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Jul 21, 2020

3 New Vaccines Against ‘Black Death’ Plague Bacteria Show Promise

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Plague is an age-old disease that can still be deadly today, but now researchers are developing new vaccines that could potentially protect against plague infection, early research in animals suggests.

In a new study, researchers tested three vaccines that were designed to protect people against infection from the bacteria that cause plague, known as Yersinia pestis. To create the vaccines, the researchers modified several genes of the bacteria so that they couldn’t cause disease, but would likely trigger an immune response in an animal. Specifically, the vaccines were designed to protect people against the bacteria that cause pneumonic plague, the most serious form of plague and the only type that spreads through airborne transmission.

Jul 21, 2020

Prototypical pacemaker neurons interact with the resident microbiota

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

Here, we discover prototypical pacemaker neurons in the ancient cnidarian Hydra and provide evidence for a direct interaction of these neurons with the commensal microbiota. We uncover a remarkable gene-expression program conservation between the Hydra pacemaker neurons and pacemaker cells in Caenorhabditis elegans and the mammalian gut. We suggest that prototypical pacemaker cells emerged as neurons using components of innate immunity to interact with the microbial environment and ion channels to generate rhythmic contractions. The communication of pacemaker neurons with the microbiota represents a mechanistic link between the gut microbiota and gut motility. Our discoveries improve the understanding of the archetypical properties of the enteric nervous systems, which are perturbed in human dysmotility-related conditions.

Pacemaker neurons exert control over neuronal circuit function by their intrinsic ability to generate rhythmic bursts of action potential. Recent work has identified rhythmic gut contractions in human, mice, and hydra to be dependent on both neurons and the resident microbiota. However, little is known about the evolutionary origin of these neurons and their interaction with microbes. In this study, we identified and functionally characterized prototypical ANO/SCN/TRPM ion channel-expressing pacemaker cells in the basal metazoan Hydra by using a combination of single-cell transcriptomics, immunochemistry, and functional experiments. Unexpectedly, these prototypical pacemaker neurons express a rich set of immune-related genes mediating their interaction with the microbial environment.

Jul 21, 2020

Bounds on Lorentz Invariance Violation from MAGIC Observation of GRB 190114C

Posted by in category: quantum physics

An analysis of the speed of the most energetic photons ever observed from a gamma-ray burst sets new constraints on certain theories of quantum gravity.

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Jul 21, 2020

Physicists find ways to control gamma radiation

Posted by in categories: energy, physics

Researchers from Kazan Federal University, Texas A&M University and Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences) found ways to direct high frequency gamma radiation by means of acoustics.

Their paper describes an optical ‘switch’—a device able to let through or stop quanta by switching the acoustic field. Basically, the mechanism makes iron ‘transparent’ for when needed.

The Mossbauer Spectroscopy Lab of Kazan Federal University showed acoustically induced transparency of a resonant medium for in an experiment. The essence of this phenomenon lies in the transformation of the spectrum of the absorption line into a comb structure consisting of satellite lines spaced from the main line by the frequency of the acoustic field. For the experiment, gamma quanta with an energy of 14.4 keV were used, which are emitted during the decay of the excited state of the iron-57 nucleus.

Jul 21, 2020

Inhaler cuts risk of severe COVID-19

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Synairgen, a drug company founded by professors from the University of Southampton, UK, has announced promising results from its clinical trial of SNG001 – an inhaled formulation of interferon beta, in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

Jul 21, 2020

Machines can learn unsupervised ‘at speed of light’ after AI breakthrough, scientists say

Posted by in categories: innovation, robotics/AI

Performance of photon-based neural network processor is 100-times higher than electrical processor.

Jul 21, 2020

Video claims asteroid impact coming in November, but experts weigh in

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, mathematics

A video on Youtube claims a forecast of near-Earth objects (NEOs) shows one of these may hit Earth in November.

On November 2, 2020 an object labeled 2018 VP1″ is currently projected to come very close to Earth. The video is a little off on its math. Even so, Mike Murray of the Delta College Planetarium in Bay City, says don’t worry.

Jul 21, 2020

New: Mars In 4K

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, space

Mars in 4 K.


A world first. New footage from Mars rendered in stunning 4K resolution. We also talk about the cameras on board the Martian rovers and how we made the video.

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Jul 21, 2020

Will GPT-3 Kill Coding?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

In 2017, researchers asked: Could AI write most code by 2040? OpenAI’s GPT-3, now in use by beta testers, can already code in any language. Machine-dominated coding is almost at our doorstep.

Jul 21, 2020

Researchers Just Took a Major Step Toward Decoding the Entire Human Genome

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

17 years after the Human Genome Project, researchers unlocked the X chromosome.