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Aug 1, 2020

Evidence of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in cats and dogs from households in Italy

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

SARS-CoV-2 originated in animals and is now easily transmitted between people. Sporadic detection of natural cases in animals alongside successful experimental infections of pets, such as cats, ferrets and dogs, raises questions about the susceptibility of animals under natural conditions of pet ownership. Here we report a large-scale study to assess SARS-CoV-2 infection in 817 companion animals living in northern Italy, sampled at a time of frequent human infection. No animals tested PCR positive. However, 3.4% of dogs and 3.9% of cats had measurable SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers, with dogs from COVID-19 positive households being significantly more likely to test positive than those from COVID-19 negative households. Understanding risk factors associated with this and their potential to infect other species requires urgent investigation.

One Sentence Summary SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in pets from Italy.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China , possibly as a spillover from bats to humans , and rapidly spread worldwide becoming a pandemic. Although the virus is believed to spread almost exclusively by human-to-human transmission, there are concerns that some animal species may contribute to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic epidemiology. To date, sporadic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been reported in dogs and cats. These include detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in respiratory and/or fecal specimens of dogs and cats with or without clinical signs (5−7), as well as of specific antibodies in sera from pets from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affected areas (7,8).

Aug 1, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, cyborgs, drones

More durable prosthetics and medical devices for patients and stronger parts for airplanes and automobiles are just some of the products that could be created through a new 3D printing technology invented by a UMass Lowell researcher.

Substances such as plastics, metals and wax are used in 3D printers to make products and parts for larger items, as the practice has disrupted the prototyping and manufacturing fields. Products created through the 3D printing of plastics include everything from toys to drones. While the for 3D plastics printers is estimated at $4 billion and growing, challenges remain in ensuring the printers create objects that are produced quickly, retain their strength and accurately reflect the shape desired, according to UMass Lowell’s David Kazmer, a plastics engineering professor who led the research project.

Called injection printing, the technology Kazmer pioneered is featured in the Additive Manufacturing posted online last week.

Aug 1, 2020

Texas cave sediment upends meteorite explanation for global cooling

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology

Texas researchers from the University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas A&M University have discovered evidence for why the earth cooled dramatically 13,000 years ago, dropping temperatures by about 3 degrees Centigrade.

The evidence is buried in a Central Texas cave, where horizons of sediment have preserved unique geochemical signatures from ancient volcanic eruptions—signatures previously mistaken for extraterrestrial impacts, researchers say.

The resolution to this case of mistaken identity recently was reported in the journal Science Advances.

Aug 1, 2020

Bob and Doug Are Coming Home

Posted by in category: habitats

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Aug 1, 2020

AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Synthetic video and audio seemed pretty bad. Synthetic writing—ubiquitous and undetectable—will be far worse.

Aug 1, 2020

Scientists genetically alter squids for the first time in ‘game-changing’ breakthrough

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics

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The squid typically have dark eyes and an array of black and reddish brown spots across their bodies while the genetically altered hatchlings have light pink or red eyes and almost no dark spots.

The milestone, which was first reported in Current Biology Thursday, could pave the way for researchers to study the biology of cephalopods like squid, octopus and cuttlefish the same way they study more common lab animals like study mice and fruit flies.

Aug 1, 2020

Cosmic tango between the very small and the very large

Posted by in categories: cosmology, quantum physics

While Einstein’s theory of general relativity can explain a large array of fascinating astrophysical and cosmological phenomena, some aspects of the properties of the universe at the largest-scales remain a mystery. A new study using loop quantum cosmology—a theory that uses quantum mechanics to extend gravitational physics beyond Einstein’s theory of general relativity—accounts for two major mysteries. While the differences in the theories occur at the tiniest of scales—much smaller than even a proton—they have consequences at the largest of accessible scales in the universe. The study, which appears online July 29 in the journal Physical Review Letters, also provides new predictions about the universe that future satellite missions could test.

While a zoomed-out picture of the looks fairly uniform, it does have a large-scale structure, for example because galaxies and dark matter are not uniformly distributed throughout the universe. The origin of this structure has been traced back to the tiny inhomogeneities observed in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)—radiation that was emitted when the universe was 380 thousand years young that we can still see today. But the CMB itself has three puzzling features that are considered anomalies because they are difficult to explain using known physics.

“While seeing one of these anomalies may not be that statistically remarkable, seeing two or more together suggests we live in an exceptional universe,” said Donghui Jeong, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and an author of the paper. “A recent study in the journal Nature Astronomy proposed an explanation for one of these anomalies that raised so many additional concerns, they flagged a ‘possible crisis in cosmology.’ Using quantum loop cosmology, however, we have resolved two of these anomalies naturally, avoiding that potential crisis.”

Aug 1, 2020

NASA astronauts set to ride a SpaceX Crew Dragon back to Earth for the 1st time this weekend

Posted by in category: space travel

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are ready to return to Earth after riding a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station two months ago.

Aug 1, 2020

SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying NASA astronauts to depart space station today

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon capsule to carry NASA astronauts will undock from the International Space Station tonight (Aug. 1), setting the stage for a historic weekend splashdown.

Aug 1, 2020

You need to see Saturn in the night sky this week

Posted by in category: space

Saturn will be at opposition, and visible to night sky gazers throughout August where they will be able to marvel at its rings.