Elon Musk Shares a Video: Making Ventilators From Tesla Parts

science - Posted On:2020-04-06 03:44:58 Source: slashdot

Elon Musk shared a new video today from Tesla Engineering. "We're trying to make some ventilators from some car parts, so we can help the medical industry without taking away from their supply," it begins. (All three people who appear in the video are wearing a face mask.) It ends with a demonstration of a prototype using a touchscreen display from the Model 3 infotainment system. "There's still a lot of work to do," the video concludes, "but we're giving it our best effort to make sure we can help some people out there." Yesterday ventilator manufacturer Medtronic also tweeted that Musk's other company SpaceX "is now making a vital component for critical care ventilators," meaning more of the devices would arrive sooner for Covid-19 patients. Meanwhile, the New York Post writes: Musk promised last month to shift production to the sorely-needed medical devices, but evidently found that buying existing ventilators with his own largesse was more practical. He shelled out to send 1,000 of the life-saving machines to California, and also vowed to buy some for New York, earning the gratitude of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Musk made good, with the city's public hospital system on Saturday tweeting their gratitude for ventilators Tesla donated, now in use at Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx. But, with the apex of the contagion possibly upon New York, Cuomo said Sunday that time had run out for Tesla to make new ventilators. "Their time-frame, frankly, doesn't work for our immediate apex, because whether we're talking two days or 10 days, you're not going to make ventilators at that time," said Cuomo, noting that the hang-up is that some parts have to come from overseas. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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How Robert Cringely Scored 5 Million N95 Masks From China

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 21:44:58 Source: slashdot

This week, tech pundit Robert Cringely described how a chance conversation with China-based entrepreneur Anina led to a friend with a garment factory "now making fully certified N-95 respirators with no clear distribution plan." Late on a Sunday night with the tech world in shut-down, how long would it take for me to find someone looking for up to five million N-95 masks? It took 10 minutes. I reached out to Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and to Mark Cuban from the Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank... Mark Cuban put me in touch with ProjectN95, a just-created national clearinghouse for urgently needed medical equipment... It's important to realize what a miracle we accomplished. Normally there are lots of middlemen in Chinese distribution, but in this case, there were none, which meant maximal speed and minimal price. The goods were U.S. FDA certified, too, and the certification could be verified... We are tech people attempting to function during a pandemic, but what really counted here were personal relationships. Anina knows and trusts the factory owner. Anina and I have known each other for 15 years and I've known Marc Benioff and Mark Cuban even longer. We spend billions as a culture trying to build digital versions of such webs of trust, but sometimes it is better to do it the old fashion way. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Scientists Create 'Xenobots' -- Virtual Creatures Brought to Life

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

"If the last few decades of progress in artificial intelligence and in molecular biology hooked up, their love child — a class of life unlike anything that has ever lived — might resemble the dark specks doing lazy laps around a petri dish in a laboratory at Tufts University." The New York Times reports on a mind-boggling living machine that's programmable -- and biodegradable. Strictly speaking, these life-forms do not have sex organs — or stomachs, brains or nervous systems. The one under the microscope consisted of about 2,000 living skin cells taken from a frog embryo. Bigger specimens, albeit still smaller than a millimeter-wide poppy seed, have skin cells and heart muscle cells that will begin pulsating by the end of the day. These are all programmable organisms called xenobots, the creation of which was revealed in a scientific paper in January... A xenobot lives for only about a week, feeding on the small platelets of yolk that fill each of its cells and would normally fuel embryonic development. Because its building blocks are living cells, the entity can heal from injury, even after being torn almost in half. But what it does during its short life is decreed not by the ineffable frogginess etched into its DNA — which has not been genetically modified — but by its physical shape. And xenobots come in many shapes, all designed by roboticists in computer simulations, using physics engines similar to those in video games like Fortnite and Minecraft... All of which makes xenobots amazing and maybe slightly unsettling — golems dreamed in silicon and then written into flesh. The implications of their existence could spill from artificial-intelligence research to fundamental questions in biology and ethics. "We are witnessing almost the birth of a new discipline of synthetic organisms," said Hod Lipson, a roboticist at the Columbia University who was not part of the research team. "I don't know if that's robotics, or zoology or something else." An algorithm running for about 24 hours iterated through possible body shapes, after which the the two researchers tried "to sculpt cellular figurines that resembled those designs." They're now considering how the process might be automated with 3-D cell printers, and the Times ponders other future possibilities the researchers have hinted at for their Xenobots. ("Sweep up ocean microplastics into a larger, collectible ball? Deliver drugs to a specific tumor? Scrape plaque from the walls of our arteries?") Sharing the Times' story on Twitter, Vint Cerf summed it up with just three words> . "This is weird." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mobilizing 3D Printers Around the World Against the Coronovirus

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 16:59:59 Source: slashdot

"From face-shields to respirator valves, 3-D printer owners pitch in to the efforts to provide PPE to Australian hospitals," writes davecb (Slashdot reader #6,526). The Guardian talked to Mat Bowtell, a former Toyota engineer in Australia who's using fourteen 3D printers to manufacture thousands of face shields for healthcare workers. And citing 3D printing, the director of a not-for-profit working with the government says the country has an "incredible onshore capability" to respond to the pandemic: "The 3D printing capability onshore is a massive distinguisher for Australia to step up to the crisis," he said. When asked how else 3D printing might be deployed in practice, Goennemann points to the supply of ventilators, which are needed to assist breathing in the most seriously ill Covid-19 patients... Goennemann says Resmed, the main ventilator manufacturer, could struggle to get parts due to the disruption of global supply chains. That's where 3D printing can help. "I don't want to speak on behalf of Resmed, but that's an area where we have critical supply, and parts can be 3D printed onshore rather than being procured offshore," he said... For Bowtell, the decision to shift his production to face shields had nothing to do with profit. It was about doing what he could in the most extraordinary of times. "It's about survival at the moment," Bowtell said. "Just helping people to get through this together." Reuters also reported that one Italian company used its 3D printers to manufacture valves for respirators for its local hospital. And a paywalled article at Fortune also describes the team building an open source ventilator, while also noting that more than 4,800 people with 3D printers "have, via a public Google Doc, signed up to help print everything from face shields to ventilator parts for their local hospitals." They also highlight Budmen Industries, an upstate New York company selling 3D printers that has now also printed 1,492 face shields for New York medical workers. And there's also the CoVent-19 Challenge, "an open innovation 8-week Grand Challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers" on the GrabCAD Challenges platform, to create "a rapidly deployable, minimum viable mechanical ventilator for patients with COVID-19 related ventilator-dependent lung injury." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus [Updated 4/5]

Science - Posted On:2020-04-05 12:45:00 Source: arstechnica

More than 1.2 million people have been infected with a new coronavirus that has spread widely from its origin in China over the past few months. Over 67,000 have already died. Our comprehensive guide for understanding and navigating this global public health threat is below.

This is a rapidly developing epidemic, and we will update this guide periodically to keep you as prepared and informed as possible.

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Stanford Begins America's First Large-Scale Test For Coronavirus Antibodies

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

"Crowds flock to Santa Clara County test sites to learn if they have antibodies to COVID-19," reports the Bay Area Newsgroup, citing long lines of cars forming at three Stanford research sites for the drive-through tests: The 2,500 test slots on Friday and Saturday filled up within hours, as news of the project -- the first large scale study of its type in the U.S. -- spread quickly through the county. The test detects protective antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself. This gives scientists a snapshot of how many people in the county have already been infected, but weren't seriously sick and didn't realize it. And it tells residents whether they carry potentially protective antibodies -- so may be immune to future infection. "This is critical information," said principal investigator Dr. Eran Bendavid, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine with Stanford Health Policy. "We will show the country what to do and how to do it," he said... It can guide public health measures and policies -- showing where the epidemic is heading, when it is safe to lift shelter-in-place restrictions and how far away we are from "herd immunity," when it becomes harder for a virus to spread... This approach, called a "serological test," remains a research tool and is not yet widely available in the United States. Stanford is working on a second test that will be deployed for more widespread use. U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval is imminent -- "within hours, not days," [California governor] Newsom said.... Meanwhile, a global effort to study antibodies is being coordinated by the World Health Organization. Called Solidarity II, more than a half dozen countries will pool their findings from large-scale testing... It is not yet proven that these antibodies actually provide protection... But there are promising clues that COVID-19 might act like it's closest cousin, the SARS virus, which triggers an immune response that persists for at least three years. In a Chinese study of rhesus monkeys, COVID-19 antibodies protected the animals from a second infection. If protected, people could potentially return to work. There is also the prospect that the antibodies could be used as therapy against the disease. Dozens of companies are working to develop antibody tests, as are researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article notes that United Biomedical Inc will "soon" also provide free antibody testing to all 8,000 residents in Telluride, Colorado, and in some countries in Asia. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Could Radioactivity Make Otherwise Frozen Planets Habitable?

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 10:44:56 Source: slashdot

sciencehabit writes: Not too close, but not too far. That's long been the rule describing how distant a planet should be from its star in order to sustain life. But a new study challenges that adage: A planet can maintain water and other liquids on its surface if it's heated, not by starlight, but by radioactive decay, researchers calculate. That opens up the possibility for many planets — even free-floating worlds untethered to stars — to host life, they speculate. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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How to refuel a nuclear power plant during a pandemic

Science - Posted On:2020-04-05 09:14:57 Source: arstechnica

Each spring, nearly 1,000 highly specialized technicians from around the US descend on the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station near Phoenix, Arizona, to refuel one of the plant’s three nuclear reactors. As America’s largest power plant—nuclear or otherwise—Palo Verde provides around-the-clock power to 4 million people in the Southwest. Even under normal circumstances, refueling one of its reactors is a laborious, month-long process. But now that the US is in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the plant operators have had to adapt their refueling plans.

Each of Palo Verde’s three nuclear reactors are ensconced in their own bulbous concrete sarcophagus and operate almost entirely independent of one another. This allows plant operators to periodically take one of the reactors offline for refueling and maintenance without totally disrupting the flow of energy to the grid. Each reactor is partially refueled every year and a half, with about one-third of the fuel in the reactor core being swapped out for a fresh batch.

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Why Taiwan's Coronavirus Response Is Among The Best Globally

science - Posted On:2020-04-05 06:44:57 Source: slashdot

Why does Taiwan have less than 400 confirmed cases of Covid-19? Taiwan's experience with the 2003 SARS outbreak "helped many parts of the region react faster to the current coronavirus outbreak and take the danger more seriously than in other parts of the world," reports CNN, "both at a governmental and societal level, with border controls and the wearing of face masks quickly becoming routine as early as January in many areas." Their article also notes that Taiwan "has a world-class health care system, with universal coverage," which drew praise in new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "Taiwan rapidly produced and implemented a list of at least 124 action items in the past five weeks to protect public health," report co-author Jason Wang, a Taiwanese doctor and associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine, said in a statement. "The policies and actions go beyond border control because they recognized that that wasn't enough." This was while other countries were still debating whether to take action. In a study conducted in January, Johns Hopkins University said Taiwan was one of the most at-risk areas outside of mainland China -- owing to its close proximity, ties and transport links. Among those early decisive measures was the decision to ban travel from many parts of China, stop cruise ships docking at the island's ports, and introduce strict punishments for anyone found breaching home quarantine orders. In addition, Taiwanese officials also moved to ramp up domestic face-mask production to ensure the local supply, rolled out island-wide testing for coronavirus -- including re-testing people who had previously unexplained pneumonia -- and announced new punishments for spreading disinformation about the virus. "Given the continual spread of Covid-19 around the world, understanding the action items that were implemented quickly in Taiwan, and the effectiveness of these actions in preventing a large-scale epidemic, may be instructive for other countries," Wang and his co-authors wrote.... Taiwan is in such a strong position now that, after weeks of banning the export of face masks in order to ensure the domestic supply, the government said Wednesday that it would donate 10 million masks to the United States, Italy, Spain and nine other European countries, as well as smaller nations who have diplomatic ties with the island. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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IBM is Deploying Its Watson AI to Help Governments Answer People's Covid-19 Questions

science - Posted On:2020-04-04 19:44:59 Source: slashdot

Digital Trends reports: IBM's question-answering Watson A.I. is most famous for whooping the butt of human champions on quiz show Jeopardy. Now, IBM has repurposed its famous creation to help government agencies, health care organizations, and academic institutions around the world cope with the massive overload of questions that citizens have about the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time that Watson has been used to help in a pandemic scenario. A coronavirus-focused version of the Watson A.I. has been called into service as a virtual agent in places including Arkansas, California, Georgia, New York, and Texas in the United States, as well as the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Spain and U.K. It is capable of answering locally relevant questions, ranging from those about coronavirus symptoms and testing specifics to queries on things like social distancing. These consistent and accurate responses can be provided to citizens via voice calls or text chat... Watson Assistant for Citizens pulls data from a range of external sources — local, national, and international. Digital Trends got an interesting response from one consultant at IBM Watson Health who's an expert on digital health for the World Health Organization. "Our team is currently adding responses to psychological questions, by which a virtual nurse can help people to deal with their fears and emotional problems and provide comfort to them in these times." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Snopes Disputes 'Shakiness' of COVID-19 Origin Story Claimed By Washington Post OpEd

science - Posted On:2020-04-04 16:44:59 Source: slashdot

Thursday an Opinion piece in the Washington Post touted what the paper's own health policy reporter has described as "a conspiracy theory that has been repeatedly debunked by experts." That conspiracy theory argues that instead of originating in the wild, the COVID-19 virus somehow escaped from a research lab. Now the fact-checking web site Snopes has also weighed in this week, pointing out that the lab nearest the Wuhan market hadn't even published any coronavirus-related research prior to the outbreak. Instead the nearest coronavirus-researching lab was about 7 miles away, a maximum security "biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory certified to handle the world's most deadly pathogens." A February 2020 document erroneously described by several media outlets as a "scientific study" provides the supposedly science-based evidence of a virus escaping from a lab. This paper, such as it is, merely highlights the close distance between the seafood market and the labs and falsely claimed to have identified instances in which viral agents had escaped from Wuhan biological laboratories in the past... While SARS viruses have escaped from a Beijing lab on at least four occasions, no such event has been documented in Wuhan. The purported instances of pathogens leaking from Wuhan laboratories, according to this "study," came from a Chinese news report (that we believe, based on the similarity of the research described and people involved, to be reproduced here) that profiled a Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention researcher named Tian Junhua. In 2012 and 2013, he captured and sampled nearly 10,000 bats in an effort to decode the evolutionary history of the hantavirus. In two instances, this researcher properly self-quarantined either after being bitten or urinated on by a potentially infected bat, he told reporters. These events, according to the 2013 study his research produced, occurred in the field and have nothing to do with either lab's ability to contain infective agents... In sum, this paper -- which was first posted on and later deleted from the academic social networking website ResearchGate -- adds nothing but misinformation to the debate regarding the origins of the novel coronavirus and is not a real scientific study. In February the Washington Post had quoted Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as saying that it's "highly unlikely" the general population was exposed to a virus through an accident at a lab. "We don't have any evidence for that," said Narang, a political science professor with a background in chemical engineering. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus [Updated 4/4]

Science - Posted On:2020-04-04 15:44:59 Source: arstechnica

Nearly 1.2 million people have been infected with a new coronavirus that has spread widely from its origin in China over the past few months. Nearly 64,000 have already died. Our comprehensive guide for understanding and navigating this global public health threat is below.

This is a rapidly developing epidemic, and we will update this guide periodically to keep you as prepared and informed as possible.

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Mathematical Proof of the ABC Conjecture Will Be Published

science - Posted On:2020-04-04 13:44:59 Source: slashdot

AmiMoJo shares a report from Nature: After an eight-year struggle, embattled Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki has finally received some validation. His 600-page proof of the abc conjecture, one of the biggest open problems in number theory, has been accepted for publication. Acceptance of the work in Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) is the latest development in a long and acrimonious controversy over the mathematicians' proof. Mochizuki is chief editor but was not involved in the review. Eight years ago, Mochizuki posted four massive papers online, claiming to have solved the abc conjecture. The work baffled mathematicians, who spent years trying to understand it. Then, in 2018, two highly respected mathematicians said they were confident that they had found a flaw in Mochizuki's proof -- something many saw as death blow to his claims. The "abc conjecture," the problem Mochizuki claims to have solved, expresses a profound link between the addition and multiplication of integer numbers. Any integer can be factored into prime numbers, its 'divisors': for example, 60 = 5 x 3 x 2 x 2. The conjecture roughly states that if a lot of small primes divide two numbers a and b, then only a few, large ones divide their sum, c. A proof, if confirmed, could change the face of number theory, by, for example, providing a novel approach to proving Fermat's last theorem, the legendary problem formulated by Pierre de Fermat in 1637 and solved only in 1995. Some experts say Mochizuki failed to fix the fatal flaw in the solution. "I think it is safe to say that there has not been much change in the community opinion since 2018," says Kiran Kedlaya, a number theorist at the University of California, San Diego. Another mathematician, Edward Frenkel of the University of California, Berkeley, says, "I will withhold my judgment on the publication of this work until it actually happens, as new information might emerge." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Will SARS-CoV-2 have a long-term impact on the climate?

Science - Posted On:2020-04-04 10:14:57 Source: arstechnica

COVID-19 is bad for human activity and enterprise. Human activity and enterprise is bad for the environment. So since our present situation reduces human activity and enterprise, is COVID-19 good for the environment?

The cessation of manufacturing and transportation in Hubei province has caused a drop in air pollution levels all over China so dramatic—emissions were estimated to be down 25 percent—that the relative dearth of both nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide in the air can be observed from space. Most of the effect came from a sharp drop in coal burning, which still provides the bulk of energy in China. Coal is used to heat homes in rural areas there, but also to fuel power plants and industry.

However, pollution—much like the virus itself—may come roaring back after the lockdowns are lifted. This “revenge pollution” can easily negate the temporary drop in emissions we are now seeing. That’s exactly what happened in China in 2009, when the Chinese government responded to the global financial crisis with an enormous stimulus package that funded large-scale infrastructure type projects.

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Physical Force Alone Spurs Gene Expressions, Study Reveals

science - Posted On:2020-04-03 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Cells will ramp up gene expression in response to physical forces alone, a new study finds. Gene activation, the first step of protein production, starts less than one millisecond after a cell is stretched -- hundreds of times faster than chemical signals can travel, the researchers report. The scientists tested forces that are biologically relevant -- equivalent to those exerted on human cells by breathing, exercising or vocalizing. They report their findings in the journal Science Advances. In the new work, the researchers observed that special DNA-associated proteins called histones played a central role in whether gene expression increased in response to forces that stretched the cell. Histones regulate DNA, winding it up to package it in the nucleus of the cell. One class of histones, known as Histone H3, appear to prevent force-responsive gene expression when methylated at an amino acid known as lysine 9. Methylation involves adding a molecular tag known as a methyl group to a molecule. The scientists observed that H3K9 methylation was highest at the periphery of the nucleus and largely absent from the interior, making the genes in the interior more responsive to stretching. The researchers found they could suppress or boost force-responsive gene expression by increasing or decreasing H3K9 histone methylation. The scientists also tested whether the frequency of an applied force influenced gene expression. They found that cells were most responsive to forces with frequencies up to about 10-20 hertz. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SpaceX Loses Its Third Starship Prototype During a Cryogenic Test

science - Posted On:2020-04-03 21:29:59 Source: slashdot

For a third time, SpaceX lost one of its Starship prototype spacecrafts during a pressure test at the company's test site in Boca Chica, Texas. Ars Technica reports: This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype -- SN3 -- onto a test stand at the company's Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine. On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, but this time it was chilled to flight-like temperatures and put under flight-like pressures. Unfortunately, a little after 2am local time, SN3 failed and began to collapse on top of itself. It appeared as if the vehicle may have lost pressurization and become top-heavy. Multiple sources indicated that had these preliminary tests succeeded, SN3 would have attempted a 150-meter flight test as early as next Tuesday. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter: "We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake." A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easily addressed. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Potential Vaccine Generates Enough Antibodies To Fight Off Virus

science - Posted On:2020-04-03 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

Slashdot readers schwit1 and Futurepower(R) are sharing news about a potential coronavirus vaccine that has been found to produce antibodies capable of fighting off Covid-19. The Independent reports: The vaccine, which was tested on mice by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, generated the antibodies in quantities thought to be enough to "neutralize" the virus within two weeks of injection. The study's authors are now set to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for investigational new drug approval ahead of phase one human clinical trials planned to start in the next few months. [T]he Pittsburgh research is the first study on a Covid-19 vaccine candidate to be published after review from fellow scientists at outside institutions. The scientists were able to act quickly because they had already laid the groundwork during earlier epidemics of coronaviruses: Sars in 2003 and Mers in 2014. What's also neat about this potential vaccine is that it can sit at room temperature until it is needed and be scaled up to produce the protein on an industrial scale. The fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny microneedles "inject the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest," the report says. "The patch is stuck on like a plaster and the needles -- which are made entirely of sugar and the protein pieces -- simply dissolve into the skin." While long-term testing is still required, "the mice who were given the Pittsburgh researchers' Mers vaccine candidate developed enough antibodies to neutralize the virus for at least a year," reports The Independent. "The antibody levels of the rodents vaccinated against Covid-19 'seem to be following the same trend,' according to the researchers." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Trump: CDC Recommends Cloth Face Covering To Protect Against Coronavirus

science - Posted On:2020-04-03 17:59:59 Source: slashdot

President Trump says the CDC now recommends using a cloth face covering to protect against coronavirus, but said he does not plan to do so himself. CNBC reports: Trump stressed that the recommendations were merely voluntary, not required. "I don't think I'm going to be doing it" he said as he announced the new guidance. The CDC's website explained that the recommendations were updated following new studies that some infected people can transmit the coronavirus even without displaying symptoms of the disease. "In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," such as in grocery stores or pharmacies, "especially in areas of significant community-based transmission," the CDC says. Developing... Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Pandemics: Do we need an app for that?

Science - Posted On:2020-04-03 13:00:00 Source: arstechnica

Right now, with huge numbers of infected individuals and a limited testing capacity, the US has no way of knowing who's at risk for a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ultimate goal of socially isolating, however, is to reduce the levels of infection so that we can do what's called contact tracing: figuring out everyone an infected individual has been in contact with and isolating and testing them. If implemented effectively, this will catch newly infected people before they become contagious, keeping the virus from spreading.

That process, however, relies on contact tracing being efficient and accurate enough to identify anyone at risk before they move on and infect multiple new people. A new study by a group of Oxford researchers suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is simply too infectious for this to work well. The team isn't without a solution, though: a smartphone app that caches contact information and alerts all contacts as soon as a positive test result happens.

Contact tracing is, in principle, really simple. Once an infected individual is identified, they're interviewed to ask where they've come into contact with other people for a while. In reality, it's a nightmare. People's memories are faulty, and it can be difficult to reconstruct everywhere they've been. And it's one thing if they know they visited a few friends or family members; it's something else if they rode a bus or stopped by a large store. Identifying who was even in the same place at that time can take days if not weeks.

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SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test

Science - Posted On:2020-04-03 08:29:57 Source: arstechnica

This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype—SN3—onto a test stand ​at the company's Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine.

On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, but this time it was chilled to flight-like temperatures and put under flight-like pressures. Unfortunately, a little after 2am local time, SN3 failed and began to collapse on top of itself. It appeared as if the vehicle may have lost pressurization and become top-heavy.

Shortly after the failure, SpaceX's founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, said on Twitter, "We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake." A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easily addressed.

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