Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Detection of simplest amino acid glycine in the atmosphere of the Venus

The discovery of the potential biomarker phosphine in Venus’s upper atmosphere last month garnered a lot of attention, but there’s still some uncertainty around what the phosphine discovery means, though. Now a team of researchers claims they’ve discovered the amino acid glycine in Venus’ atmosphere. The lead researcher is a Ph.D. Research Scholar in the Department of Physics at Midnapore College in West Bengal, India. There are about 500 known amino acids, but only 20 are present in the genetic code. Glycine is the simplest of them. Though glycine and other amino acids aren’t biosignatures, they are some of the building blocks of life. In fact, they’re the building blocks of proteins. They were also some of the first organic molecules to appear on Earth. Glycine is important for the development of proteins and other biological compounds. The researchers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect glycine in Venus’ atmosphere with spectroscopy. They found it in the mid-latitudes, near the equator. That’s where the signal was strongest, and there was none detected at the poles. Researchers say its detection in the atmosphere of Venus might be one of the keys to understanding the formation mechanisms of prebiotic molecules in the atmosphere of Venus. The upper atmosphere of Venus may be going through nearly the same biological method as Earth billions of years ago. (Cornell University)


Plane passenger caught smuggling gold nuggets in rectum to avoid taxes

Indian airport authorities literally struck gold when they spotted a man walking oddly  and discovered he had about two pounds in bullion shoved into his rectum. The GoAir passenger arrived from Dubai at Kerala’s Kannur Airport, where he tried to avoid paying an 18% tax. Officials at the Air Intelligence Unit mined the stash, worth about $60,000, from the unidentified smuggler’s butt. Another passenger on the same flight was caught carrying more than three pounds of gold, though officials did not disclose if that traveler had concealed it the same way. The next day, customs agents seized just under a pound of gold from a passenger who landed in Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, on an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The gold was hidden in the traveler’s underwear. (The National News)



Honey badger is found to have a penis bone shaped like an ‘ice cream scooper’ that experts believe is used to clear out its rivals’ semen

The honey badger may have evolved a penis bone that can scoop out rivals’ semen and ensure their paternity after mating. Most mammals – including cats, dogs, mice, and bears – have a bone inside their penis, called the baculum. Humans are one of only a few primates to have lost their baculum over the course of evolution. Researchers in the UK comparing dozens of mammal penis bones theorize that, in some species, they help with ‘postcopulatory sexual competition.’ Honey badgers are non-monogamous and females may have sperm from various males vying to fertilize her egg. The scoop-like baculum could be how a male ensures victory, but scientists hope to film honey badger genitals during copulation to confirm their theory. (New Scientists)


Noises that sounded like a sexual encounter were heard during a Baltimore County, Maryland school board meeting last week

The Board of Education of Baltimore County and Superintendent said they are very concerned about the incident that happened near the end of the Board of Education meeting when “inappropriate audio” was heard by those in attendance. They do not know if someone hacked the meeting, however, that will be part of any investigation. Recordings of Board meetings constitute the official record. As advised by Board counsel, the Board directed that the inappropriate portion be deleted from the publicly available recording, but has directed the Superintendent and his staff to preserve the original recorded version for further inspection as part of any investigation. The Board regrets that the incident happened and are looking at what steps can be taken in the future so nothing like this happens again. Numerous individuals, in addition to board members, were online at the time. They do not know if someone hacked the meeting, however, that will be part of any investigation. (WMAR)


About three percent of the satellites in the SpaceX Starlink network seem to have failed

The satellites have thrusters that can steer them out of the way of hazards like incoming space debris, but they only seem to be working on 97 percent of the satellites, leaving an appreciable number floating dead in space, where they could menace other satellites or astronauts in orbit. SpaceX has launched about 775 Starlink satellites so far but plans to have 42,000 by the time the constellation is complete. At a three percent failure rate, assuming it stays consistent, that amounts to 1,260 immobilized satellites waiting to smash into other stuff in space. (Futurism)


Thousands of baby seals at Namibian breeding colony die in mysterious circumstances

Thousands of baby seals have been found dead at a key breeding colony in Namibia, and conservationists are trying to work out what’s triggered it. The unfolding tragedy at Pelican Point, near the coastal city of Walvis Bay, has created harrowing scenes as the mother Cape fur seals mourn their young. Researchers noticing aborted seal foetuses at the colony in mid-September. As the numbers rose they alerted other conservation groups. Researchers estimate that between 4,000-6,000 have died so far. Food shortages, disease or pollution have all been cited as possible causes. Each year at this time there are some seal mothers that abort their foetuses if they don’t have enough fat reserves to sustain them, but the scale of this year’s deaths is alarming. (RFI)


Nokia secures $14.1m NASA funding to roll out 4G on the Moon

Nokia is teaming up with NASA to ensure that the new wave of lunar astronauts will be able to post their experience to their Instagram account if they so desire. The Finnish telecoms company will receive $14.1 Million in funding from the US space agency to build a 4G cellphone network on the moon. The announcement comes as part of a $370 Million slew of contracts issued, as NASA pushes toward a return to the Moon in 2024, with the first crew of the Artemis missions expected to include at least one woman. The 4G network would be used by astronauts, vehicles and as a foothold for any future permanent Moonbase: “With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications,” according to the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. (UPI)


Solar is having a moment

The case for solar power is looking sunnier by the day, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The cost of the renewable energy form continues to decline, particularly as governments around the world throw their support behind the construction of solar installations. In places like the U.S. and Europe, the average cost of electricity generation for solar plants built this year is between $35 to $55 per megawatt-hour, down from $100 per megawatt-hour just four years ago. For coal, it’s between $55 and $150 per megawatt-hour. (The Verge)


Study claims catching COVID-19 on a plane is ‘extremely unlikely’ while wearing a mask

How likely are you to catch the COVID-19 virus if you take a flight on a commercial airline? “Extremely unlikely,” according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense in collaboration with United Airlines. However, the key to the low possibility of contracting the virus is wearing a mask for the entire flight. According to the study, hundreds of tests were conducted aboard some of United’s Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft. The tests were performed both in flight and while the planes sat on the ground. To test the movement of particles, researchers released “tracer” aerosols from a mannequin equivalent to thousands of coughs and the followed the particles to see how they flowed through the plane’s cabin. The tests included a mannequin that had a mask on and a mannequin that was not masked. While the results were encouraging, researchers noted some limitations of the study. Within the scope of the test, the results showed an overall low exposure risk from aerosolized pathogens like covid-19 on these aircraft. The study did not examine the risk posed by the virus spreading when people on the plane are eating or talking. Researchers determined the results likely come from the way the virus is moved out of an airplane’s cabin by the plane’s air filtering systems. The study found that 99.99% of particles released into the air from an infected person wearing a mask were removed from the airplane’s cabin within six minutes of release. The plane’s filtration system is roughly 15 times as fast as a home air filtering system and up to six times as fast as what is recommended for hospital operating rooms. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new research saying the risk of contracting the virus on a plane appears to be “in the same category as being struck by lightning.” It revealed that out of 1.2 billion travelers, there were 44 cases of potential inflight transmission of the COVID-19 virus. (United States TRANSCOM)


Holidays face a logistics problem

With the holiday season fast approaching, the number of packages needing to be shipped is set to soar. The problem, however, is most carriers are already at capacity. FedEx and UPS have told retailers that holiday orders will have to wait, while some smaller carriers aren’t taking new customers until the new year. Software provider ShipMatrix estimates the capacity shortfall could average 7 million packages a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It comes as demand for online shopping rocketed this year with consumers forced to stay home. (The Wall Street Journal)


Suspect taken into custody at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood

A sexual assault suspect was taken into custody early yesterday (10/19) after a tense standoff with police at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Calif., police said. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed on Twitter that its officers were assisting the Fullerton Police Department. As LAPD personnel arrived they used 40mm and beanbag which were also ineffective, police tweeted. At the Melrose gate to the lot there was an officer involved shooting. The suspect ran into the lot and barricaded himself inside a building. The suspect was eventually taken into custody after police entered the building, authorities said. The suspect was bleeding from wounds he sustained during the incident and was transported to a local hospital, police said. No officers were injured. (Fox LA)


Iconic astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have been joined in the history books by a chicken nugget

Pictures show what is believed to be the first ever chicken nugget sent into space, reaching heights of more 110,000 feet above Earth–that’s about 880,000 nuggets high. A team of experts in the field of stratospheric exploration created the perfect vessel for the nugget to travel in. It was sent into space using a meteorological weather balloon filled with hydrogen that’s lighter than air to carry the tasty cargo up to the stratosphere. Using a custom-designed launch vehicle including primary avionics, auxiliary satellite tracking, and an integrated camera support system taking video footage, the lone nugget was sent up, up, and away out of the Earth’s atmosphere. The nugget was sent star-bound from a location close to the head office of the thriving UK supermarket chain called “Iceland”, in Deeside, North Wales. The trading director of the chain, said, “2020 is a huge year for us as we celebrate our 50th birthday, and we wanted to find ways to mark the occasion, just like anyone celebrating a birthday in lockdown. What better way to show that our products are out of this world than by sending one of our customer favorites into space.” (Good News Network)


Indian man who was trapped in freezer for 20 hours after being mistakenly declared dead has now died

An Indian man rescued from a freezer after being mistakenly declared dead has now died. The 74-year-old man had been ill and bed-ridden. His family took him to hospital though doctors could not find anything wrong with him. When they returned home, he stopped moving and thinking that he had died, his family called for a freezer box to be delivered so that they could preserve his body to perform his last rites. The man was kept there for 20 hours until undertakers came to collect the body for the funeral the following day and found that he was still moving and gasping for air. He was later admitted to hospital in a drowsy condition and later died of lung failure, according to the dean of the government hospital. Police chief said the family had been unable to produce a medical certificate for the man’s death and have initiated a case against the family. (BBC)


Tuesday Makes Amends With:

  • Brandied Fruit Day
  • International Chefs Day
  • Miss American Rose Day
  • Pharmacy Technician Day (Third Tuesday)
  • Pay Back A Friend Day (3rd Tuesday)
  • Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity (3rd Tuesday)
  • World Statistics Day (Observed every 5 years. Next one 2025)
  • Youth Confidence Day

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