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Scientist Are Investigating Outer space Cold Air to Rethink Air conditioning

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California-based company called SkyCool Systems is in the early stages of manufacturing a cooling system that’s more energy efficient than anything humans have used for a century using radiative cooling.

When the sun has set and the cooler evening begins, just about everything on Earth—the soil, the grass, the roofs of homes, even people—give off heat. A lot of that heat rises up into the atmosphere where it effectively transmits out into space, never returning to Earth. The night sky is very cold, and objects sending heat upward at night send up more heat than the whole sky is sending back down.

During ancient times people in India and Iran used a basic concept to make ice in climates with temperatures above freezing. Water was filled into large and shallow ceramic pools that were surrounded and insulated by hay, and then the pools were left out on clear nights. It sounds counterintuitive, but if the air wasn’t too far above freezing, the heat emitted by the water made it lower in temperature than the surrounding air, allowing it to freeze. It’s the same principle at play when you wake up on a summer morning to find a layer of frost or dew.

 

Tufts University Connection To Purdue Pharma’s Connection To OxyContin

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Tufts University is reviewing its connection to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma in the wake of court documents filed last week detailing explosive allegations about the company, the mega-donors that own it and their alleged influence over the university’s medical school.

The court filing from Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey alleges that members of the Sackler family knew the opioid was causing overdoses and were involved in efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the powerful painkiller’s effects. They did not tell authorities about reports the drug was being abused and peddled on the street, it says.

The filing claims one member of the family, Richard Sackler, wanted to blame abusers, writing in a 2001 email that abusers “are the culprits and the problem” and that they “are reckless criminals,”.

The filing alleges that Purdue funded “an entire degree program at Tufts University to influence Massachusetts doctors to use its drugs.” Purdue sponsored an annual “Sackler Lecture” at Tufts on pain medicine, and Richard Sackler for many years held a seat on the school of medicine’s board, it alleges. (Purdue Pharma is unrelated to the university in Indiana.)

A Tufts spokesman, Patrick Collins, issued a statement Friday saying that the university has been and remains deeply committed to the highest ethical and scientific standards.

“The information raised in the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other defendants is deeply troubling,” it said. “We will be undertaking a review of Tufts’ connection with Purdue to ensure that we were provided accurate information, that we followed our conflict of interest guidelines and that we adhered to our principles of academic and research integrity. Based on this review, we will determine if any changes need to be made moving forward.”

It appears that members of the Sackler family have given money to many universities and museums over the years. Donations have resulted in their names being inscribed on campuses, including the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education at Tufts and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University.

The Boston Globe noted Harvard Art Museums have pointed out that the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation provides no continuing funding for the museum:

“Arthur Sackler generously donated the funds in 1982 that paid for the construction of the original building that housed the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at 485 Broadway. In 2014, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum was relocated to 32 Quincy Street, as part of the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums.”

Tufts provided similar background information in response to a question about the Somerville mayor’s call to remove the Sackler name from campus:

“The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences was established in 1980 by Jean Mayer, then president of Tufts University, and the Board of Trustees to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary graduate education to advance health. In 1983, Jean Mayer and the Board of Trustees established the Arthur M. Sackler Center. In both cases, the naming gifts were provided to the university more than a decade before OxyContin was introduced to the marketplace.”

A lengthy 2017 feature in The New Yorker says he became wealthy marketing the tranquilizers Librium and Valium. It quoted Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, saying that, “Most of the questionable practices that propelled the pharmaceutical industry into the scourge it is today can be attributed to Arthur Sackler.”

In 2014, Purdue medical liaison staff “succeeded in getting two Purdue unbranded curricula approved for teaching” to Tufts students, it alleges.

Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Conn., did not respond to requests for comment. The company sent a statement to WBUR saying Healey is attempting to vilify “a single manufacturer whose medicines represent less than 2 percent of opioid pain prescriptions rather than doing the hard work of trying to solve a complex public health crisis.”

It also said that “the complaint distorts critical facts and cynically conflates prescription opioid medications with illegal heroin and fentanyl, which are the leading cause of overdose deaths in Massachusetts.”

Almost 218,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2017, according to the CDC. Overdose deaths from prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than they were in 1999.

Chinese Scientists Still Pressing Ahead To Perfect Human Gene-Editing Technology

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Oncologist Lu You at China’s Sichuan University said a trial he is leading, using Crispr on 10 lung cancer patients, is done and the data will be ready for submission to a scientific journal next month. Meanwhile, at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing, the head of the biotherapeutic department said it is proceeding with five Crispr-related trials in adult cancer patients. Crispr is still nascent and all side effects are not yet known. A Chinese branch of the World Health Organization has withdrawn an application to register He Jiankui’s project in its clinical database. … Has he surfaced yet?

 

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Definition Of A Kilogram Will change This Week

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The official definition of a kilogram is currently determined as the mass of a metal cylinder...
The official definition of a kilogram is currently determined as the mass of a metal cylinder called the International Prototype of the Kilogram, but that could be about to change(Credit: Greg L)

Scientists from around the world have been debating and discussing on whether the kilogram, the mole, the ampere and the kelvin should be changed to more stable and reliable definitions. They are meeting in Paris on Friday to vote.

As it stands now, the kilogram is the only unit of measurement to still be based on a physical object – specifically, a lump of metal in a vault in France. This International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) has been the official standard since 1879, but it isn’t as unchanging as you might think.

Naturally, the IPK has been gathering microscopic contaminants during the past 140-odd years, meaning the official definition of a kilogram has to keep being updated to match the new mass, while the artefact itself needs to undergo regular cleaning. Complicating things further, 40 “exact” copies of the IPK were made and distributed to institutions around the world, but their own masses are also changing slowly at different rates, meaning their definitions are drifting out of sync.

If the vote is successful, going forward the kilogram will be defined by the Planck constant. This is calculated in an instrument known as a Kibble balance, which suspends a 1-kg weight using electromagnetic forces. The constant is the amount of energy it takes to balance the weight, and after years of experiments and measurements, that value has been determined to a precise degree.

If the vote goes ahead, the redefinitions are set to officially come into effect on May 20, 2019, which is World Metrology Day.

 

Canada’s Natural Chlorine less Swimming Pool

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The city of Edmonton opened Canada’s first all-natural pool, without any chlorine, this month. Costing CAD 14.4 million to construct, the Borden Natural Swimming Pool uses plankton, a filtration system and aquatic plants to remove contaminants from the water. Natural pools are said to offer a ‘cleaner’ experience, which means that swimmers won’t feel the effects of chlorine (like itchy eyes), and be more energy efficient than a regular pool. In order to prevent pathogens from forming, the Borden pool will be colder than most (23 degrees Celsius versus the common 28–29). Swimmers cannot wear cotton, which can harm the aquatic plants, and must use phosphate-free sunscreen.

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Sneakers Designed To Improve Athletic Performance

These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.

Source: MIT Design Lab, powered by Biorealize
These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.

 Puma and MIT Design Lab is developing products with a biological makeup. The idea behind this collaboration is that there is a more complete athletic experience when humans wear living, adaptable products.

“Deep Learning Insoles” and “Breathing Shoes.”

 Bacteria is the secret ingredient to the Deep Learning Insoles. Placed inside discreet crevices on the top layer of the insole, bacteria is able to detect compounds present in sweat. The bacteria then responds by changing the conductivity of the insole. The next layer registers these changes. The third and final layer broadcasts the information to the user’s smart device. Users can read all about their fatigue and performance level in real time.

The Breathing Shoe has a biologically active shoe material that is home to microorganisms. The material learns a user’s specific heat patterns and opens up ventilation based on those user-specific heat patterns. Every user winds up with a unique shoe.

Virtual Reality In The Classroom

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VR along with related technologies, AR and MR shows genuine potential to enhance learning outcomes for students of all ages across a variety of disciplines.

The benefits of VR in particular are based around participatory as opposed to passive learning to drive greater knowledge retention.

The virtual tour has been promoted as the premier application for the utilization of VR in K-12 to date, allowing students to visit locations outside of the classroom without the associated cost of a real life field trip.

The medical sector has been another area of focus with a number of high profile trials taking place including those sponsored by Pearson and Microsoft. Virtual labs to support scientists in conducting otherwise dangerous or costly experiments are also an opportunity for scalable VR deployment going forwards and unlike virtual tour applications, offer potential for monetization. Language learning offers similarities to simulation based training experiences with existing provision to the consumer market expected to translate to institutional sales in the mid to long term.

Creative tools servicing specific vocational subjects like architecture, engineering and product design are also expected to be a key driver for VR adoption in universities but these solutions are typically provided to students without charge by providers looking to seed future users in industry.

Head mounted display (HMD) manufacturers including Oculus, Google and Microsoft are partnering with educational publishers and content providers to develop content for education. Shipments of VR headsets to the higher and further education sector are expected to reach 700,000 units in 2021 accounting for $150 million in revenue. PC based and all in one solutions (the combined purchase of a headset and mobile device) are each forecast to account for a sizeable share of shipments. Sales of higher priced AR headsets are expected to escalate later in the forecast period with major hardware releases slated for the back end of the decade.

In the K-12 market, the number of students accessing HMD based VR/MR/AR content in K-12 institutions is expected to grow from 2.1 million in 2016 to 82.7 million in 2021. The majority of use cases will be supported by all in one headsets.

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