brain structures cope with mixtures and single odorants. At first, we thought that mixtures would mean complications, but it turned out there was no extra complications and in fact, it’s usually easier to smell mixtures than single odorants and the sensing is also slightly faster. This wasn’t what we expected but this is what came out from our mathematical investigation”.

Prof Nowotny added: “Everything we take in from our environment is mixed smells, so it makes evolutionary sense that our olfactory systems would be better at those type of smells.” “Similarly, animals secrete odorant mixtures as communication signals (pheromones), so it is vital that they can quickly and accurately identify these chemical signals, so they can decode the message they are being sent”. (1)

We were born in a forest.

Inside a vast universe.

Under the cold blue sky.

We were born in a forest.

But we can only see trees now.

We see many trees.

More and more trees.

Until there are no trees again.

Until we see the forest once more.

And it is only then…

In the deep dark forest…

That a small tree will be born again…

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