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The meat of protected African animals is being sold in Belgium

New Scientist - Hace 7 horas 9 mins
The meat of several protected species, including the red-tailed and De Brazza’s monkeys, is being illegally sold in Belgium

Bottlenose dolphins may control their heart rates to avoid the bends

New Scientist - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 23:15
Bottlenose dolphins may consciously vary their heart rates depending on how far they want to dive, in an effort to avoid decompression sickness

Laser Fusion Reactor Approaches 'Burning Plasma' Milestone

Slashdot - Science - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 21:30
Iwastheone shares a report from Science Magazine: In October 2010, in a building the size of three U.S. football fields, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory powered up 192 laser beams, focused their energy into a pulse with the punch of a speeding truck, and fired it at a pellet of nuclear fuel the size of a peppercorn. So began a campaign by the National Ignition Facility (NIF) to achieve the goal it is named for: igniting a fusion reaction that produces more energy than the laser puts in. A decade and nearly 3000 shots later, NIF is still generating more fizz than bang, hampered by the complex, poorly understood behavior of the laser targets when they vaporize and implode. But with new target designs and laser pulse shapes, along with better tools to monitor the miniature explosions, NIF researchers believe they are close to an important intermediate milestone known as "burning plasma": a fusion burn sustained by the heat of the reaction itself rather than the input of laser energy. Self-heating is key to burning up all the fuel and getting runaway energy gain. Once NIF reaches the threshold, simulations suggest it will have an easier path to ignition, says Mark Herrmann, who oversees Livermore's fusion program. "We're pushing as hard as we can," he says. "You can feel the acceleration in our understanding." Outsiders are impressed, too. "You kind of feel there's steady progress and less guesswork," says Steven Rose, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London. "They're moving away from designs traditionally held and trying new things." NIF may not have the luxury of time, however. The proportion of NIF shots devoted to the ignition effort has been cut from a high of nearly 60% in 2012 to less than 30% today to reserve more shots for stockpile stewardship -- experiments that simulate nuclear detonations to help verify the reliability of warheads. Presidential budget requests in recent years have repeatedly sought to slash research into inertial confinement fusion at NIF and elsewhere, only to have Congress preserve it. NIF's funder, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), is reviewing the machine's progress for the first time in 5 years. Under pressure to modernize the nuclear arsenal, the agency could decide on a further shift toward stockpile stewardship. "Will the ignition program be squeezed out?" asks Mike Dunne, who directed Livermore's fusion energy efforts from 2010 to 2014. "The jury's out."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Psilocybin and Migraine: First of Its Kind Trial Reports Promising Results

Slashdot - Science - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 18:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: A first-of-its-kind exploratory study, led by researchers from Yale School of Medicine, has found a single dose of the psychedelic psilocybin can reduce migraine frequency by 50 percent for a least two weeks. The preliminary trial was small, with follow-up work necessary to validate the results, but the promising findings suggest great potential for psychedelics to treat migraines and cluster headaches. A new study, published in the journal Neurotherapeutics, is offering the first double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study on the effects of a moderate psilocybin dose on migraine frequency and severity. The research is only preliminary and small but its results are deeply encouraging. Ten migraine sufferers were recruited for the trial. Each subject completed two sessions, one with a placebo and one with a moderate psilocybin dose. Headache diaries were used to track headache frequency and severity in the two weeks leading up to, and following, each experimental session. "Compared to placebo, a single administration of psilocybin reduced migraine frequency by about half over the two weeks measured," explains corresponding author on the new study Emmanuelle Schindler, in an email to New Atlas. "In addition, when migraine attacks did occur in those two weeks, pain intensity and functional impairment during attacks were reduced by approximately 30 percent each." Perhaps the most intriguing finding from this small study was the lack of any correlation between the subjective strength of the psychedelic experience and the therapeutic effect. Prior trials using psilocybin to treat depression or addiction have suggested the overwhelming magnitude of a psychedelic experience seems to be fundamentally entwined with its therapeutic efficacy. So essentially, the more powerful the experience the better the result. But unexpectedly, this migraine/psilocybin trial did not detect that association. In fact, those subjects reporting the highest scores on a self-reported altered state of consciousness scale showed some of the smaller reductions in migraine burden. What this intriguingly suggests is that, in the case of psilocybin for migraine, it may be possible to separate out the drug's psychotropic effects from its therapeutic effects. This could be achieved either by exploring microdoses and sub-hallucinogenic doses, or even homing in on the mechanism by which the drug is helping prevent migraines and finding a new way to pharmacologically target it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Supersized wind turbines generate clean energy--and surprising physics

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
As wind energy scales up, researchers study the fluid dynamics challenges.

Tracking and fighting fires on earth and beyond

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
Scientists demonstrate how fires burn and spread under different environmental conditions.

The science of windy cities

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
Researchers model urban airflows to help improve the design of drones, skyscrapers, and natural ventilation systems.

Ancient people relied on coastal environments to survive the Last Glacial Maximum

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
Excavations on the south coast of South Africa have uncovered evidence of human occupations from the end of the last ice age, approximately 35,000 years ago, through the complex transition to the modern time, known as the Holocene and adaptions that were key to our species ability to survive wide climate and environmental fluctuations.

Indonesian wildfires a 'fixable problem'

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
Indonesian wildfires that cause widespread air pollution and vast carbon emissions are a 'fixable problem', according to the leader of a project set up to help tackle the issue.

Genetics behind deadly oat blight

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:34
A multi-institution team has identified the genetic mechanisms that enable the production of a deadly toxin called Victorin - the causal agent for Victoria blight of oats, a disease that wiped out oat crops in the U.S. in the 1940s.

China Launches Ambitious Mission To Land On Moon and Return Samples To Earth

Slashdot - Science - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 16:02
BeerFartMoron shares a report from CBS News: China launched its most ambitious moon mission yet Monday: a robotic spacecraft expected to land on the lunar surface by the end of the week. The spacecraft is expected to collect about four pounds of rock and soil samples, and return them to Earth next month for laboratory analysis. If successful, the Chang'e 5 mission will make China only the third nation, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to bring moon rocks back to Earth. It will also be the first to attempt the feat since Russia's Luna 24 in 1976. The 8,335-pound Chang'e 5 spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, is made up of four major components: a lunar orbiter, a sample return craft, a lander carrying science instruments and sample collection equipment, and a small ascent vehicle mounted atop the lander to carry the collected surface samples back up to orbit. The Chang'e 5 lander features multiple cameras, a spectrometer to assess the composition of the soil near the spacecraft and a ground-penetrating radar. A robot arm is equipped with a percussive drill and scoop to pick up excavated rock and soil. Working by remote control from Earth, engineers will use the arm to move collected samples up to the ascent vehicle, which then will blast off, rendezvous with the Chang'e 5 orbiter and transfer the sample to the return craft for the trip back to Earth. Landing in Inner Mongolia is expected around December 16. From there, the samples will be transferred to specially equipped laboratories for analysis.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New connection between Alzheimer's dementia and Dlgap2

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
A research team has discovered that Dlgap2, a gene that helps facilitate communication between neurons in the nervous system, is associated with the degree of memory loss in mice and risk for Alzheimer's dementia in humans. When studying post-mortem human brain tissue, the researchers also discovered low levels of Dlgap2 in people experiencing 'poorer cognitive health' and 'faster cognitive decline' prior to death.

Big cats and small dogs: Solving the mystery of canine distemper in wild tigers

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a serious disease in domestic dogs, and also infects other carnivores, including threatened species like the Amur tiger. It is often assumed that domestic dogs are the primary source of CDV, but a new study found that other local wildlife was the primary source of CDV transmission to tigers instead.

Galaxy encounter violently disturbed Milky Way

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
The long-held belief that the Milky Way, the galaxy containing Earth and the solar system, is relatively static has been ruptured by fresh cosmic insight. The spiral-shaped disc of stars and planets is being pulled, twisted and deformed with extreme violence by the gravitational force of a smaller galaxy - the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

Unique Schwann cells: the eyes have it

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Neuroscience researchers are finding genetic properties of Schwann cells in the cornea that may unlock a better understanding of their role in healing, sensory function, preserving vision, and even nerve regeneration.

Global warming likely to increase disease risk for animals worldwide

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found -- with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans, they warn.

Early, late stages of degenerative diseases are distinct

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Biochemists have proposed that degenerative diseases as varied as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and muscle atrophy occur in two distinct phases marked by protein signaling changes that could result in patients responding differently to the same treatment.

Flow physics could help forecasters predict extreme events

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Researchers are studying a tornado's song and other 'doors to danger' in an increasingly chaotic world.

How to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
Researchers are developing simple and inexpensive tools -- like a DIY ventilator -- to treat patients more effectively and prevent disease transmission in hospitals.

Largest aggregation of fishes in abyssal deep sea

Science Daily - Lun, 23/11/2020 - 15:10
The largest aggregation of fishes ever recorded in the abyssal deep sea was discovered by a team of oceanographers during an expedition in the Clarion Clipperton Zone.

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