Tuesday, July 23, 2024

BIG Wrap

Early findings from HERA telescope promise deeper understanding of the cosmic dawn

By Maria Rose, Massachusetts Institute of Technology All through history, humans have created and shared stories that ponder the creation of stars – what they are and how the first stars came to be. Now, with new results from the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), a radio telescope located at the South Africa Karoo Astronomy Reserve, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists are one small, but significant, step closer to understanding that history. HERA researchers are looking for...

Research shows that calorie restriction rewires metabolism, immunity for longer health span

By Pennington Biomedical Research Center Calorie restriction improves metabolic and immune responses that help determine both how long a person lives and how many years of good health they enjoy, a new study shows. "Two years of modest calorie restriction reprogrammed the pathways in fat cells that help regulate the way mitochondria generate energy, the body's anti-inflammatory responses, and potentially longevity," said Eric Ravussin, PhD, associate executive director for clinical science at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "In other words, calorie...

Partnership with Google speeds TAE’s pursuit of fusion power

A U.S. company is speeding up the path to practical fusion energy by using Google's vast computing power. By applying software that can improve on its own, TAE Technologies has cut down tasks that once took two months to just a few hours. Google has lent the firm its expertise in "machine learning" in order to help accelerate the timeline for fusion. Nuclear fusion promises a plentiful supply of low-carbon energy, using the same process that powers...

Cornell study links sense of ‘professionalism’ to unethical behaviour

By Stephen D'angelo, Cornell University Employees or managers who view themselves as professional are more vulnerable to unethical behaviour such as conflicts of interest, a new Cornell study finds. Safeguards from bias are more likely to fail in people with a high self-concept of professionalism, according to the study, "The Professionalism Paradox: Professionalism Increases Vulnerability to Conflicts of Interest," published in the journal Academy of Management Perspectives. "I noticed that many professional advisors, such as financial advisors and physicians, claim that...

555-carat ‘Enigma’ diamond fetches $4.3 million in auction

"The Enigma", the world's largest known cut diamond at 555 carats, went under the hammer in London today for US$4.3 million, having recently gone on display for the first time. The rare black, or carbanado, diamond is believed to have been created when a meteorite or an asteroid hit Earth more than 2.6 billion years ago, reports Phys.org. The 555.55 carat, 55-faced diamond reached $4.3 million, excluding the buyer's premium, at an online sale held by...

Ebola vaccine used in Congo produces lasting antibody response, study finds

By Brad Smith, University of California, Los Angeles A new study by UCLA researchers and colleagues demonstrates that the Ebola vaccine known as rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP results in a robust and enduring antibody response among vaccinated individuals in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo that are experiencing outbreaks of the disease. Among the more than 600 study participants, 95.6% demonstrated antibody persistence six months after they received the vaccine. The study is the first published research examining post–Ebola-vaccination...

Research team proposes laser-propelled trips to Mars and beyond

Could a laser send a spacecraft to Mars? That's a proposed mission from a group at McGill University, designed to meet a solicitation from NASA, reports Phys.org. The laser, a 10-metre-wide array on Earth, would heat hydrogen plasma in a chamber behind the spacecraft, producing thrust from hydrogen gas and sending it to Mars in only 45 days. There, it would aerobrake in Mars's atmosphere, shuttling supplies to human colonists or, someday perhaps, even humans themselves. In...

Porn sites will be legally required to verify age of users

Pornography websites will be legally required to verify the age of their users under new internet safety laws, reports the BBC. The legislation, which is part of the draft Online Safety Bill, is intended to give children better protection from explicit material. The measures, to ensure users are 18 or over, could see people asked to prove they own a credit card or confirm their age via a third-party service. Sites that fail to act could be...

MIT researchers test technical application of hypothetical central bank digital currency

In collaboration with a team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, MIT experts have begun designing and testing technical research through which further examination of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) can be performed in the U.S. The effort, known as Project Hamilton, is in an exploratory phase, and the research is not intended as a pilot or for public deployment. Instead, the researchers have explored two approaches that could be used to process...

Research on sea anemone venom could lead to therapeutic benefits

By Queensland University of Technology Queensland University of Technology PhD researcher Lauren Ashwood has studied sea anemones' venom makeup extensively, in particular, Telmatactis stephensoni a reef-based sea anemone that can grow from 8-10 cm. Ashwood found that this species produced different venoms for biological functions – defense, predation, and digestion – and that the toxins were located at sites that corresponded to their function. "Unlike snakes, which deliver their venom via fangs, T. stephensoni venom is a complex cocktail of...