William Bateson was an English biologist who was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity, and the chief populariser of the ideas of Gregor Mendel following their rediscovery in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns. His 1894 book Materials for the Study of Variation was one of the earliest formulations of the new approach to genetics.

Bateson became the chief popularizer of the ideas of Mendel following their rediscovery. In 1909 he published a much-expanded version of his 1902 textbook entitled Mendel's Principles of Heredity. This book, which underwent several printings, was the primary means by which Mendel's work became widely known to readers of English.

"Bateson first suggested using the word "genetics" (from the Greek [Offsite Link]  genn?, ?????; "to give birth") to describe the study of inheritance and the science of variation in a personal letter to Alan Sedgwick... dated April 18, 1905. Bateson first used the term genetics publicly at the Third International Conference on Plant Hybridization in London in 1906. This was three years before Wilhelm Johannsen used the word "" to describe the units of hereditary information. De Vries had introduced the word "pangene" for the same concept already in 1889, and etymologically the word genetics has parallels with Darwin's concept of pangenesis.

Bateson co-discovered genetic linkage with Reginald Punnett, and he and Punnett founded the Journal of Genetics in 1910. Bateson also coined the term "epistasis" to describe the genetic interaction of two independent traits.

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Researchers from Weizmann Institute of Science have developed an advanced, innovative method to detect non-visual traces of fire. Using this method, they have discovered one of the earliest known pieces of evidence for the use of fire, dating back at least 8,00,000 years. Their results have been published in an article late in June in PNAS.

Ancient hominins are a group that includes humans and some of our extinct family members. The controlled use of fire by this group dates back at least a million years. Archaeologists believe that this was the time when Homo habilis began its transition to Homo erectus.

Cooking hypothesis

A working theory called the "cooking hypothesis", in fact, postulates that the use of fire was instrumental in our evolution. Controlled fire not only allowed for staying warm, crafting tools, and warning off predators, but also enabled cooking, paving the way for the growth of the brain.

Traditional archaeological evidence relying on visual identification of modifications resulting from combustion has provided widespread evidence of fire use no older than 2,00,000 years. Sparse evidence of fire dating back to 5,00,000 also exists.

The team of scientists involved in this research had pioneered the application of Al and spectroscopy in archaeology to find indications of controlled burning of stone tools. For this research, they developed a more advanced Al model capable of finding hidden patterns across a multitude of scales. Output of the model could thus estimate the temperature to which the stone tools were heated.. providing insights into past human behaviours.

Assess heat exposure

The researchers took their method to Evron Quarry, an open-air archaeological site first discovered in the 1970s. The site is home to fossils and tools dating back to between 8,00,000 and 1 million years ago, but without any visual evidence of heat. With their accurate Al, the team assessed the heat exposure of 26 flint tools. The results showed that these tools had been subjected to a wide range of temperatures, with some even being heated to over 600 degree Celsius. The presence of hidden heat puts the traces of controlled fire to at least 8,00,000 years ago.

Apart from identifying non-visual evidence of fire use, the scientists hope that their newly developed technique will provide a push toward a more scientific, data-driven archaeology that uses new tools. The researchers believe that this will help us understand the behaviour of our early ancestors and the origins of the human story.

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Food waste is a huge problem worldwide. In Japan alone, the edible food waste produced in 2019 amounts to 5.7 million tons. While their government aims to reduce that to around 2.7 million tons by 2030, there are others who are working on the same problem differently. Researchers from Tokyo University, for instance, have found a new method to create cement from food waste.

In addition to addressing the issue of food waste, the researchers also hope to reduce global warming in this way. Apart from the estimate that cement production accounts for 8% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, there is also the fact that wasted food materials rotting in landfills emit methane. By using these materials to make cement, scientists hope to reduce global warming.

The researchers borrowed a heat pressing concept that they had employed to pulverise wood particles to make concrete. By using simple mixers and compressors that they could buy online, the researchers used a three-step process of drying. pulverising, and compressing to turn wood particles into concrete.

Heat pressing concept

Following this success, they decided to do the same to food waste. Months of failures followed as they tried to get the cement to bind by tuning the temperature and pressure. The researchers say that this was the toughest part of the process as different food stuff requires different temperatures and pressure levels.

The researchers were able to make cement using tea leaves, coffee grounds, Chinese cabbage, orange and onion peels, and even lunch-box leftovers. To make this cement waterproof and protect it from being eaten by rodents and other pests, the scientists suggest coatings of lacquer.

Cement that can be eaten!

Additionally, the researchers tweaked flavours with different spices to arrive at different colours, scents, and taste of the cement. Yes, you read that right. This material can even be eaten by breaking it into pieces and then boiling it.

The scientists hope that their material can be used to make edible makeshift housing materials for starters, as they are bound to be useful in times of disasters. If food cannot be delivered to evacuees, for instance, then they could maybe eat makeshift beds prepared from food cement. The food cement that they have created is reusable e and biodegradable.

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On May 29, 1885, self-tought inventor Jan Ernst Matzeliger conducted the first public demonstration of his shoe-lasting machine. By automating a stage of shoe production that everyone thought was impossible to do, Matezliger forever change the shoe manufacturing industry.  

Do you know what the term "lasting" means in the shoe industry? Lasting corresponds to the operation of stretching the shoe upper over the foot form or "last". There are many ways in which these lasting operations are performed and almost all shoes in today's world are lasted in some way.

For the longest time it was believed that lasting could not be automated. Even as the rest of the shoe-making process was mechanised, hand lasters held a special place in the footwear factory as they continued to pull uppers over and nail them onto the lasts. Dutch inventor Jan Ernst Matzeliger changed all that with his shoe-lasting machine.

Matzeliger was born in 1852 on a coffee plantation in Dutch Guiana-now Suriname, a small country on the northern coast of South America. Even at the young age of 10, Matzeliger demonstrated a natural aptitude for machinery as an apprentice in machine shops.

Fights language barrier

 At the age of 19. Matzeliger went to the sea, spending two years as a mechanic on a merchant ship before settling in Philadelphia, the U.S. As he spoke very little English, he had to be content doing odd jobs. including that of a shoemakers apprentice, for the next few years. When he moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1877, he was looking to pursue his interest in shoe making.

Finding work in a shoe factory, Matzeliger did everything that was entrusted upon him during his 10-hour work day. He spent the evenings and nights educating himself, studying English to improve his fluency in the language and studying other subjects to enhance his mechanical abilities. He dabbled with art as well, painting pictures that he gifted to his friends and even conducting classes in oil painting.

Looks to automate lasting

Matzeliger noticed that while shoe companies had machinery for most purposes, lasting was still done by hand. While many believed that it was impossible for a machine to replicate this important step, Matzeliger took it upon himself to automate the process.

Years of experimentation followed as he tried to duplicate the movements of the hand lasters that he observed in the machine he was building. Apart from securing a working space and access to machine tools at the company he worked with, he also scraped through their junkyards and factory dumps to find usable machinery that he could alter for his requirements. By 1882, he had a working device ready.

Matzeliger filed for a patent on January 24, 1882. The text and drawings of his 15-page document, however, were so complex that an inspector had to visit him to understand the workings of his machine.

Better than the best

Matzeliger received a patent for his lasting machine on March 20, 1883. This machine employed pincers to hold an upper, pulled it over the last and held it in place, before pinning the leather to the last and discharging the completed shoe. Matzeligers machine could easily outdo even the best of hand lasters, who managed 60 pairs of shoes a day.

In the next couple of years. Matzeliger further tweaked this device with engineering improvements to make it industry-ready. When he was finally satisfied, he held a public demonstration on May 29, 1885. The machine reproduced the technique used by hand lasters. but at a much greater speed-it was capable of producing as many as 700 pairs of shoes each day.

Along with two investors who provided capital in exchange for two-thirds ownership of the device, Matzeliger formed a company to market his machine. With the demand for the lasting machine increasing rapidly, the organisation grew fast and soon merged with many other shoe manufacturers to form the United Shoe Machinery Company.

Matzeliger, however, didn't enjoy the financial windfall that followed as he died from tuberculosis in 1889 at the young age of 36. Despite the prejudices that he suffered, both because of his colour and the fact that he lacked formal education, Matzeliger not only revolutionised footwear production, but also made high-quality shoes affordable for everyone. We don't have to look beyond the shoes we wear each day to see the lasting impact that one young man who was tirelessly driven by an idea has had.

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What is Pallas the asteroid? Who discovered it?

When we learn about the solar system, we are introduced to a class of objects called asteroids. Most of these asteroids exist in the main asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. While this much is common knowledge these days, the existence of this asteroid belt wasn't even known a little over 200 years back.

Pallas, third largest asteroid in the asteroid belt and the second such object to be discovered, by the German astronomer and physician Wilhelm Olbers on March 28, 1802, following the discovery of Ceres the year before. It is named after Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. A.s. Ganesh takes a look at the third largest asteroid in the asteroid belt……..

Late in the 18th Century, German astronomers Johann Daniel Titius and Johann Elert Bode arrived at a mathematical expression now known as Titius-Bode law. These calculations not only predicted the positions of the planets then known, but also suggested possible positions of others.

The search begins

When the discovery of Uranus in 1781 corresponded to that predicted by this law, there was a sense of anticipation as the law suggested another between Mars and Jupiter. Among the group of astronomers hunting down the missing planet was Wilhelm Olbers, a German physician who did his astronomical work by setting up his own house for the purpose.

Ceres, which was discovered by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi in January 1801, was believed to be the missing planet and was tracked down for a while before it went behind the sun. It was Carl Friedrich Gauss, a young mathematician who later became a good friend of Olbers, who devised a way to find out the orbit of an object using limited observations.

Olbers applied Gauss' method and observed Ceres later in 1801. He continued this exercise on an everyday basis and discovered a similar object on March 28, 1802. Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom Pallas Athena, 2 Pallas (number based on order of discovery) can even be considered the first asteroid to be discovered as 1 Ceres was classified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

Remnants of a planet?

Apart from being the second such object to be discovered in what we now know as the asteroid belt, Pallas is also the third largest asteroid in the region. The discovery of Ceres and Pallas, along with Juno and Vesta over the next few years, led to the idea that asteroids are remnants of an actual planet. Even though this is no longer accepted, the idea that asteroids are pieces of the missing planet predicted by the Titius-Bode law endured for a long time.

While little was known about Pallas for over 200 years, a study in the past few years revealed that this asteroid has a violent, cratered past. In order to analyse Pallas' shape and surface in detail, scientists used the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research (SPHERE) imager on the Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.

Pockmarked surface

 Researchers were able to capture 11 images of the asteroid's surface. Using these images along with their own simulations, the scientists were able to tell that there were numerous craters ranging from 30 to 120 km wide on Pallas surface and that its appearance could even resemble that of a golf ball.

Even though the orbital eccentricity of Pallas is moderate, its orbital inclination is unusually large. This means that Pallas' orbit is highly inclined with respect to the plane of the asteroid belt and the asteroid is therefore rather inaccessible to spacecraft. Plenty still remains unknown about this asteroid and even though missions are planned, Pallas is for now the largest asteroid that hasn't been visited by a spacecraft yet.

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