Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Март 2021 г.
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    The Barents Observer / March 02, 2021
    Russian researchers: Average Arctic temperature could increase 20 °С by century's end
    A group of Russian climate researchers outline a further multi-degree warming of the Arctic.
    • By Atle Staalesen
    По данным российских климатологов из Института вычислительной математики им. Г.И.Марчука РАН, при продолжающемся выбросе парниковых газов к концу века средняя температура в Арктике может вырасти на 20 °С. Более того - даже при сокращении выбросов до нуля температура некоторое время продолжит расти по инерции.

According to the Russian Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematic, climate gas emissions are leading to a continued rapid temperature increase in the northernmost part of the planet. By the end of the century, average temperatures in the central parts of the Arctic could be 20 °С higher than what is considered normal for the region. The scenario is based on a continued major emission of climate gases, Senior Researcher Yevgeny Volodin told to TASS. However, also with a significant cut in emissions, temperatures in the region will continue to increase, Volodin explains.
"Even in a situation where the world community by 2050 reaches a zero-emission target for climate gases into the atmosphere, the Arctic will in any case be 2-3 degrees higher than today because of the inertia of the climate system," the researcher says.
Normal average temperatures in the central parts of the Arctic range between minus 10-30 °С. In the area of the North Pole the normal average temperature per year is between minus 15-20 °С. The Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematic is part of the Russian Academy of Science and has modeling of climate change scenarios as one of its main research areas.
The Arctic is part of the planet with the quickest warming, and 2020 was the warmest year on record. Parts of the Russian Arctic was more than 7 °С warmer than normal. The latest climate report from Russian meteorological service Roshydromet says that average winter temperatures along the Northern Sea Route, the waters located along the country’s Arctic coast, have increased by about 5 degrees since the 1990s. The warming is most significant in the areas around the Kara Sea.
The heat shocks are coming not only in the air. In the summer of 2020, Russian researchers measured water temperatures more than 5 degrees higher than normal in parts of the Barents Sea and Kara Sea. Effects for the Arctic sea-ice are devastating. The waters along Russia’s remote Arctic coast were in 2020 free of sea-ice earlier than ever on man’s memory, and shipments across the eastern parts of the Northern Sea Route started already in May.

© 2002-2021.

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    Sci-News / Mar 2, 2021
    New Sauropod Dinosaur Discovered in Uzbekistan
    • By Enrico de Lazaro
    Александр Аверьянов (Зоологический институт РАН) и Ханс-Дитер Сьюз (Смитсоновский институт) описали новый вид динозавра семейства реббахизавридов, обнаруженного в Азии. Динозавр был определен по нескольким позвонкам и получил название Dzharatitanis kingi.

Paleontologists have identified a new genus and species of rebbachisaurid dinosaur from a fossil uncovered in Uzbekistan.
The newly-discovered dinosaur roamed Earth approximately 92 million years ago, during the Turonian stage of the Late Cretaceous epoch. Dubbed Dzharatitanis kingi, it belongs to Rebbachisauridae, a large family of plant-eating dinosaurs. A single isolated vertebra of the new dinosaur was recovered from the Bissekty Formation at Dzharakuduk in Navoi Viloyat, Uzbekistan. The specimen was found by paleontologists during the URBAC international expedition in 1997.
"This is the first rebbachisaurid reported from Asia and one of the youngest rebbachisaurids in the known fossil record," Dr. Alexander Averianov of St. Petersburg Zoological Institute and Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues of Smithsonian Institution wrote in their paper. "The Rebbachisauridae is the second sauropod group identified in the assemblage of non-avian dinosaurs from the Bissekty Formation, in addition to a previously identified indeterminate titanosaurian."
All previous records of rebbachisaurid dinosaurs came from a narrow band extending from southernmost South America through the northeastern South America and northwestern Africa to Europe. The discovery of Dzharatitanis kingi now considerably extends the known distribution of this group to the east. It is most likely that these dispersed to Central Asia from Europe but it is not clear when this could have occurred.
"The Rebbachisauridae possibly dispersed from Europe to Asia via a land bridge across the Turgai Strait sometime between the Barremian and Turonian," the paleontologists wrote.
The discovery is reported in a paper published this month in the journal PLoS ONE.

© 2011-2021. Sci-News.com. All Rights Reserved.

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    Phys.org / March 2, 2021
    Testing waters of East Siberian Arctic Ocean suggests origin of elevated methane is reservoir located in Laptev Sea
    Международная группа ученых из шести стран, включая Россию, пришла к выводу, что растущая концентрация метана в восточных областях Северного Ледовитого океана может быть связана с тем, что подводная вечная мерзлота подошла к точке таяния, в результате чего начали вскрываться древние резервуары газа. Один такой крупный термогенный резервуар, по мнению исследователей, находится на дне моря Лаптевых.

An international team of researchers has found evidence implicating a deep underground reservoir as the source of high levels of methane in the waters of the East Siberian Arctic Ocean. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes testing three isotopic forms of dissolved methane in the waters.
Planet scientists have become concerned about methane released into the atmosphere from the East Siberian Arctic Ocean. Such emissions have been found to play a role in climate change. Prior research has shown that methane is better at holding heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Other prior research has shown that the Arctic is growing warmer faster than other parts of the planet. This is believed to be due to melting of permafrost, which holds a very large amount of sequestered carbon. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the source of methane emissions from the ocean.
The work involved first obtaining water samples from regions of the East Siberian Arctic Ocean. Each of the samples then underwent triple-isotope-based fingerprinting. Doing so showed that only a small amount of the methane was coming from shallow microbial sources - the rest was coming from what the team believes is a very large, deep thermogenic reservoir. The researchers also believe the reservoir is located beneath the Laptev Sea; a portion of the East Siberian Arctic Ocean situated north of the eastern part of Russia.
Prior research has suggested that there are very large deposits of methane located in many places beneath the world's ocean floors. Prior research has also suggested that if the ocean water is warmed, some or all of the methane can be released. Researchers have found that such releases can sometimes result in pressure building up as the gas makes its way into unstable parts of the ocean floor. And that can lead to seepage or sometimes explosive events as the gas is suddenly released up through the water and to the surface.
Planet scientists are concerned that warming waters, in addition to a warming atmosphere, could accelerate the release of methane into the air, resulting in accelerating warming, which could in turn lead to accelerated permafrost melting. This cycle could lead to warming the entire planet at a faster pace than has been predicted.

© Phys.org 2003-2021 powered by Science X Network.

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    Nuclear Engineering / 4 March 2021
    Radionuclide removal using graphene oxide
    Russian researchers have adapted graphene to improve its ability to remove radionuclides from water.
    Ученые Курчатовского института и МГУ совместно с коллегами из Швеции и Германии увеличили сорбционные свойства оксида графена в 15 раз. Полученный материал эффективен для очистки воды от радионуклидов.

Russian scientists from Moscow State University and the Kurchatov Institute, together with colleagues from Sweden and Germany, have increased the sorption properties of graphene by 15 times, improving its ability to remove radionuclides from water.
The development was carried out by an international group of specialists, who succeeded in synthesising and characterising graphene oxide with specified defects in the molecular structure. These features improve the sorption properties of the material by a factor of 15.
"We studied the mechanism of uranium sorption on graphene oxide to determine which method of its synthesis makes it possible to obtain the most effective material," Aleksandr Trigub, a researcher at the Kurchatov Institute, told Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The compound was prepared from reduced graphene oxide, using a reaction known as the Hummers method. The authors modified this classical method for producing graphene oxide using an explosive thermal delamination process. As a result, defects appear in the graphene’s carbon structure, which ‘trap’ heavy metal cations (ie those with a positive electric charge).
In conventional graphene oxide, the carbon atoms are structured in flat (two dimensional) ‘sheet’ of connected hexagons, with the oxygen on the surfaces. In a ‘defective’ oxide like the one described above, oxygen acts on graphene in such a way that it creates many irregularities. The sorption of uranium cations occurs due to the fact that carboxyl groups are placed on the oxygen atoms located at the edge of the voids in the structure of defective graphene oxide. Active oxidation of graphene oxide increases the number of carboxyl groups, which increases its sorption properties.
The new material was developed specifically to increase the number of defects. Scientists have studied its structure in detail using powerful microscopes, x-rays and spectroscopic methods.
Two-dimensional carbon materials, which include graphene oxide, are increasingly used in industry. Now this topic is one of the most fast-developing in science, and researchers are looking for new applications of such materials, says Pavel Postnikov, associate professor at the Research School of Chemical and Biomedical Technologies of Tomsk Polytechnic University.
"Unlike graphene, which is expensive to produce, graphene oxide can be synthesised quite simply," said Pavel Sorokin, a leading researcher from the Inorganic Nanomaterials Research Laboratory at Russia’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST MISIS).
The proposed method for obtaining the substance is easily scalable and can be applied for mass production of graphene oxide for water purification, said associate professor Anton Konakov, senior researcher at the Department of Theoretical Physics at the Faculty of Physics of Lobachevsky University.
The new work is a logical continuation of the authors’ works on the study of the sorption capacity of graphene oxide, in which a high sorption of ions containing radionuclides on edge carboxyl groups was found, said Vyacheslav Almyashev, associate professor of the Department of Physical Chemistry at the St Petersburg Electrotechnical University. "The researchers have developed a technology for creating highly defective graphene oxide to increase the number of sorbing centres, and their previous assumptions were confirmed," he said.

© 2021, All Rights Reserved.

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    pv magazin / March 8, 2021
    A "chemical fuse" - voltage sensitive polymers in the fight against battery fires.
    • Marian Willuhn
    Химики Санкт-Петербургского государственного университета разработали способ защиты литий-ионных аккумуляторов от перегрева и возгорания, использовав для этого «химический предохранитель» - слой проводящего полимера на внутренней стороне аккумулятора. Полимер меняет электропроводность в зависимости от напряжения и в случае необходимости действует как изолятор, размыкая электрическую цепь раньше, чем аккумулятор начнет перегреваться.

Suppressing a battery fire is no easy task, and a critical condition of success is how fast a technology managed to detect a fault and trigger its responses. A team of researchers led by Oleg Levin, Professor of the Department of Electrochemistry at St. Petersburg University, has developed a new approach that promises to have a competitive edge in early detection and response - polymers that change conductivity as a function of heat or voltage. The researchers claim their method is cheap and scalable. Convinced of the applicability of the technology, the researchers have already received a patent for their invention.
There are multiple reasons for a battery fire, but most come down to overcharging or short-circuiting. For example, in the case of the battery fires in Arizona, local utility Arizona Public Service concluded in a report jointly developed with technical auditor DNV GL that dendrites must have been the culprit. Dendrites in lithium-ion batteries are lithium deposits on the anode. If they grow large enough, they can short-circuit a battery, resulting in a fire.
Batteries have monitoring systems in the form of microcircuits attached to them. They are supposed to track all the battery parameters and shut the circuits down should there be a problem. But Levin claims that in most incidents of the big battery fires, these monitoring systems had failed due to manufacturing defects.
"This is why it was particularly important to develop a safety strategy of the battery based on the chemical reactions to block the flow of electric current inside the battery pack," said Professor Levin. "To this end, we propose to use a special polymer. Its electrical conductivity can adjust to the voltage fluctuations in the battery. If the battery works normally, the polymer does not prevent the electric current from flowing. If the battery is overcharged, there is a short circuit, or battery voltage drops below normal operating levels, the polymer goes into a so called isolator, circuit breaker, mode."
When a battery fails due to overcharging or short-circuiting, the temperature rises to above 70°C or 90°C chemical reactions inside the battery are triggered, causing a self-exciting chain reaction. This chain reaction, the thermal runaway, needs to be prevented before a point-of-no-return has been reached. According to the team, this has made much of the research. When the polymer starts acting as an isolator, the damage could already be so significant that the fire will still propagate. In its current development stage, the polymer reacts to voltage rather than heat and is applied over the inner current collector's entire surface.
"The most difficult part in developing the ‘chemical fuse ‘was to find an active polymer," said Oleg Levin. "We knew a great variety of polymers of this class. Yet choosing the one that would be suitable to create a prototype was a hard nut to crack. Moreover, we had to advance the technology by developing an industrial version to show that we had come up with an idea of effective battery safety strategy."
Levin reports that researchers at this institute had been dealing with such polymers for the past eight years, but a bespoke project gave new impetus to the project over the last two. That is a little surprising, given the number of battery fires that occurred. According to Levin, between 1999 and 2012 that were 1,013 reported cases, according to Levin, but that number exploded to 25,000 between 2012 and 2018.
And the problem is still far from being solved. Just this week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has formalized a recall of a home storage product line by LG Chem, due to the risk of overheating and fire.
For the time being, the polymer only works for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries. The reason is that different cathode compositions work at different voltage levels. For LFP batteries, this is at 3.2 V. Their rival nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathodes operate at voltages between 3.7 and 4.2 V depending on the type of NMC-cell.
"Changing the structure of the polymer might result in changing its conductivity to make it suitable for other types of cathodes that are on the market today. We have some thoughts as to how to make this safety strategy more universal by adding a safety component into the polymer to adjust to changes in temperature levels in the battery. This is expected to eliminate all fire risks associated with the batteries," said Levin.

© PV MAGAZINE 2021.

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    Le Journal de Montréal / March 11, 2020
    Climat: Moscou et Washington prêts à collaborer sur l'Arctique et les forêts
    Россия возобновит сотрудничество с США по вопросам климата, в первую очередь по проблемам Арктики, защите лесов и развитию атомной энергетики в контексте энергетического перехода.

Le Kremlin a indiqué avoir renoué la coopération sur le climat avec la nouvelle administration américaine, notamment sur l'Arctique et les forêts, l'un des rares terrains où une collaboration accrue se dessine entre les deux adversaires géopolitiques. La semaine dernière, le représentant du Kremlin sur ce sujet, Rouslan Edelgueriev, s'est entretenu pour la première fois par visioconférence avec l'envoyé américain pour le climat et ancien secrétaire d'État, John Kerry.
«Notre conversation avec M. Kerry a été une étape importante pour prendre connaissance de la position de la nouvelle administration américaine sur le climat», a indiqué M. Edelgueriev, cité mardi par le quotidien russe Kommersant. Il a précisé que les principaux domaines de coopération avec Washington seront la protection de l'Arctique, ainsi que la coopération dans le secteur forestier et celui du nucléaire civil, dans un contexte de transition énergétique. Selon de nombreux scientifiques, la Sibérie et l'Arctique sont parmi les régions les plus exposées au changement climatique. Elles ont enregistré ces dernières années des records de chaleur et de gigantesques incendies.
«Étant donné le potentiel scientifique et technologique de nos pays, unir les forces de Moscou et Washington dans le dossier climatique peut mener à des résultats positifs», a affirmé M. Edelgueriev, cité par Kommersant.
Mi-février, John Kerry et le chef de la diplomatie russe, Sergueï Lavrov, s'étaient également entretenus par téléphone sur les questions climatiques. Ces contacts interviennent alors que le nouveau chef d'État américain, Joe Biden, s'est engagé à faire de la lutte contre le changement climatique une priorité et a fait revenir Washington dans l'accord de Paris de 2015.

© 2021 Tous droits réservés.

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    EurekAlert / 10-Mar-2021
    Who maintains discipline in a live cell: Physics perspective
    Scholars explain the kinetics of distillation in eukaryotic cells.
    Эукариотическая клетка, основная структурная единица всех животных и растений, состоит из множества отделений, разделенных мембранами и занятых молекулами. Для устойчивости клетке необходимо постоянное переупорядочивание молекул и доставка их в нужные места. Российско-итальянская команда физиков и биологов подтвердила гипотезу о том, что этот процесс осуществляется путем совместной работы двух самопроизвольных механизмов. Похожие молекулы собираются на мембране в кластеры, а затем отрываются от нее в виде крошечных пузырьков и перемещаются по клетке.

Italian and Russian researchers confirmed the hypothesis that the self-maintaining order in eukaryotic cells (cells with nuclei) is a result of two spontaneous mechanisms' collaboration. Similar molecules gather into 'drops' on the membrane and then leave it as tiny vesicles enriched by the collected molecules. The paper with the research results was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The research was carried out by an international interdisciplinary team of biologists (from Polytechnic University of Turin, Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine of the University of Turin and Candiolo Cancer Institute) and physicists (from Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics and HSE University Faculty of Physics).
'Participation of physics theoreticians in biological studies can be rather important, when in the investigated phenomena, we can detect a universal structure, which is poorly sensitive to chemical and other detail,' believes HSE Professor Igor Kolokolov, Director of the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics (RAS) and Head of the HSE Department for Theoretical Physics. 'Of course, the biology problem setting is primary, and without our colleagues, biologists, there would be no such study. But generally speaking, such collaboration of biologists, oncologists and physics theoreticians comprises a modern swiftly developing scientific area - physical biology.'
A eukaryotic cell has a nucleus and is the main structural unit of all animals and plants. With a microscope, one can see that it is a complicated structure consisting of many compartments divided by membranes. Each compartment plays its role in cell functioning and is occupied by certain molecules. The cell preserves this internal order when it interacts with the environment, and, if no pathologies interfere, it does not degrade to a shapeless gathering of molecules. An important role in a eukaryotic cell's sustainability is played by the process of spatial re-ordering and molecule delivery to correct destinations.
'This process is reminiscent of a daily cleaning in a big and crowded house. But this house doesn't have an obvious housekeeper, and it looks like this important work happens by itself, with unclear rules,' commented Vladimir Lebedev, Professor at the HSE Joint Department for Theoretical Physics with the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics.
In their paper Optimality in Self-Organized Molecular Sorting, the researchers proposed, analysed and experimentally tested the hypothesis that such self-maintaining order in eukaryotic cells is a result of joint action of two spontaneous mechanisms. First, similar molecules aggregate on the membrane into clusters, similarly to water drops that aggregate in a subcooled cloud and make up a fog. Second, these 'drops' induce a local membrane curvature, and, in the end, form tiny vesicles. Enriched with the gathered molecules, these vesicles detach from the membrane and start they journey in the cell. That's why many internal membranes of a eukaryotic cell are natural distillers, with ready-made production delivered to the end consumer (in another cell compartment) in a 'bottle'.
The published paper suggests a mathematical apparatus that allows universal features in the kinetics of such distillation to be detected. Its adequacy has been tested by direct quantitative modelling. The researchers discovered that for each sort of molecules, there are optimal indicators of parameters, such as cluster appearance frequency, with which the whole distillation process is maximally effective. In particular, if the frequency is too low, distillation is too slow. If it is too high, many small drops quickly evolve and cover a considerable area on the membrane, but none of them reaches the critical size within reasonable time, which is needed to form a vesicle.
'In terms of physics, molecule movement on the membrane follows the laws of diffusion (chaotic, irreversible movement) and the structure of these molecules and the membrane determine only one parameter - the coefficient of this diffusion. The laws of diffusion mean that on a 2D surface, which is a membrane, the probability of molecule arriving in the determined area poorly depends on the size of this area. It is a key thing, which looks to be the main reason that many vital cell processes take place on internal membranes, which are two-dimensional, and intermembrane volume serves mostly as a warehouse for the mix of necessary substances,' said Prof. Kolokolov.
The paper also includes the results of experimental observation of distillation processes in cells taken from blood vessels in human umbilical tissue. The experimental data confirm the theoretical construction, including such an important feature as distribution of growing enriched clusters by size.
'Our paper uses the nucleus growth law, which can be illustrated as follows: if in a boiling pot you see a centimetre-sized bubble, that means that a split second ago, it still existed but was the size of a millimetre, it was not born centimetre-sized,' explained Igor Kolokolov. 'These concepts, brilliantly used decades ago by Ilya Lifshitz and Vitaly Slezov in the kinetics of first?order phase transitions, turned out to be very useful in our research, too.'
The paper allows us to conclude that in evolutionary terms, live cells 'work' with optimal parameters that provide maximum efficiency in the process of molecular reorganization.
The study results are interesting for medical applications, since the defects in the process of molecular re-ordering are related to many serious diseases, including cancer. Creating a universal and clear description that helps determine the parameters of this process management is an important first step, which is essential for the search of treatment opportunities.

Copyright © 2021 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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    Electronics Weekly / 11th March 2021
    A new model for high-temperature superconductivity?
    • By Steve Bush
    Международная группа ученых под руководством Артема Оганова (Сколтех, НИТУ МИСиС) и Ивана Трояна (Институт кристаллографии РАН) провела теоретические и экспериментальные исследования нового высокотемпературного сверхпроводника - гидрида иттрия (YH6).

Russian scientists working with high-pressure room-temperature superconductors have had an anomalous result that hints at another mechanism for the effect beyond established models.
Leading an international team, Artem Oganov (Skoltech and MISIS) and Ivan Troyan (Russian Academy of Sciences) performed theoretical and experimental research on the high-temperature superconductor yttrium hydride (YH6).
Over the last few years, extreme pressures have be found to raise the operational temperatures of some superconductors to around room temperature. According to Skoltech (the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology), yttrium hydrides rank amongst the best highest-temperature superconductors discovered so far: "The leader among the three is a material with an unknown S-C-H composition and superconductivity at 288K, which is followed by the lanthanum hydride LaH10, superconducting at temperatures up to 259K and the yttrium hydrides YH6 and YH9, with maximum superconductivity temperatures of 224K and 243K respectively." - Superconductivity of YH6 was predicted by Chinese scientists in 2015. The pressures needed to achieve these temperatures are enormous: 2.7 million atmospheres for S-C-H and ~1.4-1.7 million atmospheres for LaH10 and YH6.
"Right now, the whole point is to attain room-temperature superconductivity at lower pressures," said Skoltech researcher Dmitry Semenok. These materials were initially theoretically predicted, and then created for experiment. "First, we look at the bigger picture and study a multitude of different materials on the computer," said lead researcher Oganov. "This makes things much faster. The initial screening is followed by more detailed calculations. Sorting through fifty or a hundred materials takes about a year, while an experiment with a single material of particular interest may last a year or two."
Typically, critical superconductivity temperatures are predicted by theory with an error of ~10-15%, and similar accuracy is achieved in critical magnetic field predictions, said Skoltech. However, this has been found not work for YH6 where, for example, the critical magnetic field observed in experiment is 2 to 2.5x greater than theory predicts.
"This is the first time scientists encounter such discrepancy which is yet to be explained, said Skoltech. "Perhaps, there are some additional physical effects which contribute to superconductivity of this material and were not accounted for in theoretical calculations."
Several Russian institutions collaborated with partners in the US, Spain, France, China and Japan. The full list can be found at the top of the Advanced Materials’ paper which describes the work: "Anomalous high‐temperature superconductivity in YH6".
According to that paper: "The results of superconducting density functional theory and anharmonic calculations, together with anomalously high critical magnetic field, suggest notable departures of the superconducting properties from the conventional Migdal-Eliashberg and Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theories, and presence of an additional mechanism of superconductivity."

Copyright © 2021 Electronics Weekly.

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    Science X / March 15th, 2021
    There are more shark and ray species in the cold seas of Russia
    • Elena Fritz
    Ученые Биологического института ТГУ и Института океанологии РАН составили полный аннотированный список морской, солоноватоводной и пресноводной ихтиофауны острова Сахалин и южной части Охотского моря, включающий 600 видов. Оказалось, что в этих водах обитает уже более 40 видов акул и скатов, причем все чаще обнаруживаются виды из тропических и субтропических регионов.

TSU Biological Institute and Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences scientists have compiled a complete annotated list of marine, brackish, and freshwater ichthyofauna of Sakhalin Island and the adjacent southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. A large-scale analysis was carried out based on long-term research and critical analysis of literature over the past 200 years. One of the most interesting factors noted by ichthyologists is that more than 40 species of sharks and rays have been recorded in the waters of Sakhalin and adjacent waters, while the number of migrants from tropical and subtropical seas is growing. The research data was published in 2021 in the article "Annotated List of Ichthyofauna of Inland and Coastal Waters of Sakhalin Island"; in the Journal of Ichthyology (Q2 Scopus).
The list compiled by scientists includes 600 species in 4 classes, 44 orders, 17 suborders, 129 families, 50 subfamilies, and 312 genera. It contains both English and Latin (scientific) names of species and information about their ranges in the Pacific Ocean and distribution in the waters of Sakhalin. The list also includes data on their conservation status, commercial value, and abundance. Modern ranges and taxonomic status are indicated for all species. According to the findings of the researchers, thermophilic species of sharks and rays, which are characterized by a completely different habitat, are increasingly appearing in the waters of the Far East.
"In recent years, in the Far Eastern waters of the Southern Kuriles and Sakhalin (the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean), the capture of cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, and chimeras), for which this habitat is uncharacteristic, has become more frequent", says Yury Dyldin, one of the authors of the article, a scientist at TSU Biological Institute. "The reason for the migration of sharks and rays from tropical and subtropical regions is the significant warming of sea waters. Many members of this group cannot overcome the ecological boundary, and as soon as the water temperature rises, they strive to find new areas".
According to scientists, more than 40 species of sharks, rays, and chimeras have been reliably recorded in the waters of Sakhalin and adjacent waters. Among them, the flat-headed seven-gill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus), the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the sea fox (Alopias vulpinus), and the milk shark (Rhizoprionodon acutus) can be classified as tropical and subtropical migrants. The situation of cartilaginous fish in the world now raises serious concerns among ichthyologists.
According to experts, urgent strict bans and precautionary scientifically-based catch limits are needed to prevent the death of populations of cartilaginous fish, avoid disruption of ecological functions, and facilitate the restoration of species.
"Unfortunately, people understand too late the features of the biology of the species exploited by the fishery", notes Aleksey Orlov, a staff member at the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the TSU Biological Institute. "Cartilaginous species are characterized by late puberty, long life expectancy, and low growth rates and population fertility, rather than annual reproduction. All this makes them extremely vulnerable to fishing. Certain groups are exposed to special pressure: large sharks for fins, sawfish because of rostrum, which is used as souvenirs, freshwater rays for aquariums around the world, and so on".
In the CITES lists (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), cartilaginous species, along with sturgeons, now occupy a fairly large part of the list of fish prohibited for international trade.
"Meanwhile, the biology of these species (and there are only about a dozen of them in our Far Eastern waters) has not been studied at all, which does not allow scientifically substantiating the volumes of possible withdrawal", notes Alexey Orlov. "Now the total allowable catch (TAC) is calculated for all skates as a single combined group, which includes both small species with a life expectancy of up to 10 years, and large ones that can live up to 15-20 years or more. Such an average approach can have a detrimental effect on the state of stocks of certain species".

© Science X 2004-2021.

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    E&T Magazine / Monday, March 15, 2021
    Space telescope dunked in Lake Baikal in hunt for ghostly particles
    На Байкале запустили глубоководный нейтринный телескоп Baikal-GVD, один из крупнейших в мире - его объем около 1 кубического километра. Расположенный на дне озера телескоп предназначен для регистрации и исследования потоков космических нейтрино сверхвысоких энергий.

This weekend, Russian scientists submerged one of the largest underwater space telescopes in Lake Baikal, southern Siberia, in an effort to study notoriously hard-to-detect neutrinos.
The Baikal Gigatron Volume Detector (Baikal-GVD) has been under construction since 2015, and is the successor to the Baikal Deep Underwater Neutrino Telescope which has been used to study atmospheric neutrinos (produced when cosmic rays strike atomic nuclei in Earth’s atmosphere) from the lake for almost 20 years. Baikal-GVD is the result of a collaboration between research groups in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia. It is one of the world’s largest underwater space telescopes. In several years, it will expand to cover one cubic kilometre, rivalling Ice Cube: a giant neutrino observatory beneath the Antarctic ice near a US polar research station.
The instruments are contained within spherical glass bulbs joined by cables to float at a range of depths below the surface. Its modules were taken 4km from the shore of Lake Baikal and submerged through a rectangular hole in the ice to depths of 750-1,300m in the freezing, pristine waters.
Baikal is the world’s deepest lake and largest freshwater lake. "Lake Baikal is perhaps the only lake where a neutrino telescope can be deployed due to its depth," said Bair Shoybonov, a senior researcher at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, in an interview with AFP. "We need the greatest possible depth, over 1km."
"Freshwater is also important for its transparency. We also have an ice covering last two to two-and-a-half months which is very important for the deployment of the telescope." Dmitry Naumov, also of the Joint Institute, told AFP at the submersion: "A neutrino telescope measuring half a cubic kilometre is situated right under our feet."
Neutrinos are frequently compared to ghosts due to their elusiveness; they have very little mass compared with other particles and they do not interact with the electromagnetic force (as all charged particles do) meaning that they pass through objects with barely a trace, like ghosts. They only interact with other matter particles through the weak nuclear force responsible for radioactive decay.
Neutrino observatories must be very large in order to detect a significant number of neutrinos, and they are usually located underground to minimise background radiation. For instance, Japan’s Super Kamiokande observatory is located 1,000km below ground in a mine. It consists of a 40m deep tank of ultrapure water, surrounded by 13,000 photomultiplier tubes which detect Cherenkov radiation produced by the interaction of a neutrino with electrons in water.

© 2021 The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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    Phys.org / March 15, 2021
    Scientists develop invisible anti-counterfeit labels
    Ученые Университета ИТМО, Алферовского университета и Дальневосточного федерального университета разработали новую технологию маркировки товаров с помощью невидимой метки. Изображение на наклейке из силиконовой нанопленки и ионов редкоземельного металла эрбия можно будет увидеть только посредством специального прибора.

Researchers from ITMO University and St. Petersburg Academic University developed a new technology for marking authentic goods. Manufacturers will be able to label electronics, drugs, jewelry, and other products with invisible images that can only be seen with special equipment. These labels will help protect the goods from forgery. The research is published in Advanced Materials.
Companies all over the world are looking for ways to protect their goods from counterfeit. But the available methods offer only temporary solutions. As soon as wrongdoers discover a way to get through the existing protective measures, the technology becomes useless. Russian scientists have proposed new labels that are not so easy to decipher. They are made from semiconductor materials with the help of lasers.
"With a laser, we add ions of a rare-earth metal called erbium that create a unique image on a sticker made of a silicone nanofilm. To do that, we first make a lattice of holes on the film that are invisible to the naked eye. Some of these holes contain erbium ions, others don't. When subjected to laser radiation, the holes with erbium change color - and thus they allow us to correctly read the image," explains Dmitriy Zuev, head of the project, assistant professor at ITMO's Department of Physics and Engineering.
It may take wrongdoers a long time to discover the contents of such images. In order to do that, they would have to get into the shipment system, learn to work the equipment, and master label reading methods. These labels are made even more secure due to several customizable characteristics.
"Our labels are based on erbium ion luminescence, which is characterized by several parameters: intensity, wavelength, and radiative lifetime. A combination of these parameters allows us to create additional layers of protection. That's why when you get the hidden image with an infrared sensor, you will also be able to read the information about the luminescence parameters. This provides an additional degree of protection," says Artem Larin, a Ph.D. student at ITMO's Department of Physics and Engineering.
The developed system is resistant to chemical and mechanical effects, it also can be made on a flexible film. According to Ivan Mukhin, head of a laboratory at St. Petersburg Academic University and a researcher at ITMO, all of this adds to the technology's potential to be introduced into the real sector of economy.

© Phys.org 2003-2021 powered by Science X Network.

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    Science Daily / March 16, 2021
    How varying climate conditions impact vulnerable species
    Проанализировав состояние зубов песцов полуострова Ямал более чем за 20 лет, ученые из США, России, Норвегии и Франции, сделали некоторые выводы о том, как меняющиеся климатические условия в Арктике влияют на обитающих там животных.

New findings on the diet of Arctic foxes, determined by the condition of their teeth, show how varying climate conditions in the Arctic affect the animals that live there.
In a study published in Polar Biology, Peter Ungar, Distinguished Professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, and several co-authors analyzed tooth breakage and wear - both gross and micro - of Arctic foxes from Russia's Yamal Peninsula.
Studying the effect of varying climate conditions within this region helps scientists understand the impact of climate change on vulnerable animals and could explain future responses and adaptation, given the warming trend and thawing in Arctic areas. The researchers' study is the first to combine dental proxies for short-term, or seasonal, and long-term, or lifetime, diet to better understand how resource depletion affects species differently in different locations within the Arctic.
In this study, the researchers compared the condition of the teeth over space - northern versus southern peninsula - and time and found that foxes from the northern peninsula likely had to periodically rely on larger prey rather than their preferred prey of rodents such as lemmings and voles.
Microwear analysis of teeth indicated the foxes in both locations dined on the preferred smaller prey during rodent "rich" years. However, during rodent "bust" years in the southern peninsula, the foxes had to adapt to conditions and fall back on larger prey, such as ptarmigans and hares. In the north, where these species were less available, foxes evidently scavenged more reindeer carcasses.
Bone consumption by animals causes tooth breakage, heavy wear and microscopic pitting. Breakage and gross wear reflect animal diet over the course of a lifetime, whereas microscopic pitting reflects a pattern of seasonal changes over time. Ungar is a leading expert in dental microwear analysis, including what it says about animals' diet as it relates to evolution.
"These data together suggest that dental evidence can provide important insights into variation in the feeding ecology of Arctic foxes and potentially into the impacts of changes in food abundance across space and time," Ungar said.
The Arctic fox is listed as a climate change flagship species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The researchers, including colleagues from the United States, Russia, Norway and France, examined 78 Arctic fox specimens, all caught by indigenous trappers on Yamal for the purpose of harvesting fur. Preliminary analysis focused on three trapping periods - December 1981 to March 1982, November 1983 to March 1984 and October 2007 to March 2008. The foxes were selected from the northern and southern Yamal regions during the rodent-poor periods of 1981-1982 and 2007-2008 and rodent-rich period of 1983-1984.
"Time or space alone is not enough to get the full story of fox ecological response to environmental variation," Ungar said. "Combining these proxies for understanding life in the past is essential to inform us on the ecology of living animals in a rapidly changing and fragile ecosystem."
The researchers' study is part of a large, multi-year project focused on the Yamal Peninsula, which serves as a small-scale and manageable research model for the Arctic as a whole. Habitats of the Yamal region, roughly 1,400 miles northeast of Moscow, range from forest in the south to tundra in the north. The Yamal has a rich diversity of native and invasive plant and animal species, a large indigenous population with strong traditional culture, and economically critical natural resources. As part of this project, Ungar and his colleagues are studying how climate change - specifically warming and extreme weather - has affected the temperature, precipitation and landforms in the region, and how people, animals and plants have adapted to these changes.
Ungar's co-authors are Alexandria Peterson, graduate student in the U of A's Environmental Dynamics program; Blaire Van Valkenburgh at the University of California, Los Angeles; Dorothee Ehrich from the Arctic University of Norway; Olivier Gilg from the Groupe de Recherche en Écologie Arctique in France; and Aleksandr Sokolov, Natalia Sokolova, Ivan Fufachev, Alexandra Terekhina, Alexander Volkovitskiy and Viktor Shtro from the Arctic Research Station, Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
This project was made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation's Navigating the New Arctic initiative, one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas.

© Copyright 2021 ScienceDaily.

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    PRNewswire / Mar 18, 2021
    NUST MISIS Scientists Take Step Towards Quantum Supremacy
    Российско-германская исследовательская группа создала квантовый сенсор, который позволяет обнаруживать так называемые двухуровневые дефекты в квантовых системах кубитах и даже управлять ими.

A Russian-German research team has created a quantum sensor that grants access to measurement and manipulation of individual two-level defects in qubits. The study by NUST MISIS, Russian Quantum Center and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, published in npj Quantum Information, may pave the way for quantum computing.
In quantum computing the information is encoded in qubits. Qubits (or quantum bits), the quantum mechanical analogue of a classical bit, are coherent two-level systems. A leading qubit modality today superconducting qubits based on the Josephson junction. That is the kind of qubit IBM and Google used in their quantum processors. However, scientists are still searching for the perfect qubit - the one that can be precisely measured and controlled, while remaining unaffected by its environment.
The key element of a superconducting qubit is the nanoscale superconductor-insulator-superconductor Josephson junction. A Josephson junction is a tunnel junction made of two pieces of superconducting metal separated by a very thin insulating barrier. The most commonly used insulator is aluminum oxide.
Modern techniques do not allow to build a qubit with 100% precision, resulting in so-called tunneling two-level defects that limit the performance of superconducting quantum devices and cause computational errors. Those defects contribute to a qubit's extremely short life span, or decoherence.
Tunneling defects in aluminum oxide and at surfaces of superconductors are an important source of fluctuations and energy losses in superconducting qubits, ultimately limiting the computer run-time. The more material defects occur, the more they affect the cubit's performance, causing more computational errors, the researchers noted.
The new quantum sensor grants access to measurement and manipulation of individual two-level defects in quantum systems. According to Prof. Alexey Ustinov, Head of the Laboratory for Superconducting Metamaterials at NUST MISIS and Group Head at Russian Quantum Center, who co-authored the study, the sensor itself is a superconducting qubit, and it allows the detection and manipulation of individual defects. Traditional techniques for studying material structure, such as small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), are not sensitive enough to spot small individual defects, therefore using those techniques won't help to build the best qubit. The study may open avenues for quantum material spectroscopy to investigate the structure of tunneling defects and to develop low-loss dielectrics that are urgently required for the advancement of superconducting quantum computers, the researchers believe.

Copyright © 2021 Cision US Inc.

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    Reuters / March 19, 2021
    Is it snowing microplastics in Siberia? Russia scientists take samples
    Ученые Томского государственного университета собрали образцы снега из 20 различных регионов Сибири, от Горного Алтая до Арктики, с целью выяснить, насколько он загрязнен микропластиком. Предварительный результат показал, что загрязнены даже отдаленные уголки дикой природы.

Russian scientists are trying to understand the scale of a potential threat to the environment in Siberia: snow polluted with microplastics that then melts and seeps into the ground.
Scientists at Tomsk State University (TSU) say they have gathered snow samples from 20 different Siberian regions - from the Altai mountains to the Arctic - and that their preliminary findings confirm that airborne plastic fibres are turning up in snow in remote parts of the wilderness.
"It’s clear that it’s not just rivers and seas that are involved circulating microplastics around the world, but also soil, living creatures and even the atmosphere," Yulia Frank, scientific director at TSU’s Microplastics Siberia centre, told Reuters.
Microplastics, which are created when bigger pieces of plastic litter break up over time, are increasingly being found in the air, food, drinking water and even Arctic ice. Scientists are increasingly worried they may pose a risk to human health and marine life, though there is no consensus yet on the issue.
Tomsk scientists have previously found microplastics in the digestive systems of fish caught in Siberian rivers, confirming that they are contributing to polluting the Arctic Ocean with plastic.
"Siberia is absolutely under-researched in this aspect and our (Russia’s) interest in this problem comes late compared to the rest of the world," Frank said.
Scientists are now studying the snow samples to understand to what degree population density, the proximity of roads and other human activity contributes to the pollution.

© 2021 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

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    The New York Times / March 22, 2021
    How the World’s Oldest Wooden Sculpture Is Reshaping Prehistory
    At 12,500 years old, the Shigir Idol is by far the earliest known work of ritual art. Only decay has kept others from being found.
    • By Franz Lidz
    Шигирский идол, древнейшая в мире известная деревянная скульптура, найденная в уральском торфяном болоте в 1890 г., может оказаться еще старше, чем считается в настоящее время. Первый радиоуглеродный анализ в 1997 г. показал возраст примерно в 9500 лет, второй в 2014 г. - 11600 лет. Результаты последних исследований российских и немецких ученых позволяют отодвинуть дату создания идола еще на 900 лет.

The world’s oldest known wooden sculpture - a nine-foot-tall totem pole thousands of years old - looms over a hushed chamber of an obscure Russian museum in the Ural Mountains, not far from the Siberian border. As mysterious as the huge stone figures of Easter Island, the Shigir Idol, as it is called, is a landscape of uneasy spirits that baffles the modern onlooker.
Dug out of a peat bog by gold miners in 1890, the relic, or what’s left of it, is carved from a great slab of freshly cut larch. Scattered among the geometric patterns (zigzags, chevrons, herringbones) are eight human faces, each with slashes for eyes that peer not so benignly from the front and back planes.
The topmost mouth, set in a head shaped like an inverted teardrop, is wide open and slightly unnerving. "The face at the very top is not a passive one," said Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist and head of research at the Department of Cultural Heritage of Lower Saxony, in Germany. "Whether it screams or shouts or sings, it projects authority, possibly malevolent authority. It’s not immediately a friend of yours, much less an ancient friend of yours."
In archaeology, portable prehistoric sculpture is called "mobiliary art." With the miraculous exception of the Shigir Idol, no Stone Age wood carvings survive. The statue’s age was a matter of conjecture until 1997, when it was carbon-dated by Russian scientists to about 9,500 years old, an age that struck most scholars as fanciful. Skeptics argued that the statue’s complex iconography was beyond the reach of the hunter-gatherer societies at the time; unlike contemporaneous works from Europe and Asia featuring straightforward depictions of animals and hunt scenes, the Shigir Idol is decorated with symbols and abstractions.
In 2014, Dr. Terberger and a team of German and Russian scientists tested samples from the idol’s core - uncontaminated by previous efforts to conserve the wood - using accelerator mass spectrometry. The more advanced technology yielded a remarkably early origin: roughly 11,600 years ago, a time when Eurasia was still transitioning out of the last ice age. The statue was more than twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, as well as, by many millenniums, the first known work of ritual art.
A new study that Dr. Terberger wrote with some of the same colleagues in Quaternary International, further skews our understanding of prehistory by pushing back the original date of the Shigir Idol by another 900 years, placing it in the context of the early art in Eurasia.
"The idol was carved during an era of great climate change, when early forests were spreading across a warmer late glacial to postglacial Eurasia," Dr. Terberger said. "The landscape changed, and the art - figurative designs and naturalistic animals painted in caves and carved in rock - did, too, perhaps as a way to help people come to grips with the challenging environments they encountered."
Written with an eye toward disentangling Western science from colonialism, Dr. Terberger’s latest paper challenges the ethnocentric notion that pretty much everything, including symbolic expression and philosophical perceptions of the world, came to Europe by way of the sedentary farming communities in the Fertile Crescent 8,000 years ago.
"Ever since the Victorian era, Western science has been a story of superior European knowledge and the cognitively and behaviorally inferior ‘other,’" Dr. Terberger said. "The hunter-gatherers are regarded as inferior to early agrarian communities emerging at that time in the Levant. At the same time, the archaeological evidence from the Urals and Siberia was underestimated and neglected. For many of my colleagues, the Urals were a very terra incognita."
To João Zilhão, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Barcelona who was not involved in the study, the take-home message of the research is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
"It’s similar to the ‘Neanderthals did not make art’ fable, which was entirely based on absence of evidence," he said. "And then the evidence was found and the fable exposed for what it was. Likewise, the overwhelming scientific consensus used to hold that modern humans were superior in key ways, including their ability to innovate, communicate and adapt to different environments. Nonsense, all of it."
Dr. Zilhão said the Shigir Idol findings revealed the extent to which preservation biases affect our understanding of Paleolithic art. "Most of the art must have been made of wood and other perishables," he said. "Which makes it clear that arguments about the wealth of mobiliary art in, say, the Upper Paleolithic of Germany or France by comparison to southern Europe, are largely nonsensical and an artifact of tundra (where there are no trees and you use ivory, which is archaeologically visible) versus open forest environments (where you’d use wood, which is archaeologically invisible)."
Olaf Jöris, of the Leibniz Research Institute for Archaeology, agreed. "The new Shigir evidence makes archaeologists daydream of how the archaeological record may have looked if wooden remains had been preserved in greater abundance," he said.
The Shigir Idol, named for the bog near Kirovgrad in which it was found, is presumed to have rested on a rock base for perhaps two or three decades before toppling into a long-gone paleo-lake, where the peat’s antimicrobial properties protected it like a time capsule. In the mid-19th century, gold was discovered beneath the mire, and the landowner, Count Alexey Stenbok-Fermor, hired laborers to mine the open-air site for ore. He instructed them to save any other objects they unearthed.
Thirteen feet down the idol was discovered, and retrieved in 10 fragments. The pieces were carted 60 miles to Yekaterinburg, the city where, 28 years later, the last czar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II; his wife, Alexandra; and their children would be executed by the Bolsheviks. In Yekaterinburg, the count’s donation was displayed with bone arrowheads, slotted bone daggers, a polished elk antler and other ancient bog finds at the Urals Natural Sciences Society, today known as the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore.
The director of the museum allowed the railroad stationmaster, Dmitry Lobanov, an aspiring archaeologist, to assemble the main fragments into a nine-foot-tall figure with legs crossed tightly in a pose that potty-training parents of any epoch might recognize.
"It was not a scientific construction," said the archaeologist Mikhail Zhilin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a co-author of the new study. The idol stayed locked in that uncomfortable position until 1914, when the archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev suggested incorporating the remnants into the finished work - increasing its height to almost 17 and a half feet. Much of the bottom half later went missing; Mr. Tolmachev’s sketches of the section are all that remain.
For more than a century, the Shigir Idol was considered a curiosity, assumed to be at most a few thousand years old. The radiocarbon analysis in 1997 was greeted with derision by some scientists who found the conclusions implausibly old. Some doubters even suggested that the statue was a forgery.
Dr. Terberger and his colleagues have settled that question in their new study, demonstrating conclusively that the larch was a literal tree of knowledge. The timber was at least 159 years old when the ancient carpenters began to shape it.
"The rings tell us that trees were growing very slowly, as the temperature was still quite cold," Dr. Terberger said. Given the speed with which larch logs rot and warp, the researchers determined that the idol was fashioned from a tree that had just been cut. And from the widths and depths of the markings, Dr. Zhilin deduced that the cuts were made by at least three sharp chisels, two of which were probably polished stone adzes and the other possibly the lower jaw of a beaver, teeth intact. (On the subject of beaver mandibles, Dr. Terberger respectfully disagrees. "During the period of rapid cooling from about 10,700 B.C. to 9,600 B.C. that we call the Younger Dryas, no beavers should have been around in the Transurals," he said.)
And what do the engravings mean? Svetlana Savchenko, the artifact’s curator and an author on the study, speculates that the eight faces may well contain encrypted information about ancestor spirits, the boundary between earth and sky, or a creation myth. Although the monument is unique, Dr. Savchenko sees a resemblance to the stone sculptures of what has long been considered the world’s oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe, whose ruins are in present-day Turkey, some 1,550 miles away. The temple’s stones were carved around 11,000 years ago, which makes them 1,500 years younger than the Shigir Idol.
Marcel Niekus, an archaeologist with the Foundation for Stone Age Research in the Netherlands, said that the updated, older age of the Shigir Idol confirmed that it "represents a unique and unparalleled find in Europe. One could wonder how many similar pieces have been lost over time due to poor preservation conditions."
The similarity of the geometric motifs to others across Europe in that era, he added, "is evidence of long-distance contacts and a shared sign language over vast areas. The sheer size of the idol also seems to indicate it was meant as a marker in the landscape that was supposed to be seen by other hunter-gatherer groups - perhaps marking the border of a territory, a warning or welcoming sign."
Dr. Zhilin has spent much of the last 12 years investigating other peat bogs in the Urals. At one site he uncovered ample evidence of prehistoric carpentry - woodworking tools and a massive pine plank, roughly 11,300 years old, that he believes had been smoothed with an adze. "There are many more unexplored bogs in the mountains," Dr. Zhilin said. Unfortunately, there are no ongoing excavations.
During a recent video conversation from his home in Moscow, Dr. Zhilin asked his interviewer in the United States: "What do you think is the hardest thing to find in the Stone Age archaeology of the Urals?"
A pause: Sites?
"No," he said, sighing softly. "Funding."

© 2021 The New York Times Company.

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    Phys.org / March 23, 2021
    Russia forecasters warn over Siberia forest fires
    Последние несколько лет в Сибири регулярно вспыхивают лесные пожары, что объясняется, помимо прочего, потеплением климата. По мнению климатологов, в текущем году ситуация не улучшится.

The vast Russian region of Siberia will face hot and dry weather this year leading to more forest fires, forecasters said on Tuesday, linking the blazes to climate change.
Devastating forest fires have ripped across Siberia with increasing regularity over the past few years, which the country's weather officials and environmentalists have linked to climate change and an underfunded forest service.
Speaking to reporters to mark World Meteorological Day by video link, Roman Vilfand, head of science at Russia's weather service, said the whole country would see above-average temperatures from April to September. The Siberian regions of Krasnoyarsk and Yakutia, he said, would be particularly hot in June.
"It is quite natural that all these characteristics naturally transform themselves into a fire hazard," Vilfand said, noting that Krasnoyarsk will also see rainfall deficiency. "The problem of precipitation deficiency is not only a problem of this year, it is a climatic problem."
Last year, a heatwave caused by changing climate in northern Siberia helped spark forest fires that blanketed cities including Yakutsk in smoke. Freakishly warm weather across large swathes of Siberia last July saw nearly 300 wildfires blazing at once, causing record high carbon emissions. Russia has set numerous heat records in recent years, with the first half of 2020 seeing the warmest temperatures since the country began weather observations. Asked if Russia will see its winters shrink in the coming years due to warming temperatures, Vilfand noted that while that is already happening, the main challenge of global warming is dealing with increasingly cataclysmic weather events.
"The number of dangerous phenomena has doubled over the last quarter of a century. Not by 5 percent, not by 10 percent, but doubled," he said.

© Phys.org 2003-2021 powered by Science X Network.

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    Science Times / Mar 23, 2021
    Water Leaking from Mars' Atmosphere: Experts Say it is Due to Changing Seasons and Dust Storms
    • Isabella Beltran
    Марс теряет воду на протяжении миллиардов лет. Сейчас она существует только в виде льда на полюсах и водяного пара в остатках атмосферы и продолжает утекать. Результаты исследований, проведенных под руководством Анны Федоровой (Институт космических исследований РАН) и Жана-Ива Шофре (лаборатория LATMOS, Франция) показывают, что скорость потери воды Марсом неравномерна и меняется в зависимости от климатических и погодных условий. Наиболее интенсивно вода уходит, когда в южном полушарии лето, а также во время пылевых бурь.

Two recent studies found that Mars' atmosphere is leaking water into space through swirling Martian storms and the changing of the season.
It is an undeniable fact that water is on Mars. However, it only seems to exists in ice caps at the Red Planet's poles or as gas in its thin atmosphere. Water has been seeping out of Mars for billions of years since it lost the magnetic field that took along with it the planet's water and air. The two recent studies show how much water moves in and out of Mars' atmosphere.
Leaking Water on Mars
Anna Fedorova, lead researcher at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science; and Jean-Yves Chaufray, lead author and scientists from the Labaratoire Atmospheres Observations Spatiales, France used data gathered by the ExoMars orbiter of the European Space Agency that began its science mission in 2018 and ESA's Mars Express orbiter to show the rate at which water escaped the Red Planets atmosphere. The studies aimed to analyze the rate of water leaking from Mars' atmosphere and how it is determined by the changing weather and climate on the Red Planet and its distance from the Sun.
The study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets entitled "Multi‐Annual Monitoring of the Water Vapor Vertical Distribution on Mars by SPICAM on Mars Express" and research published in the journal Icarus entitled "Study of the hydrogen escape rate at Mars during martian years 28 and 29 from comparisons between SPICAM/Mars express observations and GCM-LMD simulations" explore the mysteries of water leaking from Mars' atmosphere.
Fedorova says in an ESA statement that the planet's atmosphere is the link between space and its surface, which shows that it can tell more about how Mars lost its water.
Studying Water on the Red Planet
In both studies, researchers used data from ExoMars' Spectroscopy for the Investigation of the Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) that observed the Red Planet's atmosphere.
Fedorova explains that the team studied water vapor in the atmosphere, from the surface up to 100 kilometers in altitude, a region of the Martian atmosphere that has yet to be explored, for 8 martian years. In comparison, two years on Earth is roughly one year on Mars.
Researchers discovered that when the planet is farthest from the Sun, at roughly 250 million miles away, water vapors in Mars' atmosphere only exist for less than 37 miles from the Red Planet's surface. On the other hand, when the planet was closest to the sun, at roughly 207 million miles, water can be found as far as 56 miles above the planet's surface. When the Red Planet is farthest from the sun, the cold freeze out water vapors in certain altitudes of mars' atmosphere, but as it gets closer and warmer, water circulates. Because water vapor travels out farther in Mars' atmosphere during warmer seasons, these are also when the planet loses most of its water.

© 2021 ScienceTimes.com All rights reserved.

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    EurekAlert / 25-Mar-2021
    Skoltech researchers create a new human height inheritance model
    Ученые из Сколтеха, Новосибирского государственного университета, Института цитологии и генетики СО РАН и Австрийского института науки и технологий предложили новую модель для изучения того, как наследуется рост человека. В отличие от классической модели, где эффекты различных факторов, влияющих на рост, складывались, новая модель, рассчитанная на большие выборки, учитывает взаимодействие между факторами, в результате чего они перемножаются.

Skoltech scientists and their colleagues have proposed a new human height inheritance model that accounts for the interaction between various factors that influence adult human height. The research was published in the European Journal of Human Genetics.
Human height is a classical quantitative trait that depends on sex, genetics, and the environment.
Scientists from Skoltech, Novosibirsk State University, the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of RAS, and the Institute of Science and Technology in Vienna analyzed the human height distribution across a population and its dependence on sex, genes, and the environment. The team used a huge set of data on over 369,000 U.K. individuals and average male and female heights from various ethnic groups across the world.
The classical human height model assumes the additivity of various factors. The team has shown that the interactions between these diverse factors should be taken into account when studying remote populations or large datasets. For instance, certain genetic variants are assumed to have a greater effect on the height in males than in females. The researchers proposed an alternative model in which the effects of sex, genes, and the environment are multiplied (and not added up) and can be regarded as independent.
"The conventional model would reveal different average heights in centimeters for males and females in each country, while our model straightforwardly shows a difference of 8%. The same goes for the environment and the genes which turned out to have the same relative effect in all the studied populations," explains Ivan Kuznetsov, a PhD student at the Skoltech Center for Life Sciences (CLS).

Copyright © 2021 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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    QS WOW News / March 28, 2021
    10 Project 5-100 universities enter the top 100 of QS World University Rankings by Subject
    Россия вошла в топ-10 стран с наибольшим количеством университетов, включенных в рейтинги QS World University Rankings: 40 российских университетов включены во все 5 отраслевых рейтингов и в 39 из 51 предметного. В предметный топ-100 вошли 10 университетов Проекта 5-100, наилучшая позиция у Томского государственного университета, занявшего 23 место по направлению «Нефтегазовое дело».

Russia with 40 ranked universities is represented in the top-10 countries that have the most number of universities featured in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021. Russian universities are included in all five faculty rankings and in 39 out of 51 subject rankings.
The best indicator among the participants of Project 5-100 belonged to the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, which rose to 23rd position in the subject ranking "Petroleum Engineering". The National Research University Higher School of Economics was ranked in 20 subject areas at once, becoming the leader in terms of the number of hits in the ranking among the participants of the 5-100 Project. In addition, HSE University ranked first among Project 5-100 Universities in terms of the number of positions in the top-100 subject rankings: 8 positions, including two of them in the top-50.
"We fix the steady growth of Project 5-100 Universities in the major global rankings. This year, 16 Project 5-100 universities have entered the QS by faculty and QS by subject rankings at once, while none of them had been represented there at the start of Project 5-100 in 2013. In 2014 only 4 Project 5-100 universities entered the QS ranking for the first time: MIPT, HSE University, NRNU MEPhI, and NSU. More than 60% (35 out of 55) of the Russian Universities positions in the QS rankings are taken by Project 5-100 participants, and their contribution to the results of Russian Universities in the natural sciences and engineering is about 80%", said Boris Filippov, Biology Ph.D., the Head of the Project 5-100 Office.
The number of positions presented by the participants of Project 5-100 in the QS subject and faculty ranking has also increased significantly - more than 40 times - from 4 in 2014 to 167 in 2021. The number of positions in the top-100 of faculty and subject rankings increased to 25, six positions are presented in the top-50 range. Ten of the 16 Russian Universities represented in the top-100 of QS rankings are Project 5-100 participants.
The rankings reflect important structural changes that have taken place in Russian Universities. For eight years, Russian Universities have made a qualitative breakthrough and transformed into modern world-class research and educational centres recognized by the world academic community, as well as by applicants and employers from different countries.
All areas of Universities’ work have undergone changes: whether it is personnel policy, research programs, the model of interaction between teachers and students, or the system of academic management and interaction with a wide range of stakeholders. Such transformational processes have allowed students to receive quality education on world-class programs with a choice of professional trajectories.
Scientists and teachers had the opportunity to work in modern laboratories, participate in breakthrough research that is relevant to the Russian and world agenda, and interact with leading world scientists.
Despite the pandemic difficulties in 2020, Project 5-100 Universities delivered a high level of operation and significantly increased their results.
"In February 2021, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation assessed the results of Project 5-100 and concluded that it corresponded to many trends in foreign academic excellence initiatives. Despite the fact that for the most part foreign analogs are designed for longer periods and involve a much larger amount of funding, the implementation of Project 5-100 has made it possible not only to form a group of Universities - world leaders but also to make a qualitative shift in the development of the entire system of Russian higher education and science, to lay a serious foundation for its further transformation and increase of competitiveness. Thus, now we can confidently say that Project 5-100 has proven its effectiveness as an initiative to increase global competitiveness and build up the research potential of Russian Universities", - commented Boris Filippov.

© QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.

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    Science Daily / March 29, 2021
    Carried with the wind: Mass migration of Larch Budmoth to the Russian High Arctic
    Летом 2020 г. российские энтомологи из Арктического и антарктического научно-исследовательского института и Института систематики и экологии животных СО РАН обнаружили на острове Визе в Карском море сотни бабочек-листоверток, первых и единственных наземных беспозвоночных, когда-либо наблюдавшихся на острове. Скорее всего, их принесло сильными воздушными потоками с континента. Ближайшее место обитания бабочек расположено на севере Красноярского края, а это значит, что листовертки преодолели не менее 1200 км.

Arctic habitats have fascinated biologists for centuries. Their species-poor insect faunas, however, provide little reward for entomologists - scientists who study insects - to justify spending several weeks or even months in the hostile environments of tundra or polar deserts. As a result, data on insects from the High Arctic islands are often based on occasional collecting and remain scarce.
Vize Island, located in the northern part of the Kara Sea, is one of the least studied islands of the Russian High Arctic in terms of its biota. Scientists Dr Maria V. Gavrilo of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Russia and Dr Igor I. Chupin of the Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals in Russia visited this ice-free lowland island in the summer of 2020.
"Our expedition studied the ecology of Ivory Gull," Maria Gavrilo says, "but we also looked for other wildlife." Because of the lack of data, scientists appreciate any observation on insects they can get from the High Arctic.
On the island, the team found hundreds of small moths. They were identified by Dr Mikhail V. Kozlov of the University of Turku, Finland, as Larch Budmoths - the first and only terrestrial invertebrate to ever be observed and collected on Vize Island. Their observations are published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Nota Lepidopterologica.
The scientists first observed live and freshly dead moths on the sandy banks of a pond near the meteorological station. Then, they saw hundreds of them at the sandy bottom of a river valley with shallow streams. Moths, single or in groups, were mostly found at the water's edge, along with some fine floating debris. Despite extremely low daily temperatures (+2-5°C), flying moths were also spotted on several occasions.
The larvae of Larch Budmoth feed on the needles of different coniferous trees. Because Vize Island is located 1000 km north of the tree limit, the scientists can be sure about the migratory origin of the moths observed on Vize Island. They were likely transported there on 12-14 July 2020 by strong winds coming from the continent. The nearest potential source population of Larch Budmoth is located in the northern part of the Krasnoyarsk Region, which means they travelled at least 1200 km.
Importantly, some moths remained alive and active for at least 20 days after their arrival, which means that long-distance travel did not critically deplete resources stored in their bodies. The current changes in climate are making it easier for more southerly insects to invade species-poor areas in the High Arctic islands - provided they can reach them and survive there.
"The successful arrival of a large number of live moths from continental Siberian forests to Vize Island has once more demonstrated the absence of insurmountable barriers to initial colonisation of High Arctic islands by forest insects," concludes Mikhail Kozlov, who has studied Arctic insects for decades. "The Arctic islands will be colonised by forest insects as soon as changing environmental conditions allow the establishment of local populations."

Copyright 2021 ScienceDaily.

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    Science Times / Mar 29, 2021
    Cardiovascular Disease: Common Cause of Death Among Cosmonauts According to Russian Researcher Say
    • Marie Morales
    Сотрудники НИИ медицины труда имени Н.Ф.Измерова, ФГБУ ГНЦ ФМБЦ им. А.И.Бурназяна и Института медико-биологических проблем РАН, проанализировав данные 118 советских и российских космонавтов, трети из которых нет в живых, установили, что наиболее частой причиной смерти были сердечно-сосудистые заболевания. При этом ученые отметили, что полученные данные не позволяют сделать окончательные выводы о влиянии пребывания в космосе на здоровье, поскольку на заре космонавтики полеты были непродолжительными.

A comprehensive study conducted by a group of Russian medical institutions recently identified the cardiovascular disease as the single most common cause of death among cosmonauts, specifically Soviet and Russian cosmonauts.
The finding comes coinciding with a Space Daily report that humanity is marking next month the 60th anniversary of its first expedition into space, with more than 560 people from about 41 nations reaching low orbit on Earth, traveling outside low orbit Earth, or even reaching the Moon since the historic 1961 flight of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
The report, which the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health, Institute of Biomedical Problems, and Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center compiled data of about 118 Soviet and Russian cosmonauts kept under observations for a period stretching from January 1960 through December 2018. During this period, 37 cosmonauts passed away because of different causes.
Deaths of Cosmonauts
The Russian study found that about 48.65 percent of the 37 cosmonauts died due to cardiovascular diseases, with another 27.03 percent, dying because of malignant neoplasms or cancers. Around 16.22 percent of mortalities were the result of external causes like accidents. Other causes accounted for about 5.41 percent of mortalities. A single case has an unidentified reason for mortality. Furthermore, the median age of mortality is approximately 64 years, accounting for all causes.
On Saturday is Gagarin's 53rd death anniversary. He is the first human to enter space. On March 27, 1968, the MiG-15 UTI of this Russian cosmonaut crashed while it was aboard a training flight outside Moscow, killing him and Vladimir Seryogin, a flight instructor. He was 34 at the time he passed away.
From that time, six other Russian and Soviet cosmonauts have died in accidents. One of them was Vladimir Komarov who perished in 1967 when the Soyuz 1 mission's parachute failed to open. Following the said incident in 1971, three other cosmonauts Vladislav Volkov, Viktor Patsayev, and Georgy Dobrovolsky died during reentry after they undocked from the Salyut 1 space station. Then, respectively in 1961 and 1993, Valentin Bondarenko and Sergei Vozovikov both died due to accidents while on training.
Russian Researchers' Conclusion
In their research, the study authors concluded that since all of the deceased cosmonauts were said to be active during the cosmonautics' period of dawn, meaning their flights were short in general, information to analyze the effect of space flight on health, in the long run, is lacking.
Russia and the Soviet Union both account for almost 51 percent of time spent in space, in all, recording more than 29,100 days in orbit because space flights started. Out of 34 Russian and Soviet cosmonauts who have spent 365 days or longer in orbit, 24 are retired while two are deceased. The remaining cosmonauts have remained active to date.
The study authors are expected to present their complete results during the 23rd Humans in Space Symposium in Moscow from April 5 to 8, 2021.

© 2021 ScienceTimes.com All rights reserved.

* * *

    Forbes / Mar 31, 2021
    "World’s First" Animal Covid-19 Vaccine Registered In Russia - Here’s What That Means
    • Robert Hart
    В России зарегистрирована первая в мире вакцина от Covid-19 для животных - «Карнивак-Ков». Необходимость в ней возникла после вспышек инфекции среди многих видов млекопитающих по всему миру, что серьезно повлияло на несколько отраслей, в первую очередь на сельское хозяйство.

The world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals has been registered in Russia, the country’s agriculture watchdog announced Wednesday, paving the way for an official approval that could help prevent dangerous mutations emerging and buoy animal-driven industries, such as mink fur farming, that have been devastated by the pandemic.
Key Facts
• Konstantin Savenkov, deputy head of Russia’s agriculture watchdog, said the Carnivak-Cov vaccine had been registered following months of tests in a variety of different animals, including dogs, cats, mink and foxes.
• All animals tested developed antibodies to the novel coronavirus, Savenkov said, with ongoing tests indicating an immunity that lasts for at least six months.
• Savenkov said mass production of the vaccine could begin as early as April, adding that companies from countries including the U.S., Canada, Singapore and Poland had expressed an interest in the shot.
• While some animals - including mink, dogs, cats, gorillas and tigers - are known to have been infected with Covid-19, animals are not believed to play a significant role in the diseases spread among humans and the risk from them is low, although the CDC says more studies will be needed to properly understand if and how different animals are affected.
Key Background
Safeguarding vulnerable animal populations can have a long term benefit in controlling Covid-19, preventing dangerous new mutations from emerging and protecting the livelihoods of farmers and entire, often controversial, industries such as mink farming. While pets are the first thought for many, it is in agriculture this vaccine will be most welcome. Mink are, by far, the most farmed animals for their fur and are particularly susceptible to coronavirus. The situation is worsened in farms where they are kept in large numbers in close proximity, increasing the chances of disease spreading. Outbreaks have torn through herds around the world, and, in some cases, jumped back into human populations, where dangerous mutations can emerge. In Europe, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark have all implemented culls to contain the disease in mink and there are fears of one in Poland. Various outbreaks have been reported further afield in Canada and the U.S. Denmark’s reaction to the outbreak was particularly drastic and is feared by farmers elsewhere. The prime minister ordered the cull of the country’s entire 17-million-strong mink herd after a mutant strain of Covid-19 was discovered that could possibly undermine efforts to develop a vaccine. Scientists believe the dangerous strain to now be extinct, although the agriculture minister resigned after the government admitted it did not have the legal authority to order the cull. By November, a number of Danish mink rose from the dead en-masse due to poorly dug graves, threatening local water supplies.

© 2021 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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