Menu

Blog

Page 28

Feb 24, 2024

Universal antivenom for lethal snake toxins developed by researchers

Posted by in category: futurism

Scripps Research scientists have developed an antibody that can block the effects of lethal toxins in the venoms of a wide variety of snakes found throughout Africa, Asia and Australia.

The antibody, which protected mice from the normally deadly venom of snakes including black mambas and king cobras, is described in Science Translational Medicine. The new research used forms of the toxins produced in the laboratory to screen billions of different human antibodies and identify one that can block the toxins’ activity. It represents a large step toward a universal antivenom that would be effective against the venom of all snakes.

“This antibody works against one of the major toxins found across numerous snake species that contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year,” says senior author Joseph Jardine, Ph.D., assistant professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research. “This could be incredibly valuable for people in low-and that have the largest burden of deaths and injuries from snakebites.”

Feb 24, 2024

Google Pay app is shutting down in the US after being replaced by Google Wallet

Posted by in categories: media & arts, mobile phones, transportation

Google Pay, the digital payment app for desktop, mobile apps, and in stores, was pretty much phased out by the introduction of Google Wallet in 2022. Google Wallet, which is a mobile app for Android users, is used five times more than Google Pay, according to the announcement. Since Wallet can also house credit cards for tap-to-pay, as well as digital IDs, and public transit passes, it’s proven to be the more useful alternative.

It’s somewhat typical for Google to launch products only to shut them down or roll them into other products after a few years due to lack of demand or commercial interest. The Google graveyard includes Jamboard, its cloud gaming service Stadia, and Google Play Music. So this is just one of many Google products to bite the dust. But Google Pay users won’t be left stranded.

If you’re a Google Pay user, you can still use the U.S. version of the app until June 4. But you can still transfer funds from your account into your bank account through the Google Pay website after June 4. After that, Google Pay users will no longer be able to send, request, or transfer money through the app.

Feb 24, 2024

Harness Strain to Harvest Solar Energy

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability

The engineering of structural deformations in light-sensitive semiconductors can boost the efficiency of solar cells.

The quest for an efficient method to convert solar energy into electricity is crucial in the pursuit of carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability. Traditional solar cells are based on junctions between semiconductors, where a current is produced by photogenerated carriers separated by an electric field at the junction. Efforts to enhance solar-cell performance have focused on refining semiconductor properties and on perfecting devices. Concurrently, researchers are exploring alternative photovoltaic mechanisms that could work in synergy with the junction-based photovoltaic effect to boost solar-cell efficiency. Within this context, the engineering of a strain gradient in the material has emerged as a promising research direction. In this phenomenon, known as the flexophotovoltaic effect, an inhomogeneous strain in the material produces a photovoltaic effect in the absence of a junction [1].

Feb 24, 2024

Women In AI: Irene Solaiman, head of global policy at Hugging Face

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, robotics/AI

To give AI-focused women academics and others their well-deserved — and overdue — time in the spotlight, TechCrunch is launching a series of interviews focusing on remarkable women who’ve contributed to the AI revolution. We’ll publish several pieces throughout the year as the AI boom continues, highlighting key work that often goes unrecognized. Read more profiles here.

Irene Solaiman began her career in AI as a researcher and public policy manager at OpenAI, where she led a new approach to the release of GPT-2, a predecessor to ChatGPT. After serving as an AI policy manager at Zillow for nearly a year, she joined Hugging Face as the head of global policy. Her responsibilities there range from building and leading company AI policy globally to conducting socio-technical research.

Solaiman also advises the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the professional association for electronics engineering, on AI issues, and is a recognized AI expert at the intergovernmental Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Feb 24, 2024

Give Every AI a Soul—or Else

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

To solve the “crisis” in artificial intelligence, AI beings must say, “I am me.”

Feb 24, 2024

We Need a Far Better Plan for Dealing With Existential Threat

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, food, government, lifeboat, military, robotics/AI

Here’s my latest Opinion piece just out for Newsweek. Check it out! Lifeboat Foundation mentioned.


We need to remember that universal distress we all had when the world started to shut down in March 2020: when not enough ventilators and hospital beds could be found; when food shelves and supplies were scarce; when no COVID-19 vaccines existed. We need to remember because COVID is just one of many different existential risks that can appear out of nowhere, and halt our lives as we know it.

Naturally, I’m glad that the world has carried on with its head high after the pandemic, but I’m also worried that more people didn’t take to heart a longer-term philosophical view that human and earthly life is highly tentative. The best, most practical way to protect ourselves from more existential risks is to try to protect ourselves ahead of time.

Continue reading “We Need a Far Better Plan for Dealing With Existential Threat” »

Feb 24, 2024

Electrocatalytic Mechanism of Water Splitting by Ultralow Content of RuO2-supported on Fluorine-Doped Graphene Using a Constant Potential Method

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing

RuO2 has been established as the benchmark catalyst for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). However, the low precious metal content compared to other OER industrial catalysts like RuO2, Pt/C, and IrO2 makes a hybrid heterosurface of RuO2 and F-doped graphene (RuO2@FGr) an excellent catalyst with a high current density. Moreover, the advantage of graphene support increases stability. We investigated the mechanism of the OER on RuO2@FGr using density functional theory (DFT) and the computational hydrogen electrode model (CHEM). In CHEM, the adsorption energy of the reactive intermediates is considered for the reduction potential calculation. This is followed by free energy calculation and, eventually, overpotential calculation using standard or reversible hydrogen electrodes (SHE/RHE). Computational OER activity calculated in the gas phase using density functional theory (DFT) cannot explain the contribution of the condensed phase, water organization energy, the kinetics of the elementary steps, and electrochemical contribution. The current study will address the issue by implementing an implicit solvation model and the electrostatic contribution by considering the charge extrapolation model. We used molecular RuO2 to mimic the exact experimental weight percentage. Fluorine intercalation doping improves the binding of oxygen-based intermediate species to the reactive surface due to a shift in the d-band center toward the Fermi level. The graphene sheet behaves as a conductor after fluorine doping, and the electron density contribution near the Fermi level is clearly distinguished from the projected density of states (PDOS). Using the implicit solvation model with altered parameters, we find improvements in the reaction barrier for hydroperoxo formation. An overpotential of 0.40 V vs RHE is obtained for the cavity shape parameter and charge density cutoff parameter of 0.8 and 0.0035 Å–3. For completion, we implement the constant potential model (CPM) to extrapolate our results calculated at the nonzero potential environment to 0.0 V potential. The mean energy path computed using the climbing image nudged elastic band provides the activation and reaction energy, and the values are extrapolated to 0.0 V RHE using the CPM correction. Implementing both thermochemical and electrochemical corrections simultaneously, we can find a reasonable overpotential of the studied catalytic reaction.

Feb 24, 2024

Solar-Powered Toilet Treats and Recycles Wastewater

Posted by in categories: chemistry, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

The Seva Sustainable Sanitation innovation is a smart, electro-chemical toilet unit, which is suitable for use in off-grid rural areas of developing countries. It can turn toilet wastewater into disinfected water, using the power from its mounted solar panels to sterilise and clarify it. Macronutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be nearly fully recovered from the waste, leaving nothing but water that is recycled for flushing or irrigation. The toilet unit is also equipped with sensors, a mobile phone-based maintenance guide, and smart grid technology that empowers anyone in the community to repair the system when necessary. When a toilet is out of order, the technology automatically directs users to other nearby sanitation systems. So far, the solution has been deployed in four countries.

Feb 24, 2024

Recycling fertilizers from human excreta exhibit high nitrogen fertilizer value and result in low uptake of pharmaceutical compounds

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, sustainability

Year 2023 face_with_colon_three


Recycling nutrients is essential for closing nutrient loops within a circular economy. Using locally available resources such as human excreta to produce bio-based recycling fertilizers can substitute mineral fertilizers and thereby promote environmentally friendly food production. To better understand the fertilizer potential and nitrogen value of human excreta, three novel and safe recycling products were evaluated in a field experiment. Two nitrified urine fertilizers (NUFs) and one fecal compost were applied alone or in combination, and compared against the commercial organic fertilizer vinasse. In addition, the uptake of pharmaceuticals was assessed for treatments with compost application. White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba) was cultivated in plots in three different soil types (sand, loam or silt) treated with the fertilizers according to plant needs and mineral soil nitrogen content. The two NUFs resulted in marketable yields similar to those of vinasse in all soil types. Combining fecal compost with a NUF led to increased marketable yield compared to compost alone. The highest yield was recorded from the sandy soil, where vinasse and NUF treatments led to comparable yields, as expected in organic productions systems (up to 72 t ha−1). The cabbage yield and total aboveground fresh biomass followed the following trend in all soils: NUFs ∼ vinasse ≥ compost + NUF ≥ compost. Nitrogen uptake in the cabbage heads and total biomass was significantly higher in sand (69.5–144 kg ha−1) than loam (71.4–95.8 kg ha−1). All compost treatments alleviated the effect of soil type and resulted in comparable nitrogen uptake and yield in all soil types. Plant uptake of pharmaceuticals (Carbamazepin) was higher in sand than in loam, and concentration in the edible part was lower than in the outer leaves. In conclusion, NUF alone appears to be a promising successful fertilizer substitute in horticultural food production. The combined application of NUF and compost led to slightly lower crop yields, but may increase soil carbon content in the long term, promoting climate-friendly food production.

In view of a growing world population and the human alteration of nutrient cycles, including nitrogen (N) and phosphorus ℗ (Rockström et al., 2009), transforming food production is a major challenge of this century (Springmann et al., 2018). Both N and P are essential nutrients for healthy plant growth in crop production; however, their addition to synthetic fertilizers is currently organized in a linear economy. The Haber-Bosch process, used to generate plant-available N from its airborne unreactive form, is energy intensive, depending on fossil fuels such as natural gas, and associated with high greenhouse gas emissions (Wang et al., 2021). P is obtained from finite, depleting phosphate rock resources and its mining is increasingly more expensive and polluting (Desmidt et al., 2015). This background emphasize the need for significant improvements of nutrient management in agriculture and for alternative, circular N and P sources to achieve global food security (Gerten et al.

Feb 24, 2024

NASA Rover Spots Dead Mars Helicopter in Its “Final Resting Place”

Posted by in category: space

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has seen its last days of flight — but its friend, the Perseverance rover, hasn’t said goodbye just yet.

Originally published earlier this month by NASA, the grainy raw images of Ingenuity sitting sadly in the sand ripples of Mars’ Neretva Vallis river valley, cleaned up images of the little chopper that could were posted by German design student Simeon Schmauss on on X-formerly-Twitter and Flickr.

The enhanced displays, as Schmauss explained, were created when he pasted together six of the raw images, zoomed in on Ingenuity, and altered the image’s colors “to approximately match what the human eye would see.”

Page 28 of 10,677First2526272829303132Last