Virus–Who’s To Blame?

As long as some of us are sheltering in place I thought that IST should help spread information to as many as I can….there is lots of info flying around the web…..

I have read and heard a lot about the origins of Covid-19 as that of animals….most notably the Pangolins of Asia……but is that true or just another wild conspiracy?

Maybe not so fast on that conspiracy…….

Pangolins can harbor coronaviruses related to the new coronavirus, a study finds.

Scientists studied viruses in pangolins (Manis javanica) captured in anti-smuggling activities in southern China. The identified coronaviruses, however, are different enough from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to hint that pangolins were not directly responsible for transmitting the virus to people, which had been suggested.

One of the pangolin viruses does have a structure that closely resembles the new coronavirus’ spike protein, which allows the pathogen to get into cells, infectious disease researcher Tommy Tsan-Yuk Lam of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong and colleagues report March 26 in Nature

The closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 is still from a bat, the only other known mammal found to be infected with similar coronaviruses. 

There’s no evidence the coronavirus jumped from pangolins to people

In another story I have heard it is a bat’s fault that viruses are spread…if so why is that?

While people across the world were celebrating the holidays with loved ones at the end of last year, somewhere in China the coronavirus pandemic began with a virus moving from bats to pigs and, ultimately, to the first human. 

The rest, as they say, is history. Or at least it will be when the final chapter of the great COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is written. 

But why are bats so often behind viruses that sweep across the globe and kill so many of us?

Why Do Pandemics Often Start With Bats?

There is a report that this virus may have been around for years…..

Scientists studying the origins of the coronavirus have found similar strains in bats and pangolins, leading to speculation that it jumped from one or perhaps both of those animals to humans earlier this year. But a new study floats a different idea: that the virus was spreading in humans for years, undetected and growing ever more dangerous, reports Science Alert. Under this scenario, the virus would have passed from animals to humans a while back, but it would have been harmless to us at the time. “Then, as a result of gradual evolutionary changes over years or perhaps decades, the virus eventually gained the ability to spread from human to human and cause serious, often life-threatening disease,” writes National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins at his blog. Collins was not involved with the study by US, UK, and Australian researchers in Nature Medicine.

The scientists found that while strains found in bats and pangolins were indeed similar to SARS-CoV-2, the strain causing the current pandemic, the gap between the animal and humans versions remains too large, per the South China Morning Post. (The human strain has a genetic mutation that makes it particularly lethal for us, and the SCMP goes into detail on that.) It’s possible that a closer version in animals exists and just hasn’t been found yet, but the researchers suggest it’s more likely that the strain mutated within humans as it slowly spread. Among other things, that raises the possibility the disease did not originate in Wuhan, China, where the first cases were detected. Another key component of the study: The researchers say it’s all but impossible that the coronavirus originated in a lab—it has all the hallmarks of a natural origin.

Just a little more information for my readers…….I like to be FYI as often as I can especially now when we are all become hermits and a bit of a recluse.

Learn Stuff!

Watch This Blog!

Stay calm……avoid crowds…..wash hands often……stay prepared…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Saturday Sciencey Stuff

While reading my normal stuff I come across other fields of interests other than foreign policy…and since my weekends is for FYI my readers to garner more information and knowledge…..

First, the new thing is the invention of “living concrete”…..

Scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder have created what The New York Times calls a “living concrete,” teeming with photosynthetic bacteria, that can grow itself and regenerate itself — much like a living organism.

The concrete is a mixture of gelatin, sand, and cyanobacteria that cools similarly to Jell-O, the Times reports. The resulting structure was able to regenerate itself three times after researchers cut it apart, suggesting a potential breakthrough in the nascent field of self-assembling materials.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-create-living-concrete-heal-itself

“I Like to be

Under the sea

with the fishes……”

We humans have a limited time in which we can stay under the water…..then came SCUBA and re-breathers……and now we have another invention…..

exolung, an underwater breathing device has been designed to give divers an ‘unlimited’ air supply. it translates the diver’s swimming motions into air movement, keeping breathing air flowing as long as the diver keeps swimming.

exolung is a surface-supplied diving system, which means it uses a buoy that floats on the surface of the water to provide the diver with air. doubling as a safety restraint, a hose measuring 39 feet (12 meters) connects the buoy with the water bell worn on the front of the torso.

inside the bell’s hardshell body, there is a collapsible water bladder attached to leg straps that secure around the diver’s feet. by extending the legs, fresh air is drawn down from the surface and water is displaced from the air bell. when the diver retracts their legs, water pressure puts air inside the bell under ambient water pressure, which can then be inhaled.

the exolung gives divers an ‘unlimited’ underwater air supply

Speaking of breathing…..scientist have found a way to make oxygen out of moon dust….

European Space Agency (ESA) scientists say they’ve found a way to produce oxygen from lunar dust. Samples of real lunar dust have been found to be 40 to 45 percent oxygen by weight, according to the ESA.

The team just opened a “prototype oxygen plant” inside a European Space Research and Technology Center lab in the Netherlands.

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel,” said Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow in a statement.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-make-oxygen-from-moon-dust

Finally, every heard of nano bots?

Well you soon will……

A team of researchers have built what they claim to be the first living robots. The “xenobots,” they say, can move, pick up objects, and even heal themselves after being cut.

The team is hoping the biological machines could one day be used to clean up microplastics in the ocean or even deliver drugs inside the human body, The Guardian reports.

To build the robots, the team used living cells from frog embryos and assembled them into primitive beings.

“These are novel living machines,” research co-lead Joshua Bongard, robotics expert at the University of Vermont, said in a statement. “They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”

The millimeter-length robots were designed by a supercomputer running an “evolutionary algorithm” that tested thousands of 3D designs for rudimentary life forms inside a simulation. The scientists then built a handful of the designs, which were able to propel themselves forward or fulfill a basic task inside the simulation using tweezers and cauterizing tools.

 

 

The Time Machine

NO this is not a review of yet another re-make of H G Wells timeless(no pun intended) classic…..but rather the news that a scientist has stated that he knows how to build a time machine……not a theory of a time machine but rather a how to build an actual time machine…..(in theory)…….

Astrophysicist Ron Mallett believes he’s found a way to travel back in time — theoretically.

The tenured University of Connecticut physics professor recently told CNN that he’s written a scientific equation that could serve as the foundation for an actual time machine. He’s even built a prototype device to illustrate a key component of his theory — though Mallett’s peers remain unconvinced that his time machine will ever come to fruition.

To understand Mallett’s machine, you need to know the basics of Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which states that time accelerates or decelerates depending on the speed at which an object is moving.

Based on that theory, if a person was in a spaceship traveling near the speed of light, time would pass more slowly for them than it would for someone who remained on Earth. Essentially, the astronaut could zip around space for less than a week, and when they returned to Earth, 10 years would have passed for the people they’d left behind, making it seem to the astronaut like they’d time traveled to the future.

But while most physicists accept that skipping forward in time in that way is probably possible, time traveling to the past is a whole other issue — and one Mallett thinks he could solve using lasers.

https://futurism.com/astrophysicist-build-time-machine-past

His colleagues say it will not work……but is that not what the colleagues of the Wells book had to say as well?

Just a little something that I thought you, my reader, might like to know…..we can discuss it if you like…..

If you could travel back…..where would you want to visit?

Come on let’s step back in time for just a few minutes.

I would like to meet Thomas Paine……

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Top Science Anniversaries For 2020

The weekend and I search for anything not related to the silliness that demanded our attention in the news for the last week…..and 2020 is still very young so how about looking back at some of the great scientific anniversaries?

2020, the International Year of Good Vision, is also a good year for scientific anniversaries.

As usual, there are the birthday anniversaries, offering an opportunity to recognize some of the great scientists of the past for their contributions to humankind’s collective knowledge. And there are the anniversaries of accomplishments, discoveries or events that left the world a different place than it had been before. There’s even an Einstein anniversary, which there almost always is.

What’s more, by selecting the Top 10 anniversaries carefully, you can illustrate how often key scientific concepts are intertwined — neutrons with bombs, for example, or magnetism with X-rays with DNA. So here, without any deep meaning to the order of presentation, are the Top 10 Science Anniversaries in 2020:

10. Roger Bacon, 800th birthday

Nobody knows for sure exactly when Bacon was born, but a passage in his writings suggests that it was around 1220. He was among the premier natural philosophers of his day; he studied first at Oxford and then lectured at the University of Paris. He became a Franciscan monk but often got in trouble for breaking the order’s rules.

Top 10 science anniversaries in 2020

A Closing thought for this weekend…..I am an old fart and social networking just does not mean the same to me it does to techno geeks……my social networking was easy…..

MoMo is giving me that “where is my walk? Look…..

Image

Got go rain or shine…..she demands her walk……and I need the exercise……

Peace Out!

“lego ergo scribo”

Robo-Soldiers

Another Sunday and another day in the sun with Sue and MoMo….the problem there is it is cloudy and rain likely.

We all remember the movie and failed series, Robocop, right?

Well the idea of a cyborg is getting more and more traction….but it is not a cop but soldiers for our battlefields.

The reality of real cyborg soldiers on the battlefield is closer than you think.

A new Pentagon report, “Cyborg Soldier 2050: Human/Machine Fusion and the Implications for the Future of the DoD,” goes into detail about four cyborg technologies that are “technically feasible by 2050 or earlier” — including eye enhancements for situational awareness, programmed muscle control, auditory enhancement, and “direct neural enhancement of the human brain for two-way data transfer.”

You read that right — the DoD wants to connect your brain to machines.

Carried out from September 2018 to August 2019, the study was conducted by a DoD Biotechnologies for Health and Human Performance Council group and released on Monday by the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center.

https://taskandpurpose.com/army-cyborg-soldier-2050-study

What could possibly go wrong?

The U.S. military has ambitious plans to turn its soldiers into high-tech cyborg warriors by making them stronger, enhancing their senses, and wiring their brains to computers.

Pentagon brass thinks these cyborgs will make their way to the battlefield by 2050, Army Times reports. The Department of Defense just declassified a report from October that details its plans for “human/machine fusion,” revealing its bizarre plan to bring to life military tech that’s always been safely quarantined within the realm of science fiction.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/us-military-augmented-human-beings

The more I read the more I see the problems that could arise…..but will it be enough?

“In the next 30 years, you’re going to need to have to deal with these legal and ethical quandaries, and you’re not ready for it,” Peter Emanuel, an Army researcher and the lead author of a year-long DoD study, said.

In recent years, the medical community has made great strides in prosthetics and implants as technology has created new possibilities.

The US military envisions a future where in the next few decades, soldiers could become enhanced through ocular, auditory, muscular, and even neural augmentations, such as retinal overlays or neural implants that fuse man and machine in unprecedented ways.

https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-worries-the-military-about-future-cyborg-super-soldiers-2019-12

All this is just scary….plus could make war more and more likely of never ending…..if the losses are minimum and the profits keep rolling……why stop a good thing?

Is this what is truly needed?

Thoughts?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Is The End Near?

The weekend after T’giving and I will post my usual FYI posts.

There is always some dude walking the streets of a city with a sign that reads “Repent! The End Is Near”….and when asked he will wax poetic and spew doom and gloom.

There are philosophers that believe that we humans have reached the pinnacle of our intelligence.

Despite huge advances in science over the past century, our understanding of nature is still far from complete. Not only have scientists failed to find the Holy Grail of physics – unifying the very large (general relativity) with the very small (quantum mechanics) – they still don’t know what the vast majority of the universe is made up of. The sought after Theory of Everything continues to elude us. And there are other outstanding puzzles, too, such as how consciousness arises from mere matter.

Will science ever be able to provide all the answers? Human brains are the product of blind and unguided evolution. They were designed to solve practical problems impinging on our survival and reproduction, not to unravel the fabric of the universe. This realization has led some philosophers to embrace a curious form of pessimism, arguing there are bound to be things we will never understand. Human science will therefore one day hit a hard limit – and may already have done so.

https://thenextweb.com/syndication/2019/11/17/why-philosophers-believe-weve-reached-peak-human-intelligence/

With that said is it possible that our decline may have already began?

As the world reels under each new outbreak of crisis—record heatwaves across the Western hemisphere, devastating fires across the Amazon rainforest, the slow-moving Hurricane Dorian, severe ice melting at the poles—the question of how bad things might get, and how soon, has become increasingly urgent.

The fear of collapse is evident in the framing of movements such as ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and in resounding warnings that business-as-usual means heading toward an uninhabitable planet.

But a growing number of experts not only point at the looming possibility that human civilization itself is at risk; some believe that the science shows it is already too late to prevent collapse. The outcome of the debate on this is obviously critical: it throws light on whether and how societies should adjust to this uncertain landscape.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xwygg/the-collapse-of-civilization-may-have-already-begun

If the end is near the next question will be….what cokes with the end of history?

Is the end near?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The Cloak Of Invisibility

That sound alike a special thing some fantasy hero has to combat the forces of evil……

After a cold week the weekend appears to be warmer and sunny….but we will see…..

What a coup that would be….if someone figures out how to make things invisible…..especially on the battlefield….

Canada’s Hyperstealth Biotechnology already manufactures camouflage uniforms for militaries across the globe.

But now, the company has patented a new “Quantum Stealth” material that disguises a military’s soldiers — or even its tanks, aircraft, and ships — by making anything behind it seem invisible.

Earlier in October, Hyperstealth filed a patent for the material, which doesn’t require a power source and is both paper-thin and inexpensive — all traits that could make it appealing for use on the battlefield.

According to a press release, it works by bending the light around a target to make it seemingly disappear. This light can be in the visible spectrum, or it can be ultraviolet, infrared, or shortwave infrared light, making the material what Hyperstealth calls a “broadband invisibility cloak.”

https://futurism.com/the-byte/watch-invisibility-cloak-military-use

Space Sunday

It is that time again…..time for me to bring my readers up to date on the happenings in space and our soon to be active, Space Force.

Most people could care less but I grew up with Buck Rogers, Rocky Jackson, Flash Gordon, etc……so I like space stuff and after all it is my blog so guess what?  Space News!

Lots of stuff to report…..us space nerds are on the job……

Lots of talk about settlers for the Moon……

It’s the year 3000. Having used up all of Earth’s natural resources, humans have become a spacefaring race and established colonies on the moon. Vast, sealed domes cluster across its surface, housing cities populated by hundreds of thousands of people. This cold, gray rock has somehow become humanity’s new home.

Of course, this is pure science fiction. But no vision of the future is complete without an extraterrestrial colony of humans, and since the moon is the closest celestial body to our planet, it’s the easiest to imagine as our futuristic home.

But does this vision align with reality? Will the moon one day be a hot property, and if so, how many people could its unwelcoming landscape realistically support?

https://www.livescience.com/how-many-humans-could-live-moon.html

Then those settlers will reach out to Mars……where will they call home?

The smaller of Mars’ two moons, Deimos, was named after the Greek god of terror — but the way former NASA flight surgeon Jim Logan sees it, Deimos could be a comfort zone for space settlers.

“The Mars-facing side of Deimos is probably the most valuable real estate in the solar system,” Logan, co-founder of the Space Enterprise Institute, said today at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Logan laid out his case for Deimos during a conference on space settlement, presented this week by the Space Studies Institute to highlight the late Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill’s vision for humanity’s expansion into the solar system.

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/safest-bet-space-settlers-believe-inside-mars-moon-deimos/

Will we ever find life on Mars?

Nasa is close to finding life on Mars but the world is not ready for the “revolutionary” implications of the discovery, the space agency’s chief scientist has said.

Dr Jim Green has warned that two rovers from Nasa and the European Space Agency (ESA) could find evidence of life within months of arriving on Mars in March 2021.

The ExoMars Rover, which has been dubbed “Rosalind” in memory of British chemist Rosalind Franklin, will search for extra-terrestrial life by drilling 6.5 feet down into Mars’ core to take samples.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-mars-life-discovery-space-exomars-rover-chief-scientist-jim-green-a9125076.html

Stay on the topic of Mars……what if “life” is found by the rovers now crawling their way across the planet?

Chief scientist at NASA Jim Green believes we’re just years away from finding life on Mars — thanks to the agency’s Mars rover and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Rover, both scheduled to launch in 2020.

If the missions find life, Green is terrified of the implications.

“It will start a whole new line of thinking,” he told The Telegraph. “I don’t think we’re prepared for the results. I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements.”

https://futurism.com/the-byte/nasa-scientist-find-life-mars

What about the other neighbor that we do not talk about much….Venus?

It seems that Venus once had a stable environment for awhile…

Venus likely maintained stable temperatures and hosted liquid water for billions of years before an event triggered drastic changes in the planet, according to a new study.

Now, Venus is a mostly dead planet with a toxic atmosphere 90 times thicker than ours and surface temperatures that reach 864 degrees, hot enough to melt lead. It’s often called Earth’s twin because the planets are similar in size. But the modern comparisons stop there.
However, a recent study compared five climate simulations of Venus’ past and every scenario suggested that the planet could support liquid water and a temperate climate on its surface for at least three billion years. Like the other planets in our solar system, Venus formed 4.5 billion years ago.
 
Life and water on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus…….

Scientists just found the most basic ingredients for life bursting from an ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

A new analysis of NASA data reveals the presence of organic compounds in the plumes of liquid water that shoot into space from the ocean below Enceladus’s icy crust.

These compounds, which carry nitrogen and oxygen, play a key role in producing amino acids ⁠- complex molecules that serve as the building blocks of proteins. Without proteins, life as we know it on Earth couldn’t exist.

Scientists have long suspected that the ocean below Enceladus’s surface could harbour the ingredients for life. Researchers had detected other organic molecules coming from the icy moon before, but this is the first time anyone has detected them dissolved in the water.

That’s critical, since it means the compounds could undergo deep-sea chemical reactions that produce amino acids.

My Sunday Space Report……

I Read, I Wrote and now You Know!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Sunday In Space

One of my interests beyond foreign policy is our research into space and space travel. I try to give my readers an up to date look at our progress to get beyond our little blue marble.

This first bit is for my friend Pete of https://beetleypete.com/…..what would happen if aliens showed up in the UK?

If aliens were to be discovered, however, it’s not clear what we would like to happen next. A new survey in the UK carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford sought to find out what the British public would like to happen in the event E.T. did get in touch. In what came close to the cursed 48-52 percent split that has haunted British politics for the past three years, they found that just over half (53.6 percent) of people would want us to respond to communication from aliens. 

https://www.iflscience.com/space/if-aliens-got-in-contact-this-is-how-the-british-public-would-like-earth-to-respond/amp.html

Staying with the alien contact thingy…..

The study, published last month in The Astronomical Journal, posits that intelligent extraterrestrial life could be taking its time to explore the galaxy, harnessing star systems’ movement to make star-hopping easier.

The work is a new response to a question known as the Fermi Paradox, which asks why we haven’t detected signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

The paradox was first posed by physicist Enrico Fermi, who famously asked: “Where is everybody?”

Fermi was questioning the feasibility of travel between stars, but since then, his query has come to represent doubts about the very existence of extraterrestrials.

https://www.sciencealert.com/aliens-may-have-explored-the-galaxy-and-visited-earth-already-new-study-says

We have seen a thousand movies that have some sort of space travel as the subject….but is it really possible?

Interstellar space travel. Fantasy of every five-year-old kid within us. Staple of science fiction serials. Boldly going where nobody has gone before in a really fantastic way. As we grow ever more advanced with our rockets and space probes, the question arises: could we ever hope to colonize the stars? Or, barring that far-flung dream, can we at least send space probes to alien planets, letting them tell us what they see?

The truth is that interstellar travel and exploration is technically possible. There’s no law of physics that outright forbids it. But that doesn’t necessarily make it easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll achieve it in our lifetimes, let alone this century. Interstellar space travel is a real pain in the neck. 

https://www.space.com/is-interstellar-travel-possible.html

If we venture out among the stars then we will have to live in off planet outposts among the stars……how will we deal with that?

Fifty years ago, a Princeton physicist named Gerard O’Neill asked his students to help him come up with a plan for setting up settlements in space.

Just a few years later, O’Neill published the resulting vision for freestanding space colonies as a book titled “The High Frontier” — a book that helped inspire Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

Now the keepers of the “High Frontier” flame at the California-based Space Studies Institute are revisiting O’Neill’s original vision, with an eye toward updating it for the 21st century.

“The fact is, a lot has changed in the last half-century,” Edward Wright, a senior researcher at the Space Studies Institute, said today at the start of a two-day conference presented by the institute at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/50-years-space-settlement-experts-update-vision-off-planet-outposts/

That sums up the news I have for now……

Now for the important stuff…..daylight and someone is ready for that venture out of the house…

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While we are out try some music from Prince……

Space Saturday

Yep that time again….the old professor will force feed some news that has been missed….

Remember a few weeks ago Russia lost a rocket in a horrific explosion……some believe that it was an experiment in nuclear propulsion…..https://lobotero.com/2019/08/19/that-wayward-missile/

And that is the next fuel for space exploration….nukes.

Humanity’s next giant leap could be enabled by next-gen nuclear tech, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

During the sixth meeting of the National Space Council (NSC) today (Aug. 20), the NASA chief lauded the potential of nuclear thermal propulsion, which would harness the heat thrown off by fission reactions to accelerate propellants such as hydrogen to tremendous speeds. 

Spacecraft powered by such engines could conceivably reach Mars in just three to four months — about half the time of the fastest possible trip in a vehicle with traditional chemical propulsion, said NSC panelist Rex Geveden, the president and CEO of BWX Technologies Inc. 

https://www.space.com/nuclear-propulsion-future-spacecraft-nasa-chief.html

Think back to the SciFi movies you have seen in the past…..wormholes were the preferred way to space travel…..well looks like scientist have a formula…..

Everybody wants a wormhole. I mean, who wants to bother traveling the long-and-slow routes throughout the universe, taking tens of thousands of years just to reach yet another boring star? Not when you can pop into the nearest wormhole opening, take a short stroll, and end up in some exotic far-flung corner of the universe. 

There’s a small technical difficulty, though: Wormholes, which are bends in space-time so extreme that a shortcut tunnel forms, are catastrophically unstable. As in, as soon as you send a single photon down the hole, it collapses faster than the speed of light.

But a recent paper, published to the preprint journal arXiv on July 29, has found a way to build an almost-steady wormhole, one that does collapse but slowly enough to send messages — and potentially even things — down it before it tears itself apart. All you need are a couple of black holes and a few infinitely long cosmic strings.

https://www.space.com/building-a-wormhole-with-cosmic-strings.html

That is Saturday and I need a break…MoMo sez ….TTFN

“Lego Ergo Scribo”