Monday briefing: university chiefs race ahead in pay stakes
Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen and his team designed the Model 3 to have a wide appeal in the midsize sedan market, but the designer seems to favor a few more unconventional design accents for his own Model 3.
It’s a good thing that people find the vehicle beautiful since they are going to see a lot of them if Tesla reaches its production goals.
But with Tesla’s limited configuration options for the Model 3, those vehicles will lookalike and many early owners are already turning to some custom modifications to make their cars stand out.
Even Tesla’s Chief Designer made a few modifications to his car, which was spotted at Tesla’s Los Angeles Delivery Center yesterday (via honeyboobooooooooooo):
The most obvious modification is the removal of all chrome features on the vehicle.
I am personally a big fan of that look and I think it’s especially great on the Model 3 with the door handles now completely melting into the design.
The chrome of the door handles was replaced by the same color as the car, but the chrome around the windows was instead made black or dark grey and it matches the new wheels, which appears to be the new 20″ version of Tesla’s Model 3 Sports Wheels – though they are not officially available in that color.
Maybe it’s going to be an option soon?
He also had the windows tinted with a darker tint, which matches very well with the rest of the previously mentioned modifications.
Another subtle change is the removal of the Tesla ‘T’ logo in the back, which was replaced by the word ‘Tesla’ with each letter spreadout – not unlike the look of the original Roadster.
Finally, a carbon fiber spoiler was added to the Model 3. I’ve never been a fan of the look of a spoiler on a four-door sedan. I have a very similar one on my Model S because it’s a Signature Performance version, but I could do without it.
But in this case here, I think it certainly looks better than on the Model S likely due to the shorter back.
What do you think? Does it give you some ideas for your own car? Let us know what you think in the comment section below and tell us if you’d want Tesla to offer some of those modifications as options.
The ghostly galaxy that’s devoid of dark matter
“We thought that every galaxy had dark matter and that dark matter is how a galaxy begins,” said lead author Pieter van Dokkum, an astrophysicist at Yale University, in a press release. “This invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy. So finding a galaxy without it is unexpected. It challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies work, and it shows that dark matter is real: it has its own separate existence apart from other components of galaxies.”
The oddball galaxy in question, NGC1052-DF2 (or DF2 for short), is a small galaxy in a collection of galaxies dominated by the much larger elliptical NGC 1052. The relatively innocuous galaxy DF2 only stood out to the researchers when they noticed it appeared differently in images taken by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array and those taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the Dragonfly images, DF2 looked like a blob of dim and diffuse light, but in the SDSS images, it appeared as a group of point-like sources.
To investigate, the team observed DF2 using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and performed follow-up spectroscopic observations with the 10-meter W.M. Keck Observatory. “I spent an hour just staring at the Hubble image,” said van Dokkum. “It’s so rare, particularly these days after so many years of Hubble, that you get an image of something and you say, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ This thing is astonishing: a gigantic blob that you can look through. It’s so sparse that you see all of the galaxies behind it. It is literally a see-through galaxy.” Using the Hubble data, the researchers were able to determine that DF2, which they consider an ultra-diffuse galaxy due to its large size and transparent appearance, is located about 65 million light-years away. Although the galaxy is about as large as the Milky Way, they found it contains 200 times fewer stars.
Based on the spectroscopic data the team collected with Keck, they identified 10 globular clusters – large, spherical groups of typically old stars – on the outskirts of DF2. Surprisingly, they found that all of these globular clusters were rotating around DF2 three times more slowly than they would be if the galaxy contained a typical amount of dark matter in addition to its sparse amount of normal matter. The researchers then calculated the galaxy’s overall mass and found that, “if there is any dark matter at all, it’s very little,” said van Dokkum. “The stars in the galaxy can account for all the mass, and there doesn’t seem to be any room for dark matter.”
However, as is usually the case, the researchers have a few ideas about how the galaxy initially formed. One possible scenario they lay out in the paper is that DF2 is actually a tidal dwarf galaxy. This type of galaxy can form during galactic mergers, which often fling out baryonic material – ordinary matter that is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. However, DF2 appears to have fewer metals than would be expected for a tidal dwarf galaxy. Another option is that the galaxy formed when winds from a nearby quasar swept up large clouds of low-metallicity gas, but the researchers point out that the galaxy may be too diffuse for this to be a likely scenario. Finally, the researchers suggest DF2 may have formed when portions of gas flowing toward NGC 1052 broke away due to jet-induced shocks from the larger galaxy’s black hole.
No matter how DF2 formed, the team’s findings demonstrate that dark matter is indeed a physical building block that can be separated from baryonic matter, and, as a result, the findings also cast doubt on some alternative theories to dark matter. One such theory is known as modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND), which aims to eliminate the need for dark matter by proposing that the gravitational force acts differently on low-acceleration objects, such as those found on the outer fringes of galaxies.
“This result poses a very strong challenge to MOND,” explained Yotam Cohen, an astronomy graduate student at Yale and co-author of the study, on the news-sharing site Reddit. “In MOND, the extra gravitational forces observed on galactic scales are woven into the equations, meaning that wherever you see galaxies, you should see the effect of the modified gravity. However, in this galaxy, there is no need for the extra gravity to explain its kinematics. In other words, this suggests that galaxies and dark matter are separable components and, by extension, that dark matter is a material substance, which is the opinion of the majority of professional astronomers.”
But before astronomers can make any sweeping conclusions about the true nature of our universe, the study’s extraordinary findings must first be verified and replicated. At this point, the team is already busy analyzing more Hubble images of dim and diffuse galaxies similar to DF2. “We currently have a sample of about 20 other low-surface-brightness galaxies identified with Dragonfly and subsequently followed up with HST imaging,” Cohen told Astronomy via email. “Among these objects, there are a few that have similar brightness and structure to NGC1052-DF2, but none quite as spectacular and none with quite as many star cluster candidates.”
Though there have been several recent challenges to our current understanding of dark matter — such as the finding that satellite galaxies move together in an orderly fashioninstead of randomly, as dark-matter models predict — this is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it simply means that our current understanding of dark matter is not entirely correct. This should not be a complete surprise considering we have yet to detect direct evidence of the elusive material. Confusing results force scientists to look at a problem in different ways, which typically leads them to revise and update their theories so they better describe reality.
After all, to paraphrase Isaac Asimov, the most exciting phrase to hear in science is not ‘Eureka,’ but rather, ‘hmm… that’s odd.’
Poor grades tied to class times that don’t match our biological clocks
IMAGE: Owls performed worst of all the groups due to chronic social jet lag.
It may be time to tailor students’ class schedules to their natural biological rhythms, according to a new study from UC Berkeley and Northeastern Illinois University.
Researchers tracked the personal daily online activity profiles of nearly 15,000 college students as they logged into campus servers.
After sorting the students into “night owls,” “daytime finches” and “morning larks” — based on their activities on days they were not in class — researchers compared their class times to their academic outcomes.
Their findings, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, show that students whose circadian rhythms were out of sync with their class schedules – say, night owls taking early morning courses – received lower grades due to “social jet lag,” a condition in which peak alertness times are at odds with work, school or other demands.
“We found that the majority of students were being jet-lagged by their class times, which correlated very strongly with decreased academic performance,” said study co-lead author Benjamin Smarr, a postdoctoral fellow who studies circadian rhythm disruptions in the lab of UC Berkeley psychology professor Lance Kriegsfeld.
In addition to learning deficits, social jet lag has been tied to obesity and excessive alcohol and tobacco use.
On a positive note: “Our research indicates that if a student can structure a consistent schedule in which class days resemble non-class days, they are more likely to achieve academic success,” said study co-lead author Aaron Schirmer, an associate professor of biology at Northeastern Illinois University.
While students of all categories suffered from class-induced jet lag, the study found that night owls were especially vulnerable, many appearing so chronically jet-lagged that they were unable to perform optimally at any time of day.
But it’s not as simple as students just staying up too late, Smarr said
“Because owls are later and classes tend to be earlier, this mismatch hits owls the hardest, but we see larks and finches taking later classes and also suffering from the mismatch,” said Smarr. “Different people really do have biologically diverse timing, so there isn’t a one-time-fits-all solution for education.”
In what is thought to be the largest-ever survey of social jet lag using real-world data, Smarr and Schirmer analyzed the online activity of 14,894 Northeastern Illinois University students as they logged in and out of the campus’s learning management system over two years.
To separate the owls from the larks from the finches, and gain a more accurate alertness profile, the researchers tracked students’ activity levels on days that they did not attend a class.
Next, they looked at how larks, finches and owls had scheduled their classes during four semesters from 2014 to 2016 and found that about 40 percent were mostly biologically in sync with their class times. As a result, they performed better in class and enjoyed higher GPAs.
However, 50 percent of the students were taking classes before they were fully alert, and another 10 percent had already peaked by the time their classes started.
Previous studies have found that older people tend to be active earlier while young adults shift to a later sleep-wake cycle during puberty. Overall, men stay up later than women, and circadian rhythms shift with the seasons based on natural light.
Finding these patterns reflected in students’ login data spurred researchers to investigate whether digital records might also reflect the biological rhythms underlying people’s behavior.
The results suggest that “rather than admonish late students to go to bed earlier, in conflict with their biological rhythms, we should work to individualize education so that learning and classes are structured to take advantage of knowing what time of day a given student will be most capable of learning,” Smarr said.