2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-04-18 10:57:46 UTC
2019-04-18 12:24:09 UTC
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After losing his arm to a rare generic condition Adrian Aguilar made a replacement limb out of lego. His first attempt at making an artificial arm was at nine years old, making a number of limbs Iron Man style over the years. His goal is to help others make prosthetic limbs cheaply.
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Athletes know a vigorous workout can release a flood of endorphins: "feel-good" hormones that boost mood. Now there's evidence that exercise produces another hormone that may improve memory and protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a study co-led by Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, a researcher at Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain.
The study was published in Nature Medicine.
Physical activity is known to improve memory, and studies suggest it may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. But researchers don't understand why.
A few years ago, exercise researchers discovered a hormone called irisin that is released into the circulation during physical activity. Initial studies suggested that irisin mainly played a role in energy metabolism. But newer research found that the hormone may also promote neuronal growth in the brain's hippocampus, a region critical for learning and memory.
"This raised the possibility that irisin may help explain why physical activity improves memory and seems to play a protective role in brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease" says Arancio, who is a professor of pathology and cell biology and of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
- Mychael V. Lourenco, et. al. Exercise-linked FNDC5/irisin rescues synaptic plasticity and memory defects in Alzheimer’s models. Nature Medicine, 2019; 25 (1): 165 DOI: 10.1038/s41591-018-0275-4
Wccftech reports that Micron plans to "introduce" NAND with 8 bits (1 byte) per cell:
Back in May of 2018, Micron introduced Quad-Level (QLC) NAND tech and, surprisingly, saw their stock tumble to pricing levels of ~$30 down from ~$60. This was the result of complex NAND pricing and supply/demand factors, not just the introduction of QLC, to be clear. I have just confirmed from multiple sources and stakeholders that Micron is intending to introduce their Octa-Level (OLC) NAND either in Q1 or latest by Q2 2019.
OLC NAND would have 28 (256) states and 28-1 (255) threshold voltages, compared to just 16 states for today's QLC NAND.
3D QLC NAND SSDs arrived on the market in 2018. QLC NAND has lower write endurance, estimated at 1,000 program/erase (PE) cycles, compared to 3,000 P/E cycles for triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, 10,000 P/E cycles for multi-level cell (MLC) NAND, and 100,000 P/E cycles for single-level cell NAND. This exceeds previous expectations of 1,000 P/E cycles for TLC NAND and 100 cycles for QLC NAND. Intel's SSD 660p drives using QLC NAND are rated for only about 0.1 drive writes per day for 5 years, or about 200 TB written on a 1 TB drive. Data retention is also reduced.
In 2013, it was reported that the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) funded Crocus Technology development of 8-bits-per-cell Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) memory, which would use two 4-bit layers:
Douglas Lee, VP for system strategy and corporate product development at Crocus, pointed out NAND and MRAM bits-per-cell limitations: "The current semiconductor non-volatile memory state-of-the-art is 3-4 bits per cell, as achieved in NAND flash memory, and is reaching the physical limits of floating gate memory technology. The current state-of-the-art in MRAM is only 1 bit per cell storage."
Ukuu, or Ubuntu Kernel Update Utility, a fairly popular unofficial GUI tool for easily installing the latest mainline Linux kernel on Ubuntu-based distributions, has moved to a paid ($11) licensing model with its latest 19.01 release.
Ukuu displays the list of kernels available in the Ubuntu Mainline kernel website, allowing users to easily download and install the desired version. The utility can also remove installed kernels, display the changes in the selected Linux version, display notifications when new kernels are available, and so on.
With the 19.01 release of Ukuu, the application requires a personal license which costs $11, and the source code is no longer available. Tony George, the application developer, notes the reason for this being the lack of donations, with alternatives being stopping the development or requiring a paid license:
"The last version of this app (v18.9) had 60,000 downloads, yet only 12 users have donated over the last 2 years. It was not possible for me to continue working on this application for free, and making it paid seemed like a better alternative than discontinuing the project."
Electronic Arts may've(sic) found the next Fortnite.
The video game giant, known for its Battlefield war simulation games and upcoming Anthem action adventure title launching in two weeks, surprised the gaming world on Monday when it suddenly released a new game called Apex Legends. The title is free to download and offers a similar feel to Epic Games' Fortnite: Battle Royale, a free last-man-standing "battle royale" title that's become a cultural phenomenon since launching nearly two years ago. Both make their money by selling different looks for characters.
So far, EA says, more than 10 million people have played Apex Legends since it launched. "We hoped you'd love it as much as us, but never in our wildest dreams could we have expected the outpouring of support and positivity we've seen," wrote Vince Zampella, head of EA's Respawn Entertainment division, which made the popular Titanfall shooting game series and its spinoff Apex Legends. "We tested and tweaked. We argued and agreed. We got to a point where we felt some magic."
Apex Legends are... ancient ghost stories told around a campfire at night at a mountainop retreat?
A big freeze is sliding its way across America covering the land in ice and snow, and also deep freezing animals, one of which has been successfully thawed out. For all of our advances in medicine to use low temperatures for healing, time travel and as a type of stasis, mother nature proves once again that she has the upper hand. A cat aptly named Fluffy was frozen to the point that a vet could not register a temperature; it was brought back to life after being thawed using towels, warmers, and IV fluids. Humans have survived being thawed in this manner, though it can be hit or miss as to whether or not they will be revived, and in what condition.
Said the CEO of Webroot, Mike Potts:
I have exciting news to share with our Community. Webroot has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Carbonite, a leader in cloud-based data protection for businesses. We expect the deal to close within the first calendar quarter of 2019.
Webroot is best known as a provider of antivirus software popular with businesses that relies heavily on cloud processing. Carbonite is best known for its cloud backup services.
Ahead of potential regulation, Johnson & Johnson will include the list and potential out-of-pocket prices of the drugs it sells in television commercials, beginning with Xarelto (rivaroxaban):
Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday it will start adding the price of its medicines to television commercials by next month, becoming the first drugmaker to heed a call by U.S. President Donald Trump for price transparency of drugs advertised directly to consumers on TV.
The healthcare conglomerate said it will include both the list price of a product - the price before any rebates or discounts to insurers or pharmacy benefit managers - as well as potential out-of-pocket costs that patients will pay.
The move, announced in a statement on J&J's website, won swift praise from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Last May, Azar's office released a blueprint for reducing the cost of drug prices, which included a proposal to require disclosure of list prices in TV ads for drugs.
[...] Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member of the committee, on Monday invited executives from seven pharmaceutical companies, including J&J, to testify at a Feb. 26 hearing on rising drug prices.
Also at MarketWatch.
Yesterday, AMD launched the Radeon VII, the first 7nm GPU. The card is intended to compete with Nvidia's RTX family of Turing-class GPUs, and it does, broadly matching the RTX 2080. It also matches the RTX 2080 on price, at $700. Because this card began life as a professional GPU intended for scientific computing and AI/ML workloads, it's unlikely that we'll see lower-end variants. That section of AMD's product stack will be filled by 7nm Navi, which arrives later this year.
Navi will be AMD's first new 7nm GPU architecture and will offer a chance to hit 'reset' on what has been, to date, the least compelling suite of GPU launches AMD and Nvidia have ever collectively kicked out the door. Nvidia has relentlessly moved its stack pricing higher while holding performance per dollar mostly constant. With the RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 Ti fairly evenly matched across a wide suite of games, the question of whether the RTX 2060 is better priced largely hinges on whether you stick to formal launch pricing for both cards or check historical data for actual price shifts.
Such comparisons are increasingly incidental, given that Pascal GPU prices are rising and cards are getting harder to find, but they aren't meaningless for people who either bought a Pascal GPU already or are willing to consider a used card. If you're an Nvidia fan already sitting on top of a high-end Pascal card, Turing doesn't offer you a great deal of performance improvement.
AMD has not covered itself in glory, either. The Radeon VII is, at least, unreservedly faster than the Vega 64. There's no equivalent last-generation GPU in AMD's stack to match it. But it also duplicates the Vega 64's overall power and noise profile, limiting the overall appeal, and it matches the RTX 2080's bad price. A 1.75x increase in price for a 1.32x increase in 4K performance isn't a great ratio even by the standards of ultra-high-end GPUs, where performance typically comes with a price penalty.
Rumors and leaks have suggested that Nvidia will release a Turing-based GPU called the GTX 1660 Ti (which has also been referred to as "1160"), with a lower price but missing the dedicated ray-tracing cores of the RTX 2000-series. AMD is expected to release "7nm" Navi GPUs sometime during 2019.
Related: AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance
AMD Announces "7nm" Vega GPUs for the Enterprise Market
Nvidia Announces RTX 2060 GPU
AMD Announces Radeon VII GPU, Teases Third-Generation Ryzen CPU
AMD Responds to Radeon VII Short Supply Rumors
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You've heard of flying squirrels. But hot-pink flying squirrels? Someone get Pixar on the line.
A new study in the Journal of Mammology describes how the North American flying squirrel, or Glaucomys, fluoresces pink at night. The researchers can't say for sure why, but communication and camouflage top their list of theories. Squirrel discos do not appear to be a possibility.
The hot-pink find came about by chance.
In the spring of 2017, Jon Martin, a professor in the forestry department at Wisconsin's Northland College, was scanning his backyard with an ultraviolet flashlight to see which lichens, mosses and plants fluoresced. That's when he spotted a flying squirrel, and noticed it glowed hot pink under the ultraviolet light.
A 27-year-old Indian man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. Mumbai businessman Raphael Samuel told the BBC that it's wrong to bring children into the world because they then have to put up with lifelong suffering. Mr Samuel, of course, understands that our consent can't be sought before we are born, but insists that "it was not our decision to be born". So as we didn't ask to be born, we should be paid for the rest of our lives to live, he argues.
Mr Samuel's belief is rooted in what's called anti-natalism - a philosophy that argues that life is so full of misery that people should stop procreating immediately. This, he says, would gradually phase out humanity from the Earth and that would also be so much better for the planet.
[...] In a statement, his mother Kavita Karnad Samuel explained her response to "the recent upheaval my son has created". "I must admire my son's temerity to want to take his parents to court knowing both of us are lawyers. And if Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault," she said.
Mr. Samuel's argument sounds a bit entitled but there are philosophical grounds in support of anti-natalism:
Having children is not life-affirming: it's immoral
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The results of the study, led by researchers from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, will be published in an upcoming issue of Nature Communications.
For patients with end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant is the only hope for regaining quality of life. Yet many of these patients will never undergo transplant surgery thanks to a chronic shortage of donor kidneys. With 95,000 patients on the waiting list for a donor kidney in the United States alone, demand far outstrips supply.
But researchers have been working on ways to grow healthy organs outside the human body. One such method, called blastocyst complementation, has already produced promising results. Researchers take blastocysts, the clusters of cells formed several days after egg fertilization, from mutant animals missing specific organs and inject them with stem cells from a normal donor, not necessarily of the same species. The stem cells then differentiate to form the entire missing organ in the resulting animal. The new organ retains the characteristics of the original stem cell donor, and can thus potentially be used in transplantation therapy.
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In traditional seismology, researchers studying how the earth moves in the moments before, during, and after an earthquake rely on sensors that cost tens of thousands of dollars to make and install underground. And because of the expense and labor involved, only a few seismic sensors have been installed throughout remote areas of California, making it hard to understand the impacts of future earthquakes as well as small earthquakes occurring on unmapped faults.
Now researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have figured out a way to overcome these hurdles by turning parts of a 13,000-mile-long testbed of "dark fiber," unused fiber-optic cable owned by the DOE Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), into a highly sensitive seismic activity sensor that could potentially augment the performance of earthquake early warning systems currently being developed in the western United States. The study detailing the work—the first to employ a large regional network as an earthquake sensor—was published this week in Nature's Scientific Reports.
[...] The current study uses the same DAS technique, but instead of deploying their own fiber-optic cable, the researchers ran their experiments on a 20-mile segment of the 13,000-mile-long ESnet Dark Fiber Testbed that extends from West Sacramento to Woodland, California. "To further verify our results from the 2017 study, we knew we would need to run the DAS tests on an actual dark fiber network," said Ajo-Franklin, who also heads Berkeley Lab's Geophysics Department.
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The theory holds that MRI[*] allows accretion disks, clouds of dust, gas, and plasma that swirl around growing stars and planets as well as black holes, to collapse into them. According to the theory, this collapse happens because turbulent swirling plasma, technically known as "Keplerian flows," gradually grows unstable within a disk. The instability causes angular momentum -- the process that keeps orbiting planets from being drawn into the sun -- to decrease in inner sections of the disk, which then fall into celestial bodies.
Unlike orbiting planets, the matter in dense and crowded accretion disks may experience forces such as friction that cause the disks to lose angular momentum and be drawn into the objects they swirl around. However, such forces cannot fully explain how quickly matter must fall into larger objects for planets and stars to form on a reasonable timescale.
[*] MRI: Magnetorotational instability.
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[...] "You know what keeps me up at night?" said Clark County Public Health Director Alan Melnick. "Measles is exquisitely contagious. If you have an under-vaccinated population, and you introduce a measles case into that population, it will take off like a wildfire."
[...] Anti-vaccination activists, for their part, contend that state officials are twisting facts to stoke public fear.
"It shouldn't be called an outbreak," Seattle-area mother Bernadette Pajer, a co-founder of the state's main anti-vaccine group, Informed Choice Washington, said of the measles cases, arguing that the illness has spread only within a small, self-contained group. "I would refer to it as an in-break, within a community."
[...] Clements eventually changed her mind, deciding to give her kids the shots after a doctor at a vaccine workshop answered her questions for more than two hours, at one point drawing diagrams on a whiteboard to explain cell interaction. He was thoughtful, factual and also "still very warm," she said.
[...] In Washington, state lawmakers supporting tougher vaccine requirements are mounting their second effort in the past three years to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinations.