New method to detect quasars with more precision devised by Russian scientist

A team of astrophysicists reports a new method to detect quasars more efficiently. The new method is similar to that of the glasses to be worn in cinemas when watching a 3D movie: each eye is “fed” with light from a particular polarization, both vertical and horizontal.
With this method, researchers were able to identify the light coming from two different regions of the quasars, i.e. that of their discs and that of the jets, according to their different colorisation.

Quasars are huge supermassive black holes that see matter and gases orbiting around them at very high speed. Part of this matter and these gases, before passing the event horizon, bounces off and turns into two huge jets of plasma directed in the opposite direction at very high speed, close to the speed of light.
The two symmetrical jets are always clearly visible and it is essentially these two jets, plus the accretion disc, that allow the black hole itself to be detected. The two jets are ejected along the axis of rotation of the black hole.

Classic” telescopes detect quasars essentially as a tiny distant point and cannot distinguish between the light from the jets and the light from the accretion disc. Radio telescopes offer a slightly higher resolution and with them it is possible to detect the direction of the jets. However, the radio telescopes themselves cannot collect information about the accretion disc.

Yuri Kovalev, a researcher at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, together with his colleagues, therefore thought to devise a new method by combining the strengths of both telescopes to discern the various polarizations of both the accretion disc and the jets.
The scientist himself states: “It was discovered that by measuring the polarization of the light collected by the telescope, we can tell which part of the radiation comes from the jet and determine its direction. This is similar to the way 3D glasses allow each eye to see a different image.

Mind uploading perhaps possible through decentralized adaptive approach

The idea of transferring the mind to an artificial medium, for example a computer medium or a computer, is a possibility that has mostly been addressed by science fiction but which in recent years is also being debated because several scientists or futurologists do not exclude the possibility at all.
The so-called “mind uploading”, literally “mind uploading”, has always been idealized through two fundamental approaches, as a new article in Medium explains.

There is first of all the approach belonging mostly to science fiction in which the mind, understood as consciousness or identity, is extracted from the brain, with methods that are not well defined or almost never dealt with in detail, and inserted or “uploaded” into a computer. The latter can then be grafted onto an artificial body such as that of a robot or an android.

Then there is the somewhat more realistic approach, typical of the so-called “singularitarians”, i.e. those who fervently believe that technological singularity is an almost certain future event.
In this approach one imagines an advanced technology to scan the brain in such detail that it can reproduce the position of each individual neuron and all the connections of each individual neuron with another (the so-called synapses that are even more numerous than the neurons themselves). This approach would require a not inconsiderable computational force and computers that currently do not yet exist or are in the design phase.

As the article points out, these are two approaches that seem unlikely at the moment. The second, which may seem more realistic at first glance, also needs a computational power and technology for scanning the same brain that are currently not even planned.
However, there could be 1/3 method, a decentralized adaptive method.

With the latter method, the mind and thus consciousness could be transferred to a computer by incremental adaptation. Basically, neural prostheses and brain-machine interfaces are used, at the beginning not very invasive, then more and more complex, efficient and hypertechnological.
At first these prostheses could only slightly improve memory, but in a short time they would improve perception and even the faculty of thought.

An individual, with such technological devices, evidently implanted in the brain, would become more intelligent and would have above average cognitive abilities, so much so that in the end, with devices that would mimic neural activity to perfection if not even more efficiently, he would no longer need the biological part.
At that point, the transition from biological support, that is, our head, to artificial support, that is, the set of devices implanted in the brain connected to a computer, could be considered as a transaction carried out in the context of the transfer of the mind to an artificial support.

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Evidence of fossilised brains in small arthropods 500 million years ago has been found

Evidence of fossilised brain tissue was found in arthropods that lived 500 million years ago according to a team of researchers. In case the confirmation comes, it would be a very important paleontological discovery because it would answer one of the most mysterious questions of paleontology: can nervous tissue, especially the brain, fossilize?

The discovery of these two fossils of Alalcomenaeus, an arthropod that lived between 543 and 490 million years ago, could help to find an answer to this question. In addition to the exoskeleton, in fact, also the soft tissues of the brain and nerves would have remained fossilized, tissues that in the vast majority of cases tend to disappear precisely because they are not hard unlike the skeleton (or teeth). Compared to bones, soft tissues degrade much earlier and therefore there is no time to start the fossilization process that leaves an impression.

In a new study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the research team describes the discovery of these fossil findings occurred, as explained by Javier Ortega-Hernández, a paleobiologist at Harvard University and one of the authors of the study, in exceptional circumstances.

One of the fossils, found in the Utha, has symmetrical spots along the perpendicular line of the body of the creature, spots reminiscent of those of the nervous system of some arthropods living today, including some species of crabs, spiders and scorpions. These same spots also contained good levels of carbon, a basic element of the same nervous tissue. And furthermore, these dark spots seem to be connected to the four eyes of the animal, which reminds once again to a nervous system.

The researchers then compared this fossil with two other fossils, one found in the same area and another in China, which seem to have the same traces as regards the possibility of fossilisation of brain matter.

Already in the past paleontologists had found a specimen of Alalcomenaeus for which it seemed that the fossilized imprint of the nervous tissue was also present in addition to that of the skeleton but the announcement of the discovery was greeted with a certain skepticism. Now this new discovery will give strength to the theory that also nervous tissues can fossilize at the level of footprints.

Another similar discovery had already occurred in 2012 when a team of researchers had found a fossilized Fuxianhuia protensa fingerprint that seemed to contain also the imprint of the brain.
According to some researchers, not the majority, it’s possible in fact, through a real stroke of luck, that the brain can fossilize and leave a footprint thanks to the fossilized footprints of the same bacteria that degraded it which would form a sort of biofilm.

Heartburn medication useful to fight labial herpes according to study

A new combination of drugs that could be helpful in treating lip herpes more effectively has been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Kent.
The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, explains how researchers tested different drugs by applying them to various cell cultures and discovered how some drugs used for heartburn improve the effectiveness of antiviral acyclovir. The latter is the drug used to fight the Herpes simplex virus.

The drugs used by researchers in combination with acyclovir are drugs treated for heartburn and are included in the category of proton pump inhibitors. They also include omeprazole.
Herpes simplex can be very worrying for people with weak or suppressed immune systems. In these people it can cause life-threatening conditions or even blindness as the infected person can transfer the virus from the lips to other parts of the body including the eyes (a process also called self-inoculation). It can lead to conjunctivitis or keratitis in the eyes and this can worsen, especially if the patient continues to rub the eye at the point of injury.

The drugs to treat heartburn were combined by researchers, led by Professor Martin Michaelis of the School of Biosciences, with acyclovir on cell cultures. The researchers found that they reduced the spread of the aforementioned virus in cells and the maximum effect was caused by omeprazole.
“The combination of these two drugs could significantly improve the broader treatment of the herpes simplex virus,” says Martin Michaelis of the University of Kent.

Cases of childhood diarrhoea in Africa linked to the climate phenomenon in La Niña

A curious discovery was made by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers, conducting a study in Botswana, found that spikes in childhood diarrhea are associated with climatic conditions related to the La Niña phenomenon.

Diarrhea can be fatal in low and middle income countries with underdeveloped medical networks, especially in children under the age of five. In Africa, diarrhea rates in children under five are particularly high and account for 1/4 of all deaths caused by diarrhea.

Researchers have found a connection with the La Niña phenomenon. The latter is an atmospheric phenomenon linked to the larger phenomenon called El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an irregular variation in the winds and surface temperatures of the oceans in the tropical eastern Pacific area.

ENSO is linked to both La Niña and El Niño: with the former, the ocean temperatures are warmer and with the latter colder. This phenomenon can affect weather conditions in various parts of the world such as temperature, wind and precipitation.

Analyzing statistics on childhood diarrhea (the one that affects children under five) in the Chobe region of northeastern Botswana, researchers have found that the La Niña phenomenon is associated with colder temperatures, increased rainfall and more frequent flooding in the same rainy season.

This same climatic phenomenon, as the researchers found, is associated with a 30% increase in the incidence of childhood diarrhea in the rainy season from December to February.

According to Alexandra K. Heaney, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, one of the authors of the study, the results of this research show that the phenomenon of ENSO can be used as a medium-long term forecasting tool for the spread of childhood diarrhea in southern Africa.

Specifically, when this climate phenomenon advances, it would be appropriate to accumulate more medical supplies, such as hospital beds, and more health workers in these areas to manage the increased incidence of this childhood disease.

Diarrhea can be caused by many different pathogens, including viruses, protozoa bacteria, and exposure to these pathogens itself can be facilitated by weather conditions: more rain and flooding means more contact with water, which is an ideal vector for some of these pathogens.