China Technology

As China Rises, The US Builds Toward A Bigger Role In AI

US Government Has Let Private Sector And Free Market Do Their Thing, Betting This Is Surest Way To Spur Innovation And Conjure Up Advances.


US Government Has Let The Private Sector And The Free Market Do Their Thing, Betting This Is The Surest Way To Spur Innovation And Conjure Up The Advances needed to keep the American economy on top of the world.

Now, with China ascendant, the approach is starting to change. Washington is taking baby steps towards something closer to central planning—seeking to inspire, guide, and protect advances in key areas like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing. The latest evidence of a shift in thinking is the final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). The commission was created by the Pentagon in 2018 to study the national security implications of AI and related technologies, and outline a plan to keep the US ahead.

“If we keep things the way they are, China will surpass us,” says Gilman Louie, a venture capitalist who co-founded In-Q-tel, the investment arm of the CIA, and member of the NSCAI. “We lack that national strategy.”

The final version of the report, issued Monday, calls for major changes to the government’s approach to innovation and technology. Recommendations include doubling non-military federal spending on AI research to $32 billion annually by 2026; bolstering the US’s ability to make semiconductors; creating a national AI research network for researchers in academia and industry; boosting efforts to train and retain AI talent; and creating a technology competitiveness council—encompassing AI and other emerging technologies such as biotechnology and quantum computing—under the leadership of vice president.

In another sign of the shift, President Biden last week ordered a review of America’s supply of semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, large-capacity batteries, and rare earth materials. The US relies heavily on China for these products, and a recent shortage of chips has affected the US car industry.

Louie says it isn’t just a question of China catching up in AI; it’s also that the technology will be critical to national interests. “Artificial intelligence is going to be not just a driver of things like the economy and quality of life and national security,” he says. “It will be the thing that nation states are going to want to make sure that they are in control of—and a competitive space for the two largest powers in the world.”

Louie says the US and its allies cannot afford to rely on AI developed by a political and ideological rival like China. “Anybody who knows anything about AI will tell you that it is hard to develop algorithms that do not have your culture imprinted,” Louie says. “Authoritative nations have different priorities than democratically led nations.”

The idea of the government guiding technological or economic progress through industrial policy has been out of vogue in the US for decades. But that is changing due to the competitive threat posed by a nation with a huge economy, a rising domestic tech industry, and government strategy that emphasizes technological progress and dominance. Critics of China also point to rules requiring US companies to share technology and state-sponsored espionage.

Countering China was a focus of the Trump administration, which took aggressive measures against Chinese companies such as Huawei and TikTok. Biden has proceeded less forcefully, but also appears intent on addressing China.

Some quarters of industry are calling for more government help. On February 11, the Semiconductor Industry Association asked the president to increase funding for semiconductor manufacturing. The letter notes that America’s share of global chip manufacturing has dropped to 12 percent, from 37 percent in 1990. “Our technology leadership is at risk in the race for preeminence in the technologies of the future,” including artificial intelligence, advanced cell networks, and quantum computing,” the association wrote.

Not everyone wants the government to get more involved. “There has been a shift in thinking, it’s pretty clear,” says Thomas Duesterberg, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. Duesterberg favors increased spending on defense-related technologies, but he worries that a huge boost in spending may be hijacked by special interests and ultimately prove wasteful.

Duesterberg says officials should force China to abide by trade rules and consider ways to counter Chinese AI companies’ advantage stemming from fewer privacy restrictions on personal data.

The NSCAI report may well provide inspiration for a national AI strategy with a larger government role. “The Biden administration should immediately take steps to outline its priorities for a national AI development and adoption strategy,” Hodan Omaar, policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, part of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, an industry-backed nonprofit, said in a statement.

Shifting strategies suddenly could be tricky when the government isn’t generally wired that way. Lindsey Sheppard, a fellow in the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warns that the many agencies involved may leave government policy uncoordinated. “We have to have agencies, actors, and policies moving in the same direction at the same time where the proverbial right hand knows what the left hand is doing.”

This news was originally published at Wired.

Food Security Pakistan

China’s Maize-Soybean Strip Intercropping Technology Led To High Yield

Maize-Soybean Strip Intercropping Technology, Chinese Agricultural Tech Created High Yield Of Both Crops While Not Occupying Extra Land.

Maize-Soybean Strip Intercropping Technology, An Advanced Chinese Agricultural Technology Created High Yield Of Both Crops While Not Occupying Extra Land, finished its first-phase sowing on 30-acre land of Pakistan, says a report published by China Economic Net (CEN).

Once the second phase completes in March, this spring the total area of demonstration plots will reach 100 acres, making a giant leap of about 270.4% in comparison with last season’s area.

“In the last one and half months, we traveled 18,000 km across the country to complete sowing. Until now we have demonstrated our technology on 30 acres of land, and in March 70 more acres of land will be sown with soybean varieties from China,” according to Muhammad Ali Raza, the post-doc from Sichuan Agricultural University.

Raza has been engaged in promoting the Chinese agricultural technology under Prof. Yang Wenyu and Yang Feng’s support and guidance together with Muhammad Hayder Bin Khalid, another post-doc from the same university.

This season the team has built larger-scale cooperation especially with universities, institutes and local farmers. Four universities, i.e. Sindh Agricultural University, Tandojam, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, and Nuclear Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad have joined this season’s demonstration.

This news was originally published at The News.

Lifestyle Pakistan

Pakistan To Launch Three New Airlines Soon

Three New Airlines Have Sought Regulatory Approval From Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority To Launch Operations, Reported By Khaleej Times.

By Hamza Zakir

Three New Airlines Have Sought Regulatory Approval From Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) To Launch Operations, As Reported By Khaleej Times. The scrutiny of two airlines – Q-Airlines and Fly Jinnah – has been completed while Jet Green Airlines is still going through the process.

Following the completion of scrutiny, the applications would be sent to Aviation Division and then to the federal cabinet for final approvals, ARY News said. Following the approvals of the three airline carriers, the total number of private carriers operating in the country will rise to six, catering to a population of 217 million.

Airblue, SereneAir and AirSial are the three airlines already operating in the country. National carrier PIA is the largest and oldest carrier in the country. The Islamabad-based SereneAir airline operated a number of repatriation flights last year to bring back Pakistanis stranded in the UAE.

It is mandatory for new carriers to operate domestic flights for at least one year with three aircrafts before they are allowed to launch international operations.

SereneAir has already received necessary approvals from the UAE and Saudi authorities to launch commercial operations with maiden flights to Dubai, Sharjah, Jeddah and Riyadh.

This news was originally published at Tech Juice.

Pakistan Technology

Tecno Brings Addition To Camon Series With Camon 16 Pro-Specification

TECNO Has Taken Clear Lead In This By Continuous Quality Phones. The Brand Made Latest Addition To Its Hot Seller Camon Series, Camon 16 Pro.

By Umer Jamshaid

New gadgets in the market are always a catch. But what’s more catchy for the customers are the unique specs and budget. Many Chinese smartphones have been trying their luck in Pakistan claiming to provide the best.

TECNO Has Taken A Clear Lead In This By Continuous Quality Phones. The Brand Made The Latest Addition To Its Hot Seller Camon Series, Camon 16 Pro. TECNO has always provided advanced technology at a pocket-friendly price, and that is the reason for the brand’s huge customer base.

TECNO’s flagship Camon series is famous for its TAIVOS Camera technology. Camon 16 and Camon 16 premier have set some amazing sales records for their successor, Camon 16 Pro. The best features of this phone are its ultra-clear 64MP AI Quad Camera and a MediaTek Helio G70 Gaming Processor along with other amazing features. Plus, Camon 16 Pro comes at a midrange price of only PKR 29,999.

The leading smartphone brand, TECNO has always stood one step ahead when it comes to the best technology smartphones in Pakistan. The Camon 16 Pro has a cool body design with Ice Crystal Blue and Onyx Black colors.

The phone has a large 6.8in HD+ Dual Punch Hole Display, Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, built-in 128GB Storage, and 6GB RAM. It is also equipped with a 2.0 GHz MediaTek Helio G70 Gaming Processor, 5000mAh Li-Polymer battery, and an 18Watt Flash Charge to give a smooth gaming experience.

Keeping the Camon series legacy alive, Camon 16 Pro is equipped with the TAIVOS Smart Photography. With a 64MP AI Quad Rear Camera, 5 LED Flash & Super Hybrid Image Stabilization the phone is set to take the market by storm. The phone supports a 16MP AI Lens Selfie shooter with F2.0 Aperture & Dual LED Flash, plus, a 240 FPS Super Slow-Motion Video function.

It also supports TAIVOS six core functions of AI Camera, beauty cameras, and algorithms to keep your natural beauty intact while capturing images. This is a great variant from TECNO for its Camon 16 family. With these high-end features, pocket-friendly price, body designs, and cool colors, Camon 16 Pro phones are bent to sell hand to hand. Let’s wait for the TECNO customer’s response on this new smartphone in the market.

This news was originally published at Urdu Point.

Pakistan Technology

Smartphone Brand Share In Pakistani Market (2020)

The Other Smartphone Brands Include Huawei, Xiaomi, Realme, Apple Etc. These Brands Are Also Seeing A Decline In The Local Smartphone Market.

By Usama Anjum

The majority of the people in Pakistan tend towards cheaper and simpler smartphones. As we know that most of the top quality products like apple devices are expensive and a bit sophisticated if we compare them with the Android devices.

As Android phones are being produced by a number of companies due to which they are much cheaper and most indigenous people know how to use them. Therefore, it is evident that most Pakistani people’s preference would be an Android phone in less price than Apple devices as they are expensive. In this article, we would let you know the smartphone brand share in the Pakistani Market.

Smartphone Market Share (Units & Value):

I will start with Infinix.


The smartphones of Infinix have become popular for rendering quality products with excellent specs and features at an affordable cost, Because of this, it has witnessed growth in terms of value in the Pakistani market for the whole year. Its value rose from 11.6% in Q1 of 2020 to 27.6% in Q2 of 2020. Afterward, it witnessed a slight decline of 6.5 % in Q3 of 2020 then again increased a bit to 23.4% in Q4 of 2020. Even if you see the last four quarters, its value has remained constant without large fluctuations. Similarly, in terms of units, its share has also witnessed a similar trend, it increased in Q2 and witnessed a bit of decline in Q3 of 2020 and again jumped to 27.5% in Q4 of 2020.


The smartphones of Vivo are also popular in the Pakistani market. Due to this, they are also witnessing growth in terms of value in the recent era. Their market value of Vivo witnessed a positive trend except for Q2 in which it saw a decline. In the last two quarters, its share increased from 17.1 % in Q3 of 2020 to 22.2 % in Q4 of 2020. Similarly, in terms of units sold, a similar trend has been followed. The decline was only witnessed in Q2 of 2020 while in the last two quarters its share has increased from 15.3% in Q3 of 2020 to 20.2% in Q4 of 2020.


As Tecno and Infinix are subsidiaries of the same parent company, So the notion is the same, providing quality products at an affordable price. Therefore, its value has also not much fluctuated and seen a bit of decline in Q3 of 2020 after increasing in Q2 of 2020 as you can see in the above-mentioned graph. But again its value rose from 9.5 % in Q3 of 2020 to 14.3 % in Q4 of 2020. Simultaneously, in terms of units sold, its share has increased and seen a constant trend from 16.5 % in Q3 of 2020 to 19.0 % in Q4 of 2020.


iTel is making gradually evolving in the Pakistani market because of its budget price. In terms of units sold, its share has not much fluctuated. It has seen a bit of decline in the Q2 of 2020 but its share increased from 5.5% in Q3 of 2020 to 8.8% in Q4 of 2020.


Oppo is renowned for providing the best camera phones. It has been witnessing a rising trend in 2019 but this time around its share has been falling in all Q1, Q2, and Q3 quarters as you can see in the graph, and its share in terms of value has fallen to 10.4 % in Q4 of 2020.


Unfortunately, the tech giant Samsung has not been able to grasp a major portion of the market share. However, its share hasn’t witnessed many fluctuations both in terms of units and value. In terms of units, its share increased in Q1 of 2020 and decreased in Q2 of 2020 then increased to 8.6% in Q3 of 2020 and fallen again 8.0 % in Q4 of 2020. However, on the other side, in terms of value, it has witnessed a growth of 0.1 % in the last quarter and only seen a decline in Q2 of 2020.


The Other Smartphone Brands Include Huawei, Xiaomi, Realme, Apple Etc. These Brands Are Also Seeing A Decline In The Local Smartphone Market. In terms of units sold, their share has decreased significantly from Q1 of 2020 to Q4 of 2020.  Similarly, in terms of value, their share has decreased from 25.6 % in Q1 of 2020 to 17.5 % in Q4 of 2020. The tech-giant Huawei due to the non-availability of Google service has literally vanished from the local market.


The afore-mentioned data is updated and taken from a very reliable source. If you have any queries regarding it, you can tell share them in the comment section!

This news was originally published at Phone World.

Pakistan Technology

Zong Brings International Roaming Bundle For UAE

Pakistan’s Leading Cellular And Digital Services Provider, Zong 4G, Has Now Introduced An Unbeatable International Roaming Bundle For The UAE.

Continuing its leadership in the international roaming (IR) domain, Pakistan’s Leading Cellular And Digital Services Provider, Zong 4G, Has Now Introduced An Unbeatable International Roaming Bundle For The UAE.

The UAE IR Bundle gives Zong users 250 SMSs, 250 Minutes, and 2GB of Data, at an affordable price of PKR 2,999 + tax only. The validity for this offer is 7 days and all Zong prepaid customers can avail of this offer. The bundle can be activated by dialing *4255# or  Via

As a customer-centric company, Zong 4G has a deep understanding of its customer’s needs. Keeping in mind its globe-trotting customers, Zong 4G is delivering on its promise of seamless connectivity and world-class services at the most affordable rates anywhere and everywhere.

UAE is one of the most frequently travelled destination for business and tourism. This bundle offer will help Pakistanis keep connected to their loved ones back home as they travel to the UAE seamlessly and without having to switch SIMs.

This bundle offer for the UAE is one of the many that Zong has introduced recently. Prior to the UAE prepaid bundle, Zong has introduced prepaid and postpaid roaming offers for Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Europe, and many other countries.

Zong is one of Pakistan’s largest mobile connectivity providers and is leading the country’s digital transformation. Alongside network transformation, Zong brought 4G to Pakistan and ran the first successful 5G test in the country.

Health World

Alcohol And Tobacco Sales Nationwide Rose In The Early Months Of COVID-19

Alcohol and tobacco sales nationwide rose in the early months of COVID-19, according to a study appearing from April – June 2020

COVID-19 has taken a huge medical, emotional and economic toll on Americans. Now, new Keck Medicine of USC research shows that the pandemic may also have harmful indirect consequences.

Alcohol and tobacco sales nationwide rose in the early months of COVID-19, according to a study appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine today. From April – June 2020, researchers found that sales of these substances increased 34% and 13% respectively when compared to the same months in 2019.

Tobacco and alcohol abuse are the second and ninth largest contributors to global deaths, causing some eight million deaths each year worldwide.

Lee and his colleagues decided to study alcohol and tobacco purchasing patterns after noticing that in 2020, Keck Hospital of USC admissions for alcohol-associated liver disease (cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis) were up approximately 30% compared to the year before. Some patients also admitted to using alcohol to handle pandemic-related stressors.

The doctors wondered if the trend they were witnessing locally was also happening nationally. And if one substance was being abused, they wondered if a second — tobacco — might be as well.

Seeking national data, they turned to the Nielsen National Consumer Panel, which tracks the spending habits of approximately 70,000 households in the United States over time and is designed to be nationally representative. People are given a handheld scanner or use a smart-phone app to scan products at stores to report their purchases.

Researchers compared alcohol and tobacco sales between the months of April – June in 2020 with the same time period in 2019. They set up controls to offset extenuating factors, such as restaurants and bars being closed during these months, which could independently cause an uptick in alcohol sales.

When they calculated their results, they found that from 2019 to 2020, tobacco sales increased in households across all demographics and alcohol sales increased across nearly all demographics as well. Sales increases for both substances were the highest, however, among younger adults, ethnic minorities, those with younger children and/or large families and those with higher incomes.

“We hypothesized that these subgroups, such as those with younger children, were buying more alcohol and tobacco because they felt more stressed than other segments of the population,” said Lee, who is also an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “For those with a higher income, sales might have increased simply because they have greater disposable income,” he added.

The data also revealed that sales of hard liquor increased more than wine and beer, a result Lee found troubling. “Liquor has the highest alcohol content and could be a sign of problem drinking,” he said.

Lee believes that the study may reveal a previously unrecognized COVID-19-related public health issue. “This study draws attention to the fact that many people across the country might be self-medicating as a way to cope,” he said. “By spotlighting this issue, individuals can identify this behavior as potentially harmful and substitute drinking or smoking with healthier activities. Mental health professionals and medical institutions, in addition to policymakers, can also develop interventions to help them.”

Other Keck Medicine physicians involved in the study are Norah Terrault, MD, a Keck Medicine gastroenterologist and chief of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases at the Keck School; Jennifer Dodge, MPH, an assistant professor of research medicine and preventive medicine at the Keck School; and Adam Leventhal, PhD, a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School.

The researchers hope to conduct further studies to see if this three-month trend has sustained throughout the pandemic.

Originally published at Medical News
Technology World

Researchers Make Accidental Discovery Of Atomic Scale Wires

Researchers to shrink the digital gadgets to molecular scale after by chance creating a atomic scale wires that is only one atom vast.

Researchers from Australia, China, and Japan are one step nearer to shrinking digital gadgets to molecular scale after by chance creating a atomic scale wires that is only one atom vast.

The study, which was carried out by researchers from the Queensland College of Know-how’s (QUT) Centre for Supplies Science, Shanghai’s Fudan College, and Japan’s Nationwide Institute for Supplies Science, was initially analyzing the properties of silver on an atomic scale.

They did this by placing nanoparticles of silver on the surface of tiny nanorods which have channels inside.

In accordance with QUT professor Dmitri Golberg, these experiments are often carried out in a vacuum, however they determined to check it in common air.

“Once we do that in a vacuum, or in some inert environment as folks often do, nothing occurs,” he mentioned. “However we did it in air. The atoms from silver particles subtle very quick and so they subtle contained in the channels.”

He defined that the anticipated outcome for such an experiment can be that the silver would react with oxygen within the air and kind silver oxide. As a substitute, the atoms fashioned contained in the channels in a “self-organisation course of” like water drops going by way of a sieve. The outcome: 200 wires, every as skinny as simply an atom, fashioned contained in the channels.

“It wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t deliberate to make wires,” Golberg mentioned.

For the final 20 years, in line with QUT, researchers have been making an attempt to develop atomic scale wires which can be steady when exterior a vacuum.

Additional testing additionally confirmed the silver nanowires may probably be used as thermal switches.

“At some temperature, the fabric turned an insulator. This isn’t frequent for silver and is known as steel insulator transition,” Golberg mentioned.

“That is fairly an fascinating transition in physics.

“And this can be a main level as a result of it means the silver wire could possibly be used as a thermal swap. Relying on the temperature, you alter the properties of the fabric by altering the temperature.”

Whereas the atomic scale wires is the size of about one-fifth of the width of human hair, Golberg nonetheless considers it as too lengthy and can proceed to work on lowering its measurement.

“It is nonetheless fairly small however for me, it is fairly lengthy. Within the electron microscope, it’s extremely huge,” he mentioned.

Originally published at Best Gaming Pro
Science World

DYBLUP, New Protein Regulates Molecular Motors In Response To Light

DYBLUP iregulates motor in response to light. Chlamydomonas cells normally swim towards dim blue light but away from bright blue light

Single-celled algae and animal sperm cells are widely separated in evolution but both swim in the same way, by waving their protruding hairs, called cilia or flagella. Motion is driven by molecular motors, complex assemblies of proteins that exert a force when changing shape.

The motor proteins are connected to the cell’s internal skeleton of microtubules; the moving force from the motor causes microtubules to slide, moving the flagella and propelling the cell.

Now a team led by Professor Kazuo Inaba of the University of Tsukuba in collaboration with scientists from Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Paul Scherrer Institute has described a new protein that is closely associated with one class of motors, called dyneins. They recently published their findings in Science Advances.

The team isolated molecular motor complexes from sperm cells of a marine invertebrate, the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. Among the components, they discovered a novel protein related to a protein with a blue-light sensing function, called BLUF.

They named the new protein “DYBLUP” for dynein-associated BLUF protein. Comparing gene sequences, they found DYBLUP has been conserved during evolution across a wide range of organisms, from some fungi and algae to animals (but is not found in arthropods or higher plants).

Working with the single-celled alga Chlamydomonas, the team used powerful electron microscopy techniques to show that DYBLUP is part of the molecular tether linking the motor protein to the microtubules.

They then showed that DYBLUP is also involved in regulating the motor in response to light. Chlamydomonas cells normally swim towards dim blue light but away from bright blue light, which damages the cells.

Originally published at Medical News

Health World

Demonstrating The Diversity Of Our Species By Identifying 64 Human Genomes

Study on genomes 20 years ago. At the start of the new decade, they found 64 human genomes and identified 25 different populations.

The Faculty of Medicine from the University of Maryland updated a study on genomes humans which was held in 2001, that is, 20 years ago. Back then the limitations of science failed to capture the species diversity of our race. So, at the start of the new decade, they found 64 human genomes and identified 25 different populations.

The study was published by the journal Science and details that they managed to sequence 64 human genomes. To date its authors say that the best genetic diversity of our species has been captured. The reference data records individuals from all over the world. Therefore, they assure that no one was left out.

In addition to knowing in detail each of the human species in the world, the study goes beyond a simple recognition. « The work will allow studies of specific populations on genetic predispositions to human diseases. As well as the discovery of more complex forms of genetic variation, » they published on the institution’s website.

While acknowledging work that was done exactly 20 years ago, Maryland researchers say this is brand new. That is, all the data was taken from scratch.

Human genomes and technology

He says Scott Devine, co-author of this study, who decided to do a totally new investigation due to the differences in details that can be detected with current technologies. Then, it would not serve them to take into account the previous data.

The advancement of science manages to detect something called structural variants. In this they were able to detail the insertion of new genetic material.

One of the most important aspects of this research is understanding diseases that are inherited. You can begin to study the health conditions that are imprinted from genetics.

Originally published at Explica

Technology World

New 4D Hydrogels Develop Tissues That Resemble Natural Counterparts

Researchers have developed new 4D hydrogels -; 3D materials that have the ability to change shape over time in response to stimuli

Tissue engineering has long-depended on geometrically static scaffolds seeded with cells in the lab to create new tissues and even organs.

The scaffolding material -; usually a biodegradable polymer structure -; is supplied with cells and the cells, if supplied with the right nutrients, then develop into tissue as the underlying scaffold biodegrades. But this model ignores the extraordinarily dynamic morphological processes that underlie the natural development of tissues.

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have developed new 4D hydrogels -; 3D materials that have the ability to change shape over time in response to stimuli -; that can morph multiple times in a preprogrammed or on-demand manner in response to external trigger signals.

In a new Advanced Science study, the UIC researchers, led by Eben Alsberg, show that these new materials may be used to help develop tissues that more closely resemble their natural counterparts, which are subject to forces that drive movement during their formation.

The novel material is made up of different hydrogels that swell or shrink at different rates and extents in response to water or the concentration of calcium. By creating complex layering patterns, the researchers can guide the conglomerate material to bend one way or another as the layers swell and/or shrink.

“We can change the shape of these materials by adjusting, for example, the amount of calcium present,” said Alsberg, who also is professor of orthopaedics, pharmacology and mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC.

In their experiments, the researchers were able to cause the hydrogel to form into pockets similar in shape to alveoli, the tiny sac-like structures in the lung where gas exchange takes place.

Not only are Alsberg’s hydrogels able to change their architecture multiple times, but they also are highly cytocompatible, which means they can have incorporated cells and the cells remain alive -; something that many existing 4D materials are unable to do.

“We are really looking forward to pushing the limits of what our unique hydrogel systems can do in terms of tissue engineering,” said Aixiang Ding, postdoctoral research associate at UIC and co-first author on the paper.

Originally published at Medical News
Health World

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs Arrive In Britain

Scientists have verified that brown marmorated stink bug, an insect that releases an unpleasant almond-like odor, has arrived in Britain.

Scientists have verified that brown marmorated stink bug, a tiny flying insect that releases an unpleasant almond-like odor, has arrived in Britain after it possibly hitched a ride on packaging crates.

The Guardian described the bug as brown, stinky, and will cause worry and apprehension among apple and other fruit growers.

Additionally, the insect, which looks akin to native shield bugs, is considered a pest in the United States and in Southeast Asian homes as it creates and leaves brown marks on fruits and vegetables like apples and cucumbers among others, making them less aesthetically attractive for buyers and thereby reducing their value.

The said news report specified that this invasive stink bug would worry the burgeoning wine industry of Britain. If substantial numbers move into bunches of grapes, their smell, a defense mechanism, can infect the wine’s delicate flavor.

Discovery in the UK

The brown marmorated stink bug, as seen on the YouTube video below, was first detected in the gardens of natural History Museum in 2020. It has since turned up at a residence in Surrey.

The bug species’ spread has been mapped by the researchers at the museum and horticultural research institute NIAB EMR in a paper published in the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History.

Senior curator Max Barclay who’s in charge of Cleopatra forecasted in 2014 that it was just a matter of time before the arrival of the stink bug. Now, he said it has, and it would not be possible to eliminate it.

Barclay added that these bugs would establish pretty fast. This has been seen in a lot of invasive species in the past. The curator continued explaining that soon, the bugs would be everywhere.

He also specified that the harlequin ladybird from China arrived in 2006, and to date, they are immensely abundant.

How the Stink Bugs Arrived

Barclay said, since stink bugs are moving indoors to hibernate during the winter, they will have arrived in shipping crates, pallets and packaging from global trade.

Characterized by mottled brown shield-shaped

casing, the brown marmorated stink bug has a similarity with the native shield bugs and another mottled shield bug which came in from Europe in 2011, in terms of their physical appearance.

There are larger bugs in the United Kingdom, Barclay explained, although none of the native species are considered agricultural pests of any implication.

These stink bugs also go after a great range of fruits and vegetables, so people are very concerned and apprehensive about it.

The stink bug entered the US in 1998 and quickly established itself as an agricultural pest with its feeding impairment estimated to have caused $37 million of apple losses in 2010.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

The expert explained that the harlequin ladybird population spiked but is currently dropping again. This takes place because the predators and parasites, as well as the diseases that are linked to these things, ultimately catch up with them.

This invasive species is making a nuisance of itself before it gradually moves into the background and becomes part of the established fauna. With climate change, said Barclay, and global trade, these stories will become more frequent.

Originally published at The Science Times
Lifestyle World

Low Cost Modifications To Existing N95 Masks For More Efficiency

These low cost and simple modifications can provide people in all socioeconomic classes with a long-lasting, high-filtration respiratory mask.

A new paper in Oxford Open Materials Science, published by Oxford University Press, presents low cost modifications to existing N95 masks that prolongs their effectiveness and improves their reusability post disinfectants.

The COVID-19 crisis has increased demand for respiratory masks, with various models of DIY masks becoming popular alongside the commercially available N95. The utility of such masks is primarily based on the size of aerosols that they are capable of filtering out and how long they can do so effectively.

Conventional masks like the N95 use a layered system and have an efficiency rate of 95%. Yet, this rate begins to drop after someone wears them for more than eight hours. This is due to the fact that N95 masks were designed for single use. The high demand caused by COVID-19 has led people to disinfect them for reuse. As such, a team of scientists have put together various techniques for decontamination and reuse of respiratory masks based on experimental data and guidelines issued by Center for Disease Control.

Researchers here propose a low cost ($1), tri-layer mask design containing nylon, modified polypropylene, and non-woven cotton fabrics. While the polypropylene layer is available in N95 masks, this design includes a graphene oxide and polyvinylidene fluoride mixture which acts as an active filtration layer. Recent studies show that the graphene oxide mixture has a high anti-bacterial activity making it ideal for respiratory masks. This coating has also proven to be effective even after being disinfected with H2O2, a popular practice when reusing masks. The addition of these membranes results in an efficiency level of 95%, like that of an N95, while also simplifying the number of layers in the design for increased comfort.

“The possibility to produce cost effective reusable N95 masks that can help the public health system and common citizens motivated the work. We tried to leverage the connection between electrostatic charge and the filtration efficiency of masks for submicron size particles and viruses to come up with a design to make N95 masks reusable” said By Dr. Rajalakshmi.

These low cost and simple modifications can provide people in all socioeconomic classes with a long-lasting, high-filtration respiratory mask.

Originally published at Eurek alert
Health World

High Fat Diets May Over-activate Destructive Heart Disease Protein

Consumption of a high fat diets may be activating a response in the heart that is causing destructive growth and lead to greater risk of heart attacks.

Consumption of a high fat diet may be activating a response in the heart that is causing destructive growth and lead to greater risk of heart attacks, according to new research.

In a paper published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, researchers looked at the effect of feeding mice a high fat diet on oxidative stress levels on heart cells. The team from the University of Reading found that cells from the mice had twice the amount of oxidative stress, and led to heart cells being up to 1.8 times bigger due to cardiac hypertrophy which is associated with heart disease.

Named first author Dr Sunbal Naureen Bhatti, from the University of Reading said:

“Our research shows one way in which a high fat diet can cause damage to the muscle cells that make up our hearts. It appears that a switch happens at a cellular level when the mice were fed on a high fat regime which causes a normally harmless protein, Nox2, to become overactive. The precise nature of how the Nox2 protein goes onto cause oxidative damage and set off destructive hypertrophy is still being researched.

“We are really just scratching the surface of how the protein Nox2 responds to diets, but our research clearly demonstrates that high fat diets has the potential to cause significant damage to the heart.”

The researchers focused on a key protein Nox2 which believed to be associated with increasing oxidative stress in the heart. The study found that the mice fed a high fat diet had twice the amount of Nox2 activity, which also led to a similar amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a free radical that is associated with pathological damage of the body.

To check whether Nox2 was involved in causing the cardiac stress, the team compared the results with mice bred specifically to ‘knock out’ Nox2, stopping the protein from activating at a cellular level. The ‘knock out’ mice were also fed a high fat diet, but showed little or none of the same raised levels of oxidative stress.

In addition, the team used three experimental treatments which are known to reduce Nox2-related ROS production, and found that all three showed some promise in reducing the effect of ROS in damaging the mice hearts.

The mice that were fed high fat diets received 45% of their calorie consumption from fat, 20% from protein and 35% carbohydrate.

Originally published at Eurek alert

Health World

New Cerium Molybdate Approach To Combating Coronavirus

Researchers have succeeded in preparing a material called cerium molybdate , which exhibits high antiviral activity against coronavirus.

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology working in collaboration with colleagues at the Kanagawa Institute of Industrial Science and Technology and Nara Medical University in Japan have succeeded in preparing a material called cerium molybdate (γ-Ce2Mo3O13 or CMO), which exhibits high antiviral activity against coronavirus.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the urgency not only of vaccine development and rollout but also of developing innovative materials and technologies with antiviral properties that could play a vital role in helping to contain the spread of the virus.

Conventional inorganic antimicrobial materials are often prepared with metals such as copper or photocatalysts such as titanium dioxide. However, metal-based materials can be prone to corrosion, and the effects of photocatalysts are usually limited under dark conditions.

Now, a research team led by Akira Nakajima of Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering proposes a new type of an antiviral material that can overcome these drawbacks. The team successfully combined a relatively low-cost rare earth element cerium (Ce) with molybdenum (Mo), which is well known for its antibacterial effects, to prepare two types of cerium molybdate (Ce2Mo3O12 and γ-Ce2Mo3O13) in powder form.

Both powders exhibited antiviral activity against bacteriophage Φ6[1]. Notably, γ-Ce2Mo3O13 also exhibited high antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The researchers infer that an effective combination of cerium with the molybdate ion as well as the specific surface area[2] are key factors contributing to the observed antiviral activity.

The study builds on earlier work led by Nakajima which demonstrated the antiviral activity of a material named LMO (La2Mo2O9), composed of lanthanum (La) oxide and molybdenum oxide. LMO’s activity, however, was found to be better against non-envelope-type (bacteriophage Qβ) than against envelope-type (bacteriophage Φ6) viruses. Subsequent tests showed that incorporating cerium into the material to make La1.8Ce0.2Mo2O9 (LCMO) improved antiviral activity against bacteriophage Φ6. It was this remarkable finding that spurred further investigations into cerium molybdates (CMO) as promising materials with high antiviral activity against envelope-type viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2.

To obtain the desired CMO powder samples with an almost single-crystal phase, the team conducted many trial experiments before successfully preparing Ce2Mo3O12 using the polymerizable complex method and γ-Ce2Mo3O13 through hydrothermal processing[3].

If standardized and mass-produced, CMO could be used in a wide range of materials such as resins, paper, thin films and paints. This would open up the possibility of using CMO coatings for high-contact surfaces such as door handles, straps inside vehicles, elevator buttons and escalator belts as well as walls, tiles and windows. Nakajima envisions that materials incorporating CMO could also be used in everyday items such as smartphones and clothing. He notes that applications for eye and face ware such as glasses and masks may take a little longer time to develop, but be on the horizon.

Originally published at Eurek alert

Nature World

A Rarest Seal Breeding Site Discovered

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown breeding site used by the world’s rarest seal species of the monk seal, classified “endangered”.

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown breeding site used by the world’s rarest seal species.

The Mediterranean monk seal is classified as “endangered”, with a total population of about 700.

The new study – by the University of Exeter and the Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) – used camera-traps to confirm breeding in caves in northern Cyprus, with at least three pups born from 2016-19 at one cave.

Only certain caves are suitable for monk seal breeding and resting, so – although the numbers are small – the researchers say urgent action is needed to protect these caves.

“This area of coastline in being developed rapidly, especially for construction of hotels,” said Dr Robin Snape, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“A survey of the coast in 2007 found 39 possible breeding caves, and some of these have already been destroyed.

“The main breeding site we identify in this study currently has no protected status, and we are working with local authorities to try to change this.”

Lead author Dr Damla Beton, of SPOT, added: “Another major threat to monk seals in this area is bycatch (accidental catching by fisheries).

“We are working with fishers and government ministries to ensure protection areas at sea, because at present no measures are implemented to mitigate bycatch in the core areas used by these seals.”

The team has now established long-term monitoring of the breeding caves, aiming to determine the size of this seal population.

Originally published at Eurek alert

Health World

2.5 Kg Birthweight Strongly Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Risk In Adulthood

A birthweight of 2.5 kg or more is strongly linked to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes , finds research published in the online journal.

A birthweight of 2.5 kg or more is strongly linked to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

It is associated with lower circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1 for short, a hormone similar to insulin that affects childhood growth and energy metabolism in adults.

Compelling evidence indicates that susceptibility to type 2 diabetes over the life course is determined jointly by risk factors in both early life and adulthood, say the researchers.

To find out if there might be any association between adult circulating IGF-1 levels, birthweight, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers drew on data from 112,736 women and 68,354 men taking part in the UK Biobank study.

The UK Biobank is a large population-based study, which recruited its 37-73 year old participants between 2006 and 2010. It is tracking the potential impact of genetic and lifestyle factors on a wide range of common diseases of middle-and old age.

At recruitment, participants provided social and demographic details, as well as information on their usual diet, lifestyle (smoking status, alcohol intake, sleep duration and habitual physical activity), early life factors (birthweight and maternal smoking) and medical history.

They also provided blood, urine, and saliva samples and their height, weight, body mass index (BMI), body circumferences (waist, hip, and limbs), and skinfold thickness were measured.

Blood was checked for IGF-1, cholesterol, triglycerides and an indicator of inflammation, C-reactive protein. And repeat measures of IGF-1 were available from 17,699 participants. Information on the development of type 2 diabetes was obtained from self-report, hospital records, and death certificates.

During an average monitoring period of nearly 10 years, 3299 people developed type 2 diabetes.

Participants with lower levels of IGF-1 tended to be older and more likely to live in a deprived area. They were also more likely to have lifestyle and clinical risk factors for diabetes.

Nevertheless, a clear inverse association emerged between IGF-1 levels and type 2 diabetes: the lower the IGF-1 level, the higher was the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But birthweight significantly altered this association, although only for those whose weight was 2.5 kg or more at birth, and only in men.

Compared with those in the lowest 20% of IGF-1 levels, the odds of type 2 diabetes were 14% lower for those in the second lowest 20%, and up to 36% lower for those in the highest 20% of IGF-1 levels.

The findings held true, irrespective of any genetic predisposition to birthweight.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause. Nor was there any information on whether the births had been premature or full term, or on ethnicity–factors that may well be influential, say the researchers.

Nevertheless, their findings echo those of other epidemiological studies, they note. “Our findings highlight the importance of early-life risk factors in the development of the lifecourse prevention strategies targeting IGF-1 and [type 2 diabetes],” they conclude.

Originally published at Eurek alert