Science

Science

New Consumer Product to Prevent Viruses from Infecting Humans

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Do you know that it is possible for the human race to fend off diseases caused by viruses in the future? Well, it is perhaps unbelievable for now given there are many cases of illnesses that still don’t have any cure.

On the contrary, the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore in collaboration with IBM have made an announcement regarding this development. Teams are reportedly working on a certain chemical that they can mix with soap products to put an end to the deadly viruses such as Ebola, herpes and zika.

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Likewise, the Watson Supercomputer at IBM is also working to make a macromolecule to fight viruses by enabling the body to boost its own immune system. This will act by nullifying the impact of the virus that could infect the healthy cells of the body. It will be able to stop the replicating nature of such viruses, effectively putting an end to its mutation into a new or harder-to-fight version.

According to the group leader of the Institute, a macromolecule that is anti-viral in nature has been created by the group of experts in order to deal with such viruses by blocking the activity of the virus to infect healthy cells. More findings also confirmed that it is not toxic and is safe to use.

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Experts also added that they have finally devised a kind of attack to handle viruses in a different perspective. Instead of dealing with it through its DNA or RNA, they have revised their method by controlling the glycoproteins surrounding the virus.

Researchers also confirmed that they have already tried and tested the chemical in the laboratory to fight dengue, Ebola, and herpes simplex. They are now hoping to work with consumer products to help them fight such viruses by mixing them with hand cleaners, soaps, and wipes to begin with.

 

Accumulate Zero Waste When Grocery Shopping

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You cannot deny that the world has been affected by climate change, pollution, and the ‘disposable’ mentality of society. And it is definitely not cool to just stand by and do nothing about the issues. Reducing your carbon footprint and having a more sustainable lifestyle should not be just a trend anymore. It should be a requirement. Most of the times this is easier said than done. But with baby steps, you can slowly make some big changes.

A great place to start is grocery shopping. Most products you get from the store are packaged in plastic containers that end up in landfills or oceans. You also sometimes end up buying more than you need or stuff that you don’t actually use. So for your next scheduled shopping day at the grocery store, use these tips to lessen your waste.

Plan Menus 

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Start small so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. For example, you can plan a breakfast menu for one week, the next week include lunch, then the following week include dinner. By planning what you’ll be eating the whole week, you can identify what ingredients you need and avoid wasting any food items.

Make a List 

This will make sure you buy everything you need and you don’t purchase something you actually don’t need. It will also help you stick to a budget. Observe how much you consume of everything (toiletries, milk, laundry soap, etc.) so you also know how much you need to buy and when you need to restock.

Bring Reusable Containers 

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Reusable shopping bags and baskets are becoming more of a norm today and some stores even give incentives to shoppers who bring their own bags. Also, use produce bags for your fruits, vegetables, breads, grains, and other dry goods so you can avoid using plastic bags. Have the merchandise weighed, place the items in your produce bags, and stick on the price tags. As for liquids, meat, and other wet produce, you can bring your own jars. Some supermarkets let you weigh your jars and mark how heavy each container is so the weight can be deducted when pricing the items you put inside. Just ask their customer service before you begin your shopping. Put all your bags and jars in your ‘zero waste grocery shopping kit’ so they’re ready whenever you need them.

You can search which stores in your area encourage sustainable shopping practices or try buying from farmers’ markets and specialty shops.

The Science of Blowing Soap Bubbles Revealed!

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Almost all adults of today have childhood experiences of blowing soap bubbles and popping them with friends and even pets. Back then, we thought that the secrets to the magic of producing bubbles are the ingredients we put into our mixture that makes thick soap film. Now, researchers in France have revealed that the speed of the blowing air is mainly a factor that will determine if your bubbles will form or burst.

The team of physics experts at University of Rennes 1 in France reported their findings in the Physical Review Letters published on February 19, 2016. They initially searched for a hundred-year worth of studies on the physics explaining soap bubbles but they couldn’t find any.

Conducting the Experiments

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Experiments were conducted using a 1-meter, adjustable version of the common bubble wand that produces standardized amounts of soapy liquid. Jets of pressurized air were blown on the film to produce the bubble. The study revealed that slow gusts of air only pitted the soapy solution while quick jets effectively created bubbles.

Several tests were also made for different scenarios such as different distances between the air source and the film surface as well as various sizes of the air nozzle. In the end, it was found out that the required speed of the air jet to create bubbles is dependent on certain factors like the opening width of the bubble wand, the size of nozzle and its distance from the film, and the density of the type of air used.

Research Applications

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It seems that we now have more reasons to enjoy blowing soap bubbles with our kids! Aside from the fun we’ll experience, this activity can also be educational.

On an industrial level, the research can further help manufacturers of bubble liquid and even foam, which is generally made from bubbles. According to the study’s coauthor Laurent Courbin, the research can also be a basis for further experiments such as using various types of liquids.

Other authors of the research were Louis Salkin, Alexandre Schmit and Pascal Panizza.

3 Odd Discoveries by Archeologists

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Archeologists have unearthed many discoveries over the years, from century-old vases to human remains buried for hundreds of years. Among these remnants of history are odd artifacts that add to the mystery and uniqueness of science and history.

Here are three of the weirdest discoveries unearthed through the years:

The Screaming Mummies

In 1886, a discovery was made by then the head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, one of what seemed to be a screaming mummy. It was the remains of a man covered with sheepskin and with hands and feet tied. What is odd is not only the use of what is considered unclean material to cover the body but also the widely opened mouth of the man that suggested he was either buried alive or while in pain. There have been other discoveries like this, thus the term screaming mummies came about. However, some critics say that this was nothing to be alarmed about. They say that if the mouth was not secure during mummification, it is but natural for the mouth to hang open after some time.

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Baigong Pipes

In China, the discovery of a mountain containing three triangular openings baffled archeologists. Buried deep down the mountain and the lake were hundreds of uniformly cut pipes with the larger ones measuring up to 40 cms. What makes them more mysterious is the fact that these pipes seemed to have existed even before people have started to use casting irons, around 150,000 years ago. Some speculations suggest that these pipes must have been used by aliens since there were materials of silica which can be traced back to Mars.

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Tomb of Sunken Skulls

Less than 10 years ago, archeologists unearthed at least eleven skulls in a dry lake in Sweden, along with animal bones and weaponry. They found out that these remains were about 8,000 years old. What makes this discovery strange is that inside the 10th skull, fragments of the 11th skull were found.

Would You Still Have a Brazilian Wax After Reading This?

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Who doesn’t want it bare below? We all probably do. No hair, no mess, no problem.

But surely, nobody enjoys the experience of getting their neither regions waxed. We want the result but not the process, and for some valid reasons. It is hellishly painful!

There are serious reasons though why you should dread Brazilian wax or any bikini wax – it is hazardous to your health.

It poses you at risk to sexually transmitted infections

Maddi Rubin, a contributor for Cosmopolitan, revealed that she got an STI from a Brazilian wax. She had her nether-regions waxed from an upscale salon in Manhattan, but that doesn’t protect her from the health risk of waxing. She wrote that a month after waxing, she noticed little, shiny bumps with dimples in the middle on her vulva area/bikini line. A visit to the doctor revealed that she contacted molluscum contagiosum, an infection caused by poxvirus.

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Ms Rubin’s experience is not an isolated case. Many others like her suffered from STI. A case study by Francois Desruelles, MD, a dermatologist in Nice, France revealed that among his 30 patients who have been infected with molluscum contagiosum, 10% of which have waxed their unwanted hair.

According to dermatologists, the infection happens because the natural barrier (the pubic hair) that protects the sensitive skin in the vaginal area are removed forcibly, causing microscopic wounds that allow bacteria and viruses to enter the skin.

It eliminates your ability to pass gas silently

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On a lighter note, bikini waxing eliminates your ability to fart without the embarrassing sound, announcing to everyone around that you just poisoned the air they breathe. Ladies and gentlemen, if you fart a lot, there is the potential for increased inaudibility when passing gas.

So, you have been warned. Are you still going for that Brazilian wax?

Here’s Why You Could Be Shaving Wrong

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There are actually a lot of things that could go wrong when you’re using a razor on your face. Grooming experts say that a lot of people have been shaving wrong, perhaps, their entire life. But thankfully, correcting it is much easier than you could imagine.

Not washing before you shave

Did you know that the best time to shave is after a shower? Water can soften your beard or any stubble. But you need enough water to soak up the hair. Stay under your shower for two more minutes to let the water rinse your face before shaving.

Not trimming before you shave

When you have a big bushy beard, you will likely tug and pull it with a shaver, which is so uncomfortable, making it wrong. So, use an electric razor across it first until you have a shadow. This creates a much cleaner shave.

Not opening up your pores

Your face isn’t used to sharp objects, which is why some stubble can be quite stubborn. To make sure your razor easily glides across your face, use a hot towel treatment. All you need is a clean hand towel that’s soaked in very hot water. Next, drape the towel over your face for several minutes until it’s no longer hot. This will effectively open up your pores and soften facial hair.

Not using enough shaving cream

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Lather your face or chin with shaving cream in a circular motion. Make sure you get good coverage before dragging the razor on your skin. This is important because the shaving cream acts as a lubricant that will protect your skin from the sharp razor.

Not using the right kind of razor

This doesn’t mean that you should’ve bought those expensive razors, which were a thing in the early 1900s. Instead, go for the modern razors that are built to protect people from cutting themselves as they are ergonomic and easy to use.

Holocaust Survivors’ Kids “Inherit” Trauma Experience

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Now this here may not pass as very cool news, but knowing the lasting repercussions of trauma empowers us to be more vigilant and perhaps more compassionate of others. In the end, it is cool to know that what the experiences and exposures we go through today do have an effect on the genetic composition of our future offspring.

A research team at Mount Sinai Hospital concluded that Holocaust survivors may pass the traumatic experience to their children through their genes. The study involved 32 Jewish men and women who had various distressing experiences during the height of Nazism in World War II.

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After studying the genes of the subjects’ children, the research team led by Rachel Yehuda found that the children are more likely to have stress disorders compared with children of Jewish families who lived outside Europe in WWII. Yehuda’s team positively confirmed that the Holocaust experience was the only attributable factor to the gene differences.

The study further supports “epigenetic inheritance” – the concept that environmental factors like diet, smoking and stress can influence the genetic composition of children, and even grandchildren.

According to the head researcher, both Holocaust parents and their kids have epigenetic tags on the same gene location.

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The research on the genetics of the Holocaust victims’ children is not the only study supporting “epigenetic inheritance”. A former experiment on Dutch women who got pregnant during famine showed their children with increased likelihood to acquire the mental disorder, Schizophrenia.

Behavioral and genetic scientists are taking a closer look at the behavior and functions of stress-related genes, which shape the way we cope with various environmental factors. When humans experience trauma even at pre-conception, they develop epigenetic changes and pass these changes to their children at conception.

Pre-conception epigenetic stress appears to contradict or resist the cleaning process that occurs during fertilization. Yehuda said that the recent findings deepen understanding on how current generation reacts to the experiences of the former generation.

5 of the Most Haunting and Breathtaking Shipwreck Destinations Around the World

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The United Nations report that there are around three million shipwrecks dotting the ocean floor. These were most likely caused by abnormal weather conditions, poor craftsmanship or sea battles. A huge percentage of the total number of the wreckage are still unaccounted for, but there are remnants that have been spotted, photographed and visited by daring divers for many years.

If you’re one who’s looking for a different kind of adventure, these are some of the most hauntingly beautiful shipwrecks you can dive into.

The Lina

Believed to have sunk in 1914, The Lina was once a cargo ship transporting lumber between Italy and Croatia. But a devastating storm brought it to its early demise and sunk it down in the Adriatic near Cres Island. Since then, it has become a favorite diving spot in this part of the planet.

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The Russian Wreck

It remains unknown when this ship sank, but was discovered some time in 2003 in the Southern Red Sea. Initially, many believed it was a trawler, a boat that pulls a large net for catching fish, but experts say it’s a Cold War-era Russian spy ship.

The Mars

This was one of Europe’s first generation three-masted ships, which is now well-preserved. The Mars is a gorgeous Swedish warship that went down with its crew in 1564 after losing a naval battle against the Germans on the Baltic Sea.

The Umbria

This massive cargo ship was built by the Germans but was later taken over by the Italians. It was carrying loads of bombs and other weapons to the coast of East Africa when it sank after its captain intentionally sunk it upon learning that Mussolini announced Italy was going into war in World War II.

Dunnottar Castle

Experts believe that this 258-foot iron-hulled cargo ship was built in 1874 and was on its way to Australia from California to deliver a coal. Unfortunately, it hit a reef off the Hawaiian coast while travelling at full speed. Researchers have only discovered this wreck less than a decade ago.

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Wreck diving is one of the most exciting and adrenaline-pumping adventures you can do. So, if you’re looking for the thrill of a lifetime, then check out these shipwrecks and more.

Same-Sex Couples and Those with Fertility Woes May Soon Raise Biological Kids

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Couples with fertility woes may soon have biological children without the need for egg or sperm donors as scientists disclosed creation of early-stage germ cells using skin from two adults of the same sex. It would not be long before same-sex couples, aged couples and infertile couples could raise their very own kids, rendering adoption a less favorable option.

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In a Wellcome Trust-funded research, specialists from Cambridge University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science were able to produce primordial human egg and sperm cells using skins of ten different donors. Based on test results, artificial germ cells were no different to natural human stem cells.

The engineered cells, according to researchers, would prove useful in creating a repair kit for any organ in the body, not just reproductive organs. This is because the engineered cells are reportedly free from genetic mistakes and ageing damage.

Azim Surani, a physiology and reproduction professor at Cambridge, stated that the germ cells are not affected by epigenetic mutations – cell anomalies due to ageing. Surani explained that the primitive germ cell they have created regenerates and resets. The Cambridge professor who heads the current stem cell research was involved in a 1978 project that led to the production of the first test-tube baby, Louis Brown.

Meanwhile, Jacob Hanna, leader of the research’s Israeli arm, said they can create a fully manufactured baby in two years. However, she is not favor of producing engineered babies due to the social and legal implications involved. Nevertheless, she said that the findings would help those with fertility issues.

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Other experts in the field expressed their opinions regarding the recent findings. Some were supportive, enthusiastic even, about the breakthrough. However, some remain skeptical and critical saying that the creation of artificial germ cells would lead to the concept of “designing” babies.

Although the news have stirred interest and support among gay groups all over the world, they need to wait several years or so before they can enjoy results, if any. Right now, British law prohibits the use of artificial cells to treat infertility, and the UK’s motion to approve the “three-parent baby” technology had been under fire in a seemingly never-ending ethical debate.