As the world anxiously awaits development of one or more vaccines to tame the SARS-CoV-2 virus, other research continues at a feverish pace to find effective treatments for the disease it causes, COVID-19. That work, in which physicists and chemists are deeply involved, has made significant strides in the past several months and has turned up a few surprises.Researchers at the University of Alberta reported at the August virtual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association that a dipeptide-based protease inhibitor used to treat a fatal coronavirus infection in cats also blocks replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in samples of monkey lung tissue. Joanne Lemieux, a biochemist at the university, says the antiviral, known as GC373, works by blocking the function of the main protease (Mpro), an enzyme that cleaves the polyproteins translated from viral RNA into individual proteins once it enters human cells.
Lemieux says GC373 has been shown to have no toxic effects in cats. Anivive, a California company that develops pet medicines, has applied for US Food and Drug Administration approval to begin trials in humans. Lemieux’s group crystallized the Mpro in combination with the drug and produced three-dimensional images of how the drug binds strongly to the active pocket on the enzyme. Although GC373 should be effective in its current form, the group is planning further crystallography experiments at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and the Canadian Light Source to see if a reformulation could optimize it for human use, she says.
Scientists have found new evidence that Earth has been moving through the remains of exploded stars for at least the last 33,000 years.
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Australian researchers describe how they extracted a special isotope of iron called iron-60 from five deep-sea sediment samples using mass spectrometry.
That’s illuminating, because as the researchers wrote in their paper, the isotope is “predominantly produced in massive stars and ejected in supernova explosions.” In other words, iron-60 is left over after a star explodes.
And because iron-60 is radioactive and decays in 15 million years, the theory is that our planet is continuously being dusted with the stuff as it’s moving through the “Local Interstellar Cloud,” a region of unclear origins made up of gas, dust, and plasma.
Topics: Lasers, Optics, Plasma, Research, Star Trek, Star Wars
In science fiction, firing powerful lasers looks easy — the Death Star can just send destructive power hurtling through space as a tight beam. But in reality, once a powerful laser has been fired, care must be taken to ensure it doesn’t get spread too thin.
If you’ve ever pointed a flashlight at a wall, you’ve observed an example of the diffusion of light. The farther you are from the wall, the more the beam spreads, resulting in a larger and dimmer spot of light. Lasers generally expand much more slowly than the beams from flashlights, but the effect of diffusion is important when the laser travels a long way or must maintain a high intensity.
Whether your goal is to achieve galactic domination or, more realistically, to accelerate electrons to incredible speeds for physics research, you’ll want as tight and powerful a beam as possible to maximize the intensity.
In their experiments, researchers can use devices called waveguides, like the optical fibers that might be carrying the internet throughout your neighborhood, to transport lasers while keeping them contained to narrow beams.
Topics: COVID-19, Materials Science, Optics, Photonics, Research
From chemistry to materials science to COVID-19 research, the APS is one of the most productive X-ray light sources in the world. An upgrade will make it a global leader among the next generation of light sources, opening new frontiers in science.
In the almost 25 years since the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, first opened at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, it has played an essential role in some of the most pivotal discoveries and advancements in science.
More than 5,000 researchers from around the world conduct experiments at the APS every year, and their work has, among many other notable successes, paved the way for better renewable batteries; resulted in the development of numerous new drugs; and helped to make vehicles more efficient, infrastructure materials stronger and electronics more powerful.
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
Entropy as Time’s Arrow: “One of the ideas involved in the concept of entropy is that nature tends from order to disorder in isolated systems.”Hyperphysics
The Senate Intelligence Committees’ bipartisan report confirming Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that Putin’s puppet; his coterie lied in official testimony to Congress and the Mueller Report should be a damning indictment to a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party with a doofus, bizarro mob boss at its helm. You should download both documents and READ them.
Crimes-in-progress is being confessed to on camera, and in real time. You likely think a guilty person wouldn’t confess to a crime he’s committing, but a brazen criminal unburdened by guilt or a conscious would, and say you shouldn’t believe your “lying eyes,” or “fake news.” Jeb Bush said “he was a chaos candidate, and he’ll be a chaos president.” Orange Satan asked African Americans “what the hell do you have to lose?” That hypothesis, as said at the end of a proof, has clearly been shown – healthcare during a pandemic, jobs, the post office: QED.
As a nation and a world, we are all in an abusive relationship with someone that has no real relationship with facts, data, or reality. We’re being gaslighted by a narcissist, whose puppeteer is a KGB agent. His ascension was by design. Trigger warning for what follows:
A lot of the links above are about interpersonal relationships with typically women and their narcissistic partners. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gained significant steam after the “American Carnage” speech at his pitifully-attended inauguration, which turned out to be both projection and promise.
As a country and world, we are all in a wearing, abusive relationship with the current occupant/Russian asset in the Oval Office. It is not hyperbole or hubris to state this election is not just for the “soul of America,” but for the very existence of the species.
Whoever is in the next administration in America will have impact on policies regarding climate change (this is still a thing). Concerning the deregulation of the fossil fuel industry during our current dystopian nightmare, under a second term (or, a lifetime according to Orange Satan), it can only exacerbate a precarious situation, magical thinking may create rainbows, and conspiracy theories make you feel smart, but neither has ever solved a problem relying on a knowledge and appreciation of The Scientific Method. Can you see QAnon in Starfleet? Do you want thesepeople piloting your starship?
“Putin’s thesis is that the American constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged in the right way from within,” Mitchell continued. “Putin wants to break apart the American republic not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault lines within our society. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term response to the problem.” The problem Mitchell was describing has a kind of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose quality to it as far as Putin is concerned: Not only has the Russian leader tried to exploit political polarization over issues like race and guns, his attempts to do so have themselves become deeply divisive—to the point where even Trump’s advisers frequently find themselves at odds with the man they serve.
Part of Mitchell’s argument—which might be viewed favorably by a president who has taken particular umbrage at the notion that Putin sought to help him defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race—was that the Russian government isn’t necessarily interested in supporting a specific politician, party, or ideology. Instead, it simply wants to sow chaos in the United States to advance its own goals, which it sees as threatened by America’s preeminent position in the world. Mitchell cited the revelations on Tuesday that suspected Russian government hackers have been targeting conservative U.S. think tanks and promoting “fringe voices” on both the left and the right on social-media sites like Facebook.
This is the metastasis of “The Southern Strategy” a rancid, racist tactic that was birthed on the heels of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. It was and is a desperate bid for power. It predates itself as the definition of “white” changed from excluding everyone except “Nordic stock” Europeans (the English, mostly) to eventually including the previously excluded: Italians, Jews [and ironically] Russians all had tiny quotas. The resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the nascent eugenics movement in the United States fueled and influenced immigration policy in the earlier part of the last century. Admittedly, despite its reprehensible aims, it worked remarkably well for quite a while.
A president with decidedly African features, he and his wife both educated at Ivy League schools and a pitch-perfect family did not personify the fictional “Huxtables” before the fall of Mr. Cosby to their many detractors. The continual reminder that the country is becoming browner only ignited more fear and resolve to fight a demographic shift not in their favor of continual predominance circa 2042 – 2045. Their resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue transmitted a well-worn, white supremacist trope regarding farmland in South Africa (it’s returning the farmland to their original, African owners), but he needs a distraction since his former campaign manager and former personal lawyer were both found guilty on a total of 16 felony counts in a matter of minutes. Their visceral reaction to them was an existential crisis, a call to arms; a “white genocide,” ironically feared by the descendants of those that caused it well before the “Trail of Tears” for Native Americans. It caused Roger Ailes to see the power of televised propaganda and cater to an audience that were well past facts post the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of listening to Rush Limbaugh on AM Talk Radio and his “ditto head” clones; well past reasoned discourse before Twitter came online. What facts can be revealed are rebuffed by an avalanche of lies, there are no “gotchas” for a party that with the help of Karl Rove started “creating their own realities” a long time ago. A sizable chunk of the electorate has been in this “post-truth” Twilight Zone for decades.
This is what the “end of the American experiment” would look like. Foreign nations would pick our leaders. If republicans can visit Moscow July 4, 2018, before the midterm elections, what would prevent democrats from visiting Beijing summer of 2022? Could we protest in the streets, or dissent from the state on systemic racism during a pandemic without getting tear gassed, flash bombed, rubber bullets shot at our heads, or kidnapped in unmarked cars? Would we see poisonings, or people spontaneously “falling off buildings?” Would AG Bill Barr rescue the rule of law? Would VOTING matter?
That’s the essence of the somber warning President Obama gave Wednesday night, and this is an example of what a sham democracy would be like. Democracies that fail do so slowly – behind the scenes – the rapid fall only seems quick when it’s all over. Russia, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein have “elections,” but they’re fraudulent shows at gunpoint for a despot, thus ensuring high participation numbers in both totalitarian states. NO ONE represents the Russian people. They are ruled by a junta, led by a criminal sociopath. We are barely represented here. We have the nightmare choices of a marginally functional party and a dystopian, dysfunctional one led by a psychopath.
The bedrock of democracy, “an informed citizenry” would cease to exist: we would put in earbuds to jam out, or binge-watch streaming video and “mind our own business.”
Engaged citizens protesting racism during a pandemic looks like anarchy to tyranny.
Fearful, self-centered citizens are what authoritarian regimes crave and need: apathy.
All they needed was a useful idiot avatar, and a master spy to push the republic over the precipice. Ironically, if successful, the 2nd Amendment along with all others in a theoretical fall of our republic would become meaningless as in Russia, there is no right to bear arms that “former Americans” would recognize or appreciate. The imagined confiscation by government “jackbooted thugs” may be under the flag of a foreign power that duped the gullible:
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Topics: Applied Physics, Optics, Women in Science, X-rays
In February 1896 Sarah Frances Whiting, founder of the physics and astronomy departments at Wellesley College, conducted a series of x-ray experiments. She was working only a few weeks after the public announcement of Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of the rays, and she was not alone; amateur and professional scientists at colleges, universities, and medical centers across the US were attempting to replicate and extend Röntgen’s results. But Whiting (see figure 1), who enlisted the assistance of a Wellesley colleague and several students, was among the first to do so successfully. Even more importantly, Whiting was the first woman—and almost certainly the first person, male or female—to do so in an undergraduate laboratory. Her original glass plates from the experiments do not survive, but 15 photographs printed from them (see the opening image of one such photo above) were recently rediscovered in a campus building slated for demolition. They provide a vivid reminder of Whiting’s success.
The x-ray experiments were only one instance in which Whiting drew on her keen engagement with contemporary scientific advances to offer her students an experience available to few undergraduates at the time, and to almost no women. Throughout her long career, Whiting introduced thousands of women to physics and astronomy, both fields then associated almost entirely with men. Her pedagogical efforts led many of her female students to pursue their own careers in the sciences.
A new design for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) developed by a team including scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may hold the key to overcoming a long-standing limitation in the light sources’ efficiency. The concept, demonstrated with microscopic LEDs in the lab, achieves a dramatic increase in brightness as well as the ability to create laser light — all characteristics that could make it valuable in a range of large-scale and miniaturized applications.
The team, which also includes scientists from the University of Maryland, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, detailed its work in a paper published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. Their device shows an increase in brightness of 100 to 1,000 times over conventional tiny, submicron-sized LED designs.
B. Nikoobakht, R.P. Hansen, Y. Zong, A. Agrawal, M. Shur and J. Tersoff. High-brightness lasing at submicrometer enabled by droop-free fin light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Science Advances. August 14, 2020. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba4346
Topics: COVID-19, High Energy Physics, Neutrons, Particle Physics
Advanced neutron facilities such as the Institut Laue-Langevin are gearing up to enable a deeper understanding of the structural workings of SARS-CoV-2.
The global scientific community has mobilized at an unprecedented rate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, beyond just pharmaceutical and medical researchers. The world’s most powerful analytical tools, including neutron sources, harbor the unique ability to reveal the invisible, structural workings of the virus – which will be essential to developing effective treatments. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, researchers worldwide have been using large-scale research infrastructures such as synchrotron X-ray radiation sources (CERN Courier May/June 2020 p29), as well as cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facilities, to determine the 3D structures of proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which can lead to COVID-19 respiratory disease, and to identify potential drugs that can bind to these proteins in order to disable the viral machinery. This effort has already delivered a large number of structures and increased our understanding of what potential drug candidates might look like in a remarkably short amount of time, with the number increasing each week.
Topics: Black Holes, Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Superconductors, Theoretical Physics
Even by the standards of quantum physicists, strange metals are just plain odd. The materials are related to high-temperature superconductors and have surprising connections to the properties of black holes. Electrons in strange metals dissipate energy as fast as they’re allowed to under the laws of quantum mechanics, and the electrical resistivity of a strange metal, unlike that of ordinary metals, is proportional to the temperature.
Generating a theoretical understanding of strange metals is one of the biggest challenges in condensed matter physics. Now, using cutting-edge computational techniques, researchers from the Flatiron Institute in New York City and Cornell University have solved the first robust theoretical model of strange metals. The work reveals that strange metals are a new state of matter, the researchers report July 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The fact that we call them strange metals should tell you how well we understand them,” says study co-author Olivier Parcollet, a senior research scientist at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Quantum Physics (CCQ). “Strange metals share remarkable properties with black holes, opening exciting new directions for theoretical physics.”
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
Farmers feed their pigs slop, a messy, wet mix of various leftovers—and when they do, they can say they slop the pigs. A derogatory way to talk about food that doesn’t look very tasty is to call it slop. And you can call sticky, overly sentimental music, writing, or films slop as well. Source: Vocabulary.com
When President Obama used an executive order for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), that was considered constitutional overreach and tyranny from the executive branch. That was likely the executive at the time and the children in question are both brown. This was due to the GOP-dominated congress not passing a DREAMS Act for those same children’s path to citizenship. Immigration reform used to be a thing with republicans: Saint Ronald Reagan made a whole bunch of illegal immigrants citizens, and that might have contributed to the high numbers his republican successor, George W. Bush enjoyed for his 2004 reelection. That compassionate conservatism advantage has been dwindling ever since, at least until our current moment of discontent.
Ben Sasse called Orange Satan’s executive orders unconstitutional slop, which it is. His clap back to the middle school mean-girl tweetstorm from Mango Mussolini is an admittance: “I don’t need you to get reelected, you need me.” He like a lot of other republican senators had their constitutional duty to remove a criminal from office. They are the beneficiaries of Jim Crow, the Southern Strategy, Voter Purging and Suppression. They shirked it because they are criminals themselves. Conditional integrity is still cowardice.
HuffPost senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked the president during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing if, after 3½ years, “do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people? All the dishonesties?”
We have a view of history that fascism doesn’t need competency. Hitler was quite literally a shit show, and the mythology of Nazi efficiency is…just that.
It’s poignant that Senator Kamala Harris is African Diaspora through her Jamaican father and Indian Diaspora through her mother – both immigrants who met in Oakland, California where she and her sister were born as American citizens. Both marched and shouted for Civil Rights for all its citizens, especially their daughters, as civil rights have never had a hue simply for and of humans. America, India, Germany have had and have caste systems that assign portions of humanity to either the apex of the pyramid where all riches are siphoned to, or the base where all the weight of society crushes pariahs beneath it. She’s a woman that self-identifies with black culture through her HBCU – Howard University and her Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She married another human that happens to be of European descent. She is above all, an earthling, and Oakland isn’t a crater on Mars. Her fraternity brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – found himself in an inflection of revelation.
In 1935, Nazi Germany passed two radically discriminatory pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. Together, these were known as the Nuremberg Laws, and they laid the legal groundwork for the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust and World War II.
When the Nazis set out to legally disenfranchise and discriminate against Jewish citizens, they weren’t just coming up with ideas out of thin air. They closely studied the laws of another country. According to James Q. Whitman, author of Hitler’s American Model, that country was the United States.
“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” says Whitman, who is a professor at Yale Law School. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”
In particular, Nazis admired the Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against black Americans and segregated them from white Americans, and they debated whether to introduce similar segregation in Germany.
Yet they ultimately decided that it wouldn’t go far enough.
Fascism, like its cousin racism, doesn’t need rationality over “us” and “them.” It allows one group to dominate another without guilt, or blame for the consequences. It allows you to long for mythological glory times where Germany and America were “great again.”
Fascism in Germany or America just needed enablers, and frankly, intellectuals that underestimate how a cornered animal – hog, rodent or narcissist – is its most dangerous and cunning when it figures it’s going to die in prison and has nothing – other than its freedom – to lose.