Category: News Posts

U.S. and Russia Teaming Up For Space Station Near The Moon With Plans To Put Humans On Mars

If the U.S. and Russia can’t get along on earth, maybe they will have better luck near the moon.

The countries’ space agencies on Wednesday announced an agreement to build the first lunar-orbiting space station. NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, both hope to put humans on Mars and see a lunar station as a “gateway” toward future deep-space goals.

The new station, which would reside inside the moon’s orbit, may eventually replace the aging International Space Station.

At a station within the moon’s orbit, astronauts could test systems in a “true deep space environment” like they would experience near Mars, but get back to Earth quickly if they need to, NASA officials explained in March.




The American organization has been vocal about their goals to send humans to Mars within the next two decades.

However, in the past few months, Russian leaders have been uncertain about collaborating on such a project, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Instead, Russian leaders have considered working on a different project with China, which, according to aerospace-technology.com, has the largest fleet of spacecraft in orbit after the U.S.

But the NASA’s signed agreement with Roscosmos at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, secured the deal.

Russia and the U.S. will team up, with more minor players such as Japan, the European Space Agency and Canada still in discussion about joining the team.

While the deep space gateway is still in concept formulation, NASA is pleased to see growing international interest in moving into cislunar space as the next step for advancing human space exploration,” Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s acting administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a press release.

Statements such as this one signed with Roscosmos show the gateway concept as an enabler to the kind of exploration architecture that is affordable and sustainable.

The agreement didn’t give details about funding or engineering specifics, but the Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. were reportedly asked to create risk-reduction and construction plans for the new station.

The International Space Station, which has been orbiting Earth since 1998, is supposed to go out of service in 2024 and would ideally be replaced by the lunar station.

But Boeing, the current station’s main contractor, warned that until the replacement is built, it is hard to predict when the current station will be put out of service.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

According To The Experts, Keeping Dirty Laundry In The Bedroom Allows Bed Bugs To Thrive

Keeping dirty laundry in the bedroom allows bed bugs to thrive because they are attracted to soiled clothing, a new study has shown.

Numbers of the nocturnal blood-sucking insects have soared in recent years, largely because of the boom in low cost international travel which has allowed them to spread between countries.

The parasites are a headache for hotel owners because infestations are difficult to spot until the bugs start biting.

However a new study by the University of Sheffield has shown that the insects are drawn to dirty laundry, which could be there method of ‘hitchhiking’ between countries.

Dr William Hentley, of the university’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, advised against leaving clothes exposed in sleeping areas.

Bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world’s biggest and busiest cities,” he said.




Once a room is infested with bed bugs, they can be very difficult to get rid of, which can result in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture that can be really costly.

Our study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them, which may reduce the spread of infestations.

In the study published in the Scientific Reports experiments were carried out in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags were placed in the presence of bed bugs.

Two contained soiled clothes and the others clean. In each test, one room received an increase in concentration of CO² to simulate human breathing.

In the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to those with the clean ones.

The findings suggest that the bugs are drawn to the residual body odour in dirty laundry, so worn clothes left in an open suitcase, or on the floor of an infested room may attract them.

It is the first time human odour has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long distance dispersal in bedbugs,” added Dr Henley.

Bed bugs struggle to walk up smooth surfaces, so when I go travelling I always look for those smooth metal luggage racks to keep my suitcase on. Failing that, I would keep my clothes in a big ziplock bag.

The common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) went into decline in the 1980s and 90s, but has recently undergone an aggressive resurgence, with cases more than doubling in the UK during the past few years.

Before feeding they are a flattened oval shape, light brown and around 5mm long, but after a blood meal, they swell up to become rounder and darker.

They can survive for six months without feeding and although they are not dangerous, they can cause extreme discomfort and stress to those who are bitten by them.

Usually small, red bites on the skin is the first indication of a bed bug problem in the house and they can quickly spread between rooms.

Although bed bugs cannot jump or fly, they can crawl long distances, so can quickly spread throughout a building.

Further signs of the bugs are white eggs in mattress crevices, or tiny black spots which could be excrement.

Blood spots appearing on the sheets, as you squash the bugs in your sleep, and an unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom are also tell-tale signs.

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Plastic Junk Brought Invasive Species to U.S. After Japan’s 2011 Tsunami

In 2011, a massive earthquake shook Japan and reshaped the seafloor. The quake shoved an area the size of Connecticut up by 30 feet.

The tsunami that followed killed roughly 18,000 people. As water swamped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, three reactors melted down. Japan’s wounds are still healing.

The tsunami swept 5 million tons of debris into the ocean. Much of the junk did not degrade. Fiberglass boats, far-flung buoys and plastic shards swirled through the Pacific.

Some of the objects came to rest half a world away, like the 60-foot-long polystyrene and concrete dock that landed in Oregon in the summer of 2012.

The dock completed its 4,000-mile journey by beaching itself close to Oregon State University’s Marine Science Center.




A university biologist who specialized in marine invasive species was one of the first people to approach it. Researchers later discovered that the dock harbored close to 100 Japanese species.

That was the neon light,” said marine biologist James Carlton, a Williams College professor based in Mystic, Conn. “That was the harbinger of things to come.”

Carlton and a team of fellow scientists realized the Pacific Northwest faced a flood — not of water but borne by it, of unsinkable junk caked with marine life.

No one could stop the flood, but the researchers could at least document it. The scientists created a network of volunteers in Hawaii and Alaska, down the Pacific Northwest to the middle of California.

State and local officials, park rangers and legions of citizen scientists reported or bagged up what became known, in the biologists’ lingo, as JTMDs: Japanese tsunami marine debris.

If a boat landed on the beach in San Francisco,” Carlton said, “I’d get a call in my lab within a couple of hours.

The JTMDs ferried a lot of animals, as the scientists described in a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

During six years of study, from June 2012 to February, Carlton and his colleagues counted more than 280 species of Japanese hitchhikers on 600 pieces of debris.

Most were spineless marine critters: sea stars, sea slugs, oysters, barnacles, mussels, amphipods, bryozoa and isopods. Only a few alien arrivals, two species of Japanese fish, had backbones.

This was unlike anything Carlton had witnessed in his 50 years of studying marine invasions, he said. “As time went on, the eyebrows keep going higher and higher. The jaw keeps dropping lower and lower.”

Although the scale of the event was unprecedented, the concept — that rafts carry animals across oceans — was not.

Transoceanic crossings have happened for millions of years.

A recent genetic study of trapdoor spiders found that they must have crossed on a raft from Africa to Australia a few million years ago.

The spider relatives on each continent were too closely related to have last shared an ancestor when Africa and Australia were still geologically connected, some 100 million years back.

Humans have witnessed these arrivals, too. In one well-documented case, 15 iguanas floated atop a cluster of uprooted trees to the Caribbean island of Anguilla in 1995.

The lizards have since established a breeding population on the island.

Of the Japanese species that arrived on the tsunami debris, about a third were already present on the American Pacific coast.

But the foreign animals colonized the wreckage long before the debris came close to shore, Carlton said. The authors of the recent study tracked how currents propelled the debris.

The JTMDs spent the bulk of their journey at sea. “It comes to shore within a few days, acquired by the coastal current — and then, bam! Onto the beach.

The debris at sea becomes like “traveling villages,” Fraser said. “Many rafting organisms brood their young — so their kids grow up on the same raft.” A raft doesn’t have to be artificial.

Fraser and her colleagues tracked marine life that moved hundreds of miles while attached to floating kelp.

Tsunami debris continues to wash up along the Pacific Northwest, most frequently following spring currents. Carlton said he expects the objects and their living cargo to arrive for the next 10 springs to come.

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New Gravitational Wave Detection Shows Shape Of Ripples From Black Hole Collision

Astronomers have made a new detection of gravitational waves and for the first time have been able to trace the shape of ripples sent through spacetime when black holes collide.

The announcement, made at a meeting of the G7 science ministers in Turin, marks the fourth cataclysmic black-hole merger that astronomers have spotted using Ligo, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

The latest detection is the first to have also been picked up by the Virgo detector, located near Pisa, Italy, providing a new layer of detail on the three dimensional pattern of warping that occurs during some of the most violent and energetic events in the universe.

A tiny wobble in the signal, picked up by Ligo’s twin instruments and the Virgo detector on 14 August, could be traced back to the final moments of the merger of two black holes about 1.8bn years ago.




The black holes, with masses about 31 and 25 times the mass of the sun, combined to produce a newly spinning black hole with about 53 times the mass of the sun.

The remaining three solar masses were converted into pure energy that spilled out as deformations that spread outwards across spacetime like ripples across a pond.

Detecting these tiny distortions has required detectors sensitive enough to measuring a discrepancy of just one thousandth of the diameter of an atomic nucleus across a 4km laser beam.

What is a gravity wave?

Rippling out from a super- massive collision, for example between two black holes, gravity waves could be detected through the stretching and contracting of space and time.

How Ligo and Virgo’s detectors work?

  1. A single laser beam is split and directed down two identical tubes, 4km long
  2. Mirrors reflect the twin beams back to a detector
  3. Back inside the detector, the laser beams arrive perfectly aligned
  4. Recombined, they cancel each other out

How are gravity waves detected?

  1. When spacetime is distorted by a gravity wave, the two tubes change length. One tube stretches as the other contracts over and over until the wave has passed
  2. As the distances fluctuate the peaks and troughs of the two returning laser beams move in and out of alignment
  3. The recombined waves no longer cancel each other out. Light reaches the detector and the gravity wave can be measured

Ligo scientists’ historic observation of gravitational waves in September 2015, marked the first experimental proof of Einstein’s prediction a century ago that space itself can be stretched and squeezed.

However, the parallel orientation of the two Ligo detectors, one in Hanford, Washington state, the other in Livingston, Louisiana, has meant that scientists are effectively observing one flat plane through space, rather than getting a 3D picture.

It’s like if I give you just one slice of apple, you can’t guess what the fruit looks like,” said Prof Andreas Freise, a Ligo project scientist at the University of Birmingham.

This was intentional because it maximised the chances of detection – a discovery that is hotly tipped to be rewarded when the Physics Nobel Prize is announced next week.

However, the configuration made it impossible to test a second crucial prediction of Einstein’s theory – the shape of the path that the waves travel along.

Virgo’s arms are angled differently than the two Ligo detectors, allowing astronomers to extract new information about the polarisation of gravitational waves – essentially the path traced out by the vibrations.

Einstein’s theory predicts two polarisations of gravitational waves, but some competing theories of gravity predict up to six.

Prof Stefan Ballmer, a physics professor at Syracuse University, explains: “If you look at how you can bend the sheet of paper that spacetime is, there are many ways you can bend it. But if you look at [Einstein’s predictions], only two of those ways are present.

The new data – albeit based on a single detection – already appear to strongly favour Einstein’s predictions of how spacetime is expected to crumple.

Combining results from three detectors has also allowed scientists to more accurately triangulate the area of sky from which the waves are emanating.

In future, this could allow scientists to swing ground-based telescopes to the target locations to see whether there is any visible trace of the collision itself.

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Are Sharks Endangered Because Of Shark Fin Soup?

Many people fear sharks, when the reality is they have far more reason to fear us!

As one writer put it perfectly: , “sharks are winding up on our dinner table more often than we do on theirs”.

To such an extent that we humans are basically decimating sharks.

The shark-fin market is a huge threat to the world’s shark populations. It has become a multibillion-dollar industry since the early 1980s.

Demand exploded with the rapid growth of China’s economy. Before then sharks weren’t really targeted by fisheries, but over those 30 years, many species have become threatened.




True catch numbers are a mystery because much of the trade happens on the black market.

On top of the conservation impacts, the methods for taking fins are cruel.

Shark-finning” is the practice of chopping off a shark’s fins, and dumping the often-live animal back into the sea. No longer able to swim, the injured shark then drowns, bleeds to death, or is an easy target for predators.

What drives this is the high price of shark fins on the international market. They have become one of the world’s most precious products.

Shark meat itself isn’t very valuable, so it is usually thrown overboard. Other parts that are used include skin, liver oil, cartilage, corneas, and blood.

Often shark parts are put into medicines and supplements.

The fins fetch the highest price. A pound of shark fin can cost $300. And depending on which numbers you believe, people will pay from a hundred dollars up to $2,000 for a bowl of shark fin soup. For soup!

The shark fin industry’s center is Hong Kong, but shark catches come from worldwide. Countries that take the most sharks include Indonesia, India, Mexico, Spain, and Taiwan.

A team of researchers recently got past the mystery of numbers involved in the shark fin trade. They made the first estimate of shark catches that was independent of world fisheries data (Clarke et al. 2006).

To do so they combined official catch data with weights of fins from fin auctions in Hong Kong, for more accurate estimates.

They concluded that the amount of shark biomass (weight) involved in the fin trade is three to four times higher than what is reported.

Estimates of the total number of sharks traded for fins worldwide ranged from 26 to 73 million per year. Clearly, sharks are being over-exploited.

Marine ecosystems have complex food webs. Sharks are top predators; altering their numbers has a big impact on other species that “cascades” through the entire system.

As shark numbers decline, their prey species have increased (e.g. rays), who in turn are taking more of their own prey (e.g. scallops). As a result, many species of mollusks are rapidly declining.

Researchers are also seeing the ripple effects of dramatic shark declines in the Caribbean. Fish usually eaten by sharks are now increasing in number, such as groupers.

Those predators feed on parrotfish, which in turn eat algae off coral reefs. The result? Too many groupers = too few parrotfish = too much algae.

This is altering marine systems by limiting the resources available to all species that depend on coral reef habitats.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Origami Robots Now Come With Their Own Tiny Exoskeletons

You’ve probably seen origami “robots” before: flat sheets of metal or plastic that fold into bots that can walk, climb, and even swim.

They’re not of much practical use right now, but they represent a promising path for robot development.

Now, in a bid to augment the bots’ abilities, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come up with a new tool for them: origami exoskeletons.




In a paper published today, researchers describe four exoskeletons, each made out of a plastic sheet that folds into a predefined shape when heated for a few seconds.

There’s a boat-shaped exoskeleton and a glider: one for “walking,” and another that folds up into a crude wheel for faster movement.

Each exoskeleton can be donned in turn by a tiny lead bot called Primer. This isn’t a robot as we usually think of them, but a small magnetic cube that can be controlled remotely using magnetic fields.

In the future, the researchers imagine this sort of approach to robot design could help up make multifunctional bots that can perform complex tasks remotely.

They could be used for deep-sea mining operations, for example, or for building colonies in space.

These are locations where you don’t want to waste resources shipping out lots of different bots for different jobs, so it’s more efficient to send one with a set of origami tools.

As Rus says: “Why update a whole robot when you can just update one part of it?

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Will The UAE Be The First To Set Up A City On Mars?

Over the past few decades, oil and gas revenue has helped the United Arab Emirates develop at a breakneck pace.

Its glistening megacity Dubai is now home to the world’s tallest building and countless other accolades, while just last year there were new plans announced to build a completely new “city of happiness.

The UAE’s latest venture may set new heights in terms of ambition, however. On Tuesday, at the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, the UAE announced that it was planning to build the first city on Mars by 2117.

According to CNBC, UAE engineers presented a concept city at the event about the size of Chicago for guests to explore.




In a statement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, sounded confident about the project.

Human ambitions have no limits, and whoever looks into the scientific breakthroughs in the current century believes that human abilities can realize the most important human dream,” Maktoum said.

And despite the grandiose nature of the idea, the 100-year-plan does emphasize some practical steps.

The Mars 2117 Project is a long-term project,” Maktoum explained in the statement, adding that the first order of business would be making space travel appeal to young Emiratis, with special programs in space sciences being set up at universities in the UAE.

The project will also create an Emirati scientific team, but that would expand to include international scientists.

In particular, these teams would be seeking to develop faster transportation to and from the planet, as well as researching what the settlement would look like and how it will be sustainable in terms of food, energy and transportation.

This won’t be the Gulf state’s first foray into space travel. The UAE launched its own space agency in 2014, which launched partnerships with French and British space agencies the next year.

It is planning to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021, a project that was described as “on track” just last month.

Of course, whether the plan for a city on Mars will actually come to fruition a century from now is hard to predict. However, in a strange way, this might be a good thing.

Other recently announced space exploration plans, particularly those focused on Mars, have been criticized for setting too ambitious a time frame given the huge costs of such a mission.

By setting such a distant goal, the UAE’s ambitious city becomes a little more realistic.

For the UAE, these attempts to break into space technology may also reveal an anxious attempt to break away from the country’s reliance on oil and gas and related industries, having been hit hard by falling prices recently.

Thankfully for them, there’s still plenty of money in sovereign wealth funds to invest in Mars.

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Rodents Of Unusual Size? Researchers Find Giant, Tree-Dwelling Rat In Solomon Islands

Deep in the forests of Vangunu in the Solomon Islands lives a rat like no other you’ve likely ever seen. It’s more than four times the size of an average rat and weighs more than a kilogram.

Meet Uromys vika, a new giant rat species.

The Solomon Islands in the South Pacific are home to some unique species, a result of the relative isolation of the islands. In particular, they are home to a number of giant rats species.

In 2010 while on a visit to the island of Vangunu, mammalogist Tyrone Lavery heard stories of a giant, coconut-cracking rat from locals.

He was convinced that this was a new kind of rat because while several giant rat species had been found in parts of the Solomon Islands, none had yet been discovered in the region known as the Western Province, which includes Vangunu and several other islands.




Those islands have also never been connected to the other Solomon islands, so I knew that if something had managed to arrive in the Western Province, it was a really good chance it would be a new species,” said Lavery, lead author of the findings, which were published in the Journal of Mammalogy Wednesday.

You’d think finding a giant rat would be easy, but Lavery spent five years searching for the elusive rodent.

While spending time on a tropical island may sound like paradise, Lavery said that it was a gruelling experience.

Long hikes through the forest, plenty of long rainy days setting up traps and cameras, and digging through layers of vegetation to try to find some clue as to the rat’s existence.

And then by accident he and his colleague Hikuna Judge found vika.

The rat was discovered near the village of Zaira during a hike in 2015.

Lavery and his colleague spotted the rat scurrying out from a tree that had been logged near the community trying to protect its rich forest from logging companies active throughout the islands where various species of these giant rats live.

The researchers captured the injured rat, which later died.

“Logging is quite a threat to a number of [mammal] species,” Lavery said.

That’s because many species — including many bats that Lavery studies in the islands — rely on old trees, those with hollows in them where the mammals can live.

And logging removes most of those trees,” he said.

The researchers compared the dead rat’s skull to existing giant rat skulls from other museums and collections. They found that this rat was like no other ever documented.

The new species, Uromys vika, became the first rat discovered in the Solomon Islands in 80 years.

It’s important to document these animals to know they’re there and conserve them,” Lavery said.

There are other giant rats living in the forests across the Solomon Islands. To date there have been eight species identified.

And while this vika rat may seem like a nightmare to some, Lavery looks at it quite fondly.

People … not having seen this rodent, [believe] it’s scary to think of a rodent that large,” he said.

I don’t think of it as scary. I think they’re quite unique animals. And I think this rat is quite cute for a rat.

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He’s Gambling Obsession Spurred Him To Invent Two Of The Most Important Theories In Math

Girolamo or Hieronimo Cardano‘s name was Hieronymus Cardanus in Latin and he is sometimes known by the English version of his name Jerome Cardan.

Girolamo Cardano was the illegitimate child of Fazio Cardano and Chiara Micheria. His father was a lawyer in Milan but his expertise in mathematics was such that he was consulted by Leonardo da Vinci on questions of geometry.

In addition to his law practice, Fazio lectured on geometry, both at the University of Pavia and, for a longer spell, at the Piatti foundation in Milan.

When he was in his fifties, Fazio met Chiara Micheria, who was a young widow in her thirties, struggling to raise three children.

Chiara became pregnant but, before she was due to give birth, the plague hit Milan and she was persuaded to leave the city for the relative safety of nearby Pavia to stay with wealthy friends of Fazio.

Thus Cardan was born in Pavia but his mother’s joy was short lived when she received news that her first three children had died of the plague in Milan.

Chiara lived apart from Fazio for many years but, later in life, they did marry.




Cardan at first became his father’s assistant but he was a sickly child and Fazio had to get help from two nephews when the work became too much for Cardan.

However, Cardan began to wish for greater things than an assistant to his father. Fazio had taught his son mathematics and Cardan began to think of an academic career.

After an argument, Fazio allowed Cardan to go university and he entered Pavia University, where his father had studied, to read medicine despite his father’s wish that he should study law.

When war broke out, the university was forced to close and Cardan moved to the University of Padua to complete his studies.

Shortly after this move, his father died but by this time Cardan was in the middle of a campaign to become rector of the university. He was a brilliant student but, outspoken and highly critical, Cardan was not well liked.

However, his campaign for rector was successful since he beat his rival by a single vote.

Cardan squandered the small bequest from his father and turned to gambling to boost his finances. Card games, dice and chess were the methods he used to make a living.

Cardan’s understanding of probability meant he had an advantage over his opponents and, in general, he won more than he lost. He had to keep dubious company for his gambling.

Once, when he thought he was being cheated at cards, Cardan, who always carried a knife, slashed the face of his opponent.

Gambling became an addiction that was to last many years and rob Cardan of valuable time, money and reputation.

Cardan was awarded his doctorate in medicine in 1525 and applied to join the College of Physicians in Milan, where his mother still lived.

The College did not wish to admit him for, despite the respect he had gained as an exceptional student, he had a reputation as a difficult man, whose unconventional, uncompromising opinions were aggressively put forward with little tact or thought for the consequences.

The discovery of Cardan’s illegitimate birth gave the College a reason to reject his application.

Cardan, on the advice of a friend, went to Sacco, a small village 15km from Padua. He set up a small, and not very successful, medical practice.

In late 1531 Cardan married Lucia, the daughter of a neighbour Aldobello Bandarini, a captain of the local militia.

ardan’s practice in Sacco did not provide enough income for him to support a wife so, in April 1532, he moved to Gallarate, near Milan.

He applied again to the College of Physicians in Milan but again was not allowed membership.

Unable to practise medicine, Cardan reverted, in 1533, to gambling to pay his way, but things went so badly that he was forced to pawn his wife’s jewellery and even some of his furniture.

Desperately seeking a change of fortune, the Cardans moved to Milan, but here they fared even worse and they had to ignominiously enter the poorhouse.

Cardan was fortunate to obtain Fazio’s former post of lecturer in mathematics at the Piatti Foundation in Milan which gave him plenty of free time and he used some of this to treat a few patients, despite not being a member of the College of Physicians.

Cardan achieved some near miraculous cures and his growing reputation as a doctor led to his being consulted by members of the College.

His grateful patients and their relatives became whole hearted supporters and in this way, Cardan was able to build up a base of influential backers.

Cardan was still furious at his continuing exclusion from the College and, in 1536, he rashly published a book attacking not only the College’s medical ability but their character.

This was not the way to gain entry to the College and not surprisingly Cardan’s application to join in 1537 was again rejected.

However, two years later, after much pressure from his admirers, the College modified the clause regarding legitimate birth and admitted Cardan.

In the same year, Cardan’s first two mathematical books were published, the second The Practice of Arithmetic and Simple Mensuration was a sign of greater things to come.

This was the beginning of Cardan’s prolific literary career writing on a diversity of topics medicine, philosophy, astronomy and theology in addition to mathematics.

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Is Genetically Modified Wheat the Solution to Celiac Disease?

The people who grow wheat think they might have a solution for people with celiac disease: Genetically modified wheat.

By genetically modifying wheat, researchers are looking to ‘silence’ proteins that trigger adverse immune reactions in people with celiac disease.

A research team working on just such a project recently published a report of their results in the Journal of Cereal Science.

The team included researchers Cristina M. Rosella, Francisco Barrob, Carolina Sousac, and Ma Carmen Menad.

Their report acknowledges that creating strains of wheat with reduced gluten toxicity is difficult using conventional breeding methods, and that genetic modification, in particular a technology called RNA interference (RNAi), hold the greatest promise in reducing or ‘silencing’ the gluten proteins in wheat and other cereals.




Such technology allows researchers to develop gluten-free wheat strains by adjusting the gluten fractions toxic to those with celiac disease.

They acknowledge that their efforts could face resistance fueled by global concerns around genetically modified foods.

They also note that current and prior genetic modification efforts have not produced products with tangible benefits to the consumer.

Rather, the main beneficiaries of such efforts have been large companies and/or farmers.

According to their report, the development of genetically modified wheat lines suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance could be a major turning point.

Their efforts to create celiac-friendly wheat varieties via genetic modification aims to “solve a health problem that directly affects a large proportion of consumers, in developed as well as developing countries, and with higher consumer awareness.

What do you think? Is this a possible breakthrough? Would you be interested in wheat that had been genetically modified to be safe for people with celiac disease?

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