Jack the Ripper unmasked by amateur sleuth

It is the greatest murder mystery of all time, a puzzle that has perplexed criminologists for more than a century and spawned books, films and myriad theories ranging from the plausible to the utterly bizarre.

But now, thanks to modern forensic science, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888.

DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt which one of six key suspects commonly cited in connection with the Ripper’s reign of terror was the actual killer – and we reveal his identity.

A shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims, has been analysed and found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

Kosminski was not a member of the Royal Family, or an eminent  surgeon or politician. Serial killers rarely are. Instead, he was a pathetic creature, a lunatic who achieved sexual satisfaction from slashing women to death in the most brutal manner. He died in Leavesden  Asylum from gangrene at the age of 53, weighing just 7st.

via Mail Online.

Aaron Kosminski, the hairdresser.

In the library with the candlestick.

Will be fun to see if anyone can tear down the case against Mr. Kosminski.

 

“Why NASA Is Stagnant”

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. As the nation celebrates that great achievement, there is also reason for solemn reflection. For while NASA was able to put men on the Moon within eight years of the Apollo program’s start, the space agency has been unable to go further in the four and a half decades since. In fact, it is no longer capable of going to the Moon and, as these lines are written, is totally adrift, with no real plan for going anywhere.

via National Review Online.

 

“Nano-Tweezers Can Move Molecules With Light”

Scientists have created the tiniest “tweezers” known to date, which can move around objects the size of single molecules with a “bow tie” of light.

“To my knowledge these are the smallest tweezers ever built,” physicist Mathieu Juan, from Sydney’s Macquarie University, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “They will allow people to manipulate, scan and move around very small objects such as viruses.”

via Popular Science

I don’t know if the word ‘tweezer’ is right. I think maybe a new word is needed.

It’s the shape of this opening that allows the beam of light to be controlled with such “exquisite precision,” says Juan.

The device is based on a mechanism known as “self-induced back action”, he explains. In essence, this means that optical tweezers are designed to shape themselves to the presence of the object they are picking up.

“In other words the trapped specimen plays an active role in the trapping mechanism,” the authors write.

Where the two triangles of the bow-tie shape meet, a very gentle force is generated, which does not result in any temperature increase that might damage a biological molecule, Juan says.

The researchers report that they used the device to pick up and move around a plastic sphere just 50 nanometres across – a thousandth the width of a human hair.

Over the course of several minutes, they were able to move the trapped sphere over large distances.

via abc.net.au (Australia)

“Virginia Tech scientist proposes revolutionary naming system for all life on Earth”

In a paper published in the journal PLoS ONE, Boris Vinatzer proposes moving beyond the current biological naming system to one based on the genetic sequence of each individual organism. This creates a more robust, precise, and informative name for any organism, be it a bacterium, fungus, plant, or animal.

Vinatzer, an associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, suggests a new model of classification that not only crystalizes the way we identify organisms but also enhances and adds depth to the naming convention developed by the godfather of genus, Carl Linnaeus. Scientists worldwide have used the system that Linnaeus created for more than 200 years.

via Science Codex.

Attempts To Terraform Mars Could Fail – With No Chance To Try Again

Most science fiction and news stories describe Mars terraforming as a long term but simple process. You warm up the planet first, with greenhouse gases, giant mirrors, impacting comets or some such. You land humans on the surface right away and they introduce lifeforms designed to live on Mars. Over a period of a thousand years or so, life spreads over the planet and transforms it, and Mars becomes a second Earth.

However no-one has yet terraformed a planet. There are many theoretical reasons for supposing it wouldn’t be as easy as that. What’s more, this process if it goes wrong could lead to a Mars that is worse for humans than it is now. It could so alter the planet that it can never be terraformed again in such a simple way.

What happens if you make a mistake with a planet?

Our only attempt at making a closed Earth-like ecosystem so far on Earth, in Biosphere 2, failed. There, it was because of an interaction of a chemical reaction with the concrete in the building, which indirectly removed oxygen from the habitat. Nobody predicted this and it was only detected after the experiment was over. The idea itself doesn’t seem to be fundamentally flawed, it was just a mistake of detail.

In the future perhaps we will try a Biosphere 3 or 4, and eventually get it right. When we build self-enclosed settlements in space such as the Stanford Torus, they will surely go wrong too from time to time in the early stages. But again, you can purge poisonous gases from the atmosphere, and replenish its oxygen. In the worst case, you can evacuate the colonists from the space settlement, vent all the atmosphere, sterilize the soil, and start again.

It is a similar situation with Mars, there are many interactions that could go wrong, and we are sure to make a few mistakes to start with. The difference is, if you make a mistake when you terraform a planet, it is likely that you can’t “turn back the clock” and undo your mistakes.

With Mars, we can’t try again with a Mars 2, Mars 3, Mars 4 etc. until we get it right.

via science20.com.

“9 Swedish Women Receive Womb Transplants, Will Try To Get Pregnant”

Nine Swedish women have successfully received transplanted wombs donated by family members, and will soon try to have children, the AP reports. There have been no major complications following the surgeries, and every woman left the hospital within days. The transplants are part of the largest effort yet to produce children from transplanted uteri…

[…]

…All of the women were either born without a uterus or lost it due to cervical cancer. Each had eggs removed and fertilized, and won’t be able to get pregnant the old-fashioned way

via Popular Science.

 

In a world where mixing up babies in test tubes now seems pretty old hat, picking and choosing your offspring’s genes is getting closer, and even 3D-printed organs aren’t that surprising, the idea of the transplant seems oddly old-fashioned, but it’s a potential answer to a problem we still haven’t solved. While there may be ever-more-efficient ways of combining eggs and sperm around various fertility problems, there’s nothing to be done for women who don’t have a womb—either because they’re born without one (a condition known as MRKH) or because they’ve had it removed, for instance due to cervical cancer.

The nine women in this new initiative, who all had the wombs transplanted in Sweden, won’t be able to get pregnant in the conventional way, as the transplanted uteruses aren’t connected to their fallopian tubes. But the hope is they could conceive via IVF and carry their own biological child.

via Motherboard.

“Fire Made from Water May Solve Our Sewage Treatment Problems”

Trust NASA to figure this one out: how to start a fire with water. Astronauts onboard the International Space Station are now in the second round of experiments designed to shed light on this counter-intuitive but very real process, and the implications are significant.

The key in using water to start a fire is that the water isn’t regular drinking water. It’s supercritical water, a state that’s hard to achieve but has some really interesting properties. To become supercritical, water has to be compressed to 217 atmospheres and heated to above 703 °F. At that temperature and pressure, water ceases to be a liquid and becomes something between a liquid and a gas, a sort of superdense gas. Add organic material to that supercritical water and the immediate chemical reaction is oxidation, which is basically a fire without flames.

[…]

Supercritical water could be a fantastic tool in getting rid of unpleasant organic materials like sewage since human waste contains a fair amount of water. Hicks explains that when a stream of wet waste is pushed above the supercritical point, the supercritical water breaks its hydrocarbon bonds and reacts with oxygen. In short, the compressed and heated sewage ignites, burning cleanly and producing water and carbon dioxide as byproducts instead of the typical toxic products of an ordinary fire.

via Motherboard.

“Europe is slowly strangling the life out of national democracy”

Mair argues that political elites have turned Europe into “a protected sphere, safe from the demands of voters and their representatives”.

This European political directorate has taken decision-making away from national parliaments. On virtually everything that matters, from the economy to immigration, decisions are made elsewhere. Professor Mair argues that many politicians encouraged this tendency because they wanted to “divest themselves of responsibility for potentially unpopular policy decisions and so cushion themselves against possible voter discontent”. This means that decisions which viscerally affect the lives of voters are now taken by anonymous, unaccountable bureaucrats rather than politicians responsible to their voters.

via Telegraph

The EU is not the only place with a political atmosphere characterized by an “unhealthy similarity between supposedly rival parties; the corruption and graft that has become endemic in modern politics; the emergence of a political elite filled with scorn and hostility towards ordinary voters….