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May 8, 2020

Hungry monkeys brawl over food as coronavirus hits tourism in Thailand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

A large crowd of monkeys has been filmed brawling over a pot of yoghurt in a street in Thailand. A fall in tourist numbers amid the Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in far fewer people offering them food. The video was filmed in Lopburi, a city north-east of Bangkok that is famed for its monkey population

How to stop the spread of coronavirus ►

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May 8, 2020

CRISPR Used Inside a Person’s Body for the First Time Ever

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

Doctors at the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland have announced the first-ever use of the revolutionary gene editing tool, CRISPR, inside of a person’s body. The tool was used to modify the genes responsible for a particular form of inherited blindness, and those responsible for the pioneering effort say there is real potential here to not only restore the patient’s vision, but open up a new line of medicines specifically used to target and alter DNA.

In an Associated Press report, which comes via NBC, the companies that make the treatment used in the procedure, including Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Editas Medicine and Dublin-based Allergan, highlighted the possibilities moving forward if the trial proves to be successful. Charles Albright, chief scientific officer at Editas, said that “We literally have the potential to take people who are essentially blind and make them see.”

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May 8, 2020

Mushroom sales soar as Americans cook more at home during pandemic

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

EVANSVILLE, Ind., April 17 (UPI) — As produce sales at grocery stores surge during the coronavirus pandemic, one item is selling particularly well — mushrooms.

During the last week of March, fresh mushroom sales were up 18 percent over the same time last year, compared to an 8 percent rise in overall fresh produce sales, according to the Chicago-based data and analytics firm IRI.

“We take heart in those numbers,” said Eric Davis, a spokesman for the Mushroom Council, an industry group based in Redwood Shores, Calif. “We take heart that we’re in that group of staple items. You look for bright spots during this time, and that is one for us.”

May 8, 2020

The animal that regrows its head

Posted by in category: futurism

Could a sea creature with unusual regenerative powers show humans how to do the same? Tracey Logan reports.

May 8, 2020

Direct Laser Cooling to Bose-Einstein Condensation in a Dipole Trap

Posted by in category: futurism

A new scheme for cooling ${}^{87}$Rb to Bose-Einstein condensation uses only lasers, unlike the usual method combining laser and evaporation cooling.

May 8, 2020

Podcast #45: The Post Covid-19 Future, Part 2, Economics and Investing with Jim Lee

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

“The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.”–Bernard Baruch.

May 8, 2020

Three Brilliant Innovations in Synthetic Foods

Posted by in categories: energy, food

Food from electricity, NASA’s attempt to create food from rocket fuel, and other brilliant and bizarre innovations in synthetic foods.

May 8, 2020

Spacecraft that sail on sunshine could be the next big thing in spaceflight

Posted by in category: space travel

These solar sails could herald a new era of spaceflight in which spacecraft forgo the rocket motors they’ve relied on for decades.

Artist’s concept of LightSail 2 above Earth. Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society.

May 8, 2020

Tesla abruptly suspends car production at Shanghai Gigafactory

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The production halt means that Tesla is not making any cars worldwide because its other electric vehicle assembly plant – in Fremont, California – has been idled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

May 8, 2020

Second skin protects against chemical, biological agents

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

Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations.

Personnel safety relies on which, unfortunately, still leaves much to be desired. For example, high breathability (i.e., the transfer of water vapor from the wearer’s body to the outside world) is critical in protective military uniforms to prevent heat-stress and exhaustion when soldiers are engaged in missions in contaminated environments. The same materials (adsorbents or barrier layers) that provide protection in current garments also detrimentally inhibit breathability.

To tackle these challenges, a multi-institutional team of researchers led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Francesco Fornasiero has developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well. The work was recently published online in Advanced Functional Materials and represents the successful completion of Phase I of the project, which is funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency through the Dynamic Multifunctional Materials for a Second Skin “D[MS]2” program.