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Jun 13, 2024

Daycares in Finland Grew Forests, And It Changed Kids’ Immune Systems

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Playing through the greenery and litter of a mini forest’s undergrowth for just one month may be enough to change a child’s immune system, according to an experiment in Finland.

When daycare workers rolled out a lawn, planted forest undergrowth (such as dwarf heather and blueberries), and allowed children to care for crops in planter boxes, the diversity of microbes in the guts and on the skin of the young kids appeared healthier in a very short space of time.

Compared to other city kids who play in standard urban daycares with yards of pavement, tile, and gravel, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds at these greened-up daycare centers in Finland showed increased T-cells and other important immune markers in their blood within 28 days.

Jun 13, 2024

Webb Finds Plethora of Carbon Molecules Around Young Star

Posted by in category: space

An international team of astronomers has used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study the disk of gas and dust around a young, very low-mass star. The results reveal the largest number of carbon-containing molecules seen to date in such a disk. These findings have implications for the potential composition of any planets that might form around this star.

Jun 13, 2024

Ultrasound offers a new way to perform deep brain stimulation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

MIT researchers have developed an alternative approach that uses ultrasound instead of electricity to perform deep brain stimulation, delivered by a fiber about the thickness of a human hair.

Deep brain stimulation, by implanted electrodes that deliver electrical pulses to the brain, is often used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. However, the electrodes used for this treatment can eventually corrode and accumulate scar tissue, requiring them to be removed.

MIT researchers have now developed an alternative approach that uses ultrasound instead of electricity to perform deep brain stimulation, delivered by a fiber about the thickness of a human hair. In a study of mice, they showed that this stimulation can trigger neurons to release dopamine, in a part of the brain that is often targeted in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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Jun 13, 2024

Clean Energy Spending Will Surpass $2 Trillion This Year

Posted by in category: energy

Investments in carbon-free energy will be twice as large as fossil fuel spending in 2024, the International Energy Agency predicts.

By Benjamin Storrow & E&E News

CLIMATEWIRE | Clean energy is on fire.

Jun 13, 2024

New robotic gripper for automated apple picking developed

Posted by in categories: food, life extension, robotics/AI, sustainability

Washington state leads the nation in apple production, and in 2022, the industry contributed more than two billion dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product. Throughout Washington, farms employ anywhere from a dozen to hundreds of workers each year for orchard operations, including for pollination, pruning, flower thinning and fruit harvesting. With an and a decrease in migrant farm workers, however, farmers have struggled to meet their needs for workers during harvest season.

In recent years, researchers have started developing robotic apple harvesting systems, but the ones that have been developed are expensive and complex to use in orchards.

Ninatanta, who grew up in Yakima, Washington, picked fruit alongside his parents during his childhood. When he began his work with Luo on a robotic apple gripper, he had his parents videotape their work, so he could model his gripper on their handiwork.

Jun 13, 2024

Wild New Study Suggests Gravity Can Exist Without Mass

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

What is gravity without mass? Both Newton’s revolutionary laws describing its universal effect and Einstein’s proposal of a dimpled spacetime, we’ve thought of gravity as exclusively within the domain of matter.

Now a wild new study suggesting that gravity can exist without mass, conveniently eliminating the need for one of the most elusive substances in our Universe: dark matter.

Dark matter is a hypothetical, invisible mass thought to make up 85 percent of the Universe’s total bulk. Originally devised to account for galaxies holding together under high speed rotation, it has yet to be directly observed, leading physicists to propose all sorts of out-there ideas to avoid invoking this elusive material as a way to plug the holes in current theories.

Jun 13, 2024

NASA’s Webb Opens New Window on Supernova Science

Posted by in categories: cosmology, science

Peering deeply into the cosmos, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is giving scientists their first detailed glimpse of supernovae from a time when our universe was just a small fraction of its current age. A team using Webb data has identified 10 times more supernovae in the early universe than were previously known. A few of the newfound exploding stars are the most distant examples of their type, including those used to measure the universe’s expansion rate.

Jun 13, 2024

Quantum Magic: How “Super Photons” Are Shaping the Future of Physics

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers at the University of Bonn have demonstrated that super photons, or photon Bose-Einstein condensates, conform to fundamental physics theorems, enabling insights into properties that are often difficult to observe.

Under suitable conditions, thousands of particles of light can merge into a type of “super photon.” Physicists call such a state a photon Bose-Einstein condensate. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now shown that this exotic quantum state obeys a fundamental theorem of physics. This finding now allows one to measure properties of photon Bose-Einstein condensates which are usually difficult to access. The study was published on June 3 in the journal Nature Communications.

If many atoms are cooled to a very low temperature confined in a small volume, they can become indistinguishable and behave like a single “super particle.” Physicists also call this a Bose-Einstein condensate or quantum gas. Photons condense based on a similar principle and can be cooled using dye molecules. These molecules act like small refrigerators and swallow the “hot” light particles before spitting them out again at the right temperature.

Jun 13, 2024

“Previously Only Theorized” — Researchers Demonstrate New Way To “Squeeze” Infrared Light

Posted by in categories: futurism, innovation

A new study reveals that oxide membranes can confine infrared light to a greater extent than traditional methods, promising advancements in imaging resolution and applications in photonics and thermal management.

Researchers have successfully shown that a particular type of oxide membranes can effectively confine, or “squeeze,” infrared light. This breakthrough could enhance future infrared imaging technologies. These thin-film membranes outperform traditional bulk crystals in confining infrared light.

“The thin-film membranes maintain the desired infrared frequency, but compress the wavelengths, allowing imaging devices to capture images with greater resolution,” says Yin Liu, co-corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University.

Jun 13, 2024

Cognitive Toll: How Early Depression Casts a Long Shadow on Midlife Memory

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Research indicates that long-term depression from young adulthood negatively impacts cognitive function by middle age, with greater effects seen in black adults, possibly explaining some disparities in dementia risk.

According to a study published in the June 12, 2024, issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, prolonged depressive symptoms beginning in young adulthood are associated with poorer thinking and memory skills by middle age. Additionally, the study noted that black adults are more likely to experience these depressive symptoms compared to white adults.

Racial disparities in depression and dementia risk.

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