NYC Will Require Vaccines For Entry To Restaurants and Gyms; Requirement Can Be Met With An App

1 hour 42 minutes ago
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that New York City will become the first major U.S. city to require proof of vaccination to enter all restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues. "If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things," de Blasio said. "If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated." As The Verge reports, "New Yorkers can meet those requirements by carrying their vaccination card or scanning and storing it in one of two authorized mobile apps." From the report: The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant is being cited as a reason to increase restrictions without returning to a full lockdown or other measures. The program is scheduled to launch on August 13th, with enforcement slated to start on September 13th. It doesn't introduce any new documentation; the name is a reference to it serving as a "key" to the city's recovery. Workers and patrons can confirm their vaccination status (at least one dose administered) in one of three ways: Vaccination card; NYC COVID Safe exposure notification app (iOS, Android); or NYS Excelsior Pass app.

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Boeing Scrubs Launch of Starliner Crew Capsule To Space Station

8 hours 21 minutes ago
The launch of Boeing's Starliner crew capsule on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station was scrubbed Tuesday because of an undisclosed technical issue. Mission managers told the launch team to recycle for another attempt Wednesday at 12:57 p.m. ET, weather permitting. From a report: The launching atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket initially was planned for last Friday, but NASA ordered a delay while Russian space station engineers resolved problems with a newly arrived laboratory module. Over the weekend, the Starliner launch was reset for Tuesday. Forecasters monitoring Florida's typically stormy summer afternoon weather predicted a 60% chance of acceptable conditions then lowered the odds to 50-50. The team pressed ahead with fueling, but around 10:30 a.m., Boeing confirmed a scrub, tweeting, "We're confirming today's #Starliner Orbital Flight Test-2 launch is scrubbed. More details soon." The Starliner flight marks a major milestone for Boeing and NASA as the agency transitions from hitching rides aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft to fielding commercial crew ships built by Boeing and SpaceX. SpaceX, under a $2.6 billion NASA contract, launched its Crew Dragon spacecraft on a successful unpiloted test flight in 2019 and a piloted test flight last year. Since then, the California rocket builder has launched two operational flights to the space station carrying two long-duration crews to the outpost.

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A Magnetic Helmet Shrunk a Deadly Tumor In World-First Test

11 hours 22 minutes ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: As part of the latest neurological breakthrough, researchers used a helmet that generates a magnetic field to shrink a deadly tumor by a third. The 53-year-old patient who underwent the treatment ultimately passed away due to an unrelated injury. But, an autopsy of his brain showed that the procedure had removed 31 percent of the tumor mass in a short time. The test marked the first noninvasive therapy for a deadly form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma. The helmet features three rotating magnets connected to a microprocessor-based electronic controller operated by a rechargeable battery. As part of the therapy, the patient wore the device for five weeks at a clinic and then at home with the help of his wife. The resulting magnetic field therapy created by the helmet was administered for two hours initially and then ramped up to a maximum of six hours per day. During the period, the patient's tumor mass and volume shrunk by nearly a third, with shrinkage appearing to correlate with the treatment dose. The inventors of the device -- which received FDA approval for compassionate use treatment -- claim it could one day help treat brain cancer without radiation or chemotherapy. "Our results... open a new world of non-invasive and nontoxic therapy...with many exciting possibilities for the future," said David S. Baskin, corresponding author and director of the Kenneth R. Peak Center for Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment in the Department of Neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. Details of the procedure have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Oncology.

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A Plant That 'Cannot Die' Reveals Its Genetic Secrets

1 day 2 hours ago
Events in the genome of Welwitschia have given it the ability to survive in an unforgiving desert for thousands of years. From a report: The longest-lived leaves in the plant kingdom can be found only in the harsh, hyperarid desert that crosses the boundary between southern Angola and northern Namibia. A desert is not, of course, the most hospitable place for living things to grow anything, let alone leafy greens, but the Namib Desert -- the world's oldest with parts receiving less than two inches of precipitation a year -- is where Welwitschia calls home. In Afrikaans, the plant is named "tweeblaarkanniedood," which means "two leaves that cannot die." The naming is apt: Welwitschia grows only two leaves -- and continuously -- in a lifetime that can last millenniums. "Most plants develop a leaf, and that's it," said Andrew Leitch, a plant geneticist at Queen Mary University of London. "This plant can live thousands of years, and it never stops growing. When it does stop growing, it's dead." Some of the largest plants are believed to be over 3,000 years old, with two leaves steadily growing since the beginning of the Iron Age, when the Phoenician alphabet was invented and David was crowned King of Israel. By some accounts, Welwitschia is not much to look at. Its two fibrous leaves, buffeted by dry desert winds and fed on by thirsty animals, become shredded and curled over time, giving Welwitschia a distinctly octopus-like look. One 19th-century director of Kew Gardens in London remarked, "it is out of the question the most wonderful plant ever brought to this country and one of the ugliest." But since it was first discovered, Welwitschia has captivated biologists including Charles Darwin and the botanist Friedrich Welwitsch after whom the plant is named: It is said that when Welwitsch first came across the plant in 1859, "he could do nothing but kneel down on the burning soil and gaze at it, half in fear lest a touch should prove it a figment of the imagination." In a study published last month in Nature Communications, researchers report some of the genetic secrets behind Welwitschia's unique shape, extreme longevity and profound resilience.

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To Fight Vaccine Misinformation, US Recruits an 'Influencer Army'

1 day 19 hours ago
The New York Times tells the story of 17-year-old Ellie Zeiler, a TikTok creator with over 10 million followers, who received an email in June from Village Marketing, an influencer marketing agency. "It said it was reaching out on behalf of another party: the White House." Would Ms. Zeiler, a high school senior who usually posts short fashion and lifestyle videos, be willing, the agency wondered, to participate in a White House-backed campaign encouraging her audience to get vaccinated against the coronavirus...? Ms. Zeiler quickly agreed, joining a broad, personality-driven campaign to confront an increasingly urgent challenge in the fight against the pandemic: vaccinating the youthful masses, who have the lowest inoculation rates of any eligible age group in the United States... To reach these young people, the White House has enlisted an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers and the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo, all of them with enormous online audiences. State and local governments have begun similar campaigns, in some cases paying "local micro influencers" — those with 5,000 to 100,000 followers — up to $1,000 a month to promote Covid-19 vaccines to their fans. The efforts are in part a counterattack against a rising tide of vaccine misinformation that has flooded the internet, where anti-vaccine activists can be so vociferous that some young creators say they have chosen to remain silent on vaccines to avoid a politicized backlash... State and local governments have taken the same approach, though on a smaller scale and sometimes with financial incentives. In February, Colorado awarded a contract worth up to $16.4 million to the Denver-based Idea Marketing, which includes a program to pay creators in the state $400 to $1,000 a month to promote the vaccines... Posts by creators in the campaign carry a disclosure that reads "paid partnership with Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment...." Other places, including New Jersey, Oklahoma City County and Guildford County, N.C., as well as cities like San Jose, Calif., have worked with the digital marketing agency XOMAD, which identifies local influencers who can help broadcast public health information about the vaccines. In another article, the Times notes that articles blaming Bill Gates for the pandemic appeared on two local news sites (one in Atlanta, and one in Phoenix) that "along with dozens of radio and television stations, and podcasts aimed at local audiences...have also become powerful conduits for anti-vaccine messaging, researchers said."

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EditorDavid

Hundreds of AI Tools Were Built to Catch Covid. None of Them Helped

2 days 3 hours ago
At the start of the pandemic, remembers MIT Technology Review's senior editor for AI, the community "rushed to develop software that many believed would allow hospitals to diagnose or triage patients faster, bringing much-needed support to the front lines — in theory. "In the end, many hundreds of predictive tools were developed. None of them made a real difference, and some were potentially harmful." That's the damning conclusion of multiple studies published in the last few months. In June, the Turing Institute, the UK's national center for data science and AI, put out a report summing up discussions at a series of workshops it held in late 2020. The clear consensus was that AI tools had made little, if any, impact in the fight against covid. This echoes the results of two major studies that assessed hundreds of predictive tools developed last year. Laure Wynants, an epidemiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands who studies predictive tools, is lead author of one of them, a review in the British Medical Journal that is still being updated as new tools are released and existing ones tested. She and her colleagues have looked at 232 algorithms for diagnosing patients or predicting how sick those with the disease might get. They found that none of them were fit for clinical use. Just two have been singled out as being promising enough for future testing. "It's shocking," says Wynants. "I went into it with some worries, but this exceeded my fears." Wynants's study is backed up by another large review carried out by Derek Driggs, a machine-learning researcher at the University of Cambridge, and his colleagues, and published in Nature Machine Intelligence. This team zoomed in on deep-learning models for diagnosing covid and predicting patient risk from medical images, such as chest x-rays and chest computer tomography (CT) scans. They looked at 415 published tools and, like Wynants and her colleagues, concluded that none were fit for clinical use. "This pandemic was a big test for AI and medicine," says Driggs, who is himself working on a machine-learning tool to help doctors during the pandemic. "It would have gone a long way to getting the public on our side," he says. "But I don't think we passed that test...." If there's an upside, it is that the pandemic has made it clear to many researchers that the way AI tools are built needs to change. "The pandemic has put problems in the spotlight that we've been dragging along for some time," says Wynants. The article suggests researchers collaborate on creating high-quality (and shared) data sets — possibly by creating a common data standard — and also disclose their ultimate models and training protocols for review and extension. "In a sense, this is an old problem with research. Academic researchers have few career incentives to share work or validate existing results. "To address this issue, the World Health Organization is considering an emergency data-sharing contract that would kick in during international health crises."

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EditorDavid

2 Red Objects Found In the Asteroid Belt. They Shouldn't Be There.

2 days 4 hours ago
Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot quotes the New York Times: Two red things are hiding in a part of the solar system where they shouldn't be. The space rocks may have come from beyond Neptune, and potentially offer hints at the chaos of the early solar system. Scientists led by Sunao Hasegawa from JAXA, the Japanese space agency, reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on July 26, 2021 that two objects, called 203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia, spotted in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter appear to have originated beyond Neptune. The discoveries could one day provide direct evidence of the chaos that existed in the early solar system. "If true it would be a huge deal," says Hal Levison, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, who was not involved in the research... "People have been talking about some fraction of asteroids coming from the Kuiper belt for quite a while now," said Josh Emery, a planetary scientist from Northern Arizona University who was not involved in the paper. He said the research "definitely takes a step" toward finding evidence to support that hypothesis. Not everyone is convinced just yet. Dr. Levison, who was also not involved in the paper, says objects should become less red as they approach the sun. "It seems to be inconsistent with our models," said Dr. Levison, who is the head of NASA's Lucy mission, which is scheduled to launch in October to study Jupiter's Trojans [asteroids captured in its orbit]. Michaël Marsset from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-author on the paper, agrees that it's not clear why they would be so red, but it is possibly related to how long it took them to become implanted into the asteroid belt. Some Trojans may also be as red, but haven't been found yet. To truly confirm the origin of 203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia, a spacecraft would likely need to visit them.

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EditorDavid

YouTube Bans Sky News Australia for One Week Over Misinformation

2 days 6 hours ago
"YouTube has barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content for a week, saying it had breached rules on spreading Covid-19 misinformation," writes the BBC. Long-time Slashdot reader Hope Thelps shares their report: YouTube issued a "strike" under its three-strike policy, the last of which means permanent removal. It did not point to specific items but said it opposed material that "could cause real-world harm". The TV channel's digital editor said the decision was a disturbing attack on the ability to think freely. Sky News Australia is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and has 1.85 million YouTube subscribers. The ban could affect its revenue stream from Google. A YouTube statement said it had "clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance". A spokesperson told the Guardian it "did not allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19" or which encouraged people "to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus". Neither has been proven to be effective against Covid.

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EditorDavid

UK Pharmaceutical Firm Fined For Hiking Drug Price 6,000%

2 days 12 hours ago
Slashdot reader Bruce66423 shares a report from the Guardian: The UK's competition watchdog has imposed fines of more than £100m on the pharmaceutical company Advanz and its former private equity owners after it was found to have inflated the price of its thyroid tablets by up to 6,000%. An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that the private-equity backed pharmaceutical company charged "excessive and unfair prices" for liothyronine tablets, which are used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency. Advanz took advantage of limited competition in the market from 2007 to bring in sustained price hikes for the drug, often used by patients with depression and fatigue, of more than 6,000% in the space of 10 years, according to the investigation. The CMA said that between 2007 and 2017, the price paid by the National Health Service for liothyronine tablets rose from £4.46 to £258.19, a rise of almost 6,000%, while production costs remained broadly stable... Dr Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said: "Advanz's decision to ratchet up the price of liothyronine tablets and impose excessive and unfair prices for over eight years came at a huge cost to the NHS, and ultimately to UK taxpayers. "But that wasn't all. It also meant that people dealing with depression and extreme fatigue, as a result of their thyroid conditions, were told they could not continue to receive the most effective treatment for them due its increased price."

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EditorDavid

Nobel Winner Steven Weinberg, Who Unified Two of Physics' Fundamental Forces, Has Died

3 days 3 hours ago
Long-time Slashdot reader Mogster quotes : Steven Weinberg, a Nobel-prize winning physicist whose work helped link two of the four fundamental forces, has died at the age of 88, the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) announced Saturday (July 24). HIs work was foundational to the Standard Model, the overarching physics theory that describes how subatomic particles behave. His seminal work was a slim, three-page paper published in 1967 in the journal Physical Review Letters and entitled "A Model of Leptons." In it, he predicted how subatomic particles known as W, Z and the famous Higgs boson should behave — years before those particles were detected experimentally, according to a statement from UT Austin. The paper also helped unify the electromagnetic force and the weak force and predicted that so-called "neutral weak currents" governed how particles would interact, according to the statement. In 1979, Weinberg and physicists Sheldon Glashow and Abdus Salam earned the Nobel Prize in physics for this work. Throughout his life, Weinberg would continue his search for a unified theory that would unite all four forces, according to the statement. Weinberg also wrote a book called "The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe" — in 1977.

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EditorDavid

Rocket Lab Successfully Carries a US Military Satellite Into Orbit

3 days 6 hours ago
"Resuming launches after a mission failure two months ago, Rocket Lab successfully placed a small U.S. military research and development satellite into orbit Thursday following a fiery liftoff from New Zealand..." reports Spaceflight Now: Heading east from Mahia, the rocket's first stage burned its nine engines for about two-and-a-half minutes, followed by a six-minute firing of the second stage engine to reach a preliminary parking orbit. A kick stage deployed from the the Electron rocket's second stage... Rocket Lab, a California-based company founded in New Zealand, confirmed a good deployment of the U.S. military's small experimental Monolith spacecraft about 52 minutes after liftoff. "Payload deployed, flawless launch and mission by the team!" tweeted Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's founder and CEO. The mission was the 21st flight of a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle since 2017, and the eighth to carry a payload for a U.S. military or intelligence agency customer. It was also the first Rocket Lab mission since May 15, when an Electron rocket failed before reaching orbit with two commercial BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites... The May 15 mission was the third time an Electron rocket failed to reach orbit on 20 attempts since 2017.

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EditorDavid

Early Virus Sequences 'Mysteriously' Deleted Have Been Not-So-Mysteriously Undeleted

3 days 7 hours ago
"A batch of early coronavirus data that went missing for a year has emerged from hiding," reports the New York Times. (Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, had found copies of 13 of the deleted sequences on Google Cloud.) Though their deletion raised some suspicions, "An odd explanation has emerged, stemming from an editorial oversight by a scientific journal," reports the Times. "And the sequences have been uploaded into a different database, overseen by the Chinese government." The Times also notes that the researchers had already posted their early findings online in March 2020: That month, they also uploaded the sequences to an online database called the Sequence Read Archive, which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health, and submitted a paper describing their results to a scientific journal called Small. The paper was published in June 2020... [A] spokeswoman for the N.I.H. said that the authors of the study had requested in June 2020 that the sequences be withdrawn from the database. The authors informed the agency that the sequences were being updated and would be added to a different database... On July 5, more than a year after the researchers withdrew the sequences from the Sequence Read Archive and two weeks after Dr. Bloom's report was published online, the sequences were quietly uploaded to a database maintained by China National Center for Bioinformation by Ben Hu, a researcher at Wuhan University and a co-author of the Small paper. On July 21, the disappearance of the sequences was brought up during a news conference in Beijing... According to a translation of the news conference by a journalist at the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency, the vice minister of China's National Health Commission, Dr. Zeng Yixin, said that the trouble arose when editors at Small deleted a paragraph in which the scientists described the sequences in the Sequence Read Archive. "Therefore, the researchers thought it was no longer necessary to store the data in the N.C.B.I. database," Dr. Zeng said, referring to the Sequence Read Archive, which is run by the N.I.H. An editor at Small, which specializes in science at the micro and nano scale and is based in Germany, confirmed his account. "The data availability statement was mistakenly deleted," the editor, Plamena Dogandzhiyski, wrote in an email. "We will issue a correction very shortly, which will clarify the error and include a link to the depository where the data is now hosted." The journal posted a formal correction to that effect on Thursday. While the researchers' first report had described their sequences as coming from patients "early in the epidemic," thus provoking intense curiosity, the sequences were, as promised, updated, to include a more specific date after they were published in the database, according to the Times. "They were taken from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University on January 30 — almost two months after the earliest reports of Covid-19 in China."

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EditorDavid

Government Denies Blue Origin's Challenge To NASA's Lunar Lander Program

3 days 17 hours ago
The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Friday denied protests from companies affiliated with Jeff Bezos that NASA wrongly awarded a lucrative astronaut lunar lander contract solely to Elon Musk's SpaceX. CNBC reports: "NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award ... the evaluation of all three proposals was reasonable, and consistent with applicable procurement law, regulation, and the announcement's terms," GAO managing associate general counsel Kenneth Patton wrote in a statement. The GAO ruling backs the space agency's surprise announcement in April that NASA awarded SpaceX with a contract worth about $2.9 billion. SpaceX was competing with Blue Origin and Dynetics for what was expected to be two contracts, before NASA only awarded a single contract due to a lower-than-expected allocation for the program from Congress. NASA, in a statement, said that the GAO decision will allow the agency "to establish a timeline for the first crewed landing on the Moon in more than 50 years." "As soon as possible, NASA will provide an update on the way ahead for Artemis, the human landing system, and humanity's return to the Moon. We will continue to work with the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure funding for a robust and sustainable approach for the nation's return to the Moon in a collaborative effort with U.S. commercial partners," the U.S. space agency said. A Blue Origin spokesperson told CNBC that the company still believes "there were fundamental issues with NASA's decision, but the GAO wasn't able to address them due to their limited jurisdiction." "We'll continue to advocate for two immediate providers as we believe it is the right solution," Blue Origin said. "The Human Landing System program needs to have competition now instead of later -- that's the best solution for NASA and the best solution for our country."

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Virtual Contact Worse Than No Contact For Over-60s In Lockdown, Says Study

3 days 20 hours ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Virtual contact during the pandemic made many over-60s feel lonelier and more depressed than no contact at all, new research has found. Many older people stayed in touch with family and friends during lockdown using the phone, video calls, and other forms of virtual contact. Zoom choirs, online book clubs and virtual bedtime stories with grandchildren helped many stave off isolation. But the study, among the first to comparatively assess social interactions across households and mental wellbeing during the pandemic, found many older people experienced a greater increase in loneliness and long-term mental health disorders as a result of the switch to online socializing than those who spent the pandemic on their own. The problem [said Dr Yang Hu of Lancaster University, who co-wrote the report, published on Monday in Frontiers in Sociology] was that older people unfamiliar with technology found it stressful to learn how to use it. But even those who were familiar with technology often found the extensive use of the medium over lockdown so stressful that it was more damaging to their mental health than simply coping with isolation and loneliness. "Extensive exposure to digital means of communication can also cause burnout. The results are very consistent," said Hu, who collected data from 5,148 people aged 60 or over in the UK and 1,391 in the US -- both before and during the pandemic. "It's not only loneliness that was made worse by virtual contact, but general mental health: these people were more depressed, more isolated and felt more unhappy as a direct result of their use of virtual contact," he said. "We need to have disaster preparedness," he said. "We need to equip older people with the digital capacity to be able to use technology for the next time a disaster like this comes around." Hu added: "Policymakers and practitioners need to take measures to pre-empt and mitigate the potential unintended implications of household-centerd pandemic responses for mental wellbeing."

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New Exotic Matter Particle, a Tetraquark, Discovered

4 days 3 hours ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Today, the LHCb experiment at CERN is presenting a new discovery at the European Physical Society Conference on High Energy Physics (EPS-HEP). The new particle discovered by LHCb, labeled as Tcc+, is a tetraquark -- an exotic hadron containing two quarks and two antiquarks. It is the longest-lived exotic matter particle ever discovered, and the first to contain two heavy quarks and two light antiquarks. Quarks are the fundamental building blocks from which matter is constructed. They combine to form hadrons, namely baryons, such as the proton and the neutron, which consist of three quarks, and mesons, which are formed as quark-antiquark pairs. In recent years a number of so-called exotic hadrons -- particles with four or five quarks, instead of the conventional two or three -- have been found. Today's discovery is of a particularly unique exotic hadron, an exotic exotic hadron if you like. The new particle contains two charm quarks and an up and a down antiquark. Several tetraquarks have been discovered in recent years (including one with two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks), but this is the first one that contains two charm quarks, without charm antiquarks to balance them. Physicists call this "open charm" (in this case, "double open charm"). Particles containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark have "hidden charm" -- the charm quantum number for the whole particle adds up to zero, just like a positive and a negative electrical charge would do. Here the charm quantum number adds up to two, so it has twice the charm! The quark content of Tcc+, has other interesting features besides being open charm. It is the first particle to be found that belongs to a class of tetraquarks with two heavy quarks and two light antiquarks. Such particles decay by transforming into a pair of mesons, each formed by one of the heavy quarks and one of the light antiquarks. According to some theoretical predictions, the mass of tetraquarks of this type should be very close to the sum of masses of the two mesons. Such proximity in mass makes the decay "difficult," resulting in a longer lifetime of the particle, and indeed Tcc+, is the longest-lived exotic hadron found to date.

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A Time Crystal Finally Made Real

4 days 5 hours ago
In a preprint posted online Thursday night, researchers at Google in collaboration with physicists at Stanford, Princeton and other universities say that they have used Google's quantum computer to demonstrate a genuine "time crystal" for the first time. From a report: A novel phase of matter that physicists have strived to realize for many years, a time crystal is an object whose parts move in a regular, repeating cycle, sustaining this constant change without burning any energy. "The consequence is amazing: You evade the second law of thermodynamics," said co-author Roderich Moessner, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany. That's the law that says disorder always increases. Time crystals are also the first objects to spontaneously break "time-translation symmetry," the usual rule that a stable object will remain the same throughout time. A time crystal is both stable and ever-changing, with special moments that come at periodic intervals in time. The time crystal is a new category of phases of matter, expanding the definition of what a phase is. All other known phases, like water or ice, are in thermal equilibrium: Their constituent atoms have settled into the state with the lowest energy permitted by the ambient temperature, and their properties don't change with time. The time crystal is the first "out-of-equilibrium" phase: It has order and perfect stability despite being in an excited and evolving state. "This is just this completely new and exciting space that we're working in now," said Vedika Khemani, a condensed matter physicist now at Stanford who co-discovered the novel phase while she was a graduate student and co-authored the new paper.

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'The War Has Changed': Internal CDC Document Urges New Messaging, Warns Delta Infections Likely More Severe

4 days 9 hours ago
Yasmeen Abutaleb, Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Joel Achenbach, reporting at Washington Post: The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must "acknowledge the war has changed." The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation's top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus. The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold. It cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant. "I finished reading it significantly more concerned than when I began," Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, wrote in an email. CDC scientists were so alarmed by the new research that the agency earlier this week significantly changed guidance for vaccinated people even before making new data public. The data and studies cited in the document played a key role in revamped recommendations that call for everyone -- vaccinated or not -- to wear masks indoors in public settings in certain circumstances, a federal health official said.

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IBM's AI Can Predict How Parkinson's Disease May Progress In Individuals

4 days 11 hours ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: [R]esearchers from IBM and Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) say they've developed a program that can predict how the symptoms of a Parkinson's disease patient will progress in terms of both timing and severity. In The Lancet Digital Health journal, they claim the software could transform how doctors help patients manage their symptoms by allowing them to better predict how the disease will progress. The breakthrough wouldn't have been possible without the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, a study the Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored. IBM describes the dataset, which includes information on more than 1,400 individuals, as the "largest and most robust volume of longitudinal Parkinson's patient data to date" and says it allowed its AI model to map out complex symptom and progression patterns.

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ISS Briefly Loses Control After New Russian Module Misfires

5 days ago
destinyland shares a report from CNN: An unusual and potentially dangerous situation unfolded Thursday at the International Space Station, as the newly-docked Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired its thrusters causing a "tug of war" with the space station and briefly pushing it out of position, according to NASA flight controllers. Nauka -- a long-delayed laboratory module that Russian space agency Roscosmos' launched to the International Space Station last week -- inadvertently fired its thrusters after docking with the International Space Station Thursday morning. NASA officials declared it a "spacecraft emergency" as the space station experienced a loss of attitude (the angle at which the ISS is supposed to remain oriented) control for nearly one hour, and ground controllers lost communications with the seven astronauts currently aboard the ISS for 11 minutes during the ordeal. A joint investigation between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos is now ongoing. "The incident also delayed the launch of the Boeing Starliner uncrewed test flight to the station, which had been set to launch on Friday," adds CNN. "NASA says the move allows the 'International Space Station team time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos' Nauka module and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival.'"

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The European Union Pulls Ahead of the United States In Vaccinations

5 days 2 hours ago
gollum123 shares a report from The New York Times: The 27 member states of the European Union altogether have now administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the United States, in another sign that inoculations across the bloc have maintained some speed throughout the summer, while they have stagnated for weeks in the United States. E.U. countries had administered 102.66 doses per 100 people as of Tuesday, while the United States had administered 102.44, according to the latest vaccination figures compiled by Our World in Data. This month, the European Union also overtook the United States in first injections; currently, 58 percent of people across the bloc have received a dose, compared with 56.5 percent in the United States. The latest figures provide a stark contrast with the early stages of the vaccination campaigns this year, when E.U. countries, facing a shortage of doses and delayed deliveries, looked in envy at the initially more successful efforts in the United States, Britain and Israel. But the European Union is now vaccinating its populations at a faster pace than most developed countries. More than 70 percent of adults in the bloc have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

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BeauHD
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