Science

The sprint to solve coronavirus protein structures — and disarm them with drugs
nature.com/articles/d41586-020-0144… 

Stopping the pandemic could rely on breakneck efforts to visualize SARS-CoV-2 proteins and use them to design drugs and vaccines.

Scientists develop transparent wood that is stronger and lighter than glass
cbc.ca/radio/quirks/scientists-deve… 
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A simple backyard procedure results in see-through wood with enormous potential as a building material.

The secret forces that squeeze and pull life into shape
nature.com/articles/d41586-021-0001… 

Scientists are getting to grips with the role of mechanical forces in the body, from embryo to adult.

A Breakthrough in Measuring the Building Blocks of Nature
nautil.us/blog/a-breakthrough-in-me… 
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In a recent experiment done at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, in Germany, physicist Alexey Grinin and his colleagues came a step closer to resolving one of the more significant puzzles to have arisen in particle physics over the past decade.

How the placenta evolved from an ancient virus
whyy.org/segments/the-placenta-went… 
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When evolutionary biologists studied the protein involved in fusing placenta cells, it didn’t look like it came from human DNA. It looked like a virus.

Living in space can get lonely. What helps? Talking to random people over ham radio
latimes.com/business/story/2020-12-… 
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From their living rooms and pickup trucks, amateur radio operators reach out to the International Space Station, circling 240 miles above Earth.

Early humans may have survived the harsh winters by hibernating
theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/20… 
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Seasonal damage in bone fossils in Spain suggest Neanderthals and their predecessors followed the same strategy as cave bears

LED lights found to kill coronavirus: Global first in fight against COVID-19 - American Friends of Tel Aviv University
aftau.org/news_item/led-lights-foun… 
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Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have proven that the coronavirus can be killed efficiently, quickly, and cheaply using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). They believe that the UV-LED technology will soon be available for private and commercial use. This is the first study conducted on the disinfection efficiency of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths... Read More

An Overview of COVID-19 Assays
biocompare.com/Editorial-Articles/5… 

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), is a member of the SARS-related species of coronaviruses. This strain is the most recent addition to the list of seven known coronaviruses that are pathogenic to humans.

Hayabusa-2: Capsule with asteroid samples in 'perfect' shape
bbc.com/news/science-environment-55… 
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A team retrieves a capsule carrying the first significant quantities of rock from an asteroid.

AlphaFold: a solution to a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology
deepmind.com/blog/article/alphafold… 
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In a major scientific advance, the latest version of our AI system AlphaFold has been recognised as a solution to this grand challenge by the organisers of the biennial Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction (CASP) assessment. This breakthrough demonstrates the impact AI can have on scientific discovery and its potential to dramatically accelerate progress in some of the most fundamental fields that explain and shape our world.

Physicist creates N95-type respirators using cotton candy machine
phys.org/news/2020-11-physicist-n95… 
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Mahesh Bandi, a physicist with the Nonlinear and Non-equilibrium Physics Unit, OIST Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa, has found a way to produce N95-type respirator filters that is less expensive and quicker than conventional approaches. In his paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, he describes the technique he developed and how well his filters performed.

Geometry Reveals How the World Is Assembled From Cubes
quantamagazine.org/geometry-reveals… 
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An exercise in pure mathematics has led to a wide-ranging theory of how the world comes together.

Study identifies reasons for soaring nuclear plant cost overruns in the U.S.
news.mit.edu/2020/reasons-nuclear-o… 
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MIT researchers have analyzed the causes of many cost overruns on new nuclear power plants in the U.S., which have soared in the past 50 years. The findings may help designers of new plants build in resilience to prevent such added costs.

Any hope of keeping Earth habitable now requires sucking carbon back out of the atmosphere, a new study found
businessinsider.com/climate-change-… 
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Even if greenhouse-gas emissions stop now, global warming will continue for centuries, a study shows. The solution: removing carbon from the air.

Inside the Secret Math Society Known Simply as Nicolas Bourbaki
quantamagazine.org/inside-the-secre… 
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For almost a century, the anonymous members of Nicolas Bourbaki have written books intended as pure expressions of mathematical thought.

Workplace interruptions lead to physical stress
ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news… 
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In an experiment, ETH researchers have shown that interruptions in work promote the release of stress hormones.

Riding along with a Stratospheric Telescope
blogs.scientificamerican.com/observ… 
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In pursuit of celestial mysteries onboard the world’s only airborne observatory