Scientists (Finally!) Discover Drug That Replicates Effects of Exercise on Muscles

Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University claim to have identified a drug that replicates the benefits of exercise on muscles and bones.

Many of us may not want to admit it, but modern life in developed countries is easier and more comfortable than it’s ever been. Gone are the days when humans had to rely on heavy labor to sustain themselves and their families, but this particular part of our evolution has had some unwanted health-related consequences – the vast majority of people aren’t getting enough exercise and that is taking a toll on their bones, muscles and overall health. The problem is that many of us don’t want to put in the physical work to keep our bodies in good shape, even though we know we should, but the good news is that we may not have to…

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Experimental Chewing Gum Can Allegedly Trap Coronavirus in Your Saliva

Researchers have reportedly developed an experimental chewing gum that can trap SARS-CoV-2 particles in saliva, thus curbing transmission of the virus.

Researchers at the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have been working on a special type of chewing gum that should minimize transmission and infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to a recent paper published in the Biomaterials Journal, the experimental gum contains copies of the ACE2 protein found on cell surfaces, which the coronavirus uses to break into cells and infect them. In test tube experiments, researchers found that virus particles of the Delta or Omicron variants attached themselves to the ACE2 “receptors” in the chewing gum, causing the viral load in the saliva to fall to undetectable levels.

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Real-Life Minority Report – Algorithm Predicts Crime With Up to 90% Accuracy

Scientists at the University of Chicago have developed a new algorithm that forecasts crime with up to 90% accuracy by analyzing data and learning patterns.

Minority Report is a very popular sci-fi film about a special police unit that can arrest murderers before they commit their crimes with the help of three clairvoyant humans called Precogs, which can visualize impending homicides. It’s a brilliant film, if you like sci-fi murder mysteries, or you’re simply a fan of Tom Cruise, but the reason we bring it up in this story is that a team of researchers claims to have come up with a real-world, AI-powered system that is also able to predict crimes with an accuracy of 90%. And their systems doesn’t require Precogs, just past data so it can predict the future.

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Great Grandfather – 5,484-Year-Old Patagonian Cypress Could Be World’s Oldest Tree

Scientists in Chile believe that an ancient Patagonian cypress known as ‘Gran Abuelo’ (Great Grandfather) could be over 5,000 years old, which would make it the world’s oldest living tree.

The Patagonian cypress (Fitzroya cupressoides), known in South America as ‘alerce’, is a conifer native to Chile and Argentina. They belong to the same family as giant sequoias and redwoods, and can reach heights of up to 45 meters (150ft). They grow at a very slow rate and are known to live for hundreds, even thousands of years, but one particular specimen may be the oldest tree ever discovered. If the findings of a Chilean team of researchers are to be believed, Great Grandfather, an ancient Patagonian cypress in the Alerce Costero national park, is 5,484-years-old, a whopping 600 years older than Methuselah, the current world’s oldest tree.

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The World’s Toughest Bacterium Can Withstand Anything From Radiation to Life in Outer Space

Deinococcus radiodurans is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s toughest bacterium,” and it is fully deserving of that title.

Scientists discovered the red, spherical bacterium that later came to be known as deinococcus radiodurans about 70 years ago, when examining a can of ground meat that had spoiled despite having been sterilized by exposure to doses of radiation in the megarad range. Research would later show that this lowly bacterium can withstand 10,000 times the amount of radiation that would normally kill a human being, thanks to a miraculous ability to repair numerous DNA double-strand breaks in a matter of hours.

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Finally! Scientists Find Way of Making Non-Alcoholic Beer Taste Just Like the Real Thing

It’s no secret that non-alcoholic beer tastes much worse than regular lager, but scientists in Denmark now claim to have developed a way of making it taste just as satisfying.

When making alcohol-free beer, either by heating it up or by minimizing fermentation, what is lost is the complex aroma of the hops. However, after decades of having to put with the flat and watery taste of non-alcoholic beer, we can now enjoy the satisfying taste of the real thing, minus the alcohol. Researchers led by Sotirios Kampranis, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, engineered a species of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce a group of molecules called monoterpenoids, which are found in hops.

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Scientists Create Strong Bubble That Only Popped After 465 Days

Bubbles are fragile structures that only last a few seconds before popping, but a team of scientists has apparently found a way to keep bubbles from bursting for over a year.

Soap bubbles are subject to a series of processes that cause them to pop in a matter of seconds, minutes at best. They lose liquid through evaporation or gravitational drainage, and the gas trapped inside also diffuses through the membrane of soap and water back into the environment. However, a team of scientists at the University of Lille, in France, have been working on ways to address the fragility and ephemerality of bubbles, and they’ve apparently come up with a way of creating bubbles that maintain their shape and size for over a year.

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This Weird Parasite Is The Only Known Animal That Can Survive Without Oxygen

Henneguya salminicola, a tadpole-like parasite that infects salmon, has a rather unique superpower – it can survive without oxygen.

When examining Henneguya salminicola, researchers noticed something really strange: the microscopic parasite appeared to have no mitochondrial genome. The mitochondria, commonly known as “the powerhouses of the cell”, are organelles that rely on oxygen in order to produce energy. At first, scientists at Tel Aviv University thought it was a mistake, so they ran the analysis again, and confirmed that the parasite had no mitochondrial genome at all, meaning it did not generate energy the way all other known animals do. Although other single-cell organisms, like amoebas and fungi, have also developed the ability to survive in anaerobic environments, no animals – Henneguya salminicola qualifies as one despite having less than 10 cells – had been known to do that until now.

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New Technology Tracks Facial Muscle Movements to Expose Liars

When it comes to telling when someone is lying, we currently have very few options, but a team of Israeli researchers claims to have come up with something better than anything we’ve seen before.

Using stickers printed on soft surfaces containing electrodes that monitor and measure the activity of muscles and nerves, a team of researchers led by Prof. Dino Levy from Tel Aviv University, discovered that some people involuntarily activate muscles in their cheeks and eyebrows when they lie. No sensors had been able to measure these subtle muscle contractions before, but the innovative ones invented by Prof. Yael Hanein and sold by Israeli company X-trodes proved sensitive enough. Tests revealed a 73% success rate of lie identification, better than any existing technology.

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Innovative Company Uses Kinetic Energy to “Throw” Rockets Into Space

California-based startup SpinLaunch has been making news headlines for its innovative approach to space flight – using a vacuum-sealed centrifuge to hurl rockets into space.

SpinLaunch has been working on a launch system that uses kinetic energy as its primary method. It relies on a complex mechanism that includes a vacuum-sealed centrifuge to spin the space rocket at several times the speed of sound before launching it upwards through a chute. If successful, SpinLaunch’s system could prove to be the most cost-effective and most reliable way of getting objects into outer space. The company has already had a successful launch in October, using its SpacePort suborbital accelerator in New Mexico to get a prototype vehicle tens of thousands of feet into the atmosphere.

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Japan Starts Selling World’s First Genome-Edited Tomato

Sicilian Rouge High GABA is a special type of tomato designed to contain high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid believed to aid relaxation and help lower blood pressure.

Tokyo-based startup Sanatech Seed Co. teamed up with scientists at the University of Tsukuba to develop a new variety of tomatoes using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. Named Sicilian Rouge High GABA, this new type of tomato contains five to six times the normal level of a type of amino acid called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. According to Japanese media, the company removed an inhibitory domain within the tomato’s genome to enable it to produce these high levels of GABA.

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Scientists Baffled by Man Who Can Change His Pupil Size on Command

A 23-year-old student in Germany can reportedly shrink and enlarge his pupils on command, a feat previously thought to be physically impossible.

The dilation and constriction of the pupil were believed to be completely automated processes triggered by various factors, like entering a bright or dark environment, but a recent case study suggests that isn’t always the case. A young student in Germany is believed to be able to voluntarily control the tiny muscles that adjust the size of the pupil, a feat once thought to be impossible. The authors point out that while some people can alter their pupil size via “indirect methods”, this person is instead able to directly control the sphincter muscle in his eyes to adjust the size of his pupils.

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Genetically-Modified Plants Glow When They Are Stressed

A team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has managed to genetically modify potato plants to glow under fluorescent cameras when stressed by various factors.

One of the biggest challenges of modern agriculture is reacting to stress factors before it’s too late. Plants don’t really have a way of conveying how they feel, and, more often than not, by the time visible symptoms appear, it’s already too late to do anything about it. But scientists are hoping to fix this big problem with the help of advanced genetic manipulation. A team of Israeli researchers led by Dr. Shilo Rosenwaser managed to genetically modify a potato plant so that it glows under fluorescent camera when affected by physical stress (lack of water, cold weather, lack of sunlight, strong light etc.).

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This Flower Smells Like Dead Insects to Attract Specific Pollinators

A one-of-a-kind flower endemic to Greece is believed to emit a scent similar to that of decomposing insects in order to attract one of its main pollinators, the coffin fly.

Flowers are usually associated with sweet, pleasant smells, but truth is that not all flowers smell nice. In fact, some smell like some of the grossest thing in the world, and that’s by design, because their pollinators are actually attracted to these disgusting scents. Take Aristolochia microstoma, a small flower endemic to Greece, which deceives its main pollinator, the coffin fly, by emitting a highly unusual mix of scents that includes a compound found in dead beetles. As their name suggests, coffin flies are attracted to carrion, to the scent lures them into the flower where they are trapped long enough to deposit any pollen they carry onto the female organs.

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Scientists Now Know Why These French Rabbits Do Handstands When Moving Fast

For over a century, animal experts have known that a certain variety of rabbits move exclusively on their front legs when trying to move fast, but they’ve only recently learned why that is.

The Sauteur d’Alfort, also known as the Alfort jumping rabbit have baffled scientists for more than a decade. Unlike other rabbit varieties, the sauteur d-Alfort have a uniquely acrobatic way of moving. Over short distances, when moving slowly, they walk on all four limbs, but their hind legs hit the floor one after another, rather than at the same time. But the truly remarkable thing happens when it needs to move faster. Rather than hopping, it quickly lifts its hind legs above its head and starts moving on its front legs alone. Experiments done decades ago showed that the sauteur was incapable of hopping, but thanks to modern technology, scientists know exactly why that is.

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