Origins of the COVID-19 Virus

By Dave Archibald – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Who does the virus call ‘Daddy’? In the 1950s, oil geologist Michel Halbouty said that “oil is first found in the minds of men“, meaning that someone has to imagine the existence of an oil field before they can go out to find it. The same is true of most of the fruits of mental endeavour.

Similarly, the COVID-19 virus is artificial so someone conceived it in his mind before it was created in the lab.

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Do Your Own Research?

By Kip Hansen  – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Judith Curry recently highlighted the 9 October 2020  Wall Street Journal piece by Matt Ridley titled: “What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Science”.  [ It is annoyingly paywalled, so Dr. Curry offers extensive excerpts at her own blog, Climate Etc. ]

[ Full version of Matt Ridley’s piece is available at his own website here. — h/t to Malcolm Robinson]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geologists Solve Puzzle That Could Predict Valuable Rare Earth Element Deposits

By University of Exeter – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Pioneering new research has helped geologists solve a long-standing puzzle that could help pinpoint new, untapped concentrations of some the most valuable rare earth deposits.

A team of geologists, led by Professor Frances Wall from the Camborne School of Mines, have discovered a new hypothesis to predict where rare earth elements neodymium and dysprosium could be found.

The elements are among the most sought after, because they are an essential part of digital and clean energy manufacturing, including magnets in large wind turbines and electric cars motors.

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Ladybug Lost

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

[ Just a note about a curious thing to lighten your day. ]

This is the time of year that ladybugs start to look for places to spend the winter.  They don’t migrate like songbirds, but hibernate, more like bears or turtles.  Many of us find ladybugs  inside our homes once the weather starts to get cold, or,  even more often, in the spring  when the ladybugs that have been sleeping inside our home’s  walls all winter come out on the inside of the house instead of the outside!

 

Ladybugs are Good Bugs!

In your flower or vegetable garden, ladybugs are beneficial – both the adult (ladybug) and the larvae eat aphids, mealybugs and spider mites, all of which cause damage to your plants.  Ladybugs are so helpful that they are sold as natural “pesticides”, shipped to your home for release in your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

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Doctors Are Preparing to Implant the World’s First Human Bionic Eye

Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

The same implants could potentially treat paralysis as well.

A team of researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has built a bionic device that they say can restore vision to the blind through a brain implant.

The team is now preparing for what they claim will be the world’s first human clinical trials of a bionic eye — and are asking for additional funding to eventually manufacture it on a global scale.

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Engineers Test Jetliner Where You Ride in the Wings

We Have Liftoff

For the first time, a scale model of the Flying-V, an experimental jetliner that seats passengers inside its wings, took flight during an uncrewed test.

The results of a Flying-V test have been long awaited. The plane’s unusual design makes it 20 percent more fuel efficient than the most advanced planes on the market, according to New Atlas, which has covered the project previously. But, as with any unusual experimental design, it remains unclear how well it would actually work in practice.

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Scientists Debut Hovering “Antigravity” Device

Defying Gravity

In a new experiment, a team of French scientists created a levitating fluid that allows a tiny boat to float both on top of it — and another below it, seemingly flipping gravity on its head.

“That was a fun experiment,” Emmanuel Fort, professor at ESPCI Paris and co-author of a paper about the project published today in the journal Nature, told The New York Times . “Everything worked well. And I’m still amazed by the results.”

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MIT’s Artificial Brain-On-A-Chip Could Bring Supercomputing to Mobile Devices

Researchers fit tens of thousands of artificial brain synapses onto a single chip.

Stephanie Mlot   By Stephanie Mlot  – Re-Blogged From PC Magazine

What’s smaller than a piece of confetti, covered in artificial synapses, and may change the future of artificial intelligence? MIT’s new “brain-on-a-chip,” an engineering feat that could bring supercomputer smarts to mobile devices.

Researchers placed tens of thousands of tiny memristors (memory transistors)—silicon-based components that mimic the human brain’s information-transmitting synapses—onto a single chip which, when run through various tasks, was able to “remember” and reproduce stored images.

While artificial synapse networks currently exist only as software, the MIT team wants to build a hardware equivalent for portable artificial intelligence systems. The results, published this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, highlight the new memristor design—ideal for carrying out complex tasks on mobile devices that only supercomputers can handle.

COVID-19 Survivors Seem to Have Really Solid Immunity, Researchers Say

By Dan Robitzski – Re-Blogged From Futurism

It’s an encouraging sign after months of wondering whether antibodies actually helped.

A smattering of new research offers good news during the ongoing pandemic: It seems that COVID-19 survivors do build up a decent immunity to the disease after all.

In the last month, five different studies at varying stages of completion — most await formal review, but one has been accepted by the prestigious journal Cell — have all found that even mild cases of COVID-19 can prompt the immune system to build up resistance to future infections, The New York Times reports. While every preliminary study should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s an encouraging development after months of not being sure whether antibodies would actually be able to fight off the coronavirus.

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Blood Transfusions Helped a Menopausal Woman Get Pregnant

By Dan Robitzski – Re-Blogged From Futurism

“There are loads of questions that we still have to answer.”

In an unusual medical experiment, a menopausal woman and three perimenopausal women all got pregnant after they were given transfusions of their own blood.

It’s a fascinating study, suggesting that platelet-rich blood transfusions may be able to reverse some aspects and symptoms of menopause, New Scientist reports. There are a lot of caveats that call the discovery into question — more on those later — but it’s an intriguing idea that at least warrants a closer look from scientists.

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New Transplant Possibility

Re-Blogged From YouTube

  By Bob Shapiro

Here’s something which is out of the ordinary, even for me. The original idea goes back a couple hundred years, but the technology now looks like it has caught up to what the dreamers have imagined.

Please watch the video with an open mind. Consider the possibilities for paraplegics or soon to die cancer patients. The idea may seem weird or even repulsive to you today,, but it could offer hope for a few brave souls willing to risk everything.

CONTINUE READING –> (Rewind to Zero time)

Fungus Growing at Chernobyl Could Protect Astronauts From Cosmic Rays

Space Shields

One of the biggest challenges facing crewed missions to Mars is figuring out how to protect crewmembers from the onslaught of deadly cosmic rays.

Now, scientists at a number of universities say there’s growing evidence that an unusual solution could be effective: building shields out of a radiation-absorbing fungus that grows near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. New Scientist reports that the fungus was able to block some cosmic rays after a small test on the International Space Station, giving hope for safe space travel in the future.

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New Paper Demonstrates Strong Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine. Mortality rate cut in half!

Posted by Jeff Id – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and Combination in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19

A new study of over 2000 hospitalized patients reveals that Hydroxychloroquine works very well in treatment of COVID.  The reason I’m so excited about this one is because unlike the poor studies that I’ve written about already, this study controlled the dosages, use the correct levels of HCQ and Azythromycin per other studies, and matched patients to each other by their own health situations.  This matching of health condition is the proper method to control the confounding factors in a situation where testing cannot be double-blind.  The health of the patient is what the frustratingly fake studies didn’t correct for, but certain political pressures made them popular.

This is absolutely the most conclusive research produced to date by anyone, due mostly to the quality of the approach.  No one has published this quality level of work on HCQ on humans prior to this.

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Solar Panel-Like Device Generates Power From Darkness

Dark Energy

A strange new device — think of it as a Bizarro World version of solar panels — is capable of generating electricity from darkness.

The gadget, dubbed a “shadow-effect energy generator,” is a solar cell-like material that generates an electrical current when part of it is in the light and the other part isn’t, Science News reports. While the electric current from the proof-of-concept generators is weak for now, it hints at a future in which clean energy generation becomes far more ubiquitous and commonplace.

Closed Spaces

When only part of the generator is illuminated, electrons flow across a gold coating from light to dark areas. Capturing that flow, according to research published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, generates power twice as effectively as conventional solar cells blanketed by shade.

“We can harvest energy anywhere on Earth, not just open spaces,” National University of Singapore materials scientist Swee Ching Tan told Science News.

First Steps

While these generators can’t solve the energy crisis yet, Science News suggested that it could be used to power wearables like smart watches, which can’t depend on steady or full sunlight.

“A lot of people think that shadows are useless,” Tan told Science News. “Anything can be useful, even shadows.”

READ MORE: A new device can produce electricity using shadows [Science News]

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Pharma Company Claims to Find Part of COVID-Fighting Cocktail

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

Could this antibody cocktail act as a “protective shield” against infection?

Pharmaceutical firm Sorrento Therapeutics claims to have found the first ingredient for a “cocktail” of antibodies that could be used to act as a “protective shield” against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In an announcement, the company said it had found a new antibody, called STI-1499, that was able to provide “100% inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection of healthy cells after four days incubation.”

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Scientists Say Nanobots Could Kill Individual Cancer Cells

By Dan Robitzski – Re-Blogged From Futurism
They could also be used to track, target, and deliver anticancer drugs to tumor cells.

A team of scientists from Saudi Arabia is planning to implant individual cells with iron nanobots that can track their location in the body — and perhaps even kill off tumors.

The tiny nanobots, little more than microscopic coils of metal wires, would show up during an MRI scan, allowing doctors to watch their movement through the body. They could also be used to track, target, and deliver anticancer drugs to tumor cells, according to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology researchers behind the project.

“Cell labeling and tracking has become an invaluable tool for scientific and clinical applications,” Aldo Martinez-Banderas, a grad student who worked on the project, said in a press release. “One of the key aspects of cell tracking studies is the sensitivity to detect a small number of cells after implantation, so the strong magnetization and biocompatibility of our nanowires are advantageous characteristics for MRI tracking.”

So far, the nanobots haven’t been used to actually kill off cancer cells, though the team has ideas on how they might. Thus far, the nanobots were used to successfully identify breast cancer cells through MRI readings, according to research published in the Journal of Nanobiotechnology.

“These core-shell nanowires have various additional features, including the ability to control them magnetically to guide them to a particular location, to carry drugs, or be to heated with a laser,” lead researcher Jürgen Kosel said in the release. “Combining all of that with the capability of tracking creates a theranostic platform that can open the door for very promising new approaches in nanomedicine.”

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This Bionic Eye Is Better Than a Real One, Scientists Say

By Victor Tangermann- Re-Blogged From Futurism

“A human user of the artificial eye will gain night vision capability.”

Researchers say they’ve created a proof-of-concept bionic eye that could surpass the sensitivity of a human one.

“In the future, we can use this for better vision prostheses and humanoid robotics,” researcher Zhiyong Fan, at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, told Science News.

The eye, as detailed in a paper published in the prestigious journal Nature today, is in essence a three dimensional artificial retina that features a highly dense array of extremely light-sensitive nanowires.

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3D-Printed Nuclear Reactor

Re-Bloggted From WUWT

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are refining their design of a 3D-printed nuclear reactor core, scaling up the additive manufacturing process necessary to build it, and developing methods to confirm the consistency and reliability of its printed components.

The Transformational Challenge Reactor Demonstration Program‘s unprecedented approach to nuclear energy leverages advances from ORNL in manufacturing, materials, nuclear science, nuclear engineering, high-performance computing, data analytics and related fields.

The lab aims to turn on the first-of-its-kind reactor by 2023. The program has maintained its aggressive timeline during the COVID-19 pandemic, using remote work to continue design and analysis efforts. [TCR video]

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Researchers, Lawmakers Cry Foul After Harvard Quietly Edits Study Suggesting Pollution Leads To More COVID Deaths

Chris White, From The Daily Caller – Re-Blogged From WUWT

  • Maryland Rep. Andy Harris wants the Environmental Protection Agency to review a Harvard University study suggesting pollution could create an 8% increase in the United States’s coronavirus death rate. 
  • One top critic of the study told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the university’s research is unfounded and relies on faulty modeling and testing. 
  • The university’s researchers initially claimed that people in certain areas of the country are 15% more likely to die of the virus, but quietly edited the study to dramatically change the nature of the study’s findings.

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Doctors Are Cloning COVID Patients’ Antibodies For New Treatment

By Dan Robitzski – Re-Blogged From Futurism

Can a “pharmaceutical cocktail,” made from the antibodies of a recovered patient, protect against the coronavirus?

To develop a preventative treatment for the coronavirus, doctors are enlisting thousands of patients who have already recovered.

Or, more specifically, they’re enlisting the coveted antibodies that those patients’ immune systems generated in response to the virus.

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MIT Invents $6 COVID-19 Test Using CRISPR

By Dan Robitzski – Re-Blogged From Futurism

[The test is only to see if you now have COVID. It does not test for antibodies. –Bob]

They hope it can help solve the testing crisis in the US.

A new coronavirus test uses gene-hacking tech to determine whether someone is sick with COVID-19 — and it only costs $6 to make.

Because there are still too few tests to go around, a pair of MIT researchers set out to build something to be as low-cost and self-contained as possible, The New York Times reports. The result is a two-step test that uses CRISPR to scan a patient’s saliva or nasal swab for signs of the coronavirus’ genetic code.

“We’re excited that this could be a solution that people won’t have to rely on a sophisticated and expensive laboratory to run,” said Feng Zhang, a researcher at MIT and the Broad Institute who developed the test, told the NYT.

The test’s website makes it very clear that it’s not approved for clinical use yet. As the NYT reports, the test performed well in early experiments, but their scope was limited — the researchers only administered it to 12 sick patients and a control group of five healthy people.

Here’s how it works: The patient’s nasal swab or saliva is deposited into a tube with chemicals that rip open viruses. The concoction is then dropped into a second tube full of CRISPR molecules that search for the coronavirus. In order to work, that second tube needs to stay at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for a full hour.

The test gives results similar to those of an at-home pregnancy test, the NYT reports. A strip of paper is dipped in, and if two lines appear, the test was positive.

The researchers behind the test told the NYT that they’re talking to manufacturers to mass-produce a one-vial version, which they hope can help solve the testing crisis in the U.S.

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Scientists Create Jet Engine Powered by Only Electricity

Clean Air

A prototype jet engine can propel itself without using any fossil fuels, potentially paving the way for carbon-neutral air travel.

The device compresses air and ionizes it with microwaves, generating plasma that thrusts it forward, according to research published Tuesday in the journal AIP Advances. That means planes may someday fly using just electricity and the air around them as fuel.

Scaling Up

There’s a long way to go between a proof-of-concept prototype and installing an engine in a real plane. But the prototype was able to launch a one-kilogram steel ball 24 millimeters into the air. That’s the same thrust, proportional to scale, as a conventional jet engine.

“Our results demonstrated that such a jet engine based on microwave air plasma can be a potentially viable alternative to the conventional fossil fuel jet engine,” lead researcher and Wuhan University engineer Jau Tang said in a press release.

Air Jet

Air travel represents a small but not insignificant portion factor of climate change. The New York Times reported in September that commercial air is responsible for 2.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions — though that excludes military jets.

“The motivation of our work is to help solve the global warming problems owing to humans’ use of fossil fuel combustion engines to power machinery, such as cars and airplanes,” Tang said in the release. “There is no need for fossil fuel with our design, and therefore, there is no carbon emission to cause greenhouse effects and global warming.”

READ MORE: Fossil fuel-free jet propulsion with air plasmas [American Institute of Physics]

More on jet propulsion: Get Ready For Low-Cost Jet Engines That Reach Space Without Burning Fossil Fuels

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Rice genetically engineered to resist heat waves can also produce up to 20% more grain

By Erik Stokstad– Re-Blogged From Science

This Startup’s Computer Chips Are Powered by Human Neurons

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

Biological “hybrid computer chips” could drastically lower the amount of power required to run AI systems.

Australian startup Cortical Labs is building computer chips that use biological neurons extracted from mice and humans, Fortune reports.

The goal is to dramatically lower the amount of power current artificial intelligence systems need to operate by mimicking the way the human brain.

According to Cortical Labs’ announcement, the company is planning to “build technology that harnesses the power of synthetic biology and the full potential of the human brain” in order to create a “new class” of AI that could solve “society’s greatest challenges.”

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New Research: Listeners Synchronize Brain Activity With Musicians

Brain Waves

According to new research by Chinese neuroscientists, something extraordinary happens during a musical performance: the brain activity of listeners appears to sync up with the brain activity of the musician playing music for them. Yes, anyone who’s ever seen an awesome concert now has confirmation: Musicians and crowds really are connecting, at a neurological level.

“These findings suggest that neural synchronization between the audience and the performer might serve as an underlying mechanism for the positive reception of musical performance,” reads a paper about the research. “This study expands our understanding of music appreciation.”

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Scientists Say New Nanomaterial Could “Replace Human Tissue”

Altered Carbon

European researchers say they’ve invented a rubbery nanomaterial that seamlessly integrates with the human body — which could pave the way for everything from new reconstructive surgeries to extreme body modification.

“We were really surprised that the material turned out to be very soft, flexible and extremely elastic,” said Anand Rajasekharan, one of the researchers behind the new material, in a press release that claimed the material could “replace human tissue.”

Human Tissue

The nontoxic material, described in depth by scientists at Chalmers University in Sweden in a new paper in the journal ACS Nano, is made of the same stuff as plexiglass.

Salamander DNA Could Regenerate Human Body Parts

By Dan Robitzski  – Re-Blogged From Futurism

“It’s hard to find a body part they can’t regenerate: the limbs, the tail, the spinal cord, the eye, and in some species, the lens, even half of their brain has been shown to regenerate.”

For the first time, scientists have completely sequenced the genome of the axolotl, a bizarre salamander that’s capable of regenerating many of its body parts after an injury.

By unlocking the entirety of the axolotl’s genetic code, according to a press release, doctors from the University of Kentucky hope that they may be able to use it in human medicine. By developing new genetic treatments, they hope that someday humans may be able to regenerate missing limbs or reverse other damage, like salamanders do.

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Diabetic Mice “Cured Rapidly” Using Human Stem Cells

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

These insulin-secreting cells cured mice from severe diabetes “within two weeks.”

A team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis successfully converted human stem cells into cells capable of producing insulin. These insulin-producing cells were then able to control blood sugar levels in a demonstration involving diabetic mice.

“These mice had very severe diabetes with blood sugar readings of more than 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood — levels that could be fatal for a person — and when we gave the mice the insulin-secreting cells, within two weeks their blood glucose levels had returned to normal and stayed that way for many months,” lead researcher Jeffrey Millman, assistant professor at Washington University, said in a statement.

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Too Much Climate Research Money Being Spent on Science

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

I couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying…

Very little money is actually spent on climate research
Researchers have looked at where USD 1.3 trillion in research funding is spent across the globe. Less than 5 per cent of this money has gone to climate research. Studies that examine how society can cope with the climate of the future are given a very small share of this pot.

Ulla Gjeset Schjølberg
JOURNALIST

Nancy Bazilchuk
ENGLISH VERSION

PUBLISHED Friday 07. February 2020

In a recent study, researchers at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and the University of Sussex reviewed how much of US 1.3 trillion (NOK 11.4 trillion) in research funding is dedicated to climate research.

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Human Trial Suggests CRISPR Could Be a Viable Cancer Treatment

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

This could be great news for experimental cancer treatments.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania just published the results of the first U.S. trial of CRISPR-edited cells in cancer patients — and they’re very encouraging.

In April 2019, UPenn confirmed that a team of its researchers had officially begun testing CRISPR-edited cells in humans.

For that trial, the scientists had removed immune cells from three patients with advanced, treatment-resistant cancers. They then used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the cells in order to improve their ability to fight tumors before returning them to the patients’ bodies.

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Big Trouble with Spiders

By Kip Hansen — Re-Blogged From WUWT

How deeply have you considered the social life of spiders?  Are they social animals or solitary animals?  Do they work together?  Do they form social networks?  Does their behavior change as in  “adaptive evolution of individual differences in behavior”?

In yet another blow to the sanctity of peer-reviewed science and a simultaneous win for personal integrity and self-correcting nature of science, there is an ongoing tsunami of retractions in a field of study of which most of us have never even heard.

only_here_for_spiders

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Handheld Device “Prints” New Skin Directly Onto Wounds

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

And it just passed a test on pigs with flying colors.

In 2018, Canadian scientists unveiled a handheld device that “prints” sheets of artificial skin directly onto the wounds of burn victims.

“The analogy is a duct tape dispenser,” researcher Axel Günther told Smithsonian Magazine at the time, “where instead of a roll of tape you have a microdevice that squishes out a piece of tissue tape.”

On Tuesday, the team published the promising results of its latest trial of the device in the journal Biofabrication — putting it one step closer to actual use in burn clinics.

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U.S. Geoengineering Research Gets a Lift With $4 Million From Congress

NASA/ISS Crew/Johnson Space Center
Fahey said he has received backing to explore two approaches.

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Researchers Transplant Lab-Grown Heart Muscle Cells Into Patient

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

This first-of-its-kind procedure could replace heart transplants.

On Monday, researchers from Japan’s Osaka University announced the successful completion of a first-of-its-kind heart transplant.

Rather than replacing their patient’s entire heart with a new organ, these researchers placed degradable sheets containing heart muscle cells onto the heart’s damaged areas — and if the procedure has the desired effect, it could eventually eliminate the need for some entire heart transplants.

To create the heart muscle cells, the team started with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These are stem cells that researchers create by taking an adult’s cells — often from their skin or blood — and reprogramming them back into their embryonic-like pluripotent state.

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Scientists Discover Immune Cell That Kills Most Cancers

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

“Previously nobody believed this could be possible.”

A newly discovered immune cell could lead to the creation of a universal cancer treatment — a “Holy Grail” treatment that would work for all cancers, in all people.

The treatment leverages T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps our bodies’ immune systems by scanning for and killing abnormal cells. For background, scientists have recently started harnessing that ability in the fight against cancer through a therapy called CAR-T, which involves removing T-cells from a patient’s blood and genetically engineering them to seek out and destroy cancer cells.

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Scientists Create “Strange Metal” Packed With Entangled Electrons

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

This could be the key to creating quantum technologies.

An international team of researchers has created what’s called a “strange metal” — and they say it could help harness the potential of the quantum world in a practical way.

Specifically, the metal provides evidence for the quantum entanglement nature of quantum criticality. But that’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start with something most of us probably learned about in elementary school: phase transitions.

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LEGO Bricks Are Excellent Insulators at Cryogenic Temps

Cool LEGO

A team of physicists at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom recently cooled a handful of LEGO bricks to a couple of millidegrees above absolute zero, which is -273.15 degrees Celsius (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).

They found that, thanks to their special shape and composition, the plastic toy bricks were excellent insulators — and could even be helpful in the development of quantum computers in the future.

Google’s New AI is Great at Spotting Breast Cancer in X-Rays

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

Could this AI reduce our dependence on human radiologists?

A team of UK researchers at Google Health and Google’s AI lab DeepMind has created a tool that can successfully identify breast cancer in X-ray mammograms, Wired reports.

It’s so successful, according to the paper published in the journal Nature this week, that it could one day rival or even outperform human radiologists.

The researchers trained their AI using mammograms from nearly 91,000 women in the US and UK — and the results were impressive. Compared to human radiologists, the AI model flagged 9.4 percent fewer false negatives and 5.7 percent fewer false positives in the US dataset, and 2.7 and 1.2 percent respectively for the much larger UK dataset.

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Watch a Dog-Like Robot Climb Straight up a Ladder

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

We’ve seen four-legged robots dance, crank out some push-ups, and even backflip through autumn leaves.

But now, IEEE Spectrum reports that a team of Japanese roboticists has taught a dog-like robot a new trick: how to autonomously climb a vertical ladder.

Thumbs Up

The team from Tokyo Metropolitan University and Okayama University presented their quadruped robot at the 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems on November 5.

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Scientists Place Humans in “Suspended Animation” for First Time

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

They cool your body — and replace your blood with an ice-cold salt solution.

A team of doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have placed humans in “suspended animation” for the first time as part of a trial that could enable health professionals to fix traumatic injuries such as a gunshot or stab wound that would otherwise end in death, according to a New Scientist exclusive.

Suspended animation — or “emergency preservation resuscitation,” in medical parlance — involves rapidly cooling a patient’s body down to ten to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 Fahrenheit) by replacing their blood with an ice-cold salt solution.

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Lab-Grown Minibrains Show Activity Similar to Babies’ Brains

By Shelly Fan – Re-Blogged From Singularity Hub

Neurons are a collective bunch. Although each neuron receives, processes, and passes on information individually, the electrical spikes only make sense when melded together in waves of oscillating activity. Like an orchestra, the notes played from each neuron matter. But only when they synchronize in specific ways do single notes transform into the music of thought, memories, and actions.

By studying animals, scientists have long known that even extremely young brains—say, those still in the mother’s womb—gradually generate neural oscillations as they mature. Genetic mutations that disrupt this synchronicity causes the melody to falter, leading to neurodevelopmental problems including autism, epilepsy, or schizophrenia. Yet those ideas remain educated guesses, mostly because it’s impossible to monitor a developing human fetus’s brain.

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Experiments Show Dramatic Increase in Solar Cell Output

By MIT – Re-Blogged From Eureka Alert

Method for collecting two electrons from each photon could break through theoretical solar-cell efficiency limit

CAMBRIDGE, MA — In any conventional silicon-based solar cell, there is an absolute limit on overall efficiency, based partly on the fact that each photon of light can only knock loose a single electron, even if that photon carried twice the energy needed to do so. But now, researchers have demonstrated a method for getting high-energy photons striking silicon to kick out two electrons instead of one, opening the door for a new kind of solar cell with greater efficiency than was thought possible.

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A National Narrative for Media on Climate Change

By Kip Hansen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Those of you who closely watch the media — newspapers, broadcast & streaming  news, national magazines, national public radio — may have noticed that all the news about climate change is beginning to sound the same — regardless of outlet (there are a few sensible exceptions).   This is no accident.  In fact, it is an organized movement among American journalists.

I have written here before about the Editorial Narratives at the New York Times.  Here’s the working definition I proposed for Editorial Narrative:

“Editorial Narrative:  A mandated set of guidelines for the overriding storyline for any news item concerning a specified topic, including required statements, conclusions and intentional slanting towards a particular preferred viewpoint. A statement from the Editors of “How this topic is to be presented.”

featured_image

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NASA is Going Green, in Space

By NASA  – Re-Blogged From WUWT

19-03528_-_gpim_final_day1

A small spacecraft the size of a mini-refrigerator is packed with cutting-edge “green” technology. NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission, or GPIM, will prove a sustainable and efficient approach to spaceflight. The mission will test a low toxicity propellant and compatible systems in space for the first time.  This technology could improve the performance of future missions by providing for longer mission durations using less propellant.

In this photo, a Ball Aerospace engineer performs final checks before the spacecraft shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch processing. GPIM is one of four unique NASA technology missions aboard the June 2019 SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2).

Credits: Ball Aerospace

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NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space

By Danielle Sempsrott of NASA – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In an effort to increase the ability to provide astronauts nutrients on long-duration missions as the agency plans to sustainably return to the Moon and move forward to Mars, the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment is currently underway aboard the International Space Station.

The present method of growing plants in space uses seed bags, referred to as pillows, that astronauts push water into with a syringe. Using this method makes it difficult to grow certain types of “pick and eat” crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don’t have enough holding capacity to support them.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

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Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

By Elizabeth Kolbert – Re-Blogged From The New Yorker

In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on. Though half the notes were indeed genuine—they’d been obtained from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office—the scores were fictitious. The students who’d been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.

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Scientists Print World’s First 3D Heart

By HealthDay – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

The world’s first complete 3D printer-generated heart, made using the patient’s own cells and materials, has been created in a lab.

Until now, success has been limited to printing only simple tissues without blood vessels.

“This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said team leader Tal Dvir.

The printer-generated heart is only about a third the size of an actual human heart — and it doesn’t actually work. But it’s a groundbreaking step toward engineering customized organs that can be transplanted with less risk of rejection.

Scientists Print World's First 3D Heart

A 3D printer prints a heart with human tissue during a presentation at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)

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Space Weather Probes Shatter GPS Record

By Dr Tony Phillips – Re-Blogged From Space Weather

NASA’s MMS probes, which use GPS signals to orbit Earth in tight formation, have just shattered the record for long-distance GPS navigation. The four probes recently located themselves 116,300 miles above Earth’s surface, surprising experts who once thought that GPS could function no higher than about 22,000 miles.

“When we began the mission, we had no idea high-altitude GPS would be such a robust capability,” says Trevor Williams, the MMS flight dynamics lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Above: an artist’s concept of the 4 MMS spacecraft

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Can Humans Sense Magnetic Storms?

By Dr Tony Phillips -Re-Blogged From Space Weather

Close your eyes and relax. Daydream about something pleasant. In this state your brain is filled with “alpha waves,” a type of electrical brainwave associated with wakeful relaxation.

Now try it during a geomagnetic storm. It may not be so easy. A new study just published in the journal eNeuro by researchers at Caltech offers convincing evidence that changes in Earth’s magnetic field can suppress alpha waves in the human brain.

testsetup

Schematic drawing of human magnetoreception test chamber at Caltech. This diagram was modified from the figure “Center of attraction” by C. Bickel (Hand, 2016) with permission.

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Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?

By Larry Kummar – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Does this apply to Climate Science?

Paper By Austan Goolsbee

NBER Working Paper No. 6532, Issued in April 1998

Conventional wisdom holds that the social rate of return to R&D significantly exceeds the private rate of return and, therefore, R&D should be subsidized. In the U.S., the government has directly funded a large fraction of total R&D spending.

This paper shows that there is a serious problem with such government efforts to increase inventive activity. The majority of R&D spending is actually just salary payments for R&D workers. Their labor supply, however, is quite inelastic so when the government funds R&D, a significant fraction of the increased spending goes directly into higher wages. Using CPS data on wages of scientific personnel, this paper shows that government R&D spending raises wages significantly, particularly for scientists related to defense such as physicists and aeronautical engineers. Because of the higher wages, conventional estimates of the effectiveness of R&D policy may be 30 to 50% too high.

The results also imply that by altering the wages of scientists and engineers even for firms not receiving federal support, government funding directly crowds out private inventive activity.

Full paper here.

H/T Larry K of the FabiusMaximus website.

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