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Coronavirus live news: 'no indication' Oxford vaccine is linked to blood clots, says EU regulator
Philippines Covid variant found in UK; France investigates possible new variant in Brittany; vaccinating pregnant women could protect babies, says Israel study AstraZeneca jab: EU regulator 'firmly convinced' benefits outweigh risks Chaos in Germany and Italy after suspension of Oxford vaccine France seeks swift safety verdict on AstraZeneca vaccine Survey says 64% of young black people in Englan
Mars's lost water may be buried beneath the planet's crust
Billions of years ago, Mars was a warm home to lakes and oceans. That is, until these enormous liquid bodies on its surface vanished around 3 billion years ago. For years, scientists have assumed that this water disappeared into space when the planet's atmosphere thinned out. As it turns out, the water may not have gone up, up, and away. It might have actually gone in the opposite direction—under
The Dark Side of America's Gleaming Skyscrapers
Photographs by Daniel Shea I n 2014 , at age 19, Eric Mendoza left his farming village outside Mexico City and crossed the Rio Grande. Once in the United States, he worked construction jobs to pay his way across the country. From Texas, Mendoza traveled to rural North Carolina, where he built homes. At a Metro PCS store, he bought a cellphone for $100 so he could call his mother, Elizabeth, who h
Acoustic graphene plasmons study paves way for optoelectronic applications
KAIST researchers and their collaborators at home and abroad have successfully demonstrated a new methodology for direct near-field optical imaging of acoustic graphene plasmon fields. This strategy will provide a breakthrough for the practical applications of acoustic graphene plasmon platforms in next-generation, high-performance, graphene-based optoelectronic devices with enhanced light-matter
You're Not Fully Vaccinated the Day of Your Last Dose
For much of 2020, the world pinned its collective post-pandemic plans to a single, glimmering end point: the arrival of an effective COVID-19 vaccine. The resounding refrain of "when I'm vaccinated" has long conjured images of people shedding their masks, hugging their friends, and returning to a semblance of normalcy. And now some vaccinated people are doing exactly that. In recent weeks, I've h
Virtual Learning Might Be the Best Thing to Happen to Schools
As Jennifer Gomez prepared for an investor pitch, the 34-year-old Brooklyn native was primarily concerned with setting up her first grader, Olivia, for school and keeping her 3-year-old, Valentina, occupied. The pitch was a significant opportunity for her start-up, and she was afraid her kids would act out when it was most inconvenient. As Olivia's eyes tracked her mother scurrying to get organiz
Man who survived Ebola five years ago may be source of Guinea outbreak
Finding raises questions about virus's ability to lurk long term in outwardly healthy bodies An Ebola survivor is likely to have triggered the current outbreak in Guinea, scientists have said, in a shock discovery that means the virus may remain dormant for five years. The finding, which comes after 29 cases and 13 deaths, raises fresh questions about the ability of Ebola to lurk in the body long
Hannah Arendt: Change the world, not yourself
It is not often that a neighbourhood squabble is remembered as a world-historical event. In the summer of 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a single night in jail in Concord, Massachusetts after refusing to submit his poll tax to the local constable. This minor act of defiance would later be immortalised in Thoreau's essay 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience' (1849). There, he explains that he had b
New Smart Fabric Can Turn Clothing Into a Huge Screen
Electrifying New Trend A new kind of fabric can turn into a working keyboard, light up like a display, or even help send texts all while being bent, folded, and even washed like any other piece of clothing. Researchers from China's Fudan University built the material to withstand all the abuse we put other articles of clothing through while still serving as a useful piece of tech, according to Th
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: which countries have paused jab and why
Analysis: Germany, France, Spain and Italy head an expanding list of EU countries to have put its use on hold A host of European countries have put all vaccinations with this jab on hold, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway and Ireland. Some others such as Estonia and Austria have suspended vaccinations from particular batches of the vaccine. Continue reading…
Food Waste Could Power the Jet Engines We're Currently Flying With, Scientists Say
Plane Food Soon, jet engines could be powered by a blend of fuels originating from your table scraps and other food waste. A new study found that fermenting food waste can be broken down into compounds that are highly similar to the fossil fuels that power jet engines, Popular Science reports . It's a promising development — biofuel that burns cleaner like this could go a long way toward reducing
Bereaved families call for judge-led public inquiry into UK Covid response
Boris Johnson can decide whether to heed calls for wide-ranging inquiry or keep a tighter focus Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group has told Downing Street it wants a statutory public inquiry led by a senior judge to "determine a definitive, official, evidence-based narrative of what did and did not happen, independent of
For crying out loud: Dutch scientists grow human tear glands
Creation of mini-organs using stem cells will help research into tear-related disorders Stop your sobbing – because scientists can do it for you. Using stem cells, Dutch researchers have grown miniature human tear glands capable of "crying". Initially, when scientists were looking at developing this technology, their first port of call was the inner lining of the gut, because it replaces itself e
Exploring complex graphs using three-dimensional quantum walks of correlated photons
Graph representations can solve complex problems in natural science, as patterns of connectivity can give rise to a magnitude of emergent phenomena. Graph-based approaches are specifically important during quantum communication, alongside quantum search algorithms in highly branched quantum networks. In a new report now published on Science Advances, Max Ehrhardt and a team of scientists in physic
Latino immigrants need vaccines – and aren't getting them. Here's why | Kathleen Page, Alicia Fernández and Zackary Berger
Vaccine hesitancy among immigrant communities and people of color is a genuine issue. But the larger problem isn't hesitancy – it's access The 9 pm text said: "Muchas gracias doctora por la oportunidad de recibir la vacuna de Covid." (Thank you doctor for the opportunity to receive the Covid vaccine.) After a long week helping 125 low-income Latino immigrants find their way to a mass vaccination
Air pollution returning to pre-COVID levels
In early 2020, data from satellites were used to show a decline in air pollution coinciding with nationwide lockdowns put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. One year later, as lockdown restrictions loosen in some countries and regular activity resumes, nitrogen dioxide levels are bouncing back to pre-COVID levels.
A promising breakthrough for a better design of electronic materials
Finding the best materials for tomorrow's electronics is the goal of Professor Emanuele Orgiu of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). Among the materials in which Professor Orgiu is interested are some made of molecules that can conduct electricity. He has demonstrated the role played by molecular vibrations on electron conductivity in crystals of such materials. This finding
Why European vaccine suspensions could have unintended consequences
Europe's difficult rollout of covid-19 shots took another blow over the weekend, as several countries halted deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid worries it could cause blood clots. On Monday Germany, Spain, Italy, and France were among those to suspend deployment of the vaccine , following similar moves made last week by Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and others. Germany's health minister, Jens
China Approves COVID Vaccine Made From Hamster Cells
China has officially approved its fifth and latest COVID-19 vaccine. And it has one special ingredient, The New York Times reports : ovary cells from hamsters. The vaccine itself was co-developed by local pharmaceutical Anhui Zhifei Longcom and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Its manufacturing process begins by placing genetic code from the virus's spike protein, the part that allows the virus t
Eight new millisecond pulsars discovered by MeerKAT
Using the MeerKAT radio telescope array, an international team of astronomers has detected eight new millisecond pulsars. The newfound objects are located in six globular clusters. The finding is reported in a paper published March 8 on the arXiv pre-print repository.
Why is it so hard to build government technology?
It's been a long, challenging year for government technologies. Some have failed massively , requiring endless patches by governments, business, and the informal volunteer corps who have come together to fill the holes . Developers had to build apps that could identify potential covid exposure without invading people's privacy . Notoriously janky unemployment websites were crushed under the weigh
The Accidental Hard-Liner
On December 7, 2019, an American graduate student named Xiyue Wang was freed after 40 months in an Iranian prison. His captors roused him in his cell early that morning and put him on a plane to Zurich. The Swiss had offered to mediate a trade for Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist arrested by the United States for violating sanctions against Iran. At the airport, the Iranian ambassador to Sw
When volcanoes go metal
What would a volcano—and its lava flows—look like on a planetary body made primarily of metal? A pilot study from North Carolina State University offers insights into ferrovolcanism that could help scientists interpret landscape features on other worlds.
Sapria: the stinking parasitic plant reveals another odd feature
Sapria himalayana has lost about 44% of genes normally found in flowering plants Sapria is an extraordinary plant. It has no leaves, stem or root, can't make food by photosynthesis, and exists almost its entire life as threads of cells sucking out all its nourishment from vines growing in the rainforests of Borneo. The only time the parasite reveals itself in the open is when it bursts out as a h
Non-DNA mechanism is involved in transmitting paternal experience to offspring
A new study has made a significant advance in the field of epigenetics by identifying how environmental information is transmitted by non-DNA molecules in the sperm. It is a discovery that advances scientific understanding of the heredity of paternal life experiences and potentially opens new avenues for studying disease transmission and prevention.
This map of Europe is good for only one thing
Topology is a relatively young branch of mathematics, with various branches of its own. It has applications in biology, computer science, string theory, and yes, also cartography. This topologist's map of Europe is not a true reflection of area or size, only of the relationships between countries. Rubber-sheet geometry Here's an ology you might not have heard of, despite its deceptively familiar-
Is there life on Mars today and where?
In a comment published today in Nature Astronomy, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute, challenges assumptions about the possibility of modern life on Mars held by many in the scientific community.
Distant jets are giving us clues to how supermassive black holes get so big
At the center of every galaxy is a supermassive black hole—a monster that keeps the neighborhood of stars and planets and gas and dust together. Over the decades since astronomers began studying them in earnest, we have confirmed that these objects indeed exist; we've learned they are likely essential for helping stars form; and we've even developed a technique for imaging them directly . However
Smart quantum technologies for secure communication
Researchers from Louisiana State University have introduced a smart quantum technology for the spatial mode correction of single photons. In a paper featured on the cover of the March 2021 issue of Advanced Quantum Technologies, the authors exploit the self-learning and self-evolving features of artificial neural networks to correct the distorted spatial profile of single photons.
Researchers discover how snails chew, and what purpose each part of the 'mouth tool' serves
Their special mouthparts help snails adapt to a wide variety of food and habitats. A research team from the Zoological Institute of Kiel University (CAU) and the Center of Natural History (CeNak) of the University of Hamburg has now been able to biomechanically measure the mechanical performance of the teeth for the first time and derive different functional relations from this. The results have b
Plane rides of the future could be fueled by table scraps
A brand new study details how we can knock out food waste and airplane fuel in one sweep. ( Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash/) Commercial aviation alone contributes around three percent of total global carbon emissions. But the industry is actively looking for green solutions in the form of sustainable jet fuel, and in one case, that fuel may have had a previous life as your household food scraps. I
Molecular iodine catalyzes processes for antiviral and pharmaceutical syntheses
Synthesizing pharmaceuticals for cancer, viral diseases, and other medical conditions is slow work. A particularly challenging chemical transformation is to start with what's known as an unactivated alkene—a common molecular building block—and end up with a vicinal diamine; i.e., installation of two nitrogen units into carbon—carbon double bonds. The result is a chemical unit that's present in med
In Colorado, the Looming Liability of Oil and Gas Cleanup
Nearly 60,000 defunct oil or gas wells in Colorado need to be plugged — costing an estimated $8 billion, according to a new report. If not properly treated, the wells may leak toxins into groundwater or vent air pollutants unchecked. But the companies legally required to pay may leave the state on the hook.
Carlo Rovelli on the weirdness of quantum mechanics (part one) – podcast
It has been over a century since the groundwork of quantum physics was first formulated and yet the strange consequences of the theory still elude both scientists and philosophers. Why does light sometimes behave as a wave, and other times like a particle? Why does the outcome of an experiment apparently depend on whether the particles are being observed or not? In the first of two episodes, Ian
Tweens and TV: 50-year survey reveals the values kids learn from popular shows
A new report assesses the values emphasized by television programs popular with tweens over each decade from 1967 to 2017, charting how 16 values have waxed and waned during those 50 years. How important is fame? Self-acceptance? Among the findings: Fame, after nearly 40 years of ranking near the bottom (it was 15th in 1967, 1987 and 1997), rose to the No. 1 value in 2007, then dropped to sixth in
Got a question for Michelle Thaller? Ask it here!
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more! This March , she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, such as, "How big is the universe?" or "Am I really made of stardust?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?" All you have to do is submit your ques
Smells connect to memories more than other senses
The right scent can conjure up a memory more powerfully than most anything else. People who lose their sense of smell often develop symptoms of depression. While other senses connect to the brain's memory center indirectly, the olfactory cortex has a direct line. It's called the Proust effect after a story in the author's "Remembrance of Things Past: Swann's Way." When a character dipped a madele
How hummingbirds hum
Researchers observed hummingbirds using 12 high-speed cameras, 6 pressure plates and 2176 microphones. The soft and complex feathered wings generate sound in a fashion similar to how the simpler wings of insect do. These new insights could help make fans and drones quieter.
Survey says 64% of young black people in England are 'vaccine hesitant'
Researchers also find that young people overall are more reluctant about receiving a vaccination Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Young black people are far more hesitant about being vaccinated against Covid-19 and are less likely to trust doctors than the rest of England's population, according to researchers who found that young people were more reluctant overall ab
How Coronavirus Mutations Arise and New Variants Emerge – Facts So Romantic
This piece was produced in cooperation with the Nib . Maki Naro is an award-winning feral cartoonist and science communicator. You can reliably find him online, where he tweets from the handle @sciencecomic Diana Kwon is a freelance science journalist based in Berlin, Germany. She primarily covers the life sciences and health, and her work has appeared in Scientific American , The Scientist , Nat
Lose Yourself
How absorbed to you become when you read fiction? How immersed in the world, how connected to the story, and how much do you identify with specific characters? More importantly (from a neuroscientists point of view), what is happening in your brain when all this going on? A recent study brings all this into focus, looking at fMRI activity while people think about themselves, their close friends,
How life on land recovered after 'The Great Dying'
A new study shows in detail how life recovered from 'The Great Dying' in comparison to two smaller extinction events. The international study team showed for the first time that this mass extinction was harsher than other events due to a major collapse in diversity. Ultimately, characterizing communities — especially those that recovered successfully — provides valuable insights into how modern
How men can be allies to women right now
Men are primarily responsible for violence against women and girls. All men, including those who are not perpetrating violence or abuse, have a responsibility to play a part in helping to end it.
Built-in tools and extensions to make web browsing easier for people with vision impairments
Viewing a website in inverted colors can make it easier to see. (Cottonbro/Pexels/) Navigating the world as a person with a vision disability is hard. Browsing the internet is no different. Dedicated software and hardware can make it easier, but some solutions don't work on all sites and others come with a steep learning curve. Until the web becomes more accommodating, though, people with vision
Communicating artificial neural networks develop efficient color-naming systems [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]
Words categorize the semantic fields they refer to in ways that maximize communication accuracy while minimizing complexity. Focusing on the well-studied color domain, we show that artificial neural networks trained with deep-learning techniques to play a discrimination game develop communication systems whose distribution on the accuracy/complexity plane closely matches that…
Elon Musk Says His Techno Song NFT Isn't For Sale After All
Not for Sale Say it ain't so. Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk isn't selling his non-fungible token ( NFT ) song, which is about NFTs, and which takes the form of an NFT, after all. "Actually doesn't feel quite right selling this," Musk wrote in a Tuesday evening tweet . "Will pass." In case you haven't been following the saga, here's what you missed: Musk uploaded a cryptic techno song to his
Ancient plant DNA reveals High Arctic greening during the Last Interglacial [Ecology]
Summer warming is driving a greening trend across the Arctic, with the potential for large-scale amplification of climate change due to vegetation-related feedbacks [Pearson et al., Nat. Clim. Chang. (3), 673–677 (2013)]. Because observational records are sparse and temporally limited, past episodes of Arctic warming can help elucidate the magnitude…
Astronauts in crewed missions to Mars could misread vital emotional cues
Living for nearly 2 months in simulated weightlessness has a modest but widespread negative effect on cognitive performance that may not be counteracted by short periods of artificial gravity, finds a new study published in Frontiers in Physiology. While cognitive speed on most tests initially declined but then remained unchanged over time in simulated microgravity, emotion recognition speed conti
Lessons learned in Burkina Faso can contribute to a new decade of forest restoration
Forest landscape restoration is attaining new global momentum this year under the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), an initiative launched by the United Nations. Burkina Faso, in West Africa, is one country that already has a head start in forest landscape restoration, and offers valuable lessons. An assessment of achievements there and in other countries with a history of landscape res
A new way to measure human wellbeing towards sustainability
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better life for all and to ensure that no one is left behind. The partly overlapping and contradictory objectives of the SDGs can however make it difficult to assess overall progress. A group of researchers have proposed a new, tailor-made metric that measures development based on long-term human wellbeing.
You get brainwashed whenever you go to sleep (and that's a good thing)
Cruising for a snoozing and a quick scrub. (Unsplash/) What's the weirdest thing you learned this week? Well, whatever it is, we promise you'll have an even weirder answer if you listen to PopSci 's hit podcast . The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week hits Apple , Anchor , and everywhere else you listen to podcasts every-other Wednesday morning. It's your new favorite source for the strangest sci
The bald truth: Altered cell divisions cause hair thinning
Researchers have identified a novel mechanism underlying hair thinning and loss during aging. By studying cell division of hair follicle stem cells in young and aged mice, the researchers found that young mice properly balance typical symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions to regenerate hair follicles. However, during aging, an atypical type of asymmetric cell division emerges, leading to hair lo
Doctors Investigated For Posting Surgically Removed Organs on Instagram
Medical residents working for Spectrum Health in Michigan are now under investigation for violating patient privacy by posting pictures of removed organs on social media. The obstetrics and gynecology specialists had been surgically removing organs and then posting pictures of them on Instagram under the since-removed handle "grandrapids_obgyn_residency," according to The New York Times . Each po
Ipswich, we have a problem: Space Cadets, the reality show that never left the ground
Presenter Johnny Vaughan, producers and participants remember the Channel 4 series that pretended to send participants into orbit from a Russian bootcamp, but mainly took place on an airbase in Suffolk In December 2005, a group of outgoing twentysomethings were gathered in front of cameras on a remote airstrip. They had signed up for a reality TV series called Thrill Seekers and, after five month
Sex differences in early experience and the development of aggression in wild chimpanzees [Anthropology]
Sex differences in physical aggression occur across human cultures and are thought to be influenced by active sex role reinforcement. However, sex differences in aggression also exist in our close evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees, who do not engage in active teaching, but do exhibit long juvenile periods and complex social systems…
New footprints from the Gaia-sausage-enceladus merger event
Looking up at the starry sky, the deep Universe appears quiet and mysterious. It is hard to imagine that the ancient dwarf galaxy Enceladus violently collided and was torn apart by our own Milky Way Galaxy, leaving behind the cries of a whole new generation of children from the hundred-handed giant.
Roof-tiles in imperial China: Creating Ximing Temple's lotus-pattern tile ends
Any visitor to China will have noticed the spectacular roofs on buildings dating from imperial times. However, the question of how these roof tiles were produced has attracted relatively little attention from archaeologists. Now, a team of researchers has conducted a major study of tile ends unearthed at the Ximing Temple in Xi'an, yielding exciting insights into their production.
Vänta sju veckor med operation efter covid-19
Dödligheten bland dem opereras inom två veckor efter en covid-19-diagnos är nästan tre gånger så hög som hos andra. Men om operationen kan vänta sju veckor sjunker dödligheten till normalnivåer. Personer som har varit sjuka i covid-19 löper förhöjd risk att avlida efter ett kirurgiskt ingrepp nära inpå sjukdomen. Men om operationen istället väntar till sju veckor efter tillfrisknandet, är överlev
The Truth Seekers Are Coming
Sometime in the middle of the pandemic year, and sometime in the middle of a prolonged and compulsive scroll through Instagram, the "truth seekers" came into my life. The term was showing up over and over in the bios and captions of the women I followed, so often that I was starting to feel as if I were seeing things. The lockdowns seemed to have inspired a new kind of internet identity: There we
Commercial truck electrification is within reach
Researchers make the case for prioritizing public policy to help move long-haul trucking from diesel to electric. Doing so will mean huge gains in addressing the climate crisis and avoiding premature deaths due to local vehicular pollution, which disproportionately affects communities of color.
Exposure density and neighborhood disparities in COVID-19 infection risk [Computer Sciences]
Although there is increasing awareness of disparities in COVID-19 infection risk among vulnerable communities, the effect of behavioral interventions at the scale of individual neighborhoods has not been fully studied. We develop a method to quantify neighborhood activity behaviors at high spatial and temporal resolutions and test whether, and to…
Brain disease research reveals differences between sexes
Scientists highlight a growing body of research suggesting sex differences play roles in how patients respond to brain diseases, as well as multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, and other brain ailments. They are urging their colleagues to remember those differences when researching treatments and cures.
Blight may increase public health risk from mosquito-borne diseases
Researchers published findings that blight leads to an increased abundance of disease-carrying mosquitoes. The researchers investigated the presence of several mosquito species in two adjacent but socio-economically contrasting neighborhoods in Baton Rouge: the historic Garden District, a high-income neighborhood, and the Old South neighborhood, a low-income area.
The blast that shook the ionosphere
Just after 6 p.m. local time (15.00 UTC) on August 4, 2020, more than 2,750 tons worth of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate exploded in Lebanon's port city of Beirut, killing around 200 people, making more than 300,000 temporarily homeless, and leaving a 140-meter-diameter crater in its wake. The blast is considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear, man-made explosions in human history.
Models show Earth's heat loss is higher on one side of the planet
A team of researchers at the University of Oslo has found evidence that shows Earth's heat loss is more pronounced on one side of the planet than the other. In their paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the group describes creating models that represent Earth's heat loss over the past 400 million years and what they showed.
'Swarmalation' used to design active materials for self-regulating soft robots
Engineers have designed a system of self-oscillating flexible materials that display a distinctive mode of dynamic self-organization. In addition to exhibiting the swarmalator behavior, the component materials mutually adapt their overall shapes as they interact in a fluid-filled chamber. These systems can pave the way for fabricating collaborative, self-regulating soft robotic systems.
Squishy white blood cells quickly become highly stiff and viscous in response to a threat
Like a well-trained soldier, a white blood cell uses specialized abilities to identify and ultimately destroy dangerous intruders, including creating a protrusion to effectively reach out, lock-on, probe, and possibly attack its prey. Researchers reporting March 16 in Biophysical Journal show in detail that these cells take seconds to morph into these highly rigid and viscous defensive units.
Are "clean" cosmetics better for us than other beauty products?
"Clean beauty" might be a trendy marketing term, but it comes from the realities of trying to find safe options for yourself and your family. (Curology//) Walking into Sephora, or even the beauty aisle in your drug store, can sometimes feel like a trip to the Wild West. There are so, so many options, and sussing out which colors work best for you—and are even available for your skin tone—can seem
New neuroscience-driven multisensory technologies to help the vision impaired
Vision impairment is a pervasive problem facing nearly 2.2 billion people globally, according to WHO. But help is on the way: Neuroscientists are working at the cutting edge of technology and brain science to develop new ways for the vision impaired to navigate the world around them. At the CNS annual meeting, researchers are presenting new techniques for integrating digital haptics and sound tech
Catching electrons in action in an antiferromagnetic nanowire
The electron is one of the fundamental particles in nature we read about in school. Its behavior holds clues to new ways to store digital data. A new study explores alternative materials to improve capacity and shrink the size of digital data storage technologies. Specifically, the team found that chromium-doped nanowires with a germanium core and silicon shell can be an antiferromagnetic semicond
Ask Us Anything: Can you actually boost your immune system?
Most of us would love to boost our immune function by drinking glass after glass of green juice. But is it an attainable feat? (Pixabay/) Is your head constantly spinning with outlandish, mind-burning questions? If you've ever wondered what the universe is made of, what would happen if you fell into a black hole, or even why not everyone can touch their toes, then you should be sure to listen and
​Dyson spheres: The key to resurrection and immortality?
In a 2018 paper, researchers Alexey Turchin and Maxim Chernyakov published a paper outlining various ways humans might someday be able to achieve immortality or resurrection. One way involves creating a simulated afterlife, in which artificial intelligence would build simulations of past human lives. Getting the necessary power for the simulation might require building a Dyson sphere, which is a
Research plumbs the molecular building blocks for light-responsive materials
Creating the next generation of solar cells and sensors requires a close look at how light interacts with light-responsive materials. Research at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is advancing this understanding toward a future with flexible, highly efficient solar cells and cutting-edge optical tools.
Researchers identify non-coding RNA molecule in trypanosome parasites
Trypanosomatids are single-cell parasites that cause major diseases, such as sleeping sickness and Rose of Jericho, which affect millions of people. Trypanosoma parasites are transmitted to mammals by the blood-sucking tsetse fly. The parasite's stopover in the insect-host consists of two stages. They live in the insect's gut for two to three weeks and then migrate to the saliva glands. When the f
The synaptonemal complex imposes crossover interference and heterochiasmy in Arabidopsis [Genetics]
Meiotic crossovers (COs) have intriguing patterning properties, including CO interference, the tendency of COs to be well-spaced along chromosomes, and heterochiasmy, the marked difference in male and female CO rates. During meiosis, transverse filaments transiently associate the axes of homologous chromosomes, a process called synapsis that is essential for CO…
Astronomers Find Supermassive Black Hole Wandering Around Distant Galaxy
Can a supermassive black hole have wanderlust? That's something astronomers have been wondering about for years, and a new study from the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics might have arrived at an answer: yep. By comparing the movement of black holes and their surrounding home galaxies, the researchers discovered one that appears to drift around . This could resolve some long-standi
The Weekly Planet: Why a Climate-Denial Coalition May Be Cracking Apart
Every week, our lead climate reporter brings you the big ideas, expert analysis, and vital guidance that will help you flourish on a changing planet. Sign up to get T he Weekly Planet , our guide to living through climate change, in your inbox. Last week, China released the draft summary of its next five-year plan, its comprehensive economic planning document for 2021 to 2025. It's an important d
Mitochondria found to be protected by ketogenesis
Ketone bodies are generally an alternative energy source during starvation, but in newborns, ketogenesis is active regardless of nutritional status. In a recent study from Kumamoto University (Japan), researchers analyzed the effects of ketogenesis in mice and found that it has a protective effect on cells by maintaining the function of mitochondria. They expect that this effect can be used in fut
Testosterone reduces generosity through cortical and subcortical mechanisms [Neuroscience]
Recent evidence has linked testosterone, a major sex hormone, to selfishness in economic decision-making. Here, we aimed to investigate the neural mechanisms through which testosterone reduces generosity by combining functional MRI with pharmacological manipulation among healthy young males in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subject design. After testosterone or placebo gel administrat
Best home security cameras: Our picks to help keep you (and your stuff) safe
Always have eyes on your home base. (Burst via Pexels/) They say home is where the heart is. But it's also where your stuff is, where your loved ones may be, so it could be where your mind is even when you're out. And that's where the best home security cameras come in. If you find yourself constantly stressed when you leave home—worrying about your packages, pets, property, etc.—setting up the b
Officials: A dam in Oregon could fail in a large earthquake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that a large earthquake—which is expected to occur again in the Pacific Northwest sooner or later—could cause the spillway gates of a dam in Oregon to buckle, resulting "in a potentially catastrophic flood."
New imaging technology could help predict heart attacks
Researchers have developed a new intravascular imaging technique that could one day be used to detect coronary plaques that are likely to lead to a heart attack. Heart attacks are often triggered when an unstable plaque ruptures and then blocks a major artery that carries blood and oxygen to the heart.
Point configurations, phylogenetic trees, and dissimilarity vectors [Genetics]
In 2004, Pachter and Speyer introduced the higher dissimilarity maps for phylogenetic trees and asked two important questions about their relation to the tropical Grassmannian. Multiple authors, using independent methods, answered affirmatively the first of these questions, showing that dissimilarity vectors lie on the tropical Grassmannian, but the second question,…
Leprosy drug holds promise as at-home treatment for COVID-19
A Nature study shows that the leprosy drug clofazimine, which is FDA approved and on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, exhibits potent antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2 and prevents the exaggerated inflammatory response associated with severe COVID-19. Based on these findings, a Phase 2 study evaluating clofazimine as an at-home treatment for COVID-19 could begin i
The Atlantic Daily: We're Still Thinking About the Pandemic Wrong
Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox . In a pandemic, numbers are king. " Data might seem like an overly technical obsession," Robinson Meyer and Alexis C. Madrigal wrote today. "But data are how our leaders apprehend reality." Robins
Scientists form human cell clumps that act like early-stage embryos
Cultured stem cells turn into blastoid 'balls', like natural blastocysts after egg fertilisation, find scientists Scientists have made clumps of human tissue which behave like early-stage embryos in a feat that promises to transform research into the first tentative steps of human development. The clumps of cells, named blastoids, are less than a millimetre across and resemble structures called b
Ultrafast intra-atom motion tracked using synchrotron radiation
Scientists in Japan have observed and interfered with the ultrafast motion of electron movement inside of a Xenon atom using the coherent pairs of short light waves in synchrotron radiation. Xenon, consisting of a nucleus surrounded by five nested shells containing a total of 54 electrons, is used in flash lamps, and it burns bright and fast. The luminescent electrons move there on a time scale of
A Titan mission could refuel on site and return a sample to Earth
This decade promises to be an exciting time for space exploration. Already, the Perseverance rover has landed on Mars and begun conducting science operations. Later this year, the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), and Lucy spacecraft (the first mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids) will launch. Before the decade is out, missions will also be
Embryonic tissue undergoes phase transition
When scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria looked at developing zebrafish embryos, they observed an abrupt and dramatic change: Within just a few minutes, the solid-like embryonic tissue becomes fluid-like. What could cause this change, and what is its role in the further development of the embryo? In a multidisciplinary study published in the journal Cell, they found
Apple's HomePod is officially discontinued. Here are the smart speakers you should buy instead.
The original HomePod was slick and sounded great. (Stan Horaczek/) If you want a full-sized HomePod speaker , you better hurry up and buy one. Apple has officially discontinued it and will stop selling them as soon as current stock runs out. Apple first introduced the HomePod back at WWDC 2017 , but it didn't have an auspicious start. It missed the crucial 2017 holiday shopping season and made it
The Coming Nostalgia for Hyper-Nesting
I've spent the pandemic taking daily walks around my neighborhood, along what are now overly familiar blocks. I try to vary my route, but I can tell you which patches of sidewalk are most treacherous, which houses have the most stylish doors, and where the yippiest dogs reside. Last week, a text interrupted this routine, with a link to schedule my first vaccination appointment. For a second, I th
Dame Fiona Caldicott obituary
Public safeguarder of patients' confidential information following a career as a mental health consultant The invasion of information technology into healthcare brought the ancient principle of confidentiality between doctor and patient into conflict with opportunities to store and share data collectively. Fiona Caldicott, who has died aged 80, devoted the last 25 years of her life to resolving th
Non-surgical treatment quickly reduces arthritis knee pain and improves function
A non-surgical treatment for arthritis in the knee is safe and effective in providing immediate and long-term pain relief, according to a new study to be presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Scientific Meeting. Genicular artery embolization (GAE) reduces inflammation in the knee to improve function and quality of life for people with moderate to severe knee pain. Osteoarthri
Researchers develop materials to remove pharmaceuticals from wastewater
Researchers of the Jaume I University of Castellón (UJI), in collaboration with the Centre for the Development of Functional Materials (CDMF) of the Universidad Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar) have published an article titled "Selective Synthesis of α-, β-, and γ-Ag2WO4 Polymorphs: Promising Platforms for Photocatalytic and Antibacterial Materials" in Inorganic Chemistry, which reports new photocat
Controlling sloshing motions in sea-based fish farming cages improves fish welfare
Sea-based fish farming systems using net pens are hard on the environment and fish. A closed cage can improve fish welfare, but seawater must be continuously circulated through the cage. However, waves can cause the water to slosh inside the cage, creating violent motions and endangering the cage and fish. A study using a scale-model containment system shows why violent sloshing motions arise and
Project investigates remote control of enzymes using light
The activity of enzymes in industrial processes, laboratories, and living beings can be remotely controlled using light. This requires their immobilization on the surface of nanoparticles and irradiation with a laser. Near-infrared light can penetrate living tissue without damaging it. The nanoparticles absorb the energy of the radiation and release it back in the form of heat or electronic effect
Algorithms and lasers tame chemical reactivity
Researchers have developed an algorithm for photochemistry, bringing the burgeoning field a step closer to the goal of using different colors of light like a switch to activate a range of different chemical reactions in one single material.
A novel recipe for air-stable and highly-crystalline radical-based coordination polymer
Coordination polymers (CPs) composed of organic radicals have been the focus of much research attention in recent years due to their potential application to a wide variety of next-generation electronics, from more flexible devices to spintronics information storage technology. However, CPs often exhibit limited stability and poor crystallinity. Researchers from Japan's Institute for Molecular Sci
A pocket guide to Mars: Now you can buy an atlas for the Red Planet
A pocket atlas of Mars has been published that uses geographic techniques developed for terrestrial maps to reveal a wealth of information about the surface of the Red Planet, as well as its climate and cloud cover. The atlas is being presented this week at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
Maps to improve forest biomass estimates
Fluctuations in the carbon-rich biomass held within the world's forests can contribute to, or slow, climate change. A series of new maps of above ground biomass, generated using space observations, is set to help our understanding of global carbon cycling and support forest management, emissions reduction and sustainable development policy goals.
Fixing indoor air pollution problems that are raising Native Americans' COVID-19 risk
Betty's home stands on the edge of a striking red cliff. Her family built the home from materials in their environment generations ago and passed it along from mothers to daughters. But it is cold, and the home is small with few windows. Insufficiently ventilated homes in these areas can have high levels of particulate matter, dust, mold and radon, a naturally occurring gas that can cause lung can
The first angstrom-scale view of weathering
Sedimentary rocks and water are both abundant on Earth's surface, and over long stretches of time, their interactions turn mountains into sediment. Researchers have long known that water weathers sedimentary rocks both physically, by facilitating abrasion and migration of rocks, and chemically, through dissolution and recrystallization. But these interactions never have been viewed before in situ

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