What a lack of sunlight really does to our brains – BBC REEL

The shorter days of winter can dampen our spirits and trigger anxiety, fatigue, and depression. In some places above the Arctic Circle, where winter is the longest season, the inhabitants don’t see the sun from November until February. But what can be done to fight the gloomy greyness of winter?

Video by Björn Nilsson
Senior producer: Camelia Sadeghzadeh

Posted in health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

These Beautiful Buttercream Cakes Look Like Colorful Fiber Art | My Modern Met

By Sara Barnes on December 7, 2021

“Let’s just say that my cake/creative time usually happens between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. at night.”

For some folks, food is a form of artistic expression. Cakes, in particular, offer an unconventional canvas from which creative bakers can craft edible sculptures. Lauren Wodnicki, aka Lauren Loves Cake, creates confections that are as beautiful as they are tasty. Inspired by handicrafts like macramé and weaving, she uses buttercream to fashion an array of amazing desserts. When complete, they look like tapestries that are complete with intricate knotting and even beading.

Wodnicki became interested in cake decorating after deciding that she would make the cake for her nuptials eight years ago. “Our wedding cake was my first attempt at a decorated cake, and a tiered cake at that,” she tells My Modern Met. “It was four tiers and, in hindsight, very simply decorated. But, it was a big accomplishment at the time!”

From there, Wodnicki refined her decorating skills and discovered styles that she is “really passionate about.” Texture is a major interest of hers. “I just love the texture and dimension of knit/woven/macramé designs on a cake,” she shares. “I am definitely not the first decorator to put some sort of ‘fiber art’ decoration on a cake, but I think I have come into my own style and my color palettes make my designs unique. All my designs are piped (using bags and piping tips) in buttercream.”

Wodnicki has developed her craft alongside working a full-time job in healthcare and taking care of two little kids. […]

More: These Beautiful Buttercream Cakes Look Like Colorful Fiber Art

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Extraordinarily Realistic Flowers, Mushrooms, and Fruit Recreate Intricate Details in Paper

DECEMBER 8, 2021. GRACE EBERT

Make sure you’re plenty caffeinated before snacking on one of Ann Wood’s blackberries. The Minneapolis-based artist, who is half of the creative team behind Woodlucker (previously), crafts a vast array of florals, fruits, and insects so realistic that it takes a second glance to realize they’re made from paper. Delicate oyster mushrooms with wide caps and thinly folded gills grow from a hunk of wood, fuchsias with softly curved petals hang from a branch, and bundles of radishes with long, spindly roots appear like their plump, juicy counterparts.

Exquisitely sculpted and detailed with paint, wax, and colored pencils, Wood’s realistic creations are based on plants she grows in her garden and other forms she encounters. “I do this because I can see the intricate detail and have live fresh models longer. My paper botanicals take four days to a week to create each specimen,” she says […]

More: Extraordinarily Realistic Flowers, Mushrooms, and Fruit Recreate Intricate Details in Paper

Posted in General | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Breakthrough: Scientists Discover How the SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evades Our Immune System | Sci-Tech Daily

By GRACIE BLACKWELL, TEXAS A&M COLLEGE OF MEDICINE DECEMBER 8, 2021
The expression of the immune response gene ??NLRC5 (red purple) is suppressed in SARS-CoV-2 (green) infected cells. Credit: Koichi Kobayashi

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that is designed to fight off infection and disease, especially those like the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, that can cause numerous issues in the human body. But many individuals are still at risk of being infected with the coronavirus, letting it replicate in the body and further transmitting to other individuals.

The underlying mechanism of how SARS-CoV-2 escapes from the immune system has been poorly understood. However, researchers from the Texas A&M University College of Medicine and Hokkaido University have recently discovered a major mechanism that explains how SARS-CoV-2 can escape from the immune system and replicate in the human body. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

SARS-CoV-2 escapes from immune responses by cytotoxic T cells via impaired MHC-I expression which is caused by reducing both the amount and function of NLRC5. Credit: Koichi Kobayashi

“We found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus carries a suppressive gene that acts to inhibit a human gene in the immune system that is essential for destroying infected cells,” said Dr. Koichi Kobayashi, adjunct professor at the College of Medicine and lead author of the paper.

Naturally, the cells in a human’s immune system are able to control virus infection by destroying infected cells so that the virus cannot be replicated. The gene that is essential in executing this process, called NLRC5, regulates major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes, which are genes that create a pathway that is vital in providing antiviral immunity. Kobayashi and his colleagues discovered this in 2012.

“During infection, the amount and activity of NLRC5 gene become augmented in order to boost our ability of eradication of viruses,” Kobayashi said. “We discovered that the reason why SARS-CoV-2 can replicate so easily is because the virus carries a suppressive gene, called ORF6, that acts to inhibit the function of NLRC5, thus inhibiting the MHC class I pathway as well.”

Dr. Koichi Kobayashi, adjunct professor at the College of Medicine and lead author of the paper. Credit: Texas A&M College of Medicine

Continue reading: COVID-19 Breakthrough: Scientists Discover How the SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evades Our Immune System

Posted in health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

…And We’ll Do it Again

Sources & further reading:
https://sites.google.com/view/sources…

This video is part of the TRESCA project to get more visit https://trescaproject.eu/
This video was produced with funding received from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 872855. 🇪🇺

Kurzgesagt is lying to you, in every video, even in this one. Because our videos distill very complex subjects into flashy ten minute videos and unfortunately, reality is, well, complicated. The question of how we deal with that, is central to what we do on this channel and something we think about a lot.

[…]

Posted in Science | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What does a Gong Sound Like when Hit with a 1189mph Baseball? – Smarter Every Day 267

[…]

More Supersonic Baseball Shots:

Click here if you’re interested in subscribing: http://bit.ly/Subscribe2SED
⇊ Click below for more links! ⇊
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GET SMARTER SECTION

I used the flags in the ground as “fiducials”. You can learn more about fiducial markers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiducia…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[…]

Posted in technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Street Photography | Thomas Leuthard

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

This Canadian Fusion Reactor Could be Built by 2025

General Fusion is a Canadian company developing a reactor that uses steam pistons to achieve fusion! And they’re planning on building a fusion demonstration plant by 2025! In this video I explore how fusion works in the sun, how fusion reactors will work on Earth, and how simple steam pistons could be the answer to the technical challenges facing commercial fusion electricity generation.

If you enjoy this video then be sure to watch this one next: https://youtu.be/3u44skO-nMo

You should also check out General Fusion’s YouTube channel for more videos about their reactor and their progress: https://www.youtube.com/c/GeneralFusi…

Footage of General Fusion’s reactor designs is from General Fusion’s YouTube channel.
Footage of the sun is from NASA.
Footage of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is from Ontario Power Generation.

SOURCES
How Fusion & Fusion Reactors Work:
https://www.britannica.com/technology…

https://www.energy.gov/science/doe-ex…
https://energyeducation.ca/encycloped…
https://world-nuclear.org/information…
https://www.powermag.com/fusion-energ…
History of Fusion:
https://www.britannica.com/science/nu…
https://www.euro-fusion.org/fusion/hi…
https://www.iter.org/mag/3/29
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/R…
https://www.researchgate.net/publicat…
https://www.britannica.com/biography/…
General Fusion:

General Fusion – Clean energy. Everywhere. Forever.



https://generalfusion.com/2021/06/gen…
https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articl…
https://generalfusion.com/2021/02/pro…

CHAPTERS
0:00 Introduction
0:30 The Physics of Fusion
3:15 Why Fusion is so Hard
4:29 General Fusion’s Piston Powered Reactor
6:18 Why Fusion?

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence ancient Babylonians were far more advanced than we thought – BBC REEL

Plimpton 322 is the name given to a 3,800-year-old clay tablet discovered in Iraq in the early 20th Century by archeologist Edgar J Banks, the man believed to have inspired Indiana Jones. Over time this tablet has become one of the most significant and most studied objects of the ancient world.

Dr Daniel Mansfield, of the University of New South Wales, who has studied Plimpton 322 along with other similar tablets, argues that these are evidence that the Babylonians were solving real-world problems, such as surveying, using the basics of Pythagoras’ theorem 1,000 years before the ancient Greeks.

Produced by Lucas Mullikin

[…]

Posted in Culture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cuba’s COVID vaccines: the limited data available suggests they’re highly effective | The Conversation

 

Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton

 

The western world has written plenty about its high-profile COVID vaccines: the mRNA products of Pfizer and Moderna, viral-vectored jabs from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and those that are just emerging, such as Novavax’s protein-based vaccine. Many countries are relying on them for protection.

But not Cuba. It’s been quietly working on its own vaccines, immunising its population and selling doses abroad.

Cuba’s vaccine efforts have maintained a relatively low profile in the west to date. Politics may well be a reason. The US embargo against Cuba that began in the cold war is still in effect, and tensions between the countries remain high.

But for those familiar with Cuba, its COVID vaccine development should come as no surprise – the country has a long history of manufacturing its own vaccines and medicines. Nor should it be surprising that two of its COVID vaccines – Abdala and Soberana 02 – appear to have performed very well in trials. Here’s how they work.

Abdala is a protein subunit vaccine, which is a well-established design. The hepatitis B vaccine and Novavax COVID vaccine use this approach. These vaccines work by delivering just a portion of the virus that they’re targeted against – in the case of Abdala, bits of the coronavirus’s spike proteins, which cover its exterior.

The proteins used in the vaccine aren’t taken from the coronavirus directly. Instead, they’re grown in cells of a yeast(Pichia pastoris) that have been specially engineered.

Cuban scientists working on vaccine development
Cuba has long punched above its weight when it comes to healthcare and biotechnology. Ernesto Mastrascusa/EPA-EFE

On their own, the portions of spike protein are harmless. But when the immune system encounters them, it still trains itself to recognise and destroy them. If the full coronavirus is then encountered in the future, the body will attack these outer parts of the virus and quickly destroy it. Abdala is given in three doses.

The other Cuban COVID vaccine, Soberana 02, uses a “conjugate” design, along the lines of meningitis or typhoid vaccines. It contains a different part of the spike protein to Abdala and generates an immune response by attaching (conjugating) this to a harmless extract from the tetanus toxin. When the body encounters these linked together, it launches a stronger immune response than it would to either alone.[…]

Continue reading: Cuba’s COVID vaccines: the limited data available suggests they’re highly effective

Posted in health | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments