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Oct 9, 2021

A rare feat: Material protects against both biological and chemical threats

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, chemistry, military

A Northwestern University research team has developed a versatile composite fabric that can deactivate both biological threats, such as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and chemical threats, such as those used in chemical warfare. A material that is effective against both classes of threats is rare.

The material also is reusable. It can be restored to its original state after the fabric has been exposed to threats by a simple bleach treatment. The promising fabric could be used in and other protective clothing.

“Having a bifunctional material that has the ability to deactivate both and biological toxic agents is crucial since the complexity to integrate multiple materials to do the job is high,” said Northwestern’s Omar Farha, an expert in , or MOFs, which is the basis for the technology.

Oct 9, 2021

Common Chemicals in Electronics and Baby Products Harm Brain Development

Posted by in categories: chemistry, neuroscience, policy

“The use of organophosphate esters in everything from TVs to car seats has proliferated under the false assumption that they’re safe,” said Heather Patisaul, lead author and neuroendocrinologist at North Carolina State University. “Unfortunately, these chemicals appear to be just as harmful as the chemicals they’re intended to replace but act by a different mechanism.”


Summary: Exposure to even low levels of common chemicals called organophosphate esters can harm IQ, memory, learning, and brain development overall in young children.

Source: Green Science Policy Institute

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Oct 8, 2021

Project Orion: Detonating Nuclear Bombs For Thrust

Posted by in categories: chemistry, military, physics, space travel

Circa 2018 o.o


Rockets with nuclear bombs for propulsion sounds like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, but it has been seriously considered as an option for the space program. Chemical rockets combust a fuel with an oxidizer within themselves and exhaust the result out the back, causing the rocket to move in the opposite direction. What if instead, you used the higher energy density of nuclear fission by detonating nuclear bombs?

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Oct 4, 2021

AlphaFold Is The Most Important Achievement In AI —Ever

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, robotics/AI

It can be difficult to distinguish between substance and hype in the field of artificial intelligence. In order to stay grounded, it is important to step back from time to time and ask a simple question: what has AI actually accomplished or enabled that makes a difference in the real world?

This summer, DeepMind delivered the strongest answer yet to that question in the decades-long history of AI research: AlphaFold, a software platform that will revolutionize our understanding of biology.

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Oct 3, 2021

The Music of Proteins Is Made Audible Through a Computer Program That Learns From Chopin

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, information science, media & arts

Proteins are structured like folded chains. These chains are composed of small units of 20 possible amino acids, each labeled by a letter of the alphabet. A protein chain can be represented as a string of these alphabetic letters, very much like a string of music notes in alphabetical notation.

Protein chains can also fold into wavy and curved patterns with ups, downs, turns, and loops. Likewise, music consists of sound waves of higher and lower pitches, with changing tempos and repeating motifs.

Continue reading “The Music of Proteins Is Made Audible Through a Computer Program That Learns From Chopin” »

Oct 3, 2021

Could Autonomous Robots Be More Dangerous than Nukes?

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, law, military, policy, robotics/AI

Without a new legal framework, they could destabilize societal norms.


Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020.

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Oct 2, 2021

Fossil of Peacock-Like Dinosaur May Have Preserved DNA Remnants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Indeed, as Gizmodo’s report highlights, many experts believe that these researchers have not actually found evidence of dinosaur DNA. They told the news outlet, for example, that—even under the best circumstances—DNA couldn’t last more than three million years. Let alone more than 100 million. And that the chemicals may have been staining inorganic matter that only looks cellular in nature.

As of now, the most ancient DNA that scientists have been able to sequence was that of a million-year-old woolly mammoth. And the youngest dinosaurs are at least 65 million years old. But if future experiments do confirm this evidence as real, then that really changes things. At least in our fantasies, where reanimated dinosaurs and Ian Malcolms abound.

The post Fossil of Peacock-Like Dinosaur May Have Preserved DNA Remnants appeared first on Nerdist.

Oct 2, 2021

How Machine Learning Is Identifying New, Better Drugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, information science, robotics/AI

When Dr. Robert Murphy first started researching biochemistry and drug development in the late 1970s, creating a pharmaceutical compound that was effective and safe to market followed a strict experimental pipeline that was beginning to be enhanced by large-scale data collection and analysis on a computer.

Now head of the Murphy Lab for computational biology at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Murphy has watched over the years as data collection and artificial intelligence have revolutionized this process, making the drug creation pipeline faster, more efficient, and more effective.

Recently, that’s been thanks to the application of machine learning—computer systems that learn and adapt by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze patterns in datasets—to the drug development process. This has been notably key to reducing the presence of side effects, Murphy says.

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Oct 2, 2021

Scientists Rewired The Brain of a Mutant Worm Using Parts From a Hydra

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, education, genetics, neuroscience

Brains aren’t the easiest of organs to study, what with their delicate wiring and subtle whispering of neurotransmitter messages. Now, this research could be made a little easier, as we’ve learned we can swap some critical chemical systems with the host animal being none the wiser.

In a proof-of-concept study run by a team of US researchers, the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans was genetically gifted pieces of a nervous system taken from a radically different creature – a curious freshwater organism known as Hydra.

The swap wasn’t unlike teaching a specific brain circuit a foreign language, and finding it performs its job just as well as before.

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Oct 2, 2021

Dr. Leticia Toledo-Sherman — Senior Director, Drug Discovery, Tau Consortium, Rainwater Foundation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, neuroscience

Developing drugs for a range of tauopathies — dr leticia toledo-sherman, senior director, drug discovery, tau consortium, rainwater charitable foundation.


Dr. Leticia Toledo-Sherman is Senior Director of Drug Discovery of the Tau Consortium (https://tauconsortium.org/) for The Rainwater Charitable Foundation (https://rainwatercharitablefoundation.org/medical-research) and also holds an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at UCLA.

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