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Apr 25, 2020

The Open Source Hunt for Syria’s Favourite Sarin Bomb

Posted by in categories: government, military


Throughout Syria’s lengthy conflict, Bellingcat has worked to investigate a large number of chemical attacks, including the nature of the weapons deployed in those attacks, using open source evidence. From modified chlorine cylinders to locally made surface to surface rockets filled with Sarin, Bellingcat has revealed the nature, and origin, of these chemical weapons, confirming the Syrian government’s involvement in a range of chemical attacks.

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Apr 25, 2020

New Theory of Everything Unites Quantum Mechanics with Relativity … and Much More

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Stephen Wolfram, a controversial physicist and computer scientist, has united relativity, quantum mechanics and computational complexity in a single theory of everything. But will other physicists be convinced?

Apr 25, 2020

Size Estimations of Missiles Displayed in Recent North Korean Military Parade

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

Appropriate references can help observers determine the size of North Korean rockets with modest confidence. Using this method, the author has previously identified the unique North Korean SCUD-ER ballistic missile by establishing its body diameter at almost exact 1 meter instead of the common SCUD’s 0.88m width[1].

Images from recent parades and test firing of North Korean rockets have offered more opportunities for relatively accurate estimation of the rockets’ dimensions. In this analysis, the author will present findings on the dimension of the missiles/ mock-ups exhibited in the April 15, 2017 parade in North Korea. The findings would in turn shed light on the technological sophistication of these weapon systems.

The “new HS-10” .

Apr 25, 2020

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute first in the world to open hippocampal blood brain barrier in Alzheimer’s patients

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute today announced a new study published in partnership with Weill Cornell Medical Center that demonstrates the successful opening of the blood brain barrier in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex using focused ultrasound to treat six patients with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

This first-in-the-world study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. The effort is part of a Phase II clinical trial, sponsored by INSIGHTEC, which developed the technology and manufactures the focused ultrasound device, Exablate Neuro.

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Apr 25, 2020

Babies get their intestinal viruses in stages

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Results indicate that, early after birth, pioneer bacteria colonize the infant gut and by one month prophages induced from these bacteria provide the predominant population of virus-like particles. By four months of life, identifiable viruses that replicate in human cells become more prominent. Multiple human viruses were more abundant in stool samples from babies who were exclusively fed on formula milk compared with those fed partially or fully on breast milk, paralleling reports that breast milk can be protective against viral infections. Bacteriophage populations also differed depending on whether or not the infant was breastfed. We show that the colonization of the infant gut is stepwise, first mainly by temperate bacteriophages induced from pioneer bacteria, and later by viruses that replicate in human cells; this second phase is modulated by breastfeeding.

Initially most of the viruses are bacteriophages, but as the abstract indicates, as time passes more and more of the viral community is made up of viruses that inhabit the human gut cells.

The discussion focuses upon the finding that breastfeeding reduces the level of pathogenic viruses in the infants. That finding replicates other work based on different approaches. One of the infant cohorts included in this study was from Botswana, and the findings there are more pronounced than in their U.S. (Philadelphia)-based cohorts.

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Apr 25, 2020

NASA Has Designed a Mass-Producible Ventilator For a Second Wave of COVID-19

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

NASA engineers have designed a mass-producible ventilator tailored to coronavirus patients, and it could get emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the weekend.

Apr 25, 2020

Elon Musk’s Internet for Everyone Is Coming Very Soon

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, internet, satellites

Elon Musk says SpaceX’s ambitious Starlink satellite internet setup has made great steps toward providing good internet to previously low-priority locations. Musk’s Starlink plan accounts for an eventual 40,000 satellites in orbit to blanket the globe in internet coverage, far surpassing any existing satellite internet service.

Apr 25, 2020

China reveals name, logo for its ‘Tianwen’ first Mars landing mission

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites

— China revealed the name and logo for its first mission aimed at landing on the planet Mars to mark the 50th anniversary of its first satellite launch.

Celebrating the country’s Space Day on Friday (April 24), the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that its upcoming robotic mission to the Red Planet will be named “Tianwen-1.” The name, borrowed from an ancient Chinese verse by poet Qu Yuan, translates to “questions about the heavens.”

“In ‘Tianwen,’ Qu Yuan raised a series of questions in verse involving the sky, stars, natural phenomena, myths and the real world, showing his doubts about some traditional concepts and the spirit of seeking the truth,” reported the state-run Chinese news service Xinhua.

Apr 25, 2020

NASA engineers build new COVID-19 ventilator in 37 days

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Engineers at JPL built the machine. It just passed a key test.

Apr 25, 2020

Highly sensitive nanosensor detects subtle potassium changes in the brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Researchers have developed a number of potassium ion (K+) probes to detect fluctuating K+ concentrations during a variety of biological processes. However, such probes are not sensitive enough to detect physiological fluctuations in living animals and it is not easy to monitor deep tissues with short-wavelength excitations that are in use so far. In a new report, Jianan Liu and a team of researchers in neuroscience, chemistry, and molecular engineering in China, describe a highly sensitive and selective nanosensor for near infrared (NIR) K+ ion imaging in living cells and animals. The team constructed the nanosensor by encapsulating upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) and a commercial potassium ion indicator in the hollow cavity of mesoporous silica nanoparticles and coated them with a K+ selective filter membrane. The membrane adsorbed K+ from the medium and filtered away any interfering cations. In its mechanism of action, UCNPs converted NIR to ultraviolet (UV) light to excite the potassium ion indicator and detect fluctuating potassium ion concentrations in cultured cells and in animal models of disease including mice and zebrafish larvae. The results are now published on Science Advances.

The most abundant intracellular cation potassium (K+) is extremely crucial in a variety of biological processes including neural transmission, heartbeat, muscle contraction and kidney function. Variations in the intracellular or extracellular K+ concentration (referred herein as [K+]) suggest abnormal physiological functions including heart dysfunction, cancer, and diabetes. As a result, researchers are keen to develop effective strategies to monitor the dynamics of [K+] fluctuations, specifically with direct optical imaging.

Most existing probes are not sensitive to K+ detection under physiological conditions and cannot differentiate fluctuations between [K+] and the accompanying sodium ion ([Na+]) during transmembrane transport in the Na+/K+ pumps. While fluorescence lifetime imaging can distinguish K+ and Na+ in water solution, the method requires specialized instruments. Most K+ sensors are also activated with short wavelength light including ultraviolet (UV) or visible light—leading to significant scattering and limited penetration depth when examining living tissues. In contrast, the proposed near-infrared (NIR) imaging technique will offer unique advantages during deep tissue imaging as a plausible alternative.