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Nature

Hot Tea Freezing

You know how much we love experimenting. You also know how much we love art, cold and Canada. Well, we found this amazing picture of talented photographer Michael Davies. It was taken around 12 miles from the arctic circle in northern Ontario. With temperature around -35ºC (-31ºF) he captured the instant freezing of some hot tea leftovers in an spectacular way. We found this at IFLScience, which is a very neat blog about science. Check it out. Enjoy the New Year! Z.


9,300-Year-Old Frozen Bison Mummy Found

In a previous post we explained how permafrost is the way of nature's keeping the temperature constantly low. Permafrost has helped scientists find all kinds of specimens from plants, animals and all the way to viruses, by keeping them in 'tip-top' shape for thousands of years. Working in the north east of Siberia, researchers recently found the most complete Bison mummy with all of its organs still intact and in a sleeping position which revealed that it probably died from starvation by the end of the ice age. This new work was presented at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in November 2014 in Berlin and will be published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Please read the post from IFLS here.


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

Challenges are fun. They encourage us to deliver. Living in a 'challenge-oriented' philosophy will lead to a culture of experimentation in which we are requested to present the results which will sometimes  lead to great ideas or bold failures. But then you get the chance to have a new challenge and experiment again, push your limits and in the end, grow. It doesn't matter if you win or loose a challenge. What matters is to deliver. When you learn to deliver without postponing you will understand that major achievements come from doing. Failing or winning will just show you what to do more and what to do less. We want to share a couple of challenges: 1. Maxim & Katia Mezentsev created this beautiful video of freezing  nature. Some challenges do not come from elsewhere but from our necessity of moving away from the status quo. These kind of challenges will help you build your identity, your character. We love this video because, like we do, it thrives with the fact of an object in the freezing process. It's worth the look, the video lasts less than one minute and it was selected as a 'Vimeo Staff Picked'. Frozen from kveten on Vimeo. 2. The second challenge was one that our CEO, Jean Fallacara, decided to take : 'RECOVERY TESTING from a 2min Door Opening'.  He was very pleased when he received the results from the engineering team. Please read the post he wrote about it here. Challenges make us grow and define ourselves. We will continue delivering nice challenges we stumble upon with. We hope you enjoy as much as we do.    


MACRO FREEZING: OUR WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL

From the project Macro - Part II by Romuald Chaigneu During the month of February in Montreal, when you watch out the window, the prettier it looks, the colder it is. Today the sky is bluer than ever and the temperature outside is -23ºC that feels like -36ºC with the wind factor. We are not only used to extreme low temperatures, we are used to bring the nice and positive things out of them. We’re good at it. Today, we want to share with you these beautiful images by french photographer Romuald Chaigneau from his project “Macro” - A Cold Winter Morning. They show beautiful details of frozen nature on a cold winter morning. Macro Freezing photography: Our World is Beautiful! Just like us, he brought up something enjoyable out of a frozen environment. From the project Macro - Part II by Romuald Chaigneu  


Keeping temperature constant: Permafrost

Keeping temperature constant is not only our job. Nature has its own ways. "Permafrost exists where the ground stays at or below 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit) for at least two years in a row. 24 percent of the land in the Northern Hemisphere has permafrost underneath it. So, permafrost makes up 23 million square kilometers (9 million square miles). Large expanses of permafrost occur in Siberia, the Tibetan Plateau, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, and other higher mountain regions. " National Snow & Ice Data Center Wherever civilization is built over Permafrost it's a priority to keep it that way. When it thaws it becomes a hazard which can cause landslides or ground subsidence. The roads become bumpy if not broken and buildings may fall apart. One way to keep it frozen is by drawing the heat from underground and vent it into the air above ground. A very simple device called a thermosyphon is up for the job. No electricity or maintenance required. Nature's stable permafrost not only presents certain conditions for developers. It also has helped scientists by keeping safe samples for years. We want to bring up this amazing story about 'bringing back to life' the 1918 flu virus which caused the most lethal plague in the history of human kind. It spread across the planet during the fall and disappeared by spring. To summarize the story, back in the 1950's Johan Hultin, a young scientist went off to find the virus on a victim buried (and conserved) in permafrost: nature's freezer. He did but he couldn't grow the flu virus. Hultin quit the mission, temporarily. 47 years later (1997) he heard about the initiative of Jeffery Taubenberger. another scientist looking for the virus but from the A.F.I.P.'s tissue repository. The new challenge was he was running out of raw material and that's when the connection was made. Hultin re-appeared to launch the new expedition to find the right samples. On the fourth day, they found the body of an obese woman whose lungs were well preserved. 10 days later they got the virus! This was the first step into a chain of discoveries and studies that 10 years later would led to sequence its code and thus, the relevant conclusions. This method of building flu-virus particles from pure code is a clever application of the approach to understanding life called "reverse genetics" - that is, looking at a gene to figure out its function, rather than the other way around. But it is not one requiring some spectacular insight or technological breakthrough. The method employs fairly routine molecular biology and was developed independently by two different flu teams, one at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the other at the University of Wisconsin. The whole story is very interesting and you should read it from the New York Times article "Why revive a Deadly Flu Virus?". Other related articles: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-11-18/news/9911180290_1_similar-flu-influenza-1918-virus http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC15547/


Wood Frog: The Miracle of being frozen for a season

Many animals look for shelter to resist winter. The North American wood frog instead, embraces it and prepares its body to resist a season completely frozen. How do they do it? First, the frog draws water out of its cells to spaces where it would do less damage if it freezes. At the same time, its liver produces large amounts of sugar that act as anti-freeze. Then, the entire animal slowly freezes from the outside until its heart stops beating. When spring arises they come back to life! On the subject, Science Line says: "As the wood frog is freezing, its heart continues pumping the protective glucose around its body, but the frog’s heart slows and eventually stops. All other organs stop functioning. The frog doesn’t use oxygen and actually appears to be dead. In fact, if you opened up a frozen frog, the organs would look like “beef jerky” and the frozen water around the organs like a “snow cone,” says Jon Costanzo, a physiological ecologist at Miami University in Ohio who studies freeze-tolerance. Any ideas on how to use nature's freezing processes to make the world a better place? We would like to share a very interesting video hosted by David Attenborough about the North American wood frog: The Miracle of the Wood Frog. Enjoy! Image taken from ScienceMag.


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