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Jul 17, 2020

Geologists Say a New Ocean Is Opening up in Africa

Posted by in category: futurism

In somewhere between five and ten million years, the tectonic plates that form Africa are likely to rip apart so much that it’ll eventually split the continent in two.

Within Ethiopia’s Afar region, the Arabian, Nubian, and Somali tectonic plates are slowly pulling away from each other, NBC News reports, gradually creating a vast rift slowly forming a new ocean.

“We can see that oceanic crust is starting to form, because it’s distinctly different from continental crust in its composition and density,” University of Leeds Ph.D. student Christopher Moore told NBC.

Jul 17, 2020

Dogs may use Earth’s magnetic field to take shortcuts

Posted by in category: futurism

GPS-equipped hunting dogs take a curious north-south jog, which seems to help them get their bearings.

Jul 17, 2020

Sperm discovery reveals clue to genetic ‘immortality’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

New insights into an elusive process that protects developing sperm cells from damage in growing embryos, sheds light on how genetic information passes down, uninterrupted, through generations.

The study identified a protein, known as SPOCD1, which plays a key role in protecting the early-stage precursors to sperm, known as , from damage in a developing embryo.

During their development, germ cells undergo a reprogramming process that leaves them vulnerable to rogue genes, known as jumping genes, which can damage their DNA and lead to infertility.

Jul 17, 2020

What if the speed of light were that of a cyclist?

Posted by in category: physics

A new paper revives a hero from physics’s past.

Science & technology Jul 18th 2020 edition.

Jul 17, 2020

Molecular ‘tails’ are secret ingredient for gene activation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

It might seem as though humans have little in common with the lowly yeast cell. Humans have hair, skin, muscles, and bones, among other attributes. Yeast have, well, none of those things.

But besides their obvious differences, yeast and humans, and much of life for that matter, have a great deal in common, especially at the cellular level. One of these commonalities is the our cells use to make RNA copies of sections of our DNA. The enzyme slides along a strand of DNA that has been unpacked from the chromosome in which it resides, to “read” the genetic code, and then assembles an RNA strand that contains the same code. This copying process, known as transcription, is what happens at a when a gene is activated in an organism. The enzyme responsible for it, RNA polymerase, is found in all (cells with a nucleus) and it is essentially the same in all of them, whether the cells are from a redwood, an earthworm, a caribou, or a mushroom.

That fact has presented a mystery for scientists, though: Although the DNA in a yeast cell is different in many ways from the DNA in a human cell, the same enzyme is able to work with both. Now, a team of Caltech researchers has discovered one way this happens.

Jul 17, 2020

More Details On NASA’s VERITAS Mission, Which Could Go to Venus

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, satellites

Venus has always been a bit of the odd stepchild in the solar system. It’s similarities to Earth are uncanny: roughly the same size, mass, and distance from the sun. But the development paths the two planets ended up taking were very different, with one being the birthplace of all life as we know it, and the other becoming a cloud-covered, highly pressurized version of hell. That cloud cover, which is partially made up of sulfuric acid, has also given the planet an air of mystery. So much so that astronomers in the early 20th century speculated that there could be dinosaurs roaming about on the surface.

Some of that mystery will melt away if a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gets a chance to launch their newest idea for a mission to the planet, the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topograph, and Spectroscopy (or VERITAS) mission.

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Jul 17, 2020

Printer lickin‘ good: KFC is bioprinting chicken nuggets

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioprinting, food

“The partners are working together to develop the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets. The 3D printed nuggets are expected to be similar in taste and appearance to KFC’s original product, but will have the benefit of being more environmentally friendly to produce.”

When I think of KFC and its largely unchanging menu of fried chicken, I do not immediately think of innovation. However a new collaboration forged between the fast-food company and Russia-based bioprinting firm 3D Bioprinting Solutions might just change my mind. The partners are working together to develop the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets. The 3D printed nuggets are expected to be similar in taste and appearance to KFC’s original product, but will have the benefit of being more environmentally friendly to produce.

The bioprinted chicken nugget project is already underway, and the unlikely partners plan to have a final product ready for testing by this fall. The effort is part of KFC’s mission to create a “restaurant of the future” which leverages state-of-the-art technologies like 3D bioprinting to overcome solutions in the food industry today: such as finding more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional meat.

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Jul 17, 2020

The super rich are injecting blood from teenagers to gain ‘immortality’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension


Check out this content on BBC Three.

Jul 17, 2020

Pentadiamond, a new addition to the carbon family

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, particle physics, quantum physics, space

To calculate the most stable atomic configuration, as well as estimate its hardness, the team relied on a computational method called density functional theory (DFT). DFT has been successfully used throughout chemistry and solid-state physics to predict the structure and properties of materials. Keeping track of the quantum states of all the electrons in a sample, and their interactions, is usually an intractable task. Instead, DFT uses an approximation that focuses on the final density of electrons in space orbiting the atoms. This simplifies the calculation to make it suitable for computers, while still providing very precise results.

Based on these calculations, the scientists found that the Young’s modulus, a measure of hardness, for pentadiamond is predicted to be almost 1700 GPa – compared with about 1200 GPa for conventional diamond.

“Not only is pentadiamond harder than conventional diamond, its density is much lower, equal to that of graphite,” explains co-author Professor Mina Maruyama.

Jul 17, 2020

Neuroscientists at Vanderbilt identify the brain cells that help humans adapt to change

Posted by in categories: engineering, neuroscience

A team of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise in psychology, informatics (the application of information science to solve problems with data) and engineering along with the Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI) gained critical insights into one of the biggest mysteries in neuroscience, identifying the location and critical nature of these neurons.”

New research on cognitive flexibility points to a small class of brain cells that support switching attention strategies when old strategies fail.

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