Category: Syndication

Scientists are reengineering viruses to fight antibiotic resistance


The world is in the midst of a global “superbug” crisis. Antibiotic resistance has been found in numerous common bacterial infections, including tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and salmonellosis, making them difficult – if not impossible – to treat. We’re on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era,” where there are fewer treatment options for such antibiotic-resistant strains. Given estimates that antibiotic resistance will cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050, finding new methods for treating harmful infections is essential. Strange as it might sound, viruses might be one possible alternative to antibiotics for treating bacterial infections. Bacteriophages (also known as phages) are viruses…

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Scientists reveal why some people recognize faces better than others


Do you never forget a face? Are you one of those people who can spot the same nameless extras across different TV programs and adverts? Are you the family member always called on to identify or match faces in old photographs? If so, you may be a “super-recognizer” – the term science uses to describe people with an exceptional ability to recognize faces. Over the past decade, psychologists have established that our ability to recognize faces varies a lot – much like the ability to sing, for instance. While a small proportion of the population simply can’t hold a note…

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Study: 98% of kids in the UK can’t tell fake news from the truth


The 2019 general election is already being remembered as the one where misinformation went mainstream. It was, of course, already on the political agenda after the 2016 referendum and US election, with growing numbers of academics and parliament sounding the alarm over foreign actors using so-called “fake news” to disrupt the democratic processes. But what was seen over the election period was not the work of fringe actors. Instead, major political parties appeared to adopt tactics previously associated with shady players operating at the edges of the information ecosystem. No major party was entirely innocent, as evidenced by First Draft’s…

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A brief history of UX design and its evolution


When you think about user experience design it’s a term we instantly associate with apps and websites. And especially when considering a typical job description of a UX designer, it can trick you into thinking that it’s a modern concept. The term was first coined in 1993 by the cognitive psychologist and designer Don Norman when he worked at Apple Computer — but the UX field is older than the term. So, I’m challenging you to explore with me the history of UX since it’s crucial to understanding this field. If you’re new to UX, this serves as a great introduction…

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How Confucius loses face in China’s new surveillance regime


While conceived of and functioning differently in diverse contexts, ‘face’ describes a phenomenon that exists in every human society. Its most basic sense concerns the public presentation and perception of the self. Someone who has face possesses something of positive social value that arises from social approval of a person’s status, action or state of being; someone who loses face has suffered a loss in social value concerning her status, behavior or state of being. In addition to public perception, ‘face’ has an internal psychological aspect as well: it captures one’s self-image and evaluation of oneself in regard to shared…

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An ancient, dying galaxy could help astronomers learn more about the Milky Way


The most distant dying galaxy known to astronomers contains nearly one trillion stars, making this family of stars is significantly larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. Analysis of the core of this galaxy shows this object started to form 12 billion years ago — just 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang. Like humans, galaxies are born, live out their lives, and fall into silence. The first galaxies formed just a couple hundred million years after the Big Bang, as the gravitational pull of both normal matter and dark matter pulled stars together into groups. Now, by studying dying galaxies, astronomers…

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Scientists have cracked the formula for a perfect cup of coffee


Have you ever wondered why the coffee you make at home tastes different from the drinks you buy in cafes? Or why coffee from the same place can taste different throughout the week? You may be quick to blame the barista for changing the recipe, but our recent study, published in Matter, suggests that this variation is down to an inherent inconsistency of common brewing methods. Luckily, we believe to have discovered a path to making a great espresso – to your taste – every time. The quality of a cup of coffee depends on the coffee’s variety and origin,…

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What designers have to gain by thinking like social workers


“I’ve got a soul that can’t sleep at night when something ain’t right.” These are the song lyrics to “Power of Equality” which is the first song on Red Hot Chili Pepper’s, breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The song goes on to address racial injustice, white supremacy, and self-serving politicians. A few songs later, lead singer Anthony Kedis sings about his desire to have a lady intensely kiss him in the aptly titled song “Suck My Kiss.” While The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are no Rage Against the Machine, they do contain multitudes. If they can sing about America’s inequality only…

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3D printing body parts is close — but it needs proper regulation


In the last few years, the use of 3D printing has exploded in medicine. Engineers and medical professionals now routinely 3D print prosthetic hands and surgical tools. But 3D printing has only just begun to transform the field. Today, a quickly emerging set of technologies known as bioprinting is poised to push the boundaries further. Bioprinting uses 3D printers and techniques to fabricate the three-dimensional structures of biological materials, from cells to biochemicals, through precise layer-by-layer positioning. The ultimate goal is to replicate functioning tissue and material, such as organs, which can then be transplanted into human beings. We have…

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Data sharing is key to an AI-driven medical revolution


It is not often that one witnesses a transformational advance in medicine. But the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the early detection of disease is exactly that. I was a co-author of the paper recently published in Nature showing that an AI system developed by Google was better at spotting breast tumors than doctors. Now, researchers in the US have reported that AI-supported laser scanners are faster than doctors at detecting brain tumors. These are very exciting developments that will, ultimately, have a big impact on the accuracy, logistics, and speed of diagnosis. There is a multitude of…

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