City-Sized, Secure Quantum Network…

Physicists Create City-Sized Ultrasecure Quantum Network
Quantum physics experiment has demonstrated an important step toward achieving quantum cryptography among many users, an essential requirement for a secure quantum Internet. Credit: ÖAW and Klaus Pichler Getty Images

Topics: Cryptography, Futurism, Internet of Things, Modern Physics, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics

Quantum cryptography promises a future in which computers communicate with one another over ultrasecure links using the razzle-dazzle of quantum physics. But scaling up the breakthroughs in research labs to networks with a large number of nodes has proved difficult. Now an international team of researchers has built a scalable city-wide quantum network to share keys for encrypting messages.

The network can grow in size without incurring an unreasonable escalation in the costs of expensive quantum hardware. Also, this system does not require any node to be trustworthy, thus removing any security-sapping weak links.

“We have tested it both in the laboratory and in deployed fibers across the city of Bristol” in England, says Siddarth Koduru Joshi of the University of Bristol. He and his colleagues demonstrated their ideas using a quantum network with eight nodes in which the most distant nodes were 17 kilometers apart, as measured by the length of the optical fiber connecting them. The team’s findings appeared in Science Advances on September 2.

Physicists Create City-Sized Ultrasecure Quantum Network, Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American

Color Coding…

Ruha Benjamin
Ruha Benjamin was the featured speaker on the DoSER webinar “Race to the Future? Values and Vision in the Design of Technology and Society.” | courtesy Ruha Benjamin

Topics: African Americans, African Studies, Futurism, Sociology

Technology is not unbiased, according to a scholar investigating the phenomenon of technological racism. As people recognize the embedded biases within technology, the growing and multifaceted tech justice movement is working to counter these biases, added the scholar.

Ruha Benjamin, a sociologist and professor of African American studies at Princeton University whose work explores the social dimensions of science, technology and medicine, spoke during the “Race to the Future? Values and Vision in the Design of Technology and Society” webinar hosted on Aug. 13 by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program. DoSER facilitates dialogue between scientific and religious communities by hosting symposia and lectures on topics at the interface of science, ethics, and religion; training and supporting scientists on engagement with faith communities; and helping seminaries integrate science into their core curricula.

Webinar viewers were invited to consider which prejudices and values are incorporated into technologies such as search engines and AI algorithms, and to identify methods to dismantle technological racism.

Technology is often spoken about as if it were a force separate from human influence, Benjamin said. Yet “human beings are behind the screen: our values, our ideologies, our biases and assumptions.”

Benjamin also pointed out that the biases extend beyond individuals to the systems as a whole and the historical data inputted into the machines. Much in the way that racism exists in legal, educational and health systems, it also becomes codified in computer systems, she said. For instance, searching for images of “professional hairstyles” and “unprofessional hairstyles” on Google brings up results that equate naturally Black hair with a lack of professionalism – search results that echo real-life biases, she said.

Technology’s Built-In Machine Bias Reflects Racism, Scholar Says, Andrea Korte, AAAS

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc…

Frazz - fz170507comb_ts.tif
Image from GoComics.com and SpaceAndTime.com

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Public-opinion polling shows that Trump’s low opinion of American elections has practically become Republican Party orthodoxy. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Republicans have an “unprecedented” level of “concern and mistrust in the system.” Roughly 70 percent of Republican voters believe that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, it’ll be due to fraud. In both this poll and an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, only half of Republicans say they’d accept a Clinton victory. (In the latter poll, by contrast, 82 percent of Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory.)

This suspicious Republican electorate is joined by growing ranks of conservative politicians, pundits, and intellectuals. They’re all increasingly willing to say that the existing American political system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be rolled back to the days before blacks and women could vote. On the most obvious level, this can be seen in moves by Republican governors all over America to make voting more difficult, through stringent voting ID laws, new hurdles to registration, and the curtailment of early-voting options. Equally significant has been the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act by conservative Supreme Court justices in the 2013 Shelby Country v. Holder ruling.

Suspicion of the democratic system is so pervasive on the right because it’s driven by the fear that white Christian America is facing demographic doom. The evidence is right there in the election results: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and if current polling trends hold, the GOP will be batting one for seven when the results come in on November 8. Thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans may hold on to a U.S. House majority for a while, and they’ll remain competitive in state capitols in the near future. But a whites-only party can’t win national elections. And over time, the GOP’s congressional and state fortresses will crumble if the party doesn’t change dramatically. Or if the democratic system doesn’t change dramatically.

The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy, Jeet Heer, The New Republic, October 24, 2016

The 2008 electorate was on-record as the youngest and most diverse in Pew Research history. It’s why I think the right had a visceral reaction to President Barack Obama. He was the seventh African American to run for president in the modern era, and the first one to actually win. The trial balloon of a “post-racial” society was floated (see? We’re not racist, you finally have a negro president). The 2012 re-election sent them over a cliff of brief self-reflection with the post election GOP Autopsy, officially the Opportunity and Growth Project. That revelation was short-lived, and with past indicative revelations as prologue, quite reasonable and sane. State media/Fox propaganda and other conservative outlets couldn’t help themselves. The faux “controversies” from Michelle Obama’s bare arms (but not Melania Trump’s bare behind), Grey Poupon mustard on hot dogs and tan suits seems delirious, hilarious and deranged. It was a parade of the insane.

There is a pro and con to whether racism qualifies as a mental disorder. To those recipient of its attacks and largesse, it seems to fit the bill. I was the victim of a “Zoom bombing” recently, pornographic materials and the n-word repeated to an online crowd of African Americans in a Sunday School meeting studying the Book of James: We’d lean “pro.”

This demographics time bomb was set off by the aftermath of 1865: no longer having free slave labor, many legal machinations were attempted to re-enslave previously free African Americans using vagrancy laws, see “Slavery By Another Name,” by Douglas A. Blackmon. The American Prison System exploits a loophole in the 13th Amendment: anyone arrested by the system – state, federal or for-profit – according to The Constitution is technically a slave of the state. We have Asian citizens because Chinese immigrants were imported to replace freed slaves on plantations. ICE likes to raid Hispanics/Latinos at food processing plants, but are missing the bonanza of brown targets at home builders, who probably couldn’t offer their great home prices without company owners paying undocumented immigrants cash off-the-books, so as not to incur tax liabilities. Not a single home builder for example, has done a perp walk.

*****

Excerpt from “Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice,” (August 1, 1994) Claude Anderson, Ed. D., Chapter 2: Power and Black Progress:

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled: Numerical Population Power 

In a democratic society, the numerical majority wins, rules and decides. The theoretical rights of a minority, may or may not be respected, especially if they are a planned minority. Numerical population power is the power that comes to those groups that acquire power through their sheer size. The black population peaked in the 1750s when slaves and free blacks accounted for approximately 33 percent of the total population. The high numerical strength of blacks caused fear and concern among whites. They feared the loss of their own numerical power. Word of black Haitians successful slave revolt in the 1790s had spread across America and reportedly ignited several slave revolts in Southern states.

The First U.S. Congress enacted the first naturalization law that declared America to be a nation for “whites only.” The naturalization act and other income incentives attracted a mass influx of legal and illegal European ethnics, followed by Asian and Hispanic immigrants a century later. The immigration quota for blacks remained zero until their total percentage of the population declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured its dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins.

 Source: Sample chapter

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (Latin): after this, therefore because of this. It is an informal fallacy, meaning the fallacy originates in an error of reasoning rather than a flaw in the logical form of the argument. (Wikipedia) So, what WAS the original “argument”?

American mythology teaches that the early United States was founded by men of conscience who came to the “new world” in order to practice their religious convictions in peace and freedom. John Winthrop (1588–1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in particular has been quoted as a source of inspiration by U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.

Yet Winthrop did not represent a tradition of either democracy or religious tolerance. He hated democracy with a passion. The state he created did not hesitate to execute people like the Quakers and even brought to the “new” world the very popular tradition of medieval Europe, the trial and execution of witches.

“A Shining City on a Hill”: Troubling information about a famous quote. The Puritan tradition of intolerance and John Winthrop, World Future Fund

We’ve taken The Constitution, our founding document, through historical apotheosis. Strict constructionists will say it is without flaw, and we should look for “original intent”; “breathing document” aficionados want constant change and continuous improvement, ever-becoming a “more perfect union.”

The story we tell ourselves becomes muddled over time. This is similar to the game of “telephone,” where my teacher whispered instructions to the first student in a line of fifth graders from a 3 x 5 index card. Twenty-students deep, what we said and the meaning of what they said has irrevocably changed, similarly through essentially a 232-year relay.

We are here from Crispus Attucks to George Floyd, from sacrifices in revolts from England to knees-on-necks, no-knock raids and killing teenagers carrying Arizona Tea and a bag of Skittles. We are here from Manifest Destiny, Trail of Tears, Black Wall Street-like genocides to Coronavirus pandemic. We are here because the original story of this country has become horribly distorted. That’s not to say the original picture was perfect. For this republic’s continuance, we desperately need to be honest with ourselves.

We’re here because the country was based on slavery: the wealth of the nation built on the backs of free, uncompensated, kidnapped-from-Africa labor for generations.

We’re here because those persons were described as a fraction, 3/5th’s, and their children sold away as so much cattle.

We’re here because the same slave owners defining us as inferior beings had unsolicited sex with us, siring Mulatto children in heterosexual rape of African women and “buck breaking” in homosexual encounters meant to emasculate African males in front of their females and families. Sally Hemings was not Thomas Jefferson’s “lover”: the relationship (or, the rape), started when she was fourteen. That is BY definition, pedophilia, and like all the aforementioned sexual acts above, sadistic.

We’re here because the slaves, nor their descendants received reparations for years of enslavement, murder and terrorism by the KKK, “sundown towns” requiring a Green Book to navigate around, and white citizen’s councils.

We’re here because such wealth exchange as reparations would dismantle the current biased system of white supremacy, and the reason it is opposed so strongly.

We’re here because to justify the system, this nation built-in mythologies of superiority and inferiority, socially-engineered the society to self-fulfill the delusion, and codified it into laws. African Americans can be prejudiced, but they cannot be racist. Racism = prejudice + political power; the ability to codify your hatred with the strength of judiciary. Hitler did not “overthrow” the Weimar Republic: he won election, seized control, and cloned Jim Crow on steroids in Europe, the only lesson the United States refuses to take ownership of.

We are here because unlike the logical fallacy: our current “this” is logically followed by the obvious “that.” For us to have a new tomorrow – “[Built] Back Better,” we’re going to have to admit the sins of the nation’s past, and in the vernacular of scripture: repent.

Oumuamua…

Mystery of Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua Gets Trickier
A 3D illustration of the interstellar object known as ‘Oumuamua. Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Astrophysics, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

‘Oumuamua—a mysterious, interstellar object that crashed through our solar system two years ago—might in fact be alien technology. That’s because an alternative, non-alien explanation might be fatally flawed, as a new study argues.

But most scientists think the idea that we spotted alien technology in our solar system is a long shot.

In 2018, our solar system ran into an object lost in interstellar space. The object, dubbed ‘Oumuamua, seemed to be long and thin—cigar-shaped—and tumbling end over end. Then, close observations showed it was accelerating, as if something were pushing on it. Scientists still aren’t sure why.

One explanation? The object was propelled by an alien machine, such as a lightsail—a wide, millimeter-thin machine that accelerates as it’s pushed by solar radiation. The main proponent of this argument was Avi Loeb, a Harvard University astrophysicist.

Most scientists, however, think ‘Oumuamua’s wonky acceleration was likely due to a natural phenomenon. In June, a research team proposed that solid hydrogen was blasting invisibly off the interstellar object’s surface and causing it to speed up. 

Now, in a new paper published Monday (Aug. 17) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Loeb and Thiem Hoang, an astrophysicist at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, argue that the hydrogen hypothesis couldn’t work in the real world—which would mean that there is still hope that our neck of space was once visited by advanced aliens—and that we actually spotted their presence at the time.

Here’s the problem with ‘Oumuamua: It moved like a comet, but didn’t have the classic coma, or tail, of a comet, said astrophysicist Darryl Seligman, an author of the solid hydrogen hypothesis, who is starting a postdoctoral fellowship in astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

Mystery of Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua Gets Trickier, Rafi Letzter, Live Science, Scientific American

Starliner…

The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT)
The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) is viewed Nov. 2, 2019, while undergoing launch preparations inside the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Credits: Boeing

Topics: NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

NASA and Boeing continue to make progress toward the company’s second uncrewed flight test of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft prior to flying astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Commercial Crew Program currently is targeting no earlier than December 2020 for launch of the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) pending hardware readiness, flight software qualification, and launch vehicle and space station manifest priorities.

Over the summer, Boeing’s Starliner team focused on readying the next spacecraft for its upcoming flight tests as well as making improvements identified during various review processes throughout the beginning of the year. NASA also announced an additional crew assignment for its first operational mission, NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1, with astronauts to the space station. Here’s more on the recent progress:

Starliner Progress

Teams from Boeing are well into final assembly of the crew and service modules that will fly OFT-2 to the space station inside of the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. OFT-2 will fly a new, reusable Starliner crew module providing additional on-orbit experience for the operational teams prior to flying missions with astronauts. For Boeing’s Commercial Crew missions, the Starliner spacecraft will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

With the majority of assembly complete, recent progress is focused on the NASA docking system re-entry cover, which was added to the design for additional protection of the system. The team also has completed the installation of the Starliner propellant heater, thermal protection system tiles and the air bags that will be used when the spacecraft touches down for landing. As final production activities continue to progress, the crew module recently entered acceptance testing, which will prove out the systems on the spacecraft before it’s mated with its service module.

Boeing’s Starliner Makes Progress Ahead of Flight Test with Astronauts, NASA

Graphene Currents…

A picture of an electrical current in graphene (marked by the red outline) showing a fluid-like flow imaged using a diamond-based quantum sensor. The grey portion is where the metal electrical contacts prevented collection of data. Courtesy: Walsworth and Yacoby research groups, Harvard and University of Maryland

Topics: Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics, Semiconductor Technology

A team led by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Maryland in the US has used defects in diamond to map the magnetic field generated by electrical currents in graphene. Their experiments reveal that currents in this atomically-thin form of carbon flow like a viscous fluid – a result that could provide fresh insights into the collective behavior of electrons in strongly-interacting quantum systems.

Graphene has many exceptional electrical properties. Among them is the fact that, at the point where its conduction and valence bands just touch each other (the Dirac point), it can support currents composed of electrons and an equal number of positively-charged holes, rather than electrons alone. In the present work, Ronald WalsworthAmir Yacoby and colleagues set out to establish whether these electron-hole plasmas (or Dirac fluids, as they are also known) flow smoothly, like electrons travelling through a metallic wire, or unevenly like water running through a pipe.

Diamond defects reveal viscous currents in graphene, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Fit…

A person wears an exoskeleton and 3D-printed knee apparatus fashioned with reflective markers.
Reflective markers are attached to blue 3D-printed apparatus above and below the user’s knee as well as two metal plates on the exoskeleton leg. Researchers track and compare the movement of the markers to gain insight into how well the exoskeletons fit. In this composite photo, the bottom plate has been added after the original image was taken to show the entire configuration.
Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

Topics: Applied Physics, NIST, Research, Robotics

A shoddily tailored suit or a shrunken T-shirt may not be the most stylish, but wearing them is unlikely to hurt more than your reputation. An ill-fitting robotic exoskeleton on the battlefield or factory floor, however, could be a much bigger problem than a fashion faux pas. 

Exoskeletons, many of which are powered by springs or motors, can cause pain or injury if their joints are not aligned with the user’s. To help manufacturers and consumers mitigate these risks, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a new measurement method to test whether an exoskeleton and the person wearing it are moving smoothly and in harmony. 

In a new report, the researchers describe an optical tracking system (OTS) not unlike the motion capture techniques used by filmmakers to bring computer-generated characters to life. 

The OTS uses special cameras that emit light and capture what is reflected back by spherical markers arranged on objects of interest. A computer calculates the position of the labeled objects in 3D space. Here, this approach was used to track the movement of an exoskeleton and test pieces, called “artifacts,” fastened to its user.

Exoskeleton Research Marches Forward With NIST Study on Fit, NIST

Call It by Its Name…

Image Source: New York Times, excerpt below

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Fascism, Human Rights

Turning Point: China removes presidential term limits.

First we see the face. The face of America’s Donald Trump, or Hungary’s Viktor Orban, or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the face of men who wish to transform democracies into personality cults.

The face is the oldest mark of leadership, the mark that works for clan or tribe. If we see only the face, we are not thinking about policies or politics; instead, we are accepting the new regime and its rules. However, a democracy is about the people, not a single mythicized person.

People need truth, which a cult of personality destroys. Theories of democracy, from the ancient Greeks through the Enlightenment to today, take for granted that the world around us yields to understanding. We pursue the facts alongside our fellow citizens. But in a cult of personality, truth is replaced by belief, and we believe what the leader wishes us to believe. The face replaces the mind.

The transition from democracy to personality cult begins with a leader who is willing to lie all the time, in order to discredit the truth as such. The transition is complete when people can no longer distinguish between truth and feeling.

The Cowardly Face of Authoritarianism, Yale Historian Timothy Snyder, New York Times

Yesterday, a demagogue spoke to a former political party that for the first time in its history, doesn’t have a platform.

Remove “R” and “D.” What are national conventions, other than platforms, or means to lay out the vision of the standard-bearer for the country, and thus the party itself? To give a compelling reason to vote for a party’s vision, or colloquially, “what’s in it for me?” The chaos candidate who became the chaos president foamed at the mouth at a super spreader event breaking the Hatch Act on the White House lawn made no improvement – in FOUR YEARS – on my observations years ago, posted September 1, 2016: Party of Apocalypse.

Excerpt:

The first night of the RNC convention could have been a success with the noted exception of Melania Trump lifting whole cloth parts of now First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the DNC convention in 2008. An out-of-work journalist was the first to catch and tweet it (a sad indictment of the employed journalists ACTUALLY at the RNC convention) [1]. The last night of the RNC was like “The Dark Knight Returns”: the world was essentially a shit show like Gotham, and Batman screamed for 75 minutes incoherent, semi-form, hand-tossed Word Salad anointing himself Bruce-Wayne-Almighty-Cheetos-Jesus savior of the planet by the strength of his will alone (no cool gadgets – just a Galaxy Smart Phone and a twitter handle he misspells as he jacks off on almost daily). The Bat’s bravery was previously demonstrated during his selfless sacrificed Vietnam five deferments to let others more worthy die in his place.

My coworkers on the first night’s events had statements like: “that is not plagiarism” (it was); or “what she said (Mrs. Trump) in her speech most people say in one form or another every day!” 38 hours later: a phantom ghost writer emerged – Meredith Melver, who apparently conveniently work for a man that’s on record imitating his own publicist. [2] The name sounds suspicious enough with the possibility of two plagiarisms vis-à-vis Mrs. Trump, and his educational ventures. Trump Institute and University lifted content whole cloth [3]. There are suspicions like his publicist, Ms. Melver may have been a convenient creation, but it seems she’s legit [4]. But more importantly, the Meredith mea culpa was enough for my coworker Trumpism fans. Never mind Mrs. Trump had previous revealed to Matt Lauer of NBC she had “written it all herself.” They pivoted to the next talking point with the ease of any group studied by Leon Festinger.

Don’t know this guy? He studied an apocalyptic UFO cult in the 1950s – a precursor to the Heaven’s Gate Cult of the 1990s. They were ABSOLUTELY sure the world would end and had a date. The faithful sold all their worldly goods and waited for the apocalypse…and waited…and waited… Some of the former faithful felt discouraged and left. Others felt their “vibrations” had saved the Earth from destruction. [5] Simple Psychology defines it thus: “Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc. “For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition). “Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).”

This is a full-blown cult of personality.

cult of personality, or cult of the leader,[1] arises when a country’s regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass mediapropaganda, the big liespectaclethe artspatriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.

The term came to prominence in 1956, in Nikita Khrushchev‘s secret speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization and idealization of Joseph Stalin, and by implication, his Communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as being contrary to Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the “de-Stalinization” process in the Soviet Union. Wikipedia

Making political speeches from the White House lawn is as illegal as making political speeches as Secretary of State from Jerusalem. They are violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits such actions. If this treatment of The Constitution like toilet paper is going on in plain sight, what happens when American becomes a failed state?

WHICH Amendment will matter, or be reinforced? Forget birthright citizenship: you are citizen if the KING says you’re a citizen. Forget voting rights for African Americans, or women, or their autonomy over their own bodies. Mashing up George Carlin and Margaret Atwood, I can see a dystopian scenario where women become “broodmares of the state” for people screaming about “white genocide,” doing much meth and little coitus. I can think a party, afraid of losing political power to demographics, could easily make the case the 2nd Amendment restricted to citizens with a LACKING preponderance of Melanin. In Putin’s Russia, there is no such thing as a 2nd Amendment, or a preponderance of Melanin, for that matter.

My “Party of Apocalypse” essay has unfortunately, aged well.

Cats, Llamas, Coronavirus Therapies…

Figure
The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (gray) is shown with three small antibodies (pink) attached to its receptor binding domains. The spike attaches at the left to the viral membrane (not shown). DIAMOND LIGHT SOURCE

Topics: Chemistry, COVID-19, Physics, Research

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.

Cats and llamas could offer a path to coronavirus therapies, David Kramer, Physics Today

Remnant…

Image Source: Link below

Topics: Astrophysics, Interstellar, Plasma, Supernovae, Radiation

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.

Scientists: Earth Moving Through Radioactive Debris of Exploded Stars, Victor Tangermann, Futurism