Lifeboat News: The Blog Safeguarding Humanity Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:25:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How Omicron, the New Covid-19 Variant, Got Its Name Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:25:40 +0000

Markets plunged on Friday, hope of taming the coronavirus dimmed and a new term entered the pandemic lexicon: Omicron.

The Covid-19 variant that emerged in South Africa was named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.

The naming system, announced by the World Health Organization in May, makes public communication about variants easier and less confusing, the agency and experts said.

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Pfizer expects COVID-19 antiviral to work against omicron Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:25:14 +0000

Pfizer is confident its COVID-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, will be effective against the new omicron variant, the drugmaker’s CEO told CNBC Nov. 29.

The omicron strain, first detected in South Africa, contains 32 mutations in the spike protein, and while preliminary evidence suggests the strain may increase the risk of reinfection, it’s still uncertain how the variant may affect illness severity or the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments.

Albert Bourla, PhD, Pfizer’s CEO, told CNBC the company’s antiviral was created with the spike protein in mind and expects it will work against omicron.

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Explainer: How worried should we be about the Omicron variant? Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:25:05 +0000

Nov 27 (Reuters) — The new Omicron coronavirus variant — identified first in South Africa, but also detected in Europe and Asia — is raising concern worldwide given the number of mutations, which might help it spread or even evade antibodies from prior infection or vaccination.

News of the variant prompted countries to announce new travel restrictions on Friday and sent drugmakers scrambling to see if their COVID-19 vaccines remain protective.


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RoDog Is Open Source, 3D-Printed Quadruped Robot Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:24:06 +0000

Created by Wissam Tedros, RoDog is a reliable and hobby-level quadruped robot constructed out of accessible parts. The project implements a dozen RC servos actuators, measurement units such as a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and unity for inertial measurement, an ESP32-CAM for streaming and WiFi connectivity, an OLED display, and more, all within a 3D-printed casing.

Entirely open source, Tedros’ post includes the BOM and all necessary files, as well as notes on mechanical design and assembly and data obtained from a MATLAB Simulink trial of the inverse kinematic control used with the embedded system. RoDog features a custom STM32F4 board for its brain, with the design available in full detail. The bot is quite compact at 20x10x5 cm, and the 12 motor controller board incorporates position and current feedback.

It is still in development 0, having gone through many iterations and tweaks, most of which are logged in the project files. However, its current form should perform well as a hobbyist’s robotic pet with room for add-ons.

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Scientists Develop Wireless-Networks that Allow Brain Circuits to Be Controlled Remotely through Internet Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:23:45 +0000

Wireless implantable devices and IoT could manipulate the brains of animals from anywhere around the world due to their minimalistic hardware, low setup cost, ease of use, and customizable versatility.

A new study shows that researchers can remotely control the brain circuits of numerous animals simultaneously and independently through the internet. The scientists believe this newly developed technology can speed up brain research and various neuroscience studies to uncover basic brain functions as well as the underpinnings of various neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at KAIST, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, created a wireless ecosystem with its own wireless implantable devices and Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to enable high-throughput neuroscience experiments over the internet. This innovative technology could enable scientists to manipulate the brains of animals from anywhere around the world. The study was published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering on November 25.

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A New Aerogel Could Produce 70 Times More Hydrogen Than Rival Methods Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:23:09 +0000

A new method of creating aerogels can produce up to 70 times more hydrogen than other means! This could help enable hydrogen power at greater scales.

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Möbius strip microlasers for non-Euclidean photonics applications Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:22:47 +0000

Photonics is a branch of technology development that specializes in the creation of devices that can generate, detect or manipulate light. Recently, researchers at Université Paris-Saclay coined a new term for a new photonics sub-field called non-Euclidean photonics.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, the team introduced new devices that could be used as a test bed for non-Euclidean photonics. These devices are microlasers in which the is a . In particular, they investigated one-sided, non-orientable surfaces known as Möbius strips.

“Our project started 10 years ago with the Ph.D. thesis of Clement Lafargue,” Melanie Lebental, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “At the time, we had good expertise on 2D polymer-based microlasers and their use as quantum chaos platforms. We wanted to explore the third dimension, because we expected a lot of different features and a broad variety of dynamical behaviors, particularly regarding the symmetry classes of the laser modes and their polarization features.”

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Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:22:40 +0000

Micro-sized cameras have great potential to spot problems in the human body and enable sensing for super-small robots, but past approaches captured fuzzy, distorted images with limited fields of view.

Now, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have overcome these obstacles with an ultracompact the size of a coarse grain of salt. The new system can produce crisp, on par with a conventional compound camera lens 500,000 times larger in volume, the researchers reported in a paper published Nov. 29 in Nature Communications.

Enabled by a joint design of the camera’s hardware and computational processing, the system could enable minimally invasive endoscopy with medical robots to diagnose and treat diseases, and improve imaging for other robots with size and weight constraints. Arrays of thousands of such cameras could be used for full-scene sensing, turning surfaces into cameras.

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Researchers propose a simpler design for quantum computers Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:22:30 +0000

Today’s quantum computers are complicated to build, difficult to scale up, and require temperatures colder than interstellar space to operate. These challenges have led researchers to explore the possibility of building quantum computers that work using photons—particles of light. Photons can easily carry information from one place to another, and photonic quantum computers can operate at room temperature, so this approach is promising. However, although people have successfully created individual quantum “logic gates” for photons, it’s challenging to construct large numbers of gates and connect them in a reliable fashion to perform complex calculations.

Now, Stanford University researchers have proposed a simpler design for photonic quantum computers using readily available components, according to a paper published Nov. 29 in Optica. Their proposed design uses a laser to manipulate a single atom that in turn, can modify the state of the photons via a phenomenon called “quantum teleportation.” The atom can be reset and reused for many quantum gates, eliminating the need to build multiple distinct physical gates, vastly reducing the complexity of building a quantum .

“Normally, if you wanted to build this type of quantum computer, you’d have to take potentially thousands of quantum emitters, make them all perfectly indistinguishable, and then integrate them into a giant photonic circuit,” said Ben Bartlett, a Ph.D. candidate in applied physics and lead author of the paper. “Whereas with this design, we only need a handful of relatively simple components, and the size of the machine doesn’t increase with the size of the quantum program you want to run.”

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Team builds first living robots that can reproduce Tue, 30 Nov 2021 04:22:19 +0000

To persist, life must reproduce. Over billions of years, organisms have evolved many ways of replicating, from budding plants to sexual animals to invading viruses.

Now scientists have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction—and applied their discovery to create the first-ever, self-replicating living robots.

The same team that built the first living robots (” Xenobots,” assembled from frog cells—reported in 2020) has discovered that these computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms can swim out into their tiny dish, find , gather hundreds of them together, and assemble “baby” Xenobots inside their Pac-Man-shaped “mouth”—that, a few days later, become new Xenobots that look and move just like themselves.

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