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Old 20-10-2020, 02:30   #121
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Re: Science & Technology News

How China could be carbon neutral by mid-century
China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has promised to become carbon neutral before 2060, and to begin cutting its emissions within the next ten years.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d415...1894e-45020405
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Old 21-10-2020, 03:04   #122
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Re: Science & Technology News

Study shows that some microorganisms can bend the rules of evolution
The dominant thinking in evolution focuses on inheritance between parent and offspring - or 'vertical gene transfer (VGT)'. But now scientists are paying more attention to 'horizontal gene transfer (HGT)': the transmission of DNA other than from parent to offspring, as this transfer can tell us about the evolution of a number of other organisms such as bacteria. It can also help us to better understand antibiotic resistance.

“Horizontal gene transfer potentiates adaptation by reducing selective constraints on the spread of genetic variation” ~ by Laura C. Woods, et al
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2.../13/2005331117


Q: What does DNA stand for?
A: National Dyslexia Association.
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Old 21-10-2020, 05:18   #123
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Re: Science & Technology News

Americans, young and old, have lost 2.5 million years of life
Harvard geneticist Stephen Elledge calculated life expectancy, for more than 200,000 Americans, who have died of COVID-19, and made two surprising findings:
COVID-19 has cost Americans 2.5 million years of life (about as much as from six months of cancer deaths).
And roughly half that loss has come from people who died in middle age, not their waning years.
“2.5Million Person-Years of Life Have Been Lost Due to COVID-19 in the United States” ~ by Stephen J. Elledge
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1...783v1.full.pdf
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Old 22-10-2020, 03:42   #124
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Re: Science & Technology News

Lévy movements arise when the animal really has no clue
The nervous systems of foraging and predatory animals may prompt them to move along a special kind of random path called a Lévy walk to find food efficiently when no clues are available.
In neuroscience, the usual schema for considering behavior has it that the brain receives inputs, combines them with stored information, then decides what to do next. This corresponds to our own intuitions and experiences, because we humans are almost always responding to what we sense and remember.
But for many creatures, useful information isn’t always available, and for them something else may also be going on. When searching their environment, sharks and a diverse array of other species, now including fruit fly larvae, sometimes default to the same pattern of movement, a specific type of random motion called a Lévy walk. This shared trait hints that evolution may have equipped nervous systems to spontaneously generate a foundational movement pattern, a solution that works better than any other strategy for a blind search.
The idea has provoked debate across the fields of ecology and animal behavior for more than two decades. The work of Berni and Sims* now brings the phenomenon firmly into the realm of neuroscience and makes it hard to ignore the case for its importance.
Much more https://www.quantamagazine.org/rando...hunt-20200611/

* “Optimal searching behaviour generated intrinsically by the central pattern generator for locomotion” ~ by David W Sims et al
https://elifesciences.org/articles/50316


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Old 22-10-2020, 23:23   #125
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Re: Science & Technology News

Sure looks, anyway, like a good basis for the forerunner of navigation to me...
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Old 23-10-2020, 02:20   #126
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Re: Science & Technology News

Medieval Plagues & Covid-19
A team of statisticians, biologists and evolutionary geneticists pored over wills and testaments, parish registers, and the London Bills of Mortality to determine death rates during plague outbreaks in 14TH & 17TH century in London, England.
During the Black Death of 1348, which is estimated to have wiped out one-third of Europe's population, the doubling time was about six weeks.
By the time of the Great Plague in 1665, the doubling time was more like about a week and half.
Yersinia pestis, the pathogen that causes the plague, barely changed (genetically) over the centuries, and still gave rise to very different plague patterns, possibly due to growing population size and density, changing social structures, shifts in transmission mode (bubonic vs pneumonic) and environmental change, etc.
Knowing that the same pathogen can yield very different results, may be applicable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Acceleration of plague outbreaks in the second pandemic” ~ David J. D. Earn et al
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2.../13/2004904117
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Old 23-10-2020, 08:42   #127
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Re: Science & Technology News

Here's one for your list Gord:

The coronavirus could be messing with your pain perception — and that could help it spread

A Canadian researcher has found that the virus that causes COVID-19 can hijack a pain receptor on our cells, using it to get into the cell, but also blocking its ability to signal pain.

This could mean that the virus blocks the discomfort people would normally feel early in an infection, keeping them unaware that they're sick and spreading the disease.

"It was sort of a serendipitous discovery," pain researcher Rajesh Khanna told Bob McDonald of Quirks & Quarks. "We weren't really thinking of pain relief in the context of a virus, right? That sounds bizarre."

Khanna is a professor of pharmacology at the University of Arizona, and for several years he's been studying a protein called neuropilin that's found on the surface of many mammalian cells. His primary interest was investigating how neuropilin was involved in chronic pain.

https://journals.lww.com/pain/Abstra...pts.98244.aspx
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Old 25-10-2020, 04:44   #128
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Re: Science & Technology News

Cool Paint
Scientists, at Purdue University, have developed a white paint that reflects 95% of sunlight that falls on it, which can actually result in the surface it coats being cooler than the ambient air temperature (by about 1.7 C in their experiments). It contains particles of calcium carbonate (CaCO3, or chalk), that can reflect wavelengths of light other paints can't.
Previous versions of solar reflecting paints could reflect 80 to 90% of light, that falls on them.
“Full Daytime Sub-ambient Radiative Cooling in Commercial-like Paints with High Figure of Merit” ~ by Xiangyu Li et al
https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...368?via%3Dihub
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Old 25-10-2020, 06:28   #129
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Re: Science & Technology News

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Cool Paint
Scientists, at Purdue University, have developed a white paint that reflects 95% of sunlight that falls on it, which can actually result in the surface it coats being cooler than the ambient air temperature (by about 1.7 C in their experiments). It contains particles of calcium carbonate (CaCO3, or chalk), that can reflect wavelengths of light other paints can't.
Previous versions of solar reflecting paints could reflect 80 to 90% of light, that falls on them.
“Full Daytime Sub-ambient Radiative Cooling in Commercial-like Paints with High Figure of Merit” ~ by Xiangyu Li et al
https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...368?via%3Dihub
So nothing new then, the ancient Greeks and Romans already used chalk (CaCO3) to paint houses and keep the heat and bugs out and they still do today.
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Old 25-10-2020, 07:14   #130
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Re: Science & Technology News

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Cool Paint
Scientists, at Purdue University, have developed a white paint that reflects 95% of sunlight that falls on it...
And there's the Yin:
"Vantablack is a material developed by Surrey NanoSystems in the United Kingdom and is one of the darkest substances known, absorbing up to 99.965% of visible light
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vantablack


[Leave it to the Brits to come up with a way to soak up the last bit of refreshing sunlight in their environment]
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Old 27-10-2020, 03:23   #131
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Re: Science & Technology News

Study estimates exposure to air pollution increases COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide

Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 and, for the first time, a study has estimated the proportion of deaths from the coronavirus that could be attributed to the exacerbating effects of air pollution for every country in the world.
Poor air quality, especially from fine particulate matter with a diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5), is one of the leading risk factors, and responsible for many excess deaths.
The study, published in Cardiovascular Research today (Oct 26/20), estimated that about 15% of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. In Europe the proportion was about 19%, in North America it was 17%, and in East Asia about 27%.
Estimates for individual countries show, for example, that air pollution contributed to 29% of coronavirus deaths in the Czech Republic, 27% in China, 26% in Germany, 22% in Switzerland, 21% in Belgium, 19% in The Netherlands, 18% in France, 16% in Sweden, 15% in Italy, 14% in the UK, 12% in Brazil, 11% in Portugal, 8% in the Republic of Ireland, 6% in Israel, 3% in Australia and just 1% in New Zealand.

In their paper, the authors conclude:
"Our results suggest the potential for substantial benefits from reducing air pollution exposure, even at relatively low PM2.5 levels...

...A lesson from our environmental perspective of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the quest for effective policies to reduce anthropogenic emissions, which cause both air pollution and climate change, needs to be accelerated. The pandemic ends with the vaccination of the population or with herd immunity through extensive infection of the population. However, there are no vaccines against poor air quality and climate change. The remedy is to mitigate emissions. The transition to a green economy with clean, renewable energy sources will further both environmental and public health locally through improved air quality and globally by limiting climate change."

"Regional and global contributions of air pollution to risk of death from COVID-19" ~ by Andrea Pozzer et al.
https://academic.oup.com/cardiovascr...vaa288/5940460
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Old 29-10-2020, 04:27   #132
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Re: Science & Technology News

The dangers of overconfident experts
Wearing masks has become a symbol of people’s willingness to believe science and do the right thing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also symbolic of a troubling phenomenon that has occurred during the pandemic — the tendency of scientific experts to be overconfident and to ridicule non-experts, say forecaster Michael Story and psychologist Stuart Ritchie. Just a few months ago, scientists were telling people that wearing masks was ineffective and possibly dangerous. But what was once the expert view on masks is now considered misinformation. “It can be tempting to offer only certainty in times of crisis — but part of being an expert is knowing when to be uncertain,” Story and Ritchie write.
“How the experts messed up on Covid”
Why did all the major health authorities get it so wrong back in March?"

~ by Michael Story and Stuart Ritchie
Editorialhttps://unherd.com/2020/10/how-the-e...d-up-on-covid/

However:

Scientific measurements incorporate variability, and scientists report this as uncertainty, in an effort to share with others, the level of error that they found acceptable in their measurements.
Uncertainty is the quantitative estimation of error present in data; all measurements contain some uncertainty generated through systematic error and/or random error.
Acknowledging the uncertainty of data is an important component of reporting the results of scientific investigation. Unfortunately, this is not often (properly) reported, in the popular media.
Uncertainty is commonly misunderstood to mean that scientists are not certain of their results, but the term actually specifies the degree to which scientists are confident in their data.
Careful methodology can reduce uncertainty by correcting for systematic error and minimizing random error. However, uncertainty can never be reduced to zero.
Uncertainty in science does not imply doubt, as it does in everyday use. Scientific uncertainty is a quantitative measurement of variability in the data. In other words, uncertainty, in science, refers to the idea that all data have a range of expected values, as opposed to a precise point value.
Confidence statements do not, as some people believe, provide a measure of how "correct" a measurement is. Instead, a confidence statement describes the probability that a measurement range will overlap the mean value of a measurement when a study is repeated. Often, there is no "theoretically correct" value, but the confidence interval provides an estimate of the probability that a similar result will be found, if the study is repeated.
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:50   #133
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Re: Science & Technology News

Framing the debate over “restrictions” as a choice between public health and the economy is wrong, because, in the longer term, having uncontrolled spread mat be worse for the economy.
Approaches such as masking, and distancing should be thought of as "layers" of protection that are "worn" together and aren't replacements for one another. When most people wear masks, and people don’t closely congregate, everyone is protected, to some extent. Repeatedly, we've seen that haste to reopen the economy, has led to worse shutdowns.

Multiple measures boost Covid fight, study finds

Banning public events led to the greatest reduction in virus spread, but combined measures were more effective than any single restriction, the findings suggest.

Research, led by the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, investigated the effect of individual public health measures on virus transmission, as measured by the R number.

(R values above 1 indicate that the spread is worsening, while R rates below 1 indicate a slowing rate of transmission)

The least restrictive package of measures – bans on public events and on gatherings of more than ten people – reduced R by 29 per cent on day 28.

The most restrictive package, which included school and workplace closure, ban on public events and gatherings of more than ten people, limits on movement and a stay-at-home requirement, reduced the R rate by 52 per cent on day 28.
The study showed that there was a 24 % drop in the R within 28 days since public events were banned.
If gatherings of more than 10 people were banned as well, the R values dropped by 29 %.

Meanwhile other measures, such as workplace and school closures, bans on gatherings of more than ten, and calls for people to stay at home, were not effective on their own, but did deliver desired results when combined. The scientists found that the most effective package was also the most restrictive, and included school and workplace closure, ban on public events and gatherings of more than ten people, limits on movement and a stay-at-home requirement. This package delivered an R value reduction of 52 % in 28 days.

The authors also studied the effect of easing restrictions. They found an increase in R for reopening schools and lifting bans on public gatherings of more than ten people. Both were associated with an increase in R of around one quarter.

“The temporal association of introducing and lifting non-pharmaceutical interventions with the time-varying reproduction number (R) of SARS-CoV-2: a modelling study across 131 countries” ~ by You Li, et al
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/l...785-4/fulltext
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:21   #134
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Re: Science & Technology News

+1 (and much more) to GordMay, Mike and others here discussing the scientific facts.
The sad fact is that in spite of the progress in education and awareness, too many wouldn’t let themselves confused with the facts, not even ideology but mostly elect manipulative ‘show biz’ cheap headliners as their influencers.

Hope this forum can stay the moral compass for open, civilised fact-based discussion even from highly opinionated people (like me... )

To those at our yard; Happy Elections Day! - in fact, the results are critically important for the rest of the world.
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Old 03-11-2020, 06:53   #135
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Not long ago a fellow programmer told me that it is becoming usual for IT companies to make their own VOIP networks. Here is a nice article https://voximplant.com/blog/voice-over-ip-voip about types of VOIP, its advantages and disadvantages, and the best uses for VoIP.
About your own means of communication. About 3 months ago Mozilla's security experts analysed Discord and Zoom mobile apps. It turned out that they had serious security vulnerabilities. These apps didn't even suggest changing passwords when they were too simple (like "password123")
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