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Latest News in Science Week-01 December 2018

YouTube video for Science Week-1, December 2018

He Jiankui

1. The Scientist Behind First “CRISPR BABIES” He Jiankui Has Gone Missing

The Geneticist who recently used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit genome of human babies which provoked anger and serious criticism in scientific community has not been seen in public since his last appearance at Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong.

Chinese media stated, the geneticist’s position is currently mysterious. He may be under house arrest at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, his employer institute. Though, the University has denied the claim.

Source:

South China Morning Post

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/2176109/university-denies-chinese-frankenstein-has-been-detained-over

Water hydrogel

2. Amazing New Hydro-Tech Devise That Can Harvest Water from Dry Desert Air

Scientists in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia has a major breakthrough and developed a remarkable sodium chloride (NaCl) hydrogel-based device that stores water and releases it upon heating.

The cheap and commercially affordable hydrogel stores water overnight from air with the help of NaCl, and releases it in a sunny day when needed aided by carbon nanotubes.

Reference:

Li, R., et al., Hybrid Hydrogel with High Water Vapor Harvesting Capacity for Deployable Solar-Driven Atmospheric Water Generator. 2018. 52(19): p. 11367-11377.

3. Witness The Most Powerful Black Hole Collision and Detection of Four Gravitational Waves in Astronomical History

Astronomers at Gravitational Waves Physics and Astronomy Workshop, at the University of Maryland in the United States declares the detection of four new gravitational waves from the most powerful black hole collision in the history of astronomy.

This new discovery from Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)-VIRGO team gets total number of detection of gravitational waves to 11 since 2015. 11 from binary black hole mergers and one from neutron star merger.

Credits:

The Conversation

https://theconversation.com/new-detections-of-gravitational-waves-brings-the-number-to-11-so-far-107962

4. OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft Has Finally Reached Asteroid Bennu After Spending Two years in Dark Space

NASA probe OSIRIS-Rex Reaches to Empire State Building-size carbonaceous asteroid called Bennu from early solar system around 4.5 billion years ago, will maneuver for next 18 months, and finally collect 2Kg of rock sample by its robotic arm called TAGSAM and bring back home for analysis of early solar system.

This asteroid (size of 0.05% mass of Mount Everest) has a very weak gravity for that you jump over its north pole and will be kicked off the surface hurtling into the dark void. Hence, spacecraft orbiting its surface is a tricky part says Coralie Adam, an engineer at aerospace company KinetX.

Credits:

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/12/03/nasa-is-about-grab-piece-an-asteroid-thats-even-harder-than-it-sounds/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d1eafec39fc1

Cave Art with amputated fingers

5. In Wake of Discovery of Cave art in Last Month, Archaeologists Hit Another Mysterious Jack-Pot of Strange Cave Art with People Amputated Their Own Fingers

It is extremely daunting that people from Paleolithic ancient era living at France and Spain chopped off their own fingers ranged from 1 – 4 missing digits, as seen in paintings over parts of stencil.

Archaeologists have been debating since ages that the missing fingers are deliberate. They assume that this may be due to some practices such as religious ritual, mark marriage, punishment, and mark fisher-women. Some believe it may be children mocking, bent fingers or artistic gestures alike.

Reference:

McCauley, B., D. Maxwell, and M.J.J.O.P.A. Collard, A Cross-cultural Perspective on Upper Paleolithic Hand Images with Missing Phalanges. 2018: p. 1-20.

new planets K2-187

6. Space and Ground Based Telescopes Have Discovered More Than 100 Exoplanets

Astronomers from University of Tokyo and Astrobiology Center of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences have recently reported 104 confirmed extrasolar planets hunted by Kepler space telescope’s successor K2.

Some planets have extremely small orbital periods less than 24 hours, some of others are rocky exoplanets with mass about more or less compared to mass of earth.

Reference:

John H. et al., Sixty Validated Planets from K2 Campaigns 5–8. The Astronomical Journal, 2018; 156 (6): 277.

OFC mood booster

7. Want to Relieve Depression? Researches May Have Found the Solution to Boost your Mood

Scientists investigated patients suffering from epilepsy and depression, and gave some electrical stimulations via electrodes (used to pinpoint origin of epileptic seizers) to a brain region called lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) to boost their mood.

They noted that, this electric stimulation to the superficial OFC reduced the depression, boosted positive mood based on collected verbal and questionnaire scores. Additionally, they hope to develop a medical device for clinical practice.

Reference:

Vikram R. Rao, et al., Direct Electrical Stimulation of Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex Acutely Improves Mood in Individuals with Symptoms of Depression. Current Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.026

Fermi 739 blazars

8. Astronomers Used Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to measure all starlight of 90% of History of Universe

Scientists used Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and measured extragalactic background light (EBL) including ultraviolet, visible and infrared light traveling across the cosmos stars have produced over the universe’s history depending on the source still exists or burned out.

Researchers investigated gamma-ray (highest form of energy) signals from 739 blazars — galaxies with monster black holes at their centers — gathered over nine years by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). Consequently, revealing the peak of star formation about 10 billion years ago.

Reference:

Science, F.-L.C.J., A gamma-ray determination of the Universe’s star formation history. 2018. 362(6418): p. 1031-1034.

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