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Aug 7, 2020

How a DNA Test Machine Mutated to Find Covid in 90 Minutes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

A small DNA-testing company that just months ago was trying to get its footing in consumer genetics is now part of an effort to make U.K. hospitals safer during the pandemic.

The company, DnaNudge, won a 161-million pound ($211 million) order for 5,000 machines and a supply of cartridges to test patients for the new coronavirus in hundreds of the National Health Service hospitals.

Aug 7, 2020

Bill Gates-backed vaccine alliance raises $8.8 billion from world leaders and businesses

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business

Governments and business leaders pledged $8.8 billion on Thursday to a vaccine alliance backed by the Gates Foundation.

The money was raised at the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with funds going toward global vaccine alliance Gavi’s efforts to immunize children amid the coronavirus crisis.


The funding was raised at a U.K.-hosted summit, which saw world leaders pledge billions of dollars to global vaccine alliance Gavi.

Continue reading “Bill Gates-backed vaccine alliance raises $8.8 billion from world leaders and businesses” »

Aug 7, 2020

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Posted by in category: physics

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Aug 7, 2020

Social Justice (periodical)

Posted by in category: futurism

Would you protect the rights of A bigot?

The Jews of Europe were characterized in the following ways by the Fascists:

1. Bigoted because of “Jewish Chosenness” 2. A foreign element from a different continent 3. An over privileged foreign minority 4. Destructive of indigenous ethnic culture.

Continue reading “Social Justice (periodical)” »

Aug 7, 2020

Algorithm predicts the compositions of new materials

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

A machine-learning algorithm that can predict the compositions of trend-defying new materials has been developed by RIKEN chemists1. It will be useful for finding materials for applications where there is a trade-off between two or more desirable properties.

Artificial intelligence has great potential to help scientists find new materials with desirable properties. A that has been trained with the compositions and properties of known materials can predict the properties of unknown materials, saving much time in the lab.

But discovering new materials for applications can be tricky because there is often a trade-off between two or more material properties. One example is organic materials for , where it is desired to maximize both the voltage and current, notes Kei Terayama, who was at the RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project and is now at Yokohama City University. “There’s a trade-off between voltage and current: a material that exhibits a high voltage will have a low current, whereas one with a high current will have a low voltage.”

Aug 7, 2020

An electrical switch for magnetism

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

NUS physicists have demonstrated the control of magnetism in a magnetic semiconductor via electrical means, paving the way for novel spintronic devices.

Semiconductors are the heart of information-processing technologies. In the form of a transistor, semiconductors act as a switch for , allowing switching between binary states zero and one. Magnetic materials, on the other hand, are an essential component for information storage devices. They exploit the spin degree of freedom of electrons to achieve memory functions. Magnetic semiconductors are a unique class of materials that allow control of both the electrical charge and spin, potentially enabling information processing and memory operations in a single platform. The key challenge is to control the electron spins, or magnetisation, using electric fields, in a similar way a transistor controls electrical charge. However, magnetism typically has weak dependence on electric fields in magnetic semiconductors, and the effect is often limited to .

A research team led by Prof Goki EDA from the Department of Physics and the Department of Chemistry, and the Centre for Advanced 2-D Materials, NUS, in collaboration with Prof Hidekazu KUREBAYASHI from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, discovered that the magnetism of a magnetic semiconductor, Cr2Ge2Te6, shows exceptionally strong response to applied electric fields. With electric fields applied, the material was found to exhibit ferromagnetism (a state in which electron spins spontaneously align) at temperatures up to 200 K (−73°C). At such temperatures, ferromagnetic order is normally absent in this material.

Aug 7, 2020

New Intelligence Shows China Is Building More Type-075 Assault Carriers

Posted by in category: military

The Chinese Navy is expanding at an incredible pace, rapidly outstripping almost all other navies. A year ago it had no amphibious assault carriers (termed landing helicopter docks). These large helicopter carriers are often the most powerful ships in many navies, and almost all navies want them. Fast forward a year’s time and they will likely have a fleet of them second in size only to the U.S. Navy. And China is building them quicker.

The rapid construction of Chinese Navy (PLAN) warships is hard to keep up with. China’s new Assault Carriers are known as the Type-075 LHD. They have already launched two in the past year. And now images have emerged on Chinese-language social media that, perhaps unwittingly, reveal yet another.

This equates to an assembly time in dry dock of about 6 months. It is difficult to make direct comparisons to the U.S. Navy because the construction approaches vary, and America is not in the same rush. But for context the U.S. Navy’s second America Class assault carrier, USS Tripoli, was laid down in June 2014 and launched in May 2017. 2 years and 10 months later.

Aug 7, 2020

New science behind biodegradable algae-based flip-flops

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, science, sustainability

As the world’s most popular shoe, flip-flops account for a troubling percentage of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, on seashores and in our oceans. Scientists at the University of California San Diego have spent years working to resolve this problem, and now they have taken a step farther toward accomplishing this mission.

Sticking with their chemistry, the team of researchers formulated , made from algae oil, to meet commercial specifications for midsole shoes and the foot-bed of flip-flops. The results of their study are published in Bioresource Technology Reports and describe the team’s successful development of these sustainable, consumer-ready and .

The research was a collaboration between UC San Diego and startup company Algenesis Materials—a and technology company. The project was co-led by graduate student Natasha Gunawan from the labs of professors Michael Burkart (Division of Physical Sciences) and Stephen Mayfield (Division of Biological Sciences), and by Marissa Tessman from Algenesis. It is the latest in a series of recent research publications that collectively, according to Burkart, offer a complete solution to the plastics problem—at least for polyurethanes.

Aug 7, 2020

Converting CO2 to algae for bioplastic production

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, sustainability

Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely replace synthetic plastics over time.

Klarenbeek and Dros cultivate algae – aquatic plants – which they then dry and process into a material that can be used to 3D print objects.

The designers believe that the algae polymer could be used to make everything from shampoo bottles to tableware or rubbish bins, eventually entirely replacing plastics made from fossil fuels like oil.

Aug 7, 2020

Covid-19 is turning skeptical doctors into telehealth believers

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

“When I first heard [of these startups], I thought this was going to be bad for the field,” Ramasamy tells Inverse. “This is going to be a disservice to our patients. And more importantly, I thought there was going to be some harm involved on the patient side.”

Direct-to-consumer telehealth companies aim to provide accessible, speedy, stigma-free care for everything from erectile dysfunction to herpes — without a physical exam. However, troubled by the risks of mistakes and misdiagnoses, as well as privacy breaches, some physicians and patients have been skeptical.

Then Covid-19 hit. In a pandemic that makes a visit to the doctor riskier than ever before, telehealth has seemingly come to the rescue, promising efficient care from the safety of home.