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May 31, 2020

Sylvester, Miami Cancer Institute studying stem cells, cancer drugs to treat COVID-19

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

With more and more people contracting COVID-19, physician-scientists around the world are looking at existing drugs as potential treatments for the novel coronavirus.

Among them are cancer researchers launching new clinical trials or participating in multi-site ones to see whether drugs proven to be effective for another disease, particularly cancer, can help in treating COVID-19 cases.

At Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, researchers are conducting several trials to investigate whether existing cancer drugs might provide some kind of therapy for COVID-19. The rationale: Cancer patients have similar immune system problems as coronavirus patients — namely, dangerous inflammation — and these medications effectively attack that problem.

May 31, 2020

Oxford University calls for 10,000 volunteers as coronavirus vaccine testing enters next stage

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Oxford University scientists leading the global search for a coronavirus vaccine are to recruit “very healthy” over-55s to help with clinical trials.

The next phase of testing will focus on how older adults’ immune systems respond, the Oxford vaccine group said on Friday.

Continue reading “Oxford University calls for 10,000 volunteers as coronavirus vaccine testing enters next stage” »

May 30, 2020

European R&D review finds lagging high-tech performance despite major science investment

Posted by in categories: business, energy, science, transportation

To encourage businesses to invest in new technologies, the European Union funds industrial research partnerships worth billions of euros in fields such as clean aviation and hydrogen fuel cells. It also offers direct grants to tech startups, and when Horizon Europe launches next year, it plans to offer them equity investments, too.


Report says scientific output is not translating into innovation.

May 30, 2020

How toxic protein spreads in Alzheimer’s disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Tau spreads through the human brain via neural communication pathways. The spread is accelerated by the presence of amyloid-beta.

Source: Lund University

Toxic versions of the protein tau are believed to cause death of neurons of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. A new study published in Nature Communications shows that the spread of toxic tau in the human brain in elderly individuals may occur via connected neurons. The researchers could see that beta-amyloid facilitates the spread of toxic tau.

May 30, 2020

Scientists Use Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision to Study Lithium-Ion Batteries

Posted by in categories: information science, particle physics, robotics/AI

New machine learning methods bring insights into how lithium ion batteries degrade, and show it’s more complicated than many thought.

Lithium-ion batteries lose their juice over time, causing scientists and engineers to work hard to understand that process in detail. Now, scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have combined sophisticated machine learning algorithms with X-ray tomography data to produce a detailed picture of how one battery component, the cathode, degrades with use.

The new study, published this month in Nature Communications, focused on how to better visualize what’s going on in cathodes made of nickel-manganese-cobalt, or NMC. In these cathodes, NMC particles are held together by a conductive carbon matrix, and researchers have speculated that one cause of performance decline could be particles breaking away from that matrix. The team’s goal was to combine cutting-edge capabilities at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) to develop a comprehensive picture of how NMC particles break apart and break away from the matrix and how that might contribute to performance losses.

May 30, 2020

DARPA Seeks Secure Microchip Supply Chain

Posted by in categories: computing, security

“Once a chip is designed, adding security after the fact or making changes to address newly discovered threats is nearly impossible,” explains a DARPA spokesperson.

May 30, 2020

What Do the Quark Oddities at the Large Hadron Collider Mean?

Posted by in categories: information science, particle physics

In their latest analysis, first presented at a seminar in March, the LHCb physicists found that several measurements involving the decay of B mesons conflict slightly with the predictions of the standard model of particle physics—the reigning set of equations describing the subatomic world. Taken alone, each oddity looks like a statistical fluctuation, and they may all evaporate with additional data, as has happened before. But their collective drift suggests that the aberrations may be breadcrumbs leading beyond the standard model to a more complete theory.

“For the first time in certainly my working life, there are a confluence of different decays that are showing anomalies that match up,” said Mitesh Patel, a particle physicist at Imperial College London who is part of LHCb.

The B meson is so named because it contains a bottom quark, one of six fundamental quark particles that account for most of the universe’s visible matter. For unknown reasons, the quarks break down into three generations: heavy, medium, and light, each with quarks of opposite electric charge. Heavier quarks decay into their lighter variations, almost always switching their charge, too. For instance, when the negatively charged heavy bottom quark in a B meson drops a generation, it usually becomes a middleweight, positively charged “charm” quark.

May 30, 2020

Microsoft lays off journalists to replace them with AI

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Microsoft is laying off more than 50 journalists to replace them with AI for Microsoft News and MSN. It’s part of a bigger push to rely on AI for news curation on its homepages and Microsoft’s Edge browser.

May 30, 2020

Robert Sapolsky: We’re uniquely violent and compassionate

Posted by in category: futurism

Humans are on the one hand capable of mass genocide, and on the other hand, great self-sacrifice. Why are we capable of such extremes? We talked about this with Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

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May 30, 2020

Gaia Satellite Scans the Sky to Measure Positions and Motions of 1.7 Billion Stars [Video]

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

Launched in 2013, the Gaia satellite has been scanning the sky to measure the positions, distances and motions of more than one billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The goal of the mission is to create the most detailed galactic map ever made, in order to investigate the Milky Way’s past and future history like never before.

The animation below shows the satellite as it scans great circles around the sky. Eventually, the sky is unfolded to reveal the view of the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, based on measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars from the second Gaia data release. The map shows the total brightness and colour of stars observed by Gaia in each portion of the sky between July 2014 and May 2016. Brighter regions indicate denser concentrations of especially bright stars, while darker regions correspond to patches of the sky where fewer bright stars are observed. In the middle of the image, the Galactic center appears vivid and teeming with stars.

Continue reading “Gaia Satellite Scans the Sky to Measure Positions and Motions of 1.7 Billion Stars [Video]” »