Sunday, December 5, 2021

BIG Wrap

Researchers examine regret from social media use

It started as a desire to spend less time on social media. Hyunsung Cho, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, noticed she was spending more and more time looking at apps including Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. She would initially open the app with a purpose such as messaging a friend or scrolling through posts of accounts she follows. "But sometimes I would get sucked into this randomly recommended content," Cho said....

Oh, baby – that is funny!

Young children's ability to laugh and make jokes has been mapped by age for the first time using data from a study involving nearly 700 children from birth to 4 years of age, from around the world. The findings, led by University of Bristol researchers and published in Behavior Research Methods, identifies the earliest age humour emerges and how it typically builds in the first years of life. Researchers from Bristol's School of Education sought...

Lung autopsies of COVID-19 patients may offer treatment clues

Lung autopsy and plasma samples from people who died of COVID-19 have provided a clearer picture of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads and damages lung tissue, Medical Xpress reports. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health and their collaborators say the information, published in Science Translational Medicine, could help predict severe and prolonged COVID-19 cases, particularly among high-risk people, and inform effective treatments. Although the study was small – lung samples from 18 cases and plasma samples from six of...

Study indicates that ‘volcanic winter’ likely contributed to ecological catastrophe 250 million years ago

A team of scientists has identified an additional force that likely contributed to a mass extinction event 250 million years ago. Its analysis of minerals in southern China indicate that volcano eruptions produced a "volcanic winter" that drastically lowered earth's temperatures – a change that added to the environmental effects resulting from other phenomena at the time, reports Phys.org. The research, which appears in the journal Science Advances, examined the end-Permian mass extinction (EPME), which was...

Physicists provide theory on engineering non-reciprocal flows of quantum light and matter

Two theoretical physicists, Charles Downing from the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) and David Zueco from the University of Zaragoza (Spain), have developed a quantum theory explaining how to engineer non-reciprocal flows of quantum light and matter. The research may be important for the creation of quantum technologies which require the directional transfer of energy and information at small scales. Reciprocity, going the same way backward as forward, is a ubiquitous concept in physics....

Second patient identified as having apparently achieved ‘sterilizing cure’ of HIV

During infection, HIV places copies of its genome into the DNA of cells, creating what is known as a viral reservoir. In this state, the virus effectively hides from anti-HIV drugs and the body's immune response. In most people, new viral particles are constantly made from this reservoir. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) can prevent the new viruses from being made but cannot eliminate the reservoir, necessitating daily treatment to suppress the virus. Some people, known...

New findings about naturally acquired malaria immunity could lead to more effective vaccines

Despite scientists all over the globe working to better understand malaria, about a half-million children in Africa die from the parasite each year. However, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have taken a significant step by finding an important difference between naturally acquired immunity and immunity following vaccination. "The antibodies which the body produces when you have been infected with malaria look different from those produced by the body when you have been vaccinated. And...

SpaceX adds 53 satellites to its constellation

SpaceX expanded its constellation of low Earth orbit satellites on Saturday with the launch of 53 Starlink satellites from Florida, reports Phys.org. A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 7:19 a.m. EST and deployed the satellites about 16 minutes after launch. The rocket's reusable first stage, which has been used for multiple launches, including the first crewed test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, successfully returned and landed on...

50 years after pledge to defeat cancer, U.S. sees progress in most but increases in some

Since 1971, when the U.S. government made defeating cancer a goal and put major funding behind it, death rates for many cancers have plummeted, but some are increasing, according to a new American Cancer Society report. Death rates for all cancers combined have declined since passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, according to the report. For example, in 2019, deaths from lung cancer were down 44% from the 1993 peak. But death rates were higher than...

Quantum leap – researchers perform first simulation of baryons

A team of researchers led by an Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) faculty member performed the first-ever simulation of baryons – fundamental quantum particles – on a quantum computer. With the results, the team has taken a step toward more complex quantum simulations that will allow scientists to study neutron stars, learn more about the earliest moments of the universe, and realize the revolutionary potential of quantum computers. "Instead of smashing particles in an...