That‘s Cool News | A weekly breakdown of positive Science & Tech news. show

That‘s Cool News | A weekly breakdown of positive Science & Tech news.

Summary: Bringing you the positive STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) news every Monday and explains why these new futuristic innovations are meaningful. The goal is to leave you feeling optimistic and say ”That‘s Cool!”

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 I’ll Be Back Next Week! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 04:14

The That's Cool New Podcast will be back next week :) 

 107. Carbon Capture w/ Algae, Plants Grown in Lunar Soil, Developments for Wind Turbines | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:37

Brilliant Planet plans cheap, gigaton-scale carbon capture using algae | New Atlas (01:08) Direct air carbon capture is currently far too costly – but this London company, Brilliant Planet, says it can do it at enormous scale for a tenth the price, using engineered algal blooms in ponds located near desert coastlines Goals to de-acidify the ocean as well. Direct air capture will need to be part of the decarbonizing equation, and it'll need to be massively scalable, energy efficient and much, much cheaper than today's technology. The idea is to corral and harness the carbon-gobbling power of algae, replicating and maintaining the conditions that cause algal blooms in large, low-density outdoor ponds full of seawater. Algae is an inherently more efficient biological machine for carbon capture than trees or plants Its entire surface area is dedicated to photosynthesis and it doesn't waste resources creating trunks, roots or branches Another bonus is that it grows and proliferates extremely fast under the right conditions. Simplified process: Account for most of the energy this system requires A location is chosen, on flat desert land near a coast,  A team of bio-prospectors starts filtering through samples of thousands of local strains of algae, selecting the ones that best fits the location.  Thus, there are no introduced species, and the algae is already well adapted to the local climate and conditions. They set up a series of pumps, with which to bring seawater into a series of containers and ponds.  In these right conditions they would monitor, they can grow a lot of algae. It also can deacidify the seawater. CEO Adam Taylorm said:  “For every unit of water that passes through the system we de-acidify the equivalent of 5.1 units back to pre-industrial pH levels." Taylor says the company's already identified a "short list" of about half a million square kilometers of suitably flat coastal desert land.  Potential for about two gigatons – two billion tons – of carbon capture In other words, it could cancel out more than 5.5 percent of humanity's annual global CO2 emissions, offsetting about half the total emissions of today's road transport sector.  The company has tested its approach successfully in Oman, South Africa. Now they plan on moving to a large area, roughly 74 acres, in 2023. Musk's Starlink Internet Is Now Available in 32 Countries | CNET (07:14) SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service has now rolled out to 32 countries, the company said Thursday.  The hardware can ship "immediately" to areas where the service is available. Starlink is available in much of the US, Europe and New Zealand, in addition to chunks of Canada, Australia and South America.  Many of the remaining countries and areas show availability coming in 2023. After a few years of launches, the company has amassed a constellation of more than 2,000 low Earth orbit satellites to provide satellite internet around the globe.   Plants Have Been Grown in Lunar Soil For The First Time Ever | Good News Network (09:29) Food has been grown in soil collected from the moon for the first time, paving the way for human migration across the solar system. It is a first step towards producing food and oxygen on the moon, or during space missions. This all relates to NASA’s Artemis program which will lay the foundation for a sustained colony on the lunar surface. Using the moon to validate deep space systems and operations—before embarking on a manned voyage to Mars. Co-author Professor Rob Ferl, talked about the future missions and growing food in the lunar soil: “For future, longer space missions, we may use the moon as a hub or launching pad. It makes sense that we would want to use the soil that’s already there to grow plants … So, what happens when you grow plants in lunar soil, something that is totally outside of a plant’s evolutionary experience? What would plants do in a lunar greenhouse? Could we have lunar farmers?” This University of Florida team planted thale cress seeds in lunar soil picked up by the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 crews between 1969 and 1972. Added water, a cocktail of nutrients, and light, and watched the edible spring salad green flourish. A tiny ‘lunar garden’ was created from just a few teaspoons of the prized dirt specially loaned from NASA. The horticulturalists weren’t sure if they would sprout, but nearly all of them did. This discovery opens the door to “resource independence” from Earth. Makes missions more sustainable on the lunar surface knowing you can start the growing process and feel that into more growth. Co-author Prof Anna-Lisa Paul talks on what the plants had to go through to grow: “At the genetic level, the plants were pulling out the tools typically used to cope with stressors, such as salt and metals or oxidative stress. So we can infer the plants perceive the lunar soil environment as stressful … Ultimately, we would like to use the gene expression data to help address how we can ameliorate the stress responses to the level where plants – particularly crops – are able to grow in lunar soil with very little impact to their health.” Follow-up studies will build on these questions and more. For now, the researchers are celebrating.. Denmark is launching a huge trio of 15-MW offshore wind turbines  | Interesting Engineering (15:03) European Energy and Vestas, a wind turbine manufacturer, have greenlit the installation of the latter's flagship V236-15 MW offshore wind turbines in Denmark. Danish city of Frederikshavn "a focal point in the future of offshore wind technology", per a press release. The offshore wind turbines are planned to be built and operational by 2024, with further plans involving turning green power into green fuels that can help the maritime industry run on sustainable energy. Offshore wind energy is acquired by using the wind force produced on the high seas, where it reaches a greater and more consistent speed than on land due to the lack of obstructions.  Erected on the seafloor Outfitted with cutting-edge technological advancements Vestas will design and build three of its newest offshore wind turbines at three of the five test spots presently being developed by European Energy Roughly four kilometers off the coast Enabling Vestas to demonstrate the wind turbines' viability in an offshore environment Provide early know-how with installation methods and technician training Christian Gjerløv, Head of Offshore Wind Technology at Vestas, talked on the venture: “We are working on getting our flagship offshore wind turbine constructed here in Denmark and look forward to the joint efforts with European Energy to achieve the construction of the offshore wind turbines at the test site outside the city of Frederikshavn … The position will provide us with a unique opportunity to test the offshore wind turbines close to our factories and research facilities in Denmark prior to the serial production and export to the global market."    SkySpecs watches wind turbines from above, lands $80M led by Goldman Sachs | TechCrunch (19:20) The company,  SkySpecs, is using drones and AI to detect future equipment failures before they grind those giant turbine blades to a halt. Works with wind farms to monitor the health of turbine blades from above. Just locked down a fresh $80 million Series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs to expand its “geographic footprint” and software tools.  SkySpecs builds its hardware and software in house, and already claims to monitor the health of close to half of all turbine blades in North America. 71,666 turbines in the U.S. alone Since it launched in 2012, the firm says its drones have inspected more than 300,000 blades across dozens of countries. SkySpecs’ larger goal is to “help displace fossil fuel generation” by making renewables more efficient, per a statement from the firm.  Danny Ellis, CEO, SkySpecs, talks on renewables and his company: “Renewable energy is becoming a viable, attractive, and profitable energy source. In order to scale fast enough to meet the demand, the market needs experts and solutions to help them navigate the complexities of managing their assets. We help customers get the most out of the life of their assets by identifying solutions to their most complex problems … That’s why we’ve developed a solution set that enables companies to manage and optimize their assets from the planning phase right through the full asset lifecycle, including predicting future failures, and prioritizing repairs in order to optimize their maintenance budgets.” SkySpecs is one among many drone businesses to focus on monitoring critical infrastructure. 

 106. Portal Starlink, Investment in Battery Recycling, Device Detecting Skin Cancer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:42

Starlink's new Portability feature brings internet to vanlifers - The Verge (01:02) Starlink’s internet-from-SpaceX service has gone mobile with a new Portability feature. It costs an additional $25 each month, on top of monthly subscriptions that already start at $110 after a one-time hit of $599 to purchase the Starlink kit. Starlink subscribers can now take their “dishy” anywhere on their home continent that provides active internet coverage. That opens up connectivity to remote places that will likely never be covered by 5G  Starlink doesn’t support use while driving yet, but the company says it’s actively working on a solution for moving vehicles.  Musk has previously tweeted about working on a power-efficient solution that can plug into a car’s 12V cigarette lighter and still maintain connectivity. Starlink reportedly draws between 60-70W, an improvement on the 80-100W draw from just a year ago. Starlink is offering Portability on a “best effort basis,” the company says, with users at their registered service addresses receiving priority for network resources.   Rocket Lab launched and recovered a rocket mid-air in a world first | Interesting Engineering (05:31) Rocket Lab, a private aerospace firm, launched a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1A on Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at roughly 6:48 PM EDT Payload of 34 picosatellites and cubesats into orbit Less than 30 minutes after launch, the rocket's first stage was actually caught mid-air by a flying helicopter. They captured the rocket's drogue chute line. A few seconds after recovering the rocket, the helicopter pilot opted to release the rocket — which plummeted into the deep blue ocean, where it was picked up by a ship  From a tweet from Reuters' Joey Roulette:  “Rocket Lab's Murielle Baker says the helicopter pilots [decided] to drop the rocket booster in the ocean after noticing "different load characteristics" than what they experienced during previous testing” Murielle Baker is Rocket Labs' Senior Communications Adviser This is real, it's happening. A flying helicopter successfully caught a first-stage booster rocket, in mid-air. This may not have been a full recovery and reuse of the rocket, but Rocket Lab has just taken us a major step closer to comparatively cheap ways of recycling used booster engines.   Lithium-ion recycler Li-Cycle lands $200 million to power future EVs | TechCrunch (09:54) Metals and fossil fuels behemoth Glencore is pumping $200 million into battery recycler Li-Cycle as part of a larger, symbiotic supply deal inked by the two firms. The Swiss materials giant, Glencore, will ship burnt-out batteries and scraps to Li-Cycle, which will recover the high-demand metals so they can be reused in electric vehicle batteries and other applications. Li-Cycle’s Process: Shred spent batteries and use a water-based system, known as hydrometallurgical processing, to begin to break down the batteries. Hydrometallurgy involve the use of aqueous solutions for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials In Li-Cycle’s own hubs, they separate black mass into a variety of materials, including those that can be used to make new lithium-ion batteries. In this partnership, Glencore will be providing Li-Cycle with black mass for processing as well as manufacturing scrap. Securing a supply of scrap could be advantageous for the startup since it is easier to recycle than whole batteries. Why is Glencore doing this? Glencore has been advancing efforts to boost recycling of the batteries that power electric vehicles, including its  plans to build a U.K. plant as part of a deal to help Britishvolt Ltd. develop Britain’s first large-scale EV battery plant. Electric automakers, mining companies and chemical suppliers are racing to control more supplies of materials that are key to transitioning the world to cleaner energy sources. Car manufacturers and industry analysts expect recycled batteries to play a vital role in addressing supply constraints over the long term. Why is battery recycling important? An estimated 62,000 tons of used EV and stationary storage packs reached their end of life last year, and that will rise to 4 million tons by 2035, according to BloombergNEF, Bloomberg’s energy and data analysis unit.   Lunar Soil Can Be Used To Generate Oxygen and Fuel for Moon Astronauts   | SciTechDaily (14:17) Soil on the moon contains active compounds that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and fuels, according to a new study by scientists in China. Nanjing University material scientists Yingfang Yao and Zhigang Zou hope to design a system that takes advantage of lunar soil and solar radiation, the two most abundant resources on the moon.  After analyzing the lunar soil brought back by China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft, their research team found the sample contains compounds—including iron-rich and titanium-rich substances—that could work as a catalyst to make desired products such as oxygen using sunlight and carbon dioxide. How would this work? Mainly, the system uses lunar soil to electrolyze water extracted from the moon and in astronauts’ breathing exhaust into oxygen and hydrogen powered by sunlight. Carbon dioxide exhaled by moon inhabitants is also collected and combined with hydrogen from water electrolysis during a hydrogenation process catalyzed by lunar soil. While the catalytic efficiency of lunar soil is less than catalysts available on Earth, The researchers are testing different approaches to improve the design, such as melting the lunar soil into a nanostructured high-entropy material, which is a better catalyst. In the end, the process yields hydrocarbons such as methane, which could be used as fuel.  The strategy uses no external energy but sunlight to produce a variety of desirable products such as water, oxygen, and fuel that could support life on a moonbase, the researchers say. The team is looking for an opportunity to test the system in space, likely with China’s future crewed lunar missions.    New imaging tech promises cheap, handheld skin cancer scanner | New Atlas (19:09) A team of researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology has demonstrated the effectiveness of a new kind of non-invasive skin cancer detection tool.  Leverages a technology called high-resolution millimeter-wave imaging. Initial testing shows that it is 97 percent effective at detecting cancerous tissue and the researchers are now working to miniaturize the system into a low-cost handheld device. The device returns results in about 20 seconds! I should mention that this system was not tested on tissue in a lab, but on human subjects! The researchers recruited 71 patients with 136 suspicious skin lesions. Following assessment with the new high-resolution millimeter-wave imaging device the lesions were biopsied. This preliminary test showed the system had 98 percent specificity (meaning two percent of its results were false positives) and 97 percent sensitivity (meaning it accurately detected all but three percent of malignant cancers). Negar Tavassolian, a researcher working on the project, said their new system is not the first to use sophisticated imaging technology to automatically flag dangerous skin cancers. Those are  big, expensive, and require trained operators. This new technology is proposed to be engineered into a small, handheld device that can be used by doctors as part of a straightforward clinical checkup. Tavassolian states: “We're creating a low-cost device that's as small and as easy to use as a cellphone, so we can bring advanced diagnostics within reach for everyone… That means doctors can integrate accurate diagnostics into routine checkups, and ultimately treat more patients.” The current iteration of the device is far from portable but the researchers are confident handheld millimeter-wave diagnostic devices are possible. Tavassolian predicts within a few years a handheld skin cancer detection device could be manufactured for under US$100.

 105. Suitcase Sized Desalination, Electronic Skin, Reducing Tumors with Sound | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:10

News From seawater to drinking water, with the push of a button | TechXPlore (01:04) MIT researchers have developed a portable desalination unit, weighing less than 10 kilograms, that can remove particles and salts to generate drinking water. Suitcase-sized device Requires less power to operate than a cell phone charger  Can be powered by a small, portable solar panel, which can be purchased online for around $50.  Generates drinking water that exceeds World Health Organization quality standards. Runs with the push of one button. Unlike other portable desalination units that require water to pass through filters, this device utilizes electrical power to remove particles from drinking water.  Eliminating the need for replacement filters Relies on a technique called ion concentration polarization (ICP) Rather than filtering water, the ICP process applies an electrical field to membranes placed above and below a channel of water.  The membranes repel positively or negatively charged particles—including salt molecules, bacteria, and viruses—as they flow past. The process removes both dissolved and suspended solids, allowing clean water to pass through the channel.  Once the salinity level and the number of particles decrease to specific thresholds, the device notifies the user that the water is drinkable. This filterless process enables the unit to be deployed in remote and severely resource-limited areas, such as communities on small islands or aboard seafaring cargo ships. Their prototype generates drinking water at a rate of 0.3 liters per hour, and requires only 20 watts of power per liter.   Researchers develop a paper-thin loudspeaker | MIT News (06:21) MIT engineers have developed a paper-thin loudspeaker that can turn any surface into an active audio source. Produces sound with minimal distortion while using a fraction of the energy required by a traditional loudspeaker.  Weighing about as much as a dime and can generate high-quality sound no matter what surface the film is bonded to. The new loudspeaker simplifies the speaker design by using a thin film of a shaped piezoelectric material that moves when voltage is applied over it, which moves the air above it and generates sound. Most thin-film loudspeakers are designed to be freestanding because the film must bend freely to produce sound.  If the thin speaker needs to be bound to a surface that would impede the sound generation process. To overcome this problem , their design relies on tiny domes on a thin layer of piezoelectric material which each vibrate individually.  The researchers pioneered a deceptively simple fabrication technique, which requires only three basic steps and can be scaled up to produce ultrathin loudspeakers. Lead author Jinchi Han talks on the process: “This is a very simple, straightforward process. It would allow us to produce these loudspeakers in a high-throughput fashion if we integrate it with a roll-to-roll process in the future. That means it could be fabricated in large amounts, like wallpaper to cover walls, cars, or aircraft interiors” They tested their thin-film loudspeaker by mounting it to a wall 30 centimeters from a microphone to measure the sound pressure level, recorded in decibels.  When 25 volts of electricity were passed through the device at 1 kilohertz, the speaker produced high-quality sound at conversational levels of 66 decibels.  At 10 kilohertz, the sound pressure level increased to 86 decibels, about the same volume level as city traffic. Another cool feature of this thin speaker is it can be used effectively for ultrasound applications, like imaging. Because the tiny domes are vibrating, rather than the entire film, the loudspeaker has a high enough resonance frequency for ultrasound imaging  Could use it to detect where a human is standing in a room, just like bats do using echolocation, and then shape the sound waves to follow the person as they move. This device has many possible applications: Provide active noise cancellation in clamorous environments Used for immersive entertainment, 3D audio Well-suited for applications on smart devices where battery life is limited.   Electronic skin uses tiny magnetic hairs to sense touch | New Atlas  (13:04) The body’s largest organ, the skin, plays a key role in facilitating our sense of touch, but its sensitivity is hard to replicate in artificial versions. Until Now! Researchers from Chemnitz University of Technology and Leibniz IFW Dresden have developed a new type of electronic skin (e-skin) containing tiny embedded hairs that can precisely perceive touch and the direction it moves. E-Skin: thin films of material with electronic properties that allow them to perform some of the functions of natural human skin, such as registering touch, pressure, temperature or even pain.  These artificial skins could be useful for patients needing grafts after major injury, or to give a more advanced sense of touch to prosthetic limbs and robots. The breakthrough comes from mimicking an important but overlooked factor in the human sensation of touch – tiny hairs lining the skin. It contains a new type of sensor that makes it extra sensitive to touch.  The scientists embedded tiny, magnetic hairs into an elastomeric material to make their e-skin. The artificial hair has bulbous roots, like natural hair, that sit below the surface of the e-skin and move around when the hair above is touched. Each of these roots is surrounded by a 3D magnetic sensor, allowing the exact position of the root to be tracked in real-time. The team says these magnetic sensors can be fabricated in bulk sheets fairly easily.  Can self-fold into 3D boxes to house the hair roots, through a process known as micro-origami. Christian Becker, first author of the study, talks on this approach: “Our approach allows a precise spatial arrangement of functional sensor elements in 3D that can be mass-produced in a parallel manufacturing process … Such sensor systems are extremely difficult to generate by established microelectronic fabrication methods.”   The world's first airport for flying cars opens in the UK  | Interesting Engineering (18:17) The world's first urban airport that will allow 'flying taxis' to take off and land in the busy areas of cities has opened up in the city of Coventry in the U.K. Dubbed Air One, was completed in 15 months, including the planning and building of the airport.  Developed by the U.K.-based startup Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP) who is working to demonstrate that the infrastructure needed to make these urban aerial transport centers an operational reality is not as complicated as it may seem. Powered by hydrogen fuel cells, Air One is designed to be fully autonomous and integrates with electric vehicles to deliver a zero-emission urban public transport system. The airport can handle electric drones and air taxis and has collaborated with Hyundai's air mobility arm, Supernal, to use a full-sized model of their SA-1 air taxi as a demonstrator.  According to Air One’s website, at the airport, one can witness all the elements of urban mobility such as passenger taxi processing, command and control center, logistics, charging infrastructure as well as disaster management and security services.  Air One has an address in Coventry but only till the 15th of May. After that, the company plans to wrap up the airport and then set it up again at other sites in the U.K. to take the experience closer to people.    Noninvasive Sound Technology Breaks Down Tumors | SciTechDaily (21:40) Liver cancer ranks among the top 10 causes of cancer related deaths worldwide and in the U.S. Even with multiple treatment options, the prognosis remains poor with five-year survival rates less than 18% in the U.S. Figuring out a way to fight it is on the mind of many researchers.  That’s where researchers at the University of Michigan come into play. These researchers developed a noninvasive sound technology, which breaks down liver tumors in rats, kills cancer cells, and spurs the immune system to prevent further spread—an advance that could lead to improved cancer outcomes in humans. The treatment, called histotripsy, noninvasively focuses ultrasound waves to mechanically destroy target tissue with millimeter precision.  They provide microsecond long pulses from UM’s transducer to generate microbubbles within the targeted tissues—bubbles that rapidly expand and collapse.  These violent but extremely localized mechanical stresses kill cancer cells and break up the tumor’s structure. Important to point out that this treatment technique works without the harmful side effects of current approaches such as radiation and chemotherapy. It was able to deastory roughly 50% to 75% of liver tumor volume in rats, which then allowed their immune systems to clear away the rest, with no evidence of recurrence or metastases in more than 80% of the animals. Results showed the treatment stimulated the rats’ immune responses, possibly contributing to the eventual regression of the untargeted portion of the tumor and preventing further spread of the cancer. Tejaswi Worlikar, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, talks on the treatment:  “Histotripsy is a promising option that can overcome the limitations of currently available ablation modalities and provide safe and effective noninvasive liver tumor ablation … We hope that our learnings from this study will motivate future preclinical and clinical histotripsy investigations toward the ultimate goal of clinical adoption of histotripsy treatment for liver cancer patients.”

 104. Navy’s Space Power Beaming Project, Ultra-light Liquid Hydrogen Tanks, Reprogrammed Skin Cells | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:39

News: US Navy wirelessly beamed 1.6kW of power using microwaves | Interesting Engineering (01:22) New miniature heart could help speed heart disease cures | MedicalXPress (10:08) Ultra-light liquid hydrogen tanks promise to make jet fuel obsolete | New Atlas (16:20) Old skins cells reprogrammed to regain youthful function  | Science Daily (23:15) Tesla is testing in-car Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity with several major internet providers | Electrek (27:01) 

 103. Reverse Hearing Loss, Hypersonic Space Cannon, No Moving Parts Heat Engine | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:52

News: Reversing hearing loss with regenerative therapy | MIT News (01:28) Engineered bacteria could help protect “good” gut microbes from antibiotics | Big Think (07:01) Wireless camera tool could make intubation safer and easier | Futurity  (12:40) A massive ”space cannon” can shoot payloads into space at hypersonic speeds  | Interesting Engineering (16:31)  A new heat engine with no moving parts is as efficient as a steam turbine | MIT News  (22:54)

 102. Solar Panels Generate Power at Night, Rocket Catching Helicopter, Robotic AI Beekeeper Startup | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:10

NEWS   Stanford engineers invent a solar panel that generates electricity at night | Interesting Engineer (01:08)   Rocket Lab prepares its chopper to catch a returning booster in midair | New Atlas (07:28) Looking Through Mojo Vision's Newest AR Contact Lens |  IEEE Spectrum (12:17) Simple delivery method enhances a promising cancer treatment | MedicalXPress (20:11)  Israeli bee tech startup Beewise pulls in $80m investment for robotic beehives | Times of Israel (27:19)

 101. New Alopecia Treatment, New Way for Nuclear Fusion, Saving Dying Organs | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:30

News: Scientists Say New Treatment Lets Alopecia Patients Regrow Hair | Futurism (01:14) Scientists at Yale announced this week that a common arthritis medication (baricitinib) appears to help alopecia patients regrow their hair.  a potential treatment for a widespread autoimmune condition. Baricitinib is used to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling in adults with rheumatoid arthritis after other treatments have failed.  Helps slow the progression of bone and joint damage. It is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor  Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors are a group of medications that inhibit activity and response of one or more of the Janus kinase enzymes (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, and TYK2).  These enzymes normally promote inflammation and autoimmunity. Alopecia is a common autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss  Affects people of all ages, although it most commonly appears in adolescence or early adulthood.  Affects 1 in every 500 to 1,000 people in the United States. There is currently no FDA-approved treatment for the disease. Dr. Brett King, lead author on the study told Yale news: “This is so exciting, because the data clearly show how effective baricitinib is … These large, controlled trials tell us that we can alleviate some of the suffering from this awful disease.” For the study, the researchers conducted two large, randomized trials involving a total of 1,200 people.  For 36 weeks, participants were given a daily dose of either 4 milligrams of baricitinib, 2 milligrams of baricitinib, or a placebo. One-third of the patients who received the larger dose grew hair back. The researchers stated that baricitinib thwarts the disease by disrupting the communication of immune cells involved in harming hair follicles.  Hopefully this medication will be proven to be safe & effective and approved by regulators.   Waymo says fully driverless rides are coming to San Francisco | The Verge (06:47) Waymo plans to start offering rides in its fully autonomous vehicles — without human safety drivers behind the wheel — in San Francisco.  They join a waitlist and, once approved, sign non-disclosure agreements to get access to the company’s early technology. As of right now it is only available to employees but will soon grow to include members of the company’s “Trusted Tester” program. The Trusted Tester program is for customers interested in using Waymo’s robotaxis.  The vehicles will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Waymo says. Additionally, Waymo is making moves in Arizona. Growing to include downtown Phoenix after operating exclusively in the exurban towns of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe for nearly five years. Waymo has been running fully driverless rides without a safety driver in those towns outside of Phoenix for more than a year now.  They must be confident they have enough data to move forward with autonomous taxis. Last year, the company logged the most miles driven autonomously of all the companies permitted to test in the state: 2.3 million miles, a huge increase over 2020, when it had about 629,000 miles driven, and even the pre-pandemic year of 2019, with 1.45 million. The expansion of Waymo’s service area in Phoenix and the imminent launch of driverless rides in San Francisco signal the company’s sense of confidence that its vehicles can operate safely and efficiently in more dense, urban environments.    Quantum technology could make charging electric cars as fast as pumping gas | (12:10) For a long time, batteries had far lower energy density than those offered by hydrocarbons, which resulted in very low ranges of early electric vehicles. Improvements in battery technologies eventually allowed the drive ranges of electric cars to be within acceptable levels However, despite the vast improvements in battery technology, today's consumers of electric vehicles face another difficulty: slow battery charging speed. Takes about 10 hours to fully recharge at home Even the fastest superchargers require up to 20 to 40 minutes to fully recharge This creates additional costs and inconvenience to the customers. To address this problem, scientists looked for answers in the field of quantum physics. Which led to a discovery that quantum technologies may promise new mechanisms to charge batteries at a faster rate.  It was theorized that quantum resources, such as entanglement, can be used to vastly speed up the battery charging process by charging all cells within the battery simultaneously in a collective manner. Conventional batteries collective charging is not possible, where the cells are charged in parallel independently of one another.  In this most recent study, researchers were able to precisely quantify how much charging speed can be achieved with this collective charging scheme vs parallel.  The charging speed increases linearly with the number of cells in classical batteries. The study showed, however, that quantum batteries employing global operation can achieve quadratic scaling in charging speed. To illustrate this, consider a typical electric vehicle with a battery that contains about 200 cells. Charging time at home would be cut from 10 hours to about 3 minutes. Quantum charging would lead to a 200 times speedup over classical batteries,  High-speed charging stations, the charge time would be cut from 30 minutes to mere seconds. Of course, quantum technologies are still in their infancy and there is a long way to go before these methods can be implemented in practice. However, this study creates a promising direction and can incentivize the funding agencies and businesses to further invest in these technologies.   HB11's hydrogen-boron laser fusion test yields groundbreaking results | New Atlas (18:24) Australian company HB11 is approaching nuclear fusion from an entirely new angle, using high power, high precision lasers instead of hundred-million-degree temperatures to start the reaction. The 1st demo ​​produced 10 times more fusion reactions than expected The company started tooting their own horn: “the only commercial entity to achieve fusion so far [making it] the global frontrunner in the race to commercialize the holy grail of clean energy." Just to summarize quickly what is required for fusion: Like throwing powerful magnets at each other in space Most companies try to replicate this by magnetically confining hydrogen atoms in a plasma In order to smash atoms together hard enough to make them fuse together and form a new element, you need to overcome the incredibly strong repulsive forces that push two positively-charged nuclei apart.  The Sun accomplishes this by having a huge amount of hydrogen atoms packed into a plasma that's superheated to tens of millions of degrees at its core. HB11 is using a different approach that doesn't require huge amounts of heat, or tricky, radioactive fuels like tritium. Takes advantage of recent advances in ultra-high powered "chirped pulse amplification" lasers that can produce monstrous, unprecedented power levels over 10 petawatts. An HB11 reactor would be a mostly empty metal sphere, with a "modestly sized" boron fuel pellet held in the middle, and apertures in two spots on the sphere for a pair of lasers.  One laser, in combination with a capacitive coil, is used to establish a powerful kilotesla magnetic containment field for the plasma. The second is used to massively accelerate hydrogen atoms through the boron sample. The reactor is not heating things up in the hope that they'll smack together at speed. It is aiming the hydrogen right at the boron and using these bleeding-edge lasers to make it go so fast that it'll fuse if it hits a nucleus. Hydrogen-boron fusion doesn't create heat, it merely creates "naked" positively charged helium atoms, or alpha particles They collect that charge to create energy, rather than needing to superheat steam and drive turbines. Initial experiments on laser-triggered chain reactions returned reaction rates a billion times higher than anticipated, and then seem pretty happy about it and a little cocky: “This is many orders of magnitude higher than those reported by any other fusion company, most of which have not generated any reaction despite billions of dollars invested in the field. The results show great potential for clean energy generation: hydrogen-boron reactions use fuels that are safe and abundant, don’t create neutrons in the primary reaction so cause insignificant amounts of short-lived waste, and can provide large-scale power for base-load grid electricity or hydrogen generation." Mitochondrial transplants between living cells could save dying organs | ETH News (23:53) In a technological breakthrough, researchers at ETH Zurich have announced the development of a new technique that can transplant mitochondria. Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses of the cell where the processes of cellular respiration take place In their research, recently published in the journal PLOS Biology, the group successfully used a ‘nanosyringe’ they had previously developed to transplant mitochondria from one living cell to another. In more detail: These cylindrical nanosyringes were specially developed for this study, the researchers pierced the cell membrane and sucked up the spherical mitochondria. They then pierced the membrane of a different cell and pumped the mitochondria back out of the nanosyringe into the recipient cell. The position of the nanosyringe is controlled by laser light from a converted atomic force microscope. A pressure regulator adjusts the flow, allowing scientists to transfer incredibly small volumes of fluid in the femtoliter range (millionths of a millionth of a milliliter) during organelle transplants The transplanted mitochondria have a high survival rate – more than 80 percent.  The injected mitochondria begin to fuse with the filamentous network of the new cell 20 minutes after transplantation. The technique could be deployed as a way of treating diseased organs, but may also find use in the realm of anti-aging, rejuvenating stem cells that deteriorate in metabolic activity as we grow older.

 100. Elon Floats New Social Media, Converting Excess Gas to Bitcoin, Geothermal Unlocking Vast Mineral Supplies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:46

News Elon Musk floats idea for new social media platform  | Twitchy (01:45) Elon Musk, you know the dude by now, posted a Twitter poll this past Friday (March 25th) asking the question: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” With the caveat that “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” With over 2 million votes 70% of people responded with “No.” After the poll concluded the next day he responded with, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.  What should be done? … Is a new platform needed?” This has led to plenty of speculation that Elon could be contemplating building his own platform, while others just want him to purchase Twitter and fix it. What is the best route? Not sure, Twitter has the user base already there, but there is a lot of built in “rot” so to speak.  Then to further cement the idea he is considering building a new platform, a twitter user @PPathole asked:  “Would you consider building a new social media platform? … One that would consist of an open source algorithm, one where free speech and adhering to free speech is given top priority, one where propaganda is very minimal. I think that kind of a platform is needed.” Elon simply responded with: “Am giving serious thought to this” Just to throw it out there that some people were thinking of name ideas for Elon’s new social media platform and here is my favorite from @RealSteveAyer: MySpaceX AI algorithm accurately predicts risk of heart attack within 5 years | New Atlas (08:47) A new AI tool developed by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center can accurately measure plaque deposits in coronary arteries and predict a patient’s risk of suffering a heart attack within five years. A scan known as computed tomography angiography (CTA) is one of the best tools doctors currently have at their disposal to evaluate heart disease patients. By imaging plaque deposits within coronary arteries Damini Dey, senior author on the study, talks on the speed improvement with utilizing this new automated AI tool: “Coronary plaque is often not measured because there is not a fully automated way to do it … When it is measured, it takes an expert at least 25 to 30 minutes, but now we can use this program to quantify plaque from CTA images in five to six seconds." Creating the tool: Two Categories: high and low risk. First, trained the algorithm to recognize plaque deposits using a dataset of CTA images from 921 patients. Validated the results with the “human expert readers.” Utilizing a plaque amount threshold, they trained the algorithm to place separate images based on risk of having a heart attack within five years of CTA imaging: The new study is an exciting demonstration of the possible future of medicine. A future where AI tools can swiftly analyze diagnostic imaging to deliver immediate risk reports to patients.  It is early days for the technology. Larger studies will be required to better train the algorithms on diverse patient populations and figure out how they could make the tech accessible & cheap. Exxon Mobil has a pilot project for using excess gas to mine Bitcoin | Interesting Engineering (14:50) What do you do with excess natural gas if you are one of the world's biggest providers of energy sources? Exxon Mobil has come up with an inventive solution. It's taking the excess natural gas that would otherwise be burned off from North Dakota oil wells and using it to power cryptocurrency mining operations. Bitcoin Mining: the process of creating new bitcoin by solving puzzles.  The first bitcoin miner to solve the puzzle is rewarded with bitcoin. The mining process also confirms transactions on the cryptocurrency's network and makes them trustworthy.  According to anonymous sources, the oil giant has started a pilot project in cooperation with Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to take gas from an oil well pad in the Bakken shale basin to power Bitcoin mining servers. The initiative began back in January 2021. It is estimated that the project makes use of up to 18 million cubic feet of gas per month that would have otherwise been wasted due to a lack of pipelines. This process does not reduce the emissions of Exxon Mobil's activities but it does ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are not simply created as waste.  Methane emissions from natural gas range from 1 to 9 percent of total life cycle emissions Just to point out since I feel like people lump them all together but shouldn’t, a natural gas plant emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant. Leap Forward in Genetic Sequencing Will Lead to Improved Personalized Medicine and Understanding of Evolution | SciTechDaily (19:28) Researchers at the University of California, Irvine revealed new details about a key enzyme that makes DNA sequencing possible. A leap forward into the era of personalized medicine when doctors will be able to design treatments based on the genomes of individual patients. The molecule the UCI-led team studied is an enzyme called Taq, a name derived from the microorganism it was first discovered in, Thermos aquaticus.  Taq helps make new copies of DNA in an unexpected way According to UCI professor, Greg Weiss, “Instead of carefully selecting each piece to add to the DNA chain, [Taq] grabs dozens of misfits for each piece added successfully … Like a shopper checking items off a shopping list, the enzyme tests each part against the DNA sequence it’s trying to replicate.” Taq rejects any wrong items that land into its proverbial shopping cart in a very inefficient way as well But understanding this enzyme is an important step because if scientists understand how Taq functions, then they can better understand just how accurate a person’s sequenced genome truly is. Philip Collins, a UCI professor, touches on the variety of genome out there: “Every single person has a slightly different genome … with different mutations in different places. Some of those are responsible for diseases, and others are responsible for absolutely nothing. To really get at whether these differences are important for healthcare – for properly prescribing medicines – you need to know the differences accurately.” How Geothermal Plants Could Unlock Vast Supplies of Lithium in the American West | SingularityHub (23:28) Geothermal technologies are on the verge of unlocking vast quantities of lithium from naturally-occurring hot brines beneath places like California’s Salton Sea, a two-hour drive from San Diego. Lithium is essential for lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles and energy storage. Demand for these batteries is quickly rising, but the US is currently heavily reliant on lithium imports from other countries.  Most of the nation’s lithium supply comes from Argentina, Chile, Russia, and China.  According to the article, this technology can bolster the nation’s critical minerals supply chain at a time when concerns about the supply chain’s security are rising. So how would we get it? Let’s start with what a Geothermal power plant does: it uses heat from the Earth to generate a constant supply of steam to run turbines that produce electricity.  The plants operate by bringing up a complex saline solution (the brine) located far underground, where it absorbs heat and is enriched with minerals such as lithium, manganese, zinc, potassium, and boron. These brines are the concentrated liquid left over after heat and steam are extracted at a geothermal plant. It contains high concentrations (about 30 percent) of dissolved solids. Test Projects are now underway to see how much lithium and other minerals could be extracted from this brine. The 11 existing geothermal plants along the Salton Sea alone could have the potential to produce enough lithium metal to provide about 10 times the current US demand. About 20,000 metric tons of lithium metal per year, which equates to a market value of $5 billion at current prices. Adding the production of critical metals like lithium, manganese, and zinc from geothermal brines could provide geothermal electrical power operators a new competitive advantage and help geothermal technology boom.

 99. Disney’s Larger Holograms, Leap in Hydrogen Fuel, Space-Based Surgery Fellowship | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:02

News Disney's "Holobricks" could stack up for larger holograms | New Atlas (01:03) Scientists at Cambridge and Disney Research may be closer to making holograms “less disappointing.” They’ve created new “holobricks” that can stack and tile together to produce large 3D images that can be viewed from multiple angles. Holograms are three-dimensional virtual images that appear to exist within the real world instead of on a screen. Produced in multiple ways: Reflective Screens Projections onto fog Then you have the classic “Pepper’s Ghost” illusion. Started in the 1860s A brightly lit figure out of the audience's sight below the stage is reflected in a pane of glass placed between the performer and the audience. To the audience, it appears as if the ghost is on stage. Old ways are low in resolution, while the new system, from Cambridge and Disney, is designed to boost the picture quality with scalable, modular holographic blocks, or holobricks as the team calls them. Each holobrick is made up of a spatial light modulator, a scanner, and coarse integrated optics. The system combines three images of the same object from slightly different angles, which creates a sense of depth. Then light is then sent through a series of lenses that separates the images, so that when it appears on the 2D display on the surface of the holobrick, but from different angles. Has a resolution of 1024 x 768, a 40-degree field of view and at a cinematic frame rate of 24 frames per second. Essentially, that means that as you walk around the screen, your view of the virtual object or scene changes with you. Additionally it is modular, allowing the size of the holograms to be increased. There is still more work to do, but the researchers say that the holobricks could open up possibilities like holographic video walls or interactive kiosks.   Obesity alters molecular architecture of liver cells; repairing structure reverses metabolic disease | Harvard News (06:23) According to Harvard researchers, cells use their molecular architecture to regulate their metabolic functions, and repairing diseased cells’ architecture to a healthier state can also repair metabolism. This could have implications on reversing obesity, and reversing the damage it causes to the body.  Gökhan Hotamışlıgi, a Harvard public health professor, mentions the regulatory mechanism they discovered: “The fundamental regulatory mechanism that we discovered can be used to evaluate the susceptibility—or resistance—of individuals to a disease state like obesity, and determine what steps, such as diet, nutrients, or fasting, will reduce, eliminate, or exacerbate these states. We can imagine a whole new array of therapeutic strategies targeting molecular architecture, similar to the restoration of an ailing building or preventing its deterioration.” The study compared liver samples from healthy, lean mice with samples from obese mice with fatty liver disease.  Using machine learning & AI, along with high-resolution imaging the researchers  generated three-dimensional reconstructions of specialized structures, called organelles, inside cells.  Organelles are the components of the cell.  Then compared the architecture/structure of the organelles between the lean & obese mice. ​​The images produced from this research are the most detailed visualization to date of subcellular structures while the cells are still intact in their tissue environment. Through these analyses, the team determined that obesity leads to dramatic alterations in subcellular molecular architecture, particularly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an organelle involved in the creation and shaping of proteins and lipids. The team then partially restored the ER’s structure using technologies that can repair molecules and proteins that can reshape cellular membranes to see what would happen. “The outcome was really striking—when structure is repaired, so is the cell’s metabolism,” said Ana Paula Arruda, co-lead on the research. “What we are describing here is a whole new way of controlling metabolism by regulating molecular architecture, which is critical for health and disease.” Researchers Make 'Giant Leap' to Produce Affordable Renewable Hydrogen | Good News Network (11:53) An Australian company, Hysata, has invented a totally new electrolyzer to expand use of hydrogen fuel, which they say represents the first real revolution in the technology in 200 years. Electrolyzer is the device that would separate water into hydrogen gas and oxygen with electrical current In more detail, an electrolyzer consists of an anode and a cathode separated by a sponge-like membrane.  H2O is sent into the anode, where its electrons are stripped and turned into electricity, powering whatever it’s connected to. Positively charged protons cross through the membrane into the cathode, where oxygen is pulled into. There, the protons, reunited with their electrons post-electricity harvest, combine with the oxygen to form water and heat. The company changed the design of the electrolyzer to make the cost of pure hydrogen fuel competitive with fossil fuels. Decreasing the heat and resistance generated through separating hydrogen. In a typical electrolyzer, gas bubbles form, reducing the efficiency of the process, but with this new design, Hysata was able to eliminate the problem. Resulting in 95% efficiency, or 41.5 kWh per kilogram of hydrogen Typical electrolyzer produce 39.4 kWh of energy from 1 kg of hydrogen. Hysata aren’t just scientists however, and the economics of their electrolyzer make sense. The membranes are easy to manufacture and the process can be automated at scale.   Microbes in Your Gut May Affect Personality – Could Be Associated With Mental and Physical Fatigue | SciTechDaily (16:25) Clarkson University researchers are performing research to determine if gut microbiome and metabolomic pathways in the gut could be associated with the personality traits mental energy, mental fatigue, physical energy, and physical fatigue. Gut metabolomes are small molecules, such as amino acids, enzymes, and co-factors, that are produced in the gut. There are thousands of different types of bacteria living in the gut determined by many factors, such as health status, dietary habits, and even physical activity levels. The researchers performed initial research on a small sample of young physically active adults.  The preliminary findings found that there are distinct bacteria and metabolomes that are associated with each personality trait.  One bacterium was associated with three of the four personality traits, but none between all four traits. Bacteria associated with metabolism were associated with either mental or physical energy, Bacteria associated with inflammation were associated with mental or physical fatigue.  The results build on previous work that reports that mental energy, mental fatigue, physical energy and physical fatigue are four distinct biological moods. Lead researcher, Ali Boolani, talks on the findings: “These new findings support my previous work where we report that feelings of energy are associated with metabolic processes, while feelings of fatigue are associated with inflammatory processes …  Since we are still learning about the gut microbiome, we don’t know whether if we try to change our personality trait, we might see a change in gut microbiome; or if we try to change our gut microbiome, we might also change our personality trait. Additionally, these findings may help explain some of the interpersonal differences that we see in response to the anti-fatiguing effects of nutritional interventions.” Next, Boolani and his team plan to duplicate the current study with samples from a much larger number of participants.    SpaceX is hosting a new fellowship on space-based surgery. It could save lives | Interesting Engineering (20:39) Performing simple tasks in space becomes difficult, so you can imagine performing surgery would be even more difficult.  In a bid to start tackling that issue head on, SpaceX has partnered with the University of Arizona and Banner Health to host the first-ever Aerospace Surgery Fellowship starting this July. All according to a press release by Banner health. The APEX fellowship will last for a year It will be the first-ever fellowship training program in the U.S. to go beyond medical oversight for astronauts, delving into the field of aerospace surgery. Aims to train future astronaut surgeons, who will travel to space with the express goal of keeping their fellow space explorers alive. The APEX Aerospace Surgery Fellowship will bring expert surgeons and physicians together in the U.S., helping them prepare to work in the commercial aerospace medical field. They will form a part of the medical teams serving upcoming missions launched by SpaceX, NASA, and other space programs. Fellows will have the opportunity to spend six months conducting research with SpaceX, the world's leading launch provider.  Nathanial Soper, executive director for general surgery at Banner, talked on the fellowship: "Individuals who train in this program will not only be qualified to support the space program personally … they will also be on the leading edge of developing the necessary tools and procedures to facilitate this exciting next phase in space exploration. I am truly excited and enthusiastic about our institution being involved in this novel undertaking." With the backing of SpaceX, which aims to reach the red planet in the 2030s, we may soon breach a new frontier with the world's first space surgery.

 98. Preventing AutoImmune Diseases, Touchscreen Friction, Anti-Aging Studies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:01

Cool News A new type of killer T-cell can stop attacks on healthy tissue | Interesting Engineering (01:14) A team of scientists has discovered a brand new form of human T cell that suppresses attacks on healthy tissues, which could lead to treatments for illnesses ranging from lupus to cancer. T cells are significant white blood cells in the immune system, playing a crucial role in adaptive immune response by killing diseased or malignant cells Studies in mice have shown that some of these cells may also kill T cells responsible for orchestrating autoimmune responses. Believed that humans share the same cells but not able to prove it The newly discovered class of T cells in the human immune system may be capable of killing other T cells,  Aid in the healing of infections and reducing autoimmune disorders. Stanford researchers evaluated the number of these human cells in patients with autoimmune illnesses like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and celiac disease to see if they are immunological inhibitors.  Saw that the specific T cells (CD8) were more abundant in patients' blood than in healthy people's blood. Gathered in regions of the body that had been injured by the autoimmune response like the joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis  The researchers looked at genetically altered mice that had 50 percent to 75 percent fewer suppressive CD8 cells than normal mice to see how much protection the cells provide against autoimmunity. Experienced kidney inflammation after being exposed to viruses that can cause autoimmune illness. (Control did not) The paper provides data that these CD8 cells exist in humans, and could indicate that techniques that enhance the number of cells in the body may aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.   Tiny 'skyscrapers' help bacteria convert sunlight into electricity | TechXplore (05:24) The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used 3D printing to create grids of high-rise 'nano-housing' where sun-loving bacteria can grow quickly. 3D-printed custom electrodes out of metal oxide nanoparticles that are tailored to work with the cyanobacteria as they perform photosynthesis. Developed a printing technique that allows control over multiple length scales, making the structures highly customisable They extracted the bacteria's waste electrons, left over from photosynthesis, which could be used to power small electronics. These researchers have found that providing the bacteria with the right kind of home increases the amount of energy they can extract by over an order of magnitude. For several years, researchers have been attempting to 're-wire' the photosynthesis mechanisms of cyanobacteria in order to extract energy from them. Lead researcher,  Dr. Jenny Zhang, stated:  “There's been a bottleneck in terms of how much energy you can actually extract from photosynthetic systems, but no one understood where the bottleneck was … Most scientists assumed that the bottleneck was on the biological side, in the bacteria, but we've found that a substantial bottleneck is actually on the material side." Dr. Zhang ends it off by talking on cyanobacteria: “Cyanobacteria are versatile chemical factories. Our approach allows us to tap into their energy conversion pathway at an early point, which helps us understand how they carry out energy conversion so we can use their natural pathways for renewable fuel or chemical generation." Concept Touchscreen Uses Temperature to Create Feel of Friction | Gizmodo (10:34) Researchers at Texas A&M have come up with a novel way for touchscreens to feel more than just perfectly smooth by fooling a user’s sense of touch through temperature changes. Some theorize a full touchscreen future, but the article argues that being able to feel physical keys with our fingers is an important part of the muscle memory that allows many of us to type at impressive speeds without having to look down and hunt-and-peck on a keyboard. The researchers in a recent study, found that by regulating the temperature of the surface of a touchscreen, they can increase or decrease the amount of friction a finger feels like it’s experiencing. The sensation of friction can be increased by as much as 50% by increasing a touchscreen’s surface temperature from 23 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius. The actual temperature changes are imperceptible to the user if doing quick motions The current prototypes don’t facilitate temperature adjustments in fine detail, but the eventual goal is to be able to manipulate and quickly change the temperature on any region of a touchscreen. Changes in friction can fool the brain into thinking it’s feeling physical buttons like keyboards, playback controls, even joysticks and action buttons for gaming. There’s a long way to go before this approach becomes a viable way to make virtual touchscreen keyboards easier to interact with. Being able to rapidly heat and cool a precise area would be very difficult, but it is a cool first step and idea.   Israeli scientists reverse aging process in human eggs | The Jerusalem Post (14:11) A team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, managed to successfully identify one of the aging mechanisms that prevent egg cells from successfully maturing. Stating they found the aging mechanism, it is reversible and they can “treat it.” This is significant with women putting off having kids until later on in life.  After the age of 35, women’s eggs begin to rapidly deteriorate and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments become less effective. By the time a woman reaches her late 30s, her eggs have accrued enough cellular damage to prevent them from properly maturing or being fertilized. Wasserzug-Pash, who conducted the research, discussed this:  “This research allows us to understand how human eggs age, which is important also for understanding how aging occurs in other areas … We can affect this aging mechanism with drugs and with [medical] intervention. We’ve gone one step forward in being able to help women suffering from age-related infertility. They will suffer less, have to go through fewer difficult procedures, and run into fewer disappointments when it comes to trying to conceive and start a family.” The team found that there is a way to prevent this damage from happening, thereby reversing the aging processes at work in egg cells. Led on the research, Dr. Michael Klutstein, touches on how they can treat the virus-like sequences that occurs in our genome that affects our DNA & ultimately eggs:  “If we use drugs that prevent these viruses from operating, and these are just antiviral drugs, then we stop this mechanism from happening and slow down the aging process,”  Researchers in the lab examined both mice and human egg cells that were taken from several different age groups.  Along with a control group and a group taking an antiviral drug They found, in all cases, the older oocytes, or eggs, that had received the antiviral drug appeared to be younger than the ones that had not been treated. The older, 35 to 40 year old eggs, “behaved more like eggs in their 20s.” The next step will be to establish the correct protocol for treating human eggs in an IVF setting, as well as ensure that the treatment does not negatively affect the embryo. Anti-aging molecules safely reset mouse cells to youthful states | New Atlas (19:33)  The Yamanaka factors at the center of this study are a set of four reprogramming molecules that can reset the molecular clock found in the cells of the body.  Returning unique patterns of chemicals known as epigenetic markers, which evolve through aging, to their original states. New research at the Salk Institute has sought to build on previous research on these factors by demonstrating how these molecules can reverse signs of aging in middle-aged and elderly mice, with no evidence of health problems following the extended treatment. Previously used the approach to reverse signs of aging in mice with a premature aging disease, and improve the function of tissues found in the heart and brain.  The purpose of the new study was to investigate the effects on healthy animals as they approached the latter stages of life The mice groups treated with the Yamanaka factors: Middle-aged mice from 15 through to 22 months old, equivalent to 50 to 70 years old in humans Another group was treated from 12 to 22 months, equal to 35 to 70 years of age. Another group received the molecules for just one month, at the age of 25 months, or 80 years old in human terms. Not only did the mice exhibit no neurological or blood cell changes, nor signs of cancers, they in many ways resembled more youthful animals.  ​​Epigenetic patterns typical of younger mice were observed in the kidneys and skin, while the skin cells were able to proliferate and minimize scarring following injury, a capability that typically declines with age.  Co-corresponding author on the study Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte provides the thoughts on the study’s results: “We are elated that we can use this approach across the life span to slow down aging in normal animals … The technique is both safe and effective in mice. In addition to tackling age-related diseases, this approach may provide the biomedical community with a new tool to restore tissue and organismal health by improving cell function and resilience in different disease situations, such as neurodegenerative diseases.” From here, the scientists plan to investigate the influence the Yamanaka factors might have on specific molecules and genes, and develop new ways to deliver them.     

 97. Sound Waves in Bone Regeneration, Meta’s Universal Speech Translator, Starlink Up In Ukraine | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:56

News Sound Waves Convert Stem Cells Into Bone in Regenerative Breakthrough | Good News Network (01:30) Researchers, from RMIT, have used sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells through the precision power of high-frequency sound waves. Tissue engineering advance Help patients regrow bone lost to cancer or degenerative disease. A key challenge in regrowing bone is the need for large amounts of bone cells that will thrive and flourish once implanted in the target area. Process right now of converting stem cells is complicated and expensive.  Let’s not forget that most of the previous research used stem cells extracted from bone marrow, a highly painful process. The research team showed stem cells treated with high-frequency sound waves turned into bone cells quickly and efficiently. Effective on multiple types of cells including fat-derived stem cells, which are far less painful to extract from a patient. The high-frequency sound waves used in the stem cell treatment were generated on a low-cost microchip device developed by RMIT. Can be used to precisely manipulate cells, fluids or materials. Co-lead researcher Dr Amy Gelmi said the new approach was faster and simpler than other methods: “The sound waves cut the treatment time usually required to get stem cells to begin to turn into bone cells by several days … This method also doesn’t require any special ‘bone-inducing’ drugs and it’s very easy to apply to the stem cells. Our study found this new approach has strong potential to be used for treating the stem cells, before we either coat them onto an implant or inject them directly into the body for tissue engineering.” The next stage in the research is investigating methods to upscale the platform, working towards the development of practical bioreactors to drive efficient stem cell differentiation.   Artificial neurons connect to biological ones to control living plants | New Atlas (06:48) Researchers at Linköping University have created artificial organic neurons and synapses that can integrate with natural biological systems, and demonstrated this by making a Venus flytrap close on demand. They're made out of polymers that can conduct either positive or negative ions. The team optimized these transistors and used them to build artificial neurons and synapses, and connect them to biological systems. Transistors detect concentrations of ions with certain charges, they switch, producing a signal that can then be picked up by other neurons.  Importantly, biological neurons operate on these same ion signals, meaning artificial and natural nerve cells can be connected. To demonstrate the new system, the researchers hooked their artificial neurons up to a live Venus flytrap. And sure enough, electrical pulses from the artificial neurons were strong enough to trigger the flytrap to close its jaws, but at under 0.6 volts, gentle enough to not harm the plant. The researchers believe they could find themselves bridging the gap between artificial and natural neurons for more responsive prosthetic limbs, implants, and robotics.   Meta announces plans to build an AI-powered 'universal speech translator' | The Verge (10:05)  Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has announced an ambitious new AI research project to create translation software that works for “everyone in the world.”  Part of an event focusing on the broad range of benefits Meta believes AI can offer The company says that although commonly spoken languages like English, Mandarin, and Spanish are well catered to by current translation tools, roughly 20 percent of the world’s population do not speak languages covered by these systems. Meta says it wants to overcome these challenges by deploying new machine learning techniques in two specific areas.  First Focus, dubbed No Language Left Behind Concentrate on building AI models that can learn to translate language using fewer training examples. The second, Universal Speech Translator aim to build systems that directly translate speech in real-time from one language to another without the need for a written component to serve as an intermediary In a blog post, Meta researchers did not offer a timeframe for completing these projects or even a roadmap for major milestones in reaching their goal. They also wrote, “Eliminating language barriers would be profound, making it possible for billions of people to access information online in their native or preferred language … Advances in [machine translation] won’t just help those people who don’t speak one of the languages that dominates the internet today; they’ll also fundamentally change the way people in the world connect and share ideas.”   Gel-like sieve in blood vessels a new target for repairing damaged hearts  | MedicalXpress (14:02) Drugs that repair damage to a gel-like layer in the tiny blood vessels of the heart could present a much-needed treatment for heart failure in people with diabetes. The gel-like layer—called the glycocalyx—lines the inside of blood vessels and acts like a sieve to regulate how nutrients move from the blood to the heart and other tissues in the body. Researchers saw in this study that mice with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have damaged glycocalyx in the small blood vessels of the heart. Damage was associated with increased fluid movement into the walls of the heart, leading to swelling and increased stiffness of the heart muscle. To see if repairing the glycocalyx improved the function of the heart, diabetic mice were given a substance known to restore the glycocalyx, called angiopoietin 1. At three hours after treatment the researchers found that glycocalyx coverage and thickness had increased in the blood vessels. Ultrasound scans of the heart showed their ability to relax between beats also improved. Scientists are now one step closer to better understanding why some people with diabetes develop heart failure, for which there is no cure.  These findings have far-reaching implications in protecting against other types of organ failure, since the glycocalyx is present in all blood vessels. Further research is needed to determine whether protecting the glycocalyx from breaking down can lessen heart problems seen in diabetics. Elon Musk activates Starlink satellite service in Ukraine after Vice PM calls upon him | Interesting Engineering (18:10) Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, tweeted at SpaceX founder Elon Musk early on Saturday asking the billionaire to connect his struggling nation to the internet. Within hours (10), Musk replied that the company's Starlink satellite internet service "is now active in Ukraine" with "more terminals en route."

 96. Universal Blood Type Organs, Rapid Hydrogen Fuel Generation, Startup Drilling For Geothermal Energy | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:48

News: Scientists create universal blood type organs for transplant | Interesting Engineering (01:34) There are 106,435 people in the United States waiting for an organ transplant. Someone in need of a heart or lung spends an average of four months on the recipient list before a suitable organ becomes available. Waiting for a kidney typically lasts five years. These averages don't reflect the patient's blood type Marcelo Cypel, a thoracic surgeon, tells IE that people with type O blood are 20 percent more likely to die while waiting for a lung than patients with type A blood.  45 percent of people in the U.S. having type O blood The reason for that disparity lies in the immune system Someone with type O blood has an immune system that will attack a transplanted organ that comes from a donor of any other blood type. The differences in blood type can be fatal: A blood transfusion of just 50 milliliters of incompatible blood can kill a person. The separation by blood type also leads to missed opportunities for a new lease on life if someone has the wrong blood type. Cypel expands on that stating, “There are situations where we may get a B donor, but we don't have a B recipient … In that case, today, we just don't use that organ; that organ gets buried.” In a recent study, researchers provide a potential solution: They used a combination of technologies to convert eight type-A lungs into type-O lungs, which are far less likely to be attacked by a patient's immune system, regardless of their blood type. People with type O blood are highly desirable organ donors because their antigens are not adorned with the type-A triangles or type-B squares that would provoke the other's immune systems.  The researchers figured out how to use enzymes to remove billions of type-B squares or type-A triangles while leaving the circles intact.  Convert lungs to type O by cutting off the extra sugars.  By showing that the enzymes can dramatically lower the number of antigens on lungs that weren't suitable for transplantation into human patients, the researchers have taken a big step toward proving to stakeholders that the research could be transformative. Scientists boost the mosquito-killing effect of natural clove oil | New Atlas (07:16) The best method of limiting the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases is to kill the mosquito larvae Involves the use of synthetic insecticides, which accumulate in soil, water and food potentially causing health problems in both people and wildlife Mosquitoes typically build up a resistance to insecticides over time. A new study now suggests a method of improving the effectiveness of a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative – clove oil. A substance called Eugenol, which is found in clove (Syzygium aromaticum), can kill the larva of the dengue mosquito in 24 hours. Can be prepared at home by blending 60 clove buds and a cup of water.  The oil is safe for the environment, and the cloves from which it's made are inexpensive and readily available in regions where mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria, Zika and dengue fever are widespread. Scientists from India's Gauhati University set out to boost the oil’s larvae-killing capabilities. They found that a liquid organic compound by the name of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) had a particularly pronounced lethal effect on Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae. Assoc. Prof. Bulbuli Khanikor stated, “The use of synergists, either synthetic or natural, along with insecticides like eugenol helps to prevent resistance development … In the present study, combining synergists like piperonyl butoxide with eugenol was found to enhance the effectiveness of eugenol significantly." It should be noted that while PBO is considered to be only minimally toxic to humans, it is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates and tadpoles Ideally be limited to the puddles where mosquitos frequently breed, as opposed to larger marshes or ponds. Easy aluminum nanoparticles for rapid, efficient hydrogen generation from water | Science Daily (12:28) For years, researchers have tried to find efficient and cost-effective ways to use aluminum's reactivity to generate clean hydrogen fuel A new study shows that an easily produced composite of gallium and aluminum creates aluminum nanoparticles that react rapidly with water at room temperature to yield large amounts of hydrogen. Even though gallium is not abundant and is relatively expensive, the gallium was easily recovered for reuse after the reaction "We don't need any energy input, and it bubbles hydrogen like crazy. I've never seen anything like it," said UCSC Chemistry Professor Scott Oliver. Previous studies had mostly used aluminum-rich mixtures of aluminum and gallium, or in some cases more complex alloys. But in this study they found that hydrogen production increased with a gallium-rich composite. In fact, the rate of hydrogen production was so unexpectedly high the researchers thought there must be something fundamentally different about this gallium-rich alloy. In this gallium-rich composite, the gallium serves both to dissolve the aluminum oxide coating and to separate the aluminum into nanoparticles. Making the composite required nothing more than simple manual mixing. The composite can be made with readily available sources of aluminum, including used foil or cans, and the composite can be stored for long periods by covering it with cyclohexane to protect it from moisture. It remains to be seen, however, if this process can be scaled up to be practical for commercial hydrogen production. Gut bacteriophages associated with improved executive function and memory in flies, mice and humans | MedicalXpress (16:05) A team of researchers in Spain have found evidence of the presence of certain bacteriophages in the gut promoting better executive function and memory in flies, mice and humans. Prior research has shown that certain types of bacteria in the gut can promote or hinder mental functioning In this new effort, the researchers wondered if the same might be true of bacteriophages, which are viruses that parasitize bacteria and reproduce inside of them. They first tested fecal samples from 114 volunteers and then again from another 942 volunteers, both times measuring levels of either bacteriophage (Microviridae and Caudovirales). Gave each volunteer several memory and cognitive tests. Volunteers with higher levels of Caudovirales tended to do better on the tests To contrast, volunteers with high levels of Microviridae tended to do worse on the tests. The researchers then conducted a study of various types of foods to find out how the two kinds of bacteriophage might make their way into the human gut. a common route appeared to be through dairy products. The researchers continued their work by transplanting fecal samples from the human volunteers into the guts of fruit flies and mice.  Then tested their cognitive and memory abilities against control groups.  As with the human test subjects, the researchers found that those given samples with high levels of Caudovirales tended to do better on the tests, while those given doses of Microviridae did worse. The work does not prove that bacteriophages in the gut can have an impact on cognitive abilities but suggests it does seem likely.   Startup Will Drill 12 Miles Into Earth's Crust to Tap the Boundless Energy Below | SingularityHub (21:02) What if there was a nearly limitless source of energy available anywhere on the planet?  What if the only thing preventing us from tapping said energy source was technology?  And what if that tech drew on the expertise of a century-old, trillion-dollar industry, and could readily slot into much of the infrastructure already built for that industry? Geothermal The core of our planet is hotter than the surface of the sun—all we have to do is drill deep enough to liberate some of its heat. The dream of the startup Quaise Energy, which spun out of MIT in 2018, and they recently secured $40 million in new funding to go after it. The big idea? Swap out traditional drill bits for millimeter-wave beams of light to vaporize rock instead of crushing it.  Millimeter-wave energy—an electromagnetic frequency in the territory of microwaves Shoots down the drill hole alongside a gas—nitrogen, air, or argon—and evaporates layers of rock deep in the Earth. Contactless drills could bore holes as deep as 12 miles into the Earth’s crust where the rock reaches temperatures upwards of 700 degrees Fahrenheit.  Water goes down the hole, is converted to supercritical steam, and shoots back to the surface to drive standard turbines and produce electricity to feed the grid Supercritical steam, a fourth phase of water that’s neither liquid nor gas  Holds 4 to 10 times as much energy per unit mass and doubles its conversion to electricity. According to the company, they are targeting the temperature of the rocks below the surface, not depth. The CEO Carlos Araque stated: “We want geothermal to be viable no matter where you are in the world, and for that you need to go deeper … 20 kilometers, 12 miles, will pretty much get you 95 percent of the population of the world.” Earth’s geological engine isn’t scheduled to die for a billion years, and its energy is available from any point on the surface—as long as we can dig deep enough. As the technology advances, geothermal could become an abundant and reliable addition to the energy mix.  

 95. Next-Generation Spinal Implants, Link Between Alzheimer’s & Sleep, More Nuclear Fusion Updates | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:29

News: Next-generation spinal implants help people with severe paralysis walk, cycle, and swim | Science.Org (01:40) New Synthetic Tooth Enamel Is Harder and Stronger Than the Real Thing | SciTechDaily (09:05) We Just Got Closer to Finding a Link Between Alzheimer's And Circadian Rhythms | Science Alert (14:16) Microsoft Mitigates 3.47Tbps DDoS Attack, a New Record | PCMag (21:29) Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy | BBC News (25:24)

 94. Impossible 2D Material Created, MRIs Added to the Cancer Fight, Game Changing Carbon Capture Technology | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 34:09

NEWS: "Impossible" 2D material is light as plastic and stronger than steel | New Atlas (01:53) Team develops new therapy using magnetic seeds to heat and kill cancer | MedicalXPress (9:09) Michigan wants to develop a wireless EV-charging road by next year | Teslarati (15:33) Tesla Model S Goes 752 Miles on Startup's Battery Swap | The Drive (19:44) New 'game-changing' technology removes 99% of carbon dioxide from the air | Interesting Engineering (25:36)


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