Tech News

Earthcare Cloud Mission Launches To Resolve Climate Unknowns

science - Posted On:2024-05-29 04:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A sophisticated joint European-Japanese satellite has launched to measure how clouds influence the climate. Some low-level clouds are known to cool the planet, others at high altitude will act as a blanket. The Earthcare mission will use a laser and a radar to probe the atmosphere to see precisely where the balance lies. It's one of the great uncertainties in the computer models used to forecast how the climate will respond to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. "Many of our models suggest cloud cover will go down in the future and that means that clouds will reflect less sunlight back to space, more will be absorbed at the surface and that will act as an amplifier to the warming we would get from carbon dioxide," Dr Robin Hogan, from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, told BBC News. The 2.3-tonne satellite was sent up from California on a SpaceX rocket. The project is led by the European Space Agency (ESA), which has described it as the organization's most complex Earth observation venture to date. Certainly, the technical challenge in getting the instruments to work as intended has been immense. It's taken fully 20 years to go from mission approval to launch. Earthcare will circle the Earth at a height of about 400km (250 miles). It's actually got four instruments in total that will work in unison to get at the information sought by climate scientists. The simplest is an imager -- a camera that will take pictures of the scene passing below the spacecraft to give context to the measurements made by the other three instruments. Earthcare's European ultraviolet laser will see the thin, high clouds and the tops of clouds lower down. It will also detect the small particles and droplets (aerosols) in the atmosphere that influence the formation and behavior of clouds. The Japanese radar will look into the clouds, to determine how much water they are carrying and how that's precipitating as rain, hail and snow. And a radiometer will sense how much of the energy falling on to Earth from the Sun is being reflected or radiated back into space. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Dinosaurs needed to be cold enough that being warm-blooded mattered

Science - Posted On:2024-05-28 12:45:01 Source: arstechnica

Dinosaurs were once assumed to have been ectothermic, or cold-blooded, an idea that makes sense given that they were reptiles. While scientists had previously discovered evidence of dinosaur species that were warm-blooded, though what could have triggered this adaptation remained unknown. A team of researchers now think that dinosaurs that already had some cold tolerance evolved endothermy, or warm-bloodedness, to adapt when they migrated to regions with cooler temperatures. They also think they’ve found a possible reason for the trek.

Using the Mesozoic fossil record, evolutionary trees, climate models, and geography, plus factoring in a drastic climate change event that caused global warming, the team found that theropods (predators and bird ancestors such as velociraptor and T. rex) and ornithischians (such as triceratops and stegosaurus) must have made their way to colder regions during the Early Jurassic. Lower temperatures are thought to have selected for species that were partly adapted to endothermy.

“The early invasion of cool niches… [suggests] an early attainment of homeothermic (possibly endothermic) physiology in [certain species], enabling them to colonize and persist in even extreme latitudes since the Early Jurassic,” the researchers said in a study recently published in Current Biology.

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Rivers of Lava on Venus Reveal a More Volcanically Active Planet

science - Posted On:2024-05-27 21:15:00 Source: slashdot

Witnessing the blood-red fires of a volcanic eruption on Earth is memorable. But to see molten rock bleed out of a volcano on a different planet would be extraordinary. That is close to what scientists have spotted on Venus: two vast, sinuous lava flows oozing from two different corners of Earth's planetary neighbor. From a report: "After you see something like this, the first reaction is 'wow,'" said Davide Sulcanese, a doctoral student at the Universita d'Annunzio in Pescara, Italy, and an author of a study reporting the discovery in the journal Nature Astronomy, published on Monday. Earth and Venus were forged at the same time. Both are made of the same primeval matter, and both are the same age and size. So why is Earth a paradise overflowing with water and life, while Venus is a scorched hellscape with acidic skies? Volcanic eruptions tinker with planetary atmospheres. One theory holds that, eons ago, several apocalyptic eruptions set off a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, turning it from a temperate, waterlogged world into an arid desert of burned glass. To better understand its volcanism, scientists hoped to catch a Venusian eruption in the act. But although the planet is known to be smothered in volcanoes, an opaque atmosphere has prevented anyone from seeing an eruption the way spacecraft have spotted them on Io, the hypervolcanic moon of Jupiter. In the 1990s, NASA's spacecraft Magellan used cloud-penetrating radar to survey most of the planet. But back then, the relatively low-resolution images made spotting fresh molten rock a troublesome task. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ditch Brightly Colored Plastic, Anti-Waste Researchers Tell Firms

science - Posted On:2024-05-27 19:45:00 Source: slashdot

Retailers are being urged to stop making everyday products such as drinks bottles, outdoor furniture and toys out of brightly coloured plastic after researchers found it degrades into microplastics faster than plainer colours. From a report: Red, blue and green plastic became "very brittle and fragmented," while black, white and silver samples were "largely unaffected" over a three-year period, according to the findings of the University of Leicester-led project. The scale of environmental pollution caused by plastic waste means that microplastics, or tiny plastic particles, are everywhere. Indeed, they were recently found in human testicles, with scientists suggesting a possible link to declining sperm counts in men. In this case, scientists from the UK and the University of Cape Town in South Africa used complementary studies to show that plastics of the same composition degrade at different rates depending on the colour. The UK researchers put bottle lids of various colours on the roof of a university building to be exposed to the sun and the elements for three years. The South African study used plastic items found on a remote beach. "It's amazing that samples left to weather on a rooftop in Leicester and those collected on a windswept beach at the southern tip of the African continent show similar results," said Dr Sarah Key, who led the project. "What the experiments showed is that even in a relatively cool and cloudy environment for only three years, huge differences can be seen in the formation of microplastics." This field study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, is the first such proof of this effect. It suggests that retailers and manufacturers should give more consideration to the colour of short-lived plastics. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Food Industry Launches 'Ferocious' Campaign Against Regulations on Ultraprocessed Foods

science - Posted On:2024-05-27 03:45:01 Source: slashdot

Studies show ultraprocessed food "encourages overeating but may leave the eater undernourished," writes Ars Technica. But the food industry's response has been "a ferocious campaign against regulation." In part it has used the same lobbying playbook as its fight against labeling and taxation of "junk food" high in calories: big spending to influence policymakers. FT analysis of US lobbying data from non-profit Open Secrets found that food and soft drinks-related companies spent $106 million on lobbying in 2023, almost twice as much as the tobacco and alcohol industries combined. Last year's spend was 21 percent higher than in 2020, with the increase driven largely by lobbying relating to food processing as well as sugar. In an echo of tactics employed by cigarette companies, the food industry has also attempted to stave off regulation by casting doubt on the research of scientists like [Brazilian nutritional scientist Carlos] Monteiro. "The strategy I see the food industry using is deny, denounce, and delay," says Barry Smith, director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London and a consultant for companies on the multisensory experience of food and drink. So far the strategy has proved successful. Just a handful of countries, including Belgium, Israel, and Brazil, currently refer to UPFs in their dietary guidelines. But as the weight of evidence about UPFs grows, public health experts say the only question now is how, if at all, it is translated into regulation. "There's scientific agreement on the science," says Jean Adams, professor of dietary public health at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. "It's how to interpret that to make a policy that people aren't sure of." [...] As researchers have learned more about the link between UPFs and poor health outcomes, companies have remained largely silent about these risks, leaving trade bodies that advocate on their behalf to argue loudly against the validity of the research. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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1 in 9 American Kids Were Diagnosed With ADHD, New Study Finds

science - Posted On:2024-05-27 00:45:00 Source: slashdot

"About 1 in 9 children in the U.S., between the ages of 3 and 17, have been diagnosed with ADHD," reports NPR: That's according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that calls attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder an "expanding public health concern." Researchers found that in 2022, 7.1 million kids and adolescents in the U.S. had received an ADHD diagnosis — a million more children than in 2016. That jump in diagnoses was not surprising, given that the data was collected during the pandemic, says Melissa Danielson, a statistician with the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the study's lead author. She notes that other studies have found that many children experienced heightened stress, depression and anxiety during the pandemic. "A lot of those diagnoses... might have been the result of a child being assessed for a different diagnosis, something like anxiety or depression, and their clinician identifying that the child also had ADHD," Danielson says. The increase in diagnoses also comes amid growing awareness of ADHD — and the different ways that it can manifest in children... The study, which appears in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, was based on data from the National Survey of Children's Health, which gathers detailed information from parents. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The hornet has landed: Scientists combat new honeybee killer in US

Science - Posted On:2024-05-26 08:00:00 Source: arstechnica

In early August 2023, a beekeeper near the port of Savannah, Georgia, noticed some odd activity around his hives. Something was hunting his honeybees. It was a flying insect bigger than a yellowjacket, mostly black with bright yellow legs. The creature would hover at the hive entrance, capture a honeybee in flight, and butcher it before darting off with the bee’s thorax, the meatiest bit.

“He’d only been keeping bees since March… but he knew enough to know that something wasn’t right with this thing,” says Lewis Bartlett, an evolutionary ecologist and honeybee expert at the University of Georgia, who helped to investigate. Bartlett had seen these honeybee hunters before, during his PhD studies in England a decade earlier. The dreaded yellow-legged hornet had arrived in North America.

With origins in Afghanistan, eastern China, and Indonesia, the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, has expanded during the last two decades into South Korea, Japan, and Europe. When the hornet invades new territory, it preys on honeybees, bumblebees, and other vulnerable insects. One yellow-legged hornet can kill up to dozens of honeybees in a single day. It can decimate colonies through intimidation by deterring honeybees from foraging. “They’re not to be messed with,” says honeybee researcher Gard Otis, professor emeritus at the University of Guelph in Canada.

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New Warp Drive Concept Does Twist Space, Doesn't Move Us Very Fast

science - Posted On:2024-05-25 09:15:01 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A team of physicists has discovered that it's possible to build a real, actual, physical warp drive and not break any known rules of physics. One caveat: the vessel doing the warping can't exceed the speed of light, so you're not going to get anywhere interesting any time soon. But this research still represents an important advance in our understanding of gravity. [...] In a paper accepted for publication in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, [an international team of physicists led by Jared Fuchs at the University of Alabama in Huntsville] dug deep into relativity to explore if any version of a warp drive could work. The equations of general relativity are notoriously difficult to solve, especially in complex cases such as a warp drive. So the team turned to software algorithms; instead of trying to solve the equations by hand, they explored their solutions numerically and verified that they conformed to the energy conditions. The team did not actually attempt to construct a propulsion device. Instead, they explored various solutions to general relativity that would allow travel from point to point without a vessel undergoing any acceleration or experiencing any overwhelming gravitational tidal forces within the vessel, much to the comfort of any imagined passengers. They then checked whether these solutions adhered to the energy conditions that prevent the use of exotic matter. The researchers did indeed discover a warp drive solution: a method of manipulating space so that travelers can move without accelerating. There is no such thing as a free lunch, however, and the physicality of this warp drive does come with a major caveat: the vessel and passengers can never travel faster than light. Also disappointing: the fact that the researchers behind the new work don't seem to bother with figuring out what configurations of matter would allow the warping to happen. The findings have been published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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NASA finds more issues with Boeing’s Starliner, but crew launch set for June 1

Science - Posted On:2024-05-25 00:45:01 Source: arstechnica

Senior managers from NASA and Boeing told reporters on Friday that they plan to launch the first crew test flight of the Starliner spacecraft as soon as June 1, following several weeks of detailed analysis of a helium leak and a "design vulnerability" with the ship's propulsion system.

Extensive data reviews over the last two-and-a-half weeks settled on a likely cause of the leak, which officials described as small and stable. During these reviews, engineers also built confidence that even if the leak worsened, it would not add any unacceptable risk for the Starliner test flight to the International Space Station, officials said.

But engineers also found that an unlikely mix of technical failures in Starliner's propulsion system—representing 0.77 percent of all possible failure modes, according to Boeing's program manager—could prevent the spacecraft from conducting a deorbit burn at the end of the mission.

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Countries Fail To Agree on Treaty To Prepare the World for the Next Pandemic

science - Posted On:2024-05-24 17:15:00 Source: slashdot

Countries around the globe have failed to reach consensus on the terms of a treaty that would unify the world in a strategy against the inevitable next pandemic, trumping the nationalist ethos that emerged during Covid-19. From a report: The deliberations, which were scheduled to be a central item at the weeklong meeting of the World Health Assembly beginning Monday in Geneva, aimed to correct the inequities in access to vaccines and treatments between wealthier nations and poorer ones that became glaringly apparent during the Covid pandemic. Although much of the urgency around Covid has faded since the treaty negotiations began two years ago, public health experts are still acutely aware of the pandemic potential of emerging pathogens, familiar threats like bird flu and mpox, and once-vanquished diseases like smallpox. "Those of us in public health recognize that another pandemic really could be around the corner," said Loyce Pace, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, who oversees the negotiations in her role as the United States liaison to the World Health Organization. Negotiators had hoped to adopt the treaty next week. But canceled meetings and fractious debates -- sometimes over a single word -- stalled agreement on key sections, including equitable access to vaccines. The negotiating body plans to ask for more time to continue the discussions. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SpaceX sets date for next Starship flight, explains what went wrong the last time

Science - Posted On:2024-05-24 15:30:00 Source: arstechnica

SpaceX is targeting June 5 for the next flight of its massive Starship rocket, the company said Friday.

The highly anticipated test flight— the fourth in a program to bring Starship to operational readiness and make progress toward its eventual reuse—will seek to demonstrate the ability of the Super Heavy first stage to make a soft landing in the Gulf of Mexico and for the Starship upper stage to make a controlled reentry through Earth's atmosphere before it falls into the Indian Ocean.

This mission will carry no payloads as SpaceX seeks additional flight data about the performance of the complex Starship vehicle. It is simultaneously the largest and most powerful rocket ever built and the first launch system ever intended to be fully and rapidly reusable.

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After mice drink raw H5N1 milk, bird flu virus riddles their organs

Science - Posted On:2024-05-24 13:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Despite the delusions of the raw milk crowd, drinking unpasteurized milk brimming with infectious avian H5N1 influenza virus is a very bad idea, according to freshly squeezed data published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison squirted raw H5N1-containing milk from infected cows into the throats of anesthetized laboratory mice, finding that the virus caused systemic infections after the mice were observed swallowing the dose. The illnesses began quickly, with symptoms of lethargy and ruffled fur starting on day 1. On day 4, the animals were euthanized to prevent extended suffering. Subsequent analysis found that the mice had high levels of H5N1 bird flu virus in their respiratory tracts, as well their hearts, kidneys, spleens, livers, mammary glands, and brains.

"Collectively, our data indicate that HPAI [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] A(H5N1) virus in untreated milk can infect susceptible animals that consume it," the researchers concluded. The researchers also found that raw milk containing H5N1 can remain infectious for weeks when stored at refrigerator temperatures.

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Daily Telescope: The initial results from Europe’s Euclid telescope are dazzling

Science - Posted On:2024-05-24 09:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We'll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we're going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It's May 24, and today's photo comes from the European Space Agency's new Euclid space telescope.

Launched in July 2023, the mission is intended to create a giant map of the Universe, across more than one-third of the nighttime sky. Its big-ticket goal is to help scientists better understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which account for the vast majority of the mass in the Universe—but about which we know almost nothing.

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Rocket Report: SpaceX focused on Starship reentry; Firefly may be for sale

Science - Posted On:2024-05-24 09:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Welcome to Edition 6.45 of the Rocket Report! The most interesting news in launch this week, to me, is that Firefly is potentially up for sale. That makes two of the handful of US companies with operational rockets, Firefly and United Launch Alliance, actively on offer. I'll be fascinated to see what the valuations of each end up being if/when sales go through.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Firefly may be up for sale. Firefly Aerospace investors are considering a sale that could value the closely held rocket and Moon lander maker at about $1.5 billion, Bloomberg reports. The rocket company's primary owner, AE Industrial Partners, is working with an adviser on "strategic options" for Firefly. Neither AE nor Firefly commented to Bloomberg about the potential sale. AE invested $75 million into Texas-based Firefly as part of a series B financing round in 2022. The firm made a subsequent investment in its Series C round in November 2023.

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Crows Can 'Count' Out Loud, Study Shows

science - Posted On:2024-05-24 09:15:01 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: A team of scientists has shown that crows can 'count' out loud -- producing a specific and deliberate number of caws in response to visual and auditory cues. While other animals such as honeybees have shown an ability to understand numbers, this specific manifestation of numeric literacy has not yet been observed in any other non-human species. "Producing a specific number of vocalizations with purpose requires a sophisticated combination of numerical abilities and vocal control," writes the team of researchers led by neuroscientist Diana Liao of the University of Tubingen in Germany. "Whether this capacity exists in animals other than humans is yet unknown. We show that crows can flexibly produce variable numbers of one to four vocalizations in response to arbitrary cues associated with numerical values." The ability to count aloud is distinct from understanding numbers. It requires not only that understanding, but purposeful vocal control with the aim of communication. Humans are known to use speech to count numbers and communicate quantities, an ability taught young. [...] "Our results demonstrate that crows can flexibly and deliberately produce an instructed number of vocalizations by using the 'approximate number system', a non-symbolic number estimation system shared by humans and animals," the researchers write in their paper. "This competency in crows also mirrors toddlers' enumeration skills before they learn to understand cardinal number words and may therefore constitute an evolutionary precursor of true counting where numbers are part of a combinatorial symbol system." The findings have been published in the journal Science. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Euclid Telescope Spies Rogue Planets Floating Free In Milky Way

science - Posted On:2024-05-24 06:15:00 Source: slashdot

Using the Euclid space telescope, astronomers have discovered dozens of rogue planets drifting without stars in the Orion nebula. The Guardian reports: The European Space Agency (Esa) launched the $1 billion observatory last summer on a six-year mission to create a 3D map of the cosmos. Armed with its images, scientists hope to understand more about the mysterious 95% of the universe that is unexplained. The first wave of scientific results come from only 24 hours of observations, which revealed 11m objects in visible light and 5m in infrared. Along with the rogue planets, the researchers describe new star clusters, dwarf galaxies and very distant, bright galaxies from the first billion years of the universe. A flurry of new images from the same observations are the largest ever taken in space and demonstrate the stunning wide-field views that astronomers can expect from Euclid in the coming years. Among those released on Thursday is a breathtaking image of Messier 78, a vibrant star nursery shrouded in interstellar dust, that reveals complex filaments of gas and dust in unprecedented detail. One of the newly released images shows Abell 2390, a giant conglomeration of more than 50,000 Milky Way-like galaxies. Such galaxy clusters contain up to 10 trillion times as much mass as the sun, much of which is believed to be elusive dark matter. Another image of the Abell 2764 galaxy cluster reveals hundreds of galaxies orbiting within a halo of dark matter. Other images capture NGC 6744, one of the largest spiral galaxies in the nearby universe, and the Dorado group of galaxies, where evolving and merging galaxies produce shell-like structures and vast, curving tidal tails. The rogue planets spotted by Euclid are about 3m years old, making them youngsters on the cosmic scale. They are at least four times as big as Jupiter and were detected thanks to the warmth they emit. Astronomers know they are free-floating because they are so far away from the nearest stars. The celestial strays are destined to drift through the galaxy unless they encounter a star that pulls them into orbit. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US officials: A Russian rocket launch last week likely deployed a space weapon

Science - Posted On:2024-05-23 20:15:01 Source: arstechnica

The launch of a classified Russian military satellite last week deployed a payload that US government officials say is likely a space weapon.

In a series of statements, US officials said the new military satellite, named Kosmos 2576, appears to be similar to two previous "inspector" spacecraft launched by Russia in 2019 and 2022.

"Just last week, on May 16, Russia launched a satellite into low-Earth orbit that the United States assesses is likely a counter-space weapon presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low-Earth orbit," said Robert Wood, the deputy US ambassador to the United Nations. "Russia deployed this new counter-space weapon into the same orbit as a US government satellite."

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Ascension Cyberattack Continues To Disrupt Care At Hospitals

science - Posted On:2024-05-23 18:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Hospital staff are forced to write notes by hand and deliver orders for tests and prescriptions in person in the ongoing fallout from a recent ransomware attack at the national health system Ascension. Ascension is one of the largest health systems in the United States, with some 140 hospitals located across 19 states and D.C. A spokesperson said in a statement that "unusual activity" was first detected on multiple technology network systems Ascension uses on Wednesday, May 8. Later, representatives confirmed that some of Ascension's electronic health records systems had been affected, along with systems used "to order certain tests, procedures and medications." Some phone capabilities have also been offline, and patients have been unable to access portals used to view medical records and get in touch with their doctors. Due to these interruptions, hospital staff had to shift to "manual and paper based" processes. "Our care teams are trained for these kinds of disruptions and have initiated procedures to ensure patient care delivery continues to be safe and as minimally impacted as possible," an Ascension spokesperson said in a May 8 statement. Kris Fuentes, who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, said she remembers when paper charting was the norm. But after so many years of relying on digital systems, she said her hospital wasn't ready to make such an abrupt shift. "It's kind of like we went back 20 years, but not even with the tools we had then," Fuentes said. "Our workflow has just been really unorganized, chaotic and at times, scary." Fuentes said orders for medication, labs and imaging are being handwritten and then distributed by hand to various departments, whereas typically these requests are quickly accessed via computer. A lack of safety checks with these backup methods has introduced errors, she said, and every task is taking longer to complete. "Medications are taking longer to get to patients, lab results are taking longer to get back," she said. "Doctors need the lab results, often, to decide the next treatment plan, but if there's a delay in access to the labs, there's a delay in access to the care that they order." As of Tuesday, Ascension still had no timeline for when the issues might be resolved, and reported that it continued to work with "industry-leading cybersecurity experts" to investigate the ransomware attack and restore affected systems. The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are also involved in the investigation. "While Ascension facilities remain open, a health system representative said on May 9 that in some cases, emergency patients were being triaged to different hospitals, and some non-emergent appointments and procedures were postponed," reports NPR. "Certain Ascension pharmacies are not operational, and patients are being asked to bring in prescription bottles or numbers." "Individuals who are enrolled in Ascension health insurance plans are being directed to mail in monthly payments while the electronic payment system is down." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Chocolate made with fewer calories, less waste

Science - Posted On:2024-05-23 16:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Commercialization has not dealt kindly with the Mayan Food of the Gods. Modern chocolate products are filled with sugar and calories, contributing to the obesity epidemic in the West. And the cocoa crop is hardly in great shape; climate change is decreasing production, causing prices to rise; farmers in West Africa have responded by clear-cutting rainforests to plant more cocoa plants. However, researchers at ETH Zurich may have found a path to start addressing both problems, making chocolate that has less sugar and calories and makes more efficient use of the cocoa crop. The Swiss perfected chocolate-making over 200 years ago, so if they say the chocolate is good, it is.

Chocolate is traditionally made by mixing dried, roasted, and ground fermented cocoa beans to make cocoa mass. The cocoa mass is then mixed with refined sugar, usually from sugar beets. Instead of sugar, this new Swiss whole fruit chocolate uses the pulp surrounding the cocoa beans along with the inner rind of the cocoa pod husk to make a cocoa gel. When mixed with cocoa mass, this produces chocolate that is higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat than conventional chocolate.

The “whole fruit” on its label is certainly more appealing than the air or fish oil that has previously been substituted for cocoa butter to reduce the saturated fat content of chocolate confections. (Extra cocoa butter, or fat isolated from the cocoa bean, is sometimes added to cocoa mass to make the end product smoother and waxier.) The pulp and the cocoa pods are generally discarded, so upcycling them instead of tossing them could reduce the land use impact and global warming potential of cocoa cultivation.

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The next food marketing blitz is aimed at people on new weight-loss drugs

Science - Posted On:2024-05-23 11:00:00 Source: arstechnica

As new diabetes and weight-loss drugs help patients curb appetites and shed pounds, food manufacturers are looking for new ways to keep their bottom lines plump.

Millions of Americans have begun taking the pricey new drugs—particularly Mounjaro, Ozempic, Wegovy, and Zepbound—and millions more are expected to go on them in the coming years. As such, food makers are bracing for slimmer sales. In a report earlier this month, Morgan Stanley's tobacco and packaged food analyst Pamela Kaufman said the drugs are expected to affect both the amounts and the types of food people eat, taking a bite out of the food and drink industry's profits.

"In Morgan Stanley Research surveys, people taking weight-loss drugs were found to eat less food in general, while half slashed their consumption of sugary drinks, alcohol, confections and salty snacks, and nearly a quarter stopped drinking alcohol completely," Kaufman said. Restaurants that sell unhealthy foods, particularly chains, may face long-term business risks, the report noted. Around 75 percent of survey respondents taking weight-loss drugs said they had cut back on going to pizza and fast food restaurants.

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