Monday, January 24, 2022

BIG Wrap

Pursuit of Alzheimer’s treatment has been misguided, study suggests

In her latest research paper, published in the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, Anne Robinson, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Chemical Engineering, explains why understanding the progression of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease, and its eventual treatment, is much more complex than researchers have previously thought. One in 10 Americans over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer's, rising to one in three in those over 80. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United...

Netflix stock plunges as concern over subscriber growth rises

Netflix delivered its latest quarter of disappointing subscriber growth during the final three months of last year, a trend that management foresees continuing into the new year as tougher competition undercuts the video streaming leader, Tech Xplore reports. The Los Gatos, California, company added 8.3 million subscribers worldwide during the October-December period, about 200,000 fewer than management had forecast. Besides releasing its fourth-quarter results Thursday, Netflix projected an increase of 2.5 million subscribers during the...

Threat of Russian-backed cyber attacks looms amid Ukraine tensions, Canada’s cybersecurity agency warns

Canada’s digital cybersecurity agency is warning the country’s “critical infrastructure” providers to be increasingly wary of attacks from Russia-backed hackers as tensions between the two countries increase over the threat of war in Ukraine, reports the National Post. Experts say those attacks could come in a range of forms, from a “widespread ransomware attack” to a “single, carefully focused” attempt to significantly affect core infrastructure. “Canada’s Cyber Centre ... is aware of foreign cyber threat activities, including...

Study finds rationality declined decades ago

Scientists from Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and Indiana University have discovered that the increasing irrelevance of factual truth in public discourse is part of a groundswell trend that started decades ago. While the current "post-truth era" has taken many by surprise, the study shows that over the past 40 years, public interest has undergone an accelerating shift from the collective to the individual, and from rationality toward emotion. Analyzing language from millions of books, the researchers...

Fourth vaccine dose shows limited results against Omicron – Israeli study

An Israeli hospital today said preliminary research indicates a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine provides only limited defence against the Omicron variant, reports Medical Xpress. Sheba Hospital last month began administering a fourth vaccine dose to 274 medical workers – 154 who received a Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine and 120 others who received Moderna's. All had previously been vaccinated three times with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. The clinical trial found that both groups showed increases in...

Bored people more likely to crush maggots and hurt others, research suggests

A team of researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark has found evidence that suggests feeling bored can be a factor in setting off sadistic behaviour, reports Medical Xpress. In their paper published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, the group describes their review of nine unique studies they looked at that involved the study of sadistic behaviour by people in different settings and what they found by doing so. Prior...

Ash hinders Tonga response following eruption felt around the world

The tsunami threat around the Pacific from a huge undersea volcanic eruption receded on Sunday, but a massive ash cloud covering the tiny island nation of Tonga prevented surveillance flights from New Zealand from assessing the extent of damage, reports Aljazeera. Satellite images showed the spectacular eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that took place on Saturday with a plume of ash, steam, and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters. A sonic...

Ransomware gang REvil dismantled, reports Russian intelligence bureau

Authorities in Russia say they have dismantled the ransomware crime group REvil, and charged several of its members, the BBC reports. The United States had offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the gang members, following ransomware attacks. Russia's intelligence bureau FSB said the group had "ceased to exist". However, it does not appear that any Russian members of the gang will be extradited to the U.S. The agency said it had acted...

Boston poop signals that Omicron may have peaked

More than 20,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported each day on average in Massachusetts for the past week. But in the bowels of Boston, there is a hint that the Omicron-fueled surge may be on the verge of decline. That glimmer of hope comes from an unlikely place: wastewater. The coronavirus levels detected in samples from the Deer Island water treatment plant, which processes wastewater from communities around Boston and eastern Massachusetts, show a steep drop...

This just in – black hole devours star … decades ago

Every galaxy, including our Milky Way, has at its centre a massive black hole whose gravity influences the stars around it. Generally, the stars orbit around the black hole without incident, but sometimes a star will wander a little too close, and the black hole will "make a meal" of the star in a process astrophysicists have termed spaghettification. "Gravity around the black hole will shred these unlucky stars, causing them to be squeezed into...