Science

  • Elon Musk praises Indian talent after Parag Agrawal takes over as Twitter’s CEO
    Washington [US]: Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently gave a shout out to Indian talent after Parag Agrawal replaced Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s new CEO. Musk replied to a tweet by Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, who congratulated Parag and highlighted that six US tech giants are now run by Indian-origin CEOs.“Google, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and now Twitter are run by CEOs who grew up in India. It is wonderful to watch the amazing success of Indians in the technology world; it is a good reminder of the opportunity America offers to immigrants. (Congrats, @paraga!),” Collison wrote. Musk responded to Collison’s post by saying, “USA benefits greatly from Indian talent!” 37-year old IIT-Bombay and Stanford University alumnus, Parag Agrawal, took over as the CEO of Twitter on Monday, after its co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down at the helm of the San Francisco-headquartered microblogging platform. Parag has previously worked in Microsoft, Yahoo, and AT&T labs before joining Twitter in 2011. He is the latest Indian origin person to head a leading US-based tech company after Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen.
  • Astronomers team up to create new method to understand galaxy evolution
    Washington [US]: A team of astronomers at The University of Toledo joined forces for the first time in their scientific careers during the pandemic to develop a new method to look back in time and change the way we understand the history of galaxies.The resulting breakthrough research published in the Astrophysical Journal outlines their new method to establish the star formation history of a post-starburst galaxy using its cluster population. The approach uses the age and mass estimates of stellar clusters to determine the strength and speed of the starburst that stopped more stars from forming in the galaxy. Until now forging parallel but separate careers while juggling home life and carpooling to cross country meets, Dr Rupali Chandar, professor of astronomy, and Dr J.D. Smith, director of the UToledo Ritter Astrophysical Research Center and professor of astronomy, merged their areas of expertise.Working along with UToledo alumnus Dr Adam Smercina who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 2015 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, they used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to focus on a post-starburst galaxy nearly 500 million light-years away called S12 that looks like a jellyfish with a host of stars streaming out of the galaxy on one side.Smercina, the “glue” that brought Smith and Chandar together on this research, worked with Smith as an undergraduate student starting in 2012 on the dust and gas […]
  • Study finds anxiety cues in brain despite safe environment
    Washington [US] : Researchers have used a virtual-reality environment to understand the impact of anxiety on the brain and how brain regions interact with one another to shape behaviour.The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Communications Biology’. The researchers used a virtual-reality environment where volunteers were in a meadow picking flowers. They knew that some flowers are safe, while others have a bee inside that will sting them.“These findings tell us that anxiety disorders might be more than a lack of awareness of the environment or ignorance of safety, but rather that individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder cannot control their feelings and behaviour even if they wanted to,” said Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez, PhD, assistant professor in the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester and first author of the study.“The patients with an anxiety disorder could rationally say — I’m in a safe space — but we found their brain was behaving as if it was not,” said Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez.Using fMRI, the researchers observed the brain activity of volunteers with general and social anxiety as they navigated a virtual reality game of picking flowers. Half of the meadow had flowers without bees, the other half had flowers with bees that would sting them — as simulated by a mild electrical stimulation to the hand.Researchers found all study participants could distinguish between the safe and dangerous areas, however, brain […]
  • PIO Raja Chari led NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts headed to International Space Station
    Washington [US] : NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronaut team led by PIO (Person of India Origin) Raja Chari are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station on the third commercial crew rotation mission aboard the microgravity laboratory.The international crew of astronauts lifted off at 9:03 pm EST Wednesday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, PIO Raja Chari as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, into orbit to begin a six-month science mission on the space station.Chari is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-3 mission. He is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He also will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station. This will be the first spaceflight for Chari, who was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2017.He was born in Milwaukee, but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown. He is a colonel in the US Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time during his career.Marshburn is the pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and second-in-command for the mission. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Once aboard station, he will serve as an Expedition 66 flight […]
  • Lack of important molecule in red blood cells causes vascular damage in type 2 diabetes
    Stockholm [Sweden] : Altered function of the red blood cells leads to vascular damage in type 2 diabetes. Results from a new study in cells from patients with type 2 diabetes and mice show that this effect is caused by low levels of an important molecule in the red blood cells.The study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has been published in the journal Diabetes. It is well known that patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Over time type 2 diabetes may damage blood vessels, which could lead to life-threatening complications such as heart attack and stroke. However, the disease mechanisms underlying cardiovascular injury in type 2 diabetes are largely unknown and there is currently a lack of treatments to prevent such injuries.In recent years, research has shown that the red blood cells, whose most important job is to transport oxygen to bodily organs, become dysfunctional in type 2 diabetes and can act as mediators of vascular complications.In the current study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have in cells from patients with type 2 diabetes, and mice examined which molecular changes in the red blood cells could explain these harmful effects in type 2 diabetes.The researchers found that levels of the small molecule microRNA-210 were markedly reduced in red blood cells from 36 patients with type 2 diabetes compared with red blood cells of 32 healthy subjects.Micro-RNAs belongs […]
  • Four astronauts safely splash down in Gulf of Mexico
    Washington [US]: Four astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 have returned safely to Earth after 199 days of scientific research on the International Space Station.The astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida on Monday, completing the agency’s second long-duration commercial crew mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 10:33 pm EST off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.Speaking about the splashdown, NASA administrator Bill Nelso said, “We’re happy to have Shane, Megan, Aki, and Thomas safely back on Earth after another successful, record-setting long-duration mission to the International Space Station. Congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their successful splashdown. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program continues to demonstrate safe, reliable transportation to conduct important science and maintenance on the space station.”The Crew-2 mission launched April 23 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station on April 24, nearly 24-hours after liftoff.Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet travelled 84,653,119 statute miles during their mission, stayed 198 days aboard the space station, and completed 3,194 orbits around Earth.During their mission, the astronauts contributed to a host of science and […]
  • Small amounts of carbon monoxide may help protect vision in diabetes
    Washington [US] : The Medical College of Georgia scientists have early evidence that HBI-002, a low-dose oral compound developed by Hillhurst Biopharmaceuticals and already in early-stage trials for sickle cell disease, can safely reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the retina, both early, major contributors to diabetic retinopathy.An ingested liquid that ultimately delivers a small dose of carbon monoxide to the eye appears to target key factors that damage or destroy vision in both type 1 and 2 diabetes, scientists say. “Inflammation and oxidative stress go hand in hand,” says Dr. Pamela Martin, cell biologist and biochemist in the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Vision Discovery Institute at Augusta University. “If you impact one, you generally impact the other.”At the right dose, carbon monoxide can impact both.While we likely think of chirping detectors in our homes, toxic fumes from cars and trucks and even death when we think of carbon monoxide, many of our own cells and tissues are actively and regularly producing small amounts of the colorless, odorless gas to protect themselves from the damage of high and/or chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, says Dr. Ravirajsinh Jadeja, MCG biochemist.He’s talking about the enzyme heme oxygenase 1, a common component of many tissues including oxygen-carrying hemoglobin and immune cells, whose jobs include reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and one of the ways it does that is by releasing small amounts of […]
  • Researchers detect SARS-CoV-2 variant in dogs, cats with suspected myocarditis
    Washington [US] : A new study in the Veterinary Record reveals that pets can be infected with the alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first detected in southeast England and is commonly known as the UK variant or B.1.1.7.This variant rapidly outcompeted pre-existing variants in England due to its increased transmissibility and infectivity. The study describes the first identification of the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant in domestic pets; two cats and one dog were positive on PCR test, while two additional cats and one dog displayed antibodies two to six weeks after they developed signs of cardiac disease. Many owners of these pets had developed respiratory symptoms several weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested positive for COVID-19.All of these pets had an acute onset of cardiac disease, including severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).“Our study reports the first cases of cats and dogs affected by the COVID-19 alpha variant and highlights, more than ever, the risk that companion animals can become infected with SARS-CoV-2,” said lead author Luca Ferasin, DVM, PhD, of The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre, in the UK.“We also reported the atypical clinical manifestations characterized by severe heart abnormalities, which is a well-recognised complication in people affected by COVID-19 but has never been described in pets before. However, COVID-19 infection in pets remains a relatively rare condition and, based on our observations, it seems that the transmission occurs […]
  • Gamma-ray Telescope selected by NASA to chart Milky Way evolution
    Washington [US] : The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected a new space telescope proposal to study the recent history of star birth, star death, and the formation of chemical elements in the Milky Way.For the unversed, in 2019, NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program received 18 telescope proposals and selected four for mission concept studies. After a detailed review, NASA selected the gamma-ray telescope, called the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), to continue into development. “For more than 60 years, NASA has provided opportunities for inventive, smaller-scale missions to fill knowledge gaps where we still seek answers.COSI will answer questions about the origin of the chemical elements in our own Milky Way galaxy, the very ingredients critical to the formation of Earth itself,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said.COSI, which is expected to launch in 2025 as NASA’s latest small astrophysics mission, will study gamma rays from radioactive atoms produced when massive stars exploded to map where chemical elements were formed in the Milky Way. The mission will also probe the mysterious origin of our galaxy’s positrons, also known as antielectrons – subatomic particles that have the same mass as an electron but a positive charge.COSI’s principal investigator is John Tomsick at the University of California, Berkeley. The mission will cost approximately $145 million, not including launch costs. NASA will select a launch […]
  • Japanese astronaut Wakata to fly to space on Crew Dragon mission in fall 2022
    Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will join the fifth Crew Dragon space mission to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Tuesday. “It has been decided that I will be boarding the SpaceX’s fifth Crew Dragon. I have been training for a long-duration mission aboard the ISS and it is an honor to board this new space vehicle for three consecutive years for JAXA Astronauts, succeeding Noguchi Soichi and Hoshide Akihiko,” Wakata was quoted as saying in a statement.The upcoming mission will also be his fifth space flight, the astronaut added, listing three US Space Shuttle flights in 1996, 2000, 2009, as well as a flight aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft in 2013. The 2022 flight will see Wakata top the list of Japanese astronauts in terms of the number of space journeys. Along with Wakata, NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada have so far been assigned to the mission. (ANI/Sputnik)
  • Researchers conduct study to reduce tropical cyclone impacts
    Berlin [Germany]: A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that increasing global warming from currently one to two degrees Celsius by mid-century might lead to about 25 per cent more people being put at risk by tropical cyclones.Currently, hurricanes and typhoons are among the most destructive natural disasters worldwide and potentially threaten about 150 million people each year. Adding to climate change, population growth further drives tropical cyclone exposure, especially in coastal areas of East African countries and the United States. Considering the joint impact of climate change and population growth provides an untapped potential to protect a changing world population.“If we add population growth to two degrees Celsius global warming, in 2050 we could even see an increase of ca. 40 per cent more people exposed to cyclones,” said Tobias Geiger, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), lead author of the new study published in Nature Climate Change.“As the global population is projected to peak around mid-century, more people will face more intense cyclones, due to climate change – putting that higher population at greater risk,” he added.The global ambition is to limit warming to well below two degrees, yet compared to unmitigated climate change even reaching two degrees Celsius of global warming 50 years later could lead to a quite different outcome, as an interdisciplinary team of […]
  • NASA, Boeing helping Russia in trying to find cause of cracks on space station
    Moscow [Russia]: Engineers from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are helping Russia in its investigation into the possible causes of cracks and air leaks at the International Space Station (ISS). Paul Hill, a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, said at a Sunday panel meeting that the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the Langley Research Center, the panel itself and the Boeing company are all conducting engineering analyzes of the issue.According to Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, persistent air leaks on the ISS could be the result of welding errors made inside the Zarya and Zvezda modules three decades ago. Energia’s First Deputy General Designer Vladimir Soloviev told Sputnik at the end of last month that Russian cosmonauts found cracks in the oldest module of the ISS, Zarya, and warned that the earlier discovery of through cracks in the Zvezda module means that the Zarya cracks could start to expand. Soloviev said that Russian cosmonauts were going to install highly sensitive vibration sensors inside the Russian segment of the ISS in the hope of finding the cause of air leaks. A small air leak was first detected at the ISS in September 2019. The crew have since identified and sealed two cracks but air continues to leak, which, nonetheless, poses no threat to those on board the space station, according to Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. (ANI/Sputnik)
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