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Mar 30, 2020

Coronavirus patients taken off ventilators after getting experimental HIV drug

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Two coronavirus patients in New York City are off ventilators and out of intensive care after they received an experimental drug to treat HIV and breast cancer.

As the skyrocketing number of cases stretches city hospitals to the limit, doctors are racing to find out which drugs on the market or in development might help in fighting the infection.

The drug, leronlimab, is delivered by injection twice in the abdomen, the Daily Mail reported.

Mar 30, 2020

Some COVID-19 patients still have coronavirus after symptoms disappear

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Just a quick update on a new study:

“Researchers found that half of the patients they treated for mild COVID-19 infection still had coronavirus for up to eight days after symptoms disappeared.”

“If you had mild respiratory symptoms from COVID-19 and were staying at home so as not to infect people, extend your quarantine for another two weeks after recovery to ensure that you don’t infect other people,” recommended corresponding author Lixin Xie, MD, professor, College of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing.

Mar 30, 2020

FDA approves Roche’s Actemra COVID-19 trial

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Actemra (tocilizumab) – an interleukin-6 inhibitor – has already been approved in China for the treatment of patients infected with the novel coronavirus disease, who have developed serious lung damage and also have elevated levels of IL-6 in the blood.

It was first cleared by the FDA as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and has also subsequently been approved in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, giant cell arteritis and CRS associated with CAR-T cell therapies for cancer.


Plans to initiate trial in early April.

Mar 30, 2020

Why a business case for Mars settlement is not required

Posted by in categories: business, economics, Elon Musk, government, space travel

Some people have claimed that a “business case” for profitable interplanetary trade with a Mars settlement, or at least the identification a saleable product for trade, is required before such a settlement can be established or supported by business or government. But there is no reasonable prospect for trade in any significant mass of physical material from a Mars settlement back to Earth in the near future due to the high transport costs. In his recent article in the National Review, “Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars,” Robert Zubrin makes exactly the same point: a business case based on physical trade is not necessary and makes little sense. Later trade and commerce via non-physical goods such as software is probable once a settlement is fully operational. More significant and interesting economic situations will occur on Mars.

A good model for the expenditures needed to found colonies is the Greek and Phoenician expansion all across the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas in the period early in Greek history (before about 600 BC), leading to the founding of one of the greatest trading cities in history, Carthage. The cities who founded each colony did not expect immediate profit, but wanted good places for an expanding population and knew that, once the new cities were established, trade would also become established. Most of the cost was probably in building more ships. When European colonies were first established in the New World by Spain and Portugal, the emphasis was initially on a search for treasure, not production of products. English and Dutch colonies later led the way to commerce across the Atlantic, with tobacco, sugar, and cotton suddenly becoming a major part of world trade.

A look at some of the steps required to create a Mars settlement will help us understand at least a little about Mars settlement economics. For a Mars settlement, motivation and economics are interwoven. It is possible for at least a partial business case to be made for the transport of settlers and the materials they will need to initiate some phase of Mars settlement. This includes the current effort to create a large number of reliable, low cost, and reusable super-heavy boosters and spacecraft, able to take payloads of 100 tons or more of cargo and passengers to Mars and land them at the right location. Part of this development and construction cost will be defrayed by commercial and government uses of the same vehicles, such as placing very heavy payloads in LEO and taking equipment and passengers to and around the Moon.

Mar 30, 2020

Stars and Starlink

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, satellites

Astronomers may have one less (satellite) constellation to worry about.

Late Friday, OneWeb announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a New York court. In a statement, the company said it had been in “advanced negotiations” since the beginning of the year to raise a new round of funding needed to complete its broadband satellite constellation. The company said it was close to completing that deal, but “the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19” kept it from closing the deal.

OneWeb had just started large-scale deployment of its constellation, with Soyuz launches in early February and again March 21 each placing 34 satellites into orbit. Future launches are now on hold—launch services provider Arianespace was the largest single unsecured creditor identified in OneWeb’s bankruptcy, at $238 million—and may never resume, depending on who buys the company’s assets in a planned sale and their intentions for them.

Mar 30, 2020

Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

THIS could be straight out of “Big Bang.” 😄.


Australian Dr Daniel Reardon ended up in hospital after inserting magnets in his nostrils while building a necklace that warns you when you touch your face.

Mar 30, 2020

Amazon warehouse workers are walking out and Whole Foods workers are striking

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Amazon, the e-commerce giant that has fared well financially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is facing a bevy of worker strikes. Today, warehouse workers on Staten Island in New York walked off the job in protest of Amazon’s treatment amid the crisis.

#BREAKING: Over 100 Amazon employees at JFK8 warehouse walk off the job over @amazon’s dangerous response to protect workers from COVID19 in Staten Island.

📦 #AmazonStrike #WhatWeNeed pic.twitter.com/z0mrUWmPfw

Mar 30, 2020

7 amazing body parts that can now be 3D printed

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

Scientists are using 3D printing to create bioengineered body parts such as eyes, ears, teeth, hearts, skin, bone, and even ovaries.

Mar 30, 2020

Why Do Matter Particles Come in Threes? A Physics Titan Weighs In

Posted by in category: particle physics

Three progressively heavier copies of each type of matter particle exist, and no one knows why. A new paper by Steven Weinberg takes a stab at explaining the pattern.

Mar 30, 2020

The Teens Who Hacked Microsoft’s Videogame Empire—And Went Too Far

Posted by in category: futurism

Among those involved in David Pokora’s so-called Xbox Underground, one would become an informant, one would become a fugitive, and one would end up dead.