Urinating and pouring alcohol on a jellyfish sting are some of the most commonly suggested home remedies. But, a new study has cautioned that such remedies can actually make things worse for the victim.
Urine contains urea that helps with tentacle removal, but it is too diluted to help the victim. The salt in the pee can trigger more nematocysts, giving a burning sensation to the skin. Moreover, peeing on someone or in someone’s presence is quite embarrassing for everyone involved.
The new study also warned that scraping away the tentacles is not a good idea as pressure can trigger the nematocysts. Alcohol can make them fire off even more, while other DIY remedies like baking soda and shaving cream have no effect on the stingers.
Lead researcher Prof. Angel Yanagihara of University of Hawaii, said, “Anyone … encounter authoritative web articles claiming the best thing to do is rinse the area with seawater, scrape away any remaining tentacles, and then treat the sting with ice. Not only did they find out some didn’t work, research showed some actions actually worsened stings.”
However, vinegar works as it prevents the nematocysts from firing off. Thus, if a jelly fish stings you, you should pour some concentrated vinegar on the affected area.
The new study, conducted to test the validity of the home remedies, was detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Toxins.General: Science NewsRegion: Hawaii
Marine biologists are struggling to figure out why humpback whales, typically solitary creatures, are hanging out in densely packed “super groups” off the coast of South Africa.
Experts said humpback whales typically hang out in groups of up to 20, but they are suddenly hanging out in group of up to 200, and they are focused on feeding.
Lead researcher Ken Findlay said, “When you’re in a small boat with 200 humpback whales around you — they’re 14-meter animals — and you’ve got whales popping up all around you, it’s a really incredible experience.”
Precise reason for the whales’ this recent novel behavior pattern remains speculative. However, some experts believe that it could be because of swelling numbers of humpback whales in the region in addition to abundance of prey.
The findings are based on observations conducted during October and November, which are spring-summer months in South Africa, in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
The researchers from South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs reported their findings in the latest edition of the PLOS One journal.General: Science NewsResearchRegion: South Africa
After Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T, telecommunication services providers Sprint and U.S. Cellular have also kicked off preorders for the LG G6 on their respective networks.
Sprint is offering the LG G6 for $29.50 per month, stretched more than two years. However, customers can also pay the total amount of $708 outright. The handset’s shipping will start on April 7, 2017.
Sprint CTO John Saw said in a statement, “The debut of LG G6 is an important step forward in building the global HPUE ecosystem with progress being made in record time after the standardization of the technology in December.”
Announcing preorders for the LG G6, Sprint also made a lucrative offer by offering a Google Home speaker for nothing. In addition, Sprint announced its decision to give buyers a 49-inch LG 1080p HDTV free of cost.
U.S. Cellular has also started accepting preorders for the LG G6, with shipments slated for April 7. It is offering the Google Home speaker worth $129 for free. However, it isn’t offering a free TV.
The above-mentioned offers are valid for a limited time period and can only be availed through online registration fro the new handset.Companies: LGSprintTechnology: TechnologyPeople: John Saw
Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was a part of the Apollo 11 Moon mission in July 1969, has cautioned that Elon Musk-led SpaceX’s ambitious plan to send humans to Mars to colonize the Red Planet may not be easy.
In September last year, Musk revealed plans to travel to Mars and colonize the neighboring planet. He outlined the spaceships and rockets needed to send humans to the Red Planet. However, the plans fall short of information on how the first humans on Mars will be able to stay there.
Aldrin said that Musk’s has a myopic view because instead of focusing on what humans will do upon their arrival on the Red Planet, he is focusing on the travel.
The 87-year-old former astronaut said, “We know how to get to Mars. We are going to build a big rocket, put a dragon on top, and go land on Mars … You have got to live in something. You have to prepare for all of that. We don't have to get people there until we need to do the delicate [work].”
Some experts have suggested an intermediate step. The idea is to use Mars’ moon Phobos as a place to land on first and make final preparations for reaching the surface of the Red Planet.
Aldrin isn’t the first to raise questions on Musk’s plan to colonize the Red Planet. Previously, NASA scientists echoed similar concerns as survival on the Red Planet will largely be hinged on how efficiently humans will be able to adapt to the planet’s harsh environment.Companies: NASAGeneral: Science NewsPeople: Elon Musk
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted that two Russian FSB agents played a key role in the 2014 Yahoo hacking attack which compromised hundreds of millions of Yahoo email accounts.
Russian agents Igor Sushchin and Dmitry Dokuchaev reportedly paid hackers to hack into Yahoo’s cyber security and gain access to accounts containing personal and sensitive information about the owners, including their birth dates, contacts and other email accounts.
Apart from paying the hackers, the two Russian agents also facilitated and protected them during the hack as well as directed them what to do.
News of Russian agents’ involvement in the case emerged as part of the indictment that started making rounds yesterday when the DOJ would reportedly be handing down the charges.
One of the hackers named in the indictment is Alexsey Belan, one the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted cyber criminals. A Canadian hacker identified as Karim Baratov was taken into custody just yesterday.
Belan has escaped to Russia as the U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Russia. American authorities may never be able to arrest three Russian defendants who have been named in the case. However, it is possible that these defendants could face charges if Russian authorities agree to cooperate with the U.S.Companies: YahooTechnology: InternetTechnologyRegion: Russia
The discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star dubbed TRAPPIST-1 isn’t new. However, many people remain unaware of the fact that new planetary system has been named after the discoverers’ favorite beer.
Trappist has been associated with the popular brand of monastic beer that stemmed from Belgium many centuries ago. The scientists not only named the star after the beer but also nicknamed the planets orbiting it.
Each of the TRAPPIST-1 star’s seven exoplanets, the planets outside our own solar planet, has been named something coinciding with a Trappist brewery, such as Orval, Rochefort and Westvleteren.
Many scientists believe that the seven Earth-sized exoplanets many have life-supporting conditions, and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) could help determine that.
Hannah Wakeford, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said, “These are the best Earth-sized planets for the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize, perhaps for its whole lifetime. The Webb telescope will increase the information we have about these planets immensely.”
Scheduled to be launched in 2018, the (JWST) will likely be able to detect methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxygen or water on the exoplanets, helping scientists to determine if the distant worlds really have life-supporting conditions.General: Science NewsCompanies: NASA
The birth of early supermassive black holes has been puzzling astronomers since they were first detected more than a decade ago. However, a new study claims that scientists may finally be a step closer to solving the mystery.
The earliest supermassive black holes, with mass around a billion times of the Sun, came into existence just 800,000 years after the so-called Big Bang. But, scientists say it should take millions of years for such voids to accumulate that much mass.
Thus, astronomers remained perplexed over how these black holes grew so quickly. A team of scientists from Ireland’s Dublin City University, the US’ Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Finland’s University of Helsinki, found in the new study that it might be due to radiation.
The scientists found that clumping of gas to form dense pockets of material in a galaxy marks the first stage of star formation. But this process is hindered by radiation, which makes the birth of new stars impossible.
Lead study author John Regan, a researcher from Dublin City University, added, “Understanding how supermassive black holes form tells us how galaxies, including our own, form and evolve, and ultimately, tells us more about the universe in which we live.”
The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the Nature Astronomy.General: Science NewsRegion: Columbia
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s controversial comments have put him at odds with the majority of scientists and even many of his predecessors at the federal agency.
While a big majority of scientists have been blaming human activities like burning of fossil fuels for the global warming and climate change, Pruitt said in a TV show that there is not robust evidence showing a link between human activities and climate change. He also argued that there is a need to continue the debate as well as continue the analysis.
His controversial comments triggered an immediate pushback from the scientific community as well as environment groups. Some of his predecessors at the agency also criticized him.
Gina McCarthy, the agency’s most recent chief, said, “The world of science is about empirical evidence, not beliefs. When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high.”
Phone calls from angry constituents to Pruitt’s main line, 202-564-4700, hit so high volume by the recently past Friday that EPA officials were reportedly forced to create an impromptu call center. However, agency officials declined to confirm the creation of the impromptu call center.General: Science NewsCompanies: NASAEPA
Google Inc. parent firm Alphabet-owned Waymo has asked a federal court to block Uber’s self-driving car project, arguing that Uber is using its stolen technology.
Filing testimonies from its employees and a security engineer in a San Francisco court, Waymo described how former Google executive Anthony Levandowski stole proprietary company documents.
The lawsuit alleges that Levandowski stole nearly fourteen thousand digital files around a month before resigning from his job at Waymo to start his own company called Otto, a self-driving car technology provider.
Otto was later bought by Uber for $680 million, and Levandowski became the chief of the ride-hailing company’s autonomous car business.
Waymo spokesperson Johnny Luu said, “Competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs … we are asking the court step in to protect intellectual property developed by our engineers over thousands of hours and to prevent any use of that stolen IP.”
Waymo requested the federal court to issue a preliminary injunction against both Otto and Uber. A hearing on the injunction motion is slated for April 27, 2017.Technology: Technology NewsCompanies: UberOtto
The health of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in ‘uncharted territory’ as the reef is experiencing an unprecedented year of mass coral bleaching for the second year in a row, climate scientists have warned.
The 1,400-mile Great Barrier Reef suffered its most severe bleaching in the recorded history during March and April last year. Scientists blamed warming sea temperatures for the problem.
Following an aerial survey off Australia’s eastern coast, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned on Thursday that coral bleaching is occurring again this year.
Reef recovery director David Wachenfeld said, “Regrettably, the temperatures have been high on the Great Barrier Reef this summer as well and unfortunately (we) are here to confirm... a mass coral bleaching event for the second consecutive year.”
Wachenfeld stressed that it is the first time on record that the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing coral bleaching for two years in sequence.
The Australian arm of the wildlife conservation group WWF stressed on the urgency of tackling climate change in Australia -- one of the worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters in the world.General: Science NewsRegion: Australia
The Google Cloud Platform announced on Wednesday that it has acquired the world’s largest community for data scientists and machine learning nerds, called Kaggle.
Kaggle allows AI enthusiasts to explore and analyze a large compilation of high quality datasets, in addition to running code in the cloud and receiving community feedback on work, among other things.
Fei-Fei Li, Google Cloud AI’s chief scientist, confirmed the acquisition and added that it would provide Kaggle members with direct access to Google’s advanced cloud machine learning milieu.
Speaking on the topic, Li added, “We must lower the barriers of entry to AI and make it available to the largest community of developers, users and enterprises, so they can apply it to their own unique needs. With Kaggle joining the Google Cloud team, we can accelerate this mission.”
Under the terms of the acquisition deal, the Kaggle will keep on operating as its own brand within the Google Cloud Platform.
The Silicon Valley powerhouse has been busy with its aim to create self-teaching technology for years. In a letter to shareholders last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that the company will soon move from “mobile first” to an “AI first” in the world.Technology: Technology NewsCompanies: Google
Following the recent leak of a trove of confidential documents by Wikileaks purporting CIA’s ability to hack into Apple products, the iPhone-maker has claimed that it has fixed the bugs allegedly used by the U.S. intelligence agency to hack into its products.
Apple also claimed it is deeply committed to safeguard its customers’ privacy as well as security, claiming that the iPhone technology represents the best data security accessible to consumers.
In a newly released statement, Apple added, “While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.”
The statement followed Wikileaks documents that claimed that the federal government’s intelligence agency had security holes or exploits that could work on iOS that is considered as a more secure option than Android.
Those exploits or bugs are commonly called “zero days,” a name given to security holes in a piece of technology that even the original producer does not know about.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant also urged users of iOS-based products to download the latest version of iOS to ensure that they get the most recent security updates.Technology: TechnologyCompanies: Apple
As the Trump administration is reportedly mulling significant cuts to the budget of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), many experts have warned that any such move would hurt climate research and put lives at risk.
The Washington Post recently reported that the Trump administration has plans to cut NOAA's budget by 17 per cent. As the federal agency oversees weather forecasting as well as climate research, any such cuts could really put the public at risk by hampering research.
Marshall Shepherd, the director of University of Georgia's atmospheric science program, said, "Any weakening of our technological, scientific, and human capabilities related to weather and climate places American lives and property at risk."
David Titley, the director of Penn State University's Center for Solutions to Weather & Climate Risk, added that the proposed cut is opposite to the 'leave it better than you found it' philosophy.
Currently, NOAA's annual budget stands at around $5.6 billion. The figure represents a really small fraction of the federal government's discretionary budget of $1.2 trillion.
The proposed budget cut is part of President Trump's larger effort to boost military spending by $54 billion and afford that hike with cuts to other federal agencies. The government is also planning to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's $8.2 billion budget by a quarter.Companies: NOAAGeneral: Science NewsPeople: Donald Trump
A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) has made the shocking revelation that environmental pollution is killing as many as 1.7 million children under age of 5 years every year.
The global organization blamed unsafe water, poor hygiene practices, and lack of sanitation as well as indoor and outdoor pollution for the killing of nearly two million lives. The estimated figure is equivalent to these pollutants being the cause of 25 per cent of kids 1 month to 5 years old.
WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said, “A polluted environment is a deadly one -- particularly for young children. Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”
The organization also highlighted the increased risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer from exposure to air pollution. It also warned that more than 90 per cent of the world’s population due to breathing air that violates the global body’s quality guidelines.
Experts also suggested that the most common causes of child deaths, including malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, can be prevented through interventions like improved access to clean water, use of insecticide-treated bed nets, and clean cooking fuels.General: HealthCompanies: WHO
Attaining a new breakthrough in the field of medical science, French doctors have successfully cured a sickle cell anemia patient using an experimental gene therapy.
Doctors at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris reported that a teenager suffering from sickle cell disease achieved full remission in wake of the experimental gene therapy. The patient started the therapy at the age of 13 years.
Individuals with sickle cell disease have abnormal hemoglobin in their red blood cells, which leads the blood to clog in the minute vessels and organs of the body.
After a period of fifteen months since treatment, the patient no longer needed medication as his blood cells showed no signs of the sickle-cell disease.
Dr. Philippe Leboulch, a professor of medicine at the University of Paris, said, “Since therapy was applied, he hasn’t had any pain, any complications. He is free of any transfusions. He plays sports and goes to school. So we are quite pleased with the results.”
The successful use of the experimental gene therapy for curing sickle cell anemia patients was detailed in the most recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.General: HealthRegion: Paris
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) may suffer significant cuts to its research and satellite programs as President Donald Trump’s administration has reportedly proposed slashing the budget for the climate science agency.
The Washington Post (WP) has reported that the Trump administration has recommended a cut of almost 20 per cent in budget for the NOAA, which may affect the agency’s research and satellite programs.
According to the report, 4-page budget memo sketches how the agency would lose 17 per cent of its budget. The affected areas would include programs like research on coastal management, which may suffer a cut of $126 million or 26 per cent of its $500 million research budget.
The National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service that monitors weather and gathers climate data would see the biggest monetary budget cut, of $513 million or 22 per cent of its current funding.
Jane Lubchenco, the agency former administrator, said, “NOAA’s research and operations, including satellite data management, support critical safety needs. A reduced investment now would virtually guarantee jeopardizing the safety of the American public.”
President Trump has long been a vocal critic of global warming and the resultant climate change. During his election campaign in 2016, he repeatedly called manmade global warming a “hoax” created by China to undermine the United States’ economic power.Companies: NOAAGeneral: SciencePeople: Donald Trump
American space agency NASA released a treasure trove of space and science programs, which includes a broad swath of applications ranging from the highly technological Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems File Delivery Protocol to the fanciful like the Spacewalk game.
The treasure trove, which also includes autonomous control packages to life-support system programs, is available free of charge for anyone.
It also offers a number of tools that one can apply to Earth-based photography, such as the Video Image Stabilization & Registration program or JPL’s Stereo Vision Software Suite to calibrate stereoscopic camera setups.
In addition, the newly released catalog offers 3D models and textures. For drone fans, it offers the Autonomous Precision Landing Navigation System that was originally designed for using in cruise missiles and the Formation Flying System for UAVs.
Releasing the software catalog, NASA officials said it is way of supporting the innovation economy by providing entrepreneurs, businesses, academia and the space industry with access to tools used by modern aerospace engineers.General: Science NewsCompanies: NASA
Herbal medications remain popular among individuals with heart disease despite the fact that there is scant evidence suggesting herbal medications are effective or safe to treat such conditions, according to a new review.
Senior review author Dr. Graziano Onder warned that natural doesn’t always mean safe, and there is need to improve knowledge of herbal medications in order to sufficiently weigh the clinical implications of their use.
In a press release from the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Onder said, “Physicians should improve their knowledge of herbal medications in order to adequately weigh the clinical implications related to their use. Physicians should explain that natural does not always mean safe.”
Onder is an assistant professor in the department of geriatrics, neurosciences & orthopedics at Rome, Italy-based Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
There is little evidence of herbal medications’ safety or effectiveness as such medications are sold in the United States without being tested in strict clinical trials. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) can declare that an herbal medication is unsafe only after it has already hurt somebody.
The review was detailed in the most recent (Feb. 27th) edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.General: HealthCompanies: FDA
Eating ten portions of fruit and vegetables daily significantly reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack, cancer and prevent premature deaths, a new study suggested.
A tem of researchers, led by Dr. Dagfinn Aune of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, reviewed a total of 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake, and found that one can reap the greatest benefit by eating 800g or 10 portions of fruit or vegetables per day.
The study included nearly 2 million individuals, and the researchers assessed 43,000 heart disease cases, 47,000 stroke cases, 112,000 cancer cases, along with 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease.
They estimated that nearly 7.8 million premature deaths globally could potentially be prevented every year if individuals ate 10 portions or 800 g of fruit and vegetables daily.
Lead researcher Dr. Dagfinn Aune said, “We need more research … However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet.”
The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology.General: HealthResearchRegion: London
Congressional Republicans are reportedly mulling a proposal to temporarily keep federal funds flowing to cover medical costs of millions of Americans already have insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but block that federal aid for any new participants.
President Donald Trump and many other high-profile Republicans have been vocal opponents of the ACA, which is also known as Obamacare. During his election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly vowed to repeal it.
However, the Republicans have thus far filed to find an efficient alterative to the ACA. Thus, the reported proposal is apparently a compromise as it will allow existing ACA participants to continue to gain federal aid, while no new participants will have access to it.
But Gov. John Kasich, a Republican from Ohio, said in a recent interview that he didn’t believe that the current compromise is adequate.
Speaking on the topic, he said, “I don’t think that paying hospitals for uncompensated care results with a healthier population. Where are they [people struggling with addiction and mental illness] supposed to go?”
Details of how the proposal’s dual elements would be implemented and their specific time frames are still under consideration by a key committee of the U.S. Congress.General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump