The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not for the same reasons as on Earth — ScienceDaily

In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which are strikingly similar to mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed elsewhere in the Solar System. However, as atmospheric temperatures on our planet decrease at altitude, on Pluto they heat up at altitude as a result of solar radiation.

So where does this ice come from? An international team led by CNRS scientists* conducted this exploration. They first determined that the “snow” on Pluto’s mountains actually consists of frozen methane, with traces of this gas being present in Pluto’s atmosphere, just like water vapour on Earth.

Then, to understand how the same landscape could be produced in such different conditions, they used a climate model for the dwarf planet, which revealed that due to its particular dynamics, Pluto’s atmosphere is rich in gaseous methane at altitudes. As a result, it is only at the peaks of mountains high enough to reach this enriched zone that the air contains enough methane for it to condense.

At lower altitudes the air is too low in methane for ice to form.

This research, published in Nature Communications, could also explain why the thick glaciers consisting of methane observed elsewhere on Pluto bristle with spectacular craggy ridges, unlike Earth’s flat glaciers, which consist of water.

*- Scientists from the IPSL Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory (CNRS / Sorbonne Université / École polytechnique / ENS Paris), the Institute for Planetary Sciences and Astrophysics of Grenoble (CNRS / Université Grenoble Alpes), the NASA Ames Research Center, and the Lowell Observatory (Unite States) took part in this research.

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Ten Reasons Why Big Firms Stick With Obsolete Management

One of the great puzzles of the corporate world is why big corporations are still being run on obsolete 20th Century management principles when there is an obvious better alternative—21st Century management—that is producing unprecedented financial returns and market capitalizations.

“Most [firms] today are run on the basis of ‘legacy’ management systems that have become obsolete,” writes Menlo College professor Annika Steiber in The Silicon Valley Model. But why?

Even though 20th Century management is a coherent and consistent way of running a company, it is an increasingly poor fit with today’s fast-moving customer-driven marketplace. It has difficulty changing direction. It lacks agility. Here are ten reasons why 20th Century management still dominates.

1.    20th Century Management Operates As An Unstoppable Flywheel

Since 1970, 20th Century management has been preoccupied with a single-minded goal—to maximize shareholder value. The goal leads to a very specific way of running the company. Because the goal is uninspiring to those doing the work, workers need to be closely monitored. So, the goal leads inexorably to a structure of work that is bureaucratic—individuals reporting to bosses—and the organizational dynamic of a top-down hierarchy of authority, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

These three 20th Century principles—goal, structure of work, and firm dynamic—in turn lead inexorably to the familiar set of 20th Century corporate processes. Thus leadership has to come from the top because it is only the top that is deeply committed to those principles; as a result, leadership is inevitably transactional rather than transformational: it has to resort to carrots and sticks, rather than inspiration. Strategy inevitably turns into

Astronaut Steps Down From Mission For ‘Personal Reasons’

KEY POINTS

  • Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson has stepped down from Boeing’s 2021 crewed flight test
  • In a Twitter video, Ferguson stressed his dedication to the Starliner program and said it was a difficult decision
  • He will be replaced by a veteran NASA astronaut, giving the mission an all-NASA crew

The commander of the 2021 crewed Boeing flight test has stepped down from his position for “personal reasons.” He will be replaced by another veteran astronaut.

NASA and Boeing announced on Wednesday that astronaut Chris Ferguson will no longer be the commander of next year’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station (ISS). In their respective statements, both NASA and Boeing said Ferguson decided to step down from the mission for “personal reasons” but did not go into further details.

In a video Ferguson shared on Twitter, he stressed his dedication to the Starliner program, saying it was a difficult decision. He added that 2021 “is very important” for his family. 

“I have made several commitments which I simply cannot risk missing,” Ferguson said in the video. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m just not going into space next year.”

Although he too did not specify why he stepped down, a Boeing spokeswoman told Associated Press that one of the “commitments” was his daughter’s wedding.

“I’m taking on a new mission, one that keeps my feet planted here firmly on Earth and prioritizes my most important crew – my family,” Ferguson said in the tweet.

In the Boeing and NASA statements, Ferguson reiterated his confidence in the Starliner vehicle, calling it the “safest new crewed spacecraft ever fielded.” And even though he will not fly in the mission, he will remain active as the director of Mission Integration and Operations. This will be the first crewed mission of the Starliner

Three Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be In The Gaming Business

Let’s not kid ourselves. It is an incredible time to be in the gaming business. Let’s put aside that the pandemic arrived in February. The ensuing national lockdown created a supercharged tailwind for the gaming segment’s major players, as kids suddenly stuck at home needed to be entertained. New, beefed-up consoles from Microsoft and Sony will be in the market for the holiday season. PC gamers are salivating at NVIDIA’s efforts to drive more affordable 4K performance. VR-based gaming is likely to get a significant boost with Oculus’ new, lower-cost VR headset. Let’s take a closer look at why the major players in the gaming business are likely smiling.

#1: Preorders for Microsoft and Sony’s new console refreshes off to a sizzling start

Microsoft began accepting preorders for its new next-gen Series X and S earlier this week and quickly sold out. The preorder situation was so intense that multiple retailers’ sites crashed during early preorder hours. According to Amazon’s Movers & Shakers page, Xbox One X sales were up over 740% compared to the day before. This momentum is not likely to dissipate, considering Microsoft is not only refreshing its premium model (the Xbox Series X carries a $499 price point) but offering a more affordable, somewhat lower-featured Series S model at $299.

Preorders for the new Sony PlayStation 5 have been equally impressive. The next-generation Sony console, which will hit stores in mid-November, is being offered in two versions: a $400 disc-less version and a $500 model with a Blu-Ray drive. Many retailers exacerbated the PlayStation 5 preorder madness by jumping the gun and starting orders on the day before they were scheduled to begin. The result was nearly instant sellouts and a lot of angry gamers. Sony

Reasons Why The Global Environmental Challenges Call for International Collaboration Among Scholars

The environment is the haven for human life. Its wanton degradation in this age calls for the most urgent attention by scholars from all fields. Many environmentalists and enthusiasts for the conservation of biodiversity like myself believe that designing effective strategies to arrest this canker of deleterious attitudes and activities of people requires a pluralistic and multidisciplinary approach.

Relying solidly on a truncated approach to only science and technology for solutions to the global environmental menace cannot yield the most benefits. This is largely due to the multi-faceted nature of the global environmental challenges which call for a good collaboration between the various academic disciplines.

To illustrate, the world needs economic and mathematical insights from economists and mathematicians on how to effectively manage the biodiversity resources, setting the right measure between usage and conservation (sustainability). The scientists, engineers, and technocrats must come out with new technologies such as biomimetics and other biotechnological approaches to sustain the endangered species in our environment. Artists must beef up the sensitization campaigns through their well-designed communication design tools. Anthropologists and culturists and religionists must strategize on how to change the weak and / or bad behavioral attitudes of people by picking powerful lessons from their cultures (norms, religious beliefs, values, ethics, by-laws) to appealing to their morals and influence them to engage in environmental friendly activities, protecting nature which humans serve as trustees or stewards. The historians must help us trace what went wrong in nibbing the global environmental situation in the mud. This would reliably inform us what went wrong and how we can change the wrong decisions humans made in the past, so that the past would not continue to haunt us. The agriculturists must strategize and inform us on improved agricultural practices that would not worsen the global environmental situation, but …