Tags “This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I’ve ever come across,” explained Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, lead author of a study recently published in Nature.”Like many black holes, it’s feeding on a nearby star, pulling gas away from the star and forming a disk of material that encircles the black hole and spirals towards it under gravity.”What’s different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned.”This appears to be causing the inner part of the disk to wobble like a spinning top and fire jets out in different directions as it changes orientation.” Think of the black hole in V404 Cygni as a gigantic, light consuming Beyblade that’s starting to run out of juice. It’s no longer spinning straight, it’s wobbling all over the place.You can read more about the ground breaking discovery here, at ICRAR’s official website. Post a comment 14 genius Stephen Hawking quotes that will make you question your place in the universe (pictures) Trippy. ICRAR The year 2019 has been a big one for black holes. To begin with, we saw one for the first time. We also discovered 83 of them at the edge of our universe. No big deal.Now recent research is uncovering more about the insanely dense, spacetime bending bad boys of the universe. Get this: while most black holes are thought to “spin” (thanks to the space dust and gas in orbital motion around the black hole) scientists have discovered a black hole that does things a little differently.V404 Cygni is a binary system in the constellation of Cygnus. At its center is a black hole that is currently in the process of absorbing a low mass nearby star. Astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, Western Australia noticed that the black hole in V404 Cygni was spitting out bright jet beams of matter into space. That’s relatively normal, what wasn’t normal was the direction the matter was being sprayed. As a result of the way black holes normally spin, the matter tends to spray out in the same direction. This time it was being sprayed out at different angles. The jets appear to be rapidly rotating.You can see this visualized in the below animation. The conclusion: this black hole is spinning a little differently than the rest. 0 Share your voice 14 Photos Sci-Tech
The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore is hosting the first Annual Field Day at Rash Field, 201 Key Highway, Baltimore on July 30 from noon to 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon filled with local food vendors, adult beverages and outdoor games and activities. The event is free. Visit waterfrontpartnership.org for more details.
Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Single-molecule resolution of protein structure and interfacial dynamics on biomaterial surfaces, PNAS November 26, 2013 vol. 110 no. 48 19396-19401, doi:10.1073/pnas.1311761110 Moreover, Kaar continues, monitoring molecule-by-molecule structure changes in organophosphorus hydrolase had its own challenges related to eliminating mislabeled protein molecules – that is, molecules with other than one donor and one acceptor fluorophore – from analysis. “We met this challenge by creating and implementing filters during data analysis that separated signals from properly labeled and mislabeled species.”Kaar points out that using SM-FRET tracking had its own issue. For one, it required high-throughput tracking algorithms (developed by co-authors Kastantin and Schwartz) critical to monitor changes in FRET signals for large numbers of molecules, which in turn was essential to identifying protein structure changes accurately (that is, with high statistical confidence). He points out that SM-FRET also required prior knowledge of the crystal structure of OPH, which was needed to make the FRET signal indicative of quantitative changes in protein conformation.The study’s results suggest that surfaces may act as a source of unfolded (that is, aggregation-prone) protein back into solution – but validating this implication faces the challenge of identifying the conformation of protein molecules immediately before desorption from the surface. “The question of whether the unfolded proteins induced aggregation in solution after desorption remains to be fully understood,” Kaar explains. “Fully understanding if this is actually the case requires further analysis of protein in solution in the presence of the surface.”The team leveraged two key innovations to address these research challenges – the implementation of site-specific labeling methods, and high-throughput tracking algorithms with SM-FRET. “Combining these methods enabled the decoupling of surface-induced conformational changes from protein adsorption and desorption events,” Kaar notes. “By decoupling such phenomenon, this approach allowed us to overcome the limitations of conventional surface characterization methods.”The research also shows that SM-FRET permits a unique level of understanding of the ways in which surface chemistry influences molecular conformation and, in turn, function. “By observing molecular-level changes in protein structure in isolation from competing surface dynamics, it’s easier to make a direct connection between surface chemistry and conformation,” Kaar points out. “Therefore, it is more straightforward to see the effects of surface chemistry and can lead to new ideas for how to improve chemistry for a given application.Another important finding is that the new method will enable the creation of surfaces and modifications with improved biocompatibility by uncovering the connection between surface properties and protein unfolding. “This connection is critical to inspiring and developing surfaces and modifications that meld with the biological world,” Kaar explains. “For example, with this understanding, we can begin to design surfaces that promote protein folding and therefore favorable responses from cells present in the surrounding milieu. In this example, the folded state of the protein may display certain biological signals to cells that thwart unwanted inflammatory or harmful reactions while instructing cells to respond in ways that may facilitate proliferation, differentiation or even wound healing in vivo.”Kaar tells Phys.org that future experiments are aimed at determining if the observed effects of fused silica on organophosphorus hydrolase are general or specific to this combination of surface and protein. “We plan to address this question by probing how fused silica and surfaces with other properties impact the folding of other proteins. We’re also interested in expanding our methods to understand how surface effects on conformation impact the binding of a third protein species. Understanding this impact is critical to, for example, enumerating how cells respond to biological cues on surfaces in physiological environments.” Other innovations that the researchers may develop, Kaar adds, include more sophisticated labeling to minimize SM-FRET protein mislabeling on surfaces, as well as labeling and detection schemes to enable multiple molecular events, including unfolding and binding, to be monitored simultaneously.”Given that the interaction of proteins and surfaces are relevant in virtually all areas of biotechnology,” Kaar notes, “many other areas of research – for example, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biosensing, biocatalysis, and pharmaceutical protein formulation – may benefit from exploiting our approach.” (Phys.org) —Proteins accomplish something rather amazing: A protein can have many functions, with a given function being determined by the way they fold into a specific three-dimensional geometry, or conformations. Moreover, the structural transitions form one conformation to another is reversible. However, while these dynamics affect protein conformation and therefore function, and so are critical to a wide range of areas, methods for understanding how proteins behave near surfaces, which is complicated by protein and surface heterogeneities, has remained elusive. Recently, however, scientists at University of Colorado utilized a method known as Single-Molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (SM-FRET) tracking to monitor dynamic changes in protein structure and interfacial behavior on surfaces by single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, allowing them to explicate changes in protein structure at the single-molecule level. (SM-FRET describes energy transfer between two chromophores – molecular components that determine its color.) In addition, the researchers state that their approach is suitable for studying virtually any protein, thereby providing a framework for developing surfaces and surface modifications with improved biocompatibility. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2013 Phys.org. All rights reserved. Citation: Two for the price of one: Single-molecule microscopy simultaneously monitors protein structure and function (2013, December 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-price-single-molecule-microscopy-simultaneously-protein.html Protein surfaces defects act as drug targets Structure of OPH showing the position of site-specific donor and acceptor labeling. OPH is a homodimer (C2 symmetry) that consists of two (α/β)8 monomers. The position K175, which was replaced with AzF in monomers A and B of OPH, is highlighted (yellow). Credit: Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1311761110 Prof. Joel L. Kaar discussed the paper he and his co-authors, Dr. Sean Yu McLoughlin, Prof. Mark Kastantin and Prof. Daniel K. Schwartz, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The primary challenges in devising our approach to characterizing changes in protein structure were implementing a site-specific labeling method, which enabled single-molecule resolution, as well as a method to only image molecules at the solution-surface interface,” Kaar tells Phys.org. The scientists overcame the former challenge by incorporating unnatural amino acids – that is, those not among the 20 so-called standard amino acids – with unique functional groups for labeling with fluorophores (chemical compounds that can re-emit light upon light excitation); the latter, by using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, which only excites molecules in the near-surface environment, thereby minimizing the background fluorescence of molecules free in solution. “Although site-specific labeling methods have been used to monitor changes in protein conformation mainly in bulk solution, such techniques have not previously been exploited to study freely diffusible protein molecules at interfaces,” Kaar adds. As such, the researchers are the first to apply site-specific labeling methods to study protein-surface interactions,”The major challenge associated with incorporating unnatural amino acids for labeling was related to the optimization of protein expression,” Kaar continues. Specifically, he explains, the expression of the enzyme organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) – which is notoriously difficult to make in large quantities due to inclusion body formation – with the unnatural amino acid p-azido-L-Phe (AzF) had to be optimized to efficiently incorporate p-azido-L-Phe. (Inclusion body formation refers to the intracellular aggregation of partially folded expressed proteins,) “This process required modification of expression conditions,” he adds, “in which bacteria with modified genetic machinery were grown to enable production of soluble enzyme for single-molecule experiments.”
Imagine a watch without a watch face to indicate the time. An interface provides important information to us, such as time, so that we can make informed decisions. For example, whether we have enough time to get ice cream before the movie starts. When it comes to games, the User Interface (UI) plays a vital role in how information is conveyed to a player during gameplay. The implementation of a UI is one of the main ways to exchange information with the player about moment-to-moment interactions and their consequences (for example, taking damage). However, UIs are not just about the exchange of information, they are also about how information is provided to a player and when. This can range from the subtle glow of a health bar as it depletes, to dirt covering the screen as you drive a high-speed vehicle through the desert. There are four main ways that UIs are provided to players within a game, which we will discuss shortly. The purpose of this article is to prime you with the fundamentals of UIs so that you not only know how to implement them within Unity but also how they relate to a player’s experience. Toward the end, we will see how Unity handles UIs, and we will implement a UI for our first game. In fact, we will insert a scoring system as well as a Game Over Screen. There will be some additional considerations that you can experiment with in terms of adding additional UI elements that you can try implementing on your own. This article is a part of the book titled “Unity 2017 2D Game Development Projects” written by Lauren S. Ferro & Francesco Sapio. Designing the user interface Think about reading a book, is the text or images in the center of the page, where is the page number located, and are the pages numbered consecutively? Typically, such things are pretty straightforward and follow conventions. Therefore, to some extent, we begin to expect things to be the same, especially if they are located in the same place, such as page numbers or even the next button. In the context of games, players also expect the same kinds of interactions, not only with gameplay but also with other on-screen elements, such as the UI. For example, if most games show health in a rectangular bar or with hearts, then that’s something that players will be looking for when they want to know whether or not they are in danger. The design of a UI needs to consider a number of things. For example, the limitations of the platform that you are designing for, such as screen size, and the types of interaction that it can afford (does it use touch input or a mouse pointer?). Physiological reactions that the interface might give to the player need to be considered since they will be the final consumer. In fact, another thing to keep in mind is that some people read from right to left in their native languages, and the UI should reflect this as well. Players or users of applications are used to certain conventions and formats. For example, a house icon usually indicates home or the main screen, an email icon usually indicates contact, and an arrow pointing to the right usually indicates that it will continue to the next item in the list or the next question, and so on. Therefore, to improve ease of use and navigation, it is ideal to stick to these or to at least to keep these in mind during the design process. In addition to this, how the user navigates through the application is important. If there is only one way to get from the home screen to an option, and it’s via a lot of screens, the whole experience is going to be tiresome. Therefore, make sure that you create navigation maps early on to determine the route for each part of the experience. If a user has to navigate through six screens before they can reach a certain page, then they won’t be doing it for very long! In saying all of this, don’t let the design overtake the practicality of the user’s experience. For example, you may have a beautiful UI but if it makes it really hard to play the game or it causes too much confusion, then it is pretty much useless. Particularly during fast-paced gameplay, you don’t want the player to have to sift through 20 different on-screen elements to find what they are looking for. You want the level mastery to be focused on the gameplay rather than understanding the UI. Another way to limit the number of UI elements presented to the player (at any one time) is to have sliding windows or pop-up windows that have other UI elements present. For example, if your player has the option to unlock many different types of ability but can only use one or two of them at any single moment during gameplay, there is no point in displaying them all. Therefore, having a UI element for them to click that then displays all of the other abilities, which they can swap for the existing ones, is one way to minimize the UI design. Of course, you don’t want to have multiple pop-up windows, otherwise, it becomes a quest in itself to change in-game settings. Programming the user interface As we have seen in the previous section, designing the UI can be tough and requires experience to get into, especially if you take into consideration all the elements you should, such as the psychology of your audience. However, this is just halfway through. In fact, designing is one thing; making it work is another. Usually, in large teams, there are artists who design the UI and programmers who implement it, based on the artists’ graphics. Is UI programming that different? Well, the answer is no, programming is still programming; however, it’s quite an interesting branch of the field of programming. If you are building your game engine from scratch, implementing an entire system that handles input is not something you can create with just a couple of hours of work. Catching all the events that the player performs in the game and in the UI is not easy to implement, and requires a lot of practice. Luckily, in the context of Unity, most of this backend for UIs is already done. Unity also provides a solid framework on the frontend for UIs. This framework includes different components that can be easily used without knowing anything about programming. But if we are really interested in unlocking the potential of the Unity framework for UIs, we need to both understand and program within it. Even with a solid framework, such as the one in Unity, UI programming still needs to take into consideration many factors, enough to have a specific role for this in large teams. Achieving exactly what designers have in mind, and is possible without impacting the performance of the game too much, is most of the job of a UI programmer (at least using Unity). Four types of UI Before, moving on, I just want to point out a technical term about UIs, since it also appears in the official documentation of Unity. Some UIs are not fixed on the screen, but actually, have a physical space within the game environment. In saying this, the four types of interfaces are diegetic, non-diegetic, meta, and spatial. Each of these has its own specific use and effect when it comes to the player’s experience and some are implicit (for example, static graphics) while others are explicit (blood and dirt on the screen). However, these types can be intermixed to create some interesting interfaces and player experiences. For Angel Cakes, we will implement a simple non-diegetic UI, which will show all of the information the player needs to play the game. Diegetic Diegetic UIs differ from to non-diegetic UIs because they exist in the game world instead of being on top of it and/or completely removed from the game’s fiction. Diegetic UIs within the game world can be seen and heard by other players. Some examples of diegetic UI include the screens on computers, ticking clocks, remaining ammunition, and countdowns. To illustrate this, if you have a look at the following image from the Tribes Ascend game, you can see the amount of ammunition remaining: Non-diegetic Non-diegetic interfaces are ones that are rendered outside of the game world and are only visible to the player. They are your typical game UIs that overlay on top of the game. They are completely removed from the game’s fiction. Some common uses of non-diegetic UIs can represent health and mana via a colored bar. Non-diegetic UIs are normally represented in 2D, like in the following screenshot of Star Trek Online: Spatial Spatial UI elements are physically presented in the game’s space. These types of UIs may or not may be visible to the other players within the game space. This is something that is particularly featured in Virtual Reality ( VR) experiences. Spatial UIs are effective when you want to guide players through a level or to indicate points of interest. The following example is from Army of Two. On the ground, you can see arrows directing the player where to go next. You can find out more about implementing Spatial UIs, like the one in the following screenshot, in Unity by visiting the link to the official documentation at: Meta Lastly, Meta UIs can exist in the game world but aren’t necessarily visualized like they would be as Spatial UIs. This means that they may not be represented within the 3D Space. In most cases, Meta UIs represent an effect of various actions such as getting shot or requiring more oxygen. As you can see in the following image of Metro 2033, when the player is in an area that is not suitable for them, the view through the mask begins to get hazy. When they get shot or engage in combat, their mask also receives damage. You can see this through the cracks that appear on the edges of the mask: To summarize, we saw the importance of UI in game development and what are the different types of UI available. To know more, check out this book Unity 2017 2D Game Development Projects written by Lauren S. Ferro & Francesco Sapio. Read Next: Google Cloud collaborates with Unity 3D; a connected gaming experience is here! Working with Unity Variables to script powerful Unity 2017 games How to use arrays, lists, and dictionaries in Unity for 3D game development
New Hampshire offers ‘Limitless Possibilities’ for families Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Adventure Travel, Family Travel, New Hampshire Tuesday, May 30, 2017 NEW HAMPSHIRE — When it comes to family travel, clients should look no further than the Granite State. New Hampshire has been touting ‘Limitless Possibilities” for families and leisure travellers alike, and when it comes to outdoor adventures, that definitely proves true.A small sampling of the activities that can be done in New Hampshire include:Ziplining: Parents and kids alike can enjoy the adrenaline rush of soaring through the Granite State. Take in the wonders of the various natural wonders including mountains, lakes, and endless forestry. Fun fact: New Hampshire is home to one of the longest zipline canopy tours in the U.S. Go to visitnh.gov/things-to-do/recreation/ziplining.Water Attractions: In any weather, families can make a splash in one of the many outdoor water parks located across the state. On rainy days or off-season visits, family fun can still be had at a variety of indoor water parks perfect for year-round fun.Mountain Coasters: In the summer months, New Hampshire’s top ski resorts keep the family fun going with mountain coasters. Check out one of the thrilling, boundary-pushing attractions at some on New Hampshire’s best mountains.Hiking: For active, adventurous families, New Hampshire offers some of the best hiking trails in the U.S. with options for all levels. There are also many kid-friendly trails, with more information found on New Hampshire’s website.More news: Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalIf you have clients who are looking for an adventure for the whole family, make sure to share the video by NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development.For more information, go to visitnh.gov. Share Posted by