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Jul 6, 2022

Toxic Slime Contributed to Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction—And It’s Making a Comeback

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks

Global warming fueled rampant overgrowth of microbes at the end of the Permian period. Such lethal blooms may be on the rise again.


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Jul 6, 2022

Scientists baffled by magnetic material that freezes when heated up

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Physicists have discovered that certain magnetic material freezes when the temperature rises to a certain point. We’ve typically only seen this behavior when we cool down magnetic materials, not when we heat them up. As such, it has left physicists scratching their heads and baffled by the development.

Physicists Alexander Khajetoorians of Radboud University in the Netherlands says that the freezing of the magnetic materials is the opposite of what we normally see. The result is “counterintuitive, like water that becomes an ice cube when it’s heated up,” according to Khajetoorians.

Normally, ferromagnetic materials like iron feature aligned spins. This means that the magnetic spins of the atoms are all spinning in the same direction. Essentially, the south and north magnetic poles are all aligned in the same direction. Some alloys made of both iron and copper, though, feature randomized spins. Physicists refer to this state as spin glass.

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Jul 6, 2022

Physicists see electron whirlpools for the first time

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Though they are discrete particles, water molecules flow collectively as liquids, producing streams, waves, whirlpools, and other classic fluid phenomena.

Not so with electricity. While an electric current is also a construct of distinct particles—in this case, —the particles are so small that any among them is drowned out by larger influences as electrons pass through ordinary metals. But, in certain materials and under specific conditions, such effects fade away, and electrons can directly influence each other. In these instances, electrons can flow collectively like a fluid.

Now, physicists at MIT and the Weizmann Institute of Science have observed electrons flowing in vortices, or whirlpools—a hallmark of fluid flow that theorists predicted electrons should exhibit, but that has never been seen until now.

Jul 6, 2022

Introducing the Comparative Genome Viewer (CGV) beta release

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

NLM’s NCBI is introducing the Comparative Genome Viewer (CGV), an easy-to-use visualization tool that helps you quickly compare eukaryotic genome assemblies and easily identify genomic changes that may be significant to biology and evolution. With the new CGV you can view and compare the alignment between two assemblies to see differences in genomic sequence and structure, including deletions, inversions, and translocations. Currently, you can compare assemblies from over 50 annotated animal and plant genomes.

Jul 6, 2022

Mathematical calculations show that quantum communication across interstellar space should be possible

Posted by in categories: mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics, space travel

A team of physicists at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy has used mathematical calculations to show that quantum communications across interstellar space should be possible. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review D, the group describes their calculations and also the possibility of extraterrestrial beings attempting to communicate with us using such signaling.

Over the past several years, scientists have been investigating the possibility of using quantum communications as a highly secure form of message transmission. Prior research has shown that it would be nearly impossible to intercept such messages without detection. In this new effort, the researchers wondered if similar types of communications might be possible across . To find out, they used that describes that movement of X-rays across a medium, such as those that travel between the stars. More specifically, they looked to see if their calculations could show the degree of decoherence that might occur during such a journey.

With quantum communications, engineers are faced with quantum particles that lose some or all of their unique characteristics as they interact with obstructions in their path—they have been found to be quite delicate, in fact. Such events are known as decoherence, and engineers working to build quantum networks have been devising ways to overcome the problem. Prior research has shown that the space between the stars is pretty clean. But is it clean enough for ? The math shows that it is. Space is so clean, in fact, that X-ray photons could travel hundreds of thousands of light years without becoming subject to decoherence—and that includes gravitational interference from astrophysical bodies. They noted in their work that optical and microwave bands would work equally well.

Jul 6, 2022

Longevity & Aging Series (EP 1): Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov and Dr. Frank Pun | Aging-US

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

*Click here for the transcript of this video interview: https://aging-us.net/2022/06/22/longevity-aging-series-ep-1-…frank-pun/

Aging (Aging-US) and FOXO Technologies have teamed up to present a special collaboration on aging research with a new monthly video series: the Longevity & Aging Series. This series of video interviews invites Aging researchers to speak with researcher and host Dr. Brian Chen. Dr. Chen is an adjunct faculty member at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California San Diego. He is also the Chief Science Officer of FOXO Technologies.

Continue reading “Longevity & Aging Series (EP 1): Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov and Dr. Frank Pun | Aging-US” »

Jul 6, 2022

Large Hadron Collider Successfully Restarted at Record Energy: Revving Up the Search for Dark Matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

The Large Hadron Collider detectors started recording high-energy collisions at the unprecedented energy of 13.6 TeV.

The Large Hadron Collider is once again delivering proton collisions to experiments, this time at an unprecedented energy of 13.6 TeV, marking the start of the accelerator’s third run of data taking for physics.

A burst of applause erupted in the CERN.

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Jul 6, 2022

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing Technology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, internet

We’ve learned about a few techniques in biotechnology already, but the CRISPR-Cas9 system is one of the most exciting ones. Inspired by bacterial immune response to viruses, this site-specific gene editing technique won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2020, going to Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier. How did they develop this method? What can it be used for? Let’s get the full story!

Select images provided by BioRender.com.

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Jul 6, 2022

CERN scientists discover three new composite particles as LHC resumes operation

Posted by in category: particle physics

A team of researchers at the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) has discovered three new composite particles from observations made through the Large Hadron Collider – the world’s most powerful particle accelerator located in Switzerland and France. The discovery included a pair of tetraquarks and a pentaquark – thereby showcasing an even wider range of ways in which fundamental particles of the universe can interact with each other.

A quark is a fundamental particle, which means that it has no further known subdivisions in particle physics, as of now. Quarks, along with electrons, form the building blocks of all matter in the universe. A combination of multiple quarks is known as a hadron, which include two type – the positively charged proton and the neutral neutron.

While quarks have commonly been observed to come in combinations of twos and threes, the newly discovered hadrons are being referred to as “exotic” by the scientists because they feature four and five quarks in them. These particles are called ‘composite particles’, since they are composed of smaller fundamental building blocks – the quarks themselves.

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Jul 6, 2022

What can earthquakes and marsquakes teach us about planets?

Posted by in category: space

Understanding what’s inside of a planet is like trying to figure out what’s inside of a gift without unwrapping it. But because we can’t simply tear open a planet, instead, we must rely on secondary evidence, like the waves generated by geologic events.

Seismology — the study of quakes and seismic waves — lets us take “images” of the interiors of planets. NASA’s Viking landers brought the first seismometers to Mars in 1976, but they were plagued by noise, which rendered them largely ineffective. It took more than 40 years until Mars hosted another mission equipped with a quake-measuring instrument: NASA’s InSight lander.

And although InSight is expected to retire later this year, ever since the lander touched down in 2018, this stationary surveyor has been studying marsquakes, slowly unveiling the interior of the Red Planet.

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