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Labeled as discuss in The Break Room, started by CraigD, Oct 19, 2020

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  1. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Simple genetic modification aims to stop mosquitoes spreading malaria
    Altering a mosquito’s gut genes to make them spread antimalarial genes to the next generation of their species shows promise for curbing malaria.

    This is the finding of a preliminary study by researchers from Imperial College London and published today in eLife.


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    Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which certain species of mosquito carry in their guts. The team genetically modified Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes so that after they have taken a blood meal, they express small antimicrobial molecules that target and impair the development of the Plasmodium parasite.

    They initially inserted the gene along with a fluorescent marker to help them track it in three different spots in the DNA, and then later removed the marker, leaving only a minor genetic modification behind.

    Next, the team bred the mosquitoes to see if they were able to successfully reproduce and remain healthy. They also tested how well the malaria parasite developed in the mosquitoes’ guts. Their experiments provide preliminary evidence that this approach to genetic modifications could create successful gene drives.
    .

     
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  2. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Novel Alzheimer's treatment clears brain plaques with light and oxygen

    Research into what causes Alzheimer's and how it might be treated involves a number of possibilities, but one scientists are continually coming back to is brain plaques playing a central role in driving the disease. It follows that researchers are investigating ways to destroy these plaques or prevent them from forming, and scientists at the University of Tokyo have come up with a novel approach to this problem involving injectable, oxygenated atoms that are activated by infrared light.


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    The brain plaques at the center of this study are formed by abnormal accumulations of amyloid protein, and many see these as the primary pathological cause of Alzheimer's disease. Many drugs have been designed to target the plaques, some that use antibodies to clear away the amyloid proteins and others originally developed to treat stroke.
     
  3. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    LOL, I was an IELTS examiner/ ESL instructor. I also taught Sociology of Western Culture, Media and Communications. Western wages, apartment and travel provided plus extra bonuses and side gig (charging up to 700 RMB/hr). :xf.cool:
     
  4. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    I bet you wish you could have crossed that out in red ;)
     
  5. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    I developed a product that not only helps prevent mosquitos from biting (Deet free) when applied to clothes hair and skin, but can also treat swampy areas where they hatch. It inhibits their development in the larval stage - the product is completely natural and non polluting. I haven't tested it with Malaria bearing mosquitos (Anopheles), only the NA variety that carry both Zika and West Nile viruses.
     
  6. Cannuck

    Cannuck 420 friendly VIP

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    I might also suggest some folk medicine such as CBD and ginger root which helps to clear amyloid plaque through the endo-cannabinoid system. Studies have shown them to be helpful in reducing Alzheimers and rheumatoid arthritis in elderly. (y)
     
  7. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    Could Planet 9 be a primordial black hole?

    https://phys.org/news/2020-08-planet-primordial-black-hole.html

    "For several years, astronomers and cosmologists have theorized about the existence of an additional planet with a mass 10 times greater than that of Earth, situated in the outermost regions of the solar system. This hypothetical planet, dubbed Planet 9, could be the source of gravitational effects that would explain the unusual patterns in the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) highlighted by existing cosmological data. TNOs are celestial bodies that orbit the sun and are located beyond Neptune.

    "The final pieces really came together when we realized that the dark matter haloes that surround primordial black holes would be a way to observe Planet 9 if it was a black hole, because of the X-ray/gamma-ray signal it gives off," Scholtz said. "In some sense, the objective of our study really was to convey the message that the idea of a primordial black holes orbiting the sun is not as absurd as it may seem, and that maybe we should be paying greater attention."
     
  8. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Sir David Attenborough's new doc: 'Humans are intruders'

    Sir David Attenborough has urged people to remember their impact on the natural world, ahead of his new documentary on the impacts of lockdown on nature.

    He spoke to the BBC's David Shukman about his hopes for the project, the upcoming global climate summit and his young fan base.
     
  9. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    I would not say that we are intruders, but clearly we are causing a disorder on this planet. So call it what you want ...
    But no intruders because we are also an evolution of nature... in the same way that a Leopard is.
     
  10. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    When we encroach into forests, we are intruders.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  11. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    Yes I understand what Sir David Attenborough means. But who says that humans cannot live in forests? In fact we lived in forests during thousands of years...
    Humans are damaging Earth's ecosystems and world climate? Yes, definitely.
    Humans are damaging forests to the limit? Definitely.
    Humans are polluting Earth's climate to the limit? Definitely.
    But I just don't agree with the term "intruder". I guess it's just a question of semantics.:xf.smile:
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  12. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    How many T. rexes were there? Billions.

    https://phys.org/news/2021-04-rexes-billions.html

    "How many Tyrannosaurus rexes roamed North America during the Cretaceous period?
    That's a question Charles Marshall pestered his paleontologist colleagues with for years until he finally teamed up with his students to find an answer.

    What the team found, to be published this week in the journal Science, is that about 20,000 adult T. rexes probably lived at any one time, give or take a factor of 10, which is in the ballpark of what most of his colleagues guessed.

    What few paleontologists had fully grasped, he said, including himself, is that this means that some 2.5 billion lived and died over the approximately 2 1/2 million years the dinosaur walked the earth."
     
  13. Sutruk

    Sutruk Top Contributor VIP

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    What about this one?

    Scientists Create Early Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health...at-are-part-human-part-monkey?t=1618512778999


    "For the first time, scientists have created embryos that are a mix of human and monkey cells."
    "The embryos, described Thursday in the journal Cell, were created in part to try to find new ways to produce organs for people who need transplants, said the international team of scientists who collaborated in the work. But the research raises a variety of concerns.

    "My first question is: Why?" said Kirstin Matthews, a fellow for science and technology at Rice University's Baker Institute. "I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we're just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do."
    Still, the scientists who conducted the research, and some other bioethicists defended the experiment.

    "This is one of the major problems in medicine — organ transplantation," said Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, Calif., and a co-author of the Cell study. "The demand for that is much higher than the supply."

    "I don't see this type of research being ethically problematic," said Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University. "It's aimed at lofty humanitarian goals."
    Thousands of people die every year in the United States waiting for an organ transplant, Hyun noted. So, in recent years, some researchers in the U.S. and beyond have been injecting human stem cells into sheep and pig embryos to see if they might eventually grow human organs in such animals for transplantation."

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    Chimeric contribution of human extended pluripotent stem cells to monkey embryos ex vivo

    https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00305-6

    "Interspecies chimera formation with human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) represents a necessary alternative to evaluate hPSC pluripotency in vivo and might constitute a promising strategy for various regenerative medicine applications, including the generation of organs and tissues for transplantation. Studies using mouse and pig embryos suggest that hPSCs do not robustly contribute to chimera formation in species evolutionarily distant to humans. We studied the chimeric competency of human extended pluripotent stem cells (hEPSCs) in cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis) embryos cultured ex vivo."
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  14. J Sokol

    J Sokol Top Contributor VIP

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    Scary.
     
  15. J Sokol

    J Sokol Top Contributor VIP

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    Whitest-ever paint could help cool heating Earth, study shows

    The whitest-ever paint has been produced by academic researchers, with the aim of boosting the cooling of buildings and tackling the climate crisis.

    The new paint reflects 98% of sunlight as well as radiating infrared heat through the atmosphere into space. In tests, it cooled surfaces by 4.5C below the ambient temperature, even in strong sunlight. The researchers said the paint could be on the market in one or two years.

    White-painted roofs have been used to cool buildings for centuries. As global heating pushes temperatures up, the technique is also being used on modern city buildings, such as in Ahmedabad in India and New York City in the US.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...int-could-help-cool-heating-earth-study-shows
     
  16. J Sokol

    J Sokol Top Contributor VIP

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    Amazon’s warehouse boom linked to health hazards in America’s most polluted region

    Amazon has dramatically expanded its warehouses in southern California in the past year, part of an effort to speed up deliveries during the pandemic’s online shopping boom.

    But new research raises concerns about pollution and other environmental harms from the logistics sector in low-income communities of color in the region, many of which already suffer from high rates of toxic emissions, traffic problems and some of the worst pollution in the US.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/apr/15/amazon-warehouse-boom-inland-empire-pollution
     
  17. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    They lost me into the abyss of confusion years ago when it got downgraded from Planet X, because Pluto was downgraded. It was such a cool name!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  18. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    How many T. rexes ever lived? Billions

    Analysis reveals 2.5 billion of these iconic carnivores roamed the Earth.

    Paleontologists have crunched the numbers to estimate just how many Tyrannosaurus rexes lived and died – and the answer could be in the billions.


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    The T. rex is perhaps the most famous dinosaur species in the world and holds a unique place in modern culture, appearing in dozens of films from Jurassic Park to the Land Before Time, as well as in TV shows, books and even on postage stamps.

    This new study, published in Science, estimates that about 20,000 adult T. rexes lived at any one time and that the species persisted for about 127,000 generations – meaning at least 2.5 billion walked the Earth in total.

    But the authors stress that this is merely an estimate. Calculating population numbers for long-extinct species is no easy feat and is rife with uncertainties.
     
  19. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Animals around the world follow the ‘island rule’ to a curious fate

    Small animals that move to islands tend to evolve into giants, but big animals that do the same shrink.

    An analysis of more than 1,000 species shows that birds, mammals and reptiles on islands tend to be either miniature or gigantic versions of their mainland counterparts — evidence that an evolutionary tenet called the ‘island rule’ applies to a wide variety of vertebrates.

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    Big mainland animals often evolve smaller bodies on islands, whereas small mainland species become larger. A prominent example is the island-dwelling Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), which is the world’s largest lizard and can exceed 150 kilograms.

    Ana Benítez-López at the Doňana Biological Station in Seville, Spain, and her colleagues set out to settle the debate about whether the dragon and other species are mere flukes or part of a broader evolutionary pattern. The team gathered data from multiple studies to examine 1,166 island-dwelling species and 886 of their mainland counterparts. In a departure from some previous studies, the researchers drew data from diverse sources, such as museum specimens and studies unrelated to the island rule.

    The authors found widespread evidence for the island rule around the world. Shifts in body size were most extreme for mammals and reptiles on smaller, more remote islands.

     
  20. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Ants shrink their brains for motherhood — but can enlarge them when egg-laying ends

    Ants might be small, but they have superhuman abilities, such as lifting objects that are many times their body weight. Now, researchers have found that some ants can even shrink and regrow their brains.

    When their queen dies, the female workers in a colony of Indian jumping ants (Harpegnathos saltator) engage in weeks-long battles to establish new leadership. The winners, called gamergates, start to reproduce. Their ovaries become more active — but their brains shrink by about 20%, according to research by Clint Penick at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and his colleagues.

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    To determine whether some of these changes are reversible, the scientists suppressed fertility in H. saltator gamergates. In response, most gamergates began hunting for food, a behaviour typical of worker ants devoted to foraging, and their brains expanded to reach a size roughly equal to that of foragers’ brains. Because foraging requires advanced cognitive abilities, brain re-expansion could help workers to return to forager status after they lose the battle over reproduction.

    This is the first time that reversible changes in brain size on this scale have been observed in an insect, the researchers say.
     
  21. CraigD

    CraigD Top Contributor VIP

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    New NASA Visualization Probes the Light-bending Dance of Binary Black Holes

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    A pair of orbiting black holes millions of times the Sun’s mass perform a hypnotic pas de deux in a new NASA visualization. The movie traces how the black holes distort and redirect light emanating from the maelstrom of hot gas – called an accretion disk – that surrounds each one.

    Viewed from near the orbital plane, each accretion disk takes on a characteristic double-humped look. But as one passes in front of the other, the gravity of the foreground black hole transforms its partner into a rapidly changing sequence of arcs. These distortions play out as light from both disks navigates the tangled fabric of space and time near the black holes.

    Read on...

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddar...the-light-bending-dance-of-binary-black-holes
     
  22. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Is happiness U-shaped everywhere? Age and subjective well-being in 145 countries

    Abstract

    A large empirical literature has debated the existence of a U-shaped happiness-age curve. This paper re-examines the relationship between various measures of well-being and age in 145 countries, including 109 developing countries, controlling for education and marital and labor force status, among others, on samples of individuals under the age of 70. The U-shape of the curve is forcefully confirmed, with an age minimum, or nadir, in midlife around age 50 in separate analyses for developing and advanced countries as well as for the continent of Africa. The happiness curve seems to be everywhere. While panel data are largely unavailable for this issue, and the findings using such data largely confirm the cross-section results, the paper discusses insights on why cohort effects do not drive the findings. I find the age of the minima has risen over time in Europe and the USA.

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  23. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Mathematical technique creates synthetic hearts to identify how heart shape is possibly linked to disease

    Researchers from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences have created 3D replicas of full-sized healthy adult hearts from Computed Tomography (CT) images and analyzed how cardiac shape relates to function.


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    Published today in PLOS Computational Biology, the study also includes 1000 new synthetic hearts that have been made open access allowing researchers to download and use them to test new algorithms, test in-silico therapies, run more statistical analyses or generate specific shapes from the average models.

    Statistical shape analysis is a technique that allows the rigorous study of the anatomical changes of the heart across different subjects. Using this technique, from a cohort of 20 healthy adult hearts the researchers created an average heart and then adjusted by deforming this average heart to get 1000 new and synthetic 3D whole hearts.

    By making the synthetic heart divert from the average shape more abnormal or extreme hearts can be created, bounded by the range of variation observed in the cohort.

    Mr Rodero said the research is the first milestone in our understanding of how subtle anatomical changes can impact function and paves the road for other researchers to replicate and expand study results.

    "This research could be used as an early diagnosis later down the track. For instance, we found that there is an area in the heart right before the aorta that when it gets thicker, it has a big impact in the predicted function.”


    https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008851
     
  24. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    A new “water scarcity footprint” measures the water-use impacts of various United States diets.

    Meat consumption is the top contributor to the water scarcity footprint of the average US diet, accounting for 31% of the impacts, according to the study in Nature Food. And within the meat category, beef’s contribution is about six times higher than that of chicken.

    But other foods that require lots of water or that are mainly grown in US regions where water is scarce—including certain fruits, nuts, and vegetables—also have high water-scarcity footprints, the researchers say.


    upload_2021-4-16_20-2-12.png


    “Beef is the largest dietary contributor to the water scarcity footprint, as it is for the carbon footprint,” says study lead author Martin Heller of the Center for Sustainable Systems at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability.

    “But the dominance of animal-based food is diminished somewhat in the water scarcity footprint, in part because the production of feed grains for animals is distributed throughout less water-scarce regions, whereas the production of vegetables, fruits, and nuts is concentrated in water-scarce regions of the United States, namely the West Coast states and the arid Southwest.”


    https://www.futurity.org/water-scarcity-footprint-food-2550002-2/
     
  25. koolishman

    koolishman Top Contributor VIP

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    Flowers adapt to welcome the birds — but not the bees

    Once in the Americas, foxgloves swiftly evolved under pressure by pollinating hummingbirds.

    Evolution can forge new relationships between plants and pollinators in fewer than 85 generations.

    The showy purple flowers called common foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are native to Europe, where they are pollinated by bumblebees. When admiring humans took the foxglove to the Americas, it was enthusiastically embraced by a new guild of nectar-drinkers — the hummingbirds.


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    Maria Clara Castellanos at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, and her colleagues tallied visitors to foxgloves in the United Kingdom, Colombia and Costa Rica during more than 2,000 3-minute study periods. They found that hummingbirds pollinate up to 27% of foxgloves in Colombia and Costa Rica, where the flowers’ corollas — the long purple tubes that gardeners love so much — are 13% and 26% longer, respectively, than those of UK foxgloves.

    So why would foxgloves with longer corollas do better? Plants with corollas too long for bumblebees to reach their nectar are guaranteed to be pollinated by hummingbirds, which are more effective than bees at depositing pollen on the next flower. The longer corolla also creates a more comfortable fit for a hovering hummingbird, perhaps improving pollination rates.

    Hummingbirds can travel further between flowers than can bees, which might reduce plant inbreeding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021

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